By Tammy Reese
Tribeca 2022 was the place to be, and I was there. So much creative awesomeness happened in a matter of two weeks. A lot of the events took place at the exact same time which made me wish there were four of me sometimes!
New York Women in Film and Television, I was among some of the most creative visionaries from around the world covering the Tribeca Festival red carpets, talks, and screenings. My resume elevated in a matter of two weeks, and I am so forever grateful. I had the time of my life as a journalist.
The Tribeca Festival brings visionaries and diverse audiences together to celebrate storytelling in all its forms, including film, TV, VR, gaming, music, and online work. Founded by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal, the Festival champions emerging and established voices through premieres, exhibitions, talks, and live performances.
Before I dive into my epic experience, I must give a huge congratulations to all of the NYWIFT members who had their projects showcased at this year’s festival. I was honored to interview four of them, who happen to also be NYWIFT board members, for our NYWIFT podcast. Check out my conversation with Alex Cirillo, Leslie Fields-Cruz, Audrey Rosenberg, and Jamie Zelermyer.
After my NYC arrival, I headed over to the Tribeca press office to obtain my industry press credential and headed over to cover the back-to-back red carpets forButterfly in The Sky which is a wonderfully nostalgic look back at the origin story ofReading Rainbow. After the premiere screening, there was a conversation with education advocate and former Reading Rainbow host, LeVar Burton.
Then, The Integrity of Joseph Chambers red carpet brought out Clayne Crawford (Lethal Weapon). Joe (Crawford) is a family man — a father of two young kids and husband to Tess (Jordana Brewster), living in the country. One morning he wakes up before dawn and decides to go deer hunting by himself — much to Tess’s discontent, who deems it an irresponsible idea, equating it to what eccentric survivalists do.
Simon Baker (The Mentalist) made an appearance on the Blaze red carpet. The coming-of-age genre gets reimagined in this astonishing drama about a family in crisis. Baker stars as the attentive single father of twelve-year-old Blaze (played by Julia Savage), who goes off the rails after experiencing trauma.
All three events were held at the SVA Theater. I attended a few Storytellers red carpets and talk events as well, including Pharrell Williams with Minya Oh, Tyler Perry with Gayle King, and Cynthia Erivo. Erivo talked about Broadway needing more diversity and representation on stage and in the audience for people of color. Perry and Williams both discussed their careers and legacies.
Tribeca has expanded from just a film festival and added music as a component, as well as podcasting, gaming, VR, and television. The music events I attended were Hip Hop artist Lil Baby’s Untrapped: The Story of Lil Baby documentary premiere which showcased never-before-seen footage that follows Lil Baby’s transformational journey from local Atlanta hustler to becoming one of hip-hop’s biggest stars and pop culture’s most important voices for change. Another historical music documentary event that was held was The DOC.
DJ Clue and Puma Sabti Curry were among the many on the red carpet. After the premiere screening, there was a special birthday performance for The DOC by DJ Quik, Das, Kurupt, Xzibit, Slick Rick, Keith Murray, and more. Both music events I attended were held at the Beacon Theater.
If that wasn’t enough awesomeness, I covered the 25th-anniversary celebration for Eve’s Bayou. In attendance on the red carpet, were director (and 2019 NYWIFT Muse Honoree!) Kasi Lemmons, producer Caldecot “Cotty” Chubb, Lynn Whitfield (Roz Batiste), moderator Torell Shavone Taylor, and star Jurnee Smollett.
Another anniversary celebration that was so monumental was The 50th Anniversary of The Godfather. The screening took place at the United Palace Theater. The film was introduced by Robert De Niro and featured a conversation with Al Pacino.
But wait…there’s more…!
Spotted on the red carpet at the VEC Theater was Laurence Fishburne, who is the Executive Producer of The Cave of Adullam which won Tribeca Festival Awards for Audience Choice, Best Editing, and Best Documentary Feature.
Some of the most inspirational women I got to interview during Tribeca in addition to our members were the Tribeca Festival Director and VP of Programming Cara Cusumano, and MTV Host Jamila Mustafa, one of the most prominent voices shaping the millennial generation as an international award-winning broadcast journalist, and actress. I also spoke to Nadia Hallgren, who directed the Emmy®-nominated Michelle Obama documentary Becoming and Civil, which documents Attorney Ben Crump on a mission to root out anti-Black racism and violence by hitting perpetrators where they’re hurt most: their wallets. Crump has represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. Speaking of Civil, this red carpet was especially powerful, with Ben Crump, Mathew Knowles, and George Clinton in attendance.
Last, but not least, among the most epic moments I experienced during Tribeca 2022 was the red carpet prior to the premiere of Loudmouth. Loudmouth documents the winding road that is Al Sharpton’s life story as an iconic activist and spiritual leader. Those who did a walk-through during this red carpet were Tribeca Festival Co-Founders Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro (both past NYWIFT Muse Honorees), actor Jesse Williams, singer John Legend, director Spike Lee, iconic actress Pam Grier, singer Al B. Sure, actress Cassandra Freeman, and MSNBC President Rashida Jones, to name a few, and of course Rev. Al Sharpton himself. This event took place at the BMCC. After the premiere screening, there was a conversation with Rev. Al Sharpton, Spike Lee, & John Legend.
Thank you to Simon Baker, Ben Crump, and Laurence Fishburne for shouting out New York Women in Film and Television during Tribeca 2022 on our social media feeds – those were some Instagram stories for the ages! Thank you again NYWIFT, Community Engagement Director Katie Chambers, and thank you Tribeca! To be a Black woman in entertainment and media, covering the biggest entertainment experience of the year, in the spirit of Juneteenth, makes me feel like my ancestor’s wildest dream.
CHEERS TO TRIBECA 2022…AND THAT’S A WRAP!
Learn more by visiting www.tribecafilm.com.