Tribeca Film Institute Announces 2015 Tribeca All Access Grantees

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Tribeca Film Institute® Announces Tribeca All Access® Grants to 15 Film & Interactive Projects

TAA Celebrates 12 Years of Support for Underrepresented Filmmakers & Digital Storytellers, Hosts Rising Members of the LGBT Filmmaking Community at Tribeca Film Festival®

[New York, NY – March 19, 2015] – Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) today announced fifteen promising new projects selected for the 12th annual Tribeca All Access (TAA) program, along with two members of the LGBT filmmaking community selected as special fellows to attend its annual market during the Tribeca Film Festival. The TAA program supports filmmakers from statistically underrepresented communities and will grant support for each of the projects as well as offer year-round support, guidance, and resources to help filmmakers complete them. TAA filmmakers are also welcomed into the TAA Alumni program, which supports their present and future work. In 2015, TAA and TAA Alumni will award a total of $200,000 in grant money.

Fifteen exceptional scripted, documentary and interactive works-in-progress were selected from 710 submissions from across the country. The TAA grantees are overseen by Ryan Harrington, Vice President, Artist Programs at TFI and encompass a collection of emerging and established diverse filmmakers.

“Tribeca All Access is TFI’s cornerstone filmmaker program and through it we are constantly reevaluating what “diversity” means,” said Harrington.  “This year, we are proud to extend our support to interactive and LGBT filmmakers, while maintaining the core mission of the program to amplify the voices of fearless, underrepresented artists.”

Since its founding in 2004, the diversity-focused TAA has served as TFI’s premiere scripted and documentary filmmaker program, specializing in providing a range of programming for storytellers who create groundbreaking media projects that bring unheard voices to the mainstream.

TAA is made possible by Time Warner Foundation, a leading supporter of TFI since 2006, with additional support from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and The New York State Council on the Arts.

“As a global company, Time Warner is committed to telling with world’s stories through the voices of the best storytellers.” said Lisa Garcia Quiroz, SVP Cultural Investments & Chief Diversity Officer, Time Warner Inc., and President, Time Warner Foundation.  “That commitment is the inspiration for the mission of the Time Warner Foundation – to discover, nurture and celebrate the next generation of storytellers. Through innovative partnerships with leading arts organizations like The Tribeca Film Institute, the Time Warner Foundation invests in programs that develop promising talent from all backgrounds. This is why the Tribeca All Access program continues to be such a wonderful example of our mission brought to life.”

Since 2004, TAA has supported 252 films and more than 395 filmmakers who identify as members of a minority group. TAA alumni projects have gone on to receive worldwide exposure and acclaim, including: Nas: Time is Illmatic, Obvious Child, (T)ERROR, God Loves Uganda, Evolution Of A Criminal, Una Noche, and Gideon’s Army.

With the support of the MacArthur Foundation, 2015 will mark the first year that this program has expanded to include interactive storytellers through five additional grants. TFI will implement three new programming initiatives under TAA:  an Interactive Prototype Fund, a workshop for TAA Interactive grantees and a dedicated TAA hackathon.

Five grants will be awarded to interactive projects in various stages:

  • Declare Home: Produced by Judith Helfand, Daniel Latorre and Fenell Doremus. Inspired by the feature documentary-in-progress, Cooked, about extreme weather and the politics of disaster, Declare Home is a mobile rapid response online civic groupware app for community organizers and resilience workers responding to public health disasters unfolding in slow motion, everyday.
  • Roll Red Roll: Produced by Nancy Schwartzman; designed by Tin Geber. A whistle-blowing blogger uncovers disturbing social media evidence documenting the gang rape of a teenage girl. The story of a football town divided, Roll Red Roll combines Live Action Role Playing, theatre of the oppressed, and process drama.
  • The Shiprock Experience: Directed and written by Ramona Emerson; produced by Kelly Byars; interactive prototypes designed by Patricia Antelles and Melinda Hess. The Shiprock Experience is a rare immersive view of a unique place and its inhabitants inspired by The Mayor of Shiprock, a feature documentary, about a young group of Navajo men and women transforming their long disenchanted community.
  • South Meets North:  Produced by Redelia Shaw, Dan Fallshaw and Violeta Ayala. This transmedia project inspired by the film Cocaine Prison, South Meets North is the hub that connects the stories of those caught up in the War on Drugs in both the South and the North of the Americas.
  • Traveling While Black: Produced by Roger Ross Williams, Joseph Lovett, Bonnie Nelson Schwartz, Lina Srivastava. Traveling While Black immerses global audiences in the American story of minorities’ struggle for freedom of movement, from the pre-civil rights era through to the challenges of minority travelers face today.

