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Ondi Timoner’s “Mapplethorpe” Starring James Franco Tops Tribeca Institute’s All Access Grants for 2012

Ondi Timoner's "Mapplethorpe" Starring James Franco Tops Tribeca Institute's All Access Grants for 2012

The Tribeca Film Institute has awarded its annual grants of $15,000 to ten films through its Tribeca All Access program, most notably Ondi Timoner’s “Mapplethorpe.” Timoner, the only filmmaker to twice win Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize for Documentary, will make the transition to narrative film with the project. James Franco has signed on to play the controversial gay photographer.

Other notable projects include an untitled documentary about the world’s fascination with gold, directed by “Chop Shop” filmmaker Ramin Bahrani, Liliana Greenfield-Sanders’ “Bypass,” a modern-day Frankenstein retelling, Lee Isaac Chung’s “Abigail Harm,” and “The New Black,” a documentary on the links between the civil rights and LGBT movements.

Full list of films reprinted below:

Untitled Ramin Bahrani Gold Documentary Directed and produced by Ramin Bahrani, produced by Jason Orans — Set in today’s global recession, which has catapulted gold prices to historic highs, Untitled Ramin Bahrani Gold Documentary explores our centuries-old obsession with gold, and what – if anything – is its intrinsic value. This will be Bahrani’s first documentary project.

Burn (One Year on the Frontlines of the Battle to Save Detroit) Directed and produced by Brenna Sanchez and Tom Putnam — Burn is an action-packed documentary about Detroit, told through the eyes of its firefighters, the men and women charged with the thankless task of saving a city that many have written off as dead.

Two Children Of The Red Mosque Directed and produced by Hemal Trivedi, co-directed by Mohammad Naqvi, produced by Whitney Dow and Jonathan Goodman Levitt — Amid suicide bombings and U.S. drone attacks in Northwestern Pakistan, twelve-year-olds Zarina and Talha are pursuing different dreams. After attending madrassahs of the Red Mosque – they make different choices that promise to define their adult lives. Zarina recently escaped the madrassah, and her struggle to attend secular school and avoid marriage stands opposed to Talha’s journey over the next two years. Their stories personalize the hard choices facing modern Pakistanis living in rural areas, where ongoing ideological battles between fundamentalist and moderate Muslims are shaping Pakistan’s future.

Desert Stars Directed and produced by Raouf Zaki, produced by Frank McDonnell — Desert Stars documents the journey of a man who abandons the world and its desires to seek a relationship with God alone as a monk in the desert, but, in order to save his monastery, he must confront the world again in the midst of the bloody Egyptian revolution.

The New Black Directed by Yoruba Richen, produced by Yvonne Whelbon and Angela Tucker — The New Black is a documentary that uncovers the complicated histories of the African-American and LGBT civil-rights movements.

Abigail Harm Directed by Lee Isaac Chung, Written and Produced by Samuel Gray Anderson -Abigail Harm stars legendary actress Amanda Plummer as a woman living in a fictionalized New York City, who, after being granted a wish by a heavenly visitor, asks for love and learns of a spirit who might provide it. Inspired by the Korean folktale “The Woodcutter and the Nymph.”

Bypass Written and Directed by Liliana Greenfield-Sanders, Produced by Amy Basil and Rowen Riley – 20 year-old Katie is popular, high-achieving and obese, but all of this is about to change when she undergoes a series of radical gastric and plastic surgeries.  BYPASS is a modern day twist on Frankenstein in which the protagonist is herself both creator and monster. 

I Believe In Unicorns Written and Directed by Leah Meyerhoff, Executive Produced by Allison Anders, Produced by Heather Rae and Mark G. Mathis, and Co-Produced by Kwesi Collisson – A troubled teenage girl runs away with an older boy only to discover that their new life together is even more dysfunctional than the home she left behind.

Manchild Written and Directed by Ryan Koo – A talented basketball player at a small Christian school gets nationally ranked and must choose between schools, coaches, and faiths—all at the age of 13.

Mapplethorpe Written, Directed and Co-Produced by Ondi Timoner and Co-Produced by Nate Dushku, Miles Levy, and Eliza Dushku – A narrative film based on the extraordinary life and complex character of controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, from his rise to fame in the 1970s, to his untimely death from AIDS in 1989.  James Franco is attached to star as Robert Mapplethorpe. This will be Ondi’s breakout transition from Documentary to Narrative Feature film.

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