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TFI Funds Innovative Storytelling

The Tribeca Film Institute awards $400,000 to six nonfiction transmedia projects to empower the breadth and impact of their core stories.

Editor’s Note: On this blog, several contributors have written about how movies/TV/moving images are going through a period of reinvention. This phenomenon is often called participatory storytelling or transmedia. The Tribeca Film Institute takes this a step further. They actually give money to projects that are creating new kinds of stories. Here is a brief description of their first round of recipients. (Please note: the next round of applications for funding opens January 2012—so get your proposals ready.)

We're thrilled to announce the six projects selected for the inaugural year of the TFI New Media Fund, a diverse collection of nonfiction transmedia works exploring everything from the Egyptian Revolution to global health to the "friendly fire" death in Afghanistan of American serviceman Pat Tillman. These grantees will receive $50,000 and $100,000 apiece, with funding effective immediately. The recipients of grants totaling $400,000 are:



18 Days in Egypt


Key Participants: Jigar Mehta, Yasmin Elayat, 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

We'd like to thank our partner the Ford Foundation and their JustFilms initiative, as well as our jury: 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 Oath and My 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).

Congratulations to the recipients! The next round of applications for the TFI New Media Fund open in January 2012.


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