From April 21st to May 2nd, the Tribeca Film Festival once again takes over lower Manhattan for its 9th year of celebrating exciting new films. The festival was founded in 2001 by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff as a way to help revitalize the economy of lower Manhattan after the attacks on the World Trade Center. It celebrates New York as a major filmmaking center and has also become known as a vibrant home of independent film and a chance to see up-and-coming new filmmakers.
Screenings are spread throughout Tribeca and up into the Chelsea/Union Square areas and run almost around the clock, starting as early as 11:30 am and running until 2:00 am. Tickets are $16 for the most traditional 6:00-11:00 pm screening times, and $8 for matinee or late evening times outside of that range. Discounts are available for students, seniors, and downtown residents and festival ticket packages are also offered. Check out the Festival Guide for more detailed information on pricing and venue locations, as well as for the official listing of films being shown. Films are color-coded into categories and screenings with panel discussions are listed in red.
The festival does include juried competitions, but everyone gets to help vote for the Heineken Audience Award for Best Feature Film (which will win $25,000 and a follow-up screening), so don't forget to cast your vote at any feature film screenings you attend.
The Tribeca Drive-In is the festival's free outdoor movie series, which screens films in the World Financial Center Plaza under the stars and next to the Hudson River. Each film is paired with fun activities and related programming, which begin at 6:00 pm; the movie then starts after sundown (around 8:15 pm). This year's drive-in movies are: The Spirit of Salsa on April 22nd, complete with salsa band and dance lesson/contest; Big on April 23rd, for which the plaza will host a carnival including face painters, fortune tellers, and games; and The Birth of Big Air on April 24th, a documentary about the BMX extreme bike circuit, which will be paired with BMX demos and a live stunt show after the movie.
Other free events include many of the Tribeca Talks panel discussions. The Industry Tribeca Talks are discussions among filmmakers about important issues they face today
and the Pen to Paper Tribeca Talks hosted at the Union Square Barnes & Noble are about the art of screenwriting. After the Movie panel talks occur exactly when they say, after a chosen film screening, and are often with the director and usually a star or two (though they also come with a fee).
Besides the kid-friendly screening of Big at the Drive-In, there are many Family Festival events, in particular the free all-day Family Festival Street Fair that runs from 10 am – 6 pm on May 1st. The fair takes place on Greenwich Street, north of Chambers Street, and has performances, activities and storytelling fun for the whole family. Also exciting for kids is the Downtown Youth Behind the Camera Program, which includes an April 25th screening of short films made by young people from lower Manhattan schools.
Special events abound and most of the area gets in on the action. The Apple Store in SoHo hosts exclusive events and workshops in concert with the festival and all are free to the public–check out their website for more information.
Can't attend in person? Launching for the first time this year, Tribeca Film Festival Virtual lets you take part in the festival online. A Premium Pass lets you watch films online April 23-30 that are simultaneously premiering in theatres at the 2010 festival. There will also be original online content, Q&As, and many other opportunities to interact with industry professionals and fans. While some content is available to all, the features, short films, and real-time filmmaker Q&As are only available to those with Premium Passes, which run $45.
The film festival is even finding its way into your tv. Starting April 21st, you can also find 15 movies curated by Tribeca Film, including some of the official 2010 festival selections and past festival favorites, available through your television provider's movies on demand feature.