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Tribeca Film Festival

Film lovers flock to New York for the fest every April. Photo: Courtesy of the Tribeca Film Festival

Now in its 12th year, the annual Tribeca Film Festival begins in New York this week, with 86 features from around the world, turning Manhattan’s downtown streets—and bars, theaters and other venues between Chelsea and the Financial District—into a parade of movie stars and unsung talents poised for a breakthrough. As tickets for many of the screenings can be scarce (if always worth going on standby for), we offer you a list of five can’t-miss free events to take advantage of.

Tribeca Drive-In: Outdoor screenings at Brookfield Place (World Financial Center Plaza) run April 18-20 and include Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice and the documentary L’il Bub & Friendz, about the fabled Internet feline who became a meme.

The VW Dome at MoMA P.S. 1 (Long Island City, Queens): A unique cinematic installation called Alberi will be screened inside this geodesic structure in the courtyard of the giant art museum. The experimental film—hint: the title means “trees” in Italian—is the latest from nature-loving director Michelangelo Frammartino (Le quattro volte), an immersion into the sights and sounds of the southern Italian village of Satriano.

For kids, by kids (School of Visual Arts, 333 W. 23rd St.): Young filmmakers gather to show and discuss their short films in this family program on April 21, part of the festival’s “Downtown Youth Behind the Camera” program.

Story Scapes (The Bombay Sapphire House of Imagination (at Dune Studios) on 121 Varick Street, 7th Floor): Running April 18-21, this interactive media exhibit is free, although walk-ins will likely have to wait in line if the site is at capacity. What’s inside? Several next-level transmedia projects, including “Robots in Residence,” in which automatons assist members of the public in making a documentary, and “Star Wars Uncut,” in which fans are invited to remake 15-second segments of the movie classic.

Tribeca Talks (Various locations): Daily panel discussions throughout the festival feature writers, actors, directors, producers and other industry players talking craft. The roster includes rising stars like Alex Karpovsky (Girls) and Oscar-nominated director Josh Fox (whose Gasland Part II screens this week), to a summit meeting between hip-hop’s Q-Tip and I’m Not There director Todd Haynes on musical inspirations for film. Free admission but seats are competitive, most of all a one-on-one between directors Darren Aronofsky and Clint Eastwood.

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Steve Dollar

Steve Dollar

Steve Dollar writes about film and other pop-cultural topics for the Wall Street Journal and other publications. Find him on Twitter at @dollarama3k.
Steve Dollar

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