Funding losses during COVID19 pandemic force layoffs, closure
Image: In May 2020, the Tribeca Film Institute announced winners of its 10th annual TFI Network. Image credit: Tribeca Film Institute
Reports in the major trades, including Variety, IndiWire, and The Wrap, confirm earlier blog posts on Monday; the Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) has suspended operations, with plans to totally close down operations by September.
As COVID19 spread, the virus has decimated the film, video and digital media industries. Companies to tap in support of TFI’s projects can’t pay their own bills.
TFI created many initiatives to benefit young black, Latinx and women filmmakers. That group as a whole have a tough time entering the industry. With a bleak assessment that the situation won’t get better soon, the decision for TFI to close makes economic sense, even if it has to shut down a raft of productions.
New York’s Power Producers
Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff started the not-for-profit Tribeca Film Institute in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, hoping to build something positive in the downtown area. The film festival began the following year, in 2002.
Portions of the TFI memo – written by institute board co-chairs Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Scott Rechler – were posted on social media this past Monday.
In Variety’s report, the three recalled that the Tribeca Film Festival was born from the ashes of 9/11, and needed to be an operation that nimbly addresses urgent needs in the community — primarily through financial aid, the memo said.
Tribeca Film Institute Made the Right Moves, But…
TFI, the not-for-profit arm of Tribeca Enterprises, built a name over the past decade for its support of new filmmakers, championing “storytellers to be catalysts for change in their communities and around the world.”
TFI also created innovative partnerships with groups like ESPN and The Alliance for Media Arts and Culture. Economic self-sufficiency seemed to be at hand.
The Covid 19 virus, of course, changed that fast. According to Variety, TFI has already laid off 10 workers. The others are promised jobs in Tribeca Enterprises, the umbrella group of the profit-making side, with interests in distribution and wide-ranging educational initiatives.
TFI “strives to empower filmmakers” through its education and grants programs. The Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) was created in 2002 and it, along with the Tribeca Film Center (rentable private offices), will continue operations. BTW: TFF offers its “signature” Tribeca Talks on Facebook. Some very fantastic talent in its lineup. You can find out more on the TFF site by clicking here.
The TFI board will decide the Institute’s ultimate fate by this fall, according to reports.