2016 Tribeca Film Festival Guide

Brian Sloan

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On April 13, the Tribeca Film Festival will kick off its 15th edition. The festival, which originally set out to help revive the TriBeCa neighborhood post-9/11, has grown into an international celebration of cinema at venues throughout the City. Lasting nearly two weeks, the festival focuses this year on some unique documentaries, female directors and local stories. 

In addition to screening new films, the Beacon Theatre will host a special 40th anniversary showing of director Martin Scorsese's NYC classic, Taxi Driver. Afterward, there will be an onstage conversation headed up by festival co-founder Robert De Niro—who also happens to be the film's star—along with the director and co-stars Jodie Foster and Cybill Shepherd. In addition, the Tribeca Talks series returns with conversations on movies and moviemaking that feature the likes of J.J. Abrams, Tina Fey, Mark Ruffalo and Chris Rock.

Below is a small sampling of the 100-plus features debuting at this year's fest. For details on all the films, schedules, talks and events, visit tribecafilm.com.

AWOL 
This world premiere feature from director Deb Shoval stars Lola Kirke (Gone Girl, Mistress America) as a young woman in a Pennsylvania town who, seeking direction in her life, decides to go the local military recruiting station. But what she finds there is love and some surprising consequences. 

All We Had 
Katie Holmes' feature-length directorial debut is an adaptation of Annie Weatherwax's 2014 novel about a mother and daughter who move to a new town in their struggle to survive the Great Recession.

After Spring
Jon Stewart is the executive producer of this timely doc about life in a Syrian refugee camp located in Jordan. Out of the 80,000 inhabitants, nearly 60 percent of whom are children, the film focuses on two families and their hopes for a better future. 

The Bansky Job 
Focusing on the relationship between Banksy and another well-known graffiti artist, AK47, this documentary explores the outlaw world of street art by the abduction of one of Banksy's statues in 2004 while adding more details (and mystery) to the Banksy mystique.

Don't Think Twice 
New York standup comic, storyteller and actor Mike Birbiglia (Sleepwalk With Me) returns to Tribeca with his second feature. Set in the City's popular improv comedy scene, the film centers on what happens when a member of one troupe gets their big break in a network TV sitcom. 

Elvis & Nixon 
On a fateful day in 1970, Elvis Presley stopped by the White House asking to be deputized by Richard Nixon in the president's war on drugs. In this fictional recreation, Kevin Spacey is the commander in chief and Michael Shannon is “the King” in a stranger-than-fiction comedy which imagines the day these two infamous figures met. 

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Geezer
Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong stars in his first movie as—wait for it—the former lead singer of a popular punk band. As he hits the big 4-0, he gets the band back together again with some amusing consequences.

A Hologram for the King 
Tom Hanks stars in a story (based on a Dave Eggers novel) about an American in Saudi Arabia selling technology to the titular monarch. Directed by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run), the film promises intrigue, and Hanks struggling as a stranger in a strange land. 

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Nerdland
What happens when Paul Rudd and Patton Oswalt lend their voices to an R-rated animated comedy about show business? This movie, of course, which also features a host of comedy favorites like Molly Shannon, Mike Judge and Hannibal Buress.

Obit 
When famous figures and world leaders pass, their New York Times obituary becomes the instant summary of the extraordinary lives they lived. This documentary takes a never-before-seen look behind the process of crafting these memorials.

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The Phenom 
Paul Giamatti plays an unorthodox sports psychiatrist treating a major league pitcher going through a severe slump. When the player's domineering father (Ethan Hawke) enters the picture, things get complicated.

Win!
Director Justin Webster spent a year following NYC's newest professional sports team, the New York City Football Club. In this doc, NYCFC tries to make its mark during the team's inaugural season—in one of the most competitive sports markets in the country.


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