#IrishAbroad: Irish shorts head to the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival
The 16th annual Tribeca Film Festival yesterday announced its lineup of 57 thought-provoking and diverse short films in competition, including 36 world premieres. Three of the films announced come from Ireland; Vincent Gallagher’s Second to None, Benjamin Cleary and TJ O’Grady-Peyton’s Wave, and Jim Sheridan’s 11th Hour.
The selected shorts, 40% of which were directed by women, and include filmmakers from every corner of the globe, were curated from a record 4,385 submissions. They will be presented in 10 distinct competition programs, consisting of five narrative, four documentary, and, for the second year, one animated program. In addition, there is the Sports Shorts program as part of the 11th annual Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival, sponsored by Mohegan Sun.
Academy Award-winning Irish short director Benjamin Cleary (Stutterer) co-directs, with TJ O’Grady-Peyton, and writes Wave, which will have its world premiere at the festival. A sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking story of a very isolated person, Wavetells the story of Gaspar Rubicon, who wakes up from a coma speaking a fully formed but unrecognisable language, baffling linguistics experts from around the globe.
Second To None tells the story of Frederick Butterfield, a failed inventor who has always played second fiddle to his mere one minute older twin brother Herman. When Herman becomes the world’s oldest man, Frederick finally sees his opportunity to be first place. He’ll just have to kill his brother to do it.
Written and directed by Vincent Gallagher and produced by Damian Farrell as part of the Irish Film Board/RTÉ Frameworks scheme, the film is animated by Jason Watts (Igam Ogam) with stunning production design and character fabrication coming from Aoife Noonan (A Terrible Hullabaloo) and Pierre Butler respectively.
Written and directed by Jim Sheridan, based on a true story by Lise Hand, and starring Salma Hayek Pinault, 11th Hour explores what unites rather than divides us, against the dramatic backdrop of 9/11. Maria José (Salma Hayek Pinault) and her Irish husband run a bar in uptown Manhattan. On the evening of 9/11 it is heaving with shell-shocked locals and battle weary troops from the NYPD, united in disbelief, grief and anger. On the TV screens, the sports channels have been replaced by news channels that swirl with images of the collapsing Twin Towers and the face of terror suspect Osama Bin Laden. The atmosphere in the bar is very tense, with everyone looking for someone to blame for the horrific attack on the city. One angry member of the NYPD brandishes a loaded pistol: ‘Just in case.’ Others join him. An older cop tries to calm the perilous situation when a surprise visitor enters the bar. Maria José seizes the occasion to take back control of her bar in an unexpected and bold way, leaving everyone to reflect on how profoundly the entire landscape of America had been changed when the Towers fell.
Speaking about his film, multiple Academy Award-nominated director Jim Sheridan recalled:
I read an article by a journalist called Lise Hand, and I said to her I thought it was a great idea for a story on 9/11. And 9/11 had imprinted on my mind, it was the first time everybody in New York came together, but it seemed to be that from that event the world took a very different turn. I thought of Lise’s story and I said you know that could be a timely thing but we have to do it in three months. So I wanted to make something that was showing what America was before 9/11 because I think it’s changed since then.
Producer Rachel Lysaght added:
We’re so proud to have the international premiere of 11th Hour at Tribeca. The festival’s strong connection to 9/11 makes this a very special, and emotional event – particularly to screen the film in front of a New York audience only a half a mile from Ground Zero.” Also speaking to the movie’s ambition, writer and producer Oskar Slingerland; “9/11 was a very painful time for New York, the USA and the entire world actually. Making a movie about it is risky and 11th Hour no doubt brings back those dark memories but we hope the audience will feel it does so in a respectful way.
Salma Hayek Pinault spoke to the timely nature of the movie:
I do think that the only way that humanity can survive is if we start falling in love again with humanity for all that it is. Or else we’re going to kill it. And we have to again fall in love with life – but not just yours. Life itself, and learn to respect it.
11th Hour is a Hell’s Kitchen production in association with Universidad de Guadalajara and Canal 44 in association with Underground Films.
The Shorts program is a part of the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, which runs April 19-30.
Animated Shorts Curated by Whoopi G
The Animated shorts program showcases imaginative storytelling and captivating craft. This program is suggested for those 14 and older.
