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The 2024 Tribeca Film Festival runs June 5-16, and as always, we have many boots on the ground. What follows are recommendations of what to see (5 apiece) from critics Melanie Addington and M.J. O’Toole, lead critic Christopher Llewellyn Reed, and editor-at-large Matt Delman, 20 films in total. This 23rd edition of the event, which was founded in 2002 in response to the September 11 attacks, includes 108 features, 86 of which are world premieres. While we can’t see all of them, below is what we hope to catch, and the reasons why.

Brats (Andrew McCarthy)

As a Gen Xer, how could I possibly not watch a documentary about the 1980s “Brat Pack” of young movie stars that included among its number the director of this very movie, Andrew McCarthy? The answer is, I could not! And so this is one my most anticipated films of the fest, and I cannot wait. With McCarthy’s fellow “Brats” Jon Cryer, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Ally Sheedy, and Lea Thompson along for the ride, this promises to be a nostalgic journey into the past for those of who grew up in that decade. And though this is McCarthy’s first feature, he’s been cutting his cinematic teeth for years helming episodic TV. Let’s do this! (Christopher Llewellyn Reed)

Adult Best Friends (Delaney Buffett)

Will compete in the U.S. Narrative Competition and is directed and co-written/produced and starring Delaney Buffett (co-writer Katie Corwin also stars and they both worked together on City of Angles). Two friends break through their co-dependence and driftless nature that comes with your 20 & 30-something angst. The film also stars Zachary Quinto which is the absolute reason it ended up on my list. (Melanie Addington)

Quad Gods (Jess Jacklin)

Filmmaking duo Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing are known for their exposé docs such as Jesus Camp, One of Us, and Detropia. Here as producers they support director Jess Jacklin, in what is a more hopeful and heartwarming story, as she follows a team of disabled friends as they attempt to take their gaming club to the next level by entering the ‘Adaptive Rocket League’. Tensions arise when some take winning more seriously than others. The e-sports competition itself is a bit anticlimactic, however what’s more awe-inspiring are the medical advances, such as watching someone go vertical for the first time in years or walk with the help of robotic leg supports. The personal stories told make this a standout doc of the festival. (Matt Delman)

Vulcanizadora (Joel Potrykus)

Indie provocateur Joel Potrykus (Buzzard, Relaxer) brings his newest dark comedy to Tribeca. He takes on a multi-hyphenate variety of roles, including starring alongside frequent collaborator Joshua Burge as two friends who embark on a mission in the woods to fulfill a gruesome pact. Only things don’t work out as planned, and one of the pair must figure out how to navigate the repercussions. Potrykus has stated that he considers this his “most personal and bleakest work.” With his reputation for “metal slacker” tales, we should expect another daring and ambitious experience. (M.J. O’Toole)



The Devil’s Bath (Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala)

Directors Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz (The Lodge) specialize in psychological horror, and in The Devil’s Bath, set in the 18th century in their native Austria, they add supernatural elements to the mix. In this latest, they follow the plight of a young wife as she struggles with the twin challenges of a husband who has lost interest in her and a mother-in-law who takes joy in control. Madness and faith combine in what looks to be spooky and disturbing in equal measure. (CLR)

The Debutantes (Contessa Gayles)

The Debutantes will world premiere in the U.S. Documentary Competition. The film focuses on Canton, Ohio, and Black debutantes as they learn traditions and questions on elitism, colorism, and classism while coming of age. As America sits and waits for a strange election year, this story may surprise audiences with just how new generations are examining and revisiting out-of-date concepts and finding new ways to bring together community. (MA)

Sabbath Queen (Sandi DuBowski)

“Redemption will only come with transgression” says the Sabbath Queen. Sandi Dubowski’s doc follows Amichai Lau-Lavie over 21 years. Amichai comes from a thousand-year lineage of orthodox rabbis in Israel, and his brother continues the tradition, while Amichai moves to New York City and branches out into more liberal ways of thinking. This new philosophy manifests in Lab/Shul, a god-optional synagogue that enlivens biblical stories through song and theater. You can see the crossover with drag, and his Rebbetzin Hadassah Gross character is a fun aspect of the film milked for laughs. But there are much heavier themes at play, foreshadowing our current geopolitical climate. When filming someone’s life it’s hard to know when you’re finished, but this year feels incredibly timely for a wide audience to hear the Sabbath Queen’s story. (MD)

Made In Ethiopia (Max Duncan and Xinyan Yu)

What happens when a country falls under the economic, or industrial influence of another? Max Duncan and Xinyan Yu’s unyieldingly candid and revelatory documentary explores firsthand China’s growing impact in present-day Ethiopia. Over four years, they captured the experiences and perspectives of a Chinese factory director, factory workers, and local farmers whose ways of life come under the threat of an expanding Chinese industrial park. Through these underseen lives, the directors examine the line between tradition and modernity in ways that will undoubtedly enlighten viewers and conjure many conversations. (MJ)

Driver (Nesa Azimi)

Once a stripper, now a truck driver, Desiree—the principal subject of Nesa Azimi’s debut documentary, Driver—has worked hard to build solidarity among her fellow women drivers. Her organization, “REAL Women In Trucking,” is a testament to her efforts. But with the economic landscape in flux, many of her achievements appear threatened. Though the narrative offers specifics of one particular industry, the overall truths it highlights resonate with universal meaning. (CLR)

Group Therapy (Neil Berkeley)

Group Therapy will world premiere in the spotlight category and is a documentary with Neil Patrick Harris as a makeshift therapist talking with a group of comedians including Mike Birbiglia, Nicole Byer, Gary Gulman, London Hughes, Tig Notaro, and Atsuko Okatsuka. An honest look at mental health from people who make us laugh despite their struggles, the film is sure to remind us all that laughter is the best medicine. (MA)

