AT&T to Award $1 Million Grant to Underrepresented Filmmaker at 2017 Tribeca Film Festival
5 Talented and Diverse Filmmakers Vie for Top Prize as Part of New Film Initiative, “AT&T Presents: Untold Stories”
AT&T* and Tribeca are teaming up to launch a new film initiative, AT&T Presents: Untold Stories. An Inclusive Film Program in Collaboration with Tribeca. AT&T will provide funding of up to $1 million for 1 talented filmmaker to create his or her film, and Tribeca will provide mentorship from seasoned industry professionals. AT&T plans to distribute the winning film across several of its video platforms, including DIRECTV NOW, AT&T's streaming over-the-top service.
The new film initiative is a multi-year, multi-tier alliance between AT&T and Tribeca along with the year-round nonprofit Tribeca Film Institute. It will debut at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, which begins on April 19 in New York City. AT&T will serve as the presenting sponsor of the Festival for the fourth straight year.
“AT&T Presents: Untold Stories is about pushing the boundaries of storytelling, connecting our customers to new and exclusive content and celebrating diversity,” said Fiona Carter, AT&T Chief Brand Officer. “At AT&T, we’re passionate about innovation, culture and community – the same values that drive the Tribeca Film Festival. By launching this program with Tribeca, we are helping to give underrepresented filmmakers in the industry opportunities they have not had before.”
“As a champion of supporting underrepresented filmmakers for over a decade, Tribeca Film Festival and Tribeca Film Institute are proud to collaborate with AT&T on AT&T Presents: Untold Stories, a significant and essential program that goes beyond the generous funding,” said Jane Rosenthal, co-founder and Executive Chair of the Tribeca Film Festival and co-founder and co-chair of the Tribeca Film Institute. “To be able to say to a filmmaker that we are not only going to help get your important story made, but we will provide the mentoring, guidance and guaranteed distribution so it will get seen, is an incredible feeling.”
“We are excited to collaborate with AT&T on this timely and critical new initiative, AT&T Presents: Untold Stories,” said Amy Hobby, Executive Director of Tribeca Film Institute. “This program fits squarely within our year-round work at TFI – to bring stories from underrepresented filmmakers to audiences around the world – and we look forward to providing guidance to all of the talented pitch participants to help fully realize these amazing projects.”
AT&T Presents: Untold Stories kicks off April 18 with a live pitch event in New York City. Five talented and diverse filmmakers (listed below), curated by Tribeca Film Institute, will present their story ideas, budgets and film scripts to a Greenlight committee, including Fiona Carter (AT&T Chief Brand Officer), Jeffrey Wright (Actor), Anthony Mackie (Actor), Josh Deutsch (Chairman and CEO, Downtown Records), Lee Daniels (Film Producer), Len Amato (President, HBO Films) and Frida Torresblanco (Film Producer).
Tribeca will livestream the pitch event on its Facebook page for fans to follow along. The Greenlight committee will then narrow the selection to 1 filmmaker who will receive the $1 million grant. The chosen filmmaker will be announced later that day at a luncheon that celebrates inclusivity in storytelling.
The winning filmmaker will then create his or her film project, using the $1 million grant to help produce the film. In addition to the $1 million, AT&T and Tribeca will help with awards submissions, qualifying screenings, advertisements and promotion of the film. The finished film will premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and will run across several of AT&T's video platforms, including DIRECTV NOW. AT&T will provide to the other 4 participating filmmakers a grant of $10,000 each to help achieve their respective film goals.
AT&T will host several events at this year’s Festival:
- April 19 – AT&T Presents TFI Network: a part of the Tribeca Film Festival and the AT&T Untold Stories Program. Day 1 of this three-day networking event for Tribeca Film Institute grantees and other selected filmmakers will include various panels and presentations from some of the industry’s most iconic filmmakers and experts.
