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Tribeca Film Festival

Online Dailies Coverage of the Tribeca Film Festival.


Tribeca Film Institute Awards $175,000 to 2014 TFI Documentary Fund Winners



The Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) today announced the 2014 grantees of its TFI Documentary Fund. The fund aims to advance character-driven, non-fiction filmmaking featuring creative and unexplored perspectives from around the world. TFI also announced winners of the second annual TFI/ESPN Prize and of the inaugural Influence Award, part of TFI’s new multi-year partnership with the Europe-based Influence Film Foundation.


More than 500 submissions from 70 countries were considered to determine the 11 TFI Documentary Fund and partner award winners who together will receive a total of $175,000, an increase of $15,000 from last year, to fund their projects in various stages of development through post-production.

“This year’s Fund winners are covering exceptionally compelling, poignant and enlightening stories and subjects. Whether following a father/son’s boxing dream or revealing a gay Washington D.C. gang’s attempt to transform through fashion, TFI Documentary Fund films uncover character-driven experiences that prove humanity is all around us,” said Ryan Harrington, Director of Documentary Programming at TFI. “Honoring films with an honest and meaningful storytelling approach, the grants further the mission of the TFI Documentary Fund by supporting new storytelling, unheard voices and unexplored environments. Through festival and distribution strategy sessions, fundraising support, industry introductions, labs and workshops, the TFI Documentary Fund and its generous partners are committed to supporting filmmakers at every step of the creative process.”


TFI Documentary Fund

The TFI Documentary Fund provides grants to further the development of exceptional character-driven, in-progress documentaries. This year’s grantees are:


·         A BALLERINA’S TALE: Directed by Nelson D. George; Produced by Leslie Norville -- A feature documentary on African American ballerina Misty Copeland that examines her prodigious rise, and her potentially career-ending injury alongside themes of race and body image in the elite ballet world. The film also includes exclusive, never before seen, performance footage of Misty performing several solo pieces.


·         AQUARELA: Directed by Victor Kossakovsky; Produced by Aimara Reques -- Filming on a floating iceberg, from the moment it breaks off from the polar ice sheet to its final meltdown, Kossakovsky’s Aquarela reveals both the comedy and tragedy, the pathos and beauty of our complex relationship with water.


·         DIAMOND, SILVER & GOLD: Directed and Produced by Jason Kohn; Produced by Jared Goldman & Amanda Branson Gill -- A story about the origins of life, synthetic diamonds and other nagging issues…


·         NUTS: Directed and Produced by Penny Lane* -- The mostly-true story of John Brinkley, who built an empire with a goat testicle impotence cure and a million watt radio station. *2012 TFI Documentary Fund grantee

·         PRIDE: Directed and Produced by Mohammed Naqvi*; Produced by Jared Ian Goldman -- Exiled former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, despite having a flawed legacy as a dictator and being sought for arrest on murder charges, decides to return to Pakistan and run for President. *TAA and Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund alum


·         TEA TIME: Written and Directed by Maite Alberdi*; Produced by Clara Taricco -- Six elderly women have religiously gathered for tea once a month for the past sixty years. In these meetings they argue and care for each other, they remember their past, try to adapt to social change and share their last years while forgetting completely the short time they have left. *TFI Latin Fund Bloomberg Fellow


·         THE SENSITIVES: Directed by Drew Xanthopoulos; Produced by David Hartstein -- Set in remote American edgelands, The Sensitives is a delicate, humanizing verité documentary that captures the retreat from mainstream society of those on the run from the toxic triggers of a debilitating illness.


·         THE WOLFPACK PROJECT: Directed by Crystal S. Moselle; Produced by Izabella V. Tzenkova -- Six eccentric teenage brothers growing up in the Lower East Side projects are locked away from society by their father. Their only window into the outside world is watching movies. To handle isolation, they begin reenacting their favorite films - and when one of the brothers breaks free, it changes everything.


·         VILLAGES OF THE ABSENT*: Directed by Omar Shami; Written and Produced by Ola Shami -- This poetic documentary depicts the slow passage of time in Ain Bal, a village drowning in memories of a livelier past and now inhabited by a few elders, a mute lady, and a schizophrenic man. *Recipient of the TFI Award at the 2013 Greenhouse Pitching Forum



The TFI/ESPN Prize

The TFI/ESPN Prize is an annual grant extension of the TFI Documentary Fund given to a feature-length work-in-progress documentary that presents sports, competition and athleticism as a backdrop within a character-driven story. The second annual TFI/ESPN Prize winner is:


·         THE PUNCH: Directed by Andre Hörmann; Produced by Ingmar Trost -- The Punch tells the story of a fateful relationship of a father and his son living a shared fragile dream in their little boxing community. A tale about failure and hope – and what it means to live with dignity.


Influence Award

The Influence Award is an extension of the TFI Documentary Fund through a partnership with the Europe-based Influence Film Foundation, which supports documentaries through grants, equity investments and audience development. The award provides an annual matching grant to a feature-length work-in-progress documentary that sparks meaningful dialogue around an area or issue that has been overlooked or under-represented in the media. This year’s Influence Award winner is:


·         CHECK IT: Directed and Produced by Dana Flor & Toby Oppenheimer -- Check It is about a gay African-American gang struggling to survive in one of Washington D.C.’s roughest neighborhoods.  Started by a group of bullied 9th graders, the crew is trying to claw themselves out of gang life through an unlikely avenue: fashion.


For images of this year’s TFI Documentary Fund winners, please visit here to download:


For more information and a list of all TFI programs visit

About the Tribeca Film Institute:
The Tribeca Film Institute champions storytellers to be catalysts for change in their communities and around the world.  Through grants and professional development programs for narrative, documentary and new media projects, 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 25,000 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.  


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About Tribeca Film Festival

Online Dailies Coverage of the Tribeca Film Festival, April 17-28, 2013


The Tribeca Film Festival brings together local, national, and international talent to provide the New York City, downtown community with five days of screenings, educational workshops, and various special events.
Live coverage with dailies from Lia Fietz, Suzanne Lynch, Claus Mueller, Maria Esteves 


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