When online retailers introduced wireless reading devices and e-books, some book lovers balked. For traditionalists, nothing will ever take the place of a dog-eared classic that smells slightly musty, like a library's long-forgotten card catalog.

But, with technology revolutionizing the way we buy shoes, grocery shop and pay bills, every industry is evolving...including the arts. Like bibliophiles before them, some movie lovers hold the status quo sacred. For them, nothing compares to surround sound, a 40-foot screen and a tub of buttery popcorn. But, for the digital generation, the glow of a computer screen, portable convenience and chat functionality are just as appealing.

As a sign of the times, New York's famed Tribeca Film Festival is going virtual. For the first time since its inception in 2002, the Tribeca Film Festival is giving movie lovers unprecedented access to red carpet events, panel discussions and live Q&As with directors and actors. Those who purchase the $45 premium pass—which is less than the cost of a few screenings and a box of Raisinets—will also be able to stream eight feature-length films and 18 short films, starting on April 23, 2010.

Nancy Schafer, executive director of the Tribeca Film Festival, says this virtual experience will help the festival fulfill one of its missions—to broaden the audience for independent films.

"One of those things we always talked about when we were just running the Tribeca Film Festival in New York is: 'How do you take a film festival on the road? How do you make it bigger than just the 12 days or the town it's in?'" she says. "One of the things that made us hesitate was, when you take the films out of New York City and out of this festival environment, it loses the buzz and the feeling. So, if you were just doing a screening in another city, it wouldn't feel like you were at Tribeca. Now, technology has really allowed us to put this festival online, in a fashion, and to capture that buzz and that feeling."


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