Roger Michell's remake of 2014's 'Silent Heart' also features Mia Wasikowska and Sam Neill.
Roger Michell's Blackbird will get its European premiere as the opening film at this year's 67th edition of the San Sebastian International Film Festival, which runs Sept. 20-Sept. 28.
The U.S.-U.K. co-production is a remake of the 2014 drama Silent Heart Stille Hjerte by Danish director Bille August, which competed in San Sebastian and won a Silver Shell Award for best actress for Paprika Steen.
San Sebastian's 1995 Donostia Prize recipient Susan Sarandon stars alongside Kate Winslet, Mia Wasikowska and Sam Neill in the drama scripted by Silent Heart writer Christian Torpe. Sarandon plays a terminally ill woman who wants to put an end to her suffering, but the discovery by her daughters Winslet and Waskikowski of family secrets complicates the situation.
South Africa-born filmmaker Michell's previous works include Notting Hill, Changing Lanes, 2013 San Sebastian competitor Le Week-End, Titanic Town and My Night with Reg.
The film, distributed in Spain by DeAPlaneta and handled internationally by Millennium Films, will screen at the festival's opening gala on Sept. 20.
Last year's opening film was Argentine Juan Vera's directorial debut, An Unexpected Love, starring Ricardo Darin across his son Chino Darin.
The festival has previously announced titles for this year's official selection, as well as its New Directors, Pearls and Latin Horizons sidebars.
Industry sidebars in San Sebastian include the Europe-Latin American Co-Production Forum, development-oriented Films in Progress and Glocal in Progress, and the new technology selection Zinemaldia & Technology, among others.
Penelope Cruz, previously announced as a lifetime achievement Donostia Prize recipient, graces this year's official poster for the festival. Mexican director Roberto Gavaldon will be the subject of a retrospective.
Another Donostia Prize winner will be unveiled on Friday.
oronto Film Festival co-heads Joana Vicente and Cameron Bailey have set Joaquin Phoenix to receive a TIFF Tribute Actor Award on Monday, September 9 at Fairmont Royal York. Fest previously designated Meryl Streep for the honor. Phoenix will be there for the North American premiere of the Todd Phillips-directed Warner Bros film Joker, the formative story of the iconic villain played memorably in Batman films by Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and Jared Leto. Streep will be in Toronto for the Steven Soderbergh-directed Netflix film The Laundromat.
Phoenix’ 35-year career has plenty of performances worth celebrating, including The Master, Inherent Vice, Walk the Line, Gladiator, To Die For, and Her. He has been nominated for three Oscars.
“Displaying both raw instinct and consummate technical skill, Joaquin Phoenix is the complete actor, and one of the finest in contemporary cinema,” said Bailey. “Over three decades, he has brought a piercing truth to each groundbreaking role. TIFF is thrilled to be celebrating an artist of his calibre with this inaugural award. We can't wait for Festival audiences to experience his electric turn in Joker.”
Sundance-winner Lauren Greenfield's film 'The Kingmaker' looks into the controversial life of the former First Lady of the Philippines.
Corruption, extravagance — and maybe even those famous 3,000 pairs of shoes — will come under the spotlight when a documentary about Imelda Marcos, the Philippines' controversial former first lady, makes its world premiere at this month's Venice Film Festival.
The Kingmaker, helmed and written by Sundance winner Lauren Greenfield The Queen of Versailles and produced by Showtime Documentary Films, looks at the “indomitable character and controversial political career” of Marcos through “unprecedented access, including one-on-one interviews and verite footage,” according to the filmmakers.
The now-90-year-old Marcos is widely acknowledged to have been a driving force behind the 21-year reign of her husband, Ferdinand, who died at age 72 in 1989, having fled to Hawaii.
While digging into the Marcos family's storied history of corruption, the filmmakers say The Kingmaker also focuses on Marcos' current campaign to guide her 61-year-old son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to the Philippines' vice presidency.
Marcos' own political career only came to an end in November last year when she was convicted on graft and corruption charges and so banned from taking office. She has appealed against the convictions and is currently out on bail.
