‘Balk’ by Alumni Nominated for a College Television Award

BY Felix van Kann, May 19, 2020

Balk, a 2019 thesis film directed and co-written by alumnus Gabriel Wilson ’19, co-written by alumnus Ben Gottlieb ’19 and produced by alumna Jennifer Kaiser ’19, has been nominated for a College Television Award. Winners can expect a $3,000 cash prize and will be announced at the 40th edition of the event on May 30. The film had its premiere at last year’s Columbia University Film Festival


Balk is one of only twenty-five nominees from over 374 student-produced productions. It is running as one of three projects nominated in the “Comedy Series” category. The film follows Rob and Pat, two middle-aged best buddies and local irritants, who scheme to influence the outcome of a Little League game by kidnapping the star player.


Gabriel Wilson is a director and screenwriter based in New York City whose creative work explores human relationships through a naturalistic lens. He is interested in telling stories of ordinary people whose everyday lives are examples of triumphs both large and small. His films have screened at numerous festivals including the Hamptons International Film Festival, the Independent Film Festival Boston, the River Run International Film Festival, and the Urbanworld Film Festival. His short film Clean was recently acquired for broadcast by PBS. Working as a commercial director, he has created and shot content for brands such as Quiksilver, Harper Collins, and Mashable. 


Ben Gottlieb is a screenwriter with an MFA from Columbia University. After graduating from Brown University with degrees in Art History and Literary Arts, he worked as an editor at The Washington Post and at WNYC. His writing has appeared on the Harper’s website and The Brooklyn Rail, and in the literary journals [sic], The Open Face Sandwich and Matrix Magazine, for which he received the 2013 LitPop Prize.


Jennifer Kaiser is a Creative Producer with an MFA from Columbia University. She is originally from Minnesota, and has worked on productions for PBS, HBO and Netflix in Minnesota and NYC. Currently, she is an Agent Trainee at United Talent Agency.


Established in 1959 as the charitable arm of the Television Academy, the Television Academy Foundation is dedicated to preserving the legacy of television while educating and inspiring those who will shape its future. Through renowned educational and outreach programs, such as The Interviews: An Oral History of Television project, College Television Awards, and Student Internship Program, the Foundation seeks to widen the circle of voices the industry represents and to create more opportunity for television to reflect all of society.