Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Downtown sensibility

Like every good New York neighbor I did my bit and attended the first Tribeca Film Festival in 2002. I went to a couple of films the following year, too. And then I stopped. The reason: It was awful. Sprawling, disorganized, unfocused--and a lot of bad films, not even straight-to-video, but straight-to-oblivion. That any dope with an HD camera can churn out a feature (or, worse, a narcissistic, masturbatory documentary about their terrible boo-hoo childhood, etc.) is no reason for the too-many film festivals out there to give them public exposure.

But there are signs that this year's edition, which gets underway on April 23, may have wised up. Lower, fairer prices, given the quality of the output, is one way to go--better is the promise that the films themselves have been culled more discriminatingly. That I'll believe when I see it, and I might just do that. The aim of the festival was to get folks back downtown, and "mission accomplished" on that. The trick is getting them back, and giving them value for money while justifying the festival's existence beyond a springtime marketing gimmick. Good start? Dead end? We shall see.

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