Comedian/actor Denis Leary is honoured to have been invited to join the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival Jury, because he's convinced Robert De Niro's annual event helped bring life back into New York following the tragedy of 9/11.
The Taxi Driver icon launched the event in 2002 with producer Jane Rosenthal and her husband Craig Hatkoff in a bid to revitalise the Tribeca neighbourhood of lower Manhattan, which was left devastated by the 2001 terrorist attacks, when two airplanes crashed into the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center.
Leary is helping to judge this year's (11) competition in the narrative short film category and the Rescue Me star admits he's impressed at how much the festival has grown in just 10 years.
He tells WENN, "It's done its job in terms of helping to rejuvenate the neighbourhood. Opening night with Elton John, there were 5,000 people who were at that event outdoors, but there were so many people that live in the neighbourhood who were jogging by and stopped, people in boats on the river (who stopped to watch)...
"It was really an unimaginable event. If you think back 10 years ago, when the neighbourhood was so devastated, that's fantastic. I just think it's great that we're doing this. Nobody would have thought this was possible after 9/11. People were moving out of the neighbourhood, people were afraid to come and visit, so I think that's the biggest accomplishment, really."
Sir Elton kicked off the 10th annual Tribeca Film Festival in style last week (20Apr11) when he performed a free outdoor mini-concert after the world premiere of his new documentary, The Union.