- NEW YORK
The 2023 Tribeca Festival has unveiled the Tribeca X speaker lineup, featuring leading voices in advertising and entertainment, along with Tribeca X Award official selections, which honor creators and brands for connecting consumers through storytelling.
On June 14, Tribeca X, in partnership with Tubi and Brand Storytelling, will convene thought leaders from media, brand, entertainment, and production to share perspectives and insights on what’s next for brand content during a new and dynamic era of powerful storytelling. Topics include AI-assisted story-finding, purpose-driven stories, the rapid proliferation of distribution channels, and creating a more diverse and inclusive creative industry. The event will also recognize the best story-driven filmmakers and brand collaborations of the year with the Tribeca X Award.
This year’s program will include a keynote from Diane von Furstenberg, founder and co-chairwoman of DVF, in conversation with comedian Seth Meyers about the origins of her namesake company, her predictions for the fashion industry, and her advice for a younger generation of women entrepreneurs. In another keynote conversation, leaders at two iconic American companies, General Electric global chief marketing officer Linda Boff and General Motors SVP of strategy and innovation Alan Wexler will discuss how both experimentation and data-driven insights impact their brand narratives, what role corporate social responsibility plays in business, and how they leverage the power of storytelling to inform consumers during their companies’ moments of historic transformation.
On the heels of Tribeca Festival premiere Cinnamon, a black noir thriller, Tubi chief revenue officer Mark Rotblat will discuss the future of streaming, content production and brand marketing with VaynerMedia CEO Gary Vaynerchuk. OKX global chief marketing officer Haider Rafique will address how OKX’s Web3 products contribute to building a future with more control, mobility, and ways to trade assets, and television personality Al Roker, John Deere VP of global brand & communications Mara Downing and Emmy-nominated producer/director Eternal Polk will discuss the rise of brand storytelling as a change agent. Additional speakers include Grindr CEO George Arison, Gilead Sciences SVP Alex Kalomparis, Indeed VP of global brand and creative Jennifer Warren, and U.S. Bank SVP, head of brand advertising & creative strategy, Kelly Colbert , who will demonstrate what it means for a brand to inspire with storytelling.
“Tribeca X continues to celebrate the creativity in advertising across traditional and novel platforms alike,” said Tribeca CEO and co-founder Jane Rosenthal. “We’re thrilled to convene inventive minds across entertainment and brand as they share their insights and predictions for the industry.”
For the first time, breakout sessions have been added to Tribeca X and will provide guests with networking opportunities that foster meaningful industry connections. The sessions will also provide the opportunity for a more in-depth look at each topic and open discussion between breakout leaders and guests. The three breakout topics include: brand content distribution, metrics & measurement, and AI story creation. Following the program, guests will be invited to a lunch reception, co-hosted by IPG Mediabrands, on the rooftop of Spring Studios in addition to a special industry cocktail event hosted by Grindr from 4-6pm on the rooftop of Spring Studios.
Tribeca Festival also announced the official selections for the 2023 Tribeca X Award, which celebrates the best-in-class projects of the year in five categories: Feature Film, Short Film, Series, Immersive, and Audio. Brands represented include A&W, Adobe, Amazon, Atlassian, Bulgari, Common Citizen, Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace, Gjenge Makers, Google, Indeed, John Deere, Kawai, MIT Solve, Motown Records UK - Chivas, Panasonic, Room to Read, Sony AI, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Square, Tracksmith and PUMA, U.S. Bank, Novo Nordisk and Verizon.
Below is a rundown of Tribeca X Award Official Selections followed by the lineup of Tribeca X speakers.
TRIBECA X AWARD OFFICIAL SELECTIONS
Earthbound: Nzambi Matee (Gjenge Makers) – Earthbound: Nzambi Matee, executive produced by Orlando Bloom, explores the life and achievements of Nzambi Matee, a Kenyan innovator and entrepreneur who is tackling the plastic waste epidemic in her hometown of Nairobi. Directed by Farhoud Meybodi.
EMBODIED (Novo Nordisk) – EMBODIED, follows the stories of five individuals as they combat weight stigma; a drag queen using humor to unravel discomfort around weight and queerness; a mermaid reconciling with generational fatphobia; a midwife working to dismantle fat bias in reproductive health; a former linebacker navigating the unclear relationship between health and size; and a CEO creating space and community for the millions of Americans with fat bodies. This feature offers a personal lens into the sensationalized topic of fatness, and gives the audience a glimpse of how these people live full and authentic lives. Directed by Isabel Bethencourt.
