The 2021Tribeca Film Festival will have a new awards category: the Tribeca Games Award. It is intended to honor games which "demonstrate artistic excellence in storytelling." To that end, festival organizers have put out the first ever call for submissions for video games.

This is not the first time video games have ever appeared at Tribeca, but it will be the first time that they will be official selections in a judged competition at the film festival. As Casey Baltes, a vice president within the organization explained, "In the ten years since we first welcomed a game to Tribeca's official program, we've seen an exciting convergence of games, film, and immersive experiences. Where there was once a clear delineation between media, there is now a blurring of the lines-stories have become games and games have become stories. Broad recognition for voices at the forefront of this ever-changing landscape is long overdue, and we intend to be a home for these creators whose incredible work should be celebrated."

The festival is forming an advisory board to help further include games in years to come. The named board members currently are as follows:

  • Geoff Keighley (producer, The Game Awards)
  • Hideo Kojima (Kojima Productions)
  • Nia DeCosta (director, Candyman (2021))
  • Jon Favreau (actor/director, Iron Man)
  • Bing Gordon (co-founder of Electronic Arts)
  • Sam Lake (creative director, Remedy Entertainment)
  • Kiki Wolfkill (executive producer, Halo: The Fall of Reach)

Food For Thought

It's difficult to say whether this is ultimately going to be a good idea or a bad one.  While a number of games have worked to improve the quality of narratives and give players characters which are more than two-dimensional outlines, the film industry's track record with video game properties has quite frankly been atrocious.  Whether this move ultimately leads to games getting out of the creative ghetto Hollywood has stuffed them into or not remains to be seen.