Monday, May 08, 2006


Tribeca Film Fest: faves & winners

New York's 5th Annual Tribeca Film Festival concluded its 13-day run on Sunday. A total of 274 films from 40 different countries were screeened at numerous locations around Manahttan during the press-friendy fest.

Among the award winners, announced Saturday night (see below), I saw Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple and Holiday Makers. Stanley Nelson's Jonestown is a gripping doc about '70s culture and the power one religious leader had over hippies and black people alike. In Jiri Vejdelek's Holiday Makers, Eva Holubovà and the ensemble cast who portray Czech vacationers are convincing, but the screenplay is trivial. Other movies I caught at TFF that impressed me were:

* Lech Kowalski's East of Paradise: In the '70s, High Times' founder Tom Forçade funded D.O.A., Kowalski's never-released Sex Pistols doc. East of Paradise traces Kowalski's Polish roots, starting with his mother's internment by the Russians during World War II, then leaps to the East Village, where his abstract camera follows punk-rock junkie John Spacely, who died of AIDS.

* Nelson Pereria dos Santos' Brasilia 18%: The story of corrupt Brazilian officials intent on whitewashing the death of a female Congressional aide. What's real or imagined is the subtext of this dreamy, sexy thriller.

* Dhruv Dhawan's From Dust: In post-tsumani Sri Lanka, the lives of locals are forgotten as the government attempts to rebuild the tourist industry instead.

* Sebastian Campos' The Sacred Family (La Sagrada Familia): Set in coastal Chile, a family comes apart when the son's flirtatious girlfriend visits for the weekend.

* Jim Burroughs and Suzanne Bauman's Shadow of Afghanistan: Twenty years in the making, Shadow tells the history of modern war-torn Afghanistan and tries to reconcile the death of cameraman Lee Shapiro, who was murdered during the making of the film.

* J. Carlos Peinado and Daphne Ross' Waterbuster: Fifty years ago, Peinado's ancestors were forceably moved from their North Dakota Indian reservation when the Army Corp of Engineers decided to flood the area and build a dam. His search for truth and meaning is touching and unsettling.

A partial list of TFF winners:

The Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature
Blessed By Fire (Iluminados por el Fuego)
directed by Tristán Bauer

Best Documentary Feature
War Tapes
directed by Deborah Scranton

Special Documentary Jury Prize
Voices of Bam
directed by Aliona van der Horst and Maasja Ooms

Outstanding Achievement in Documentary
Jesus Camp
directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady
Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple
directed by Stanley Nelson
MAQUILOPOLIS: city of factories
directed by Vicky Funari and Sergio de la Torre

Best Actor in a Narrative Feature Film
Jürgen Vogel
The Free Will (Der Freie Wille)


Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Film
Eva Holubovà
Holiday Makers (Ucastnici zájezdu)

Czech Republic
Special mention:
The ensemble cast
Holiday Makers (Ucastnici zájezdu)

Czech Republic

NY Loves Film Documentary
When I Came Home
directed by Dan Lohaus

Best Made in New York Narrative Feature
The Treatment
directed by Oren Rudavsky

Audience Award
The Cats of Mirikitani
directed by Linda Hattendorf

For more more about the Tribeca Film Festival: CLICK HERE

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