Screening Room: Tribeca Film Festival 2018

The Feeling of Being Watched

The 2018 edition of the Tribeca Film Festival just wrapped up over the weekend. I covered some of the fest’s varied documentary offerings for The Playlist, reviews here:

Screening Room: ‘Vaxxed,’ Film Fests, and Truth

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The Tribeca Film Festival, which has long been one of the country’s premier venues for new documentaries, ran into controversy recently when they pulled one of their films from the schedule. Vaxxed: From Coverup to Catastrophe is a documentary by Andrew Wakefield, one of the top pushers of the vaccines-cause-autism conspiracy theory. Not surprisingly, some people had a problem with this.

My article “Why the Tribeca Film Festival was Right to Pull Vaxxed‘ ran in the online edition of Little White Lies:

The argument to screen Vaxxed regardless of its relationship to the truth feels similar to that pushed by creationists who cloak their school agendas under the cloak of “teaching the controversy,” when in fact no actual controversy exists…

Tribeca Film Festival 2013: Dire Things

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The 2013 edition of the Tribeca Film Festival, which runs through this weekend, is starting off well. The planners are continuing their trend of paring down the offerings and focusing more on their strengths (on-point documentaries, the occasional high-profile indie drama or comedy) than trying to appeal to everybody with a scattershot program overly reliant on marquee names and red-carpet events.  The result is many stories about grim things, from Oxycontin abuse in Appalachia to the 1985 Philadelphia police’s fatal bombing of a radical group’s rowhouse.

I’ve been covering some of the first weekend’s films for PopMatters, here’s some of what was on offer:

  • The Project and Big Men — Mercenaries stumble in creating an anti-pirate militia in Puntland, while American wildcatters confront pitfalls aplenty in Ghana and Nigeria, in two documentaries examining crises in Africa.
  • Let the Fire Burn and The Kill Team — Two documentary autopsies of violent tragedies, the first in Philadelphia and the second in Kandahar, show the results of systematic dehumanization.
  • Oxyana and Bottled Up — A gritty documentary and fluffy comedy bring a similarly hardheaded sensibility to the invisible epidemic of pain pill addiction.

More to come.