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Photo courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival.

16 Standout Films You Can Still Catch at Tribeca 2019

OkayAfrica's guide to the 18th annual Tribeca Film Festival that's currently underway.

The Tribeca Film Festival is now underway in New York, showcasing work from emerging and notable talent in the global film world. In it's 18th year, the festival's features program is set to present 103 films from 124 filmmakers. Out of the total feature films, 29 percent are helmed by directors of color.

Out of the 63 short films in competition, 31 are world premieres.

"We spent a great deal of time curating programs that reflect the diverse interests of our audiences," Sharon Badal, vice president of filmmaker relations and shorts programming, says. "This year we emphasize identity, community, and humanity while also entertaining our audience with some laughter, fun, and adventure."

We know that big, established festivals yield overwhelming options of films of note to check out. In the following rundown below, we list 16 features, shorts, VR experiences and documentaries we recommend you can't miss, with synopses from Tribeca below.


SEE YOU YESTERDAY

Two Brooklyn teenage prodigies, C.J. Walker and Sebastian Thomas, build make-shift time machines to save C.J.'s brother, Calvin, from being wrongfully killed by a police officer. Featuring Eden Duncan-Smith, Dante Crichlow and Astro.

Program: Viewpoints

Director + Co-Writer: Stefon Bristol

Co-Writer: Frederica Bailey

Producers: Spike Lee, Jason Sokoloff and Matt Myers

World Premiere

ALL ON A MARDI GRAS DAY

Photo by Gabriel Bienczycki, courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival.

In a gentrifying New Orleans, Demond is part of a secret culture called Mardi Gras Indians, African-American men who spend all year sewing feathered suits to decide who's "the prettiest."

Program: Life Preserver Shorts

Director + Writer: Michal Pietrzyk

New York Premiere

BURNING CANE

Photo by Phillip Youmans, courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival.

Set among the cane fields of rural Louisiana, 'Burning Cane' follows a deeply religious mother struggling to reconcile her convictions of faith with the love she has for her troubled son. Featuring Wendell Pierce, Karen Kaia Livers, Dominique McClellan and Braelyn Kelly.

Program: U.S. Narrative Competition

Director + Writer: Phillip Youmans

Producers: Wendell Pierce, Mose Mayer, Ojo Akinlana, Karen KaiaLivers, Cassandra Youmans and Phillip Youmans

World Premiere

ANOTHER DREAM

Still by Ado Ato Pictures, courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival.

Another Dream brings the gripping, true story of an Egyptian lesbian couple to life. Faced with a post-Revolution backlash against their community, they must choose between love and home.

Program: Storyscapes

Creator: Tamara Shogaolu of Ado Ato Pictures

Key Collaborators: Lauren Dubowski, Natalya Sarch, Nada El-Kouny, Anastasia Semenoff (alpha_rats), Martijn Zandvliet, Gata Mahardika, Ytje Veenstra, Audioimmersive.com

World Premiere

THE APOLLO

Photo courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival.

The feature-length documentary weaves together archival footage, music, comedy and dance performances, and behind-the-scenes verité with the team that makes the theater run. Featuring interviews from Patti LaBelle, Pharrell Williams, Smokey Robinson, and Jamie Foxx.

Director: Roger Ross Williams

Festival Opener + World Premiere

GOLDIE

Photo courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival.

Two Brooklyn teenage prodigies, C.J. Walker and Sebastian Thomas, build make-shift time machines to save C.J.'s brother, Calvin, from being wrongfully killed by a police officer. Featuring Eden Duncan-Smith, Dante Crichlow and Astro.

Program: Viewpoints

Director + Writer: Sam De Jong

Producers: Luca Borghese and Ben Howe

North American Premiere

TUCA & BERTIE

Tuca & Bertie is an animated comedy series about the friendship between two 30-year-old bird women who live in the same apartment building. It features Tuca, a cocky, carefree toucan, and Bertie, an anxious, daydreaming songbird. Featuring Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong.

Program: TV

Creator: Lisa Hanawalt

Executive Producers: Lisa Hanawalt, Raphael Bob-Waksberg, Noel Bright, Steven A. Cohen, Tiffany Haddish, Ali Wong.

New Series World Premiere

ACCUSED NO. 2: WALTER SISULU

Illustration by Oerd Van Cuijlenborg, courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival.

A trove of 256 hours of sound archives of the Rivonia trial bring back to life the political battle waged by Nelson Mandela and his seven co-defendants against apartheid. This film looks at one of them in particular: Accused No. 2, Walter Sisulu.

Program: Tribeca Cinema360

Creators: Nicolas Champeaux & Gilles Porte

Key Collaborators: Oerd Van Cuijlenborg, Aurélien Godderis-Chouzenoux, Michaël Bolufer, Jérémy Pouilloux

LAZARUS

Image courtesy of Johan Hugo.

Lazarus is a short documentary following Lazarus Chigwandali, a street musician with Albinism from Malawi as he teams up with a London-based music producer to record his debut album. With Clem Kwizombe, Esau Mwamwaya, Johan Hugo, Ikponwosa Ero. In Chechewa, English with English subtitles.

Program: Shorts

Director: David Darg

World Premiere

THE REMIX: HIP HOP X FASHION

Photo by Niknaz Tavakolian, courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival.

