The Film Division of the School of the Arts, one of the nation's leading training programs for filmmaking, is set to launch the 18th annual Columbia University Film Festival this May in New York City. The 40 short films featured in the festival reflect a diversity of cultures and experiences, with a half dozen shot outside the United States.
Your Dark Hair Ihsan, written and directed by Tala Hadid, about a man rediscovering his past and the mother he lost as a child, was filmed in Morocco. The Black Sea, written and directed by Andrew Reuland, which follows a young man's trip to Romania to visit his estranged father, was filmed on location. Adi ó s, Para Siempre, written and directed by David Guillermo Barba, and which was shot in Mexico; La Cerca, written and directed by S.J. Main; and matap´ajaros, written and directed by Kyzza Terrazas, are all Spanish-language films.
The original short film screenings and screenplay readings will begin on May 1, continuing until May 8 in New York City at Symphony Space (Broadway and 95 Street) and will then continue in Los Angeles June 7-9.
"Film is the abiding medium of representation that came to dominate the last century as the modern voice of artist and industry alike," said Bruce Ferguson, dean of the School of the Arts. "Our school has gained prominence in the last decade as a place where this voice is most fully developed along independent lines with an eye and an ear to both the artist's idiomatic expression and the needs of the industry. We could not be more proud of our faculty and students at this time as they have come to so strongly influence the direction of this medium in the new century."
The Columbia University Film Festival has earned a reputation as a showcase for emerging talent. Columbia Film Division students have won Student Academy Award Gold Medals in seven of the past eight years.
The festival begins with screenings of seven different programs of short films at Symphony Space on May 1, 2 and 4 at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. A Thursday, May 5 screening of shorts, HBO Films Night, will be held at 7 p.m.
Films selected by the Film Division faculty as the best of this year's festival will be featured at a special Faculty Selects screening at 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 8, at Symphony Space. After the Faculty Selects screening, more than $120,000 in awards will be presented to Columbia filmmakers chosen as the best of this year's pool of entries.
On Friday, May 6, Faculty Selects Screenplay Readings will be presented at 6 p.m. at the McGraw Hill Theater (1221 Avenue of the Americas). After the reading, Jeff Sharp, SOA'01, will receive the Andrew Sarris Award. Sharp was a founding member of the Hamptons International Film Festival and a founding partner of Hart Sharp Entertainment, based in New York City. Hart Sharp produced the hit Broadway musical Chicago, as well as a series of Academy Award- and Golden Globe-nominated independent films, including You Can Count on Me, Boys Don't Cry, Nicholas Nickleby, A Home at the End of the World, P.S. (which was shot on the Columbia campus and other locations in Harlem) and most recently, Proof. Sharp is currently filming The Night Listener by Armistead Maupin in New York City.
Films from the 2004 Columbia Festival have screened at prestigious festivals, including Sundance, Toronto, Tribeca, Telluride, the Women in the Director's Chair Film Festival and the Showtime Black Filmmaker Showcase. Upcoming and recent films by SOA alumni include Mr. and Mrs. Smith, written by Simon Kinberg, SOA'03; Ladder 49, directed by Jay Russell, SOA'95; Laurel Canyon, written and directed by Lisa Cholodenko, SOA'97; Monsoon Wedding, written by Sabrina Dhawan, SOA'02, and directed by Assistant Adjunct Professor Mira Nair; and 2004 Academy Award nominee and winner of the 2003 Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival American Splendor, written and directed by Shari Springer Berman, SOA'95, and Robert Pulcini, SOA'94.
Tickets for screenings are $11 per program ($12 for the Faculty Selects Film Screenings) and are on sale now. They can be purchased from Symphony Space either online or at the box office. Tickets for the screenplay readings can be reserved by calling (212) 854-1547 or can be purchased at the door.