2021 Tribeca Film Festival: ‘In the Heights’ is the opening night film; festival will hold live, in-person events outdoors

April 16, 2021

by Carla Hay

Anthony Ramos and Melissa Barrera in “In the Heights” (Photo by Macall Polay/Warner Bros. Pictures)

The Tribeca Film Institute has announced that the Warner Bros. Pictures musical “In the Heights” will be the opening night film at the 20th annual Tribeca Film Festival, which will be held in New York City from June 9 to June 20, 2021. Directed by Jon M. Chu, “In the Heights” is based on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning musical of the same name. “In the Heights” tells the fictional story of a group of mostly Latino residents of New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood The movie’s cast members include Anthony Ramos, Jimmy Smits, Leslie Grace, Corey Hawkins, Melissa Barrera, Olga Meridez and Daphne Rubin-Vega. Miranda has a small role in the film.

“In the Heights” will be released in U.S. theaters and on HBO Max on June 11, 2021. The movie was originally scheduled for release in 2020, but the release was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More movies and events for the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival are to be announced.

Miranda commented in a statement: “It is such an honor to open the 20th anniversary Tribeca Festival with In the Heights. We’re so excited to welcome them uptown! This will be an unforgettable night at the United Palace. We can’t wait to share this musical love letter to our community, with our community, in our community.”

The Tribeca Film Festival was one of numerous large-scale events in 2020 that were cancelled as an in-person event. However, a limited number of the festival’s movies were made available online to members of the media and entertainment industry. The festival also had jury-voted awards in 2020.

The Tribeca Film Festival participated with numerous other festivals in the inaugural We Are One: A Global Film Festival, which was held May 29 to June 7, 2020, as a YouTube showcase for festival films that couldn’t be screened by in-person audiences because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of these offerings were international films that were not in English but had subtitles.

The annual Tribeca Film Festival had been traditionally held from late April to early May. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival has moved to June in 2021. In March 2021, it was announced that screenings for the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival will be held in person at various venues (mostly outdoors), with social distancing, mask wearing and other safety protocols in place. The venues that will have Tribeca Film Festival screenings include Brookfield Place New York, Pier 57 Rooftop, The Battery, Hudson Yards (all in Manhattan); The MetroTech Commons (in Brooklyn); and Empire Outlets (in Staten Island).

Since the COVID-19 pandemic caused worldwide shutdowns in March 2020, most film festivals that weren’t cancelled have pivoted to becoming online-only/virtual events. It has not been announced yet if the Tribeca Film Festival will also offer movies online to audiences who can’t attend the festival in person.*

The Tribeca TV Festival, which launched in 2017, was cancelled in 2020. It has not been announced if the Tribeca TV Festival will return in 2021.

The Tribeca Film Festival was founded in 2011 by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff in to revitalize lower Manhattan after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. The first Tribeca Film Festival took place in 2002. The festival’s screenings initially took place exclusively in lower Manhattan, but over the years the festival has expanded to venues across New York City. In 2020, the Tribeca Film Festival announced that it would, for the first time, hold some its programming in New Jersey (in the city of Hoboken), but the festival was cancelled as an in-person event before that could happen.

*April 19, 2021 UPDATE: The Tribeca Film Festival has announced that it is selling tickets and packages to experience the 2021 edition of the festival through online viewing. It is the first time that the entire festival will be made available online as a virtual event.