Columbia School of the Arts Film Program Announces the Columbia Blue List

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Hannah Sanderson Buchner
NEW YORK, April 10, 2014—The Columbia University School of the Arts graduate Film Program proudly announces the Columbia Blue List, a new endeavor connecting alumni with the professional film world. This list is the result of a screenwriting competition for recent alumni of the Program. The inaugural Blue List showcases six exceptional unproduced screenplays (four features and two television pilots), which were selected by a panel of esteemed film industry professionals.

The panel members include actress Glenn Close, director Michael Mann, screenwriter/producer Simon Kinberg, UTA Agent Peter Benedek, WME agent Tom Wellington, screenwriter Jim Hart, producer Dan Powell, producer Jenette Kahn, manager Dan Halsted, manager George Heller, Preferred Content agent Abby Davis, Preferred Content partner Ross M. Dinerstein, and NBC executive Joey Chavez.

In the last decade, Columbia Film Program alumni have put their alma mater on the industry map. This year, Jennifer Lee (’05) had overwhelming box office and Academy Award© success with Frozen, the Disney feature she wrote and co-directed. In 2010, Kathryn Bigelow (’81) became the first woman to win the Academy Award in Directing for The Hurt Locker and went on to direct another Academy Award Best Picture nominee, Zero Dark Thirty. Simon Kinberg (’03), a member of this year’s jury panel, has written a number of Hollywood hits, including Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Sherlock Holmes and X-Men: Days of Future Past, set to hit theaters this May. Nicole Holofcener (’88), writer and director of Enough Said, Lisa Cholodenko (’97), writer and director of The Kids are All Right and Kimberly Peirce (’96), writer and director of Boys Don’t Cry and director of the recent Carrie remake, have all had great critical and commercial success after leaving Columbia.

These success stories speak volumes about the caliber of Columbia’s Film Program. To continue such achievements, current Film MFA candidates Tesia Walker and Emily Shesh, both screenwriters, came up with the Columbia Blue List, modeled on the independent film market’s Black List, a renowned source for quality scripts. With this initiative, Walker and Shesh intend to bring talented writers from Columbia, famous for its focus on sharp storytelling, to the attention of Hollywood.

“Our emphasis on storytelling consistently turns out some of the best screenwriters in the business. The Columbia Blue List will help to bring them the attention they deserve,” said Professor Ira Deutchman, chair of Columbia’s Film Program.
“What a privilege to be on the Columbia Blue List panel,” said Kahn. “The screenplays may be written by students, but they have such a strong sense of narrative and their writing is so assured. I read about 100 screenplays for each one that we option.  For the Blue List panel, I read only nine, but Big Girls was so outstanding that we added it to our slate.” 
“Columbia was such a great collaborator to work with,” says Columbia Blue List panelist and NBC executive Joey Chavez. “Their passion begets passion, and backing it up with incredibly trained and talented writers makes it both a pleasure and a privilege to be part of their efforts to find that next great  batch of new talent.”

Find more information on the Columbia Blue List here→

The 2014 Columbia Blue List

The Archer (feature) by Casey Schroen
Big Girls (original pilot) by Shukree Tilghman
A Death in the Andes (feature) by Nicholas Greene
Gifted + Talented (original pilot) by Hannah Sanderson Buchner
Gone, Jone (feature) by Matthew Tyler
The Swimsuit Issue (feature) by Randall Green

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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.