Gaining Ground: The Fight for Black Land (John Deere) – Gaining Ground: The Fight for Black Land, a 90-minute first-person narrative documentary film produced by Al Roker Entertainment that educates and addresses land ownership racial inequities that have existed in America for generations. It also serves to champion John Deere’s commitment to working with various partner organizations focusing on the work needed to improve the lives and livelihoods of Black farmers, with a particular emphasis on the preservation of Black-owned farmland in rural communities. Directed and executive produced by Eternal Polk.
Hideo Kojima: Connecting Worlds (Sony Interactive Entertainment) – Hideo Kojima: Connecting Worlds, produced by Ben Hilton, is a journey into the creative mind of the most iconic video games designer in the world. Featuring contributions from visionary artists, this visually captivating documentary gives a rare insight into Hideo Kojima’s creative process as he launches his own independent studio. Directed by Glen Milner.
Inside the Dream (Bulgari) – Inside the Dream, follows Lucia Silvestri, a passionate gem hunter and creative director, on an exclusive journey along the stages of high jewelry creation. From the search for finest gems in India, to collaborations with influential celebrities such as Zendaya. Directed by Matthieu Menu.
Bring Back the Whistledog (A&W) – Bring Back the Whistledog, explores the unique fast food item that has ignited lasting passion at the Canadian restaurant chain A&W’s Whistle Dog. This “hot dogumentary” profiles diehard fans fighting the good fight to bring back the iconic dog. Directed by Bob Simpson.
Dirt in the Diamond (Motown Records UK, Chivas) – Dirt in the Diamond, a short film, set in 1970’s London, explores the duality of grief and celebration within the mourning period of Jamaican culture. The film pays homage through its style and use of archival footage, to the generations before us, who have been intentional about preserving our customs, traditions and communities after immigrating to the UK and enduring the difficulties that came with it. Directed by Renee Maria Osubu.
Flipper’s Skate Heist (Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace) – Flipper’s Skate Heist, celebrates the official opening of Flipper’s skating rink in London, the iconic est. is debuting the ‘Chronic Skate’ in recognition of Dr. Dre’s first studio album, The Chronic. Flipper’s founder Liberty Ross chose to highlight her longtime friend and supporter by creating the collectible ‘Chronic Skate’ - the product is highlighted and officially introduced in the ‘Flipper’s ‘Skate Heist’ short film. The film is about a skating heist that ensues through city streets, seeing Flippers’ core skate collective arrive at the new site for a historical gliding dance session. Directed by Ben Dean.
Flowers (Panasonic) – Flowers, produced by George Telfer, follows a young prince embarking on a potent journey of self-discovery to claim and earn his crown. FLOWERS is an afro-futuristic fairytale of love, following a ceremony of a mother giving away her son. Our protagonist is gifted with a heavy crown by his mother to the disappointment of his overlooked brothers. Directed by Dumas Haddad.
Morning Joy (Kawai) – Morning Joy, produced by Ethan Pakchar and John Henry Hinkel, a short film about a recently widowed pianist has an unexpected encounter. Directed by John Henry Hinkel.
Somewhere Higher (Common Citizen) – Somewhere Higher, is a mini-anthology and channel-flip film about the people, art, and music inspired by cannabis in a post-legalization world, blending 35mm character vignettes with surreal 3D design and VFX. Common Citizen, a cannabis company based in Michigan, Even/Odd scouted all across the state to find cannabis users who have faced criminalization and stigmatization—so they could tell their side of the story. Directed by Mohammad Gorjestani.
Translators (U.S. Bank) – Translators, follows Harye, Densel, and Virginia, a few of the over 11 million child translators in the United States, as they translate for their parents in everyday situations. Directed by Rudy Valdez.
The Big Idea (MIT Solve) – The Big Idea, follows the lives of three innovators who are brilliant, bold, and united by the desire to use technology, science and engineering to create radical, systemic change. While their innovations are uniquely their own, our subjects are united by a single life-changing opportunity. Directed by Sarah Klein and Tom Mason.
Full Bleed (Adobe) – Full Bleed, a documentary series taking viewers inside these iconic moments, going beyond the expected creator profile to explore what it takes to push boundaries, and examine how obstacles can become the conduit for groundbreaking work. Episode one of three, submitted here, centers the decade-long development of Freedom Tower with celebrated architect Daniel Libeskind. Directed by Patrick Daughters.
