By JAKE COYLE
AP Film Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — The Jennifer Lopez documentary “Halftime” is kicking off the 21st Tribeca Festival on Wednesday, launching the annual New York event with an intimate behind-the-scenes portrait of the singer-actor filmed during the tumultuous year she turned 50, co-headlined the Super Bowl and narrowly missed out on an Oscar nomination.
The star-studded, musical premiere at the United Palace in Washington Heights serves as an appropriate opener for the Tribeca Festival, which has jettisoned “Film” from its name to better reflect the wide array of concerts, talks, television premieres, podcasts and virtual reality exhibits that increasingly fill its busy live-event schedule alongside movies.
This year’s festival, running through June 19, will trot out plenty of big personalities, from Al Sharpton (the subject of the festival-closing documentary “Loudmouth”) to Taylor Swift (who will sit for a talk with filmmaker Mike Mills about the 2021 short film she directed), to fill some of Manhattan’s biggest theaters. There will be reunions (Michael Mann’s “Heat”) and directorial debuts (among them Ray Romano “Somewhere in Queens”).
But after a scuttled 2020 edition and a largely outdoor 2021 festival timed to New York’s initial pandemic cultural reopening, Tribeca has turned to Bronx native Lopez, whose hits include “Let’s Get Loud,” to bring Tribeca all the way back.
“Halftime” director Amanda Micheli hopes the documentary, premiering June 14 on Netflix, presents a new — sometimes vulnerable, often powerfully resilient — side to its famous subject.
“I had the impression of her as a wildly successful, glamorous person,” Micheli said in an interview. “Then when I met her I was like, ‘This woman is a world-class athlete. She’s a jock. The way she carries herself and the way she works. She’s an artist but I really connected with that side of her. She’s a fighter.”
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