TRIBECA FILM INSTITUTE ANNOUNCES 11 NEW PROJECTS Total of $150,000 in grants awarded to filmmakers


Total of $150,000 in grants awarded to filmmakers
New partnership with The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to expand funding for documentary projects with a social justice focus.

The Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) today announced 11 projects selected for the 9th Annual Tribeca All Access (TAA) program. TAA will support each project with an initial $15,000 grant as well as foster ongoing relationships with the filmmakers   and industry professionals.     TFI offers year round support and additional resources to each project and helps advance them towards completion.   The program consists of a wide range of  works-in-progress by emerging and established filmmakers in the industry, who often come from statistically underrepresented communities.

Ten filmmakers with unfinished projects were selected from 690 submissions from across the country to participate in the program.   One additional project was selected to participate in the 2012 program through TAA’s fifth-year partnership with the Canadian Film Centre (CFC). TAA will present the 11 projects””six narratives and five documentaries””at a five-day career-development program from April 22-26, during the 11th annual Tribeca Film Festival (TFF), presented by American Express, April 18-29.

The program will culminate with the announcement of the Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Awards on April 26. Selected by a jury of industry professionals, based on the strength of the filmmakers’ visions and promise, the two awards will each provide an additional $10,000 grant to one documentary and one feature project.

“We received a record number of submissions this year, which really speaks to the importance of programs that support the filmmaking community,” said Beth Janson, Executive Director of TFI. “The projects selected show outstanding potential, and we look forward to helping the filmmakers develop their visions through exceptional access and support.”

Five grants will be awarded to documentary projects in various stages:

Untitled Ramin Bahrani Gold Documentary, Directed and produced by Ramin Bahrani, produced by Jason Orans — Set in today’s global recession, which has catapulted gold prices to historic highs, Untitled Ramin Bahrani Gold Documentary explores our centuries-old obsession with gold, and what ““ if anything ““ is its intrinsic value. This will be Bahrani’s first documentary project.
Burn (One Year on the Frontlines of the Battle to Save Detroit), Directed and produced by Brenna Sanchez and Tom Putnam — Burn is an action-packed documentary about Detroit, told through the eyes of its firefighters, the men and women charged with the thankless task of saving a city that many have written off as dead.
Two Children Of The Red Mosque, Directed and produced by Hemal Trivedi, co-directed by Mohammad Naqvi, produced by Whitney Dow and Jonathan Goodman Levitt — Amid suicide bombings and U.S. drone attacks in Northwestern Pakistan, twelve-year-olds Zarina and Talha are pursuing different dreams. After attending madrassahs of the Red Mosque ““ they make different choices that promise to define their adult lives. Zarina recently escaped the madrassah, and her struggle to attend secular school and avoid marriage stands opposed to Talha’s journey over the next two years. Their stories personalize the hard choices facing modern Pakistanis living in rural areas, where ongoing ideological battles between fundamentalist and moderate Muslims are shaping Pakistan’s future.
Desert Stars, Directed and produced by Raouf Zaki, produced by Frank McDonnell — Desert Stars documents the journey of a man who abandons the world and its desires to seek a relationship with God alone as a monk in the desert, but, in order to save his monastery, he must confront the world again in the midst of the bloody Egyptian revolution.
The New Black, Directed by Yoruba Richen, produced by Yvonne Whelbon and Angela Tucker — The New Black is a documentary that uncovers the complicated histories of the African-American and LGBT civil-rights movements.

Five grants will be awarded to narrative projects in various stages:

Abigail Harm, Directed by Lee Isaac Chung, Written and Produced by Samuel Gray Anderson -Abigail Harm stars legendary actress Amanda Plummer as a woman living in a fictionalized New York City, who, after being granted a wish by a heavenly visitor, asks for love and learns of a spirit who might provide it. Inspired by the Korean folktale “The Woodcutter and the Nymph.”
Bypass, Written and Directed by Liliana Greenfield-Sanders, Produced by Amy Basil and Rowen Riley – 20 year-old Katie is popular, high-achieving and obese, but all of this is about to change when she undergoes a series of radical gastric and plastic surgeries.   BYPASS is a modern day twist on Frankenstein in which the protagonist is herself both creator and monster.
I Believe In Unicorns, Written and Directed by Leah Meyerhoff, Executive Produced by Allison Anders, Produced by Heather Rae and Mark G. Mathis, and Co-Produced by Kwesi Collisson – A troubled teenage girl runs away with an older boy only to discover that their new life together is even more dysfunctional than the home she left behind.
Manchild, Written and Directed by Ryan Koo – A talented basketball player at a small Christian school gets nationally ranked and must choose between schools, coaches, and faiths””all at the age of 13.
Mapplethorpe, Written, Directed and Co-Produced by Ondi Timoner   and Co-Produced by Nate Dushku, Miles Levy, and Eliza Dushku – A narrative film based on the extraordinary life and complex character of controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, from his rise to fame in the 1970s, to his untimely death from AIDS in 1989.   James Franco is attached to star as Robert Mapplethorpe.  This will be Ondi’s breakout transition from Documentary to Narrative Feature film.

The narrative project selected to participate from the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) is:

Rhymes For Young Ghouls, Written and Directed by Jeff Barnaby, Produced by John Christou & Aisling Chin-Yee – A raucous coming of age tale about Aila, a young Mi’gMaq girl embroiled in the family drug trade who is coping with the suicide of her mother and the recent release of her imprisoned father.

Additionally, in line with TAA’s mission to support filmmakers year round, more than 200 program alumni will have the opportunity to network and present their works-in-progress at selected events throughout the year. $75,000 total in grants and fellowships for projects in development or new works by program alumni will be awarded on April 26, during TFF.   Amongst the announced grants will also feature funding opportunities for documentaries with a social justice focus, made possible through a new partnership with the MacArthur Foundation

“Through our continued guidance, access to free and discounted equipment, promotional support and more, we hope to see more TAA successes like that of Home Again, a film supported through our CFC partnership which is in production, and Mosquita y Mari, which is premiering at the Sundance Film Festival this month,” said Tamir Muhammad, Director of Feature programming for TFI. “We are excited to continue to provide talented filmmakers with opportunities to tell their stories.”

TAA is made possible by Bloomberg, with major support from Time Warner and additional support from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, The Academy Foundation, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), New York State council on the Arts (NYSCA), The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, The Puffin Foundation, and The National Endowment of the Arts.
“It is an honor to continue this ten-year partnership with the Tribeca Film Institute in supporting Tribeca All Access,” said Lex Fenwick, CEO of Bloomberg Ventures. “We applaud TAA’s mission to promote traditionally underrepresented filmmakers and provide them with unprecedented access to industry professionals and resources.”
About the Tribeca Film Institute:
The Tribeca Film Institute is a 501(c)3 year round nonprofit arts organization founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff in the wake of September 11, 2001. TFI empowers filmmakers through grants and professional development, and is a resource and advocate for individual artists in the field. The Institute’s educational programming leverages an extensive film community network to help underserved New York City students learn filmmaking and gain the media skills necessary to be productive citizens and creative individuals in the 21st century. Administering a dozen major programs annually, TFI is a critical contributor to the fabric of filmmaking and aids in protecting the livelihood of filmmakers and media artists.