MANHATTAN — Linda Gokey is willing to sacrifice a lot for her annual Tribeca Film Festival marathon — even the baby shower of her friend’s daughter.
"I know I lied about where I had to be," said Gokey, who missed the event one year so that she could sit through movies with marathon comrades Joan Kemnitzer and Ellen Bogart. "I think she figured it out... she certainly knows about Tribeca and me."
"I felt guilty for about 30 seconds."
Each year the three friends, all in their 60s and residents of Long Island, spend hours organizing their viewing schedule for the 10-day festival. This year they're planning to see 13 films.
"You can put your life on hold and just do it," said Kemnitzer, of the team's attitude. "Don't call me, I'm at the movies."
The 11th annual Tribeca Film Festival, which is running April 18 - 29, gives everyday New Yorkers a crack at attending just under 150 feature and short films with multiple screening locations scattered across Lower Manhattan.
Those with a passion for films plan weeks in advance, deprive themselves of sleep and even take off work.
"There are people whose eyes roll and mouths drop when we say we see three movies a day," said Gokey, who begins planning for the festival in March when Tribeca releases its film list. She estimates she spends $200 on viewings.
After each woman identifies their movies of choice, it's time to negotiate. When early tickets go on sale for American Express card holders, they hold a pizza-and-wine night as they deliberate their schedule of movie preferences for hours.
"We have gotten so much calmer. We have become very good negotiators," Gokey said.
Christopher Jara, 53, will spend about 20 hours planning his schedule of at least 18 films.
"I have to black out my schedule for the week," said Jara, a Chelsea resident who works in the fashion industry. "I tell my friends I won't be around."
With so many ideas and stories blaring from the silver screen, he recommends a mixed-up marathon schedule balancing comedy, drama and action. So far for Jara "My Sister’s Sister," starring Emily Blunt, is a favorite.
While attendees can purchase individual tickets at $16 for evenings and weekends, and $8 for matinees and late-night screenings, the festival also offers ticket packages at $450 for 20 films or $250 for 10 films.
Thomas Drexler, 46, will see about 15 films this year, sidestepping the cost by volunteering to work at the festival. Each shift volunteered is rewarded with a movie ticket, he said.
"Right now I have only purchased one ticket out of pocket," said Drexler, who was about to catch a screening of the Spanish movie "Unit 7."
After taking a few days annual leave from his job at a Midtown investment company, Drexler's festival days are either spent in a cinema or engaged with other movie buffs as he volunteers in festival hospitality.
"I meet people. I chitchat with people from all walks of life," Drexler said.
This is his seventh year as a volunteer.
Burning the candle at both ends is no excuse for missing a festival on New York City’s doorstep, according to Kristin Bagzy.
"I just know I am going to be tired for the week," she said. The 29-year-old lives in the Rockaways and does not let the hour commute with a 4 a.m. start to her regular work day get in the way of late-night festival screenings.
"I had about three hours sleep the other night," said Bagzy, who works for the federal government. "But sometimes I do my best work when I am tired."