A few weeks ago, filmmakers, celebrities, and influencers from around the world assembled in New York City for the sixteenth edition of the Tribeca Film Festival. Born as a response to the September 11 attacks, the Tribeca Film Festival has evolved since its inception — beyond films — to include television, music, sports, virtual reality and more. Still remaining at the core, are stories that matter.
From films like The Death & Life of Marsha P. Johnson and Hondros, to programs like AT&T’s Untold Stories and Tribeca Film Institute, let’s take a deeper look at how #Tribeca2017 championed social good through creative storytelling.
AT&T Untold Stories
AT&T’s inaugural Untold Stories program, in collaboration with Tribeca, is a new film initiative ensuring that diverse storytellers always have a screen to shine on. Alarming patterns of underrepresentation concerning women and people of color have been the crux of Hollywood discussion. AT&T teamed up with Tribeca to work on moving the stories of women and people of color from a place of invisibility to inclusion.
This year five filmmakers came together to pitch for AT&T’s $1 million grant. Faraday Okoro, NYU and Howard University alum, was the esteemed recipient of the grant for his new project, Nigerian Prince — a nuanced story of a Nigerian-American teenage boy introduced to internet scamming, with one mission in mind: to return home to America.
Catch the AT&T Untold Stories trailer here.
The Death & Life of Marsha P. Johnson
In July 1992, unsung heroine and LGBT activist Marsha P. Johnson’s body was found floating along the Hudson River. A lover of life, Marsha’s indelible spirit was felt everywhere she went, which led to heightened suspicion once her death was ruled a suicide. In The Death & Life of Marsha P. Johnson, director David France traces her legacy and her unusual, yet forgotten, case.
Present during the Stonewall riots, Marsha became a pillar of the gay movement that sparked in response to the riots. In 1970, along with Sylvia Rivera, she created STAR House — a gay, gender non-conforming and transgender street activist organization that provided permanent housing for homeless youth within the gay and transgender community. While standing on the frontlines, attempts were often made to silence Johnson and Rivera. A movement that they once revolutionized began to abandon them..
Tribeca Associate Editor, Matthew Eng sat down with director David France to talk about the film’s inception, Marsha’s life and the subsequent gay civil rights movement that continued to bloom even after her death.
“What happens when a flower gets wilted— does it just die away? [No] Hopefully that flower would have sowed seeds that will grow a new movement.” — Sylvia Rivera and Victoria Cruz.
Hondros is a spotlight documentary based on the work of award-winning photojournalist, Chris Hondros. Working in international conflict zones throughout Kosovo, Libya, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Liberia and Afghanistan, Hondros captured a decade of extraordinary war photography before his death in 2011. “He believed in the power of shining a light in places that otherwise would be dark,” said Pancho Bernasconi, Vice President of News, Getty Images.
Looking for additional social good films and events from #Tribeca2017? Check out Ad Council’s Director of PR and Social, Ben Dorf’s round up. And if you’re already counting down to the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, sign up for Tribeca’s official newsletter to stay up-to-date on the stories that matter.
The Tribeca Film Institute
Founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff in 2001, the Tribeca Film Institute is a year-round nonprofit organization that empowers filmmakers to use their stories to spark change throughout their respective communities.
The Institute also provides educational programs like Tribeca Teaches to expose New York City students to socially relevant films. This year, the festival highlighted the Institute’s work at a facility less known for filmmaking. In partnership with the Educational Services Unit of the NYC Department of Correction, incarcerated women from the Rikers Island Media Lab spent their year writing and producing More than a Woman.
The women worked to tell their stories in order to remove the cycle of criminalization. The visual poem stands as a piece of rehabilitation, while educating youth on the city’s prison system. In collaboration with students at the Young Women’s Leadership School, the film premiered at the festival on April 24th and 25th.