OVERVIEW: The Tribeca Film Institute offers a number of funding opportunities for both narrative and documentary films at various stages of production. It also supports its alumni and makes additional grants available for those that have gone through some of its programs, so getting a foot in the door can definitely pay considerable dividends.
IP TAKE: Tribeca prioritizes keeping the filmmakers it supports close, so membership and participation in its programs count for a lot. It even offers help with marketing, pitching, and audience development in some cases, so its backing can be a force multiplier.
PROFILE: The Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) was created by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff “in the wake of September 11, 2001.” The institute “champions storytellers to be the catalysts for change in their communities and around the world.” It makes nearly $1 million in independent filmmaking grants every year in Narrative, Documentary, and New Media productions categories.
Tribeca is as widely respected and prestigious as Sundance and offers just a few more grant opportunities to filmmakers of all ages. Certain types of films are eligible for certain types of grants, but not all of them are eligible for every grant:
TFI Latin American Media Arts Fund - Supports innovative film and video artists living and working in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America whose works reflect their diverse cultures in the documentary or mixed media form. Grants are for up to $12,000 and support projects that are in production or post-production.
Tribeca All Access – Grants through this program support feature-length scripted and documentary projects by directors, producers, or writers from communities that are underrepresented in the film industry.
Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund – Feature length documentaries that are currently in production or post production qualify for this $10,000 to $25,000 award. Films eligible for this award must address and humanize pressing social issues.
TFI Documentary Fund – Non-fiction documentary films that are in the advanced stages of development, in production, or in post-production qualify for this grant, which ranges from $25,000 to $50,000.
TFI/ESPN Future Filmmaker Prize - This grant, of up to $18,000, provides support for graduate students (pursuing master's degrees) making short-form documentaries about athletic communities or organizations using sports to make the world a better place. Applicants must be enrolled at one of a specific number of universities; however, TFI will consider adding schools to the list.
The Resilient Communities Project - The project provides support for "a film beginning early in the creative process and [to] help promote social action through digital and education initiatives."
Tribeca also offers different alumni grants, available for projects which have already participated in Tribeca All Access, or for new projects from program alumni. These grants target needs such as assistance in project completion and help with pitches, marketing, branding, and audience development.
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