At Monday’s Tribeca Film Festival’s annual west-coast meet-and-greet — where the rooftop view from Stardust Penthouse of the Beverly Hilton lent the proceedings a kind of New York ambiance — the L.A. experience seemed to be measured in seismic wake-up calls.
“Hi everybody, it was my first earthquake,” exclaimed Sharon Badal, who curates the fest’s shorts programs, about the magnitude 4.4 temblor that struck at dawn. “So the timing couldn’t be better.” Not to be outdone, artistic director Frederic Boyer announced this was his third earthquake. “It was pretty exciting, by the way,” said the Frenchman.
Badal and Boyer form part of the brain trust here to tubthump an annual cinematic rite that grew as a kind of healing force in the wake of 9/11. Also present were Tribeca chief creative officer Geoffrey Gilmore and director of programming Genna Terranova.
“I’ve learned over the years it’s a program I can’t talk about until the audience sees it,” Gilmore told Variety. “Because all you’re really doing is hyping it all, and I don’t want to hype it.”
But he couldn’t help himself. “It’s the kind of American independent work that you look at and really get turned on by.”
The crowd was made up of many of the filmmakers whose works are featured in the festival, along with a number of thesps recognizable as solid character actors in mainstream movies and TV, who might play leads in the indie fare that Tribeca offers. Among those spotted were Courteney Cox, Barbara Hershey, Rae Dawn Chong, Brian Geraghty, Clark Gregg and Jason Ritter.
“It’s a mix of industry and filmmakers and alumni that we invite every year, and other partners that we have,” explained Terranova, who added that “when you put together a bunch of creative people in a room, and let them mash up — like a hard-rock song and a hip-hop song — things happen.”
One of those creatives, filmmaker Olivia Klaus — whose 25-minute doc “Life After Manson,” about the rehabilitation of Manson family killer Patricia Krenwinkle, is included in the fest’s After Words doc program — actually hails from the O.C. “I’m excited,” she said, explaining that she simply mailed in her submission without a go-between. “This is my first short,” she said, “so this is a whole new world for me.”
(pictured: Geoffrey Gilmore, left; Chris Messina, Brian Geraghty)