Deep in the heart of Manhattan, the Tribeca Film Festival is coming of age. On April 16th, the 13th annual celebration of film and New York City begins. The festival was founded upon love and reverence for the big apple – the festival was founded in 2002 by legendary actor Robert DeNiro and producer Jane Rosenthal after the devastating attacks on September 11th that claimed thousands of lives as well as a seminal piece of New York City: the World Trade Center. The two wanted to contribute to helping the city recover, both physically and spiritually, while also supporting and celebrating the medium that they both loved so much – film. Bringing some art into the atmosphere was a way to help heal some of the wounds left in the wake of that horrific day.
Since the Tribeca Film Festival’s founding, the festival has been a huge success both with premiering big budget, star-studded studio films as well as spotlighting much smaller-scale independent fare. Huge films like Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Spider-Man 3, and The Avengers all made their American debuts at this relatively new American festival. Despite all that bombast, the festival is more famous for its huge support of foreign and independent film, introducing mainstream audiences in one of the world’s most popular and influential cities to work by artists that they may have never seen before.
For a filmmaker, getting a spot in the Tribeca Film Festival is a massive achievement, one that can lead to fame, accolades, and perhaps most importantly for an up-and-coming filmmaker, finding possible distribution for their film. The accolades that a filmmaker might receive do not solely come from reviews or the press – the festival gives out its own awards at its conclusion, honoring everything from actors and actresses and films both domestic and foreign to documentaries and even student films. The festival is an opportunity for filmmakers of all walks to have their voices heard and their work celebrated.
Each year, the Tribeca Film Festival likes to take a specific approach to introducing its films to the world, and this year the festival has partnered with the historic Madison Square Garden to help take the festival to a whole new level. The festival will be able to use Madison Square Garden-owned venues, many of which are incredibly expansive and popular, to show its films. Since those venues will be open to the public, this will maximize the audience and make sure these films are exposed to as wide an array of viewers as possible. Many of these never-before-seen films feature highly respected and recognized talent – this year festival goers can expect films starring Patrick Stewart, Robin Williams, Glenn Close, and Marisa Tomei, among many other recognizable faces. On the filmmaker’s side, Courteney Cox makes her directorial debut, and a new film written by Joss Whedon, the writer of The Avengers. So for movie buffs interested in a name or face they already know, there will be options available. Sometimes, however, the little film from an unknown filmmaker with unrecognizable actors is the one that really breaks out. Movie magic like that is what makes the festival, now celebrating 13 great years, a place to experience the wonder and beauty of going to the movies.
By: Alex Warheit