Bite of Big Apple lends flavor to fest

Tribeca and Rome partner for pix, exposure

What happens when the City That Never Sleeps climbs in the sack with the Eternal City?

Earlier this year, organizers of the Tribeca Film Festival and the nascent RomeFilmFest announced they would collaborate on a number of levels, but primarily by screening each other’s prizewinning films.

But what would Tribeca, one of the newest and fastest-growing additions to the festival circuit, get out of a partnership with Rome, an unproven event in its first year?

It turns out, more than a few things.

For one, Rome is in many ways modeling itself after Tribeca, which brought a big, broad film event that caters as much to the filmgoing public as to the film biz, to a city that formerly had none.

Second, two of Tribeca’s patrons, Robert De Niro and Martin Scorcese, have deep family ties to Italy. De Niro is even going to the Rome fest to receive the Stars and Stripes Award for Tribeca and present footage from “The Good Shepherd.”

And third, there’s a bit of self-interest on both sides. By showcasing some of Tribeca’s films, the new fest gains the imprimatur of an already successful event.

And Tribeca, which has made the name of a New York neighborhood synonymous with film, gets to build its brand in Rome and increase the international visibility of its films.

“To have the chance to go to Rome and show some of the things we do here is a great opportunity for us,” says executive director Peter Scarlet. “These two cities are gateways for films from the rest of the world.”

As part of the partnership, Tribeca is planning to screen two films in Rome this fall, including documentary feature winner “War Tapes,” a film based on the video diaries of American soldiers in Iraq, and “The Yacoubian Building,” a film by Egyptian filmmaker Marwan Hamed, named best new narrative filmmaker.

What films will come to Tribeca from Rome next year? Stay tuned.

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