‘AT&T Presents: Untold Stories’ announces $1M prize winner at Tribeca Festival
Nardeep Khurmi is the winner of ‘AT&T Presents: Untold Stories’ for his film “Land of Gold” and has a guaranteed slot at the 2022 Tribeca Festival
It’s all in the pitch. Nardeep Khurmi had the standout one at the 2021 ‘AT&T Presents: Untold Stories’ —winning the $1 million purse and a guaranteed slot at the 2022 Tribeca Festival.
Khurmi pitched his Land of Gold film on Tuesday at the fourth ‘AT&T Presents: Untold Stories,’ an initiative that helps underrepresented creatives with their films through an “a multi-year, multi-tier alliance between AT&T and Tribeca, along with the year-round nonprofit Tribeca Film Institute, ” and the chance for those aspiring filmmakers to win $1 million to help make their movies. The writer and director impressed the Greenlight Committee with the film which is about an undocumented Mexican American 10-year-old girl Elena who is trying to find her way home during a cross-country trip.
Also, for the first time, the winner will be set up with a distribution deal with HBO Max.
“Thank you AT&T and Tribeca. I am inspired by the other stories told here today,” said Khurmi as he accepted his win. “It’s so thrilling and fundamentally overwhelming to be announced as the winner. We’ve been waiting for this greenlight for so long. We’re ready to make this movie.”
Tribeca Festival co-founders Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro appeared during the livestream of the event. Rosenthal noted what a difference this initiative has made since its inception.
“Four years ago, AT&T asked me what could make a real difference to the filmmaking community, and I suggested giving a filmmaker a million dollars to tell their story, and then further support them by ensuring that it is seen,” she said.
“They didn’t even blink. I’m especially excited that the program has continued to grow to now include distribution through HBO Max. There’s no better way to launch our 20th Anniversary Festival than with this group of emerging filmmakers and UNTOLD STORIES.”
Carlton Daniel Jr. (Homegoing), Clarissa de los Reyes (Johnny Loves Dolores), Gabriella A. Moses (Leche), and Tony Koros (Neon Tilapia) were the other finalists for the prestigious prize. De los Reyes won Fan Favorite by the public who were able to stream the pitches and will receive $40,000.
The remaining three finalists will each receive a $10,000 grant to help them with their filmmaking journey.
Moses told theGrio about the six-year process of Leche, the story of 10-year-old Dominican girl Nina who manifests spirits and ultimately weaves in the immigrant experience.
“It’s just been every time we’ve pitched this, somebody has reiterated that they want to see this film. So other people keep me going because there’s just not enough stories out there,” Moses said who is an award-winning director, writer, and production designer hailing from Brooklyn.
“There’s not enough nuance to the experience that we see about the diaspora, about being Black, about being Afro-Latino, about being mixed.”
Although Daniel did not win for Homegoing, he spoke of the pride he felt at being chosen to present his film about Black queer teenager Junior Carmichael finding his own place in the world.
“It’s hard when you’re when you are an American filmmaker and it’s extremely competitive. And when you turn on the TV and you see so many Black stories that are written and directed and have crews that are predominantly of white people, it’s discouraging,” Daniel explained.
The writer and filmmaker who was raised in Cleveland continued that the ‘AT&T Presents: Untold Stories’ allowed him an opportunity to present this story to the world on a larger scale.
“It’s an intentional story about where we are as a country in America and how we need to reflect on the past and form the future, how we need to move forward, to grow and ultimately heal. And it’s really a film about love, Black life,” he said.
“And actually, I really want to celebrate Black queer characters, Black men loving other Black men and as a gay Black man, that’s really important for us to show right now.”
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