Can the Tribeca Festival Make Audio Appealing?

When Winnie and Alex Kemp submitted their first original fiction podcast,imperfection’ and they set their expectations at the last minute for the 2021 Tribeca Festival.

Husband and wife co-founders of Podcast Studio wolf in front of door, believed in the project. It took almost a year of passionate labor to create this nine-episode series (a surrealist psychiatrist about two disabled friends who go missing). , early signals from the market were humble. The agent the couple had hired to find distribution for the show returned empty-handed, emailed 200 journalists, and received only one response: a refusal.

At the same year’s Tribeca Festival, which dropped the word “movie” from its name and expanded its focus to video games, virtual reality, music and audio, “The Imperfection” received a warmer reception. This was his first list of 12 officially selected podcasts to premiere at the festival.

Being selected for Tribeca meant that ‘The Imperfection’ was featured on Apple Podcasts and Audible’s homepage, along with other festival selections, helping it reach the Top 20 on Apple Podcasts’ fiction charts. The show was later nominated for Best Podcast of the Year and Best Fiction at the Amby Awards, the industry’s answer to the Academy Awards. And the Kemps have a new representation in a creative artists agency. They sold the TV rights to the show last year and will co-write the pilot script.

“Having our first show found was a huge boon for us,” said Winnie Kemp. “There are so many shows out there.

Winnie and Alex Kemp have submitted their original fiction podcast, “The Imperfection,” to the 2021 Tribeca Festival.credit…N/A

The Tribeca Festival is by no means on par with film’s most prestigious gala, but it kicked off last Wednesday and will feature curated audio starting this week, providing a unique and compelling showcase for podcast creators. is emerging as The podcast industry is in high demand for trusted curation organizations, with over 2 million titles exploding since the beginning of 2020. According to the database Listen Notes – example, Increased overall listener count.

While other festivals exist dedicated to audio storytelling, and some documentary festivals include a selection of podcasts, the history of Tribeca — founded in 2002 by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff — and Hollywood talent, Tribeca quickly became a player in the audio space. community.

“This is the next frontier in interesting, creative, and independent storytelling, where discoverability remains a challenge for audiences,” said Carla Cusumano, Tribeca Festival Director and Vice President of Programming. It’s for that,” he said. “That’s our strength.

This year, 16 podcasts are competing for various awards in fiction and non-fiction categories. The selection includes Alyssa Eskers, Nellie Giles and Joe Richman’s “unmarked cemetery, a documentary series about the anonymous dead in Hart Island Cemetery, New York. Georgie Aldako’s “these were humans, a sketch comedy series that imagines the remains of extinct humanity. and Glynis MacNicol, Emily Marinov, Joe Piazza’s “Wilderis a non-fiction series about the life and career of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of Little House on the Prairie.

The festival will also feature live recordings and premieres of several non-competitive podcasts, including Crooked Media’s hit political talk show Pod Save America. “just jack and willrewatch actors Sean Hayes and Eric McCormack’s new ‘Will & Grace’ podcast, ‘do you feel thisis a Los Angeles-centric fiction anthology by James Kim.

Davey Gardner, Curator of Audio Storytelling at Tribeca, said the festival’s aim is to show that podcasts deserve the same level of “cultural recognition” as movies.

“Tribeca gives these creators the red carpet treatment across the board,” he said. “This is a unique art form and we want to contribute to elevate it and move it forward.”

Film festivals have long been the envy of audio artists. In the early 1990s, Sundance set the trend for independent and arthouse cinema and grew into a burgeoning market. Filmmakers who entered the festival with zero resources and zero name recognition were able to exit the festival with the backing of major studios and burgeoning careers.

Similar infrastructure does not exist for independent podcasters. The trend has intensified amid economic woes across the industry, as major funders such as Spotify and Amazon consolidate their businesses around easy-to-monetize crime documentaries and celebrity interview shows. series of dismissal — Many artists have struggled to find support for their less commercial work.

“It’s very hard to find an audience if you don’t have a promotional budget or belong to a big network,” said Bianca Giever of the memoiric podcast.constellation awardwas featured at the 2021 Tribeca Festival (she is also a former producer of The Times podcast, The Daily). “It’s a vicious cycle, because then there will be less work.”

Bianca Geerever’s memoiric podcast “Constellation Prize” was featured at the 2021 Tribeca Festival.credit…N/A

Of course, even movies that win awards at the biggest film festivals are not necessarily hits. And Tribeca podcast creators will have to compete for viewers and future business partners accustomed to filling their schedules with movie premieres.

Joanna Zorn co-founded the long-running service. 3rd Annual Coast International Audio Festival In the 2010s, he presented audio works at several documentary film festivals, but the rewards were sometimes less than promised.

“We went to some great film festivals and were happy to be there,” she said. “But did they really help us get press coverage? Can you walk us into a room where there’s someone who’s going to lead us to what’s next? What can we actually build?” Tell me, not so many.”

To shed the best light on the podcast selection, Gardner and his colleagues had to learn how to showcase an art form not customarily experienced in a communal setting. They plan about a dozen events at theaters and other venues around Manhattan that combine excerpts from featured productions with live discussions and supplemental videos.

Is there one thing that isn’t included? A quiet room with only an audio track and an empty stage.

“I tried,” Gardner said wearily. “It’s incredibly nasty.”

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