The Tribeca Festival will return as an in-person event, a hopeful sign that coronavirus may be loosening its grip on cultural life in America. The announcement comes as vaccination levels are rising and New York City is moving, however haltingly, back toward a pre-pandemic sense of normality.
“As New York emerges from the shadow of COVID-19, it seems just right to bring people together again in-person for our 20th anniversary festival,” said Robert De Niro, the festival’s co-founder, in a statement.
There will still be concessions to the public health crisis that caused Tribeca organizers to scrap their initial plans for a festival last year and rejigger it as a digital event. In 2021, the 12-day festival will be an outdoor celebration of movies and media. Tribeca said it will work with the New York State Department of Health to ensure all public gatherings comply with COVID-19 safety protocols.
The events will take place from June 9-20, roughly two months after they are usually held, and the festival will unfold across more than just the small strip of lower Manhattan that lends Tribeca its name. The festival organizers say that screenings and talks will be held across New York’s five boroughs, including at Brookfield Place New York, the Pier 57 Rooftop, The Battery, Hudson Yards, Empire Outlets in Staten Island and The MetroTech Commons in Brooklyn.
In addition to these venues, Tribeca will host community screenings in all New York City boroughs including the Bronx and Queens using several 40-foot state-of-the-art LED cinemas. The festival will also commemorate the Juneteenth holiday, which will fall on its closing night.
“Tribeca is a community of the most resilient and talented storytellers on the planet,” said Jane Rosenthal, co-founder and CEO of Tribeca Enterprises and the Tribeca Festival. “In 20 years, our community of creators and partners have become a family. This summer we are excited to reunite as Tribeca becomes a centerpiece of live entertainment in neighborhoods across New York City.”
Tribeca, which was founded two decades ago in the wake of 9/11, has become a major showplace for independent film. Other major film festivals, such as Sundance and the Toronto Film Festival, have largely been virtual affairs, although Toronto did host drive-in screenings. Other international film festivals are moving forward with plans to be in-person. The Cannes Film Festival, for instance, says it will take place this July.