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Robert De Niro on Vine: 'you can tell a whole story in six seconds'

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robert de niro (cinemafestival /
robert de niro (cinemafestival /

In a Wall Street Journal interview ahead of the Tribeca Film Festival, which opens April 17th, founders Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal have spoken about the effect of technology on the festival and filmmaking itself. De Niro called video-sharing app Vine an "interesting thing," and seems open to the possibility that it could be a creative tool.

"Six seconds of beginning, middle and end. I was just trying to time on my iPhone six seconds just to get a sense of what that is. It can actually be a long time. One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand, four one-thousand, five one-thousand, six one-thousand - you can tell a whole story in six seconds."

This year's Tribeca festival features a Vine competition where users can submit their six-second videos for consideration in a wide range of categories. Rosenthal calls the competition "a way of just going back to basics of looking at just imagery and sound in the most fundamental way," and highlights Adam Goldberg's work as one of the more interesting uses of the medium.

"Getting filmmakers to actually agree to [streaming] is what's challenging."

The festival is also expanding its streaming movie coverage for those unable to attend. "The biggest challenge is security and then the challenge after that is filmmakers understanding that they are streaming it for one evening only or over a short period of time, the same way that they would be in a festival window," says Rosenthal. "So getting filmmakers, no matter what generation they are, to actually agree to it is what’s challenging. It’s not the technology, the back end, because that we’ve had in place for the past couple years." De Niro, meanwhile, can see the appeal; he admits to occasionally watching movies on his computer, though — like David Lynch — he's "not at a point" where he'll get through a film on a phone.

The Verge is partnering with Tribeca Film Festival for its "Future of Film Live" series: join us from April 22nd-25th for a series of talks on all things cinema with a wide range of guests. You can get more details and register online now at the festival's website.