Review: ‘As of Yet,’ starring Taylor Garron

June 23, 2021

by Carla Hay

Taylor Garron in “As of Yet” (Photo by Jamal Solomon)

“As of Yet”

Directed by Taylor Garron and Chanel James

Culture Representation: Taking place over two days in June 2020, mainly in New York City, as as well as in Florida, Los Angeles, and the United Kingdom, the comedy/drama film “As of Yet” (or “as of yet,” as the movie’s title is sometimes styled) features a predominantly African American cast of characters (with two white people and one Asian), representing the middle-class.

Culture Clash: During her COVID-19 pandemic quarantine, a woman in her 20s has dilemmas about two people in her life: her overly possessive roommate (who’s been her best friend since college) and a potential new love interest, who would be the first in-person date she’s had since the quarantine began.

Culture Audience: “As of Yet” will appeal mainly to people who are interested in watching a realistic and minimalist quarantine comedy/drama that explores issues related to dating, friendships and family.

There have been several scripted movies that take place during the COVID-19 pandemic that have attempted to depict authentic quarantine experiences. The comedy/drama “As of Yet” is one of the few that gets it right. It’s a witty, warm and relatable film that doesn’t try to scare people into thinking that someone is going to die at any moment in the movie. Instead, the only fear that’s portrayed in the movie is the fear of letting go of a co-dependent but toxic best friend, as well as how dating a potential new love interest might affect the friendship. It’s a movie that’s filled with various conversations held over Zoom and FaceTime, but the story will connect on a deeper level with audiences who understand that’s it’s really about reflecting on life priorities.

Taylor Garron is the star, writer, co-director and one of the producers of “As of Yet,” which is the feature-film directorial debut of Garron, who co-directed with Chanel James. “As of Yet” is an impressive directorial debut, even if it didn’t have a COVID-19 pandemic setting. Garron’s writing is emotionally intelligent and appealing to anyone who wants to see people in scripted movies act and talk like how college-educated people in the real world talk. The fact that most of the cast members are black is a bonus for the film. “As of Yet” had its world premiere at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Garron and James won the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival’s Nora Ephron Award, a prize given to emerging female filmmakers.

“As of Yet” admirably and skillfully shows a very real and vibrant part of black culture that rarely gets showcased in movies and doesn’t fall into the same, over-used negative sterotypes that movies have of black people. Nowhere in this movie is anyone portrayed as a criminal, poor or a struggling single parent. Portraying black people as second-class citizens is too often the narrative for a movie where the central character is black and living in a big city, even though most black people in America are not criminals, poor or struggling single parents. A movie starring a black woman usually centers the story on either pain or anger, but Garron refuses to go down that road that often leads to exploitation.

Instead, Garron’s Naomi Parson character (the movie’s protagonist, who’s in her mid-20s), is a relatively happy person who’s got a pretty great life, all things considered. She’s an actress who has loving and supportive family members and friends. She’s healthy. She’s college-educated. And she lives in a comfortable apartment in a quiet, tree-lined street in New York City’s Brooklyn borough. She’s staying safe in the middle of a deadly pandemic, but don’t expect this movie to kill her off or for her to get bad medical news—two other over-used negative tropes for black people with prominent roles in movies.

“As of Yet,” which takes place over two days and two nights, begins on Day 83 of Naomi’s quarantine. There are two types of videos in the movie: Naomi’s private video diaries and the video conversations that she has on Zoom and FaceTime. Naomi is an actress on an unnamed TV series that is currently on hiatus due to the pandemic. She’s been receiving unemployment benefits in the meantime. And she’s proud to have a reached a milestone in her finances: She now has about $10,000 in personal savings.

The movie doesn’t mention what college Naomi went to, but it’s mentioned that it was a four-year university in Amherst, Massachusetts. It’s where she met her white best friend/roommate Sara (played by Eva Victor), who is currently and temporarily staying with Sara’s parents in Florida. The movie never mentions what Sara does for a living, but she’s very spoiled, and she talks in that snotty tone of voice that sounds like she watches too much of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and “The Real Housewives.” In fact, after watching Sara and her manipulations in this movie, Sara seems like someone who would fit right in on a reality show about self-centered, catty women.

