NEW YORK: As host of several highly-anticipated debuts - including the East Coast premiere of Star Wars: Episode II - and benefitting from the support of power players like Robert DeNiro, Martin Scorsese, and American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault, the first-ever Tribeca Film Festival will not want for press attention. It's whether the smaller films also slated for screenings will claim a share of that hype that has the publicity team concerned."It's certainly a blessing to have so many studios staging premieres," said Rubenstein Communications EVP Amanita Duga-Carroll, who has been heading up PR efforts for the five-day event, which begins May 8. "But it also presents a challenge, because we're trying not to have them overshadow the independents."
Film festivals have long been one of the best ways for undiscovered directors to develop some industry buzz. "This one is a little different,
explained Jennifer Maguire Isham, a board member of the Tribeca Institute, "in that one of the goals was to drive people downtown.
But she also emphasized the importance of fulfilling that more traditional role.
With that goal in mind, Adam Schiff, a Rubenstein SAE, was assigned to collect potentially pitchable information on all the non-studio movies. "A lot of them actually have publicists,
said Duga-Carroll, "and we've been working directly with the filmmakers who do not."
Jeffrey Wadlow, a graduate of the University of Southern California's School of Cinema, belongs to the second category. His short film, The Tower of Babble, was one of 36 accepted into competition, and he doesn't see any down side to having it share the stage will multimillion dollar blockbusters.
"The festival community is pretty closed, so you usually don't get to pull other people in,
he said. "With all these big studios participating, you're going to get a lot of New Yorkers who might not have attended otherwise, and they may decide to check out your film while they're at it."