Rather than Toronto (or a pay-per-view Sundance Channel), Tribeca might better study Rotterdam—a scrappy, cinephilic urban festival that has thrived for years in the shadow of Berlin, thanks to its freewheeling commitment to (and subsidies of) independent, experimental, and Third World cinema, not to mention a long-standing interest in innovative delivery systems, outré film culture, and a funky late-night celebratory atmosphere.

Tribeca prepares for the day when all film festivals are virtual. But for now, geography is destiny. Schaefer called New York "an under-screened film town"; Gilmore wondered how to "make films visible." I say that while TFF is cursed by having to carve out space amid the ongoing festival of New York City, it is blessed by having located itself a few subway stops from the heart of the city's cinephile district—which is not the Upper West Side. Forget Hollywood wannabes and the Tribeca gentry—TFF's potential partisans can be found in the audience already seeking cine-satisfaction on the mean streets of Lower Manhattan. One can envision a Tribeca à la Rotterdam that brings together events and screenings at Film Forum, Anthology Film Archives, the IFC Center, the Angelika, the Sunshine, and Martin Scorsese's boyhood block in one yawping cine-celebration of spring. TFF has the power to make Houston Street our La Croisette, complete with palm trees.

I'd anticipate seeing that. But I'm not holding my breath.

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