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Reporters from 10 to 14 to cover 20 events
BY KAITLYN MEADE | Every year, the Tribeca Film Festival rolls out brand new family programming to bring even the littlest filmmaker into its fold. The tried-and-true favorites of ESPN Sports Day and the Family Festival are back this year with new activities and guests.
The Drive-In will be back too, showing three films — two old favorites and a premier from the festival — in one weekend. Throughout the festival, check out exclusive family screenings and a budding partnership with MoMa PS1.
TFF is also bringing back its Kids Access program with expert guides in the area of kid-friendly programming.
THE YOUTH VOTE
Reporters from the festival’s Kids Access program will be on the scene, asking the tough questions and giving you the kid-friendly scoop. These young correspondents, between the ages of 10 and 14, come from local schools Downtown and cover over 20 events, from interviewing stars on the red carpet (like Emily Blunt and Jason Segel last year) to attending screenings, panels with filmmakers and community activities.
On Monday, April 15, the kids toured some filming locations in Tribeca and brought along camera crews to shoot a neighborhood report. They started off in front of Tribeca Cinemas on Laight Street and then scattered throughout the surrounding streets to do individual takes of each reporter.
“I’ve never tried to be a press before. I’m having fun, so I might want to be a press when I grow up,” said Fanta, a fifth grader at P.S. 1 and the youngest of the student reporters, who says her favorite movie is “Dreamgirls.”
She said she has learned about interviewing people and is looking forward to talking to the celebrities. “On the red carpet, they’re gonna be busy with older person stuff, so we have to get their attention. We have to stand out but not be rude.”
“On the red carpet, we’ve found they are a secret weapon,” said Peter Downing, creative director and producer of the Tribeca Family Festival, in a phone interview. Celebrities are inundated by reporters, he said, so when they see two very bright-eyed and interested young people ready to ask questions, they tend to gravitate to the Kids Access corner.
“It’s a fun gig. Every year, I tell them how jealous I am of them, in a good way,” said Downing. But, he added, “This is a job. It’s fun, but it’s a lot of work. When they go to an event, they’re given a list of people who are expected to attend and then they have to research them.”
The kids have had two training sessions so far that include everything from tongue twisters to interview questions.
Alice, a fifth grader at P.S. 150 and Harris, a fifth grader at P.S. 234 said they practiced mic techniques, “like hold the mic in the hand that is closest to the person. But not too close.” said Alice.
“So that they’re eating the mic!” Harris chimed in.
The program is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year after beginning in 2003 in partnership with Scholastic, which was already running a kids press core program. About five years ago, the Kids Access program took shape. The Art Institute of New York City provides their student filmmakers as crew as well as editing equipment and facilities.
There will also be a strong writing component as the kids will be expected to contribute to a blog. “This year, we wanted to put a particular emphasis on the writing,” said Downing, who said it was incorporated into the selection process.
“They took six people from our school to interview, and you had to read things and talk about yourself,” said Mia, a seventh grader at Lower Manhattan Middle School. This was no problem for the outgoing seventh-grader, who wants to be either a singer or a writer.
“I just heard it from my teacher,” said Nortee, a seventh grader at P.S. 289, who said he had never done anything like this before. “You don’t really get to do this a lot in your life. Even just trying something out is a good experience.”
For more information on Kids Access, visit tribecafilm.com/tka.
BIRDS, FELINES AND “BEETLEJUICE” AT THE DRIVE-IN
The Tribeca Drive-In movie series at Brookfield Place (formerly World Financial Center Plaza) will be back this year with two beloved classics and one new film on offer at the Festival. The free screenings are open to the stars (and to the public), from April 18-20. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 6pm. The programs will also begin at 6pm, with screenings starting at dusk, approximately 8:15pm.
The series will take flight on Thursday, April 18 with a screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” about a San Francisco socialite whose sojourn to a small town in California in pursuit of a boy takes a dive when it becomes the setting for unexplained bird attacks. The classic thriller is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year.
Tim Burton’s hilariously creepy “Beetlejuice” is the next film on the docket (on Friday, April 19). The ghostly couple Adam and Barbara have hired Beetlejuice to perform a reverse exorcism to scare away the humans that have moved into their house. A ghoulish costume contest will take place before the film, so break out last year’s Halloween costumes — or cut eyeholes in Mom’s best sheets.
A new film, “Lil Bub & Friendz,” will be inspiring “awwwws” on Saturday, April 20. Featuring “the Internet’s cutest cat” and her friends of viral video fame, Lil Bub is making her debut at TFF this year. The film is directed and produced by Andy Capper and Juliette Eisner and features a stellar soundtrack including Vernon Elliott and Mort Garson.
