2012 Tribeca Film Festival Hits Lower Manhattan
As the first half of the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival draws to a close in Lower Manhattan, I was on hand for a variety of films and talks as well as a preview of the rest of the festival.
My first event of the festival was a Tribeca Talk entitled “100 Years of Universal,” which was supposed to bring together Robert De Niro, Judd Apatow, and Meryl Streep. Unfortunately, Streep dropped out a couple days before, leaving the slightly mismatched duo of De Niro and Apatow with the moderator, Mike Fleming. The talk was preceded by an incredible 6-minute reel of the highlights from the past 100 years of Universal Studios, featuring clips from dozens of classic films, though whoever cut the reel together had a strong bias towards films made in the past few years and an uncanny knack for sticking all of an actor’s films together in rapid succession. What came next could only be described as bizarre.
The ensuing 45 minutes was a strange mix of humor from Apatow, unpreparedness and a sense of distress from Fleming, an inability to tell a proper story from De Niro, and a whole lot about The Deer Hunter. Fleming (seemed) obsessed with the film, spending 15 minutes discussing it and even (poorly) attempting to rope Apatow into the discussion of the film by asking him how The Deer Hunter affected him as a filmmaker. Fleming then attempted to bring the audience into the discussion by opening the floor up to questions via Twitter; however, that failed miserably and thus ended what I had wished would be one of the pinnacles of my young life, but instead was a less-than-informative way to spend an afternoon.
After taking Friday off to go check out Shpongle at the Roseland Ballroom, I returned to Tribeca to see two films on Saturday, the first of which was Struck by Lightning, a slightly campy coming-of-age-tale written, produced, and starred by Glee actor Chris Culfer, playing the role of Carson Phillips, a young journalist with dreams of attending Northwestern University. The film did a successful job of carefully managing humor and emotion. After the film, Culfer was on hand for a Q&A session and the “Gleeks” in the audience clapped and cheered after everything he said.
After the humorous Struck by Lightning, I zipped to the East Village to stand on the rush ticketing line for Nancy, Please. The film is director Andrew Semans’ first full-length film and masterfully crafted a quintessential indie-film. The film tells the story of Paul, a man who is moving into a new home with his girlfriend. Paul leaves something important behind at his old home, and attempts to get it back from his former roommate, Nancy. Without revealing any more about the film, it is an absolute must see for fans of independent films. After the film, Semans and the majority of the cast were on hand to answer questions from the audience.