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By Film Threat Staff | March 13, 2008

The 2008 Tribeca Film Festival, presented by American Express, today announced the line-ups for its World Narrative and World Documentary Feature Film Competitions as well the films it has chosen to present in the Encounters section for the seventh annual Festival. The Festival will take place April 23 – May 4, 2008 in Lower Manhattan.

The Festival will present a streamlined selection of 122 feature films from 31 different countries, including 55 World Premieres, ten International Premieres, 26 North American Premieres, eight U.S. Premieres and 18 New York City Premieres. 145 directors will be presenting feature works at the Festival, with 66 of these filmmakers presenting their feature directorial debuts. These films were selected from 2,329 feature submissions.

Twelve narrative features and an equal number of documentary features will compete for combined unrestricted cash prizes amounting to $100,000, including prizes totaling $50,000 from American Express for the Best New Narrative and Documentary Filmmakers. These 24 films come from 18 countries and over half of the filmmakers in competition will be making their feature directorial debuts.

“Each year the festival’s programming team sets out to bring together a community of filmmakers from around the world and around the corner to share their artistic visions and stories with our international audiences and industry,” said co-founder Jane Rosenthal. “This year’s Festival is a quintessential reflection of our world.”

“This year our narrative and feature competitions and our “Encounters” selections include a few works by directors who are well-known on the international scene— ­Egypt’s Yousry Nasrallah, England’s Shane Meadows, Germany’s Rosa von Praunheim and Morocco’s Nabil Ayouch as well as our own Robert Drew and Melvin Van Peebles, ­ but most of these outstanding films are by promising new talents ­ and that’s exciting news for us all,” said Peter Scarlet, the Festival’s Artistic Director.

Tribeca also announced the return of the popular Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival launched last year.

Eleven films will be part of this program as well as the main festival slate and will be announced in their main sections but all share a focus on sports or competition. In addition to screening with all the other films in the Festival slate, these movies will play as part of two Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival marathon days – on Sunday, April 27th and Saturday, May 3rd – during which audiences will have the opportunity to screen the films back-to-back.

The complete list of films selected for World Narrative Feature Competition, World Documentary Feature Competition and Encounters follows below:

World Narrative Feature Competition
A compelling cross section of bold creative visions from every corner of the globe come together in this year’s World Narrative Feature Competition. Presenting established directors and newcomers from Ireland to Mexico and Egypt to China, this international line-up introduces us to an Egyptian radio host, a Swedish vampire, a female trucker, Australian surfers, and takes us into the hearts of personal and political relationships. The twelve films in this section all from different countries will compete for Best New Narrative Film, Best New Narrative Filmmaker and Best Actor and Actress prizes.

57,000 Kilometers Between Us (57000 km entre nous), directed by Delphine Kreuter, written by Mathieu Lis, Emmanuel Finkiel and Kreuter. (France) – North American Premiere. A provocative yet charming take on digital communication, this debut follows a teenager caught between her stepdad (who records and posts the family’s supposedly perfect life online), her real father (now a transsexual), and the refuge of her own online life as she searches for meaningful connections with others. French with English subtitles.

The Aquarium (Genenet al Asmak), directed by Yousry Nasrallah, written by Nasser Abdel-Rahman and Nasrallah. (Egypt, France, Germany) – North American Premiere. An anesthetist who listens to his patients mumbling under sedation and a late night talk show host (Hend Sabri) whose callers reveal secrets are the yearning principals of this intriguing new work, an ambitious examination of repression—both sexual and political—in Cairo today. Arabic with English subtitles.

Eden, directed by Declan Recks, written by Eugene O’Brien. (Ireland) – International Premiere. Taking a frank look at the slow disintegration of a marriage during the week before a couple’s 10th anniversary, Recks catapults an intimate story from O’Brien’s award-winning play onto the big screen while only enhancing its emotional impact.