FAMILY FESTIVAL KEEPS IT FRESH
Every year, this free annual street fair attracts families from all over the city to its wide array of programs. This year, there are several exciting additions for young filmmakers and movie lovers. The fair takes place Saturday, April 27, 10am to 6pm, on Greenwich Street between Chambers and Hubert Streets, and at venues throughout Tribeca.
“This year we are introducing special subject areas, like the Tribeca Back Lot and the Food Feast,” said Downing, as well as bringing back popular elements from previous years.
The Tribeca Studios Backlot will bring elements of a real movie set to one Downtown street. Families will learn how to pitch an original movie, use a green screen, animate their stories and take workshops on stunts, make-up and editing. Demonstrations of high-tech filming and special effects will be given by Chicago’s Tribeca Flashpoint Academy and the Tribeca Film Institute will be holding movie hacking sessions where you can flip the script and take the lead role in a familiar movie.
Also new this year, the Tribeca Food Feast will be a delectable section of the fair featuring city chefs who will provide entertainment, culinary secrets and, of course, tastings from food vendors from select local restaurants and food trucks from around NYC. Hands-on activities will be cake-icing, meatball-baking and taste-testing.
Broadway will also be jazz-stepping its way Downtown this year with performances from the casts of “Annie,” “Wicked,” “Cinderella,” “Kinky Boots,” “Motown: The Musical” and “Hands On A Hardbody.”
An exclusive sneak preview of “The Smurfs 2” (along with a free screening of “The Smurfs”) will be taking place at 11am at Borough of Manhattan Community College’s Tribeca Performing Arts Center, at 199 Chambers Street (between Greenwich and West Streets). There may also be a special appearance by cast member Christina Ricci. Hosted by Time Out Kids, admission is free on a first-come, first-served basis. The line will form thirty minutes prior to showtime.
A number of booths offer unique arts and crafts for kids of all ages. Kids can make a “VIP Pass” which will then be stamped at each area of the festival they visit, with prizes awarded for filling up a pass completely. Learn about recycling by creating creatures from recycled materials at the ScrapKins booth, along with chalk art and face painting.
Masters of the art of kiting will be at The Kite Place to teach kids how to make and fly their own kite designs. The Gazillion Bubble Garden, similarly, is a haven for bubbles (with wands of all shapes and sizes).
Puppet shows and workshops will be offered by Puppetworks, Inc. and Noel MacNeal, whose book “10 Minute Puppets” teaches parents and kids how to make to make entertaining puppet partners anywhere, in ten minutes or less, using everyday materials.
Other participants include CHESS NYC, the Young Storytellers Foundation, Victorian Gardens at Wollman Rink in Central Park and the New York Philharmonic’s Credit Suisse Very Young Composers.
OUT OF THE CINEMA, IN THE
Also on April 27, from 10am to 6pm, the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Day will return to Tribeca for its seventh year. The beloved Downtown event has brought in sports heroes from across the city and encouraged kids and parents alike to get up, get out and play ball. This year, it will take place on North Moore Street, between Greenwich and West Streets.
ESPN will give fans the chance to take home memorabilia and get their picture taken behind the ESPN New York desk. The NFL’s PLAY 60 campaign, designed to encourage kids to lead an active lifestyle, will be running football agility drills and doing periodic giveaways. Life-size cutouts of well-known professional athletes will be walking (well, standing) on the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival red carpet for fans to pose with.
Highlights include contests, interactive games and giveaways by the New York Rangers and New York Mets. It’s also an invaluable opportunity for kids to try out new activities. There is something for everyone, from inflatable lacrosse or Ultimate Frisbee to skateboarding or Double Dutch jump roping. Activities will be provided by the Downtown Giants Youth Football and New York Women’s Baseball. Olympians and elite athletes will teach kids the basics of safe fencing at the Fencing Club. The Staten Island Yankees mascot Scooter the Holy Cow will be around and most likely invite you to try your luck on the Baby Bombers skeeball inflatable. The up-and-coming Tribeca Sailing NYC, soon to launch from Pier 25, will have sailing games, knot-tying and prizes.
There also will be demonstrations of everything from cricket, newly reintroduced to TFF, and the award winning Myachi Original Hand Sack.
SHORT FILMS ON LARGE SILVER SCREENS
The TFF program “Downtown Youth Behind The Camera” is putting filmmaking tools in the hands of elementary and middle school students for its tenth consecutive year. These young Downtown filmmakers produce their very own short films, which will be shown at a special screening at noon on Sunday, April 21 at the SVA Theatre (333 West 23rd Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues). The Film Fellows with Tribeca Film Institute is also screening a series of short films created by Downtown student filmmakers (ages 16-18). The program, recommended for those ages 12 and up, plays Saturday, April 27 at 11am at the Tribeca Film Center (375 Greenwich Street, at Franklin Street).