Jon Haller is a writer and director from Carbondale, Ill. He earned his MFA in Screenwriting from Columbia University School of the Arts, where he received the inaugural Lewis Cole Memorial Screenwriting Award. As a playwright, he has received three fellowships from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Named by The Dramatist magazine as one of "50 to Watch," he has also written and directed award-winning online videos for companies such as Random House, AT&T and The Onion News Network.more
Tanya Hamilton is a Jamaica-born filmmaker who made her feature film debut with the award-winning Night Catches Us. The film won five Black Reel Awards, including Best Film and Best Screenplay. It was also nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, four Image Awards, a Gotham Award, a Chlotrudis Award, and the Sundance Grand Jury Prize. In the film, Anthony Mackie plays a young man who returns to the Philadelphia neighborhood where he came of age and must confront his complicated past in the Black Panther movement.more
Nicole Holofcener is a writer and director acclaimed for her work in film and television. Her most recent film, Please Give, won the Spirit Awards’ Robert Altman Award and was nominated for Best Screenplay. The independent comedy-drama starred Catherine Keener and Rebecca Hall. Holofcener got her start in film as production assistant on Woody Allen’s A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy and then moved up to apprentice editor on the director’s Hannah and Her Sisters.more
Courtney Hunt’s debut feature film, Frozen River, won a slew of awards and was featured on many critics best films of 2008 lists, including those for The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. The film, which Hunt wrote and directed, is an unflinching drama about a working-class single mother who, desperate for quick cash to make ends meet, joins a Mohawk woman in smuggling immigrants over the Canadian border. The film won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize and opened the New Directors/New Films festival at MoMA and the Lincoln Center.more
Annemarie Jacir has been working in independent film since 1994 and has written, directed and produced a number of films, including "A Post Oslo History" (1998), "The Satellite Shooters" (2001) and "Like Twenty Impossibles" (2003). She has taught courses at Columbia, Bethlehem, and Birzeit University. She also works as a freelance editor and cinematographer. Salt of this Sea (2008) is her first feature film and her second work to debut at Cannes Film Festival. Having been banned from returning to Palestine, she now lives in Amman, Jordan.more
After graduating Columbia College ('63CC, English literature), Alan Jacobs was a film student at the School of the Arts in the mid '60s but left early to take work as a documentary director, editor, and producer. He eventually received the MFA in 2004 in order to teach film at the university level. In the interim Jacobs was co-owner of Odeon Films, a New York independent production and distribution film company, co-directing, co-producing, and editing documentaries for 15 years.more
Khary Jones was born and raised in Camden, New Jersey.
His short film Hug was an Official Selection of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize (Student Film) at the 2009 AFI-Dallas Film Festival. Hug has also screened at the South by Southwest Film Festival, the Palm Springs International ShortFest, Screen Brooklyn: the 43rd Brooklyn Arts Council Film Festival (where it won the Screenwriting Award), and many other festivals.more
Simon Kinberg received his BA from Brown University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude. He received an MFA from Columbia University School of the Arts Film Program, where he was the recipient of the Zaki Gordon Fellowship for Screenwriting.more
Eilis Kirwan is a screenwriter whose first feature film, The Whistleblower, is slated for theatrical release in August 2011. The film is based on the true experience of a woman peacekeeper in Bosnia who blows the whistle on a sex scandal the UN has sought to cover up, as told in the book by Kathryn Bolkovac and Carrie Lynn Pelgrave. Kirwan’s short films include “Nostradamus and Me” and “Little Christmas,” both of which she wrote and directed.
('01CC, Film Studies major) -
Larysa Kondracki directed and cowrote the film The Whistleblower. The film, adapted from the exposé written by Kathryn Bolkovac with Cari Lynn, tells the true story of the UN sex trafficking scandal Bolkovac uncovered while working at a peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. The film won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, won the Phillip Borsos Award for Best Film at the Whistler Film Festival, and was nominated for the Cinema for Peace Award.more
Writer-director James Mangold is known for a string of box-office hits. His biopic Walk the Line, which depicts the rise to stardom of Johnny Cash, starred Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, who won an Oscar for her performance as June Carter Cash. His next film, 3:10 to Yuma—a remake of a 1957 Western—garnered critical acclaim and two Academy Award nominations. The film starred Russell Crowe and Christian Bale.
Screenwriter and director Greg Mottola is best known for hit coming-of-age comedies Adventureland and Superbad. His latest project, a sci-fi comedy called Paul, was released in March 2011. The film stars Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Seth Rogen. Mottola made his feature directing debut in 1996 with The Daytrippers, an independent comedy starring Hope Davis, Stanley Tucci, Parker Posey, and Liev Schrieber.more
Ron Nyswaner is a screenwriter, playwright, activist, and author.
He wrote the screenplay for The Painted Veil, an adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham’s novel, for which he received an Independent Spirit Award nomination and the National Board of Review’s Best Adapted Screenplay Award.
Ben Odell is currently head of production for Pantelion Films, the joint venture between Lionsgate and Grupo Televisa. In his role at Pantelion, Odell is developing and producing films aimed at the Hispanic market in the United States. He recently produced the movie See If I Care, directed by Patricia Riggen (Under the Same Moon) and starring Eva Mendes, Matthew Modine, Patricia Arquette and Mexican comedian Eugenio Derbez.more
Ian Olds is a director of both narrative and documentary work. He directed Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi, a feature-length documentary that follows the relationship between an Afghan interpreter and his client, American journalist Christian Parenti. The film won Best New Documentary Filmmaker at the Tribeca Film Festival, First Prize of the Jury at Documenta Madrid, and the Special Jury Prize at Pesaro Film Festival.more
David Pastor is a writer and director. He made his feature debut with Carriers, which he co-wrote and co-directed with his brother Àlex Pastor. The horror film starred Chris Pine, Piper Perabo, Lou Taylor Pucci, and Emily VanCamp as four friends facing difficult choices as they flee a deadly pandemic. Pastor’s most recent work has been writing episodes for the Spanish science-fiction series El barco, which chronicles the aftermath of a catastrophic accident in a particle accelerator.more
In her unflinching debut feature film, the acclaimed Boys Don’t Cry, Kimberly Peirce staked her place as a director of singular vision and craft, while shining a light on the shifting landscape of gender, identity and assimilation.more
James Ponsoldt is a writer and director from Athens, Ga., who divides his time between New York and Los Angeles. His first feature film, Off the Black, premiered at Sundance earlier this year and was picked up for wide distribution by ThinkFilm. The film starred Nick Nolte as an alcoholic umpire who befriends a player initially angered by his erratic calls and persuades him to pose as his son for his 40th high school reunion. In addition, Colin has produced numerous shorts that have been featured in festivals in the United States and abroad.more
Dmitry Povolotsky is a writer, director, and choreographer living in Brooklyn. At the age of 10, he was selected to attend the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow to study classical ballet. After graduating from the academy nine years later, Dmitry was awarded a full scholarship to Juilliard in New York City, where he received a BFA in modern dance and choreography. Dmitry remained in New York City to perform with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet for eight seasons and to teach ballet and choreograph for inner city youth at the Harlem School of the Arts.
SOA Alumna -
Television producer and writer Vanessa Reisen has worked on a number of hit shows. Most recently, she has worked as supervising producer and writer for Showtime’s Californication, starring David Duchovny. Before that, she served in a similar capacity for Weeds, another popular Showtime drama. She has also served as writer and producer for CBS’s Swingtown and ABC’s Traveler.more