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Programs Fri 5.10.2024

Fiscal Spotlight: Three Upcoming Tribeca Premieres Supported by Film Independent

New York’s Tribeca Film Festival is turning 22 this year (one year since the Festival has been able to drink, three more years until it can rent a car), and from June 5-16 will be bringing another bumper crop of American and international indies to film screens in lower Manhattan. And sure, we’d all like to eat cannolis with Robert De Niro at one of those fancy bakeries they have down there, but unfortunately not all of us are talented enough to create a Tribeca-worthy feature or short. Luckily, we have proxies available in the form of three Film Independent Fiscal Sponsorship-supported projects! 

These Tribeca-bound bangers include one fiction feature, one nonfiction feature and a fiction short. So whatever programming track you find yourself on below Canal Street in July, there’s a good chance you’ll stumble upon something with our #FiSpo impreminator. You’ll also discover three distinct tales–of contentious teen romance, manslaughter as family bonding, and the 1980s New Wave music scene. And in case you forgot, here’s a quick explanation of Film Independent Fiscal Sponsorship:

May’s Fiscal Spotlight projects include New Wave, A Family Guide to Hunting and Rise! Learn more about the films, their creators and how to support them below…



Project type: Nonfiction Feature

Project status: Completed

Director/Producer: Elizabeth Ai

Producer: Rachel Sine

Executive Producers: Diane Quon, Geeta Gandbhir, Riccitiello, C.Y. Lee

About the project: Filmmaker Elizabeth Ai embarks on a project to tell a story of joy and youthful defiance, as she explores a musical phenomenon in the 1980s known to Vietnamese American teens as New Wave. As she delves into the lives of family members and icons of the New Wave scene, she uncovers much more than just music and fashion. In the heart of Orange County, California, this counterculture movement takes the youth by storm, becoming a sanctuary for rebellious teens. The fun Euro-synth dance beats and punk/goth aesthetics mask deep traumas—broken dreams and unfulfilled expectations that have shaped her community. The joyful memories of her uncles and aunts sneaking out to this underground scene clash with her own painful childhood, haunted by her mother’s abandonment. As the filmmaker digs deeper, the excavation becomes an emotional journey, unraveling mysteries that touch on cultural identity, generational trauma, and the Vietnam War’s lasting impact. The exploration transforms from a love letter to her community into a cathartic process for the filmmaker. By confronting these buried emotions, the film takes us on a soulful journey that binds wounds, celebrates resilience and offers new beginnings.

Meet the filmmaker: To learn more about New Wave, including how to support the project, click here. Elizabeth Ai is a Chinese-Vietnamese-American and Emmy award-winning storyteller. She writes and produces independent feature films as well as branded content for National Geographic, ESPN and VICE. She produced documentary features Dirty Hands: The Art & Crimes of David Choe (2008) and A Woman’s Work: The NFL’S Cheerleader Problem (2019), as well as feature narratives Saigon Electric (2011) and BA (2024). Ai is a fellow of Berlinale Talents, Center for Asian American Media, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Film Independent, Firelight Media, Sundance Institute and Women in Film. Her films are supported by California Humanities, Cinereach, Firelight Media, Independent Television Service, Knight Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanitie and Sundance Institute.



Project type: Fiction Short

Project status: Completed

Writer/Director: Zao Wang

Co-Writers: Tom Toro, Carmiel Banasky

Producers: Joyce Liu-Countryman, Louise Barretto

About the project: Eva rebels against her uptight Asian American parents by getting engaged to a White hippie boy, but when she accidentally shoots him dead during a family hunting trip, mom, dad and daughter have to sort through their own dysfunctional dynamics to figure out who’s taking the blame… or getting rid of the body. Unconditional is a dark comedy about an Asian-American family on a hunting trip gone wrong. When Eva, the daughter, accidentally shoots her White fiancé dead, her parents insist on getting rid of the body to protect Eva. As the family collides with each other on what’s the right thing to do, tensions and long-buried secrets about the family’s journey to America begin to surface. Faced with this expanded understanding of their collective pasts and sacrifices, Eva eventually must make a hard decision to save her family.

Meet the filmmaker: To learn more about A Family Guide to Hunting, including how to support the project, click here. Filmmaker Zao Wang was born in Beijing into a family of filmmakers. At 14, his family emigrated to Mississippi, where he first learned English by watching a lot of American TV. After graduating college with degrees in physics and philosophy, Zao’s original passion for visual storytelling landed him at NYU-Tisch, where he received an MFA in Film Directing. His films have won numerous awards at Tribeca, Fantasporto, Fantasia, Yubari, Busan and Palm Springs, among others. His short films have been optioned by NBCUniversal and Tomorrow Studios for TV development. Zao was chosen by J.J. Abrams as his only Directing Fellow at Bad Robot. He is a part of the Sony Diverse Directors and NBCUniversal Emerging Directors Programs, as well as a Directing Fellow at HBO Access.



Project type: Fiction Short

Project status: Completed

Writer/Director: Tusk

Producers: Cookie Walukas, Gerard Rodríguez, Laura Fernández-Hormigo, Frank Lucas

About the project: When Sophie, a reticent American teen adrift in rural Spain for the summer, bumps into Gloria, a bold and unapologetic Catalan teen with a broken arm, it’s immediately clear that these girls have beef. Gloria offers Sophie an unusual bargain in the middle of a local market: “Cook me dinner and I will forgive you.” As the two awkwardly reconnect over Sophie’s cooking, it is revealed that Sophie broke Gloria’s arm playing soccer, and while the fallout was intense, so is their chemistry. They continue hanging out and a magnetic pull intensifies. Sophie’s reserved demeanor is the perfect foil for Gloria’s impulsive spirit, and the two are soon engaged in a prideful will-they-won’t-they. A vulnerable conversation leads to a kiss in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Just as their romance heats up, Sophie’s long-term boyfriend Henry arrives unexpectedly, adding a punch line to their romance and begging the question of which relationship–if any–is more real.

Meet the filmmaker: To learn more about Ripe!, including how to support the project, click here. Tusk is a directing duo/production company based in LA made up of Kerry Furrh and Olivia Mitchell. The duo met at USC, where shortly after graduating their short Girl Band premiered at Tribeca, was covered in New York Mag and sold to Freeform. They have since directed commercials for notable brands including Google and the Met Gala, as well as music videos for platinum pop artists including Camila Cabello, Brandy and Alessia Cara. Tusk values relatable, complex characters and tackling difficult subjects with honesty and heart.

For over 40 years, Film Independent has helped filmmakers get their projects made and seen. The nonprofit organization’s core mission is to champion creative independence in visual storytelling and support a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision.

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(Header: New Wave)

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