The Tribeca Film Festival was founded in 2002 by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff, reportedly in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the consequent loss of vitality in the Tribeca neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, although there are reports that its founding was underway prior to the events of 9/11.
The mission of the festival is “to enable the international film community and the general public to experience the power of film by redefining the film festival experience.” The Tribeca Film Festival was founded to celebrate New York City as a major filmmaking center and to contribute to the long-term recovery of lower Manhattan.
The inaugural festival launched after 120 days of planning with the help of more than 1,300 volunteers. It was attended by more than 150,000 people and featured several up-and-coming filmmakers. The festival included juried narrative, documentary and short film competitions; a Restored Classics series; a Best of New York series curated by Martin Scorsese; 13 major panel discussions; an all-day Family Festival; and the premieres of several studio films.
The festival now draws an estimated three million people—including often-elusive celebrities from the worlds of art, film, and music—and generates $600 million annually.