TFI New Media Fund names grant recipients

Six interactive non-fiction projects, including web projects spun off from Steve James' The Interrupters and Amir Bar-Lev's The Tillman Story, have been named as the inaugural recipients of the Tribeca Film Institute's New Media Fund.
October 4, 2011

Six interactive non-fiction projects, including web projects spun off from Steve James’ The Interrupters and Amir Bar-Lev’s The Tillman Story, have been named as the inaugural recipients of the Tribeca Film Institute’s New Media Fund.

A total of US$400,000 has been awarded to six projects that promote social change from the U.S. and around the world. The TFI New Media Fund is in partnership with the Ford Foundation’s JustFilms initiative.

The Interrupters‘ documentary web campaign is a collection of moving stories from “violence interrupters” who protect their Chicago communities from the violence they once dealt in. The campaign, also named The Interrupters, uses interactive web stories and interactive digital “shrines” to victims of violent crime. Steve James, Sonya Childress, Alex Kotlowitz, Lawrence Seals and Kounterattack Designs received a grant of $75,000.

The Tillman Story Interactive Edition is a website that allows audiences to participate in the documentary The Tillman Story as they watch it, featuring outtakes and documents and updated with recent developments. Amir Bar-Lev, Jennifer Bleyer, Ben Moskowitz and Ted Han were awarded $50,000.

18 Days of Egypt, a collaborative interactive doc project about the Egyptian revolution uses the millions of videos, photos, email and tweets from witnesses to tell the story of the recent uprising. The key participants, Jigar Mehta, Yasmin Elayat, Jon Else and Hugo Soskin were awarded $100,000.

Map Your World is a multi-platform project that allows young people to map, track and improve the health of their communities, and then share the information with the world. The key principles, Maren Grainger-Monsen, Nicole Newnham, Matt Berg, Emily Coven, Amlan Ganguly, Emily Ozner and Eric Rodenbeck, were awarded $75,000.

A grant of $50,000 was awarded to Afghan Lives, a project in which 30 civilian Afghans in Helmand province were trained to film with mobile phones, with content from their daily lives in the no-man’s land between Taliban and Allied Forces to be edited and uploaded over the course of a year. Key participants are Henrik Grunnet, Nagieb Khaja and Lise Linse-Moller.

Lastly, FilmAid International’s Dadaab Stories was awarded $50,000 for telling the stories of the 450,000 people living in a refugee camp in the heart of the Somali famine crisis.

Members of the 11-person jury included HBO Documentary Films SVP, Nancy Abraham; director/filmmaker Laura Poitras (The Oath);  editor and director Sam Pollard (Slavery By Another Name, When the Levees Broke); and Andy Berndt, VP of Google Creative Lab.

“The Tribeca Film Institute is proud to have made this pioneering leap to recognize the value of artist-driven audience engagement and cross-platform activation,” said Beth Jason, executive director of the Tribeca Film Institute. “Our inaugural winners truly capture the depth and diversity of the new media landscape with their projects. We congratulate this initial class of grant recipients and eagerly look forward to helping take these projects to the next level.”

“These awards reflect our shared commitment to digital storytelling, to experimentation, and to reaching new audiences in new ways,” added Orlando Bagwell, Director of JustFilms at the Ford Foundation. “The TFI New Media winners are not only expanding the boundaries of narrative, they are finding new ways to advance public participation in learning, citizenship and free expression.  We support their terrific work.”

The grantees will also take part in a three-day workshop at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival run by Crossover Labs.

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.