Sandwiched by a Judd Apatow comedy ("The Five-Year Engagement") and a Marvel superhero extravaganza ("The Avengers"), the 11th annual Tribeca Film Festival kicks off Wednesday with a meaty menu of independent, foreign and documentary films -- and programmers who are more than enthused about the way their festival is entering its second decade.
The festival, which runs through April 29 at theaters in Manhattan, went through an organizational shuffle and shift in its hierarchy this year: Gena Terranova was promoted from senior programmer to director of programming upon the departure of her colleague David Kwok; Frederic Boyer was brought in from Cannes; and Geoff Gilmore, who left Sundance in 2009 to be chief creative officer of Tribeca Enterprises, was asked to get back into programming by Jane Rosenthal, who along with husband, Craig Hatkoff, and actor Robert De Niro, founded the festival in the wake of 9/11. It's been a popular festival, albeit one with an amorphous identity. But Gilmore says quality eclipses all.
"Yes, Tribeca's eclectic," said Gilmore. "And, yes, discovery, industry and community are the three pillars on which Tribeca rests. But we also had so many great films we might have programmed and couldn't find space for, and that's great -- it means you're at a point where you had to make choices."
"I think the vibe Tribeca gives off is a very open, accessible one," added Terranova, addressing the fest's generally youthful demo. "The festival runs throughout the city, we make a conscious effort to reach out via the website, the Web team, the tweeting, all that stuff -- we keep our pulse on that younger audience. But it's also a tribute to New York that there's a lot of young people who are curious and open and looking for new things."
"And the tickets are not so expensive," said Boyer. "This is very important. You go to some other festivals, and it's not that way."
Among the likely to be talked about films in this year's lineup are the Spanish police thriller "Unit 7"; "Resolution" by Justin Benson and Aaron Scott Moorhead; "Booker's Place," a documentary about race and memory from Raymond De Felitta ("City Island"); the multigenerational femme-centric drama "Future Weather"; the ever-provocative Harmony Korine's "The Fourth Dimension" with Val Kilmer, left; and the Finnish "Rat King." But there are also 83 other features and 60 shorts in Tribeca this year, and even though the programmers don't like to say it, there may just be something for everyone.