TFI, Ford Foundation name six New Media Fund grantees

The new media public art project New Day New Standard (pictured) is one of six interactive non-fiction projects that received a total of US$400,000 in funding from the Tribeca Film Institute and the Ford Foundation's Just Film Initiative.
August 22, 2012

The Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) and the Ford Foundation’s Just Film Initiative have awarded six non-fiction interactive projects US$400,000 in grants through the 2012 TFI New Media Fund.

The recipients, who hail from the United States and around the world, will each receive between $50,000 and $100,000, effective immediately. The interactive projects cover a diverse range of social justice and equality issues, including Guatemalan street gangs, rural West Virginia community issues and collaborative problem-solving facilitated by a robot named Laika.

The fund supports non-fiction, multi-platform and participatory storytelling. The jury awarding the grants was comprised of figures from the technology, film, media and arts worlds. In addition to the funding, grantees will also participate in peer-to-peer meetings and a development lab to help them build engagement with audiences.

“We continue to witness the power of storytelling in addressing the most relevant topics of today in unique and experimental forms,” said Orlando Bagwell, director of the Ford Foundation’s JustFilms initiative, in a statement. “The opportunities to inform and engage audiences on complex issues are limitless and the variety and diversity of these projects embody the potential to advance social justice.”

The 2012 TFI New Media Fund recipients, with synopses provided by TFI, are:

Alma, A Tale of Violence
Key Participants: Miquel Dewever-Plana, Isabelle Fougère, Hugues Micol, Sebastien Brothier
Description: A former member of one of Guatemala’s most violent gangs, Alma tells her story in a unique interactive web/tablet concept in which the viewer moves between two screen levels, a face-to-face experience and a visual evocation of Alma’s recollections.

Immigrant Nation
Key Participants: Theo Rigby, Kate Mclean
Description: Immigrant Nation uses personal narratives to give users multiple entry points into the divisive issue of immigration in the U.S. Through the intersection of documentary film, user-generated storytelling and social mapping, this project provides a platform for users to create, share and explore personal immigration stories.

Laika’s Adventure
Key Participants: Lance Weiler, Janine Saunders
Description: Laika’s Adventure is an ongoing, experiential, educational story world that plugs into Connected Sparks, an online social change platform for children. Laika, a traveling robot, facilitates collaborative problem solving among students, teachers, storytellers and a global audience. At its core, Laika’s Adventure looks to harness the power of storytelling, technology and creativity to inspire micro-actions of change.

New Day New Standard
Key Participants: Anjum Asharia, Abdulai Bah, Leo Burd, Sasha Constanza-Chock, Alexandra García, Becky Hurwitz, Marisa Jahn, Christine Yvette Lewis, Marc Shavitz
Description: New Day New Standard (pictured above) is a new media public art project bridging advocacy and narrative by telling the story of a new movement for workers’ rights. Created by REV-, New Day New Standard involves a creative Spanish/English audio campaign, accessible by web and telephone call-in, that informs domestic workers and their employees about the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights.

Key Participants: Elaine McMillion, Jeff Soyk, Tricia Fulks, Eric Lovell, Michelle Miller, Megan Bowers
Description: Hollow is a hybrid community participatory project and interactive documentary that addresses the issues of rural America through the eyes of Southern West Virginians.

Question Bridge: Black Males
Key Participants: Chris Johnson, Bayeté Ross-Smith,Kamal Sinclair, Hank Willis Thomas, Jesse Williams
Description: Question Bridge: Black Males is an innovative transmedia art project that facilitates a dialogue between a critical mass of black men from diverse and contending backgrounds; and creates a platform for them to represent and redefine black male identity in America. Question Bridge will use a mobile application and robust website to create sustainable extensions of the current video installation in order to reach a wider audience.

In addition to the TFI New Media Fund, the organization is planning another one-day TFI Interactive event to take place during next year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which runs April 17-28, 2013.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.