Thursday, April 18, 2013

Image + Film + NYC = Tribeca Film Festival

Robert De Niro & Jane Rosenthal
I want to pay tribute to the Tribeca Film Festival  which has its first full day today in New York City.  TFF began in 2002, founded by Robert DeNiro and his long-time producer Jane Rosenthal as a creative response to 9/11.  The website says it is an international film festival that "supports emerging and established directors" and has brought about $750 million to NYC.  It's a comprehensive festival, premiering 85-90 diverse films (many made in NYC) and helping them get visibility and ultimately - distribution.  The festival only lasts for 12 days but Tribeca Film works year round. Time Warner Cable offers Tribeca films On Demand before and during a film's theatrical run. 

The only problem I have with TFF is that it's become elitist, just like a lot of things that take place on the island of Manhattan.  If you are in the film business or have a press credential, no problem but if you are not, good luck seeing anything.  Films are sold out before the festival begins and TFF says no film is ever "sold out" because they have what they call a Rush line.  However, for more popular films, the Rush line can be 2 city blocks long.  It's definitely a crap shoot but not hopeless.  I've waited on the line to no avail and then I've also done Rush to an extraordinary end.  Last year as I waited for the world premiere screening of Travis Fine's Any Day Now - a film I have facebooked and blogged about many times - someone came up to me and offered me two tickets free of charge.  I was alone and so I paid one ticket forward to a man who needed a single ticket and totally made his day.  I will never forget what it was like to see that film with an audience who were all as blown away as I was by it and by the transcendent performance Alan Cumming gives.  Daniel Day you were amazing, but Cumming gave the best performance of 2012 hands down and Any Day Now won Tribeca's Audience Award.           

I attended TFF in 2011 and 2012.  This year, I will miss it because I have to be in California.  However, they have a Tribeca Online Film Festival - so I can watch a few features and shorts and vote on them.  There are about 25 intriguing docs this year and here are the narrative features I'm most looking forward to:  Adult World, Almost Christmas, Before Midnight, A Case of You, Just a Sigh, The Pretty One and Run and Jump.  They are also screening The King of Comedy, starring none other than Robert De Niro for it's 30th anniversary, and And the Band Played On for its 20th.     

Nora Ephron
This year TFF is implementing a new award - The Nora Ephron Prize given to an outstanding female filmmaker.  Nora was definitely one of a kind - as writer, woman, filmmaker and inspiration.  She will always be special to me because she wrote When Harry Met Sally - one of the best scripts ever.  Nora is being honored in numerous ways in NYC right now - her son is making a doc about her for HBO, Tom Hanks is making his Broadway debut in her Lucky Guy and now this award in her name.  Good for you Tribeca, for honoring a hometown hero.  

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