Tribeca and CHANEL concluded the seventh annual Through Her Lens: The Tribeca Chanel Women’s Filmmaker Program, and Maya Tanaka and Schuchi Talati are the winning recipients of this year’s grand prize for their film Honolulu. Honolulu tells the story of Yuki, a 12-year-old with a vivid fantasy life, who complicates her already morose beach vacation with her father and grandmother.
“Throughout this process we had such a strong community of filmmakers,” said Maya Tanaka and Shuchi Talati after receiving the award. “We’re so excited to make our film. And we just want that opportunity for everyone here. Everyone’s work was truly so amazing.”
A total of $100,000 in filmmaker grants was awarded amongst the five projects. In addition to the winning project, the other program participants each received a development grant to support continued work on their respective films to move them closer to production. They included: director Annalise Lockhart and writer/producer Mary Glen Fredrick for Anything Valuable; director Caroline Lindy and writer/producer Kate Hamilton for How Did I Get Here?; writer/director Tiye Amenechi and producer Satchel Lee for Night Bloom; and writer/director Phumi Morare for Why the Cattle Wait.
“The world I came up in has changed thanks to all of the women filmmakers who have made extraordinary work and demanded changes in our industry. We have shone a brave cold light on wrongs and falsehoods that have been so endemic,” said Jane Rosenthal, CEO and Co-Founder of Tribeca Enterprises and the Tribeca Festival, speaking at the reception. “A fresh start is what we’re creating, by viewing, writing, filming, and projecting ourselves into the world. But we need to remember where we came from and cannot cancel all of our history.”
The jurors comprised of: actor Melissa Barrera (In the Heights, Vida), Gayle King, Co-Host, CBS Mornings and Editor at Large, Oprah, producer Paula Weinstein (Grace & Frankie, Blood Diamond), and actor Leslie Mann (The Other Woman, This Is 40).
“All of the films were incredible. Each of the stories had something really special and moving,” said Melissa Barrera speaking on behalf of the jurors. “Honolulu is a very original story I don’t think we’ve ever seen before, with a very interesting cast that deserves the spotlight, especially right now.”
Maya Tanaka is a filmmaker who originally hails from the SF Bay Area. She received her undergraduate degree from Boston University’s film program, where she was awarded the Fleder-Rosenberg Filmmaking grant. She enjoys work that focuses on femmes and alternative narratives. Her most recent short, The Price of Cheap Rent, premiered at TIFF 2020 and won the NYWIFT Woman Director award at TIDE Film Festival. Maya’s work has been screened at Urbanworld, New Orleans Film Festival, Atlanta International Film Festival, Cincinnati International Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, Cucalorus, Aspen Shortsfest, Hollyshorts, and Blackstar among others.
Shuchi Talati is a filmmaker from India whose work challenges dominant narratives around gender, sexuality, race, and Asian identity. Her recent short film, A Period Piece, about an afternoon of period (i.e. menstruation) sex, played at SXSW and Palm Springs. Shuchi’s projects in development include Girls Will Be Girls, a sexual awakening film set in a conservative boarding school in India. Girls has been selected for Berlinale Script Station, Jerusalem Film Lab, Gotham Week, and Cine Qua Non Lab. Her work has been recognized by Berlinale Talents, the New York State Council for the Arts, Women in Film, and Région Île-de-France. Shuchi is also a producer for documentaries and her credits include We Are: Brooklyn Saints for Netflix and Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas for HBO. She has an MFA from the American Film Institute and is a member of the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective, Bitchitra Collective, and the Freelance Solidarity Project.