Willie Nelson to play Jimmy Carter tribute at Tribeca Film Festival as it expands to Hoboken

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Jimmy Carter and Willie Nelson (White House Staff Photographer, Courtesy of Jimmy Carter Library)

The 19th rendition of New York’s iconic film festival will kick off with a nod to the 95-year-old former president Jimmy Carter and his good friend and famed outlaw country artist Willie Nelson come this April. 

Nelson, a great friend to the president from Georgia, along with Paul Shaffer will be performing at the world premiere of “rockumentary,” Jimmy Carter Rock & Roll President, at the Beacon Theatre Upper West Side’s during the festival’s opening night of April 15.

“The film accurately captures my love for all music and the importance music has played in my personal and professional life. I remain hopeful and believe that music can serve to bring us together as a nation…We are thrilled that it will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival,” Carter said about director Mary Wharton’s film.

The “rockumentary” is described in a release by the festival as “Carter’s appreciation for all genres of music and friendships with the likes of Bob Dylan, the Allman Brothers, and Willie Nelson helped to define his campaign,” while also showing how his “lifelong passion for music gave him an unexpected edge as a presidential candidate” during the 1970s.

It combines “intimate” interviews shot with Carter along with rare, archival era-defining live performances from Nelson, Aretha Franklin, Jimmy Buffett, and Paul Simon among others.

Jimmy Carter in the film “Jimmy Carter Rock & Roll President,” 2018 (Courtesy of Not Just Peanuts, LLC)

Tribeca expands across the Hudson River to Hoboken

Shifting to a different tune, the Tribeca Film Festival will also be partially held in New Jersey this time around. 

Hoboken’s Mile Square Theatre will be hosting events and screenings throughout the film festival’s April 15-26 in an effort to “connect communities across the Hudson river.”

Ravi Bhalla, the Mayor of  Hoboken is over the moon for his city to take a crack at the big screen festival.

“There’s no better location to host the Festival than our Mile Square, offering a wealth of culture with our local artists, galleries, and The Mile Square Theatre Company, and further cements our City as one of the major cultural destinations in the tri-state area,” the Mayor said. 

Some of Hoboken’s big movie moments over the years include scenes filmed from Oscar winner On the Waterfront, Julie & Julia, Funny Girl, The Station Agent, among others.

“It’s wonderful to embrace new audiences with our neighbor across the river,” said Jane Rosenthal, Co-Founder and CEO of the Tribeca Film Festival.