The Tribeca Film Festival was founded in 2002 as a response to the events of 9/11, to help Lower Manhattan recover after the tragedy, and to celebrate the vitality and diversity of New York City through filmmaking. Each year ITVS participates in the festival by meeting with filmmakers involved in the Tribeca All Access program. Read about ITVS’s involvement with Tribeca All Access from ITVS vice president of programming Claire Aguilar.
An integral part of the festival, Tribeca All Access (TAA) facilitates and supports relationships between filmmakers from underrepresented communities and film industry executives. ITVS relies on TAA as a resource for finding exciting projects from filmmakers of color. TAA elicits an enthusiastic response from filmmakers and festival goers every year, not only because of the excellent quality projects in development, but also because of Tribeca’s commitment to diversity. This year’s TAA opened with a welcome lunch at Megu restaurant where I was able to meet TAA filmmakers and TAA’s director, the wonderful Tamir Muhammad and his staff. Tribeca co-founder Jane Rosenthal welcomed guests and reaffirmed the festival’s commitment to TAA and lauded its success after nine years of supporting and nurturing filmmakers from the program: from initial meetings with industry representatives, to screenings at the festival. I was able to speak to filmmakers in a keynote address and talked about ITVS’s involvement and also our exciting online drama series FUTURESTATES, citing a number of TAA participants.
Out of the dozen meetings I had at TAA, many were with new producers, and many have been involved or are involved with ITVS. It was fortuitous to meet with Kathy Huang, producer-director of Tales of the Waria, an intimate look at the transgender community in Indonesia, which was funded through ITVS’s Open Call and is halfway through completion. In another meeting with Jamie Sisley and Miguel Martinez, I got an update on their project Farewell Ferris Wheel, which was supported through ITVS’ s Diversity Development Fund in 2009. This is a film about the world of carnival labor, seen through a small Mexican town. Jamie and Miguel received a Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Award later that week for Best Documentary.
Diversity Development Fund recipients, director PJ Raval and producer Sara Giustini of Untitled Gay Retiree Documentary and the team from the recent release of Trinidad updated us on their projects. Set against the backdrop of various LGBTQ-friendly retirement communities, several LGBTQ seniors navigate the adventures, challenges, and surprises of their "golden years." This will be an unprecedented look at the elderly queer community. TAA also has a great selection of narrative filmmakers. One of the producer/director teams I met with, producer Jasmine Jaisinghani, who had produced Aldo Velasco’s FUTURESTATES short Tent City and director Nisha Ganatra (Chutney Popcorn and Cosmopolitan), are working on a FUTURESTATES script for the second season, as well as a feature, Raga Beats, a cross-cultural love story set in the world of competing East Indian and Latino hip-hop musicians in New York City.
All of the producers and directors had fantastic projects in development. Many of the projects were in different stages of development, from initial concept to rough cut. And although for some it was the first opportunity to pitch, they articulately communicated their ideas with passion and enthusiasm. They provided unique storytelling and access to communities that we have rarely or ever seen on screen. Kudos to Tribeca All Access for gathering and nurturing this talented pool or producers!
-Claire Aguilar, Vice President of Programming
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