The Tribeca Film Festival, founded by actor Robert De Niro and his producing partner Jane Rosenthal in the wake of 9/11, is now in its 13th year and the buzz seems to be that it is improving its stature quietly and gradually.
Running from April 16-27, this year's festival is opening with a documentary focusing on NYC/Queensborough-born rapper Nas, Time is Illmatic, released to mark the 20th anniversary of his hit debut album Illmatic. Multimedia artist One9 directed the documentary chronicling the impact of that album. Nas will perform the entire Illmatic album from front to back after the April 16 premiere.
Other highlight catching my eye include:
A Brony Tale (director: Brent Hodge): A guide to the world of "Bronies" (the mostly straight-male My Little Pony fans' name for themselves).
Gabriel (director: Lou Howe): a lot of pre-fest previews have been praising Rory Culkin's performance in this story of a damaged teenager, obsessed with reuniting with an old girlfriend.
In Your Eyes (director: Brin Hill): it may be directed by Brin Hill (Won't Back Down), but this romantic sci-fi drama has the added cachet of being written by fan god Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Avengers). It also stars actors Zoe Kazan and Nikki Reed with Michael Stahl-David, in a quirky story of two psychically connected souls who find each other across a continent by dint of the fact they can, as the title suggests, see through each other's eyes every so often.
Summer of Blood (director: Onur Tukel)- the concept won me over before I even watched the hilarious trailer: the ultimate slacker, commitment-phobe asshole becomes a vampire, and likes it. It stars director Onur Tukel as the vampire, and for an added bonus you can count Alex Karpovsky from HBO's Girls as one of the co-stars.