Today marks the first day of the fourteenth Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Over the past several years, Tribeca has been one of our favorite festivals to cover here at Movie Buzzers. Tribeca has always been a great opportunity to check out some fantastic indie films, discover new talent… and to find out what actor/writer/director/student/teacher/artist James Franco is up to this year.
Confused about that last one? Well, one thing we’ve noticed over the years is that the Tribeca Film Festival often features work starring, written, directed, or produced by Franco. This year The Adderall Diaries, which stars Franco and was also produced by him, will be featured in the narrative competition. In the fourteen years of the Tribeca Film Festival, Franco has appeared in and/or had a hand in creating eight features and two short films that were featured at the festival. Furthermore, Tribeca Films (the parent film studio that puts on the festival) has distributed two other films featuring Franco. In fact, there’s been so much James Franco at Tribeca over the years that there hasn’t been a Franco-less Tribeca Film Festival since 2009. That’s six straight years!
Here’s a brief overview of every film associated with James Franco that appeared at the Tribeca Film Festival stretching back to the festival’s very first year (click the image for a larger version):
While Franco is a prolific filmmaker because of his many projects both in front of and behind the camera and also made his home in New York while he attended New York University, Columbia, and Brooklyn College, his repeated appearances at the festival far outweighs the frequency of any other individual — even festival co-founder and New York icon Robert De Niro (a restored print of De Niro’s Goodfellas is this year’s closing night film).
Curiously, some of the Tribeca selections over the years include Franco’s worst-reviewed films, including Maladies (7% on Rotten Tomatoes), Third Person (23% on Rotten Tomatoes), Sal (43% on Rotten Tomatoes), and others that never even received full distribution — Shadows and Lies went direct-to-DVD, Good Time Max was only released on DVD in the U.S. as a “Blockbuster Exclusive” at Blockbuster rental stores, and Francophrenia never received any sort of release outside of festivals. In other words, even with the amount of James Franco-related films appearing at Tribeca, they aren’t of the caliber of 127 Hours or Milk… or even one of his hilarious comedies like This Is the End.
Of course, that still doesn’t explain why more than half of Tribeca festivals have featured some kind of James Franco project. We’re certainly not disputing the man’s talent, but it’s odd that Tribeca can’t seem to go on without him.
So what’s your thoughts on why Tribeca Film has such a thing for Franco? Give us your best theory behind Tribeca’s bad case of Francophrenia in our comments.