Tribeca Film Festival Comes To Your Computer With Tribeca Online Fest

Mark Deming
Movie Talk

If you can't make it to New York City for the Tribeca Film Festival, which opens April 17 in lower Manhattan, part of the festival can now come to you thanks to digital technology.

As an adjunct to the TFF (co-founded in 2002 by Robert De Niro), three years ago the organizers created the Tribeca Online Festival to help expand the audience for the fest. This year, three feature films and four short subjects competing at Tribeca will be available for film fans to view on line via streaming on the TFF website.

Among the features available for streaming are "Alias Ruby Blade: A Story of Love and Revolution," a documentary by Alex Meillie about a reporter and activist who became part of the struggle for freedom in East Timor. Also available will be Meera Menon's comedy/drama "Farrah Goes Bang," about the misadventures of a young woman on the road with a political campaign, and "Lil Bub & Friendz," Andy Capper and Juliette Eisner's study of the phenomenon of viral cat videos. Viewers will also have the opportunity to vote on the on-line presentations for a series of awards that will deliver $16,000 in prizes for the winners.

Another four festival entries will be made available through Video On Demand services in conjunction with the TFF's affiliated distribution company, Tribeca Film. VOD titles include "Greetings From Tim Buckley," a documentary about the late singer and songwriter; "The English Teacher," a comedy/drama starring Julianne Moore; "What Richard Did," a tale of troubled teenagers in Dublin; and "Fresh Meat," a fusion of horror and comedy about crooks who unknowing tangle with a household of cannibals.

Along with viewing the work of promising filmmakers on line, the Tribeca Online Festival is urging fans to get into the action themselves. The fest will be sponsoring a competition for ultra-short digital films created using the smart phone app Vine, which allows users to create six-second video clips.

"We are always looking for ways to expand our community and engage new audiences," said Geoff Gilmore, the Chief Creative Officer for Tribeca Enterprises. "For the past three years, viewers nationwide have been able to take in a selection of Festival films and activities, even if they aren't able to make it to Tribeca. This year we have expanded the opportunity for the public to participate in the Festival not just as observers, but also as creators through our first ever Vine competition, which is open to anyone with an imagination and a Vine app."

The festival will also make several lectures and panels available for on-line viewing, and this year's award's presentation will also be webcast on April 25. And unlike the events in New York, there's no dress code for attending the festival via your laptop, though putting on clean pajamas might be a nice gesture.