Tribeca Film Festival comes with all the trimmings

Wed Mar 12, 2008 3:08am EDT
 
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By Gregg Goldstein and Steven Zeitchik

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - The Tribeca Film Festival has followed through on its promise to trim its slate, announcing Tuesday a features lineup that's nearly 25% smaller than last year's.

The six-year-old festival, co-founded by Robert De Niro, responded to criticism that it has grown too unwieldy. "There's been elephantitis at film festivals worldwide," artistic director Peter Scarlet said, noting the reduction of features from 159 last year to 122 this year.

"Festivals are getting bigger and bigger, and with the digital revolution more films are getting made," Scarlet added. "There's a limit as to how much new information people can process."

The previously announced opening-night film, scheduled for April 23, is Michael McCullers' surrogate-mother comedy "Baby Mama," starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. The festival runs through May 4 in various Lower Manhattan venues.

Twelve narrative and 12 documentary competition features competing for $100,000 in cash prizes were announced Tuesday, along with 21 Spotlight features.

New works from notable filmmakers include Shane Meadows' teen-friendship comedy "Somers Town," Rosa von Praunheim's autobiographical adoption documentary "Two Mothers" (Meine Muetter), animator Bill Plympton's dark comedy "Idiots and Angels" and Melvin Van Peebles' character study "ConfessionsofaEx-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha."

The Plympton and Van Peebles films highlight another effort on the part of the festival to emphasize fiction films. Tribecas has established a strong reputation in documentaries, but its scripted efforts have been less notable.

Comedies were a large part of the Sundance Film Festival in January, but they will be less of a factor here. "There were more comedy submissions, but they either weren't very funny or didn't translate from other cultures," Scarlet said.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

 
<p>Robert De Niro arrives to attend a media day before the start of the Tribeca Film Festival in New York April 22, 2007. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>