Tribeca Film Festival Highlights (And Where to Get Free Popcorn)

The Tribeca Film Festival kicks off in a big way this year, with expanded venues around New York City, more music events and panels discussions that are completely relevant to what’s going on in the real world of filmmaking.

One of the many highlights of this year’s festival is the World Premiere of United 93, the feature film which chronicles the unfolding drama of the hijacked September 11th flight that crashed outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The premiere will take place on Tuesday, April 25th, the opening night of the festival.

Joining the filmmakers and Festival founders at the premiere will be family members who lost loved ones aboard the United Airlines Flight 93, as well as other 9/11 groups and family organizations and first responders whose lives were forever altered on that day. 

United 93 was written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Paul Greengrass, known for such films as Bloody Sunday and the blockbuster The Bourne Supremacy. The film was produced by Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of Working Title Films, Lloyd Levin and Greengrass.

“The events of 9/11 had a massive effect on me, like everyone, and I wanted to use my position as a filmmaker to contribute something so they are not casually forgotten,” stated Greengrass. “United 93 tells one story of that morning and I hope that by showing the film at Tribeca, whose roots and inspiration grew in response to the devastation of 9/11, we will be reminded of the courage of all those on board and also the thousands of men and women who confronted similarly unimaginable scenarios in New York and Washington. By honoring the families who lost those they loved, I hope we can ensure that their sacrifice is remembered and hopefully seek wisdom in the future.”

Also on tap are panel series including Tribeca Talks with T-Bone Burnett, the man who brought rock, country and the blues to film audiences nationwide with his most recent notable films Walk the Line and O Brother, Where Art Thou. In Downloading at a Screen Near You, director Steven Soderbergh, 2929 Entertainment’s Todd Wagner and MPAA Chairman and CEO Dan Glickman consider the changing distribution platforms that are revolutionizing the movie industry.

Music fans won’t want to miss Alexandra Patsavas, The O.C. music supervisor and founder of Chop Shop, and The O.C. creator, Josh Schwartz as they discuss the growing phenomenon of breaking new bands through television and film. Special-effects enthusiasts will enjoy The Biology of King Kong, where 2006 Academy Award winner Joe Letteri, world-renowned animal behaviorist Roger Fouts and biologist Amy Vedder discuss creating authentic creatures for the big screen. Rosie Perez and Mia Maestro team up to present Latin Women At the Helm, a discussion of the rise of Latin women in American entertainment and the effect of this commercial success on their ethnic culture. 

The Doc@Tribeca panel program is hosted by TIME and provides a place for filmmakers and fans to network and discuss the latest in documentary film. Michael McKean of This is Spinal Tap fame along with Lewis Lapham (Harper’s), Jeff Goldblum (Pittsburgh, The Fly) and Bob Balaban (A Mighty Wind) extol the ‘mockumentary’ and determine this genre’s place in reality television and film. Christopher Isham (ABC News), directorDeborah Scranton (The War Tapes) and Anthony Swofford (Jarhead) discuss how soldiers, armed with the latest digital technology, have turned cameras on their experience to create animated, first-hand accounts of day-to-day warfare at Truly Embedded: Candid Cameras & The Secret Lives of Soldiers.

The Tribeca Film Festival runs from April 25-May 7.