Tribeca Film Festival celebrates independent film

Each year in Manhattan, the Tribeca Film Festival welcomes us to spring with a fresh collection of feature films, shorts and documentaries. With nearly 100 movies scheduled for the 12-day event, this is the ultimate experience for people who crave independent cinema. Take a look at some of the films expected to command attention this year at Tribeca, running April 15 through 26.

Men Go to Battle

The American military conflict known as the Civil War has been the backdrop for many movies, from Lincoln to Gettysburg. While most of these films are major releases with significant budgets, Tribeca will showcase a smaller return to this critical moment in our country’s history. Moviemaker Zachary Trieitz frames a story of relationships and priorities without falling into the Hollywood convention of what a Civil War movie should be. 98 minutes. April 17, 18, 20 and 22.

Grandma

Forty years ago, Lily Tomlin should have won an Oscar for playing the mother of a deaf child in Robert Altman’s Nashville. While she has captivated us for years on stage and television, her movie career has never recaptured its initial rhythm despite many wonderful performances. Perhaps this movie will get some attention. Playing a grandmother who will to do anything to help her family should give Tomlin a boost at the same time her series, Gracie and Frankie with Jane Fonda, debuts on Netflix. Yes, it’s time for a Tomlin moment. 79 minutes. April 20, 21.

Franny

Richard Gere is on a roll. Last fall, his film about a homeless man in New York City, Time Out of Mind, thrilled audiences at the New York Film Festival. This spring, the hit The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel confirms his appeal while this new film offers the actor the opportunity to reach beyond the popular conventions of his boundaries. Gere reminds us there’s more to him than initially meets the eye as an eccentric, wealthy man who wants to connect. 93 minutes. April 17, 18, 20, 26.

Maggie

Among the films I never would expect to see at a high-caliber festival is a drama starring Arnold Schwazenegger. He is usually seen in action-filled, big-budget movies that could swallow most independent films. Could there be more to the giant’s movie potential than an engaging manner and a sense of humor. Is he an actor after all? This time Arnold plays a father dealing with his daughter’s dealings with zombies. Yes, he’s back. 95 minutes. April 22, 23, 25.

Mohave

Last year, Oscar Isaac thrilled with his understated power in A Most Violent Year, a film that deserved more recognition. A year before, he engaged as a struggling songrwriter and performer in Inside Llewyn Davis, another film that was overlooked. Could this be the movie that brings Isaac the attention his work merits? He plays drifter in a crime thriller that recalls films of the past. Hopefully, audiences will rediscover what a remarkable actor he can be. 93 minutes. April 18, 19, 22, 24.

The Survivalist

Each year, Tribeca plays films that challenge conventional views of movie entertainment. This British film from writer-director Stephen Fingleton promises to get people talking. He explores the steps people would take to survive in a world where food is scarce, despair is rampant, and the drive to live overwhelms the hope to connect. Fingleton promises to make us think as he creates a world that could be too close to our own. 93 minutes. April 16, 18, 21, 25.

The Adderall Diaries

The unpredictable James Franco makes another Tribeca appearance in this crime thriller from writer-director Pamela Romanowsky. In what sounds like a delicious throwback to the film noir classics of the 1940s, we meet a writer who can’t find the words for the page, make a relationship work, or figure out what’s going with his father. Throw in a murder and you have the makings for a popcorn movie that explores what can happen between parents and their children. And Franco is always interesting to watch. 90 minutes. April 16, 17, 20, 25, 26.

The Tribeca Film Festival runs April 15 through 26. For ticket information, go to www.tribecafilm.com.

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