The sixth annual TriBeCa Film Festival, which celebrates movies big and small, opened this week in New York City. Gayle talks to film producer Jane Rosenthal, the event's co-founder, about how the festival got its start and its remarkable success.
Jane says she founded the TriBeCa Film Festival in 2002, along with actor Robert De Niro, as a way to counter the devastating effect that the September 11 terrorist attack had on the people and businesses of New York City—especially in lower Manhattan's TriBeCa neighborhood. "We wanted to do something to give back to the community, to try to give it a new memory, something to look forward to," she says.
At first, Jane says her goal was simply to restore a sense of normalcy to the community by bringing people together at dinners, which she organized at local restaurants. "It was just emotionally [like], 'If more people come here, then it will be okay,'" she says. Well over 100 people attended Jane's first dinner party. When more than 1,000 guests attended a subsequent dinner—including notables such as President Clinton and Queen Noor of Jordan—Jane says she knew she could do even more, and the idea of a film festival was born.
Now in its sixth year, Jane says the festival has exceeded her expectations. With film entries from 47 countries around the world, Jane says the festival brings new, lesser-known films and filmmakers into the spotlight, and it also includes big blockbuster movies like Spider-Man 3. She says community support and a number of free screenings and events add to the festival's overall success. Yet, it is the audiences that Jane says really distinguish TriBeCa from other film festivals. "We're very much of an audience festival," she says. "No one is like the New York audiences, so everyone can have that festival experience—everyone can come to our festival."