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Establishing Shots: The Tribeca Film Festival & 2008 Festival Highlights


"Loneliness has followed me my whole life, everywhere. In bars, in cars, sidewalks, stores, everywhere. There's no escape. I'm God's lonely man."- Travis Bickle, Taxi Driver (1976)

After the attacks of September 11, life in lower Manhattan took a long time to recover. The neighborhood of Tribeca, just north of the WTC site, had already become an attractive destination for artists and families, but after the shocking events of that day potential new residents grew cautious. Area businesses suffered as streets were blocked to traffic, and only residents or those on official business could pass through checkpoints.

Actor Robert De Niro joined with producer Jane Rosenthal and her spouse, the philanthropist and writer Craig Hatkoff, to found the Tribeca Film Festival as a way to help filmmakers in New York and, specifically, to spur the economic recovery of lower Manhattan. Even before the September 11 attacks the three had invested money in the Tribeca neighborhood.

The Tribeca Film Festival, which will take place April 23 -May 4, 2008, continues to grow each year and generate millions of dollars in economic activity for the city.

The festival has just released the lineup for this year's festival, and I've started making a list of features that I would enjoy seeing.

Spotlight Section:

• Lou Reed’s Berlin, directed by Julian Schnabel. (USA) - New York Premiere, Documentary. I failed to get tickets for Reed's 2006 Berlin performance at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn, so I'm glad Julian was there.

• My Winnipeg, directed by Guy Maddin, written by George Toles and Maddin. (Canada) - Premiere, Narrative. The imaginative Canadian filmmaker turns his attention to his hometown.

• Man On Wire, directed by James Marsh. (UK) - New York Premiere, Documentary. French daredevil Philippe Petit's tightrope walk between the Twin Towers on August 7, 1974.

• The Universe of Keith Haring, directed by Christina Clausen. (Italy, France) - Premiere, Documentary.

Special Screenings:

• Empire II, directed by Amos Poe. (USA) - North American Premiere, Documentary. 3-hour film about the magic of NYC.

• Once Upon a Time in the West (C'era una volta il West), directed by Sergio Leone, written by Sergio Donati and Leone, English dialogue by Mickey Knox. (Italy, USA, 1968) - New York Premiere Restoration. My spouse saw this a few weeks ago at the Miami Film Festival and thought it truly beautiful.

Discovery (emerging filmmakers):

• Paraiso Travel, directed and written by Simon Brand. International Premiere, Narrative. Colombians illegally travel from Medellín to New York and find romantic drama.

• Waiting For Hockney, directed by Julie Checkoway. World Premiere, Documentary. Aspiring artist Billy Pappas spent 10 years painting his masterpiece in his parents' attic and needs to show it to David Hockney.

The Wild Man of the Navidad (link to Shoe Leather, my blog for Reframe), directed and written by Duane Graves and Justin Meeks. World Premiere, Narrative. An urban legend in Texas about a community frightened by a creature in the woods.

Tribeca Film Festival website

Image above by Walking Off the Big Apple

See related Tribeca posts:
The Woolworth Building
The Tribeca of Duane: Duane Street and Duane Park
Tribeca's Most Tripped-Out Vista
Tribeca Living: A Building for Chocolate, and One for the Wool Trade
In Search of the Lower West Side: Before Tribeca
Walking Off Tribeca and Remembering Mostly Lunch
Walking Off Tribeca: The Lay of the Land
Walking Off Tribeca: Starting at Square One

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