Hollywood, CA is considered the heart of the film industry, with its hillside signage and proliferation of celebrities, studios and film schools. Many prospective film students overlook the fact the industry was born on the East Coast, in New York City. In celebration of this fact, and to contribute to the recovery of lower Manhattan after 9/11, Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff founded the Tribeca Film Festival. Tribeca’s name comes from the acronym for “Triangle below Canal Street, bounded by Canal Street, West Street, Broadway and Vesey Street.
Held in April, the Tribeca Film Festival offers movie-goers and competitive entrants with studio screenings, panel discussions, comedy concerts, sports activities, a family festival day and outdoor movie screenings along the Hudson River.
Competitions in the Tribeca Film festival‘s award categories are divided into three major categories: the World Competition, the New York Competition and the Short Film Competition. Awards granted include Best Narrative Feature, New Filmmaker, Best Actor and Actress, Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary and Narrative Short; technical awards in areas such as screenwriting and cinematography, and includes a Student Visionary and Audience Award.
The festival also offers industry workshops to its entrants and winners. Want to learn how to pitch you stories or better develop your characters? Check out Tribeca’s Future of Film department.
Through sponsors like American Express, Heineken and Chanel, competition winners receive monetary compensation, access to industry professionals and even original works of Art by emerging and well-known contemporary artists. Competition is fierce; with over 5 thousand submissions annually it’s quickly becoming the most prestigious film festival on the East Coast. Tribeca also serves as a distribution center for both smaller studio features and its festival winners though Netflix, Video on Demand, iTunes, Amazon and of course, good old DVD.
The Tribeca Film Festival has become so successful in its mission to bring independent films to as wide an audience as possible, it outgrew New York City’s screening capacity and now works in conjunction with several international film festivals, including the Rome Film Fest and through its online festival arm. As of 2011, the festival has expanded to recognize outstanding video games whose plots are inspired by cinema. Past panel speakers include De Niro’s longtime friend and Oscar winning Director, Martin Scorsese and media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
Overall, despite overwhelming competition, emerging filmmakers are encouraged to submit their features, documentaries and shorts. The entry deadlines usually occur in December of the festival’s predeceasing year.
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