The 2017 Tribeca Film Festival today announced the lineup for the television festival, Tribeca TV, featuring a mix of world premieres of some of the most talked-about new series, including The Handmaid’s Tale and Genius, season debuts of audience favorites such as Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Episodes, as well as documentary special previews, and indie pilots. Premiere screenings will be followed by dynamic conversations with some of the most creative and well-known actors, directors, writers, and producers in the business. Tribeca TV, which will run during the festival’s 16th edition, features 15 shows including five series premieres, four season premieres, three independent pilots, one feature documentary, and one very special sneak peek. The Tribeca Film Festival takes place April 19-30.
Tribeca TV debuted last year and launched a diverse selection of shows that went on to critical acclaim and commercial success, including HBO’s The Night Of and AMC’s The Night Manager. This year’s lineup includes series premieres of: Hulu’s highly anticipated The Handmaid’s Tale, followed by a conversation with the dynamic cast of Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Alexis Bledel, Samira Wiley, and Max Minghella; NatGeo’s first scripted series Genius about the fascinating life of Albert Einstein, followed by a conversation with executive producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, who also directs the first episode, and stars Emily Watson and Geoffrey Rush; USA’s crime thriller anthology series The Sinner, followed by a conversation with stars Jessica Biel and Bill Pullman, and director Antonio Campos; and There’s … Johnny!, from NBC’s new comedy service SeeSo, followed by a conversation with showrunners and cast including executive producers Paul Reiser and David Gordon Green, and star Tony Danza.
“Coming off of a very successful first year of Tribeca TV, we curated this year’s program to include an expanded, exceptional lineup of top-notch shows and dynamic storytellers both in front of and behind the camera,” said Cara Cusumano, Director of Programming at the Tribeca Film Festival. “As the TV landscape continues to evolve in exciting, cinematic directions, the festival creates a unique opportunity for audiences to discover together on a big screen what everyone else will eventually be talking about from their couches at home.”
Highlights also include season premieres of audience favorites including: season three premiere of the Netflix original series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, followed by a conversation with executive producers Tina Fey and Robert Carlock and stars Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Jane Krakowski and Carol Kane; the premiere of Showtime’s Episodes’ final season, followed by a conversation between Matt LeBlanc and creators David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik; season three premiere of Hulu’s family comedy Casual, followed by a conversation with creator Zander Lehmann, as well as executive producers and cast members; and season three premiere of Comedy Central’s Another Period, followed by a conversation with creators, writers, and stars Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome.
Tribeca TV will also host a special event for CNN’s new series Soundtracks: Songs That Defined History, executive produced by Dwayne Johnson, which explores music as a driving force behind social change, with the premiere of the series’ 9/11 episode at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. SpikeTV will premiere a new installment of their feature documentary series I Am, an inside look at the life of Heath Ledger, as told by his inner circle. Additionally, the new independent variety show from the mastermind behind collective: unconscious, The Eyeslicer will premiere at the Festival, bringing together the next generation of alternative Americans under one strange roof.
This year Tribeca TV will highlight the work of independent productions for the first time, as part of the Festival’s mission of creator discovery. These three original new pilots will premiere together during a special event followed by a conversation with the creators: Black Magic for White Boys, Lost & Found, and Manic.
Ken Burns will be honored for his unparalleled work as one of the most influential and celebrated historical documentarians with the Festival’s new Citizen Filmmaker Award. Following the presentation, audience members will screen a special sneak-peek created especially for Tribeca of The Vietnam War, the unprecedented 10-part, 18 hour documentary film series about the Vietnam War directed by Burns and Lynn Novick, which will air on PBS this fall.
The TRIBECA TV Lineup:
Another Period (Comedy Central) – Season 3 World Premiere
Executive Producers: Natasha Leggero, Riki Lindhome, Jeremy Konner, Debbie Liebling, Stuart Cornfeld, Mike Rosenstein, Ben Stiller.
Another Period tells the incredible story of the Bellacourt sisters, Lillian and Beatrice (played by Leggero and Lindhome). Defined by their family’s wealth, they care only about becoming super famous — which is a lot harder in 1902. The show follows the insanely decadent and outrageous life of the Bellacourt coterie. Before others claimed their fame, they were the one American family who epitomized all that was spoiled, shameless and stupid. The Bellacourts have more servants than relatives and days filled with money, sex, drugs…and more money.
