From May 8 to 12, 2002, the inaugural TriBeCa Film Festival will celebrate New York as a major movie-making capital of the world by screening films from around the globe. Festival founders Jane Rosenthal and Robert DeNiro of TriBeCa Productions hope it will also entice people back down to Lower Manhattan, the area of the New York closest to Ground Zero and most effected by the events September 11.
More than 1,300 submissions battled for the 62 slots available in the festival’s competitive program, which will present awards for Best Feature Film, Best Short, Best Feature Length Documentary and Best Emerging Filmmaker. First-time filmmakers whose projects have not won commercial distribution or a U.S. television broadcast were eligible. The Doc Competition will screen 11 films, among them: Black Chic’s Talking, by directors Leah Purcell and Brendan Fletcher; Hip Hop Hope, directed by Darrell Wilks; I’ll Sing for You (Je Chanterai Pour Toi), from director Jacques Sarasin; Nine Good Teeth, from Alex Halpern; OT: Our Town, by Scott Hamilton Kennedy; and Breath Control: The History of the Human Beat Box, by Joey Garfield.
The documentary judges panel includes fashion designer turned talk-show host Isaac Mizrahi, actor Whoopi Goldberg, former U.S. ambassador Richard Holbrooke, HBO’s Sheila Nevins, veteran doc-maker Frederick Wiseman, and Emmy award-winning producer/editor Sam Pollard.
Of the 24 films screening in the International Film Showcase, 10 are documentaries. The line-up was curated by Eamonn Bowles and includes Sundance alumni American Standoff, by Kristi Jacobson, and That’s My Face (E Minah Cara), from Thomas Allen Harris. Three world premieres in the program are Shot in the Dark, by Adrian Grenier, Standing in the Shadows of Motown, directed by Paul Justman, and The Specimen, from director John Hyams. Two feature docs will also screen as part of the September 11th Program. They are: Telling Nicholas, by James Ronald Whitney, and From the Ashes, by director Deborah Shaffer.
American Express is on board as the founding sponsor of the festival with a multi-year, multi-million dollar commitment. The company recently announced it would return 3,500 employees to downtown New York from Jersey City, where it temporarily relocated last fall.