Tribeca Enterprises and CHANEL announced today the second annual THROUGH HER LENS: The Tribeca Chanel Women’s Filmmaker Program, which balances industry support, artistic development and funding, for new and emerging U.S.-based female writers and directors of short-form narrative films. The multi-faceted program, presented by Tribeca and CHANEL, in collaboration with Pulse Films, and facilitated by Tribeca Film Institute (TFI), has selected five emerging female filmmakers to receive project support, and take part in master classes, one-on-one mentorship, and peer-to-peer sessions. At the end of the program each of the five filmmakers will pitch her project to a jury of industry experts. One filmmaker will be awarded full financing to produce her short film, along with support of Tribeca Studios and Pulse Films to make the project, and the four other projects will each be awarded grant funds to continue the development of their films.
The three-day program will take place in New York City October 25-27 and cover a variety of topics, including script-to-screen development, story structure, casting, finding collaborators, and working with music composers, costume designers, and editors, as well as festival strategy and distribution. Participants, along with one female producing partner each, will attend master classes, have individual mentoring sessions with industry experts, meet distributors, and new this year participants will work with writing mentors to refine their stories while working towards a presentation of their projects.
“We share with CHANEL the goal to bring to light the next generation of women storytellers,” said Tribeca Enterprises EVP, Paula Weinstein. “We are thrilled to be embarking, for the second year, on an intense three-day program created for these five extraordinary rising talents. They will be supported, guided and mentored by women who share with us the desire to foster the work of new women filmmakers.”
“Supporting these gifted women is paramount to our mission at TFI to empower a more inclusive group of storytellers and give them the tools necessary to reach wider audiences,” said Amy Hobby, Vice President of Artist Programs at TFI. “We’re excited to bring TFI’s successful model of pairing monetary backing with sustained, hands-on mentoring to this groundbreaking program, along with our friends at Tribeca Enterprises, for the second year.”
The Leadership Committee participating in the program includes:
JURORS: producer Anne Carey (20th Century Women, The Diary of a Teenage Girl), actor Dakota Fanning (American Pastoral, Night Moves), director Tamara Jenkins (The Savages, Slums of Beverly Hills), writer/director/producer So Yong Kim (Lovesong, Treeless Mountain), actor/director Jennifer Westfeldt (Kissing Jessica Stein, Friends With Kids);
MENTORS: director/writer Shari Springer Berman (10,000 Saints, American Splendor), actor/writer/producer Rashida Jones (“Angie Tribeca”, Black Mirror), writer/director/producer Jenni Konner (“Girls”), director Tanya Wexler (Hysteria), producer Rachel Winter (Dallas Buyers Club);
WRITING MENTORS: writer/director Sophie Barthes (Madame Bovary), director/writer Catherine Hardwicke (Miss You Already, Thirteen), writers Janeika and JaSheika James (“Empire”), executive producer Susan Cara Lewis (Pariah; Inevitable Defeat Of Mister & Pete), writer/director Dee Rees (Pariah, Bessie), producer Cathy Schulman (Crash, The Illusionist);
MASTER CLASS ADVISORS : editor Sarah Flack (Lost In Translation, The Limey), co-producer Amy Herman (Noah, “The Wizard of Lies”), composer Laura Karpman (Paris Can Wait, Underground), casting director Avy Kaufman (The Bourne Ultimatum, Life Of Pi); costume designer Arianne Phillips (Nocturnal Animals, Walk The Line), and director Shari Springer Berman.
The selected projects and filmmakers participating are:
CAMP MOONLIGHT written by Ani Simon-Kennedy. Away from home for the first time, Maggie is attending the only summer camp for children with a life-threatening sun allergy. When everyone goes for a celebratory night swim, she’s faced with a personal crisis.
Ani Simon-Kennedy is a New York-based filmmaker. She founded her production company Bicephaly Pictures with cinematographer Cailin Yatsko. Ani wrote and directed her first feature film DAYS OF GRAY in Iceland. She is currently in development on her second feature, THE SHORT HISTORY OF THE LONG ROAD.
