[New York, NY April 29, 2008] Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) today announced the recipients of its 2008 Media Arts Fellowships; the Fellowship program was founded and is supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. This year, TFI awarded $715,000 to 22 innovative filmmakers and media artists. Tribeca Film Institute CEO Brian Newman along with Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Alan Berliner (Nobody’s Business, Wide Awake), awarded the Fellowships at a ceremony at the New York Academy of Art to some of the most promising and respected independent filmmakers working today.

Awarded to filmmakers and media artists whose work is innovative, creative and pushes boundaries, the Fellowships provide support to 22 filmmakers and media artists each year. The Fellowships offer financial support for artists working in the narrative, documentary, experimental, installation and computer-generated media genres. The Media Arts Fellowships recognize the artistic excellence of 20 film, video and new media artists in the United States with cash awards of $35,000 each. The program also awards two additional Fellowships of $7,500 each to emerging film and video artists.

“These 22 artists represent some of the most talented and forward-thinking artists creating independent media today” said Jane Rosenthal, Co-Chair of the Tribeca Film Institute. “We look forward to their lasting and substantial contribution to independent film and arts.”

“We are honored to support such original artists and their unique projects,” said Brian Newman, Chief Executive Officer of the Tribeca Film Institute. “Whether it is a script that needs financing to begin production, or a completed film that needs funding for editing and promotional support, the Fellowships we award allow these talented individuals to contribute fantastic work to the independent media field.”

The Film and Video selection panel included Robert Byrd, Senior Program Officer, Jerome Foundation, Minneapolis, MN; Ed Halter, Film Critic and Curator, formerly director of New York Underground Film Festival, New York, NY; Hye-Jung Park, 2003 Media Arts Fellow and Program Officer for the Media Justice Fund, The Funding Exchange, New York, NY; Gail Silva, Independent Film Advisor and Curator, San Francisco, CA; and Shoshana Wasserman, Director of Marketing & Public Relations, American Indian Cultural Center & Museum, Oklahoma, OK.

The New Media selection panel included Shawn Brixey, 2003 Media Arts Fellow and Director, Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media, Seattle, WA; Juan Devis, New Media and Interactive Producer at KCET/PBS, Los Angeles, CA; Tana Hargest, 2003 Media Arts Fellow and Director of the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York, NY; and Paddy Johnson, Media Arts Blogger and Critic, New York, NY.

“The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to support bold and innovative work in filmmaking and new media through its support of the Media Arts Fellowships,” said Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation.

For more than two decades, the Rockefeller Foundation has provided approximately $800,000 in Fellowships each year to support emerging and established artists in both the U.S. and Mexico. Renew Media (formerly known as National Video Resources) administered the Media Arts Fellowships on behalf of the Foundation from 1995 to 2002. In 2003, the Fellowships became a full program of Renew Media, receiving the majority of its financial support from the Rockefeller Foundation. The Media Arts Fellowship program now operates as part of the Tribeca Film Institute, following the formal combination of Renew Media and the Tribeca Film Institute in 2008.

In addition to the Media Arts Fellowships, TFI awards funds through Tribeca All Access, The Tribeca/Sloan Screenplay Development Program and the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund throughout the year.

FILM AND VIDEO FELLOWS

JULIANNA BRANNUM (Emerging Artist)
Los Angeles, CA

LaDonna Harris: Indian 101 is a documentary about Comanche activist LaDonna Harris, who, as the wife of a U.S. Senator in the 1960s and 70s, worked from within Washington D.C.’s political scene on behalf of American Indians.

Julianna Brannum’s feature documentary The Creek Runs Red (co-directed with Bradley Beesley and James Payne) was featured in PBS’ series Independent Lens, in 2007, and she is currently producing the five part series We Shall Remain for PBS’s American Experience.

ANDREW BUJALSKI
Jamaica Plain, MA

The currently untitled “Sisters Project” is a feature length narrative that revolves around a pair of twin sisters. The film is shaped and influenced by the sisters’ identical faces and very different bodies; in reality, as in the film, one uses a wheelchair.

Andrew Bujalski’s previous two narrative features have received wide critical acclaim, following their theatrical release, television broadcast and screening in numerous international film festivals. His debut Funny Ha Ha won the “Someone to Watch” Award at the 2004 Independent Spirit Awards, and was included on various critics’ top ten lists- as was his second film Mutual Appreciation. Bujalski has also served as an actor in several of his peers’ films.

