Woody Allen returns to NY to open Tribeca festival

Thu Apr 23, 2009 1:25pm EDT
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Director Woody Allen marked a return to filmmaking in New York by premiering his latest film at the Tribeca Film Festival and saying he usually can't afford to make films in his beloved city anymore.

Allen, who has spent the past four years making movies in Europe including last year's critically acclaimed "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," opened the festival on Wednesday night with his romantic comedy, "Whatever Works," which stars Larry David and Evan Rachel Wood.

The director of quintessential New York films such as "Manhattan" and "Annie Hall" told Reuters on the red carpet before the screening that he had been forced to leave New York to shoot his previous four films in London and Barcelona.

"I do them abroad because I can't really afford to shoot in New York because it's too expensive for me," he said. "I can make the money stretch further if I'm shooting in London or shooting in Barcelona. Here it's more expensive, although I had enough money to make this particular film."

In a bid to woo filmmakers, New York state extended in March a 30 percent film and television production tax credit for one year. The industry welcomed the move but also said the plan lacked the long-term certainty to attract business to New York when cities like Vancouver and Toronto are less expensive.

"Whatever Works" sees Allen return to his trademark romantic comedy style about a relationship that blooms in Manhattan from spring to winter between a cranky, misogynist aging cynic and a young optimistic woman.


An early review of the film by the New York Post on Thursday said the film found Allen "working very familiar territory much less fruitfully than the past."   Continued...

<p>Robert De Niro (L) and director Woody Allen arrive at the premiere of the film "Whatever Works" on the opening night of the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, April 22, 2009.REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>