Directors in their own words

Tribeca helmers pimp their own projects.

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Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Lucia Gaja, director of

My Life Inside

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
You should come and see my movie because it talks about the American ¨justice¨ that a Mexican woman had to face when she got accused of murder. It's about how sometimes the american dream can be the worst nightmare of your life.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
This is a hard and emotional movie. I can´t say there´s a scene that you would love; I can just say that there are very compromising moments for the American system and very emotional situations, too—moments when you can get very angry.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
A tiger because she´s a fighter.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
It depends on what you can find inside of it, and on how you see life.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
I believe that documentary film making, like many other ways of expression, can be used to inform and tell real stories that many times would remain hidden or untold. Sensitivity and comprehension of society and of justice, can be protected in cinema, and movies can sometimes move the minds of others.

NEXT: Ramchand Pakistani »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Mehreen Jabbar, director of

Ramchand Pakistani

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
It's a very compelling story that is local in its setting but universal in its appeal. It has been made with a lot of love and I think no one should miss the opportunity to see the absolutely fantastic child actor, Fazal, who is playing Ramchand. Another reason is that it shows a side of Pakistan that is seldom in the news media: the minority Hindu community that lives near the border with India. There is a certain rawness and a sweetness about the film that comes primarily because it's the first of its kind coming out of Pakistan, a country where the film industry has suffered a steep decline in recent years.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
I would say it's the scene where the boy Ramchand, who is in a jail in India, finds a big sand beetle that fascinates him. He takes it prisoner and at night when all the other prisoners are asleep, he takes it out and plays with it. It's one of the rare occasions he gets to be a child again.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
I think he would be a puppy! Because he's naughty, smart, cuddly and can get into all kinds of trouble.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
The subject itself. The story is based on the actual events of an accidental border crossing by an 8 year old boy and his father and the consequences of this unintended action on the lives of Ramchand and his family. And also the magnificent beauty of Pakistan's Thar desert.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
I usually let the characters and the story speak. I have been influenced by neorealistic cinema and most often use the camera as an observer. I believe that less says more. And that characters that drive a story rather than just the plot. What drew me to the story was the simplicity of it: a family separated for no fault of their own and forcibly put into a situation where they have to deal with circumstances not of their making. With this simple story came layers upon layers of subtext—about relationships, discrimination and the politics of the region—told not in a propagandist way but rather through the eyes of a child and a woman.

NEXT: Sita Sings The Blues »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Nina Paley, director of

Sita Sings The Blues

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
People should watch Sita Sings the Blues because it's accessible, beautiful and entertaining, yet very unusual, visually and narratively. It's an animated art musical for adults. Viewers unfamiliar with the Ramayana—a very important epic, especially in South and Southeast Asia—will learn something, and those already versed in it will laugh harder. Everyone will tap their toes to the great music.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
It's hard to describe why three shadow puppets arguing over details in the Ramayana is so hilarious, but, believe me, it is. Another popular scene is the "Battle of Lanka," wherein an army of monkeys inflicts some seriously goofy cartoon violence on a mass of earnest demons.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
My protagonist is an animal—a human being. Even gods, when incarnated on the mortal plane, suffer the limitations of human nature.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
Everything.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
My artistic philosophy is no fear. My work is completely independent—no committees to answer to, no one telling me what to do. I told the story exactly as I saw it. If the film is hard to describe now that it's finished, it was impossible to describe when it only existed in my head. No one "got" what I was talking about and many warned me against it, but I threw caution to the wind and made it anyway, by myself (yes, I animated the whole thing), on my own time, with my own cash. I have no regrets!

NEXT: Zoned In »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Daniela Zanzotto, director of

Zoned In

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
Zoned In is a truly unique film that captures nine years of someone's life. In the space of 90 minutes you will be given the chance to witness a teenager, fighting against incredible odds, become a young man. You will be inspired by him, feel his sorrow, his frustrations and his joy.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
Daniel (the "protagonist" of the film), 18 years old, is sitting in his bedroom in the South Bronx next to his older brother Charlie, recently released from prison. They have a moving conversation in which Charlie tells Daniel how proud he is of him and how all his successes make him feel as if he's achieved them as well. You really get the strong sense that Daniel is about to achieve something quite extraordinary.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
Daniel's maturity and candor. And you may very well leave the theatre seeing the education system in a very different light.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
As a documentary maker my main purpose is to let the story unfold, and not try and force it in any particular direction. This is what allowed me to pursue a project over such a long period of time without knowing the outcome. My role is to gently encourage and highlight certain elements over others. And even though I have a very specific message I want to convey, I try and do it in a way that gives the viewer the freedom to come to their own conclusion.

NEXT: Days in Sintra »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Paula Gaitan, director of

Days in Sintra

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
While driving the viewers´ attention to the visible, the means and mediation used to construct the discourse of the film become essential. The textures of the film, the composition of images and sound design, the editing, follows a very personal mental flow, nonetheless intending a strong connection with the spectator, revealing a process through which the world becomes more understandable though its memory. The film is not meant to be realistic, it is about memories and the ways in which they can build reality.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
A picture reveals itself in the depths of a river running to the sea. Memory in which all is forgotten, precisely by the flow of the river of memory, equaling all artistic source, sensitive material, into one same gesture, plastic memories, forgetfulness and remembrances.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
Memory is an endless flowered field that expands to our own bodies, reports to the story of the earth and to the history of each one of our lives.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
The strength of this project, I believe, is on its emphasis on the outlook/inlook, on my own affective and critical memory of that period when Glauber and I lived in Portugal. Glauber, seen through my own eyes, looking back onto those moments in our lives with 25 years of perspective and reflections. Times very little known, the months which preceded his death, a period which he called “an intermission” and “the closure of a cycle” seen from my personal vision.

NEXT: The Aquarium »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Yousry Nasrallah, director of

The Aquarium

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
The Aquarium is a film about modern Cairo and how the universal fear-mongering (fear of politics, bird-flu, love, sex, human contact, fundamentalism and religious discrimination) ruins people’s lives. It features outstanding performances by some of Egypt’s best actors. Its singular dreamlike narrative style, rich soundtrack and cinematography should attract film goers curious about other peoples’ lives and ways of expression. Besides, how many Egyptian films have you watched recently?

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
Laila (Hend Sabri), the radio speaker, tells Zakki (Bassem Samra), the sound engineer, the story of a princess in love with a pigeon, who is in fact a prince who has been bewitched. One day he asks her to tell everyone she's in love with a bird, so he'll become human again. But she's scared people will think she's crazy. Zakki sees himself as the bewitched prince, and Laila as the scared princess and the result is a small black-and-white silent movie that might remind you of something.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
They would all be fish in an Aquarium. Gaudy, seemingly free, but in fact kept apart from other fish by glass-walls.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
In a film that deals with repression (both political and emotional) and characters hiding behind glass walls, you’ll be surprised by how free this film is.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
My films have always portrayed individuals trying to define themselves as such and not merely as victims of a broader historical, political, social or economic realities. The question of the individual’s accountability for his or her actions is central to all my films. I do not impose a predefined style to my films, but the style I opt for is always dictated by the story I tell. The main concern I have when tackling any project, is what form will allow me a maximum of freedom.

The nocturnal, dream-like atmosphere of political and sexual repression depicted in The Aquarium has allowed me to experiment with different narrative styles that vary from straightforward story-telling, black and white silent sequences and semi-documentary interview sequences.

NEXT: Empire II »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Amos Poe, director of

Empire II

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
At 3 hours, it's the best bang for your buck.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
July 4th fireworks and a Halloween parade.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
A giraffe.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
The beauty of a year in New York City.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
"I'm not interested in the image of action, I'm interested in the action of image." ’Carl Theodore Dreyer

NEXT: Bitter & Twisted »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Christopher Weekes, director of

Bitter & Twisted

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
Bitter & Twisted is a quirky Aussie indie that that shows an aspect to the country you've probably never seen before—the suburbs. Not a kangaroo in sight. Plenty of ice cream trucks and pork chops though.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
That’s a difficult question. It’s like asking a parent to pick their favorite child. My hope is all the scenes have some element of interest to them, else I would have cut them out. Noni’s amazing performance as Penny is certainly something that will stick with you. She’s incredible.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
Seeing as this is an ensemble piece the characters would probably all be Siamese Fighting Fish. They take their time realizing who they want their lovers to be, but once they get there, there’s no looking back. And when they’re naughty, you separate them into jam jars.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
The film doesn’t look at all like any other Australian film you might have seen. The cast, the crew and myself worked really hard to try and bring a dream-like quality to what’s on screen. The story has all the usual themes of love, loss and grief you might expect, but the characters here are anything but ordinary. Plus, if all else fails, perhaps you’d be interested to see what a film looks like when you have no money, a crew of 15 people and 20 days to shoot something.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
The films I love the most have always taught me a little something. But I’ve always believed movies should be fun, no matter what. You can’t engage with a film unless you’re having fun. If you’re bored, you’re just filling time between mouthfuls of popcorn. Bitter & Twisted is a quirky little drama about people who aren’t really sure who they are yet, told with its own left-of-center humor. Just be sure you go in with some jam jars in case the fish start on you.

