Starting tomorrow, and continuing throughout the proceeding 11 days, cinemania will take over Manhattan. Yes, it’s that time of year again, when the annual Tribeca Film Festival dominates the lower half of New York City with its star-studded and diversely programmed slate of independent features, documentaries, and shorts.

Co-founded by Robert De Niro in 2002 (alongside Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff), as a way to help the city’s Tribeca section cope with life after the tragedy of September 11, 2001, the celebration of lo-fi moviemaking prides itself on debuting flicks that other festivals, such as Utah’s Sundance and Austin’s SXSW, haven’t previously offered. But this year, the Tribeca team have wisely included a few past fest favorites, making the overall lineup that much stronger.

Altogether, the 2012 Tribeca slate is the festival’s best one in many years. Tomorrow night, the festivities open with the NYC premiere of the hilarious new Jason Segal/Emily Blunt romantic comedy The Five-Year Engagement, and on April 28th the motion picture overload will wrap up with the Big Apple’s unveiling of a little costume drama known as The Avengers. Along the way, a variety of interesting small-scale flicks—including names like Kristen Wiig, Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Chris Rock, and Jason Bateman—will keep the good times rolling.

To simplify all of your itinerary needs, we’ve combed through the entire lineup to narrow the must-see field down to The 25 Most Anticipated Movies Of The 2012 Tribeca Film Festival.

Written by Matt Barone (@MBarone)

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