The story of how hip hop changed fashion, leading to the stratospheric and global rise of street wear. It is a journey of African American creativity and the limitless possibilities of a cultural movement on a global scale. Featuring Misa Hylton, April Walker, Dapper Dan, Kerby Jean-Raymond.

Program: Movie Plus

Directors: Lisa Cortés + Farah X

Producer: Lisa Cortés

World Premiere

MERCY

Image courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival.

Edith, a 14-year-old from Cameroon, journeys through the jungle seeking life-transforming surgery to remove a tumor on her jaw.

Program: Tribeca Cinema360

Creators: Armando Kirwin

Key Collaborators: Sutu, Ruben Plomp, Emma Debany, AMK LTD, Oculus VR for Good

WHAT'S MY NAME: MUHAMMAD ALI

Rights of Publicity and Persona Rights: Muhammad Ali Enterprises LLC. Photo by Ken Regan © 2019 Muhammad Ali Enterprises LLC, courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival.

One of the most iconic figures in athletic history, Muhammad Ali's incredible story from world champion boxer to inspiring social activist is explored through his own voice and never-before-seen archival material by acclaimed filmmaker Antoine Fuqua, with executive producers LeBron James and Maverick Carter.

Program: Spotlight Documentary

Director: Antoine Fuqua

Writer: Steven Leckart

Producer: Sean Stuart

World Premiere

A KID FROM CONEY ISLAND

Photo by Andy Chan, courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival.

From the streets of Coney Island to the NBA, the story of basketball star Stephon Marburyreveals that often life is about the journey, not the destination—and the unexpected places your dreams may take you.

Program: Spotlight Documentary

Directors + Writers: Chike Ozah and Coodie Simmons

Producers: Nina Yang Bongiovi, Forest Whitaker and Jason Samuels

World Premiere

THE WEEKEND

Photo by James R. Robinson, courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival.

A stand-up comic who's been struggling to get over her ex finds herself instead awkwardly third-wheeling her way through a weekend getaway alongside him and his new girlfriend in this warm, wry comedy. Featuring Sasheer Zamata, Tone Bell, DeWanda Wise, Kym Whitley and Y'lan Noel.

Program: Viewpoints

Director + Writer: Stella Meghie.

Producers: Stella Meghie, Stephanie Allain, Mel Jones, Sarah Lazow and James Gibb.

New York Premiere

RECORDER: THE MARION STOKES PROJECT

Photo courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival.

Beginning in the 1970s, Marion Stokes recorded an incredible 70,000 VHS tapes of unfiltered daily television. At the time, her compulsion raised eyebrows, but revisited through the lens of today's media landscape, Stokes' unusual life's work becomes an extraordinary archive of television—and American—history.

Program: Viewpoints

Director: Matt Wolf

Producers: Kyle Martin, Andrew Kortschak and Walter Kortschak

World Premiere

CHILDREN DO NOT PLAY WAR

Aloyo Margrate. Photo by Carlos Alves, courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival.

Children Do Not Play War is a cinematic VR tale of the war in Uganda told through the eyes of a young girl.

Program: Tribeca Cinema360

Creators: Fabiano Mixo

The 2019 Tribeca Film Festival runs from April 24 to May 5—for tickets and more information, click here.

Op-Ed
Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images.

Black Women Are the Future of French Cinema—When Will Cannes Catch Up?

In this op-ed, OkayAfrica contributor Aude Konan reflects on the progression of diversity in French cinema a year after the Noire N'est Pas Mon Métier demonstration at Cannes Film Festival.

A year ago, 16 French actresses of African descent walked the red carpet at Cannes to talk about a new project they authored, Noire N'est Pas Mon Métier (Being Black Is Not My Job), where they shared their experiences with racism and sexism in the film industry.

In an era where the movements #MeToo and #OscarsSoWhite gained global momentum and led to some change in the Academy Awards, it was a first considering that outside of Aissa Maïga, French actresses seldom get any visibility and speaking out against racism put them at risk of being blacklisted, like the actor Luc Saint Eloi's unfortunate experience 20 years ago.

The red carpet moment was generally well received in France and in the rest of the world, with the main actresses getting large media coverage with features in Le Monde, Le Figaro and even Vogue U.S. The presidents of the Cannes Film Festival welcomed the actresses. No promises were made by any of the gatekeepers in French cinema, but the actresses were hopeful.

Since the book's release, the actresses have been busy working, some of them lucky enough to be able to portray fully fledged characters, others being reduced to play the "black woman" stereotype over and over again. Recently, one of them, Karidja Touré, well known for being in the film Girlhood, mentioned that she was pretty good at mimicking an "African accent." Semantics aside—and the fact that there is no such a thing as an African accent, as Africa is still not a country—it is pretty revealing: despite the wonderful coverage these actresses had, has the movement contributed to any change?

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Akwaeke Emezi's 'Freshwater' Is Being Developed Into a Series for FX

The adaptation is in early development as the Nigerian author teams up with screenwriter and director Tamara P. Carter to bring 'Freshwater' to life.

Akwaeke Emezi's debut, Freshwater, took the literary world by storm when it was released just last year.

We can now anticipate seeing the book be brought to live for TV. Their autobiographical novel is now in the early stages of being developed into a series for FX, Variety reports.

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