5 Best Releases From Tribeca Film Institute Studio

The Spool Staff

An Act of Worship

Nausheen Dadabhoy explores a wide array of Muslim-American experiences in this overstuffed, but impactful documentary. (This review is part of our coverage of the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival.) The documentary An Act of Worship opens with a group of Muslim women gathered in a small room. The space may be cramped, but this environment still seems freeing, since it’s being used for a meeting where everywhere can be open about their lives. Here, they can speak freely on the ways in which Islamophobia impacts their lives. Instructions come for the women to write down one specific way intolerance has adversely impacted their lives in America. Continue Reading →

Writing with Fire

Across the rugged state of Uttar Pradesh in Northern India, a team of women journalists is bustling. Khabar Lahariya (‘Waves of News’), India’s only women-run newspaper, takes its responsibility to the community very seriously. These dynamic women are out amongst the people, documenting their stories, sharing them, and seeking answers on their behalf, often at great personal risk. Continue Reading →

North by Current

Angelo Madsen Minax examines his family and their history with care, grace, and impeccable craft. (This review is part of our 2021 coverage of Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival) Loss is a twisting, winding thing. Director Angelo Madsen Minax sets out to trace and retrace the losses he and his family have experienced in his new documentary North by Current. It’s an elegiac and heart-rending meditation on the mechanisms of memory, the metaphysics of coping, and the melodrama of life. Continue Reading →


Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt's observational documentary takes us through the complexities of awkward teen girlhood. (This review is part of our coverage of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.) Being a teenager is hard. This period of life contains the contradictory belief that you can take care of yourself while also dealing with crippling insecurities. Honestly, Britney Spears said it best when she sang, "I'm not a girl but not yet a woman."  Continue Reading →

Érase una vez en Venezuela, Congo Mirador

Anabel Rodríguez Ríos's documentary about tension in the small village of Congo Mirador is both singular and specific. (This review is part of our coverage of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.) As the night sky shines a modicum of light over the Venezuelan village of Congo Mirador, the heat lighting begins. It’s a regular phenomenon too: a constant cycle of near darkness blinded by strobing curlicues that weave in and out of the clouds. Thus comes our first decent sight of the location. Mirador, located in the country’s northwest Zulian Region, bleeds from Colombia on its west to the Caribbean Sea on its northeast. The community, however, stands above Lake Maracaibo, which, ranks as one of the planet's oldest lakes at anywhere from 20 to 36 million years. It’s just recently that citizens have made it work economically and environmentally, but the once-thriving locale has begun to sink. At least, not according to Mrs. Tamara, whose allegiance to the Venezuelan government precludes any real worry about the area’s wellbeing. She sports posters Hugo Chávez on her wall; she collects dolls of the former president and displays them with pride. Continue Reading →