School of the Arts Alumni

('88SOA) - Nicole Holofcener is a writer and director acclaimed for her work in film and television. Her most recent feature is Enough Said, which stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini. It received much critical acclaim and several award nominations this year, including a Best Screenplay nomination for Holofcener at the Independent Spirit Awards. Previously, Holofcener's Please Give won the Spirit Awards’ Robert Altman Award and was nominated for Best Screenplay.
('94SOA) - Courtney Hunt’s debut feature film, Frozen River, won a slew of awards and was featured on many critics best films of 2008 lists, including those for The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. The film, which Hunt wrote and directed, is an unflinching drama about a working-class single mother who, desperate for quick cash to make ends meet, joins a Mohawk woman in smuggling immigrants over the Canadian border.
Annemarie Jacir
('02SOA) - Annemarie Jacir has been working in independent film since 1994 and has written, directed and produced a number of films, including "A Post Oslo History" (1998), "The Satellite Shooters" (2001) and "Like Twenty Impossibles" (2003). She has taught courses at Columbia, Bethlehem, and Birzeit University. She also works as a freelance editor and cinematographer. Salt of this Sea (2008) is her first feature film and her second work to debut at Cannes Film Festival. Having been banned from returning to Palestine, she now lives in Amman, Jordan.
('04SOA) - After graduating Columbia College ('63CC, English literature), Alan Jacobs was a film student at the School of the Arts in the mid '60s but left early to take work as a documentary director, editor, and producer. He eventually received the MFA in 2004 in order to teach film at the university level. In the interim Jacobs was co-owner of Odeon Films, a New York independent production and distribution film company, co-directing, co-producing, and editing documentaries for 15 years.
Khary Jones
('09SOA) - Khary Jones was born and raised in Camden, New Jersey. His short film Hug was an Official Selection of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize (Student Film) at the 2009 AFI-Dallas Film Festival. Hug has also screened at the South by Southwest Film Festival, the Palm Springs International ShortFest, Screen Brooklyn: the 43rd Brooklyn Arts Council Film Festival (where it won the Screenwriting Award), and many other festivals.
Simon Kinberg
('03SOA) - Simon Kinberg received his BA from Brown University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude. He received an MFA from Columbia University School of the Arts Film Program, where he was the recipient of the Zaki Gordon Fellowship for Screenwriting.
('04SOA) - Eilis Kirwan is a screenwriter whose first feature film, The Whistleblower, is slated for theatrical release in August 2011. The film is based on the true experience of a woman peacekeeper in Bosnia who blows the whistle on a sex scandal the UN has sought to cover up, as told in the book by Kathryn Bolkovac and Carrie Lynn Pelgrave. Kirwan’s short films include “Nostradamus and Me” and “Little Christmas,” both of which she wrote and directed.  
('01CC, Film Studies major) - Larysa Kondracki directed and cowrote the film The Whistleblower. The film, adapted from the exposé written by Kathryn Bolkovac with Cari Lynn, tells the true story of the UN sex trafficking scandal Bolkovac uncovered while working at a peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. The film won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, won the Phillip Borsos Award for Best Film at the Whistler Film Festival, and was nominated for the Cinema for Peace Award.
('05 SOA) - Jennifer Lee grew up in the Seventies and Eighties in Rhode Island, surrounded by hairspray, Irocs, and heavy metal. Her love of storytelling and literature lead her to the University of New Hampshire, where she earned a BA in English in 1992. From there she moved to New York City and built a career in book publishing. Saturdays at Lincoln Center introduced her to the films of Agnes Varda, the Coen brothers, and Atom Egoyan. Inspired, she made her first short film and fell in love with visual storytelling.
('06SOA) - Pavol Liska, a native of Slovakia, began directing plays after he graduated from Dartmouth in 1995. During this time he cofounded the Nature Theater of Oklahoma, a theater company taking its name from Kafka’s Amerika. After taking a break from directing, he returned to Columbia for an MFA in directing. While a student of the Theatre Program, he directed Kasimir and Karoline and Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters at Classic Stage Company.
('84SOA) - Three-time Tony Award-winning producer Hal Luftig has worked in Broadway and Off-Broadway theatres for the past 20 years. His plays and musicals have garnered 23 Tony Awards, 6 Drama Desk Awards and a Pulitzer Prize.
('99SOA) - Writer-director James Mangold is known for a string of box-office hits. His biopic Walk the Line, which depicts the rise to stardom of Johnny Cash, starred Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, who won an Oscar for her performance as June Carter Cash. His next film, 3:10 to Yuma—a remake of a 1957 Western—garnered critical acclaim and two Academy Award nominations. The film starred Russell Crowe and Christian Bale.
Dinaw
('05SOA) - Dinaw Mengestu’s debut novel The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (Penguin Riverhead, 2007) has been translated into 12 languages. It was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 2007, and received the 2007 Prix du Premier Meilleur Roman Etranger, 2007 Guardian First Book Award, and 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
Susan Minot
('83SOA) - Susan Minot’s debut, Monkeys, won the 1987 Prix Femina Étranger. In 1994 Minot collaborated on the screenplay for the feature Stealing Beauty with Bernardo Bertolucci, and wrote the screenplay for Evening, based on her 2007 novel of same name, with Michael Cunningham. Minot also published Lust & Other Stories in 1989, the novel Folly in 1993, and the novella Rapture, in 2002.
K.K. Moggie
('07SOA), Adjunct Assistant Professor - A native of Malaysia and New Zealand, K.K. Moggie has worked in both Malaysia, New Zealand and now New York. She moved to New York to attend Columbia University School of the Arts Theatre Program. Since graduating in 2007 with her MFA in acting, she has performed in numerous theatre projects.
Greg Mottola
('91SOA) - Screenwriter and director Greg Mottola is best known for hit coming-of-age comedies Adventureland and Superbad. His latest project, a sci-fi comedy called Paul, was released in March 2011. The film stars Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Seth Rogen. Mottola made his feature directing debut in 1996 with The Daytrippers, an independent comedy starring Hope Davis, Stanley Tucci, Parker Posey, and Liev Schrieber.
('98SOA), Adjunct Assistant Professor - Anson Mount received his BA from the University of the South (1995) and his MFA from Columbia University (1998). Mount made his feature film debut in the starring role as “Tully Coats” in the independent film Tully, for which he received critical praise. The film itself won several Film Festival awards as well as several nominations for Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Picture.
Adjunct Faculty, '06 - Computer-scientist-turned-filmmaker, Afia, loves pushing the boundaries of narrative film.
Tommy Nohilly
('06SOA) - Tommy Nohilly made his playwriting debut Off-Broadway with Blood from a Stone for The New Group. The play, starring Ethan Hawke, was Nohilly’s first and his thesis play for Columbia. It opened to rave reviews from The New York Times, Slant, and others. Nohilly—an ex-Marine who has also worked as a security guard, waiter, bouncer, and bartender—has also acted in films and TV series.
Sigrid Nunez
('75SOA) - Sigrid Nunez has published six novels: A Feather on the Breath of God, Naked Sleeper, Mitz: The Marmoset of Bloomsbury, For Rouenna, The Last of Her Kind and Salvation City. Her most recent book is Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag. Her work has also appeared in several anthologies, including three Pushcart Prize volumes and four anthologies of Asian-American literature.
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Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.