New York, NY – April 24, 2004 – The fifth annual Tribeca Film Festival, which was created by co-founders Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff, and is presented by American Express, kicked off today with an opening press conference at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. Speakers at the press conference included Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, Craig Hatkoff, Peter Scarlet, ESDC Chairman Charles Gargano, American Express Chief Marketing Officer John Hayes, actor/director Ed Burns, jury member Josh Lucas and director John Polson. Festival jurors Ken Burns, Oren Jacoby and Trudie Styler were also in attendance.
This year’s Festival surpasses previous years’ numbers for world, international and North American premieres with more than 274 selected films, including 174 feature films, 100 short films, and 96 world premiere features from over 40 countries. Highlights of this year’s festival include panel discussions, filmmaker events, gala premieres of major studio releases, music offerings and the Tribeca Family Festival, as well as international delegations from Morocco and Rome.
“In 2002 we launched a film festival in 120 days and wondered if anyone would come,” said Rosenthal. “Four years later, we have attracted more than 1 million visitors to Lower Manhattan, helping to lift both the economy and broken spirits of a neighborhood, while screening an incredible range of films in the process. This year, as we celebrate our fifth festival, we have the occasion to reflect upon our beginnings, celebrate our achievements and remain true to our commitment to the community and our mission to bring filmmakers and their films to the widest possible audience.”
“Over the next two weeks, thousands will visit our Festival venues throughout New York to experience great films, talk about the movie business and enjoy events like the family festival and the drive in,” said De Niro. “We look forward to our fifth year.”
In celebration of the Festival’s 5th anniversary, the Empire State Building will be illuminated with signature festival colors beginning tonight.
“New York has a true love affair with movies, which can certainly account for so much of festival’s rapid growth,” said Hatkoff. “The Tribeca Film Festival is a celebratory platform where New Yorkers passionately embrace filmmakers as well as their films. This year, to accommodate the ever-growing demand for tickets, we have expanded beyond our traditional lower Manhattan backyard. It is truly uplifting to have been so warmly welcomed into new neighborhoods that have been made possible by our partnership with AMC theaters.”
The festival’s commitment to downtown has been reaffirmed with the recently completed multi-million dollar expansion and renovation of the 20,000 square foot Tribeca Cinemas complex, including the festival’s permanent box office and a gallery/performance space. The expanded complex will enable the festival to operate and maintain its Lower Manhattan presence on a year-round basis.
"As we enter the fifth Tribeca Film Festival, you can already feel the excitement and energy that it brings to New York every year," said Charles Gargano, Chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation. "Traditionally this spirit has been focused in Lower Manhattan, reflecting the roots and original mission of the festival. It is because of the stellar success of this world-class event, that we welcome the festival this year to new neighborhoods and applaud co-founders Jane Rosenthal, Craig Hatkoff and Robert De Niro for the vision and commitment to New York. The Tribeca Film Festival has had a tremendous impact on Lower Manhattan and we have been proud to support the festival since its inception."
“American Express is proud to be the Founding Partner of the Tribeca Film Festival, which in five short years has helped to revitalize the spirit of our Downtown neighborhood and made a lasting mark on Manhattan’s vibrant arts and culture scene,” said John Hayes, chief marketing officer, American Express. “This world-class event fills the City with tremendous energy and excitement and is helping showcase the talent, diversity and stories of outstanding filmmakers from around the globe.”
In keeping with the Tribeca Film Festival’s international reach, the Tribeca Film Festival will expand its partnerships with the city of Rome and the nascent film industry in Morocco. A delegation of 8 student filmmakers from all over Morocco will visit the festival, under the auspices of the Tribeca Film Institute, as well as a delegation representing the Chamber of Commerce, Agriculture and Industry of Rome.
“As we continue to explore and divine the far-reaching borders of international filmmaking—a territory that really has no borders—we continue to be excited at hearing new voices and being exposed to new ways of seeing,” said Peter Scarlet, Executive Director of the Tribeca Film Festival. “The film students in Morocco captured the spark and hunger and helped us all rediscover why we chose this creative outlet in the first place.”
The fifth annual Tribeca Film Festival features numerous premieres, events, programs, and crowd-pleasing highlights, including:
§ The TV Set – World premiere by Jake Kasdan, starring Sigourney Weaver and returning David Duchovny. Duchovny participated in the festival in 2004 as a director/actor with House of D.
§ Civic Duty – World premiere directed by Jeff Renfroe starring Peter Krause whose character spins out of control due to paranoia from 9/11.
§ The Yacoubian Building (Omaret Yacoubian) – North American Premiere, directed by 28-year-old Marwan Hamed, a record budget for Egypt, with an all-star Egyptian cast, a script based on a best-seller, set in a downtown Cairo building that is a symbol of modern Egypt. This film features THE top stars of Arabic cinema.
§ Journey to the End of the Night – World premiere by returning Tribeca filmmaker Eric Eason, featuring a talented cast including Brendan Fraser, Scott Glenn, Catalina Sandino Moreno and Mos Def.
§ Sketches of Frank Gehry - Returning to Tribeca for the second year in a row, director Sydney Pollack brings us his first documentary about renowned architect Frank Gehry.
§ Over the Hedge – Paramount brings us a first look at this anticipated summer release featuring the voices of Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, Steve Carell, William Shatner, Wanda Sykes, and Nick Nolte.
§ The Tribeca Drive-In Theater (hosted by Brookfield Properties and made possible by a grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) – Free screenings at North Cove - World Financial Center include campy favorite “9 to 5” (April 27), “Tropfest@Tribeca” (April 28), a collaboration between the Tribeca Film Festival and Tropfest, the world’s largest outdoor short film festival, and “Word.life (AKA The Hip Hop Project)” (April 29), a first run feature documentary about NYC teenagers who transform their life stories into powerful works of art lead by a formerly homeless teen turned mentor, with live performances that night by kids in the film.
§ The Tribeca Family Festival (presented by American Express) – the latest animated and family features, as well as the fifth annual Street Fair on Saturday, May 6th – between 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. – along Greenwich Street, with screenings of films and shorts, appearances by Broadway favorites, games, the building of a Peace Tree and other crafts and movie character appearances.
§ Tribeca Talks Panel Series – Panels will feature discussions by leading filmmakers, directors, actors, producers and entertainment writers, including Truly Embedded: Candid Cameras & the Secret Lives of Soldiers, moderated by ABC News’ Christopher Isham and featuring Deborah Scranton (The War Tapes), Anthony Swofford (Jarhead), and Aparisim "Bobby" Ghosh (TIME Magazine, Sr. Correspondent - Iraq); TOGA, TOGA, TOGA! What the Industry Learned at Faber College, featuring Harold Ramis, Todd Phillips and Jeff Garlin; and ADALANTE MUJERES: Latina Women at the Helm, featuring: Rosie Perez, Mia Maestro, and Zoe Saldana
§ Tribeca All Access Connects –Launched in May 2004, Tribeca All Access (TAA) Connects supports and promotes the work of underrepresented, U.S.-based directors and screenwriters. During the festival, a select group of filmmakers are given access to film industry decision makers through one-on-one meetings and exclusive networking events. This year 3 films by TAA Connects alumni will be premiering at the 2006 Festival.
In celebration of the Festival’s 5th anniversary, the Empire State Building will be illuminated with signature festival colors beginning tonight. And in tribute to the iconic building’s 75th birthday, audiences are invited to visit the Tribeca Film Festival homepage, www.tribecafilmfestival.org, and vote for their favorite film featuring the Empire State Building, from King Kong and An Affair to Remember, to Manhattan, Sleepless In Seattle, or their own favorite write-in candidate.