The Tribeca Film Festival breakdanced its way to a wider international aud Tuesday when it bowed its first event in the Chinese capital Beijing’s hip 798 art district.
Focus of the event was “Planet B-Boy” by Benson Lee, a documentary about the worldwide resurgence of breakdancing. Pic preemed at theTribeca Film Festival in May, and was developed through the support of the Tribeca All-Access program, and Beijing’s breakdancers body-popped in full approval of the choice of movie.
Public seating of around 200 quickly filled up but room was found for hundreds more fans to watch Lee’s movie.
All too often such events in Beijing are hijacked by the red-carpet brigade, but this was a genuine public success, luring hundreds of film buffs from Beijing and helped in no small way by the fact it took place in the 798 district, an artist neighborhood that has much in common with Tribeca’s days as an artist hangout with affordable rents. Screening was followed by a block party.
“We’re not just here to show a film but to create an event,” said Patty Newburger, executive veep of Tribeca Enterprises. “This event was about creating a community experience. People were really ready to take part in the Tribeca experience. There was extraordinary kismet here, a natural experience that felt right.”
The Tribeca 798 Film Festival Beijing was a co-prod between Tribeca Enterprises, William Morris Agency and China Interactive Media Group, and emerged from a common interest to bring a film event to Beijing that embraces local audiences and the Chinese filmmaking community.
The event still focused on one movie, no doubt due to the difficulty of organizing these kind of events in China. Many of those who attended said they felt it was great groundwork for next year’s event, which they hoped would be bigger.
The Tribeca crew was cautiously optimistic.
“We have to be respectful of processes. The respect was there. And we didn’t cause any huge uproars, so if we’re invited …,” said Craig Hatkoff, co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival.