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Nicole Kidman

The Tribeca Film Festival

While Los Angeles was full of festivals and festivities in April, the East Coast had its share of film screening and partying at the Tribeca Film Festival in Lower Manhattan.

During this fourth annual celebration, 250 films were screened, including 158 features from 45 countries. All were divided into 11 categories that involved four separate competitions. Robert De Niro was the mover and shaker for this festival, bringing in publicity and landing the highly acclaimed movie, The Interpreter, as the opening film. De Niro became a big proponent of revitalizing Downtown Manhattan with this festival after the tragic 9/11 attacks.

The film, which features Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn, is a thriller directed by Sydney Pollack. Kidman stars as a United Nations’ interpreter who unwittingly overhears a death threat against an African Head of State. It is the first-ever film shot at the United Nations and marks Pollacks’ return into the industry after a six-year hiatus. After the premiere, the film raked in a whopping US $22.8 million in ticket sales.

The opening night was attended by both Kidman and Penn, as well as UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Also in attendance were Elle MacPherson and Jack Nicholson.

Shortly after the premiere, the A-listers headed to the Vanity Fair party.

The Tribeca Film Festival met with much success and presented awards to many up and coming films and actors. Among the judges this year were Sheryl Crow, Whoopi Goldberg and actor Michael Imperioli.

Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman won the Best Actress award for Transamerica in which she plays a preoperative transsexual woman on a cross-country road trip. Her husband, William H. Macy, was there to accept the award for her.

Stolen Life, by director Li Shaohong, won the Best Narrative Feature. This film follows a young woman who heads to college anticipating her new life away from her family. Once at school, she falls in love with another student, Muyu, who, from the moment he meets her, devises a deception that leads the woman to lose her child and the very future in which she believed.

De Niro presented the award to Shaohong, as well as the US $25,000 prize. During a speech at the ceremony, De Niro said, “We congratulate the winning filmmakers and look forward to seeing more great work from each of them.”

The Best Documentary Feature award went to Peter Forgacs El Perro Negro, which documents Spain during the chaotic Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. The movie follows the story of Joan Salvans, the son of an affluent Catalan wool manufacturer, who was able to record the events of his family’s life on 8mm film from 1929 until Jul. 24, 1936 when six days after the outbreak of the Civil War, he and his father were killed by a militant anarchist named “Pedro el Cruel.”

Overall, the fourth year of this 13-day festival did bring life and entertainment to the region of Downtown Manhattan as well as the film industry everywhere.

Full List of Winners

The Founders Award for Best Narrative FeatureStolen Life (Sheng Si Jie)
Director: Li Shaohong, China
Best Documentary FeatureEl Perro Negro: Stories from the Spanish Civil War
Director: Péter Forgács, Netherlands/Hungary
Best New Narrative FilmmakerPlay
Director: Alicia Scherson, Chile/Argentina
Best New Documentary FilmmakerFavela Rising
Directors: Jeff Zimbalist, Matt Mochary, Brazil/USA
Best Actor in a Narrative Feature Film – Cees Geel in Simon
Director: Eddy Terstall, Netherlands
Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Film – Felicity Huffman in Transamerica
Director: Duncan Tucker, USA
Best Made in New York Narrative FeatureRed Doors
Director: Georgia Lee, USA
Kids Pick for Best Family shortSpandex: A Father's Tale
Director: Matthew Manson, USA
Student Visionary AwardDance Mania Fantastic
Director: Sasie Sealy, USA
Best Documentary ShortThe Life of Kevin Carter
Director: Dan Krauss, USA
Best Narrative ShortCashback
Director: Sean Ellis, UK

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