The Tribeca Film Festival

Article written by: Joe Yang

In 2002, The Tribeca Film Festival was founded in New York City by Robert De Niro and film producer Jane Rosenthal. The purpose was to help revitalize lower Manhattan after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Taking place in late May, the festival runs for 12 days.

As with most other international film festivals, the purpose of this one is to increase awareness of film as an art form, and to discover the talents of new independent filmmakers in the realm of world cinema. Since it began, the Tribeca Film Festival is now known as one of the biggest film festivals in the world and rakes in about $50 million into New York's economy.

Of the 4,000+ films that are submitted, roughly 250 are selected for competition. And like other big-name film festivals, the Tribeca Film Festival is also routinely criticized for focusing too much on big budget, established movies rather than the efforts of truly unknown filmmakers.

People also complain about the involvement of corporate sponsors like Chanel and Target. But hey, someone's got to pay the bills because New York ain't exactly cheap.

Major Categories

World Narrative Feature Competition: Films selected to be shown here come from all over the world, and compete for Best Film, Best New Filmmaker, Best Actor, and Best Actress awards.

World Documentary Feature Competition: In this section, nonfiction feature films vie for Best Documentary Film and Best New Documentary Filmmaker awards.

Encounters Section: Roughly 10 documentary and narrative films are shown, showcasing well-known actors/directors. The works here are meant to be bold and according to the website, "to spark conversations."

Discovery Section: A collection of fiction and nonfiction films made by up-and-coming filmmakers.

Spotlight Section: Films shown here are narrative and documentary works that will soon be released at a theater near you. It's a chance for people to get a first-hand look so you can brag to your friends that you saw it first before everyone else thought it was cool!

Showcase Section: These are international movies that have done well in other film festivals.

Midnight Section: Once again, these movies are really nutty and feature extreme horror and/or comedy.

Restored/Rediscovered Section: These are retrospective screenings of famous, older films that are becoming harder and harder to find.

Shorts Sections: These are short films (both fiction and nonfiction) made by both established and new filmmakers.

Other Events

There are a bunch of other things that take place during the Tribeca Film Festival. These include special advanced screenings of Hollywood blockbusters, lectures and Q&A with insiders, outdoor movie screenings, the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival (featuring sports-related movies), musical acts, art exhibits, and the well-known Family Film Festival and street fair that takes place on Greenwich Street in the Village.

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