WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan (PIX11) – The 21st Tribeca Festival kicked off Wednesday at the United Palace Theater with a screening of “Halftime,” Netflix’s new documentary about Bronx-born superstar Jennifer Lopez.
“Halftime” takes an intimate behind the scenes look at Lopez’ life in the lead up to her performance at the 2020 Super Bowl halftime show. It’s being billed as an inside look into Lopez as we’ve never seen before, being both revealing and personal as she embarks on the second phase of her career.
The Tribeca Festival was started to help lower Manhattan recover after the September 11th terror attacks. Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal are the Festival’s founders. One of the highlights of this year’s Festival is sure to be the celebration of De Niro’s 1995 film, “Heat.” De Niro will take part in a discussion with co-star Al Pacino and the film’s director, Michael Mann.
“Believe it or not, I’m waiting to be surprised, even things I’m involved in like the ‘Heat’ reunion,” said De Niro.
More than 20 years after the first festival, the hope is it will also help revitalize New York City after the pandemic. COVID-19 has also changed the way festival is organized; there are more outdoor screenings and online events.
“We have over 50 new directors in the festival this year,” said Rosenthal. “It’s just always been part of our DNA to look for new stories and new voices.”
At its core, the Tribeca Festival is devoted to social issues and spotlighting new artists. In recent years, there’s been a focus on filmmakers of color and female filmmakers, such as Amanda Micheli, director of “Halftime.”
“This film is important because it really embraces women and Latinas and it leads in with Jennifer’s 50th year and she’s not afraid,” said Micheli. “She’s facing her next chapter and she’s growing and changing and to me that’s what the film is about.”
Lopez was born and raised in the Bronx. Those ties and loyalties run deep.
“You never feel like New York is out of your blood and Jennifer is the same exact way,” said Dave Broome, producer of “Halftime.” “The Bronx is her life, it guides her in so many ways we reference it so many ways in this movie about growing up about her childhood about her dreams of being a dancer.”
This year’s TriBeCa festival runs through June 19. The festival closes with a documentary about another larger than life New Yorker: the Rev. Al Sharpton. The documentary is called “Loudmouth” and it chronicles his rise to becoming a national civil rights leader.