Tribeca2021: Documentaries Take Center Stage at the 20th Festival

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CHICAGO – The 2021 Tribeca Film Festival continues as a hybrid mix of New York City in-person events and online access, which includes the finest documentaries of 2021. The festival takes place through June 20th. For information on joining in via passes or tickets, click

The 2021 Tribeca Festival, presented by AT&T, brings artists and diverse audiences together to celebrate storytelling in all its forms, including film, TV, VR, gaming, music, and online work. With strong roots in independent film, Tribeca is a platform for creative expression and immersive entertainment. This year’s celebration of storytelling can be enjoyed virtually through the “Tribeca At Home” program. Many of the most anticipated features and short films will be made available only as part of our Tribeca Online Premieres lineup … a diverse range of dramas, comedies and documentaries.

All These Sons
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Click the title for Doc information and screening status … Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

”All These Sons” – Filmmaker Bing Liu – who was nominated for a Best Documentary Oscar for his debut “Minding the Gap, – co-directs with Joshua Altman in this exceptional overview of Chicago organizations that are working in the toughest “shooting gallery” neighborhoods to mitigate the root causes of the anger and depression (both economic and physical) that ignites the violence. The emotional depth that was evident in Liu’s first film is in place here, as one of the counselors is Billy Moore, who in 1984 perpetuated one of the most notorious shootings in Chicago history. The connective thread from there to here, plus the emphasis on the lack of nurturing love and mental health imbalance in these kill-zone neighborhoods, pushes this documentary into important territory. Hopefully influential people will be watching. Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

”Like a Rolling Stone: The Life and Times of Ben Fong-Torres” – Ok Boomer. Hahahaha. Much as I love the lucky era when Ben Fong-Torres was an editor and writer in the early San Francisco days of ROLLING STONE magazine (early 1960s to mid-‘70s), covering the historic music and rockers of my youth, it gets kind of tiresome when the wave of flower power and wish-you-were-there redundancy is covered again. HOWEVER, this doc rightly points out the struggle of Ben Fong-Torres, a Chinese American writer when that acceptance of that title was lacking – even in Chinatown San Fran. The balance of his family’s story with his amazing rock/pop encounters raise the stakes in this film, and echoes like a power chord in an arena. Oscarman rating: 5.0/5.0
Rating: 5.0/5.0

”The Neutral Ground” – An incredible and personal story about accepting identity and how the ready acceptance of lies by some (and mostly) white people create our current divisions. The “neutral ground” is New Orleans, during the 2010 decade of debate regarding Confederate statues and monuments that still stood in prominent places, in a city that has a 70 percent black population. Director and reporter CJ Hunt is a biracial (black/Filipino) participant in the debate, coming to terms with an identity that had eluded him before, and exposing the sheer pomposity and blinders that some white people continue to keep active to … what? create their own soothing power? The truth is the only thing that will set us free, as it has done with CJ Hunt. A must-see portrait of a democracy in peril. NOTE: Despite the dismantling of the four big monuments, there are STILL 200+ references (street names, plaques, etc.) in New Orleans that memorialize the lie of the Confederacy.

The two part 2018 audio interview with director Bing Liu by Patrick McDonald of, regarding his Oscar-nomininated documentary, “Minding the Gap.”

Patrick McDonald of will be providing coverage of the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival throughout the duration of the festival.

The 2021 Tribeca Film Festival will take place through June 20th, 2021. For tickets, events schedule and all information click on senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor, Film Writer

© 2021 Patrick McDonald,

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