“The story of Imelda Marcos, past and present, has achieved an exceptional level of relevance in The Kingmaker,” Vinnie Malhotra, executive vp nonfiction programming, Showtime Networks Inc., said in a statement released Wednesday.
He added: “Lauren Greenfield's tireless efforts give dimension to a figure who has at once fascinated and vexed not only the people of the Philippines, but people worldwide. The result is as riveting as it is enlightening.”
The Kingmaker has been produced for Showtime by Frank Evers of Evergreen Pictures. After a yet-to-be-decided premiere date at Venice, which runs Aug. 28-Sept. 7, an additional festival rollout is expected in the upcoming months, and a theatrical release expected this fall with a world television premiere on Showtime set for early 2020.
Marcos has remained a fascination in the Philippines since her husband's fall from grace in 1986, and has previously been the focus of Ramona S. Diaz's Sundance winner Imelda 2003, which the former first lady had banned in her homeland before it went on to become a box office hit.
The Venice Film Festival has added Birth Of A Nation filmmaker Nate Parker’s American Skin to its Sconfini section, a move that is likely to draw increased attention to the Lido event. The drama about police violence and racism in America, is directed, written by and stars Parker and is his first feature since news of rape allegations from his college days surfaced during the release of Birth Of A Nation in 2016. Parker had stood trial in 1999 and was acquitted of the charges, but the controversy derailed Birth Of A Nation.
In American Skin, Parker plays Lincoln Jefferson, a Marine veteran, and now a janitor at a prestigious junior high school in California, who is trying to mend his relationship with his son after his divorce. One day, during a routine police check, the boy is killed, but the officer guilty of shooting him is declared innocent without having to face trial. Disheartened for having been denied due process, Lincoln takes the entire police station hostage, and stages a trial in which the members of the jury are the inmates and common people, acting in the stead of government to finally bring justice to his son.
The premiere of American Skin will be attended by Spike Lee, the festival said. Lee will present the film together with Parker and the two will hold a discussion post-screening. Lee today praised Parker, saying he “has concocted a brave tour de force. I haven’t been affected by a film like this on so many levels in a long, long time. It is my hope and prayer that the movie audience will understand this battle between love and hate, which has divided our world. Bravo Nate, bravo.”
Set and shot in Los Angeles, American Skin is produced by Mark Burg, Tarak Ben Ammar and Lukas Behnken.
Venice has also added documentary Beyond the Beach: The Hell And the Hope by Graeme A Scott and Buddy Squires to the Sconfini section. The doc looks at the work of NGO, Emergency.
Film at Lincoln Center has set its main slate of 29 films for the 57th New York Film Festival, running September 27 — October 13. The festival already announced it will get underway with the Martin Scorsese-directed The Irishman,with the Noah Baumbach-directed Marriage Story its centerpiece, and the Edward Norton-directed Motherless Brooklyn its closing night film. Several of the films have played other festivals, including the Bong Joon-ho’s Palme d’Or winner Parasite and Pain and Glory by Pedro Almodovar, who designed the NYFF poster this year. Here is how the whole slate looks, with films from 17 countries:
The 57th New York Film Festival Main Slate
Opening Night The Irishman Director: Martin Scorsese
Centerpiece Marriage Story Director: Noah Baumbach
Closing Night Motherless Brooklyn Director: Edward Norton
Atlantics: A Ghost Love Story Director: Mati Diop, US Premiere
Building on the promise—and then some—of her acclaimed shorts, the Diop-directed drama that skirts the line between realism and fantasy, romance and horror, and which, in its crystalline empathy, humanity, and political outrage, confirms the arrival of a major talent. Set in Senegal, the birth country of her legendary director uncle, Djibril Diop Mambéty, the film initially follows the blossoming love between young construction worker Souleiman Ibrahima Traoré, who's being exploited by his rich boss, and Ada Mama Sané, about to enter into an unwanted arranged marriage with a wealthier man.
