Awards go to filmmakers of color

NEW YORK — The Tribeca All Access (TAA) Connects program, which fosters relationships between U.S.-based filmmakers of color and the film industry, announced April 29 the winners of the second Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Awards.

Dennis Lee won the narrative section prize for his current screenplay, “The Life & Times of H.J. Hermin.” Lee previously directed a short film entitled “Jesus Henry Christ.”

Usama Alshaibi won the documentary section prize for his documentary proposal, “Nice Bombs.” Mario de la Vega won the award for his screenplay, “The Undeniable Charm of Sloppy Unruh.”

The TAA Creative Promise Award offers a prize of $10,000 for narrative and documentary projects and $5,000 for screenplays.

“Filmmakers of color are underrepresented in the industry; Tribeca All Access connects them with influential people, expands their reach and helps them succeed,” said actor and Tribeca Film Festival co-founder Robert De Niro.

“The flood of entries we received in 2005 confirmed that there is a vast, unrecognized pool of filmmaking talent waiting to be discovered,” said TFF co-founder Jane Rosenthal. “This year’s festival slate featured the exceptional winners from the 2004 TAA program. We have already begun to see the fruits of this initiative.”

A jury of entertainment and arts personalities selected the three winners.

Jurors for the narrative and screenplay categories included Antoine Fuqua, director of “King Arthur” and “Training Day”; Academy Award-nominated actress Rosie Perez; Lisa-Gay Hamilton, actress and director of last year’s “Beah: A Black Woman Speaks”; “Amores Perros” and “21 Grams” screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga; director Chris Eyre of “Smoke Signals” and actor B.D. Wong from “Law & Order SVU.”

Narrative winner Lee’s “The Life & Times of H.J. Hermin” tells the story of 13-year-old genius and college freshman Henry James Hermin on his quest to solve an unbreakable computer code and find his biological father.

De la Vega’s “The Undeniable Charm of the Sloppy Unruh” is the tale of charismatic con artist Sloppy Unruh who returns to his hometown in Texas determined to con his way back into his family’s good graces. Alshaibi’s documentary will document his and his father’s journey through the terrain of war-torn Iraq after a 24-year exile.