April's essential NYC film event just got a lot filmier: Today, the Tribeca Film Festival announced the 24 titles that will compete for the Best World Narrative and Best Documentary prizes at this year's 14th edition of the annual downtown showcase, running April 15–26. Also revealed today were an additional 27 films, categorized in the noncompetitive Viewpoints selection. The news builds on last month's announcement of opening-night film Live from New York!, a much-anticipated four-decade history of Saturday Night Live directed by documentarian Bao Nguyen. There are still another 46 titles yet to be named this week for a grand total of 97 features—and (good news, this) 30 of them are made by women, a Tribeca high.
Sight unseen, several titles jump out at us as promising: Of the eight word premieres in World Narrative, Meadowland sounds like a heartbreaker, about two parents (Olivia Wilde and Luke Wilson) struggling in the wake of a missing child. Our postapocalyptic interest is piqued by The Survivalist, set on a farm strained to its production limits in a world without supermarkets. Men Go to Battle sounds like a personal approach to the Civil War; it's about Kentucky brothers who clash in the winter of 1861. And even though he's burned us before, how could we not be intrigued by James Franco starring in an adaptation of Stephen Elliott's The Adderall Diaries?
Tribeca has always done well by documentaries, and this year sounds like no exception. Subjects include The New Yorker's treasured cartoon department (Very Semi-Serious), long-distance train travelers (In Transit, by Albert Maysles and collaborators), taser guns (Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle) and an aging nuclear power plant (Indian Point). And those who thrilled to last year's opening-night film, Nas: Time Is Illmatic, should get pumped for this year's hip-hop doc, In My Father's House, about Chicago's Rhymefest (born Che Smith), a cowriter with Common and John Legend on Selma's Oscar-winning track "Glory."
We'll have more posts as the fest continues to take shape—follow us at @TimeOutUSFilm for comprehensive coverage.
RECOMMENDED: Full coverage of the Tribeca Film Festival