Tribeca Film Fest 2006: Downtown, Uptown

March 24, 2006 — Many movies at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which kicks off April 25, won’t be playing in TriBeCa. For the first time, the festival, which began five years ago to help downtown businesses in the wake of 9/11, will be holding two-thirds of its paid screenings outside TriBeCa.

Because of a drastic reduction in screenings at the festival’s former main venue, the Regal Battery Park Stadium 11, an estimated 83,000 tickets will be on sale for venues in TriBeCa, compared with 157,705 at three new uptown theaters.

“Our commitment to downtown is stronger than ever,” says Craig Hatkoff, who co-founded the festival in 2001 with his wife, producer Jane Rosenthal, and her producing partner, Robert De Niro. “But the screens weren’t available to us.”

Hatkoff says Regal, the chain that provided all 11 screens at its Battery Park venue last year, was willing to make only two screens – its largest, seating 420 people apiece – available this year.

To augment its screens in TriBeCa, the festival struck a deal with rival chain AMC Loews, which also became a festival sponsor. The chain will host screenings on four screens at its Lincoln Square multiplex at Broadway and 68th Street; three screens at the Loews Village at Third Avenue and 11th Street; and six screens in its chronically under-patronized 34th Street multiplex at Eighth Avenue.

The total number of paid seats available uptown and downtown is 240,885, compared to 135,292 seats last year.

All of the festival’s panels and special events will continue to be held in TriBeCa, as will an outdoor street festival aimed at families.

An auditorium at the Museum of Jewish Heritage on Battery Place will be added to the other downtown screening venues: two screens at the Tribeca Cinemas on Canal Street; Pace University; the Tribeca Grand Screening Room on West Broadway; and the Tribeca Performing Arts Center at Manhattan Community College on West Street.

The TriBeCa screening figures do not include free showings for press and film industry professionals at the Tribeca Film Center on Greenwich St. or three popular free “drive-in” movies held behind the World Financial Center, all of which the festival says draw people to downtown restaurants and other businesses.