The 18th edition of the Tribeca Film Festival is set to take over downtown Manhattan on April 24 through May 5, and the 100-plus movies that will be showcased at the annual affair tackle a variety of genres and topics.
From much-anticipated documentaries to highly advertised feature films dealing with themes that have resonated within society both politically and culturally throughout the year, the 2019 lineup looks as stellar as ever.
Although there is still much ground to cover, the changing landscape of the industry makes itself apparent more than ever today: 40% of the feature films showcased are directed by women, 29% by people of color and 13% by LGBTQIA.
Here are the 20 productions we’re most excited to catch:
1. The Apollo
Oscar winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams is behind this documentary that takes a deeper look at the history of the iconic venue in New York City, which will host the world-premiere of the screening and kick off the year’s festival. The film also explores the first stage production of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me.
2. The Quiet One
The film focuses on artist and original bassist for the Rolling Stones Bill Wyman, dubbed a “man of few words.” Expect to take a peek behind his personal archives, filled with photographs, memorabilia and unseen footage, in addition to interviews with family and friends.
3. A Day in the Life of America
Actor Jared Leto puts on his director hat for this documentary that features footage from all 50 American states over the Fourth of July, creating an all-encompassing view of the country.
Christoph Waltz’s directorial debut centers around Ulrich Mott, an “eccentric social climber” that “throws lavish parties with his much-older wife.” The film stars the director himself alongside Vanessa Redgrave, who plays Waltz’s wife, and Annette Bening, his wife’s daughter.
Margot Robbie plays Allison Wells, a fugitive bank robber with a bounty on her head. Finn Cole sees her capture and the money he’d receive from that bounty as the only way to save his family’s farm, which is on the brink of foreclosure.
6. American Woman
This fictional drama is inspired by the much-chronicled 1974 kidnapping of heiress Patricia Hearst, who was 19 years old when taken from her apartment in Berkeley, California and beaten by an urban guerilla group called the Symbionese Liberation Army. Mad Men producer Semi Chellas’ directorial debut is a fictionalized retelling of Hearst’s time in hiding.
Freida Pinto and Leslie Odom Jr. star in this post-apocalyptic love story about a mysterious plague that only affects females.
8. Framing John DeLorean
Framing John DeLorean focuses on the infamous auto executive whose company crashed in the ’80s following corruption- and drug-related charges. Alec Baldwin stars as the titular character.
9. Come to Daddy
Elijah Wood is the star of this thriller: after a suicide attempt and heavy drug usage, he ventures out to his estranged father’s waterfront home in the hopes of reconnecting with him. But, upon his arrival, he notices strange things happening.
10. Standing Up, Falling Down
Ben Schwartz and Billy Crystal play two parts of an unlikely friendship between a stand-up comedian and a dermatologist in Long Island in this comedy directed by Matt Ratner.
11. Ask Doctor Ruth
Dr. Ruth Westheimer, now 90, is the subject of this documentary by Ryan White exploring her career as a celebrity sex therapist and, even more interestingly, her life as a Holocaust survivor.
12. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Following Netflix’s successful documentary about serial killer Ted Bundy, this new film chronicles Bundy’s crimes from the perspective of his longtime girlfriend Liz (Lily Collins). Zac Efron stars as Bundy himself.
13. I Want My MTV
Explore the launch and early days of the culture-defining, music-centric network MTV in this documentary by Tyler Meason and Patrick Waldrop. Executives, musicians and veejays who were part of the 1981 launch and beyond appear on-camera for interviews.
14. The Kill Team
An unlikely duo, Alexander Skarsgård and Nat Wolff, play American soldiers in Afghanistan in this true crime thriller directed by Dan Krauss.
In Luce, Octavia Spencer plays an “overbearing teacher” whose perspective on Luce, one of his students, is shattered after an “unsettling essay” that he pens. Tim Roth and Naomi Watts play Luce’s adoptive parents.
16. Other Music
Now permanently closed, Other Music was a record store in New York’s West Village that, for 20 years, also functioned as a cultural and neighborhood staple. This documentary chronicles its history by featuring bands the likes of the Strokes, Vampire Weekend and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Already heavily marketed and picked up for distribution by Universal Pictures, Yesterday imagines a world with no Beatles. Academy Award-winning director Danny Boyle directs Himesh Patel as a struggling singer-songwriter in England who appropriates Beatles’ songs when nobody else knows about their existence. The result? Life-shattering fame, of course.
18. Safe Spaces
Adjunct professor Josh (Justin Long) is dealing with a budding romance, a class of college students and his grandmother’s illness in this comedy also starring Fran Drescher and Richard Schiff.
19. After Parkland
Spend 90 minutes witnessing the immediate aftermath of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that shook the country to its core. The documentary features footage with both students and their parents.
20. Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston
Learn about the rise and fall of Halston, dubbed America’s “first celebrity designer” and a staple of the city’s nightlife scene. Billy Joel, Anjelica Huston, Diane von Furstenberg and Liza Minnelli are just some of the many people featured in interviews.