NEW YORK A documentary about the making of Elton John's album "The Union" will open the Tribeca Film Festival next month, with the British singer marking the occasion by giving a free outdoor performance and screening.
Director Cameron Crowe's nonfiction film, also titled "The Union" after the collaborative album John made with his musical hero and songwriter Leon Russell, will kick off the festival in a world premiere screening and performance on April 20 in Lower Manhattan, organizers said on Wednesday.
"To have Elton, whose music transcends generations, perform after (the screening) is an extraordinary gift to our Festival and more specifically the downtown community," said Jane Rosenthal, who co-founded the festival with her husband Craig Hatkoff and actor Robert De Niro.
The opening night plans marked a change for the festival, one of the most prominent in the United States, after recent years in which Tribeca featured an uptown glitzy private premiere with feature films like last year's "Shrek Forever After." The festival runs from April 20 to May 1.
Crowe's documentary follows the writing and recording of the collaboration between John and Russell for the album, which was released late last year. The two musicians had not spoken in more than 38 years before making the record.
Crowe, the "Jerry Maguire" and "Vanilla Sky" director, also has a Pearl Jam documentary due out this year as well as his next feature by the end of the year, "We Bought A Zoo."
Other films picked for the 10th annual Tribeca Film Festival, known for its documentaries more than fictional features, were expected to be announced in coming weeks.
The festival was founded in 2002 to spur economic and cultural activity in Lower Manhattan following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.
It has screened over 1,100 films from more than 80 countries since 2002, attracted more than 3 million people to its screenings and generated an estimated $600 million in economic activity for New York City, organizers said.
John will perform following the free, outdoor screening to thank New Yorkers for their support of the festival during the past decade, added organizers.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols and Christine Kearney, editing by Bob Tourtellotte)