Tribeca Film Institute Announces First Recipients of Grants From Groundbreaking TFI New Media Fund

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Total of $400,000 Awarded to Six Interactive, Non-Fiction Projects Promoting Social Change


Jury Members Chosen From Technology, Film and the Arts

[New York, NY – October 4, 2011] – The Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) today announced the inaugural grant recipients of the 2011 Tribeca Film Institute New Media Fund, a diverse group of interactive, non-fiction projects exploring everything from the Egyptian Revolution to global health to the “friendly fire” death in Afghanistan of American serviceman Pat Tillman. The six projects from the U.S. and around the world have been awarded between $50,000 and $100,000 apiece, with funding effective immediately.

Through TFI’s long-term partnership with the Ford Foundation’s JustFilms initiative, the TFI New Media Fund recognizes and supports non-fiction film projects which go beyond traditional screens, integrating film with content across newer media platforms, from social media to mobile devices to games. All projects activate audiences around issues of contemporary social justice and equality.

The recipients of grants totaling $400,000 are:

18 Days in Egypt
Key Participants: Jigar Mehta, Yasmin Elayat, Jon Else, Hugo Soskin, Emerge Technology
Description: A collaborative documentary project about the Egyptian Revolution, 18 Days in Egypt is a crowd-sourced interactive documentary that will feature thousands of videos, photos, e-mails and tweets created by participants and eye witnesses. The project's goals are to provide tools for Egyptians to tell the story together -- from their perspective -- create a robust user experience and a living documentary that contributes to the dialogue around democracy in the 21st century.
Awarded: $100,000

Map Your World
Key Participants: Maren Grainger-Monsen, Nicole Newnham, Matt Berg, Emily Coven, Amlan Ganguly, Emily Ozer, Eric Rodenbeck
Description: Map Your World is a multi-platform project that puts the power of new technologies into the hands of young change agents, enabling them to map, track, and improve the health of their own communities — and then share their stories of change with each other and with the world.
Awarded: $75,000

The Interrupters
Key Participants: Steve James, Sonya Childress, Alex Kotlowitz, Lawrence Seals, Kounterattack Designs
Description: The heart of The Interrupters web campaign, building on the momentum of the feature documentary by the same name, is a collection of powerfully moving stories of “violence interrupters” who protect their Chicago communities from the violence they themselves once employed. Through interactive web stories and an interactive digital “shrine” to victims, visitors grapple with personal, social and economic forces that contribute to the violence that plagues our cities.
Awarded: $75,000

Afghan Lives
Key Participants: Henrik Grunnet, Nagieb Khaja, Lise Linse-Moller
Description: Thirty civilian Afghans in Helmand Province have been trained in filming with mobile phones with HD video in no-man’s land between Taliban and The Allied Forces. Their daily life in the shadow of the war will be edited and uploaded over the course of a year with new stories coming out on a regular basis.
Awarded: $50,000

Dadaab Stories
Key Participants: FilmAid International
Description: The Dadaab refugee camp, with more than 450,000 refugees already and more arriving every day, lies at the heart of the Somali famine crisis. The people who live there have remarkable stories to tell — they just need a place to share them.
Awarded: $50,000

The Tillman Story Interactive Edition
Key Participants: Amir Bar-Lev, Jennifer Bleyer, Ben Moskowitz, Ted Han
Description: The Tillman Story Interactive Edition is a groundbreaking website that allows audiences to actively participate in the acclaimed 2010 documentary The Tillman Story while viewing it; exploring incendiary outtakes and documents, keeping track of recent developments; and helping bring justice and accountability in the Tillman case.
Awarded: $50,000

The jury awarding the grants was comprised of notable figures whose accomplishments span the worlds of technology, film and the arts. Jurors included Andy Berndt (Vice President of Google Creative Lab), Caitlin Burns (Producer and Editor Starlight Runner Entertainment), Idit Harel Caperton (psychologist and epistemologist, Founder of World Wide Workshop and MaMaMedia), John Johnson (Founder of The Harmony Institute, EYEBEAM and, Aaron Koblin (Creative Director of the Data Arts Team at Google Creative Lab), Michael Levine (Executive Director of The Joan Ganz Cooney Center leading research in educational technologies for children), Jason Liebman (CEO of HowCast), director/filmmaker Laura Poitras (The OathMy Country, My Country), Marc Schiller (CEO and Founder of Electric Artists), editor and director Sam Pollard (Slavery By Another Name, When the Levees Broke) and Nancy Abraham (Senior Vice President of HBO Documentary Films).

“The Tribeca Film Institute is proud to have made this pioneering leap to recognize the value of artist-driven audience engagement and cross-platform activation,” said Beth Jason, Executive Director of the Tribeca Film Institute. “Our inaugural winners truly capture the depth and diversity of the new media landscape with their projects. We congratulate this initial class of grant recipients and eagerly look forward to helping take these projects to the next level.”

Orlando Bagwell, Director of JustFilms at the Ford Foundation, added, “These awards reflect our shared commitment to digital storytelling, to experimentation, and to reaching new audiences in new ways. The TFI New Media winners are not only expanding the boundaries of narrative, they are finding new ways to advance public participation in learning, citizenship and free expression. We support their terrific work.”

In addition to receiving financial support, grantees will also take part in a workshop at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival run by Crossover Labs. This three-day intensive will introduce the producers to a number of filters that can be applied to their projects to help make them as robust as possible in the new media world and ensure the projects find their audiences.

About the Tribeca Film Institute (
The Tribeca Film Institute is a 501(c)(3) year-round nonprofit arts organization founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff in the wake of September 11, 2001. TFI empowers filmmakers through grants and professional development, and is a resource for and supporter of individual artists in the field. The Institute’s educational programming leverages an extensive film community network to help underserved New York City students learn filmmaking and gain the media skills necessary to be productive citizens and creative individuals in the 21st century. Administering a dozen major programs annually, TFI is a critical contributor to the fabric of filmmaking and aids in promoting and protecting filmmakers and media artists. For more information and a list of all TFI programs visit

About the Ford Foundation (
The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than half a century it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Learn more about JustFilms at


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4 Oct 2011