Love True Crime Movies? Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, And More To Watch At The 2019 Tribeca Film Festival

The 2019 Tribeca Film Festival is packed with true crime documentaries as well as fictional crime movies that will get your heart racing.

By Brittany Du Bois
Charlie Says

The Tribeca Film Festival is a celebration of independent film, a place where you can both check out some of the year's most-talked about upcoming films and see Zac Efron rocking Draco Malfoy hair.  Most importantly for true crime fans, the film festival regularly offers all sorts of crime-themed content, and this year is no different. The 2019 iteration of the Tribeca Film Festival offers everything from fictional films based on notoriously evil, charismatic cult leader Charles Manson and notoriously evil, charismatic serial killer Ted Bundy to documentaries about the sexual abuse scandal that rocked U.S. Gymnastics and the prevalence of drug violence mere blocks from the U.S. Capitol.

Here are all the crime-based films and documentaries you'll want to catch coming out of Tribeca:

Narrative Films

“Blow The Man Down”

Blow The Man Down

Directors Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy set up a dark comedy with intriguing twists in this debut feature-length thriller following two sisters who find themselves caught up in an accidental murder case shortly after the loss of their mother. Their peaceful Maine fishing village slowly reveals its dark side in this thriller as the female-led cast, including Sophie Lower, Morgan Saylor, and Margo Martindale, dive deeper into the mysterious homicide.

Showtimes: Friday, April 26, 5:30 p.m. at SVA Theater; Saturday, April 27, 6:45 p.m. at Regal Cinemas Battery Park; Wednesday, May 1, 8:45 p.m. at Village East Cinema; Saturday, May 4, 8:30 p.m. at Regal Cinemas Battery Park; Sunday, May 5, 6:30 p.m. at SVA Theater

“American Woman”

American woman

This film adaptation of author Susan Choi’s 2003 novel retells the abduction of heiress Patricia Hearst (called “Pauline” in the film) and her radicalization after being kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army, an American leftist group. Just like in the book, screenwriter Semi Chellas gives the story an unconventional spin by telling it from the point of view of Jenny Shimada (based on real-life Wendy Yoshimura), one of the activists who had kidnapped her.

Showtimes: Sunday, April 28, 4:30 p.m. at SVA Theater; Tuesday, April 30, 8:30 p.m. at Village East Cinema; Wednesday, May 1, 8:45 p.m. at Regal Cinemas Battery Park

“Charlie Says”

Charlie Says

“Charlie Says” is one of three Manson-themed films to look out for this year, but what sets Director Mary Harron’s version apart is that the story is told through the eyes of the most devoted female members of the Manson family: Leslie van Houten, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel. This biographical drama takes place in a prison rehabilitation program that will reveal the ways in which Manson exploited these women into committing crimes that would ultimately lead to their incarcerations.

Showtimes: Wednesday, May 1, 8:45 p.m. at Village East Cinema; Thursday, May 2, 9:00 p.m. at Regal Cinemas Battery Park; Saturday, May 4, 6:30 p.m. at Regal Cinemas Battery Park

“Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile”

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

Zac Efron takes on the role of one of the most notorious serial killers of all time in this biographical drama of Ted Bundy. Director Joe Berlinger tells the daunting story of Bundy the father figure, the romantic partner, and the murderer, all from the perspective of his long-term girlfriend and former fiancé Liz Kloepfer (portrayed by Lily Collins).

Showtime: Thursday, May 2, 9:00 p.m. at Stella Artois Theatre

“Low Tide”

Low Tide

The Jersey Shore seems idyllic with its boardwalk and beach, but when two brothers discover a bag of gold buried in the hot dunes, their summer takes a dramatic turn from days spent committing petty crimes to going on the run from their suspicious friends. Debut filmmaker Kevin McMullin mixes a classic buried treasure narrative into a coming-of-age crime thriller.

Showtimes: Sunday, April 28, 6:00 p.m. at Village East Cinema; Monday, April 29, 9:30 p.m. at Regal Cinemas Battery Park; Thursday, May 2, 8:45 p.m. at Regal Cinemas Battery Park

“Lucky Grandma”

Lucky Grandma

What was once a minor gambling habit explodes into an “all in” situation for Grandma, an elderly Chinese woman in New York City’s own Chinatown. After a fortune-teller gives her a hopeful prediction of success, Grandma tries all her luck at a casino and ends up caught in the conflict of a Chinese gang war. The film, directed by Sasie Sealy, was the recipient of the 2018 grant of 1 million dollars presented by Untold Stories.

