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The Birth of a Nation
Nate Parker, The Birth of a Nation

The Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) announced the honorees for its 2016 Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards, held in collaboration with Harvard professor Clay Christensen and the Disruptor Foundation.

The awards will be moderated by Perri Peltz at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center BMCC on Friday April 22 at 11:00am. Festival co-founder, Craig Hatkoff, is the Chief Curator of the awards. The 15th edition of the Tribeca Film Festival runs from April 13 to 24.

The goal of the awards is to share insights into innovation to help solve the some of the world’s most intractable problems. Inspired by Christensen’s ground-breaking theory of disruptive innovation, the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards celebrate innovators who have broken the mold to significantly impact industries and business models in traditional and non-traditional domains, including media, healthcare, social justice, education, politics, sports and philanthropy.

Over the past seven years honorees have included Jack Dorsey (Twitter/Square); Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia); Shane Smith (Vice); Jared Cohen, Eric Schmidt (Google); Twyla Tharp, Kickstarter, Warby Parker, David Lynch, Rick Rubin, Kanye West, Uber, DARPA (Big Dog, Cheetah and Hummingbird robots), Airbnb; Justin Bieber and Scooter Braun; Dr. Francis Collins (National Institutes of Health), MITx , City of Manchester, Keith Richards and Stanford Office of Technology and Licensing.

The 2016 Lifetime Achievement Awards will be given to Thomas Heatherwick for his dedication to bringing design, architecture and urban planning together in a single workspace at his own Heatherwick Studio, and Kenya Wildlife Service Chair Dr. Richard Leakey, one of the world’s leading paleoanthropologists and conservationists, for his leadership and past and current efforts in shutting down the ivory trade in Africa.

The 2016 Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards honorees include:

Actor, director, producer, writer, and humanitarian Nate Parker will receive the Theodore Parker Prize (presented by Darren Walker of the Ford Foundation); Scott Harrison, Founder and CEO of Charity Water; Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, the nation’s premier defender of liberty and individual freedom; Louie Psihoyos, Academy Award-winning filmmaker (“the Cove” and “Racing Extinction”); Professor Jennifer Jacquet, Ph.D., author of “IS SHAME NECESSARY?” (Pantheon, 2015) and an environmental social scientist who studies large-scale cooperation dilemmas, such as overfishing, climate change, and the wildlife trade; Fabio Zaffagnini, the creator of Rockin’1000, whose crowdsourced 1000-musician performance of the Foo Fighters’ Learn To Fly has reached 30 million views on YouTube; Brent Stapelkamp, a researcher who tracked and photographed Cecil the Lion for nine years; Alan Eustace, world-record holder for Highest Freefall Jump (135,889 feet) earned in the process of piloting the system built by the StratEx team; Max Kenner, founder and executive director of Bard Prison Initiative (BPI) which enrolls incarcerated individuals in academic programs culminating in Bard College degrees; Emily Callahan and Amber Jackson, co-founders of Blue Latitudes, whose mission is to globally scale the conversion of oil rigs into coral reefs; Lending Club, the world’s largest online crowd-sourced and funded marketplace connecting borrowers and investors; The Suskind Family (Ron, Cornelia, Walter and Owen Suskind) for unleashing ability and creativity in those with autism; Jenna Arnold and Greg Segal, co-founders of ORGANIZE, which is looking to put itself out of business by solving the organ donation crisis; and juvenile justice reformer Adam Foss, who by shifting his focus from incarceration to transforming lives is reinventing the role of the criminal prosecutor.

“This year’s honorees are a diverse group whose achievements lead by example uniting communities that are offering new solutions to some of society’s most challenging issues,” said Craig Hatkoff, TFF co-founder and chief curator for TDIA. “We are thrilled to celebrate Professor Christensen’s original theory and the new frontiers of innovation theory and application. Disruptors represent a new kind of billionaire – innovators who have the potential to help a billion people”

“Technology alone cannot solve the world’s most intractable problems. We must learn to crawl up inside and shine a light on what makes people tick,” said Christensen, “Each year’s crop of honorees help me refine and advance my thinking about disruptive innovation theory”

Honorees receive the iconic red hammer as the official Disruptor Award, symbolic for both building new business models and smashing broken ones.

The 2016 Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award honorees are as follows:

Thomas Heatherwick: Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree
Founder and Design Director, Heatherwick Studio
Thomas Heatherwick is a British designer whose prolific and varied work is characterized by its ingenuity, inventiveness and originality. He founded Heatherwick Studio in 1994 to bring design, architecture and urban planning together in a single workspace. Known for projects like the UK Pavilion at the Shanghai 2010 Expo, the cauldron for the 2012 London Olympics, and the Learning Hub at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, Heatherwick Studio is currently working in four continents on projects valued at over £2 billion. Thomas is a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, a Royal Academician and in 2004 became the youngest Royal Designer for Industry.

