Tribeca Film Festival opens in New York

The 15th annual Tribeca Film Festival opens in New York City Wednesday night with an ever-so diversified schedule, adding a new television program, a marketplace for digital and online content creators, and even several programs for virtual reality.

The festival opened with the world premiere of The First Monday in May, a documentary exploring the Metropolitan Museum of Art's 2015 exhibition "China: Through the Looking Glass."

A total of 102 feature and 74 short films have made the cut to compete in the festival's U.S. and International Narrative competition, or be screened in different categories.

Besides traditional films, a great many other forms of entertainment media have become the highlights this year.

The festival installed a television program dubbed "Tribeca Tune In", which features six TV season premieres, three sneak peeks and season finales, three standalone conversations, and four special events.

It also refused to miss the much-hyped trend of virtual reality technology, showcasing the exploration of storytelling with an interactive exhibition including 23 virtual reality installations.

"I think the future is bringing people together with the power of storytelling, no matter what the platform is," said Andrew Essex, CEO of Tribeca Enterprises.

"When you put a television show on a big screen, and you have people sitting there. Is it film? It doesn't matter anymore," Essex added.

Aiming at the prominence of contents created for the online social media platforms, the festival launched a "Tribeca Digital Creators Marketplace," aiming to connect digital and online content creators to buyers, producers, agents, and brands.

"The film industry is about telling good stories," said Jane Rosenthal, co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival.

"Whether you are telling a story in virtual reality or you are telling a story that's going to be on a small screen, one doesn't preclude the other," Rosenthal said.

The Tribeca Film Festival was founded by actor Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff and was named after the Tribeca neighborhood in Lower Manhattan.

This year's festival will roll on from April 13 through April 24.

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