The first 10 minutes of “As of Yet” could be a little bit of turnoff to viewers who might think this is a movie that looks like any of the millions of social media video conversations made by young people who babble on about potential love interests or what their party plans are. But the movie gets much better as it goes along. It becomes a riveting character study of a woman finding her way through her post-college identity.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a big conversation topic in “As of Yet,” but it’s not the movie’s only focus. Many of the issues brought forth are issues that were going on in Naomi’s life before the pandemic. The pandemic is often used as a reason for certain people’s words and actions. But the pandemic can also force people to evaluate certain things in their lives.

Naomi faces that type of personal reckoning when it to comes to her friendship with Sara. The main dilemma that Naomi has is deciding if her friendship with Sara is worth keeping. It’s a very co-dependent, lopsided relationship where Naomi does a lot of the giving, and Sara does a lot of the taking.

As Naomi says in her video diary near the beginning of the movie: “I really miss Sara.” Sara’s quarantine with her parents is the longest that Naomi and Sara have been apart. This period of time apart has given Naomi some room to relax and some room to worry about what her life would be like without her best friend.

During a video chat, where Sara drones on mostly about herself, she comes up with the idea of hosting a “welcome back” dinner party for herself and Naomi when Sara comes back to New York. Sara describes the party as a way to “celebrate our friendship, but it’s also about me a little bit.” Sara mentions that she can steal some of her mother’s inferior wine and bring it to the party. She also laughs when she pictures her mother finding the wine missing and how it will be fun to think about how annoyed her mother would be if her mother knew what happened to the wine.

One of the ways that the movie shows how different (and incompatible) Sara and Naomi are is when they talk about the Black Lives Matter protests over the deaths of George Floyd and other black people who were victims of police brutality. Naomi has been participating in these protests on the streets of New York City. She mentions that she always wears masks when she’s out in public.

Sara has a slightly disgusted and annoyed expression on her face when the Black Lives Matter protests are brought up in the conversation. She asks Naomi if it’s scary to be part of the protests. Naomi says it’s not scary. But later, in another conversation with two of her black female friends who are protesters in Los Angeles, they candidly discuss witnessing police brutality at the protests.

Naomi and Sara talk about the difference between peaceful protesting and rioting. Sara is inclined to think that rioters are part of the protest movement, while Naomi says that most rioters are not part of Black Lives Matter and other activist movements. Naomi does concede that when it comes to activism, she thinks, “You have to be a little violent to get things done.” The awkward silence and expression on Sara’s face say a lot after Naomi makes that comment.

During Naomi and Sara’s conversation, they also talk about a man in hs 20s named Reed, whom Naomi has been talking to online for the past four months. Because of the quarantine, Naomi and Reed haven’t been able to meet in person for a date yet, but they hope to do so in the near future. It would be Naomi’s first in-person date since the pandemic lockdown began. Instead of being happy for Naomi and telling her to be safe, Sara acts as if Naomi is going to put Sara’s life in serious jeopardy by being in contact with someone who doesn’t live in their household.

Sara puts up such a fuss about it that it unnerves Naomi. The rest of the movie shows Naomi debating with herself and other people if she should meet Reed for a date in person and if she should tell Sara about it. It’s not a problem that’s as superficial as it sounds. Viewers will see that how Naomi handles this date dilemma is a manifestation of how she’s been handling a lot of the control issues going in her friendship with Sara and how Naomi feels about herself.

