IF/Then Shorts Pitch

Calling all filmmakers living and working in the American West: a short-film pitch competition for Tribeca Film Institute’s IF/Then Short Documentary Program is now open for submissions!

Tribeca Film Institute, in partnership with Big Sky Documentary Film Festival (BSDFF), is currently seeking short documentary projects directed by filmmakers living and working in the American West. IF/Then is a new program developed by Tribeca Film Institute with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Its goal is to discover and empower more inclusive voices in short film storytelling and give wider access to thoughtful stories from people of all backgrounds.

Up to six projects will be selected for a pitch competition, to be held in Missoula, Montana during BSDFF on Thursday, February 22, 2018. The winner, selected by a professional jury, will be eligible for up to $20,000 in production support from IF/Then, as well as ongoing mentorship year-round – in person or virtually – and will participate in a year-long distribution initiative managed by Tribeca Film Institute that offers creative control, revenue potential and career development.

Previous jury members include representatives from ESPN Films, The Atlantic, ITVS, Tribeca Film Institute and independent flimmakers. 


You are a filmmaker living and working in the American West and are telling stories of the American West. These states include Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Eligible projects must meet the following criteria:

- Be an original short documentary with a final duration (TRT) under    40 minutes
- Be completed within 3-6 months of receiving the IF/Then grant
- Be factually accurate, follow best practices in documentary ethics    and be designed for a U.S. audience
- Be driven by (a) compelling character(s), with access to the    character(s) secured
- Be presented in English or subtitled in English
- Have no prior distribution attached and be able to participate in       the IF/Then distribution initiative

Projects that we DO NOT support:

- Student projects
- Feature-length documentaries, series or cut-downs of completed    films
- Films that are made to support an advocacy campaign
- Films with distribution attached

Projects will be prioritized based on the following criteria:

- Artistic quality
- Originality and social relevance
- Robust storytelling that brings new facts, perspectives and under-    represented stories to light
- Financial feasibility
- Potential to travel

Application deadline: Friday, November 3, 2017

We urge you to have the following ready before you begin the online application process:

- Working title and project basics (TRT, languages, etc.)
- Logline (75 word max)
- Project description (250 word max)
- Synopsis/treatment (500 word max)
- Project status (250 word max)
- Funding status (250 word max)
- Distribution and rights status (250 word max)
- Name and contact info for up to 2 pitch members – including 175-    word bio each
- Link to video sample (3 minutes max) presenting the    project/characters
- Link to photo that best represents the project


Up to six projects will be selected to enter the IF/Then pitch competition during BSDFF on Feb. 22, 2018. Finalists will be notified in early January.

If chosen as a finalist, it is mandatory that you participate in the event. You will have to finance the flight and hotel expenses yourself; however, you will receive an Industry accreditation for BSDFF free of charge.

On Feb. 22, each pitch team will have a maximum of 7 minutes to present their project. All visual material will be part of your 7-minute presentation, and the material can be no more than 3 minutes long.

Each pitch is followed by a short, moderated discussion with a tailored jury.