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Tribeca Announces Creative Promise, Sloan Filmmaker Fund Winners

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire April 25, 2009 at 2:19AM

The Tribeca Film Festival announced the winners of the sixth annual Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Awards last night at City Winery. Miguel Aviles won the narrative section prize for "Somnium," Andrew Bui won the emerging Narrative section prize for "Bronxopolis," while George Reyes won the documentary section prize for "La Muneca Fea (The Ugly Doll)." The screenwriting section prize went Jinho Ferreira aka "Piper" for "Walter's Boys," while honorable mentions were given to Jennifer Phang for "Look For Water" (in Narrative), Hugo Perez for "The Immaculate Conception" (in Emerging Narrative), and Stephen Maing for "High Tech, Low Life" (in Documentary).
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The Tribeca Film Festival announced the winners of the sixth annual Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Awards last night at City Winery. Miguel Aviles won the narrative section prize for "Somnium," Andrew Bui won the emerging Narrative section prize for "Bronxopolis," while George Reyes won the documentary section prize for "La Muneca Fea (The Ugly Doll)." The screenwriting section prize went Jinho Ferreira aka "Piper" for "Walter's Boys," while honorable mentions were given to Jennifer Phang for "Look For Water" (in Narrative), Hugo Perez for "The Immaculate Conception" (in Emerging Narrative), and Stephen Maing for "High Tech, Low Life" (in Documentary).

The winners were selected from 21 eligible projects from the 27 in the program and based on the strength of their vision and filmmaking promise. The 2009 TAA Creative Promise Award comes with a prize of $11,000 for narrative, documentary and emerging narrative and $7,000 for screenwriting as well as an original piece of art from a contemporary artist. All of the filmmakers participating in the program have scripts or documentary proposals for which they are seeking funding and/or representation.

"The caliber of talent of Tribeca All Access' filmmakers continues to amaze us," said Jane Rosenthal, co-founder of the Tribeca Film Institute, in a statement. "I am proud that TAA is helping to bring these voices and visions to the forefront - ultimately enhancing all of our film experiences."

"Like the rest of the Tribeca All Access program, tonight was a celebration that all of the participants could say they felt as if they were a winner. We've accomplished a lot in just this week and will continue to pave the way for our filmmakers to collaborate amongst themselves and with the industry as a whole," said Tamir Muhammad, Director of Tribeca All Access, in a statement.

The Tribeca Film Institute also announced the selection of five film projects to receive financial and creative support from the TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund, supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Out of 138 applications submitted, the five projects chosen will receive a total of $170,000 with development assistance and mentorship from film and science experts. The TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund supports feature-length narrative projects that "tell compelling stories about science and technology or portray scientists, engineers and mathematicians as major characters."

The projects were selected by a committee made up of Marc Abraham (Director, Flash of Genius) Dr. Bonnie Bassler (Molecular Biologist, Princeton University), Sarah Green (Producer, The Tree of Life), Famke Janssen (Actress, X-Men), Dr. Eric Kandel (Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine), Dr. Robert Engle (Nobel Prize in Economics) and John Hart (Producer, Revolutionary Road). At the awards ceremony, Doron Weber of the Sloan Foundation and Jurors, Famke Janssen, Marc Abraham and Bonnie Bassler announced the following projects selected for funding:

"Cockeyed" ($40,000), "Banker To The Poor" ($40,000), "They're Playing Basketball" ($15,000), "Experimenter: The Stanley Milgram Story" ($35,000), and "Sugar Pill" ($40,000).

"Through the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation with the TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund, we are afforded the opportunity to provide funding at a critical time in the industry to compelling stories with scientific themes," said Jane Rosenthal, Co-Chairman of the Board, TFI, in a statement. "We welcome all of the projects selected by the committee to the Tribeca family and hope that this funding will have an impact on seeing these projects come to fruition."

"We are delighted to join with Tribeca for the eighth year and to support these five outstanding film projects which span such a wide range of subject matter, character and genre," said Doron Weber, Sloan Program Director, in a statement. "This is one of the best crops of science films we've seen, demonstrating once again that science and technology offer fertile ground for filmmakers willing to dig beneath the surface and find the common human stories and passions that drive us to understand ourselves and improve our lot in the world."

Descriptions of the films are provided below by the festival:

COCKEYED - Cockeyed by Ryan Knighton is adapted by him from his highly acclaimed memoir with the same title. The story is tough, tender, and darkly comic as Ryan crashes into life while going slowly blind, and trying to save his brother Rory from drugs, alcohol, and a really bad girlfriend. In the end Ryan finds his own way forward and a wonderful woman who makes him stronger by refusing to pity his tangled life and loss of sight. Attachments: Director: Jodie Foster Screenwriter: Ryan Knighton Producer: Jody Hotchkiss

BANKER TO THE POOR - The story of a man who fights to make his dream come true. He sets up an innovative and revolutionary bank, "the Grameen," in Bangladesh to lend tiny sums to the poorest people, without asking for guarantees. At the beginning nobody believes in him. Economists and scientists think he is a fool and will fail quickly. After 15 years, the world finally realizes his incredible invention, one of the most important of the 21st century. His invention has already saved millions of people from poverty. Attachments: Director: Marco Amenta Screenwriter: Sergio Donati

THEY'RE PLAYING BASKETBALL - It's not whether you win or lose; it's how you play the game, but who says you have to play the game the way everyone else does? An experiment in equality inspires an unconventional coach and a reclusive math professor to revolutionize the game of basketball through egalitarianism and algorithms. This experiment becomes known as "The System," and it is an unyielding attack of mathematics against conventional sports wisdom - a frenzied game of ordered chaos that transforms a rag-tag team of athletic misfits into conference champions. Who needs starters when you have statistics? Attachments: Screenwriter/Producer: Sam Lobel Producers: Marc Lebowitz, Kerry Barden

EXPERIMENTER: THE STANLEY MILGRAM STORY - A prismatic portrait of Stanley Milgram, Experimenter comes to terms with Stanley Milgram's notorious obedience experiments at Yale in which he tested how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an authority figure and even though it conflicted with his strongest moral imperatives. Attachments: Screenwriter: Michael Almereyda Producer: Jennifer Fox

SUGAR PILL Two men enter a medical research facility to test a drug that has never been used in humans before. Strangers at the start, they find their lives increasingly intertwined as the physical threat to one breaks the long emotional coma of the other, and together they struggle for release--both of body and of soul. Attachments: Writer/Director: Lisa Krueger Producers: Ted Hope, Anne Carey

This article is related to: Festivals, New York