Bacurau Director: Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles, US Premiere
A vibrant, richly diverse backcountry Brazilian town finds its sun-dappled day-to-day disturbed when its inhabitants become the targets of a group of marauding, wealthy tourists. The perpetrators of this Most Dangerous Game—esque class warfare, however, may have met their match in the fed-up, resourceful denizens of little Bacurau.
Beanpole Director: Kantemir Balagov
In immediate post-WWII Leningrad, two women, Iya and Masha astonishing newcomers Viktoria Miroshnichenko and Vasilisa Perelygina, intensely bonded after fighting side by side as anti-aircraft gunners, attempt to readjust to a haunted world. As the film begins, Iya, long and slender and towering over everyone—hence the film's title—works as a nurse in a shell-shocked hospital, presiding over traumatized soldiers, while also caring for Masha's fatherless son, who was born on the front. A shocking accident brings them closer and also seals their fates.
Fire Will Come Director: Oliver Laxe US Premiere
The beauties and terrors of nature—human and otherwise—drive this extraordinary, elemental new film from Oliver Laxe, in which the verdant Galician landscape becomes the setting for forceful internal and external dramas. After making films abroad for years, interrogating the line between filmmaker and subject in such locales as Tangiers You Are All Captains and Morocco Mimosas, Laxe returns to the rustic village in northwest Spain where his grandparents were born to tell the story of Amador Amador Arias, who has recently served time in prison for arson and has come home to live with his elderly mother, Benedicta Benedicta Sanchez—both played brilliantly by nonprofessional actors.
First Cow Director: Kelly Reichardt
Reichardt once again trains her perceptive and patient eye on the Pacific Northwest, this time evoking an authentically hardscrabble early 19th-century way of life. A taciturn loner and skilled cook John Magaro has traveled west and joined a group of fur trappers in Oregon Territory, though he only finds true connection with a Chinese immigrant Orion Lee also seeking his fortune; soon the two collaborate on a successful business, although its longevity is reliant upon the clandestine participation of a nearby wealthy landowner's prized milking cow.
A Girl Missing Director: Koji Fukada, US Premiere
Fukada and star Mariko Tsutsui have created one of the most memorable, enigmatic movie protagonists in years in this compelling and beautifully humane drama. Middle-aged Ichiko works as a private nurse in a small town for a family, functioning as caregiver for the entirely female clan's elderly matriarch, and befriending the two teenage daughters; when one of the girls disappears, Ichiko gets caught up in the resulting media sensation in increasingly surprising and devastating ways.
I Was at Home, But... Director: Angela Schanelec, US Premiere
Though she's been an essential voice in contemporary German cinema since the '90s, Angela Schanelec is poised to find wider international audiences with I Was at Home, But..., which won her the Best Director prize at this year's Berlin Film Festival. An elliptical yet emotionally lucid variation on the domestic drama, her latest film intricately navigates the psychological contours of a Berlin family in crisis: Astrid—played with barely concealed fury by Maren Eggert—is trying to hold herself and her fragile teenage son and young daughter together following the death of their father two years earlier.
Liberté Director: Albert Serra, US Premiere
For the bold of imagination, not the faint of heart, the latest work from Catalan filmmaker Albert Serra The Death of Louis XIV is easily his most provocative yet. In the 18th century, somewhere deep in a forest clearing, a group of bewigged libertines engage in a series of pansexual games of pain, torture, humiliation, and other dissolute, Sadean pleasures, attempting to reach some form of erotic nirvana, though rarely ever appearing to truly enjoy themselves.
Martin Eden Director: Pietro Marcello
Marcello's most straightforwardly fictional feature to date, Martin Eden is set in a provocatively unspecified moment in Italy's history yet was adapted from a 1909 novel by American author Jack London. Martin played by the marvelously committed Luca Marinelli is a dissatisfied prole with artistic aspirations who hopes that his dreams of becoming a writer will help him rise above his station and marry a wealthy young university student Jessica Cressy; the twinned dissatisfactions of working-class toil and bourgeois success lead to political reawakening and destructive anxiety.
