Ewing, Grady, Yi among TFI doc grantees

The Tribeca Film Institute has named 11 filmmakers - including Planet of Snail director Seung-Jun Yi (pictured) and Detropia helmers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady - who are to receive a total of US$160,000 in grants.
January 15, 2013

The Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) has named 11 filmmakers – including Detropia helmers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, and Planet of Snail director Seung-Jun Yi (pictured) – who will receive a total of US$160,000 in grants, and has also named the winner of its inaugural TFI/ESPN Prize.

The TFI Documentary Fund supports character-driven, in-progress documentaries, and each grantee will receive year-round guidance and consultation on the film’s production, in addition to funding.

The TFI/ESPN Prize, meanwhile, is an extension of the fund that awards a grant of $30,000 a year to a feature-length in-progress doc that covers sports, competition or athleticism and a character-driven story. The winner was The Battered Bastards of Baseball, directed by Chapman Way and Maclain Way, and produced by Juliana Lembi. The film tells the story of Hollywood veteran Bing Russell who created one of the most popular minor league baseball teams of the decade.

The TFI Documentary Fund grants awarded to films in various stages of development include  The Arrivals (Las Llegadas), directed by Heidi Ewing and produced by Rachel Grady.

The doc looks at two young men who left Mexico City to be an openly gay couple in the U.S. and are now successfully living in New York, but must decide whether to return home; and The Battle with Satan, directed by Konrad Szolajski and produced by Ewa Zukowska, which looks at a rebellious teenager who doesn’t want to attend religion lessons, and is subjected to exorcisms.

Also receiving TFI support is Peaches Goes Bananas, a doc about the artist and musician Peaches, directed and produced by Marie Losier and produced by Martin Marquet; Wind on the Moon, directed by Seung-Jun Yi and produced by Min-Chul Kim, which tells the story of a young deaf and blind girl and how her mother attempts to communicate with her; and The Wonderful Kingdom of Papa Alaev, directed and produced by Noam Pinchas and Tal Barda, which is a story about a hot-tempered Tajik musical family.

Other grantees in various states of production include Art and Craft, directed by Sam Cullman and Jennifer Grausman, about a prolific art forger; Garnet’s Gold, directed by Ed Perkins and produced by Simon Chinn, which follow one man’s adventure to find hidden treasure; The New Czar, directed by Alejandro Alvarez and Ulrik Wivel and exec produced by Talal Al-Muhanna, which looks at a Spanish dance legend who modernizes a Russian ballet troupe; and Teatro, directed and produced by Jeff Malmberg and Chris Shellen, which is billed as a “documentary fairy tale” about a tiny Italian farming village.

The romantic comedy documentary One in a Billion, in post-production, also received a grant. Directed by Geeta V. Patel and Ravi Patel, and exec produced by Dan Cogan and Geralyn Dreyfous, the doc tells the story of an almost 30-year-old Indian-American man caught between the woman of his dreams and his parents.

“Our 2013 grantees, many of whom are TFI alumni, are a diverse mix of contemporary storytellers from around the world,” said Ryan Harrington, TFI director of documentary programming. “We are proud to support their artistic and creative approaches to filmmaking, which are bound to ignite passionate reactions from audiences.

“It is an honor to join ESPN Films to present the TFI/ESPN Prize as they expand their long-time partnership with Tribeca and extend their support of outstanding sports filmmaking – a mission that complements the TFI Documentary Fund’s goal to provide funding for documentary genres that don’t typically receive support.”

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.