Doordash’s “Beyond The Dash” program probes that with the right support, it’s Dashers are capable of anything.
“Good Luck to You, Leo Grande” puts viewers up close and intimate with the two leads as they get, well, intimate.
Emma Thompson plays Nancy, a widow looking to ignite a fulfilling sex life she never had by hiring a sex worker. Almost the entirety of the film takes place in one room with those two characters.
Thompson spoke to the Knockturnal at the red carpet premiere at Tribeca Festival. “That’s the thing that frightened us more than anything,” Thompson said of the limited space they had to work as actors. She continued, “We had to make this so dramatic and so interesting and exciting and dynamic and pleasurable and painful, touching — all of these things. And it has to hold the audience. If it doesn’t hold the audience, if there’s one single moment when the audience goes, ‘you know what, did I leave the oven on?’ — it’s over.”
Director Sophie Hyde also acknowledged the challenges of holding the audience’s attention in such a small and intimate setting. “You realize there’s this challenge of one room trying to make it cinematic, trying to make it pleasurable for an audience and move through that amount of time,” said Hyde. “I think we trusted the script and the actors to try to create something between them in the dialogue and also the movement and the touch that felt compelling.”
Considering the intimate subject nature of what’s on screen, she said the cast and crew took steps to create as consensual an environment as possible. “The ideas of consent that we see on the screen with this are also the way we think about the material and how to work with actors,” said Hyde. “All the time it needs to be ongoing and continuous and enthusiastic consent.”
The film depicts sex between an older woman and a younger man. Through the sexual relationship, Thompson’s character comes to terms with aging, retirement and an unfulfilled sex life. “Personally I think that all the work I’ve ever done has been leading to this movie,” Thompson said. “If I hadn’t done all the work I’ve done I wouldn’t have the skills that I needed.”
This past Wednesday, the Tribeca Film Festival hosted the Tribeca X event, co-sponsored by Roku, at the Indeed Theater at Spring Studios. Tribeca X “celebrates the intersection of advertising and entertainment and honors the creators and brands who share a love of creativity and a mission to connect with consumers through the power of storytelling.” It was an afternoon filled with in-person conversations with panels on different areas relating to advertising and media. Each conversation brought together “industry leaders from brands and agencies to examine the landscape of branded entertainment and recognize the achievements of companies and creators who are adventurous and distinctive in their work.”
I had the chance to sit in on the day’s conversation, which included breakfast and networking lunch, and hear all about the amazing work that is done at the intersection between business and entertainment. It is after all referred to as the entertainment business.
Some of the Tribeca X panels and topics of conversation were as follows:
OKX Global CMO Haider Rafique in Conversation with Samantha Barry featuring Haider Rafique and moderated by Samantha Barry
Designing a Diverse Future Presented by Nike Inc featuring Brandice Daniel and Dr. D’Wayne Edwards and moderated by Jarvis Sam.
Dear Santa: From X to ABC featuring Dana Nachman, Chris Karpenko, and Jennifer Donohue and moderated by Brendan Gaul
A Whole New Ball Game: How Sports Is Driving the Creator Economy featuring Saquon Barkley and CC Sabathia and moderated byRich Kleinman
Advancing the Culture and Currency Through Inclusive Storytelling, featuring Marc Pritchard, Zoey Martinson, Don Jackson, and LL Cool J and moderated by Rose Pierre- Louis.
Other presentations were also by Converse, Roku, and Mast- Jägermeister US.
Panelists discussed their continued faith in cryptocurrency (Rafique), turning a documentary into a docuseries to be premiered on Hulu (Dear Santa), and their efforts to widen the screen and further the efforts of storytelling in marginalized communities (P&G), among many other topics. Many of the companies discussed their efforts both financially and in messaging by working with marginalized creators to expand the scope of storytelling in today’s world. It was humbling and fulfilling to know that more people are being given the opportunity and the access to showcase their talents on a larger scale, many of them with little feedback from these larger companies.
Also during the event, there was an awards ceremony to recognize some of the outstanding participants in Tribeca X. The awards “recognize the achievements of companies and creators who share a mission to connect with consumers through the power of storytelling. Tribeca X celebrates the best story-driven filmmakers and brand collaborations of the year in four categories: Feature Film, Short Film, Series, and Immersive.”
