Columbia Shines With Sundance Success

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Chris Galletta and Jordan Vogts-Roberts

With still a few days remaining before the end of this year’s Sundance program, the creative efforts of Columbia alumni have garnered recognition in a series of business deals that will help see these films make it to the big screen.

Toy’s House, written by Chris Galletta (’10 SOA), has secured a deal with CBS Films, granting its domestic rights to the production company. The film centers around three boys who venture into the wild with hopes of building a house and life in the wilderness.

Magnolia Pictures has picked up Prince Avalanche, a comedy that follows the dynamic between two men painting traffic lines on a country road. The film features celebrated performances from Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd. Written by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson (’08 SOA),  the feature met a warm reception at its Sundance Premiere. Tobias Munthe (’08 SOA) is credited as the executive producer and Craig Zobel (Adjunct Faculty) as producer.

Upstart distribution company A24 scored the rights to James Ponsoldt’s (’05 SOA) The Spectacular Now. Ponsoldt’s film explores the evolving relationship between an alcoholic high school student and the studious girl he begins to date. Variety has heralded the film as “a bittersweet ode to the moment of childhood’s end [that] builds quietly to a pitch-perfect finale.”

Other films have attracted the attention of major media outlets. God Loves Uganda, a documentary investigating the ties between American evangelical churches, their missionaries and the standing of homosexuality in Africa, appeared on the New York Times homepage, Wednesday, January 23 with an accompanying video. Directed by Academy Award winner Roger Ross Williams, the film was edited by Benjamin Gray (’07 SOA) and Richard Hankin (’92 SOA).

Sundance festivities will conclude Sunday, January 27. 

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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.