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2019 Tribeca Film Festival

May 12, 2019

The 2019 Tribeca Film Festival came to an end with the winners announced, films picked up by distributors for you to see them in the near future and emerging filmmakers paving their new paths.

I only attended three days of the festival, but it was packed with outstanding films and opportunities to not only meet the creative talents behind the films but also to step into the world of Virtual Mixed Reality, where I slayed a few zombie-like creatures from “Game of Thrones.”

The highlights from the festival, from my perspective, ranged from feature-length apocalyptic dramas and dark comedies to short films about new dating apps and the perfect neighbor everyone hates.

The immersion into the world of film transported me out of my own reality and into another, as I lost myself and enjoyed every minute.

TOP FEATURE FILMS

”Buffaloed”: Peg (Zoey Deutsch), a wheeler and dealer from a young age, finds herself working with the dregs of society — debt collectors — in Buffalo, N.Y. Learning the tricks of the trade and heads above the intellect of her highly connected boss, she ventures out on her own to compete.

It quickly becomes evident debts aren’t always financial ones. With a sprinkling of “The Big Short,” this story explains everything you need to know about the entity of unregulated debt collecting while making you laugh out loud.

Deutsch is extraordinary in this fast-paced film filled with heart, love and loyalty. (You owe me nothing for putting this film on your radar.)

”Only”: The not-so-distant future has arrived under a blanket of ash falling from the sky and carrying a deadly disease that effects only females. The future of our world and humanity is at stake and Will (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Eva (Freida Pinto) merely are trying to survive, avoiding the government, which is desperate to find any living, noninfected women.

The situation is bleak, but its undertones are beautiful in the love we see between these two characters. Survival and living, as we see, are two different things, and it is this question of living that is put to the test in this haunting and evocative story.

”Driveways”: Andrew Ahn (“Spa Night”) continues to develop deeply emotional stories that appear simple on the surface, only to give way to complex-yet-real issues in the lives of Kathy (Hong Chau); her son, Cody (Lucas Jaye); and an elderly neighbor, Del (Brian Dennehy).

Arriving to clear out the home of her deceased older sister whom she really never knew, the situation before her is a daunting one, but as Kathy confronts her own understanding of her past, Cody forges a relationship with Del that is not only sweet but will change him forever.

Strong performances captured exquisitely add to the resonance of the film, striking a familiar chord within us all.

”The Short History of the Long Road”: Living on the road with her father, Nola (Sabrina Carpenter) soon finds herself alone and in search of her mother who abandoned them.

This is no ordinary road trip film, as Nola clings to the lessons her father taught her and builds her own confidence and ability to live her own life.

Her quest for identity and belonging is at the core of the film, and it questions our own preconceived notions of the norm, beautifully exemplifying the connection and need for family … no matter who comprises that family.

Additional feature films to put on your radar:

“Plus One,” “Ask Dr. Ruth,” “Leftover Women,” “Standing Up/Falling Down” and “Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project.”

Short films typically don’t get seen but lead to feature films and even television series. At TFF, I make a point of seeing some of the shorts, as they consistently are as entertaining as features.

This year was no exception with “Peggy,” “Hook Up 2.0,” “Hunting Season,” “99,” “Sweater” and “Sorry, Not Sorry.”

For complete reviews of these films and updates on how you can see them, go to reelhonestreviews.com.