| NEW YORK, April 18
NEW YORK, April 18 A world heavyweight champion,
a brassy Broadway legend, ground- breaking comics, an
Oscar-winning director and a four-legged Internet star are among
subjects documentary filmmakers have trained their lenses on at
this year's Tribeca Film Festival.
Organizers say the two-week festival, which opened on
Wednesday and includes nearly 100 features, has historically
comprised nearly as many documentaries as narrative films, which
often prove to be among its most popular offerings.
This year the documentary roster includes a number of
subjects boasting bold-face names, from pioneering comedian
Richard Pryor to writer Gore Vidal and boxing great Muhammad
"We're excited about showing how creative documentary
filmmakers are," said Genna Terranova, the festival's vice
president of programming. "While all these subjects are great,
not everybody can make a great documentary about a great
This year's offerings include "Shoot Me," an intimate look
at the life and career of Broadway (and "30 Rock") star Elaine
Stritch featuring interviews with Tina Fey and Nathan Lane.
In "Michael H. Profession: Director," the camera lens turns
on the sometimes controversial filmmaker Michael Haneke, who won
the best foreign language film Oscar in February for "Amour".
Well-known for such films "The White Ribbon" and "The Piano
Teacher," the Austrian director "has typically been a little
cagey, a little resistant to people penetrating his psyche,"
"But Yves Montmayeur has been around him for a very long
time, and gained access and trust like no one else really has,"
she said of the French journalist and filmmaker who directed the
Other highlights, such as "Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic,"
had to depend on archival or found footage, since Pryor died in
2005 at age 65.
With the help of interviews with Mel Brooks, Robin Williams,
Jesse Jackson and Whoopi Goldberg, the portrait of the
often-troubled, ground-breaking comedian and actor is being
billed as the most extensive examination of Pryor to date.
Goldberg also turns up as director of another Tribeca
selection, with "I Got Somethin' to Tell You," about the
pioneering black comic Moms Mabley, which festival organizers
describe as "a true passion project" for the actress.
"The Trials of Muhammad Ali" shows how race, religion and
politics crashed together to help shape one of the world's most
famed competitive athletes.
In "The Director," Christina Voros channels her expertise as
a cinematographer to bring a unique perspective on how creative
director Frida Giannini transformed Italian fashion house Gucci.
"The way Christina tells that story, there's a cinematic
sensuality to it, which is very much as the heart of Gucci -
which of course is the subject of the film," Terranova said.
"Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia" melds one-on-one
interviews with the celebrated writer, who died last year, with
commentary by his closest friends, including his nephew,
filmmaker Burr Steers, and the late Christopher Hitchens.
But for all their fame, notoriety and achievements, the
festival's starry lineup could be eclipsed by a fur ball who
boasts his own website and YouTube channel.
"One personality that's generating some buzz isn't a human
one. It's the cat," Terranova said, referring to Lil Bub, the
wide-eyed subject of "Lil Bub & Friendz."
"That one really is garnering a lot of attention."
(Reporting by Chris Michaud; editing by Jill Serjeant and