Films by Washingtonians won accolades – and awards – at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival.
Founded in 2001 to help revitalize lower Manhattan following 9-11, the Tribeca Film Festival today ranks among the world’s most prestigious festivals, with a reputation for launching hot new talent and tackling controversial subjects. This year, Washington filmmakers came out for premieres, parties, and, for the very first time, on the awards podium. Native sons Tom and Paul Hardart celebrated the opening of the historical drama they co-produced, Before the Rains, at the hip downtown eatery One Oak, where members of the cast were joined by a number of Hardart cousins and The Daily Show’s newest correspondent, Aasif Mandvi. Drink of choice? The Cham-Bull, a potent mix of champagne and Red Bull.
Later that night, Katie Couric and designer Kay Unger were among the VIP guests at Craftsteak restaurant for a surprise party for CEO and film producer Sheila Johnson, whose latest project, A Powerful Noise, premiered at the festival. Johnson is an outspoken advocate on issues of global poverty and women’s rights and serves as an ambassador for the international aid organization CARE, which hosted the event, and whose representatives helped to facilitate the location filming of A Powerful Noise. The following day Johnson was joined at the film’s official premiere by fellow CARE Ambassador Christy Turlington Burns and her husband, actor Ed Burns, and by CARE’s CEO, Dr. Helene Gayle. Following the screening, guests were invited to an after-party at the recently completed Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons School of Design.
One of the most coveted prizes at any film festival is the audience choice award, and the Tribeca 2008 Cadillac Award, The Audience Choice for Best Feature Film, went to Washingtonian producer/director Karim Chrobog, who’s moving documentary, War Child, chronicles the unlikely journey of Sudanese singer/rapper Emmanuel Jal from child soldier to internationally acclaimed recording artist. Jal’s third album, Ceasefire, will be released in the U.S. later this year.