Let The Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in), directed by Tomas Alfredson, written by John Ajvide Lindqvist. (Sweden) – North American Premiere. Based on Lindqvist’s best-selling novel, this beautifully touching tale tells of the first romance for bullied 12-year-old Oskar and the girl next door, Eli… who also happens to be a vampire. Swedish with English subtitles. A Magnet Release.

Lost•Indulgence, directed and written by Zhang Yibai. (China) – International Premiere. A visually stunning meditation on loss, Lost·Indulgence centers on the complicated relationships between a teenage son, his mother, and the secretive young woman they take into their home after a tragic accident. Mandarin with English subtitles.

Love, Pain and Vice Versa (Amor, dolor y viceversa), directed by Alfonso Pineda-Ulloa, written by Alex Marino. (Mexico) – World Premiere. This stirring and moody psychological thriller finds two strangers subconsciously linked when their recurring dreams begin to topple their reality. Featuring strong performances by the sizzling Bárbara Mori (La mujer de mi hermano) and Leonardo Sbaraglia (Intacto). Spanish with English subtitles. A Panamax Films Release.

My Marlon and Brando (Gitmek), directed and written by Hüseyin Karabey. (Turkey) – North American Premiere. They fell in love on a film set—but she’s a Turk living in Istanbul and he’s a Kurd living in Iraq, which US forces have just invaded. The lovers play themselves in this captivating, heartbreaking film, based on their own true story. English, Kurdish, Turkish with English subtitles.

Newcastle, directed and written by Dan Castle. (Australia) – World Premiere. Revolving around Jesse, a 17-year-old surfer who treads the line between success and self-destruction, Newcastle saturates the senses with magnificent surfing footage and absorbs viewers in the fresh loves and personal tragedies of Jesse and his mates.

Quiet Chaos (Caos calmo), directed by Antonello Grimaldi, written by Nanni Moretti, Laura Paolucci and Francesco Piccolo. (Italy) – North American Premiere. “How to grieve” is the unexpressed question faced by Pietro, a Rome television executive (Nanni Moretti), after his wife’s sudden death. This movingly understated film traces his spiritual rebirth. Italian with English subtitles.

Ramchand Pakistani, directed by Mehreen Jabbar, written by Mohammad Ahmed. (Pakistan) – World Premiere. Gorgeous colors enhance this tense tale, based on actual events, about a young Pakistani boy who, with his father, inadvertently crosses the border into India. Both wind up in jail for years, while mother (Nandita Das) is left bewildered and alone. Urdu with English subtitles.

Somers Town, directed by Shane Meadows, written by Paul Fraser. (UK) – North American Premiere. A charming comedy by Shane Meadows (This Is England) built around the unlikely friendship between Tomo, who’s turned 16 and fled to London from a difficult life in the Midlands, and Marek, a Polish immigrant who lives with his construction worker dad. English, Polish with English subtitles.

Trucker, directed and written by James Mottern. (USA) – World Premiere. Michelle Monaghan is riveting as a tough-talking, devil-may-care truck driver who is faced with raising her estranged 11-year-old son after his father (Benjamin Bratt) is hospitalized. This eloquent and uplifting story also features Joey Lauren Adams and Nathan Fillion (Waitress).

World Documentary Feature Competition
Gripping personal tales, illuminating examinations of global events, and fresh perspectives on familiar topics make up the World Documentary Feature Competition. This international selection of captivating non-fiction films provides a rich tableau reflecting the complexity of human experience around the world. These films take the camera to places rarely visited – a high school in Baghdad; the New Jersey prison system; the analysis and detail that goes into a major theatrical production – as well as taking closer looks at major international stories such as that of the courageous women who helped bring an end to Liberia’s civil war. These twelve non-fiction films compete for Best Documentary Film and Best New Documentary Filmmaker.

Baghdad High, directed by Ivan O’Mahoney and Laura Winter. (UK) – International Premiere. Four classmates (Kurd, Christian, Shiite, and Sunni/Shiite) in Baghdad are given cameras to document their last year in high school, resulting in a rare firsthand view of what it’s like growing up where sectarian violence rages right outside the classroom window. Arabic with English subtitles.

