Bright lights, big city: The unmissable premieres of the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival

Get ready to be dazzled by the cinematic brilliance that’s about to unfold in the heart of New York City. The Tribeca Film Festival 2023 is here, promising an electrifying lineup of premieres that you simply can’t afford to miss. Founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff in 2001, the festival has become a beacon of cultural revitalization in lower Manhattan, showcasing the best of both established and emerging talent in the world of cinema.

This year, the festival is back with a bang, featuring over 109 feature films from filmmakers across 36 countries. From the thrilling road trip of “He Went That Way,” to the emotionally charged drama of “Eric LaRue,” to the stand-up comedic brilliance in “John Early: Now More Than Ever,” there’s something for everyone.

Whether you’re a filmmaker, a cinephile, or just someone who loves a good story, the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival is the place to be. Prepare to be inspired, moved, and thoroughly entertained by these incredible premieres. Check out the full program and secure your tickets on the Tribeca Film Festival’s official website. Let the cinematic journey begin!

“First Time Female Director”: This is Chelsea Peretti’s directorial debut, in which she serves as director, writer, and producer. The film follows Sam, a playwright working for a small Glendale theater, as she attempts to create the production of her dreams, a rural drama in the South.

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“Gloria Gaynor: I Will Survive”: A documentary about the legendary Gloria Gaynor, this film chronicles the disco icon’s storied career and her comeback journey as she endeavors to release a new gospel album in her seventies. It’s a rare behind-the-curtain peek at Gaynor’s process, her struggles with ageism and financial ruin, and her resilience and perseverance through her faith.

“Afire”: This film by Christian Petzold follows a group of friends’ idyllic holiday that goes from a tranquil paradise to a chaotic nightmare when the forest around them catches fire and unknown guests arrive on their doorstep. Emotions run high in this thrilling drama set in Northern Europe, on the coast of the Baltic Sea.

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“John Early: Now More Than Ever”: This is a surreal and spontaneous stand-up set by New York comedy icon John Early in his debut HBO comedy special. It mixes backstage sketches with comedic antics, and Early delivers sharp commentary with infectious, lovable hilarity while covering songs by Britney Spears and Neil Young.

“He Went That Way”: This is a buddy road trip film with an intense twist, set in 1964. It’s based on the true crime story of celebrity animal trainer Dave Pitts, his famous chimp, Spanky, and their encounter with serial killer Larry Lee Ranes. Jacob Elordi plays 19-year-old serial killer Bobby Falls, based on Ranes, and Zachary Quinto portrays Jim Goodwin, based on Pitts. The trio meet during a three-day road trip on Route 66, where Bobby and Jim form an unlikely friendship that challenges our notion of what a psychopath is.

“All Up in the Biz”: This documentary is about New York hip-hop icon Biz Markie, arriving just after his untimely death in 2021. It’s composed of celebrity interviews, rare film footage, reenactments with puppets, and animation. The film reflects on the “Just a Friend” rapper and “Clown Prince of Hip-Hop’s” personal and professional story and the mark he left on the world and the industry of hip-hop.

“Eric LaRue”: Michael Shannon’s directorial debut is an adaptation of Brett Neveu’s 2002 play, “Eric LaRue”. The film follows Janice (Judy Greer), the mother of a boy who has murdered three of his high school classmates. Janice is at a loss with her pastor encouraging her to meet the victim’s families but her anger fraying her faith.

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“Waitress, the Musical – Live on Broadway!”: Filmed during a live performance of the musical, the on-screen version captures the tale of a small-town waitress (Sara Bareilles) trapped in an unfulfilling marriage who dreams of winning a nearby baking contest to fund her escape. Following the film’s premiere screening, Sara Bareilles will be performing live.

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“Stan Lee”: This is Marvel’s first original documentary, and the subject is none other than Stan Lee, the beloved visionary of Marvel’s superheroes who passed away in November 2018. The documentary features never-before-seen personal footage and recorded recollections of his career.

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“Cinnamon”: This film is an atmospheric noir thriller centered on aspiring singer Jodi, whose life is thrown into chaos after a robbery turns fatal. The film stars Hailey Kilgore, Damon Wayans, and Pam Grier, and is part of Village Roadshow and basketball star Kevin Garnett’s Black Noir Cinema initiative that intends to redefine the concept of Blaxploitation film to empower a new generation of Black audiences.