March 9, 2009 / 8:36 PM / 11 years ago

Recession leads to cuts at Tribeca Film Festival

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York’s Tribeca Film Festival on Monday unveiled a sharply reduced lineup for 2009 due to the U.S. recession but one that marks Woody Allen’s return to the city as a director after a five-year absence.

Actor and director Robert De Niro waits for the start of a media day regarding the Tribeca Film Festival in New York April 13, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The festival, one of the most prominent in the United States, will show 86 feature films from April 22 to May 3, down from the 120 films screened last year. The number of sponsors and cinemas has also been reduced.

“With the current economic climate being what it is we had to look closely at our expenses for this year’s festival,” said Nancy Schafer, Tribeca’s executive director.

Allen, a native New Yorker, will open the festival with the world premiere of his new film “Whatever Works,” starring actor Larry David. Known for his New York-based stories, Allen had been making his recent films overseas.

The festival, co-founded by actor Robert De Niro to help revitalize the Tribeca neighborhood after the September 11 attacks, will include U.S. documentaries and films from Iran, Ireland, Australia and Brazil.

Tribeca has propelled a number of documentaries to past acclaim. This year’s Oscar-winning “Man on Wire” screened at the festival last year.

Award-winning director Jose Padilha’s “Garapa,” about chronic hunger in Brazilian families, and “Only When I Dance,” which tells the story of working-class teenage ballet dancers in Rio De Janeiro, are among the documentaries this year.

U.S. non-fiction films being featured are “Transcendent Man,” about futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil on the pending fusion of humans and super-intelligent machines, and “Racing Dreams” from Oscar-nominated director Marshall Curry, which follows three adolescent go-kart racers.

Irish playwright and screenwriter Conor Macpherson’s “The Eclipse” about a widower whose life converges with two authors, is competing in the fiction section along with American director Bette Gordon’s “Handsome Harry.”

“About Elly,” an Iranian film that tells the fictional tale of a reunion of old college friends that leads to catastrophe, will have its U.S. premiere.

The emerging filmmakers section includes “American Casino,” a documentary about the collapse of Wall Street at the expense of working Americans, and “Burning Down the House: The Story of CBGB,” about the closure of the iconic New York music venue.

Editing by Daniel Trotta and Paul Simao

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