“As of Yet” has a very small number of people in its cast, which will make this movie very easy to follow. Besides Sara, the other people Naomi talk to about Sara and Reed are:

  • Reed (played by Amir Khan), a geeky, long-haired “nice guy” who works in some kind of computer tech job. Since the quarantine, he’s been working from home and rewatching “Survivor” reruns.
  • Sadie (played by Paula Akpan), Naomi’s British cousin who’s openly queer, very outspoken and someone who definitely doesn’t approve of Sara.
  • Naomi’s parents, who are unnamed in the movie but are played by Taylor Garron’s real-life parents Colleen Pina Garron and Christopher Garron. Naomi talks to her mother longer in their conversation (her dad briefly pops into the conversation), and Sara’s close and loving relationship with her parents is very evident.
  • Lyssa (played by Quinta Brunson) and Khadijah (played by Ayo Edebiri), two of Naomi’s friends in Los Angeles. They both don’t like Sara because they think she makes Naomi feel insecure and anxious. Khadijah is more blunt and forthcoming than Lyssa in giving advice to Naomi on what to do about Sara.
  • An unnamed neighbor (played by Anthony Allman), who Naomi talks to randomly when he pokes her head out of her apartment window and sees him walking down the street.

During these conversations, viewers find out more things about Naomi. Her family has origins in Cape Verde. Her parents are passionate about social causes, and Naomi got her interest in being a civil rights activist from her parents. She’s a very loyal, funny and caring person. Her willingness to put the needs of others before her own needs is a virtue, but it can also be a fault because people like Sara have taken advantage of it. Naomi hints at past romances and heartbreaks because she made the mistake of trusting the wrong people.

Naomi loves to talk and has a very quick-witted, self-deprecating sense of humor. Reed is quieter and more laid-back. Reed and Naomi both like watching TV and they appreciate each other’s off-beat geekiness over TV shows. Naomi has an interesting quirk of having only watched one movie in her life: the 1995 comedy “Heavyweights,” starring Ben Stiller and Kenan Thompson, about a group of overweight teens sent to a weight-loss camp that’s run by a psycho fitness instructor.

Naomi and Reed’s conversations in the movie show that they have a comfortable rapport with each other, and they can make each other laugh. However, viewers will wonder how well Naomi really knows Reed. Have they had meaningful conversations that go deeper than joking around and talking about what TV shows they like to watch? Are they compatible, in terms of lifestyles and life goals? This movie offers no real answers to those questions, because it’s just a glimpse into Naomi’s life over a two-day period.

One of the most outstanding things about “As of Yet” is how all the conversations look authentic, almost like a documentary. It’s one thing for the screenplay to be well-written (and it is), but the cast members should also get credit for delivering the lines in a very naturalistic and convincing way. There isn’t one moment in this movie that looks overly staged and overly rehearsed.

And there are many details that add to the authenticity. Naomi isn’t afraid to be shown from some unflattering camera angles. At one point in the movie, her armpit hair is showing (but not during her conversations with Reed), and her mother reminds Naomi to shave her armpits before she meets Reed in person.

The movie also doesn’t shy away from the topic of race. When Naomi tells her family members and black friends about Reed, one of the first questions they ask is if Reed is black. Naomi talks about the Black Lives Matter protests in a different and more unguarded way with her black friends than she does with Sara. Naomi’s mother also tells her a great anecdote about her childhood experiences with the Black Panthers.

The movie’s one detail about race that might raise questions with viewers is why Naomi hasn’t asked Reed yet what race he is. (He’s American and his family’s ethnicity appears to be South Asian or possibly from the Middle East.) If you’ve been chatting with someone for several months and plan to go on a date with each other, it’s not unreasonable to ask that person what their racial/ethnic heritage is, as part of the “getting to know you” process.

Naomi says she hasn’t asked Reed because she thinks it would be rude to ask. But it kind of contradicts how Naomi keeps bragging to her loved ones about how she knows Reed well enough that she thinks he’s a good guy who would be safe to date. The fact that she’s afraid to ask Reed what race he is will make people wonder what other basic and reasonable questions Naomi hasn’t asked him.