Richard Leakey: Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree
Chair, Kenya Wildlife Service and Founder & Chair, Turkana Basin Institute
Dr. Richard Leakey is currently a Professor of Anthropology at Stony Brook University, New York where he also serves as the Founder and Chair of the Turkana Basin Institute, a Kenya-based research facility that studies the history of life, past climate change and origins of humans. He is also Chairman of the Board of the Kenya Wildlife Service.

Formerly Director of Kenya’s National Museums, Director of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Department, founding Director and Chairman of the Kenya Wildlife Service, Member of Parliament in Kenya and Head of the Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet, Richard is now focused on funding the research institute at Turkana and working as Chair of the Kenya chapter of Transparency International and Founder of Wildlife Direct. Richard has played a key role in efforts to combat elephant and rhino poaching since the early 1990s, has actively campaigned for the protection of the Great Apes and he has become increasingly vocal about the threats to biodiversity arising from global climate change and the human population growth.

Nate Parker
Activist, Filmmaker
Actor, director, producer, writer, and humanitarian Nate Parker recently won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for The Birth of a Nation, a 7-year labor of love for Parker which he wrote, directed, produced and starred in, to rousing acclaim and fanfare at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Following its debut, the film received an enthusiastic standing ovation and was quickly acquired by Fox Searchlight Pictures, who will release the film October 7, 2016.

Scott Harrison
Founder and CEO, Charity Water
Scott Harrison is the founder and CEO of Charity Water, a nonprofit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. In nine years, with the help of more than 500,000 donors worldwide, Charity Water has raised over $207 million and funded over 19,000 water projects in 24 countries. When completed, those projects will provide over 6.18 million people with clean, safe drinking water.

Anthony D. Romero
Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Anthony D. Romero is the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, the nation’s premier defender of liberty and individual freedom. He took the helm of the organization just seven days before the September 11, 2001 attacks. Shortly afterward, the ACLU launched its national Keep America Safe and Free campaign to protect basic freedoms during a time of crisis. They achieved court victories on the Patriot Act, uncovering thousands of pages of documents detailing the torture and abuse of detainees in U.S. custody, and filing the first successful legal challenge to the Bush administration’s illegal NSA spying program.

Louie Psihoyos
Executive Director, Oceanic Preservation Society and Director, “Racing Extinction” & “The Cove”
Louie Psihoyos is an Academy Award-winning filmmaker and Executive Director of the Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS). He is recognized as one of the top still photographers in the world, having created iconic images for National Geographic for 18 years, and hundreds of covers for other magazines. His ability to bring humanity and wit to complicated science stories carries over to his filmmaking. Psihoyos’s first film, “The Cove”, won the Oscar for Best Documentary Film of 2009 and over 75 other awards around the world. His second film, “Racing Extinction”, aired in 220 countries and territories and sparked the #StartWith1Thing movement.

Jennifer Jacquet
Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Studies at NYU
Jennifer Jacquet is an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at NYU. She is an environmental social scientist who studies large-scale cooperation dilemmas, such as overfishing, climate change, and the wildlife trade. She is the author of “Is Shame Necessary?” (Pantheon, 2015) about the evolution, function and future of the use of social disapproval in solving the tragedy of the commons.

Brent Stapelkamp
Conservationist and Photographer
Lion-obsessed Brent Stapelkamp has studied nature’s majestic apex predator in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe for Oxford University’s Wildlife and Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU). Brent’s work is primarily about promoting ways to mitigate the conflict between lions and livestock owners with a healthy dose of wildlife photography to get his “lion fix.” He lives off-grid with his wife, Laurie Simpson and their seven year-old-son Oliver. For nine years Stapelkamp tracked and photographed Cecil the Lion who rose to fame after being hunted down under questionable circumstances. Cecil has become the global icon for conservation andBrent’s extensive collection of photos of Cecil and other wildlife in Africa is a true treasure trove.

Fabio Zaffagnini
Creator, Rockin’1000
Fabio Zaffagnini is the creator of Rockin’1000, a crowd-funded project that culminated in a performance where 1000-musicians gathered on a field in Italy to play one song: Learn to Fly by the Foo Fighters. The YouTube video chronicling this event went viral and has to date attracted 30 million views. The event served as an invitation for the Foo Fighters to come perform in Cesena, Italy which they accepted. Furthermore, Fabio is a co-founder of Trail Me Up, a startup that creates augmented virtual reality experiences of hike trails. In 2015 he entered the European Commission’s Expert list for his product design skills. Previously, he dealt with Technology Transfer and Industrial Research for private and public research centers. Earlier in his career, Fabio was a marine geologist at the Institute of Marine Sciences of the Italian National Research Center and the Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Climate Change. Fabio is an expert in social innovation, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing and product design and loves travelling, rock music and beach volleyball.

