ANALYSIS: The Tribeca Film Festival has ended, generating no major deals, but more announcements than any film festival I can remember. In the latest missive, the festival informs that it drew more than 410,000 to screenings, panels and free community events. Theater attendance for the 396 screenings reached 94,000. I’m trying to get a sense of how many participated in Tribeca’s virtual festival, an inaugural online subscription program godfathered by former longtime Sundance picture picker Geoff Gilmore. but those figures weren’t immediately made available. From an industry standpoint, the reaction from sellers and distributors I spoke with about the festival was complete indifference, and I think that hurts Tribeca’s growth potential. Am I placing too much emphasis on the non-existent marketplace at Tribeca, when co-founders Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal founded the fest to bring business back downtown after 9/11? I don’t think so. If the festival could get films which made distributors willing to commit minimum guarantees and P&A commitments, the excitement factor will rise significantly. The wanna-see at January’s Sundance Film Festival on premiere films like Buried, The Kids Are All Right, Catfish, Blue Valentine and numerous others lent a palpable excitement to the proceedings, and Gilmore was the guy who helped foster that quality level. There was little anybody had to see at Tribeca, beyond Jane and Bob calling in a favor and getting a big studio film like Shrek Forever After for a premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater. If Tribeca was a happening fest, wouldn’t Fox have premiered the inherently New York Oliver Stone-directed Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps here, days before its originally scheduled opening, rather than delay the release date four months so it could open at Cannes? The global platform makes Cannes hard to compete against, and Sundance has a big head start in cherry-picking films. I just think Tribeca could become more of an alternative for must-see films. This is New York, after all.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.