Curpigeon, directed and written by Dmitry Milkin. (USA) – New York Premiere. A heartwarming story about the power of community support during a time of grief, this action-oriented CG-animated short film centers around a group of park pigeons and their old men pals who come together to help one of their own get through a great loss.
Summer Camp Island, directed and written by Julia Pott. (USA) – New York Premiere. Oscar has to accept that his totally normal sleepover with Hedgehog isn’t going to be totally normal.
Odd is an Egg (Odd er et egg), directed by Kristin Ulseth, written by Maria Avramova, Kristin Ulseth. (Norway) – North American Premiere. Odd is terrified of his head – until one day he falls in love with Gunn and his life is turned upside down, freeing him from his worries in the most expected way. In Norwegian with subtitles.
Angel (Mon Ange), directed and written by Gregory Casares. (Switzerland) – International Premiere. Eva and Mr. Corbeau have long felt a reciprocal affection and attraction, but the world of humans and the world of animals don’t mix – until one autumn evening, at the masked ball organized by Eva’s father in honour of his daughter.
The Talk: True Stories About The Birds & The Bees, directed and written by Alain Delannoy. (Canada) – New York Premiere. There are things in life you never forget. One of them, like it or not, is “The Talk.”
Second to None, directed and written by Vincent Gallagher. (Ireland) – New York Premiere. Second to None is a black comedy in stop motion about the world’s second-oldest man who learns that ambition can be a killer.
Escape, directed by Limbert Fabian, Brandon Oldenburg, written by Limbert Fabian, Brandon Oldenburg, Angus McGilpin. (USA) – World Premiere. A euphoric vision of the future is presented through this cinematic poem about the challenging yet world-changing power of invention as a lone space explorer crash-lands on a desolate planet and must find a way to make her new home habitable.
Dear Basketball, directed by Glen Keane, written by Kobe Bryant. (USA) – World Premiere. Kobe Bryant’s inspiring poem Dear Basketball is stunningly drawn to life by veteran animation director Glen Keane and set to the music of legendary composer John Williams.
Communication is key in the struggle to be heard
Wave, directed by Benjamin Cleary, TJ O’Grady-Peyton, written by Benjamin Cleary. (Ireland) – World Premiere. A sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking story of a very isolated person, Wave tells the story of Gaspar Rubicon, who wakes up from a coma speaking a fully formed but unrecognizable language, baffling linguistics experts from around the globe.
Big City, directed by Jordan Bond, Lachlan Ryan, written by Jordan Bond. (Australia) – New York Premiere. Vijay, a lonely taxi driver who recently moved to Melbourne, picks up Chris, a stray drunk who befriends him, and over the course of the night, Chris experiences some of Vijay’s troubles and Vijay learns to see the city in a new light.
Big Sister (Ahotcha), directed and written by Michal Gassner. (Israel) – International Premiere. Gili has a clear and violent agenda towards male sexual offenders, and finds it difficult to comprehend the limits of her power to repair the world when she discovers her younger brother is suspended from school for a similar violation. In Hebrew with subtitles.
Life Boat, directed and written by Lorraine Nicholson. (USA) – World Premiere. Six teenagers are led into an intriguing game of survival by their guidance counselor.
he Navigator (Kartleseren), directed and written by Mikal Hovland. (Norway) – World Premiere. A film about trust, human vulnerability, and the fragility of power, The Navigator focuses on Jon, who gets the chance of his lifetime reading the pacenotes for his big brother in the upcoming rally championship, but is distracted by a new girl in town. In Norwegian with subtitles.
The Suitcase, directed and written by Abi Damaris Corbin. (USA) – World Premiere. The ordinary life of a Boston bred baggage handler is turned upside down when he steals a suitcase that contains terrorist plans. Inspired by true events on 9/11.
Shorts: Human Condition
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
Shooting War, directed by Aeyliya Husain. (Canada) – World Premiere. TIME magazine photographer Franco Pagetti tells the stories behind three photographs as a metaphor for the Iraq War to reveal the impact the conflict has had on a country, a region, and the world.
Skull + Bone, directed by Victoria Rivera. (USA) – World Premiere. For 200 years every Mardi Gras has started the same way: Dressed as skeletons, armed with bones, the Northside Skull and Bone Gang wake the city before dawn with drums, chants and ceremonial knocking on doors to warn people against violence, gunplay and other negative influences on the streets.
