In partnership with the Tribeca Film Festival, AT&T is promising an aspiring filmmaker $1 million to turn their dream project into a reality. The multiyear program, titled “AT&T Presents: Untold Stories,” is geared towards discovering scripted film projects from women and minorities — two demographics usually underrepresented in Hollywood.
The winning project will be presented as a world premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and then distributed, under a five-year license, across AT&T’s video platforms. The funding not only aims to help the recipient complete the film, but is intended for marketing efforts including awards submissions, qualifying screenings, and advertising and promotion. Though distribution will be tied up for five years, the filmmaker will retain full ownership of the work.
Five finalists for the inaugural program have already been selected. Each hopeful will have 10 minutes to pitch their idea in New York on April 18 to a panel of industry judges, which will select the winner of the $1 million award.
Sitting on the judging panel is producer-director Lee Daniels; actors Jeffrey Wright and Anthony Mackie; Len Amato, president of HBO Films; producer Frida Torresblanco; Josh Deutsch, chairman and CEO of Downtown Records; and AT&T chief brand officer Fiona Carter.
“AT&T Presents: Untold Stories is about pushing the boundaries of storytelling, connecting our customers to new and exclusive content and celebrating diversity,” said AT&T’s Carter. “At AT&T, we’re passionate about innovation, culture and community — the same values that drive the Tribeca Film Festival. By launching this program with Tribeca, we are helping to give underrepresented filmmakers in the industry opportunities they have not had before.”
The five finalists (which can be found listed below) were selected from among some 50 scripts submitted after a call for entries by the Tribeca Film Institute as well as the Tribeca Film Festival.
- Andrew Perez-Duarte, “Forever Even Longer”: After the death of his estranged gay son, an elderly man from a small town in Mexico travels to the U.S. to meet his heartbroken granddaughter and his resentful son-in-law — and confront his own prejudice
- Lissette Feliciano, “The Hand of God”: Elon Edson is the greatest footballer in the world. On the eve of receiving a lifetime achievement award, he recounts his belief in miracles that carried him from his mother’s death at the hands terrorists through his perilous escape from Nigeria to Europe.
- A. Sayeeda Moreno, “I’m Not Down”: When a middle-aged, black punk-rock single dad is served an eviction notice by the greedy new landlord of his New York City tenement, he has to fight for his way of life and save the livelihood of his family, the building’s residents, and the character of his East Village neighborhood that’s in danger of vanishing forever.
- Faraday Okoro, “Nigerian Prince”: After being sent to Nigeria against his will, a stubborn Nigerian-American teenager joins forces with an internet scammer in order to return to the United States.
- Ani Simon-Kennedy, “The Short History of the Long Road”: Nola grew up living out of a van with her charismatic father, Clint. When her dad suddenly dies, the teenager must confront the reality of a nomadic life on the road alone — and learn to own her grief, her past, and her new destination.
“AT&T Presents: Untold Stories,” kicks off April 18 with a live pitch event in New York that will be live-streamed from Tribeca’s Facebook page.
This new partnership is another example of AT&T’s continued commitment to video, giving the comapany a bit more leverage as it competes in the on-going race, between teleco companies, to own online and mobile video consumption.