A DYING ARTIST, a crooked cop in search of his kidnapped son, a murdered civil-rights pioneer and a woman in love with a mechanical man are taking the Bolt Bus down from New York for a two-night stand in Philly.
Four films that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, the film fete co-founded by Robert De Niro, will play for free at the Trocadero Theatre courtesy of the Awesome Fest. "Our goal from day one has been to bring the best of the best [of independent film] through this city," said Josh Goldbloom, founder of the Awesome Fest. "We just want everything here. I hope this is a start. This isn't called Not-So-Awesome Fest."
The films span different genres, including a romantic dramedy, a coming-of-age drama, a documentary and a foreign thriller.
"The Giant Mechanical Man" (Monday, 8 p.m.) stars Jenna Fischer of "The Office" as a woman adrift who is forced to move in with her sister (Malin Ackerman of "Watchmen"). She's set up with a self-centered self-help guru ("That '70s Show's" Topher Grace, with hilariously awful hair). But her heart is with a man who has found his calling as a living statue ("Julie and Julia's" Chris Messina).
"Death of a Superhero" (Monday, 10 p.m.) is about the unorthodox relationship between a terminally ill teen ("Love Actually's" Thomas Sangster) with dreams of becoming a graphic novelist and his therapist (Andy Serkis, best known for his movement work as Gollum in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes").
Brooker Wright died trying to expose the iniquities between blacks and whites in the South in the '60s by agreeing to talk with a TV crew about his life. In the documentary "Booker's Place: A Mississippi Story" (Tuesday, 8 p.m.), Wright's granddaughter travels back to her grandfather's old home to find out more about the man.
A French transplant, "Sleepless Night" (Tuesday, 10 p.m.) follows a corrupt cop who is caught after stealing a massive bag of cocaine. The mob boss he robbed kidnaps his son as payback and our anti-hero has to get him back.
These screenings are the first time Tribeca Films, the distribution company associated with the fest, has ventured out of its lower Manhattan home to show movies from the festival. Each film can also be seen via Comcast OnDemand for $7.99.
The Awesome Fest is looking to expand this summer to host outdoor screenings all around the city. Events include a screening of "Father's Day" from the down-and-dirty Troma Entertainment, with an appearance from director/Troma founder Lloyd Kaufman on May 15. It'll also host the Philadelphia premiere of "Degenerate Art," a documentary about the intersection of art and controversy in glass pipe-making on May 29.
Trocadero Theatre, 1003 Arch St., 8 & 10 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, free, 215-922-6888, theawesomefest.com.
Contact Molly Eichel at 215-854-5909 or email@example.com, or follow on Twitter @mollyeichel. Read her blog posts at philly.com/entertainment.