After two weeks of screenings, talks, special events, and surprises, last weekend brought the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival to a close. As an official Industry Sponsor of TFF this year, we were excited to play a role in one of the film world’s most important events.
Of course, with so much going on, there was no way we could catch everything we wanted to see, but we still sent our intrepid team out to catch as much as they could. These 9 films were among our favorites, and should all be available for you to watch (either via theatrical release, TV airing, or on DVD or VOD) in the near future.
We’re not saying these are the only films worth looking for from TFF 2014; they’re just the best ones we were personally lucky enough to see. You can view a full list of what was on offer at the Tribeca Film Festival website. If there’s anything else you want to recommend, let us know in the comments!
While Time Is Illmatic could have been a brilliant making-of film about the recording of Nas’ legendary Illmatic album (released in 1994), director One9 pushed to craft a much larger story about the plight of the rapper’s family and friends at ground zero in the midst of a ravaging crack epidemic. As a result, this excellent documentary tells a deeply human story about love and loss, and what it means to struggle against seemingly insurmountable odds. – Derick Rhodes
Sometimes you want to grapple with a challenging, heart-wrenching film that pushes your understanding of yourself and the world — and sometimes you simply want to dive into something well-crafted, with an ideal mix of humor and weight. Jon Favreau’s Chef, a sweet tale that goes the extra mile to depict the world of high-end food preparation accurately, does a fantastically good job in the act of balancing levity against struggle in a way that exemplifies how a “feel good” movie should feel. John Leguizamo and Scarlett Johansson both add just the right amount of intensity to their roles, and Sofia Vergara plays herself endearingly. – Derick Rhodes
A boy named Tomás is sent off to stay with his brother Sombra in Mexico City and, along with their friend, they wander the city on a mini goose chase to find Tomás’ hero, singer Epigmenio Cruz. Their journey features some sweet, meaningful moments, plus well-done styling during exciting chase scenes and panic attacks. Perhaps a bit meandering and artsy, it’s shot in black-and-white in an environment where you may really miss the color. Despite a bit of unnecessary length and extra scenes, it wraps up with an extremely moving climax that nods toward an evolution of the brothers’ relationship and the respect they have for each other. – Cristin Burton
As the name suggests, this film follows the clandestine efforts of three young radicals as they plan a heist of monumental proportions on an Oregon dam. An effort that begins with the sentiment to bring back equilibrium to the natural world, slowly unravels as the characters are forced to face their eventual degradation. The score leads the viewer through the darkness as if suspended on a tightrope, which could easily be cut loose. This film is as spellbinding as it is depressing; a solid move from director Kelly Reichardt. – Lindsay Comstock
In the vein of past “30 for 30” ESPN documentaries, Michael Rapaport’s When the Garden Was Eden covers the 1969-70 and 1972-73 Championship winning New York Knicks. But as much as it focuses on the team’s personal rise to the championships, it also speaks to a larger story about sports in New York City in the 60s, as well as the rise of Madison Square Garden itself. Rapaport, a native New Yorker (and well-known actor) covers this story from the perspective of what the team did for New Yorkers, and how it helped both grow the NBA and usher it into the modern sports era. – Jordan Roland
Ostensibly about Raf Simons becoming the new artistic director for Dior and the process behind his first show, this film is really about all the individuals involved in the creative process and the hard work they endure in preparation for the new season’s lineup. It’s directed in a way that creates strong attachment to each character and gives you a real sense of the family they’ve become. In the end, the fashion show comes together as a magical experience that leaves you dreaming of having been there to see it. (This film was also one of our picks for can’t-miss documentaries screening at TFF.) – Rachael Polack
Nicolas Mross, the director of this documentary follows his brother as he starts trying to generate (or “mine” for) bitcoin currency, with the hope that some day it will be worth millions. As things proceed, the story starts to open up to the bigger world of bitcoins, and a group of entrepreneurs who feel like this is the future of currency. Though very one-sided (on the pro side of bitcoin), this doc helps educate people on the basics of the currency, and its rise to something that the world is slowly starting to adopt. – Jordan Roland
A haunting crime drama adapted from the novel of the same title by Laura Lippman, Every Secret Thing tells the story of two teenage girls coming back to their hometown after being put away seven years ago for the death of an infant. The focus is on the mysterious disappearance of another small child and the ensuing investigation. Diane Lane, Dakota Fanning, and Elizabeth Banks are all amazing in it, and although at times the movie is quite troubling, you’re kept on your toes for the duration, never quite knowing what’s coming next. – Emma Backer
A fantastic and moving portrait of an American man who fought in the recent Libyan revolution, Point and Shoot is an incredible story that humanizes the conflict and offers an intimate look at the transformation of one man from sheltered 20-something to Libyan revolutionary. Matthew VanDyke endured many hardships — including a 5-month stint in Libyan prison and death of friends — but he persevered until Gaddafi was captured. Fighting for peace and friendship, rather than hatred, his story offers a perspective not always shown in the mainstream media. It’s a strong case for why we should all be informed and engaged with what’s going on in the world. – Kathleen Gauder