It’s another layer to the story in “As of Yet,” which shows how in the early months of the pandemic, single people were trying to adjust to how dating was affected by the pandemic quarantine. Naomi has to grapple with these questions: What’s the proper etiquette of a first date, when it comes to mask wearing and social distancing? Is it really a good idea to date somene new during a lockdown quarantine?

How do you know who’s really safe and not infected, when COVID-19 test results are only valid for a very limited time? (And keep in mind, this movie takes place before any COVID-19 vaccines were available.) It’s a question that Naomi can’t really answer about Reed, but she makes several comments in her conversations that she’s sure that Reed is “safe,” just because he told her so.

Actually, she doesn’t know for sure if Reed has COVID-19 or not. Taking people’s word for it without proof is one of the main reasons why a lot of people got infected with COVID-19. And lot of people who infected others didn’t know they had COVID-19 because they didn’t show any symptoms at the time.

Naomi’s blind trust in Reed’s COVID-19 status is an example of her trusting nature, just like Sara’s over-reaction to Naomi possibly dating someone new during the quarantine is an example of her jealous and controlling nature. Viewers will find out how much of a loathsome hypocrite Sara is when it comes to COVID-19 safety. (It’s slight spoiler information that won’t be revealed in this review.)

Because “As of Yet” is a movie that takes place mostly on computer screens in people’s middle-class homes, there’s no flashy cinematography, elaborate set designs or fancy costumes. The movie, which is more suspenseful than people might think it would be, excels mainly because of the screenwriting and how well the cast members bring their characters to life. The movie might not satisfy people who want a predictable conclusion, but “As of Yet” will keep viewers entertained with some lively conversations along the way.

2021 Tribeca Film Festival: complete list of winners

June 17, 2021

Tribeca Film Festival - white logo

The following is a press release from the Tribeca Film Festival:

 The 20th annual Tribeca Festival, presented by AT&T, announced the winning storytellers in its competition categories at this year’s awards ceremony today at Spring Studios. Awards were given in the following competition categories: U.S. Narrative, International Narrative, Documentary; Short Films, Immersive, the Nora Ephron Award, and the first-ever Podcast and Games categories. For the first time ever, Italian eyewear brand, Persol, presented the award to the 2021 Best Actor, U.S. Narrative recipient.

The awards ceremony honored the most diverse line-up of creators in Tribeca’s 20 year history and awarded $165,000 in cash prizes. The Festival, which had the honor of welcoming back in-person audiences, concludes on June 20th.

The top honors for feature films went to The Novice, Brighton 4th, and Ascension.

Chanel James and Taylor Garron won the Nora Ephron Award and a $25,000 prize for As of Yet. The award, created nine years ago, honors excellence in storytelling by a female writer or director embodying the spirit and boldness of the late filmmaker.

Tribeca honored innovation in storytelling with its Storyscapes Award, which went to Felix Gaedtke and Gayatri Parameswaran for Kusunda.

The inaugural Tribeca Podcast honors for the Non-Fiction Narrative Award went to Guardians of the River, and the Fiction Narrative Award went to Vermont Ave.

In the Games category, the first-ever Tribeca Games Award was given to Norco, created by Geography of Robots and published by Raw Fury.

“It’s been a challenging time for filmmakers, storytellers, and actors, and we’re so proud to honor the perseverance and dedication many of them displayed while working through the many obstacles that arose as a result of COVID-19,” said Cara Cusumano, Festival Director and Vice President of Programming. “Each of these recipients truly embody the spirit of our creative community.”

A special Virtual Award Winner Screenings series will be available for U.S. audiences via Tribeca at Home on Saturday, June 19 and Sunday, June 20. Tickets can be purchased at tribecafilm.com/festival/tickets

In addition to cash awards and in-kind services provided by sponsors, some award winners received the unique Tribeca Festival Art Award. Supported by CHANEL, the world-class artists donated work to honored filmmakers.

The winners of the Audience Awards, powered by AT&T, which are determined by audience votes throughout the Festival, will be announced next week.

