Wednesday, May 2, 2012

2012 Tribeca Film Festival

I have to admit that I was really lazy in my job search last week… I preferred going to the movies instead of passing my days on the computer looking for my next professional challenge. But all for good reason: It was my first Tribeca Film Festival. 

Getting ready for a film screening at
School of Visual Arts Theatre
Founded in 2002, the Tribeca Film Festival is a relatively recent but already famous and major New York spring event dedicated to independent cinema. Created in a response to the September 11, 2001 attacks and the consequent loss of vitality in the Lower Manhattan’s TriBeCa neighborhood, the festival was the initiative of the American film producer Jane Rosenthal, the renowned actor, director and producer Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff, a New York real estate investor and philanthropist. Its mission is to help filmmakers reach the broadest possible audience, enable the international film community and general public to experience the power of cinema and promote New York City as a major film making center.

My first festival was all about experiencing the power of cinema. Because it was difficult to make a choice among the hundreds of options in the TFF’s program, I decided to let my instinct – and schedule – guide my experience. 

This was successful for me: among my finds are a fascinating documentary concerning sexiness and the cyber-age (Sexy Baby) and a moving narrative about human rights and environmental activism in Brazil (Xingu). Even the horror / love story (Jack and Diane) that I attended with Martin the first Friday of the festival – which I considered totally ridiculous – was at least quite shocking and allowed me to discover something different. That is to say that all films were a great occasion to learn about a new topic and reconnect with independent cinema.

I was also truly surprised by the very strong energy that the TFF brings in the Big Apple. Among the festival’s highlights are not only the numerous movies but also a large variety of activities: several panel discussions with filmmakers, a street fair and a soccer day as well as free outdoor movie screenings best known as “Drive in” are adding to the festive ambiance in the City.

Last but not least, three Québec films – the African child soldier drama War Witch as well as the two short narratives Barcelona and Trotteur – were featured at this year’s edition. Not only were all of them apparently successful, but War Witch by Kim Nguyen won best film and its 15-year-old star received a prize for Best Actress.

The TFF in numbers (since 2002):

  • Over 1300 films presented
  • Over 80 countries represented
  • More than 3.7 million attendees
  • An estimated $725 million in economic activity for NYC

Did you ever attended the TriBeCa Film Festival?

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