J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Tribeca ’14: Family and Community Events

You have to give credit to the Tribeca Film Festival. They will bring both Mr. Met and Scooter the Holy Cow, the Mascot of the Yankee’s Staten Island Single-A farm team to lower Manhattan for their Tribeca/ESPN Sports Day. That is covering the bases. Families on a budget will also appreciate the diverse community events once again programmed by the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.

As one would expect, several of the film event involve screenings, since this is a film festival. For the first time ever, Tribeca is launching the Film For All Friday. All tickets on April 25th will be completely free, while they last. However, fest regulars know the Tribeca Drive-In is the place for free communal film-going, starting this Thursday (4/17) with Disney’s Mary Poppins, a film very much on cineastes minds’ following the recent Oscar-snubbing of Emma Thompson’s acclaimed turn in Saving Mr. Banks. Released fifty years ago (in late August, but who’s counting), it remains the definitive cinematic portrayal of chimney sweeping.

On Friday (4/18), Tribeca celebrates another anniversary marking thirty years of Ron Howard’s Splash. Arguably the definitive fantasy rom-com of the 1980s (featuring a score composed by Lee Holdridge), it showcased breakout work from Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah, but it was the late great John Candy who really made it special. In honor of the theme, the Coney Island Mermaid Parade’s Tails of Glory dancers will give a special performance before the show.

Shifting gears, the Drive-In will present the world premiere of Next Goal Wins on Saturday (4/19). Chronicling the efforts of the American Samoan soccer team, ranked dead last in the world, to qualify for the World Cup, or at least finally score a goal, Mike Brett & Steve Jamison’s documentary is one of several soccer/football films screening at this year’s festival. For early arrivers, there will be Samoan drumming performances before the screening. All Drive-In screenings are free, but on a first come, first served basis. Doors open at 6:00 and the films start at dusk (estimated around 8:15).

Although not part of the Drive-In, Tribeca will also present a free family screening of The Wizard of Oz, celebrating its 75th anniversary on Saturday the 26th. Lines for tickets start thirty minutes before the screening at BMCC in Tribeca proper. On that same day, the Tribeca Family Screening series will also include Listening is an Act of Love, the first full length animated special from the StoryCorps oral history project, including four new stories and two old favorites: the gleefully funny Miss Devine and the bittersweet No More Questions (review here). The Rauch Brothers have a real facility for matching the expressions of their animated figures to the recorded interviews and the subject matter is always A-OK for family viewers.

In between ticketed family screenings, patrons can check out events at the annual Tribeca Family Street Fair on Greenwich. There will be plenty of interactive movie-making activities, the Games for Change public arcade, and performances from current Broadway shows, including the massively swinging After Midnight and appropriately for sports movie fans, Rocky.

Shrewdly, Tribeca has developed a festival-leading reputation for sports programming and they continue the tradition again this year. In addition to the Tribeca/ESPN slate of sports films, the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Day returns on April 26th. There will be plenty of contest, giveaways, and skills tests sponsored by the likes of the NY Rangers, NY Jets, NY Liberty, and NY Mets (with Mr. Met in attendance from noon to 1:00—he’s a busy dude, you know). And Scooter too.

Tribeca has always conscientiously reached out to the community, broadening the film festival experience for many who ordinarily might not be able to afford it. After all, many New Yorkers are still struggling with high local rents, a sluggish economy, and now perhaps even fines for their insurance status. At least, they can get some free entertainment and exercise for the kids during the festival. Tribeca starts this Thursday (4/17) and runs through Sunday (4/27). Look for reviews to start going up here later in the week.

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