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Jan. 30, 2008

Columbia Arts Alumni and Faculty Win Top Prizes at Sundance

Director Courtney Hunt on the set of Frozen River
Director Courtney Hunt accepting her award for Frozen River, with Quentin Tarantino in the background.

For the second year in a row, a film written and directed by a Columbia University School of the Arts (Film Division) alumnus has won the top prize for dramatic film at the Sundance Film Festival. Frozen River, the first feature film by Courtney Hunt (MFA '94), won the Grand Jury Prize in Dramatic Competition, which was announced Saturday in Park City.  Last year's winner was Padre Nuestro, which was written and directed by Chris Zalla (MFA ’04) and produced by Ben Odell (MFA ‘04).

At the same time, Man On Wire, co-produced by Maureen Ryan (MFA '92; adjunct faculty), won the Grand Jury Prize in World Documentary Competition as well as the World Cinema Audience Award. 

Sleep Dealer, produced by Anthony Bregman (adjunct faculty), associate producer Jess Levin (MFA '02), and story editor Eric Mendelsohn (faculty), has won the Alfred P. Sloan Award for a film dealing with science or technology, as well as the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.

Related Links

Columbia Films Capture Major Awards at Sundance, Jan. 30, 2007

SoA Faculty, Alumni Score Honors in Academy Award Nominations, Feb. 3, 2006

Many of the winning filmmakers joined Film Division Chair Jamal Joseph in Park City at a Columbia University reception in their honor during the Sundance Film Festival. The reception also served as an official introduction to the new Dean of Columbia University’s School of the Arts, Carol Becker

Top prizes in three out of the four categories for feature films (Dramatic, Documentary, and World Documentary) went to films directed or co-directed by filmmakers from Columbia University.

Complete list of Sundance 2008 award winners from Columbia University:

• Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic
   Frozen River, written and directed by Courtney Hunt (SoA '94)

• Grand Jury Prize: Documentary
  Trouble The Water, directed by Tia Lessin and Carl Deal (JRN '94)

• World Cinema Jury Prize: Documentary
   Man on Wire, directed by James Marsh, produced by Maureen Ryan (SoA '92)
• Audience Award: Dramatic
   The Wackness, directed by Jonathan Levine, produced by Felipe Marino (GS '02)
• World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary
   Man on Wire, directed by James Marsh, co-produced by Maureen Ryan (SoA '92)

• Directing Award: Documentary
   Nanette Burstein (former SoA Faculty Member) for American Teen

• Directing Award: Dramatic
   Lance Hammer for Ballast, produced by Nina Parikh (GSAS '05)

• Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award
  Alex Rivera and David Riker for Sleep Dealer

• Alfred P. Sloan Prize
   The Sleep Dealer, directed by Alex Rivera, Eric Mendelsohn (SoA Faculty); Jess
   Levin (SoA '02), associate producer; Anthony Bregman (SoA Faculty), producer