malachi rege & erica (roots)

(L-R) Malachi Kirby, Rege-Jean Page, and Erica Tazel get emotional while discussing their roles in ROOTS. (MMoore Photo)

*The Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) gets bigger and better each year. TFF, the most encompassing of the film festivals, celebrates 15 years since its inception. Nelson Mandela attended the Opening Ceremonies at New York City’s Hall for the first TFF and addressed the crowd about the power of film to unite, humanize, and inspire.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu attended the 2003 TFF and spoke at the Opening Press Conference at the World Financial Center in New York City. Founded by Robert DeNiro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff in 2001, the TFF’s primary initiative was to restore stability to the lower Manhattan that had been devastated by the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks.

There were a number of noteworthy films at TFF 2016. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, police brutality, marginalized communities, and gun violence, We All We Got is an elegy of urban America and a look at people affected by violence in Chicago.

Children of the Mountain is the emotional story of a Ghanaian mother whose baby is born with a cleft lip, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome. Against the picturesque Ghanaian backdrop, this film explores a mother’s will in the face of much adversity.

On the rap side, there is Gift of Gab, a portrait of Timothy Parker, from the hip hop group Blackalicious, whose battle with kidney disease end up fueling the creation of their first album in 10 years. Exemplary of the fact that rap continues to have international influences, Bad Rap features Asian Americans getting into the game. Junction 48 showcases its hip hop artists reflecting on their experiences. The title of the film refers to the 1948 Palestine War.

Scene from WE ALL WE GOT.

Scene from WE ALL WE GOT.

Some familiar faces onscreen included Viola Davis (Custody), Eddie Murphy (Mr. Church), Orlando Jones (The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea), S. Epatha Merkerson (You Can Go), Malcolm Jamal-Warner (Wannabe), Zoe Kravitz (Vincent N Roxxy), and Megalyn Echikunwoke and Jerrod Carmichael (The Meddler).

Tribeca Talks gives attendees the opportunity to hear the actors and filmmakers talk about their films and ask them questions afterwards. With “For the Love of Spock,” it was fascinating to hear Adam Nimoy say his father, Leonard, saw Harry Belafonte [a clip of Belafonte was in the doc] as his greatest influence. “My dad utilized Belafonte’s act of minimalism to portray Spock.

A new entry to the Festival is Tribeca Tune In, where the small screen is featured on the big screen. “Roots,” “Greenleaf,” “Night Manager,” and “Animal Kingdom” were some of the TV shows that premiered, and segments were shown. Cast mates’ conversations from some of these Talks will appear here prior to the shows airing.

Syndicated Entertainment journalist Marie Moore reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at [email protected]

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