I'm heading out to California for the weekend to spend some time with family, so my Tribeca Film Festival ended last night. Overall, it was a tiring experience, punctuated by a few good films, my favorites new movies were docs: "Jesus Camp", "Rock The Bells", and "Toots". Granted I still have a few screeners to watch, so that list might grow.
Having spoken with a number of film biz insiders and journalists, its clear to me that the festival has to really grapple with the fact that much of the industry seems to look upon their event with a major sense of dread. This year's biggest complaints remain the size of program, and now insiders are unhappy with the fact that the event takes place all over town. I completely agree with the former concern and disagree entirely with the latter.
New York can handle a sprawling film festival like the one in Berlin (the large crowds at venues all around town prove that), but what needs to be dealt with is the sheer size of the program, particulary given the timing of the event so close to Cannes. Organizers are understandably defensive about this point, but its hard to deny that fewer films coupled with a looser premiere policy would make for a much better event for both industry and mainstream attendees alike. The festival has come a long way in five short years and I think its become an important new element of New York's film scene. It will be interesting to see where planners take the event in its next five years.
For some more comments on this year's fest, take a look at Filmbrain's take on the festival.