Tribeca 2013: National doc ‘Mistaken for Strangers’ to open festival


The Tribeca Film Festival is going with a music theme for this year’s opening film, announcing “Mistaken for Strangers,” a documentary about sibling relationships and the band The National as the opening-night selection when the festival kicks off April 17.

Directed by Tom Berninger, younger brother of frontman Matt Berninger, the movie follows the indie-rock group as it hits the road, the younger Berninger taking on the fraught job of roadie. Tribeca chief creative officer Geoff Gilmore called the movie, a “highly personal and lighthearted story about brotherly love.” The evening will feature the premiere of the film followed by a performance from the band.

The National, whose five members include two sets of (non-Berninger) brothers, has a long involvement with Hollywood, providing songs for movies such as Tom MCCarthy’s “Win Win’ and shows including “Game of Thrones.” Despite a dark undercurrent, the group has notched an unlikely degree of commercial success, as Times staff writer Todd Martens noted in this piece.


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Tribeca in recent years has alternated between studio comedies and name-driven documentaries for its opening-night selection. It kicked off in 2010 with “Shrek Forever After” and began last year’s edition with Jason Segel comedy “Five-Year Engagement,” while 2011 saw the premiere of Elton John doc “The Union” followed by a performance from the pop star.

Over its history Tribeca has been a platform for a number of breakouts in recent years, world-premiering indie darlings such as Andy Garcia hit “City Island” and Felicity Huffman Oscar nominee “Transamerica.” Last year’s edition saw the premiere of the Oscar-nominated doc “War Witch” and the feature critical darling “Fairhaven” as well as the Cuba-themed scripted tale “Una Noche,” which sparked news headlines when two of its actors disappeared en route to the festival.


Live Review: The National at the Wiltern

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