Speaker Cara Cusumano

Speaker Cara Cusumano


Cara Cusumano

Tribeca Festival Director & VP Programming

Tribeca Festival

Cara Cusumano is the Festival Director and VP of Programming for the Tribeca Film Festival.  She has been with Tribeca since 2008, during which time the festival has become a globally respected showcase, premiering major work including Oscar-nominated documentaries Virunga and Which Way Home, and first films from Damien Chazelle, Reed Morano, Alma Har’el, Nia DaCosta, and Ryan Coogler.  She introduced an episodic programming section to the festival beginning in 2016, making Tribeca the first film festival to add TV as an official section, and subsequently hosting the world premieres of notable series including The Handmaid’s Tale, Chef’s Table, Inside Amy Schumer, The Boys, and Chernobyl.  She also oversaw the launch of the festival’s branded content competition Tribeca X in 2016, inaugural standalone Tribeca TV Festival in 2017, and the addition of Tribeca Critics’ Week in 2019, the first of its kind for a North American film festival.  In 2021, Tribeca hosted an in-person festival, while also launching three new official categories for the first time since 2016:  Tribeca Games, Podcasts, & Tribeca Virtual Premieres.

During her tenure as Festival Director, the Tribeca Film Festival has been called “an annual powerhouse” (Time Out), “reliably and inarguably excellent” (VillageVoice), and “one of the most prestigious festivals of the new millennium” (Playlist); “an early champion of multiplatform storytelling” (Variety) and “the godfather of all gatherings for movie fans” (The Economist).  Not to mention “a bonanza of wokeness” (Washington Post) and “the badass downtown sister to golden girl Sundance” (The Root).  

Prior to Tribeca, Cusumano has worked with film organizations including the Hamptons International Film Festival, the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, the Brooklyn International Film Festival, IFP, POV, Chicken & Egg, & Sundance.  She frequently serves on festival juries, among them CPH:DOX, Los Cabos Film Festival, DOC NYC, Nordisk Panorama, Bogota Audiovisual Market (BAM), and the Nantucket Film Festival, and has spoken on panels hosted by IFP, the Doha Film Institute, NYU, UnionDocs, the Athena Film Festival, and IndieWire, among others.  She has served on the nominating committees for the Cinema Eye Honors, the International Documentary Association Awards, the Gotham Awards, and the Irish Film and Television Academy Awards.  She holds degrees in film & cinema studies from Columbia University’s Barnard College and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Speaking on: Getting on the circuit: the importance of festivals

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