April 21, 2011

Tribeca Film Festival Opens in Style


Kudos to the 10th Annual Tribeca Film Festival for opening in style and remembering its purpose and roots! Rather than open at an exclusive gala event, the Tribeca Film Festival opened to the public with an outdoor screening. The screening was followed with a performance by a rock legend.  The film festival was founded in 2002 by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro, and Craig Hatkoff in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. The mission of the festival was to help celebrate New York City as a major filmmaking center and to contribute to the long term-recovery of lower Manhattan which was severely impacted after the attacks.

The founders wanted the festival to not only enable the international film community, but the general public as well. They wanted the public to experience the power of films and redefine the film festival experience. In addition to promoting New York City as a major filmmaking center, Rosenthal, De Niro, and Hatkoff help filmmakers reach the broadest possible audience. The Tribeca Film Festival is a diverse international film festival that supports both emerging as well as established directors. Since its inception, the film festival has screened over 1200 films from over 80 countries, has attracted an international audience of more than 3.25 million attendees and generated an estimated $660 million in economic activity for New York City.

This year, the festival opened with the world’s premiere of Cameron Crowe’s The Union, a documentary about the collaboration between Elton John and Leon Russell. In 2009, Sir Elton John teamed up with his longtime idol Leon Russell to make an album called The Union which was produced by the legendary T-Bone Burnett. Director Crowe, (Almost Famous) decided to film their collaborative process from the writing and recording of the songs.  I have been a big fan of both since the ‘70’s (I would have done late night babysitting for free just to see Leon on the Midnight Special!) and Elton’s love and admiration for Leon shines through the documentary.  

Sir Elton, not only walked the red carpet, but took to the stage after the screening and performed a smattering of his hits spanning the Union, Tiny Dancer, Rocket Man, You’re Never Too Old to Hold Somebody, I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues, and Your Song. What a way to open the film festival! The festival is a great way to support the film industry in New York City, and a fabulous opportunity to see films that you may not have ever gotten a chance to see.

The Tribeca Film Festival will run through May 1 and screen 93 films. For information on the festival itself, the movie, guide, screening time, and ordering tickets, see http://www.tribecafilm.com/festival/


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