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Tribeca Film Institute Winds Down Operations, Will Close Completely in September

Tribeca leaders left open the possibility that TFI could rise again.

Tribeca Film Festival at the Borough of Manhattan Community College.'It Takes A Lunatic' film premiere, Tribeca Film Festival, New York, USA - 03 May 2019


Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock

The Tribeca Film Institute, the educational and funding nonprofit that operates alongside the Tribeca Film Festival, is winding down its operations and plans to fully close in September. An email sent by TFI leaders and obtained by IndieWire explains the decision came amid fundraising trouble amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Variety first reported the news Tuesday that fewer than 10 people were laid off as part of TFI’s closure. The remainder of its staff have been placed in other jobs at Tribeca Enterprises, the for-profit parent company that puts on the annual film festival.

TFI representatives did not immediately return requests for comment.

“We wanted to reach out and notify you that the Board of Tribeca Film Institute recently made the difficult decision to pause all of TFI’s programs and activities, and re-evaluate how best to support storytellers and our community as New York recovers … [from the] Covid-19 pandemic,” the email reads. “A large percent of TFI’s funding is generated from a devoted and generous network of individual donors, many of whom are shifting priorities during the global pandemic. TFI also relies greatly on being able to fundraise at movie theaters, at in-person events and most notably during the Tribeca Film Festival, the nature of which has changed for 2020.”

Board co-chairs Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Scott Rechler shared the news via a memo Monday, according to Variety. In the memo they painted the decision as a “pause.”

“By no means is this the end of TFI. We are more committed than ever to supporting storytellers and our community as we try to recover from the devastating humanitarian and economic crisis left in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the memo reads. “This pause in TFI’s activities will enable us to better position our focus and resources to support the greatest needs and where we can have the greatest impact, just like we did after 9/11.”

The Tribeca Film Festival was founded in 2002 by Rosenthal, De Niro, and Craig Hatkoff in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

Last year, James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems and Joe Marchese’s Attention Capital teamed up to purchase a controlling stake in Tribeca Enterprises, with a goal of expanding the company’s storytelling and curation prowess.

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