DANIEL CARRERA
West Hollywood, CA

Invoking Dolores will be a feature length film that will explore the inherent spiritualism in the religious customs of rural Mexico through the story of Michael, a priest who returns from the US to his hometown in Mexico to follow the footsteps of Mexico’s leading exorcist.

Daniel Carrera’s short film Primera Comunion (First Communion) has screened at numerous international and national film festivals and has received several awards, including at the Guadalajara and Morelia Film Festivals in Mexico and the Directors Guild of America. He holds an MFA in Film Directing and Screenwriting from Columbia University.

CHERIEN DABIS
New York, NY

Amreeka is a feature length fiction film about a Palestinian single mother and her son who arrive in rural Illinois to escape a life of oppression, only to face the fallout from America’s war on Iraq. It is a glimpse into the secret lives of the first generation teenagers caught between their parent’s ethnic heritage and the Western world in which they live.

Cherien Dabis’ previous short film Make a Wish was featured in international festivals such as Sundance and Berlin, and won awards at Rotterdam and the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival, among others. Dabis has received numerous accolades, including the L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth Vision Award at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival. She is also a writer and co-producer on Showtime Network’s series, The L Word. Dabis was born to Palestinian immigrant parents and currently lives in New York.

JACQUELINE GOSS
Tivoli, NY

Hart’s Location is an animated documentary that will provide a subjective portrait of the residents of a rural precinct in northern New Hampshire, set against the backdrop of the months preceding the country’s primary elections.

Ms. Goss is a versatile media artist who has employed film, video, websites and interactive installations in her arsenal of mediums. Her work has been featured in numerous international festivals, including the Rotterdam, Full Frame and New York Film Festivals. Goss currently teaches film and electronic arts at Bard College.

JUDITH HELFAND
New York, NY

Heat Wave: An Unnatural Disaster is a character-driven feature documentary that explores the legacy of the 1995 heat wave that ravaged the city of Chicago leaving 739 people dead in four days, the majority of them old, poor and people of color. At the center of this story lies a moral dilemma that has nothing to do with the weather. Poverty predetermined who would live or die during the heat crisis.

Judith Helfand’s previous documentaries have employed a humanistic humor in their efforts to bring attention to environmental concerns. Helfand has received a George Foster Peabody Award and Emmy nominations for her work. She is a co-founder of the non-profit Working Films, as well as of the film fund Chicken and Egg Pictures.

BRADEN KING
New York, NY

HERE is a narrative feature that chronicles the relationship between an American satellite-mapping engineer and an expatriate art photographer who travel together into uncharted foreign territory. Incorporating experimental interludes about mythical explorations, the film will serve as a meditation on landscape, culture, time and orientation.

Braden King’s previous documentary Dutch Harbor: Where the Sea Breaks its Back was included in over 40 film festivals, including the Full Frame, Margaret Mead and Rotterdam Film Festivals. He has also directed video installations, music videos and live film events. King was awarded an Alfred P. Sloane Feature Film Fellowship for his project HERE.

BILLY LUTHER
Los Angeles, CA

Grab is a documentary about the history of Grab Day, as well as its contemporary celebration in New Mexico’s Laguna Pueblo Indian reservation. The filmmaker will follow a family as they prepare for this traditional festivity.

Billy Luther is Navajo, Hopi and Laguna. He directed the award winning documentary Miss Navajo, which screened at several international film festivals, including Sundance, true/False, Los Angeles, Morelia, Rome and Winnipeg. He has received grants from the Sundance Native Initiative, National Geographic’s All Roads Seed Grant and Independent Television Service.

SHIRIN NESHAT
New York, NY

Iran/Laos will be an experimental film/video installation that intends to capture the collective identity crisis in Laos at it undergoes a clash in between its communist and Buddhist cultures.

Shirin Neshat was born in Iran, but has spent most of her life in the US. She explores issues of her native Islamic society through photography and video. Having been exiled from her homeland due to the Iranian revolution, her experiences of displacement inspired her to base her artwork on the universal meanings of cultural ideology and identity of post-revolutionary Iran. Her vast body of work has been widely exhibited in Europe, the US and Latin America.

HUGO PEREZ (Emerging Artist)
Brooklyn, NY

Immaculate Conception is a narrative feature that re-imagines the Virgin Mary story within the context of contemporary Miami’s Cuban community. The story will be told primarily in Spanish, with baroque visual style and deadpan comedic tone.

