By Helen Cook
New York City, US, Jun 9 (EFE).- The Tribeca Film Festival, the first major in-person film festival to be held in North America since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, began 12 days of screenings and events on Wednesday with the highly anticipated world premiere of “In The Heights” in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood.
Present at the premiere was the musical’s cast, including Anthony Ramos, who plays the title role, as well as Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Melissa Barrera, Olga Merediz and Daphne Rubin-Vega, who walked down a yellow carpet instead of the usual red one, which was less crowded on account of the coronavirus.
The film’s director, John Chu, best known for directing the 2018 hit movie “Crazy Rich Asians”, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the Broadway musical on which the film is based, also attended the premiere.
The movie’s lead actor said at the premiere that the Broadway musical had given him hope to continue acting and inspired him both in his career and life.
He added that he had been waiting for this moment for a long time, since the film’s release was postponed by a year due to the pandemic.
The premiere was hosted by the United Palace Theatre, located in the same neighborhood where the inspiring story of immigrants is set, Washington Heights in northern Manhattan, where a significant part of the city’s Latino population lives.
The building itself also had special significance, a majestic theater that opened in 1930 and has since served as a church, a cinema, concert hall/performing arts center and a location in film and television.
In a recent interview with EFE, Miranda said he had always dreamed of premiering the movie at United Palace, the same place where the fifth anniversary of the Broadway musical was also celebrated.
The movie’s premiere at the United Palace was just one of the screenings of “In The Heights” on Wednesday since New Yorkers were able to watch the musical simultaneously in 12 other parts of the city, most of them open-air venues.
Another carpet was rolled out for the film’s premiere in Battery Park, located in southern Manhattan, this time for the members of the festival’s jury, including Sharon Stone, Mollye Asher, Justin Bartha, Elegance Bratton, Bryan Cranston , Judith Godreche, Andre Holland, Delory Lindo, Tig Notaro, and Sabrina Schmidt Gordon.
Apart from the festival’s opening night screening, several films will be screened in public spaces, a departure from the exclusively digital format that the event had to adopt last year due to the coronavirus.
The Tribeca Film Festival was founded by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal shortly after the attacks of Sep. 11, 2001, with the aim of revitalizing lower ??Manhattan, the worst affected by the attack.
The organizers also announced Wednesday that “film” was being dropped from the event’s name and that it will henceforth be known as the Tribeca Festival.
A total of 66 films from 23 countries will be screened at in-person events during the 20th edition of the event while another 35 films will be released only online, as well as a new category of podcasts.
Steven Soderbergh’s latest film, “No Sudden Move,” starring Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, David Harbor, Ray Liotta, Jon Hamm, Amy Seimetz and Brendan Fraser will also premiere as the centerpiece gala at the festival.
The event will close out with a documentary by comedian Dave Chappelle on June 19 at the Radio City Music Hall, which will be reopening its doors for the first time since March 2020. EFE