2017 Tribeca Film Festival: 23 Can't-Miss Movie Premieres, Talks and Gala Events
By Zach Seemayer
Every year, celebrities, filmmakers, journalists and movie
fans flock to the Tribeca neighborhood in lower Manhattan for the Tribeca Film
Festival, an illustrious celebration of film and television that features some
of the most exciting projects and panel discussions of any media festival in
Founded by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff
in 2001, shortly after the attacks of 9/11, the festival has helped revitalize
the city and remind both filmmakers and fans alike of New York City’s valued
place in film and TV while becoming a welcoming community for voices and
perspectives from all over the world. “It’s also a fabric of our city. So
whether or not it’s a film from Israel or Palestine or something for kids, our
festival was about community and it still is,” Rosenthal tells ET. “It’s about
bringing community together.”
The 2017 festival, which runs April 19-30, continues to
expand beyond film and TV with a focus on VR and gaming. “There’s great
storytelling happening,” Rosenthal says of mediums that go beyond a typical
viewing experience. She confirms their unwavering interest in curating an
ambitious lineup that will not only showcase the city, but run during President
Donald Trump’s administration’s 100th day as well as Earth Day: “The fact is,
With so much happening -- from movie premieres to
high-profile talks and anticipated reunions -- ET has rounded up a quick guide
of the things you won’t want to miss at this year’s festival.
Starring: Zachary Quinto, Jenny Slate, Jon Hamm (Dir.
What It's About: A mentally ill man named Josh
(Zachary Quinto) begins to fall in love, but he doesn't know if the person he's
falling for is real or just an hallucination. To complicate matters, his new
therapist, Emily, (Jenny Slate) becomes infatuated with his more famous
brother, Craig, (Jon Hamm), with whom Josh has a very complicated
Why We Want to See It: This could be another great
addition to the wonderful mentally-confused-romantic-dramedy genre, alongside Lars and the Real Girl and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Starring: Zoey Deutch, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn and
Tim Heidecker (Dir. Max Winkler)
What It's About: A sexually adventurous teenager
(Deutch) forms an unconventional friendship with her mentally unstable
step-brother in this dark coming-of-age comedy.
Why We Want to See It: Aside from the obviously
awesome cast, Flower was featured on the 2012 Blacklist, alongside Whiplash and Hell or High Water.
3. Buster’s Mal Heart
Starring: Rami Malek, DJ Qualls, Kate Lyn Sheil, Lin
Shaye (Dir. Sarah Adina Smith)
What It's About: A conspiracy-obsessed mountain man
(Malek) finds himself on the run from authorities, and hides in vacant summer
homes during the harsh winters to survive. Meanwhile, he begins to have visions
of impossible things that turn out to be real.
Why We Want to See It: You don’t get the opportunity
to see too many surreal action mystery thrillers, as it’s not a genre routinely
explored, so this could prove to be a one-of-a-kind experience. Additionally,
no one plays paranoid weirdo better than the Mr. Robot star.
Starring: Liev Schreiber, Naomi Watts, Elisabeth
Moss, Jim Gaffigan, Michael Rapaport, Ron Perlman and Pooch Hall (Dir. Philippe
What It's About: In 1975, heavyweight boxer Chuck
Wepner (Schreiber) entered the ring with heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali
(Hall), and lasted 15 rounds with the icon, even knocking him down once in the
ninth. Wepner’s life story was the inspiration for the 1976 film Rocky.
Why We Want to See It: After watching Schreiber bust
heads in the criminally underappreciated hockey comedy Goon (2011) and on the
Showtime series Ray Donovan, the star
is the absolute perfect fit to play Wepner. Add in his real-life ex-wife (and
still close friend) Watts, and you’ve got some potent on-screen chemistry.
5. The Clapper
Starring: Ed Helms, Amanda Seyfried, Tracy Morgan,
Leah Remini, Adam Levine and Alan Thicke (Dir. Dito Montiel)
What It's About: Eddie Krumble (Helms) is a
professional audience clapper for infomercials, who one day gets a shot at his
15 minutes of fame with an appearance on a late night talk show, but the
exposure costs him his job and his burgeoning relationship with a young gas
station attendant (Seyfried).