Alan Eustace
Engineer/Stratospheric Explorer
World–record free faller Alan Eustace retired as Senior Vice President of Knowledge in April 2015 after 13 years with Google. His lifelong interest in flying, skydiving, and engineering lead him to work with the world-class StratEx team to design, build, and fly, scuba-like system for the exploration of the Stratosphere. In the final test of this system, Alan and the StratEX team set three new skydiving world records, including the highest exit altitude (135,899 feet, 41,422 meters). Alan served as executive producer of the film “14 Minutes from Earth”.

Emily Callahan and Amber Jackson
Co-Founders, Blue Latitudes
Emily Callahan and Amber Jackson founded Blue Latitudes to unite science, policy and economics to create innovative solutions for the complex ecological challenges associated with offshore structures. Ms. Callahan is a marine conservation biologist, oil and gas consultant and explorer. She has a B.A. in Environmental Science and an M.A.S degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She has worked in the field of environmental consulting for over four years and conducted both international and domestic environmental impact assessments for governmental agencies and private sector clients, her key industry of expertise is in offshore oil and gas development and decommissioning. She worked as a field technician on the BP 252 Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This is where she witnessed firsthand the destruction and devastation wrought by an oil spill. However, it is also where she learned of a unique silver lining to the reality of offshore oil and gas development, the Rigs to Reefs program – a program that worked to preserve the ecosystems thriving beneath the surface.

Ms. Jackson is an oceanographer, environmental scientist and entrepreneur. She has a B.A. in Marine Science from UC Berkeley and a M.A.S in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Her expertise is unique, using technology to facilitate the intersection of science and communication. A former Ocean Curator at Google in partnership with the Sylvia Earle Alliance, she engineered and launched intelligent map layers in Google Maps that distill and relate complex concepts in ocean science for a variety of audiences. Ms. Jackson also has an established foundation as a scientist. A former National Science Foundation Researcher at the California Academy of Sciences, she developed a curiosity for using artificial habitats to mitigate anthropogenic losses and degradation of natural habitats. In California, the Rigs to Reefs program is an active example of this.

Lending Club
Lending Club is the world’s largest online credit marketplace, facilitating personal loans, business loans, and financing for elective medical procedures. The company’s mission is to transform the banking system to make credit more affordable and investing more rewarding. Lending Club operates at a lower cost than traditional bank lending programs and passes the savings on to borrowers in the form of lower rates and to investors in the form of solid returns.

Max Kenner
Founder and Executive Director, Bard Prison Initiative
Max Kenner is the Founder and Executive Director of Bard Prison Initiative (BPI), which enrolls incarcerated individuals in academic programs culminating in Bard College degrees. He co-founded the Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison, supporting similar programs in 10 states. Kenner is Vice President for Institutional Initiatives and Advisor to the President on Public Policy & College Affairs at Bard College. He was a 2013-14 fellow-in-residence in American History at Harvard University and serves on Governor Cuomo’s NY State Council on Community Re-Entry and Reintegration, Re-Entry Subcommittee. Recent awards include The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s 40 Under 40, Richard Cornuelle Award for Social Entrepreneurship, and Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in Education.

The Suskind Family
Ron, Cornelia, Walter and Owen Suskind
Owen Suskind, a boy silenced by autism, methodically memorized dozens of Disney movies. When his family realized this, they began to speak to him in Disney dialogue and turned their world into a stage, playing animated characters. Over years, Owen regained speech, learned to read by reading credits and eventually invented an original language — using scripts and lyrics — to express love, loss, kinship, and brotherhood. In turning his passion into a pathway, the Suskind family developed an approach, called “affinity therapy,” that is driving research and showing broad success in addressing the core social communication deficits of autism. Owen’s father, the author Ron Suskind, is now leading an effort to develop technology that allows multiple neurodiverse populations to harness their strong interests to drive social, emotion, and practical learning. Owen’s story can soon be seen in the new documentary Life, Animated from Academy Award® winning director Roger Ross Williams, an official selection of the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival.

Jenna Arnold and Greg Segal
Co-Founders, ORGANIZE
ORGANIZE, a not-for-profit organization based in New York, leverages health data to end the organ donor shortage by applying smarter technologies, building more creative partnerships, and advocating for data-driven policies.

Adam Foss
Juvenile Justice Reformer
As Assistant District Attorney in the Juvenile Division of Suffolk County, Adam Foss has become one of Boston’s leading voices for compassion in criminal justice. Recognizing that prosecutors have a unique opportunity to intervene in offender’s lives, Foss co-founded the Roxbury CHOICE Program, a collaborative effort between defendants, the court, the probation department, and the D.A. to recast probation as a transformative experience rather than a punitive process. In addition to his work with the DA’s office, Foss is the founder of the SCDAO Reading Program, a project designed to bridge the achievement gap of area elementary school students.

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