“I’ve been at Tribeca for almost a month now, so I guess I can’t claim that I’m still completely frazzled or barely able to follow the complexities of morning staff meetings,” Geoff Gilmore said in a statement on the Tribeca Film Festival website this week. “Every institution is different, of course, and the familiarity I have with the arenas of independent and global film after nineteen years of operating inside these realms is more than offset by the abbreviations and shortcuts that the inner circle uses to communicate about various matters about which I’m on a complete learning curve. But it’s exciting and invigorating to realize the expansiveness and ambition of the institution I’m now calling my own. Indeed, the Tribeca I’m getting acquainted with is at once young (the Festival is in its eighth year) and accomplished (dozens of films and filmmakers have been launched and showcased as a result of its programs).”
Gilmore came to Tribeca Enterprises as its Chief Creative Officer in February in a surprise departure from his 19 years of work as the Sundance Film Festival’s director. “We have to look at what festivals are going to be and we have to look at how that is going to evolve,” Gilmore told indieWIRE after the move was announced. “The global content issues that I am going to look at at Tribeca are a world of excitement for me.”
In his letter on the Tribeca website, Gilmore reflects on his time at Sundance, noting that his work there has given him “extraordinary insight and awareness of the production, distribution and aesthetic evolution of independent film” and a “perspective that over the years has guided [his] work, fostered [his] focus on originality and diversity, and helped define the arena that independent film is today.” But he also explains makes clear that the independent film world is rapidly evolving. “A new era is upon us and it’s characterized and framed by everything ranging from the boundless optimism and hope of a unique and history-making presidency to the darkness of a world on the precipice of collapse,” he said. “And the flourishing of independent film is subject to these effects. The funding of so many independent films emanated from the piles of equity capital that were seeking diverse sites to generate returns. But this is unlikely to continue, and the hundreds of features that found their way into the marketplace are not likely either to exist or to be able to follow the same path in the future. The marketplace is too crowded, the costs of marketing have skyrocketed, and the revenues are slim.”
Gilmore explains that film festivals need to tranform and undergo a reexamination or else they “will be irrelevant in a decade,” though he leads the reader with some optimism: “That said, it is this realization of the convulsive change in the production and consumption of moving image story-telling that we are now experiencing that actually fuels my optimism and makes me anticipate a future that is far more propitious, stimulating and beneficial than what we now have. The last century of filmmaking has reached a conclusion. The next is soaring within the reach and aspiration of a new generation of artists and filmmakers. I’ve come to the right place to see it happen. Welcome to Tribeca.”
The Tribeca Film Festival kicks off April 22nd in New York.