Virtual Tribeca Film Festival

After being forced to go virtual this year, the Tribeca Film Festival is forging ahead with a physical festival for its 20th anniversary edition next year. The Tribeca Film Festival has set its dates for its upcoming 20th anniversary edition in June 2021, two months after the New York City-based festival is usually scheduled. The June 2021 date was set to reflect “shifting calendars and efforts to ensure the Festival moves forward in the safest environment.”

Like many film festivals, the Tribeca Film Festival was forced to go virtual this year amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. While the virtual version went off somewhat smoothly, the buzz and coverage of films still paled in comparison to a physical festival. And with the New York-based festival founded by Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro due to celebrate its 20th anniversary next year, Tribeca seems eager to hold a real physical version in 2021. With that in mind, and out of caution for concerns that the pandemic’s spread will not slow until next year, Tribeca has set its festival date for June 2021, two months after its usual late April to early May schedule.

The 20th anniversary edition will be held in New York City from June 9-20, 2021, “reflecting shifting calendars and efforts to ensure the Festival moves forward in the safest environment,” the Tribeca press release announced.

“We look forward to celebrating the 20th anniversary and to honoring what our founders Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro have made a reality in bringing storytellers and communities together,” said Tribeca Enterprises Chief Creative Officer Paula Weinstein. Added Festival Director and VP of Programming Cara Cusumano:

“As we take our first steps towards the next edition of our festival, we have centered our thoughts and plans on the filmmakers and film-goers who have been so affected by the challenges of the last few months. Whether it’s in the cinema, online, or outdoors, we look forward to welcoming everyone back to an innovative 20th anniversary festival in the spirit of our last 20 years celebrating community and storytelling in all their forms.”

Submissions for films will open on September 8, 2020 for all categories: feature and short films, episodic storytelling, immersive, branded entertainment, as well as a newly-added section dedicated to online independent films in the wake of increased streaming and VOD premieres. To accommodate creators affected by the pandemic, the submission period is extended by three weeks, with the late deadline pushed to January. Eligibility rules have also been adjusted to include films previously screened at virtual festivals.

The Tribeca 2021 festival will also dedicate a space to films whose premieres weren’t able to take place in 2020, with all 2020 Tribeca-selected filmmakers invited to showcase their films in postponed premieres.

Will things be looking up by June of next year? Optimistically, that feels like a good goal, but there was a point where many people were convinced that the pandemic would have let up by August. We’ll have to see if Tribeca will be able to keep its June 2021 goal in the months to come, and if other festivals in 2021 will follow suit with physical festivals.

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