ELLIS awakens our collective memory, taking you back to the early years of Ellis Island through the experience of one immigrant.

Set in the abandoned Ellis Island Hospital complex and using JR’s UNFRAMED art installations, ELLIS tells the forgotten story of the immigrants who built America. It is the story of the ghosts of our countries past, the individuals who fled poverty, discrimination, and dictatorships, for a chance at a new life and eerily foreshadows the plight of those who currently seek the same opportunities and safety in this country and other parts of the world.

The short narrative film stars Academy Award® Winner Robert De Niro, is written by Academy Award® winner Eric Roth, and is directed by the artist JR.

For more on how ELLIS was made, check out Tribeca.

About the director and producer


JR exhibits freely in the streets of the world, catching the attention of people who are not typical museum visitors. In 2011 he received the TED Prize, after which he created Inside Out, an international participatory art project that allows people worldwide to get their picture taken and paste it to support an idea and share their experience. His most recent installations include a collaboration with New York City Ballet, a huge installation on the Panthéon in Paris and the pasting of a container ship.

He recently directed the short documentary Les Bosquets, based on the story of Ladj Ly and the performance of the ballet Les Bosquets of New York City Ballet (2014) inspired by the riots in the French suburbs in 2005. JR also directed Face to Face, Women are Heroes, and Wrinkles of the City - Cuba.

About the producer

Jane Rosenthal

Since co-founding Tribeca Productions with Robert De Niro in 1988, Jane Rosenthal has distinguished herself as a leading film producer with a roster of both critically and commercially acclaimed work.

In 2001, in an effort to spur the economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan, Rosenthal co-founded the Tribeca Film Festival.

About the writer

Eric Roth

Eric Roth won an Academy Award® and a Writers Guild of America Award for his screenplay for the Oscar-winning Best Picture Forrest Gump, directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks. Mr. Roth received Academy Award® and Golden Globe nominations for his screenplays for The Insider, Munich, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. His work includes Michael Mann’s Ali; The Good Shepherd, directed by Robert De Niro; and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, which was nominated for Best Picture. He was awarded the Writers Guild’s Laurel Award for Lifetime Achievement in Screenwriting in 2012.

Currently, Mr. Roth is executive producer with David Fincher on Netflix’s House Of Cards, which is in its fourth season and has received three Emmy nominations for Best Dramatic Series. Mr. Roth is also writing Cleopatra, for Angelina Jolie at Sony, In The Garden of Beasts, for Tom Hanks and Universal, and The Frontiersman, for producer Scott Rudin and Warner Brothers. He is producing Unarmed, a series about young soldiers, amputees, in an American military hospital, with Sarah Timberman for Warner Brothers Television, written by National Book Award Winner Denis Johnson.

One of Mr. Roth’s proudest achievements is the work he was able to do on ELLIS for JR and Robert De Niro. Many of Mr. Roth’s family arrived in America through Ellis Island in 1894.

UNFRAMED - Ellis Island

In his UNFRAMED project, JR reinterprets photographs by famous or unknown photographers, and enlarges and pastes them to reflect about the importance of context.

In August 2014, JR was invited to work on the abandoned part of Ellis Island. This island, next to the Statue of Liberty, is very symbolic - the gateway to the United States for 12 million immigrants, from 1892 to 1954. On the south side of the island, the Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital has been abandoned since 1954. JR revisited the archives of Ellis Island and created many installations in these buildings so full in stories. This permanent exhibition has been open to the public since October 2014.

Learn More


From November 9th-22nd, artists, activists, educators and passionate individuals across the country will host screening installation events of ELLIS. From spoken word nights to debates on immigration reform, and from film festivals to rogue graffiti-style projections, we will all collectively remember the foundations of our country through ELLIS.

Over 765 screenings are already scheduled from November 9th to 22nd. If you want to host a screening of ELLIS for at least 30 people, email us at

You can also sign up for our email list to get updates on when the film will be made widely available.

We have created a discussion guide to lead the conversation, you can download it here.

Share an invitation with your community to your screening on social media - we have created graphics for both Twitter and Instagram.

Upcoming Screenings

  • Nov 23 - 01:00 pm in Lyon, France
    Lycée Charcot
  • Nov 24 - 03:00 pm in Salerno, Italy
    shool Liceo Scientifico " G. da Procida " , in the city Salerno, via G. de Falco
  • Nov 25 - 12:30 pm in Burlington, MA
    Burlington Council on Aging
  • Nov 26 - 05:00 pm in Amsterdam, Netherlands
    Distelweg 113, 1031 HD Amsterdam, Rolling Rock Kitchen
  • Nov 26 - 09:00 pm in Friedrichshafen, Germany
    Blackbox, Zeppelin University ZF Campus, 88045 Friedrichshafen, FAB 3
  • Nov 29 - 10:00 am in Leeds, UK
    Headrow House, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 6PU
  • Nov 29 - 05:00 pm in SCHWABACH, GERMANY
    Open Space, Bachgasse 10
  • Dec 08 - 08:30 pm in Nairobi
    @ Tribe
  • Dec 10 - 07:00 pm in Bologna, Italy
    Spazio Damiani gallery
  • Dec 19 - 04:00 pm in Saint Martin sur Londres, France
    cinéma, Place de la mairie.
  • See the map for full list - More to come soon!

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Featuring Academy Award® Winner Robert De Niro

Directed by JR

Written by Academy Award® Winner Eric Roth

Produced by JR and Jane Rosenthal

Executive Producers Catherine and Niklas Zennström, Emerson Collective

Producers Guillaume Lefrançois, Marc Azoulay, Sol Guy, and Émile Abinal

Original Music by Woodkid

Performed by Nils Frahm

Cinematographer André Chemetoff

Edited by Maxime Pozzi-Garcia

For additional press information please contact:

New York

Marian Koltai-Levine – 212.373.6130
Omar Gonzales – 212.373.0116
Leigh Wolfson – 212.373.6149

Los Angeles

Rachel Aberly – 310.854.4812
Camille Abelow – 310.854.3201
Alison Deknatel – 310.967.7247