Program Celebrates Ten Years of Supporting Filmmakers with Diverse Backgrounds at Anniversary Celebration during the 12th Annual Tribeca Film Festival

Total of $150,000 in grants awarded to filmmakers

New York, NY – (March 14, 2013) –The Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) today announced  projects selected for the 10th Annual Tribeca All Access (TAA) program. TAA will support each project with an initial $15,000 grant as well as offer year-round support, guidance, and resources for filmmakers to help advance their projects toward completion.  The selections, programmed by Ryan Harrington, Director of Documentary Programming and Tamir Muhammad, Director of Feature Programming, encompass a wide range of works-in-progress by emerging and established filmmakers who come from statistically underrepresented communities.

Ten filmmakers with unfinished projects were selected out of 560 submissions from across the country to participate in the 2013 program.  One additional project was selected to participate through TAA’s six-year partnership with the Canadian Film Centre (CFC). TAA will present the 11 projects—6 narratives and 5 documentaries—at a three-day career-development program from April 22-24, during the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival (TFF), presented by American Express, April 17-28.  

Two projects will be selected as recipients of the juried Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Awards, presented by the Time Warner Foundation and recognized at a ceremony on April 24. Selected by a jury of industry professionals based on the strength of the filmmakers’ visions, the two awards will each provide an additional $10,000 grant to one documentary and one feature project. The program will culminate with the TAA 10th Anniversary Celebration on April 26.

Additionally, this year TFI will launch the TFI Professional Partnership, a new initiative that will continue TFI's commitment to supporting the careers and projects of their grantees, including those involved with TAA. The initiative will partner leading companies with a pool of talented filmmakers seeking ways to translate their skills into other areas such as television, web, marketing, and education. The TFI Professional Partnership will kick off with a professional development panel during the Festival.  After the panel each partnering company will select at least two grantees for further one-on-one development and consideration for their business needs. Partnering companies include NBC Universal and Warner Bros.

Since its founding in 2003, TAA has championed 227 films and over 500 filmmakers who identify as members of a minority group, such as: 2007 TAA alum Cherien Dabis, whose latest feature May in Summer, opened the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Past TAA-supported films have gone on to premiere at film festivals around the country, received distribution deals and garnered critical acclaim. These include titles such as:

  • When I Saw You, Palestine’s official entry for the Academy Awards, directed by Ann-Marie Jacir (2012), winner of the NETPAC prize for Best Asian Film at the Berlin International Film Festival;
  • American Promise, directed by Michele Stephenson and Joe Brewster (2013), winner of the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Achievement in Filmmaking at the Sundance Film Festival;
  • Four, directed by Joshua Sanchez (2009), winner of the Urbanworld Film Festival and Independent Spirit Award nominee;
  • Circumstance, directed by Maryam Keshavarz  (2011), Audience Award-winner at the Sundance Film Festival;
  • Una Noche, directed by Lucy Mulloy (2012), winner of Best New Director at the Tribeca Film Festival and Best Script at the Brasilia International Film Festival;
  • Gideon’s Army, directed by Dawn Porter (2011), alumni introduction to her producer HBO Documentaries, winner of the Best Editing Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival; and
  • Free Angela & All Political Prisoners, directed by Shola Lynch which will open in theatres nationwide on April 5, 2013 and is Executive Produced by Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith and Jay Z

“When we founded TAA it was with a mission of amplifying the voices of artists who were not being heard,” said Beth Janson, Executive Director of TFI. “Ten years later, we are proud to have remained true to that mission and developed a tight-knit community of talented filmmakers. We are looking forward to expanding our family and celebrating ten years of community.”

“Our mission is to find innovative and powerful ways to discover, nurture and celebrate the next generation of storytellers,” said Lisa Garcia Quiroz, President of the Time Warner Foundation. “TAA is among the best new talent development programs in the industry. We are proud to call them partners and look forward to the next decade.”

