Does anyone else remember an early episode of South Park where a film festival came to town and Cartman said all the films were cowboys eating pudding? You will never find more films with gay relationships and/or foreign language films than at a film festival.
The Tribeca Film Festival is put on each year by Tribeca Enterprises founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff. The Company’s mission is to provide artists with unique platforms to expand the audience for their works and to broaden the access point for consumers to experience independent film and media. This year’s festival began a new online virtual component so some of its films could be seen for those who could not trek out to New York. I was lucky enough to win a premium pass from Aisleseat.com to view the 8 full-length features and 18 short films available to be streamed online in HD or SD. If I could give feedback to the festival, I’d say they need to work a little more on their premium player for next year because even when switching the quality down to Standard, I had trouble with the films freezing often.
The Feature Length Films: Five out of the eight were at least in part in another language. The reason I distinguish which have subtitles is because I know too many people who say, “I didn’t go to the movies to read a book” so that being said I am weeding out in advance which require extra effort.
Spork: From writer/director J.B. Ghuman Jr. comes the story about a hermaphrodite girl in middle school who lives with her white trash brother and has unfortunately been given the nickname “Spork” that caught on like wildfire all over her school and at home. The method of story telling and set-ups has the feel of “Napoleon Dynamite” in freshness all over again right down to the neon and eighties hair styles and an eventual dance-off against a blond Betsy Byotch. She has a few friendships with other unusual people like another outsider that goes by “Chunk” helps her learn how to deal with being bullied, “Tootsie Roll” teaches her self esteem and how to dance, and Charlie an effeminate kid teaches her acceptance. Everything is accompanied by oodles of amazing and nostalgic video game sound effects that warm up the story along with lots of feeling and heart. I really REALLY hope this gets picked up and released mainstream because it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. Out of all the films I saw, THIS for me is the one to look for in the future.
Possessed: (Has Subtitles) From Director Yong-Joo Lee and writer Je-yong Lee comes the eerie story of possession and punishment to “non-believers”. Hee-jin’s younger sister So-jin disappears leaving a trail of questions about whether or not So-jin was possessed by a spirit after a near-death experience a couple years earlier. So-jin and Hee-jin’s mother lives in denial and believes prayer will solve everything and admonishes Hee-jin constantly for being a non-believer. Neighbors begin to die one by one appearing as suicides until an underlying truth can tie them all together. So-jin is shown in flashbacks through other people’s accounts of their memories of her and she is one scary little monotone girl. The director does a fantastic job of preparing the “scares” by reeling you in, making you think nothing is going to happen, and then BAM! hitting you with a good one. Highly recommended for all Asian horror genre fans. This film seems ripe for someone to come along and make an American remake but hopefully it stands well enough on its own to get the attention it deserves.
Into the Cold: Director and photographer Sebastian Copeland brings us on a two-month adventure to the Arctic Circle with another extreme adventurer, Keith Heger. After taking up a series of intense training in the elements to prepare for the risky, low visibility terrain. Copeland also explores how climate change has affected the North Pole region. Breathtaking photographs will capture your imagination and the facts about the thinning ice will get your attention. The team is tested to the limit of their endurance physically and emotionally in the most extreme of locations on the planet. The only disappointing factor is Copeland’s narration takes an interesting story and makes it sound sleepy and boring. If you aren’t watching the amazing visuals, it might make you nod off.
Buried Land: (Has Subtitles) A mix of fiction and documentary, directors Geoffrey Rhodes and Steven Eastwood take us on a journey to Visoko. In this town in Bosnia, a man finds three large hills in the distinct shape of three Pyramids and has theorized that a great archeological find lies underneath the hills which if uncovered could be an amazing historical site. The tourist industry booms and the local people have found something to rally around that has nothing to do with the association of Bosnia to war. The pyramids in theory pre-date those of ancient Egypt. Emir is a Bosnian