For the past few years we at Greenberg Traurig have participated in Tribeca All Access (TAA), a networking/mentoring program taking place during the Tribeca Film Festival that selects 20 new film voices to meet with a range of industry professionals. Stepping in on the industry side as legal and business counsel, we were excited to see such a broad range of material and such a diverse group of producers, writers, moviemakers and talents. The basics: The industry reps get a 13- to 16-page excerpt of a script in development or at some stage of production. In the case of documentary moviemakers and producers, we see a five- to 10-minute clip of their footage. After reviewing all 20 TAA projects, we made our selections in both the narrative and documentary category. We tried to mix everything up and we got to sit down with the creators of musicals, dramas and feature docs on people like African auteur Ousmane Sembene, a Bronx boxing heroine, a Japanese erotic film star… the list goes on. Needless to say, these projects showed that indie film is stronger then ever, and that there is an abundance of motivated business people and artists making smart decisions and asking great questions.
Here’s a summary of each of the projects we learned about on day one of TAA 2010:
First up was the project Raga Beats. We met with writer/moviemaker Nisha Ganatra and film producer Jasmine Jaisinghani to talk about their script and the plans for their film, which seems like an exciting combo of Bend It Like Beckham and Step Up with a twist of Romeo and Juliet. The music samples were incredible mixes of Bhangra, reggaeton and hip-hop, which keeps the energy high and was clearly an inspiration for our moviemaker. I love seeing music and film come together, and the team for Raga Beats has taken it to another level.
We then met with Julius Onah and Mayuran Tiruchelvam—the co-writer-director and co-writer, respectively, of The Girl is in Trouble. We were attracted to this project by its noir-esque qualities and its modern edge. The story of a girl caught up in the seedy underbelly of the Lower East Side was very well executed by these up-and-coming talents. They brought intelligent, articulate concepts to the table that really helped us take part in their vision.
Next up was Clement Virgo, veteran director and film talent. Virgo combines seasoned professionalism with open-minded creativity and we were thrilled to talk about his project Enter the Cipher. The vision for 1994 New York—the setting of the film—was crystal clear and we were able to comfortably talk about different paths because of Virgo’s solid understanding of not only his craft, but of the business too.
For the first doc of our TAA 2010 tour we met with Jason Silverman and Samba Gadjigo about their project Sembene! We were captivated by their clip and knew we had to meet with them right away. The project is still in development, but these moviemakers are bringing the life of the father of African cinema to the screen in a way that would have made the artist proud.
More details on Tribeca All Access and day two of the circuit to come.
Attorney Steven C. Beer is a shareholder in Greenberg Traurig’s New York office and has served as counsel to numerous award-winning writers, directors and producers, as well as industry-leading film production, film finance and film distribution companies. He is the founder of R&B FM, LLC, a film production company focusing on producing music-oriented films.