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Grants and educational programs at Tribeca

The Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) today announced the grants that will be awarded and educational programs that will take place during the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival (TFF). This year, TFI will provide funding for promising filmmakers with science and technology themed projects through the return of the TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund as well as screenplay readings and a special panel discussion and screening of Inherit the Wind. TFI will award young filmmakers scholarships through its Youth Achievement Awards, at the Festival, TFI will also present a special gala screening of youth-created films entitled Our City, My Story, and continue additional youth outreach programs, including Tribeca Teaches: Films in Motion – which takes place at Bronx Preparatory Charter School – and the Tribeca Film Fellows program and Tribeca Youth Screening Series. The Tribeca All Access program, which was previously announced on March 19, 2009, will also be a part of TFI at TFF this year. The Tribeca Film Festival, presented by American Express, runs from April 22 – May 3, 2009.

While federal and state funding for the arts has been drastically reduced in past years, TFI continues to provide artists and students with much needed funding and equipment to create and produce their work. Through the TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund, TFI and their longtime partner the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation provide financial support and mentorship to filmmakers that incorporate compelling scientific and technological themes into their films. In addition, the Tribeca Film Fellows program will present Youth Achievement Awards to four students, awarding each a $1,500 scholarship to create their films and further their education in film.

“There has never been a greater need or a more important time to support the arts,” said Tribeca Film Institute Board Co-Chair Jane Rosenthal. “Through its wide variety of programs, the Tribeca Film Institute is able to impact everyone from the middle school student just learning the role of movies in our society to the proven filmmaker in search of finishing funds and I couldn’t be more proud of the work that we do.”

The Tribeca Film Institute is proud to celebrate its fifth year of youth programs during this year’s Festival. TFI is able to engage 5,500 young people through film each year with programs, such as the youth screening series and Film Fellows program, where aspiring student filmmakers participate in a month long program where they are immersed in the New York community culminating in all-access pass to the Tribeca Film Festival, in addition to training and mentorships.

“The Institute’s programs give artists at every level of experience the opportunity to advance their work,” said Brian Newman, CEO of the Tribeca Film Institute. “We are thrilled to be able to introduce new voices to the film community and support filmmakers in the development and completion of their artistic vision. Through our programs at the Festival and our year-round support services and grants, filmmakers who need to develop a script, finish a documentary or begin their film education are able to do so and share their work with audiences in New York and beyond.”

TFI Sloan Film Program

The TFI Sloan Film Program, which began with the first Tribeca Film Festival in 2002, supports filmmakers by providing financial assistance, showcasing winning screenplays at public readings and highlighting the role of science and technology in film through a retrospective screening of a classic work and a panel discussion

“We’re delighted to partner with Tribeca for the eighth year and to support filmmakers who tackle science and technology themes and characters with originality and insight,” said Doron Weber, Program Director for the Alfred. P. Sloan Foundation. “We have a very exciting suite of activities at this year’s festival which demonstrate that science and technology continue to offer creative opportunities and rewarding experiences for filmmakers and filmgoers alike.”

Created last year in collaboration with the Sloan Foundation, the TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund will provide $170,000 this year to U.S. and international filmmakers who spotlight scientific and technological themes or portray scientists, engineers and mathematicians as major characters in their films. In addition to financial support, grant recipients will receive exposure to film industry financiers and producers through a series of public readings of their finished screenplays with noted actors during the Festival. Featured projects include Greg Harrison’s Radioactive Boy Scout and Alex Lyras and Michael Dorian’s Alva.

This year in celebration of the bicentennial of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of On the Origin of Species, the TFI Sloan Film Program will also present a retrospective screening of Stanley Kramer’s 1960 classic, Inherit the Wind, on April 25, 2009. Nearly a half-century ago, Kramer and his all-star cast (including Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, and Gene Kelly) brought this fictionalized version of the infamous 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial to the big screen. The trial was triggered by a public outcry surrounding the teaching of evolution in schools in the 1920s. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by NPR correspondent Liane Hansen with participants including Pulitzer-Prize winning author Jonathan Weiner, Jon Amiel, director of Creation, starring Paul Bettany as Charles Darwin and Jennifer Connelly as his wife, Emma Darwin, and Dr. Eugenie Scott, where they will take a closer look at how a scientific explanation of the world, backed by evidence, can bring with it both public and private controversy.

TFI Youth Programs

Through TFI’s Tribeca Film Fellows program, now in its fifth year, 20 young people will exchange ideas, explore the possibilities of cinema and develop their voices through film. During the Festival, budding filmmakers are granted a unique all-access look at the Festival and the film industry through a series of screenings, panels, workshops, creative filmmaking exercises and special events. For the second consecutive year, four Tribeca Film Fellows will receive a $1,500 scholarship, the Youth Achievement Award, to create their films and further their education in film.

The Film Fellows program also creates a short group film that depicts all five boroughs of New York City through the eyes of its young filmmakers. The work will serve as the introduction to Our City, My Story, TFI’s annual celebration of the excellence and diversity of New York City youth-made film and video during the Festival. Student shorts will be showcased at TFI’s annual youth media gala screening at 7:00 pm on Thursday, April 30 at AMC Village VII, located at 66 Third Avenue, Manhattan, and as part of a special student outreach event at 12:00 pm on Friday, May 1 at BMCC Tribeca PAC, located at 199 Chambers Street, Manhattan.

The Film Fellows and youth across New York City will also have the opportunity to watch new, classic and unique films through the Tribeca Youth Screening Series. Throughout the Festival, TFI will bring more than 4,000 NYC public school students to free screenings of the films Entre Nos, Team Qatar, Off and Running and Only When I Dance, which were all created by filmmakers who were a part of the TFI Tribeca All Access program or received grants from the TFI Gucci Documentary Fund or the TFI Media Fellowships. Each screening will be followed by a discussion, Q&A or workshop.

Now in its third year, the Tribeca Teaches: Films in Motion program, currently taking place at Bronx Preparatory Charter School, gives students the opportunity to participate in a filmmaking project that allows students to share their lives and experiences in the Bronx. The films will be screened at 6pm on Wednesday, April 29 at BMCC Tribeca PAC.

The Tribeca Film Institute will also partner for the fourth year with the Lollipop Theater Network for TFI on Wheels, which brings new films to young viewers who are hospitalized with long-term illnesses. TFI on Wheels will present selections from the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival to patients at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital.

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