Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff founded the film festival in 2002 because of the tragedy of 9/11 and its negative effect on the Tribeca area of Manhattan. From documentaries to independent films to shorts, numerous entries are made annually to screen in front of many audiences. The best films of the Tribeca Film Festival never ceases to grant opportunities as well as revitalizing the New York landscape as a beacon to cinema.
"Cashback" Sean Ellis's short film revolves around a tortured artist named Ben who deals with a breakup with his girlfriend, Suzy. Ben takes a job at a local supermarket where he encounters unique co-workers as well as Sharon, with whom he develops feelings. The film was named Best Narrative Short in 2005.
"Native New Yorker" Steve Bilich filmed this documentary using an old 1924 hand-crank Cine-Kodak camera about Terry "Coyote" Murphy's journey through New York. The subject moves through various parts of the city and tells its unique history through the eyes of the Native American. His thirteen-minute piece won Tribeca Film Festival's Best Documentary Short in 2006.
"When I Came Home" Dan Lohaus investigates homeless military veterans from Vietnam to the Iraq war. The documentary follows their trials and tribulations of post-traumatic stress disorder to fighting for benefits from the Veterans Administration. The picture won the Tribeca Film Festival's Best New York Documentary in 2006.
"Taxi to the Dark Side" Alex Gibney's documentary focused on the United States' use of torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. The main focus showcases a taxi driver from Afghanistan who died from torture in 2002 despite being found innocent. His work was named Best Documentary Feature at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival.
"When We Leave" Feo Aladag's German-language film explores the issue of honor killings with a Turkish family in Germany. Umay, a young woman, despite her family's wishes, wants to create an independent life for herself in Germany with grave consequences. The film won the Best Narrative Feature in 2010 for the Tribeca Film Festival.