Tribeca Film Festival

The Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) is a prominent film festival held in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan, showcasing a diverse selection of independent films. Since its inaugural year in 2002, it has become a recognized outlet for independent filmmakers in all genres to release their work to a broad audience.

Tribeca Film Festival
New York Governor David Paterson opens the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival
LocationNew York City, New York, U.S.
Founded2002 (2002)

In 2006 and 2007, the Festival received over 8,600 film submissions and held 1,500 screenings.[1] The Festival's program line-up includes a variety of independent films including documentaries, narrative features and shorts, as well as a program of family-friendly films. The Festival also features panel discussions with personalities in the entertainment world and a music lounge produced with ASCAP to showcase artists. One of the more distinctive components of the Festival is its Artists Awards program in which emerging and renowned artists celebrate filmmakers by providing original works of art that are given to the filmmakers' competition winners. Past artists of the Artists Award Program have included Chuck Close, Alex Katz, and Julian Schnabel.

The festival now draws an estimated three million people—including often-elusive celebrities from the worlds of art, film, and music—and generates $600 million annually.[2]


The Tribeca Film Festival was founded in 2002 by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff, reportedly in response to the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the consequent loss of vitality in the Tribeca neighborhood in Lower Manhattan,[3] although there are reports that its founding was underway prior to the events of 9/11.[4] The inaugural festival launched after 120 days of planning with the help of more than 1,300 volunteers. It was attended by more than 150,000 people[1] and featured several up-and-coming filmmakers. The festival included juried narrative, documentary and short film competitions; a Restored Classics series; a Best of New York series curated by Martin Scorsese; 13 major panel discussions; an all-day Family Festival; and the premieres of studio films Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones,[5] About A Boy,[6] the American remake of Insomnia, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as well as the American premiere of Spider-Man 3 and The Avengers.[7]

The 2003 festival brought more than 300,000 people.[1] The festival showcased an expanded group of independent features, documentaries and short films from around the world, coupled with studio premieres, panel discussions, music and comedy concerts, a family festival, sports activities, and outdoor movie screenings along the Hudson River. The family festival featured children's movie screenings, storytelling, family panels, workshops, and interactive games culminating in a daylong street fair that drew a crowd estimated at 250,000 people.[8]

At the end of 2003, De Niro purchased the theater at 54 Varick Street which had housed the recently closed Screening Room, an art house that had shown independent films nightly,[9] renaming it the Tribeca Cinema. It became one of the venues of the festival.

In an effort to serve its mission of bringing independent film to the widest possible audience, in 2006, the Festival expanded its reach in New York City and internationally. In New York City, Tribeca hosted screenings throughout Manhattan as the Festival's 1,000-plus screening schedule outgrew the capacity downtown. Internationally, the Festival brought films to the Rome Film Festival. As part of the celebrations in Rome, Tribeca was awarded the first-ever "Steps and Stars" award, presented on the Spanish Steps. A total of 169 feature films and 99 shorts were selected from 4,100 film submissions, including 1,950 feature submissions—three times the total submissions from the first festival in 2002. The festival featured 90 world premieres, nine international premieres, 31 North American premieres, 6 U.S. premieres, and 28 New York City premieres.

In 2009, Rosenthal, Hatkoff and De Niro were named number 14 on Barron's list of the world's top 25 philanthropists for their role in regenerating TriBeCa's economy after September 11.[10]

As of 2010, the festival is run as a business by Tribeca Enterprises.[11] Andrew Essex has been the CEO of Tribeca Enterprises since January, 2016.

In 2011, L.A. Noire became the first video game to be recognized by the Tribeca Film Festival. In 2013, Beyond: Two Souls, featuring Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe, became only the second game to be premiered at the festival.


U.S. Narrative Competition

Best U.S. Narrative Feature

  • 2019 – Burning Cane, written and directed by Phillip Youmans.[12]
  • 2018 – Diane, written and directed by Kent Jones.[13]
  • 2017 – Keep the Change written and directed by Rachel Israel[14]
  • 2016 – Dean, directed by Demetri Martin

Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film

Best Actress in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film

Best Cinematography in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film

Best Screenplay in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film

World Narrative Competition

Best Narrative Feature

Best New Narrative Filmmaker

Best Actor in a Narrative Feature Film

Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Film

Best Documentary Feature

Best New Documentary Filmmaker

Best Documentary Editing

  • 2017 – Adam Nielson for Bobbi Jene

Best Cinematography

  • 2017 – Elvira Lind for Bobbi Jene[14]
  • 2015 – Magnus Jønck for Bridgend
  • 2014 – Damian García for Gueros
  • 2013 – Marius Matzow Gulbrandsen for Before Snowfall
  • 2012 – Trevor Forrest and Shlomo Godder for Una Noche
  • 2011 – Lisa Tillinger for Artificial Paradises

