The Tribeca Film Festival was born of scrappy origins, created to help revitalize business in New York City’s devastated downtown after 9/11. In the 19 years since, we’ve grown into a lion of the film festival circuit, surfacing fresh talent, launching careers and celebrating beloved creators and creating a platform for world-class storytelling.
But we’ve never forgotten our roots in revitalizing our community, and now, when the film industry is hurting with production halted, we’re committed to keeping creators and industry connected in a series of hundreds of video pitch meetings with our fifth annual — and first virtual — N.O.W. (New Online Work) Creators Market, sponsored by HBO.
Today and tomorrow, April 21-22, creators and industry looking to collaborate on future projects will meet via hundreds of 20-minute video pitch meetings.
Tribeca’s N.O.W section highlights independent filmmakers who create original, short form and episodic work specifically for the online exhibition space. Previous inclusions in the NOW section include High Maintenance (Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair) and The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo (Brian Jordan Alvarez). This year’s slate includes episodic, short form and documentary work.
We’re also opening up the private virtual N.O.W. Creators Market to filmmakers who were to debut their pilots as part of the 2020 Tribeca TV Pilot Season program highlighting independently produced TV pilots, and to an additional curated group of online, indie episodic and VR writers/performers/influencers Participating distributors, production companies, streamers and online platforms taking pitches include Albyon, Atlas V, BRON Studios, CNN Original Series, Giant Spoon, Gunpowder & Sky, NOWNESS, Topic Streaming, Topic Studios, Tribeca Studios and more.
“For the past five weeks, the team has been hard at work transitioning the brick and mortar N.O.W. Creators Market to a virtual format wherein our 34 creator teams will be pitching their new projects to a host of industry participants via video chat,” says Liza Domnitz, Senior Programmer, Film, TV & New Online Work.
“Though it most certainly took some technical tinkering, we felt like this was a doable and incredibly valued program to push forward with despite the festival’s postponement,” Domnitz says. “The feedback we’ve received from both filmmakers and industry alike as we’ve led them through the prep has been incredibly positive and gratifying and the Tribeca team is genuinely happy that we can help kick off a conversation that might eventually lead to an exciting new collaboration.”
The following group of filmmakers participating in the virtual N.O.W. Creators Market were to debut their work as part of the 2020 Tribeca New Online Work Showcase:
- Mike Bender and Doug Chernack (Awkward Family Photos)
Mike Bender and Doug Chernack are the co-founders of AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com and bestselling authors of Awkward Family Photos. Bender is also the screenwriter and co-producer of Not Another Teen Movie and Chernack is also a creator and producer for E!, Fox Sports, and the Golf Channel.
- Tomas Gomez Bustillo (Museum of Fleeting Wonders)
Tomás Gómez Bustillo was born in Buenos Aires and earned his MFA in directing at the American Film Institute Conservatory. His work has screened at Slamdance and Montreal World Film Festival. He is developing his feature debut, The Death of Irma Lopez.
- Lance Edmands (The Seeker)
Lance Edmands was born in Maine and graduated from NYU. His first feature as writer and director, Bluebird, premiered at Tribeca in 2013, which Factory 25 and Sundance Artist Services then released theatrically. Edmands also directs and edits commercials. The Seeker is his first documentary.
- Curtis Essel (Allumuah)
Curtis Essel is a director of 33 Bound; a visual production company based in London. He consciously desires to leave his audience with a little more knowledge than when they began. Imparting viewers with insight is an integral part of his process whilst showcasing the personal human experiences to anyone who comes by his work.
- Keylee Koop-Sudduth and Micah Sudduth (Backsliders)
Keylee Koop-Sudduth and Micah Sudduth are a married couple of filmmakers originally from the Bible Belt. They believe stories are medicine, so they created Bob Billiams Productions to help themselves heal. Drawing from their rural backgrounds, they craft authentic stories that are a unique balance of humor and heart.
- Britt Lower and Alex Knell (Circus Person)
Britt Lower is a multi-disciplinary filmmaker and artist. She wrote and stars in Circus Person, her directorial debut. She plays opposite Patricia Arquette in the upcoming Ben Stiller-directed series, Severance. Her other credits include High Maintenance, Man Seeking Woman, Casual, and Mr. Roosevelt. Alex Knell works to handcraft rich stories across new tech, film and live formats. Trained in physical theater (Lecoq), she has designed visual storytelling for 100+ filmmakers.