NEXT: Kicking It »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Susan Koch, director of

Kicking It

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
It sounds like a crazy idea: having homeless people from all over the world compete in an international soccer competition. But when you think about it, many of the best soccer players in the world come from the streets. Audiences will find themselves on the edge of their seats, rooting for the homeless players featured here—both on the pitch and in the players' lives. From war-torn Afghanistan, the slums of Kenya, the drug rehab clinics of Dublin, the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina, and the unforgiving city of St. Petersburg, Russia, winning takes on a whole new meaning.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
Najib, the handsome 19-year-old goalie from Afghanistan, discovers that the relationship between men and women is far different than it is back home. He starts spending time with a female player from Paraguay who seems to like him, but, lacking experience, he's not quite sure. And he comes up with a way to "test" her feelings about him.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
How something as simple as a ball can change a life.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
Find strong characters and let them tell their stories. Treat them with respect. Don't prejudge or predict what will happen. I've done my job as a filmmaker if a viewer learns something new...sees the world in a different way...is moved in some way...and talks about the film at the dinner table the next night! While the seven homeless soccer players featured in Kicking It hail from every corner of the world, one comes away with a strong sense of our global community and common humanity. You'll see homeless people in a whole new light.

NEXT: The Wild Man of the Navidad »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Justin Meeks and Duane Graves, co-directors of

The Wild Man of the Navidad

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
Seventies horror is often referenced in contemporary fright films, but rarely do you see a film you could call a true homage to the period. The idea behind Wild Man was to create an intelligent throwback picture that could possibly pass as a vintage horror tale you might have actually missed. It's more about linear storytelling and trapping audiences in an unsettling atmosphere for 90 minutes, and less about gratuitous violence, unnecessary plot twists and dizzying editing. So some may watch it for nostalgic reasons, while others may want to experience a taste of 70's horror for the first time.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
We enjoy surrounding our professional actors with real people in the supporting roles. It adds such an authentic texture to the movie that just can't be reproduced. I think audiences will enjoy the scenes inside the local cafe/tavern, which is chock full of colorful characters from the region of Texas we shot in.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
Dale S. Rogers would likely be a gazelle who has slipped away from its pack. Slender and overly cautious, his predator has chased him to the brink of exhaustion, and he now faces an uncertain future.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
I think the most surprising thing about the movie will be how much was done with so little. Making a period picture on a low budget is extremely challenging - especially when shooting on weekends over six months, traveling four hours round trip to the set with borrowed props and no more than a handful of crew persons at a time. It becomes a labor of love very quickly.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
With less of a narrative thread, some of our early short films could easily be interpreted as experimental. For Wild Man, our first feature, we wanted to find a more comfortable medianbetween arthouse and grindhouse. Our directing style employs more of a fluid, steady camera than you might see in today's overly handheld world. We strive to be thorough with the use of our frames, often times working with familiar icons and toying with the psychology of ourcharacters within their own environments. These are some of our more noticeable themes.

NEXT: The Cottage »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Paul Andrew Williams, director of

The Cottage

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
To all the black-colored-clothes-wearing, living-in-their-parents-property, Internet-porn-addicted, single men (a.k.a. male horror fans) and the ostracized, lip-pierced, dating-a-prison-inmate, combat-boot-wearing hot women (a.k.a. female horror fans—also subject of lustful thoughts from male horror fans), celebrate your fantastic love for blood and murder by watching The Cottage. Maybe have a British laugh in there too!

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
If you like the film, the farmhouse scenes; if you hate the film, the credits.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
A unicorn. Because they're not real either.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
That it was made by adults.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
Do the job, start going out with the nurse, find the guy who deals amphetamines out of the crew, order everyone around and most of all pretend to know what you're doing. I always carry a folder—it fools everyone.

NEXT: Killer Movie »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Jeff Fisher, director of

Killer Movie

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
I directed reality shows like The Simple Life and The Real World/Road Rules Challenge for years and, honestly, I kind of wore those credits with a badge of shame. I did see some fun stuff though! This movie let me shine a light on that process and allowed me to pay homage to the slasher movies and Brian De Palma flicks that scared the hell out of me growing up. Our main goal with this flick is to entertain the audience. I'm hoping we pulled that off.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
The starlet character in our movie is named Blanca Champion and she's played by Kaley Cuoco, who is so smart and funny and has amazing comic timing. Blanca's character is talked about a lot in the film before she arrives. When she does show up, it's at a packed hockey arena and it's over-the-top. I used to love the moment when Paris and Nicole would arrive in these small towns when we were shooting The Simple Life and people would stare like a six-foot tall peacock just walked in the room. I tried to re-create that feeling in this scene and it was one of my favorite things to shoot.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
Jake would definitely be a Jack Russell terrier. He's loyal, brave and he's not afraid to scrap, even if his antagonist is bigger and scarier. And since Paul Wesley plays him in our flick, he's movie-star handsome too.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
The movie's goal is to be as much Entourage as it is Friday the 13th, Halloween or Prom Night. The Director of Photography (Dino Parks) and I tried to pay homage to the movies we were crazy about like Cape Fear and Blow Out in the way we set up our shots. We tried to make a genre-bending horror flick.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
I love movies and I always have. I think the audience is very smart and I try to rise up to that level. I try to incorporate both of those attitudes in everything I shoot.

NEXT: Waiting for Hockney »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Julie Checkoway, director of

Waiting for Hockney

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
Contrary to the fact that Waiting for Hockney is listed as a film about art, it’s not. It’s a side-splitting, heart-rending gritty story about a working class guy from Baltimore and the eccentric group of characters—a clergyman, a high school principal, and a Catholic stage-mom with panic attacks—who support that guy in his remarkable dream. The film is an emotional roller-coaster and a suspenseful cliffhanger. You love this guy, Billy Pappas, and you can’t wait to find out what in God’s name is going to happen to him. It’s a film about trying to win one for the little guys in this world.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
Cookie Pappas, Billy’s mother and a receptionist, is at her desk when something “very big is happening for Billy.” In the middle of doing her job, Cookie tries to keep track of and pass information on to friends and family about what’s happening and not get fired. She juggles three phones, a giant switchboard, hangs up accidentally on clients, and keeps offering her famous poppy seed cake, all the while worrying about her eldest son, whose life—to which we intercut throughout Cookie’s sequence—is hanging in the balance. Audiences double over with laughter at how familiar Cookie is. She’s everybody’s loving and hovering mother—on steroids.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
That’s such a bizarre question. I know how Billy Pappas would answer. He’d want to be a frog, his favorite animal to draw. But I would say that Billy is soulfully more of a beaver—willing to gnaw and gnaw and gnaw away at something and, over time, build something remarkable and seemingly too grand for an animal such as he.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
That it’s not a mockumentary and the characters are not actors! That it’s funnier and more like a feature film than any other documentary you’ve likely ever seen.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
I believe that it's easy to dismiss people like Billy Pappas, people whose visions are seemingly unlike our own. But if you spend enough time looking and listening, what you discover is that every character is a shard of oneself and of the universal "us." We have a great deal to learn about ourselves from Billy. I can't wait to share his story in New York and create the chance for a conversation about the way we live our lives now in the 21st century’looking to become visible to ourselves and others’and how Billy's story is reflective of that.

NEXT: Idiots and Angels »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Bill Plympton, director of

Idiots and Angels

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
Too many people in America think that animation is just for kids’well, Idiots and Angels is part of a vanguard of adult animation in the U.S. that will hopefully break down these stereotypes. I don't know why people expect me to make films about toys and games and child-like emotions. I'm an adult and I'm concerned about love, jealousy, sex and greed’adult topics’so why can't I make an animated film that discusses issues that I obsess about?

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
It's a part of the movie where Angel (the star of the film), who's burdened and embarrassed by his wings, fails at suicide and decides, "What the hell, let's see what it's like to fly." So he attempts to take flight and discovers that he can actually use the wings for his own selfish purposes. The wonderful music in this scene is by the great French chanteuse Nicole Renaud (who now lives in New York).

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
I very rarely make films that are politically correct, or socially beneficial. But for this film, I believe the star of this story would start out as a vulture, and slowly but inevitably he becomes a dove.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
This film is very rude and raw’there's a scene where Angel tries to get rid of his pesky wings by cutting them off with a chainsaw. It's very visceral and not for the squeamish; you may want to cover your eyes. It's definitely not a sequence you'll see in a Disney film.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
Being the "king of indie animation," I must keep my budgets low, which I think is a good thing. One aspect I hate about CGI is how every visual is perfectly shaped and rendered, like a machine. However, my films are made by hand, drawn solely by myself. There are therefore a lot of "mistakes." And I love the mistakes. I revel in the mistakes. The mistakes make it interesting. It's like a sketch, you can actually see the act of creation in the finished product. And to me, that makes Idiots and Angels a very fun film to watch.

NEXT: Gotta Dance »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Dori Berinstein, director of

Gotta Dance

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
Do you want to see a brilliant but devastating doc that confronts man's inhumanity to man? If your answer is yes...do not come see Gotta Dance. This movie is a non-stop dance party. It's Bad News Bears meets the flip side of Mad Hot Ballroom. It's fiercely inspiring, endlessly funny and relentlessly charming. You'll fall in love with Fanny (81), Marge (83), Peggy (74), Audrey (60) and Betty/Betsy (64). It will make you leap out of your seats and dance in the aisles.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
After their premiere performance on center court, the Nets Senior Dance Team is on top of the world. Every morning show wants them, they're on the cover of USA Today, they're even spoofed on Saturday Night Live. As they get caught up in the swirl of fame and glory, reality suddenly hits. Only one week to go before their next performance and their new hip-hop routine is brutal. They just can't get it together. Will the team rise to the occasion or will they be scratched (asked not to perform) as their routine is deemed sub-standard, which would be devastating for everyone?

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
Our stars, the Nets Senior Dance Team members, would be the singing and dancing Lemurs in Madagascar who like to "move it, move it". Those merry lemurs gotta dance too!

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
You'll be surprised at how depressed you'll be when you realize you're too young to audition for the Nets Senior Dance Team!

