NEW YORK — Movies on Madison, a two-week event that kicked off Thursday in stores along Madison Avenue here between 57th and 86th Streets, aims to bring the excitement of the Tribeca Film Festival uptown and to a different audience.

Participating boutiques each picked a film from the festival’s roster and are celebrating them in window displays using images, props and posters. For example, Cartier chose “The Air I Breathe,” starring Forest Whitaker, and Joseph is promoting “You Kill Me,” starring Ben Kingsley, Téa Leone and Luke Wilson. “The Education of Charlie Banks” is represented at DKNY and Calypso features “2 Days in Paris.”

The Tribeca Film Festival, which showcases independent movies, was founded in 2002 by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff as part of an effort to revive lower Manhattan after the Sept. 11 attacks. This year’s festival will be from Wednesday to May 6.

Merchants on the thoroughfare, with help from the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District, have been bringing culture to consumers since 2000, when the Madison Avenue: Fashion Meets Art event launched. Stores displayed the work of world-renowned artists, photographers and sculptors.

Movies on Madison, which continues through May 5, replaces Fashion Meets Art. Matthew Bauer, president of the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District, said there was no rift with the Whitney Museum of American Art, whose family programs were a beneficiary of the event.

“The Whitney is on our board of directors,” Bauer said. “We have a very close working relationship with the Whitney. The event had a very strong year last year. [Art] is something we may work with or do in another way.”

Bauer said the BID had been in discussions with the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary. “We were thinking of ways to celebrate that,” he said. “Madison Avenue is so much a part of the film world, from the stores themselves furnishing [costumes] for the film industry to the fact that so many great movies have been filmed on Madison Avenue. We’ve been wanting to work with the Tribeca Film Festival for a long time. It was a logical way to bring it all together.”

This story first appeared in the April 20, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

American Express, which sponsored Fashion Meets Art, has the same role for Movies on Madison, and is donating a percentage of sales to the Tribeca Film Institute.

Tickets are on sale at a special box office at the Plaza Athénée Hotel on East 64th Street.

“This is also an opportunity for people from the Upper East Side to be exposed to the festival,” Bauer said. “There are festival banners up and down Madison Avenue as well as store window decals.”

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