Tell the Tribeca Film Institute they are missing the point

There are only a few major film funds out there for independent filmmakers in the US. Unfortunately, as of today, “Outside In” is eligible for none of them – that’s right, zero. It’s crazy – they all say they are looking for “cutting edge, visionary, independent work that is outside the box, etc. blah blah”. But despite their calls for innovation, in a irony worthy of “Brazil”, they have rules that prevent “Outside In” in applying.

I’ve written my letters of protest over the past couple of years but it might help if they heard from fans of the film. Today’s fund to protest is the TFI Sloan Film fund.They say they are looking for “innovative and compelling filmmaking that explores scientific, mathematical, and technological themes and storylines, or a leading character who is a scientist, engineer, innovator or mathematician in fresh ways“.

Sounds good, huh? But then come their rules – “no short films, only feature-length. “Outside In” is a feature, full length film, however, in the IMAX/Giant Screen world features of typical 35-45 minutes, due the very high cost (many times that of Hollywood 35mm films) and the standards set by theaters. TFI says no, it must be 60 minutes to even apply.

There’s more – “no documentaries”. To many people, IMAX = Documentary and this preconception dominates their minds. While “Outside In” is not a conventional talky narrative and yes, it does have documentary aspects especially using nothing but real photographs, it is a narrative film with a powerful story – beginning, middle and end. But, the last time I tried to apply for this,  they insisted if it’s IMAX and 40 minutes long, it must be a documentary.

Moreover, despite their mission to find ” innovative and compelling filmmaking” in “fresh new ways”, they seem to be totally unable to grasp the fact the “Outside In” does not fit into any existing category or box they have in their rules or that exists in most conventional film genres.

So I would much appreciate it if you could let them know the irony of their vision that is stunted by their very shortsighted rules. Email them at

  • joshclaytonfilm
    Posted at 23:45h, 14 December

    It’s ironic, but “cutting edge” never means cutting edge – everyone wants the same old thing just packaged in a more interesting way: “new” to get people’s attention, “old” so that there’s a precedent to how people will react to it in the marketplace. Props for doing something completely new – that’s incredible and inspirational.

  • stephenv2
    Posted at 02:31h, 15 December

    Thanks – it is ironic for sure.

Post A Comment