Donkey in Lahore, directed by Faramarz K-Rahber. (Australia) – North American Premiere. An unusual love story that follows the quixotic courtship of Brian, an ex-goth puppeteer from Australia, and Amber, the traditional Muslim girl he met and fell in love with in Pakistan. Can this unlikely couple survive the challenges they are about to face? English, Urdu, Arabic, Punjabi with English subtitles.

Guest of Cindy Sherman, directed by Paul H-O and Tom Donahue. (USA) – World Premiere. Analyzing his relationship with reclusive artist Cindy Sherman leads videographer Paul H-O to confront his own ego and identity in this personal and often humorous documentary, which features unprecedented access to Sherman and a unique view of the New York art world.

Kassim the Dream, directed by Kief Davidson. (USA) – World Premiere. Kassim “The Dream” Ouma went from Ugandan child soldier to world champion boxer. In this gripping tale of survival and determination, Kassim proves that even against all odds, a man can achieve his dreams and turn tragedy into inspiration. Part of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival.

Milosevic on Trial (Slobodan Milosevic – Præsident under anklage), directed by Michael Christoffersen. (Denmark) – North American Premiere. Defending himself against widely credited charges of genocide before an international court in The Hague, Serbia’s former president proved frustratingly difficult to convict, as this riveting look at Milosevic and the chief prosecuting attorney attests. English, Albanian, Serbian with English subtitles.

My Life Inside (Mi vida dentro), directed by Lucía Gajá. (Mexico) – International Premiere. At 17, mild-mannered Rosa Jiménez came to the United States to provide a better life for her family back in Mexico. This riveting, heartbreaking film examines how she came to stand accused of murder in a Texas courtroom. English, Spanish with English subtitles.

Old Man Bebo, directed by Carlos Carcas. (Spain) – North American Premiere. Nearly 90, Bebo Valdes is one of the greatest living Cuban musicians. This joyful documentary celebrates the man who was a key figure in the development of mambo and whose life reflects the experiences of many Cubans since 1959. Spanish with English subtitles.

An Omar Broadway Film, directed by Omar Broadway and Douglas Tirola. (USA) – World Premiere. Using a contraband video camera inside the notorious gang unit at Newark’s Northern State Prison, incarcerated Bloods member Omar Broadway puts his life on the line to document guards’ corruption and excessive force. His groundbreaking footage exposes the violent and unseen world behind bars.

Pray the Devil Back to Hell, directed by Gini Reticker. (USA) – World Premiere. After more than a decade of civil wars leading to more than 250,000 deaths and one million refugees, a group of courageous women rose up to force peace on their shattered Liberia and propel to victory the first female head of state on the African continent.

Theater of War, directed by John Walter. (USA) – World Premiere. Art and politics converge in this provocative look at the life and ideas of Bertolt Brecht, interwoven with The Public Theater’s staging of his Mother Courage. Meryl Streep, Tony Kushner, Kevin Kline, and George C. Wolfe take audiences on an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at their creative process.

Two Mothers (Meine Mütter), directed by Rosa von Praunheim. (Germany) – North American Premiere. At age 58, award-winning filmmaker Rosa von Praunheim found out he was adopted. The search for his biological mother leads him—and the audience—on a dark and engrossing journey into a world of prison hospitals, the SS, and the Nazi occupation of Europe. English, German, Latvian with English subtitles.

War, Love, God & Madness, directed by Mohamed Al-Daradji. (UK, Iraq, Netherlands, Palestine, Sweden) – International Premiere. It’s no surprise that making a feature film in Iraq in 2003 wasn’t a picnic. But this extraordinary account of the peril-filled ordeal that the director and crew of Ahlaam went through must be seen to be believed. Arabic with English subtitles.

