New York, New York – April 16, 2020 – Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) today announced the participants of their annual TFI Network, the organization’s film market that convenes their newly-supported storytellers to engage and foster partnerships with industry professionals. TFI Network, presented by AT&T, typically brings artists from all over the world to New York City for a day of pitch prep and industry roundtables and two days of one-on-one individual meetings with industry during the Tribeca Film Festival. Given the circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 TFI Network will be hosted as a virtual event for the first time ever, April 27 through May 1.
“TFI remains dedicated to creating opportunities for independent artists without compromising their health or safety,” said Amy Hobby, Executive Director at Tribeca Film Institute. “The remarkable agility of our team allowed us to quickly pivot this three-day in-person program to an exceptionally robust virtual event, so even through these extraordinary circumstances, we’ll continue to connect emerging talent with the tools they need to take their projects to the next level.”
Participants will participate in “Prep Week” prior to TFI Network, April 21 through 23. Throughout that week, TFI’s newly-supported storytellers will participate in online pitch training sessions, with the support of industry professionals acting as pitch mentors. TFI staff will also moderate virtual seminars where invited industry representatives will speak to their organization’s or companies’ background and inform TFI artists on possible funding support avenues and resources.
Previous TFI Network participants include Bracey Smith and Anja Moreno-Smith (2019), whose VR project ARMONIA premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival and went on to Cannes 2019; Jiayan “Jenny” Shi (2019), whose documentary feature FINDING YINGYING was selected to premiere at SXSW 2020 and won the festival’s Documentary Feature Special Jury Prize for Breakthrough Voice; and Ekwa Msangi, whose scripted film FAREWELL AMOR premiered at Sundance in 2020.
Teams attending the TFI Network include 2020 Tribeca All Access grantees, 2020 Sloan Filmmaker Fund grantees, and teams selected through partnerships with the following organizations: Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC), Beirut Cinema Platform (BCP), Chicago International Film Festival, Close Up Forum (FKA Greenhouse), Docedge Kolkata (Asian Forum for Documentary), DocsMX (Documentary Film Festival in Mexico City), FICG (Guadalajara International Film Festival), EICTV Nuevas Miradas (Cuba), Kartemquin Diverse Voices in Documentary Program, Los Cabos International Film Festival, Luang Prabang Talent Lab, New Orleans Film Society, NEW INC, Red Sea Film Festival, and SANFIC (Santiago International Film Festival).
PROJECTS - SCRIPTED
ALL DIRT ROADS TASTE OF SALT (USA)
Director, Screenwriter, Producer: Raven Jackson
Producer: Maria Altamirano
Logline: Through lyrical portraits evoking the texture of memories, ALL DIRT ROADS TASTE OF SALT viscerally and sensorially explores the life of Mack, a Black woman in Tennessee, from her youth to her older years.
AMERICAN 11 (USA)
Director, Co-Screenwriter: Shayain Lakhani
Producers: Darren Dean, Liz Kraushaar
Co-Screenwriter, Editor: Devon Solwold
Logline: Nabeel is a 17-year-old B-average student from Boston, content making beats with his best friend. When he loses his mother on September 11th, 2001, he must navigate his new-found identity as an American, who happens to be Muslim, in the aftermath of the attacks.
LOS CAÍDOS (Cuba)
In collaboration with EICTV Nuevas Miradas (Cuba)
Director: Damián Sainz Edwards
Producer: Viana González
Logline: The aging Orestes lives a solitary life in Old Havana until the day his daughter – who Orestes abandoned when she came out as a transwoman – is found dead. Orestes must question his own prejudices in order to form a relationship with his newly discovered adult grandson, Gabriel.
Director: Reagan Gomez
Screenwriter: Chris Courtney Martin
Producers: Sandra Leviton, Rachel Liu, & Chris Courtney Martin
Logline: When a pair of gentrifying hipsters move their artisanal deli into West Philly, Kenni is the only local that suspects they’re cannibalizing more than the culture.
COSTA BRAVA LEBANON (Lebanon)
In collaboration with Beirut Cinema Platform
Director: Mounia Akl
Co-Screenwriter: Clara Roquet
Producers: Myriam Sassine & Georges Schoucair
Logline: The Badri family lives in isolation in Lebanon’s mountain. When the government inaugurates a landfill outside their fence, everything they escape catches up with them.