The Moneychanger Director: Federico Veiroj, US Premiere
Leading light of contemporary Uruguayan cinema Federico Veiroj A Useful Life specializes in complexly drawn protagonists struggling amidst the specters of professional and personal failures. His new film, based on the 1979 novella Así habló el cambista by fellow countryman Juan Enrique Gruber, is his most ambitious, political, and forceful yet. Set largely in Montevideo, The Moneychanger stars Daniel Hendler in a tightly coiled performance of comical discomfort as Humberto Brause, who takes advantage of Uruguay's poor economy by specializing in offshore money laundering. Spanning the fifties to the seventies, the film follows Humberto as he gets increasingly in over his head with multiple shady book-cooking schemes throughout South America, leading to an ultimate life-or-death decision.
Oh Mercy! Director: Arnaud Desplechin, North American Premiere
In a change of pace from such recent kaleidoscopic knockouts as My Golden Years NYFF53 and Ismael's Ghosts NYFF55, Arnaud Desplechin shows a different and no less impressive side of his mastery with this taut policier, based on a true murder case. The scene of the crime is Roubaix, the city in Northern France where Desplechin was born and where he's set many of his films. Here, during a somber Christmas season, a middle-aged, French-Algerian detective is investigating the fatal strangulation of a poor, elderly woman in her apartment, with suspicion falling on her next-door neighbors, two young white women with a complicated interpersonal bond.
Pain and Glory Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Almodóvar cuts straight to the heart with his intensely personal latest, which finds the great Spanish filmmaker tapping into new reservoirs of introspection and emotional warmth. Antonio Banderas deservedly won the Best Actor award at this year's Cannes Film Festival for his miraculous, internalized portrayal of Salvador Mallo, a director not too subtly modeled on Almodóvar himself, whose growing health problems—including tinnitus, migraines, and spinal pain—and creative block have initiated a midlife reckoning. Moving in and out of time, evoking Salvador's childhood in the sixties featuring Penélope Cruz as his doting mother; his years of triumph in the eighties; and present-day Madrid, where he navigates new artistic challenges, Pain and Glory is both a moving summative statement on a career and an indication of more brilliant things to come.
Parasite Director: Bong Joon-ho
In Bong Joon-ho's film that won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in May, a threadbare family of four struggling to make ends meet gradually hatches a scheme to work for, and as a result infiltrate, the wealthy household of an entrepreneur, his seemingly frivolous wife, and their troubled kids. How they go about doing this—and how their best-laid plans spiral out to destruction and madness—constitutes one of the wildest, scariest, and most unexpectedly affecting movies in years, a portrayal of contemporary class resentment.
Film Comment Presents Portrait of a Lady on Fire Director: Céline Sciamma
On the cusp of the 19th century, young painter Marianne travels to a rugged, rocky island off the coast of Brittany. Here, she has been commissioned to create a wedding portrait of the wealthy yet free-spirited Héloise, whose hand in marriage has been promised to a man she's never met. Resentful of the forced union, Héloise at first refuses to be painted, yet a growing bond—at first emotional and then erotic—develops between the women, exquisitely etched by Noémie Merlant as the artist and Adèle Haenel as her initially reluctant muse.
Saturday Fiction Director: Lou Ye, US Premiere
Gong Li Raise the Red Lantern gives a mesmerizing, take-no-prisoners performance in Saturday Fiction, a slow-burn spy thriller set in Japanese-occupied Shanghai on the cusp of World War II. She plays acclaimed actress Jean Yu, who has returned to Shanghai from China after a long absence. Jean Yu is in rehearsals for a play to be directed by a former lover Mark Chao, but she seems to have ulterior motives, functioning as a double agent and gathering intelligence for the Allies, including the fateful realization of Japan's imminent attack on Pearl Harbor.
