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Tribeca Film Institute Awards Ten Grants to Underrepresented Filmmakers

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by Ryan Lattanzio
February 10, 2014 2:35 PM
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'The Unafraid'

The Tribeca Film Institute today announced ten promising new film projects selected for the 11th annual Tribeca All Access (TAA) program. The TAA program bolsters filmmakers from underrepresented communities, granting each project $15,000 along with year-round support, guidance, and resources to help filmmakers complete them, and admittance into the TAA Alumni program. The ten selected projects, currently in development, were culled from 620 national submissions.

The five Documentary projects are:

"Clearwater," Directed and Produced by Tracy Rector and Lou Karsen. Over a 650 mile canoe journey, "Clearwater" will explore the Coast Salish people's intimate relationship to the Salish Sea.

"In the Shadow of the Hills," Directed and Produced by Bao Nguyen, Written and Produced by Elizabeth Ai. Told through the perspective of two young Hmong women, the film is a longitudinal observation of the rural agrarian communities of Sapa, Vietnam.

"The Moni Yakim Legacy Project," Written, Produced and Directed by Rauzar Alexander; Produced Kari Wilder and Alma Har'el. A rare look into a master and pioneer of theatrical movement who recounts his own evolution and the inception of the Juilliard Acting School.

"Out of State," Directed and Produced by Ciara L. Lacy; Produced by Beau J.K. Bassett. The film follows a group of roughly 100 native Hawaiian inmates practicing hula, a native Hawaiian dance form, as a means of maintaining their cultural heritage and working to rehabilitate themselves and their relationships with their families. 

"The Unafraid," Directed and Produced by Heather Courtney and Anayansi Prado. In a conference room in an Atlanta office building, a quiet revolution takes place every Sunday when a group of teenagers and 20-somethings gather to do something Georgia has banned them from doing -- attend a college class.

The five Narrative projects are:

"Destined," Written and Directed by Qasim "Q" Basir; produced by Tommy Oliver. "Destined" tells the parallel stories of Sheed and Rasheed (played by the same actor) as they explore the idea of destiny as well as how  the smallest incident  can manifest itself into a life changing event.

"Falcon Lake," Written by Sara Seligman and Thomas Bond; Directed by Sara Seligman; Produced by Christopher Mack and Van Johnson. Ester runs a bed-and-breakfast near the USA/Mexico border with her overbearing mother, Teresa.  They save the money they earn, hoping to leave this town that is filled with memories of violence and fallen family members.  One day, two drug runners invade their home.  The women are faced with a choice, one that is further complicated by a terrifying secret the women share.

"Permanent," Written and Directed by Colette Burson; Produced by Haroula Rose. A comedy about bad hair, adolescence, and socially awkward family members. It involves life-altering permanents and poorly-made toupees. Obstacles to daily survival ensue.

"Strange Things Are Happening," Written and Directed by Stacie Passon; Produced by Rose Troche. A woman who has agreed to take in her grandson in his last year of high school becomes increasingly worried that the boy poses a threat to her and her elderly husband.

"Baby Steps," Written and Directed by Barney Cheng; Executive Produced by Li-Kong Hsu, Nancy Cheng, Alan Hibdon, Han-Yeu Huang; Produced by Li-Kong Hsu, Stephen Israel. Danny, a Taiwanese-American man, and his boyfriend Tate must travel thousands of miles across the globe in order to have a baby and start a family.

Additional mentorship and marketplace support will be provided to one Narrative project through a partnership with CFC:

"Jean of the Joneses," Written and Directed by Stella Meghie; Produced by Amos Adetuyi. Jean is a girl from a dysfunctional family of Jamaican women who have happily sent all the men in their lives running for the past 30 years. She's on the brink of following in the family tradition until the day her estranged grandfather dies on her doorstep. 

Grantees are overseen by Ryan Harrington, Vice President of Artist Programs and Tamir Muhammad, Director of Feature Programming. TAA alumni projects have gone on to receive worldwide exposure and acclaim: "Through a Lens Darkly" (Sundance 2014), "God Loves Uganda" (Sundance 2013) and "Obvious Child" (Sundance 2014), among many more.

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