By Tammy Reese
For the third time, I was graced with the honor to represent NYWIFT and cover the Tribeca Festival in New York City. The Tribeca Festival, presented by AT&T, brings visionaries and diverse audiences together to celebrate storytelling in all its forms, including film, TV, VR, gaming, music, and online work.
It is my distinct pleasure to bring you some iconic highlights of the events, panels, red carpets, and more that I covered.
Pre-Tribeca, I had the blessing to interview some members of our NYWIFT community including Asha Smith, Nikia Nelson, and Haley Davis, all of who are a part of projects which showcased at this year’s festival.
Also, ahead of opening day, I interviewed legends Angela Bassett and Patricia Field which you can listen to on our podcast. Each also has a NYWIFT connection – as past Muse and Designing Women honorees respectively.
I arrived at the festival on June 9th to meet fellow NYWIFT Member Maria Soccor who previously picked up my Hudson press badge for me and has been a huge support in navigating Tribeca, along with LaKisa Renee, who covered the Dan Rather red carpet alongside me, but for Cultured Focus Magazine. Dan’s documentary, Rather, directed by Frank Marshall, premiered at the SVA theater. [NYWIFT member and TV news veteran Dana Roberson is featured in the documentary as well.]
I pre-screened the doc and was so overjoyed that the 91-year-old media icon is getting his flowers while he can still smell them. He is a masterclass for journalism, and I was moved to tears when I expressed to him personally how much he’s inspired me throughout my multimedia career. Dan shook my hand, gave me some heartfelt advice, and chatted with me personally off-camera as well as took a super cool photo with LaKisa and me. During the carpet, I asked the director Frank Marshall how he would describe Dan in one word. He replied, “Trustworthy.” I agree!
Next up, I got to cover the Our Son red carpet. This film stars Billy Porter and Luke Evans. Since I had previously interviewed Luke for a different project, I made it a priority to be sure to interview Emmy Award-winning actor Billy Porter this time. Porter and Evans returned to Tribeca playing partners of 13 years. Porter stars as Gabriel, an aspiring artist struggling to find creative and personal spark while caring for the young son he shares with his ambitious partner, Nicky (Evans). Stress and anxiety flare as their relationship gets to an unrepairable place, forcing the couple to head for a divorce. Now the two must navigate the unenviable position of revealing the news to shared friends and family. Thus begins the journey to find themselves and support their son.
Check out my interview with Billy Porter here.
Other red carpets I covered included the documentary premiere of Gloria Gaynor: I Will Survive. This documentary recounts Gloria Gaynor’s life while also chronicling her comeback journey. It is both a moving story of an artist’s resilience and a scintillating peak at the machinations of the music industry. Actress Cassandra Freeman, who stars in Peacock’s Bel-Air, was in attendance.
Also, a super fun red carpet I covered was Diarra From Detroit, which is a dark comedy that follows a divorcing school teacher who refuses to believe she’s been ghosted by her rebound Tinder date. Her search for the missing man pulls her into a decades-old mystery involving the Detroit underworld. As the case unfolds, her co-workers, friends, and lovers become unlikely allies as she falls down a dangerous rabbit hole. The cast of this new TV series includes past NYWIFT Muse honoree Phylicia Rashad and Morris Chestnut. Both of whom I got a chance to speak with.
I have to give a special mention to another Tribeca documentary premiere called Exposing Parchman, which is an investigative documentary that explores the efforts to reform the Mississippi correctional system led by a team of attorneys on behalf of the inmates of Parchman Prison. The film tells the inside stories of the families, the legal team, and Roc Nation across three years of legal battles to end the deadly conditions for those incarcerated at Parchman.
Last but not least, I ended my 2023 Tribeca Festival experience on June 17th exactly how I began my Tribeca coverage by covering the one and only Angela Bassett during the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the 1998 release of How Stella Got Her Groove Back. After the movie screening, there was a panel discussion with Kevin Sullivan and Angela Bassett, moderated by Torell Shavone Taylor. Check out some highlights here.
Covering a festival as renowned as Tribeca takes a lot of endurance, planning, and professionalism. In the three years I covered I went from a D (Chamber) press badge, to a C (Franklin) press badge, to an A (Hudson) press badge. Huge thanks to NYWIFT and Katie Chambers for backing this opportunity.
Until next time… keep up to date with all things Tribeca Festival by visiting https://www.tribecafilm.com/
Check on Tammy Reese’s coverage of The Walking Dead: Dead City at the 2023 Tribeca Festival here!
Let’s give a warm NYWIFT welcome to Mariluz Guerra! Originally from Colombia, she is a proud indigenous Kankuaman filmmaker with experience directing, scriptwriting, producing, and editing. Her commitment to helping others heal through art is channeled in her films Body Stories: Suraj & Julieta and Body Stories: Together. Learn more about Mariluz as we discuss how her cultural roots are an ongoing influence on her projects, the innovative filmic style of Body Stories: Together, and the significant role that smartphones contributed towards helping her create an original and cost-efficient film!READ MORE
From NYWIFT blogger Tammy Reese: Stepping onto the red carpet at The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live premiere at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Los Angeles, California was a surreal moment, one that AMC graciously offered me. As I navigated through the glitz and glamour of the evening, the honor to meet my favorite television actor, Andrew Lincoln as well as the iconic actress Danai Gurira, both beloved actors and executive producers of the new spinoff, became the highlight of an unforgettable experience. Join me as I delve into the heart of this extraordinary journey, weaving together personal and professional reflections from this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.READ MORE
In a time when women’s reproductive rights are at the forefront of the political and cultural conversation, a group of teenage girls gather to assert their power, prepare for their futures, and determine the best way forward together. Following the smash hit success of their documentary Boys State at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, directors Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss returned to Park City in 2024 with the companion piece Girls State. NYWIFT Member Laela Kilbourn was one of seven cinematographers on Girls State, assigned to follow one of the protagonist’s throughout her week-long journey. She spoke to us about her experience working on the documentary.READ MORE
During the 40th edition of The Sundance Film Festival, Tammy Reese interviews fellow NYWIFT member Amanda Culkowski, the Executive Producer of As We Speak, a thought-provoking documentary that delves into the intersection of art and justice. Focusing on Bronx rap artist Kemba, the film sheds light on the alarming trend of rap lyrics being weaponized within the United States criminal justice system and beyond.READ MORE