Cultural Trends To Watch For, From The Tribeca Film Festival

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Written by Lauren DeLisa Coleman

 

Tribeca Film Festival
#NeverAgain activist Naomi Wadler at the Tribeca Film Festival’s Disruptive Innovation Awards. Photo: Tribeca Film Festival

The annual 11-day Tribeca Film Festival takes place year each in New York City, offering cultural insights and concerns across a variety of platforms.

Tribeca, unlike Sundance, has a crazy series of additional wristbands, timed entrances and more that make the festival even harder to wrangle as you swoosh past New Yorkers on the street to get to the next theater.

Image courtesy of the Tribeca Film Festival

Trayvon Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, joined filmmakers and MSNBC moderator Joy Reid for a panel following the world premiere of “Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story”, about the death of their son and its impact on the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The parents discussed their struggle to put off grieving and fight for justice, and the importance of the series in helping Trayvon’s story live on.

Actor and singer Jamie Foxx entertained a packed audience as one of the featured speakers during the festival’s Tribeca Talks series. He discussed his inspiration amidst various celebrity imitations and anecdotes. Spike Lee also appeared onstage at a separate talk along with Alec Baldwin. The two held the audience captive, eliciting laughs after an audience member asked what Lee thought of “Black Panther.” After his response, Baldwin asked why he wasn’t also asked to comment, given that this is the age of inclusion.

Actress Tessa Thompson made red carpet rounds for her upcoming film, “Little Woods.” Many are saying it’s one of her finest performances.  The story of two sisters is particularly fitting for the growing cultural narrative of women in America today.

Tribeca Film Festival
Image courtesy of the Tribeca Film Festival

In tandem with the festival, legendary rap artist Nas was honored at a special VIP event for his recent release, “illmatic: Live From the Kennedy Center” with the National Symphony Orchestra on vinyl. Guests enjoyed specialty cocktails while they were treated to a special screening of the documentary.

Naturally, all things AR and VR were prominent via the festival’s Immersive Section. In particular, “My Africa” is a stand-out VR project that takes place in Northern Kenya, presenting a futuristic view of wildlife and people. The mixed reality piece puts the viewer in the place of sanctuary keeper for everything from the arrival of a baby elephant to a thundering wildebeest.

The Tribeca Film Festival honored various people considered game-changers at the Ninth Annual Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards, hosted by MSNBC’s Tamron Hall. Honorees included Questlove, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Beatrice Fihn, #NeverAgain activist Naomi Wadler, hip-hop founder DJ Kool Herc, and Ethereum’s Joe Lubin.

Naomi, who rose to fame for her powerful speech at the March for Our Lives earlier this year, received a standing ovation as she took the stage to accept her Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award. She also discussed the intersection of race and the Waffle House shooting.

The festival included provocative panels on the impact of blockchain and AI, among other technologies. A panel on blockchain explored the potential power of the technology to democratize receipts, marketing data and other areas of the film ecosystem.

Noteworthy films in the urban genre

Noteworthy films in the urban genre included the documentary, “United Skates.” Produced by singer/actor John Legend’s production company, it’s an intriguing look at the impact of the rollerskating rink on urban culture.

“Unbanned” is a painstaking look the rise of sneaker culture and the intersection of music, sports, fashion and social behavior.

Key cultural trend takeaways from the Tribeca Film Festival include:

  • The growing intersection of virtual reality films with messages of hope and awareness about mankind and the Earth.
  • The emerging potential of blockchain to democratize earning power in film.
  • The new stories of cultural impact and perspective from various inclusive demographics.