During this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, TFI filmmakers from TAA will participate, along with grantees from TFI’s other programs, in “TFI Network Market,” one-on-one industry meetings on Tuesday, April 21 and Wednesday, April 22 which allow the filmmakers to network with film industry executives, potential investors, development executives, producers and agents.  They will also get to attend a Pitch Preparation Workshop and Open House hosted by Time Warner, which will include an afternoon of short talks by industry experts on best practices.

Five grants will be awarded to scripted projects in various stages:

  • Be Safe I Love You:  Directed by Haifaa Al Mansour.  A young female soldier returns home from Iraq traumatized and desperate to get her brother out of their small town destiny and protect him from the dangers and threats of the real world.
  • Black Sunshine: Directed and produced by Akosua Adoma Owusu. As a young Albino girl tries to balance her life between her demanding mother and her rejecting environment, a mythical reality is presented to her, but the path it leads to might be darker than she thinks.
  • Five Nights in Maine:  Directed by Maris Curran; produced by Maris Curran, Matt Parker, David Oyelowo and Carly Hugo.  A young African American man, reeling from the tragic loss of his wife, travels to rural Maine to seek answers from his estranged mother-in-law, who is herself confronting guilt and grief over her daughter’s death.
  • White Sun: Directed and produced by Deepak Rauniyar.  A dark comedy about life in a Nepali Mountain village in the wake of the decade-long armed conflict.
  • You & Me Both: Directed by Jennifer Cho Suhr; Produced by Carolyn Mao. When two sisters, estranged by the older one's addiction, learn at their mother's funeral that their birth mother is still alive, they go on a journey to find her. 

Under TAA, TFI this year will also host two rising members of the LGBT filmmaking community at the industry meetings. The two, who will be considered for meetings along with the TAA scripted filmmakers, are writer/director, Ingrid Jungermann, for Women Who Kill and writer/director, Hernando Bansuelo, for Martinez, CA.  With the lack of feature films in Hollywood that depict realistic, positive portrayals of the LGBT community, TFI aims to extend the mission of TAA’s diversity support to bring attention to these types of projects.

Five grants will be awarded to documentary projects in various stages: 

  • Ask The Sexpert: Directed and produced by Vaishali Sinha. A feature documentary centered on a highly popular sex column in a daily newspaper in India. Despite sex being a taboo topic in India, the column’s brand of non-moralistic advice and humor is emboldening many to write in with their questions.
  • Free From What: Directed by Anonymous; produced by Thomas Benski, Julia Nottingham and Lucas Ochoa. The story of two Iranian émigrés living in Brooklyn.
  • Last Call: Directed & produced by Lana Wilson. A Japanese Buddhist priest combats the suicide epidemic, helping desperate men and women re-discover the will to live. But as he pours all his time and energy into saving others, a serious health crisis develops in his own life.
  • So Young So Pretty So White: Directed by Chanelle Aponte Pearson and Terence Nance; produced by Yaba Blay and Michelle Serieux. Weaving together the lives of several compelling men and women from across the globe, the film is a window into the world of skin bleaching, unveiling what drives people to lighten their skin and the complex factors that make it difficult to stop.
  • The Reagan Years: Directed by Pacho Velez; produced by Sierra Pettengill.  The documentary follows the prolific actor’s defining role: Leader of the Free World. It uses the Reagan administration’s internal documentation to capture the surreal spectacle of American might at its acme.

TFI through TAA will also host two Kartemquin DVID fellows at TFI Network Market. The fellows, part of a collaborative center in Chicago for documentary media makers who seek to foster a more engaged and empowered society, will be considered for meetings along with the TAA documentary filmmakers.

For select images from some of these projects, please visit:

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About Tribeca Film Institute   

Tribeca Film Institute supports cutting-edge storytelling for social change in our communities and around the world. 

Each year, we identify a diverse group of exceptional filmmakers and media artists then empower them with funding and resources to fully realize their stories and connect with audiences. Further, our education programs empower students through hands-on training and exposure to socially relevant films, offering young people the media skills necessary to be creative and productive global citizens.

We are a year-round nonprofit arts organization founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff in the wake of September 11, 2001.

For more information and a list of all TFI programs visit

Sarah Novatt
212-691-2800 or

19 Mar 2015

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