De Niro Welcomes the World to Tribeca

Robert De Niro and friends brought the huddled masses together at the Borough of Manhattan Community College this morning to herald the launch of the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival.

"It's great how much the Festival continues to grow," said De Niro. "Over the next 12 days we invite everyone to come and enjoy everything that our festival has to offer -- from the free events to the panel discussions, and, of course, the films."

This year’s gala actually began last night with Tribeca Film Institute's Tribeca All Access Kick-off Celebration at The Maritime Hotel's Hiro Ballroom and later tonight Vanity Fair will be hosting a party. Tomorrow night is the  world premiere of “Shrek Forever After,” in 3D at the Ziegfeld Theater, before the screenings go into full swing on Thursday and on Friday the Tribeca Film Festival Virtual begins, allowing people from across the county to enjoy some of the movies from the comfort of their homes.

Jane Rosenthal, in discussing the themes of this year's festival, cited a newer hyper-specialized one: documentarian Alex Gibney, who has three films at Tribeca his year, “My Trip to Al-Qaeda,” chronicling Lawrence Wright’s more personal anecdotes from his time researching Pulitzer Prize winning book, “The Looming Tower.” Gibney is also giving a sneak peek his unfinished “Untitled Eliot Spitzer Film,” about the Sheriff of Wall Street’s evolution to Client No. 9. And finally, Gibney is one of five directors who joined forces to bring “Freakonomics," the bestseller from Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner.

Gibney first came to Tribeca in 2007 to screen his film "Taxi to the Dark Side," which went on to win the Oscar for Best Documentary.

Among the A-listers bringing their films to Lower Manhattan are Robert Duvall and Bill Murray, co-starring in “Get Low,” about a crazy old man who wants to throw himself a funeral before he dies; James Franco, who stars in “William Vincent,” from director Jay Anania (brother of Elizabeth Edwards) about a small-time crook trying to reunite with his girlfriend, as well as his documentary about the creative process involved in putting together an episode of “Saturday Night Live."

As usual, Tribeca is host to some great foreign films, including “Micmacs,” from writer-director Jean Pierre Jeunet and “The Disappearance of Alice Creed,” from British writer-director J Blakeson.

The closing night gala will be preceded by a screening of “Freakonomics” on Friday April 30, with following weekend reserved for showings of this year’s winners as well as the premiere of “Saturday Night.”

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