The power of film & New York’s Tribeca Film Festival

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Tribeca Film Festival

The power of film & New York’s Tribeca Film Festival

New York has been a city of tribes, cultures, and nationalities and together they have made the city what it is. This seamless communal way of life was shocked and stunned on 11th September 2001 with the devastating attack on the World Trade Center. The smouldering rubble that was the communal sentiment had yet to cool and the city was in a grip of xenophobic attacks and outrage.

robert de niro jane rosenthal showtime the 4th reich neo nazi gi Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal bring neo Nazi drama 'The 4th Reich' to Showtime

Robert De Niro & Jane Rosenthal. Image Copyright: screenertv.com

Jane Rosenthal, Robert DeNiro and Craig Hatkoff came together and started the annual Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) in January 2002, to celebrate New York as a major filmmaking center and to contribute to the long-term recovery of lower Manhattan.

The opening day ceremony for the first TFF was at the New York City Hall and Nelson Mandela addressed the crowd about the power of film to unite, humanize and inspire us all.

In 2005, before YouTube had even launched, Amazon and TFF collaborated on a digital short film contest where users submitted over 1,000 entries onto a custom site, one of the first sites that allowed content upload ability with consumer interaction. Audiences voted on their favorites along with celebrity jurors like Ice Cube, Gwyneth Paltrow, Stanley Tucci, and David Duchovny. The winner was Jon Lindgren’s Rachel’s Challenge, a seven-minute short about the Columbine High School shootings. The winner of the second competition was Jack Paccione, Jr.’s Duel at Red Table.

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The film that set off a chain reaction. Image Copyright: rachelschallenge.org

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia attended the TFF 2008 premiere screening of Pray The Devil Back To Hell, a documentary that chronicled the social unrest in the West African Republic of Liberia. At the screening, the star of the film was asked how she could forgive what people had done to her. President Sirleaf answered for her, sighting Nelson Mandela’s mandate to remember the power of forgiveness and reconciliation. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee (Liberian peace activist responsible for leading the women’s peace movement Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace, which helped bring an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003) and Tawakkol Karman (a Yemeni journalist, politician, and senior member of the of Al-Islah political party, and human rights activist) went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for their work.

Today, the TFF screens films from 39 diverse themes, ranging from Women’s Right to Food over a period of 11 days. If you’re in the United States of America between 19th and 30th April, don’t miss an opportunity to attend the Tribeca Film Festival.