Showtimes: Sunday, April 28, 2:30 p.m. at Village East Cinema; Tuesday, April 30, 5:30 p.m. at Regal Cinemas Battery Park, Thursday, May 2, 5:00 p.m. at Regal Cinemas Battery Park, Sunday May 5, 5:45 p.m. at Village East Cinema

“Dreamland”

Dreamland

17-year-old Eugene Evans, played by Finn Cole, has his whole world turned upside down when he finds wanted bank robber Allison Wells (Margot Robbie) hiding out in his family’s barn. Initially driven by the $20,000 bounty for Wells’ capture, Evans soon falls in love with the mysterious criminal. This action drama takes place in 1930s Texas during the Depression, where Evans’s need for money for his family is challenged by his growing realization of just how dangerous Wells actually can be.

Showtimes: Sunday, April 28, 2:00 p.m. at Stella Artois Theatre; Monday, April 29, 4:30 p.m. at Village East Cinema; Thursday, May 2, 9:00 p.m. at Village East Cinema; Saturday, May 4, 9:30 p.m. at SVA Theater

“Stray Dolls”

Stray Dolls

The snowball effect is on full display in this thriller, where two young, struggling motel workers turn to crime in order to support themselves. Riz and Dallas, a recent immigrant from India and a daring runaway from the South respectively, fall into a life of crime together after Riz is forced to steal from one of the motel rooms.

Showtimes: Saturday, April 27, 9:00 p.m. at Village East Cinema; Sunday, April 28, 8:45 p.m. at Regal Cinemas Battery Park; Wednesday, May 1, 5:45 p.m. at Regal Cinemas Battery Park; Saturday, May 4, 6:15 p.m. at Regal Cinemas Battery Park

Documentary

“Scheme Birds”

Scheme Birds

Directors Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin take you to the housing projects of Motherwell, Scotland, where young Gemma passes through her teenage years struggling with her gang affiliation. In the documentary, Gemma’s association with her gang is rattled as she falls in love and soon becomes pregnant. The documentary also follows other important people in her life, including her best friend, her neighbor, and her grandfather who raised her.

Showtimes: Friday, April 26, 5:45 p.m. at Village East Cinema; Saturday, April 27, 11:30 a.m. at Regal Cinemas Battery Park; Wednesday, May 1, 5:00 p.m. at Village East Cinema; Friday, May 3, 8:00 p.m. at Regal Cinemas Battery Park

“At The Heart Of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal”

At the Heart of Gold

Director Erin Lee Carr takes a closer look at serial sexual abuser Larry Nassar, who was the USA Gymnastics National Team doctor. The documentary examines all the officials and associates who may have permitted the abuse of many young female athletes for decades, featuring interviews with survivors as well as victim statements from the infamous 2016 trial.

Showtimes: Thursday, April 25, 6:00 p.m. at Village East Cinema; Friday, April 26, 6:30 p.m. at Regal Cinemas Battery Park; Saturday, April 27, 3:00 p.m. at Regal Cinemas Battery Park; Sunday, April 28, 9:30 p.m. at Regal Cinemas Battery Park

“Framing John DeLorean” 

Framing John DeLorean

This experimental film combines documentary style with performed reenactments from Alec Baldwin as filmmakers Don Argott and Sheena Joyce give fresh insight on the controversial career of automaker John DeLorean.

Showtimes: Tuesday, April 30, 8:30 p.m. at SVA Theater; Wednesday, May 1, 6:00 p.m. at Regal Cinemas Battery Park; Saturday, May 4, 12:30 p.m. at Regal Cinemas Battery Park

“Mystify: Michael Hutchence”

Mystify: Michael Hutchence

Lead singer of the successful Australian rock band INXS, Michael Hutchence battled with his own darkness during his rise to fame as a talented vocalist and womanizer. This documentary offers a peek into his troubled life.

Showtimes: Thursday, April 25, 8:00 p.m. at SVA Theater; Friday, April 26, 5:45 p.m. at Regal Cinemas Battery Park; Saturday, April 27, 12:00 p.m. at Regal Cinemas Battery Park; Saturday, May 4, 9:30 p.m. at Village East Cinema

“17 Blocks”

17 Block

This documentary follows a family who lives just 17 blocks from the U.S. Capitol — but in one of D.C.’s most dangerous neighborhoods. Using a combination of home videos taken in 1999 by then 9-year-old Emmanuel Sanford-Durant and later by filmmaker Davy Rothbart, “17 Blocks” examines the impacts of drugs and violence across generations.

Showtimes: Saturday, April 27, 3:30 p.m. at Village East Cinema; Sunday, April 28, 7:00 p.m. at Regal Cinemas Battery Park; Wednesday, May 1, 6:00 p.m. at Village East Cinema; Saturday, May 4, 12:00 p.m. at Regal Cinemas Battery Park

Gina Pace and Becca van Sambeck contributed to this report.

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