Tribeca Film Institute® Announces 2017 Tribeca All Access® Grants to Ten Projects

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TAA Celebrates 14 Years of Support for Underserved Scripted and Documentary Filmmakers

[New York, NY – February 21, 2017] – Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) today announced the selection of ten exceptional projects for the 14th annual Tribeca All Access (TAA) program, which provides filmmakers from communities largely underserved in the industry with year-round support, guidance and resources to complete their projects. The TAA program will award these talented filmmakers a total of $100,000 in grant money in 2017.

Ten outstanding scripted and documentary works-in-progress, from both established filmmakers and those who are newer and outside of New York and Los Angeles, were selected by TFI’s Artist Programs team. Founded in 2004, 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 underrepresented voices with vital stories to tell to the mainstream. Grantees of the fund are also eligible for the TAA Alumni program, which supports their present and future work.

“There has never been a more important time to ensure that storytellers from all backgrounds and perspectives have an opportunity to have their voices heard,” said Amy Hobby, Executive Director of TFI. “For nearly a decade and a half, Tribeca All Access has staked out a place for distinctive filmmakers from a diversity of backgrounds, and we remain steadfastly committed to championing these storytellers and standing by them as they evolve throughout their careers.”

Hailing from 45 cities, this year’s group of applicants was the most geographically diverse in the program’s history. Also diverse in composition and topical in content, each of the scripted projects takes risks with form and each of the documentary projects in some way reflects the current social and political shifts in America. Additionally, TFI is the first funder of many of this year’s projects, showing the organization’s willingness to support and lend legitimacy to meaningful work that has not yet demonstrated other backing.

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 State Council on the Arts and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

“Our decade-long commitment to Tribeca All Access is an investment that ensures more voices are not only identified, but also included in the growing landscape of storytelling,” said Lisa Garcia Quiroz, President, Time Warner Foundation. “We are proud to support the important work Tribeca Film Institute is doing to further enrich the film industry. We look forward to seeing the work of this year’s supported TAA artists as they add to the legacy of a longstanding program that values cultivating ideas, nurturing careers and transforming the artistic landscape.”

Since 2004, TAA has supported 278 films and more than 540 filmmakers who are from communities largely underserved in the entertainment industry. TAA projects have gone on to receive worldwide exposure and acclaim, and include: Whose Streets?, Jean of the Joneses, Five Nights in Maine, Nas: Time is Illmatic, Obvious Child, (T)ERROR, Thank You For Playing, Evolution Of A Criminal, Una Noche, and Gideon’s Army.

At this year’s Tribeca Film Festival®, TAA-supported filmmakers will participate, along with other TFI grantees and selected invitees, in one-on-one meetings with members of industry from around the world. The filmmakers will meet and strategize with film industry executives, potential investors, development executives, producers, agents and other key players in the space. Additionally, they will get to attend an Open House and Pitch Preparation Day, which will include short talks by industry experts on best practices.

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

  • Monsters and Men: Written and Directed by Reinaldo M. Green. Produced by Elizabeth Lodge Stepp and Josh Penn. After capturing an illegal act of police violence on his cellphone, a Brooklyn street hustler sets off a series of events that alter the lives of a local police officer and a star high-school athlete.
  • Selah and the Spades: Written and Directed by Tayarisha Poe. Produced by Lauren McBride. Once upon a time, a girl named Selah started Pontomic High School’s most merciless gang: The Spades. Captivated by the pleasures and dangers of power, Selah is both charming and callous when deciding who to keep close and who to ruin.
  • The Green Guerrillas: Written and Directed by Dean Colin Marcial. Chronicling the rise and fall of an impassioned eco-terrorist group, The Green Guerrillas explores the explosive and bloody politics of the last decade in the Philippines. The destinies of an ambitious college student, an aging former activist, a young American journalist and a tough-talking mayor collide in this modern-day “sweet Spaghetti Western.”
  • The Short History of the Long Road: Written and Directed by Ani Simon-Kennedy.  Produced by Darren Dean and Kishori Rajan. Teenage Nola grew up living out of a van with her charismatic father Clint - two nomads against the world. When Clint suddenly passes away, Nola is confronted by the reality of life on the road alone. In order to survive, she'll need to take the wheel for the first time - learning to own her grief, her past and her new destination.
  • White: Co-Written and Directed by A. Sayeeda Moreno. Co-Written by Michah Schaffer.  Produced by Monique Gabriela Curnen, Chanelle Elaine and Kristie Lutz. In a burning hot near-future, climate change has both devastated the planet and turned melanin into the world's most valuable commodity. When Nuyorican beauty LUNA has her newborn ripped from her arms just moments after giving birth, she is thrust into the merciless world of melanin harvesting to save her daughter, her community and spark a revolution.

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

  • Bloodthicker: Directed by Zac Manuel. Produced by Chris Haney and Lauren Domino. In the shadows of their famous fathers, three young men fight to build upon their familial legacies while navigating the pitfalls of rap culture.  
  • Border South: Directed by Raul O. Paz Pastrana. Produced by Jason De Leon. Co-Produced by John Doering-White and Emily Parkey.  Mexico now deports more immigrants than the United States. Border South melds ethnography and cinema-verité to explore the harsh environment and brutal journey of undocumented immigrants from Central America crossing through Mexico towards the United States.
  • How to Have an American Baby: Directed and Produced by Leslie Tai. Co-produced by Jillian Schultz. There is a city in Southern California that is teeming with pregnant women from China. How to Have an American Baby is a kaleidoscopic voyage, told through multiple perspectives, into the booming shadow economy catering to Chinese birth tourists who travel to the U.S. on "birthing vacations" in order to give birth to babies who will become American citizens.
  • Jaddoland: Directed and Produced by Nadia Shihab. Produced by Talal Al-Muhanna. A visit back home to Texas prompts the filmmaker to reflect on her mother’s creative life. However, when her Iraqi refugee grandfather arrives on their doorstep, his presence raises deeper questions about belonging and the places the family calls home. 
  • The Youth: Directed and Produced by Eunice Lau and Arthur Nazaryan. A father seeks to understand why his son is accused of terrorism after an FBI sting operation puts him and five others in prison. The Youth follows the lives of Somali-Americans in Minnesota as they struggle against Islamophobia in contemporary America.

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.

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21 Feb 2017

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