TITLE: Vice President, Artist Programs
FUNDING AREAS: Films and filmmakers
CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)
IP TAKE: Harrington has vision and patience. If a project doesn’t get the nod the first time around, he will sometimes keep tabs on it if he feels it's promising enough for a second go round.
PROFILE: Ryan Harrington has been at the Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) since the end of 2007, first as the Director of Documentary Programming where he helped develop, commission, and acquire feature length documentary films, and now oversees all Artist Programs as the institute's vice president.
Before Tribeca, Harrington was at A&E Television Networks for close to nine years managing production at A&E IndieFilms, the theatrical documentary arm of the network. While at A&E he championed the films American Teen, My Kid Could Paint That, and the Oscar-nominated Murderball and Jesus Camp.
TFI's artist programs provide over $2 million in annual grants for projects and filmmakers world-wide over a span of 14 different funds.
Harrington has explained how they go about the evaluation process: "TFI has a very thorough evaluation system. Everything that is submitted is looked at by a select committee of reviewers at least three times. For us, it is about two variables: the story and the filmmaker telling that story. Across the board, we look for stories that are timely, untold, thoughtful and in-depth, bolstered by a compelling visual approach. Apart from unique access and compelling character portraits, we also pay attention to who is submitting proposals for funding. While we have funded some amazing documentary veterans... we like to discover emerging artists that we believe will have long-lasting careers in the field."
He also makes it very clear that the main thing he looks for in a submission is a well told and compelling story: "There are those calling cards that I look for in every submission that makes it rise to the top of the pile. For me it's all about story, story, story. Originality, something we haven't seen before, unique access into a world we haven't seen before."
Familiarizing yourself with past projects that recieved support also goes a long way in gaining insight into what Harrington is seeking. And above all, take a risk. Harrington is definitely open. As he's said, "I don't want to limit TFI and our funds to being topic-driven or having to fill a quota - we are very open. The best part of my job is to find that gem of a submission that focuses on a topic that I never thought existed, or that I thought I would never be personally drawn to. Actually. . . I'd like to pose that same question to potential future grantees when they submit proposals. I'm ready to be surprised!"