School of the Arts Alumni

Florin Serban
('08SOA) - Florin Serban is a Romanian director whose first feature film, If I Want to Whistle I Whistle, won the Jury Grand Prix and the Alfred Bauer Prize for Innovation in Cinema at the Berlin Film Festival. The drama, which Serban directed and co-wrote with Catalin Mitulescu, chronicles the relationship of a prisoner on the verge of being released and his estranged mother.
('01SOA) - Jeffrey Sharp is president and co-founder of Open Road Integrated Media, a New York-based digital content company that publishes and markets e-books. In producing a series of Academy Award- and Golden Globe-winning films over the past 10 years, he has distinguished himself in recognizing opportunities to better integrate the publishing and film industries in creating critically acclaimed commercial entertainment.
('97SOA) - Tracy K. Smith is the author of three books of poetry: Life on Mars, which received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize; Duende, recipient of the 2006 James Laughlin Award, and The Body's Question, which won the 2002 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Smith is also the recipient of a 2004 Rona Jaffe Award and a 2005 Whiting Award. She was the Literature protégé in 2009-2011 cycle of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. From 1997 to 1999 Smith was a Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford University.
('99SOA) - While at Columbia, Joan Stein won the Student Academy Award for Best Narrative Film and the Directors Guild of America’s Student Film Award for her thesis film, “One Day Crossing.” The short film, about a Hungarian Jewish woman who poses as a Christian to save her family during the Holocaust, was also nominated for an Academy Award in 2001 and chosen by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art for the New Directors/New Films series.
('95SOA) - Award-winning director Patrick Stettner established himself with the independent drama The Business of Strangers, about two businesswomen who wreak revenge on a corporate headhunter assumed to have committed rape. Starring Stockard Channing and Julia Stiles, the film won the Special Jury Prize at the Paris Film Festival and the SKYY Prize at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Stettner earned recognition while at Columbia for his short film, “Flux,” featuring a powerful performance by Allison Janney.
('87SOA) - Michael Stotts is in his sixth season as Managing Director of Hartford Stage. Recent accomplishments include an $11 Million Capital and Endowment Campaign, and the renovation and expansion of the Stage’s theatre facility. In 2010, in partnership with Michael Wilson, he produced Horton Foote’s The Orphans’ Home Cycle which won the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, among others. During his three-year tenure as Managing Director at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Mr.
Chris Teague
('06SOA) - Chris Teague is a writer, director, cinematographer, and graduate of the MFA program in film at Columbia University. As a cinematographer, he has shot several feature-length documentaries and short films, such as Myna Joseph's Man, John Magary's The Second Line, and Fellipe Barbosa's Salt Kiss, all of which have played at Sundance. His films have also screened at the New York Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, and the Tribeca Film Festival.
('13 SOA) - Danielle has recently worked as an Entertainment Production Manager for Norwegian Cruise Lines on the Norwegian Star and as a freelance Equity Stage Manager in New York, working with such fabulous companies as LaMama, Waterwell, Off Stage Right Productions, Accidental Rep, PPAS and Musica Nuova. In the Bay Area, she has stage managed with American Conservatory Theater, Marin Theater Company, Shotgun Players, Altertheater Ensemble, Brava Theater and many others.
Wells Tower
('02SOA) - Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned (2009), Wells Tower’s first book of short stories, was a finalist for The Story Prize and was selected by Michiko Kakutani as one of her ten best books of 2009. In 2010, Tower was named one of The New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” fiction writers, and won the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award. Tower is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, the 2002 Plimpton (Discovery) Prize from The Paris Review and a Henfield Foundation Award.
('98SOA) - Darko Tresnjak was the Artistic Director of the Old Globe Shakespeare Festival in San Diego from 2004 to 2009.  His directing credits at the Old Globe include Cyrano de Bergerac, Coriolanus, The Women, The Pleasure of His Company, All’s Well That Ends Well, Bell, Book and Candle, Hamlet, Titus Andronicus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Winter’s Tale, A Comedy of Errors, Antony and Cleopatra, The Two Noble Kinsmen, and Pericles.  He received four awar
('04SOA) - Sergio Umansky is a writer-director from Mexico City. His short film “Here Was the Anthem,” filmed in Mexico, won Best Drama at the Aspen Shortsfest, Best Student Short at the Woodstock Film Festival, the Milos Forman Finishing Fund Award, Second Place Student Live Action over 15 Minutes at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and Best Film at the Columbia University Film Festival. The film showed as part of the New Directors/New Films series at the Lincoln Center, as well as at prestigious film festivals such as Telluride, Sundance and Berlin.
Kaer Vanice
('08SOA) - Kaer Vanice is a producer whose latest film, David Garrett’s Ten Stories Tall, stars Ally Sheedy, Josh Hamilton, and Jim Gaffigan and won Best Screenplay at the Rhode Island International Film Festival. Vanice also produced the short films “High Street Plumbing,” which he also edited, and "Warlord," 2008 Grand Jury Prize winner at SXSW Film Festival and 2007 official selection at Rotterdam Film Festival.
Visual Arts, '75 - Ursula von Rydingsvard is a sculptor who has been working in Brooklyn, New York, for over 30 years.
('07SOA) - Kim Weild is a New York-based director, choreographer, performer, writer and teacher. For ten years she was a student at The School of American Ballet and performed with The New York City Ballet. She first developed movement-oriented theatre pieces in 1986, when she worked as an actor with Robert Wilson in the Richard Strauss opera Salome, performed at Teatro alla Scala in Milan.
SOA Alumnus - Beth Whitaker is Associate Artistic Director of Signature Theatre in New York. She has been with Signature since 1999, first as literary manager and production dramaturg, then as associate artistic director since 2006. She was part of creating and implementing new artistic programs for Signature’s three-theatre complex on 42nd Street, the Pershing Square Signature Center, which opened in January 2012.
('05SOA) -   Barbara Whitman is a theatrical producer whose current Broadway productions include The Glass Menagerie starring Sally Fields and War Paint starring Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole. Barbara made her Broadway debut producing A Raisin in the Sun, starring Sean Combs.
Beau Willimon
('03SOA) - Beau Willimon is a screenwriter, playwright, producer.  He is the creator of Netflix’s original series House of Cards for which he serves as showrunner and executive producer.  House of Cards recently made television history, earning nine Emmy nominations, including Best Drama, the first online streaming show to ever be so honored.
Adam Wilson
('09SOA) - Adam Wilson is the author of the novel Flatscreen (Harper Perennial, 2012). His fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, The Literary Review, Washington Square Review, The New York Tyrant, The Coffin Factory, Meridian and the anthology Promised Lands: New Jewish American Fiction on Longing and Belonging. He is a founding member of the international online newspaper The Faster Times, and former culture editor for Blackbook.
('98SOA) - David Wilson Barnes made his Broadway debut with The Lieutenant of Inishmore and starred in Fifth of July at the Bay Street Theatre. He appeared in a critically acclaimed role in Becky Shaw at Second Stage Theatre, for which he received a Drama League nomination, as well as rave reviews from The New York Times and Variety.
('09SOA) - Lauren Wolkstein was born and raised in Baltimore, Md., by her mother, a schoolteacher, and her father, a colonel in the Air Force who served in several wars, including the Gulf War and the current Iraq War. Lauren received her BA in computer science from Duke University and won the Duke Undergraduate Filmmaker Award. Lauren lived in Los Angeles for a year assisting film producer Chris Hanley at Muse Productions ("The Virgin Suicides," "American Psycho," "Buffalo '66").
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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.