Sunday, April 29, 2012
DB looks back at Tribeca (Includes my most and least favorite films)
The festival is now over.
I’ve seen about( too many) of the feature films and about a third of the short ones. I reviewed them all, some fuller than others (reviews will continue to Friday). My fellow members of Unseen Films have seen almost as many, plus they did talks, red carpets and concert.
It’s been exhausting.
It’s an experience unlike any other. Its been a month solid of movies and madness.
This year was even crazier than last year simply because I knew what I was getting into and I could do more. I also had fellow crazies Mondocurry, Chocko and MrC dragging me along, not to mention John and Bully watching my back and helping keep the blog on course
And what are my thoughts?
Tribeca is Tribeca. It is it's own unique animal. There is nothing quite like it. Part film festival, part film market its huge beast that is impossible to quantify or explain until you experience it yourself. When I was talking to Chocko at the Rodriguez concert I asked him if it was what he thought it was going to be. He said that until he was at Tribeca he never really understood what it was.
One thing it is, is big. No it isn't big It's Huge. It's too huge to be taken in by any one person or even a small group of people. There were 89 features this year, 60 shorts, community events, private events, talks…its just too damn big. The only reason we could see and do as much as we did was that we did so as members of the press. I am thankful to the people at Tribeca and I hope they will have us back next year.
While the good heavily out weighs the bad, there is a few negative aspects I’d like to talk about before I talk about the joys.
First off it’s too big. Its so big that movies get lost. The reason I try to see as much as I can is simply so that there is some record of what was shown. Yes, I know that there were other people in the screenings with me, but at the same time they didn’t write about them all. Many reviewers saw a lot but only wrote about a few, their deadlines and editors preventing as comprehensive review of films. I hate that so many of the films may never get seen because the people who should have seen it couldn’t.(And I hate that by the end I was reducing many films to paragraphs- on the other hand some of the later films just weren't all that exciting)
I suppose that I should be glad that the films simply were shown, but things like;Planet of Snail or War Witch really need to find an audience beyond three screenings at Tribeca.(Although War Witch's multiple awards should help)
Secondly the tone of the festival is jarring. One part film festival, one part film market and one part hype machine, there is a sense at times that the festival is about something other than the films. At times its about the glitz and glamour. There is almost a sense that the films could have been anything and Tribeca would still go on. I know talking to various people, reviewers, festival people and PR people for the films I was frequently at a loss as to why anyone was really there. I think most people were there because its Tribeca, as if that were enough. Do the films mean anything? It seemed like many people were there for the party aspects.
Sorry it’s the film Lorax in me coming out- I want to shout the films the films, who will speak for the films?
It's certainly not the people who describe the films for the public. I want to meet the people who write up the films. Who ever it is has, in some cases, come up with some of the most bizarre descriptions for the films they were promoting, descriptions that had nothing to do with the films themselves. If any of these films fail to find an audience, blame it on the expectations not being met. More than once the film I saw did not match the film that I thought I was going to see. (Last Winter anyone? How about All In?)
Speaking of PR people, I’ve met some nice ones and some bad ones. For the good ones I can’t say enough good. As for the bad ones, I can’t say much nice. Yes Unseen Films isn’t a mega outlet like some of the others. Yes we concentrate more on the films then the festivities but would it really kill you to actually send me the material you promised? Would it really kill you to treat us with some respect?
As for the good…
The People. Let me start with the people at Tribeca…I love you all. You are all wonderful. I need to thank you for treating me and my fellow reporters with respect.
Thank you to the volunteers who are so nice and fun to talk to that I keep going back I may never know if a film is going to be good, but I know the people greeting me at the door and sending me in are going to be.
If there is a reason to go,even above and beyond the films, it's the people.
I want to thank the programmers who really picked a great bunch of films this year. For the most part the films this year were pretty good. There are a nice number of keepers. Granted there are a few stinkers, but there were some great films. Its always nice when the number of good films far exceeds the number of truly bad ones.
My favorites this year in the order that I saw them:
Eddie the Sleep Walking Cannibal
Journey to Planet X
Any Day Now
Searching for Sugar Man
Foxes (A truly creepy short film- a review is coming)
there are others that may end up on this list down the road but right now these are the films that I can say were the best without the slightest hesitation.
The Worst of the Festival:
Wavumba (How the hell did this win awards?)
Take This Waltz
The other 8 million films fell somewhere in between.
Tribeca is Tribeca.
Its one of the most unique experiences you can have...and if the Tribeca people are listening please, please let me and my Unseen Films friends come back next year. We had a blast. We made friends. And we all can't wait to do it again next year.
If you're all smart you'll all make plans to be there as well.
(And remember reviews from Tribeca run a couple of times a day hrough Friday)