Tribeca Festival Embraces Cryptocurrency & Tech

Tribeca Festival Embraces Cryptocurrency & Tech
April 13, 2018
Tribeca is expanding its VR program


‘Braid,’ the first Blockchain-financed movie, will premiere at the festival


Tech is playing a starring role at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.


The 17th annual festival in downtown New York, which kicks off April 18, will feature 96 movies, 75 of which are world premieres. But the festival, co-founded by Robert De Niro to revitalize lower Manhattan in the aftermath of 9/11, is stepping up its VR and AR presence.


As part of Tribeca’s Immersive program, there are 25 virtual reality and augmented reality immersive projects featuring actresses Alicia Vikander and Rosario Dawson and director Terrence Malick. The festival is also launching Tribeca Cinema360, a new VR Theater where audiences can experience several VR pieces together.


Then there’s cryptocurrency. Tribeca is premiering psychological thriller “BRAID,” the first major feature film to be funded through an equity crowdsale using cryptocurrency. The “BRAID” token sale on the Ethereum Blockchain raised $1.7 million in two weeks with Joseph Lubin, blockchain entrepreneur, and founder of ConsenSys, serving as the movie’s executive producer.

“BRAID” director Mitzi Peirone is one of the panelists at a special Tribeca talk on April 23 entitled “Future of Film — Blockchain: Can Blockchain breed blockbusters?” Other panelists include Peter Guglielmino, CTO for IBM’s Media & Entertainment Industry and Daniel Hyman, VP of Entertainment Finance and Development.


Tribeca is seeking to reflect the ongoing debate over diversity in film, with 46% of the films at the festival being directed by women. “We are proud to present a lineup that celebrates American diversity and welcomes new international voices in a time of cultural and social activism,” said Paula Weinstein, executive vice president of Tribeca Enterprises.


For the second year, the festival is partnering with AT&T to run the “Untold Stories” program supporting film projects from female filmmakers and minorities. The initiative gives aspiring filmmakers $1 million to make their dream project with the four filmmaker runners-up receiving $10,000.


This year’s winners were director Sasie Sealy and co-writer Angela Cheng, who won the prize for “Lucky Grandma,” about an elderly Chinese grandmother with a gambling habit.


Last year’s “Untold Stories” winner “Nigerian Prince” will receive its premiere at this year’s festival. The movie, about an American teenager who falls for a junk-mail scam when he visits Nigeria, was directed by Faraday Okoro and produced by Oscar Hernandez, and will be unveiled on April 24, little over a year after winning the million-dollar prize.

At a lunch event for the “Untold Stories” program, De Niro called the award “a positive step in the right direction” while Tribeca Film Festival co-founder Jane Rosenthal said the initiative had its origins in AT&T Chief Brand Officer Fiona Carter asking her at a bar in Las Vegas, “What can we do to really make a difference for independent filmmakers?” “I said: “Money. A million dollars could really make a difference!” Rosenthal recalled.


The Tribeca Film Festival will also showcase documentaries about doomed Silicon Valley start-up General Magic, controversial activist Rachel Dolezal and the artistBanksy, and new feature films starring Ewan McGregor (“Zoe”), Jessica Chastain (“Woman Walks Ahead”) and Sarah Jessica Parker (“Blue Night.”)


The Tribeca Film Festival runs from April 18-29. The full schedule is at

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