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Katie Holmes, Kal Penn Help Decide Winner of $1 Million Filmmaker Grant

Tribeca Film Festival and AT&T gave one young filmmaker a million and one reasons to rejoice at the “Untold Stories” third annual competition.

After a nerve-wracking 10-minute long pitch in front of over 850,000 live stream audience members and a panel consisting of celebrities and industry leaders, filmmaker Kate Tsang was awarded $1 million Monday to bring her script to life on the big screen. But, the awarded budget was not the only thing that was magical for the “Marvelous and the Black Hole” creator.

Reflecting on her winning project that she describes as being “for Asians, women and for anyone who has ever felt invisible” she told Variety, “It’s indescribable. I have had this dream for so long and to be able to actually do it is unfathomable. I am so excited to make this film. With Tribeca giving me this chance, I feel like I am going to be able to make stories about other people like me.”

Tsang was among four other nominees who broke history in being one of the all-female writer-director finalist list. Pitching took place at the film festival headquarters in front of Green Light Committee members including Katie Holmes, BAFTA-nominated director Mira Nair, Kal Penn, Lisa Gay Hamilton, and Haifaa Al Mansour. Also on the pitch panel was President of HBO Films Len Amato and AT&T communications chief brand officer Fiona Carter.

“I was really honored. I love the Tribeca Film Festival…just to be a part of the process and to see this talent and these stories and these ideas and be a part of helping to decide…just being a part of seeing the next generation and this creativity and the diversity and that so many untold stories are going to be told,” Holmes said.

Tsang’s film will premiere at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival. AT&T also gave the other four participating filmmakers $10,000 each.

In addition, finalist Kaliya Warren, writer and director of “Expatriates,” received the most votes on Twitter during the live stream and won the $40,000 Film Fan Favorite prize.

The grant is awarded in hopes that the money will change these artist’s lives for a long time to come.

“I remember in college I got a couple of scholarships for $500 bucks each and that was huge,” Penn said. “It’s first the money that allows you to jump-start whatever project you are working on, but it is also the idea that someone believes in you that is really empowering.”

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