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Tribeca: A look back

From a lower Manhattan relief effort to an annual institution


Mere weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, following a series of intimate dinners and conversations in lower Manhattan about ways to bring business back downtown, Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff announce the creation of the Tribeca Film Festival.


American Express is confirmed as the fest’s founding sponsor.

May 8:
The inaugural edition of TFF opens with the world premiere of “About a Boy” and features “Roger Dodger” and “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones.”

De Niro and Rosenthal appoint Peter Scarlet exec director of TFF.


TFF adds an additional four days to its schedule and unspools in various locations, screening more than 200 features, docs and shorts chosen from close to 2,000 submissions. About 30,000 advance tickets are sold, compared to frosh fest’s 19,000.


Fest adds two competitive categories for New York filmmakers — NY, NY Features and NY, NY Documentaries.


Weinstein Co. release “Transamerica” premieres at TFF and would go on to net star Felicity Huffman an Academy Award nomination for lead actress.

The Tribeca Film Institute, a sister non-profit organization that pre-dates the Tribeca Film Festival, launches a range of programs aimed at middle and high school students in New York City.


Paul Greengrass’ “United 93” opens the fifth TFF. The portrait of one of the doomed Sept. 11 jetliners premieres at the Ziegfeld. The packed theater includes families of several dozen crash victims.

The Tribeca Film Institute launches Tribeca All-Access, a program to support under-represented filmmakers.

The Tribeca Film Festival and the Rome Film Fest join forces on a number of levels, but primarily by screening each other’s prizewinning films.


Woody Harrelson’s poker mockumentary “The Grand” and Michael Apted World Cup doc “Power of the Game” kick off inaugural fest-within-a-fest, the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival.

Rosenthal promotes former executive director Scarlet to artistic director. Fest vets Nancy Schafer and Paola Freccero become co-exec directors. Jennifer Maguire Isham, former fest prexy, is named exec VP of Tribeca Enterprises.


TE forms a cultural partnership with cultural authorities in Doha, Qatar, and prepares for the 2009 unveiling of the first Doha Tribeca Film Festival.

After taking heat for being too dense and sprawling, TFF slims down lineup — 120 features are screened (down from the previous year’s 157).


Co-exec director PaolaFreccero exits.

A total of 85 features screen during fest, compared to previous year’s 120.

Andy Garcia starrer “City Island” wins the audience award. Commercially released by Anchor Bay in 2010, the modestly scaled film will go on to collect more than $7 million.

Feb. 17:
Geoffrey Gilmore resigns as the Sundance fest director to become chief creative officer at Tribeca Enterprises.

Feb. 27:
Scarlet ankles as creative director of the Tribeca Film Festival on the eve of its eighth edition and his seventh.


Tribeca announces it has partnered in Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy, a two-year school in Chicago that trains students in such areas as post-production, effects, animation and videogame design.

Commercial distribution label Tribeca Film launches with an initial slate of 12 films. In 2011, the label will more than double its output and unveil year-round partnerships with Comcast and other major platforms.

Tribeca Film Festival Virtual, an online expansion of the festival experience, launches at tribecafilm.com. The initiative, renamed Tribeca (Online) Film Festival, returns in 2011.


April 20:
Festival will open with the first free, public, open-air night screening in TFF history — Cameron Crowe’s “The Union,” a doc about the collaboration between Elton John and Leon Russell.

More on Tribeca Film Festival at 10:
Decade of expansion | Tribeca entries hail from all over the map | Labors of lab | Tribeca: A look back | Preems, panels & pow wows | Schedule & events | Hot titles
Full coverage of the Tribeca Film Festal

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