Sure to spark conversation during the festival and beyond, this assortment of 11 narrative and ten documentary films offers high-profile talent and notable subject matters, featuring performances by veteran actors Frank Langella, William H. Macy, Sissy Spacek, and Danny Glover; new work from venerable New York filmmakers Melvin Van Peebles and Bill Plympton; profiles of political and spiritual figures John F. Kennedy, the Dalai Lama, and Che Guevara; and portraits of artists Celia Cruz and Diego Rivera.

Bart Got a Room, directed by Brian Heckler, written by Ed Hart. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. It’s ticktock ticktock for Danny as the prom approaches, and he still doesn’t have a date. With the help of his plain-Jane best friend and likable but wacky parents (Cheryl Hines and William H. Macy), his hopes for that “special” night may come true in this colorful and quirky comedy.

The Caller, directed by Richard Ledes, written by Alain Didier-Weill and Ledes. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Frank Langella gives a tour-de-force performance as an energy executive who tries to expose his corporation’s corrupt practices in this quiet yet chilling neo-noir thriller. He hires a private investigator (Elliott Gould) to forward his efforts, but who is investigating whom? English, French with English subtitles.

Celia the Queen, directed by Joe Cardona and Mario De Varona, written by Cardona. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Azucar! The voice of Celia Cruz, arguably the most influential woman in Cuban music, symbolized the soul of a nation and forced down barriers of racism and sexism. She radiates on screen as her legacy is revisited in this intimate and inspiring documentary. Featuring interviews with Quincy Jones, Andy Garcia, and Wyclef Jean. English, Spanish with English subtitles.

Chevolution, directed by Trisha Ziff and Luis Lopez, written by Sylvia Stevens and Ziff. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. How did the iconic image of Che Guevara end up on beer bottles and bikinis? This inquiry into the ethics and aesthetics of appropriation investigates how the enduring symbol of Cuba’s Communist Revolution skyrocketed to fame and was ultimately devoured by its own worst enemy: capitalism. English, Spanish with English subtitles.

The Chicken, The Fish and The King Crab (El pollo, el pez y el cangrejo real), directed by José Luis López-Linares. (Spain) – North American Premiere, Documentary. Famed Spanish chef Jesús Almagro permits cameras to follow his preparations for the “Bocuse d’Or” cooking contest, pitting him against 23 international contenders for the title of “World’s Best Chef.” Thrilling, captivating. . . and mouthwatering. Spanish with English subtitles.

Confessions of a Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha, directed and written by Melvin Van Peebles. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Melvin Van Peebles, still our most playfully inventive filmmaker after nearly 50 years, returns with a boisterous adventure that ranges from Harlem to the high seas, following the exploits of an unforgettable character (MVP, natch) who’s always on the move—but keeps ending up back in New York.

The Dalai Lama: Peace and Prosperity, directed by Mark Bauman. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. An amazing experience for those unable to attend the 2007 live event, this film is a visual record of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit and presentation to a sold-out Radio City Music Hall. Photographic montages by Richard Gere and music by Tom Waits and Philip Glass weave their way throughout the film.

Days in Sintra (Diário de Sintra), directed and written by Paula Gaitán. (Brazil) – North American Premiere, Documentary. Deftly interspersing home movies with contemporary images, director Paula Gaitán creates a compelling voyage of discovery in her return to Sintra, Portugal, on a search for memories of her late husband (the Brazilian filmmaker Glauber Rocha). Portuguese with English subtitles.

Everywhere At Once, directed by Peter Lindbergh and Holly Fisher, written by Kimiko Hahn. (France) – World Premiere, Narrative. Renowned photographer Peter Lindbergh and experimental filmmaker Holly Fisher, with actress Jeanne Moreau, weave a tapestry of images shaping one woman’s deepest sense of selfhood.

Hotel Gramercy Park, directed by Douglas Keeve. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Keeve explores the family drama of the longtime owners of this infamous hotel—once a drug-fueled haven for the likes of Bowie and Blondie—as they prepare to turn it over to high-end hotelier Ian Schrager. Is the transformation a redefinition of cool or the demise of a New York icon?

