Among the dozens of film festivals around the country, only one features a Bad Boy Entertainment reunion, a Bruce Springsteen sit-down and an Aladdin sing-along. In other words, the Tribeca Film Festival is a whole new world.
Oh, yes, there are movies too. Among the 98 screenings taking place between Wednesday, April 19, and Sunday, April 30, in downtown NYC: The Boy Downstairs, featuring Zosia Mamet as a heartbroken New Yorker hunting for an apartment; the Amanda Seyfried comedy The Clapper; and Pilgrimage, starring Tom Holland (that’s the new Spider-Man!) in a 13th-century Ireland-set period piece. As for documentaries, this year’s slate includes an ode to Whitney Houston (Whitney: Can I Be Me) and Anthony Bourdain’s take on food waste (Wasted! The Story of Food Waste). Meanwhile, Lena Dunham, director Kathryn Bigelow, Kobe Bryant, Scarlett Johansson and Barbra Streisand will sit down and open up in 2017’s Tribeca Talks series.
Here are our top six can’t-miss picks:
1. Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives (world premiere)
When: Wednesday, April 19; 7 p.m.
Where: Radio City Musical Hall
Tickets: $56-$281, radiocity.com
Tribeca’s 16th edition kicks off with this music documentary that centers on Clive Davis, a legendary producer who shaped the careers of the industry’s titans — including Billy Joel, TLC, Aerosmith and Whitney Houston. Based on his 2013 autobiography, the film shows Davis, a Brooklyn teen who lost both parents, become the man who founded Bad Boy Records with Sean Combs. Following the screening, some of Davis’ most beloved acts, including Aretha Franklin, Earth, Wind & Fire, Jennifer Hudson, Barry Manilow, Carly Simon and Dionne Warwick, will perform a tribute to the maestro.
2. I Am Heath Ledger (world premiere)
When: Sunday, April 23; 5 p.m.
Where: Spring Studios
Tickets: Rush only, available 45 minutes prior to start time
It seems hard to believe that nearly a decade has passed since Heath Ledger tragically died at age 28. Now the Oscar winner’s friends, such as ex-girlfriend Naomi Watts, Ben Harper, Emile Hirsch and Ang Lee, reveal their memories in this poignant documentary. The film will also look back on the 10 Things I Hate About You star’s burgeoning career — and features his own never-before-seen home movies. The directors and some of Ledger’s friends and family members will participate in a post-screening discussion.
3. Sean Diddy Combs' Can't Stop, Won't Stop: The Bad Boy Story (world premiere screening and concert)
When: Thursday, April 27; 8 p.m.
Where: Beacon Theatre
Tickets: $71-$356, beacontheatre.com
Puff Daddy, Diddy, P. Diddy, Sean Combs, whatever. Everyone knows that the mogul helped make '90s hip-hop go mainstream. The documentary goes behind the scenes of Diddy’s record label and follows the hit man as he reunites with his Bad Boy labelmates for a three-week rehearsal period ahead of two 2016 concerts at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Post-premiere, Puff Daddy and pals Mase, Lil Kim and Faith Evans will take the stage.
4. Aladdin Retrospective Screening
When: Saturday, April 29; 10 a.m.
Where: BMCC Tribeca PAC
You already got your Beauty and the Beast fix this year. Now it’s time to show the love for another '90s Disney classic. Brad Kane, who provided the singing vocals for the titular street rat-turned-prince, will perform a selection of favorites from the film. The family-friendly event honors the 25th anniversary (!) of Aladdin’s release.
5. Tribeca Talks: Bruce Springsteen with Tom Hanks
When: Friday, April 28; 5 p.m.
Where: Beacon Theatre
Tickets: $46-$106, beacontheatre.com
It’s a friendship cemented back in 1993, when Springsteen provided the Oscar-winning title track for Hanks’ film, Philadelphia. Now the icons will discuss the musician’s legendary 40-year career, his place in American history and what’s next for the “Born to Run” singer. There’s also buzz that Springsteen will make a special announcement during the interview. Hmmm. . . a sequel to his bestselling memoir?
6. Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather and The Godfather Part II Unprecedented Back-to-Back Screening with All-Star Cast Conversation
When: Saturday, April 29; 1 p.m.
Where: Radio City Music Hall
Tickets: $46-$131, radiocity.com
Watching two of the best films in American cinema history on the big screen is a thrill in itself. To top it off, stars Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire and Tribeca Film Festival cofounder Robert De Niro, along with director Francis Ford Coppola, will reunite on stage for the first time ever in a Q&A session to honor the crime saga’s 45th anniversary. Frankly, it’s an offer you can’t refuse.
(For more information on all the events, go to https://tribecafilm.com/festival)
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