Tribeca is a neighborhood in Lower Manhattan. Its name is a portmanteau from “Triangle Below Canal Street”. Tribeca suffered both physically and financially after 9/11, and the Tribeca Film Festival was created to help contribute to the recovery of the neighborhood and to celebrate New York as a major filmmaking center. Its mission is “to enable the international film community and the general public to experience the power of film by redefining the film festival experience”.
It took 120 days of planning and preparation and the help of over 1,300 volunteers to launch the inaugural festival. Its program included a competition for narrative, documentary and short films, screenings of classic and new films, panel discussions featuring filmmakers and actors, American premieres, and an all-day Family Festival. The first TFF introduced several new filmmakers.
The first edition of the Tribeca Film Festival showcased mainly American films due to the tight schedule for preparation. Four months simply were not enough time to organize an international competition. The festival drew more than 150,000 attendees. The attendance doubled next year and continued to grow. Today’s Tribeca Film Festival is attended by an estimated 3 million people, including some often-elusive celebrities.
Although the festival hosts a film competition, its winners don’t receive a big cash prize because this contradicts the mission and spirit of the festival. For the participants creative competition is much more important than financial gain or accolades. However, the festival has a unique Artists Awards program in which the competition winners are presented original works of art provided by renowned and emerging artists. Past artists have included Julian Schnabel, Alex Katz and Chuck Close.
Main competitions of the Tribeca Film Festival include U.S. Narrative Competition, World Narrative Competition, and Short Film Competition. In each competition awards are presented in several categories. There also are special awards such as Student Visionary Award and Nora Ephron Prize.
The Tribeca Film Festival is one of the most famous and respected film festivals in North America and arguably in the world. It showcases a variety of independent films, introducing its audience to the best of modern independent cinema.
Photo: Amanda Lopez