AT&T Celebrates 'Untold Stories' At Tribeca Festival

AT&T and Tribeca announced writer/director Lilian T. Mehrel as the winner of the seventh consecutive “Untold Stories” program at the Tribeca Festival today, awarding the filmmaker a $1 million sponsorship to produce her film, “Honeyjoon.”

AT&T described “Honeyjoon” as a “darkly comedic travel film” about a Kurdish-Persian mother named Lela and her diaspora daughter June, who take trip to the Azores archipelago off the coast of Portugal following a recent loss.

Introduced in 2017 as a collaboration between AT&T and Tribeca, the “Untold Stories” mentorship program was designed to connect up-and-coming filmmakers from historically underrepresented backgrounds to opportunities for advancement by providing resources necessary to bring their stories to the screen.



In a statement, Mehrel thanked AT&T, Tribeca, and the greenlight committee who made the selection for the award, adding, “To be seen for my distinct blend of humor, heart, and cinema, and to get to do what I love on this level, is a dream come true.”

The announcement is the culmination of the “Untold Stories” event at the 2024 Tribeca Festival, which saw the film winning out over a group of four other finalists. Participants pitched their “Untold Stories” film ideas to a greenlight committee of film industry talent that included actors Yvette Nicole Brown, Daveed Diggs, Cynthia Erivo; playwright and TV writer Tanya Saracho; and director So Young Shelly Yo, 2022 “Untold Stories” winner.

AT&T Assistant Vice President of Sponsorships Sabina Ahmed told Marketing Daily the program has received almost 2,000 submission over the course of its existence, with over 430 submissions for this year’s program -- eclipsing last year’s record.

“In partnership with our colleagues at Tribeca, we review every single script and application and bring forward those compelling stories that truly feel ‘untold.’ “During the pitch event, we evaluate their casting vision, forecasted budget, filming location and more to determine which film will be granted $1 million and move to production,” she explained.

Attracting more submissions isn’t the only way “Untold Stories” has evolved over the years.

“To bring in more of the finalists ‘perspective, we began including previous Untold Stories winners to our Greenlight Committee. They offer a fresh filmmaker’s point of view because they’ve been in the finalist’s shoes,” Ahmed told Marketing Daily. “This year’s finalists all fall under the ‘dramedy’ genre, which is pretty unique, with many of the films written and produced by women.”

In addition to the $1 million prize, Mehrel will also get the chance to premiere her feature film at the 2025 Tribeca Festival. As part of her year-long mentorship, AT&T and Tribeca will also assist her with the development, production, and marketing of the film, alongside offering consultations with film industry experts.

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