Tribeca Film Festival Sets ‘Jimmy Carter Rock & Roll President’ For Opening Night

Jill Goldsmith

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The Tribeca Film Festival on Monday unveiled plans to kick off its 19th installment with the world premiere of director Mary Wharton’s Jimmy Carter Rock & Roll President – a rockumentary-style presidential portrait that shows how popular music helped propel the folksy peanut farmer from rural Georgia to the White House. The film will launch a politically active fest this year with a get-out-the vote effort.

The opening-night announcement came on President’s Day during a divisive election season and the festival said a focus is to showcase the power of inspiring change through art, politics and community as it unspools April 15-26.

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Concurrently, the festival will provide audiences access to online tools to make voting easy, including text updates, and education on ways to get involved in their local elections. To do that, Tribeca has partnered with Democracy Works and Civic Alliance, a nonpartisan coalition of businesses “working together to build a future where everyone can vote, volunteer and take action,” the Festival said in a statement.

Jimmy Carter Rock & Roll President shows how President Carter used the force of music to transcend racial, generational and often party lines. It features intimate interviews with President Carter, filmed in 2018 at the age of 93, and rare archival footage from Willie Nelson, Aretha Franklin, Jimmy Buffett, Paul Simon and others. Live performances by music legend Willie Nelson and Paul Shaffer among others will follow the world premiere at the Beacon Theatre in New York City on April 15.

Here’s a first look:

Wharton’s director-producer credits include Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis; The Wonder List with Bill Wier; Behind the Music; American Masters: Joan Baez: How Sweet The Sound. She was a prolific producer for VH1 Legends and has produced videos, documentaries and TV movies on Elvis, the Beatles and Phish.

Her father is well-known blues artist Bill Wharton, “The Sauce Boss.”

Also new this year, Tribeca Film Festival said it will use cinematic storytelling and experiences to connect communities across the Hudson river to the city of Hoboken, NJ, extending the reach of the festival, which has been expanding steadily since its launch.

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