Casual (Hulu) – Season 3 World Premiere
Executive Producers: Zander Lehmann, Liz Tigelaar, Helen Estabrook, Jason Reitman.
Season 3 returns with everyone’s favorite co-dependent siblings Valerie and Alex. They continue to live deep in each other’s emotional lives as they raise Valerie’s daughter Laura. Following dramatic life changes at the end of the last season, Valerie and Alex are adjusting to a new normal while continuing to struggle to maintain boundaries with each other.
Episodes (Showtime) – Final Season Premiere
Executive Producer: Jimmy Mulville.
Episodes, the award-winning, razor-sharp comedy about the insanity of making a television show, returns for its fifth and final season. Lauded English television writers Sean and Beverly Lincoln were lured to Hollywood to adapt their much-loved British boarding-school comedy, Lyman’s Boys. Their American network has mangled the show into Pucks!, a sitcom about a high school hockey coach starring Matt LeBlanc (played brilliantly by himself). After a dismal run, the sitcom was finally put out of its misery. Now Sean and Beverly struggle to create a successful new project in this country without completely losing their integrity, while Matt desperately attempts to revitalize his disappearing acting career.
The Eyeslicer – New Series Premiere
Executive Producers: Dan Schoenbrun, Vanessa McDonnell.
The Eyeslicer is a new variety TV show that brings the next generation of alternative American filmmakers together under one strange roof. The hour-long show will slice, dice, and then mince your eyeballs into delicious ceviche. Each episode is a handcrafted mixtape, blending boundary-pushing short form work into a weird, wild, uninterrupted whole. The Eyeslicer premieres at Tribeca with the episode “Facial Reconstruction”, featuring work from acclaimed indie filmmakers Lauren Wolkstein, Erin Vassilopoulos, Shaka King, Danny Madden, and Leah Shore.
Genius (National Geographic) – New Series World Premiere
Executive Producers: Ken Biller, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Gigi Pritzker, Sam Sokolow.
Genius charts how Albert Einstein (Geoffrey Rush), an imaginative, rebellious patent clerk who struggled to land an academic post in his early years, went on to become the greatest scientific mind of the 20th century. The show explores his rise as he juggles his volatile, passionate and complex personal relationships. Based on Walter Isaacson’s acclaimed biography.
The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu, MGM) – New Series World Premiere
Executive Producer: Bruce Miller.
Based on Margaret Atwood’s acclaimed novel, The Handmaid’s Tale is the story of Gilead, a modern-day totalitarian society facing environmental disasters and a plunging birthrate, ruled by a fundamentalist regime that treats women as property. As one of the few fertile women, Offred is forced into sexual servitude in a desperate attempt to repopulate the world. In a society where one wrong word could end her life, Offred has one goal: survive and find the daughter taken from her.
I Am Heath Ledger (Spike TV) – World Premiere
Producer/Co-Director: Derik Murray. Co-Director: Adrian Buitenhuis.
Told through excerpts of his greatest performances, interviews with friends and family (including Ben Mendelsohn, Naomi Watts, Ang Lee, and Ben Harper), and the lens of his own camera, I Am Heath Ledger is an intimate celebration of the actor, artist, and icon. An artist of exceptional depth and courage, Ledger was equally talented behind the camera. This stirring documentary paints a rich portrait of one of the great artists of his generation.
The Sinner (USA/Universal Cable Productions) – New Series World Premiere
Executive Producers: Derek Simonds, Jessica Biel, Michelle Purple, Charlie Gogolak.
A young mother is overcome by an inexplicable fit of rage and commits a startling act of violence. The event launches an inverted and utterly surprising crime thriller whose driving force is not the “who” or the “what,”—but the “why.” Soon the investigator finds himself obsessed with uncovering the woman’s buried motive. From Universal Cable Productions, The Sinner is a riveting psychological thriller, with a pilot stylishly directed by acclaimed filmmaker Antonio Campos (Afterschool, Christine).
