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International fare makes Tribeca festive!

By Lapacazo Sandoval and Art Shrian | 4/17/2014, 4:50 p.m.
“Time Is Illmatic” (Photo courtesy of the film)

Equality isn’t really a fullproof achievable reality, but the pursuit, as driven by sincere and determined souls, usually delivers a series of welcome surprises. The Tribeca Film Festival is such a place and is well known for being a diverse, international festival that supports emerging and established directors.

Screening more than 1,400 films from more than 80 countries, since its inception, it has attracted an international audience of more than 4 million attendees and generated an estimated $750 million in economic activity for New York City.

Here is our list of films not be be missed.

“Time Is Illmatic,” directed by multimedia artist One9.

Even 20 years after its release, Queensbridge rapper Nas’ “Illmatic” is widely revered as a hip-hop icon, capturing the sociopolitical outlook, indomitable spirit and collective angst of a restless generation of young artists searching for their voice in America. “Time Is Illmatic” traces Nas’ undeniable influences and describes the almost insurmountable obstacles he faced in creating his hip-hop opus.

“Vara: A Blessing,” directed and written by Khyentse Norbu (Bhutan), in English with subtitles.

Raised in a sheltered village, young Lila yearns for a life devoted to Hindu worship, like that of her devadasi mother. Guileless, Lila agrees to model for a village boy who hopes to become a sculptor. Under the ever-present gaze of the villagers, especially the village landlord’s son, they unknowingly endanger both of their lives. Starring Shahana Goswami, Rohit Raj, Geeta Chandran and Devesh Ranjan.

“Mala Mala” (English), directed by Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles.

The fight for equality is delicately explored in this celebration of the transgender community in Puerto Rico. A unique exploration of self-discovery and activism, featuring a diverse collection of subjects that includes LGBTQ activists, business owners, sex workers and a boisterous group of drag performers who call themselves “The Doll House.” Their fight for personal and community acceptance is paved with triumphant highs and devastating lows.

“Manos Sucias,” directed by Josef Kubota Wladyka and executive produced by Spike Lee.

Towing a submerged torpedo in the wake of their battered fishing boat, “Jacobo,” a desperate fisherman and Delio, a naive kid, embark on a journey trafficking millions of dollars of cocaine up the Pacific coast of Colombia. The film was shot in areas that bear the indelible scars of ruthless drug trafficking and bloody guerrilla warfare. Director Wladyka establishes an intimate sense of place. The result is a visceral paradox of the incredible vibrancy, yet vile and devastating poverty, that permeates this struggling, war-torn region.

“Summer of Blood,” directed and written by Onur Tukel.

Onur Tukel stars in this black comedy looking hard at relationships, attraction, commitment and a more authentic meaning of “eternity.” Eric, an emotionally scarred New Yorker, finds himself on the brink of a premature mid-life crisis. Super glued to a dead-end job, with no allure in the dating pool, Eric has reason to lose hope. All that changes one fateful night when he runs into a hungry vampire in a city alleyway.

“Beyond the Brick: A LEGO Brickumentary,” directed by Oscar-winner Daniel Junge and Oscar- nominee Kief Davidson.

LEGO has captured imaginations for generations, and today, the community of builders is bigger than ever. “Beyond the Brick” delves into the extraordinary impact of the LEGO brick, its massive global fan base and the innovative uses for it that have sprung up around the world.

“Beneath the Harvest Sky,” directed and written by Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly.

This story is an intimate portrait of two Maine teenagers, Dominic and Casper, who are frustrated at their bleak prospects in their small town. Plotting an escape to Boston, Dominic spends the summer harvesting potatoes, while town “bad boy” Casper opts to join his family business smuggling drugs over the Canadian border. The divergent paths of the two boys, both trapped in different ways, culminates in a heartbreaking and unexpected climax. Emory Cohen and Callan McAulife are stunning new finds. Cinematographer Steven Capitano Calltri is remarkable.