It's a rarity as far as galas go, but shockingly, all the guests arrived on schedule at last night's third annual For the Love of Cinema dinner at the Tribeca Film Festival---and that's thanks in no small part to the very sizable IWC Schaffhausen timepieces they were required to wear on their wrists. The Swiss watch manufacturer, known for its impressive (and very expensive) designs, was the event's official sponsor, much to everyone's approval—especially emcee Joel McHale.
"This is a big night for me: It means I’ve reached the 'hosting events for free luxury watches' stage of my career," the host joked to the roomful of guests, which included Robert De Niro, Christoph Waltz, Dakota Fanning, and his Community co-star Alison Brie. "I've reached the summit of free-watch mountain. It's breathtaking up here, you guys!" McHale continued on, gently roasting the storied actor and resident King of Tribeca: "He told me I could call him Mr. Robert De Niro. It’s an honor he bestows on his friends and his most cherished show hosts."
The evening took a more serious turn when McHale doled out kind words for the man of honor. "Robert De Niro has celebrated artistry, creativity, and the resilience of New York City for years," he said, before encouraging the audience to get started on their dinner. A menu of salad, roasted chicken breast, and fingerling potatoes was followed by treats such as peanut butter and concord grape cheesecake, lemon bars with crystallized lavender, Nutella brownie bites, and chocolate truffles.
After dinner came what was easily a festival highlight (and a total #TBT): a performance by Grammy-winning singer Sarah McLachlan, who belted out vintage hits "I Will Remember You" and, of course, "Angel." Alison Pill, who chatted up Fanning over the course of the meal, could hardly contain her excitement. "I think I fully flushed when I found out she was singing," Pill confessed, before launching into a story about seeing the artist play at Lilith Fair in high school with her mom and drama teacher. "I really am a massive fan." Brie echoed her sentiments: "This just feels like high school graduation," she said.
Still, despite the enthusiasm for the musical portion of the program, the night remained all about the movies. "I'm very excited to meet all of the young filmmakers," Waltz said, before presenting the coveted IWC Filmmaker Award to Deb Shoval for her short film AWOL, about a lesbian couple finding love in rural Pennsylvania.
And, of course, there was that other eye candy. "I wasn't a big watch person before, but I think I can safely say this has converted me," Brie said.