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Tribeca slims down for 7th edition

NEW YORK — The 2008 Tribeca Film Festival has followed through on its promise to trim its slate, announcing Tuesday a features lineup that’s nearly 25% smaller than last year’s.

The six-year-old fest responded to criticism that it has grown too unwieldy. “There’s been elephantitis at film festivals worldwide,” artistic director Peter Scarlet said, noting the reduction of features from 159 last year to 122 this year, culled from 2,329 submissions.

“Festivals are getting bigger and bigger, and with the digital revolution more films are getting made,” Scarlet added. “There’s a limit as to how much new information people can process.”

This year, the fest will give a higher profile to those movies that will be screened. Indeed, the competition and Encounters sections announced Tuesday contain some star power, with docus that feature such celebs as Madonna, Richard Gere and Meryl Streep and assorted fictional features starring Sissy Spacek, Dave Matthews and Michelle Monaghan.

Twelve narrative and 12 docu competition features competing for $100,000 in cash prizes were announced Tuesday, along with 21 Encounters features. Thirty-one countries are represented, including 55 world premieres. More lineup announcements are forthcoming.

New works from notable filmmakers include Shane Meadows’ teen friendship comedy “Somers Town,” Rosa von Praunheim’s autobiographical adoption docu “Two Mothers” (Meine Muetter), animator Bill Plympton’s dark comedy “Idiots and Angels” and Melvin Van Peebles’ character study “ConfessionsofaEx-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha.”

Late last year, the fest hired Miramax vet Genna Terranova, who has helped acquire movies like the Felicity Huffman-starrer “Transamerica” and the Samantha Morton drama “Morvern Callar,” to up the scripted quotient.

In addition to the trimmed slate, Scarlet noted a number of themes this year. “Almost without exception, these films focus on families or the dissolution and absence of families,” he said.

Another trend: first-timers. There are 66 feature debuting efforts represented among the 145 directors in the fest.

Comedies were a large part of this year’s Sundance film fest, but they will be less of a factor here. “There were more comedy submissions, but they either weren’t very funny or didn’t translate from other cultures,” Scarlet said.

The previously announced opening-night film is Michael McCullers’ surrogate mother comedy “Baby Mama.” The New York-shot Universal Pictures film starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will be shown April 23. The fest runs through May 4 in various venues, and as with the number of features, it has scaled back its previously added uptown theaters to Lower Manhattan.

Here is a complete list of entries in the narrative and docu competitions and the Encounters section.

World Narrative Feature Competition:

“57,000 Kilometers Between Us” (57000 km entre nous), directed by Delphine Kreuter, (France) — North American premiere

“The Aquarium” (Genenet al Asmak), directed by Yousry Nasrallah, (Egypt, France, Germany) — North American premiere

“Eden,” directed by Declan Recks, (Ireland) — International premiere

“Let The Right One In” (Lat den ratte komma in), directed by Tomas Alfredson, (Sweden) — North American premiere

“Lost Indulgence,” directed and written by Zhang Yibai (China) — International premiere

“Love, Pain and Vice Versa” (Amor, dolor y viceversa), directed by Alfonso Pineda–Ulloa, (Mexico) — world premiere

“My Marlon and Brando” (Gitmek), directed and written by Huseyin Karabey (Turkey) — North American premiere

“Newcastle,” directed and written by Dan Castle (Australia) — world premiere

“Quiet Chaos” (Caos calmo), directed by Antonello Grimaldi, (Italy) — North American premiere

“Ramchand Pakistani,” directed by Mehreen Jabbar, (Pakistan) — world premiere

“Somers Town,” directed by Shane Meadows, (U.K.) — North American premiere

“Trucker,” directed and written by James Mottern (U.S.) — world premiere

World Documentary Feature Competition:

“Baghdad High,” directed by Ivan O’Mahoney and Laura Winter (U.K.) — international premiere

“Donkey in Lahore,” directed by Faramarz K-Rahber (Australia) — North American premiere

“Guest of Cindy Sherman,” directed by Paul H-O and Tom Donahue (U.S.) — world premiere

“Kassim the Dream,” directed by Kief Davidson (U.S.) — world premiere

“Milosevic on Trial” (Slobodan Milosevic — Praesident under anklage), directed by Michael Christoffersen. (Denmark) — North American Premiere.

“My Life Inside” (Mi vida dentro), directed by Lucia Gaja (Mexico) — international premiere

“Old Man Bebo,” directed by Carlos Carcas (Spain) — North American premiere

“An Omar Broadway Film,” directed by Omar Broadway and Douglas Tirola (U.S.) — World Premiere.

“Pray the Devil Back to Hell,” directed by Gini Reticker (U.S.) — world premiere

“Theater of War,” directed by John Walter (U.S.) — world premiere

“Two Mothers” (Meine Muetter), directed by Rosa von Praunheim (Germany) — North American premiere

“War, Love, God & Madness,” directed by Mohamed Al-Daradji (U.K., Iraq, Netherlands, Palestine, Sweden) — international premiere


“Bart Got a Room,” directed by Brian Heckler (U.S.) — world premiere, narrative

“The Caller,” directed by Richard Ledes (U.S.) — world premiere, narrative

“Celia the Queen,” directed by Joe Cardona and Mario De Varona (U.S.) — world premiere, documentary

“Chevolution,” directed by Trisha Ziff and Luis Lopez. (U.S.) — world premiere, documentary

“The Chicken, The Fish and The King Crab” (El pollo, el pez y el cangrejo real), directed by Jose Luis Lopez–Linares (Spain) — North American premiere, documentary

“Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha.” directed and written by Melvin Van Peebles (U.S.) — world premiere, narrative

“The Dalai Lama: Peace and Prosperity,” directed by Mark Bauman (U.S.) — world premiere, documentary

“Days in Sintra” (Diario de Sintra), directed and written by Paula Gaitan (Brazil) — North American premiere, documentary

“Everywhere at Once,” directed by Peter Lindbergh and Holly Fisher (France) — world premiere, narrative

“Hotel Gramercy Park,” directed by Douglas Keeve (U.S.) — world premiere, documentary

“I Am Because We Are,” directed by Nathan Rissman (U.K.) — world premiere, documentary

“Idiots and Angels,” directed and written by Bill Plympton (U.S.) — world premiere, narrative

“Lake City,” directed and written by Perry Moore and Hunter Hill (U.S.) — world premiere, narrative

“Life in Flight,” directed and written by Tracey Hecht (U.S.) — world premiere, narrative

“The Objective,” directed by Daniel Myrick (U.S.) — world premiere, narrative

“A Portrait of Diego: The Revolutionary Gaze” (Un retrato de Diego: La revolucion de la mirada), directed by Gabriel Figueroa Flores and Diego Lopez (Mexico) — international premiere, documentary

“A President to Remember,” directed and written by Robert Drew (U.S.) — world premiere, documentary

“Terra,” directed by Aristomenis Tsirbas (U.S.) — U.S. premiere, narrative

“Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon,” directed by Daniel Lee (China, South Korea) — North American premiere, narrative

“Whatever Lola Wants,” directed by Nabil Ayouch (France, Morocco) — North American premiere, narrative

“The Zen of Bobby V,” directed by Jonah Quickmire Pettigrew and Andrew Jenks (U.S.) — world premiere, documentary

Source: Hollywood Reporter