EXCLUSIVE: The Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) is supporting 16 new feature projects from Latin America and the Caribbean. 12 will receive grants, each worth up to $10K. Projects, which range from development stage to post-production, will get financial support, mentoring and workshops. Filmmakers come from Cuba, Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Since launching its TFI Latin America Fund in 2010, TFI has set aside $750,000 for 76 filmmakers. The fund is run in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies and CANACINE. TFI sponsors SANFIC in Santiago, Chile and the Los Cabos Film Festival and provides mentoring at Nuevas Miradas Filmmaker Retreat in Cuba and workshops at DocsMX in Mexico City.

“Our long-standing collaborations with over 10 regional partners in Latin America & the Caribbean have been a truly meaningful cultural exchange for TFI. I have been involved with this program since its inception, and have greatly enjoyed seeing these thoughtful storytellers flourish throughout the region. It’s also been a real privilege to have cemented so many great friendships in the process,” said Jose Rodriguez, Director, Documentary Programs, TFI.

Per today’s announcement, the following scripted projects will receive financial support:

LA PECERA (Puerto Rico)
Written & directed by Glorimar Marrero
After Noelia discovers her cancer has metastasized she reluctantly returns to her hometown, the island of Vieques that has been contaminated through 60 years of military practices. While staying at her mother’s house and spending time with new and old friends, she gets to live in the self-determined way she needs.

MIRIAM MIENTE (Dominican Republic)
Written & directed by Natalia Cabral & Oriol Estrada
In the Dominican Republic, Miriam anxiously awaits her fifteenth birthday party. Her family can’t wait to meet Jean-Louis, her Internet boyfriend set to accompany her. When Miriam sees him for the first time – and realizes he’s Black – her quiet middle class world of good intentions begins to crumble.

THE RETURN OF MR. ROQUE THIELEN TO THE ISLAND OF AKARE-MERU (Venezuela)
Written & directed by Jorge Thielen Armand
Following the economic collapse of Venezuela, recovering alcoholic Roque attempts to turn his life around by rebuilding an abandoned tourist lodge in the Amazon jungle, but the allure of illegal gold mining derails his dreams.

CENIZA NEGRA (Costa Rica)
Written & directed by Sofia Quiros
In a coastal Caribbean town, 11-year- old Selva must leave the wild imaginary universe of her childhood to decide if she will help her grandfather die.

In Collaboration with Impulso Morelia (Morelia International Film Festival – FICM)
LA NEGRADA (Mexico)
Written & directed by Jorge Pérez Solano
Centered on the Afro-mexican community of Costa Chica Oaxaca, LA NEGRADA explores the socially accepted marriage of Neri and his two wives, Juana and Magdalena. Their marital dynamic shifts when Juana becomes terminally ill.

In Collaboration with Guadalajara Construye (Guadalajara International Film Festival – FICG)
MARTINEZ (Mexico)
Written & directed by Lorena Padilla
Martínez, a cranky and lonely bureaucrat who is resisting retirement, starts to enjoy life when he surprisingly receives a gift from a dead neighbor and starts a love relationship with her through her old belongings.

The following documentary projects will receive financial support:

FELISA & I (Chile)
Directed by Ingrid Isensee
Ingrid Isensee is a forty-two year-old Chilean actress. She often plays the role of the mother in horror films and commercials – but in real life, she is single and does not have any children of her own. FELISA & I is a poignant and humorous look at Ingrid’s journey to find out whether she wants children or not, and how her special bond with her favorite aunt – the independent and progressive Felisa, who loved dispensing advice on sex and motherhood – end up influencing Ingrid’s decisions and actions.

THE NIGHT FLOWERS (Mexico)
Directed by Eduardo Esquivel
In a small and conservative indigenous village on the shores of Mexico’s largest lake, live a group of transgender youth – the self-ascribed “Night Flowers” – who struggle to uphold their gender identity every day. As each of them confronts their insecurities and fears head-on, within their oppressive environment – and their notion of freedom becomes more complicated – their strong bond will generate in them a sense of identity that they have yet to find within their own town.

SUMERCÉ (Colombia)
Directed by Victoria Solano Ortega
SUMERCE follows veteran activist Don Eduardo, rising political leader César Pachón and agricultural educator Rosita as they fight their government’s decision to allow mining companies to carve up their birthright in rural Colombia. As tensions rise, a battle unfolds for the future security of over twelve million Colombian campesinos and the country’s access to fresh water.

NO KINGS (Brazil)
Directed by Emilia Mello
Beyond roads and electricity, only 150 miles away from Rio de Janeiro, there is a place where fishing, carving canoes, and building clay-walled houses by hand are still a vital part of daily life. No Kings explores the freedom of a hidden community descended from indigenous people, escaped African slaves and European pirates. Here, a tomboy hurtles towards womanhood, while a fiercely independent single mother and a doubtful sea captain carry on at the edge of the sea.

THINGS WE SHOULDN’T DO (Mexico)
Directed by Bruno Santamaria
The island of El Roblito in Nayarit Mexico, surrounded by jungles and an open sea, appears to be inhabited only by children. El Roblito seems like a pure and idyllic place that lacks adult supervision – until the children’s actions slowly reveal signs of the adults’ repressive behavior and the negative influences that loom over their childhood.

TFI Network has invited the following projects through cultural partnerships in the Latin American & Caribbean region:

In collaboration with SANFIC (Chile)
THOSE GIRLS
Written & directed by Alexandra Hyland
Living in Santiago, best friends Rafaella and Gabriela compromise their relationship when they are faced with challenges of getting Rafaella an illegal abortion.

In collaboration with Los Cabos Film Festival (Mexico)
DIVE
Written & directed by David Pablos
Heading into her final Olympic games, synchronized diver Mariel discovers a terrible truth about her partner, forcing her to confront her painful past marked by sexual abuse, manipulation and lies.

In collaboration with EICTV + Nuevas Miradas (Cuba)
LOADING…
Written & directed by Yimit Ramirez
A group of police officers investigate a set of videos found in a camera that has passed through various strata of Cuban society, revealing their judgements and biases.

In collaboration with DOCSMX
DREAMS (Vaychiletik)
Directed by Juan Perez
Dreams explores the dream-like world of Mayan Indian “tzotzil” culture. A traditional musician believes he’s been granted the gift of music by the gods – but it’s a gift that cannot be rejected, otherwise it would put his family in danger. As a result, he undertakes his destiny of serving his Mayan Indian community, despite any consequences that might arise.

In collaboration with EICTV + Nuevas Miradas (Cuba)
PANQUIACO
Directed by Ana Elena Tejera
Cebaldo, an indigenous Panamanian man who lives in Portugal, believes he is plagued with the disease of nostalgia. His loneliness in Porto takes him on a journey that turns into a dream-like experience. His memories and recollections end up revealing a path in search of his ancestral origins: the sea.