Filmmakers, take notice!

As part of the celebration of film at TFF 2012, FOCUS FORWARD – Short Films, Big Ideas is pleased to invite open submissions to their $200,000 Filmmaker Challenge. This announcement is rightly in sync with the upcoming TFF 2012 event celebrating the FOCUS FORWARD – Short Films, Big Ideas program. In addition to their partnership with the Tribeca Film Festival, FOCUS FORWARD has also joined with other festivals around the world to promote international participation in this exciting challenge.

What exactly is the FOCUS FORWARD program? It is a series of 30 three-minute non-fiction films about innovative people who are determined to, and have succeeded in, making this world a better place. GE and Cinelan are inviting documentary filmmakers, both veterans and newbies, to submit short films that explore the power of ideas and invention in the modern world.

In addition to being made available online and via other distribution outlets, participating films in this series will screen at film festivals across the globe, allowing audiences to appreciate these extraordinary people and get inspired themselves. Five of Filmmaker Challenge entries will be recognized for exceptional quality and awarded cash prizes, with $100,000 going to the Grand Prize Winner. All award winners will be announced at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival!

The rules of the $200,000 Filmmaker Challenge are simple. Make a 3-minute film about a person or a organization that has made a difference in the world through innovation and constant striving for excellence in the fields of medicine, computer science, robotics, engineering, green energy, or the arts. GE and Cinelan encourage filmmakers to explore and pay special attention to recent, cutting-edge inventions that have made improved people’s quality of life. [Link here to learn more.]

In addition, we are proud to partner with FOCUS FORWARD – Short Films, Big Ideas to bring you some very special TFF 2012 events, free and open to the public:

Tribeca Talks Industry: The Future is Short: Storytelling in the Digital Age
Tuesday, April 24
2:30 pm
SVA Theater

Join us for this a special panel featuring Cinelan co-founder Morgan Spurlock (Mansome), filmmaker Annie Sundberg (Knuckleball!), Jason Spingarn-Koff of The New York Time Op-Docs series, YouTube's Director of Content Partnerships Laura Lee, and others. The panel will be moderated by Jason Wishnow, Director of Film and Video at TED.

Focus Forward / Short Films Big Ideas

Focus Forward – Short Films, Big Ideas
Wednesday, April 25
3:00 pm
Tribeca Cinemas

The Tribeca Film Festival has the honor of hosting the FREE world premiere of four 3-minute films by award-winning directors: Katy Chevigny (Deadline), Steven Cantor (Devil’s Playground), Michèle Ohayon (Colors Straight Up), and Nelson George (The Announcement):

Solar Roadways

Solar Roadways
(Dir. Michèle Ohayon, 2012)

This film asks: What if roads and highways were solar, fueling enough energy to power electric vehicles as well as nearby communities?

Bionic Eye

The Bionic Eye
(Dir. Steven Cantor, 2012)

This film features the work of Dr. Joseph Rizzo and Prof. John Wyatt, who have pioneered a technology for restoring sight to patients suffering from degenerative blindness.

The Honor Code

The Honor Code
(Dir. Katy Chevigny, 2012)

This film explores whether changing the way we think about honor could make the world a better place. Philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah proves that it would.

All Hail the Beat

All Hail the Beat
(Dir. Nelson George, 2012)

This film celebrates the Roland TR-808 drum machine, which inspires musicians around the world, even though the device hasn’t been produced since 1984—and most of its avid users have never actually seen one.

Five other Focus Forward – Short Films, Big Ideas shorts will also be shown at this event, followed by a Q&A and reception with the filmmakers. Reminder: this event is FREE! 

If you aren’t in the city, you can watch all nine shorts films online in the Tribeca Online Film Festival. Five are already available, and four more will premiere online on April 25.


Learn more about all the Focus Forward happenings at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival.

The FOCUS FORWARD – Short Films, Big Ideas program offers a thrilling opportunity for emerging filmmakers all over the world to explore the positive and exhibit their filmmaking skills simultaneously. Selected films will continue to be made available online so that everyone can celebrate leading innovators in the global community who are striving to make the world a better place.