That’s a wrap! Tribeca Festival + Starbucks collab connects storytellers and film lovers over coffee

Over 12 days and through more than 500+ screenings, the 2024 Tribeca Festival delivered its annual promise to bring the world’s best stories, representing a broad range of human experiences, to the biggest screens in the heart of New York City.

As a longtime supporter of the arts, Starbucks is the festival’s official provider of coffee and tea this year, powering festival attendees through a dizzying showcase of events centered on the magic of filmmaking – from premieres and screenings to industry talks, music performances and immersive programming. 

“At Starbucks, we believe in the power of storytelling as a catalyst for uplifting, meaningful connection,” said Christy Cain, vice president of brand and partnerships marketing at Starbucks.

Throughout the festival, which ran from June 5 to 16, Starbucks supported the creative community and welcomed attendees in myriad ways:

  • Hosting the Shorts Program Filmmakers’ Party at Starbucks Reserve Empire State Building location in support of the Short Films program.
  • Presenting conversations with masters of their craft through the Tribeca Talks: Storytellers events.
  • Crafted beverages were provided to attendees without charge at our Spring Studios pop-up, as well as samples of our summer beverages for festival VIPs and attendees.  

To further advance the company's mission to nurture the limitless possibilities of human connection, Starbucks unveiled Starbucks Studios. Teaming up with Sugar23, a leading multimedia production and talent management organization, Starbucks will produce original entertainment that brings people together, sparks moments of joy, and shines a light on inspiring people.

That news was followed by a Coffee & Conversation event, hosted by Starbucks partners (employees) inside the exquisite Starbucks Reserve Empire State Building. Actors Midori Francis (The Sex Lives of College Girls, Grey’s Anatomy) and Nicole Kang (Batwoman, You) discussed their friendship, sources of joy, and journeys to find their voices.

“I am sitting here across from my actual real-life friend,” Francis confided, kicking off the chat.

“Midori is, like, effervescent. She's like this all the time. And more than anything... I think you embody joyfulness and presence and a sense of play,” Kang said.

Speaking candidly to the audience of nearly 120 fans and festival attendees, Francis and Kang had a spirited back and forth about their roots in New York theater and meeting as peers in a competitive field, which turned into a more meaningful connection as friends

during the pandemic. Soon, amid a worldwide lockdown, they found themselves supporting each other through the awkward process of self-taping auditions for roles.

“The temptation to isolate and stay small is great in what we do... so just breaking through that and being like, ‘Hey, I have this audition, do you want to read through it?’ Or during the strikes, we met up and we printed out a bunch of plays and we read plays together,” Francis remembers.

In 2020, as COVID-19 spread, both actresses noticed the rise in crimes committed against people of Asian heritage, which propelled them to activism. Together, they began to organize and use their voices to speak out, which influenced their professional careers as well.

While Francis doubled down on learning breathwork to stay grounded and focused on taking on the roles she truly wanted as an actress, Kang shifted into more writing, producing and directing responsibilities. As artists, they had to learn to believe in themselves, first and foremost.

“I think that authentic voice is something that I am actively discovering and deciding upon and reserve the right to change my mind,” Kang declared. “And actually, this very profession that we say is so lonely, opens when you ask for help, or you say, ‘I really, really admire this thing you do. Do you think I could shadow you? Do you think I could ask you for coffee and ask a few questions?’ If anything, I am more comfortable with asking more questions.”

Today, both find themselves trying to strike a careful balance between expressing their art and their beliefs while staying open-minded in a highly collaborative profession.

“How do you find a way of communicating your deepest desires and your opinions, or your dislike of something while not pushing the other person away or while still respecting what they do?” Francis asked.

It's a great, universal question many of us are navigating together – and through film.

“There are so many people out there doing so many actionable things to make the world better. It is happening. And, so, as Mister Rogers says, look to the helpers. It really is, for me, the source of my optimism.”

You can enjoy highlights from the conversation in the video featured below, paired with a peppermint mocha, a Francis favorite, or perhaps Kang’s signature summertime concoction: two parts cold brew, one part lemonade.

thumbnail for New Starbucks merch collaboration celebrates togetherness and joy in the everyday

New Starbucks merch collaboration celebrates togetherness and joy in the everyday