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Alex Gibney, Nancy Schafer, Craig Hatkoff, Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro, John Hayes, Geoff Gilmore
© Getty Images / Credit: Astrid Stawiarz
This morning, Tribeca leadership and special guests introduced the Festival in the annual Tribeca Film Festival press conference. For the first time, the press conference was streamed live on the Internet to an international audience. (To watch an archived version of the press conference, visit Tribeca Film Festival Virtual.)
TFF co-founder Jane Rosenthal kicked things off by welcoming everyone and talking about tomorrow’s opener, Shrek Forever After in 3D, calling it the best Shrek ever. She also outlined the Festival—including the free community events like the Family Festival Street Fair, the three Tribeca Drive-In events, and the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Day—and invited everyone to come out and enjoy. “It’s going to be a good party! Like the city itself, you never know who you’re going to meet.”
Next up was another co-founder, Robert De Niro, who wanted to specially thank all the people who make the Festival happen, including the Tribeca staff and this year’s cadre of volunteers—2300 in number, representing 13 countries. After citing the documentaries he is particularly taken with this year—Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, Earth Made of Glass, Monica & David, Sons of Perdition, and My Trip to Al-Qaeda—De Niro invited everyone to “come and enjoy all our Festival has to offer.”
Next to take the stage was John Hayes, Chief Marketing Officer of American Express, who cited the company’s initial interest in rebuilding lower Manhattan, its current recognition that “our cardmembers care deeply about film,” and their commitment to serving customers, giving them “incredible access to events around the world.” As Founding Partner of Tribeca Film, American Express is going the next step in “helping to redefine the independent film experience, connecting filmmakers’ amazing achievements with audiences everywhere.” He concluded, “It’s a great opportunity to build new audience, discover new films and filmmakers, and expand Tribeca and independent film beyond just here in New York.”
After a screening of the new Tribeca 2010 trailer, TFF Executive Director Nancy Schafer praised the work of the programming team: “I can’t wait to share the films we’ve chosen with audiences. From the rockers of Rush to the Piano Man himself, Billy Joel… we have an extraordinary slate, with 85 features and 47 short films from 38 countries.” Schafer was especially pleased that Tribeca will welcome 40 first-time directors, reiterating the Festival’s commitment to both new and established work.
Schafer also encouraged people across the U.S. to experience Tribeca: “While theatrical screenings are the centerpiece of the Festival, we realize that not everyone can come to NYC. Technology has made it possible for film to come alive online, all [film fans] need is an Internet connection and a premium pass” [or a cable box]! TFF Virtual has narrative and doc titles from Ed Burns’ Nice Guy Johnny to the 80s-inspired teen comedy Spork to Tribeca/ESPN’s Into the Cold to the debut film from Mars Volta’s Omar Rodriguez Lopez, The Sentimental Engine Slayer.
After an entertaining clip reel, Jane Rosenthal introduced Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney as “another theme,” declaring TFF 2010 “the de facto Alex Gibney film festival,” due to the three films in which he had a hand: My Trip to Al-Qaeda, Untitled Eliot Spitzer Film, and (one segment of) Freakonomics.
In general, Gibney “values what the Festival stands for—the way it was founded and the celebration of the values that resurgence [of lower Manhattan] represents. The antidote to terror and tyranny is culture.”