Preview: Tribeca Film Festival

The 21st edition of New York’s Tribeca Film Festival gets underway with an impressive mix of screenings, retrospectives, immersive experiences and talks. With 109 feature films from 40 countries – plus 88 world premieres and an impressive programme of short films – it’s a wide-ranging selection, with both an in person and virtual component. The biggest draw this year will be the 50th anniversary screening of The Godfather, complete with an introduction from one of its stars, Al Pacino. Michael Mann’s 1995 crime classic, Heat, will also screen, followed by a fascinating live discussion between the director and his two leads, Pacino, and Tribeca co-founder Robert De Niro.

There is also plenty to soak up elsewhere, with a fantastic array of short films, including several by ASFF alumni. In the Sink or Swim programme, you’ll find Fireworks by Paul Franklin, the two-time Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor and guest speaker at ASFF in 2020. Marking Franklin’s second short film as a director, Fireworks stars Charlotte Riley and is set in an MI6 Ops Room. This is a truly tense thriller is laced with dark humour and uses cutting edge Virtual Production technology to tell its story.

Meanwhile, Whoopi Goldberg curates this year’s Animated Shorts section. In the mix you will find Peter Sluszka’s latest project, Hardboiled. Back in 2013, he brought his Bat for Lashes music video, ‘Lilies’, to ASFF. In a slight gear-change, his new stop-motion comedy satirises the classic American crime movie. Judy Greer and Anne Heche are amongst the stars who’ve lent their voices to the foodie characters.

Over on Tribeca’s Online Premieres, Hugh Clegg’s ASFF 2021 Official Selection short, It Feels Personal, dives into the world of social media. The desktop documentary begins when Hugh finds out that his video has been stolen and turned into a viral meme by an anonymous TikToker. So he decides to do what any self-respecting filmmaker would do and embarks on an internet odyssey to attempt to find the thief.

Finally, Humberto Flores Jáuregui’s Fifth of June, which also played at ASFF 2021, receives its North American premiere in the Condicion Humana strand. The film reflects upon police brutality in Mexico, drawing on a real-life event. In June 2020, hundreds of Mexicans marched in Guadalajara to demand justice for the death of Giovanni López, who was killed by police officers. The group were then illegally detained. In the film, a group of youngsters are kidnapped by the same forces they were trying to protest.


The Tribeca Film Festival takes place in New York between 8-19 June.

James Mottram