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Leonardo DiCaprio, Debra Messing Celebrate Tribeca Film Festival

This year’s Tribeca Film Festival Chanel-supported dinner brought a star-studded clan of artists together on a chilly night in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. The event, hosted at Balthazar restaurant, was a celebration of creatives from all industries and platforms.

The dinner honors co-founders Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro’s Artists Awards Program which elects ten artists to give a piece of their artwork to the winners of this year’s festival, announced on May 2. When asked why the Awards Program started, Rosenthal said that she wanted to give the winners something different than a typical trophy.

“17 years ago when we had to give an award to our filmmakers I thought we should give a piece of art to artists supporting other artists and I didn’t think that having another weird sculpture would work,” Rosenthal said. “So I asked my artist friends and here we are all these years later.”

Outside, celebs walked down the chic “black carpet” with a green-wall backdrop before entering. Cara Delevingne, model and actress, stole the show as photographers nearly blinded her in all the commotion. Zosia Mamet (“Girls”) was bathed in Chanel and partnered the look with an edgy thick black eyeliner. Alexander Skarsgård (“Big Little Lies”) also made a brief appearance, as did Chloe Sevigny (“The Dead Don’t Die”), also dressed in Chanel.

Upon walking into the restaurant, the foyer was adorned in pink-and-white floral arrangements and the smell of Chanel Blue men’s cologne wafted through the air. Massive vases of flowering cherry branches sat atop the bar and around the restaurant, adding a little spring to the otherwise chilly Manhattan night. On the menu? A Balthazar salad, steak frites, filet of whitefish, oysters for sharing, and ice cream puffs for dessert. Warm lighting accompanied by melting candles and small vases of flowers accented the tablescapes, and, yes, the restaurant was packed.

Awaiting the dinner to start, artists ordered cocktails, ate hors d’oeuvres, and caught up with fellow artists. Zoey Deutch (“Set It Up,” “Before I Fall”) giggled with a friend at the front of the restaurant. Zosia Mamet chatted with actress DeWanda Wise (“Someone Great,” “She’s Gotta Have It”). Music producer Mark Ronson and actor David Krumholtz (“The Deuce”) briefly interacted among the dinner tables as band Portishead’s “Sour Times” played in the background.

“The Chanel dinner has been a mainstay in this festival. I was here 10 years ago, the last time I was on the jury, and it’s just a beautiful, beautiful dinner. It’s beautiful food and everything you would think a Chanel dinner would look like,” said Debra Messing, a juror for this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. “But the thing that makes it special is bringing all of these creative people together who all have a passion for storytelling, a passion for innovation, to be able to break bread and really talk about the process and where we are now and where we need to get.”

When asked about how the Tribeca judging process was going, actress Piper Perabo expressed enthusiasm. In terms of artists supporting artists, she said that Tribeca does an amazing job, especially for young filmmakers trying to catch their big break.

“I’m in the first time director in a narrative feature jury and it’s really exciting to see young filmmakers and new uses of the medium and language,” she said.

At last minute, Leonardo DiCaprio, barely recognizable behind his blue LA Dodgers cap, avoided the cameras before making a swift entrance into the restaurant.

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