Tribeca ’15 Preview | Midnight & Work In Progress

Mary J Blige arrives at RAK studios in St John's Wood, London, where she is recording her new album.

Earlier today, the Tribeca Film Festival announced over 40 films that will be featured in their Spotlight section. Among the intriguing offerings will be projects spotlighting ballerina Misty Copeland and Mary J. Blige.

Along with highly-anticipated new projects from notable TFF alumni like Neil LaBute, Michael Winterbottom and David Gelb, this beloved TFF section also showcases stories from up-and-coming filmmakers and auteurs like Ken Loach, Paolo Taviani, and Vittorio Taviani. Audiences will also be treated to exciting performances from established actors such as Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Oscar Isaac, Jessica Biel, Adrien Brody, and Arnold Schwarznegger and soon-to-be breakout stars like Julia Garner and Alba Rohrwacher.

Included is the world premiere of the documentary Mary J. Blige – The London Sessions, which follows Mary as she writes, records, and curates one of her most experimental albums to date. The premiere will take place at the Beacon Theater and be followed by a live performance from Mary J. Blige.

Also of note is the premiere of Nelson George’s documentary, A Ballerina’s Tale, about one of the most notable and trailblazing figures in the ballet world, Misty Copeland. The screening will be followed by a conversation with Misty, and a performance by her protégées from Project Plie.

The Tribeca Film Festival runs from April 15-26 in New York.

SEE ALSO: SNL Doc Opens the Fest


Bodyslam: The Revenge of the Banana!, directed and written by Ryan Harvie and John Paul Horstmann. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Ronald McFondle, Eddie Van Glam, and other social outcasts made up the Seattle Semi-Pro (SSP) Wrestlers, an off-kilter family of cabaret fighters that spoofed the pros. When a newcomer Paul, The Banana, fell on the wrong end of the joke, he ran to the government to disband the SSP. Bodyslam: The Revenge of the Banana! captures the wrestlers’ fight to keep the theatrics alive.

Emelie, directed by Michael Thelin, written by Richard Raymond Harry Herbeck. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. After their regular babysitter Maggie can’t make it, the Thompson family turns to her friend Anna to supervise their children while the parents go out to celebrate their anniversary. At first Anna seems like a dream come true to the kids, allowing them to eat extra cookies and play with things that are usually off-limits, but as her behavior becomes increasingly odd, the kids soon find out that her intentions are dark and twisted, and she is not who she seems to be.

Hyena, directed and written by Gerard Johnson. (UK) – U.S. Premiere, Narrative. Michael Logan (Peter Ferdinando) may be a corrupt, coke-addled cop, but he’s a bad lieutenant with a conscience. After years of dodging the same laws he was assigned to uphold, Michael suddenly finds himself trying to change while safeguarding a young Albanian woman from the sex trade. Equal parts grit and neon, Hyena blurs the line between cop and criminal and exposes the illicit underworld inhabited by London’s most ruthless policemen. A Tribeca Film release.

Scherzo Diabolico, directed and written by Adrián García Bogliano. (Mexico, USA) – World Premiere, Narrative.Armed with a fine-tuned chokehold and penchant for piano sonatas, a wearied accountant breaks his mild-mannered routine when he kidnaps a young woman. What starts as a carefully calculated plan soon crescendos into his worst nightmare. A delightfully twisted black comedy, Scherzo Diaboloco is the latest opus from director Adrián García Bogliano. In Spanish with subtitles

Stung, directed by Benni Diez, written by Adam Aresty. (Germany, USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. For catering staffers Paul and Julia, Mrs. Perch’s fancy garden party at her remote country villa is nothing out of the ordinary. A mishap with toxic plant fertilizer leads to the most unwelcome of dinner guests: giant killer wasps. Director Benni Diez takes audiences on a thrilling, gory rollercoaster ride from campy to creepy, in this delightful and dreadful creature-feature.

SEE ALSO: World Narrative Feature | World Documentary Feature
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A Ballerina’s Tale, directed and written by Nelson George. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Join us for a world premiere screening of Nelson George’s much-anticipated, behind-the-curtain documentary about the daily routine of Misty Copeland, the first African-American female soloist at New York’s American Ballet Theatre in two decades. Followed by a Q&A with Misty Copeland and a special ballet performance by her mentees Erica Lall (American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company) and Naazir Muhammad (ABT’s JKO School) sponsored by Under Armour.

Mary J. Blige – The London Sessions, directed by Sam Wrench. (U.K., USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Join Mary J. Blige in London, where over ten days she will record her 13th studio album. Featuring a behind-the-scenes look at her work sessions with some of Britain’s hottest recording artists, including Sam Smith, Disclosure, Emeli Sandé, Naughty Boy, and Sam Romans. A performance from Mary J. Blige will follow the screening.

Rifftrax Live: The Room. (USA) – World Premiere. The brainchild of Mystery Science Theater 3000 alumnus Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy (aka Tom Servo), and Bill Corbett (aka Crow T. Robot), Rifftrax skewers cult classic films with hilarious live commentary. For their first-ever New York performance the Rifftrax gang will unleash their signature comedic chops on Tommy Wiseau’s modern masterpiece, The Room, for a one-night-only live cinema event.

Speedy, directed by Ted Wilde. (USA) – Newly restored print from the Criterion Collection, Narrative.
Silent comedy legend Harold Lloyd stars as a die-hard Yankees fan who can’t keep a job, but is determined to save the last horse-drawn trolley in New York. This lighthearted slapstick classic features visits to Coney Island and Yankee Stadium, an incredible cameo by Babe Ruth, and hair-raising cab rides through the city streets. For one-night only, the legendary dj and producer DJ Z-Trip lends his amazing musical talent to create an all new soundtrack for this silent film classic, showcasing his eclectic style and considerable live turntable skills.


LoveTrue, directed by Alma Har’el, (USA) – Work in Progress, Documentary. Director Alma Har’el returns to TFF with a work-in-progress presentation. LoveTrue weaves three challenging relationships, while examining non-fiction performance as a documentation of truth and a purveyor of memory. Join Har’el and Executive Producer, Shia LaBeouf for an exclusive preview of scenes from the film and an intimate conversation about True Love.

All Work, All Play, Directed by Patrick Creadon. (USA) – Work in Progress, Documentary. There’s something happening in the world of video games. Thousands are flocking to arenas to watch tournaments unfold. Tens of millions are watching online. One percent of the world population is playing the most popular competitive game. In All Work All Play, go behind the scenes and follow the ascent of eSports, and watch as the best pro gamers in the world fight for the Intel Extreme Masters championship.