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DocGeeks » Festivals, News » Must-watch documentaries showing at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival

Must-watch documentaries showing at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival

Tribeca Film Festival 2014At DocGeeks we’ve been keeping an eye on the online discussion surrounding the Tribeca Film Festival, which opens in New York on Wednesday. Here we present to you with a list of the most eagerly anticipated documentaries showing at the festival this year.

Time Is Illmatic, dir. One9

Music documentaries have proven to be exceedingly popular and big money-makers in recent years, just look at the last two Oscar-winning documentaries. It’s therefore apt that this year’s Tribeca film festival opens with a film which reflects upon the impact of hip-hop artist Nas’ breakthough first album, Illmatic, released 20 years ago. This is a reflective documentary and one which, as stated by Slate critic Dee Lockett, “will be required viewing for hip-hop fans.”


1971, dir. Johanna Hamilton

Edward snowden, eat your heart out. This documentary has got tongues wagging by retelling the story of Media, Pennsylvania, when a group of citizen activists broke into an FBI office, stealing hundreds of documents and then exposed them to the press, triggering a congressional investigation.

What is so extraordinary about this film is that the activists, who were never caught, have revealed themselves for the first time. What were their motivations for the break in? How did they pull off this heist without getting caught? And, more intriguingly, why did they decide to break their silence now? It’s well worth watching 1971 in order to find out.

What are the critics saying?

“It’s a gripping story, due for retelling in this post-Wikileaks, post-Snowden age, and the filmmaking is first-rate; it moves briskly while remaining detailed, thorough, and ruthlessly intelligent. ” Flavorwire


Virunga, dir. Orlando von Einsiedel

Set to be one of the major campaign documentaries of the year, Virunga tells the story of the oldest National Park in Africa, which has been struggling to survive in the face of regional conflict, illegal poaching and international prospectors looking to mine the land of it’s rich resources.

Following the stories of a collection of brave individuals fighting to protect the park, which is famously home to the critically endangered mountain gorilla, and combining stunning cinematic shots with raw secret filming, this film is likely to cause a stir.

What are the critics saying?

“Von Einsiedel juxtaposes the beautiful serene Virunga against footage of socio-political-economic conflict within the country, highlighting the incredibly dangerous work that is often required to safeguard the environment.” IndieWire

We haven’t been able to track down a trailer for this film yet but for screening times and more info, check the Tribeca website.

Art and Craft, dir. Sam Cullman and Jennifer Grausman

This Kickstarter crowdfunded documentary explores the life of Mark Landis, known as “one of the most prolific art forgers in US history”, and offers a remarkable insight into a story which is half art heist, half poignant and sympathetic portrait of an elderly man and the manifestations of mental illness.

What are the critics saying?

“The access is kind of amazing — how often do you see a documentary where you see both the guy being chased and the guy chasing him?” Vulture

For more information take a look at the Tribeca website.

Garnet’s Gold, dir. Ed Perkins

Alongside Virunga, Garnet’s Gold is another notable British documentary offering premiering at the festival. Directed by Ed Perkins, this film, which took the best part of 4 years to create on a minimal budget, tracks the life of Garnet Frost, who almost lost his life after hiking in the Scottish Highlands. This experience left Garnet convinced that a staff he discovered shortly before his rescue   is actually an ancient marker to a long forgotten treasure.

What are the critics saying?

“Garnet’s Gold is about a man who we probably would never have heard of were it not for this beautiful doc about an inner journey.” – Screen International

Check out the film’s page here.
Dior and I, dir. Frédéric Tcheng

Offering up a strikingly honest and realistic view into the world of high fashion, Dior and I, has been pegged as one of the standout films nominated for the ‘World Documentary’ award (and is also a favourite to win it).

“While quiet and moderately paced, the 89-minute documentary has a race-to-the-finish aspect underlying it” New York Magazine

Fashionistas – for more info you can check the film’s page on the Tribeca website.

The Overnighters, dir. Jesse Moss

With it’s focus on small-town America and the social impact of the mining of natural resources, this film echoes the themes explored in the award-winning interactive documentary Fort McMoney. Yet, keeping to a more traditional format, this film explores the attempts of an idealistic preacher to care for a community of men seeking to find fortune and escape their pasts.

The Overnighters is another expose of the American dream gone wrong, a genre which is always intriguing, and so often heartbreaking too.

What are the critics saying?

The film has already won the “Special Jury Award for Intuitive Filmmaking” at Sundance, and according to The Wrap, it could be pushed forward for next year’s Oscar nominations.

Are you lucky enough to be in New York right now? Then check here when you can see this doc.


Written by

Emma's passion for documentary film developed whilst studying History and Politics at Warwick University. After interning for the BBC's international documentary strand 'Storyville' she became intent on working in the documentary film-making industry and now works for a London-based independent production company [Spirit Level Film]. Emma is one of the only documentary-lovers around that thinks Errol Morris' films are boring.

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