Film Program Alumnus Toby Fell-Holden Wins Coveted Iris Prize

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Film alumnus Toby Fell-Holden’s ‘13 short film Balcony won the coveted Iris Prize this November. The Iris Prize Festival is is the largest LGBT short film festival in the world. For the top honor, Fell-Holden was awarded £30,000 to support production another short film.

Balcony tell the story of a neighborhood rife with racial tension, where a local girl falls for a recent immigrant who is the victim of prejudice and shame. Said Fell-Holden of the short, “I wanted to tell a story that captures the daily injustices, individual and institutional, in an environment like the estate I grew up on, a place that struggled with racial tension and simmering rumours.”

Fell-Holden’s film was initially selected by Film London as part of their competitive London Calling Plus program aimed at black, asian, and minority-ethnic (BAME) filmmakers. Balcony premiered at the 2015 BFI London Film Festival, and went on to win the London Calling Plus Award for Best Short Film and a BIFA nomination for Best British Short Film. Aditionally, Fell-Holden received three Academy Accredited Best Short Film Awards for Balcony – at Flickerfest International Short Film Festival, Urbanworld Film Festival, and the Calgary International Film Festival.

Fell-Holden graduated from Columbia’s Film MFA in 2013, and holds a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University. Little Shadow, his thesis film, was long-listed for a BAFTA and nominated by the Casting Society of America (CSA) for an Artios Award.

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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.