European docs feature in Tribeca 2020 selection

European docs feature in Tribeca 2020 selection

Wake Up On Mars, directed by Dea Gjinovici and sold by CAT&Docs


Of the twelve films competing in Documentary Competition at Tribeca (April 15-26 2020), three are from Europe, or have part European involvement. These are: 


Wake Up On Mars (Réveil sur Mars, France, Switzerland), directed and written by Dea Gjinovci, a world premiere about two teenage sisters who lie in a vegetative state in the small Swedish home of their Kosovar family, the cause of their mysterious malady, known as “resignation syndrome,” entwined with their personal trauma experienced as refugees.


In the international premiere Wonderboy (France), directed and written by Anissa Bonnefont, French fashion house Balmain’s creative director Olivier Rousteing allows the camera to become his confidante as he embarks on a search for his birth mother, in this enchanting documentary about adoption and identity. 


In the world premiere Simple As Water (USA, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Germany), directed by Megan Mylan, we encounter closely observed fragments of lives cut between Turkey, Greece, Germany, and the U.S. Each unfolding scene portrays the elemental bonds holding together Syrian families pulled apart by war, searching for a new life. 


These films will compete for Best Documentary Feature, Best Editing in a Documentary Feature and Best Cinematography in a Documentary Feature.


In the Spotlight Documentary section, notable filmmakers and major stories are represented in this section through high-profile premieres. 


In The Art of Political Murder (UK, world premiere), directed by Paul Taylor, the shocking murder of human rights activist Bishop Juan Gerardi in the aftermath of the Guatemalan Civil War sets the scene for a powerful battle between justice and corruption in this political crime thriller. Executive Produced by George Clooney. 


Banksy Most Wanted (France, world premiere), directed and written by Aurélia Rouvier, Laurent Richard, Seamus Haley, asks the simple question of this artistic enigma. Who is Banksy? 


Helmut Newton: the Bad and the Beautiful (Germany, world premiere), directed and written by Gero von Boehm, features Catherine Deneuve, Grace Jones, Charlotte Rampling, Isabella Rossellini, Anna Wintour and others who give their take on legendary photographer Helmut Newton’s life, art, and legacy. A portrait of a man who was at once provocative, unconventional, subversive and genius in his depiction of women. 


Kubrick by Kubrick (France, world premiere), directed and written by Gregory Monro, is described as a rare and transcendent journey into the life and films of the legendary Stanley Kubrick, featuring a treasure trove of unearthed interview recordings from the master himself. 


Mike Figgis’ Somebody Up There Likes Me (UK, North American premiere) comprises a series of intimate conversations with Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, whose extraordinary music career placed him at the forefront of the British R&B explosion to rock ‘n’ roll stardom. With Ronnie Wood, Sally Wood, Imelda May, Damien Hirst, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Sir Rod Stewart and Charlie Watts.


In Yung Lean: In My Head (Sweden, world premiere), directed and written by Henrik Burman, when a Swedish teen rapper finds a rabid fanbase via the internet, international superstar Yung Lean is born. But as his fame grows, darkness settles in, blurring the line between reality and his own vivid imagination. 


The Viewpoints section includes narratives and documentaries and recognizes distinct voices in independent filmmaking by creating a home for bold directorial visions and embracing distinct characters or points of view. 


European doc interest is found in The State of Texas vs. Melissa (France, world premiere), Melissa Lucio was the first Hispanic woman sentenced to death in Texas. For ten years she has been awaiting her fate, and now faces her last appeal. Van Tassel’s documentary is the portrait of a woman against the entire system.


In the world premiere Stray, directed and written by Elizabeth Lo (Turkey, Hong Kong), we are brought into the world of Zeytin, a stray dog living life on the streets of Istanbul, delivering a deceptively simple and wonderfully touching journey of marginalization and resilience. 


In the Movies Plus section, is Kiss the Ground (USA, France, China, Uganda, Zimbabwe, world premiere), directed by Josh Tickell and Rebecca Tickell. A revolutionary group of activists, scientists, farmers, and politicians band together in a global movement of “Regenerative Agriculture” that could balance our climate, replenish our vast water supplies, and feed the world. Narrated by Woody Harrelson.


Other high profile (non-European) docs in Movie Plus section include Citizen Penn, directed and written by Don Hardy, about the activist work of actor Sean Penn following the devastating 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12 


Fries! The Movie, directed and written by Michael Steed and starring Malcolm Gladwell and Chrissy Teigen, takes the audience on a joyous and mouth-watering journey around the world to delve into everyone’s favorite fried food – the chip (or fry). 


In The Go-Go’s, director Alison Ellwood takes us on a nostalgic look back at the Go-Go’s rise to fame in the 80s all the way to today, as the band collaborates on new music for the first time in nineteen years. 


With Drawn Arms is directed by Glenn Kaino and Afshin Shahidi, and concerns the legendary 1968 gold medal-winning athlete Tommie Smith who iconically raised his fist in a symbol of black struggle and solidarity. In the film he looks back 50 years to the moment that helped define a movement and changed the course of his life forever. 



The Albert Maysles Award (Best New Documentary Director) will be awarded for first time feature directors in any section, and two feature films – one narrative and one documentary – will be selected to receive the Audience Award, the audience choice for best feature film. 


As previously announced, the 2020 Festival will open April 15 2020 with the world premiere of award-winning director Mary Wharton’s documentary Jimmy Carter Rock & Roll President.