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Tribeca Film Festival

Photography by Tribeca Film Festival

From April 16-27, the hip NYC neighborhood of Tribeca will welcome film fanatics from around the world for the 13th annual Tribeca Film Festival.

With more than 5,000 submissions from around the world, many of the films selected for this year’s festival will be showing for the first time as North American, international or world premieres. Starting at $9 for late-night or weekday matinee tickets, festival-goers will have the opportunity to be among the films’ first viewers. READ MORE

In honor of The Great Gatsby film release, step back into the opulent Jazz Age with a visit to New York’s iconic landmark hotel, The Plaza. This historic hotel is celebrating Baz Luhrmann’s eagerly awaited film adaptation of The Great Gatsby with a collection of Gatsby-inspired experiences. The setting for one of the book’s most climatic scenes, The Plaza was also a well-known haunt of the author F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda — so much so that it has been said Ernest Hemingway once advised Fitzgerald to give his “liver to Princeton and his heart to The Plaza.”

If you’re truly gaga for Gatsby, for a mere $2,795 you can spend a night in the Fitzgerald Suite that pays homage to its famous patron. Designed by one of the film’s set designers and co-producers, this 700-square-foot suite is filled with period-inspired pieces and artifacts from the film’s production, like Tom Buchanan’s sporting trophies lining the walls. Make yourself a gin martini or mint julep from the suite’s built-in bar and escape into the 1920s with Fitzgerald’s complete collection of works, all at hand in the room’s library.

If your budget is less than Gatsby-esque, you can still get into the spirit at The Plaza.  The Palm Court’s “Fitzgerald Tea for the Ages” tips a hat to the Jazz Age with 1920s-inspired plates like Pate de Fruit with Gin Rickey Sugar. The Todd English Food Hall honors Gatsby with “prohibited” cocktails like “Silver Peppered Stars,” made with Hendrick’s Gin, house-made orange bitters and French vermouth.  The hotel’s iconic Champagne Bar is transformed into a Moët Pop-Up Bar, offering a special cocktail called the “Moët Imperial Gatsby,” with green chartreuse and a sugar cube. And you can dance off all that gin and champagne with the live jazz bands at The Rose Club’s “Gatsby Hour” on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

After you’ve partied like Gatsby, recover from the previous evening’s celebrations (hello, roaring headache) with a “Caudalie Grape Gatsby” custom treatment at The Plaza’s Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa. Daisy would approve.

For more Gatsby-inspired extravagance, check out our Travel Like The Great Gatsby slideshow and relive the Jazz Age decadence … without the hangover.

If you’re not in the mood to stand in line with a bunch of Twihards tonight to see Breaking Dawn: Part II, escape to the evocative world of 19th-century Russia in Anna Karenina, which also opens this weekend. Though some would be horrified that we are putting the 2 films in the same sentence, there are some similarities between the 2 stories:  both are based on love affairs with the forbidden; one between a vampire and a human, the other between a married socialite and a young cavalry officer.  And both are set in romantic, but equally dark settings — rainy Pacific Northwest and snow-covered Russia. And both make us want to travel.

St. Basil’s Cathedral Photography by Getty Images

This cinematic take on Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel, Anna Karenina — the story of a married St. Petersburg socialite embarking on a passionate and disastrous love affair — is a visual masterpiece, already garnering Oscar buzz.  As with all film adaptions, this version takes creative liberties and scenes are set on a theater stage, showing very little of Russia or its famous landmarks. Being the travel junkies we are, it’s inspiring us to embark on our own Russian adventure.

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If you’re anything like us, you were probably wondering where the Batcave is actually located (and if it’s a real place) as opposed to paying attention to the plot of Dark Knight Rises. We loved the movie, and we can’t help but be a little destination-obsessed here at Travel Channel. The Gotham City of Dark Knight was so obviously Chicago, that the new locations in Dark Knight Rises had us wondering, “Is that New York?” Turns out, most of it wasn’t.

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The Descendants

With the Oscars this Sunday, we’ve pulled together our own awards list: 2011′s Most Travel-Worthy Flicks. The Descendants is a no-brainer. Who doesn’t daydream about walking barefoot on a beach in Hawaii (and with George Clooney)?

But we were equally inspired to pack our bags for the City of Lights to find the “Lost Generation” in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. Even the dark thriller Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had us eying Stockholm to see where the stories took place.

Postcard-perfect scenes in movies we saw years ago still influence our travel plans.  Even though it’s been years since we saw The Beach, we still have Maya Bay in Thailand on our bucket list. And its cinematic merits aside, Twilight couldn’t help but make us want to see the town of Forks, WA, for some of them most stunning scenery on the Olympic Peninsula.

Has a movie ever inspired one of your vacations?

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South By Southwest News and Notes

Thousands of people converged at the Austin Convention Center for the second day of South by Southwest, one of the largest music festivals in the world.  The popular festival runs from March 11 to 20, and it has something for everyone.

Within the past few years, the festival has expanded to include SXSW Film, one of the world’s premier film festivals focusing on new directing talent. In 2007, the festival organizers took it a step further, by adding SXSW Interactive. This portion of the festival attracts web creators and entrepreneurs, which creates a great breeding ground for new ideas and creative, emerging technologies.

The festival also includes SXSW ScreenBurn to highlight the video game industry, and Style X to showcase new talent in the fashion industry. SXSW Comedy was added for the first time this year to provide comedians with several new venues to perform their acts.

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