- Héctor Silva Núñez & Lu Urdaneta (Home)
Héctor Silva Núñez is a Venezuelan filmmaker based in Chile. His work has premiered at Cannes, Toronto International Film Festival, and Tribeca. He is developing his first narrative feature. Lu Urdaneta is a Venezuelan-American actress and producer based in Miami. Her production company, Alef, developed the first vertical series in Spanglish.
- Alden Nusser and Ben Fries (Dying Business)
Alden Nusser and Ben Fries grew up together in Manhattan and began working together as filmmakers in 2015. They're the founding partners of the creative production company Field Agency and come from documentary and music video/commercial backgrounds, respectively. Their first collaboration, Crime Cutz, premiered at Tribeca in 2018.
- Ava Warbick (Bobbie Blood)
Ava Warbrick's documentary, Stephanie in the Water, premiered at the Hamptons International Film Festival in 2013. Her work has been featured by Artist Television Access, Anthology Film Archives, Light Industry, Nowness, Vogue, and Netflix. Warbrick serves on the Kesselring Prize Committee for Playwriting and is a graduate of Bard College.
Tribeca continued its tradition of opening submissions to independently produced TV pilots in 2020. The following group of filmmakers participating in the virtual N.O.W. Creators Market were to debut their pilots as part of the 2020 Tribeca TV Pilot Season program:
- Shelby Bartelstein (Pretty People)
Shelby Bartelstein is beyond grateful to Tribeca 2020 for including Pretty People in the Indie Pilot Showcase. Shelby penned, directed and stars in the pilot, which follows two best friends whose budding romance is tested when weight comes into play.
- Che Grayson (Magic Hour)
Che Grayson is a filmmaker, writer and TED speaker. Her award-winning films have shown internationally, and her writing has been published by Teen Vogue, Image Comics and IDW Publishing. As a graduate of NYU’s MFA film program, she has written, directed and produced while studying under the mentorship of Spike Lee and Kasi Lemmons. Grayson is a 2016 TED resident, a 2017 IFP Marcie Bloom Film Fellow with Sony Picture Classics and a 2018 Directing Fellow with Ryan Murphy's Half Initiative. Most recently Grayson began developing a series for TV, Magic Hour, starring Indya Moore (POSE).
- Emily Kron and Kate Hopkins (Deceased Ones)
Emily Kron and Kate Hopkins are an exuberant two-headed creative team, who write, direct and produce television, film and digital media for their company, Grandma's Beach House Productions. They have collaborated on films, series, music videos and comedy sketches focusing on female-centric stories that are usually funny and unusually weird!
- Scott Turner Schofield (Becoming a Man in 127 EASY Steps: But What About The Children)
Named a “Trans Influencer of Hollywood” by Out magazine, Scott Turner Schofield is an award-winning actor, writer and producer. Critically-acclaimed for his roles on CBS’s The Bold And The Beautiful and Amazon Prime’s Studio City, Schofield received international notice for his leading role in the 2018 feature film The Conductor (Splendid Films). He currently consults for HBO’s Euphoria among other projects. His one man show—Becoming a Man in 127 Easy Steps, funded by the National Performance Network and the Princess Grace Foundation-USA—is now a groundbreaking multimedia project.
- Mike Ott (Unemployable)
Mike Ott studied under Thom Andersen at the California Institute of the Arts where he received his MFA in Film/Video. His films have won numerous awards, including the Audience Award at AFI Fest, a Gotham Award for "Best Film Not Playing in a Theater Near You,” and in 2011 he won the “Someone to Watch” Independent Spirit Award. Mike is currently in production on his hybrid feature California Dreams.
ADDITIONAL N.O.W. CREATORS MARKET PARTICIPANTS
- Amir Admoni and Fabito Rychter*
Amir Admoni and Fabito Rychter have been working together for the last 10 years. The partnership has yielded movies, TV shows, and plays that have collected 71 international awards and traveled to more than 120 festivals. Gravity VR is their first virtual reality project together.
- Enrique Agudo*
Enrique Agudo’s work explores the limits of digital media. With a background in architecture, Agudo evolved into speculative worldbuilding, moving from architectural projects to research-driven fictional narratives. His work looks at future anthropological issues, identity, sexuality, and humanities through animation, new media art, creative direction, or VR.
- Nitzan Bartov and Char Simpson*
Nitzan Bartov is an architect and game designer. Her work in XR, interactive, and spatial media mixes pop culture, sci-fi, and mysticism to explore relationships between humans and technology. Char Simpson is a writer and a video artist. They write interactive fiction and devise narrative formulas for immersive experiences.
