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Tribeca Film Institute Suspends Operations, Enacts Small Round of Layoffs (EXCLUSIVE)

Tribeca Film Institute
Courtesy of Tribeca Film Institute

The Tribeca Film Institute has suspended operations and enacted a small wave of layoffs amid ongoing coronavirus havoc, insiders familiar with the decision told Variety.

TFI is a non-profit devoted to funding and education aspiring filmmakers, serving as an educational outfit alongside the annual Tribeca Film Festival. Fewer than 10 people were laid off as a result, one insider said, while the remainder of the institute’s staff have been placed in other jobs at parent company Tribeca Enterprises.

A representative for the institute did not immediately return Variety‘s request for comment.

Word was handed down on Monday via a memo from institute board co-chairs Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Scott Rechler. Portions of the memo were posted on social media.

The trio reminded staff that the Tribeca Film Festival was born from the ashes of 9/11, and needed to be an operation that nimbly addresses urgent need in the community — primarily through financial aid, the memo said.

“The uncertainties surrounding our new reality certainly requires significant thought and reflection as to how we adapt to our new circumstances and continue to be as effective in the future. With this in mind, we have made the difficult decision to ‘pause’ TFI and in the coming weeks, we will wind down our existing TFI programming and staff,” the group said.

The final closure is set for Sept. 1, as the group ties up loose ends in grant funding and other operations. The board will reevaluate its options this fall, said the insider, in serving the artists in and around their programming.

“By no means is this the end of TFI. We are more committed than ever to supporting storytellers and our community as we try to recover from the devastating humanitarian and economic crisis left in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the memo continues. “This pause in TFI’s activities will enable us to better position our focus and resources to support the greatest needs and where we can have the greatest impact, just like we did after 9/11.”

The Tribeca Film Festival is set to celebrate 20 years next April.

Manori Ravindran contributed to this report.