Why We Want to See It: The story of a sad sack who
falls on some tough luck feels almost tailor made to fit Helms’ comedy
wheelhouse, and it could be another grand slam if it allows him to bring some
of his well-cultivated darkness to the role. Additionally, this marks the final
film role for Thicke, who died of a heart attack in December.
6. Literally, Right Before Aaron
Starring: Justin Long, Cobie Smulders, John Cho,
Kristen Schaal, Leah Thompson and Luis Guzman (Dir. Ryan Eggold)
What It's About: A young man (Long) is reeling from a
painful breakup with his ex-girlfriend (Smulders), and his world is thrown into
even greater disarray when his ex invites him to her upcoming wedding, which he
agrees to attend in order to try and figure out what went wrong in their
Why We Want to See It: Once again, you can’t go wrong
with a cast like this. Additionally, this comedy that explores the universal
questions of “what could have been?” is based on a short film Eggold shot in
2011, which means he’s been crafting this feature version in his head for some
time, perfecting the script.
7. Rock’n Roll
Starring: Marion Cotillard and Guillaume Canet (Dir.
What It's About: Real-life sweethearts Canet and
Cotillard play satirical versions of themselves in this French comedy. One day,
Canet is told by a young co-star that he’s getting getting old and isn’t cool
anymore, so the 44-year-old actor sets out to prove her wrong and falls into
increasingly ridiculous hijinks, dragging his girlfriend, Cotillard, into his
pseudo midlife crisis.
Why We Want to See It: It’s always entertaining when
actors play comical versions of themselves, but this story of a celeb couple
struggling to navigate the pitfalls of living life in the limelight is a real
challenge Canet and Cotillard have had to face in recent years, and it’s
fascinating to will be fascinating to see how their onscreen personas compare
to them in real life.
Starring: Jon Bernthal, Rosemarie DeWitt, Imogen
Poots, Odessa Young, Christopher Abbott (Dir. Jamie Dagg)
What It's About: This tense neo-Western follows a
secretive motel owner with some dark secrets (Bernthal) who unwittingly
befriends a hitman (Abbot) who is responsible for a number of violent,
high-profile killings in their small Alaskan town.
Why We Want to See It: If you’re not
immediately sold when you hear the words “neo-Western,” we just really don’t
know what’s wrong with you.
9. The Trip to Spain
Starring: Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon (Dir. Michael
What It's About: The celebrated British comics take a
culinary road trip through Spain, dining on local dishes while having fun
annoying each other and philosophizing on life and coming to terms with being
Why We Want to See It: This is the third installment
in Winterbottom’s Trip series, following 2011’s The Trip and 2014’s The Trip
to Italy, which were both utterly hilarious and enjoyable, so expectations
are high for their third food-based adventure.
10. Dog Years
Starring: Burt Reynolds, Ariel Winter, Clark Duke,
Chevy Chase (Dir. Adam Rifkin)
What It's About: While Vic Edwards (Reynolds) was
once one of the hottest leading men in Hollywood, the old star is forced to
acknowledge his quickly fading star power and reassess his life after he gets
an invitation to receive a lifetime achievement award.
Why We Want to See It: Burt Reynolds playing a meta version
of himself in a dark comedy alongside is enough to be fascinating on its own.
However, it also marks Ariel Winter’s first real mature role after years of
starring on Modern Family and voicing
cartoon characters, and that should be interesting whether it turns out to be
great or a total train wreck.
Starring: Tom Holland, Jon Bernthal, Richard
Armitage, Stanley Weber (Dir. Brendan Muldowney)
What It's About: A cadre of 13th century
Irish monks are tasked with transporting their land's holiest relic to Rome,
but first they must traverse a deadly countryside filled with violent marauders
and warring clans. The pilgrimage teaches one of their youngest members some
brutal lessons about the savagery and self-delusion of man.
