“Trump was impeached yesterday – and again – as Paula is fond of reminding me,” Jane Rosenthal said as she opened her speech at the ninth annual Chanel Through Her Lens luncheon on Friday afternoon. The comment caused loud cheers at New York’s The Odeon restaurant. “So this seems like a good day for women.”
Paula is Paula Weinstein, and this pair of powerful women and best friends is the Tribeca Film Festival’s revered double win. Rosenthal, whose producing works include The Irishman And The good houseis one of the co-founders of the festival, while Weinstein is the producer behind it The perfect storm, Grace and Frankie and Other Hits – has been Executive Vice President at Tribeca Enterprises since 2013. For those wondering if Rosenthal’s Trump comment went down well, consider that this annual festival luncheon celebrating the Chanel-sponsored Through Her Lens program is rooted in a philosophy of empowering women, hence the hallmark for a debate against the twice-indicted former POTUS, found guilty May 9 of sexual abuse and defamation charges against E. Jean Carroll.
Of course, there are plenty of organic reasons to cheer at this event, which invites any woman whose work has been accepted to the festival to an afternoon of networking with a wide variety of filmmakers at all stages of their careers. This year’s list includes Through Her Lens 2023 Co-Chairs AV Rockwell and Greta Lee. Rockwell is a writer-director and a former Through Her Lens contestant who won the Grand Jury Prize for her film in April Sundance won thousand and onewhile Lee stars in the film that just opened past lives, directed by Celine Song. Directors Patty Jenkins and Kathryn Bigelow were also in attendance, alongside Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences President Janet Yang, Katie Holmes and Oscar nominee Stephanie Hsu Yellowstoneare Kelsey Asbille and Piper Perabo.
The event is always busy, but if the Odeon was particularly busy this year, it was for good reason: 68 percent of the films in this year’s competition were directed by women, according to Cara Cusumano, the festival’s director and vice president of programming. While the festival has long strived for and achieved gender equality, this year’s number was a pleasant surprise for everyone involved. “It was late in the process when I started thinking, ‘Wow, we see a lot of great films by women,'” Cusumano said The Hollywood Reportter. “But I didn’t want to think too much about it. I’ve likened it to throwing a no-hitter – you don’t want to hex anything. When we finished the program in early May and got the numbers, we found that 68 percent were women. It’s a fantastic year.”
As Weinstein pointed out THR On the red carpet: “We are always aware of reaching out to all communities to ensure we are inclusive. But when it comes down to it, there’s only one question: is the film good enough? We are thrilled with the number of women represented this year, but even better, the competition is exceptional.”
Lily Rabe is one of the women making her directorial debut at this year’s festival. your movie, downtown owl, in which she stars alongside Ed Harris, Henry Golding, Vanessa Hudgens and Finn Wittrock, is based on the 2009 novel by Chuck Klosterman and premiered on Thursday evening, June 8th. “I have a feeling it’s a night I’ll never forget,” Rabe said on the red carpet. “I’ve never seen it with so many people, so it was amazing to spend time afterwards and hear everyone’s unique and personal experiences with it.”
Rabe also liked the timing of the Through Her Lens lunch, as attending previous iterations of this event confirmed she would be in warm, welcoming company. “I can’t think of a better room for the day after our premiere,” she added.
Through her lens: The Tribeca Chanel Women’s Filmmaker Program takes place over three days each fall. However, organizers warned that this year’s event could be postponed as a show of solidarity if the WGA strike continues. Five teams of women – a writer and director paired with a producer – participate in a series of Through Her Lens workshops, mentoring sessions and peer networking to showcase and refine their short film projects. The five teams will be awarded a total of $100,000, with one team in the juried program receiving full funding to complete their project. Friday’s event is an opportunity to both celebrate the program and provide additional networking for those attending the Tribeca Film Festival. “It’s great to have a group of powerful women in a room supporting each other,” said Zazie Beetz. “I truly believe that a person’s success is not their lack and that serving others is just a wonderful thing.”
Hsu, a nomination for Best Supporting Actress this year for Everything everywhere at once, agreed. “It’s no secret that we need spaces like this to celebrate and empower each other,” she said. “It’s wonderful for everyone that we’re seeing so much movement in the right direction.”
Rosenthal and Weinstein witnessed this progression from the front row seats. Perabo, a member of the jury for the festival that will present the Nora Ephron Award for women filmmakers, recalled on the red carpet that she met Rosenthal while she was shooting her first independent feature film at Universal. “And you,” she said, pointing at Rosenthal, who has two daughters who are now grown, “had a playpen next to your desk. I remember thinking, ‘So you have it all.’
“My second daughter was about a year old,” Rosenthal said of Perabo’s recollection. “Today you see more and more women filmmakers, and not just directors, but also DPs and everything else behind the camera. And we see an event like Through Her Lens as a place of discovery for new talent. We wholeheartedly believe in every woman’s support, and you do so by looking to both the person on your right and the person on your left. There is no other way.”