Exclusive: TFI, Points North, CNN Films name participants for fourth retreat

The Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) and Points North Institute (PNI), in partnership with CNN Films, have announced the five participants slated to take part in this year’s edition of The ...
June 15, 2018

The Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) and Points North Institute (PNI), in partnership with CNN Films, have announced the five participants slated to take part in this year’s edition of The Camden/TFI Retreat presented by CNN Films.

The fourth annual retreat, beginning today, takes place over seven days and provides five U.S.-based documentary filmmaking teams with mentorship and professional guidance from filmmakers, editors and producers. This year’s team of mentors includes director/producer Kristi Jacobson (A Place at the Table, Solitary), producer Susan Bedusa (Kate Plays Christine, Bisbee ’17), editor Francisco Bello (Our Nixon, The Reagan Show), filmmaker Yoruba Richen (The New Black), Courtney Sexton (vice president of CNN Films) and Josh Braun (film producer and co-founder of Submarine Entertainment).

Members of each of the filmmaking teams will attend a pre-workshop weekend getaway to Hurricane Island in Maine. From there, the workshop portion of the retreat entails four intensive days of master classes and mentoring sessions.

“TFI is delighted to partner again with CNN Films and Points North Institute on the June lab,” said Amy Hobby, executive director of TFI, in a statement. “The retreat allows storytellers a rare chance to get out of the intensity of the edit room, to gain fresh perspectives and feedback from peers and mentors alike.”

“CNN Films is so pleased to partner with TFI and PNI, two leaders in the documentary film industry, in our shared mission of fostering these emerging filmmakers,” added Amy Entelis, executive vice president for talent and content development for CNN Worldwide. “We are dedicated to ensuring a viable career path for documentarians, the chronicling storytellers of our lives and times,” she said.

Previous projects that have emerged from past retreats include The Family I Had, No Man’s Land, The Reagan Show and Roll Red Roll.

Retreat participants, with descriptions provided by the organizations, include:

Eternal Life Fan Club - Rita Baghdadi (co-director); Jeremiah Hammerling (co-director)
“A reclusive YouTuber and a Transhumanist politician embark on a road trip across the U.S in a 1978 RV modified to look like a coffin. Their mission? To convince the world they should never die.”

Treasure Island – Cecilia Aldarondo (director)
“A kaleidoscopic portrait of life in post-Hurricane MarĂ­a Puerto Rico.”

The Gut (pictured, working title) – Jennifer Maytorena Taylor (director)
“Filmed over two years in a small New England community caught in the opioid epidemic and a battle over Syrian refugee resettlement, The Gut explores what changes – and what doesn’t – when small town America meets the world and discovers it is us.”

The Terrorist’s Son – Danny Yourd (director)
“An intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the life of Zak Ebrahim, an American boy raised by his terrorist father – the man who helped plan the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Zak has spent his life trying to understand what drew his father to terrorism, and struggled with the knowledge that he has his blood in his veins. This is a portrait of a young man who was raised in the fires of fanaticism and embraced nonviolence instead.”

Truth or Consequences – Hannah Jayanti (director)
“In 1950, the residents of a small desert town in New Mexico voted to rename themselves after the game show, Truth or Consequences. Like many towns where work is scarce, they poured their dreams into the prosperity that might come. Now, nearly seventy years later, the same hopes are playing out as Spaceport America, the world’s first commercial spaceport, is built just outside of town.”

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.