Why We Want to See It: Tom Holland -- aka Marvel's
Spider-Man -- plays a young monk who has to fight his way through the horrors
of the Middle Ages! The only way that could be cooler is if he somehow got to
actually play Spider-Man doing that exact same thing.
12. A Thousand Junkies
What It's About: When three heroin addicts get stood
up by their dealer, they embark on a journey across Los Angeles looking for
another hookup, all the while devising increasingly reckless and dangerous
plans for how to get their drugs, which lead them down some dangerous paths.
Why We Want to See It: The film is described as
"a drug movie that struggles to find any drugs, and a road movie that
drives in circles." Also, this is a dark, absurdist drug comedy written
and directed by the screenwriter of Cool
Runnings, Little Giants and Snow Dogs.
If that doesn't sound like a bizarre adventure, nothing does.
What It's About: No-nonsense FBI agent Daria Francis
(Schull) is sent to the small, rural town of Devil’s Gate, North Dakota, to
investigate the disappearance of a mother and her young son. While their prime
suspect is the husband (Ventimiglia), the agent's world is shaken when she
becomes trapped in the basement of his farmhouse and must face down
inexplicable terrors as horrifying mysteries unfolds.
Why We Want to See It: A lot of mainstream horror has
become stale and predictable, but this claustrophobic horror/sci-fi thriller
sounds like it could present a fresh and original story, which is only
heightened by the fact that it apparently takes place in a 24-hour period of
time, heightening the stress and tension. Who couldn't use a fresh take on the
creepy, small-town farm basement thriller?
The Jungle Book
director will be sitting down the Ghost
in the Shell star to delve into his array of celebrated directorial efforts
and his success with helming both big-budget blockbusters and indie, art house
15. Noah Baumbach with Dustin Hoffman
Baumbach, director of The
Squid and the Whale will be opening up about his acclaimed body of work
with two-time Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman.
16. Bruce Springsteen with Tom Hanks
The iconic American rocker will sit down with his friend,
Oscar winner Tom Hanks, to discuss Springsteen's celebrated 40-year career in
the music business and what he envisions for his future.
17. Barbra Streisand with Robert Rodriguez
The music superstar is opening up about her unparalleled
career -- as an actress, singer, director, producer and author over the last 50
years -- with acclaimed filmmaker and Sin
City director Robert Rodriguez.
18. The Godfather & The Godfather: Part II
Celebrate the iconic Godfather saga's 45th anniversary
with a double header screening of the first two films in the trilogy. After the
movie, director Francis Ford Coppola will join stars Al Pacino, James Caan,
Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire and Robert De Niro for a candid
discussion about the legendary film series.
25th anniversary with at a screening of the beloved Disney
classic, which will be preceded by a performance by Brad Kane -- who provided
the singing voice of Aladdin -- of a celebrated song off the film's iconic
20. Reservoir Dogs
Another film celebrating it's 25th anniversary
this year is Quentin Tarantino's directorial debut, Reservoir Dogs. The verbose director is providing a 35mm pristine
print from his personal archive for the screening, and he will join the cast
for a panel discussion after the film. This is a must for any Tarantino fan
headed to the festival.
After this exclusive season 3 premiere of Hulu’s hit dramedy
-- which follows the life of a divorcee and single mother (Michaela Watkins)
who lives with her younger brother (Tommy Dewey) and her teenage daughter
(Tara Lynne Barr) -- the show’s cast and creators (Zander Lehmann, Liz
Tigelaar, Helen Estabrook) will sit down for a moderated panel discussion.
22. I Am Heath Ledger – World Premiere
Check out an exclusive screening of this hotly anticipated
SpikeTV documentary series which celebrates the life of the late Oscar winner
through interviews with friends and family and even home movies, while
reflecting on his career with examples of some of his greatest performances.
23. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Season 3 World Premiere
Tina Fey and Robert Carlock – who co-created the beloved
Netflix comedy – will join Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Jane Krakowski and
Carol Kane for a moderated conversation about the series, following the special