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
I'm passionate about telling stories of everyday people who take on a dream...who throw themselves into the pursuit of something seemingly unobtainable and give it their all, no matter the risks or struggles along the way. It's their adventure that captivates me. It's how they grow, change and become unexpected heros, surprising, most of all, themselves. These people inspire me and I'm thrilled to be able to tell their stories and to challenge audiences to go for it, to take on life, to be the best they can be. I could ask for no better cast than the New Jersey Nets Senior Dance Team to do all that and so much more.

NEXT: The Wackness »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Jonathan Levine, director of

The Wackness

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
The Wackness is for New Yorkers, by New Yorkers. It takes place in Manhattan in the Summer of 1994, and the city is the star of the film (along with Ben Kingsley, Josh Peck, and Mary Kate Olson, among others). It's for anyone who remembers those long, hot New Yorksummers, anyone who ever tried to use Central Park as an aphrodisiac, anyone who ever watched Channel J, anyone who ever bitched about Giuliani. This film's got NYC coursing through its veins, and I feel it will have special resonance at this festival, both for myself andfor an audience.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
There's a scene where Dr. Squires (Kingsley) and Luke (Josh Peck) get thrown into the Tombs for tagging a subway station wall. Oh, and a sex scene in an outdoor shower in Fire Island that features a deer (no, not like that).

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
A dog, because they smoke the most weed of any beast in the animal kingdom (look it up).

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
That the early '90s were the last great era of American music.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
My philosophy is, first and foremost, to treat colleagues and collaborators with respect—and to foster a free and creative environment on set. Beyond that, it's to try as hard as you possibly can: both intellectually and, like, physically or whatever. Push your mind harder on set, in the cutting room. Eschew intellectual laziness. Try to do something a little bit different, to push the envelope, to provoke and to question. And don't shoot in Times Square on a Friday night, because a drunk person will inevitably approach Ben Kingsley and call him Gandhi.

NEXT: Old Man Bebo »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Carlos Carcas, director of

Old Man Bebo

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
I made Old Man Bebo because I got to know and love Bebo Valdes as if he were my own grandfather, and I think that shows in the film. People who are fans of Bebo's music, or of Cuban music in general, come out of the film feeling very moved. I guess that's because Bebo's personal story is very touching: his rise as a musician in Cuba, his exile in Sweden, and his glorious comeback from retirement. It's also a film about the triumph of an immigrant, which many people relate to.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
One of my favorite scenes is Cuban dancer Ana Gloria Varona describing Air Tropicana, the shuttle flights between Miami and Havana in the '50s designed to bring tourists to the island. There are some great shots of the interior of the airplane where she and a band of musicians would perform a show, dance with the passengers and drink daiquiris—right in the middle of the aisles of the aircraft! The whole plane was one big party. Quite a difference from this day and age...

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
A big stallion. That was Bebo's nickname in real life: Caballón. Just one look at him and the reason is obvious.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
I think the biggest surprise is how close the world came to being without all the work that has made Bebo famous in recent years. After seeing the film, people appreciate him even more.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
I think each film has it's own intrinsic style or flavor. In the case of Old Man Bebo, I wanted it to have a very classical feel. I didn't want to show off as a filmmaker and use a bunch of digital tricks, etc. Ninety percent of the people in the film are in their 70's and 80's, some of them are no longer with us, so the style had to be right for them. I just tried to let the people in the film tell their story, without me getting in the way.

NEXT: The Chicken, the Fish and the King Crab »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Jose Luis Lopez-Linare, director of

The Chicken, the Fish and the King Crab

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
This movie will make you have a great time. With a big dose of humor, you’ll watch the fight of one person (a chef) to achieve a personal project (obtaining the best recipe) to win a contest that would lead him to professional success (Bocuse D’Or, a gastronomic contest). Through this journey he discovers how flexible human limits are, how much endurance is needed to manage your dreams and how life, itself, is an everyday contest.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
Jesús has been toughly preparing himself for six months to win this contest. Time is running out, only five minutes to go, the jury is waiting, the public is warming up and, suddenly, his chef’s hat falls apart!! No hat, no contest, no prize...Jesús watches his life passing backwards.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
A racing horse specialized in flat racing that suddenly finds itself in a jump race. Because he knew he was participating in a contest, but he had underestimated its difficulty. Jesús, like a racing horse, has skill, speed, elegance and nobility. The question: is he a winning horse?

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
If you think a kitchen is a quiet place, watching Jesús Almagro freaking out behind his frying pans will cause you a revealing impression. You’re actually watching a gastronomic thriller!

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
My intention has always been not to have a style and let life, people and situations talk by themselves in my movies. I just try to find the person whom I think has a lot to say, find the conflict he’s facing and let time do the rest.

NEXT: My Winnipeg »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Guy Maddin, director of

My Winnipeg

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
I think I can hypnotize you, the viewer, so that you will rise from your seat and walk right into the screen which receives my images. I want you to live within the movie as surely as Keaton became Sherlock Jr. I think you will not want to leave the movie. I think you will still be in there long after I've gone back to my hotel room. I think some of you will even move to Winnipeg as a result of seeing my film. I want to do you this cruel mischief!

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
False modesty prevents me from using the word love, but I think the audience will get an ardent kick out of some very strange and moving archival footage I dug up dating from 1923 and depicting eleven horses whose heads were frozen above the ice surface of my home town's river for one entire winter.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
I am my own protagonist in this film and I've always thought of myself as a worm.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
I think everyone will be shocked to find how much of themselves and their own home towns they will find in this sometimes grim picture.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
Honesty of feeling is the most important thing for me. No matter how ugly or masochistic the feelings I experience, no matter how bad they make me look, I feel it is essential to really nail them on screen, as purely as possible. I feel this brutal nailing will give me my only chance at entering the film canon some day—something worth shooting for, I think! Sometimes getting the feelings right means using euphemisms or metaphors for mere facts. By using this method my documentary annoys some old school doc purists, but if you give the film a chance you'll agree it's the only method possible for my subject matter, which is the home.

NEXT: Trucker »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

James Mottern, director of

Trucker

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
Michelle Monaghan. If you've ever seen Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang, you'll get just a peppering of the greatness of this actress; but if you watch Trucker you'll get a three course meal, dessert and a back rub—maybe more. I had watched her work in other films and had seen her in North Country; there's this one shot in that film where, when I saw it, my heart fell into my boots. Her expression, the subtlety of the performance, and brilliance in just those few frames confirmed my desperate need to cast her. And she just absolutely owns it in this film. There is always so much going on in that exquisite face that you just cannot get it all in one viewing. She's seriously awesome! Yeah, if you want to see this generation's Ellen Burstyn, Gena Rowlands, Sally Field, Sophia Lauren and Jack Nicholson all rolled up into one, then I would suggest you try to make a screening because she's a hell of a lot of fun to watch. [Ed's note: Monaghan was so amazing, she forced Mottern to blow past his word limit by 71 words.]

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
Here are a couple (there are so many). There's a great scene at the beginning of the film where Michelle has an interlude with a stranger. It's pretty sexy and also visually awesome. Any of the scenes where Michelle is behind the wheel of the truck are great, because she is actually driving the truck! That's the kind of actress she is. She learned to drive a big rig! Also, near the end of the movie there is a scene between Michelle and Nathan that is so incredibly poignant and yet, also, knee-shakingly sexy. And there is one line that Nathan delivers that, I am not making this up, has caused gasps among the audience. The scene is touching, even sweet, and gets gasps.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
She would be one of those wild mustangs the government rounds up every now and then in the high desert to sell off. They're these gorgeous, sort of mad creatures—wiry and powerful—and they are nearly impossible to catch. When I shot a documentary on these horses once I watched as three seasoned cowboys on horseback fought a mare for half an hour just to bring this lithe, sort of skinny animal to a temporary standstill. And it really didn't even work. They just had to sort of drag her to the trailer. That's Diane Ford in Trucker, and that's Michelle Monaghan, too.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
What I notice in this movie is that when you first start watching it, you might think you know what it's about, but somewhere in there (and I think it's because of Michelle's performance) the movie kind of gets you in the gut. It's got this slow burn quality that builds and builds and by the end of it the movie kind of grabs you by the heart. I am not saying it will do this to everyone but in several screenings we've had people needing to leave the theater to get it together.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
My overriding philosophy is to serve the story—to tell it in the most true and organic way. And one way I do that is really by treating the process of making the film as an end unto itself. It is very important for me that the actors, the DP, the production designer and everyone else have a voice in the approach we take. I read a biography on John Huston once and he always operated under the philosophy that everyone had a good idea and that he would be a fool not to hear them; his job was just to sift through to the ones he responded to most.

With actors, too, I don't really like to hand them an emotion to imitate or a line reading and all that; I really love actors and think they are generally very intuitive and smart when it comes to their character. So my approach is to trust them first of all, and when I make adjustments it's mostly clarifying where the character might be at that point in the story and—both factually and in the subtext. After all, we're all serving the story. I think that this openness and freedom is reflected in both the visual style of the film and in what I consider to be outstanding performances.

NEXT: Guest of Cindy Sherman »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Tom Donahue and Paul H-O, directors of

Guest of Cindy Sherman

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
Paul: Every once in a great while something really tiny and insignificant happens in one's life and it's like sticking a pin in a water balloon. I was living a kind of a great life with a beautiful artist whom I loved more than anyone ever and this incident at a posh social event punched a hole in my life, and the contents spilled out into a movie.

Tom: Because there is nothing like it.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
Paul: Julian Schnabel calls my cable show, GalleryBeat, stupid and masturbatory, and then we have an amusing exchange of words.

Tom: There are many. The verite of Paul and Cindy flirting and falling in love with each other is priceless. It is completely honest and shows real intimacy between two people. And there is some great surfing.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
Paul: Some kind of sea mammal, a sea lion or small whale because he's a sea creature, and gets cranky out of the water.