DISPLACEMENT THERAPY written by Joey Ally. A young married couple, trapped in the limbo of “baby up or split up,” is trying “Displacement Therapy,” a controversial new treatment that uses lookalike robots as vessels onto which to displace their feelings toward each other…by using them as literal punching bags. As communication shuts down, and bodies pile up, they are called to ask themselves whether it is the symptom or the cure that will kill them.
Joey Ally is a writer/director and a 2016 fellow of the AFI Directing Workshop for Women. Her films have screened internationally including at Sundance, NBCUniversal Shortsfest, and Lunafest, and she won WME | IMG’s “Video of the Year” 2015. Her short film PARTNERS recently debuted online with “Vimeo Premieres.”
FEATHERS written by A.V. Rockwell. Eli, a volatile inner-city youth, creates havoc in his attempts to re-escape from the mysterious and crumbling juvenile detention center known as “The Mill.” When the repercussions become more dire than he can handle, Eli gains purpose and introspection on his troubled life.
A.V. Rockwell is a Jamaican-American film, television and video director from Queens, New York. Her most recent work, THE GOSPEL, a short film commissioned by singer/songwriter Alicia Keys, premiered at a special event during the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016.
ON THE OUTS written by Catherine Eaton. A wild agoraphobic from a backwater town in Louisiana travels to a hotel in New Orleans to work as a writer and is offered—ironically—a travel column. Terrified of open spaces and crowds and unable to leave the hotel, she realizes she can steal the stories of the hotel guests to keep the job and win the battle, if not the war, against her condition—all while throwing the lives of everyone around her into chaos.
Catherine Eaton is a director, writer, actor and producer. Catherine’s debut feature, THE SOUNDING — starring Teddy Sears (24:LEGACY), Frankie Faison (THE WIRE, LUKE CAGE), Harris Yulin (TRAINING DAY) and Erin Darke (GOOD GIRLS REVOLT) —will premiere in 2017. Catherine is developing two series for television, both finalists for the Sundance Labs. She has performed on Broadway and on screen.
THE QUARRY written by Sonejuhi Sinha. A gynecologist and abortion provider, Reese, practices in a remote town in America. When a threat emerges in town and Reese finds herself drawn into a rabbit hole of paranoia, she takes matters into her own hands.
Sonejuhi Sinha is a director, producer, and editor working in both narrative and documentary storytelling. Her narrative short film, LOVE COMES LATER, premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival and screened at over 50 film festivals internationally, garnering awards at festivals. She was selected for Shoot’s New Director’s Showcase at the DGA, is the recipient of a Tribeca All Access® grant, and recently participated in Semaine De La Critique’s development lab, NEXT STEP in Paris with her feature script Love Comes Later.
Last year’s fund recipient, WIG SHOP directed by Kat Coiro (L!fe Happens, And While We’re Here), recently premiered at the Hamptons International Film Festival. During the inaugural program, Kat Coiro met program mentor and actress/producer Emily Mortimer (Shutter Island, Match Point), who went on to star in the film and serve as one of the film’s producers alongside producers Lauren Bratman, Lizzie Nastro, Alessandro Nivola, Coiro, and co-writer Jessica Neuman.
Since its inception, Tribeca has actively cultivated independent voices in storytelling and has been at the forefront of supporting women filmmakers, especially through such awards as the Nora Ephron Prize, created in 2013 in honor of the amazing Nora Ephron, with the hope of inspiring a new generation of female writers and directors. The prize is given to one exceptional female filmmaker during the Tribeca Film Festival each year. Women who have received the award include: Meera Menon (Farah Goes Bang, Equity), Talya Lavie (Zero Motivation), Laura Bispuri (Sworn Virgin) and Rachel Tunnard (Adult Life Skills). THROUGH HER LENS: The Tribeca Chanel Women’s Filmmaker Program—the most recent iteration of Tribeca’s commitment to female artistic voices—continues to provide resources to help empower emerging women storytellers in the industry. The nonprofit affiliate of Tribeca, TFI, supports female filmmakers through its cornerstone grant and mentorship program, Tribeca All Access. Currently in its 14th year, the program supports scripted, documentary and interactive storytellers from diverse communities, including those that are statistically underrepresented in the industry.
Image (from top left, clockwise): Ani Simon-Kennedy, A.V. Rockwell, Catherine Eaton, Joey Ally and Sonejuhi Sinha