Bridging the gap between emerging voices in film and major film industry players is at the heart of what we do at the Tribeca Film Institute. That’s why every year, we kick off the Tribeca Film Festival with our signature event, the TFI Network presented by AT&T. For nine years, this program has existed with the purpose of bringing new voices to the table, this year with over 250 distributors, funders, mentors and more to take these excellent projects to the next level. Because of some of our international partnerships with organizations like the MENA Region Forum and the Guadalajara International Film Festival, we’re supporting films from ten different countries, spanning three continents.
We’re proud to say that many of the projects that go through this program premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and other prestigious festivals around the world. Some even go on to become Academy award nominees, like documentaries “Minding the Gap” and “Hale County: This Morning, This Evening.” This year, you can catch the following TFI Network projects at the Tribeca Film Festival: documentaries “Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project” and “A Woman’s Work: The NFL’s Cheerleader Problem,” scripted films “Stray Dolls” and “The Short History of the Long Road,” and interactive projects “Armonia,” “Water Melts” and “Dreams of the Jaguar’s Daughter.”
The TFI Network constantly boasts a diverse range of documentary, scripted and interactive projects -- some are projects brand new to the TFI family, while others have been funded through our other programs, like the Immersive Film Program, Tribeca All Access and the TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund. We’re bringing back our Works-in-Progress program for its second year, where selected documentary and scripted features will present excerpts of their current projects, which are mostly in post-production.
Here are the 41 projects participating in this year’s TFI Network. Look out for these films in the domestic & international festival circuit in the near future.
Cutting Through Rocks (FKA Sara: A Fearless Dream)
MENA Region Forum Participant Project
Thirty-seven year old Sara Shahverdi, a motorcycle-riding, land-owning, former midwife-turned-fierce citizen advocate and recent divorcée, just won a landslide local election in her remote Iranian village -- and everyone has an opinion about it - including her.
Director/Producers: Mohammad Reza Eyni, Sara Khaki
In Collaboration with Kartemquin Films - Diverse Voices in Documentary
In 2017, an international student from China was kidnapped within her first weeks living in Illinois. As foreigners in an unfamiliar country, her family faces unexpected challenges as they spearhead a search to find her and attempt to seek justice.
Director: Jiayan “Jenny” Shi
Producers: Brent E. Huffman, Diane Quon
Co-Producer: Shilin Sun
Executive Producer: Brent E. Huffman
Karina (working title)
In Collaboration with EICTV Nuevas Miradas (Cuba)
Karina Nuñez has been a sex worker for thirty years and an outspoken activist for the last ten, leading the charge for labor rights in Uruguay’s sex work industry. Now at the age of 45, she begins to imagine life working in another field. KARINA follows her fight for acceptance and fair pay, and explores how her struggle for equality ends up redefining her place in contemporary Uruguay.
Directors: Marta García, Sol Infante
Producer: Florencia Abbondanza
Tribeca All Access®️ 2019
Trans filmmaker D'Angelo Madsen Minax returns to his rural Michigan hometown following the death of his infant niece and the wrongful incarceration of his brother-in-law. As he navigates a town steeped in addiction, economic depression, and religious fervor, Madsen creates a relentless portrait of an enduring pastoral family.
Directors: D’Angelo Madsen Minax
Producer: Felix Endara
The quietest desert on the Mexican side of the border is about to be crossed by the biggest all-terrain car race in the world. In OFF THE ROAD, three die-hard fans seek to escape the monotony to find a place for themselves in this rip-roaring event.
Director: José Permar
Producers: Wendy V. Muñiz, Daniela Silva Solórzano, Jose Luis Villanueva, Guillermo Zouain
ON THE DIVIDE follows three Latinx people living in McAllen, Texas — a heavily Catholic community torn by conservative politics and policies. Each find purpose in an unlikely place: the last abortion clinic on the border, but none fit neatly on either side of the divide.