Tom: A grizzly bear. Big, burly, unpredictable (and I don't mean Cindy).

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
Paul: How packed it is with stuff about the art world that isn't boring.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
Paul: My style has always been, when in doubt or without a doubt, get it on the videotape. If I wasn't compulsive about catching life through a lens I wouldn't have this crazy movie we made.

Tom: Trying to make sense out of a mass of confusion. Thankfully, with this film, we never reached that goal.

NEXT: The Auteur »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

James Westby, director of

The Auteur

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
People should watch The Auteur to see a movie that sort of feels like a straight-up romantic comedy, but then turns on them and starts showing some very outrageous things, like the genius porn director Arturo Domingo getting kicked out of USC Film School for making Five Easy Nieces as his thesis project, or his movie Dyke Club spawning several real-life Dyke Clubs in high schools across America, or Arturo's career going down the toilet with dreck like The Fisting of a Chinese Bookie and Children of a Lesser Wad.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
The restored director's cut of Arturo's ill-fated Vietnam epic Full Metal Jackoff, which is the climax of The Auteur, is a scene that I hope audiences will fully embrace. It is my very proudest moment as a filmmaker, and will hopefully be something of a catalyst in achieving world peace. Let's just say it's six guys in North Vietnam, looking for women. They don't find any, so they explore the options. Come for the film, stay for the jackoff.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
Arturo Domingo would be a rabbit, because then he could sit and watch the other rabbits as they hump each other.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
The brilliant performances of the relatively unknown Melik Malkasian (as Arturo Domingo), Katherine Flynn (as his long lost love Fiona), and John Breen (as porn star Frank E. Normo) are very surprising indeed. So, those and the Full Metal Jackoff scene.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
My filmmaking is highbrow-meets-lowbrow. I am equally influenced by the French New Wave and bad `80's comedies. This is reflected in The Auteur by the fact that there are soul-searching scenes of a husband driven mad with jealousy, and there is also a movie within it called While You Were Queefing.

NEXT: The Caller »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Richard Ledes, director of

The Caller

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
I think the performances of Frank Langella and Elliott Gould stand out and that the story of the film’a corporate thriller that focuses on the psychological dynamics of a cat-and-mouse game’is timely and compelling. The film gives these two great actors, who are roughly the same age, an opportunity to work together for the first time and the result is, I think, very special.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
Detective Turlotte (Elliott Gould) has staked out the apartment of Jimmy Stevens (Frank Langella), a man whom Turlotte has been hired to watch. Turlotte is unaware that the man he is watching is also the man who anonymously hired him over the phone. Jimmy calls Turlotte to find out how his work has been going. Turlotte explains that as they speak he is watching the subject through a window in a building across the street. Caught by surprise, Jimmy must then continue the conversation without revealing that the person whom Turlotte is watching is also the person to whom Turlotte is speaking.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
Aristotle called a human-being a zoon politikon,a "political animal." This is the kind of animal Jimmy is’he lives and breathes through the words he speaks, the wine he drinks, the woman he loves, the deals he makes and, most of all, through the dreams that sustain him.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
The link between what happens in contemporary New York and what happens in the woods in occupied France during World War II.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
I try to find projects that are compelling to me personally. This allows me to sustain a strong sense of what I want to accomplish. This in turn allows me to be open to the many invaluable contributions that will be made by the cast and crew, as well as by others. In this film I was drawn to the dynamics of watching and witnessing in a setting like contemporary New York, which is saturated with media, cell-phone cameras, surveillance cameras and instruments of vision of every kind. The central actions of this film are concerned with watching’the degradation of vision and its redemption.

NEXT: Life in Flight »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Tracey Hecht, director of

Life in Flight

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
I find my film, Life In Flight, isn’t for everyone. It’s not a big or loud film; it doesn’t hit you over the head, so to speak. It’s more a story to provoke in us thinking about who and what we are, and how we exist in the world. And ultimately about how we all have fears. Those private and personal fears we all struggle with on the day to day that hold us back, or hopefully, as the film explores, can also set us free. It’s more an introspective movie than a big splasher, but it’s got its charm.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
The protagonist, Will (Patrick Wilson) is completely bogged down. The poor guy’s just buried under all the choices he’s made in life. And then this thing happens, this silly stupid thing when he’s driving in a car on the highway, and it just cracks him. All of sudden he remembers who he was and is outside of his mass of success and obligation and grown-up-ness and he just kinda snaps and let’s go. It’s pretty funny.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
Something in a cocoon, but in reverse order. Like he was already a butterfly, but then he got squeezed back in his cocoon, and then the movie follows him trying to bust out of all the constricting layers again. And not one of those nice silk cocoons either, or maybe partly made of silk, but also covered the way some cocoons are in twigs and vegetation. Ok, weird, I just made my protagonist an insect.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
Hopefully that it stays with you. People keep telling me that it stays with them for weeks after they see it, and in a personalized way.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
I like things to be beautiful. Even when they're struggled or undesirable or messy, I like the soul of things to be beautiful. So that's the way I like to try to tell a story, shoot a story and communicate a point.

NEXT: War Child »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Karim Chrobog, director of

War Child

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
War Child is a riveting, compelling, and ultimately inspiring film about Emmanuel Jal, a former Sudanese child soldier who today is an international hip-hop sensation. You have heard his music in Blood Diamond or on ER. And Emmanuel has performed at Live8. Many documentaries feature Westerners working on behalf of destitute Africans – our goal is to bring you an African story told by an African. War Child is also not a conflict documentary but it is a film about a young man who has overcome unimaginable horrors in his life and today inspires people everywhere. And did I forget to mention that his fast-paced hip-hop is spectacular?

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
What makes this movie so compelling is that it captures you right from the beginning as you listen to Emmanuel narrating his own life story. ability to share his shocking experiences and then make you laugh the next second is truly remarkable. One scene that is particularly moving is his first family reunion in nearly twenty years in the middle of Southern Sudan. During another scene, Emmanuel and two of his musician friends debate a parliamentarian on the number of cows necessary to get married—apparently they cant afford them and are frustrated by their prospects to find a wife.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
War Child is inspiring and you will come out of the film wanting to do something. This film's goal is to entertain and educate you, and not to make you depressed. Emmanuel's music is going to grab you right from the beginning.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
I love to explore themes that at the onset seem very difficult to tackle. There is always a hook that makes every story unique and fascinating. But at the heart, every film must have a a character or plot that compels us to the sit through the entire film. In the case of War Child, the story of a former child soldier who has turned into a hip-hop sensation right away captures our interest and imagination.

NEXT: The Objective »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Dan Myrick, director of

The Objective

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
Free popcorn. Actually, that's not true. My hope is that people who come to see The Objective experience an alternative to traditional "genre fare" that we're so used to seeing out of Hollywood. My intention was to appeal to the audience on an emotional level, first and foremost, thus providing a good bit of creep factor and a sense of mystery throughout the film. At the same time, I hope to engage those that choose to drill down with some of the questions the film seems to conjure up. This is a film about human nature and how perception, interpretation and instinct can be paradoxical, not just in ourselves, but in our society.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
I have no idea....but, one of my favorite scenes is what I call the "Canteen Scene," where the guys pour out their canteens to the realization that they're in way over their heads.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
Not sure this film really has a clear cut protagonist; however, if I were to equate this character to an animal, I'd have to say he's a Hawk. Well suited for the job at hand, efficient and seems to see things well into the distance.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
If I told you it wouldn't be a surprise? Actually, my hope is that what you think is one kind of film, turns about to be something else.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
I strive for authenticity. I don't like it when a film feels contrived or insincere. Most of my cast is former military, which was important for me to maintain a sense of realism. There are some things intrinsic to a character that simply can't be taught, and you try to cast as close to this ideal as possible.

NEXT: War Inc. »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Josh Seftel, director of

War Inc.

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
It's funny, dark, absurd, bizarre...and totally inspired by reality.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
In the war scenes, we made explosions that were 60 feet high and 100 feet wide. Since our pyro expert's former employer was the Bulgarian mafia and his job was blowing up cars, he gave the production some added "authenticity." He claims no one was ever in the cars he blew up (wink, wink).

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
No animals in this film. Oh, except for this scorpion:

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
No animals were hurt in the making of this film.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
As someone who started out in documentary, and who has been to real war zones and other hot spots, it was exciting to work with this subject matter in a movie. War Inc. is filled with humor and darkness, two features I try to get into all my work. They just go well together.

NEXT: Love, Pain and Vice Versa (Amor, Dolor y Viceversa) »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Alfonso Pineda-Ulloa, director of

Love, Pain and Vice Versa (Amor, Dolor y Viceversa)

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
I would encourage people to see Love, Pain and Vice Versa because it's a story where not everything is fully explained’where audiences are not spoon-fed, thank god! Yet when our characters appear on screen we are psychologically and emotionally submerged in the suspense of the plot until the very end. Also, because we don't often see actors give themselves to their roles and take real risks. And in this particular film they did. As some say, they died in front of the camera, and that it's a beautiful thing to see, especially in today's cinema!

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
Chelo, our female lead, gives a description of a man who, supposedly, attacked her. She has a few tears in her eyes and a serious expression, but during the scene Chelo undergoes a slight transformation and we start to see signs that betray her supposed seriousness and pain: a quick smile, her eyes twinkling with excitement, etc. Was she really attacked? Is she making it all up? Is she in love with her attacker? It's such a paradoxical scene! I hope audiences love paradoxes like I do.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
This is a very hard question for me to answer. The two protagonists in this story are both predator and prey, and for some reason I can't seem to remember an animal that is known for being both at the same time.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
It will be hard for audiences to believe it was shot entirely in Mexico City because it doesn't look like it at all. Because this movie is best described as a perversion of a fairy tale that could take place anywhere in the world, we chose every location very carefully to add to the fairy-tale element.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
I've always been influenced by an urban postmodern magical realism, much like Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amelie and Christoffer Boe's Reconstruction. So in my films, even though reality is my canvas, my stories lay in the realm of fantasy. For instance visually, Love, Pain and Vice Versa is painted with a fantasy color palette and this element is present in the visual design, in every location, in the score, in all the performances and in every single creative decision.

