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Cherry Picking Tribeca’s Docs

Christy Turlington production company in Tanzania

Craig Kennedy runs down the last of the lineup for the Tribeca Film Fest. One wonders if any of these movies will have a life beyond the fest. But the buzz starts here if it starts at all. Sundance, Telluride and Toronto have become more prominent for the Oscar race. Nonetheless, here are a few titles worth looking out for. The funny thing about this year’s Tribeca is that Christy Turlington (former model) and her husband Ed Burns both have films showing up in Tribeca. Sells itself.

My Trip to Al-Qaeda, directed by Alex Gibney, Documentary. (USA) – World Premiere. Academy Award® winner Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, TFF ’07) collaborates with Lawrence Wright to bring Wright’s titular one-man play to the screen. With equal parts Spalding Gray and An Inconvenient Truth, My Trip to Al Qaeda chronicles fundamentalist Islam’s rise to power and explores Wright’s struggle to maintain his objectivity as a journalist writing about Islamic terror.

Gerrymandering, directed by Jeff Reichert. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. This wake-up-call doc exposes the hidden history of our country’s redistricting wars, mapping battles that take place out of public scrutiny but shape the electoral landscape of American politics for decades at time, posing a threat not just to Democrats and Republicans, but democracy as a whole. Featuring stories from nine states, Gerrymandering takes a hard look at the framework of our democracy and how it provides our politicians a perfectly legal way to control electoral outcomes.

* No Woman, No Cry, directed by Christy Turlington Burns. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. More than half a million women each year die from preventable complications during pregnancy or childbirth. In her gripping directorial debut, Christy Turlington Burns shares the powerful stories of pregnant women in four parts of the world, including a remote Maasai tribe in East Africa, a slum of Bangladesh, a post-abortion care ward in Guatemala, and a prenatal clinic in the United States.

* The Other City, directed by Susan Koch. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. There’s a part of Washington, DC never seen by the tourists and ignored by the mass media. At least three percent of DC is HIV positive, a staggering rate higher than parts of Africa, but the city is also full of encouraging stories of grassroots movements to extend education, combat stigmas, and spread hope. TFF alum Susan Koch’s (Kicking It, TFF ’08) eye-opening documentary tells the unheard stories behind the growing epidemic in our nation’s capital.