FIRE.W*RKS IN LIBERTY SQUARE (USA)
In collaboration with the New Orleans Film Society
Director, Screenwriter: Faren Humes
Logline: Visions of a changing world, brought on by the rapidly gentrifying Liberty Square, have seeped into the unconscious minds of Liberty Square resident Milagros, Lafayette and Ramsey.
FLY GIRL (USA)
Director: Angela Chen
Screenwriter: Christine Hoang
Producer: Summer Yang
Logline: When Linh, a 42-year-old, Vietnamese American, recently-divorced mom impresses at a “twerkshop”, she is invited to join a 90s-inspired hip-hop dance team: the Fly Girls. A chubby Gen-Xer in a crew of thin Millennials, Linh must overcome her insecurities to prove she belongs.
In collaboration with Luang Prabang Talent Lab
Director: JP Habac
Producers: Daphne O. Chiu & Omar Sortijas
Logline: In order to raise funds for a house in Manila, a group of homeless gay seniors reunite and revive their former drag queen performances.
JOHNNY LOVES DOLORES (USA)
Director, Screenwriter, Producer: Clarissa de los Reyes
Producer: Cecilia R. Mejia
Logline: As a community struggles to keep afloat during the 2008 recession, a lonely, underpaid clerk considers a lucrative “green card marriage” that runs counter to his ideal of marrying for love. His plans are complicated when an undocumented immigrant woman he secretly loves finds herself in dire financial need.
PRONE TO WANDER (USA)
Director, Screenwriter: Maggie Briggs
Producer: Amanda Freedman
Logline: Told through a collection of seven Sundays in the summer of her eleventh year, Lua Dunn falls hard into adolescence as she navigates her first love with conflicting lessons from her street and her church.
SHARSHAF (Egypt/Saudi Arabia)
In collaboration with the Red Sea International Film Festival
Director: Hind Malfe Alfahhad
Screenwriter: Hana Abdullah Alomair
Producer: Talal Ayel Alharbi
Logline: In 1978, Haila, a conservative Muslim woman, expands her understanding of the society around her and builds bridges in her new marriage after her eyes are opened to the magic of cinema.
THREE HOURS (USA)
In collaboration with Chicago International Film Festival
Director, Screenwriter: Aemilia Scott
Producer: Holli Hopkins McGinley
Logline: Single mother Alma is living on the edge in Chicago’s Humboldt Park with her five-year-old daughter Ruby. Alma has three hours to find someone - anyone - to care for her child, or she risks losing the job that keeps a roof over their heads.
PROJECTS – DOCUMENTARY
Director, Producer: Emelie Madhavian
Producer: Su Kim
Logline: In the remote and rugged mountains of the American West, two young women contemplate the future as they work alone herding cattle.
CAPTAINS OF ZA’ATARI (Egypt)
In Collaboration with Beirut Cinema Platform
Director/Producer: Ali El-Arabi
Producers: Aya Dowara & Amjad Abu Alala
Logline: In the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, Syrian teenagers Mahmoud and Fawzi are friends who aspire to become professional soccer players. When a world-renowned sports academy visits the camp, they have a chance to make their dream a reality.
FRANK BEY: YOU’RE GOING TO MISS ME (USA)
Director: Marie Hinson
Producer: Trevite Willis
Executive Producer: Thomas Dwyer
Logline: In 1977, Frank Bey quit singing after a deal gone wrong with James Brown. Now, the aging soul singer must confront the limitations of his health and income to return to the stage, and finally, to Nashville.
FREE SELDA (Turkey)
In Collaboration with Close-Up Forum
Director/Producer: Amber Isbilen
Executive Producer: Leyla Hamedi
Co-Producer: Martina Haubrich
Associate Producer: Neslihan Oksay
Logline: Celebrated around the world as Turkey’s first female rockstar, Selda Bağcan and her freedom-fighting lyrics continue to hold national attention, despite decades of censorship, imprisonment and persecution. When first generation Turkish American filmmaker Amber Isbilen immigrates to her motherland to document the legendary musician, she unveils a story that goes way beyond a single person.
GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS (Bhutan)
In Collaboration with Docedge Kolkata – Asian Forum for Documentary
Directors: Arun Bhattarai & Dorottya Zurbo
Producer: Noémi Veronika Szakonyi
Logline: Amar (40) and Gunaraj (36) are not only close friends but also “Happiness Agents”, who work together for Bhutan’s Ministry of Happiness. They travel door-to-door measuring people’s level of happiness among the remote Himalayan mountains – and in their mission, learn about people’s dreams and life goals. GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS is a satirical ‘road movie’ that takes us through a mosaic of stories exploring the real desires of a society with a specific national identity – an identity created by the Happiness Ministry of Bhutan, a country that has been closed-off for centuries.
