“Bitterbrush”, “The Road is a Red Thread” among TFI Network ’20 doc participants

Emelie Madhavian’s Bitterbrush (pictured) and Melissa Elizondo Moreno’s The Road is a Red Thread are among the documentary participants of the Tribeca Film Institute’s (TFI) annual film market TFI Network. Given the circumstances surrounding ...
April 17, 2020

Emelie Madhavian’s Bitterbrush (pictured) and Melissa Elizondo Moreno’s The Road is a Red Thread are among the documentary participants of the Tribeca Film Institute’s (TFI) annual film market TFI Network.

Given the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 TFI Network will be hosted as a virtual event for the first time ever, running from April 27 through to May 1.

The first-ever digital TFI Network will bring together filmmakers and creators from around the world to connect virtually with industry executives, financiers, producers and festival programmers.

Prior to the event’s online kick-off, participants will take part in “Prep Week” from April 21-23, where the newly-supported storytellers will partake in online pitch training sessions with the support of industry professionals acting as pitch mentors.

“TFI remains dedicated to creating opportunities for independent artists without compromising their health or safety,” said Amy Hobby, executive director at Tribeca Film Institute, in a statement. “The remarkable agility of our team allowed us to quickly pivot this three-day in-person program to an exceptionally robust virtual event, so even through these extraordinary circumstances, we’ll continue to connect emerging talent with the tools they need to take their projects to the next level.”

Documentary projects participating in the 2020 TFI Network are listed below, with descriptions provided by the Tribeca Film Institute:

Bitterbrush (USA)
Director, Producer: Emelie Madhavian
Producer: Su Kim
Logline: In the remote and rugged mountains of the American West, two young women contemplate the future as they work alone herding cattle.

Captains Of Za’atari (Egypt)
In Collaboration with Beirut Cinema Platform
Director/Producer: Ali El-Arabi
Producers: Aya Dowara & Amjad Abu Alala
Logline: In the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, Syrian teenagers Mahmoud and Fawzi are friends who aspire to become professional soccer players. When a world-renowned sports academy visits the camp, they have a chance to make their dream a reality.

Frank Bey: You’re Going To Miss Me (USA)
Director: Marie Hinson
Producer: Trevite Willis
Executive Producer: Thomas Dwyer
Logline: In 1977, Frank Bey quit singing after a deal gone wrong with James Brown. Now, the aging soul singer must confront the limitations of his health and income to return to the stage, and finally, to Nashville.

Free Selda (Turkey)
In Collaboration with Close-Up Forum
Director/Producer: Amber Isbilen
Executive Producer: Leyla Hamedi
Co-Producer: Martina Haubrich
Associate Producer: Neslihan Oksay
Logline: Celebrated around the world as Turkey’s first female rockstar, Selda Bağcan and her freedom-fighting lyrics continue to hold national attention, despite decades of censorship, imprisonment and persecution. When first generation Turkish American filmmaker Amber Isbilen immigrates to her motherland to document the legendary musician, she unveils a story that goes way beyond a single person.

Gross National Happiness (Bhutan)
In Collaboration with Docedge Kolkata – Asian Forum for Documentary
Directors: Arun Bhattarai & Dorottya Zurbo
Producer: Noémi Veronika Szakonyi
Logline: Amar (40) and Gunaraj (36) are not only close friends but also “Happiness Agents”, who work together for Bhutan’s Ministry of Happiness. They travel door-to-door measuring people’s level of happiness among the remote Himalayan mountains – and in their mission, learn about people’s dreams and life goals. Gross National Happiness is a satirical ‘road movie’ that takes us through a mosaic of stories exploring the real desires of a society with a specific national identity – an identity created by the Happiness Ministry of Bhutan, a country that has been closed-off for centuries.

Henri: The Last Pirate (Chile)
In Collaboration with SANFIC (Santiago International Film Festival)
Director: Julián Fernández Prieto
Producer: Dominique Rammsy Sánchez
Logline: Henri: The Last Pirate follows Loti, the son of Henri Garcia, a French diver who decided to leave his European life behind and settle in Rapanui, Easter Island: the most isolated place in the world. For more than 30 years Henri documented his life on the island and shared a deep friendship with filmmaker Julián Fernández’s father.

Language Of Opportunity (USA / India)
In Collaboration with Kartemquin Films – Diverse Voices in Documentary
Director/Producer: Anuradha Rana
Logline:  Set against the backdrop of rising nationalism in the US and India, LANGUAGE OF OPPORTUNITY  explores issues that translate across the spectrum of imperialism, immigration, and assimilation to renew the conversation about the loss of cultural identity and how language diversity plays a role in forming a more tolerant society.

Once I Left To Become María (Mexico)
In Collaboration with DocsMX (Documentary Film Festival in Mexico City)
Director: Sofía Castellanos
Producer: Eduardo Esquivel
Logline: In the wake of her father’s death, filmmaker Sofia Castellanos begins to reconnect with her mother, María. Little by little, she begins to understand the woman that was left abandoned all these years – her identity stored and buried in dusty old boxes, her beautiful singing voice no longer nurtured. As the filmmaker questions why her mother abandoned her dreams, the film explores themes of gender and femininity.

Pornomelancholia (Argentina / Mexico)
In Collaboration with Los Cabos International Film Festival 
Director: Manuel Abramovich
Producer: Rachel Daisy Ellis, David Hurst, Gema Juárez Allen, & Martha Orozco
Lalo is a prolific online sex influencer from Oaxaca, Mexico who shares homemade erotic videos to his thousands of followers on social media. Filmmaker Manuel Abramovich uses Lalo’s pornography as a starting point to reflect on the complex relationship between intimacy and performance and the duality of our virtual and everyday lives in an ever-connected world.

The Road Is A Red Thread (Mexico)
In Collaboration with FICG (Guadalajara International Film Festival)
Director: Melissa Elizondo Moreno
Producer: Érika Mercado Sánchez
Logline: The Road Is A Red Thread explores the ongoing femicide crisis in Mexico, and the daily rituals – and uncertainty – that women in that country have to endure to avoid the wave of violence against them.

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