For the 21st year, Robert De Niro and his partner Jane Rosenthal are launching their Tribeca Film Festival, which gets underway in New York City Wednesday night.
The festival was started as a way to bring much-needed economic recovery to Lower Manhattan in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, but for the past two years the pandemic left its mark on the annual event.
2022's fest is especially meaningful, De Niro tells ABC Audio. "It means we're back," he says of his native New York City.
"Everybody's coming out, and we're looking forward to coming out. ... I think it'll be great."
He adds, "And we're hopefully through this [pandemic]. We might not fully be through it. But ... the light is more than at the end of the tunnel. So let's celebrate."
Part of that celebration is a retrospective of De Niro's crime classic Heat, which will also feature another Oscar winner, his former co-star Al Pacino.
Rosenthal says the content of this year's festival also reflects the tough times the city went through because of COVID. "It's also perseverance and getting through even some of the darkest days."
"We have a film called Broadway Rising about what happened to Broadway, not just the stars of Broadway, the dry cleaners, the, you know ... the locksmiths, everybody [who was affected]," she adds.
"... It's New Yorkers who have persevered and have gotten through. And we're going to have some fun, too!"
All told, 150 filmmakers from 40 countries will screen their work there; 110 feature films, as well as shorts and documentaries, will unspool through June 19. For those who can't make the festival, or its outdoor screenings throughout the city, the pandemic-born Tribeca At Home will allow movie fans to tune in virtually.
As previously reported, this year's fest kicks off with Jennifer Lopez's Netflix documentary, Halftime.
Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.