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Tribeca brings films West

Distribution arm that grew out of the film festival will screen 10 non-mainstream movies in SoCal.

June 26, 2010|By Steven Zeitchik, Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Film Festival may be winding down, but those in need of an indie-film fix have no reason to fret: A new crop is coming in right behind it.

Tribeca Film, a distribution initiative that grew out of the Tribeca Film Festival, is bringing a roster of films to the Southland over the next two weeks. Beginning this weekend and concluding on July 8, the Laemmle Sunset 5 will screen 10 films that premiered at Tribeca over the last two years.

The program is part of an effort to expose audiences to movies that might not normally come to the multiplex.

Among the titles is Josh Appignanesi's buzzed-about interfaith comedy "The Infidel," the Juliette Lewis- and Vincent Gallo-voiced dystopian animated film "Metropia" — a 2024-set story in which nearly all of Europe is united by one transit system — and the class-conscious shock-documentary "The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia," which showcases the antics of an outlaw family in Boone County, W. Va., and is produced by Jeff Tremaine and Johnny Knoxville of "Jackass" fame.

"There are a lot of avenues for people to see films at film festivals. We want to re-create that experience but offer it to them in the marketplace," says Geoffrey Gilmore, chief creative officer of Tribeca Enterprises, the umbrella company that runs Tribeca Film.

In addition to "Metropia," "Infidel" and "Wonderful Whites," the slate also includes Dev Benegal's evocatively shot Indian bildungsroman "Road, Movie," Julian Kemp's contemplative romantic comedy "My Last Five Girlfriends" and David Russo's "The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle," a kitchen-sink comedy about a young man who, desperate for a job, goes to work as a janitor and gets more than he bargained for.

Jay Baruchel's high-school comedy "The Trotsky," the Tilda Swinton-narrated global environmental documentary titled "Climate of Change" and the British-punk documentary "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll," in which Andy Serkis plays maverick musician Ian Dury, round out the slate.

The Tribeca effort comes as festivals and the independent world as a whole look to expand their reach. The independent-film arena has sought new ways to maintain relevance as theatrical footholds have become more slippery and new digital-delivery platforms have yet to fully enter the mainstream.

This year's Sundance Film Festival, for instance, saw a number of films played in cities around the country concurrent with their Park City, Utah, premieres, while South by Southwest has launched a digital channel to enable fans around the country to stay current with films and other goings-on from the Austin, Texas, gathering.

The Tribeca theatrical initiative comes on the heels of the Tribeca Film Festival playing a number of films on video on-demand platforms, which it launched in April, as well as in limited theatrical runs in New York.

But neither the festival nor Tribeca Enterprises has previously taken any of its films, many of which do not have theatrical distribution, on the road to any other city. Tribeca Film has rented out the Laemmle for the repertory run, as opposed to the more conventional process in which theaters book films.

"We're always trying to show the public as many films as we can, and many of these are movies they wouldn't have a chance to see otherwise," says Laemmle Theatres president Greg Laemmle.

Although the 10 films can be of varying quality, their run at the Laemmle presents a chance for discovery that eludes those who don't travel to festivals.

"We need to re-educate people about the kinds of films they can see," Gilmore says. "People need to know that there's an international documentary, or a heavy melodrama that they can't see if they just went to the movies based on what's being advertised."

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