The 17th edition of the Tribeca Film Festival kicked off with a tribute to 1970s New York with “Love, Gilda,” a documentary about the trailblazing “Saturday Night Live” star Gilda Radner.
Tina Fey, who helped introduce the film at the Beacon Theatre on Wednesday night, teared up during her speech. “I can personally attest, and I feel comfortable speaking for Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, and Rachel Dratch, when I say that seeing Gilda as a kid, she was lovely and she was so authentically herself and so regular in so many ways,” Fey said, referencing her other “SNL” peers. “She was not a piece of casting. She was who she was on the TV. We all saw that and said, ‘I want to do that.'”
Fey added: “It’s an early example for me of how important representation is. Gilda was our Michelle Obama.”
In the film, director Lisa D’Apolito examines Radner’s life through journal entries, never-before-heard audio recordings and interviews with the likes of Poehler, Rudolph, Lorne Michaels and Melissa McCarthy. The movie was produced by CNN Films and will air on the cable-news network later this year. It is also seeking a distributor for a potential theatrical release.
Tribeca co-founders Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal welcomed the crowd to the annual New York film festival. In the past, Tribeca has paired its opening night feature with a concert to mixed results, such as the time that Ludacris performed after another “SNL” documentary in 2015. But this year’s movie, which didn’t have a concert attached, scored high marks from the crowd, which spontaneously laughed (and even choked up a little). The after-party was at Tavern on the Green.