Future Self (Amazon) – Future Self, a documentary series that tells the stories of three minority students from across the globe who overcome personal, professional, and cultural challenges in order to pursue a career in technology that can help each of them make a lasting impact in their communities. Created in collaboration with AWS, this series raises awareness for the AWS AI & ML Scholarship program that helps underserved and underrepresented youth learn foundational ML concepts to prepare them for careers in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Directed by Alex Gilbert and Anjali Nayar.
Only in Dearborn (Square) – Only in Dearborn, Ali Alhashemi, affectionately known as “Barber Al,” is the American Dream personified, starting his business in high school, and cutting hair in his garage to help support his family. Now, he runs the most successful barbershop business in Dearborn, a diverse suburb west of Detroit and home to the largest population of Arab Americans outside the Middle East. What started as a job to make ends meet after his father passed, blossomed into a successful, multi-million-dollar franchise spanning three locations and supporting dozens of employees. Directed by Hamoody Jaafar.
She Creates Change (Room to Read) – She Creates Change, is an anthology series about six courageous teen girls who achieve things they once thought impossible. Each 11-minute episode begins with an animated short about a life-defining moment. A short documentary then reveals the teen hero behind the story. Directed by Martha Adams.
The Team Behind GT Sophy (Sony AI) — The Team Behind GT Sophy, set itself the ambitious goal of training an artificial intelligence agent to play the game Gran Turismo — the most complex racing simulation ever devised — at such a high level that it could beat the best human players in the world. The story follows these ambitious researchers as they figure out how to develop the sort of lightning-fast decision-making abilities that no AI had ever mastered before —and trained it to navigate thorny concepts like good sportsmanship. Directed by Paula Chowles.
Asset 15 (Verizon) – Asset 15, uses cutting-edge immersive augmented reality gameplay and photorealistic 3D holograms to tell the story of FLUX, a hacktivist rebel, and her sister PETRA, a high-powered executive at the social media company, HELIOS. When Petra falls into a mysterious coma, Flux delves into their past to uncover the truth about Helios and its frightening new app. Created by Julina Tatlock.
Gorillaz Presents… Skinny Ape (Google) – Gorillaz Presents… Skinny Ape, sets out to revolutionize the concept of musical performances by transforming the streets of New York and London into stages for two groundbreaking experiences. On December 17 and 18 fans gathered together to witness Gorillaz play in real life – actually larger than life – with Murdoc, 2D, Noodle and Russel towering over them in the midst of two of the world’s most iconic skylines. Created by Jamie Hewlett and Fx Goby.
Legacy of Speed (Tracksmith and PUMA) – Legacy of Speed, produced by Emily Rostek and Joel Meyer, follows two Black sprinters raising their fists in protest at the 1968 Olympic Games, which shook the world. Get to know the runners who took a stand, and the coaches who helped make them fast enough — and brave enough — to change the world. Directed by Carly Migliori.
Making an Impossible Airplane: The Untold Story of the Concorde (Atlassian) – Making an Impossible Airplane: The Untold Story of the Concorde, a podcast part of Atlassian’s brand evolution to be seen as a champion of open collaboration. Our goal was to tell a story that hadn’t been told before to engage audiences, solidify Atlassian’s philosophy & promise of ‘impossible alone’, and unleash the potential in each team: engineers in two different countries, with two different languages, two different units of measurement, forced together by politics. Directed by Pedro Mendes.
Work Sounds (Indeed) – Work Sounds, a five-part audio album inspired by the sounds, stories, and people of real workplaces, immerses you into the tasks that make our communities run, turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. Blending foley, SFX, meditative sounds, ASMR, voice and binaural technology, the show marries art and utility, offering listeners sound therapy to stay grounded, present, and ultimately have a better workday. Directed by Martina Abrahams Llunga and Onyx Espri.
TRIBECA X SPEAKERS
“Founder Spotlight: Diane von Furstenberg”
During a career of nearly five decades, Diane von Furstenberg has exhibited an expert level of staying power through savviness and adaptation. From building a fashion brand from scratch to pivoting to QVC and relaunching her company to engaging a new generation of women in the digital age, her personal brand and businesses have flourished, achieving global popularity and recognition. Her philanthropic work has empowered women all over the world and her charitable donations have reshaped New York City’s landscape for the better. Joining a moderated conversation, von Furstenberg will speak on the origins of her namesake company, her predictions for the fashion industry, and her advice for a younger generation of women entrepreneurs.
