Hulu/MGM’s The Handmaid’s Tale and National Geographic’s Genius are among the big-name highlights of this year’s Tribeca TV, the second annual television slate of the Tribeca Film Festival. Fifteen shows, including five series premieres, four season premieres and a sneak peek at PBS’ Ken Burns-Lynn Novick docu-series The Vietnam War will screen during the April 19-30 fest.
The TV lineup was announced today, and also includes season debuts of Episodes, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Casual and a special presentation at Lower Manhattan’s 9/11 Memorial & Museum of a 9/11-themed episode of CNN’s new series Soundtracks: Songs That Defined History.
“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, the Tribeca fest’s Director of Programming. “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.”
In addition to the screenings, Tribeca will host conversations with cast and creatives, including Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes and other performers from The Handmaid’s Tale; Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Gigi Pritzker, Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson, exec producers and stars of the Albert Einstein bio-series Genius; and Jessica Biel and Bill Pullman from USA’s The Sinner.
New this year will be screenings of three independently produced pilots: Black Magic For White Boys, Lost & Found and Manic.
Here’s the complete Tribeca TV slate, with the festival’s loglines:
Another Period (Comedy Central) – Season 3 World Premiere
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.
After the episode: A conversation with creators, writers, and stars Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome, and cast members Paget Brewster and Brett Gelman.
Casual (Hulu) – Season 3 World Premiere
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.
After the episode: A conversation with creator and executive producer Zander Lehmann, executive producers, Liz Tigelaar, Helen Estabrook, and cast members Michaela Watkins, Tommy Dewey, and Tara Lynne Barr.
Episodes (Showtime) – Final Season Premiere
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.
After the episode: A conversation with creators David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, and cast member Matt LeBlanc.
The Eyeslicer – New Series Premiere
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.
After the episode: A conversation with co-creators Dan Schoenbrun and Vanessa McDonnell, and filmmakers Lauren Wolkstein, Erin Vassilopoulos, Shaka King, Danny Madden, and Leah Shore.
Genius (National Geographic) – New Series World Premiere
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.
After the episode: A conversation with director and executive producer Ron Howard, executive producers Brian Grazer and Gigi Pritzker, showrunner Ken Biller, and cast members Geoffrey Rush, Johnny Flynn, Emily Watson, and Samantha Colley.
The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu, MGM) – New Series World Premiere
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.
After the episode: A conversation with executive producers Bruce Miller, Warren Littlefield, episodes director Reed Morano and cast members Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, Samira Wiley, Alexis Bledel, Madeline Brewer, Ann Dowd, O.T. Fagbenle, and Max Minghella.
I Am Heath Ledger (Spike TV) – World Premiere
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
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)
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 #1: A conversation with CNN anchor of New Day, Chris Cuomo, and professor at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, Jason King. After the episode #2: A conversation with executive producers Maro Chermayeff and Jeff Dupree.
There’s… Johnny! (Seeso) – New Series World Premiere
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.
After the episode: A conversation with creator Paul Reiser, executive producers David Steven Simon and David Gordon Green, and cast members Tony Danza, Ian Nelson, and Jane Levy.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix) – Season 3 World Premiere
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.
After the episode: A conversation with co-creators and executive producers Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, and cast members Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Jane Krakowski, and Carol Kane. Moderated by co-host of Morning Joe, Willie Geist.
The Vietnam War (PBS) – Special Sneak Peek
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.
After the episode: A conversation with filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.
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. After the screenings: Conversations with the creators.
Black Magic for White Boys – World Premiere
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
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 Lafleur, Terence Nance, Avi Rothman, Laura Lee Botsacos, Abby Wathen, Nick Thurston, Haroula Rose, Ethan Gold.
Manic – World Premiere
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.