Tribeca Festival 2023: The most expected films and documentaries

Documentaries about Gloria Gaynor, Carlos Santana, Gogol Bordello, Cindy Lauper and more artists will screen during the festival, next to some of the most interesting indie films from the US and the world

Robert de Niro and Jane Rosenthal before a screening in New York, on June 18, 2022.
Robert de Niro and Jane Rosenthal before a screening in New York, on June 18, 2022.Emerald Knox (WireImage)

The Tribeca Festival is one of the most important events for American and international independent cinema. It was founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff in 2002 to revitalize the economy and culture of Lower Manhattan after the September 11 attacks the previous year. Over the years, the Festival has grown into a massive event, offering hundreds of screenings to thousands of people. What sets it apart is that attendees can now enjoy the screenings from the comfort of their own homes.

Previously known as the Tribeca Film Festival, the event dropped the name in 2021 to reflect its expanded focus. It now encompasses not only film but also TV, audio storytelling, video games, and immersive experiences such as Virtual Reality. The festival awards independent artists from each of these areas.

The 2023 edition of the festival will have a significant focus on music, featuring screenings of documentaries like Gloria Gaynor: I Will Survive and Scream of My Blood: A Gogol Bordello Story. These documentaries will be followed by performances from the respective artists. Two other highly anticipated premieres at the festival include Carlos, a Carlos Santana documentary, and Let the Canary Sing, which focuses on Cindy Lauper.

The centerpiece of the festival, however, will be Elemental, the new Disney/Pixar film, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and garnered mixed reviews from critics.

Apart from the traditional movie screenings, one of the festival’s most important sections is the Spotlight Narrative, which serves as a launching pad for buzzworthy new films from acclaimed filmmakers. Among the anticipated premieres in this section is The Adults, written and directed by Dustin Guy Defa. The film marks Michael Cera’s return to indie film, and he stars alongside Sophia Lillis and Hannah Gross as a group of three siblings embarking on a trip that forces them to reflect on their past.

Our Son, an LGBTQ+ drama following two gay partners of thirteen years who decide to get a divorce, is also one of the most anticipated premieres. The film stars Billy Porter and Luke Evans as the couple who must share the news with their son while rediscovering themselves after a long marriage.

Additionally, the festival will showcase Shortcomings, the directorial debut of actor Randall Park. Based on the graphic novel by Adrian Tomine, the film follows a couple struggling to navigate their relationship and personal identities, portrayed by Justin H. Min and Ally Maki; and Cold Copy, a thriller-drama directed by newcomer Roxine Helbeg, which follows Bel Powley, a journalism student who aims to impress an expert news reporter played by Tracee Ellis Ross, and who, as the story unfolds, finds himself twisting the truth to create a perfect news story.

Other notable films screening at the festival include Cinnamon by Bryan Keith Montgomery Jr., The Good Half starring Nick Jonas, and the horror film The Blackening.

The Spotlight Documentary section will feature a variety of works, including Milli Vanilli, which focuses on the controversial group, Every Body, a chronicle of three intersex people, Stan Lee, about the acclaimed comic writer, Your Fat Friend, exploring the realities of being overweight, Golden Boy, about Mexican American boxer Oscar de la Hoya, and several others.

In the US Narrative Competition, which highlights independent voices from around the country, eight features will compete. Among them is Bad Things, a horror drama starring Gayle Ranking as a woman who embarks on a trip to a resort with friends, only to find herself living a nightmare as different groups turn on each other to survive.

Cypher, directed by Chris Moukarbel, follows Tierra Whack’s rise to stardom while shedding light on the strangeness of the music industry.

The Graduates marks the directorial debut of Hannah Peterson. The story revolves around a group of friends trying to celebrate the end of high school one year after a school shooting.

Lost Soulz, directed by Katherine Propper, follows Sol (Sauve Sidle), an aspiring rapper living with his best friend (Siyanda Stillwell). After a rough night, Sol decides to abandon his friends and leave home, joining a group of artists on a journey of self-discovery.

Mountains by Monica Sorelle is an immigrant drama that follows a Haitian man living in Miami, dreaming of buying a new house for his wife Esperance while dealing with a rebellious son who wants to separate himself from his cultural identity.

The Secret Art of Human Flight by writer-director H.P. Mendoza is an absurdist drama about a man who discovers a book that trains him to learn how to fly. The story evolves into an endearing tale about loss and melancholy.

Smoking Tigers marks So Young Shelly Yo’s directorial debut. It follows a Korean-American high school girl who embarks on a journey to find herself after her parents’ separation. She must navigate between two worlds: one filled with privilege and the other lacking economic stability.

Somewhere Quiet is a horror thriller about a woman trying to readjust to her life after being abducted. She decides to take a trip to a relaxing location, but her peace is short-lived when her husband’s cousin shows up unannounced.

When is the Tribeca Festival 2023?

The Tribeca Festival 2023 will take place from June 7 to June 18 in the heart of New York City. For those unable to attend in person, the Festival Tribeca at Home will be available from June 19 to July 2.

Tickets to the Tribeca Festival 2023

Tickets for the Tribeca Festival can be purchased exclusively online through the official website. Various passes are available, offering bundled access to events and experiences, as well as single tickets for individual events. Additionally, tickets for the Games & Immersive selections are available. Users interested in attending single screenings can purchase tickets directly from each feature’s page.

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