AT&T Presents: Untold Stories: Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply?

The application for AT&T Presents: Untold Stories consists of an online form (SUBMISSIONS NOW CLOSED) that must be completed and uploaded by the submission deadline.

Are documentaries or short films eligible?

No, only scripted feature films.

How many projects will be selected for the pitches? And how are winning films selected?

Contest officials from the film and television industry will select five projects which the projects' filmmakers will pitch to a jury of media professionals in April 2020. Of the five finalists, only one will win an award of $1 million. The filmmaker(s) of the remaining four projects will receive a $10,000 grant toward the continued development of their film.

Are student films eligible for AT&T Presents: Untold Stories?


What if I am turning my grad thesis into a feature?

Grad theses being turned into feature films are eligible for the fund; however, the new project should be a stand-alone film.  

When will I be notified about my application status?

All applicants will be notified via e-mail no later than March 1, 2020.

I do not have enough footage. Do I need footage to apply to AT&T presents: Untold Stories?

A minimum of 7 minutes of consecutive footage is required of the director’s previous work and we encourage more.

Do I need a full script or is a treatment sufficient?

Submission of a completed script is mandatory. Upon submission, the script must be ready to go into pre-production in May 2020.

What is an Artistic Statement?

The Artistic Statement is your opportunity to discuss your creative vision for your project. This is where you can speak of the tone and style of the film, and to the reasoning behind your creative choices with regards to subject matter, medium, setting, etc. It’s also the place to touch upon your motivation for telling this story and for how you’ve decided to tell it.

What kind of photo do I need for my application? How can I get it to you?

You should upload a photo that is at least 10" on the short side (or 3000 pixels) with a 300 dpi resolution, so that it attachess to your application. While you definitely don’t need a professional headshot, you should upload a picture that you are comfortable seeing online and in print, as it may be used for promotional purposes if your project is selected. Be sure to name your photo ‘firstname_lastname.jpg’ before uploading it! We cannot accept photos by mail or e-mail.

Do AT&T and Tribeca look for certain types of films? How do I know if my project has a “qualified director, producer or screenwriter” attached?

The AT&T Presents Untold Stories Pitch Award has no restrictions on genre, style, or theme, but the film should not contain excessive drug use, violence or offensive language.  Contest officials select projects with the intent to support working filmmakers and producers based in U.S. and Puerto Rico who come from communities underrepresented in the film industry and whose projects are ready to go into production in 2020.

Is AT&T presents: Untold Stories open to filmmakers from around the world?

Applicants must be current residents of the US or Puerto Rico, but they do not need to be US citizens. For more information email

I am a screenwriter, but no director/producer is attached to my project yet. Do I qualify for the award?

No. Projects need to have a director attached and we strongly encourage also attaching a producer to the project.

I have previously directed two feature films. Do I qualify for the award?

This program is primarily for first or second feature directors. To inquire further, please contact us at

When do I need to be in attendance for the pitch?

The qualifying director will be required to pitch in New York at the start of the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival. It is encouraged to pitch with a producer as well, and pitches can be presented in teams of one or two.

If my project is selected for AT&T Presents: Untold Stories, will it screen at the Tribeca Film Festival?

Yes. You are required to premiere at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival and not before. There is no guarantee you will be in competition, but the programming team will seriously consider the project once you submit a rough cut.

Can I apply to other TFI programs?

Yes, you will answer a number of preliminary questions that will determine if your project is also eligible for other programs. This process allows you to fill out only one application per project.

Am I allowed to submit more than one project?

No. We encourage filmmakers to select their strongest project. You are, however, eligible to hold a different role on another applicant’s project.

If selected, what is the format of the pitch?

The pitch will be to a jury of industry professionals and a room of TFF badge holders, and will be livestreamed on Tribeca and AT&T social channels. The pitch should be no longer than 10 minutes and there will be five minutes for questions from the jury. You are allowed a look book, mood reel, sizzle or previous work that is CLEARED for livestream.

Will the jurors review my project before the pitch?

The jurors will be given material (application, script, budget) to review before the pitch. You will be given the opportunity to send updated materials to send to the jury.

When will the winner be decided?

Deliberations will be immediately following the pitch, and the jury's decision will be announced at a luncheon hosted by AT&T and Tribeca. One project will be awarded $1,000,000, and the remaining four projects will receive $10,000 for further development and production.  

What does the winning filmmaker need to do to receive the award money?

The filmmaker(s) will set up a single-purpose LLC to receive the winning proceeds and to produce the film. The filmmaker(s), via the LLC, will assume all liabilities in connection with the production (e.g., errors and omissions liability and insurance, guild obligations, if any, etc.). The filmmaker(s) must sign a long-form contract, plus submit a production schedule and a budget in advance of receiving first award payment.  

What do the four projects need to do to receive the $10,000 grant money?

Filmmakers will sign an agreement with TFI for a one-time payment of the $10,000 grant to either an LLC or an individual. The filmmaker(s) will receive the grant eight to 10 weeks after the pitch. The grant also comes with mentorship from TFI and a high consideration to participate in the TFI Network market of filmmaker/industry meetings the following year.

Can the winning filmmaker receive any additional financing or funding?

Filmmakers may accept additional funding with respect to the film; however, such funding cannot grant any ownership rights or license rights in contravention of AT&T’s exclusive distribution rights. Examples of additional funding permitted include crowd-source campaigns, grants, donations through a fiscal sponsor or in-kind donations.  

Are there any stipulations on how I spend my grant if selected?

No, but the $1 million award must be used for production costs for the winning project. Tribeca will provide extensive guidance and advice for the final budget. TFI will set a payment schedule and disperse funds accordingly. Examples of fund disbursement include: payment of a percentage of the budget on signing the filmmaker production services contract, payment of a percentage at the start of production, payment of a percentage at the start of post-production, and payment of the final amount upon satisfatory delivery of the final cut.

Will AT&T fund a theatrical release to qualify for awards?

AT&T or Tribeca Film Festival will arrange a limited, theatrical run in New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA for one week each, which may meet the minimum for Academy Award qualification. 

How is AT&T involved in the distribution of my project? What are the exclusive windows?

AT&T will have exclusive worldwide distribution rights to the film for a period of five years with an option (in AT&T's sole discretion) to distribute on third party platforms. 

Will I need to bring on a sales agent for either additional domestic or international sales?

No. AT&T will have exclusive worldwide distribution rights to the film for five years.

Will the rights be revert back to the filmmaker? If so, when?

Throughout AT&T's exclusive distribution window, the filmmaker retains copyright in the film. Upon expiration of AT&T's exclusive five-year license period, all distribution rights, including to all going forward revenue share, will revert to the winning filmmaker.

Where can I find additional answers to questions? 

You will find more information about the application process in our Rules & Regulations. Our staff will be happy to answer any other questions or concerns you may have. Please contact us at or 212.274.8080