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Tribeca Film Festival 2018 interview: ‘We have always been political’

Jane Rosenthal talks to Metro about the 17th year of the festival and we reveal 10 movies and events that you need to check out

When Jane Rosenthal co-founded the Tribeca Film Festival alongside Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff back in 2002 she thought it would be a one time event.

“We just wanted to bring people back to downtown Manhattan after 9/11 through movies and storytelling that talked about our similarities despite our different global backgrounds,” Rosenthal explained to me over the phone ahead of its 17th year.

For Rosenthal, these origins mean that “the festival has always been political.” The current political climate and recent social and culture movements always meant that this year was going to be no exception.

“So many of the films represent cultural shifts in our society,” Rosenthal said of this year’s selections, while she also explained why there was no need for those behind the Festival to react to the Time’s Up movement, because they Tribeca has been backing female filmmakers for years.

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“Our company is 60 plus women. Issues like Time’s Up, we’ve been doing that for years. We have turned it up a notch this year, though. We wanted to have 50% female directors in our programs. We only got to 46%, but that was something we consciously did.”

Rosenthal also made sure to note the TIME’s UP all-day event on Saturday 28th April, which she explained will feature conversations with outspoken women on their pivotal roles in raising awareness about inequality in the workplace as they seek the next steps to establish the parameters for lasting change across industries and the pay spectrum.

“It’s about looking forward and looking to our recent past,” Rosenthal said of the event and the festival itself. “It is all about trying to create a narrative. We as a society tend to have short term memories. Certainly some people can’t remember what they write on Twitter from one hour to the next.”

In order to do just that the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival will once again premiere and showcase stories across various mediums, from film to television to virtual reality.

“We always look at how new technology can enable storytellers to tell their stories in a new way. We were one of the first festivals to feature a film shot entirely on a Nokia. But it is not about showcasing technology for technology’s sake. We are platform agnostic. If it is a good story we will screen it.”

You’ll be able to take in those stories when the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival unfolds across New York City between Wednesday April 18 and Sunday April 29.

You can take a click through everything that the Tribeca Film Festival has in store here, or you can check out some of the specific films and events that we can’t wait to see in the gallery above.