FESTIVALS

TRIBECA FESTIVAL | Narrative Filmmaker/press meet-and-greet

Catching up with first-time filmmaker Jenny Deller
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On Sunday the Tribeca Festival held its Narrative Filmmaker Press Reception at their Cadillac Lounge in downtown New York. In attendance were roughly fifty filmmakers and their guests, with everyone eager to network.

I got to meet several filmmakers, including writer-director-producer Jenny Deller (pictured, with me) whose feature film Future Weather will be having its world premiere here at Tribeca on April 29th.  Deller was enjoying this moment, begun roughly two months before with a phone call from the Tribeca programmers asking if she’d like to screen her film at the festival; to which I imagine Deller responded “hell yea!”

The film, which stars Amy Madigan and Lili Taylor, was inspired by a New York Times article on global warming. It follows an abandoned teenager who becomes obsessed with an ecological disaster. The takeaway about Deller’s situation is not only that she’s a woman filmmaker in a male-dominated profession, but she never attended film school. The fact that her first film, with name talent, found its way to a national festival speaks to Deller’s autodidactic abilities. It’s manifest that determination and passion as well as talent count in a business that normally adheres to a very political system. Deller should be a role model for aspiring filmmakers.

At the other end of the Lounge I then met writer-director Robert Festinger, whose contribution to this year’s festival is his short film The Procession, which had several screenings scheduled in the “Escape Clause” narrative block. The twelve-minute comedy stars Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Lily Tomlin, as a mother and son who attend a funeral but accidentally get caught in leading the way to the burial.

For Festinger Tribeca brings back great memories of the city; he’s attended N.Y.U. before. This short comedic opus shows the great versatility of the man who previously wrote the Oscar-nominated In The Bedroom and the even darker thriller Trust. The thunderous laughter during his current film’s screenings shows Festinger is adept at wearing both sides of the mask.

Both Deller and Festinger exemplify the great variety of entertainment to be found at this year’s festival—reviews of both their films up next.

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