The winners, awards, and comments from the jury who selected the recipients are as follows:

U.S. NARRATIVE COMPETITION

The Jurors for the 2021 U.S. Narrative Competition were Ana Lily Amirpour, Derek Cianfrance, Bryan Cranston, Andre Holland, and Erica Huggins.

Dilone and Isabelle Fuhrman in “The Novice” (Photo by Todd Martin)

The Founders Award for Best U.S. Narrative Feature Film: The Novice, directed and written by Lauren Hadaway. Produced by Ryan Hawkins, Kari Hollend, Steven Sims, Zack Zucker.

Art Award: Meghan Boody’s Opening Night, 2019 C Print Face Mounted to Mat Plexiglass and Back Mounted to White Plexiglass ⅖

Isabelle Fuhrman in “The Novice” (Photo by Todd Martin)

Best Actress in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film: Isabelle Furman, The Novice, directed and written by Lauren Hadaway. Produced by Ryan Hawkins, Kari Hollend, Steven Sims, Zack Zucker.
Special Jury Mention: Kali Reis, for her magnetic performance in Catch The Fair One. She kept audiences on the edge of their seats with her strength and vulnerability in a performance that always felt deeply honest.

Matthew Leone and Nisalda Gonzalez in “God’s Waiting Room” (Photo by Mack Fisher)

Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film: Matthew Leone, God’s Waiting Room, directed and written by Tyler Riggs. Produced by Tyler Riggs, Suvi Riggs.

Isabelle Fuhrman in “The Novice” (Photo by Todd Martin)

Best Cinematography in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film: Todd Martin, The Novice, directed and written by Lauren Hadaway. Produced by Ryan Hawkins, Kari Hollend, Steven Sims, Zack Zucker.

Hayley Law and Ben Rosenfield in “Mark, Mary + Some Other People” (Photo by Casey Stolberg)

Best Screenplay in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film: Hannah Marks, Mark, Mary, and Some Other People, directed and written by Hannah Marks. Produced by Hannah Marks, Pete Williams, Jon Lullo, Brendan Walter, Jonathan Duffy, Kelly Williams, Stephen Braun.

Nana Mensah in “Queen of Glory” (Photo by Anthony Thompson)

Special Jury Prize for Artistic Expression: Director Nana Mensah, Queen of Glory, for opening audiences up to an intimate and personal story, exploring cultural identity and family, with delicate nuance and humor and heart.

INTERNATIONAL NARRATIVE COMPETITION

The Jurors for the 2021 International Narrative Competition were Lesli Klainberg, Melissa Leo, Delroy Lindo, Alexander Payne, and Peter Scarlet.

Levan Tediashvili and Giorgi Tabidze in “Brighton 4th” (Photo courtesy of Kino Iberica)

Best International Narrative Feature Film: Brighton 4th, directed by Levan Koguashvili, written by Boris Frumin. Produced by Irakli Rodonaya, Olena Yershova, Michel Merkt, Kateryna Merkt.
Art Award: Gus Van Sant’s Devil in Hell, 2021 Encaustic on Paper

Best Actress in an International Narrative Feature Film: Bassant Ahmed & Basmala Elghaiesh, Souad, directed by Ayten Amin, written by Mahmoud Ezzat, Ayten Amin. Produced by Sameh Awad.

Levan Tediashvili in “Brighton 4th” (Photo courtesy of Kino Iberica)

Best Actor in an International Narrative Feature Film: Levan Tediashvili, Brighton 4th, directed by Levan Koguashvili, written by Boris Frumin, Levan Koguashvili. Produced by Irakli Rodonaya, Olena Yershova, Michel Merkt, Kateryna Merkt.

“Roaring 20s”

Best Cinematography in an International Narrative Feature Film: Elisabeth Vogler, Roaring 20s, directed by Elisabeth Vogler, written by François Mark, Elisabeth Vogler, Noémie Schmidt, Joris Avodo. Produced by Laurent Rochette.