- AT&T Presents: Untold Stories will be the focus of 1 of the panel discussions. The $1 million grant recipient will sit on the panel, along with AT&T Chief Brand Officer Fiona Carter.
- April 26 – AT&T’s DIRECTV Premiere of the film, The Exception, will begin with a red carpet event. Directly following the premiere, attendees will be joined by the film’s cast at an after party.
- The Exception, directed by David Leveaux, is a World War II drama about a German officer who begins a dangerous affair with a young Dutch-Jewish woman.
- April 28 – AT&T’s Free Film Friday awards fans the opportunity to see exclusive film screenings for free. For more information and official rules, please visit TribecaFilm.com/ATTFreeFilmFriday.
Additionally, AT&T Presents: Untold Stories is the focus of this year's official Tribeca Film Festival trailer that will be shown before every film during the Festival. The trailer includes various notable actors, storytellers and film industry experts. To view the trailer, and for more information on AT&T Presents: Untold Stories, go to TribecaFilm.com/ATTUntoldStories.
AT&T Presents: Untold Stories’ Selected Projects and Filmmakers
(Photos available upon request)
Forever Even Longer. Written and Directed by Andres Perez Duarte, Produced by Navid Khonsari and Vassiliki Khonsari
Film Summary: After the death of his estranged gay son, an elderly, small-town Mexican man must travel to the U.S. to meet his heartbroken granddaughter and his resentful son-in-law and confront his own prejudice. In this authentic drama that celebrates the laugh-at-life moments, Forever, Even Longer tells the universal story of intolerance and forgiveness—even after it seems too late.
Bio: Perez-Duarte is a director, writer and creative producer - at iNK Stories his work includes the highly acclaimed 1979 Revolution (Sundance, SXSW, BAFTA), award-winning short Galeana
No. 8, and upcoming VR experiences Blindfold, and The Helmets. Raised in Mexico, Perez-Duarte graduated from SCAD Film and contributes as a Ghetto Film School Mentor.
The Hand of God. Written and Directed by Lissette Feliciano, Produced by Priscilla Anany
Film Summary: Elon Edson is the greatest footballer in the world. On the eve of receiving a lifetime achievement award, he recounts belief in miracles which carried him from his mother’s death at the hands of terrorism through his perilous escape from Nigeria to Europe.
Bio: Lissette Feliciano is a writer, director and a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. She is a member of the Alliance of Women Directors and has a penchant for social impact narratives. Her work often includes magical realism, the moniker of idols Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende. Her most recent short film With Children premiered at Cinequest 2017 and depicts a single mother’s struggle with wage inequality in the 1970’s.
I’m Not Down. Written and Directed by A. Sayeeda Moreno, Produced by Derek Nguyen and Monique Gabriela Curnen
Film Summary: When a middle-aged, black punk rock single dad is served an eviction notice by the greedy new landlord of his New York City tenement building, he has to fight for his way of life and save the livelihood of his family, the building’s tenants, and the character of a neighborhood that’s being threatened to vanish forever.
Bio: A. Sayeeda Moreno is a proud native New Yorker. Her Futurestates.tv short, White, premiered at SXSW and screened at Tribeca and BAMcinemaFest. The feature-length script won the San Francisco Film Society Hearst Screenwriting Award. Her short, Sin Salida, aired on HBO. She earned her MFA in Film from NYU.
Nigerian Prince. Written and Directed by Faraday Okoro, Produced by Biyi Bandele and Oscar Hernandez-Topete
Film Summary: After being sent to Nigeria against his will, a stubborn Nigerian-American teenager joins forces with an internet scammer, in order to return to the United States.
Bio: Faraday is a New York City based Nigerian-American filmmaker. He attended Howard University and NYU Graduate Film School. Faraday’s films have screened in numerous film festivals worldwide, including Tribeca, LA Film Festival, and the Palm Springs International Shortsfest. In 2016, Faraday was included in MovieMaker Magazine’s 25 Screenwriters to Watch.
