NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts today announced four new recipients of the Cinema Research Institute (CRI) annual fellowships, which support the work of innovators in the film industry from both creative and commercial standpoints. The 2013 CRI Fellows will research projects on community-building in distribution, the future of co-productions, and storytelling in film and video games.

Tisch Film Announces 2013-2014 Cinema Research Institute Fellows
Josh Penn, Michael Gottwald, Micah Schaffer, and Ryan Silbert are this year's recipients of the prestigious CRI Fellowships at TSOA.

The NYU CRI was founded in 2011 by John Tintori, Chair of the Graduate Film Program at NYU, and Ted Hope, independent producer and former adjunct professor in the Program. The CRI is a community of filmmakers, scholars and entrepreneurs committed to encouraging the exploration of new models of financing, producing, marketing, and distributing media and entertainment. Fellows are selected based on demonstrated strength of work product, originality of approach, and the research’s promise in helping artists successfully bring films to market.

Fellows have the opportunity to work intensely with industry mentors, creative advisors and consultants as they develop their projects including: Ted Hope, Clay Shirky, James Schamus, Christine Vachon, Lance Weiler, Frank Lantz, Dennis Crowley, Mark Heyman, and Darren Aronofsky.

“An important part of NYU Tisch’s role as a center for film innovation is to ensure we continuously adapt to and capitalize on how the industry is changing and evolving,” Mary Campbell, Dean of the Tisch School of the Arts. “CRI’s mission is to support knowledge building in fledgling methodologies for promotion and financing, as well as creative development.”

“Our goal at NYU Tisch is not to teach students merely how to make a film, but to teach them how to get a film made,” John Tintori, Chair of the Graduate Film Department and CRI Board Member, said. “The work of CRI Fellows is critical to this because it supports tremendously talented filmmakers and producers who wish to do a deep dive into emerging areas of the business.”

Launched in 2011, the Institute has just completed its first round of projects with symposia set for Spring 2013. The projects and Fellows selected for the 2013-14 CRI Fellowship include Academy Nominated Producers Michael Gottwald and Josh Penn, who will be studying and testing methods to combine political grassroots organizing techniques with film distribution - a process that began with Beasts of the Southern Wild; Micah Schaffer whose project will focus on the future of co-productions and cross-border financing; and Ryan Silbert who is focused on storytelling at the cross-section of film, video games and technology.

Michael Gottwald
Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Michael Gottwald graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. In 2008 he worked for Obama for America as a Field Organizer during the primaries, and as Ohio New Media Director during the general election. With Josh Penn and Dan Janvey, Michael produced Court 13’s first feature film, Beasts of the Southern Wild, directed by Benh Zeitlin, which was nominated for four Academy Awards and won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and the Camera d’Or at Cannes. Michael also produced documentary filmmakers the Ross Brothers’ second feature, Tchoupitoulas, which was recently distributed by Oscilloscope Laboratories, and is currently producing their third feature, Western, as well as Ping Pong Summer, directed by Michael Tully and starring Lea Thompson, John Hannah, Amy Sedaris, Judah Friedlander, and Susan Sarandon.

Josh Penn
Academy Award nominated producer Josh Penn’s films, including Beasts of the Southern Wild, have won over 60 awards internationally, including Sundance's Grand Jury Prize and Cannes' Camera d'Or. In addition, Josh received the Sundance & Indian Paintbrush Producer's Award and was nominated for Outstanding Producer in this year's Producers Guild Awards. Josh previously worked as the Michigan New Media Director for President Obama's 2008 campaign and as Senior Program Manager for the re-election campaign.

Micah Schaffer
Micah is a filmmaker and educator whose work focuses on forging unexpected connections between people and finding humanity in unforeseen places. Micah attended the MFA program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he wrote and directed several short narrative movies. Micah’s first feature documentary, Death of Two Sons, was awarded the HBO “Life Through Your Lens” Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award and was distributed through Netflix. He has made films in numerous countries, including Liberia, Guinea, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka.

Ryan Silbert
Ryan Silbert is a New York-based filmmaker with award-winning work recognized by the Academy Awards, the Canadian Academy of Film and Television, Sundance, and Berlinale. Recent films include producing credits on God of Love (Oscar Winner, Best Live Action Short), Doubles With Slight Pepper (TIFF Jury Prize and Canadian Academy Screen Award Winner), Sundance selection Holy Rollers and the in-development Stephen King feature adaptation The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.

About the Cinema Research Institute
The NYU Cinema Research Institute is a community of filmmakers, scholars, and entrepreneurs who are committed to working together to explore new models of financing, producing, marketing, and distributing media and entertainment. The Institute supports Fellows who have the means to hypothesize, test, and execute innovative business and creative strategies to propel media arts to a more robust and diverse future. For more information, visit cri.nyu.edu.

CRI Fellow Micah Schaffer

Ryan Silbert

Michael Gottwald

Press Contact

Shonna Keogan
Shonna Keogan
(212) 998-6796