Tribeca aims to help filmmakers


Filmmakers are always in good hands at the Tribeca Film Festival, but this year they can count on extra attention. This year's fest refocusing yields fewer consumer panels -- and more industry-oriented ones, plus an expanded "Tribeca All Access" program and a full-service concierge.

"People come from all over the world and pay outrageous amounts for hotels, and we wanted to offer them more services," explains Nancy Schafer, the festival's co-director. "We've always done things for the industry, but every year we've listened to what people say about what they need ... so we've just been growing it and growing it, and now we've formalized a lot of that."

After several years of casually connecting participants, Tribeca will now have a concierge desk where registered participants can request meetings with other festivalgoers. The festival makes no guarantees, but they'll arrange as many meetings as possible.

There will also be more opportunities to network through "Tribeca All Access," now in its fifth year, where 37 directors and screenwriters will have a chance to meet more than 100 industry contacts. This kind of matchmaking at festivals "isn't always fruitful," says Dori Begley, director of acquisitions for Magnolia Pictures. But she's been impressed by Tribeca's program and will participate again this year.

The new series of panel discussions premiering this year is called "Tribeca Talks Industry," a spinoff of the ongoing "Tribeca Talks" series. These panels include "What You See Is What You Get," a Kodak-sponsored master class on visual storytelling, and The Hollywood Reporter-hosted "Click to View: The Future of New Media," featuring Isabella Rossellini, who has been creating short films for mobile viewing.

Rossellini says she's looking forward to discussing the business end of new media: "You can reach billions of people by mobile device, but once you reach these billions of people, how does the money go back to these people who made the films, back to us? We don't have a business model for it," she notes. Rossellini will also address the creative side: "With the mobiles, you fight with a lot of distraction. It's a small screen. ... You're not going to watch 'Apocalypse Now.' But could it be a possibility for short films to be revived?"

Liesl Copland, head of Netflix's Red Envelope Entertainment, plans to catch that panel and any others on new media. "No one knows what the future of digital entertainment is," she says.

Additionally, industry visitors will find these panels and other festival events clustered more closely together this year. "In previous years, we were sort of spread around the city," Schafer says. "We've reduced that, so they can walk to all the venues in the Union Square area."

Schafer knows the chaos of New York can make it hard to network with other artists. But despite Tribeca's location, she hopes this year to create "the feeling that you could still bump into someone on the street, see someone wearing a badge and they're talking about a film they just saw -- that kind of feeling you get at a Telluride or a Sundance."

Four Tribeca attendees preview what'll get them to the theater on time

By Rebecca Ascher-Walsh

Bob Berney, President, Picturehouse
"The festival has really evolved from a neighborhood comeback after 9/11 to becoming a market. The cast of 'Bart Got a Room' is interesting. I'm also interested in 'The Caller' and 'From Within,' which is the DP of (2007's) '3:10 to Yuma's' first directing job and seems like a cool horror film. I want to see the documentary 'Gotta Dance' and Sissy Spacek in 'Lake City,' and the feature called 'The Objective,' by Dan Myrick, which takes place in the Middle East and looks good.

Helen du Toit, Co-director of programming, Palm Springs International Film Festival
"The primary goal for me is discovering new talent, so I'm mainly interested in the world premieres. I'm skewing more toward narratives than documentaries. It seems to me we're increasingly seeing stories about long distance and relationships, and I'm interested in the issues around war and people divided by cultural issues. I want to see Delphine Kreuter's '57,000 Kilometers Between Us,' and I'm very intrigued by 'Two Mothers,' a German film by Rosa von Praunheim, who goes searching for his adoptive mother. Also on my list are 'Everywhere at Once,' directed by Holly Fisher and Peter Lindbergh, with Jeanne Moreau, and 'Quiet Chaos,' an Italian film with Nanni Moretti about a man who learns to grieve after his wife's sudden death."

Peter Goldwyn VP Acquisitions, IDP/Samuel Goldwyn)
"I think the priorities are 'Bart Got a Room,' with William H. Macy and Cheryl Hines; 'The Caller'; 'Lake City'; and 'From Within,' which stars Adam Goldberg. Also Aaron Woodley's 'Tennessee,' which we've been tracking for a long time. I hear Michelle Monaghan gives a great performance in 'Trucker,' and I'm also looking forward to 'Life in Flight,' with Patrick Wilson and Amy Smart."

Mark Urman, Head of U.S. Theatrical, Thinkfilm
"I'm interested in a couple of documentaries. I think Douglas Keeve's 'Hotel Gramercy Park' has the right combination of tabloid elements, contemporary social history and real estate. Another doc I want to see is 'Gotta Dance,' directed by Dori Berinstein. Also very interesting is Oscar-nominated animator Bill Plympton's new film 'Idiots and Angels.' And then there are the indies where the combination of cast and producers leads us to believe that the elements could come together. There are six or seven of those, from 'Life in Flight' to 'The Caller' and 'Tennessee.' Everyone is working from the same list."