"It was a proud moment for me a few years back when I learned I was the recipient of the School of the Arts Film Program Andrew Sarris Award. In a funny way, he was the man most responsible for my interest in film. When I was in my last year of high school, I discovered his landmark book The American Cinema, which I carried around with me everywhere, combing through his appreciations of Pantheon Directors as if they were gospel. At a certain point I was convinced I wanted to be a foot soldier in Sarris’ army and do battle against Pauline Kael and her followers. more
"I started the Columbia Film Program an amateur short story writer with very little knowledge of what it actually meant to be a director. In fact, I’ll never forget sitting in Bette Gordon’s Directing I class my first year, looking around the 360-degree room, wondering: How do you know where to put the camera? The possibilities overwhelmed me! But by the end of my first year, with the help of the wonderful faculty, I learned how to go about making that choice. more
"I came to Columbia University School of the Arts Film Program with a very ungrounded understanding of the role directors play in the production of films. So, for me, Eric Mendelsohn’s Directing I class was a very formative experience. more
"To describe my experience at the School of the Arts, I have to start with how I got there. Having worked in the film industry in various capacities for over ten years, I figured that eventually, this would lead me to becoming a writer/director. But instead, I put off working on my own stories and gave excuses of the lack of time, the need for money, experience, etc. I started to question whether I really wanted to be a filmmaker and if I would even be good. So I decided to take a screenwriting class and finished my first feature. I was so happy. It was long overdue. more
"Since I was a little kid, I always wanted to be a writer. But it wasn’t until I came to Columbia University School of the Arts that I learned what it meant to be a writer. My years in the Film Program there taught me the craft of screenwriting, as well as the business of making movies. In so many ways, Columbia was the perfect combination of arts: conservatory and trade school, a place where I could read Aristotle and Eisenstein on narrative theory, and analyze budgets and box office like a science. It was a safe, protected place, but it was never precious. more
Columbia University School of the Arts Film Program alumna Lauren Wolkstein's thesis film, "Cigarette Candy," won the Short Film Jury Award for Best Narrative Short at the 2010 SWSX Film Festival; Best Student Short Film at the 2010 Cleveland International Film Festival; and Best Live Action Student Short Under 15 Minutes at the 2009 Palm Springs International ShortFest, among several additional honors.
Columbia University School of the Arts Film Program alumnus Florin Serban ('08SOA) won the Silver Bear: Jury Grand Prize at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival--the runner-up to best picture at the festival--for his film "Eu cand vreau sa fluier, fluier" ("If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle") in February 2010.
Screenwriter and Film Program alumnus Simon Kinberg ('01SOA) accepted the Columbia University Film Festival's 2010 Andrew Sarris Award at Screenwriting Night at McGraw-Hill Theater May 4. Kinberg's writing credits include Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005), which began as his thesis at the School of the Arts; X-Men: The Last Stand (2006); and Sherlock Holmes (2009). more
Columbia University School of the Arts Film Program alumna Kathryn Bigelow ('81SOA) won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director at the 82nd annual Academy Awards on March 7 for her film "The Hurt Locker." She is the first woman in Oscar history to win Best Director, an honor she has already claimed twice this season, winning Best Director at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards and the Directors Guild of America's (DGA) top prize, for "Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film." The Oscar wins -- six in total -- cap an ext more
Columbia University School of the Arts kicked off its collaboration with the Columbia University Middle East Research Center in Amman, Jordan in June 2010, with a series of screenings of American films about the Iraq War curated by School of the Arts Professor and Director of Lincoln Center Film Society Richard Peña. The five-night film series was free and open to the public, and featured panel discussions with local and regional filmmakers and scholars.