Directors: Maya Cueva, Leah Galant
Producers: Diane Becker, Melanie Miller, Amanda Spain, Elizabeth Woodward
Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund 2018
USA / Argentina
A PLACE OF ABSENCE follows filmmaker Marialuisa Ernst’s search to find meaning and connection with Anita and Leticia, two Central American women traveling to Mexico as part of the Caravan of Mothers of Missing Migrants. As the group searches for sons and daughters who vanished en route to the U.S., Marialuisa draws parallels to the emotional turmoil her own mother experienced in the aftermath of her uncle’s disappearance during Argentina’s ‘Dirty War.'
Director: Marialuisa Ernst
Producer: Tracie Holder
In Collaboration with DocsMX (Documentary Film Festival in Mexico City)
Tribeca All Access®️ 2019
THE SILENCE OF MY HANDS follows Rosa and Saira, two Mexican deaf women in love, as they struggle with the adversities of their language, the distance that separates them - and the limited time that they have together, as an unforeseen illness impacts their relationship.
Director: Manuel Acuña
Producer: Mónica Velasco
In Collaboration with DocuLab & FICG (Guadalajara International Film Festival)
Years after abandoning a project about the men who live on the banks of South America’s La Plata River, filmmaker Igor Galuk found negatives more than half a century old that bore a striking similarity to his own work. Reinvigorated, Galuk undertakes a trip along the riverbanks of Argentina and Uruguay, reflecting on this enduring land and the people who remain.
Director: Igor Galuk
Producer: Paula Asprella
In Collaboration with New Orleans Film Festival
SILENT BEAUTY is an autobiographical exploration of one woman’s family history with child sexual abuse and a culture of silence.
Director/Producer: Jasmin López
In Collaboration with SANFIC (Santiago International Film Festival)
Miguel is a hunter and a taxidermist, aiming to open a museum that would put his preserved animals on display for blind children to pet and interact with. STILL STARES presents a wry portrait of Miguel and the prejudices that surround his profession, exploring the ways in which human beings relate to animals.
Director: Patricia Correa
Executive Producers: Gabriela Isabel Sandoval, Carlos Javier Nuñez Riviera
In Collaboration with Docedge Kolkata – Asian Forum for Documentary
Philippines & South Korea
Two Filipina sisters in Manila are serving life in prison for kidnapping a young boy. Now, as they enter their 18th year in prison, they are offered parole on one condition — the boy’s mother must forgive them.
Director: Baby Ruth Villarama
Producers: Chuck Gutierrez, Gary Byung-Soek Kam
Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund 2018
A high-profile police shooting rocks the Minneapolis Police Department, and its reform-minded first female chief is asked to resign. Following three women officers — who work to transform the MPD and restore community trust — WOMEN IN BLUE explores gender, violence and policing in America.
Director/Producer: Deirdre Fishel
Producer: Beth Levison
The following feature documentaries participating in TFI Network are 2019 Tribeca All Access® grantees:
In Collaboration With Los Cabos International Film Festival
A hardcore anti-immigration activist and her teenage granddaughter must cross the Mexican border in search of cheap dentures.
Director: Santiago Fabregas
Producers: Pablo Cruz, Pablo Garcia, Humberto Hinojosa, Gabriel Stavenhagen
Two marginalized, complicated women- — one old, the other young-— befriend each other through the cultural stigma of smoking and, seeking a sense of home, embark on a journey from the suburbs of Seattle to the heart of Seoul.
Director: Zoe Sua Cho
Producer: Simone Ling
Screenwriter: Hannah Park
In Collaboration with Chicago International Film Festival
Husbands Riz and Owen accidentally summon a murderous teenage ghost and demonic horse monster from a 1987 docu-series.
Director/Screenwriter: C.J. Arellano
Producer: Becca Stahl
Executive Producer: Eugene Sun Park
New York City, 2013. A young bisexual man enters an interracial relationship. In the midst of the Sandusky trial, against the backdrop of a cicada summer, he comes to terms with his own childhood trauma.