The Short History of the Long Road. Written and Directed by Ani Simon-Kennedy, Produced by Darren Dean and Kishori Rajan
Film Summary: Teenage Nola grew up living out of a van with her charismatic father, Clint—two nomads against the world. When Clint suddenly dies, Nola must confront the reality of life on the road alone. She’ll need to take the wheel for the first time – learning to own her grief, her past and her new destination.
Bio: Ani Simon-Kennedy is a New York-based filmmaker from Paris. Through her production company Bicephaly Pictures (co-founded with cinematographer Cailin Yatsko), she’s directed videos for Condé Nast, Vice and Intel. An alum of Film Independent, IFP Film Week and Through Her Lens, she wrote and directed her first feature film Days of Gray in Iceland.
AT&T Presents: Untold Stories’ Greenlight Committee
(Photos available upon request)
Fiona Carter is Chief Brand Officer for AT&T, a global leader in the rapidly converging telecommunications, media and technology (TMT) space. She oversees global brand marketing, advertising, media and sponsorships, as well as the integration of brand leadership into the company's business strategies. She’s also a passionate advocate for female equality and strives to make a difference for women not only in the workplace, but all aspects of life.
Anthony Mackie is currently one of Hollywood’s most in-demand actors, known for his roles in Oscar-winning films The Hurt Locker and Million Dollar Baby, as well as recurring character ‘The Falcon’ in the Marvel universe films.
Lee Daniels is an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker who is best known for directing the feature films Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Precious: Based on the Novel by Sapphire, and The Paperboy, in addition to producing Monster’s Ball. In 2015, Daniels expanded his influence into the world of television by co-creating the Fox network’s mega hit series Empire and is currently working on his latest series, STAR, which was recently picked up by Fox for a second season.
Josh Deutsch is the Chairman and CEO of Downtown Records, Immortal Music Publishing, and Downtown Events. As CEO, Deutsch oversees the operations and creative direction of all three companies and plays an active role in the recorded music, music publishing, and live events businesses. Prior to his current position, Deutsch founded Downtown Music LLC in 2006 and acted as its Chairman and CEO, overseeing the company’s recorded music, publishing, licensing, online and studio business units.
Len Amato is President of HBO Films, responsible for all original movies made for the network. He started his career in New York at Tribeca Productions and was President of Spring Creek Productions prior to coming to HBO.
Frida Torresblanco is the award winning producer of Pan’s Labyrinth, directed by Guillermo del Toro and the winner of three Oscars, Magic, and the upcoming Disobedience, starring Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams and Alessandro Nivola, directed by Sebastian Lelio, and produced through her new film production company Braven Films.
Jeffrey Wright is a Tony, Emmy, AFI and Golden Globe Award-winning actor. He has enjoyed an illustrious career that has spanned the worlds of theatre, film and television. Wright can be seen playing Bernard Lowe, in HBO’s Westworld. Wright has also recently played Harvard Law professor, Charles Ogletree in HBO’s Confirmation, as well as Dr. Valentin Narcisse in HBO's critically acclaimed series Boardwalk Empire.
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About the Tribeca Film Festival
The Tribeca Film Festival brings together visionaries across industries and diverse audiences to celebrate the power of storytelling. A platform for independent filmmaking, creative expression and immersive entertainment, Tribeca supports emerging and established voices, discovers award-winning filmmakers, curates innovative and interactive experiences, and introduces new technology and ideas through panels, premieres, exhibitions, and live performances.
Founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff in 2001, following the attacks on the World Trade Center, Tribeca has evolved from an annual event to spur the economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan to a gathering place for filmmakers, artists, innovators, and the global creative community. Through programs that embrace storytelling in all of its expansive forms—film, TV, online work, VR/AR, and music—TFF reimagines the cinematic experience and explores how art can unite communities. This year’s festival runs April 19-30, 2017. www.tribecafilm.com
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