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It’s been a strange few years for the major North American film festivals. After starting off the year with a disappointing virtual Sundance, the 2022 SXSW film festival eagerly launched in person and was a huge success, helping to launch Daniels’ Everything Everywhere All At Once to become the biggest indie hit of the year. Other SXSW world premieres from studio comedy The Lost City to discoveries like grand jury prize and audience award winner I Love My Dad, which was acquired by Magnolia, benefited from having a live crowd. You can feel that same excitement surrounding an in-person, indoor festival carrying over into Tribeca, which will relaunch in theaters this year after mostly screening outdoors last year. The move from April to June seems to have worked in its favor, and this year’s lineup is particularly ripe with emerging talent. 

The 2022 Tribeca Film Festival will run in June 8-19 in venues around the city such as Village East Cinema, SVA and Cinepolis to name a few. Hammer to Nail will have boots on the ground with Melanie Addington, Matt Delman, and M.J. O’Toole weighing in. 110 feature films are scheduled to be showcased, and below we’ve highlighted 15 that we are most excited to see:

The Year Between (dir. Alex Heller)

Soon-to-be multi-hyphenate Alex Heller writes, directs and stars in this comedic suburban nightmare as a bipolar recent college grad. Her parents are played by J Smith Cameron of Succession and the inimitable Steve Buscemi. The cast is rounded out by Emily Robinson (Eighth Grade) and Wyatt Oleff (It). Plot details are mostly under wraps but there seems to be a love interest involved. Look out for an auspicious debut from the young Heller, who has been championed by programmers for her ‘bitingly quick intellect’ and ‘razor-sharp wit’. (MD)

Butterfly In The Sky (dir. Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb)

As a big fan of the directors (Jasper Mall was stunning), this film caught my eye first because of its subject, Levar Burton, but second because of the team behind the project. This is a slick documentary that highlights the impact the Reading Rainbow had on America, young adult book sales, literacy, and representation for Black men in America. But, it somehow is something more. It encapsulates the magic of Burton, the impact he has had on the small screen and reminds us that sometimes the wildest ideas no one believes in can make the biggest impact on culture. Oh, and the earworm of the song will keep you thinking about it for weeks. (MA)

The Integrity of Joseph Chambers (dir. Robert Machoian)

One of last year’s most striking hidden gems was The Killing of Two Lovers. That’s one reason to be excited for Robert Machoian’s new feature that takes place deep in the woods. Reteaming with leading man Clayne Crawford, Machoian once again tackles fragile masculinity with the story of a father who goes on a lone deer hunting trip in the wilderness to prove himself as a man, only to undergo a harrowing experience that shakes him to the core. The cast also includes Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Jordana Brewster. Having already gotten a sense of Machoian’s directing chops and Crawford’s raw acting, their new offering is bound to be a slow-burn thriller worth experiencing. (M.J.)


There There (dir. Andrew Bujalski)

Andrew Bujalski’s Support The Girls (2018) was singled out by Barack Obama as one of his top films of the year, which is quite the achievement if you consider the unique cinematic modes Bujalski is known for. Often credited for starting the mumblecore movement, Bujalski has expanded his repertoire over the years to romcoms (Results) and black and white oddities (Computer Chess). There There is pitched as a series of short scenes featuring two characters at a time, with musical interludes loosely connecting them. I don’t expect it to be as major as Support The Girls, but with Jason Schwarzman and Molly Gordon among the cast we can expect some memorable laughs. (MD)


Lynch/Oz (dir. Alexandre O. Philippe)

The impact of Wizard of Oz on David Lynch’s career is examined by numerous filmmakers and critics, including Karyn Kusama, John Waters, David Lowery, Rodney Ascher, Amy Nicholson, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. As Phillippe does with his documentaries, he pulls back the curtain on filmmaking while creating his own cinematic universe. The film is a masterclass in American cinema and a special look at how a boy from Missoula who moved around the country, never really having his own sense of home, could follow his own yellow brick road of destiny. The John Waters segment may be the best part of the film, but all of the theories pose the question: has Wizard of Oz impacted us all in the past eight decades? (MA)

Chop & Steele (dirs. Berndt Mader & Ben Steinbauer)

As someone who not long ago discovered The Found Footage Festival, I’m eagerly anticipating this documentary on the founders Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher. Ben Steinbauer & Berndt Mader’s film follows the duo as they tour their festival full-time, sharing vintage VHS clips that would give any 80s or 90s kid nostalgia, while also part-timing in morning show pranks. They soon find themselves in the world of litigation and corporate lawyers as they face a lawsuit by a media company over one particular prank. With appearances by David Cross, Reggie Watts, and Bobcat Goldwait, look for an entertaining, laugh-out-loud candid experience. (MJ)

