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

These 7 Feature Films Helmed by Black Directors Will Be Premiering at Tribeca 2019

The 18th edition of the prestigious film festival kicks off in April.

The Tribeca Film Festival will return to New York very soon, showcasing work from emerging and notable talent in the global film world.


In it's 18th year, the festival has shared what we can anticipate in their feature program, including stories in feature-length and documentary formats that cover comedy, politics, social commentary, music and more. Tribeca had to narrow down the program from over 9,000 submissions to feature 103 films from 124 filmmakers. Out of the total film, 29 percent are helmed by directors of color—which includes seven black filmmakers.

"Every festival is shaped by and reflective of its community, and we are fortunate that our hometown just happens to be the most diverse city on Earth," says Cara Cusumano, Tribeca's festival director, in a statement. "So our curatorial mandate is to bring to the screens a cinematic celebration—in only 100 features—whose breadth of stories and storytellers is as prismatic and adventurous, local and global, diverse and inclusive as our incredible city."

Check out the seven feature narratives and documentaries helmed by black directors you can't miss, with synopses from Tribeca, below.

The 2019 Tribeca Film Festival runs from April 24 to May 5—find out more information here.

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.

Director + Writer: Phillip Youmans

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

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 Marbury reveals that often life is about the journey, not the destination—and the unexpected places your dreams may take you.

Directors + Writers: Chike Ozah and Coodie Simmons

Producers: Nina Yang Bongiovi, Forest Whitaker and Jason Samuels

World Premiere

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.

Director: Antoine Fuqua

Writer: Steven Leckart

Producer: Sean Stuart

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.

Director + Writer: Stella Meghie.

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

New York 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.

Directors: Lisa Cortés + Farah X

Producer: Lisa Cortés

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

SEE YOU YESTERDAY

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.

Director: Stefon Bristol

Writers: Stefon Bristol and Fredrica Bailey

Producers: Spike Lee, Jason Sokoloff and Matt Myers

World Premiere

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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