Kiss the Future directed by Nenad Cicin-Sain
Kiss the Future directed by Nenad Cicin-Sain

The 2023 Tribeca Festival kicks off on Wednesday, June 7 with the North American premiere of Kiss the Future, a documentary that follows the story of a community of underground musicians and creatives throughout the nearly four-year-long siege of Sarajevo, as well as the 1997 U2 concert celebrating the liberation of the Bosnian capital. Kiss the Future, produced by Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Sarah Anthony, and featuring U2’s Bono, The Edge, and Adam Clayton, officially opens the 12-day festival and sets Tribeca’s tone with its theme of artists-activists.

“Ben and I are proud of this film and are honored that it has been selected to open the Tribeca Festival,” said Damon. “We are grateful to the people of Sarajevo and to U2 for giving us the opportunity to help tell this special story. Though this event happened almost 30 years ago, we feel it has strong relevance to today’s world, serving as a powerful reminder that human creativity can provide a powerful antidote to even the most horrific of situations.”

To close the Festival, Tribeca is commemorating the 30th anniversary of A Bronx Tale with a special screening of the classic film on Saturday, June 17. After the movie, the film’s director and star Robert De Niro, producer Jane Rosenthal, and writer and co-star Chazz Palminteri are participating in a live conversation with the editor of The New Yorker David Remnick.

“A Bronx Tale is a very personal project that marked my directorial debut,” said De Niro. “I’m pleased to celebrate its 30th anniversary at Tribeca with my longtime producing partner and Festival co-founder Jane Rosenthal, the wonderful Chazz Palminteri, and a live New York audience at the iconic Beacon Theatre.”

This year’s Centerpiece Gala is the New York premiere of Disney and Pixar’s Elemental. Set in Element City, where fire-, water-, earth- and air-residents live together, the film is about Ember, a fiery young woman, whose friendship with water-guy Wade challenges her beliefs about the world they live in and the person she wants to be. Directed by Peter Sohn, Elemental is voiced by Catherine O’Hara, Leah Lewis, and Mamoudou Athie.

The remaining Gala selections include the world premieres of music documentaries about Grammy-winning artists Carlos Santana, Cyndi Lauper, and French Montana with dedicated performances by each artist after the screenings. Additionally, Grammy-winning Megan Thee Stallion is participating in a live conversation.


Kiss the Future, (USA, Ireland) – North American Premiere. A stirring testament to art’s enduring ability to cast light in even the darkest of circumstances, Kiss the Future follows an underground community who worked and created throughout the nearly four-year long Siege of Sarajevo. After an American aid worker makes a longshot pitch to U2 to help raise awareness about the Bosnian capital’s plight, the band’s live satellite interviews with local Sarajevans during their 1993 ZOO TV Tour help highlight the direness of the situation on the ground. And when U2 arrive to perform a long-promised concert after the city’s liberation, the show becomes a monument to the strength and resilience of the people of Sarajevo as well as art’s capacity to inspire and unite. Directed by Nenad Cicin-Sain, written by Bill Carter. Produced by Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Sarah Anthony. With Vesna Andree Zaimović, Senad Zaimović, Enes Zlatar, Alma Catal Hurem, Boris Siber, Gino Jevdjevic, Bono, The Edge, and Adam Clayton.

A Bronx Tale, (United States). In Robert De Niro’s stunning directorial debut, a devoted father battles a local mob boss for the life of his son. Growing up on the racially divided streets of 1960s New York, 9-year-old Calogero, or “C,” idolizes sophisticated local gangster Sonny (Chazz Palminteri), despite stern warnings from his working-class father (Robert De Niro). But when “C” gets older, he finds himself torn between two worlds and must choose between earning respect like his father or commanding it like Sonny. Vividly evoking the sights and sounds of the iconic neighborhood, “A Bronx Tale” is a compelling story of love and loyalty. Directed by Robert De Niro. Written by Chazz Palminteri. Produced by Robert De Niro, Jon Kilik, Jane Rosenthal. With Robert De Niro, Chazz Palminteri, Lillo Brancato.

Elemental, (United States) – New York Premiere. Set in Element City, where fire-, water-, earth- and air-residents live together, the story introduces fiery young woman Ember, whose friendship with water-guy Wade challenges her beliefs about the world they live in and the person she wants to be. The voice cast includes Leah Lewis, Mamoudou Athie, Ronnie Del Carmen, Shila Ommi, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Catherine O’Hara, Mason Wertheimer, and Joe Pera. Directed by Peter Sohn, produced by Denise Ream, p.g.a., and executive produced by Pete Doctor, “Elemental” features a screenplay by John Hoberg & Kat Likkel and Brenda Hsueh with story by Sohn, Hoberg & Likkel and Hsueh. Original score composed and conducted by Thomas Newman. A Disney and Pixar release.

Cyndi Lauper. Let the Canary Sing
Cyndi Lauper. Let the Canary Sing directed by Alison Ellwood. (Photographer: Bruce Ando )

Let the Canary Sing, (United States, UK) – World Premiere. Alison Ellwood’s boisterous documentary is a big-hearted and joyous look at the life and career of music icon Cyndi Lauper. From her humble beginnings in Queens to her ascension to global stardom the film celebrates Lauper’s powerful voice, her dedication to advocacy, and staying true to her irrepressible, spunky self. Directed by Alison Ellwood. Produced by Alison Ellwood, Trevor Birney, Eimhear O’Neill, Andrew Tully.

A Storytellers Conversation with Megan Thee Stallion – Megan Thee Stallion is a three-time GRAMMY-winning recording artist, actor, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. Megan has been recognized for her musical achievements, including nine BET Awards and back-to-back Billboard Music Awards for “Top Rap Female Artist.” Additionally, she has been honored for her advocacy efforts, having received the 2022 Special Achievement Award at The Webby Awards and the Trailblazer Award at the iHeartRadio Music Awards. Most recently, Megan made history in Nov. 2022, becoming the first Black woman to appear on the cover of Forbes’ prestigious Under 30 issue. She was previously recognized as one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020 after publishing her monumental “Why I Speak Up For Black Women” op-ed for The New York Times.

French Montana in For Khadija
French Montana in For Khadija directed by Mandon Lovett

For Khadija, (United States, Morocco) – World Premiere. Moroccan-born and New York-bred Grammy-nominated, Diamond-certified recording artist, humanitarian, and entrepreneur French Montana gives a deeper look into his roots and globe-spanning upbringing, led by the sacrifices of his single mother. Directed by Mandon Lovett. Produced by French Montana.

Carlos Santana in Carlos directed by Rudy Valdez
Carlos Santana in Carlos directed by Rudy Valdez ©Roberto Finizio

Carlos, (United States) – World Premiere. The immersive and intimately-crafted documentary Carlos catapults us into rock icon Carlos Santana’s life and musical trajectory. Filmmaker Rudy Valdez bolsters this personal narrative with pulsating, never-before-seen footage — guided by Santana himself, and in his own words. Directed by Rudy Valdez. Produced by Sara Bernstein, Justin Wilkes, Lizz Morhaim, Leopoldo Gout, Ashley Kahn, Sam Pollard, Rudy Valdez.

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