Magazine article Screen International

Amy Hobby, TFI Latin America Fund

Magazine article Screen International

Amy Hobby, TFI Latin America Fund

Article excerpt

Vice-president of Artist Programs at TFI, Amy Hobby, talks to Jeremy Kay about how the Institute helps film-makers realise their vision and works with regional storytellers to overcome their inferiority complex.

Tell us about the origins of the fund and its aim

In 2009 the TFI Latin America Fund started as a nomination-based programme to support two Mexican film-makers with grants of $10,000. In 2011, the fund shifted from nomination-based to a yearly open call for submissions for documentary storytellers living and working in Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

With the support of Mexico-based sponsor Canacine, and presenting sponsor Bloomberg Philanthropies, the programme has expanded again to support scripted storytellers. The current aim of the TFI Latin America Fund is to support scripted and documentary film-makers telling creative and unique stories that reflect the storytellers' diverse cultures and ?present vibrant perspectives about contemporary Latin American culture. Its goal is to fight against the Latin American stereotypes propagated in the US as well as abroad, and support layered complex stories that show a new Latin American identity.

Does the involvement of Canacine mean there has to be a project backed by it or there has to be a grantee from Mexico?

The projects supported by Canacine are not necessarily backed by the Mexican organisation but rather, the grants are awarded to feature-length fiction and documentary Mexican film-makers working on compelling stories that reflect their native country or the Latin American/Caribbean region as a whole.

How is Tribeca and its partners able to help?

Tribeca Film Institute staffmentor each project through completion and encourage connections with the best possible distribution platforms/outlets for the respective stories. TFI Latin America Fund -supported film-makers are invited to participate in TFI'S Network Market (held each year during the Tribeca Film Festival) in order to connect the filmmakers to a plethora of US and international funders, producers, sales agents, festival programmers and other ancillary support platforms.

From then onwards, TFI staffwork closely with the supported film-makers in a curated fashion - from strategising each project's festival route and delivering notes and feedback on each script draftor cut of the supported project, to recommending projects to Latin American festivals and markets, for additional project development. In the past three years, TFI has also conducted on-the-ground Filmmaker Workshops and Training in four separate Latin American countries, which enables the Institute to discover new talent and continue to support and promote those projects that have already been funded.

Who is involved in the selection process?

Final decisions for the TFI Latin America Fund are made internally by the TFI Artist Programs department. The Scripted and Documentary Programs departments convene to discuss their shortlist, and a deliberation session ensues to select the scripted and documentary grantees. One the grantees are selected, TFI reviews the projects with our TFI Latin America Fund advisory board, which is a coalition of Latin American thought-leaders and experts who are active in the film industry throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The advisory board acts as a brain-trust for the TFI Latin America Fund, in helping to further connect these projects to additional sources of financing, participation in festivals or markets, and providing other sources of support.

How have you been able to measure success and what have been the success stories so far? …

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