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IF/Then Shorts Mentorship Program Moves to Field of Vision Amid Tribeca Institute’s Closure — Exclusive

Tribeca Film Institute may be "pausing" its operations, but at least one of its celebrated programs is getting a new home.



Field of Vision

Field of Vision on Wednesday announced that, following the indefinite end of Tribeca Film Institute’s programs, the organization will be taking one of TFI’s filmmaker-mentorship programs under its wing. The IF/Then Shorts program, which provides funding and guidance for short documentary filmmakers, will be moving to the nonprofit Field of Vision, along with its program director Chloe Gbai and supervising producer Caitlin Mae Burke.

The move speaks to the value TFI’s programs have brought to the film community. Filmmakers have voiced disappointment and concern when the for-profit Tribeca Enterprises announced in May that it would be winding down operations at its nonprofit arm, which was widely considered a crown jewel of Tribeca.

“IF/Then Shorts is an incredible program, and one that’s vital to the field. We’re so glad that they can find their new home with Field of Vision,” said Charlotte Cook, FOV’s co-founder and executive producer. “The program’s values align perfectly with Field of Vision, and further our overall commitment to shorts and advocating for filmmakers. Chloe and Caitlin are phenomenal, and I feel so lucky that they’ll be joining our team.”

Founded in 2017 with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, IF/Then seeks to work with filmmakers who have experienced inequity, including those who could have trouble breaking into the industry based on geography.

For example, one of the program’s most recent effort was a partnership with the Cleveland International Film Festival: One of about half-a-dozen regional or international pitch competitions it holds each year in partnership with local festivals in order to support filmmakers who may not be so entrenched in the Hollywood ecosystem.

The Cleveland installment sought pitches from short documentary filmmakers living and working in the Midwest. Six finalists were selected to pitch their projects in front of a panel that included longtime documentary executive Sheila Nevins.

Filmmakers James Christenson and Brennan Vance won a $25,000 grant for their project “To Be Reconciled.” They’ll also get a year of mentorship that can include feedback on cuts, help building budgets, managing crews, and distribution support.

“We’re so excited that thanks to the MacArthur Foundation and Field of Vision, we can keep this funding and development pipeline open to diverse, creative nonfiction talent past TFI’s pause this September. This program will have a new life and is ready to uplift the voices that we need to champion during these interesting times,” Gbai said.

Field of Vision, part of the nonprofit First Look Media Works, has commissioned, produced, and/or supported over 130 projects since its founding in 2015, including the Best Documentary Oscar winner “American Factory,” and Oscar-nominated “Strong Island,” “Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” “A Night at the Garden,” and “In the Absence.”

Among those filmmakers FOV has supported are Burke, who produced the short documentary “Adversary.” “As a former Field of Vision filmmaker myself, I know how beneficial it is to work with these trailblazers in the short documentary space,” Burke said. “I’m overjoyed that all of our active projects and future supported filmmakers will benefit so immensely from this move, and we look forward to the tremendous growth potential for IF/Then under the Field of Vision umbrella.”

Word broke in May that Tribeca was — to use its terminology — “pausing” operations at the Tribeca Film Institute, with all operations to fully close in September. The move comes after Attention Capital last year 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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