- Anna Bierhaus
Anna Bierhaus is a writer living in NYC, and her scripts have regularly placed in ScreenCraft, Creative World Awards, and Final Draft, among others, and gone on to Sundance’s second round.
- Common Table Creative (Oliver English, Simon English and Jamer Bellis)
Common Table Creative works with the world's leading food and beverage companies, NGOs and nonprofits to tell stories about the power of food. We create short films and long-form documentaries about food, driving consumers to support the companies, businesses, and politicians of the future.
- Bianca Cristovao
Bianca Cristovao is a writer, performer, and creator based in Los Angeles. Originally from the Czech Republic, she has gained recognition for her stand-up comedy performance about diversity and immigration.
- Nicole Dawson
Nicole Dawson is a New York-based storyteller and graduate of NYU Tisch. She writes primarily for young adult audiences and her stories are grounded in visceral settings and dynamic female protagonists.
- Stanley Erhart
Stanley Erhart (@lastmanstanley) is an undergraduate at Tulane University pursuing a BS in digital media production. Stanley uploads short form abstract videos on the social media app TikTok.
- Matthew K. Esolda and Brian Goodheart
Matthew K. Esolda and Brian Goodheart are Emergency Contact, a creative/directing duo with over a decade of experience in advertising and content creation. They are friendly and are very excited to meet you.
- Valeria Forster & Mercedes Cordova
In 2012, Mercedes Córdova and Valeria Forster founded Brava Cine, a production company based in Buenos Aires, with the purpose of developing and promoting audiovisual projects by female directors.
- Léa Furnion
New York writer/filmmaker Léa Furnion likes making things, an idea that animates her series pilot, a handy-focused neo-practical ode to a love for eco-living. It’s also a topic of her upcoming novel.
- Malerie Grady & James Mackenzie
Malerie Grady and James Mackenzie are filmmakers from Atlanta. They developed Tough Love from a back-alley comedy sketch to a character-driven dating web series that premiered at Outfest 2019.
- Caleb Hearon
Caleb Hearon is a Chicago-based comedian at whom nobody has ever been mad. He performs every week at iO Chicago, Second City, The Hideout, and on Twitter, if video monologues count. Caleb is an NBCUniversal Bob Curry Fellow and produces iO's weekly sketch and current events show, Studio Eleven. He's originally from Missouri where he was raised by four strong women—his mother Kellie and the Dixie Chicks.
- Sami Kriegstein Jacobson
Sami Kriegstein Jacobson is an award-winning director, producer, and multimedia-artist (HuffPost, Spotify, InStyle, Complex, YouTubePremium) who moonlights as a digital branded content consultant, which sounds vague but is real, Dad, I swear.
- Jennifer Levinson
Jennifer Levinson’s written and produced content has amassed 100 million views across BuzzFeed Video, VRScout, and CryptTV. Formerly a writer on the show Solve, Jennifer now has five projects in production.
- Jonathan Lewis
Jonathan Aubrie Lewis is an award winning filmmaker (2019 AT&T Film Awards Underrepresented Winner) who has been a professional director for the past eight years. His most recent film, Sojourn, is an intimate exploration of black male identity. It has screened at Atlanta Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, Raindance Film Festival, Holly Shorts and most notably, The National Museum of African American History & Culture, a part of the Smithsonian African American Film Festival.
- Bunny Michael & Omega
Bunny Michael and Omega are multidisciplinary artists and collaborators. Their work has been displayed at The Whitney, Tate Modern, and MOMA PS1 and has been featured in the New York Times and Artforum.
- Raqi Syed & Areito Echevarria*
Raqi Syed and Areito Echevarria are visual effects artists and researchers whose work combines visual storytelling and new technologies. They have contributed to films such as Avatar and The Hobbit series. They are both practitioners in immersive reality and currently teach at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.
- Adam Waheed
Adam Waheed is a comedian, actor and content creator from Queens, New York. He most recently wrote, produced and starred in the short film Tribes, an official selection for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. He also starred in the Comedy Central series, Pitch Please, which is live on Comedy Central’s Facebook page. Adam has also worked with high-end brands like T-Mobile, Old Spice, Mountain Dew, Call of Duty and more.
- Micah Ariel Watson
Micah Ariel Watson is a filmmaker and playwright from Wichita, Kan. Her work centers the sacred and secular in Black culture. She will receive her MFA from NYU spring 2020.
*Indicates 2020 Tribeca Immersive Official Selection Artist.