After the episode: A conversation with executive producer and director of the pilot Antonio Campos, executive producer Derek Simonds, executive producer and cast member Jessica Biel, and cast members Christopher Abbott and Bill Pullman.
Soundtracks: Songs That Defined History (CNN)
Executive Producers: Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, Maro Chermayeff, Jeff Dupre.
Soundtracks explores seminal moments in history through the music that defines them. Featuring original interviews with legendary musicians as well as celebrated journalists, historians, and writers, the series reveals how music has been a driving force behind social change. In a Tribeca screening at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York, the show will explore how songs like Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” took on new and heightened meaning, as music took center stage for a country fighting to heal. Co-hosted by the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.
After the episode: A conversation with CNN anchor of New Day, Chris Cuomo, and professor at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, Jason King. Moderated by Executive Vice President and Deputy Director for Museum Programs at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Clifford Chanin.
There’s… Johnny! (Seeso) – New Series World Premiere
Executive Producers: Paul Reiser, David Steven Simon, David Gordon Green, Jeff Sotzing, Brian Volk-Weiss, Craig Knizek, Cisco Henson, Michael Pelmont, Matt Ochacher, Evan Shapiro, Kelsey Balance.
It’s 1972, and everyone goes to bed together… with Johnny Carson, TV’s biggest star. 19 year old Nebraskan Andy Klavin stumbles his way into a gig as a gofer at Carson’s “The Tonight Show” and into a world that will change his life. There’s… Johnny! takes a fictional comedic trip back in time, to go behind the man in front of the curtain, and look at the lives and loves of the people who make all of America laugh.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix) – Season 3 World Premiere
Executive Producers: Tina Fey, Robert Carlock, Jeff Richmond, David Miner.
After living in a cult for fifteen years, Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) decides to reclaim her life and start over in New York City. Season 3 opens with Kimmy in an unfamiliar position with the Reverend back in her life. Meanwhile, Titus returns from his cruise and auditions for an exciting new role, and Lillian has to break up with her boyfriend Robert Durst.
The Vietnam War (PBS) – Special Sneak Peek
Producers: Sarah Botstein, Ken Burns, Lynn Novick.
Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s ten-part, 18-hour documentary series tells the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never been told before. Featuring testimony from nearly 100 witnesses, including Americans who fought in the war,those who opposed it, and Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides. The Vietnam War is an immersive, 360 degree narrative of a seminal period of history
For the first time in 2017, Tribeca opened submissions to independently produced TV pilots. This showcase program represents the strongest new voices bringing their talents to the episodic space.
Black Magic for White Boys – World Premiere
Executive Producers: Jamie Block, Ronald Guttman. An aging magician is about to lose his small New York theater, but has a devilish plan to save it. A middle-aged man finds his sovereignty in jeopardy when he impregnates a woman he barely knows. A real estate mogul is frustrated that he can’t raise the rent on this tenants. These characters converge in Tribeca alum Onur Tukel’s bizarre comic tale about testing boundaries, gentrification, and how old New York is fading away. With: Onur Tukel, Ronald Guttman, Jamie Block.
Lost & Found – World Premiere
Executive Producers: Haroula Rose, Melonie Diaz.
Stella and Ian are separating. But for this modern LA couple, that’s nothing to be sad or ashamed about. They decide to host an “un-wedding” party to celebrate. As friends and family descend on their home for the occasion, secrets are revealed and loyalties tested in this comedy-drama about family, friendship, and marriage. With: Melonie Diaz, Will Janowitz, Jennifer LeFleur, Terence Nance, Avi Rothman, Laura Lee Botsacos, Abby Wathen, Nick Thurston, Haroula Rose, Ethan Gold.
Manic – World Premiere
Executive Producers: Kimberley Browning, Kate Marks.
Aurora Carter, an Ivy League-bound, AP Exam enthusiast finds that her over-achieving obsessiveness lands her in a boarding school for kids with mental illnesses. Now she has a singular goal: prove she doesn’t belong with the rest of the freaks. Determined to fight the system, Aurora makes alliances with the other girls one by one and inspires them to take control of their lives. With: Shanice Williams, Dot-Marie Jones, Russell Andrews, Nicki Micheaux, VyVy Nguyen.