NEW YORK — Ever willing to challenge people’s preconceived notions of a designer store, Prada SoHo was comfortably full of guests Monday night for a special screening of "Love From Shiva’s Dance Floor," a 20-minute documentary on the musings of New York City tour guide Timothy "Speed" Levitch. The store is one of the hosts of the Tribeca Film Festival this year, which runs through Sunday.
"We’re open to the area and community, which was one of the goals of this store," Miuccia Prada said. "We feel we are a part of the effort of supporting downtown and collaborating on movies." While Prada could not make it to Monday’s event, it did draw such film people as Matt Dillon and Julie Taymor. Prada will be in New York for upcoming screenings, including the opening gala last night.
Although some may wonder whether the Rem Koolhaas architecture could accommodate a screening, the half-pipe, or "the wave," that dominates the center of the store was the perfect movie-viewing design. Guests sat on one side of the multileveled structure, while a screen on the other end reflected a video projection of the documentary.
"Prada contacted us last year to try and do this, but there wasn’t enough time then," said Jennifer Maguire Isham, executive director of the Tribeca Film Institute. "We called them this year and rather than have them just as a sponsor, we really wanted to collaborate. And Bob [De Niro] has a natural affinity with things Italian." De Niro, a Tribeca resident, is one of the founders of the film festival. "Also, this year, we wanted to drive traffic downtown," Isham added.
"Shiva," directed by Richard Linklater, tied into that mission as it focused on the downtown area, following Levitch and his sometimes incoherent, but nonetheless original, thoughts on what to do with Ground Zero — green grass and roaming buffalo, a memorial to whom he sees as the original victims of the area.
"It was very thought-provoking," Dillon said. "I like especially how he talked about the dangers of unoriginal thinking."
Afterward, Harold Evans of "The Week" moderated a panel discussion, which included speakers Taymor and stylist Patricia Field. Taymor found Levitch’s buffalo notion "a very rational, practical idea." One of the guests worried about the smell such a memorial would produce and before the discussion could devolve into a zoological debate, Perri Peltz, one of the film’s producers, stepped in and warned against taking the idea too literally.Of showing at the Prada store, Peltz said, "I don’t know if I want to watch the movie or shop!"
Other Tribeca Film Festival programming at Prada include: "Death of a Dynasty," directed by Rock-A-Wear frontman Damon Dash and "Ghostlight," an homage to Martha Graham, which features Deborah Harry, Mark Morris and Isaac Mizrahi.
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