May 11, 2021
BLACK PUBLIC MEDIA
By Leslie Fields-Cruz
Tribeca Adds Juneteenth Celebration to 20th Anniversary Festival
When the Tribeca Film Festival was founded in 2001, New York City was struggling to recover from the 9/11 terror attack that took more than 3,000 lives and demolished the jewel of the Tribeca neighborhood: The Twin Towers commercial complex. The festival represented the creative community’s bold determination to revive the neighborhood and reinforce their city’s status as a global entertainment hub.
Tribeca has since grown into one of the world’s most acclaimed festivals. As it celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, it is once again focused on revitalization. This time, NYC is recovering from more than a year of having its theaters shuttered, its production activity severely curtailed; and its outdoor venues closed. As you can imagine, the economic and social impact has been devastating. Even Tribeca itself didn’t escape Covid 19’s painful impact, as the pandemic led to the suspension of Tribeca Institute.
Hopefully, the worst of the pandemic is behind us. Tribeca 2021 will be the first in-person festival hosted in the city since the pandemic shut the city down. Not only will the 2021 festival feature outdoor screenings throughout the city’s five boroughs, but it will also offer a series of Juneteenth events during the final weekend. These events were programmed by BPM family members Karen McMullen and Loren Hammonds.
Last week, my staff and I met with Karen, Lauren and a few of their colleagues to learn more about what they’ve planned. I must say, I’ve never been more excited to attend Tribeca. Among the titles being screened from June 9-20 are BPM-funded features Ailey, by Jamila Wignot; Daughters of the Dust, by Julie Dash; Stateless, by Michèle Stephenson; and Through the Night, by Loira Limbal. In addition to the dozens of other powerful Black films (features and shorts), the schedule includes podcasts, panel discussions — featuring Jelani Cobb, Kasi Lemmons, Sanaa Lathan, Warrington Hudlin and others — and several immersive storytelling projects. For background on the immersive storytelling work BPM family members Michèle Stephenson, Joe Brewster and their son Idris Brewster will present at Tribeca, go here. PitchBLACK winner Alton Glass (2019) is scheduled to present his POV: Points of View XR project. Some of the festival events will be in-person, the rest will be available online as part of Tribeca’s new At Home program, and most of it will be free.
So, if you’ve always dreamed of attending Tribeca, but didn’t because you live out of town, it was too expensive, or because past seasons lacked sufficient Black content, 2021 could be your year. Registration opened yesterday and tickets are being released on a first-come-first-served basis. Go here to review the program and register. I hope to see you there.
I also invite you to join us on Wed., May 12, for the launch of our new weekly talk show hosted by BPM Emerging Media Director Lisa Osborne. The first episode of The Technically Brilliant Show features MIT-BPM Fellow Carla LynDale Bishop. Go here for details about how to tune in.
Have a great week.
Black Public Media is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, with further funding from the MacArthur Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts. Support for Afropop: the Ultimate Cultural Exchange and the 360 Incubator+ Fund comes from the National Endowment for the Arts. BPM is the only nonprofit that offers training, funding and distribution for projects solely about the Black experience. We are seeking foundations, corporations and individuals to help our work. For more information about underwriting and contributions, please contact Alisa Norris (Alisa@ blackpublicmedia.org). To donate, click here! In addition, you can donate to BPM through your Amazon purchases by going to smile.amazon.com/ch/31- 1335950.
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