Tribeca Film Fest 2014: De Niro

Last month, Tribeca Enterprises sold 50% of its stock to the Madison Square Garden Co (MSG).

Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal founded the company in 2003, which sponsors the Tribeca Film Fest, April 16 to 27.

Expectations of Festival

De Niro: We didn’t know what would happen after the first festival, and happily it’s been going well for all these years. I hope that it stays, and has more of a presence, culturally, as part of New York.

Jane Rosenthal: Part of having MSG with us helps ensure that. It helps to strengthen our own backbone. Other festivals get enormous state- and city-type funding. Doing a festival in the most expensive city in the world, and having to start over every year, is challenging at best.

Deal with MSG 

Rosenthal: We had been talking to them for about a year.

Did they come to you?

Rosenthal: We were looking for a strategic partnership, and it was a combination of working with Evolution Media Capital and LionTree Advisers that led to us talking to them.

Biggest difference with MSG?

Rosenthal: Tribeca will just get stronger. This will help us stabilize marketing and event planning and the back office. The other thing, (MSG exec chairman) Jim Dolan is really an artist at heart.

How many of the movies seen

Rosenthal: I would probably say I’m about half-way through.

De Niro: I haven’t seen any. I’m trying to see them now. For me, it’s harder to see the movies.

Festival Changes?

De Niro: I wouldn’t know how would describe the difference.

Rosenthal: The first year, the fact that we did it in 120 days, announced it without having sponsorship or movies, it was comical.  I remember Marty Scorsese standing here and saying, “We’ll have panel discussions.” He turned and looked at me and I nodded. And he took it further and said, “We’ll have restored and rediscovered films.” We had signed long-term contracts with various sponsors, and so we had to do it again. Plus, Bob wanted to do it again.

Indie Cinema

De Niro: When I was a young actor in my early 20s, the independent films were few and far between. There are so many productions you can work in today if you’re lucky.

More Scripts Offered?

De Niro: No, not me.

Rosenthal: And you’re not going to do every micro-budget movie that everybody would want you to do.

Would you do a movie that plays on VOD?

De Niro: I don’t know. It depends. It all boils down to story, no matter what format.

Where do you keep your Oscars?

De Niro: I think I have them in storage somewhere. I’m going to send them to the Harry Ransom Center. They have the Gutenberg Bible and David Mamet’s work. I send them my stuff.