soulhead Tribeca Film Festival Music Lovers Guide 2023

by Ron Worthy

We are so happy to return for our 7th year of coverage of the Tribeca Film Festival. As in other years, we are highlighting our top picks of the festival for music lovers. Each year, we painstakingly review all of the features, documentaries, shorts, events and other immersive experiences and pull together our recommendations for our community. We look for music related themes, strong soundtracks and other related factors such as subjects and subject matter to narrow down our picks. Our goal is to help our readers navigate the festival to have a more pleasurable experience. We do the work and you have the fun.

As in other years, we will be reviewing several films including the much anticipated “All Up In The Biz”, which documents the life and career of legendary hip-hop artist Biz Markie. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for our daily picks as well throughout the festival.  Check out our top picks below and download a copy of the full guide with a complete day by day list of recommendations.

Top Overall Picks


  • All Up in the Biz – New York native Biz Markie remains a hip-hop icon despite his untimely death in 2021. Best known for his 1989 Top 40 hit “Just a Friend”, Markie was a rapper, beatboxer, songwriter, and producer who was fondly referred to as the clown prince of hip-hop. Markie performed all over the world and made cameo appearances in TV shows like SpongeBob SquarePants, In Living Color, and The Tonight Show, and films including Men in Black II and Sharknado 2Tickets
  • Carlos – The lively and intimately-crafted documentary Carlos immerses us in rock icon Carlos Santana’s life and musical trajectory. Filmmaker Rudy Valdez bolsters this personal narrative with pulsating, never-before-seen footage — guided by Santana himself, in his own words. Tickets
  • Cinnamon – Aspiring singer Jodi Jackson (Tony nominee Hailey Kilgore) has a big voice and dreams to match but struggles to make ends meet as a gas station attendant whose boss (Damon Wayans) may not be on the up and up. Enter charming small-time crook Eddie (David Iacono). He would do anything to make her dreams come true. The two lovers hatch a plan to change their lives, but as the old proverb goes, “We plan, God laughs.” What follows is a journey in which they both must use their wits to survive.  Tickets
  • Gloria Gaynor: I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor forever cemented her place in popular culture with the disco classic “I Will Survive”. In the four decades since, her career has been stalled by health issues, as well as abuse and mismanagement from her now ex-husband. Yet in keeping with the title of her most famous song, Gaynor struggles onward as she works to release a new gospel album in her seventies. Tickets
  • Kiss the Future – A stirring testament to art’s enduring ability to cast light even in the darkest of circumstances, Kiss the Future follows an underground community that worked and created throughout the nearly four-year-long Siege of Sarajevo. Sensing that a larger voice is needed, an American aid worker makes a longshot pitch to U2 to help raise awareness about the Bosnian capital’s plight. The band immediately agrees and begins a series of live satellite interviews with local Sarajaevans during their 1993 ZOO TV Tour in an effort to highlight the direness of the situation on the ground. After those mid-concert interviews end, the band pledges to play a concert in the city once the conflict comes to a close. And when U2 arrives to perform a long-promised concert, the show becomes a monument to the strength and resilience of the people of Sarajevo, and art’s capacity to inspire and unite. Tickets
  • Let the Canary Sing – Cyndi Lauper anxiously rides in the backseat of a car stuck in New York City traffic. In her distinctively thick New York accent, she reflects on her career, saying “I didn’t want anyone to tell me what I could and couldn’t do.” On her longevity and unique ability to adapt to shifting social trends, she says “I never think of it as reinvention. I want to learn.” Tickets
  • Milli Vanilli – Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan became fast friends during their youth in Germany. With Rob coming from a broken home and Fabrice having left an abusive household, they shared a similar upbringing, as well as a future goal: to become famous superstars. In a few short years, their dreams came true. Their first album went platinum six times in 1989, and their hit “Girl You Know It’s True” sold over 30 million singles worldwide. Rob and Fab, better known as Milli Vanilli, became the most popular pop duo in the late 1980s. However, their ascension to success came with a devastating price that ultimately brought their undoing. Tickets
  • Uncharted – Filmmaker Beth Aala takes us behind the scenes of Alicia Keys’ She Is The Music songwriting camp in this revealing look at the music business that focuses on the lack of access and opportunity granted to young black and brown women. The camp’s participants take center stage as they try to break through the industry with the next big hit song. Ayoni is from Barbados, following Rihanna’s footsteps while reaching for the same stars. Atlanta’s DaVionne got a break collaborating with known artists and now works on her writing and recording. Chicago-born Jean Deaux does it all on her own — writing, recording, and producing while touring with successful acts. Tickets
  • Waitress, The Musical – Live on Broadway Waitress, the Musical – Live on Broadway! is a heartwarming story that follows the life of Jenna Hunterson (Sara Bareilles), a pie-maker and waitress stuck in an unfulfilling marriage in a small town. Jenna finds solace in baking and dreams of winning a baking contest in a nearby city to escape her mundane life. When Jenna becomes pregnant, she decides to take control of her life with the help of her co-workers and a new town doctor. She confronts her past, faces her fears, and makes life-changing choices.  Tickets
  • Lost Soulz – Sol (Sauve Sidle) is an aspiring young rapper living with his best friend Wesley (Siyanda Stillwell), whose family has embraced him as a brother. After a raucous night causes Wesley to overdose, Sol abandons him at a house party, and eventually chooses to leave home for good and join a touring group of hip-hop artists. As they travel across Texas creating and performing, he discovers who he is as an artist and person. Tickets
  • Cypher – Tierra Whack first gained recognition at the age of 15 when she stunned viewers with her slick poetry while rapping for a YouTube channel on a Philadelphia street. The video rapidly drew thousands of views and marked the first of Tierra’s many performances for the camera. Years later, director Chris Moukarbel begins documenting her astronomical rise, going behind the scenes of concerts and music videos as she navigates fame and receives exalted praise from stars like Erykah Badu and Billie Eilish. One night, after a particularly tiring set, a seemingly innocuous fan interaction begins a series of increasingly unsettling events that swirl around Tierra and her team — even following them to Dubai. They soon start questioning who is filming whom and whether being seen (or watched) is a desirable and unavoidable part of fame. Tickets
  • Ron Delsener Presents – Documentaries about figures of music history tend to focus on artists, but here, the subject is influential concert promoter Ron Delsener who worked with some of the biggest names in music over his decades-long career. Featuring a bevy of legends from Cher to Gene Simmons, Roger Daltrey,and Simon and Garfunkel, Ron Delsener Presents is a career retrospective stuffed with star power. Tickets
  • It’s Only Life After All – A revealing exploration and much-anticipated love letter to the massively beloved folk-rock duo Indigo Girls. From their serendipitous meeting at Emory University, where their innate musical styles collided, to their hardscrabble days as a popular bar band, to their explosion on the worldwide music scene with their eponymous album — this is the deep dive into their story that their intensely devoted fans have craved.  Tickets 
  • Songs About Fucking – Marc Rebillet is a lot of things. He’s a musician, a comedian, an artist, and some even say an innovator. Known for his improvised shows and signature tight boxers, he’s certainly someone you can’t put into a neat label. However, as this documentary, Songs About Fucking, proves, he wouldn’t have it any other way. Tickets


