Born in 2002 out of the ashes of the World Trade Centre attacks, the New York Tribeca Film Festival’s mission was twofold: to aid in the economic recovery of the Tribeca area of lower Manhattan, and “to enable the international film community and the general public to experience the power of film by redefining the film festival experience”. For the past decade Tribeca has grown from selling just 43,000 tickets in 2002, to over 200,000 tickets in subsequent years. It has just celebrated its tenth festival, and this year showcased over 90 features from 40 countries around the world.
As a very young festival, Tribeca cannot yet compete with the glamour, prestige and gravity of Cannes or Venice. It can, however, boast a reputation for programming diverse and provocative cinema, engaging local and international audiences, and committing to new and exciting talent. All of this has fast established it as one of the year’s top film events, and cemented its position on the international festival circuit.
The artistic highlights were awarded on Saturday night, with the top prize for Best Narrative Feature going to ‘She Monkeys’, directed by Swede Lisa Aschan. It chronicles the intense, psychological relationship between teenagers Emma and Cassandra, who both compete on the equestrian acrobatics team. The jury commended its “balanced storytelling that moves between danger and innocence, this film speaks of sex, adolescence, power, and ambition. It is original and authentic”.
The Best Documentary Feature prize went to ‘Bombay Beach’, directed by Alma Har’el, which profiles the fascinating characters of south California’s the Salton Sea. The jury awarded the prize for “the film’s beauty, lyricism, empathy and invention”.
The Heineken award, as voted for by festival goers, was won by Michael Collins’ ‘Give Up Tomorrow’. It casts a light on the most notorious case in the criminal history of the Philippines – the arrest of Paco Larrañaga in 1997 for the murder of his two sisters, and the ensuing court case.
Over $600 million is thought to have been generated for the local economy by this year’s festival, so it has certainly succeeded in the first part of its mission statement. But what about its commitment to empowering people and communities with the power of film? I’ll direct you to this piece on Lebanese doc ‘Grandma, A Thousand Times’, and let you make up your own mind.
For a full list of award winners, click here .