Full Winners List:
The Beauty of Blackness (Sephora)
Directed by Kianna Moore, Tiffany Johnson
The Comeback (Apple)
Directed by Zhang Meng
Stories About Helpful People (Zendesk)
Directed by Sindha Agha, Erin Brethauer, Tim Hussin
Emerging Radiance (Meta)
Created by Tani Ikeda, Michelle Kumata
According to Larry Wilmore, accountants are indeed funny.
Wilmore plays the accountant to the eponymous Jerry Selbee in the Bryan Cranston and Annette Benning film “Jerry and Marge Go Large.” It’s based off a Huffington Post feature about a real life retiree who figures out a way to turn his local lottery odds in his favor.
“This story is about this guy that beat this thing with math,” Wilmore told The Knockturnal on the Tribeca Film Festival red carpet. “It’s a nerds winning type of story.”
When asked how he brought levity to a putatively humorless occupation, he pushed back, citing a counter example. “Jack Lemmon played [an accountant] in the ‘Apartment’ and he was kinda funny,” he said. “I was just working off of [Cranston and Benning]. The part was written funny. I had a lot of funny lines. It’s me just really reacting to Jerry being ridiculous with the whole lottery thing.”
More than just a funny movie, Wilmore characterizes the story as inspiring — especially during cynical times. “When I read the script a year ago it was in the drudgery of the pandemic. PTSD was already in full effect,” he said. “He didn’t just do it for himself. He didn’t care about the money. He included the whole town in it and everyone got to share. That was so inspiring to somebody not thinking about themselves.”
Following the success of the first season, Hillman Grad Productions and Indeed partnered up again to launch Season Two of their Rising Voices filmmaker initiative at Tribeca Film Festival. This past week, Emmy winner Lena Waithe (“The Chi”, “Master of None”, BEAUTY, Founder of Hillman Grad) and partner Rishi Rajani (CEO of Hillman Grad), as well as Chris Hyams (CEO of Indeed) and LaFawn Davis (SVP of ESG at Indeed) were joined by the ten BIPOC filmmakers who were chosen as this season’s cohort. This season’s ten cohorts were: Cara Lawson, Gbenga Komolafe, Georgia Fu, Jalmer Caceres, Justin Floyd, Leon Cheo, Tara Motamedi, Travis Wood, Shanrica Evans, and Urvashi Pathania. At the Tribeca event, each filmmaker’s finished short film about “the power and impact a job can have on someone’s life” was premiered to a full audience.
The Rising Voices initiative was created “to uncover, invest in and share stories created by BIPOC filmmakers. Indeed’s goal with the Rising Voices initiative, is to expand the creation of sustainable job opportunities for talented underrepresented creatives and through their partnership with Lena Waithe and Hillman Grad Productions, they have been able to accomplish that with over 1,000 jobs created through the program since its inception.” Each filmmaker was awarded a $10,000 writing fee, $100,000 production budget, a line crew provided by Hillman Grad and 271 Films, an additional $25,000 COVID safety budget, and mentorship from this season’s mentors Calmatic, Destin Daniel Cretton, Justin Chon, Rayka Zehtabchi, and Melina Matsoukas. Eventually, one filmmaker will be selected by Indeed for showcasing the power and meaning of work in their film, and this filmmaker will receive an additional $100,000 as a non-exclusive filmmaker-in-residence, creating work for Indeed.
On the carpet ahead of the screening, I was able to speak to Lafawn as well as a few of the filmmakers about their journey. You can see clips of what they had to say below.
All ten short films from Rising Voices are available to watch here.
As a young woman in the entertainment industry, I’ve found myself having the most brilliant experiences with mentors who have experience in the worlds that I am passionate about. When I heard about Indeed’s Rising Voices Mentorship program, I couldn’t have been more excited to hear about the participants of the program, their stories, and the films that they’ve created. On Tuesday, Tribeca festival hosted a brilliantly insightful panel with four young women, mentors and filmmakers alike.
