Seven films and seven documentaries will earn grants from the program to aid their productions, many of them having not received previous funding. The filmmakers will attend the TFI Network event during the Tribeca Film Festival to meet distributors, funders, programmers and mentors in the film industry.
Several TAA projects have gone on to premiere at the film festival, like “The Short History of the Long Road,” “Stray Dolls” and “The NFL’s Cheerleader Program.” Since 2004, the TAA has supported filmmakers like Roger Ross Williams, RaMell Ross, Natalia Almada, Pacho Velez and Tchaiko Omawale.
“I am thrilled to be welcoming these filmmakers into the TFI family, and into a larger community of their peers during the three days of the TFI Network,” said Amy Hobby, the TFI executive director. “High-level industry will have the fortune of meeting these storytellers at a critical moment to launch their projects and careers.”
The Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts help fund the TAA, and a new grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies will support several grantees from Latin America.
The seven scripted projects winning grants are:
After the death of his graffiti-writer brother, 15-year-old Trey follows Luke, a train hopping crust punk and his surrogate family of runaways, artists and activists on illegal train rides that take him deep into a world off the grid. “Coyote Boys” is a portrait of rootless youth experiencing loss and loneliness — creating alternative ways of surviving 21st century America.
Writer, Director, Producer: Haley Elizabeth Anderson
Co-Producer: Adrien Cothier
“The Hole in the Fence” (Mexico)
The first-year students of an elitist religious school are attending a “faith and integration” camp outside Mexico City. What begins as a tranquil retreat soon becomes dangerous when a mysterious hole is found in the perimeter fence.
Director, Co-Writer: Joaquin Del Paso
Co-Writer, Production Designer: Lucy Pawlak
Producer: Fernanda De la Peza
In the age of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” homeless youth Ellis French joins the Marine Corps in a last-ditch attempt to change his life, but must conceal his attraction for his drill instructor in order to survive boot camp.
Director, Co-Writer: Elegance Bratton
Producers: Chester Algernal, Valerie Steinberg
“Keep it Together“
In 1976 civil-war-torn Beirut, a young rebellious woman fights to free her neighborhood from the control of the Holiday-Inn Sniper and to maintain her relationship with a woman bound by social norms.
Director, Screenwriter: Bane Fakih
Producers: Federica Belletti, Birgit Bernböck
In Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, a Filipina immigrant scrambling to avoid deportation becomes involved with a Russian slaughterhouse worker who is unaware that she’s transgender.
Director, Producer, Screenwriter: Isabel Sandoval
Producers: Darlene Malimas, Jhett Tolentino, Carlo Velayo
Set in an apartment complex outside Oakland, “Osian” tells the story of neighboring Persian-American families through the eyes of two teenagers — one reeling with the death of her mother, the other obsessed with raising money for his own funeral.
Director, Writer: Babak Khoshnoud
Producers: Will Abramson, Zoey Taylor
Told with dark humor, TOLL centers on Suellen, a toll booth attendant who realizes she can use her job to help a gang of thieves steal watches from the wealthy people driving between São Paulo and the coast. But this is only for a noble cause: to send her son to an expensive gay conversion workshop led by a renowned foreign priest.
Director, Screenwriter, Producer: Carolina Markowicz
The seven documentaries winning grants:
“Above and Below Ground“
The documentary tells the story of brave indigenous women activists and punk rock pastors who come together in the struggle for environmental self-determination in Myanmar’s war-torn North. A last line of defense for communities caught between coveted natural resources, military cronies, and profit-hungry multinationals, these activists fight back the best way they know how–through protest, prayer, and Karaoke music videos.
Director, Cinematographer: Emily Hong
Producer: Maggie Lemere
The documentary follows the journey of two women working to disrupt the cycle of racist violence within our country’s injustice system. As one mother navigates the aftermath of her son’s attack by local police, the other channels her grief into organizing other mothers to fight for — and win — concrete change and justice.
Director, Producer: Debora Souza Silva
Producers: Sabrina Schmidt Gordon, David Felix Sutcliffe
A filmmaker searches to uncover her family’s Iranian past. Excavating the formative memories of her grandmother, mother, and self, “Joonam” explores the evolving shape of girlhood – and, with it, the complex relationships between mother and daughter, Iran and America, and the immigrant experience as it ripples over time.
Director: Sierra Urich
“North by Current”
Trans filmmaker Madsen Minax returns to his rural Michigan hometown following the death of his infant niece and the wrongful incarceration of his brother-in-law. As he navigates a town steeped in addiction, economic depression, and religious fervor, Madsen creates a relentless portrait of an enduring pastoral family.
Director: Madsen Minax
Producer: Felix Endara
“The Other Side” (Colombia)
As the war between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian State comes to a long-awaited end, filmmaker Ivan Guarnizo and his brother pursue the truth behind their mom’s kidnapping at the hands of the FARC group and struggle to understand how she was able to forgive her captors in the last years of her life.
Director: Ivan Guarnizo
Producer: Jorge Caballero
Co-Producer: Pablo de la Chica
Executive Producer: Rosa Ramos
“The Silence of my Hands“(Mexico)
THE SILENCE OF MY HANDS follows Rosa and Saira, two Mexican deaf women in love, as they struggle with the adversities of their language, the distance that separates them – and the limited time that they have together, as an unforeseen illness impacts their relationship.
Director: Manuel Acuña
Producer: Mónica Velasco
“Truth or Consequences“
Faced with a dying Earth, humanity built a spaceport in the desert of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Those who could leave, ventured in search of new planets to call home. This is the story of the people who stayed.
Director: Hannah Jayanti
Producer: Sara Archambault