NEXT: Terra »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Aristomenis Tsirbas, director of

Terra

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
Terra does a 180 on the old alien invasion idea. That means we humans are the bad guys and the story is seen from the point of view of cute, vulnerable and seemingly peaceful aliens. But it's important to note that we're not portrayed as just one-note villains. That's where I feel many alien invasion films fall short. This film gives the enemy depth and conflict beyond being singleminded evil attackers. There are shades of grey here—on both sides. It’s a different kind of American animated film in that it doesn’t rely on the usual comic one-liners and slapstick to tell its story. Sure, there’s humor, but the emphasis is more on adventure, action and the overall sense of awe that's associated with a science fiction epic.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
Early in the film a pair of the alien characters coast above the clouds in their flying machines and are joined by a massive "Sky Whale." I hope it wows the audience.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
Well, our protagonist is an alien, so I suppose its only fair to compare her to an alien animal. She does resemble her tiny alien pet "Tuki," who's clever, playful, always loyal and really cute.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
I think audiences will take to the idea that a broad animated film can bring up ideas that actually make you think beyond light entertainment. The art form of animation encompasses far more than just broad comedy, and I hope this film will help expand the public awareness of that, especially here in the U.S.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
Well, I adjust my style for each film. Here I wanted to have a more realistic, dramatic tenor to match the whole epic adventure feel of the story. Thus, the camera moves; lighting and even editing are grounded in the limitations and roughness of live action film. There are someout there characters and locations, so this approach really helped with that all-important suspension of disbelief. Philosophically, I also I like to play with expectations. What that means for this film is that each type of creature is first presented a certain way, but as the story moves forward, we see that there's more going on than first thought. I don't want to reveal any more than that.

NEXT: The 27 Club »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Erica Dunton, director of

The 27 Club

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
Film festivals celebrate clear voices and independent thought. They attract audiences that want to be exposed to new worlds and to learn and feel. I think my film, will live up to those expectations. I worked with a really talented group of people and we created a world that I think people will really enjoy being part of.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
I had seen a documentary called By The Wayside by Soozie Eastman. She had focused on a choir that was founded by a Christian mission and most of its members were recovering addicts. I fell in love this choir and wrote them into my film. They came on a bus from Kentucky in order to appear. There is a scene where Elliot (my lead character) meets them and sings with them...I’ve probably seen it a thousand times, but it never fails to move me.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
A lamb. Not a sheep—a lamb. Elliot is a follower. Tom, his best friend, was a leader. But when Tom dies, Elliot’s left with no one to follow. There is something naive and innocent about him; he illustrates the potential in life, the potential to grow. But he wouldn’t necessarily grow into a sheep (i.e. always be a follower). We watch him find his feet and we know that one day he will live a life of his own.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
You will feel like you’ve literally traveled across the country with Elliot. You will be surprised that in 85 minutes you have been taken to so many places both physically and emotionally.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
I think the way I process everything and encode it in my brain is through an emotion. I feel like the space inside my head is compartmentalized into different feelings. Everything, even the most mundane fact or routine thought, is tagged and filed away into the correct emotional box. So then when I make films, my brain unpacks these boxes and those feelings find their way into every frame of the film. It’s strange, and I’m still learning about myself as a filmmaker; however, I know that the two things I strive for the most are to show an audience a new world and to make them feel something.

NEXT: A Portrait of Diego: The Revolutionary Gaze »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Diego Lopez and Gabriel Figueroa Flores, co-directors of

A Portrait of Diego: The Revolutionary Gaze

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
Our film is about three great Mexican artists that got together in 1949 to film a documentary on painter Diego Rivera as a tribute to his 50th working anniversary. The documentary wasn't finished; it had no known script and no recorded sound. Fifty-nine years later Diego Rivera's grandson and Gabriel Figueroa's son got together to finish what their relatives started, incorporating themselves into the filming process and tracing connections between the artists.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
The original footage is in color 16mm and amazingly preserved, with scenes where Rivera reproduces his famous calla lilies paintings with live models in idyllic landscapes.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
Rivera resembles a toad; he always looked and painted himself as one.I guess the physical resemblance was enough to make him mock himself.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
You will be surprised to find Diego Rivera's interest and knowledge in film and photography, and seeing him in color and painting.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
Our approach in this documentary is to exemplify the work of three artists whose work is still today considered an ideal of "Mexican-ness," while trying to have a critical and updated point of view.

NEXT: This is Not a Robbery »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Andrew Lauren, producer of

This is Not a Robbery

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
There is something inherently interesting about the story of a senior citizen, who could be anyone’s grandfather, wanting—instead of living his twilight years in solitude—to do something sensational and becoming a serial bank robber. I think in Red Rountree, we have discovered an American anti-hero.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
We introduce rather early the actual FBI footage of Red’s high speed chase in which he's fleeing from the authorities after his final robbery. I think we’ve all been stuck at some point behind a senior citizen who is driving too slow. Imagine if you witnessed a senior citizen in a high-speed pursuit.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
A fox, mainly because I think only he knew his real intentions. Maybe he was crazy; maybe he wasn’t.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
You mean, aside from the fact that it’s about a 90-year-old who robbed banks?

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
I like stories that everyone can relate to, and that will hopefully be timeless in their effect. In this film we tried to use our narrative roots to bridge the gap between documentary and narrative techniques.

NEXT: Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Dawn Logsdon, director of

Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
This film should be seen by anyone who thinks they know anything about American history and the civil-rights movement; by anyone who loves music and New Orleans culture; and especially by anyone who thinks New Orleans should not be rebuilt! Made by two native New Orleanians, this film explores a great American city through the microcosm of one small, fascinating old neighborhood, the Faubourg Tremé.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
We shot most of this film before floodwaters devastated New Orleans and sent people in neighborhoods like Faubourg Tremé into mass exodus. My favorite scene is one that brings the old neighborhood back to life. Glen David Andrews, a charismatic yet troubled young trombone player, has just been chosen to be king of 'The Money Wasters' Social, Aid & Pleasure Club. You'll have to watch it to see what happens as his parade dances and winds through the streets of Tremé.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
Since he's an African American journalist hunting for the scoop, I guess I'd have to say the brown pelican! The state bird of Louisiana, the brown pelican also made a dramatic comeback from near extinction against great odds and opposition.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
That this is not just a New Orleans story, but a great American story about the shaping of democracy. That a forgotten civil-rights movement was launched there almost 150 years ago and that jazz has its roots in this movement. And that no one outside New Orleans knows anything about this history.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
I'm drawn to stories about hope and radical transformation. Especially stories about people devoting themselves to seemingly crazy, lost causes. Because even when they do lose, they leave behind their dreams. This film is filled with tales of beautiful, thwarted dreams. I hope some of that past inspiration can help find its way into the rebuilding of New Orleans' future.

NEXT: Charly »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Isild Le Besco, director of

Charly

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
The shoot was a magical moment for me. I think that making a film is about getting the right people together, with their own individual gifts, so that together they can create something magical. I counted on that and felt more like a chemist than a director.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
It’s hard to know what audiences will respond to, but so far I’ve heard that the scene between the young man and the prostitute where they read to each other is very genuine and powerful—that it’s full of a strange grace. In the scene, the young boy asks the girl who took him in to read from a play for him.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
The young boy would be a small koala bear, a soft, fragile, helpless animal. And I see the young prostitute as a squirrel—very alert, nervous, and hyper-attentive.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
Just go to see it, it will surprise you and you'll tell me why...

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
I wanted beauty to come from an unusual place. Not directly from the personality of the characters…more of a haphazard beauty, one that comes by chance.

NEXT: Celia the Queen »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Mario de Varona and Joe Cardona, co-directors of

Celia the Queen

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
This is a musical documentary on a musical icon who has passed named Celia Cruz. The film shows Celia Cruz like you have never seen her before—without her wig, clowning around during rehearsals and having a party on a plane to Africa for the George Foreman-Muhammad Ali fight. In interviews we get to see the different layers of Celia Cruz; these are revealed in the voices of Andy Garcia and Quincy Jones, as well as Tato, the tow truck driver, Takashi, the Japanese record store owner and others.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
The most heart warming scene is when interviews with Pedro Knight (Celia’s husband) and Celia Cruz are cut together in such a way that you feel they are both still alive. They are telling their love story to the world. The interview with Pedro Knight was taken after Celia’s death, so at the end of the scene when he says, “Celia took care of me till her dying day, and that is why I will never forget her,” the audience can really feel their love come through the screen.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
She would be a parrot because she loved to make people smile through her voice. She would learn how to say “Azucar” and that is all she would need.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
The way the documentary does not use a narrator. It was funny because when Celia Cruz signed over the rights to tell her story to Mario and I, her only requirement was that we not use narrative. At first we thought it would be impossible, but after taking on the challenge and cutting it together, we realized Her voice was narrative enough.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
Our filmmaking philosophy is detail. It’s all in the detail. It took us 10 years to complete this film, so you can trust us when we say this. This project took many explorations and we dealt with over 100 hours of footage; to get those 100 hours to 84 minutes took a lot of attention to detail.

