Tribeca unveils 44 competition films for 2011 festival

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Tribeca unveils 44 competition films for 2011 festival

NEW YORK - The Tribeca film festival on Monday unveiled 44 films in its narrative feature and documentary competitions that will vie for awards, audiences and distribution deals at this year’s festival.

Tribeca, one of the largest film festivals in the United States, held in New York from April 20 to May 1, will show 88 feature films this year, about the same number as in 2010.

Among the films announced for its narrative feature competition was offbeat comedy, “Jesus Henry Christ” - a film about a boy genius whose world gets turned upside down - starring Toni Collette and Michael Sheen and executive produced by Julia Roberts.

Director of programming David Kwok said several of the fiction films examine “aging and our place in life,” including drama “The Last Rites of Joe May,” starring actor Dennis Farina as a Chicago Hustler and western “Blackthorn” with Sam Shepard playing outlaw Butch Cassidy living under a hidden identity and setting out on one last adventure.

Two coming-of-age tales about female sexuality will be shown, including Sweden’s “She Monkeys” about teenage girls competing in equestrian acrobatics and Norway’s “Turn Me On, Goddammit” about a small town girl with an active imagination and libido.

Among the documentaries, “Semper Fi: Always Faithful” shows a war veteran’s discovery of water contamination sites in the United States after his daughter dies of Leukemia and “Give Up Tomorrow,” which shows corruption in the case of Paco Larranaga, who was convicted of murdering two sisters in the Philippines.

“We are seeing this personal journey of people, where the everyday man is going up against the larger institution,” said Kwok on the common documentary themes.

Tribeca’s competition films typically feature first-time or newcomer directors and this year is no different.

The 10th annual festival features films from 32 different countries. About half the movies in the feature and documentary competition hail from foreign countries, including Egyptian fiction feature “Cairo Exit” about a young, pregnant girl struggling with fleeing with her boyfriend.

“Gnarr,” a documentary from Iceland, follows the country’s economic meltdown and comedian Jon Gnarr’s efforts to launch his own political party.

Recent years have seen tough times among independent filmmakers as companies have folded amid the gloomy economy, but the market seemed to turnaround at another indie favorite, the Sundance Film Festival held in January, where numerous deals for movie rights were made.

The rest of Tribeca’s film slate, including premieres with more star power, will be announced next week.

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