Indeed Rising Voices is an inspiring program from both Hillman Grad, a production company founded by Lena Waithe, and Indeed, the world’s number one job site, that, “aims to discover, invest in and share stories created by BIPOC filmmakers & storytellers around the power and meaning of work.” The program gives opportunities to those who have stories to share, and in turn is helping to create the next generation of filmmakers by giving them the tools to create work that inspires.
Moderated by Lacy Lew Nguyen Wright of Hillman Grad Foundation, the panel included 4 young women who discussed the importance of mentorship and creating connections.
The panel included Rayka Zehtabchi, an Oscar-winning Iranian-American director based in Los Angeles, Stacy Pascal Gaspard, who is passionate about sharing her Afrolatin-Caribbean culture and her passion for dance on the big screen, and Constanza and Doménica Castro, sister filmmakers from Mexico City and founders of 271 Films, a creative production company based in Los Angeles.
Rayka Zehtabchi’s Oscar-winning short, Period. End of Sentence tells the story of group of village women in Northern India who start a sanitary pad-making business, and in doing so they begin efforts to de stigmatize periods. The film is incredible and Zehtabchi talked about her journey to getting to the point of it’s creation, along with winning the academy award. She talked about being at a place where she felt like she was launched into everything that was happening and finding mentors and people around her with similar experiences helped to ground her. Stacy Pascal Gaspard told her story of winning Indeed’s competition, and entering it just a week before the deadline and then having the opportunity to have people around her help get the film to be exactly what she envisioned. Her film was the story of her caribbean grandmother, and she talked about how proud she would be of her to see her granddaughter presenting this film at Tribeca.
Hear more about Indeed’s Rising Voices and all of the amazing panelists here!
Good Girl Jane exposes the things lost in translation between reality and film.
The awkwardness in intimacy. The stumbles, the tripping over words and feelings. The whole range of human complexities located in a teenage life.
First time feature director Sarah Elizabeth Mintz based the film on her experience as a freshman in high school getting wrapped up with drugs and toxic relationships. The feature expands on a 2017 short film of the same name, created as a proof of concept for the intended feature project.
The eponymous Jane is a high school loner. As a salve, she turns to drugs and their attendant crowd. She falls in love with her drug dealer. The relationship is…abusive, formative, grooming, damaging…it’s…complicated.
What stands out is Mintz’s ability to let scenes breathe. Cutting her teeth as an assistant to director Alejandro Inarritu on 2015’s “The Revenant,” it’s apparent she has an affinity and a skill for the unbroken long shot, which is the Inarritu staple.
And that’s where those “lost in translation” things shine. By not calling cut, Mintz forces you to see every little thing that transpires between point A and B — the imperfections, ugliness and beauty of it all.
But then those moments of long, deep breathes can wind you into exasperated sighs. Intimacy becomes sadness porn. Conversations devolve into teenage girl diary screeds — which is essentially what the film is and what makes it feel so authentic but at times much too maudlin to be enjoyable.
Hopelessness and depression is at the core of the movie. That’s Mintz’s story. And it works — for the most part. But when the beats of intense melancholy hit too hard, stretch beyond our limits as a sympathetic audience, the movie gets weighed down, compressing the breath that makes Mintz such a promising filmmaker.
My last film for Tribeca 2021, and of course, it’s a weird one.
Losing one’s humanity is a common theme in war films.
False Positive (2021) directed by John Lee and written by Lee and Ilana Glazer, and story by Alissa Nutting, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in their Spotlight Narrative section.
The film follows Lucy (Ilana Glazer) and her husband Adrian (Justin Theroux) as their struggle to get pregnant continues. Adrian, a doctor, suggests they visit his old teacher Dr. Hindle (Pierce Brosnan) who happens to be one of the best fertility doctors in the country. Soon, Dr.Hindle’s special fertility treatment works and Lucy becomes pregnant. Initially, a joyful experience, as she continues to be seen by Dr. Hindle, she grows increasingly paranoid and suspicious of the doctor, a concern she shares with another mom-to-be and friend, Corgan (Sophia Bush). Lucy also fixates on a midwife she comes across Grace (Zainab Jah). What follows is a wicked web of unending questions reminiscent of Rosemary’s Baby, that leads Lucy to uncover the truth behind Dr. Hindle and his practice.
The film premieres on Hulu, Friday, June 25th.