Tribeca ’09: Newsmakers Director Anders Banke


We continue our series of interviews from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival with our conversation with Anders Banke, director of the Russian police action movie Newsmakers, which is playing in the festival’s Midnight section.

Action-packed and even comical at times, the police thriller is a loose remake of Johnnie To’s Hong Kong police drama Breaking News, this time set on the streets of Moscow.

As the movie begins, plain-clothes officer Major Smirnov (Andrei Merzlikin) has been trailing a group of heavily-armed young thugs, leading to a shoot-out on the streets of Moscow. The gang escapes, leaving another bad imprint on the abilities of Moscow’s police to fight crime. Along comes Katya, an ambitious P.R. person (played by Mariya Mashkova), who decides that the best way to improve the police force’s image with the public is to televise the capture of the gang on a “Cops”-style reality show. Everything comes to a head at a housing project as Smirnov tries to get revenge for the death of a friend at the hands of the gang, while Katya’s main objective is to try to get the best ratings for her television show.

Although Banke’s origins lie in Sweden, he’s been working in Russia for years as a director, first going to film school there and then making commercials. Newsmakers is an amazing second film, continuing the tradition of the Tribeca Film Festival introducing terrific genre material from around the world, much like they did last year with Let the Right One In. (Incidentally, the movie whose name we couldn’t remember during this interview is of course, The Fugitive.)

Newsmakers plays two more times in the festival on Thursday, April 30, and Friday, May 1. Check the Official Guide for details. Thanks to the Direct TV Tribeca Press Center for allowing us to use their space for this interview.