  • Flower – World-renowned ballerina Misty Copeland stars in her first independently produced short art film, an immersive experience in movement storytelling that highlights intergenerational equity in the community of Oakland, California, featuring new, original music from Grammy-winning recording artist Raphael Saadiq. Tickets


  • New Jack City – Wesley Snipes stars in this hard-edged film based on a frightening true world as Nino Brown, an American success story – with a twist. He’s young, handsome, smart, rich, successful, and prominent in his community. But Nino Brown is a big-time drug baron. Determined to end the remorseless evil of Nino’s drug empire, two street-smart policemen will stop at nothing to destroy his organization. Directed by Mario Van Peebles. Written by Thomas Lee Wright, Barry Michael Cooper. Produced by George Jackson, Doug McHenry. With Wesley Snipes, Ice-T, Mario Van Peebles, Judd Nelson. A Warner Brothers release.  Tickets
  • Wild Style – Universally hailed as the classic hip hop movie, Wild Style tells the story of Zoro, played by the graffiti legend Lee Quiñones, in his subway art romance with the graffiti queen Sandra “Lady Pink” Fabara. Fab Five Freddy, who helped Charlie Ahearn create Wild Style from its inception, stars as the smooth impresario Phade. Following the outlaw artists through the train yards to the clubs, Wild Style climaxes at a massive outdoor jam, definitely the most famous hip hop party in history! Directed, written and produced by Charlie Ahearn. With Lee Quiñones, Lady Pink, Fab 5 Freddy, Patti Astor, Andrew Witten, Busy Bee, Grand Wizzard Theodore.  Tickets


