Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tribeca Film Festival Opens Tonight

6TH TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL
25 April - 6 May 2007, New York City


Many New Yorkers probably agree that the Tribeca Film Festival, opening tonight, has done wonders for Lower Manhattan, devastated by the attacks on the World Trade Center 9/11/2001, but the Festival has never shown a profit in it's five years. Founded in 2002 by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and her husband Craig Hatkoff as a response to the attacks on the World Trade Center, it was conceived to help foster the economic and cultural revitalization of Lower Manhattan through an annual celebration of film, music, and culture with the spirit of independent film as it driving force.

Since the inaugural festival, Lower Manhattan, once covered in rubble and shrouded in loss, has become a thriving cultural and economic center as Tribeca has become one of the largest and, certainly, respected film festivals in the U.S. Unfortunately, the Festival has run about a million-dollar deficit each year since it's opening and, according to Rosenthal, the same is projected for this year. That comes out of the pockets of De Niro, Rosenthal and Hatkoff.

No official figures are available on how much the festival costs, earns or loses because, since its second year, Tribeca has operated under the umbrella of the private, for-profit Tribeca Enterprises (De Niro, Rosenthal and Hatkoff). Some estimate the annual cost is probably about $13 million.

Unlike festivals such as Toronto and Cannes in Canada and France, and Sundance in the U.S., Tribeca gets no city or state funding, not even for free events. This year, ticket prices have jumped 50% to $18.00 each. The Festival probably would receive funds if it became non-profit but, then, the founding trio would lose most, if not all, of the control they now have. How long they can tolerate the loss remains to be seen.

If there are ever any Tribeca Film Festival profits, they will benefit the Tribeca Film Institute, which coordinates programs throughout the year. Currently, the institute runs the Tribeca All Access program, which assists minority filmmakers, and the Tribeca Film Fellows program, for aspiring teen directors.

Former Vice President Al Gore is the opening act at the 6th Tribeca Film Festival tonight, hosting the global warming-themed SOS Short Films Program. The SOS program will features seven shorts. Also featured at the opening, music performances by acts set to appear at the July 7th Live Earth, a worldwide 24-hour concert benefiting Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection.

Tribeca curtain will close May 6 with Antonio Ferrera and Albert Maysles' documentary about the art project that covered Central Park in orange drapes, THE GATES.

Between the opening and the closing, the slate boasts 157 films (down from 174 last year), with 73 world premieres and 28 North American premieres, including Curtis Hanson's romantic drama LUCKY YOU. The movie stars Drew Barrymore and Eric Bana, who are expected to attend. There is the popular Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival, and this year's Ambassador is Billie Jean King.

SPIDER-MAN 3, directed by Sam Raimi, will have its U.S. Premiere at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival, presented by American Express. Opening worldwide 4 May, "SPIDY" 3 (Columbia Pictures) will celebrate the first-ever star-studded gala premiere in Queens, Peter Parker’s hometown. Stars of the film, including Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, will join a crowd of 3,000 people at the UA Kaufman Astoria 14 in downtown
Astoria on Monday, 30 April.

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