De Niro's close connection to Tribeca festival

Robert De Niro on "CBS This Morning."
Robert De Niro on "CBS This Morning."

(CBS News) Actor Robert De Niro, the force behind New York City's Tribeca Film Festival, hopes the annual event lasts "a long time."

Pictures: Robert De Niro

Started in 2002, the festival was an effort to help the neighborhood around the destroyed World Trade Center recover. Since the festival began, it has showed more than 1,200 movies from 80 countries and generated $725 million in economic activity.

De Niro and producing partner Jane Rosenthal worked together on the project.

"When we first started, we didn't know what to expect, so we're very happy that it's done as well as it has," De Niro said.

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The star who has appeared in his share of movies said he thought he would be happy if the festival would become part of the New York tradition and "last for a long time."

"I think you got that," "CBS This Morning" co-host Charlie Rose remarked.

Rosenthal added that the festival brings attention to all films - not just the big-budget blockbusters. She said, "There's a lot of people who pay attention to the blockbusters, and what that does for us because we have a very limited marketing budget, is brings attention to the smaller films, the great independent films, the world's cinema, the experimental films, the amazing documentaries. So as long as it helps us draw attention to the films we screen for the next 10 days, that's our goal."

De Niro said he's just beginning to enjoy the festival. He said, joking, "It's a little bit of stress in the sense of, we've got to be on the show, you've got to be ready.

"But it's terrific," he said. "I'm very happy with what's happening, the whole thing, you know. The fact it's not just a film festival, per se. It's got the street fair, it's got the drive-in, elements that are more - that are not expected at a film festival, which makes it more special."

For more with De Niro and Rosenthal on their partnership, watch the video in the player above.

De Niro and Rosenthal have also teamed up for their new series, "NYC 22." Catch the show Sunday nights on CBS at 10 p.m.