Speakers: Diane von Furstenberg, Founder and Co-Chairwoman, DVF; Seth Meyers, Comedian
Writing the Next Chapter: The Importance of Brand Story for Brand Evolution
GE and GM, two iconic American companies, have thrived for over a century by adapting to accommodate changing times. Today, both companies are engaged in another historic era of transformation catalyzed by a changing world. In response to an evolving marketplace, GE is splitting into three companies focused on critical growth sectors: aerospace, energy, and healthcare. Detroit automaker GM is looking toward the future with a vision to create a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. For two brands so entrenched in American culture, communicating this level of change can be difficult; but there is one tool powerful enough to educate, inform, and onboard audiences to both brands’ new identities: storytelling.
In a moderated conversation, GE’s Global CMO Linda Boff and GM’s SVP of Strategy and Innovation Alan Wexler will discuss how both experimentation and data-driven insights impact their respective narratives, what role corporate social responsibility plays in business and marketing decisions, and how they leverage the power of storytelling to inform consumers of these massive transformations designed to make the world a better place.
Speakers: Alan Wexler, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Innovation, General Motors; Linda Boff, Global Chief Marketing Officer, General Electric
“The Next Five Years in Streaming & What it Means for Movie Makers and Brands”
Streaming has evolved over the last twenty years through iterations including posting video clips on services (YouTube, Facebook, Vine, Snap and TikTok), ushering in a new world of creators, and new forms of “big media” (Netflix, Hulu, and studios moving to streaming) making quality programming at scale. Companies like Tubi have focused on personalizing the experience around a library featuring tens of thousands of movies and TV shows in an ad supported platform. Looking to the future in a web 3.0 world, universes of content creation, personalization and programming will seemingly collide. The value of knowing your audience and making incredible creative for storytelling becomes even more important when audiences can own a collectible piece of their favorite content and have a stake in that storytelling. In this session that looks to the future, filmmakers will get insight on how to capitalize on these secular trends and brand marketers will get guidance on modern content creation, whether it be for entertainment or brands.
Speakers: Gary Vaynerchuk, Chief Executive Officer, VaynerMedia; Mark Rotblat, Chief Revenue Officer, Tubi
“Rewriting the System With Web3”
There are two camps of thought. One side suggests we update existing systems to create a better world. The other believes we need a system re-write. Haider Rafique, CMO of OKX talks about a world where we all have more control, mobility and various ways to trade our assets. A world where software allows us to be our own bank, to be interoperable and to trade without any intermediaries. Haider will address how OKX’s Web3 products are here to contribute to building this future.
Speakers: Haider Rafique, Global Chief Marketing Officer, OKX
“From Awareness to Action: How John Deere Is Addressing Racial Inequities through Documentary Storytelling”
The most effective stories for connecting with customers that care about your brand and the issues you endorse are compelling, authentic, and amplify your brand’s core values. Gaining Ground: The Fight for Black Land is a 90-minute first-person narrative documentary film produced by Al Roker Entertainment that educates and addresses land ownership racial inequities that have existed in America for generations. It also touches on John Deere’s commitment to working with various support organizations focusing on the work needed to improve the lives and livelihoods of Black farmers, with a particular emphasis on the preservation of Black-owned farmland in rural communities.
In this session, Al Roker Entertainment CEO Al Roker, John Deere’s VP of Global Communications Mara Downing, and Emmy-nominated Producer/Director Eternal Polk discuss the rise of brand storytelling as a change agent, How a first-person narrative builds trust, empathy, and a call to action, as well as how to strike a balance between message and marketing all while implementing real world KPI strategies to measure and evaluate the impact of social impact storytelling efforts.
Speakers: Al Roker, Owner, Chief Executive Officer, Al Roker Entertainment; Eternal Polk, Executive Producer, Director; Mara Downing, Vice President of Global Brand and Communications, John Deere
“Doing Good is Good for Business: Brands Building Trust by Taking Action”
Building brand/consumer trust isn’t easy. One surefire way to do it is to demonstrate shared values through action. CSR initiatives and tentpole values are no longer something to be relegated to the bottom of a brand’s website - rather, they should be positioned front and center for consumers to see. Gilead Sciences works with the community toward a collective, common goal of ending the HIV epidemic by supporting the innovative work of grassroots organizations to help improve access to care by eliminating barriers and advancing education. Through their public good division, Grindr is making its mark in its unprecedented response to the 2022 Mpox outbreak and its efforts to send free at-home HIV tests to those in need across the country. This session moderated by Forbes CRO Sherry Phillips will delve into the multi-layered value of stepping up and serving their communities and how important it is for consumers to see the brands they use take positive, impactful action.
