Tuesday, April 20, 2010

film festival 2010: TRIBECA

The Tribeca Film Festival press conference is going on now, Tuesday, April 20 with the Festival starting Wednesday, April 21 through Sunday, May 2. New York remains the indie film capital with an equally independent-minded audience despite economic downturns, cuts, merged, and shuttered distribution outlets and funding evaporations. As an accredited media person at Tribeca since 2006, I've seen its transformation from a local, neighborhood-friendly, downtown-centric film festival into a megabeast that needed taming from its out-of-control expansion catering to mainstream media turning into an internationally recognized tour de force welcoming voices from independent media outlets.

Much of the credit can be attributed to Tammie Rosen, vice president for communications at the festival who listened to those of us not interested in red carpet arrivals and celebrity sightings, instead keeping an eye out for that indie gem that shines its way through the hoopla. A seasoned veteran handling film festival media, she understands the difference between media groups and is instrumental in the accommodations made accordingly. The Franklin Pass permits entrance at two designated theaters to film screenings during daytime hours making an integral part of film screenings- audience reaction and filmmaker Q&A - an accessible and critical element for film reviews. Currently, the communications group must still be scrambling, rerouting filmmakers who may be stranded without air transportation because of the volcano erupting last week in Iceland. Technology will most likely step in with virtual connection and while it provides a connection, it still needs attention to detail from production management for each event.

Another streamlined direction is having one guide book that holds all Tribeca Film Festival information. Unfortunately, the graphic designer apparently lacks experience and broke the number one rule in print production - readability. The text, in 6 point type, light gray ink on white stock, is impossible to read, fading into a grayed-out block. Too bad. It could have been a solid handbook. However, I'm happy to gather available and legibly-printed handouts of film groupings - Narrative Documentaries, Road Trip, Horror & Suspense, Romance, Social Issues, Human Rights, Politics, War, Families, Youth, Hispanic & Latino, Irish, Middle Eastern, Health, Environment, (East) Asian, Comedy, Literary, Biography (Narratives and Documentaries), Animated, Art, Women (Films Centered Around) -must still be a special interest group, I guess- Returning Directors and Female Directors.

This brings me to the festival fact sheet for the 2010 director information with 96 as the the total number of feature-length directors in the festival- 19 feature-length female directors; 77 feature-length male directors; 8 first-time female directors, 32 first-time male directors; 9 returning female directors, 11 returning male directors. No matter how you look at it, it's been forever lopsided since the directing days of the first woman director, Alice Guy Blache.

Finally, total submissions for Tribeca Film Festival in 2010 was 5,050. Along with the Tribeca/ESPN Film Festival (7 documentaries), submissions included 1,260 feature narratives, 1,073 feature documentaries, 2,295 narrative shorts, 422 documentary shorts. There will be 44 world premieres, 7 international, 15 North American premieres, 6 U.S. premieres, 12 New York premieres and 1 revival. In twelve days, 496 films will be screened in locations throughout Manhattan. Looking forward to it.

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