  • Goodbye Volcano High – Just Fang’s luck: they finally figure out what they want out of life, and now the world’s about to explode. In this story-driven, choice-based cinematic adventure game about personal growth, acceptance, and the power of community, what will you do at the end of an era? Goodbye Volcano High is a cinematic adventure game, a coming-of-age rhythm game, a hand-animated interactive cartoon, and a choice-based, narrative-driven, interactive movie experience. Tickets


  • Storytellers:  Paul McCartney with Conan OBrien – Born in Liverpool in 1942, Paul McCartney was raised in the city and educated at the Liverpool Institute. Since writing his first song at 14, McCartney has dreamed and dared to be different. He will be joined in conversation by Conan O’Brien. The pair will discuss McCartney’s new book 1964: Eyes of the Storm, which is being published on June 13. The book showcases 275 of McCartney’s rediscovered photos from his archive from the end of 1963 and beginning of 1964 when Beatlemania erupted. The conversation will be recorded for a future episode of O’Brien’s podcast “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend.” Tickets
  • Storytellers:  Billy Porter with Idina Menzell – Billy Porter is an Emmy, Tony and Grammy award-winning actor, singer, director, producer, composer, and playwright, best known for FX’s Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated drama “Pose” and Broadway’s Kinky Boots. Tickets
  • Storytellers: John Mellencamp with David Letterman – John Mellencamp is one of the most highly respected singer/songwriters of a generation. He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, recipient of the John Steinbeck Award, ASCAP Foundation’s Champion Award, The Woody Guthrie Award and Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Founders Award, and a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He will be joined in conversation by David Letterman who can currently be seen hosting My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, a four-time Emmy-nominated interview show streaming on Netflix. Tickets
  • Storytellers: Lin-Manuel Miranda with Rosie Perez – Lin-Manuel Miranda is a Pulitzer Prize, Grammy, Emmy and Tony award-winning songwriter, actor, director and producer. He is the creator and original star of Broadway’s Tony-winning HAMILTON and In the Heights. Miranda is the recipient of the 2015 MacArthur Foundation Award, the 2018 Kennedy Center Honors and the 2019 Portrait of a Nation Prize. He has received stars on both the Puerto Rico Walk of Fame and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He will be joined in conversation by Academy Award-nominated actress Rosie Perez.  Tickets
  • Storytellers: Diplo with A-Trak – Born in Mississippi and raised in Florida, Diplo’s 20-year career began with his now-legendary Philly club night Hollertronix. The three-time Grammy nominee is also a member of the iconic Major Lazer, one third of LSD (with Sia and Labrinth), and half of Silk City with Mark Ronson.  Tickets
  • Storytellers: Chance the Rapper with Thelma Golden – Multi-Grammy award winner Chance the Rapper has built a multi-faceted career across music, film, television, and art. His new body of work, Star Line Gallery, has premiered at art institutions around the world including Art Basel and Los Angeles’ Museum Of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Tickets


  • Honeycomb – After a has-been musician (Baron Vaughn)  live-streams his suicide attempt, his band’s single goes viral. For the first time in their life, they have a chance at fame and fortune — as long as the world continues to believe he’s dead. Tickets


  • Special – In Lizzo’s music video, visuals, empowering lyrics, and energetic performances celebrate self-love, body positivity, and individuality. Bold, colorful, and full of positive energy. Tickets

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<p><img class="wp-image-36067 alignleft" src="" alt="Ron Worthy" width="120" height="120"/><span style="font-size: small;"><a href="">Ron Worthy</a> is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of A&nbsp;passionate audiophile who has been a DJ for over 25 years, Ron studied classical music and plays 4 instruments. He loves discussing all things Prince, Hip-Hop, and Funk. &nbsp;When he is able, he shoots a mean game of pool, digs comedy, loves eating fried fish sandwiches, making crab cakes and drinking micro-brews from all over the World. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and cat. <a href="">Check out some of his work for soulhead</a>.</span></p>

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