Winner of 2021 ‘AT&T Presents: Untold Stories’ $1 Million Prize Announced
AT&T* and Tribeca announced Nardeep Khurmi the winner of ‘AT&T Presents: Untold Stories’ for their film “Land of Gold”. Khurmi is the fourth filmmaker to receive the $1 million prize and mentorship to develop their winning pitch into a full-length feature film; plus a guaranteed slot at the 2022 Tribeca Festival, and for the first time, distribution on HBO Max to ensure their story is seen and heard.
“Thank you AT&T and Tribeca. I am inspired by the other stories told here today,” said Khurmi as he accepted his win. “It’s so thrilling and fundamentally overwhelming to be announced as the winner. We’ve been waiting for this greenlight for so long. We’re ready to make this movie.”
The winner was selected by the ‘AT&T Presents: Untold Stories’ Greenlight Committee who heard pitches from five diverse filmmaking teams at the livestreamed pitch event this morning. The committee consisted of leading industry talent and executives including Kellyn Smith Kenny (Chief Marketing and Growth Officer, AT&T), Karen Horne (Senior Vice President Equity and Inclusion, WarnerMedia), Veena Sud (TV Writer/Producer, “The Killing”), Nisha Ganatra (Film Director, “The High Note”), and Trace Lysette (Actor and Activist, “Transparent” “Pose” “Hustlers”).
“This was an extraordinarily difficult decision, and it was not unanimous. We deliberated into the final moments because every one of these stories moved us and deserves to be told. In the end, we chose a story that speaks to a human experience that has remained untold for too long. It marries two American stories that we haven’t seen before other than in the news where that human experience is stripped and flattened, and the people inside the story don’t even feel human,” said Kellyn Smith Kenny, Chief Marketing and Growth Officer, AT&T, on behalf of the Greenlight Committee.
Hosted at the WarnerMedia Innovation Lab in New York and moderated by Hunter Harris, the event included the filmmaker pitches, a Q&A between the filmmakers and Greenlight Committee, and the announcement of the winner and Fan Favorite. The full event and live remarks by Tribeca Festival Co-founders Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro were live-streamed on AT&T’s YouTube channel. To watch replays of the pitches, learn about the finalists and see what other exciting ways AT&T is involved with Tribeca, visit att.com/spotlight in the coming days.
“Four years ago, AT&T asked me what could make a real difference to the filmmaking community, and I suggested giving a filmmaker a million dollars to tell their story, and then further support them by ensuring that it is seen. They didn’t even blink. I’m especially excited that the program has continued to grow to now include distribution through HBO Max. There’s no better way to launch our 20th Anniversary Festival than with this group of emerging filmmakers and UNTOLD STORIES,” noted Jane Rosenthal, co-founder of Tribeca Festival.
The ‘AT&T Presents: Untold Stories’ initiative was created to help give the world access to stories from underrepresented filmmakers. In addition to the $1 million prize funded by AT&T, Tribeca and WarnerMedia will work closely with the filmmakers, overseeing production and providing mentorship from seasoned industry professionals, throughout the filmmaking process. AT&T and Tribeca will also support the filmmaker in award submissions, qualifying screenings and promotions of the film.
AT&T also presented the fan-voted Fan Favorite award to Clarissa de los Reyes for “Johnny Loves Dolores.” During the live pitches, fans voted for their favorite film via Twitter @ATT. de los Reyes will receive an additional $40,000 grant; while the other three participating filmmakers will each receive a $10,000 grant to achieve their film goals.
Additional information about the 2021 winner is below:
“Land of Gold”
Filmmakers: Nardeep Khurmi (Director/Screenwriter), Keertana Sastry (Producer), Pallavi Sastry (Producer), About: Kiren, a first-generation Punjabi trucker and anxious father-to-be, stumbles across Elena, a 10-year-old undocumented Mexican-American, during a cross-country trip. As Kiren helps Elena find her way home, the unlikely pair connect over a shared history and evolving expectations of what family truly is.
Nardeep Khurmi hails from the ‘burbs of Philly by way of Switzerland. You can usually catch him searching for the tastiest street food when he’s not working on his films, which spotlight underrepresented communities with narratives focused on expanding representation of the global majority. His award-winning short films, Pagg and Monogamish, have screened at over 60 festivals internationally, and his vlog-style adaptation of Flowers for Algernon and his latest short film, Unknown Caller, are streaming on YouTube. Nardeep is also an accomplished stage and screen actor, recently recurring on “Why Women Kill,” “Orbital Redux,” and “Jane the Virgin,” and appearing on “Rebel,” "Kenan," “SWAT,” “The Odd Couple,” and “Angie Tribeca.” He also voices a veritable stable of animals and humans on Disney’s hit “Mira, Royal Detective.” His script for Land of Gold is a 2021 WeScreenplay Finalist and a 2021 ScreenCraft Film Fund Finalist, as well as on Coverfly’s Red List. www.nardeepkhurmi.com