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Tribeca Film Festival will be the first North American festival to bring back in-person screenings

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A preview of what outdoor screenings will look like at The Battery
A preview of what outdoor screenings will look like at The Battery
Graphic: Overland Entertainment

We recently reached the one-year anniversary of the pandemic and it’s not a great milestone to celebrate. While the vaccine rollout seems to be gaining speed across the country, there are still a high number of COVID-19 cases. Still, the Tribeca Film Festival knows that sitting at home watching a movie on a small screen for the thousandth time in the past 12 months isn’t very appealing, so the fest is coming back with in-person screenings on June 9-20 for its 20th anniversary. This marks the first North American film festival to bring back the traditional movie-going experience. But don’t worry: They’re well aware that nobody’s ready to sit in a movie theater with a ton of strangers yet, so all the film fest events will be outside. The festival shared images of what that would look like and it seems safer than expected. Everyone has a designated square with four chairs, leaving room for social distancing.

Screenings will be held across Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island. The venues announced so far are Brookfield Place New York, Pier 57 Rooftop, The Battery, Hudson Yards, Empire Outlets (Staten Island), and The MetroTech Commons (Brooklyn).There will also be outdoor community screenings throughout all the New York City boroughs, expanding to the Bronx and Queens.


“After the 9/11 attacks, the Tribeca Film Festival helped set the stage for New York City’s incredible comeback—and helped spur a new golden age for film and TV production across the five boroughs,” said former New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in a press release, definitely the man we all think of as the face of independent film. “This year the festival is once again shining a spotlight on our city’s resilience and creativity, and just as we’ve done from the start, Bloomberg is glad to support this great tradition, which will once again help lift our city’s spirit.”

“It’s only natural that The Tribeca Film Festival will be among those leading the return of arts and culture, as it has consistently enriched the lives of New Yorkers since its inception, by celebrating and showcasing our city,” added Jessica Lappin, President of the Alliance for Downtown New York. “This year’s festival at The Battery is just the beginning, as Lower Manhattan continues to develop as a new center of gravity for the arts.” True, watching movies outside isn’t always the best option, especially in a city as noisy as New York City—but hey, it’s better than nothing.