Five grants will be awarded to documentary projects in various stages:

  • Long Year Begin, Directed and Produced by Malika Zouhali-Worrall and David Osit – An icy vault in the Arctic Circle safely stores seeds from around the world, but there is no such vault for humans or nations. Long Year Begin offers a poetic meditation on humanity’s perpetual quest for self-preservation.
  • Roots & Webs, Directed by Sara Dosa, Produced by Josh Penn – Amid the bustling frontier world of Oregon’s matsutake mushroom camps, an unexpected father-son pair endures a tumultuous mushroom-hunting season. They grapple with wounds from Southeast Asian wars, attempting to find the high-priced mushroom before snowfall. An odyssey into the woods, into the memory of war and survival, Roots & Webs tells a story of family from enigmatic woodland realm.
  • (T)Error, Directed and Produced by Lyric R. Cabral and David F. Sutcliffe(T)Error captures the spectacular unraveling of an active FBI counterterrorism sting operation, and the dramatic aftermath that occurs when the target of the investigation realizes that a government informant is setting him up.
  • TimeIs Illmatic, Directed and Produced by One9, Produced by Erik Parker – A feature length documentary film told through the lens of rapper Nas and his bluesman father Olu Dara, TimeIs Illmatic deconstructs Nas' indelible rap album Illmatic and the socio-economic and cultural conditions that inspired the landmark work and gave voice to a generation.
  • Unveiling Shirin, Directed and Produced by Nariman Hamed, Produced by Victorien and Anna Lena Vaney – A feature length documentary film about the artist and filmmaker Shirin Neshat that takes us inside Shirin’s world and explores her life and work. It is the story of her life and challenges as a female Iranian artist living in exile.

Five grants will be awarded to narrative projects in various stages:

  • If You Stay, Written, Directed, and Produced by Roja Gashtilli; Written and Directed by Julia Lerman – Iranian-born, American-bred Elham "Ellie" Amiri runs out of patience with her All-American lover and America when neither seems to want to commit to her.  Coming of age meets coming to America in this moving and imaginative comedy about youth, identity and sexual politics in NYC.
  • Khoya, Written and Directed by Sami Khan; Produced by Karen Shaw; Executive Producer Guneet Monga– After the death of his adopted mother, a Canadian man travels to rural India desperately searching for the birth family he’s never known and seeking to unravel the mystery surrounding his adoption.
  • The Lobbyists, Written, Directed, and Produced by Terence Nance; Produced by Andrew Corkin; Produced by Chanelle Pearson; Produced by James Bartlett – A conman with no past and a former CIA agent join forces to “lobby” politicians by blackmailing them into voting for progressive legislation.
  • Obvious Child, Written and Directed by Gillian Robespierre; Produced by Elisabeth Holm – In this subversive romantic comedy about growing up without regret, 27 year-old emerging comic Donna Stern (Jenny Slate) gets dumped, fired, pregnant, and has the best worst Valentine's Day of her life.
  • Papaw Easy, Written and Directed by Martha Stephens; Written by Karrie Crouse; Produced by Brett Potter – Under the watchful eye of his vain, ‘Modern Christian’ uncle, a shy young boy forges an unlikely partnership with a foul-mouthed, down and out playboy.


The narrative project selected to participate from the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) is:

  • Combarde, Written and Directed by Boris Rodriguez; Produced by Anne-Marie Gelinas and Concepcion Taboada – A union organizer in Mexico loses his job and joins a band of corrupt detectives planning to kidnap the company’s owner.


In line with TAA’s mission to support filmmakers year round, more than 200 program alumni will have the opportunity to network and present their works-in-progress at selected events throughout the year. Grants and fellowships totaling over $75,000 for projects in development or new works by program alumni will be awarded on April 24th, during TFF.

Major support for TAA is provided by the Time Warner Foundation with additional support from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, Heineken, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the New York State Council on the Arts.

Editor Note:
Images of the projects can be downloaded at:


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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 and advocate for 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 protecting the livelihood of filmmakers and media artists.

For more information and a list of all TFI programs visit


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