Nadezhda Mikhalkova and Giorgi Tabidze in “Brighton 4th” (Photo courtesy of Kino Iberica)

Best Screenplay in an International Narrative Feature Film: Boris Frumin, Brighton 4th, directed by Levan Koguashvili, written by Boris Frumin, Levan Koguashvili. Produced by Irakli Rodonaya, Olena Yershova, Michel Merkt, Kateryna Merkt.

Special Jury Mention: Cast ensemble of Roaring 20s, for their characters and dialogue both written and improvised seamlessly that provide a portrait timeless and true.

The Jurors for the Best New Narrative Director Competition were Aya Cash, Sanaa Lathan, and Chris Weitz.

Nana Mensah in “Queen of Glory” (Photo by Anthony Thompson)

Best New Narrative Director: Nana Mensah, Queen of Glory, directed and written by Nana Mensah. Produced by Jamund Washington, Kelley Robins Hicks, Baff Akoto, Nana Mensah, Anya Migdal.
Art Award: Will Ryman’s Flag, 2021 Wood, Foam, Paint

Special Jury Mention: Mack Fisher, Cinematographer of God’s Waiting Room, for his beautiful cinematography that captures the heaven/hellscape of central Florida.

DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

The Jurors for the 2021 Best New Documentary Feature Competition were Kirby Dick, Matt Tyrnauer, and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi.

A livestreamer at shoe factory in Yiwu, China, in “Ascenscion” (Photo by Jessica Kingdon)

Best Documentary Feature: Ascension, directed by Jessica Kingdon. Produced by Kira Simon-Kennedy, Jessica Kingdon, Nathan Truesdell.
Art Award: Clifford Ross’s Waterline VI, 2020 Pigment Ink on Rag Paper

“The Kids”

Best Editing, Documentary Feature: Shannon Swan, The Kids, directed by Eddie Martin. Produced by Shannon Swan.

“All These Sons” (Photo by Bing Liu and Joshua Altman)

Best Cinematography, Documentary Feature: Bing Liu & Joshua Altman, All These Sons, directed by Bing Liu, Joshua Altman. Produced by Zak Piper, Kelsey Carr, Bing Liu, Joshua Altman.

The Jurors for the Documentary Director Competition were Iyabo Boyd, Sabrina Schmidt Gordon, and Omar Metwally.

Chimelong Waterpark in Guangzhou, China in “Ascension” (Photo by Jessica Kingdon)

The 2021 Albert Maysles Award for Best New Documentary Director: Jessica Kingdon, Ascension, directed by Jessica Kingdon. Produced by Kira Simon-Kennedy, Jessica Kingdon, Nathan Truesdell.

Art Award: Jeff Chie-Hsing Liao’s View from Tribeca, 2018 Archival Ink Print

Special Jury MentionThe Neutral Ground directed by CJ Hunt, for the way their use of humor brought audiences into a difficult subject, with vulnerability, authenticity, and at great personal risk.

THE NORA EPHRON AWARD

Taylor Garron in “As of Yet” (Photo by Jamal Solomon)

The Jurors for the Nora Ephron award were Patricia Arquette, Mollye Asher, Leslie Dixon, Judith Godreche, and Sharon Stone. The 2021 Nora Ephron Award: Chanel James & Taylor Garron, As of Yet, directed by Chanel James, Taylor Garron. Produced by Ashley Edouard, Taylor Garron.

Art Award: Sheila Berger’s In Between, 2014 Pencil on Paper

Special Jury Mention: cast of The Justice of Bunny King: Thomasin Mckenzie and Essie Davis, for their outstanding achievement in acting.

SHORT CATEGORIES

The Jurors for the 2021 Narrative Short Competition were Justin Bartha, Elegance Bratton, Margaret Cho, Hari Nef, and Sheila Nevins.