Speakers: Alex Kalomparis, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Gilead Sciences; George Arison, Chief Executive Officer, Grindr
Moderator: Sherry Phillips, Chief Revenue Officer, Forbes
“Tapping the Power of Inspiration”
Brands are discovering the power of longer form storytelling to bring awareness and inspiration for empathy and societal change. Brands like Indeed, U.S. Bank, and Stacy’s Pita Chips are investing in inspirational storytelling, showcasing the humanity of people that belong to their consumer base. U.S. Bank’s film Translators educates and inspires, introducing us to the fact that there are over 11 million child translators in the U.S. Theirs is the story of 2nd generation immigrant children whose everyday routine is translating for their parents. Indeed’s “Rising Voices” series recognizes that talent is universal, but opportunity is not. The series, now in its 3rd season, shines a light on BIPOC storytellers and provides funding for their filmmaking projects. As a woman-founded brand that grew from a sandwich cart to a household snack brand, Stacy’s® Pita Chips has been fiercely dedicated to helping women rise through its annual mentorship program, the Stacy’s Rise Project. With the launch of this year’s program, the brand deepened its commitment by celebrating women’s strength in the face of adversity with Rise, a short film that follows three previous winners of the mentorship program. This conversation will take a closer look at each project and demonstrate what it means for a brand to inspire with story.
Speakers: Jennifer Warren, Vice President, Global Brand and Creative, Indeed; Kelly Colbert, SVP, Head of Brand Advertising & Creative Strategy, U.S. Bank; Rhasheda Boyd, VP, Marketing, Frito-Lay; Sarah Colamarino, Consultant, SC Blueprint Inc
“Why Distribution Cannot Be an Afterthought”
With a multitude of traditional, new, and emerging channels, brands have many opportunities to distribute their programming. But how and where are brands supposed to find the right audience, and at what cost? Asking the question once the content has been produced is too late – there must be a well-designed distribution plan implemented as early as plans for production and budget. Global Chief Content Officer for MediaBrands Brendan Gaul and Senior Brand Partnerships Executive for Grindr, Andy Kraut will lead this peer-to-peer interactive discussion, looking at various platforms and audiences to consider when building a distribution strategy for brand content.
Speakers: Andy Kraut, Senior Brand Partnerships Executive, Grindr; Brendan Gaul, Global Chief Content Officer, MediaBrands
“Brand Storytelling: What We Mean, How We Talk About It, and How We Measure It”
When you hear the phrase “brand storytelling”, what do you think of? Is it a film? A multi-episodic? An anthem? Product videos? Maybe it’s all, or none, of the above. However you define it, the confusion surrounding the term is causing a challenge for brands and storytellers alike. In this session, the BrandStorytelling industry and academic team, assembled to conduct a global, multi-tiered deep dive into terminology and measurement, will unveil the first of their findings, discuss the strategic approach to their project, and dig deep in to why they think this work will change the industry. The team will propose terms and definitions the industry can rally behind, provide concrete examples for how each can be used to describe the different types of brand storytelling formats, explain how and why each are used most effectively, and discuss how they plan to create a new system of metrics to correctly assess the impact these stories are having. The session will involve a lively Q&A session with the committee leading this work, as well as a review of the full research-based strategy.
Speakers: Megan Wells, Project Lead, Development Executive, Showrunner; Paul Laver, Co-Founder, One Minute to Midnight; Sarah Colamarino, Consultant, SC Blueprint Inc.
Using A.I. to Power Story: A Case Study
Join AI artist Chad Nelson, Native Foreign Co-Founder Nik Kleverov, and OpenAI engineer, Joyce Lee, to discuss the creation and production process of Critterz - the first short, animated film created entirely with images generated by OpenAI’s DALL-E generative AI program. Critterz is an animated science documentary turned comedy that introduces an unexplored forest inhabited by mysterious little critterz with unforeseen personalities. Discussion will include the future of storytelling with AI: What does the advent of AI storytelling mean for the industry? What are the possibilities and paths forward for storytellers and brands?
Speakers: Chad Nelson, Creative Director, AI Artist; Joyce Lee, Engineer, OpenAI; Nik Kleverov, Co-Founder, Native Foreign
Tribeca X is part of the annual Tribeca Festival which will celebrate its 22nd year from June 7–18, 2023 in New York City.