HENRI:THE LAST PIRATE (Chile)
In Collaboration with SANFIC (Santiago International Film Festival)
Director: Julián Fernández Prieto
Producer: Dominique Rammsy Sánchez
Logline: HENRI: THE LAST PIRATE follows Loti, the son of Henri Garcia, a French diver who decided to leave his European life behind and settle in Rapanui, Easter Island: the most isolated place in the world. For more than 30 years Henri documented his life on the island and shared a deep friendship with filmmaker Julián Fernández’s father.
LANGUAGE OF OPPORTUNITY (USA / India)
In Collaboration with Kartemquin Films – Diverse Voices in Documentary
Director/Producer: Anuradha Rana
Logline: Set against the backdrop of rising nationalism in the US and India, LANGUAGE OF OPPORTUNITY explores issues that translate across the spectrum of imperialism, immigration, and assimilation to renew the conversation about the loss of cultural identity and how language diversity plays a role in forming a more tolerant society.
ONCE I LEFT TO BECOME MARÍA (Mexico)
In Collaboration with DocsMX (Documentary Film Festival in Mexico City)
Director: Sofía Castellanos
Producer: Eduardo Esquivel
Logline: In the wake of her father’s death, filmmaker Sofia Castellanos begins to reconnect with her mother, María. Little by little, she begins to understand the woman that was left abandoned all these years – her identity stored and buried in dusty old boxes, her beautiful singing voice no longer nurtured. As the filmmaker questions why her mother abandoned her dreams, the film explores themes of gender and femininity.
PORNOMELANCHOLIA (Argentina / Mexico)
In Collaboration with Los Cabos International Film Festival
Director: Manuel Abramovich
Producer: Rachel Daisy Ellis, David Hurst, Gema Juárez Allen, & Martha Orozco
Lalo is a prolific online sex influencer from Oaxaca, Mexico who shares homemade erotic videos to his thousands of followers on social media. Filmmaker Manuel Abramovich uses Lalo’s pornography as a starting point to reflect on the complex relationship between intimacy and performance and the duality of our virtual and everyday lives in an ever-connected world.
THE ROAD IS A RED THREAD (Mexico)
In Collaboration with FICG (Guadalajara International Film Festival)
Director: Melissa Elizondo Moreno
Producer: Érika Mercado Sánchez
Logline: THE ROAD IS A RED THREAD explores the ongoing femicide crisis in Mexico, and the daily rituals - and uncertainty - that women in that country have to endure to avoid the wave of violence against them.
PROJECTS – INTERACTIVE
CONSTRUCTED MEMORIES (USA)
Creators: Patricia Antelles and Melinda Hess
Logline: Constructed Memories, an immersive episodic narrative-based story, is experienced through transformative conversations between father and daughter across barriers of time, space and hidden histories.
DREAMS OF THE JAGUAR’S DAUGHTER (Mexico/USA)
Creators: Alfredo Salazar-Caro, Prashast Thapan
Producer: Michaela Holland
Logline: Dreams of the Jaguar's Daughter is a surreal VR documentary where Achik', the spirit of a young immigrant, guides the viewer through her dreams and memories of her arduous journey from Central America to the US/MX border.
THE GREATEST WAIT (Palestine/Canada)
Creators: Razan AlSalah, Ali Kays
Producers: Emilie Dudognon, Ghassan Fayad, Momchil Alexiev
Logline: Zei, a 3rd generation Palestinian refugee, returns to her ancestral home Haifa through virtual reality, the one way she can see Palestine. Disembodied by the virtual, she interconnects حیفا/Haifa, بیروت/Beirut & Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal in the 1940s, 90s & 2020s. Zei returns home to her body with a new way of being in the world.
THE MONUMENTS PROJECT (USA)
Creators: Glenn Cantave, Idris Brewster, Micah Milner
Logline: The Monuments Project uses geolocated augmented reality and volumetric capture to shine light on themes and icons that are traditionally ignored in public spaces i.e. the narratives of women, people of color and the LGBTQIA community.
About Tribeca Film Institute
Tribeca Film Institute believes in the power of storytellers to bridge communities and spark meaningful change. We work to ensure that filmmakers and creators from systemically excluded communities have a platform and access to the resources and tools they need to tell their stories, connect with audiences, and build thriving creative careers.