The sixth-annual Tribeca Film Festival opened Wednesday night in downtown Manhattan with a programme of short films and music to raise awareness for climate change.

TFF's opening night presented the premieres of nine of the planned 60 short films that are part of the SOS campaign about the global climate crisis.

There were no famous faces seen on the big screen, but celebrities did come out in support of Tribeca and SOS. Al Gore hosted the evening, which also included SOS founder Kevin Wall, and brief appearances from festival co-founder Robert De Niro, director Martin Scorsese, actor and producer Diego Luna, and model Petra Nemcova. Jon Bon Jovi performed a short set, as did the Agape Orphanage Choir, seen in festival documentary We Are Together.

Gore, who was the subject of the Oscar-winning global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth, said: 'Somehow we have to penetrate that shell of denial (about global climate issues).'

'We must find a path that we create together, quickly, with truth force to seize the opportunity that lies before us,' he continued.

The shorts screened included works by Rob Reiner (revisiting Spinal Tap) and Jesus Camp directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady.

'Musicians and film-makers are the agents of cultural change,' said festival co-founder and producer Jane Rosenthal of the festival's decision to host the unique opening-night event. 'We've learned that every little bit helps.'

SOS is also the campaign behind the Live Earth concert series on July 7, 2007.

The Tribeca Film Festival runs through May 6, screening 157 features including 73 world premieres.