The Tribeca Film Festival is not just one of the most preeminent film festivals in the U.S., but in the world, rivaling much older and more established festivals such as Sundance, Cannes, and Venice. The Tribeca Festival was started in 2002 in the Lower Manhattan neighborhood of Tribeca by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff, just six months after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks ravaged the area. The film festival was a way to simultaneously help restore Tribeca as well as promote independent films and filmmakers on a much larger scale.
The festival takes place at a handful of cinemas in April throughout Lower Manhattan, mostly located in Tribeca but also in the East Village and Chelsea. Even though it's a star-studded event and many premieres are attended by the directors and actors, tickets are open to the public and available to everyone. If you have the patience to wait in line, tickets start as low as $12 depending on the time and the film—even cheaper than just going to the movies. However, people may line up for hours to get a seat, especially for the most highly anticipated films. If you plan to see several movies, package deals are a way to get priority reservations at worthwhile prices.
Attending a film festival is nothing like just going to the cinema to see a movie. If you're a movie buff, it gives you the chance to see the world premiere of a film and feel the excitement of being a part of the very first audience to watch it. Plus, most screenings are followed by a Q&A session with the director, producers, and stars of the film, giving viewers an entirely new and insider perspective of the film they've just seen.
How Much Are Tickets to the Tribeca Film Festival?
Tickets vary in price, from as low as $12 for an individual ticket to a matinee show and up to $6,000 for the highly exclusive Z Pass. If you plan to only see one or two films, then you'll want to purchase individual tickets, which vary in price depending on the film you want to see and the time that it's playing. Weekday matinee shows are always cheaper than evening or weekend showings, which are usually double the price.
To see what tickets are available, look for tickets directly on the Tribeca Film Festival website or in the TFF app. The phone app is especially user-friendly and will let you know immediately if you can purchase tickets online or if advance tickets are sold out. Once you have your ticket, it guarantees you a spot in the cinema but not a specific seat. If you're going with a group and want to sit together or don't want to be stuck in the front row, make sure you arrive early so you can pick the seats you want.
If advanced tickets are sold out, there's still hope. Rush tickets are available for every screening and are available at the box office of the theater before the show starts. Interested audience members are allowed to line up 45 minutes before the show starts, although people may show up hours earlier to hold a spot in the front of the line. If seats end up being available, then tickets are sold in order to those waiting in the Rush line for the same price as the advanced tickets online. It's a risk and you may not get a seat, but it's worth a chance for an event you really want to attend.
The biggest cinephiles who want to attend various screenings can save money by purchasing a bundle of tickets. Some of the bundle packages include the extra perk of allowing ticket holders to reserve tickets for films a week before sales open up to the general public.
|Price||Number of Tickets||Available Films||Pre-Reservations|
|16 Ticket Package||$450||16||Matinee, Weekend, and Evening||Yes|
|8 Ticket Package||$250||8||Matinee, Weekend, and Evening||Yes|
Discounts are also available for individual tickets for students, seniors over 62 years old, and residents of downtown Manhattan (with an ID showing your zip code as 10002, 10004, 10005, 10006, 10007, 10012, 10013, 10014, 10038, 10048, 10280, 10281, or 10282). Tickets using one of these discounts have to be purchased in-person at an official ticketing center, and make sure you bring your relevant ID with you to prove you're eligible.
The Tribeca Film Festival also sells exclusive packages that not only get you access to all of the films in the festival, but also special events such as the opening ceremony, filmmaker parties, and out-of-festival special screenings.
The Hudson Pass gets you into any weekend, evening, or matinee screening for $1,350. It also includes access to one gala event, all festival events, and talks with directors and screenwriters.
The Z Pass is the most complete pass, which includes all of the perks of the Hudson Pass plus tickets to the opening and closing ceremony, reserved premium seating in all films, concierge service, and an invite to an intimate gathering hosting by Robert DeNiro himself. This exclusive all-access pass costs $6,000.
A final and much more affordable option is the Awards Day Pass, which is only $60 and gives holders access on the last day of the festival to see all of the award-winning films. If you love movies but just want to see the best of the best, this is the ticket option for you.
Plan Your Visit
The Tribeca Film Festival is a massive event, even in New York City terms, that attracts over 150,000 visitors annually. Tickets sell out fast, so the most important part of planning your trip is to select the films you want to see early and be ready to buy tickets as soon as they go on sale (or buy a bundle package to get priority reservations).
Since seating is a free-for-all event even with a ticket, you'll still want to show up early and get in line so you aren't stuck choosing from the last available seats. It can feel like you're spending all day in line at the Tribeca Film Festival, but there is a way to make the most of it. Talk to fellow festivalgoers and ask them if they've seen anything good or bad. Early in the festival, this can be a great chance to discover other films you might not have considered that you don't want to miss.
The Tribeca Film Festival is a great chance to stretch your film-going experience. If you normally check out blockbusters when you go to the movies, try something new, whether it's a documentary, a foreign film, or a short film.
Going to the Tribeca Film Festival is not just about seeing movies—the Tribeca Film Festival hosts a variety of panel discussions that are lively and interesting (and popular, so get your tickets early). Often the discussions include directors, screenwriters, and actors, so you get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the films.