Sibyl Director: Justine Triet, US Premiere
Past and present collide in an increasingly complicated and highly entertaining fashion in Justine Triet's intricate study of the professional and personal masks we wear as we perform our daily lives. Psychotherapist Sybil Virginie Efira abruptly decides to leave her practice to restart her writing career—only to find herself increasingly embroiled in the life of a desperate new patient: Margot Adèle Exarchopoulos, a movie star dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic affair with her costar, Igor Gaspard Ulliel, while trying to finish a film shoot under the watchful eye of a demanding director Toni Erdmann's Sandra Hüller, splendidly high-strung, who happens to be Igor's wife. Sybil, negotiating her own past demons, makes the fateful decision to use Margot's experiences as inspiration for her book, as boundaries of propriety fall one after another.
Synonyms Director: Nadav Lapid, U.S. Premiere
In his lacerating third feature, director Nadav Lapid's camera races to keep up with the adventures of peripatetic Yoav Tom Mercier, a disillusioned Israeli who has absconded to Paris following his military training. Having disavowed Hebrew, he devotes himself to learning the intricacies of the French language, falls into an emotional and intellectual triangle with a wealthy bohemian couple Quentin Dolmaire and Louise Chevillotte, and frequently finds himself objectified, both politically and sexually.
To the Ends of the Earth Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
For more than two decades, Kurosawa has been at the artistic forefront of Japanese cinema, bending the form to his own singular, internalized rhythms in such films as Cure, Pulse, and Tokyo Sonata NYFF46. His latest is an unexpected narrative following Yoko former J-pop idol Atsuko Maeda, a television host whose trip to Uzbekistan to shoot an episode of her reality travel show begins to dissolve her chipper persona, revealing the paranoia and dislocation beneath.
The Traitor Director: Marco Bellocchio, US Premiere
Since the galvanizing burst of his unforgettable debut feature Fists in the Pocket NYFF3, Marco Bellocchio has remained an Italian auteur of rigor and fury, representing social unrest in stories that range from the intimate to the epochal. In his 80th year, he has returned with one of his most compelling films. Pierfrancesco Favino commands the screen throughout this decades-spanning true-life narrative as Tommaso Buscetta, the mafia boss turned informant who helped take down a large swath of organized crime leaders in Sicily in the eighties. In one fully realized, impressively staged scene after another, including the notorious Maxi Trial, overseen by Judge Giovanni Falcone Fausto Russo Alesi, Bellocchio interrogates received ideas about loyalty that so many other movies of this genre use to romanticize their characters.
Varda by Agnès Director: Agnès Varda
Agnès Varda died earlier this year at age 90, and from her neorealist-tinged 1954 feature debut La Pointe Courte to her New Wave treasures Cléo from 5 to 7 and Le Bonheur to her inquiries into those on society's outskirts like Vagabond NYFF23, The Gleaners and I NYFF38, and the 2017 Oscar nominee Faces Places NYFF55, she made enduring films that were both forthrightly political and gratifyingly mercurial. In what would be her final work, partially constructed of onstage interviews and lectures, interspersed with a wealth of clips and archival footage, Varda guides us through her career, from her movies to her remarkable still photography to the delightful and creative installation work.
Vitalina Varela Director: Pedro Costa, US Premiere
Portuguese director Pedro Costa has continually returned in his films to the Fontainhas neighborhood, a shantytown on the outskirts of Lisbon that's home to largely immigrant communities. Not merely a chronicler of the poor and dispossessed, Costa renders onscreen characters that exist somewhere between real and fictional, the living and the dead. His latest, a film of deeply concentrated beauty, stars nonprofessional actor Vitalina Varela in a truly remarkable performance. Reprising and expanding upon her haunted supporting role from Costa's Horse Money NYFF52, she plays a Cape Verdean woman who has come to Fontainhas for her husband's funeral after being separated from him for decades due to economic circumstance, and despite her alienation begins to establish a new life there.