NEXT: Pray the Devil Back to Hell »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Gini Reticker, director of

Pray the Devil Back to Hell

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
This film is essentially a war story told from a rare perspective: women who are fighting for peace. Their harrowing story at times is heartbreaking, but ultimately phenomenally uplifting. It is impossible not to be inspired by this universal story about the courage of ordinary women.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
Thousands of women gather in an open field that the brutal Liberian president Charles Taylor has to drive by every day. They are demonstrating, so as to pressure him to go peace talks and engage in a dialog with rebel warlords. Day after day they sit in the field. At a certain point, the women get so desperate for peace that they decide to have a sex strike. It brings some comic relief.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
The fact that this story is not already famous is astonishing

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
I am most interested in finding a common bond with people I make documentaries about. In many ways, it may seem hard to imagine what we might have in common with women who endured 14 years of civil war in a country where the infrastructure was completely destroyed’no running water, no electricity, child soldiers. But, I let the women tell their own story, in their own words, without any narrator to run interference. So when you see the final product, you feel like the women you meet could be your sister, your mother or your girlfriend.

NEXT: Fighter »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Natasha Arthy, director of

Fighter

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
I´ve made a film which I believe young people all over the world can see themselves in. It's a universal story about believing in your dreams and not just acting the way society, relatives or loved ones expect of you. And on top of that it is a highly entertaining film with loads of action, good actors and great music.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
Maybe the scene where the two main characters (who are falling in love) are racing against each other on the rooftops of Copenhagen.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
I think she would be a black panther. Aicha is a beautiful, feminine girl, but the way she fights is very masculine. For me the panther symbolizes an elegant mix between feminine and masculine.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
It might surprise you that this kung fu film is Danish; that all the actors are amateurs and maybe that it cost only 4.5 million dollars to produce.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
It's very important to me that the characters are real people, that you can understand their feelings. I work with actors for a along time before shooting (3 months on this film). When we finally shot the scenes ’ we set the light in a way which would allow the actors to improvise. I don't aspire to make documentary-style films; therefore I like to mix the real story with a level of fantasy. In Scandinavia we have a tradition of making dialogue film, but I think it is much more fun to try and have a "dialogue" between two people via fighting, dancing, singing, etc.

NEXT: From Within »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Phedon Papamichael, director of

From Within

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
There a great diversity of characters in this story. Every one of them seems real, like a person you might identify with. Also, the story deals with a lot of subjects you wouldn't necessarily expect in a psychological horror flick. It's about intolerance, hypocrisy, curiosity, hope, family, religion. In the end, all these ideas clash and everything just goes awfully wrong!

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
I think the ending will surprise a lot of people.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
Elizabeth Rice would be a young deer because of her big brown eyes. They give you passage right into her soul. Thomas Dekker is a fox who ends up in a fox hunt.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
That this film is also a love story’ Romeo and Juliet, if you will.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
I don't like to manipulate the audience. I don't like style to triumph over story; I have a too much respect for the viewer. So although I'm making a genre film, I try not to fall back on the bag of tricks used in conventional horror films. I think the illusion of realism is the scariest form of horror.

NEXT: Yonkers Joe »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Robert Celestino, director of

Yonkers Joe

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
This movie delves into the underbelly of a very specific group of gamblers called mechanics. The best mechanics are artists, and Yonkers Joe is one of the best. He’s full of jaded style and wounded grace. The film travels with him as he executes his moves and works his crew. We see how he "separates the players from their money" and we feel the tension when things go awry. But the heart of the story is the complicated relationship between Yonkers Joe and his mentally challenged son, Joe Jr. He leads them all to Las Vegas in the hope of beating the casino. What he wins is the very thing he was running away from: the love of his son.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
Early in the film Yonkers Joe is playing poker. We see him take down the game without dealing or shuffling the cards. The scene is rich with detail and loaded with atmosphere and comes to an exciting climax.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
A crab. Because he moves with all his hands and fingers and sees in all directions. A good mechanic must have the instincts of a crab; he must know when he’s being watched.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
This subculture exists right under us but not the way we expect. They don’t take down million dollars scores as are usually depicted on film. They’re real, blue collar men—dirt hustlers—who creep in and out of everyday events like stag parties and clambakes and divide up minimal amounts of money. But they do it every day. I think an audience may be startled by how familiar yet inconspicuous these characters are.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
Subtlety. And I never want the audience to get there before the story. When something big does happen, it’s inevitable because it has been planted subtly early on. There are a few good examples of this in Yonkers Joe, but if I reveal them here they won’t be subtle anymore.

NEXT: Dalai Lama: Peace and Prosperity »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

John Aldrich, director of

Dalai Lama: Peace and Prosperity

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
This film offers an intimate and personal experience with one of the most important spiritual leaders on the planet—His Holiness the Dalai Lama—as he shares the basic tenets of Buddhism; his teachings on how each of us can attain inner peace; and his thoughts on how Buddhism can contribute to global dialogue.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
This film offers a window on His Holiness the Dalai Lama as a flesh and blood person; he's laughing, joking and telling personal anecdotes. Nicholas Vreeland, his co-author on An Open Heart, told me that the Dalai Lama does this to show people that while he may be this great spiritual leader, the gifts that he possesses are available to them all.

In one instance in the film, the Dalai Lama says that people often attribute supernatural powers of healing to him, and tells of a man who came to him with an injured finger. He tells this man that if he could perform miraculous healings, he'd use the power on himself first!

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
Maybe I've been watching too much Winnie the Pooh with my kid, but I think of the Dalai Lama as a wise old owl for some reason. Beats Tigger, I suppose.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
One of the things that struck me was how informal His Holiness is. He makes jokes about getting old, about not fitting in his chair and so on. Here's a man who has been a spiritual leader for his country and the world since he was very young. He's a man who has much to teach the world, has lived through some terrible things, been exiled from his home for nearly fifty years and yet he is funny and approachable and...human. It's very inspiring.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
Minimalist. Our goal for this film was to get out of the way and let audiences experience the full power of the Dalai Lama's physical and spiritual presence. This became a pretty simple exercise, really: set up lots of cameras, and let His Holiness do most of the heavy lifting. Theactual editing in the film was pretty simple; our biggest choices revolved around which camera shot to use.

NEXT: Ball Don't Lie »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Brin Hill, director of

Ball Don't Lie

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
This is a passionate, honest, intense ride into a world you’ve probably never been before. Let our protagonist Sticky, a kid you might shift away from on the train, win you over. Let this scrawny, seemingly insignificant foster kid, step into your world with a bag of problems and familiar hope and watch him discover what it truly means to have heart, to persevere. I invite you to a unique film bursting with authenticity and intimacy. Come see an uplifting story about hope, community and survival. Come fall in love with Sticky and 100,000 kids just like him.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
This may be a cop out, but, honestly, we feel there is a scene in this film for everyone. Intimacy, adrenaline, passion for sports and the general mosaic of a life’s journey are all moments and themes touched upon in our film. I will say, however, that this is really the first time you will experience the rush of trying to win a big sporting event from the first person point-of-view within a dramatic film. That is a particular sequence that people will relive and talk about when they leave the theater.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
Sticky is the ultimate survivor. He’s perhaps a coyote—with matted hair and a couple buckshot scars from hunters’ attacks. His coat of fur may not be smooth, but it has potential.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
We believe that the raw intensity of the film will surprise people. On the surface it’s a sports film, but it’s ultimately about family. Basketball is simply the vehicle for a larger theme everyone can relate to.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
We believe in truthful filmmaking, in being honest to whatever a film’s reality is. We tried to make our film as visceral as it can be while still maintaining that honesty. We want our audience to feel as though they are not just watching, but living in a specific world for an hour and a half. This film is seeped in actual locales; in arresting, authentic imagery; and in a style that is both stimulating and complex. We want our films to reflect the complicated world in which we live, and we tried to do that here.

NEXT: Run for Your Life »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Judd Ehrlich, director of

Run for Your Life

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
Who doesn't like a movie about sweating in NYC in the '70s. This movie's got it all: sex, the city and a bearded Jew from Transylvania.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
Fred persuades some Playboy Bunnies to do a photo op for the first all women's road race in 1972. Mayhem ensues.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
Even though Fred ignited a worldwide running boom, he ran like a duck...only slower.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
That we finished it in time for the festival!

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
Make audiences feel like they've just endured a grueling marathon.

NEXT: Marina of the Zabbaleen »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Engi Wassef, director of

Marina of the Zabbaleen

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
There are three great reasons:
1.This is a beautiful film, shot in a garbage recycling village in Cairo.
Interested in how garbage can possibly be nice to look at? Come see the film.
2. No films have ever been made in this village, and what you'll see will amaze you. In today's world, where it seems everything is exposed to everyone, it's rare to be able to say with confidence "you've never seen anything like this before." We can say that.
3. Marina is an extraordinary little girl, with a very vivid imagination that helps her keep a smile on her face despite everything around her. It's as if she knows her recycling work is good for the environment, so she doesn't mind the trash. You'll walk out of this film feeling better about everything in your life because of her wonderful spirit.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
There's a scene in the film where Marina explains why she doesn't brush her teeth. We've all made excuses to ourselves and our dentists for why we don't floss more often, but her reasons will put any of those to shame.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
Marina would be a prairie dog. Like the prairie dog, Marina lives in a hidden village which consists of many members. Prairie dogs' tunnels are great for the earth, as they help prevent runoff and erosion, and the recycling Marina does in her village also greatly helps the earth. Lastly, prairie dogs are known as pests and are facing great danger from humans. The people of the Muqattam Village too face dangers of being rid of their homes because Cairo is making a strong effort to no longer allow them to collect garbage, resulting in a dramatic decline in the recycling rate. Also, prairie dogs are very cute, and so is Marina!

