Tribeca Film Institute® Names Amy Hobby Executive Director, David Earls Managing Director

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Acclaimed Producer to Oversee NYC-based Nonprofit’s Programming and Management; Tribeca Veteran Returns to Head Up Development and Finance

NEW YORK – January 11, 2016​ ​– Academy Award-nominated producer and longtime advocate for underrepresented voices in the industry, Amy Hobby has been promoted to Executive Director of Tribeca Film Institute, effective immediately, the organization’s Board of Directors announced today. Previously Vice President of Artist Programs at TFI, the venerable year-round nonprofit founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff, Hobby will now oversee its programming, which champions storytellers from all backgrounds to be catalysts for change in their communities and around the world. This includes oversight of its robust Artist Programs, Education and Interactive Departments, and their respective slates of programs, as well as overall management of the organization. Through such long-running programs as Tribeca All Access® (TAA)​,​ ​which supports U.S. storytellers from communities underrepresented in the industry, TFI has, since 2001, awarded more than $6.75 million in vital support to more than 1,500 filmmakers around the world.  

David Earls rejoins TFI in the new role of Managing Director. He will be in charge of TFI’s financial oversight, corporate governance, business affairs, fundraising and communications. Earls served as head of individual giving at the organization from 2003 to 2012, driving a period of intense financial growth and programmatic expansion, and returns to TFI after starting and running his own investment fund, B.E. Capital Management.  

Anna Ponder, who served as interim Executive Director of TFI, from February, 2015 through December, 2016, stepped down at the end of the year after leading TFI, in November, through its most successful annual benefit. Vee Bravo and Opeyemi Olukemi remain in leadership roles as TFI’s Vice President, Education and Senior Director, Interactive Programs, respectively. 

“During this turbulent time, the voices of storytellers need to be heard more than ever,” said Rosenthal, Co-Founder of TFI and Co-Chair of its Board. “I am thrilled to have such galvanizing forces as Amy and David step into these new roles at Tribeca Film Institute. Together, they pack a powerful and seasoned punch of creative and fundraising expertise that prepare us for the next decade.”

“These are critical days for independent storytellers of all backgrounds and all points of view,” said Hobby. “Now more than ever we must help their work reach the broadest audiences possible. I am exhilarated to take the reins at TFI to lead our amazing team into this vital organization’s next phase.”

“I couldn’t be more pleased to come home to TFI in the Managing Director role,” said Earls. “The organization’s invaluable work with students, restorative justice, new media makers and filmmakers is urgent now, as ever, and I look forward to working with TFI’s esteemed partners and donors to drive the organization into a new era of growth.”

Since joining TFI in November, 2015, Hobby has spearheaded the expansion of TAA, its flagship grant program, to reach more filmmakers throughout the country; facilitated the growth of TFI’s workshops for filmmakers to include new labs worldwide, including in Latin America, Europe and Asia; enabled the initiation of a new intensive for TV producers with scripted series showcasing science and technology, in partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; ​and overseen the securing of a $600,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for a new program focused on documentary shorts​.

As Executive Director, Hobby’s top priorities include shepherding a strategic planning process aimed at increasing general operating strength, through a recently secured, and highly competitive BUILD grant from the Ford Foundation; growing the Network, TFI’s thriving, three-day co-production market during the Tribeca Film Festival®, which each year forges hundreds of connections between supported filmmakers and members of all facets of the industry; and, together with Bravo and Olukemi and the TFI team, expanding all of the Institute’s successful artist programs and education initiatives, including its restorative justice work, which, since 2012, has worked to support incarcerated youth and adults at Rikers Island and Otisville State Prison through film screenings and workshops. 

Bravo’s Education department has harnessed the vision and power of 125,000 New York City public school students through in-school and after-school filmmaking training and media literacy workshops run by working filmmakers under such programs as Tribeca Film Fellows®, Tribeca Teaches® and the Tribeca Community Screening Series. Olukemi’s Interactive department has pioneered new media content creation and funding, supporting more than 150 of the brightest thinkers, content creators and technology specialists through such programs as the TFI New Media Fund, Tribeca Hacks, and TFI Interactive.

Hobby and Earls begin their leadership tenure following recent successes of several TFI-supported films including:  

WEINER: 2017 Academy Award Short List for Best Documentary  
TOWER: 2017 Academy Award Short List for Best Documentary
JEAN OF THE JONESES: 2017 Independent Spirit Award nominee, Best First Screenplay, Stella Meghie
NOTES ON BLINDNESS: Storyscapes Award at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival and the Alternate Realities VR Award at the 2016 Sheffield Doc/Fest  

“Amy and David are uniquely qualified to lead TFI going forward,” said Scott Rechler, Co-Chair of TFI’s Board, and CEO and Chairman of RXR Realty. “Amy’s decades-long devotion to the craft and community of filmmaking, and deep understanding of the needs and dynamics of the field, paired with David’s depth of institutional knowledge about TFI and keen financial and fundraising acumen, make them the optimal pair to lead TFI to both programmatic and development growth.”

A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Hobby has been producing award-winning scripted and documentary films for more than 20 years. In 2016, she was nominated for an Academy Award and won an Emmy Award and a Peabody Award for producing the critically acclaimed Netflix documentary WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE?. Her work spans from dramas starring A-list Hollywood talent to documentaries, international features, television pilots and webisodes, and includes NADJA (produced with David Lynch), SUNDAY (Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner), HAMLET, starring Ethan Hawke, and SECRETARY, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, for which she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award.

In 2011, with business partner Anne Hubbell, Hobby launched Tangerine Entertainment, a film production company and community builder for media by women directors.  She will continue to support Tangerine in an advisory capacity. Hobby is a graduate of Rice University.

Earls re-joins TFI after four years as co-founder and managing partner of B.E. Capital Management, a private investment partnership in New York. After beginning his career as a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs, Earls led individual giving at TFI for nine years, its most successful period of financial growth. During this time, he co-founded TFI’s fundraising department, co-managed its first eight annual Benefits, and created and launched its dynamic Tribeca Film Festival VIP ticket package and concierge program for donors. He will continue as a partner and advisor at his investment fund. Earls is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

About Tribeca Film Institute ​(​​)​ 

Tribeca Film Institute champions storytellers to be catalysts for change in their communities and around the world.  Through grants and professional development programs, TFI supports a diverse, exceptional group of filmmakers and media artists, providing them resources needed to fully realize their stories and connect with audiences.  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.  Featuring hands-on training and exposure to socially relevant films, the Institute administers programs to more than 10,000 students annually.  TFI was founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff in the wake of September 11, 2001 and is a 501(c)(3) year-round nonprofit arts organization.  

11 Jan 2017