- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 6, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) - This year’s Tribeca Film Festival will feature many domestically oriented movies that deal with contentious contemporary issues, from the recession to James Franco’s artistic antics.

Tribeca announced the first half of its slate for this year’s festival Tuesday: 46 feature films out of a planned 90. This half includes entries in the world narrative and documentary categories, as well as those in the festival’s “viewpoints” section, a category that highlights edgier films.

The documentary “Downeast” follows unemployed 70-year-olds in Gouldsboro, Maine, who are trying to get back to work after the closure of a sardine canning factory. The documentary “Off Label” explores overmedication. And clashes over school textbook content are chronicled in “The Revisionaries.”

In the narrative competition, “The Girl,” written and directed by David Riker, stars Abbie Cornish as a single mother who loses her job. Desperate for income to keep custody of her son, she helps smuggle illegal immigrants over the U.S.-Mexico border.

A film Franco made while moonlighting on the daytime soap opera “General Hospital” will also play at the festival. It’s an “experimental psychological thriller” about “a celebrity’s escalating paranoia” called “Francophrenia (or: Don’t Kill Me, I Know Where the Baby Is).” Co-directed by Franco and Ian Olds, the film (which premiered at the Rotterdam International Festival) uses footage Franco shot while appearing on “General Hospital.”

This slate is the first curated by Tribeca’s revamped programming leadership. Frederic Boyer, a veteran of the Cannes Film Festival, has joined as artistic director. Geoffrey Gilmore, who directed the Sundance Film Festival for years before becoming creative director at Tribeca in 2009, is now also overseeing the program.

“The quality of American independent cinema is well represented this year, but international diversity has its share, too, with films from countries as varied as Cuba and Kenya,” Boyer said.

The 11th annual Tribeca Film Festival will be held April 18-29. Opening the festival will be “The Five-Year Engagement,” a comedy starring Jason Segel and produced by Judd Apatow.

The festival will announce the other half of its 90 feature film slate Thursday.






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