Best Screenplay

Best Narrative Editing

  • 2015 – Oliver Bugge Coutté for Bridgend
  • 2014 – Keith Miller for Five Star

Best Narrative Short

  • 2017 – Retouch, directed by Kaveh Mazaheri[14]
  • 2015 – Listen, directed by Hamy Ramezan and Rungano Nyoni
  • 2014 – The Phone Call, directed by Mat Kirkby[15]
  • 2013 – The Nightshift Belongs to the Stars, directed by Edoardo Ponti
  • 2010 – Father Christmas Doesn't Come Here, written by Bongi Ndaba, Sibongile Nkosana directed by Bekhi Sibiya
  • 2009 – The North Road, directed by Carlos Chahine
  • 2008 – New Boy, directed by Steph Green
  • 2007 – The Last Dog in Rwanda, directed by Jens Assur
  • 2006 – The Shovel, directed by Nick Childs
  • 2005 – Cashback, directed by Sean Ellis
  • 2004 – Shock Act, directed by Seth Grossman
  • 2002 – Bamboleho, directed by Luis Prieto

Best Documentary Short

Student Visionary Award

  • 2017 – Fry Day, directed by Laura Moss[14]
  • 2015 – Catwalk, directed by Ninja Thyberg
  • 2014 – Nesma's Bird, directed by Najwan Ali and Medoo Ali[15]
  • 2013 – Life Doesn't Frighten Me, directed by Stephen Dunn
  • 2010 – some boys don't leave, directed by Maggie Kiley
  • 2009 – Small Change, directed by Anna McGrath
  • 2008 – Elephant Garden, directed by Sasie Sealy
  • 2007 – Good Luck Nedim, directed by Marko Santic and Someone Else's War, directed by Lee Wang
  • 2006 – Dead End Job, directed by Samantha Davidson Green
  • 2005 – Dance Mania Fantastic, directed by Sasie Sealy
  • 2004 – 'Independent Lens' (American Made), directed by Sharat Raju

Nora Ephron Prize

Best Animated Short

Storyscapes Award

  • 2017 — TREEHUGGER : WAWONA created by Barnaby Steel, Ersin Han Ersin and Robin McNicholas[17]

See also


  1. "2011 Tribeca Film Festival Fact Sheet" (PDF). Retrieved January 5, 2012.
  2. "Cuban 'defector film' takes Tribeca prizes". BBC News. April 27, 2012. Retrieved April 27, 2012.
  3. "Documents reveal pre-9/11 plans for Tribeca Film Festival". 2007. Retrieved October 12, 2012.
  4. "The Children's Aid Society and The Tribeca Film Festival to Co-Host The New York City Premiere of 'Star Wars: Episode II Attack of The Clones' on May 12th". Retrieved May 12, 2014.
  5. Lemire, Christy (April 25, 2006). "Tribeca Film Festival returns to its inspiration". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press.
  6. "Spider-Man 3 Premiere to Take Place in Queens". Coming Soon. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  7. "Businesses say business was up for film festival". Downtown Express. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  8. Rogers, Josh (December 17, 2003). "De Niro and partners buy Tribeca's Screening Room". The Villager. 73 (33). Retrieved January 5, 2012.
  9. Suzanne McGee (November 30, 2009). "The 25 Best Givers". Barron's. Retrieved March 31, 2010.
  10. Creepy, Uncle (March 3, 2010). "Tribeca Film Festival Expands to Include Tribeca Film and Tribeca Film Festival Virtual". . Retrieved January 5, 2012.
  11. McDonald, Soraya Nadia. "Phillip Youmans becomes first black director to win at Tribeca with his feature debut, 'Burning Cane'". The Undefeated. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
  12. "Here are the Winners of the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival Juried Awards | Tribeca". Tribeca Film Festival. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  13. "Here are the Winners of the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival Juried Awards". Tribeca Film Festival.
  14. "2014 Tribeca Film Festival Announces Award Winners". Tribeca Film Festival. April 24, 2014. Archived from the original on October 28, 2014. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  15. "Tribeca honours Australian film The Rocket with top prize". BBC News. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  16. "Here are the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival Juried Award Winners | Tribeca". Tribeca. Retrieved March 25, 2018.

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