2013 TFI New Media Fund Grantees Announced

Today TFI unveiled the six grant recipients for the 2013 TFI New Media Fund. Each project have been awarded between $50,000 and $100,000 apiece, with funding effective immediately. Taken from a pool of 285 submissions, the winning projects include makers ranging from an award winning Mexican actor to a duo of notorious activitis and touch on a range of topics including border patrol tactics, the story of a migrant worker in California and the illegal timber trade in West Africa.

Grantees will also take part in regular peer-to-peer meetings and a lab focused on interactive storytelling to help them develop their projects and build engagement with audiences. 

This year's jurors included Jeremy Boxer (Creative Director, Vimeo), Michelle Byrd (Co-President, Games for Change), Marisa Jahn (Executive Director, REV), Tom Jennings (Producer, 2over10 Media for PBS Frontline), Julia Kaganskiy (Global Editor, Creators Project) and Sarah Wolozin (Director, MIT Open Documentary Lab).

Established in 2011 through a partnership with the Ford Foundation’s JustFilms Initiative, the TFI New Media Fund support non-fiction film projects that go beyond traditional screens, exploring storytelling that is interactive, cross-platform and participatory.

Read below the 2013 grantees:


Chasing the Sun
Key participants:  Paul Shoebridge, Michael Simons (The Goggles)
Description: Suppose we found a lost continent — impossible, but just imagine an opportunity to do things differently, to do anything besides business as usual. Chasing the Sun is an immersive online story about the Arctic.
Location: Canada: Vancouver, BC


The Yes Men are Revolting
Key participants: Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno, Laura Nix, Mary Notari, The Public Society, Glocal
Description: The Yes Men Are Revolting ends with an urgent call to action—and with a tool, the Action Switchboard, that will help viewers answer that call. This human-moderated digital platform helps a global audience initiate and join direct actions that serve specific activist goals; it also provides training and other resources for carrying out media actions. Effectively, the Action Switchboard invites the film's audience to join in the story the film and extend it in new and powerful ways.
Location: New York, Los Angeles


Who is Dayani Cristal?
Key participants: Gael Garcia Bernal, Marc Silver, Lina Srivastava
Description: Deep in the scorching Sonoran desert beneath a cicada tree border patrol discovers a decomposing body. Lifting a t-shirt, they expose a tattoo that reads "Dayani Cristal." An anonymous body in the Arizona desert sparks the beginning of a search across a continent  to seek out the people left behind and the meaning of a mysterious tattoo. Who Is Dayani Cristal? is a film and cross-platform exploration of stories underlying poverty, immigration, and the human rights of migrants who make journey across the US-Mexico border.
Location: Mexico: Mexico City, UK: London, United States: New York


This is My Backyard (Logs of War)
Key participants: Anjali Nayar, Jude Mwenda, Andrew Hill, Daniel Burwen, Leonardo Bonanni
Description: Silas Siakor, winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize, risked everything to cut off warlord Charles Taylor from the illegal timber trade that was helping fund Liberia's 14-year civil war. Now, Siakor tries to kick-start his country’s struggling economy through a sustainable logging industry. This is My Backyard is a multi-platform project that crowd sources and disseminates information about land and resources in West Africa.
Locations: Kenya: Nairobi; Liberia: Monrovia; United States: New York, Boston, San Francisco


American Promise
Key participants: Michèle Stephenson & Joe Brewster
Description: American Promise follows two African American boys and their families for 12 years as they navigate the terrain of race, privilege and opportunity at a rigorous New York City private school. To further the work of the film, the team are creating a web series and a goal-setting mobile app called “Promise Tracker.”
Location: New York
*American Promise has previously been supported by Tribeca All Access® and the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund.


Use of Force Protocol

Key participants: Nonny de la Peña
Description: Use of Force Protocol, an immersive journalism documentary, puts the audience on scene when migrant Anastasio Hernandez Rojas is killed by border patrol. Using virtual reality technologies, participants stand alongside the witnesses trying to stop the brutality, offering a profound and visceral experience.
Location: Los Angeles

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