One of the best places for up-and-coming film professionals to meet with, connect with and learn from other filmmakers is at one of the many film festivals that take place each year. One of the most prominent among these is the Tribeca Film Festival, which happens every April in lower Manhattan in New York City. Founded by actor Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff as a response to the 9/11 attacks, this event has rapidly grown in its 15-year history to rival festivals like Sundance and Toronto, attracting major filmmakers, actors, celebrities, and of course some of the best films you’ll see anywhere.
Several Film Connection students, along with our own writer Jeff McQ, were in attendance at Tribeca this year to experience some of the excitement. Here are just a few of the many highlights from Tribeca Film Festival 2016, along with some observations from our students.
* * * * *
Women in film
Director Catherine Hardwicke at Tribeca 2016
This was a great year for female filmmakers at Tribeca, with nearly 40 percent of this year’s films being directed by women. Expanding beyond film itself, the Daring Women Summit on April 20 celebrated women who are leading the way in many different fields of art and technology. The festival also featured a conversation with actor-turned-director Jodie Foster (whose film Money Monster
premiered at Tribeca this year), while director Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight, Lords of Dogtown
) held an informative master class to give the audience a glimpse into her pre-production process.
There’s a lot of talk these days about virtual reality (VR) emerging as a trend in film. Tribeca put a special focus on this trend this year with a Virtual Arcade in the Tribeca Hub, featuring no less than 18 VR projects. Film Connection student Felipe Pava
had the opportunity to experience the arcade firsthand. “I liked it a lot because it adds a new ingredient for the audience,”
he says, “because the audience is able to get involved and be immersed in the story…You were able to interact with many things with that world.”
Felipe thinks VR will play a larger role in filmmaking in the days ahead, though perhaps not in the mainstream. “It’s probably gonna take awhile for people actually to like this type of storytelling, but I think it’s another type of narrative and another way of telling stories.”
Making new connections
Jonathan Harris with screenwriter Susan McMartin at Tribeca 2016
Film Connection student Jonathan Harris
had the opportunity to attend a screening of Mr. Church,
starring Britt Robertson, Eddie Murphy, Natascha McElhone and others. “This was definitely Eddie Murphy’s best performance yet, and the rest of the cast was spectacular as well,”
he says. Jonathan also got to meet the film’s screenwriter, Susan McMartin, who was on hand for the screening. “She was a really nice and charming person,”
Alfonso Cuarón and Emmanuel Lubezki at Tribeca 2016
Francis Ford Coppola on the red carpet, Tribeca 2016
Among the most popular events at the festival are the Tribeca Talks series, which feature insightful and sometimes intimate conversations with noted actors, producers, directors and other film and TV professionals. This year’s talks included conversations with the likes of Tom Hanks, Tina Fey, Andrea Arnold, Mark Ruffalo and many others. Among the highlights: Chris Rock interviewing producer/director J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
) about the ups and downs of his career; legendary director Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather
) offering his take on new trends in film and teasing his most ambitious project to date; and Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Y Tu Mamá También
) bantering with friend and cinematographer Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki (The Revenant
) about the director-cinematographer relationship.
40th Anniversary of “Taxi Driver”
Panel discussion at “Taxi Driver”, Tribeca 2016
One of the high points of the festival was the 40th Anniversary screening of Taxi Driver
at the famed Beacon Theatre, featuring a post-film panel discussion with director Martin Scorsese, screenwriter Paul Schrader, and actors Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel and Cybill Shepherd. De Niro (one of the festival founders) opened the night with some tongue-in-cheek remarks. “Forty years,”
he said. “Every day, for forty f**king years, at least one of you has come up and said, ‘You talkin’ to me?’”
The audience, of course, ate it up.
All told, the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival offered some of the best events, exhibits and screenings to be found in the film community this year. Kudos to the Film Connection folks who were on hand to experience some of the festival’s best moments. We hope you were inspired to aim high!
* * * * *