‘In the Heights’ World Premiere to Open 2021 Tribeca Film Festival

Ryan Lattanzio
·3 min read

After a shuttered in-person 2020 edition, the Tribeca Film Festival is back in New York City this summer, and with a splashy world premiere to kick off the festivities. Director Jon M. Chu’s long-awaited “In the Heights,” adapted from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, will open the 20th anniversary edition of Tribeca on June 9.

In the spirit of the movie’s setting, the premiere will be hosted at the United Palace in Washington Heights, the very neighborhood where the movie takes place. The festival’s opening night will also be screened simultaneously across all five New York boroughs in multiple open-air venues. Tribeca runs for 12 days this year, June 9-20, and is said to be the first major North American film festival to be held in person since the start of COVID-19.

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Quiara Alegría Hudes adapted the screenplay for “In the Heights” from her own Broadway book, with original songs and lyrics by “Hamilton” superstar Lin-Manuel Miranda. The story follows a charismatic bodega owner named Usnavi (played by Anthony Ramos), who hopes, dreams, and sings about a better life. The cast also includes Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Melissa Barrera, Olga Merediz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Gregory Diaz IV, Stephanie Beatriz, Dascha Polanco, and Jimmy Smits.

The premiere arrives ahead of the film’s debut in theaters and on HBO Max (where it will stream for 31 days) on June 11. The movie was originally set to open on June 26 last year. In a recent interview, director Jon M. Chu said the movie will be a “vaccine for your soul.”

“’In the Heights’ is the quintessential New York story of hard-work, resilience, and triumph. We are proud to feature this film as opening night where it can debut in its hometown in celebration of its New York roots and the Latinx community,” said Jane Rosenthal, co-founder and CEO of Tribeca Enterprises and the Tribeca Festival, in a statement.

Tribeca Enterprises chief content officer Paula Weinstein added, “We couldn’t be more excited to offer this unique, first of its kind film experience as a gift to communities all over New York City.”

Presented by AT&T, the Tribeca Film Festival promises to bring festival-goers and filmmakers to an assortment of iconic outdoor sites around New York City, including Brookfield Place New York, Pier 57 Rooftop, The Battery, Hudson Yards (Manhattan); Empire Outlets (Staten Island), and The MetroTech Commons (Brooklyn). In addition to these venues, Tribeca will also host community screenings in all New York City boroughs including the Bronx and Queens using several 40-foot state-of-the-art LED cinemas, the first mobile HD screens in the country.

Tribeca Festival is working with the New York State Department of Health to ensure all public gatherings are in full compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols. Additional screenings will be announced at a later date.

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