Tribeca Film Festival, 'The Atlantic' Team For Branded Storytelling

The Atlantic’s custom content studio Atlantic Re:think is partnering with the Tribeca Film Festival to expand the branded storytelling category of the festival, called the Tribeca X Award.

The award was first created last year to recognize the best content created with funding support from a brand.

“We have been recognizing all kind of work for years, and brands have been producing wonderful work for quite some time. It seemed important to recognize that, to reduce the distinction between creative work and commercial work. Those distinctions are starting to blur,” Andrew Essex, CEO of Tribeca Film Festival owner Tribeca Enterprises, told Publishers Daily.

Essex said the advertising industry is producing “better work that people want to see rather than block. Someone needs to validate and celebrate that.”



Why is this shift occurring? Essex said it is a response to “abundance and clutter.”

“I don’t think civilians care where their content comes from as long as it's good and can cut through,” he said.

Eligible work in the competition for the Tribeca X Award includes scripted and documentary work for film, TV, digital, social, virtual reality and augmented reality, in both feature and short length. It is funded with support from a brand working with artists or filmmakers.

Submitted projects must have a storytelling element, per Tribeca. Projects that are strictly intended as commercial spots will not be considered. Essex said that means judges will “discard anything that looks like an ad,” and focus on “real, authentic storytelling” by brands.

Entries will be showcased on a dedicated hub created on The Atlantic’s Web site.

Tribeca wanted to “extend the impact” of the award by partnering with The Atlantic, which Essex said has a “great editorial capability and intellectual and moral authority.”

“We want to showcase the content on our site and drive people to it,” Hayley Romer, SVP and publisher of The Atlantic, told Publishers Daily.

“The destination on our site will talk about The Atlantic Re:think partnership with Tribeca and give people a chance to see [the entries]. It gives them exposure to The Atlantic audience and to audiences beyond the festival,” she added.

Romer said the partnership communicates to the magazine's audience that “we are committed to putting the best kind of work in front of them.”

“Great content can come from anywhere,” she continued. “We know that brands produce some of the best content in the world. Great content has to be funded from somewhere… We shouldn’t stop short for just editorial content, but also give branded content the opportunity to be recognized.”

Last year, Tribeca X was awarded to “Hearing Colors,” created by Greg Brunkalla for Samsung. Finalists for the award included work from brands like Derek Lam, American Giant, Samsung, Olympus, The Balvenie, Robert Graham, KENZO and Radio Flyer Wagons.

The winner is determined by a panel of judges, which Tribeca calls the “jury."

This year’s jurors include Joanna Coles, CCO at Hearst; Jae Goodman, CCO and co-head of marketing at CAA; Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, co-founders of JASH; Jenna Lyons, president and creative director of J.Crew; and Eli Pariser, CEO of Upworthy.

The Tribeca Film Festival runs April 19-30.

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