One of the pleasures of the Tribeca Film Festival is watching the short films, many of which are so well-done and, unfortunately, rarely seen by the public. Below is a rundown of seven of the shorts that I saw at this year’s fest.
Super Sex – This lighthearted, very short film by actor Matthew Modine stars Kevin Nealon and Elizabeth Perkins as brother and sister who try to figure out what to get their elderly father, played by Ed Asner, for his birthday. They decide on a prostitute. Having met Ed Asner a few yeas ago, I can attest that his flirtatious nature was perfect for this role.
Mulberry is Paul Stone’s film about the history of Little Italy in New York and how it’s turning into something else today, losing its long legacy as people are displaced or dying off. It’s a bittersweet story of the neighborhood that Martin Scorsese and many others called home.
Starring Austin Pendleton is a fun documentary profile of this underrated actor, director, writer who has been in so many films and worked with some of the greats. Yet, he still seems to be best known for his turn as a stuttering attorney in “My Cousin Vinny.” Those interviewed in the film have nothing but praise for Pendleton, and they include Wallace Shawn, Bob Balaban, Olympia Dukakis, Ethan Hawke, and the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman. The film was directed by Gene Gallerano and David H. Holmes.
Homeland is a sweet documentary by Sara Broos about a woman from Syria who has been displaced as a refugee in Sweden. She talks about how music has helped her get through the adversity she has experienced, as well as retain memories of her beloved homeland. In the course of the film, she gets to meet an idol of hers, a Norwegian pop star from the band A-ha.
Ping Pong Coach – This Taiwanese short by Yi Liu is the sad tale of an adolescent girl who develops a crush on her ping pong coach, who is also the father of her friend, only to discover something awful about him.
Balcony, by Toby Fell-Holden, is a British film about a young lesbian who falls for a Muslim girl who is being harassed by her classmates. The ending is devastating, but the film is well-done and well-acted.
You Can Go by filmmaker Christine Turner stars S. Epatha Merkerson from “Law and Order” and young actor, Charlie Tahan, in the story of a young man with a gun who confronts a high school administrator. Tahan is one to watch.