TFI Docs Summer Recap: The 5th Annual Camden/TFI Retreat (presented by CNN Films)

Each year, the Tribeca Film Institute joins the Points North Institute and CNN Films in Rockport and Camden, Maine to host a talented group of documentary filmmakers for a week-long stay mentorship and workshopping. The 2019 Camden/TFI Retreat brought together five thoughtful and compelling feature documentary projects in the late production - early edit stage, with its storytellers all focusing on themes and narratives exploring different facets of contemporary America. 

Photo credit: Jean Tsien.

Leading the mentorship sessions and master classes were a sterling roster of advisors, who delved fully into each project’s current objectives & struggles - and shed clarifying light into each team’s creative processes. The advisors this year were comprised of: director/producer Geeta Gandbhir (LOVE THE SINNER, REMEMBERING THE ARTIST: ROBERT DENIRO SR), editor Jean Tsien (PLASTIC CHINA, THE APOLLO), producer Sue Turley (former Managing Director of ro*co films productions) and filmmaker Steve Maing (HIGH TECH LOW LIFE, CRIME + PUNISHMENT).

Photo credit: Jean Tsien.

"All five participating projects at the Camden/TFI Retreat carried a lived-in quality in their stories – because the filmmakers telling these stories were directly or indirectly influenced by these communities being explored," said Jose Rodriguez, TFI's Director of Documentary Programs. "This level of embeddedness in each storyteller’s work further deepened the dynamics and conversation that took place throughout the workshop week."

Photo credit: Jean Tsien.

Meet the five filmmaking teams that joined us for the 2019 Camden/TFI Retreat:


AN ACT OF WORSHIP follows a new generation of female Muslim-American activists while Islamophobia is sharply on the rise in the U.S.

Director: Nausheen Dadabhoy is a Pakistani-American cinematographer and director who works in documentary and fiction. She has had an Oscar-Nominated film, projects at Sundance, TIFF, and Tribeca, and on platforms like HBO, PBS, and Netflix. 

Editor: Sara Maamouri is a multi-lingual Tunisian-American documentary filmmaker who has explored a diverse range of topics for almost 20 years. She edited and produced Peabody award-winning THE JUDGE and WE ARE NOT PRINCESSES (DOCNYC 2018).

AN AMERICAN PRISONER (working title)

AN AMERICAN PRISONER (working title) explores the tension between man and symbol, identity and idealism, through the lens of one man’s turbulent life.

Director: Eugene Yi has worked in film and print for 15 years, with an interest in diasporic communities and Asian American stories.

Director: Julie Ha has worked as a journalist and storyteller for more than 25 years, with a specialized focus on Asian American stories. AN AMERICAN PRISONER (Working Title) is her first documentary film.


THE IN BETWEEN is a lyrical coming of age story of the border kid on the U.S./Mexico frontier.

Director/Producer/Cinematographer: Robie Flores is an independent filmmaker whose work has appeared on CNN, Bloomberg, Teen Vogue and Vice. Her latest project THE IN BETWEEN has received support from Chicken & Egg, IFP, and Points North Institute. 

Producer/Cinematographer: Alejandro Flores is producing his first documentary feature The IN BETWEEN, which has received support from Chicken & Egg, IFP, and Points North Institute. Alejandro is also a fellow in the 2019 Southern Producer’s Lab.


A documentary film exploring the origins of the American religious right and pro-life movements.

Director/Producer: Kristen Irving-Jordan is the former Director of Social Action at Participant Media. Kristen produced LIFE AFTER MANSON which premiered at Tribeca. She participated in the Film Independent Documentary Lab in 2019, and previously held positions at the CAA (Creative Artists Agency) Foundation and in various nonprofits.

Producer: Katie Doering was formerly the producer of Sundance Catalyst and led the Women at Sundance Fellowship at the Sundance Institute.


Once the world's most popular astrologer, Walter Mercado seeks to resurrect a forgotten legacy. Walter is a gender non-conforming, cape-wearing psychic whose televised horoscopes reached 120 million viewers daily before he mysteriously disappeared. This is the story of what happened and why. 

Co-Director: Cristina Costantini is directing WALTER alongside Kareem Tabsch. Before making her first documentary, Cristina was an investigative journalist. Her first film, SCIENCE FAIR, won a Critic’s Choice Award and audience awards at Sundance and SXSW.

Producer: Alex Fumero is a producer and writer. Current projects include WALTER, and a scripted adaptation of Richard Blanco’s memoir, The Prince of Los Cucuyos. Most recently, he served as Vice President, Original Programming, for HBO.


Photo credit: Jean Tsien.