The Drop (dir. Sarah Adina Smith)

I’m seeing this one for its two leads, the hilarious Anna Konkle from the emmy-nominated Pen15 and Jermaine Fowler (Coming 2 America). Also Jillian Bell from Workaholics and Aparna Nancherla are two of my faves. I confess I have not seen Smith’s Buster’s Mal Heart which starred Rami Malek, however I have seen Ruben Ostlund’s Force Majeure, which was supposedly the inspiration for The Drop. The plot revolves around Anna Konkle’s character dropping a baby at a wedding. Perhaps a bit thin of a premise for a feature length film, but it worked for Ostlund–who just won his 2nd Palme D’or for his new film Triangle of Sadness. The strong ensemble cast here, plus the Duplass brothers as executive producers, signals that this comedy is one to watch. (MD)

After Sherman (dir. Jon-Sesrie Goff)

As part of the Critic’s Week series at Tribeca, this ambitious experimental documentary, After Sherman, just took home the prize at the Atlanta Film Festival for best documentary. In the story of Black history within the American experience, the film realizes the Southern Black experience in a way that is rarely truly seen on camera. It is beautiful and raw and something that should be seen by everyone. (MA)

A still from AISHA

Aisha (dir. Frank Berry)

The immigration experience in Ireland is shown through the eyes of the titular character, Black Panther breakout Letitia Wright, a young Nigerian woman seeking asylum while navigating a maze of bureaucracy and welfare. While under the threat of deportation, she finds a companion in an Irishman (Josh O’Connor) as they bond over their own troubled pasts. It’s safe to say we are in for an emotional, authentic look at the challenges behind the refugee crisis. (M.J.)

Somewhere in Queens (dir. Ray Romano)

Ray Romano’s directorial debut is about a dad (Romano) meddling in his son’s (Jacob Ward) life to help with his basketball prospects. He’s smart to cast Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird) and Sebastian Maniscalco (Green Book). You can bet we are in for some Italian-American humor. Romano is mainly known for his eponymous TV show, but he has dabbled in indie film, co-starring in The Big Sick and Paddleton. (MD)

Eve’s Bayou (dir. Kasi Lemmons)

Kasi Lemmons first feature debuted with little fanfare in 1997. Eve’s Bayou has become one of the quintessential Southern Black films, and 24 years later it remains one of the best. Based in Louisiana, 10-year-old Eve (Jurnee Smollett) has a coming-of-age story that draws on Lemmons own experience growing up in the South. With a stellar performance by Samuel L. Jackson, this is one film that deserves a second look. (MA)

Wes Schlagenhauf Is Dying (dir. Parker Seaman)

Parker Seaman directs himself and Devin Das in this mockumentary about two friends and aspiring filmmakers who try to treat their dying friend to a personal video message from Mark Duplass. They decide to document their road trip to deliver the message to their friend, which they hope will be their ticket to Hollywood. Along with a supporting cast that includes D’Arcy Carden and Aparna Nancherla, we are hopefully in for an offbeat, endearing dramedy. (MJ)

Battleground (dir. Cynthia Lowen)

With her new documentary Battleground, director/producer Cynthia Lowen is covering today’s hottest button issue: abortion. And she does so through the perspective of ‘anti-choice’ leaders. As someone who is fascinated in seeing the inner workings of the other side of the political spectrum, (I’m still subscribed to the Parler e-newsletter), Battleground should raise a lot of eyebrows. Lowen was a producer and writer on Bully (2011), and she directed Netizens on HBO, which were both groundbreaking verite documentaries that followed multiple characters facing similar struggles. Her latest should incite a lot of reactions, especially with current events making things as uncertain as ever. (MD)

God Save the Queens (dir. Jordan Danger)

This dramedy set in Los Angeles starring drag queens at a therapy retreat starts with stereotypes but ends with a heartfelt look at the hardships of queens who want to make it to the top. The film features appearances by Luenell, Peter Facinelli, Michelle Visage, and RuPaul’s Drag Race alums Manila Luzon and Honey Davenport. Directed by Jordan Danger, the actress who played the daughter in the television show Eureka, this serves as her feature debut. (MA)

Land of Dreams (dirs. Shoja Azari & Shirin Neshat)

Ever since watching A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and We The Animals, I’ve been a low-key admirer of star Sheila Vand. Which is why I’m excited to see her in a leading role again in this political satire that dips into magical realism. Vand plays a government worker who goes on the road with a new colleague (Matt Dillon) to record U.S. citizen’s dreams. I’m already getting some Charlie Kaufman/Wim Wender vibes here. The impressive supporting cast includes Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad), Christopher McDonald (Hacks), and Isabella Rossellini. (MJ)

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