I've all but ignored the Tribeca Film Festival since its inception seven years ago, without much regret. Initially, it seemed more like a post-9/11 neighborhood marketing tool than an actual festival—although, to be fair, most "actual" festivals probably started out much the same way. More than that, each year's lineup inspired a resounding "ehh," consisting largely of movies I'd already seen at other festivals and completely unknown quantities. To this day I think the only Tribeca screening I've ever attended was Guy Maddin's Cowards Bend the Knee, and even that I would have already seen had Rotterdam shown a print rather than forcing you to watch the thing by stooping to look through mock peepholes. (Seriously.)
That's about to change, however. This year the festival actively solicited my attention for the first time, and while I did almost everything in my power to dissuade them from accrediting me (you should see how snotty my application letter was), they chose to do so anyway. And by god I actually do see at least eight films I want to check out this year, which is about four times as many as there have been in any previous year. Those would be:
• Garapa, directed by José Padilha (Bus 174).
• The Girlfriend Experience, directed by Steven Soderbergh.
• In the Loop, which was well received at Sundance.
• Kobe Doin' Work, directed by Spike Lee.
• My Dear Enemy, which Michael Sicinski quite liked and that's good enough for me.
• Outrage, directed by Kirby Dick (Sick).
• Salt of This Sea, one of the remaining Cannes '08 films I haven't seen/sampled.
• Whatever Works, directed by Woody Allen.
I've already seen Moon and Still Walking. Anyone have any other strong recommendations? Unlike ND/NF, Tribeca has no sterling track record regarding fledgling filmmakers and its slate is way too big for me to see everything. If there's something in there that you consider unmissable, let me know (and tell me why).