“Girl With a Thermal Gun” (Photo by Cecile Zhang)

Best Narrative Short Award: Rongfei Guo, Girl With a Thermal Gun, directed and written by Rongfei Guo. Produced by Du Yating.
Art Award: Stephen Hannock’s Art Museums Take a Breath, 2021 Charcoal and Chalk on pape

Special Jury Mention: Leylak

“Navozande, the Musician”

Best Animated Short Award: Reza Riahi, Navozande, The Musician, directed and written by Reza Riahi. Produced by Eleanor Coleman, Stéphanie Carreras, Philippe Pujo.
Art Award: Curtis Kulig’s A Stern Foe of Snobbishness, 2020 Oil on Canvas

Special Jury Mention: Whoopi Goldberg was deeply impacted by the films Dirty Little Secret, directed by Jeff Scher, and Try To Fly, directed by The Affolter Brothers.

The Jurors for the 2021 Short Documentary and Student Visionary Competition section were Rashid Johnson, Tig Notaro, and Adria Petty.

J.C. Leyendecker in “Coded” (Photo courtesy of The Haggin Museum)

Short Documentary Award: Ryan White, Coded, directed by Ryan White. Produced by Christopher Leggett, Jessica Hargrave, Conor Fetting-Smith, Rafael Marmor, Marc Gilbar.
Art Award: Laurie Simmons’ How We See/Ajak (Violet), 2015

Daniel Ruiz in “Six Nights” (Photo by Dylan Krause)

The 2021 Student Visionary Award: Robert Brogden, Six Nights, directed and written by Robert Brogden. Produced by Robert Brogden, Kelley Zincone, Izrael Lopez.
Art Award: Deborah Kass’s Being Alive, 2021 Medium: 9-color Silkscreen and Color Blend on 2-ply Museum Board

PODCAST AWARD 

The Jurors for the 2021 Best Podcast Non-Fiction Award were N’Jeri Eaton, Rachel Ghiazza, and Latif Nasser. Podcast Non-Fiction Award: House of Pod and Wild Bird Trust, Guardians of the River

The Jurors for the 2021 Best Podcast Fiction Award were Neil Drumming, Lauren Shippen, and Mimi O’Donnell.

Podcast Fiction Award: James Kim and Brooke Iskra, Vermont Ave.

Special Jury Mention: Brooklyn Santa

TRIBECA X AWARD

The Jurors for the Tribeca X Award were Justine Armour, David Bornoff, Morgan Cooper, Senain Kheshgi, and Emily Oberman.

Tribeca X Award: Best Feature: Dear Santa, Director: Dana Nachman; Brand: The United States Postal Service

Tribeca X Award: Best Episodic: Black Owned, Director: Rodney Lucas; Brand: Square

Tribeca X Award: Best Short: Chinese New Year-Nian, Director: Lulu Wang; Brand: Apple

Tribeca X Immersive Award: Current, Creator: Annie Saunders; Brand: Brookfield Properties

GAMES

The Jurors for Games were Elijah Wood, Neill Blomkamp, Tanya DePass, Jen Zee, and Reggie Fils-Aimé.

The 2021 Games Award: Norco, from Geography of Robots, published by Raw Fury

IMMERSIVE COMPETITION CATEGORIES

The Jurors for the 2021 Best Immersive Narrative Competition were Warrington Hudlin, Laura Mingail, and Jake Sally.

Best Immersive Narrative Competition Award: Michèle Stephenson, Joe Brewster, Yasmin Elayat, The Changing Same: Episode 1

The Jurors for the 2021 Best Creative Nonfiction Competition section were Diliana Alexander, Jimmy Chang, and Gabo Arora.

Best Creative Nonfiction Competition: Annie Saunders, Current

Storyscapes Award: Felix Gaedtke, Gayatri Parameswaran, Kusunda

About the Tribeca Festival:
The Tribeca Festival, presented by AT&T, brings artists and diverse audiences together to celebrate storytelling in all its forms, including film, TV, VR, gaming, music, and online work. With strong roots in independent film, Tribeca is a platform for creative expression and immersive entertainment. Tribeca champions emerging and established voices; discovers award-winning filmmakers and creators; curates innovative experiences; and introduces new technology and ideas through premieres, exhibitions, talks, and live performances.

