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Tribeca Festival 2023: Epics Films from Opening to Close

By: LaKisa Renee| Tribeca Festival Highlights | Image credit: Getty

The Tribeca Festival 2023 pulled out all of the stops this year! The 12-day festival founded by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal included 109 films, Tribeca Talks, master classes, storytellers, podcasts, events, galas afterparties, virtual & gaming experiences, an A-list roster of guests as well as “Tribeca At Home’ for the online attendees. This year's venues were Spring Studios, SVA Theatre, Village East by Angelika, BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Symphony Space, AMC 19th St., The Apollo Theater and The Beacon Theater. Back covering the Tribeca festival for the third time, I worked my way up from the E pass to the Hudson A press pass. It's the highest pass you can receive and it included the most elite access to everything Tribeca offered this year.

Opening night of the festival began on June 7th with an unexpected guest, the thick reddish-orange smoke from the Canadian Wildfires. The Quebec fires caused some last minute cancellation of events due the hazardous air quality in New York City. The air quality was 484 with 500 being the worst, making it difficult for everyone to breathe. The visibility was poor as well. The pre-reception honoring Robert De Niro still kicked off the festival as planned. Mr. De Niro was given a key to the city by Mayor Eric Adams. The red carpet premiere for the documentary "Kiss the Future," continued on as well. The doc takes a look back at a city's defiance and artists' resistance amid the 1990's Siege of Sarajevo. It is directed by Nenad Cicin-Sain and produced by Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Sarah Anthony. Producer Matt Damon attended the premiere along with Tribeca Co-Founders Jane Rosenthal & Robert De Niro and Brendan Fraser.

The following day I attended Bad Like Brooklyn Dancehall Red Carpet Premiere at Spring Studios. I interviewed the Legendary Grammy Award-Winning Shaggy, who serves as one of the producers of the doc, Dancehall Artist Ding Dong ( Bad Man Forward, Bad Man Pull Up), the directors Ben DiGiacomo & Dutty Vannier and producer Ramfis Myrthil. I watched the documentary, it explores the ‘80s & ‘90s emergence of dancehall as Jamaican immigrants brought the music, dancing & vibes of their home to New York City. It brings in heavy hitters like Shaggy, Sean Paul, Ding Dong, Kool Herc, Bobby Konders, Patricia Chin, Red Fox, Screechy Dan & more to tell how New York City became home to an influential movement that saw dancehall rise alongside hip-hop and eventually spread across the country. the story.

I had the privilege of attending the premiere of RATHER, a documentary about the life, career and experiences of the Icon of Journalism Dan Rather by Frank Marshall. It's a tribute a brilliant journalist, Twitter superstar, a father, husband, the voice that raised generations. It was an honor to speak to Mr. Rather and thank him for never giving up despite the obstacles and being one of my biggest media/journalism inspirations.

Gloria Gaynor | Tribeca Festival 2023
Gloria Gaynor | Tribeca Festival 2023

The GLORIA GAYNOR: I WILL SURVIVE Red Carpet Premiere was full of joy and inspiration! The Legend Ms. Gaynor graced the red carpet along with Grammy Award-Winning Gospel Artist Jason Crabb, Cassandra Freeman of Bel-Air (Aunt Viv), Holly Hatcher Frazier and Nia Sioux formerly of Dance Moms and more. I had a chance to speak with everyone including the woman of the hour. We spoke about her career, comeback, her timeless hit song “I Will Survive” & why it has resonated with so many for decades around the world! The documentary recounts Gloria Gaynor’s life while also chronicling her comeback journey.

I had a chance to meet Billy Porter again and this time interview him at the OUR SON Red Carpet Premiere. The film is about a gay couple going through a divorce and figuring out how to navigate custody of their son. I first met Billy at the 2019 Emmy Awards when he won his historic award for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series POSE. He was the first Black Gay Man to win the award! Billy & I will forever be connected as I was sitting front row with the cast of “POSE” when he won his award. The footage of us went viral and was included in every major publication. We were even turned into a “GIF” just type in “Emmys Pose” to find it. I told him about this moment during our interview and showed him the footage afterwards, he loved it!

Lin-Manuel Miranda with Rosie Perez | Tribeca Festival 2023

STORYTELLERS - LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA WITH ROSIE PEREZ was held at the BMCC Theater. Both Lin-Manuel Miranda and Rosie Perez arrived on the red carpet waving at fans and posing for pictures with the press. Lin was joined in conversation by Academy Award-nominated actress Rosie Perez. He is a Pulitzer Prize, Grammy, Emmy & Tony award-winning songwriter, actor, director, and producer. He is the creator and original star of Broadway’s Tony-winning HAMILTON and IN THE HEIGHTS.

