Tribeca Film Institute and Pond5 Announce Latest Grantees for Dynamic, Year-Round Program

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New York, NY - July 17, 2019 - Tribeca Film Institute®(TFI) and Pond5 have once again teamed up to support a new cohort of creators working in documentary and scripted film. The creators receiving discretionary funding or mentorship from the TFI Pond5 Program are: Erika Cohn and Angela Tucker (BELLY OF THE BEAST); Zoe Miranda (BLUE HOUR); Matt Fifer, Kieran Mulcare, Ramfis Myrthil and Jeremy Truong (CICADA); Michéle Stephenson (FOR MORAIME); Rosie Westhoff (OUR SISTER); Elegance Bratton and Terence Nance (PIER KIDS); and Rita Baghdadi (SIREN).

These seven projects were selected from a pool of more than 200 applicants. TFI and Pond5 launched this alumni-focused program in late 2018 to support storytellers from systemically excluded communities through micro-grants and year-round engagement to help advance their projects and careers. In December 2018, the fund awarded grants to six storytellers. 

“What makes this program unique is that it speaks to the needs of filmmakers who lack resources during ‘in-between’ phases such as research, creative collaboration, festival travel, content, community screenings, outside-the-box mentorship, and extra release support,” said Amy Hobby, Executive Director of Tribeca Film Institute. “The fund is geared towards urgent asks that meaningfully progress a storyteller’s career.” 

“Pond5 is dedicated to ensuring that artists can earn a sustainable living and providing a platform through which they can accomplish just that,” said Pond5 CEO Jason Teichman. “The TFI Pond5 Program is a fantastic way for us to further that mission, and we’re thrilled to see the quality and diversity of work that continues to come through from the filmmakers submitting their projects to the program. Every project selected is truly inspirational, and we can’t wait to see the finished results.”

TFI and Pond5 designed this program to ensure that diverse filmmakers and content creators have access to a continuum of support, including funding, mentoring, networking, and access to the immense portfolio of Pond5 content and technical expertise--all designed to foster a greater sense of community and cohesion among their network of storytellers. Grants and mentorship are available to assist artists with short and feature-length films, including narrative, non-fiction, or immersive projects. 

“It’s brilliant that there is a growing appetite for stories about characters from diverse backgrounds,” said Rosie Westhoff, who received a grant for disability training and access for her film OUR SISTER. “However when it comes to disability, people are often hesitant to cast disabled actors to play these roles. Before I made this film I was quite critical of filmmakers who cast non-disabled actors to play disabled roles, but now I realize that the additional costs makes the process of working with disabled talent more difficult. But I believe we should still try. And so it's the truth when I say it's only possible to make these types of films thanks to funds like this.”

The program is funded by tax-deductible donations, allowing anyone to pledge their support at withPond5 matching all donations. TFI alumni and Pond5 artists can apply for micro-grants and mentorship through the program three times a year, offering multiple opportunities to receive targeted funding with expedited turnaround on the funding.

More information on this round’s recipients can be found below: 


Director, Producer: Erika Cohn (TFI Alumna - Camden/TFI Filmmaker Retreat 2017, TFI Network 2017, Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund 2015)

Producer: Angela Tucker (TFI Alumna - Tribeca All Access® 2012)

TFI Pond5 Program Impact: Funding will support mentorship on impact campaign strategy for their current documentary feature BELLY OF THE BEAST.

Logline: BELLY OF THE BEAST intimately chronicles the journey of women fighting reproductive injustice in their communities.


Director: Zoe Miranda (TFI Alumna - TFI Latin America Fund 2014)

Producers: Ozren Milharčič, Lila Falcón

TFI Pond5 Program Impact: The grant will provide for additional editing time for a narrative short film, BLUE HOUR, which was shot earlier this year Cuba.

Logline: At a neighborhood hospital Mariano, who is receiving a prostate exam, meets China, who is waiting for the body of her dead husband. They spend the afternoon together, and as the night falls, Mariano makes a proposal that lets them imagine a different life.


Director/Screenwriter/Actor: Matt Fifer (TFI Alumnus - TFI Network 2019)

Co-Director: Kieran Mulcare (TFI Alumnus - TFI Network 2019)

Co-Writer: Sheldon D. Brown (TFI Alumnus - TFI Network 2019)

Producer: Ramfis Myrthil (TFI Alumnus - TFI Network 2019)

Producer: Jeremy Truong (TFI Alumnus - TFI Network 2019)

TFI Pond5 Program Impact: This grant provides funding for pick-up shoots for their feature CICADA, which screened as a part of TFI’s Works-In-Progress program during the Tribeca Film Festival. 

Logline: New York City, 2013. A young bisexual man enters an interracial relationship. In the midst of the Sandusky trial, against the backdrop of a cicada summer, he comes to terms with his own childhood trauma.


Director/Producer: Michéle Stephenson (TFI Alumna - TFI New Media Fund 2013, Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund 2011, Tribeca All Access 2009)

TFI Pond5 Program Impact: Support will help Michéle with additional editing for her documentary feature FOR MORAIME (FKA HISPANIOLA).

Logline: Interweaving magical realist storytelling with observational cinema, FOR MORAIME follows Rosa Iris, a Dominican woman who seeks to change her country’s anti-black attitudes by fighting against an antagonistic bureaucracy and the cyclical forces of history.


Director: Rosie Westhoff (Pond5 User)

Producer: Fiona Hardingham

TFI Pond5 Program Impact: The grant will provide disability access and training for the crew of their film OUR SISTER.

Logline: Teenagers Zoe and her sister Tasha, who is autistic, help each other grieve after the death of their younger sister.


Writer/Director: Elegance Bratton (TFI Alumnus - Tribeca All Access 2019)

Executive Producers: Sabaah Folayan, Terence Nance (TFI Alumnus - Tribeca All Access 2017, 2015 and 2013)

TFI Pond5 Program Impact: The grant provided for finishing funds for final sound design for documentary feature PIER KIDS.

Logline: PIER KIDS follows Desean, Casper and Krystal, three homeless queer youth who use the Piers at the end of Christopher Street to build new family as they navigate prostitution, the welfare system, and their biological families in order to find stable housing.


Director/Producer/Cinematographer: Rita Baghdadi (TFI Alumna - Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund 2016, TFI A+E IndieFilms StoryLab 2016, Camden/TFI Retreat 2018)

TFI Pond5 Program Impact: The grant provides travel support for additional filming in Beirut for their documentary SIRENS.

Logline: On the outskirts of Beirut, five young women navigate friendship, identity and the pressure to conform in their pursuit of becoming thrash metal rock stars.

23 Jul 2019

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