Columbia Affiliates Head to Tribeca Film Festival

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Columbia University’s School of the Arts has an extraordinary presence at the Tribeca Film Festival this year with films from current students, alumni, and faculty all represented. In total, there are thirty-four School of the Arts affiliated filmmakers across 9 films. These films include feature narratives, documentaries, and shorts.

Three feature narrative films by School of the Arts affiliated filmmakers:

Keep the Change is written and directed by Rachel Israel ‘13. It was produced by Kurt Enger ‘17 and co-produced by Robert Cristiano ‘13. School of the arts alumni Min Ding ‘13, Jonah Bleicher ‘13, Brendon Bouzard ‘13, Chloe Lenihan ‘13, Andy Fortenbacher ‘15, Giovanni Ferrari ‘15, and Scott Riehs ‘15, and current student Eric Ambrosino all worked on the film as well. The film is a love story about a man with social disorders who finds love attending a group for adults with disabilities.

Love After Love is directed by Russell Harbaugh ‘11. He co-wrote the film alongside Professor Eric Mendelsohn, who also served as the executive producer. The rest of the team included Chris Teague ‘06, John Magary ‘07, and Graham Mason ‘11, Alex Goldberg '11, Pinar Yorgancioglu '16, and current students Stephen Lee, Frederica Gianna, and Mark Sean Haynes. This film is about a family who when their patriarch loses a harrowing battle against a fatal disease, Suzanne (Andie MacDowell) and her middle-aged sons, Nicholas (Chris O’Dowd) and Chris (James Adomian), must navigate through their increasingly unstable lives without his support.

Nadie Nos Mira is directed by Julia Solomonoff ‘00. She co-wrote the film with alumna and film adjunct Christina Lazaridi ‘99. The film was produced by Elisa Lleras ‘11 and co-produced by alumnus and film adjunct Bogdan Apetri ‘06. This film tells the story of Nico, who gives up a successful soap opera career in his native Argentina for a chance to make it in New York and finds himself staying afloat with odd jobs bartending and babysitting.

Ths School of the Arts has a strong presence throughout the rest of the festival:

Andrew Hauser ‘12 served as the post-production supervisor on Permission, which is premiering as part of the Spotlight Narrative section of the festival. As far as Anna (Rebecca Hall) is concerned, she couldn’t be happier with her boyfriend, Will (Dan Stevens). They’re talking about marriage and hoping to close on a new Brooklyn brownstone together. While out at dinner for her birthday, Anna’s brother, Hale (David Joseph Craig), and his partner, Reece (Morgan Spector), innocently point out that she’s never been with anyone other than Will. It doesn’t take long for that seemingly innocuous observation to alter Anna and Will’s future. At the same time, Hale and Reece struggle to take the next major step in their own relationship: starting a family.
Noah Pritzker who studied at the School of Arts and is a graduate of the college has a short premiering at the festival, Approaching a Breakthrough. Back in New York after a stint in Los Angeles, Norman Kaminsky has a terrible argument with his girlfriend just before running into a string of characters from his past – and despite his best efforts, Norman can't seem to run away from his problems.

Smirti Mundhra ‘09 and Sarita Khurana ‘11 directed the documentary A Suitable Girl. A Suitable Girl follows four young and modern women in India over the course of four years as they juggle family, career, and friends, intimately capturing their thoughts on arranged marriage, giving them a voice, and offering a unique perspective into the nuances of this institution. Alumna and adjunct Shrihari Sathe ‘09 and alumnus Andre de Alencar Lyon ‘11 worked on the film as well.

L.A. Teodosio ‘15 produced the documentary The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, centered on the self-described “street queen,” Marsha P. Johnson, a legendary fixture in New York City’s gay ghetto, who along with fellow trans icon Sylvia Rivera, founded Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries (S.T.A.R.), a trans activist group based in the heart of NYC’s Greenwich Village.

Johnson Cheng ‘20 wrote and directed the short Iron Hands, which was produced by Zhuo Tianqi ‘19 and Xixi Wang ‘20. Wen Shipei ‘19 also worked on the film, which is about a 12-year-old girl as she prepares for her final test trying out for the traditionally all-boys Chinese youth Olympic weightlifting team, and the unlikely connection she makes with the gym's reclusive groundskeeper.

Victoria Rivera ‘21 directed the short documentary Skull + Bone. For 200 years every Mardi Gras has started the same way: Dressed as skeletons, armed with bones, the Northside Skull and Bone Gang wake the city before dawn with drums, chants and ceremonial knocking on doors to warn people against violence, gunplay and other negative influences on the streets. This film is about those celebrations.

Nicole Delaney '14 was Writer/Producer/Director and John Wakayama Carey '14 was directing producer for the film, YOYO. In post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, after a dust storm has wiped out humanity, Caroline meets Francis and is convinced that he’s the man to pop her cherry. YOYO is a heartfelt, dark comedy about finding meaning in life, even when life ceases to exist.
Two alums worked on films that are showing as Tribeca NOW Special Screenings at the festival.

Marshall Lewy ’06 was the executive producer for the film, Pineapple, about a local coal mine in the town of Black Rock that becomes a crime scene when a miner’s daughter is assaulted in its tunnels. She utters only one word, which leaves the town baffled: “pineapple.” Tensions rise as the mine’s opportunistic owner uses the investigation as an excuse to shutter the dying operation indefinitely.

The film Two Sentence Horror Story, Mona still lives at home with her stern but loving Ma, like many traditional Chinese families. When she meets cute Erica, their instant chemistry awakens something dormant inside. But Ma is not going to let her daughter go easily. Alum Wei-Yi Lin ’12 is one of the actors in this film.

Filmmakers from this institution continue to make an impact across genres and disciplines. The storytellers that make up the School of the Arts’ community are a diverse and international group of artists that continue to demonstrate this institution’s commitment to bold and innovative storytelling.  
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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.