This year marks the 20th year of the Tribeca Festival. Tribeca occurs yearly in New York City, across all five boroughs, and celebrates the ingenuity of film and beyond. This year will include films, TV programs, virtual reality and immersive experiences, video games and podcasts – offering something for everything. As festival-goers celebrate two decades of Tribeca, the new format offers a variety of ways for visitors to be involved, including a couch-side experience for those not ready to venture back out yet.
Tribeca 2021 is occurring across the NYC boroughs from June 9th to June 20th. This year, the festival offers an ailing city a chance at CPR. Always one of the United States’ cultural hubs, New York City was hurt deeply by the pandemic and necessary lockdowns. Now, the opportunity to bring visitors and business back to places shuttered for safety celebrates the spirit of Tribeca. Tribeca was originally founded in the wake of 9/11 to help revive the devastated city – and now, the festival has the chance to do it again. After months of heavy campaigning for people to get vaccinated and NYC slowly opening again, it was time for Tribeca to return.
Co-founders Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal believe that the time is right, and the people are ready. The Hollywood Reporter shares Rosenthal’s thoughts; ” … we felt that we needed to get back to some of our routines and rituals that we had taken for granted [before] COVID. Gathering with people and watching movies is one of our great pastimes and joys.”
And De Niro adds, “It seems like the right thing to do, with everything opening up and all the optimism. Jane and the team came up with a way to do it. And I’m feeling very optimistic and good about it, knock on wood.”
Highlights From This Year’s Lineup: What to Look Out For
Over the past two decades, films debuted at Tribeca have been some of the most introspective and meaningful to come out of film festivals. With 2020 as dark and as difficult as it was for many, it has inspired art that is similarly exceptional – but in a good way. This year’s festival includes virtual reality and video games, also acknowledging podcast hosts and influencers. Some of the highlights of the festival are likely to be:
- In the Heights: if you’ve spent any time on TikTok recently, you’ve seen this hashtag. The Gotham-centered musical adaptation by director Jon M. Chu was written by Broadway and Hollywood legend Lin-Manuel Miranda and kicks off the festival June 9th.
- Stockholm Syndrome: an intense and honest autobiopic that takes a look at the rise of American rapper A$AP Rocky and the spent behind bars in Sweden that forever changed him.
- Bernstein’s Wall: over 30 years after his death, composer Leonard Bernstein‘s life is revealed by Douglas Tirola’s biopic.
- Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain: another NYC native, Anthony Bourdain is dearly missed by many. Director Morgan Neville compiled footage from the tragic legend’s life, alongside revealing interviews from people who shared it with him.
- No Sudden Move: this star-studded movie by Steven Soderbergh explores a group of criminals who find themselves in a tricky spot during a job and work to get out of what turns to be a set-up. Don Cheadle takes top listing in the film, but is joined by other big names, including Brendan Fraser, Jon Hamm, Benicio del Toro, Ray Liotta and more. The film comes to HBO July 1st after its Tribeca premiere.
The full line-up is extensive and promises a wide variety of entertainment options, from the documentary to the fantastic, and everything in between. Visit Tribeca’s website for a full list.
Watch In Person, or Watch From Home
This year, you may not be quite ready to venture back into the world and jump feet-first into a crowded festival. Never fear, the organizers have concocted a hybrid version of the festival that allows people to attend in person, or at home. But the details are complicated, so make sure you’ve made plans for what you want your experience to look like.
Certain films are only available during certain windows, so plan your time accordingly. Individual features run $15-$20, with an all-access pass running $175. A variety of other passes are available through this website. But if you’re looking to get back into the feel of the city, get away from the digital world, and attend in person – the festival will still be happening in the real world too.
Rosenthal feels a sense of responsibility to the world when it comes to bringing the festival back, and sharing its art with the world. THR shares her words; “The first year, [Nelson] Mandela came to the festival, and he talked about the fact that when he was in Robben Island, the one thing he looked forward to with his jailers were movie nights, and it was a time where everybody could be together — they could laugh and cry at the same things. So I take those words of Mandela from that very first festival forward with both what we as filmmakers, producers, storytellers try to do in our lives and also as activists who want to keep telling stories. But I feel it’s incumbent on us to be part of the right side of history. We’ve all been through so much this year, whether it was the election, January 6th, a global health crisis. All of the things that you take for granted, just like having a meal with a group of friends at a restaurant, those simple pleasures in life can be taken away at any moment.”