Honoring filmmakers from all backgrounds and viewpoints, and making sure they have a platform to be heard, is even more vital in the current social and political landscape. In celebration of filmmakers from diverse cultures, the Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) has announced the next group of documentary and scripted projects that have been selected for the 14th annual Tribeca All Access (TAA) this year.
For almost a decade and a half, TAA has supported filmmakers from communities that have been underserved in the film industry with year-round support, guidance and the resources they need to finish their projects. The program has supported 278 movies and more than 540 filmmakers, all of whom identify as members of a minority group.
TFI announced on February 21 the ten projects that would be included in the 14th annual TAA program, will award the filmmakers a total of $100,000 in grant money throughout the year. The 10 scripted and documentary movies are works-in-progress, from both established filmmakers and those who are newer and outside of New York and Los Angeles. The receipants of the grants were selected by TFI’s Artist Programs team.
Founded in 2004, TAA is TFI’s flagship and longest-running filmmaker program. It provides financial support and a broad range of development opportunities for storytellers who create groundbreaking projects that bring underrepresented voices with vital stories to tell to the mainstream. Grantees of the fund are also eligible for the TAA Alumni program, which supports their present and future work.
“There has never been a more important time to ensure that storytellers from all backgrounds and perspectives have an opportunity to have their voices heard,” said Amy Hobby, the Executive Director of TFI. “For nearly a decade and a half, Tribeca All Access has staked out a place for distinctive filmmakers from a diversity of backgrounds, and we remain steadfastly committed to championing these storytellers and standing by them as they evolve throughout their careers.”
Diverse in composition and topical in content, each of the scripted projects takes risks with form. Each of the documentary projects in some way reflects the current social and political shifts in America. Additionally, TFI is the first funder of many of this year’s projects, which shows the organization’s willingness to support and lend legitimacy to meaningful work that has not yet demonstrated other backing.
TAA is made possible by Time Warner Foundation, a leading supporter of TFI since 2006. It also receives additional support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
At this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which is set to run April 19-30, TAA-supported filmmakers will participate, along with other TFI grantees and selected invitees, in one-on-one meetings with members of industry from around the world. The filmmakers will meet and strategize with film industry executives, potential investors, development executives, producers, agents and other key players in the space. Additionally, they will get to attend an Open House and Pitch Preparation Day, which will include short talks by industry experts on best practices.
Five grants will be awarded to scripted projects in various stages:
‘Monsters and Men’: Written and Directed by Reinaldo M. Green. Produced by Elizabeth Lodge Stepp and Josh Penn. After capturing an illegal act of police violence on his cellphone, a Brooklyn street hustler sets off a series of events that alter the lives of a local police officer and a star high-school athlete.
‘Selah and the Spades’: Written and Directed by Tayarisha Poe. Produced by Lauren McBride. Once upon a time, a girl named Selah started Pontomic High School’s most merciless gang: The Spades. Captivated by the pleasures and dangers of power, Selah is both charming and callous when deciding who to keep close and who to ruin.
‘The Green Guerrillas’: Written and Directed by Dean Colin Marcial. Chronicling the rise and fall of an impassioned eco-terrorist group, The Green Guerrillas explores the explosive and bloody politics of the last decade in the Philippines. The destinies of an ambitious college student, an aging former activist, a young American journalist and a tough-talking mayor collide in this modern-day sweet Spaghetti Western.
‘The Short History of the Long Road’: Written and Directed by Ani Simon-Kennedy. Produced by Darren Dean and Kishori Rajan. Teenage Nola grew up living out of a van with her charismatic father Clint – two nomads against the world. When Clint suddenly passes away, Nola is confronted by the reality of life on the road alone. In order to survive, she’ll need to take the wheel for the first time – learning to own her grief, her past and her new destination.
‘White’: Co-Written and Directed by A. Sayeeda Moreno. Co-Written by Michah Schaffer. Produced by Monique Gabriela Curnen, Chanelle Elaine and Kristie Lutz. In a burning hot near-future, climate change has both devastated the planet and turned melanin into the world’s most valuable commodity. When Nuyorican beauty LUNA has her newborn ripped from her arms just moments after giving birth, she is thrust into the merciless world of melanin harvesting to save her daughter, her community and spark a revolution.
Five grants will be awarded to documentary projects in various stages:
‘Bloodthicker’: Directed by Zac Manuel. Produced by Chris Haney and Lauren Domino. In the shadows of their famous fathers, three young men fight to build upon their familial legacies while navigating the pitfalls of rap culture.
‘Border South’: Directed by Raul O. Paz Pastrana. Produced by Jason De Leon. Co-Produced by John Doering-White and Emily Parkey. Mexico now deports more immigrants than the United States. Border South melds ethnography and cinema-verité to explore the harsh environment and brutal journey of undocumented immigrants from Central America crossing through Mexico towards the United States.
‘How to Have an American Baby’: Directed and Produced by Leslie Tai. Co-produced by Jillian Schultz. There is a city in Southern California that is teeming with pregnant women from China. How to Have an American Baby is a kaleidoscopic voyage, told through multiple perspectives, into the booming shadow economy catering to Chinese birth tourists who travel to the U.S. on “birthing vacations” in order to give birth to babies who will become American citizens.
‘Jaddoland’: Directed and Produced by Nadia Shihab. Produced by Talal Al-Muhanna. A visit back home to Texas prompts the filmmaker to reflect on her mother’s creative life. However, when her Iraqi refugee grandfather arrives on their doorstep, his presence raises deeper questions about belonging and the places the family calls home.
‘The Youth’: Directed and Produced by Eunice Lau and Arthur Nazaryan. A father seeks to understand why his son is accused of terrorism after an FBI sting operation puts him and five others in prison. The Youth follows the lives of Somali-Americans in Minnesota as they struggle against Islamophobia in contemporary America.