One of the most anticipated red carpets of the festival was THE WALKING DEAD: DEAD CITY Premiere at the BMCC Theater. As a Walking Dead super fan I was super excited to cover this carpet and have a chance to interview the Dead City lead co-stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan & Lauren Cohan, cast members Gaius Charles, Michael Anthony, Mahina Napoleon, Hilarie Burton of the original Walking Dead Series/wife of Jeffrey Dean Morgan and the movie IT star Nicholas Hamilton (Henry). Hundreds of screaming fans tried to capture photos of the stars. The next day, my colleague Tammy Reese and I were personally invited by AMC as VIP press/guests to eat lunch with the cast of DEAD CITY and capture their fan experience at the world famous Katz Delicatessen! We also got to take exclusive photos with them and cool videos of them with. the Walkers. We were coined the BIGGEST WALKING DEAD FANS by the cast and told that we gave the best red carpet interviews with them! It was a memorable, exciting day that we are truly thankful for!

Diarra Kilpatrick and Cast
Director Diarra Kilpatrick with Diarra from Detroit Cast

The BET+ ‘Diarra From Detroit’ crew hit the red carpet premiere at the Tribeca Festival 2023 premiere in style! Legends Phylicia Rashad & Morris Chestnut, Diarra Kilpatrick and the cast spoke with me about their roles in the upcoming show and what the viewers can expect. Mrs. Rashad literally brought me to tears when I talked with her. It was a honor to interview her and Morris, they are icons. Created by and starring Kilpatrick, it is set to debut later this year only on BET+ and follows a divorcing schoolteacher who has a hard time accepting she’s been ghosted by her rebound Tinder date.

The epic STORYTELLERS - PAUL MCCARTNEY WITH CONAN O'BRIEN took place at the BMCC Theater. Fans from all over the world came to see the Icon speak. Due to overselling of tickets, a lot of attendees and press were sadly unable to get in. The festival offered refunds, but it still wasn't enough for all of the upset fans who came there with tickets and weren't allowed to get in. Despite the issues the Storytellers itself was incredible, it was amazing to hear about his life in his very own words in person. The pair discussed McCartney’s new book 1964: Eyes of the Storm, which is being published on June 13. The book showcases 275 of McCartney’s rediscovered photos from his archive from the end of 1963 and beginning of 1964 when Beatlemania erupted. The conversation was recorded for a future episode of O’Brien’s podcast CONAN O'BRIEN NEEDS A FRIEND.

I ended the Tribeca Festival with the 25th Year Anniversary Screening and Celebration of HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK with The Queen of Wakanda, The Legend, The Icon, Director, Producer, Actress & Golden Globe Winner Angela Bassett. It was so great to meet Angela for the second time, she was stunning and glowing. The film is so timeless, we all laughed like we’ve never watched it before lol! The Q&A revealed a lot about how the movie was cast, made, as well as many challenges and why the movie still resonates until this day. It was a great way to celebrate Juneteenth weekend.

Paul McCartney with Conan O'Brien

This years festival was packed with so many A-listers, events and screenings. It's hard to put them all into one article but some of the additional star sighting were Traci Ellis Ross, Jordan Peel, Iman, Clive Davis, Bono, Sting, Bon Jovi, Alicia Silverstone, Clare Danes, RZA, Ben Stiller, Idris Alba, Chris Hemsworth! Premiere and event highlights include:


-The Bronx Tale Reunion - Robert De Niro, Chazz Palminteri

-Carlos - Carlos Santana

-Let The Canary Sing - Cyndi Lauper

-Storytellers: Jane Fonda/Harry Belafonte Voices for Social Justice Award

-Uncharted - Alicia Keys

-The Tribeca Chanel Women’s Filmmaker Program Luncheon

-Cinnamon - Pam Grier, Damon Wayans

-For Khadija - French Montana, Sean Diddy Combs, Vin Diesel

-Milli Vanilli - Fab Van

-The Good Half - Nick Jonas, David Arquette, Brittany Snow

-Just Jack & Will: Live Podcast Recording/Will & Grace 25th Anniversary Event

-The Golden Boy - Oscar De La Hoya, Mario Lopez, Mark Walberg -The Blackening Thank you to the Tribeca Festival 2023 for another star-studded festival! Thank you to Cultured Focus Magazine, the publicists, celebrities, directors, producers and writers for the amazing interviews! This year was truly an epic experience, until next time For more on Tribeca Festival visit: Tribeca Festival 2023 Award Winners:


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