Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) has announced its support for a broad group of exceptional projects from Latin America and the Caribbean. TFI will mobilize its resources to nurture these projects with the goal of helping more stories from the region’s vibrant filmmaking community reach and engage with audiences in the U.S. and throughout the international film industry.

This support is both monetary, including the more than $700,000 the TFI Latin America Fund has awarded to more than 60 filmmakers from 15 Latin American and Caribbean countries, and through hands-on mentoring. TFI will be traveling many of this year’s supported projects to take meetings at its annual market for filmmakers and members of industry during the Tribeca Film Festival next month.

The films chosen by TFI for support this year represent filmmakers from Latin American and Caribbean countries including Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Chile and Argentina. The 17 projects explore a variety of themes such as socio-political activism, coming of age, and environmental protectionism.

“At TFI, we are committed to bringing regional stories from Latin America to wider audiences, thereby making sure the projects have maximum impact,” said Amy Hobby, Executive Director of TFI. “Now, more than ever, we maintain our support of connecting the rich voices of storytellers from this region to viewers in the U.S. and beyond.”

“Tribeca Film Institute has done a tremendous job helping local stories reach global audiences and we’re proud to continue to support this effort,” said Katherine Oliver, Advisor to Bloomberg Philanthropies and Principal of Media and Technology at Bloomberg Associates.

Via press release, the following scripted projects will be receiving support. S&A will be covering the Tribeca Film Festival next month, so look for individual investigations into those projects of relevance to this blog’s interests:

— White Arms (2017 TFI Latin America Fund Grantee)
Written & Directed by Mariana Musalem
In one summer, eleven-year-old Valeria loses her innocence and her best friend, meets her first love and witnesses her uncle’s divorce from her favorite aunt and confidant. In just a few short months Valeria grows up more than she ever expected.

— Baghdad – Scenes from a Neighborhood (2017 Latin America Fund Grantee)
Written & Directed by Caru Alves de Souza
Baghdad, a 16-year-old tomboy skater girl, is starting to discover her sexuality as she balances her world of her mostly male skater friends and the strong women who surround her at home in a working class neighborhood in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

— Beauty Kingdom (2017 TFI Latin America Fund Grantee)
Dominican Republic
Written & Directed by Laura Amelia Guzmán & Israel Cárdenas
Old friends in their mid-60s reconnect on a Caribbean island to shoot one last film; the re-emergence of one’s late son blurs the line that divides reality from fantasy.

— El Refugio de los Insomnes (2017 TFI Latin America Fund Grantee)
Written & Directed by Sergio Goyri Álvarez & Joseduardo Giordano
A unique friendship develops among a man who suffers from insomnia, an aspiring photographer and a woman who is unsure about her pregnancy. They convene each evening in a local market where the comedic behavior of the late-night customers distracts them from each of their own issues.

— El Sistema Solar (In Collaboration with Nuevas Miradas Cuba – EICTV)
Written by Bacha Caravedo; Directed by Bacha Caravedo & Daniel Higashionna
An eclectic, dysfunctional family has gathered to celebrate Christmas. They haven’t seen each other since the father of the household started dating his son’s ex-girlfriend. In this story of secrets, fighting and Christmas carols, it is clear that for the Del Solar family, the person who hurts you the most also loves you the most.

— Enigma (2017 TFI Latin America Fund Grantee; in Collaboration with SANFIC (Santiago International Film Festival)
Written & Directed by Ignacio Juricic Merillán
Ten years after her daughter was the victim of a hate crime, brutally beaten in the streets of Santiago for being a lesbian, Nancy is asked to participate in an unsolved mysteries TV show that will recreate the incident. Nancy, a hairdresser who has worked very hard to move on with her life, will have to decide if finding justice for her deceased daughter is worth exposing herself and her family on television.

— Sanctorum (In Collaboration with the Morelia Lab at the Morelia Film Festival FICM)
Directed by Joshua Gil
In a small town plagued by the war between the army and the drug traffickers, a child has lost his mother. His grandmother has told him that the only way of getting her back is to invoke the forces of nature. The boy heads off into a forest to plead for his mother as the town prepares for a final battle with the army.

