Tribeca Film Festival 2018 Wrap-Up

by Adrienne McIlvaine (@mizocty)

It’s a good thing New York City never sleeps, because that’s pretty much the only way you’d ever be able to take in everything that Tribeca Film Festival has to offer. Over the past 17 years the downtown festival as transformed from co-founder Robert De Niro’s passion project meant to revitalize a devastated, post-9/11 downtown into an influential stop on the international film festival circuit.

This year’s edition, which took place from April 18-29, whittled down over 3,400 feature film and documentary submissions into just 99 films, while also including dozens of short narrative and non-fiction entries. And that’s not even getting into TFF’s ever-growing TV component, or its VR and AR-focused experiences, or the talks, concerts, and panels that covered everything from a 35th anniversary screening of Scarface with Michelle Pfieffer and Al Pacino to an emotionally powerful #TimesUp day of action. And as if to prove that anything can happen at Tribeca, I had a major celebrity encounter on the very first day while picking up my press badge at Spring Studios; I shared an elevator with none other than Antonio Banderas, who was there to promote his role as Pablo Picasso in the upcoming NatGeo series Genius.

Tribeca draws in critics and journalists from all over the world, but there’s something exciting about living just a few subway stops away from the temporary center of the city’s cinematic universe (which, to be fair, can be said of just about anything in New York). Probably the best perk of covering the festival as a local was the access to two weeks of pre-festival press screenings. It was a great time to branch out and see films like the charming pseudo-mockumentary Saint Bernard Syndicate (above), about a hapless Norwegian duo who seeks fame and fortune breeding St. Bernards in China; and You Shall Not Sleep, a Spanish-language psychological horror film that haunted me for days. Another standout was Duck Butter, a painfully intimate romantic drama that won Alia Shawkat (who also co-wrote the film) the honor of Best Actress, U.S. Narrative.

You Shall Not Sleep

Even though you could spend the entire festival doing nothing but watching movies, you’d be missing out on so much. I spent one raucous evening watching a never-before-seen episode of Comedy Central’s Drunk History while double-fisting Don Julio on the rocks, surrounded by fans who roared with recognition every time a new comedian appeared on screen; the subsequent conversation between series creator Derek Waters and frequent co-star Josh Charles was definitely well-lubricated, touching upon how they purposefully worked to foreground women both in front of the camera and behind it. And of the festival’s wide range of VR and AR offerings, the one that affected me the most was This is Climate Change, a harrowing four-part miniseries (also available as an app) that chronicled in devastating detail how our warming atmosphere is already wreaking havoc on Earth.

There’s a sense of camaraderie that flows through Tribeca (or maybe it was just the intoxicating smell of movie popcorn). While waiting in line for an early weekend screening of (deep breath) 7 Stages to Achieve Eternal Bliss by Passing Through the Gateway Chosen by the Holy Storsh (a flawed but funny comedy about cult ritual suicide) I talked with a few other patrons about films we’d seen and the ones we’d wished we had, teasing out new insights and making earnest recommendations.

Because even when you’ve just spent two weeks, eating, sleeping, and breathing movies, there’s always room for one more.

About The Author

Hiko Mitsuzuka
Entertainment Editor-at-Large

Hiko Mitsuzuka is a self-proclaimed pop culture connoisseur who resides in L.A. and obsesses over songs months before everyone else obsesses over them. He has worked in TV and commercial production ever since he left his native New York in the early 00s. He has worked at the world-renowned Anonymous Content and Carsey-Werner and freelanced as a treatment writer for award-winning directors as well as a contributing writer for 'Instinct.' In addition to writing about entertainment and travel for 'Bello,' Hiko can currently be seen in the roles of Manager of Creative Planning at Stun Creative (PromaxBDA's North America Agency of the Year, 2013, 2014, 2017), film critic for, and contributor for The Huffington Post. He's also currently working on the novel 'Slasher Movie Girl.' His obsessions include quoting old sitcom dialogue and stalking people on Instagram. His vices include chocolate chip cookies and movie theater popcorn. Tweet him @TheFirstEcho.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.