Q+A w/ David Kwok, Dir. of Programming / Tribeca Film Festival
Q: Tell us a little about the Tribeca Film Festival and what they’re doing to support all the filmmakers out there.
A: Tribeca has many different divisions from the Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) to the Festival to Tribeca Film all working to support filmmakers; we've developed a network under the Tribeca umbrella to work with filmmakers from development to exhibition.
TFI has two documentary funds—the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund and the TFI Documentary Fund—as well as Tribeca All Access which is a program that supports underrepresented filmmakers from development to completion, a Latin American Media Arts Fund, a partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan foundation to develop science based screenplays. In addition, we have various exhibition and distribution outlets. TFI also has the Reframe Collection which helps individual filmmakers digitize their work and sell it via the internet.
Tribeca Film is a newly launched full-fledged distribution unit that acquires feature films and distributes them theatrically, on VOD, home video, and other ancillary outlets.
The Film Festival is a platform where many of the Tribeca programs all come together. A lot of the projects that come out of TFI can be exhibited there, the main meetings component of Tribeca All Access takes place during the Festival, and some of the films that are acquired for Tribeca Film are launched at the Festival. We support all of the films in the Festival and continue to support them after the Festival, especially if they get distribution and help their releases. As Tribeca continues to grow, we hope to have more outlets to support films and filmmakers that are connected with any part of Tribeca.
Q: How can filmmakers gain access to all the great opportunities they provide?
A: The best way is to go on www.tribecafilm.com and www.tribecafilminsitute.org and see what programs suit their projects and apply. There is contact info if there are any questions.
Q: The Festival has grown tremendously since its first festival in 2002. What would you attribute this success to?
A: There are many factors. Part of it is what I mentioned before regarding the different programs and initiatives that Tribeca has created. The Film Festival is the most visible program of Tribeca, but all the other things that Tribeca does complements the Festival, especially during other times of the year. The Festival has always strived to make it an event for all people. We show a wide spectrum of films which brings a diverse audience to the Festival and we always have a goal to be as inclusive as possible. We have been inventive and original in our programming, examples would be the Tribeca ESPN Sports Film Festival and the online festival we launched last year, these efforts have grown Tribeca as well as the audience for independent film. The filmmakers and the audience keeps the Festival alive and growing so as long as we have both to support us and we serve them right, than the Festival will continue to grow.
Q: Where do you see the art of filmmaking heading in 2011?
A: That's hard to say. Some discussions that I've had over the year—and this includes filmmakers who work on studio films—is the changing ways that people watch films. I think the content will always stay with what filmmakers want to make. But filmmakers may be coming a little more conscious of how people may be watching their films. For instance, what or should a filmmaker think about when making a film if they think that someone may be watching their film on an iPad or mobile phone? Does that change anything in the process? No one has any definitive answer. Maybe it doesn't mean anything, but it's something to think about. Maybe soon, some filmmakers may focus on making films or content for that kind of delivery. What does it mean if there is audience out there that watches films primarily on a 4-inch screen and not at one time? I know people that do that; they'll watch a film on their iPod while they’re on the train or in transit, which means they'll watch it at 15-minute spans instead of one sitting.
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