Big-budget biopics and gut-busting comedies, microindie character studies, TV-show sneak peeks, unclassifiable avant-garde whatsits and docs on everything from drone warfare to fashionista get-togethers and Ghostbusters love — the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival has something for everyone, possibly literally. The 15th annual edition of Robert De Niro and Jane Wagner's downtown New York celebration (running April 13–24) retains its signature catch-as-catch-can programming ideology with different, eclectic movies from all over the literal and figurative map — and per usual, the 102-feature lineup has a decent amount of hits and its fair share of misses.
But there are treasures to be found in and among the festival's mix of mainstream entertainment and off-the-grid selections. Music lovers in particular should check out the shorts sections, which boasts bite-sized portraits of hard-rockin' actress Juliette Lewis (Hard-Lovin' Woman), hip-hop's verbally dexterous Timothy Parker from Blackalicious (Gift of Gab) and David Bowie's influence on Australia's indigenous culture (Let's Dance: Bowie Down Under). And deadheads will want to head straight to the Virtual Reality area, where "Grateful Dead: Truckin'" will allow folks to experience the band's version of that 1970 tune from their recent "Fare Thee Well" tour from a variety of different angles.
As for the features, non-musical and otherwise: We've picked out 15 selections you'll want to keep an eye out for. From nonfiction takes on past and present social issues to a concert film featuring color guards and Ad-Rock (!), our picks for the must-see movies at this year's Tribeca fest.