Hugo Perez’s previous short narratives have been broadcast on HBO and Showtime, in addition to being screened at film festivals. His debut feature documentary Neither Memory Nor Magic recently premiered at the Full Frame Film Festival.

LAURA POITRAS
New York, NY

Release is the second film in a documentary trilogy about America’s response to the attacks of 9/11. The film explores the long-term psychological and political repercussions of the U.S. policy of detention and torture.

Poitras’ last film My Country, My Country was nominated for an Academy Award and for an Independent Spirit Award, in their Best Documentary categories. Her previous documentary Flag Wars won a Peabody Award. She has been a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, participated in the Sundance Documentary Lab and received funding from Creative Capital, the Jerome Foundation, and NYSCA, among others.

DEE REES
Long Beach, CA

Pariah is a narrative feature that expands upon a previous short in which a black lesbian teenager struggles with self-doubt as she juggles multiple identities in an attempt to please both her friends and family.

Dee Rees holds an MFA in Film & Television Production from New York University. She has received numerous awards for her narrative short Pariah, including accolades from the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films and Outfest. She is currently finishing the documentary feature Eventual Salvation which was supported by the Chicken & Egg Pictures and Tribeca All Access.

JENNIFER REEVES
New York, NY

Firelight Song is an experimental narrative film about Harriet “Petey” Weaver, the first female forest ranger, in California in 1929. The film will revolve around Petey’s 21 years as a ranger, during which she also served as an author, artist, and historian, devoting herself to nature, storytelling and the women in her life.

Jennifer Reeves is a film artist who performs all the production roles on her projects, including the shooting, editing, sound and optically printing. Her experimental work spans from narrative/documentary hybrids to visually abstract tone poems. Her previous feature The Time We Killed won the Best NY, NY Narrative Feature at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival, and she has had work featured in the Whitney Biennial, the Museum of Modern Art and numerous international film festivals.

NAOMI UMAN
Newhall, CA

The Ukrainian Time Machine is a series of four sixteen millimeter films that will combine personal, experimental and non-fiction approaches to capturing life in the Ukrainian town of Uman.

Naomi Uman’s previous experimental work has applied hand-crafted effects to project her subjective experience of different places and people. Her work has been exhibited internationally in festivals and museums including the Museum of Modern Art, Bilbao Guggenheim, Austria’s Viennale and Sundance Film Festival. She has received support from the Fulbright Scholars Program, Creative Capital and the Guggenheim Fellowship, among others. Uman currently lives in the Ukraine.

LAUREN WOODS
San Francisco, CA

Fountains is a site-specific and interactive video installation that comments upon the history of segregation and civil rights protest. The installation consists of a 30- second video projected over the fading imprint of a “Whites Only” sign that exists above the main water fountain of a county building in Texas. The projection is composed of newsreel footage from 1960s civil rights protests, and is activated when one attempts to take a drink from the fountain.

Lauren Woods considers herself an experimental researcher, learner and educator. Her installations and videos have been included in the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Houston’s Project Row Houses, NextFrame’s Finalists Touring Film Festival and the collection of National Taiwan University of Arts. Woods holds an MFA with a film concentration from the San Francisco Art Institute.

JESSICA YU
La Canada-Flintridge, CA

Signs of Life is a documentary about the life and work of deaf educator Dr. Virginia McKinney, and her fight to keep open the school she founded over 40 years ago. McKinney, 83, is the founder of the Center for Communicative Development (CCD) and an advocate for the education of language-deprived deaf adults.

Yu’s uniquely expressive documentary shorts and features have been screened worldwide in festivals and released theatrically nationwide, winning awards along the way. Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O’Brien, won the 1997 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. Her films often feature artistic, yet physically inhibited, individuals and those who forge something magical out of even the bleakest of circumstances.

NEW MEDIA FELLOWS

SHARON DANIEL
San Francisco, CA

Capitalist Punishment is a multi-media work which examines the politics of privatization and labor exploitation within the United States prison system. This “new media documentary,” as Daniel terms it, will include a museum installation and related electronic tour of prison industry products inscribed with statements by prison laborers, as well as an interactive website that maps the social geography of the prison industrial complex.

