International Reporting

Four projects focusing on international reporting were selected to enter the IF/Then pitch competition during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, held in partnership with The New York Times Op-Docs and The Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting on April 25, 2017.


The winner was selected by a professional jury consisting of:

Amy Hobby, Executive Director of TFI
Katleen Lingo, Executive Producer of Op-Docs 
Jon Sawyer, Executive Director of Pulitzer Center
Ben Solomon, Video Journalist at New York Times
Roger Ross Williams, Independent Filmmaker

The jury chose the project "Chinese Surrogates" by Leslie Tai as the competition winner and "Save Song Doong" by Bao Nguyen as a runner-up prize winner from the following four projects:

  • Save Son Doong—Director: Bao Nguyen— Vietnam (Received Runner-Up AWARD)
  • Chinese Surrogates —Director: Leslie Tai— China / USA (Received GRANT PRIZE)
  • Kohmi: Director: Rodrigo Reyes— Mexico / USA 
  • Soul of the Desert— Director: Monica Taboada Tapia— Colombia

The filmmaker with the winning pitch, Leslie Tai, will produce an Op-Doc for The New York Times with a supporting from the Pulitzer Center of up to $20,000 (USD). Subject to The New York Times’s approval, the documentary will premiere on The runner-up, Bao Nguyen, will receive additional funding and mentoring through TFI’s newly launched IF/Then Short Documentary Program, developed with the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

In addition, five college students attending Pultizer Center Campus Consortium schools, and 2016 student fellows from those schools, pitched short documentaries to the same panel of judges. The winners, Luisa Conlon, Hanna Miller, and Lacy Jane Roberts from the University of California Berkeley will receive a grant of up to $10,000 from the Pulitzer Center, also for consideration as an Op-Doc for The New York Times.


Opinionated documentary shorts on international subjects (running one-30 minutes) that fit the editorial and creative scope of Op-Docs. Filmmakers from around the world were eligible to apply.