News, May 21: Sophomore Tribeca Film Fest a Hit; Saturns Honor Spielberg, Jackson; Australians Fuming Over Kidman’s Nicotine Habit, More…

Top Story: Sophomore Tribeca Film Fest a Hit

The second annual Tribeca Film Festival, which ran from May 3-11, more than doubled last year’s traffic, Variety reports. The festival benefited from adding four extra days compared to last year’s five-day-long inaugural festival, and attracted an estimated 350,000 attendees to lower Manhattan. Final tallies suggest over 72,000 attended film screenings and panel discussions, and more than 85 percent of available tickets were sold or distributed. Jane Rosenthal, who co-founded the Tribeca Film Festival with Robert De Niro, told Variety the festival benefited from a longer duration, more screenings and more events. Some 15,000 people went to the MTV/VH1-sponsored rock and comedy concert in Battery Park while about 6,500 attended the screenings of When Harry Met Sally…, Diner and Grease on Pier 25 in Hudson River Park.

Saturns Honor Spielberg, Jackson

Filmmaker Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson ‘s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers each received multiple honors Sunday at the 29th annual Saturn Awards, given out by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. Spielberg won the best single TV program presentation award for Taken and best director for Minority Report, which was also named best science fiction film.The Two Towers was named best fantasy film and also took home the best supporting actor for cyberthesp Andy Serkis (Gollum).

Australians Fuming Over Kidman’s Nicotine Habit

Nicole Kidman‘s televised cigarette puffing at the Cannes Film Festival this week has anti-smokers in Australia fired up. Kidman, who is in the French town to promote her new film Dogville, was scolded by director Lars von Trier in front of the world’s press when she lit up a cigarette. “Oh, Nicole, don’t do that–you promised,” von Trier said, to no avail–the Australian star puffed away. According to Reuters, the group Action on Smoking and Health said Kidman, one of Australia’s greatest success stories and a role model for young women, has a duty to not promote the habit.

Fans Hold Candlelight Vigil for Vandross

Aretha Franklin organized a candlelight vigil for R&B singer Luther Vandross at the Little Rock Baptist Church in Detroit Monday night, The Associated Press reports. Franklin sang “Amazing Grace” for a crowd of 5,000 people and said she needed prayer for Vandross, who suffered a stroke five weeks ago. He is recovering in the intensive care unit of the Weill Cornell Medical Center of New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Vandross, 52, has written and produced songs for Franklin and designed several dresses for the singer to wear during her upcoming tour.

Former Schoolmate Sues Eminem

A former schoolmate of Eminem‘s who sued the rapper in 2001 is scheduled to have his case go to trial this month, the AP reports. DeAngelo Bailey sued Eminem for $1 million, claiming the rapper’s song “Brain Damaged,” which named Bailey as an abusive bully, damaged his reputation and his own ability to launch a music career. On Monday, Bailey’s attorney asked to be removed from the case because of a breakdown in communications with his client. Macomb County Circuit, Michigan Judge Deborah Servitto granted the request and said the trial was still set for May 30.

Comics Gear Up for Laughs

Veteran comic Bill Cosby, Live With Regis and Kelly co-host Kelly Ripa, Brad Garrett of Everybody Loves Raymond and Saturday Night Live‘s Tina Fey are just some of the stars set for Montreal’s annual Just for Laughs comedy festival, which runs July 10-20, Variety reports. Cosby will headline two shows July 19 at Place des Arts, while Garrett, Ripa and Fey will host the fest’s prestige shows.

Role Call: Shyamalan Sets Up Camp in The Woods, Peter Boyle Joins Scooby Doo 2

M. Night Shyamalan, who directed The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs, will helm The Woods for Disney. The pic, set in 1897, tells the story of a close-knit community that has a mythical race of creatures residing in the woods around them. Ashton Kutcher, Joaquin Phoenix and Kirsten Dunst are set to star in the thriller, set for a summer 2004 release … Everybody Loves Raymond star Peter Boyle is set to play the role of Old Man Wickles in Warner Bros.’ Scooby-Doo sequel for director Raja Gosnell. In the TV show’s first episode, Wickles was a museum curator who posed as the mysterious Black Knight in order to avoid being revealed as an art thief.