Sacramento (Michael Angarano)

Writer/director/star Michael Angarano is back at Tribeca after having a few recent premieres here (such as In A Relationship). His previous film Avenues was set in downtown Manhattan, but his latest takes place in Sacramento, California. The setting of one of my favorite films Lady Bird, I am excited to be transported back to the wrong side of the tracks. Though I’ve yet to see the film, the superb cast of Maya Erskine, Michael Cera, and Kristen Stewart – are you kidding ?! – is enough to have me sat for a public screening. (MD)

A still from SACRAMENTO

Crossing (Levan Akin)

“It seems Istanbul is a place where people come to disappear.” The latest drama from Levan Akin (And Then We Danced) celebrates the lives of the cast-asides/hideaways and bridges the gap between generations. Mzia Arabuli stars as Lia, a retired, world-weary schoolteacher on a journey from the country of Georgia to Istanbul in Turkey to find her missing trans niece, leading her to unexpected connections that expand her worldview. Akin’s previous film was an emotional powerhouse with electrifying chemistry between his actors. Audiences should expect nothing different with Crossing. (MJ)

 Lake George (Jeffrey Reiner)

As a fan of both Shea Whigham (Amazon’s Homecoming series) and Carrie Coon (HBO’s The Gilded Age series), I find the prospect of the two of them paired in what is billed as “a rollicking, comedic neo-noir” intriguing. He plays a hit man hired to kill her; she convinces him not to. After that, all bets are off, with the prey now in pursuit of the predators. Director Jeffrey Reiner has spent decades in television. Let’s see how he handles a feature, and, more importantly, these two fine actors. (CLR)

Slave Play. Not A Movie. A Play (Jeremy O. Harris)

Slave Play. Not A Movie. A Play premieres in the spotlight category and deconstructs Jeremy O. Harris’ Tony-nominated play, Slave Play. Following three interracial couples who undergo “Antebellum Sexual Performance Therapy” when the Black partner loses attraction to the white partner. The documentary also pushes boundaries much like the play and should be experimental and heady. (MA)


Memes & Nightmares (Charles Todd, Matt Mitchener)

Basketball and memes are two of my favorite things. Jamel Johnson is a funny comic and great podcaster who I listen to weekly, and Josiah Johnson is apparently a popular memelord. Therefore I am the perfect audience for Memes and Nightmares, executive-produced by the King Lebron James. If you saw The Antisocial Network on Netflix, (which has the subtitle ‘Memes to Mayhem’) you’ll probably have a sense of what you’re in for but with basketball instead of January 6. You know what kind of sounds like “Memes & Nightmares”? – “Mavs in seven.” (MD)

Checkpoint Zoo (Joshua Zeman)

Documentarian Joshua Zeman is known for his exposé films and series such as The Loneliest Whale and Murder Mountain on Netflix. His newest doc brings him to the frontlines of the Ukraine-Russian war in its early days, though he puts the focus on a more overlooked aspect. Zeman captures the 5,000 zoo animals of the Feldman Ecopark in Eastern Ukraine, and the team of zookeepers and volunteers who risked their lives to bring these creatures to safety. One can hope that this unique vision of the conflict won’t be as harrowing as the Oscar-winning 20 Days In Mariupol. But its documentation of the powerful connection between humans and animals makes for one inspiring and profound watch. (MJ)


 Some Rain Must Fall (Qiu Yang)

Does class exist in a communist society? Isn’t China supposed to be the workers’ paradise? In his first feature after a series of well-regarded shorts, Chinese director Qiu Yang tackles the issue of wealth and class in his native country. After a woman accidentally injures the relative of one of her son’s less fortunate classmates, her world begins to unravel. It’s always interesting to look behind geopolitics and see how people in other lands handle everyday problems. I’m all in. (CLR)

In The Summers (Alessandra Lacorazza Samudio)

In The Summers had its world premiere at Sundance in January and took home the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize. Playing in the spotlight category at Tribeca, it is a stunning coming-of-age tale about two girls shipped off to their dad in New Mexico each summer. We follow them over the years as they struggle to deal with their troubled father. Alessandra Lacorazza’s directorial debut shows a nuanced understanding of the parent-child relationship. Performance is the heart of this movie with the sisters played by three different aged actors up against the father (René Pérez Joglar). (MA)

Treasure (Julia von Heinz)

HtN alum Lena Dunham and the always sensational Stephen Fry share the screen as a woman and father traveling abroad to face the past and forge new beginnings. Julia von Heinz’s dramedy Treasure follows a journalist (Dunham) who accompanies her Polish father and Holocaust survivor (Fry) back to his home country where they confront hidden traumas and make sense of their family’s past – but not without a good dose of humor. Seems to be in conversation with Jesse Eisenberg’s A Real Pain, which will come out in the fall. (MD)

Boys Go To Jupiter (Julian Glander)

Animator Julian Glander’s feature debut showcases his unique 3D animation style in this surreal coming-of-age story. Boys Go To Jupiter chronicles a week in the life of a Florida teenager (voiced by Jack Corbett) as he hustles his way through a series of bizarre gig economy errands. Featuring aliens, musical numbers, and deadpan humor, we seem to be in for one gloriously weird spectacle of Tribeca. Let’s not count out the fellow voices of Elsie Fisher, Julio Torres, Tavi Gevinson, Janeane Garofalo, Sarah Sherman, Cole Escola, Joe Perra, and more to give the film its appropriately wacky comic edge. (MJ)

– Christopher Llewellyn Reed (@ChrisReedFilm), Matthew Delman (@ItsTheRealDel),  Melanie Addington (@MelAddington) and M.J. O’Toole (@mj_otoole93)


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