Watch the terrifyingly competent ‘Tribeca Kids’ interview stars as they arrive for the opening night of the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival and you start to get a sense of just how special this particualr Festival is.
Sure it’s loaded down with stars, the artistic focus is intense and there’s all that swagger and hope that’s part of any event when artistic reputations are on the line. But there’s also a home town feel to the whole thing which is a mile away from many other film festivals.
This particular festival started in a small way to support filmmaking in NYC (yes there was time when it languished) and also Lower Manhattan which had just been beaten aroundnd the head, middle and feet by the 9/11 attacks. The first time it was held 15 years ago, while it was helmed by Robert De Niro and friends, 130,000 volunteers made it possible, it supported a few not very well known indie filmmakers and 130,000 patrons turned up to watch the films on display.
These days while De Niro and friends ares till involved, it’s helmed by an actual business, Tribeca Enterprises which pulls in $600m in revenue each year and 3 million patrons attend screenings spread out across NYC. And over 8,000 films are submitted for consideration in the categories of Spotlight, Viewpoints or Narratives, documentaries, and events devoted to genre-films, filmmaker talks, storytelling interactives and virtual reality and TV sections. Plus enough side events to exhaust the celebrity crowd and their friends.
If you want to attend, plan well in advance to get not just tickets, but to get transport and accommodation. Forget about 2016, planning for 2017 is now underway before the 2016 Festival is even halfway through Tribeca Film Festival FAQs
The Festival opened this year with the much acclaimmed documentary ‘The First Monday In May’ about the Met Ball and Met Museum of Art Costume Institute’s exhibition ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’ in 2015. This meant that opening night in Tribeca was jam packed with celebs from both film and fashion which added an extra edge of glamor and glitter.
Such a glossy event fortunately papered over what had been a difficult week prior to the opening when the the anti vacciantion film ‘Vaxxed”, due to be shown during the Festival was pulled after a huge outcry. De Niro didn’t exactly have egg on his face but it’s safe to say he had never before been on the receiving end of such sustained criticism over the inclusion of a film on the Festival roster.
Whatever, the Tribeca Film Festival is now safely ensconced in the roster of YUGE NYC events and given that so much of it takes place within the cramped streets and laneways of Tribeca it all takes a lot of careful planning on part of both organisers and attendees. And it is also, as it ahs been from the beginning, an artistic triumph year after year.