Tribeca Film Fest in its 11th film-packed year

A scene from “Baseball in the time of Cholera.”

The Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) begins April 19 and runs until April 29 with more than 85 full-length films, programs of shorts, panels and related events.

For all to enjoy and free, the outdoor “Drive-In” films at the World Financial Center are part of the Festival. With live music at 7:00 p.m. and film screenings at about 8:15 p.m., the program is: “Jaws” Thurs. 4/19; “The Goonies” Fri. 4/20; and “Knuckleball!”, Sat., 4/21, with particular perks for the kids with giveaways and contests.

Along with the narratives and docs theatrical screenings, for the third year, there will be four terrific films from the TFF schedule of films streamed online free following their premiere screenings.

Two captivating documentaries taking place in foreign lands shouldn’t be missed in the theater or free online. “The Russian Winter” that premieres April 20 at Loews Village at 8:30 p.m. is one. Brooklyn-born John Forte’s two-month concert tour takes place in a very snowy Russia. The singer/songwriter’s back-story including his contribution with the Fugees and 16-year prison sentence for drug possession (he served half!) is woven into the film.

“Town of Runners” that premieres April 19 at the Clearview at 6:45 p.m. and is free, streaming on-line, after, is a fascinating documentary about a small rural town in Ethiopia home to numerous Olympic champion long-distance runners and the struggles of two teenage-track hopefuls. For on-line info: www.tribecafilm.com/tribecaonline/about.html

Films on the schedule run the gamut of subject and locale and are local, urban, national and international.

Of special note is “Una Noche,” filmed entirely in Cuba with untrained actors playing the leads. The writer/director, American Lucy Mulloy spent years in Cuba researching the subject for this film, her first feature, and seeking out those who would play the characters. “Una Noche” is about the energy of youth and their desperation living in Cuba. Mentored by Spike Lee, the director received many production awards and grants that helped enable her to make the film. Three actors are traveling from Cuba for the screenings. There will be four screenings at Clearview Cinema.

New York-based Haitian-American filmmaker Patricia Benoit’s long-awaited first feature “Stones in the Sun” will world premiere on Sunday, 4/22, at 8:30 p.m. at the Clearview Cinema in Chelsea. The filmmaker’s intention is to go beyond the headlines reflecting Haiti and present the complexities of the Haitian experience. The film is named for the Haitian proverb that translates “stones in the water don’t know the suffering of stones in the sun.” Other screenings at the same theater are on 4/25 at 9:45 p.m. and 4/29 at 6:30 p.m.

Another Haitian film is included in the “Help Wanted” program of Shorts, the 27-minute documentary, “Baseball in the Time of Cholera,” premiering April 21 at 6:30 p.m. at AMC Loews. The film is the story of Joseph, a young baseball player, and Mario Joseph, the Haitian lawyer fighting for compensation from the UN for the victims of Haiti’s cholera epidemic. The two stories intersect as the epidemic spreads in the struggle for survival and justice.

The website tribecafilm.com lists the entire schedule of films, venues, panels, outdoor activities and other events related to the Festival.

As the Festival nears its end, the free community family festival will be held Saturday, April 28 from 10:00-6:00 p.m. on Greenwich Street, north of Chambers St. The day will be filled with street games and activities, live Broadway performances, arts and craft, storytelling, free screenings for all the family to enjoy.

Untrained actors play the main characters in “Una Noche” filmed in Cuba by American writer/director Lucy Malloy. They will be present at the screenings.
Photos courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival

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