There are over 100 feature-length films screening at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. So, which to see? The Advocate compiled a list of 11 films with queer themes and characters that will be screening at the New York event, which runs April 13-24. From short films directed by Gael García Bernal to a documentary of a gay gang to the intrigue of true-crime podcasters to a drama starring Viola Davis, here are the relevant offerings of Tribeca. And for a full list of events and screenings, visit TribecaFilm.com
AWOL, directed by Deb Shoval, written by Deb Shoval and Karolina Waclawiak. (USA) — World Premiere, Narrative
Joey (Lola Kirke) is a young woman in search of direction in her small town. A visit to an army recruiting office appears to provide a path, but when she meets and falls in love with Rayna (Breeda Wool), that path diverges in ways that neither woman anticipates. Building on the award-winning short of the same name, director Deb Shoval crafts a clear-eyed love story and an impressive feature film debut.
Califórnia, directed by Marina Person, written by Marina Person, Mariana Veríssimo, and Francisco Guarnieri. (Brazil) — North American Premiere, Narrative
Nostalgic, sweet, and at moments poignantly funny, Califórnia is a coming-of-age tale about a high school student, Estela, growing up in São Paulo in the 1980s. Estela is doing all she can to get to California to visit her glamorous and cultured uncle. While she is focused on keeping her grades up, her life is complicated by romance, sex, and social pressures. With Clara Gallo, Caio Blat, and Caio Horowicz. In Portuguese with subtitles.
haveababy, directed by Amanda Micheli. (USA) — World Premiere, Documentary
Amanda Micheli’s haveababy opens with a YouTube-based competition for a free round of in vitro fertilization, courtesy of a Las Vegas fertility clinic. Through this controversial contest, Micheli explores the complexities of America's burgeoning fertility industry and paints an intimate portrait of the many resilient couples determined to have a baby against all odds.
Madly, directed and written by Gael García Bernal, Mia Wasikowska, Sebastian Silva, Anurag Kashyap, Sion Sono, and Natasha Khan. (Argentina, Australia, USA, India, Japan, UK) — World Premiere, Narrative
Madly is an international anthology of short films exploring love in all its permutations. Directed by some of the most vibrant filmmakers working today, the six stories in Madly portray contemporary love in all its glorious, sad, ecstatic, empowering, and erotic manifestations. With Radhika Apte, Satyadeep Misra, Adarsh Gourav, Kathryn Beck, Lex Santos, Mariko Tsutsui, Yuki Sakurai, Ami Tomite, Justina Bustos, Pablo Seijo, Tamsin Topolski. In English, Hindi, Japanese, and Spanish with subtitles.
Memories of a Penitent Heart, directed by Cecilia Aldarondo. (USA, Puerto Rico) — World Premiere, Documentary
Like many gay men in the 1980s, Miguel moved from Puerto Rico to New York City; he found a career in theater and a rewarding relationship. Yet on his deathbed he grappled to reconcile his homosexuality with his Catholic upbringing. Now, decades after his death, his niece Cecilia locates Miguel’s estranged lover to understand the truth and in the process opens up long-dormant family secrets. In English and Spanish with subtitles.
Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four, directed by Deborah S. Esquenazi. (USA) — World Premiere, Documentary
In 1994 four women were tried four and convicted of a heinous assault on two young girls in a court case that was infused with homophobic prejudice and the satanic panic sweeping the nation at that time. Southwest of Salem is a fascinating true-crime story that puts the trial of the San Antonio Four in context of their ongoing search for exoneration.
Women Who Kill, directed and written by Ingrid Jungermann. (USA) — World Premiere
Morgan and Jean work well together as true-crime podcasters because they didn’t work well at all as a couple. When Morgan strikes up a new relationship with the mysterious Simone, their shared interest turns into suspicion, paranoia, and fear. Ingrid Jungermann’s whip-smart feature debut is an adept and wry comedy about modern romance’s hollow results, set in an LGBT Brooklyn. With Ingrid Jungermann, Ann Carr, Sheila Vand, Shannon O'Neill, Annette O'Toole, and Grace Rex.
Check It, directed by Dana Flor and Toby Oppenheimer. (USA) — World Premiere, Documentary
Fed up with being abused and harassed on the brutal inner-city streets of Washington, D.C., a group of gay and trans teens form a gang to fight back. This raw and intimate portrait follows four Check It members as they struggle to find a way out of gang life through an unlikely avenue: fashion.
Custody, directed and written by James Lapine. (USA) — World Premiere, Narrative
Legal and intimate family dynamics dovetail in Custody. Starring Viola Davis as an embattled family court judge with a fraught marriage of her own; Hayden Panettiere as a recent law-school grad flung into a custody case; and Catalina Sandino Moreno as the single mother at the center of the case who risks losing her two children over an ill-timed argument. With Tony Shalhoub, Raul Esparza, Dan Fogler, and Ellen Burstyn.
Strike a Pose, directed and written by Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan. (Netherlands) — North American Premiere, Documentary
To the fans, they were the unforgettably talented men who supported the career of one of the world's most beloved and controversial music artists: Madonna. Behind the scenes they were an impressionable group of young dancers whose lives were forever changed by her influence. Strike a Pose reunites the men 25 years later, providing the chance to learn about the emotional truth behind the glamorous facade.
King Cobra, directed and written by Justin Kelly. (USA) — World Premiere, Narrative
This ripped-from-the-headlines drama covers the early rise of gay-porn headliner Sean Paul Lockhart (Garrett Clayton), a.k.a. Brent Corrigan, before his falling-out with the producer (Christian Slater) who made him famous. When Sean decides he’d be better off as a free agent, a cash-strapped pair of rival producers (James Franco and Keegan Allen) aim to cash in by any means possible. With Alicia Silverstone and Molly Ringwald.