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TAA Celebrates 15 Years of Support for Scripted and Documentary Filmmakers 

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[New York, NY – February 28, 2018] – Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) announced today, the selection of ten exceptional scripted and documentary projects for the 15th annual Tribeca All Access (TAA) program, which amplifies stories from historically underrepresented voices.  The ten projects, 7 of which have female directors, will each receive a $10,000 grant as well as customized year-round support, guidance, and industry access from TFI.


Hailing from 7 different cities, these projects tackle a range of themes from coming-of-age with growing immediacy and access to technology, to the effect the current administration has had on all different races, ages and regions.


Established in 2004, TAA has since supported more than 560 filmmakers including Dee Rees, director and writer of the 2018 Academy Award nominated film Mudbound and Roger Ross Williams, director of the 2016 Academy Award nominated documentary Life, Animated.  Many TAA projects have gone on to receive worldwide exposure and acclaim, and include: Monsters and Men; Hale Country This Morning, This Evening; The Reagan Show; Whose Streets?; Jean of the Joneses; Five Nights in Maine; Nas: Time is Illmatic; Obvious Child; (T)ERROR; Una Noche and Gideon’s Army.


TAA is TFI’s flagship and longest-running filmmaker program, providing financial support and a broad range of development opportunities for storytellers who create groundbreaking projects that bring marginalized voices with vital stories to tell, to a mainstream audience. Grantees of the program are also welcomed into the TAA Alumni fund, which supports their present and future work.

Amy Hobby, TFI Executive Director says: "As demonstrated by the 2018 grantees, Tribeca All Access continues to be a torchbearer for bold projects that experiment with storytelling and navigate culturally relevant topics with courage and grace. TFI is proud to be an early funder of so many TAA stories created by, about, and for communities that historically have been pushed to the margins. At a time when truths are called into question, we are thrilled to amplify authentic voices from across the U.S., whose echoes will be felt far and wide."  


TFI is the first funder of many of this year’s projects, demonstrating the Institute’s tenacity for identifying and amplifying storytellers ahead of the curve.   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, National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and New York State Council on the Arts.


Diahann Billings-Burford, Executive Director, Cultural Investments at Time Warner Inc. says: "The Time Warner Foundation remains proud of our partnership with Tribeca Film Institute. As we work together to support artists of color and usher in the next generation of great storytellers, we stand behind the Tribeca All Access program as seeding systemic change for the field. We look forward to celebrating the work of these filmmakers in the years ahead!"


At this year’s Tribeca Film Festival®, TAA-supported filmmakers will participate, along with grantees from TFI’s other programs, in the AT&T Presents TFI Network, a market of one-on-one meetings with members of industry from around the world. From April 19-20, the TFI Network will allow the filmmakers to meet and strategize with film industry executives, potential investors, development executives, producers, agents and other key players in the space. Additionally, participants are able to attend an Open House and Pitch Preparation Day, which will include panels by industry experts on best practices.


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



After 17 years in exile, Walter’s wife and daughter are reunited with him in the U.S., now absolute strangers.  They struggle to overcome the personal and political hurdles between them, sacrificing the lives they built while separated and need to rely on the muscle memory of Angolan dance to rediscover each other. 

Director, Screenwriter, Producer: Ekwa Msangi

Producer: Huriyyah Muhammad



After cutting her ties to responsibility and romance, a reckless train hopper on a nightmarish ride must confront the cost of freedom.

Director, Co-screenwriter: Natalia Leite

Co-screenwriter: Liz Armstrong



In the era of chill, where the goal is to “live your best life” for your followers, two young lovers are torn apart. Twenty year-olds Zoe and Oscar fight for love, sex and connection in the age of Instagram.

Director, Screenwriter: Francesca Mirabella

 Co-Producer: Ilana Rossein



When Malik’s single mother confiscates the speaker he uses to dance on the subway, he reinvents himself as the “man of the house” to earn her respect. As he fights a looming eviction from their South Bronx home, the call of his passion for dancing becomes too strong to ignore.

Director, Screenwriter: Joel Vargas

Producer: Alyssa Villegas


We Strangers follows Rayelle "Ray" Martin, who is a commercial cleaner for a company that sends her to clean foreclosed homes and commercial spaces. While on the job, she meets a dentist who invites her to become his personal housekeeper for a substantial amount of money. Ray accepts the job, and she unwittingly enters a whole new world of the rich Northwest Indiana elite.

Director, Screenwriter: Anu Valia

Producer: Rachel Nederveld


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



As the trauma of more than a century of lynching African Americans bleeds into the present, Always in Season follows both the relatives of the perpetrators and the victims who are seeking justice in the midst of heated national debates surrounding the value of black lives.

Director, Producer, Writer: Jacqueline Olive

Produced by: Ann Bennett



In the shadow of Texas’s lucrative building boom, immigrant workers are on a downward spiral to poverty, illness, and death. Building the American Dream explores intimate stories from the frontlines of the construction industry, as undocumented immigrants fight for their basic rights.

Director, Producer: Chelsea Hernandez

Producers: Marisol Medrano and Mario Troncoso



Midnight Traveler follows a family of Afghan filmmakers on the run from the Taliban. Told from filmmaker Hassan Fazili’s first-person perspective, their story provides unprecedented access into the complex refugee crisis with the West.

Director: Hassan Fazili

Producer: Emelie Mahdavian




In a Florida town where hardship and struggle have afflicted generations, hopes for the future are concentrated on the young. Pahokee is a poetic observation that follows four youth ascending from heartbreak and relishing in the joyous rites of passage that serve as their send-off from the only town they call home.

Directors, Producers: Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan

Producer: Maida Lynn

Co-Producers: PJ Raval



Unbowed is the untold life story of an iconic seventy-year-old revolutionary. Surviving a lifetime of resistance, torture and prisoner exchanges, she restarts her life in the aftermath of a political deportation.
Directed and Produced by Nehad Khader


About Tribeca Film Institute

Tribeca Film Institute champions storytellers to be catalysts for change in their communities and around the world. Each year, we identify a diverse group of exceptional filmmakers and media artists and 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 organization founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff in the wake of September 11, 2001.

27 Feb 2018

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