‘Leylak’ Wins Best Drama at 2021 New York Shorts International Film Festival

BY Angeline Dimambro, November 12, 2021

Leylak has been named Best Drama at the 2021 New York Shorts International Film Festival. This win comes amidst the film’s sparkling screenings on the film festival circuit, where it was recently named the winner of the 2021 Special Jury Mention Award in the shorts category of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. 

 

Leylak was written and produced by Mustafa Kaymak '14, associate produced by Mark Castillo '18, and executive produced by Sola Fasehun '15. The film takes place in present day Queens, New York and follows a Turkish gravedigger who, unable to face a shattering truth, risks losing the dearest connection left in his life. 

 

You can watch all of the winning films from the New York Shorts International Film Festival here for a limited time.

 

Mustafa Kaymak was born in Ankara, Turkey. He is the producer and the co-writer of the Sundance award winning short movie, Green. He received his BA in Journalism from Ankara University, Turkey and holds two MFA degrees: one in Playwriting and another in Creative Film Producing both from Columbia University.

 

Sola Fasehun, who studied Creative Producing at Columbia, previously worked under Academy Award winning producer Michael Philips (Taxi Driver, The Sting), has her own independent film company Fasehun Films, and has partnered with Jaime King (Sin City, Pearl Harbor) to form the production company Hooligan Dreamers. She is also one of the producers of Slayers, soon to be released, and starring Abigail Breslin, Thomas Jane, and Malin Akerman.

 

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: October 19, 2021

 

Two films by Columbia filmmakers will screen at the 2021 New York Shorts International Film Festival. They are: Labor Day, written and directed by Haya Alghanim '20, produced by student Annie Pettinga, co-produced by Brittany Fauconnet '16; and Leylak, written and produced by Mustafa Kaymak '14, associate produced by Mark Castillo '18, and executive produced by Sola Fasehun '15.

 

The New York Shorts International Film Festival celebrates its tenth year this year. The two films made by Columbia filmmakers are among over 300 films that make up the festival’s 2021 official selection, a number that makes New York Shorts the largest short film festival in the United States on the East Coast. Committed to bringing the theatrical experience back to New York City, New York Shorts will hold in-person screenings from October 29 to November 4, 2021. All the films will also screen virtually throughout October.

Still from Labor Day

Haya Alghanim’s Labor Day follows Dina as she is invited to spend Labor Day weekend in the Hudson Valley with a new group of friends. It’s there where she slowly realizes these women aren’t what they seem to be. The film will screen in-person on October 31, 2021 as part of Program 12. 

 

The following Columbia alumni also worked on the film: Waleed Alqahtani ’20 (Cinematographer), Tony Yang ’20 (1st Assistant Director), Christina Wood ’19 (Art Department, Set Dresser), Mackenzie Lyle ’20 (Sound Recordist), Henry Arroyo ’21 (1st Assistant Camera), and Mitchell Gomes ’20 (Script Supervisor). Labor Day also screened at the 2021 Tallahassee Film Festival as part of the Family Plots Short Program.

 

Haya B. AlGhanim is a screenwriter, director, and producer based between New York City and Kuwait City. Through her artistic and professional practice, AlGhanim aims to preserve and represent modern Arab art and culture. Her short films have screened at various international film festivals and other exhibition venues. Her short narrative, Same, Old. premiered at HBO’s Urbanworld Film Festival in New York and is currently traveling to other cities. Her short documentary, By the Medina, For the Medina won in the Best Documentary Short category at the first Kuwait Film Festival and was nominated for the Arab Film Awards presented by the Arab Film Institute.

 

Annie Pettinga is an American filmmaker living in New York City. She is a graduate of Syracuse University's College of Visual and Performing Arts where she received a BFA in Film with a concentration in Directing and a Minor in Drama. She has also studied Film at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague and Acting at Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City. Pettinga is a Screenwriting and Directing MFA candidate at Columbia University. She is the director of the short film We Don't Eat (2020). Outside of her work as a filmmaker, Pettinga is a video and installation artist, curator, and one of the co-founders of the feminist art collective Girl on Girl Collective.

 

Brittany Fauconnet is a Los Angeles-based film professional with experience in production and development. Having recently completed Columbia University’s Film MFA Program with a concentration in Creative Producing, Fauconnet is passionate about collaboration and meaningful storytelling. Before entering graduate school, Fauconnet worked freelance in production. Her credits include studio films and television shows (including jobs with Marvel, Sony, Netflix, Amazon, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, and more). She also has experience in locations and studio operations. Fauconnet’s production experience and storytelling knowledge give her a unique and holistic understanding of the film and television industry. 

Still from Leylak

Leylak takes place in present day Queens, New York and follows a Turkish gravedigger. Unable to face a shattering truth, he risks losing the dearest connection left in his life. The film will screen in-person on October 30, 2021 as part of Program 7. In addition to New York Shorts, Leylak will also screen at the Indie Memphis Film Festival from October 20 to 25, 2021. The film was also named the winner of the 2021 Special Jury Mention Award in the shorts category of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. 

 

Mustafa Kaymak was born in Ankara, Turkey. He is the producer and the co-writer of the Sundance award winning short movie, Green. He received his BA in Journalism from Ankara University, Turkey and holds two MFA degrees: one in Playwriting and another in Creative Film Producing both from Columbia University.

 

Sola Fasehun, who studied Creative Producing at Columbia, previously worked under Academy Award winning producer Michael Philips (Taxi DriverThe Sting), has her own independent film company Fasehun Films, and has partnered with Jaime King (Sin CityPearl Harbor) to form the production company Hooligan Dreamers. She is also one of the producers of Slayers, soon to be released, and starring Abigail Breslin, Thomas Jane, and Malin Akerman.

 

Mark Castillo is film producer and graduate of Columbia University’s MFA Film Program. He has previously worked as the line producer for the short film Green, a project by Columbia filmmakers that won best narrative short at Sundance in 2019. 

 

Find further ticketing information for the 2021 New York Shorts Festival here.