The Festival was founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff in 2001 to spur the economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan following the attacks on the World Trade Center. Tribeca will celebrate its 20th year June 9 – 20, 2021.  www.tribecafilm.com/festival

In 2019, James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems, a private investment company with locations in New York and Mumbai, bought a majority stake in Tribeca Enterprises, bringing together Rosenthal, De Niro, and Murdoch to grow the enterprise.

About the 2021 Tribeca Festival Partners
The 2021 Tribeca Festival is presented by AT&T and with the support of our corporate partners: A&E, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Audible, Bloomberg Philanthropies, CHANEL, City National Bank, CNN Films, Diageo, DoorDash, Fresh Direct, Hudson Yards, Indeed, Montefiore-Einstein, Neutrogena, NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, Persol, P&G, PwC, Roku, Spring Studios New York, United Airlines, and Unreal Engine.

June 24, 2021 UPDATE: The 20th annual Tribeca Festival, presented by AT&T, announced the winners of its 2021 Audience Awards for Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature and the first-ever Best Online Premiere. The first place winners of Best Narrative Feature and Best Documentary Feature each received a cash prize of $10,000, sponsored by AT&T. 

Audiences were able to vote in person and online for their favorite films from the Festival, which just wrapped its 20th edition featuring 250 in-person events inside and out, and close to 100,000 attendees in all five New York City boroughs and via the Tribeca at Home online viewing portal. 

Kali Reis in “Catch the Fair One”

The Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature went to Catch the Fair One, directed and written by Josef Kubota Wladyka and produced by Mollye Asher, Kimberly Parker, Josef Kubota Wladyka (United States). In this absorbing revenge thriller executive produced by Darren Aronofsky, a Native American boxer embarks on the fight of her life when she goes in search of her missing sister. 

“Blind Amibition” (Photo by Warwick Ross)

The Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature went to Blind Ambition, directed by Robert Coe and Warwick Ross, written by Warwick Ross, Robert Coe, Paul Murphy, Madeleine Ross and produced by Warwick Ross and Robert Coe (Australia). The inspiring story of four Zimbabwean men who form their country’s first Wine Tasting Olympics team and the mission that drives them to compete.

The Audience Award for Best Online Premiere went to Ferguson Rises, directed by Mobolaji Olambiwonnu, written by Mobolaji Olambiwonnu, Bradinn French, Jeff Strik-er, Kai Bowe, Daisy Moand produced by Mobolaji Olambiwonnu, Daisy Mo, Tanayi Seabrook, TJ Ode-bunmi, Lisa Smithline, David Oyelowo, Jessica Oyelowo, Nick Moon and Tamika Lamison (United States). Before George Floyd, before Breonna Taylor, before America knew about Black Lives Matter, there was Michael Brown, Jr. Six years after the fatal shooting of an unarmed Brown by a white police officer, and the subsequent days of protest, filmmaker Mobolaji Olamb-iwonnu brings a new portrait of the community of Ferguson, including Dorian Johnson, and a narrative from within the city of hope, love and renewal. 

Second Place for Best Narrative Feature went to Last Film Show,  written and directed by Pan Nalin. Second Place for Best Documentary Feature went to A-ha the Movie, directed and written by Thomas Robsahm. Second Place for Best Online Premieres went to Venus as a Boy, directed and written by Ty Hodges. 

The Tribeca Festival is curated by Festival Director and VP of Programming Cara Cusumano; Artistic Director Frédéric Boyer; VP of Filmmaker Relations & Shorts Programming Sharon Badal; Senior Programmer and VP of Immersive Loren Hammonds; VP of Games Casey Baltes; Senior Programmers Liza Domnitz (features, TV, and NOW), and Lucy Mukerjee (features); Programmers Ben Thompson (shorts), José F. Rodriguez (features); Karen McMullen (features), Leah Sarbib (podcasts); and program advisor Paula Weinstein, along with a team of associate programmers.