Hollywood is worried about AI, but the Tribeca Festival isn't.

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Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal's annual Tribeca Festival, which opened Wednesday night and runs through June 16, will look a little different this year.

For the first time, Tribeca will give awards to short films produced by artificial intelligence.

It is one of the entertainment industry's first public acceptances of the new technology, which many actors and writers fear will make it obsolete. The use of AI was a sticking point in last summer's Writers Guild and SAG-AFTRA strikes.

Tribeca co-founder Gene Rosenthal said he believes AI will create new jobs and give producers and editors “new tools to play with.” Amy Park for The New York Post

“People are concerned about jobs and obviously we all are,” Rosenthal told The Post. “But I think it will also be about creating new jobs… if you're VFX. [visual effects] Editor, you're still going to be a VFX editor … you'll just have new tools to play with.

This is the latest move by the 23-year-old festival to keep up with the changing media landscape. While good old-fashioned films and documentaries still star, the festival will drop the word “film” from its name in 2022 and call itself simply the Tribeca Festival.

“We want to bring all artists and all different kinds of storytellers under one big roof,” Rosenthal said.

In recent years, Tribeca has also added awards for less traditional mediums such as video games, music videos and audio storytelling.

“Diane Von Furstenberg: Woman in Charge,” a documentary about the iconic designer, opened the fest Wednesday night.
“Winter Spring Summer or Fall” stars Gina Ortega (left) and Percy Hines White. It's premiering in Tribeca.
“We want to bring all artists and all different types of storytellers under one big roof,” Rosenthal told The Post. Amy Park for The New York Post

“Artists are pivoting… they're working in VR, in art, they're gaming,” Rosenthal said. “It's a very simple way to see how artists approach the world and the stories they want to tell.”

These moves come despite the fact that both Rosenthal and De Niro are veterans of traditional filmmaking. They first teamed up to make the 1992 Val Kilmer film “Thunderheart” and over the decades, have produced a number of notable hits, including the Academy Award-nominated “The Irishman,” “A Bronx Tale” and “Meet the Fockers.” Partners are developing on mentioned projects.

This year's Tribeca festival will highlight a number of traditional, high-profile films, including “Daddy,” starring Dakota Johnson and Sean Penn. the coming-of-age story “Sacramento” with Michael Cera and Kristen Stewart; and “Winter Summer or Fall” with Gina Ortega as a teenage prodigy.

De Niro and Rosenthal first teamed up for the 1992 Val Kilmer film “Thunderheart” and over the decades, have gone on to produce several notable films, including the Academy Award nominees “The Irishman,” “A Bronx Tale” and ” Partners on mentioned projects. Meet the Fokkers.” AFP via Getty Images

The documentary “Diane Von Furstenberg: Woman in Charge” will open the festival on Wednesday night.

Last month, Rosenthal spoke at an AI film festival in Hollywood put on by Runway, a company that edits and creates videos using artificial intelligence. It also launched a partnership between Runway and Tribeca to involve the company in judging AI short-video submissions.

“Dadeo,” starring Dakota Johnson, will premiere in Tribeca. It is slated to release in theaters on June 28.
“Daddio” stars Sean Penn as a taxi driver who picks up Johnson's character at the airport and strikes up a conversation with him.

“I always like to play with new tools that can help us tell our stories and the best ways,” said Rosenthal. “Look, the business is changing … we're all eating things differently.”

As Tribeca embraces new technology, it's also celebrating its iconic co-founder Robert De Niro with a “De Niro Con” in honor of the actor's 80th birthday.

“What do you get for Bob De Niro's 80th birthday? We decided to throw a De Niro cone,” Rosenthal said. Taking place June 14-16 at Spring Place, the event is an additional celebration of Tribeca's regular events.

“Lisa: A Truly Amazing True Story” is a documentary film that celebrates Liza Minnelli as a young woman.
Michael Cera (second from right) and Kristen Stewart (right to right) in the road trip movie “Sacramento.”

It will include an immersive experience featuring old photos, notes and scripts, as well as 13 screenings and fireside chats. Quentin Tarantino and De Niro will discuss “Jackie Brown,” director David O. Russell and Ben Stiller's acclaimed “Silver Linings Playbook,” and Martin Scorsese and Nas will discuss “Main Streets.”

There will even be a competition for the best sandwich in honor of the actor – dubbed the “De Niro Hero”.

And, as always, New York's Tribeca is the star. One of the reasons the festival was started in 2002 was to revitalize nearby areas of the city after 9/11 destroyed much of the financial district.

Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal started the Tribeca Festival in 2002 as a way to revitalize New York City's downtown neighborhoods. Getty Images for Tribeca Festival

And while it went online in 2020, amid pandemic lockdowns, Tribeca returned in person in 2021 — the first big event to get people excited about coming here again.

“Hugh Grant said the best line,” Rosenthal told The Post. “'One thing about film festivals, they're the perfect shot of vitamin B12 in the ass for any city.'”

NYNext is an editorial series that highlights New York City's innovation and leadership across industries.

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