— Shock Labor (2017 TFI Latin America Fund Grantee)
Written & Directed by Marcos Díaz Sosa
In Cuba, 1988, Wilma has a miscarriage while competing in a skeet shooting competition, which she was hiding from her disapproving husband. While grieving the loss of their child and feeling trapped on their farm, a tornado carries Wilma away and she lands in a luxurious tourist area. It is this life-threatening experience and time away from her husband from which she learns that there’s no place like home.

— The Rain (In Collaboration with Nuevas Miradas Cuba – EICTV)
Written & Directed by Lony Welter
In a small Colombian village, Lucy’s quiet life is disrupted by a group of men in search of a mysterious treasure. As the men take more and more control, Lucy must question her own capacity for violence and destruction by using her powers to save her family and village.

The following documentary projects will be receiving support:

— The Big Day (In Collaboration With DocSP (Doc Sao Paulo))
Directed by Helena Ungaretti & Guilherme Giufrida

The wedding day is a big day for many people’s lives. For Rachel, Gislaine and Patrícia, it’s just another day of work. THE BIG DAY follows the actions of these wedding industry professionals – a make-up artist, a chef and a gown designer – as they navigate this industry with clients, employees and with each other. The film observes these women’s lifestyles and their beliefs. Through the juxtaposition of the clients’ and especially the professionals’ perspectives the film aims to explore the construction of femininity within this universe of consumption, ambition and tradition.

— Fenix Circus (In Collaboration With DocuLab.9 Guadalajara International Film Festival)
Directed by Lorena Aguirre & Bruno Andrino
The Andersons were born and raised as part of the Fenix Circus, and they continue to participate in the circus to this day. However, because of the downturn in audiences – and the deterioration of the circus as a cultural institution – they will have to decide whether they want to continue performing or adapt to a more conventional way of living.

— El Compromiso de las Sombras (2017 TFI Latin America Fund Grantee)
Directed by Sandra Luz López
Lizbeth, a transsexual woman in charge of the funerary rituals in the small town of San Nicolas, has a gift that allows her to accompany the souls of the deceased with songs, prayers and music, in their journey towards the unknown. She embraces this skill with care, and it has made her a loved and respected figure in her community, where her intimate life is spent in solitude and silence.

— Homo Botanicus (In Collaboration with Cartagena Film Festival / FICCI)
Directed by Guillermo Quintero
HOMO BOTANICUS explores the working relationship between botanist Julio Betancur and his disciple Cristian Castro, who diligently traverse the Colombian tropical forests. The anachronistic journey of these scientists leads them through an environment teeming with mystery surrounding plant life and their legacy in this world.

— Impeachment (2017 TFI Latin America Fund Grantee)
Directed by Petra Costa
An epic tragedy of corruption and betrayal, IMPEACHMENT is a behind-the-scenes look at the ousting of Brazil’s first female president. With exclusive access to the president and other key politicians, the film unravels like a political thriller as Brazil falls into disarray, echoing the undoing of so many democracies throughout the world.

— Man Between Dog and Wolf (2017 TFI Latin America Fund Grantee)
Directed by Irene Gutierrez
At the heart of the Sierra Maestra, five veterans from the war in Angola prepare for battle. Always ready and isolated from the world, they live immersed in a jungle far from the deep transitions going on throughout the rest of Cuba. They are the last samurais of the Cuban Revolution.

— The Mole Agent (2017 TFI Latin America Fund Grantee)
Directed by Maite Alberdi
Against his will, Oscar (82) must give up his past life after his family decides to send him to an elderly retirement home. Although he hates his new imposed life, inside the asylum he becomes the love of all women and the adviser of all men, shifting his expectations as he gradually becomes one more resident in the retirement home.

— Wind & Fright (In Collaboration with Nuevas Miradas Cuba – EICTV)
Directed by Noelia Solmi
Every year, a fierce wind arrives in the remote northern region of the Argentinian Puna, and some say it comes loaded with misfortunes. A medicine man, Dionysius, is one of the few people who still know how to cure these evils while Carlos, another townsperson, has caught the “fright” – the name of this disease. Carlos thinks that this disease is caused by the imminent closure of a nearby mine where he works. WIND & FRIGHT presents a disquieting and creative portrait of the inhabitants of this region, who wait for the end of the wind season to the take their misfortunes away.