Revolving Doors, directed and written by James Burns. (USA) – World Premiere. A portrait of American recidivism produced over a span of two years, Revolving Doors follows Jason, who, despite attempts to retain meaningful employment, fails and returns to prison, devastating his family.
White Riot: London, directed by Rubika Shah, written by Ed Gibbs, Rubika Shah. (U.K.) – New York Premiere. This experimental music documentary explores how a generation united against the neo-Nazi National Front in 1970s Britain through a punk fanzine, with black and white coming together through popular culture at a terrifying time of turmoil and division.
Water Warriors, directed by Michael Premo. (Canada, USA) – New York Premiere. When an energy company begins searching for natural gas in New Brunswick, Canada, indigenous and white families unite to drive out the company in a campaign to protect their water and way of life.
Shorts: Last Exit
On the road of life there is no turning back
Oh Damn, directed and written by Pat Bishop and Matt Ingebretson. (USA) – World Premiere. After smoking too much weed on his way to meet a friend at the movie theater, Matt’s altered perception hurls him into a dark, surreal series of events that unfold across the theater.
Don’t Mess With Julie Whitfield, directed and written by Amy Barham. (USA) – New York Premiere. Julie Whitfield ALWAYS heads the Oak Tree Elementary School Fall Fantasy Fundraiser planning committee, so when new parent Rachel attempts a coup, it leads to a bloody battle that only one woman can survive.
Cul-De-Sac, directed by Damon Russell, written by Shawn Christensen. (USA) – New York Premiere. Parents living at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac discover a listening device inside their son’s teddy bear.
Retouch, directed and written by Kaveh Mazaheri. (Iran) – International Premiere. Maryam’s husband has an accident at home and, rather than saving him, she stops helping and watches him die. In Persian with subtitles.
Buckets, directed and written by Julia Jones. (USA) – North American Premiere. A girl learns the brutal sacrifices it takes to satisfy her love.
Baraka, directed by Néstor Ruiz Medina, written by Néstor Ruiz Medina, Juan Luis Cordero. (Spain) – US Premiere. In the months before the war in Iraq, two close brothers are forced to separate, soon meeting again when the war is in full swing, but neither is the same. In Arabic, English, Spanish with subtitles.
Shorts: New York – Group Therapy
Everyone wants to share.
Hair, directed by John Turturro, written by Bobby Cannavale and John Turturro. (USA) – World Premiere. An unscripted dialogue between John Turturro and Bobby Cannavale about a man’s particularness about his hair.
Lemon, directed and written by Timothy Michael Cooper. (USA) – World Premiere. Seconds after the wedding, a bride is stunned to learn that her new husband fudged nearly everything about his past, his family, and his accomplishments—but his revelations force her to come clean about a few shocking secrets of her own.
Approaching a Breakthrough, directed and written by Noah Pritzker. (USA) – World Premiere. Back in New York after a stint in Los Angeles, Norman Kaminsky has a terrible argument with his girlfriend just before running into a string of characters from his past – and despite his best efforts, Norman can’t seem to run away from his problems.
Joy Joy Nails, directed and written by Joey Ally. (USA) – World Premiere. Sarah manages Joy Joy Nails with a cheerful iron fist – but she gets her manicured claws out when Chinese Mia, a manicurist trainee, looks to be stealing the boss’s son’s affections, soon discovering that under the varnish, everyone’s a victim. In English, Korean, Mandarin with subtitles.
The Beehive, directed and written by Jacobie Gray. (Australia) – World Premiere. A superstar socialite seeks revenge when the artist who made her famous finds a younger muse.
Where There’s Smoke, directed by Evan Ari Kelman, written by Evan Ari Kelman, Parker Hill. (USA) – World Premiere. After a tragic accident, a firefighter must convince the city commissioner he’s able to return to the line of duty.
11th Hour, directed by Jim Sheridan, written by Jim Sheridan, Oskar Slingerland. (Ireland, Mexico) – International Premiere. Based on a true story, 11th Hour recounts how, on the evening of 9/11, Maria José’s bar is heaving with locals united in grief and a building rage; a cop pulls his gun and when a surprise visitor enters Maria has to seize the moment to take back control. In English, Spanish with subtitles.