Directors: Matt Fifer, Kieran Mulcare
Screenwriters: Sheldon D. Brown, Matt FIfer
Producers: Ramfis Myrthil, Jeremy Truong
In Collaboration with Br Lab
The youth of Fortaleza, Brazil throw parties and flee by plane, perhaps to escape the heat of the burning sun. THE DANCE FLOOR follows these youth as they plan a wild party: Izack to win over Renata, who he is hopelessly in love with, and sisters Deborah and Gyl, whose parties are at risk of ending when their mother cuts off their spending.
Director: Leonardo Mouramateus
Producer: Ticiana Augusto Lima
Tribeca All Access®️ 2019
In Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, an undocumented Filipina immigrant scrambling to avoid deportation becomes involved with a Russian slaughterhouse worker who is unaware that she’s transgender.
Director/Screenwriter: Isabel Sandoval
Producers: Darlene Malimas, Jhett Tolentino, Carlo Velayo
Executive Producers: Nicole Cosgrove, Sarah Brennan Kolb, Jerome Kerkman
MASHA FROM RUSSIA is a coming of age dramedy about a Russian family immigrating to New York in the early 90's. The film centers around Masha, a nerdy, socially clueless 13-year-old whose transition into puberty is further complicated by her limited understanding of the language and culture around her.
Director/Screenwriter: Sasha Gordon
Producer: Riva Marker
Executive Producer: Jake Gyllenhaal
Two young metalheads coast aimlessly through Bogota’s alleys on the day of Iron Maiden’s first ever concert in Colombia. Their day is wrecked and their friendship is tested when hoodlums steal their most valued possession: the tickets to see their favorite band perform live.
Director/Screenwriter: Mauricio Leiva Cock
Producers: David Figueroa García, Juan Diego Villegas
Executive Producer: Lina Rizo
In Collaboration with Luang Prabang Film Festival
Joseph, a reluctant teenage father-to-be, embarks on a quest to save the life of his pregnant girlfriend and unborn child. His surreal journey begins in the Philippines, takes him through the soul-devouring labor camps of Arabia, and ends at the peak of the mythical, eldritch Mount Gulsuk.
Director: Jordan dela Cruz
Producers: Alemberg Ang, Arleen Cuevas
Co-Writer: Siege Ledesma
The following scripted features participating in TFI Network are 2019 Tribeca All Access® grantees:
The following scripted features participating in TFI Network are 2019 TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund grantees:
Armonia takes the ride of the emotionally dynamic piano concerto “Armonia Degli Uccelli (Harmony of the Birds),” and marries it to a universally accessible animation, to produce a uniquely layered spectacle of spatial storytelling.
Writer/Director/Developer: Bracey Smith
Writer/Producer: Anja Moreno-Smith
Sound Engineer: Daniel Coletta
3D Designer: Jacques Lalo
Dreams of the Jaguar’s Daughter is a surreal VR documentary where Achik’, the spirit of a young Mayan immigrant, guides the viewer through her dreams and memories of her arduous journey North.
Director: Alfredo Salazar-Caro
Writer: Génesis Mancheren Abaj
Producer: Samantha Quick
Producer: Gregory Ketant
Developer: Prashast Thapan
Assistant Producer/Videographer: Tarek Turkey
Dive into the amazing world of the Jeju Haenyeo, female divers off the coast of South Korea, in virtual reality.
Director: Jaehee Cho
Producer: Sarabeth Boak
Developer: Jack Tsai
Artist: Kyungkuk Kim
Artist: Na-Yeon Kim
Consultant: Ralph Vituccio
Rainforest is a mixed reality experience where you explore the wonders and threats that forests face. The goal is to have real-world impact on climate change by raising awareness, educating users, and involving leaders who are working in this field.
Creator: Milica Zec
Creator: Winslow Porter
A blue hearted rom-com about people who are going to lose someone they love. Nobody knows what to say. So they fight about nothing, laugh or cry, and dance at the wedding. It’s a romantic comedy, after all.
Co-Director/Writer: Lilian Mehrel
Co-Director/Cinematographer: Mary Evangelista
Producer: Tingerine Liu
Animator: Maya Edelman
Composer: Ariel Marx