Rock and Roll Is Coming to the Tribeca Film Festival

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Brian Wilson in ‘Long Promised Road’

New documentary and biopic films focusing on various rock artists and rock-related subjects will be spotlighted at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which takes place in and around New York City. Films focusing on Brian Wilson, The Go-Go’s David Bowie, Ronnie Wood and others will be screened at the prestigious event before heading out to general circulation in theaters and other media. The festival, originally scheduled from April 15-26, has been postponed due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Here are capsule descriptions of some of the new music-oriented films:

Johnny Flynn as David Bowie in Stardust (Photo by Paul Van Carter)

Stardust, directed by Gabriel Range, written by Christopher Bell, Gabriel Range. Produced by Paul Van Carter, Nick Taussig, Matt Code. (UK)—World Premiere. In 1971, David Bowie embarked on a transformative road trip through America with struggling publicist Rob Oberman. Stardust provides an intimate glimpse into the moments that inspired Bowie to reinvent himself in order to truly become himself: his iconic celestial alter-ego Ziggy Stardust. With Johnny Flynn, Jena Malone, Marc Maron.

Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road, directed by Brent Wilson, written by Brent Wilson, Jason Fine. Produced by Tim Headington, Theresa Steele Page, Brent Wilson. (USA)—World Premiere. The Beach Boys’ lead songwriter takes a drive around Los Angeles with Rolling Stone editor and longtime friend Jason Fine in this nonlinear cinematic memoir, as vivid and multifaceted as his music. With Brian Wilson, Bruce Springsteen, Sir Elton John, Linda Perry, Jim James, Nick Jonas, Gustavo Dudamel.

Related: A new Herb Alpert documentary is in the works

The Go-Go’s

The Go-Go’s, directed by Alison Ellwood. Produced by Trevor Birney. (USA)—New York Premiere, Feature Documentary. Through a wealth of archival material and candid interviews, Director Alison Ellwood takes us on a nostalgic look back at the Go-Go’s rise to fame in the ’80s all the way to today, as the band collaborates on new music for the first time in nineteen years. With Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, Gina Schock, Kathy Valentine, Jane Wiedlin. A Showtime release. After the movie: A special performance by the Go-Go’s.

Somebody Up There Likes Me, directed by Mike Figgis. Produced by Peter Worsley, Louis Figgis. (UK)—North American Premiere. A series of intimate conversations with Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, whose extraordinary music career placed him at the forefront of the British R&B explosion to rock ’n’ roll stardom. With Ronnie Wood, Sally Wood, Imelda May, Damien Hirst, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Sir Rod Stewart, Charlie Watts.

Another film, titled Jimmy Carter Rock & Roll President, directed by Mary Wharton, produced by Chris Farrell and written by Bill Flanagan, tells the story of the former U.S. leader’s relationship with artists like the Allman Brothers Band, Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. Says the advance description, “Jimmy Carter Rock & Roll President combines intimate interviews with Carter along with rare archival era-defining live performances from Willie Nelson, Aretha Franklin, Jimmy Buffett, and Paul Simon, among others. Director Mary Wharton traces how Carter’s genuine approachability and the unifying power of music became key to his political appeal, and allowed him to connect with voters who may only have known him as a small-town peanut farmer.”

Watch an official clip from Jimmy Carter Rock & Roll President

And, not rock ’n’ roll, perhaps, but of interest:

The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show, directed by Yoruba Richen, written by Yoruba Richen, Valerie Thomas, Elia Gasull Balada. Produced by Valerie Thomas, Joan Walsh. (USA)—World Premiere, Feature Documentary. While the country was embroiled in a divisive election with racial tensions flaring, civil rights activist Harry Belafonte guest hosted The Tonight Show for one week in 1968, transforming it into a multicultural political experience. With Harry Belafonte, Whoopi Goldberg, Questlove, Tamron Hall

The Tribeca Film Festival’s feature program includes 114 films from 124 filmmakers who hail from over 30 different countries. The line-up includes 95 world premieres, two international premieres, four North American premieres, four U.S. premieres, nine New York premieres, and one sneak preview. This year’s program will also screen the work of 19 directors who are returning to Tribeca with their latest projects. In addition, 44 of this year’s feature films have been helmed by one or more women directors. The 2020 Festival features program was curated from 3,385 submissions; this year’s Festival received a record 10,397 total submissions across all categories.

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