By Christine Kearney
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Films about the treatment of women in India and a gay man in Israel will open the competitions at the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival among a range of foreign stories and dozens of movies starring James Franco, Abbie Cornish, Kate Bosworth and others.
Ninety feature films, many from around the world, will screen at Tribeca, one of the largest film festivals in the United States that showcases independent cinema and was co-founded by actor Robert De Niro. It runs from April 18 to April 29.
"Yossi," a fiction film about a closeted gay man living in Tel Aviv, will open the narrative competition, while "The World Before Her," which connects women in India from the Miss India Beauty pageant to a fundamentalist Hindu camp for girls, will debut the documentary lineup, festival organizers said.
Among its lineup of 12 fictional films in competition, half are international productions including the world premiere of "The Girl," an American/Mexican production starring Cornish as a single mother who helps smuggle immigrants over the border.
Other world stories include Argentinian director Daniel Burman's "All In" ("La Suerte En Tus Manos"), a romantic comedy about a professional poker player and "Una Noche," set in Cuba, which depicts one day in the life of two teenagers contemplating fleeing to Miami.
The experimental, "Francophrenia (or Don't Kill Me, I Know Where the Baby Is)" offers audiences an indie look at Oscar nominee James Franco's turn on the TV soap, "General Hospital" and a portrait of one celebrity's paranoia. It screened at the Rotterdam Film Festival earlier this year and is co-directed by Franco and Ian Olds.
"First Winter" is a fictional tale about a group of Brooklyn hipsters coping with a blackout in a remote farmhouse. It screens alongside other U.S. indie films such as "While You Were Here," starring Kate Bosworth as a wife looking to reinvigorate her marriage.
Among U.S. documentaries, "The List," tells the true story of how a former American reconstruction contractor in Iraq, Kirk Johnson, founded a project upon returning the United States to help abandoned Iraqis who have risked their lives working for the military trying to flee the country.
"Downeast" shows America's job struggles through one Italian immigrant's push to open a lobster plant, "Off Label" shows wayward uses for pharmaceuticals outside their prescribed function, and "Sexy Baby" examines social media," sexting," and sex culture in America.
Outside the United States, "High Tech, Low Life," takes a look at a pair of rogue bloggers aiming to stem Internet censorship in China, while the Algerian "El Gusto," which premiered to acclaim in Abu Dhabi in October, promises a catchy look at music's healing power centered around a once popular musical form known as chaabi.
"Town of Runners" follows two teenage track hopefuls from a rural Ethiopian town of Bekoji that has produced several Olympic champions, and "Turn Off The Lights" reveals the moral complexities of three men rediscovering their lives in a community in Romania after years in prison.
The New York City festival features films from 32 different countries and for the first time has designated opening films for narrative and documentary competition sections.
(Reporting By Christine Kearney; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)