Tres bien, Gotham

Comparison of 3 New York film fests

While the venerable New York Film Festival (Oct. 3-13) limits its tight program to 23 features culled from the best of the year’s world cinema, several other events on the east coast industry calendar offer newer film-makers more hope of inclusion. To wit, a comparison:


Established: 1993

Dates: Oct. 22-26, 2003

Fest director: Denise Kassell

Main locale: East Hampton, Long Island

Program Size: 114 films (features, docs and shorts)

Main Venues: UA Theaters and Guild Hall, East Hampton; Sag Harbor Theater; Paris Art Museum (South Hampton).

Fest focus: Celebrates American independent and international film, plus differing global perspectives.

Sample pics: “The Human Stain,” “Girl With A Pearl Earring,” “The Cooler,” past: “Nowhere in Africa,” “Pollock,” “Rabbit-Proof Fence.”

Sponsors: American Airlines, Time Warner City Cable, Travel + Leisure Magazine

Admission (single): $10 films and panels; $7 early shows; $25 special events

Cost of badge: $100 – $1000. ($50 for Conflict & Resolution sidebar)

Celebrity quotient: Locals Alec Baldwin, Steven Spielberg, Jerry Seinfeld, Christie Brinkley; out-of-towners Toni Collette, Kathleen Turner, Robin Wright Penn, Joan Allen.

Party factor: Classy, from regular soirees at Nick & Toni’s, to private parties at boardmembers’ homes to wine-tastings at local vineyards, it’s a taste of the elite Hamptons lifestyle.

Be-there factor: Autumn foliage, village charm make this a quick and tempting getaway for New York in-dustryites.

Base camp: The Huntting Inn (festival h.q.) and Main Street’s International Forum tent.

Overheard: “It’s got a special home-town vibe. If you take the jitney out there with everybody else, it’s like a field trip.”


Established: (first year) January 2002, in aftermath of World Trade Center tragedy.

Dates: (this year) May 6-11, 2003 (have requested dates for next year)

Fest director: Peter Scarlet

Main locale: Tribeca, downtown New York

Program Size: Some 200 films over 10 days, plus major panels

Main Venues: UA Theaters, Tribeca Grand, Tribeca Performing Arts Center

Fest focus: Kaleidoscopic — studio, indie, U.S. and foreign pix, plus a popular family films section. Aims to “celebrate NYC as a filmmaking center and contribute to economic recovery of lower Manhattan.”

Sample pics: “Down With Love,” “Dirty Pretty Things,” “Kill The Poor,” “The Shape of Things,” “In Amer-ica.”

Sponsors:American Express, General Motors, Prada, MTV, AMC, Vanity Fair, City of New York

Admission (single):$10 films

Cost of badge: (TK)

Celebrity quotient:Sundance with even more sizzle, from high profile co-founder Robert De Niro and fest ‘godfather’ Martin Scorsese, to stars like Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, Bono, Holly Hunter, Edie Falco, Nathan Lane, and nearly anyone else in the Big Apple that month.

Party factor:Splashy galas at hots spots like the Winter Garden, Tribute and Nobu contrast with intimate soirees at haunts like the Bubble Lounge and a street-fair atmosphere including marching bands, jugglers and stilt walkers.

Be-there factor:Irresistible, based on the 350,000 tickets sold in only year two. Event’s community-remaking mission appeals to New Yorkers across the board, and celeb factor definitely turns up the heat.

Base camp:Tribeca Film Center (375 Greenwich St.), and Embassy Suites Hotel adjacent to Ground Zero.

Overheard: “It’s like a food festival for film; you can sample many things from many different places, but they don’t have any one focus, so you don’t necessarily get a good meal, just a taste.”

IFP MARKET (formerly IFFM)

Established: 1979, as the Independent Feature Film Market

Dates: Sept. 21-26, 2003

Fest director: Michelle Byrd, exec director IFP/New York.

Main locale: New York City, SoHo area

Program Size: 215 works-in-progress (features, docs, shorts, and scripts)

Main Venues: Angelika Film Center, Village East, Sunshine Cinema

Fest focus: Indie projects in search of finishing or production funds and distribution.

Sample pics: “Virgil Bliss,” “Welcome To the Dollhouse,” “The Farm: Angola, USA,” “The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg,” “Clerks”

Sponsors: HBO, Kodak, Microsoft, Avid, Canon

Admission: N/A; event is industry only.

Cost of badge: $250-$550

Celebrity quotient: Negligible, though opening night Gotham Awards draw honorees like this year’s Glenn Close and Steve Buscemi, plus presenter Alec Baldwin.

Party factor: Uneven, from classy Bombay Sapphire-sponsored parties at in spots like Manhatta, to noisy af-fairs with hordes of twenty-somethings slurping bad vodka out of plastic cups.

Be-there factor: Screening attendance can be low, but go-getters can still benefit from networking with buy-ers, and docmakers tend to fare especially well.

Base camp: Puck Building (293 Lafayette Street), locale of hospitality area, industry-packed panels.

Overheard: “Just because the films get in doesn’t mean IFP can make anyone see them.”

“It’s more for first-time filmmakers. They need to see the process, get media-trained, and learn how to schmooze.”

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