Wasp Network Director: Olivier Assayas, US Premiere
Assayas brings his customary style and urgency to an unexpected subject in this epic chronicle of a small group of Cuban defectors in Miami who in the early nineties established a spy web to infiltrate anti-Castroist terrorist groups carrying out violent attacks on Cuban soil. Amidst a dazzling ensemble that includes Gael García Bernal, Wagner Moura, Ana de Armas, and Leonardo Sbaraglia, Assayas mostly centers on the saga of network member René Gonzalez Édgar Ramírez, star of Assayas's Carlos, NYFF48 and his wife Olga Penélope Cruz, who for many years is kept in the dark about René's double life in America. Inspired by Fernando Morais's meticulously researched book The Last Soldiers of the Cold War.
The Whistlers Director: Corneliu Porumboiu
The Romanian director Porumboiu, whose inventive comedies such as Police, Adjective NYFF47 and The Treasure NYFF53 have for more than a decade brought deadpan charm and political perceptiveness to his country's cinematic renaissance. Here, the director has made his first all-out genre film—a clever, swift, and elegant neo-noir with a wonderfully off-kilter central conceit. Easily corruptible Bucharest police detective Cristi—played by the eternally stoic Vlad Ivanov—arrives on the mist-enshrouded Canary Island of La Gomera, where he learns a clandestine, tribal language, improbably made entirely out of whistling; this form of hidden communication will keep his superiors off his trail as he becomes increasingly embroiled in a convoluted gangster scheme involving a stash of Euros hidden in a mattress and a sultry femme fatale named, of course, Gilda
The Wild Goose Lake Director: Diao Yinan, US Premiere
Chinese director Diao Yinan's much anticipated follow-up to his breakthrough noir Black Coal, Thin Ice is an altogether more colorful crime drama. A formalist gangster thriller drenched in reds and blues, though imbued with a melancholic tone that speaks to contemporary China's vast economic disparities, the elegantly down-and-dirty The Wild Goose Lake, set in the nooks and crannies of densely populated Wuhan, follows the desperate attempts of small-time mob boss Zhou Zenong the charismatic Hu Ge to stay alive after he mistakenly kills a cop and a dead-or-alive reward is put on his head.
Young Ahmed Director: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, North American Premiere
The Dardenne Brothers won this year's Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival for this brave new work, another intimate portrayal-in-furious-motion of a protagonist in crisis. The filmmakers' radical empathy alights on a Muslim teenager extraordinary first-time actor Idir Ben Addi in a small Belgian town who is being gradually radicalized into extremism despite the desperate protestations of his single mother Claire Bodson, and who winds up hatching a murderous plot targeting his beloved teacher Myriem Akheddiou.
Zombi Child Director: Bertrand Bonello, US Premiere
After giving multiple shots to the arm of contemporary French cinema with such audacious films as House of Tolerance, Saint Laurent NYFF52, and Nocturama, Bertrand Bonello injects urgency and history into the well-worn walking-dead genre with this unconventional plunge into horror-fantasy. Bonello moves fluidly between 1962 Haiti, where a young man known as Clairvius Narcisse Mackenson Bijou, made into a zombie by his resentful brother, ends up working as a slave in the sugar cane fields, and a contemporary Paris girls' boarding school, where a white teenage girl Louise Labèque befriends Clairvius's direct descendant Wislanda Louimat, who was orphaned in the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
.L to R: Bacurau, The Wild Goose Lake, To the Ends of the Earth, Portrait of a Lady on Fire,Synonyms, Atlantics: A Ghost Love Story, Wasp Network, Martin Eden
NYFF Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones said, “Cinema is the domain of freedom, and it's an ongoing struggle to maintain that freedom. It's getting harder and harder for anyone to make films of real ambition anywhere in this world. Each and every movie in this lineup, big or small, whether it's made in Italy or Senegal or New York City, is the result of artists behind the camera fighting on multiple fronts to realize a vision and create something new in the world. That includes masters like Martin Scorsese and Pedro Almodóvar and younger filmmakers coming to the festival for the first time like Mati Diop and Angela Schanelec.”
As for the NYFF poster, Almodovar said: “I used a photo of a still life that I exhibited at the Marlborough Gallery. The masses of color on which the text is printed are reminiscent of an animated sequence that appears in my latest film, Pain and Glory, though for this version I have chosen less bright colors, using muted shades of red, blue, green, and mauve. These colors correspond to the palette in which I seem to move lately.”