Five female-centric stories where the past meets the present
Viola, Franca, directed by Marta Savina, written by Marta Savina, Andrea Brusa. (Italy) – World Premiere. It’s Sicily in 1965, and Franca is forced to marry her rapist to avoid becoming a pariah in her traditionalist community, but she rebels against the established custom and sets a precedent that alters the course of Italian history, paving the way for women’s rights. In Italian, Sicilian with subtitles.
Fry Day, directed by Laura Moss, written by Laura Moss, Brendan O’Brien. (USA) – New York Premiere. A teenage girl comes of age against the backdrop of Ted Bundy’s execution in 1989.
Dive (Salta), directed by Marianne Amelinckx. (Venezuela) – World Premiere. Julia goes back to the pool and remembers that, sometimes, life challenges ourselves to keep going and make decisions. In Spanish with subtitles.
Tokyo Project, directed and written by Richard Shepard. (USA) – World Premiere. On a business trip to Tokyo, Sebastian explores the city with a mysterious woman he keeps running into wherever he goes, discovering heartbreakingly that the truth, and the past, are as elusive as love.
Little Bird, directed by Georgia Oakley, written by Emily Taaffe. (U.K.) – World Premiere. Against the backdrop of 1941 London, Little Bird explores how far one young woman will go to create a new life for herself when the women of Great Britain are called upon to aid the war effort.
Helping each other and our planet in these troubled times
Mother’s Day, directed by Elizabeth Lo, co-directed by R.J. Lozada. (USA) – World Premiere. The impact of mass incarceration on a generation of youth is explored through an annual Mother’s Day charity bus journey that takes children from across California to visit their mothers in prison.
The Good Fight, directed and written by Ben Holman, written by Ben Holman. (Brazil, U.K., USA) – World Premiere. Following a personal tragedy, Alan Duarte opens his own boxing gym to offer salvation and hope to others in the notorious gun violence- ridden favela in Rio de Janeiro where he was born and lives. In Portuguese with subtitles.
Silo: Edge of the Real World, directed by Marshall Burnette. (USA) – World Premiere. In this meditation on life in one of the small towns that feeds America, a young farmer and a high school senior each grapple with the dangers of farm life.
The Rugby Boys of Memphis, directed by David Darg. (USA) – New York Premiere. Follow the rise of an inner-city Memphis high school’s first rugby team and see the ways in which, for these boys, the unlikely sport is much more than a game.
For Flint, directed by Brian Schulz, written by Brian Schulz, Sharika Ajaikumar, Katharina Stroh. (USA) – World Premiere. In the face of a federal emergency deeming its drinking water unsafe for consumption, Flint’s resilient citizens rally together to forge a new narrative that is hopeful and optimistic.
Blues Planet: Triptych, directed and written by Wyland. (USA) – World Premiere. Blues Planet: Triptych explores the Gulf Oil Spill disaster and its aftermath through environmental artist Wyland who, along with 30 of today’s pre-eminent artists, recorded a new genre of global blues on the catastrophe’s anniversary.
Shorts: Surf’s Up!
Be it surfing for solace or in one of the coldest places on earth, catch the waves
Resurface, directed by Josh Izenberg, Wynn Padula. (USA) – New York Premiere. Struggling with trauma and depression after his military service, Iraq war veteran Bobby Lane wants to cross surfing off his bucket list before taking his life.
Under an Arctic Sky, directed by Chris Burkard, written by Ben Weiland, Chris Burkard. (USA) – World Premiere. A group of surfers along with photographer Chris Burkard journey to Iceland’s north coast in search of perfect waves during the largest storm to make landfall in 25 years.
Framing personal impressions of the past
Hilda, directed and written by Kiira Benzing. (USA) – World Premiere. Hilda is a realist tribute to octogenarian New Yorker artist Hilda O’Connell who lived shoulder-to-shoulder with the great Abstract Expressionist painters in the ’50s and became a member of the Aegis Gallery in the ’60s.
The Spring, directed by Delaney Buffett, written by Chloe Corner, Delaney Buffett, Katie Corwin. (USA) – World Premiere. In August 2016, seven female filmmakers, all under the age of 25, traveled to Central Florida to film the women of Weeki Wachee Springs, for whom performing daily mermaid shows is more than a job – it’s a craft.
