18.April.2012: The Tribeca Film Festival opens today in New York. Stephen Holden writes for The New York Times, “As the festival’s 11th edition gets under way the emphasis more than ever is on serious programming led by a new team, Frédéric Boyer, former artistic director and chief programmer for the Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival; Geoffrey Gilmore, who ran the Sundance Film Festival for 19 years; and the Tribeca mainstay Genna Terranova.” Moreover, he’s “happy to report that for the first time most of the films in the two major competitions are worthy selections.” Eric Hynes rounds up 14 recommendations for his Village Voice piece, including Ira Sachs’s Keep the Lights On (“unforgivably ignored at Sundance”), the Indonesian bestiary Postcards from the Zoo (“entrances from first frame to last”), and the Vice-produced omnibus The Fourth Dimension, with one part directed by Harmony Korine (“If Harmony Korine was put on the earth for anything, it was to cast Val Kilmer as a shamelessly mugging roller-rink motivational speaker named Val Kilmer”). The Indiewire team pitches with another dozen Tribeca titles to watch for.
This Saturday, April 21, Tribeca will host a special screening commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Avant-Garde Masters grants, a program established by the National Film Preservation Foundation and The Film Foundation to support the preservation of American avant-garde films. Yesterday the NFPF announced that this year’s grants would be applied to films by Gregory Markopoulos, Mike Kuchar, Aldo Tambellini, Ian Hugo, and Jud Yalkut. A full list of the 105 titles preserved over the first decade’s worth of grants is available here.
The Wisconsin Film Festival also opens tonight in Madison, and while it may not make Tribeca’s splash it has a notable partisan in David Bordwell: “The thirteen years of our Wisconsin Film Festival have furnished plenty of high-definition moments.” He recounts a few and then offers his picks of some of this year’s titles, including Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (“one of the very best films we saw at Vancouver last fall”) and Johnnie To’s Life without Principle (“We have a 35mm print, and I’m tempted to go back and see it a third time”).
A few weeks after the inaugural Rivera Maya Film Festival wrapped, Robert Koehler has a warmly appreciative overview for the Film Comment blog. He’s also a fan of To’s latest, but he writes that “the program’s core was as solid a curated survey of a national cinema as I’ve seen at any recent festival…In a sense, it’s a program that functions much like a piece of film criticism, laying out an argument for the best of Mexican cinema’s current maturity and range.”
More spring rites: Cannes announced its Official Selection of short films ahead of Thursday’s announcement of the feature competition.