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
Seeing the true circumstances the people of this village live in will surprise everyone. Seeing them happy despite the conditions will surprise even more.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
I see beauty in truth, no matter what that truth looks like on the surface. When I set out to tell a story, I try to find one pure reality in that story and expose it. In this case, it was that people share the same basic human spirit, no matter what their surroundings look like. Many people see only the trash in the village, they smell the stench and they turn their faces in disgust. I stayed and looked longer and found some of the most inspiring people I've ever met. Marina was one of them, and it's through her eyes that I was able to show the village without judgment. Only a child can look past the squalor so innocently.

NEXT: Man On Wire »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

James Marsh, director of

Man On Wire

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
This film is a real life fairy tale for New Yorkers. It's a film about how we used to be in New York and how we still can be, if we want. It's the true story of the planning and execution of a high-wire performance between the Twin Towers in 1974, which was completely illegal and therefore had to be organized like a bank robbery. But the people involved in the conspiracy are artists, not criminals, and needless to say it doesn't exactly go to plan.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
Well, there's a scene in the version of the film that will screen at Tribeca that might never be seen again in its full glory. The ratings board want to stick an R rating on the film for one particular scene of sexual debauchery which you should enjoy while you can. We're going to have to tone it down before the film is released because I don't want the rating to get in the way of young people seeing a film that celebrates illegal and subversive acts. In case any of them are reading, please don't try to do what our main character does in the film without a lot of preparation and possibly some psychiatric counseling.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
I haven't a fucking clue how to answer this so I've sent an e-mail to Philippe Petit, the protagonist of the film, and he gave me this reply:

"I am part of an endangered species, nocturnal naturally. I am a unique type of half-gryphon, half-bird who spends the night hunting by diving at incredible speed and pecking the hollow skulls of uninspired people (mostly journalists) and spends the day immobile and frozen in the shape of a gargoyle on a medieval cathedral. To this day, no one has ever seen me in flight and of course I have no name."

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
There's a remarkable amount of nudity in the film, given its subject matter. Nudity for everybody. Male and female. Back and front. Seriously. Go see for yourself.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
My approach to filmmaking is basically persuading other people to do things I wouldn't or couldn't do myself. In that regard, I have outdone myself on this project.

NEXT: 57,000 Kilometers Between Us »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Delphine Kreuter, director of

57,000 Kilometers Between Us

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
It’s like a UFO!

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
There's a walk that a young girl takes so that her friend can watch her from his hospital bed, experiencing life via a webcam.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
A bird, because she’s really small and light as a feather, and because she tries to fly away in order to escape the stupidity of the world around her.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
Every minute, I hope.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
Freestyle! I hold the video camera myself, like I do with my regular camera when I take pictures. I film in HD; that is my instrument, like a paintbrush for a painter. I try to capture reality using fiction, using what is written, what is played out and what is impossible. My style comes first and foremost from the necessity to create images and tell stories, without waiting for the money or the permission to film.

NEXT: Chevolution »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Trisha Ziff, director of

Chevolution

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
I can answer that in one word: pleasure! And to understand something more about that face on the T-shirt. Many people who wear a Che Guevara shirt don't even know whose face it is, but they wear it anyway. It's hip, it's cool, yet it's often devoid of meaning. It's a strange phenomenon that in America and most advanced capitalist cultures, symbols are reduced to mere fashion statements. People sport Mao badges and don't think about the impact of the Cultural Revolution and so on. Capitalism does that so successfully, turning everything into a commodity. Chevolution is a film about a single photograph, a portrait, and its multiple meanings. It's neither a lecture nor a biopic. Strangely enough, in the light of upcoming U.S. presidential election and the cult of leadership around the candidates' campaigns, I think our film takes on a strange resonance.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
Demystification. This is what our film is essentially about. What I try and do through my work, whatever the theme, is to tell a narrative with a lot of layers, without one truth, like the Akira Kurosawa film Rashomon. The image of Che Guevara attracts me so much because it means something to one person and something totally different to another. Time and context determine meaning as much as information. I am not a believer in simple truths. Our lives are full of myths which are presented to us as truths. Take Che: here's a guy who was a revolutionary, an icon of the left and an inspiration for many in Latin America and elsewhere. He was an idealist who was enigmatic, wrote poetry and at the same time understood the power of a gun. He defied the limitations of his own body for all he believed in. He is vilified and also romanticized. We show all of this. We challenge it and ask questions of the branding machine that seems to drive the reproduction of the image today. We also respect the image. We critique it and we honor it. It掇's complicated, but all good stories are.

NEXT: Worlds Apart »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Niels Arden Oplev, director of

Worlds Apart

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
You should see it if you ever wondered about what goes on in the world of Jehovah Witnesses, a strict Christian religious sect. It explores how that belief affects a young girl, 17 years old, when she tries to form her own critical thinking and independence. She therefore gets into a conflict with the sect and with her loving but orthodox father. It's film about the cost of trying to break free, based on a true story from present-day Scandinavia.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
The religious father comes to visit his daughter, the story's main character, to tell her that he can no longer see her because she lives with her boyfriend. She has put up a cover, a white lie, which she wants him to buy so that they can continue seeing each other. It causes them both enormous pain to try to convince each other.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
A very clever, independent and emotionally sensitive one. What animal would fall into that category. A dolphin?

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
How much you will care for and understand these very religious people. Even those who do wrong.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
The style in this film is very simplistic. I wanted it to be that way, so that the emotions and characters would be as visible as possible. I am interested in people, curious about what they do and why. I want to show that in a cinematic form, so that the audience feels what my characters feel.

NEXT: I Am Because We Are »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Nathan Rissman, director of

I Am Because We Are

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
Right now someone next to you needs you more than you know. You and I are true assets to humanity, and we have a responsibility to one another. Making this film has grabbed hold of my life in such a way that I would love to share it with others. I think you should watch this film, because I made a promise to the people of Malawi to do my best to tell their story."

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
I think it's hard to love any particular scene that deals with extreme poverty. It is such a brutal enemy. There is, however, a moment in this film that always gets me. After viewing it so many times, I still take note when Madonna says, "If I was challenging people to open up their hearts and minds, then what was I prepared to do?" I think this really describes her vision in making this film with me, and it constantly reminds me of the desperate need for action.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
It's hard to allocate a animal as a protagonist in my film. I guess the protagonist would be extreme poverty, and there is no animal scary enough to be this protagonist. I would imagine it more like a monster that's been starved, beaten up and been given an infectious disease, with no hope for survival, and then let loose in society. Poverty causes inhumanity of man to man and leaves people in such desperate situations. I was irate at how this monster continues rob millions of people of their everyday lives.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
I'm always surprised when people such as Dr. Jeffery Sachs and Dr. Paul Farmer remind me that there are proven practical solutions to deal with poverty. That we all have a responsibility to live lives that reflect interconnectedness. The way I live my day-to-day life affects people all over the world. The surprising element of my film is that there are solutions and it掇 our responsibility to think with solution-based attitudes.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
My approach on this film was to get to know people. I surrounded myself with Malawian culture. I spent time with people in villages; I played with kids; I laughed and I cried. Most importantly, I shared my life with them and in return they shared their stories with me. It is reflected throughout this film by seeing not only the pain that people endure but also the joy and love that we so often take for granted.

NEXT: Lioness »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Meg McLagan and Daria Sommers, co-directors of

Lioness

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
You've not met women like this before.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
When a young female soldier leaves a battle-hardened Marine speechless because she's right.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
Hmm, we're thinking...lioness!

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
It's not about Iraq.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
Making space for our characters, not ourselves.

NEXT: Newcastle »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Dan Castle, director of

Newcastle

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
It will be one of the most beautiful films they will see or have seen in a very long time. The Australian surfers, girls, culture and beaches are some of the most spectacular in the world. The team we assemble,d led by DP Richard Michalak, captured it all in a most special way that I'm proud of. In terms of a film watching experience, it is an honest and authentic depiction of teenager reality. No matter what generation you are, we have all experienced that period in life when we truly thought we were invincible. This is a film we can all identify with on some level as it depicts that rite of passage we go through as teenagers on our way to becoming a part of society.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
The night swimming scene when the kids run off into the water with each other is truly evocative. Every time I see it and watch others view it, I can feel that moment in my own life when I felt I was going to be young forever. And it is also that very moment of realization when, of course, you lose that feeling. I have found that this scene in particular really grabs people and pulls them into a deeper place with the film and the characters because it is such a relatable moment. You actually forget you are watching a movie; it's more like a universal memory.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
A wolf. The character of Jesse so desperately wants to be the leader of his pack—as many may know, surfers travel in packs, and there is a natural pecking order to them. So while it may be strange to pick a land animal to describe a surfer, I always saw Jesse as a caged wolf wanting desperately to break out and prove himself worthy of leading and winning top prizes. In our rehearsals, we used a technique that involves playing animals to find character and with Lachlan Buchanan (Jesse) we did a lot of work with wolf behavior—their physicality and how they relate to each other. That said, when shooting and cutting the two different tribes of surfers—the younger kids led by Jesse and older kids let by his big brother Victor—I divided them up into dolphins for the younger characters and sharks for the older ones. That really worked, imagery-wise. The surf scenes were a lot of fun to shoot and cut once that premise was established.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
The beauty of it, and how relatable it is to one’s own life. Even if you’ve never surfed or even gone to a beach, you’ll identify with this film on some level because it's about something we all know: being a teenager and dealing with that awkward, difficult period in our lives. We want to hurry up and be a grown-up already, but it is also a time when we are so under-prepared for the responsibilities that come. Everything goes haywire and before we know it we are in over our heads and no longer young. The film is about the weekend in your life when you went from being a child to suddenly not being so young anymore.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
I strive to depict a reality that is true on a core human-experience level, so I identify most with European filmmaking, especially the French New Wave films. But I also love Bertolucci’s sense framing. Alfonso Cuarón’s Y Tu Mama Tambien was a great inspiration too, along with Gus Van Zant’s early films such as My Own Private Idaho. We referenced those films and their cinematic techniques as we formulated our approach to Newcastle—few lights, hand-held and small dolly moves so we could keep the camera loose and moving with our young characters. We wanted the film itself to act and behave very much in the way the teenage characters do. I would say to the team, the film itself is a teenager and has to be dealt with as such. It will misbehave, test our boundaries and cause some people a lot of problems. That proved to be the case and in some circumstances I am quite happy about it.

