Robert De Niro and his producing partner Jane Rosenthal started the Tribeca Film Festival to revive New York after 9/11 — and eight years in, they’re at a turning point. This year’s festival is scaled back somewhat, and yet, this is a time of growth for TFF. When I asked them what stage the TFF is at now, they said it’s no longer a baby. “I feel we can walk now,” Rosenthal told me. “We’ve gotten our footing, to use that analogy.”
So what are some of the steps they’ve taken? Hiring Sundance vet Geoff Gilmore. Getting big films and big names to make their debuts here (Woody Allen’s Whatever Works, for one). And turning the fest into more of a marketplace — Meg Ryan’s Serious Moonlight and Geena Davis’ Accidents Happen are the strongest contenders to have a deal before the festival is over.
After this, De Niro and Rosenthal are going to have another “baby” together — a Tribeca Middle East. This latest venture, Doha, launches in November in Qatar’s capital city. “They don’t have an indigenous film culture there,” Rosenthal said, “so we are working with them to create educational programs to help promote one. It would be similar to Tribeca in the number of screenings. We’re looking forward to working on that.”
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