Tribeca Film Festival: 9 Filmmakers Who Should Be on Your Radar

In Danny Boyle’s “Yesterday,” the closing-night feature at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, a musician awakes to a world in which no one else has ever heard of the Beatles. While it’s unlikely in the extreme that the festival, which opens Wednesday, will produce an artist as enduring as the Beatles, talented filmmakers can go overlooked in so large an event. Several dozen selections are both world premieres and feature debuts, which means they offer an opportunity to get in on the ground floor with a potentially major new director. Here are nine highlights from that group.

At 19, Phillip Youmans is surely the youngest director in this year’s American dramatic competition, and probably the most experimental. Claiming inspiration from the blues, he tells his story in an elliptical style that looks a lot like recent-vintage Terrence Malick. The film teems with lived-in details from its rural Louisiana setting (like the lengthy discussion of how to cure a dog of mange in the film’s opening) and springs to life whenever Wendell Pierce is onscreen as an alcoholic preacher. The movie is tough going, but coming from a 19-year-old, it shows a startlingly expansive understanding of what movies can be.

Your mileage may vary on the visual barrage of Facebook and emoji jokes and the use of words like “obvi” in dialogue, but the aggressive Generation Z trappings don’t make the writer-director Emily Cohn’s college raunch-com any less winning or sweet. With her studies for a looming astronomy exam on the back burner, Izzy (Isabelle Barbier), a college freshman, prepares to attend a “crush party” — all guests have been invited anonymously by a crush — and lose her virginity. Barbier is very funny, as are Deeksha Ketkar and Sadie Scott as Izzy’s cohorts.

Credited with their own cinematography and sound, the Swedish directors Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin take a frank look at life in a Scottish housing project. After a pregnancy causes a rift with the grandfather who raised her, Gemma begins settling down with the boyfriend he disapproves of, Pat. The filmmakers capture changes both abrupt (one of Gemma’s friends is the victim of a sudden act of violence) and slow-simmering (as Gemma’s relationship with Pat disintegrates) and emerge with a heartening portrait of resilience in a setting where parental abandonment and prison time are treated as regular facts of life.

Stefon Bristol’s movie, based on a previous short, tips its hat to other time-travel films (Michael J. Fox appears briefly as a teacher at Bronx Science). But with an ideal balance of matinee zip and social critique, it finds a fresh angle on the genre. Eden Duncan-Smith and Dante Crichlow star as two teenagers in Brooklyn who invent an apparatus that allows them to take short hops back in time, for 10-minute intervals. They soon find themselves using those powers to prevent an unjustified shooting by police. Produced by Spike Lee, the film will be available on Netflix next month.

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