schindler’s list

The 5 Biggest Reasons Why We’re Excited About Tribeca Film Festival 2018

The Tribeca Film Festival kicks off this week to once again put the spotlight on the latest independent films and their makers. Featuring over a thousand screenings, numerous panel discussions, and more, it’s easy to see why millions of people attend this acclaimed film festival each year.

Whether you’re just a movie fan or have your heart set on a career in filmmaking, here are five reasons why the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival is set to be the best one yet.

Impressive List of Must-See Movies

The beauty of having a film festival spanning 12 days is that no matter what kinds of movies you like, there’s bound to be something for everyone.

This year there will be more than 50 narratives and 45 documentaries spread across every genre imaginable. Of course, there are always a few films that people definitely don’t plan on missing. Fans of documentaries will want to check out Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda, It’s a Hard Truth Ain’t It, The Rachel Divide, and Songwriter. Great story films people are talking about are Braid, The Seagull, and centerpiece film Zoe.

With so many great films to recommend, be sure to take a look at the official Tribeca website for a full list of films.

More Films Directed by Women Than Ever Before

Tribeca Film Festival 2018 will make history by having more films directed by women than ever before.

Almost half of the 96 films set to screen at Tribeca this year were directed by women — certainly a cause for celebration, given that women are still vastly underrepresented in the film industry as a whole. According to the famous Celluloid Ceiling study, only 1 percent of 2017’s most successful films employed 10 or more women behind the scenes.

Some of the most anticipated female-directed films that will be at Tribeca include Liz Garbus’ New York Times documentary The Fourth Estate, Eva Vives’ comedy drama All About Nina, and Untogether, the directorial debut of Emma Forrest.

A Look at Upcoming Games

It wasn’t long ago that most people considered games as a form of children’s entertainment. Today, the digital medium is seen as arguably the most powerful form of storytelling. Thanks to the power of interactivity, games allow the audience to not only become a part of the narrative but also influence the outcome of a story and its characters.

Tribeca Games will once again celebrate the artistic and technical achievements of games at this year’s show. Things to look forward to include a special preview of the upcoming Shadow of the Tomb Raider, a talk from God of War‘s creative director Cory Barlog, and a variety of demos and esports tournaments for attendees.

Talks From Stars & Filmmakers

If there’s one thing Tribeca fans love more than watching new films, it’s listening to their makers talk about their project. Since the Tribeca Film Festival’s focus is on independent films, this gives aspiring filmmakers a chance to learn more about the process from both up-and-coming stars and renowned industry figures.

This year, attendees won’t want to miss the Scarface reunion, after its 35th anniversary screening. Other notable talks will include Sarah Jessica Parker, John Legend, and the duo of Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper.

Legendary Film Anniversaries Honored

It makes sense that an independent film festival like Tribeca would do its part to honor the anniversaries of timeless classics. After all, it’s movies like these that help inspire the next generation of filmmakers to push their creative limits and see that their stories one day make it to the big screen.

To celebrate the 35th anniversary of Scarface, a screening of the legendary gangster epic will be followed by a reunion panel including Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, and director Brian De Palma.

Oscar-winning masterpiece Schindler’s List will also be screened to commemorate its 25th anniversary. A Q&A including Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, and Embeth Davidtz will follow.

What are you most excited to see at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival? Let us know in the comments below! And learn more about filmmaking at the New York Film Academy.

Modern Black and White Films that Changed Cinematography

Casablanca. Metropolis. Nosferatu.

All defining moments in the rich tapestry that is cinema history, and all black and white… but why is it that monochrome filming has become an almost lost artform?

50 Shades of Black and White

Black and white movies

Indeed, if you look up any list of the most critically acclaimed black and white movies, you’ll be hard pressed to find many released after 1960. Over time, the aesthetic is one that has been pushed to the fringes and seen as something that is inherently ‘arthouse’ (usually with a slightly pretentious air.) It’s a phenomenon exclusive to cinema, too—in photography school, students are usually urged to master black and white shooting (and especially film development) before moving to color, but not so in filmmaking. With the latter, black and white is a tool seemingly reserved only for the masters.

But as of recently, the tide seems to be changing and we’re seeing an increasing number of releases that are not only inspirational for those of us wanting to re-embrace monochrome, but that also serve as great examples as to why more people should do so.

Let’s start off with the most acclaimed black and white feature of recent times, and the one that immediately springs to mind as an industry game changer: 2012’s The Artist.

On paper, The Artist was a hugely big risk. In a world where only the most brash and lowest-common-denominator comic action movies earn big bucks, would anyone be tempted to watch a movie that’s not only black and white but also silent?

Indeed, the marketing team had a hard sell. At the time of writing, the most recent YouTube comment on that trailer reads: “No way I’m watching it. A silent movie? Please.

And that’s even after it won awards and became high up the list of most recommended movies of 2011. But won awards it did, and it would be hard to imagine the movie presented in any other way. This gets to the crux of when it’s appropriate to shoot in black and white: when the subject matter calls for it.

Incidentally, it was the first monochrome film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture since Schindler’s List in 1993, which is another superb example of a story that wouldn’t have been enhanced had it been show in color.

Of course, there is a small amount of color within the film courtesy of the iconic girl in the red coat, the symbolism of which has given us a talking point for decades (As an aside, this small color feature technically means that The Artist was preceded by The Apartment in 1960 as the previous all-black and white winner of the Best Picture award.)

And this brings us on to our second takeaway point that cinematography school students should bear in mind: just because a movie is devoid of color doesn’t mean it has to be devoid of potent symbolism, and a cinematographer working in black and white should execute their ideas boldly and with confidence.

And as Spielberg showed us, we don’t have to dogmatically stick to one approach or the other. Although it’s technically more challenging to only highlight certain props or characters with vibrant color while all else is in grayscale, the resulting effect can be extremely compelling as we saw in the first Sin City movie:

As long as the filmmaker is armed with a good screenplay, a talented team and a dose of confidence, black and white filming—when appropriate—can add a very complex atmosphere to a production, and can also lend an air of reverence to the subject matter when done right. A case in point is last year’s compelling A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night—of the choice to film the vampire flick solely in black and white, critic Drew Taylor writes: “[the movie gives] the impression that you’re witnessing something iconic and important unfold before you.”

A study in how to create an atmosphere if ever there was one:

In short, as long as you’ve got the preliminary substance, shooting in black and white can deliver the style. But more than anything, it’s knowing when to shoot in black and white—all of the both are great examples of this, but there are some occasions where it becomes superfluous…

… and on those productions, great color design takes precedent.