Frederic Boyer was formerly the chief programmer for the Directors' Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival, and was its artistic director for a brief stint from 2009 until last year. Boyer was recruited by ex-Sundance Film Festival director Geoffrey Gilmore, who is also a newcomer to Tribeca, after ending 20-year association with the Sundance Film Festival to become chief creative officer of the Tribeca's parent company.
Under Boyer, this year's Tribeca Film Festival has 12 films competing in the World Narrative Competition, 12 films in World Documentary Competition and 22 films in the out-of-competition Viewpoints section.
For the first time, Tribeca opened with two films in both the Narrative and Documentary Competitions. The World Before Her (pictured), directed by Nisha Pahuja (Canada), had its world premiere on opening night. The documentary weaves together the stories of Ankita and Ruhi, two contestants in the Miss India beauty pageant, and Durga Vahini, the women's wing of the Hindu fundamentalist movement, to draw a stark portrait of contemporary Indian women in both traditional and modern worlds. Through the juxtaposition, Pahuja provides unexpected parallels between women in contemporary Indian society.
New York-born Eytan Fox's Yossi opened the World Narrative competition. In the film, Israeli actor Ohad Knoller returns to the role that won him Tribeca's Best Actor award in 2003 for Yossi & Jagger. He again plays Yossi, a closeted gay man living alone in Tel Aviv whose reunion with a woman from his past causes him to unexpectedly leave the city.
In the World Narrative Competition, half are international productions and half from the USA. A truly local New York film to premiere as part of the program is First Winter, by debut feature director Benjamin Dickinson. In the film, a blackout strands a group of Brooklyn hipsters in a remote farmhouse with no heat and no electricity during the coldest winter on record.
Another film to have its world premiere as part of the competition is the Mexican/North American production from David Riker, The Girl, starring Australia's Abbie Cornish as a single mother caught in an impossible position after losing both her job and custody of her son.
Of the other major sections of Tribeca, Cinemania is a predominantly international slate of seven narrative films. The Spotlight section screens 34 films (22 narratives and 12 documentaries), many of which will have their world premieres at the event. Many of the films in this section have already gathered widespread buzz, such as Julie Delpy's 2 Days in New York (France) starring writer/director Delpy and Chris Rock, with Sarah Polley's Take This Waltz (Canada) starring Michelle Williams and Seth Rogan, and Malik Bendjelloul's Searching for Sugar Man (Sweden/UK), the untold story of 1970s music icon Rodriguez. (Screening at the 2012 Sydney Film Festival.)
Also on show is the TFF 2012: TFF/ESPN Sports Film Festival comprised of five documentaries including a film on Major League Baseball (MLB) pitchers, Knuckleball!, and the story Ethiopian villagers with extraordinary athletic prowess, Town of Runners.
At the completion of the festival, awards will be presented in the following juried categories by a 39 member-jury headed by Irwin Winkler:
Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature
Best New Narrative Director (for first-time feature directors in any section),
Best Actor in a Narrative Feature
Best Actress in a Narrative Feature
Best Screenplay in a Narrative Feature
Best Cinematography in a Narrative Feature
Best Documentary Feature
Best Editing in a Documentary Feature
Best New Documentary Director (for first-time feature directors in any section)
2012 judges include filmmaker Michael Moore, and actors Whoopi Goldberg and Patricia Clarkson.
For more information visit the Tribeca Film Festival website.