New York's Tribeca Film Festival has made room video games for a while now, but in a move that'll lend some of the festival's prestige to the medium (and vice versa), it's going to start honoring them. Today, Tribeca's announcing the creation of the Tribeca Games Award, which will be given in next year's festival. To aid in the selection process and integration of games into the festival, Tribeca's also forming an advisory board with big names from both the film and gaming industries.
According to Variety, the board's members from the game industry include Hideo Kojima (who did a Tribeca panel on Death Stranding last year), Kiki Wolfkill (343 Industries), Sam Lake (Remedy), Bing Gordon (formerly of Electronic Arts), and Geoff Keighley. Joining them are director Nia DaCosta (Little Woods, the upcoming Candyman and Captain Marvel 2) and Jon Favreau (who notably used virtual reality as a tool while directing 2019's Lion King remake).
Submissions have already been opened for Tribeca's 2021 game selections, which will be featured during the festival next year held from June 9 through June 20. As for the Tribeca Games Award itself, it is intended to "honor games from the selections that demonstrate artistic excellence in storytelling"—at this time, it's not known whether the award will include a cash prize.
While the links between the two industries are strong and arguably getting stronger (see the rising use of tools like Unreal Engine in filmmaking), some tensions exist between the worlds of film and video games, especially with regards to awards eligibility and visibility. Last year, the Writer's Guild of America (WGA) decided to retire its video game award from its ceremony honoring film, TV, news, and radio writing on the basis that there were not enough games being written by members of the union. In response, some writers said the WGA made it difficult for games writers to join and did little to support them relative to peers in other narrative entertainment fields.
It'll certainly be worth watching how Tribeca handles its first round of official game selections and seeing which title gets the festival's first Games Award. Tribeca's far from being a scrappy indie film festival, but if it does end up spotlighting games from smaller teams and a diverse range of creators, it could be a worthwhile addition to the video game awards landscape.
Just yesterday, Keighley revealed that his annual Game Awards show will go on in 2020, shifting to a remote three-city broadcast format. While Keighley hasn't set an eligibility cutoff date for The Game Awards just yet, Tribeca's 2021 festival will consider games submissions up to a final deadline on January 13.