The Godfather of Fitness, directed by Rade Popović, written by Zoran Amar, Rade Popović. (USA, Serbia) – World Premiere. The Godfather of Fitness tells the improbable story of how an ambitious boy from California, obsessed with grueling workouts and good nutrition, became one of the most respected men in the world of fitness.
Love the Sinner, directed by Jessica Devaney, Geeta Gandbhir, written by Jessica Devaney. (USA) – World Premiere. Love the Sinner explores the Evangelical roots of homophobia in the wake of the Pulse shooting.
Watched, directed by Katie Mitchell. (USA) – World Premiere. An intimate and moving exploration of the experience of coming of age – under the gaze of state surveillance.
Woody’s Order!, directed by Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, Jeremy Newberger, written by Daniel A. Miller, Ann Talman. (USA) – World Premiere. Actress Ann Talman finally performs the solo show she wrote for her muse: her brother with cerebral palsy.
Shorts: Your Heart’s Desire (Narrative)
The things you want most are often deeply hidden
Alive, directed and written by Sung Hwan Kim. (South Korea) – International Premiere. A 100-meter sprinter faces challenges around the end of his career and his life. In Korean with subtitles.
Again, directed by Alexis Jacknow, written by Bekah Brunstetter. (USA) – World Premiere. A man watches Groundhog Day over and over and over again.
The World In Your Window, directed and written by Zoe McIntosh. (New Zealand) – North American Premiere. Squeezed into a tiny caravan, eight-year-old Jesse and his grief-stricken father are in limbo, existing more than living – until an accidental friendship with a V8-driving transsexual unlocks the means for Jesse to liberate his father and himself.
Iron Hands (铁手), directed and written by Johnson Cheng. (USA, China) – World Premiere. As a 12-year-old girl prepares for her final test trying out for the traditionally all-boys Chinese youth Olympic weightlifting team, she makes an unlikely connection with the gym’s reclusive groundskeeper. In Chinese with subtitles.
The Escape, directed and written by Paul Franklin. (U.K.) – World Premiere. The Escape asks whether one day we’ll all dream of ordinary lives via the story of Lambert, a normal man who, out of his element in a dangerous part of town, negotiates with the mysterious Kellan for the chance to escape into a fantasy of his own choosing.
The Foster Portfolio, directed and written by Danielle Katvan, written by Danielle Katvan. (USA) – World Premiere. Based on the original short story by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., The Foster Portfolio is an offbeat mid-century tale about a rookie investment counselor who discovers that his penniless client is hiding a million-dollar inheritance in order to conceal a strange double life.
Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival: Sports Shorts, Sponsored by Mohegan Sun
A spectrum of stories, styles, and sports, this collection of athletically-minded short films will take audiences on a decades-spanning journey through some of the most unexpected and entertaining tales from sports legends and amateurs alike.
The Amazing Adventures of Wally and the Worm, directed by Colin Hanks. (USA) – New York Premiere. When Dennis Rodman hurts his knee with four weeks to go in the Chicago Bulls ’96-’97 NBA championship season, young assistant trainer Wally Blasé is assigned to oversee his rehab, and the two forge a close friendship over 10 wild days of fast living recounted by director Colin Hanks through animation and first-person confessions.
Bump & Spike, directed by Michael Jacobs. (USA) – World Premiere. The spectacular rise and fall of the International Professional Volleyball Association, which existed between 1975–1980 complete with “party lifestyle,” rocking arena matches and stars on the court and in the stands, is chronicled in this Michael Jacobs-directed film.
The Counterfeiter, directed by Brian Biegel. (USA) – World Premiere. Featuring actual wiretapped phone calls and surveillance video, this film explores how the FBI brought down the largest counterfeit operation in U.S. history during the summer of 1998, thanks to the help of some major league baseball players.
Revolution in the Ring, directed by Jason Sklaver. (USA) – World Premiere. The story of Cuban boxer Teofilo Stevenson, who in 1962 chose to stay in his home country rather than defect, this film examines through the lens of Cuban-American politics how his life and the life of the Cuban people were dramatically altered by the embargo. In English, Spanish with subtitles.
Run Mama Run, directed by Daniele Anastasion. (USA) – World Premiere. Run Mama Run is an examination of motherhood and athleticism through the eyes of Sarah Brown, an elite track athlete who will continue to train through pregnancy and postpartum with help of her trainer and husband Darren Brown.