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Iconic Tribeca reaches its 18th

A still from from the making of the Irish short documentary “99 Problems,” which will be screened at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. PHOTO BY MALCOLM MCGETTIGAN

By Frances Scanlon

The upcoming curtain raiser at the Tribeca Film Festival 2019 – which runs from today through May 5 – is not just any annual benchmark number.

Rather, it's the 18th.

As the Festival itself reflects multitudes of diverse cultural manifestations and meanings, so too does the number associated with this year's 18th Tribeca cinematic celebration.

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For example, in the Chinese tradition 18 is a very auspicious number. In the Hebrew system of the numerical value of words, the Hebrew word for life – chai – has the value of 18. As well, the number 18 is often associated with the moon, a symbol of mystery and intuition. In the Bhagavad Gita there are 18 chapters. In sum, 18 itself is the by-product of 2 x 9, re-doubling all the stellar qualities within nine.

As it happens, one Irish entry to make the prestigious cut features the most famous multiple of 9 in its title. Short of grabbing yourself an Irish 99-er – a delicious cone containing a sumptuous swirl of ice cream topped with a Cadbury chocolate flake, race to see the sensational line-up of "Forces of Nature" short films, headlined by the Irish documentary "99 Problems." This category of shorts is defined by the organizers as "character docs that demand attention." Presented courtesy of Culture Ireland, it features Mr. Pinky, who, producer Louise Byrne has observed, "teaches us that there are times in life when you need to stand your ground, protect what's important and refuse to be beaten." Byrne added: “Our short film is about an Ice Cream man from the North of Dublin and it unveils the murky underworld of the Irish ice-cream industry.”

The screening schedule for “99 Problems” and the four others in the “Forces of Nature” category is as follows: 04/28/2019, 3:00 PM at REGAL-04; 04/29/2019, 5:00 PM at REGAL-06; 05/01/2019, 4:00 PM at REGAL-03; 05/04/2019, 5:00 PM at VEC-02. See tribecafilm.com for more details.

In the “Shorts: No Short Cuts,” the organizers say that "Navigating life is tough in these female-focused short docs." The Irish doc in this group of four is called “Reality Baby.” Life may be tough, but a little government support helps. Nodlag Houlihan, the director of “Reality Baby,” stated: “I (with my company, Zucca Films) have received a great deal of support from public funding bodies over the years – Screen Ireland (formerly the Irish Film Board) in particular have supported us to make a number of film and documentary projects - also the Arts Council of Ireland and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland - and we've worked in the last few years on direct commissions from RTE (Ireland's public service broadcaster). Culture Ireland, another public body, have funded me to travel to Tribeca and I'm very much looking forward to the opportunity to interact with audiences and other filmmakers and film industry professionals over there.”

The Screening Schedule for this Shorts: No Short Cuts” group, including Houlihan’s “Reality Baby,” is as follow: 04/28/2019, 2:30 PM at REGAL-05; 04/30/2019, 5:45 PM at REGAL-04; 05/03/2019, 10:00 PM at VEC-05; 05/04/2019, 3:00 PM at VEC-03. Again check out tribecafilm.com.