The sale of Tribeca Enterprises to investment firms run by James Murdoch and Joe Marchese is a seismic shift for the Tribeca Film Festival, which Robert De Niro and his producing partners started in the wake of 9/11. Under its new owners, it is now only one piece of a much larger revenue equation.
For Attention Capital CEO Joe Marchese, the decision to buy a controlling stake in Tribeca Enterprises with James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems came down to this: Curation is a compelling business model in the attention economy. In an August 5 Medium post, he wrote: “With the vision, people, and partners in place, the next most exciting part about the Tribeca brand is its incredible potential. In a world where amazing stories are getting lost in a sea of ‘content’ and filters are determined by AI, there is a massive market opportunity for curators.”
Sources in the film festival world had another perspective. While some saw a rare opportunity for a film festival to grow its reach with the help of private capital, others wondered what would happen when Tribeca’s success is determined by corporate overlords.
Of course, corporate concerns aren’t new for Tribeca. Unlike most film festivals, it’s always been a for-profit entity with deep ties to the commercial world, and founding sponsorship from American Express. One distributor who spoke to IndieWire recalled seeing Amex lighted signage in theaters, glowing like exit signs after the lights dimmed for the film.
And Marchese’s vision doesn’t seem that far afield from the Tribeca mission: “to provide artists with unique platforms to expand the audience for their works and to broaden the access point for consumers to experience independent film and media.”
The biggest difference, perhaps, is Marchese foregrounds the market opportunity for the curator, rather than the artist. Of course, curated and celebrated works certainly stand to benefit, and curation is meaningless without access to art. Still, it’s a different calculus: While Tribeca was founded with the backing of a multibillion-dollar, multinational financial services corporation, Amex never viewed Tribeca as a revenue stream: Sponsoring the institution was a marketing cost. Under Attention and Lupa, curation is the product.
Lupa is in the process of investing a portion of the $2 billion James Murdoch made when Disney bought much of 21st Century Fox, which he led until the deal closed in March. He launched Lupa the same month. So far, he’s reportedly invested $20 million in the virtual reality company The Void and $5 million in comic book publisher Artists, Writers and Artisans.
The price for acquiring the controlling stake of Tribeca Enterprises from Madison Square Garden was not disclosed, but in 2014 MSG purchased 50% of Tribeca in a deal that valued the company at $45 million.
Marchese spent four years as a top ad executive at Fox Networks, a role he maintained while also operating VC fund Human Ventures. The Tribeca deal coincides with the launch of Attention Capital, which he founded with Nick Bell, a former VP content at Snapchat, and Ashlyn Gentry, a former executive at data analytics firm Palantir.
The so-called attention economy treats eyeballs like a scarce economy. Marchese has contended that traditional measurements like views, clicks, and impressions fail to convey whether content has actually captured a viewer's attention. Brands that can become savvy operators in the current attention economy by becoming trusted curators will shape the future of commerce, he argues.
“What people buy and how much they will pay for it is shaped by what stories have captured their attention, and even more importantly, that the buyer believes others around them will know the same stories,” Marchese wrote in a Redef post.
In addition to its namesake festival, Tribeca Enterprises owns the fledgling Tribeca TV Festival and Tribeca Studios, a branded entertainment content business. In 2015, it launched curated streaming platform Tribeca Shortlist with Lionsgate, which hasn’t gained traction; SlingTV announced in June that it would no longer carry the service. Last month, De Niro and his son, Rafael, partnered with investors to build a $400 million production studio in Queens.
Over the years, Rosenthal has contended with questions about juggling the art and commerce of the festival. “First of all, a number of film festivals get enormous support from states or cities,” she said in an interview with IndieWire in 2014, shortly after the MSG deal. “We don't get that kind of support, and we run a festival in probably one of the most expensive cities in the world. So we have to depend on sponsorships and other means.”
This year’s 12-day Tribeca Film Festival, which wrapped in early May, counted 146,000 people who attended 618 screenings and talks.