Q&A: Tribeca's Geoff Gilmore

A chat with Sundance's former guiding light -- now resident as Tribeca Enterprises' chief creative officer

Geoff Gilmore created stir in February when he announced he was pulling up stakes at the Sundance Film Festival after 19 years, and heading back to his home state of New York -- to serve as the chief creative officer of Tribeca Enterprises. Those in the know say he'll influence the Tribeca Film Festival, but as of this moment, even Gilmore isn't sure how many fingers he'll have in that pie. He spoke with Randee Dawn for The Hollywood Reporter.

The Hollywood Reporter: Why jump from a 19-year career at Sundance, where you were director of programming, to oversee Tribeca Enterprises?

Geoff Gilmore: I wasn't sure what I was going to do at my next stage at Sundance. I saw this whole new set of challenges (at Tribeca): These guys are smart, they've got ambition and there's an enormous sense of opportunity and development.

THR: What does the "chief creative officer" do?

Gilmore: I'm basically here to develop festival activity, educational activity -- but also to look at a number of different Enterprises activities, ranging from distribution to new kinds of projects.

THR: How much will you be involved with the festival?

Gilmore: I don't see myself playing the same role that I had at Sundance. I don't see myself trying to become focused specifically on programming. I think I will be overseeing it, and I will be looking at the range of different developments that we can look at next year.

THR: What's the most important asset to have for someone in your position?

Gilmore: A kind of breadth. You're looking for someone who doesn't have a narrow set of interests, who is able to walk the lines between art, film and commerce; and the lines between independent, global and studio work. This new world of film we're in has so many more inter-relationships and inter-connections. A decade and a half ago, you didn't talk much about the global relationship between American cinema and the world. Now you've got (2008's) "Slumdog Millionaire"; now you've got evidence at the top of the food chain of all those inter-relationships, and a lot of that has come out of festival relationships.

THR: What continues to inspire you in the business?

Gilmore: You can talk about showcasing new talent, developing audiences and changing the response toward different parts of American film, but what it gets down to is trying to develop access and opportunity both for filmmakers and audiences. That's what festivals have done, that's what Tribeca has been working on. That's what's inspirational.
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