Saoirse Ronan, GFemma Arterton, Evan Rachel Wood, and more

It may not be as glitzy as Cannes or as cutting-edge as Sundance, but in its 12-year history the Tribeca Film Festival — which started in 2002 after the 9/11 attacks on New York City — has morphed into an essential stop on the indie-film circuit. The 11-day event kicked off on April 17 with the frank and funny documentary Mistaken for Strangers, which follows rock band The National on their 2010 world tour. (It’s directed by Tom Berninger, brother of The National frontman Matt.) Other highly anticipated films screening at the festival included the Ethan Hawke/Julie Delpy walk-and-talk trilogy capper Before Midnight and Neil Jordan’s dreamlike vampire film Byzantium, starring Atonement‘s Saoirse Ronan and Quantum of Solace‘s Gemma Arterton. The romantic comedy A Case of You, starring Justin Long, Evan Rachel Wood, and Busy Philipps, and the holiday-themed buddy comedy Almost Christmas, featuring Paul Rudd and Paul Giamatti, also had their world premieres, as did Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, a documentary about the iconic (and retiring) Broadway doyenne.