New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio skipped the Tribeca Film Festival kickoff party this week after the festival’s founder, Oscar-winner Robert De Niro, said in an interview that the mayor does “nothing” to support the event.
In an interview with the Daily Beast this week, De Niro and fellow festival co-founder Jane Rosenthal expressed frustration that New York City apparently offers little financial support to the annual event.
“I don’t have many opinions on de Blasio at this point,” de Niro told the outlet shorty before Tuesday night’s party. “We don’t get any support at this point. There’s nothing.”
Rosenthal was more pointed in her criticism:
“I have no opinion too, and that should tell you what my opinion is” she told the Daily Beast. “There’s a lot of economic development that comes with the festival, and jobs… But when you look at putting on the event in a city, we just don’t get the kind of support that other festivals in any city and country get. Festivals like Toronto and Sundance get a lot of money from both their states and the city, and we do not have that kind of support here.”
Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen was quick to respond to the criticism, saying in a statement that the city contributes funds toward the festival’s promotion.
“The de Blasio administration has not only remained supportive, but this year increased promotional funding to more than $300,000,” Glen said. “We look forward to a great festival this year and building further on our productive partnership.”
At the annual Vanity Fair kickoff party, Rosenthal told the New York Post that she hoped de Blasio would attend.
“The administration has always given us marketing dollars,” she told the paper. “What we said is that there have not been any direct financial dollars. It’s very difficult to put on anything in New York, never mind a festival where you have a lot of free events and public events, and our goal is really about economic development for lower Manhattan.”
Despite the rift between De Niro and De Blasio, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen attended the star-studded party, held at the Manhattan Supreme Court.
The Tribeca Film Festival kicked off yesterday with a screening of Live From New York!, a documentary about the early days of Saturday Night Live. The festival runs until April 26.