Sunday, May 03, 2009

Tribeca Festival Wraps





Heineken Audience Award, CITY ISLAND

The Heineken Audience Award was presented yesterday (3 May 2009) at the Tribeca Film Festival, NYC (TFFNYC). As the winner, CITY ISLAND received a $25,000 cash award. Ten diverse films were competing. The top three are screening at the Festival site in NYC as this post is being written.

The winner, CITY ISLAND, is a feature-length comedy written and directed by Raymond De Felitta (The Thing About My Folks, 05). Primary cast: Andy Garcia, Julianna Margulies, Emily Mortimer, Alan Arkin, Steven Strait, and Ezra Miller.

The Rizzo family lives on a little-known island in the Bronx that is as quaint and sleepy as any New England town. But the Rizzos are not as picturesque as the island they inhabit, and like most dysfunctional families, they all stop at nothing to avoid the truth.

The Runner up is a documentary, RACING DREAMS, directed by Michael Curry, who won the 2005 Festival audience award for his documentary, STREET FIGHT. RACING DREAMS also won best documentary feature at this year's Festival. See post, 1 May, immediately below this one.

In third place we find MIDGETS Vs. MASCOTS, directed by Ron Carlson, which is described by festival commentators as a hilarious mocumentary. They go on to write, and I paraphrase, "It is one of the most-talked-about films at the Festival. . . The title alone [should] get you in the door, where little people (including, Gary Coleman and Jordan Prentice (IN BRUGES) battle Mascots, including 'Gator' and 'Taco' in events like milk-drinking, bull-riding, door-to-door-sales, and a whole ton more for a prize of one million dollars."

I must say, the title grabs me. However, I can wait for the DVD.

One more film deserves noting here, the one in fourth place. Japanese director Yojiro Takita's movie DEPARTURES (Okuribito), won the Oscar® as Best Foreign Language Film of 2008 at the Academy Awards® this year. It also won the Grand Prize at Montreal in 2008.

The Tokyo Orchestra disbands. A young cellist returns to his home in a rural town and to the family business. "The movie achieves a pleasingly droll blend of screwball-like humor with a moving story about reconciliation, acceptance, and finding one's place in the world, enhanced by a richly orchestrated score."

See a previous post, 28 February, for much more about DEPARTURES. Click the title of this post to see more about the 2009 top 10 audience picks, screening times, and previous winners.

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