New York has always been cool. That’s a fact, Jack, but with the Tribeca Film Festival at Spring Studios, the chic factor has been amped up. The 2015 festival is offering a wide selection of events, spread across the city to entertain, inform, inspire and connect the storytellers to one another and to a growing and appreciative audience. 

The new digs at Spring Studios, which is set up for accredited media, industry influencers and filmmakers, is not only uber swanky, but also it’s packed with goodies provided by sponsors such as Bombay Sapphire, which sponsored the Filmmaker Lounge.

In the media room and the Filmmaker Lounge, Chobani is providing the best, fresh Greek yogurt and popcorn. Yes, I said “popcorn” and Chobani. “It’s something new we are trying again,” said Emily Hewett, culinary events chef. “It was such a hit at Sundance last year, we wanted to try it in New York City.”

Also on hand was the new marketing rep for Panavison, Mary McGee. Her job is to connect with filmmakers, working with every budget, to try out cameras to really understand what’s available. “Most filmmakers think we just have film cameras. That’s not true,” shared McGee. “We have a wide array of digital cameras. What is ‘Panavsion’—we are visionaries and we will work with the filmmakers. We want to make their project work.”

You can’t say Tribeca Film Festival without a big gala and party, which was hosted by IWC Schaffhausen in the form of the third annual “For the Love of Cinema” at Spring Studios. The entertainment for the evening was led by comedian Joel McHale, known for his hit show “Community.”

IWC CEO Georges Kern co-hosted the evening with Tribeca Film Festival founders Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff. Additional influential attendees included Dakota Fanning, guest of honor Christoph Waltz, Michael Cera, Alison Brie, Jennifer Morrison, director Paul Haggis, Diego Klatenhoff, Michael Rapaport, Rachel Harris and Princess Eugenie, professional soccer player Raul Gonzalez Blanco and models Aymeline Valade, Alexandra Agoston and Elyse Taylor.

It’s almost impossible to hear much in a room that was buzzing with such high energy, but because these happy filmmakers were there to “work it,” a few gems did drop into audible range. 

To wit, McHale dared to poke fun at his old friend De Niro. “Wow. I can’t believe it. Once again I’m in a room with Mr. Robert De Niro. It’s OK—he told me I can call him ‘Mr. Robert De Niro.’ It’s an honor that he bestows upon only his closest friends, and most cherished clip show hosts.”

The funny thing about the joke is that’s it’s half true. The Mr. Robert De Niro that I am familiar with makes time to answer questions poised by developing talent. The Mr. Robert De Niro that I am familiar with enjoys young talent and makes an effort to help them maneuver through the murky, dark waters of the industry. That’s one reason he started this terrific festival—he’s a man of action, not hollow words. 

In the room, Fanning was overheard discussing her role in “Franny,” which premieres at Tribeca Film Festival. In the film, Dakota wears an “uncomfortable” prosthetic bump—something she’s “never experienced, real or fake.” 

The very talented Waltz and De Niro discussed possible upcoming projects, saying, “It’s time we get something in the books!” I wonder if Quentin Tarantino felt a vibration from afar?

Finally, songstress Sarah McLachlan received a standing ovation after belting out her most notable song, “I Will Remember You.” Many people know the touching ballad very well because it’s used to underscore a commercial for animal abuse—yes, that one!

Moet was everywhere, and DJ Mick had the after-party letting loose, which is always bonus entertainment—watching the suits from Hollywood and Wall Street mingle with fluid artists. Only in New York, kids, only in New York.