The Tribeca Film Festival was born out of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, and celebrities attending an annual Vanity Fair gala in New York City on Tuesday to kick off this year's event were mindful of the shadow cast by Monday's explosions at the Boston Marathon.
Police and security guards were visible at the festival Tuesday night, where there was an outdoor metal detector for arriving guests.
Whoopi Goldberg said she understood if some people were apprehensive about going out in crowded, public areas.
"I say that's alright. We're out for you," she said. "Stay until you feel better. But we're out here and we got your back."
The actress and TV personality is a juror at the festival this year and directed a documentary that is holding its world premiere called "I Got Somethin' to Tell You" about comedian Moms Mabley.
Aida Turturro, best known for her role on TV's "The Sopranos," said it's important to live your life and not be scared.
"You never know. I mean you can die by crossing the street or you can get hit by a car. ... I think the best thing is to continue life because if you don't they're winning," she said. "If they keep you from living your life than they've won. They've taken your life away from you right there."
Meantime, Jane Rosenthal, the co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival, said essentially the event must go on.
"Our hearts are with everyone in Boston," she said. "We can't let terror or fear deter us from doing anything so we're going on with our film festival and as the President and the Mayor says we're gonna keep on doing what we do."
The bombings in Boston, carried out with kitchen pressure cookers packed with explosives and lethal shrapnel, killed three people and injured more than 170. No suspects have been identified and no arrests have been made.
New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who attended the gala, said he hoped increased police presence would calm people's fears.
"We believe that by increasing uniform presence we've sort of raised the comfort level. People understandably feel a little anxious after a terrible event ... in Boston, so we do that to again make people feel a little more comfortable and let them know we're on the job."
The Tribeca Film Festival runs April 17 through April 28. Itwith a documentary about The National, followed by a performance by the Brooklyn band. The festival with a 30th anniversary restoration of Martin Scorsese's "The King of Comedy."