The Yakims Theater Archive Rauzar Alexander's THE MONI YAKIM LEGACY PROJECT

The Tribeca Film Institute just announced the grant-winning film projects of the 11th annual Tribeca All Access (TAA) program. Ten projects were chosen (of the 620 submissions), each to receive $15,000 in grants as well as access to year-round support and resources to help filmmakers complete their works. 

The TAA grantees are overseen by Ryan Harrington, Vice President, Artist Programs and Tamir Muhammad, Director of Feature Programming, and encompass a collection of emerging and established diverse filmmakers.

"With subjects ranging from the Coast Salish peoples to Hawaiian inmates to the rural agrarian communities of Sapa, Vietnam, this year's TAA documentary slate represents our most geographically diverse group of films since the program's inception," said Harrington. "These projects come from a multicultural group of talented artists immersed in their local communities and dedicated to telling those communities' stories."

Muhammad said, "The 2014 narrative TAA films’ genres range in scope from comedy to mystery and suspense, and explore forward-thinking themes that are relatable for a wide array of audiences. We are proud to be working with this new roster of such creative talent at every step of their process."

During this year's Tribeca Film Festival, filmmakers from TAA will participate in one-on-one industry meetings on Tuesday, April 22 and Wednesday, April 23 to network with film industry executives, potential investors, development executives, producers and agents.

Including the TAA grants, Tribeca Film Institute will distribute more than $2.2 million in grants this year to help champion storytellers to be catalysts for change in their communities and around the world. Since its founding in 2003, TAA has supported 160 films and more than 350 filmmakers who identify as members of a minority group. The program supports filmmakers from statistically underrepresented communities.

Five grants will be awarded to Documentary projects in various stages:

Clearwater: Directed and Produced by Tracy Rector and Lou Karsen. Over a 650 mile canoe journey, Clearwater will explore the Coast Salish people’s intimate relationship to the Salish Sea. Their unique story is one of survival, adaptation and continual acceptance of an outside world. Set in the ancient waters of the Puget Sound, Clearwater is a non-fiction film about a community’s ability to transcend environmental, cultural and social changes without sacrificing a sacred way of life. 

In The Shadow of the Hills: Directed and Produced by Bao Nguyen (produced 2030, a Sloan-supported project, premiered at Berlin Film Festival); Written and Produced by Elizabeth Ai. Told through the perspective of two young Hmong women, In the Shadow of the Hills is a longitudinal observation of the rural agrarian communities of Sapa, Vietnam where the indigenous people have suddenly found themselves dealing with issues of rapid development, educational disparity, and human trafficking.

The Moni Yakim Legacy Project: Written, Produced and Directed by Rauzar Alexander; Produced Kari Wilder and Alma Har'el (Directed 2011 Tribeca Film Festival Best Documentary Feature winner Bombay Beach; 2012 TFI Documentary Fund grantee for Love True). A rare look into a master and pioneer of theatrical movement who recounts his own evolution and the inception of the Juilliard Acting School. Revered Juilliard alumni and present students attest to his groundbreaking methods that push actors to their utmost physical and emotional potential.

Out of State: Directed and Produced by Ciara L. Lacy; Produced by Beau J.K. Bassett. Out of State follows a group of roughly 100 native Hawaiian inmates practicing hula, a native Hawaiian dance form, as a means of maintaining their cultural heritage and working to rehabilitate themselves and their relationships with their families. 

The Unafraid (working title): Directed and Produced by Heather Courtney and Anayansi Prado. In a conference room in an Atlanta office building, a quiet revolution takes place every Sunday when a group of teenagers and 20-somethings gather to do something Georgia has banned them from doing – attend a college class. The Unafraid, a vérité, multi-year documentary, will follow the story of this new underground movement, as well as the daily lives of several of these undocumented youth, now faced with the post-high school reality of being banned immigrants in a state they have called home for most of their childhood. 

Five grants will be awarded to Narrative projects in various stages:

Destined: Written and Directed by Qasim "Q" Basir; produced by Tommy Oliver. Destined tells the parallel stories of Sheed and Rasheed (played by the same actor) as they explore the idea of destiny as well as how  the smallest incident  can manifest itself into a life changing event.

Falcon Lake:  Written by Sara Seligman and Thomas Bond; Directed by Sara Seligman; Produced by Christopher Mack and Van Johnson. Ester runs a bed-and-breakfast near the USA/Mexico border with her overbearing mother, Teresa.  They save the money they earn, hoping to leave this town that is filled with memories of violence and fallen family members.  One day, two drug runners invade their home.  The women are faced with a choice, one that is further complicated by a terrifying secret the women share – one that will ultimately reveal who really is in charge of the house...

Permanent: Written and Directed by Colette Burson; Produced by Haroula Rose. Permanent is a comedy about bad hair, adolescence, and socially awkward family members. It involves life-altering permanents and poorly-made toupees. Obstacles to daily survival ensue.

Strange Things Are Happening: Written and Directed by Stacie Passon; Produced by Rose Troche (2005 TAA grantee for In a Country of Mothers). A woman who has agreed to take in her grandson in his last year of high school becomes increasingly worried that the boy poses a threat to her and her elderly husband.

Baby Steps: Written and Directed by Barney Cheng; Executive Produced by Li-Kong Hsu, Nancy Cheng, Alan Hibdon, Han-Yeu Huang; Produced by Li-Kong Hsu, Stephen Israel. Danny, a Taiwanese-American man, and his boyfriend Tate must travel thousands of miles across the globe in order to have a baby and start a family. Their journey is further complicated by a well-meaning but extremely meddlesome Taiwanese mother who wants to control every aspect of the process all the way from Taipei.

Additional mentorship and marketplace support will be provided to one Narrative project through a partnership with the Canadian Film Centre (CFC):

Jean of the Joneses: Written and Directed by Stella Meghie; Produced by Amos Adetuyi. Jean is a girl from a dysfunctional family of Jamaican women who have happily sent all the men in their lives running for the past 30 years. She's on the brink of following in the family tradition until the day her estranged grandfather dies on her doorstep.