NEXT: Playing For Change: Peace Through Music »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Mark Johnson, co-director of

Playing for Change: Peace Through Music

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
This documentary explores how music can connect our planet and offer us the inspiration we need for the future of the human race. In a world with so much division, war, and poverty it is hard to unite together. The power of the human spirit is often overshadowed by the needs of individuals or groups. Through our film I believe people from all over the world can transcend their differences and use music as a way of connecting their hearts.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
One scene from our film includes over 35 musicians from all over the world who have never met, and they unite together to perform a version of Bob Marley’s “One Love.” The performance features Keb’ Mo,’ Manu Chao and Tibetan refugees playing the song together from different parts of the world via videoconference. It demonstrates the power of music to unite our planet and overcome our differences.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
Music is our protagonist and if it were an animal it would be a human being. The power of music is its ability to unify, enlighten, and inspire the human race.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
Perhaps the most surprising thing about this film is the idea that regardless of race, gender, economics and religion, we are all connected through music. Everywhere we went around the world, we found music is the key to understanding each other and finding inspiration to unite together regardless of our self-imposed differences. In a world divided, we can be united through songs and melodies.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
I try to make the audience feel directly engaged in a film's moments without seeing the action through any filter. Our crew tried to document the live musical performances and interviews in such a way that the viewers feels they are traveling the world with us and the performers are speaking and playing directly to them. One of the unique things about this film is its documentation of live music, and we want the audience to feel directly involved in these experiences.

NEXT: Algeria, Unspoken Stories »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Jean-Pierre Lledo, director of

Algeria, Unspoken Stories

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
Dear spectator, you live in a violent world. And you may ask yourself what can be done so that one day men are able to coexist peacefully under a law other than that of ‘an eye for an eye.’ If you would like to see a world where Jews, Christians and Muslims somehow manage to do just that, I propose that you follow me to Algeria, on a visit to four of its beautiful regions…

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
At the end of a long, narrow road skirting a very steep cliff (called le chemin de la mort, or death’s way), you come to an esplanade that looks out onto the port town. Women below are wearing white veils and the men—Algerian men of around 70—are reconnecting after more than 40 years apart.

Then, to remember their Spanish friends who left in 1962, when Algeria won its independence, they start singing in Spanish. Tchi Tchi, the king of rock ’n’ roll, starts dancing a 1950s flamenco; one woman sings "Besame mucho" while another sings Juanico Valderama’s "L’emigrante"…

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
A bee. While seeking out the "nectar" of each of these small, intimate stories, the bee can produce something with others that’s not just abstract history, but food for thought that can reconcile us with our human nature.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
Contrary to the belief of certain colonial theorists, the citizens of different communities know very well how to build friendly, egalitarian, human relations amongst themselves.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
A man’s only sickness comes from the impossibility of expressing himself. Men are nevertheless always ready to talk. Their silence therefore stems from an inability to listen. To learn to listen, we need time. Instead of giving a history lesson, I see myself as someone who gathers individual stories. It’s less pretentious, and more importantly, less violent. With my camera, I feel like I’m helping to relieve people’s burdens, or, by sharing the weight of their stories with so many spectators, of helping to lighten it.

NEXT: A Powerful Noise »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Tom Cappello, director of

A Powerful Noise

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
Our film explores and exposes a global women’s-empowerment movement and takes the viewer on an inspirational journey. We follow three everyday heroines who are improving the lives of people in impoverished communities in Vietnam, Mali, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. These places lack media attention to the crises they face and the individuals making a difference in them. Great care went into creating a visually lush documentary with stunning imagery that delivers a cinematic experience. There is no narrator, no editorializing, just three very diverse women telling their stories in an entertaining, engaging and enlightening way.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
Our main character in Mali, Madame Urbain, challenges the men in her home village to send their daughters to school. The strength and sheer will of Madame Urbain to stand up and fight for girls’ rights is uplifting. Conversely, the flaccid reaction by the men present for her speech is disheartening. The scene has great passion and is a visceral experience allowing the viewer to grasp what these women face every day in male-dominated societies.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
It is a vérité documentary with cinematic visuals. The film is subtitled, but the strong visual nature of the subject matter, combined with a diverse sound design, makes you forget about them. The story becomes an emotional and visceral journey because of what we were able to capture within each frame.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
Telling good stories is my passion. My overall philosophy is to respect and visually represent the stories of my main subjects in documentary form. I strive to capture raw, unfiltered emotions on camera and make a film with a conversational tone. Visually, I like to utilize depth of field to make the medium of hi-def tape very filmic. It is my personal goal to make features with all the authenticity one expects from a documentary but the production values of a big studio film.

NEXT: My Marlon and Brando »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Huseyin Karabei, director of

My Marlon and Brando

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
First of all, this is a true story and not one that we’re used to seeing on screen. It's a story that moves from West to East, against the common current, in an individual’s quest for happiness. I hope it can shatter some perceptions of the Middle Eastern region and introduce audiences to some passionate and compelling characters. Also, My Marlon and Brando is important to me on a personal level because it echoes my own experiences and those of many people I have loved.

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
Ayca, who hails from the busy metropolis of Istanbul, has travelled all the way to Iran to be reunited with her lover. In the film’s final scene, the camera movements calm down like the rhythm of life that slows as it moves towards the end. The stunning landscapes combine with Ayca’s fear to make the waiting as painful for the viewer as for Ayca, who has travelled so far and overcome so much in her search for love.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
She would be a wild cat. Ayca has a personality that can not be fettered as she makes her drive for freedom.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
The film shows a different side of Turkey, as compared to most films that have come from the region. Audiences may be bemused by Ayca’s desire to travel to Northern Iraq in the midst of war but they will empathize with her emotions.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
I really like to play around with reality and fiction. If audience members ask which of the characters are nonactors, then I feel I have been successful. It is important to be able to blend the actual and the constructed in this particular film because it's set during a real war, but the images we've seen on television have only reached audiences after being filtered through strict interpretive channels which are informed by broadcasting policy and national interest. This process of interpretation thereby gives death, love, happiness, war and life different meanings and values. Imitating this process of media filtering—by a literal cutting and pasting of images—exposes how these meanings are created.

NEXT: Secrecy »

Never mind splashy screenings for the likes of Baby Mama and Speed Racer. Tribeca '08 will largely be a forum for the Little Films That Can. And many won't. Some projects may have the money for a reasonably slick marketing push; some won't have enough coin to fly the director's family out for the premiere. Regardless of the camp into which they fall, we thought it only fair to allow the people in charge of these films, the directors, to appeal to our readers themselves.

We posed the same five questions to every filmmaker accepted into the festival and offered them the chance to reply. Below are the responses we've received, virtually unedited. (We've made a few snips for clarity; that's it.)

Peter Galison and Robb Moss, codirectors of

Secrecy

1 Why should someone watch your movie, in 100 words or less? (Don't just paste in your marketing blurb. Persuade our readers.)
Watch our film and suddenly the front page of the newspaper and the lead stories on the daily news will appear in a different light: You will see them through the lens of secrecy. You'll understand what secret deals retired military experts have made with the Administration; what surveillance skirted the usual authorization procedures; what surreptitious arms sales just went through; how hidden military tribunals can function invisibly and where and why newspapers themselves break the silence and expose secret programs and actions. Ours is a film about an immense structure of secrecy that employs between two and three million people in the United States alone. This film raises the fundamental question: How can we control, bury and compartmentalize information for national security and still run a democracy that demands information for its citizens?

2 Without spoiling your plot, describe a scene in your film that audiences will love.
Two strikingly opposed figures in our film—one a harsh critic of secrecy, one a counterterrorism officer with the Central Intelligence Agency—slide unblinkingly from discussions about secrecy of operations and policy to those concerning secrecy as part of our personal, even imaginary lives.

3 If your protagonist were an animal, what would he/she be and why?
Our protagonist is this gigantic, powerful, hidden structure of national security secrecy. If it were an animal, it would one of those giant underground sandworms in Dune—you may hear its vibrations, but unless for one reason or another it breaks out into the open, you'll only feel its powerful vibrations somewhere just out of view. This invisible power may bring us long life; it might also destroy us.

4 What will surprise me about this movie?
You’ll be surprised when you hear just how one of the foundational cases on national security secrecy came about. And you’ll be surprised at where some of the characters lean—someone with whom you thought you shared nothing may suddenly say things with which you completely agree. It's an unnerving reversal.

5 How would describe your filmmaking style or philosophy? How is that reflected in this project?
Our filmmaking philosophy might be a long-ago remark of Albert Einstein’s: Make things as simple as you can…but not simpler. National-security secrecy is very tricky business. Classify things too much and you may hide from yourself the crucial information you need to live; you may degrade the very idea of secrecy, so people lose respect for it in any form. You may encourage brazen, sadistic behavior as was seen in Abu Ghraib. Reveal the wrong kind of thing and you can get yourself—and others—killed: Only fanatics want details of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons floating around on the web. Our hope is that this film might bring these issues more directly into the national conversation during this decisive election year.

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