Sharon Daniel’s previous work has involved collaborations with disenfranchised communities; collecting their stories and building online interfaces that make this information available across social, economic and cultural boundaries. Her goal is to not attempt to speak for others, but instead to allow them to speak for themselves. Daniel’s work has been exhibited internationally at museums and festivals including the Corcoran Biennial, Ars Electronica and the Lincoln Center Festival. Daniel currently teaches film and digital media at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

JOE DAVIS
Cambridge, MA

Call Me Ishmael is an installation that will convert the atmospheric nitrogen from lightning bolts into laser beams that will reach into space. This unique scientific sculpture will act as lighting-powered lighthouse intended to memorialize victims of natural storms.

Located at the crossroads of art and science, Joe Davis’ work has been exhibited internationally at such events as Ars Electronica, and has resulted from collaborations with institutions such as Harvard Medical School and NASA. His artwork is informed by multiple fields of scientific inquiry, including molecular biology, electromagnetics and astrophysics. Davis has been a research affiliate at MIT for over twenty six years.

JOSH ON
San Francisco, CA

They Rule and We Work is a reciprocal pair of websites looking at class in the United States today. They Rule will allow users to map the interlocking directories of the top 500 U.S. corporations and to update the existing information. We Work will be an interactive examination of the state of the U.S. working class in the last 20-30 years, using graphics to represent such data as cost of living, strike levels, and undocumented immigrant labor.

Josh On’s previous websites have explored the meeting point of the didactic, the politically active and the artistic experience, and have been featured at such festivals as the Ars Electronica, Whitney Biennial and Seoul International Media Art Biennial. On holds an M.A. in Computer Related Design from The Royal College of Art in London. Originally from New Zealand, On now lives in San Francisco.

C.E.B. REAS
Santa Monica, CA

The not yet titled installation will build upon the artist’s custom-designed software TI, which generates live abstracted images onto structured shapes. This incarnation will integrate sound and will explore the merging of physical form and projected imagery.

C.E.B. Reas focuses on defining processes and translating them into images. He has exhibited his work internationally in art spaces and festivals including Laboral and Sonar in Spain, the National Museum for Art, Architecture, and Design in Oslo, TAG at The Hague, [DAM] in Berlin and Ars Electronica in Linz. In New York, his work has been exhibited at The Cooper-Hewitt Museum and Bitforms. He is an associate professor and chair of the department of Design & Media Arts at the University of California, Los Angeles.

MICHAEL REES
North Bergen, NJ

The Sculptural User Installation: Social Sculpture as Tree-ed Binary Large Object will be an interactive environment that includes virtual objects on screens and their physical realizations as 3D printed objects. Additionally, a web component will be distributed among video monitors.

Michael Rees has exhibited his work in Europe and the United States both in private and public venues. He is collected by the Whitney Museum of American Art and by the Edelman Foundation in Luzern, Switzerland. Rees has also written and lectured widely about the artistic practice of rapid prototyping.

PAUL VANOUSE
Buffalo, NY

Latent Figure Protocol is an installation in which human DNA samples will be treated in order to produce images. This live scientific experiment will be performed for audiences and recorded for subsequent exhibition. The images created will comment upon issues related to DNA fingerprinting, Eugenic theory and the genetic basis of identity.

Paul Vanouse’s work, which touches upon genetics, identity and history, has been exhibited internationally. He has previously been recognized with awards from Ars Electronica, Creative Capital and New York State Council on the Arts. Vanouse currently teaches in the Department of Visual Studies at SUNY in Buffalo.

About the Tribeca Film Institute

The Tribeca Film Institute is dedicated to creative innovation in film and media arts. The Institute creates original programs that draw on the unifying power of film to promote creativity, understanding, tolerance and global awareness. Our commitment is to educate, entertain and inspire filmmakers and audiences alike, while strengthening the artistic and economic fabric of New York City and its Lower Manhattan community.

For more information visit www.tribecafilminstitute.org.

About the Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation was established in 1913 by John D. Rockefeller, Sr., to “promote the well-being” of humanity by addressing the root causes of serious problems. The Foundation works around the world to expand opportunities for poor or vulnerable people and to help ensure that globalization’s benefits are more widely shared. With assets of more than $3.5 billion, it is one of the few institutions to conduct such work within the United States and internationally.

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Contact: Rubenstein Communications, Inc.
Jodi Sevin (212) 843-8393, jsevin@rubenstein.com

Tribeca Enterprises
Tammie Rosen (212) 941-2003, trosen@tribecaenterprises.com