I Am Because We Are, directed by Nathan Rissman. (UK) – World Premiere, Documentary. Madonna uses the power of documentary film to expose the tragic stories of the millions of Malawi children orphaned by AIDS, offering both a call to action and a revelatory personal journey. Featuring interviews with Bill Clinton and Desmond Tutu, the film is a testament to survival, change, and hope. English, Chichewa with English subtitles.

Idiots and Angels, directed and written by Bill Plympton. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Oscar®-nominated animator Bill Plympton sketches a Lynchian dark comedy about a morally bankrupt man scrabbling to hide the good in himself—which manifests itself in a pair of angel wings that just won’t go away.

Lake City, directed and written by Perry Moore and Hunter Hill. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. When her family is threatened by violent criminals, a mother and son must reconcile the past in order to save their home. Powerful performances by Sissy Spacek and Troy Garity highlight this potent drama, also featuring Dave Matthews and Rebecca Romijn.

Life in Flight, directed and written by Tracey Hecht. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Patrick Wilson (Little Children) and Amy Smart (Just Friends) star in first-timer Hecht’s drama of a New York architect who begins to question the perfect life he has built for his family.

The Objective, directed by Daniel Myrick, written by Mark Patton, Wes Clark Jr., and Myrick. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. The director of The Blair Witch Project brings his singular brand of suspense to an exhilarating integration of war and mystery, revolving around a precarious CIA mission in Afghanistan. English, Berber with English subtitles.

A Portrait of Diego: The Revolutionary Gaze (Un retrato de Diego: La revolución de la mirada), directed by Gabriel Figueroa Flores and Diego López. (Mexico) – International Premiere, Documentary. Fifty years ago, a trio of Mexico’s greatest artists – Diego Rivera, Gabriel Figueroa and Manuel Alvarez Bravo – collaborated on a documentary film about the painter, but it was never finished until now, after Figueroa’s son and Rivera’s grandson decided to show how these three great artists shared a vision. Spanish with English subtitles

A President to Remember, directed and written by Robert Drew. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Culled from “direct cinema” pioneer Robert Drew’s unparalleled behind-the-scenes footage of JFK at work in the Oval Office, and the events that brought him there, this remarkable film proves a timely update of the Kennedy mythos and an eerily intimate portrait of the now-legendary man himself.

Terra, directed by Aristomenis Tsirbas, written by Evan Spiliotopoulos and Tsirbas. (USA) – US Premiere, Narrative. A dazzling sci-fi animation about an alien girl on the idyllic planet Terra. When the last remaining humans exhaust Earth’s resources, she must fight against the Earthlings who want to inhabit her planet! Featuring an all-star cast of voices, including Evan Rachel Wood, Brian Cox, James Garner, Danny Glover, Amanda Peet, David Cross, and Luke Wilson.

Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon, directed by Daniel Lee, written by Lau Ho Leung and Lee. (China, South Korea) – North American Premiere, Narrative. A conscript into the faceless war among China’s ancient kingdoms, Zhao (Andy Lau, House of Flying Daggers) earns his stripes in this epic’s thrillingly stylish battle sequences. Decades later, he meets his match in Cao (Maggie Q, Mission: Impossible III). Mandarin with English subtitles.

Whatever Lola Wants, directed by Nabil Ayouch, written by Jane Hawksley, Nathalie Saugeon and Ayouch. (France, Morocco) – North American Premiere, Narrative. Perky blonde Lola is an aspiring dancer in New York, and she’s so smitten by a hunky Egyptian that when he unexpectedly heads home, she follows him. In Cairo, she discovers an even bigger passion—for belly dancing—and vows to master the art. English, Arabic with English subtitles.

The Zen of Bobby V, directed by Jonah Quickmire Pettigrew and Andrew Jenks. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine took his baseball expertise to Japan in 2004. This film follows a season in the life of an American who has become an admired icon—and a primary reason that baseball remains Japan’s most popular sport. English, Japanese with English subtitles. Part of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival.

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