Blue-ribbon panels light up Tribeca

Fest series to explore themes, biz

Martin Scorsese, Susan Sarandon, Lauren Bacall, Mike Wallace, Wendy Wasserstein, Daily Variety editor-in-chief Peter Bart, Sidney Lumet, Barbara Kopple, Gary Winick and Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas will be among the participants on the Tribeca Film Festival’s panels.

Festival co-founder Scorsese and food critic Gael Greene will kickoff the panel series on May 8 with a special luncheon and discussion at the Screening Room that explores the influence of “Food in Film,” presented by Barilla, the pasta company, in honor of its 125th anniversary. A special screening of “The Rise of Louis XIV,” the restored classic by Roberto Rossellini, will follow the discussion.

In other panels, Bacall and Nora Ephron will participate in a discussion of love in the movies; HBO’s Sheila Nevins will moderate a panel on docs; Mike Wallace, Akiva Goldsman, Susanna Kaysen, Oliver Sacks, Harold Ramis and others will discuss the complexities of the brain as portrayed on film; Jon Stewart and Sarandon will be among those to explore life after Sept. 11; and Bart will moderate a “producing 101” panel with Art Linson, Christine Vachon and Paula Weinstein.

Also, MTV will stage a rock and comedy festival in lower-Manhattan’s Battery Park on May 10 in conjunction with the inaugural Tribeca Film Festival, unspooling May 8-12.

Three-hour, free event will feature performers and comedians such as Sheryl Crow, Counting Crows, Wyclef Jean and comedians Robin Williams and Jimmy Fallon. In addition to the music and comedy acts, clips from TFF will be projected.

“MTV’s Rock and Comedy Concert in Historic Battery Park is a wonderful event for us to have during the festival,” said Tribeca partner Jane Rosenthal. “It is consistent with the mission of the festival to bring New Yorkers and visitors alike to lower Manhattan to enjoy world-class entertainment.”

Cabler will present the MTV Films Student Visionary Award at the fest, honoring the best film submitted by a student. A panel of MTV and celebrity judges will present the award.

Founded by Rosenthal and Robert De Niro, the TFF will celebrate New York City as a major film capital and contribute to the long-term recovery of lower Manhattan. American Express is the fest’s founding sponsor. For a complete list of panels, and for all ticket information for the MTV event and fest pics, visit TFF’s Web site — tribecafilmfestival.org.