Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Film Festival returns with over 100 movies and ‘De Niro Con’

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Film festival’s still relevant

Talentwise, Robert De Niro should be chiseled into Mount Rushmore. OK, so we got Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt — but Jefferson? He got two Oscars?

Last week, curbside, Bob read a speech. A Bidenized pre-written pee-athon smashing trashing Donald and lionizing Blubber Biden while never mentioning that Joe’s allegedly semi-crooked son is facing multiple lawsuits.

As cameras and mikes covered De Niro he hollered at us that Donald’s dishonest.

Somehow, within that same time frame, I was seeing Bob about his annual Tribeca Film Festival which began 2002 and this year starts Wednesday.

He showed with equally respected co-founder Jane Rosenthal, who never removed dark glasses and whose hair remained slightly unkempt.

De Niro about the festival which contributes millions to NYC economically: “Who knew this idea would become such a major attraction? We did it to help resuscitate downtown after 9/11. Who knew what to expect? It was just an idea. A first thought of some plan to resuscitate downtown again after COVID.

“Look, I love movies. And I edited them in those days in parking lots.

“And I love popcorn. And I ate the popcorn when I watched the movies. And so we got this first festival on. This year, we received 13,000 films from 50 countries. Shorts, TV shows, full-screen films. So many came in that we had to work to cut it down.

“Sometimes the most successful things just don’t work. I don’t know much about when the time is right. I go to an opening. I stay five minutes. I right away know what it is, and if it isn’t great I leave in five minutes.”

Women are front & center

Jane Rosenthal: “Of 110 movies, 96 premieres and a look into Diane von Furstenberg’s life, it’s projects by Scorsese, Dakota Johnson, Sean Penn, Jude Law, Alicia Vikander, Rooney Mara and half this year’s projects are directed by women. But they’re not turning in tearjerkers.”

Now, about Tribeca Film Festival headquarters. The Élysée Palace — not!

A guy in jeans guarded the glass-paned front door. Another pointed to creaky wooden stairs that might’ve been live trees in Clara Bow’s great-grandma’s era.

Reporters sat on the hard wood floor in front of a closed door which held De Niro and Rosenthal.

I, treated deferentially, was plopped onto the wooden steps.

One young man stood in front of a closed door balancing a heavy tray with a teapot and cups.

Didn’t knock. Didn’t try the knob. Didn’t open the door. Just stood balancing this tray. Standing at the closed door until 20 minutes later it opened and this young man plus tray and teapot made it into the ceremonial chamber where reigned De Niro and Rosenthal.

Their tiny room was crammed with wooden benches and seats, cables, cameras, techies behind the cameras. The proceedings being filmed by Junket Productions. 

Big, bold names

This week’s festival drops names like George Clooney, Dolly Parton, Emilio Estevez, Demi Moore, Rob Lowe, Jon Bon Jovi, Brooke Shields, Jake Gyllenhaal, Melissa McCarthy, plus a career-spanning 300 bits from De Niro’s personal archive.

Kissing me goodbye, De Niro said: “Here’s an exclusive for you. Nobody knows this. I’m going to make ‘Meet the Parents 4.’ We made that first one 24 years ago. Who knew it was going to be that good?”

For this I will sit on his crappy staircase a second time.



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