Still from The White Tiger

Alumni and Faculty Films Longlisted for 2021 BAFTA Awards

BY Amanda Breen, February 18, 2021

Seven films by Columbia filmmakers have been longlisted for the 2021 EE British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs). They are The White Tiger, The Mauritanian, The Truffle Hunters, Becoming, Dick Johnson is Dead, Athlete A, All In: The Fight for Democracy, The Assistant, and I'm No Longer Here.


Based on the Aravind Adiga novel of the same name, The White Tiger was directed, produced, and adapted for the screen by Associate Professor Ramin Bahrani (CC ’96) and associate produced by alumnus Mark Haynes ’17. The film follows Balram Halwai (Adarsh Gourav) on his journey from the village to the city of Delhi—shining a light on India’s class struggle in the context of a globalized world. The cast also includes Rajkummar Rao and Priyanka Chopra. The White Tiger is longlisted in seven categories: Film, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Leading Actor, Supporting Actress, Cinematography, and Editing. 

Still from The Mauritanian

The Mauritanian, co-written by alumni Rory Haines ’11 and Sohrab Noshirvani ’12, is based on Mohamedou Ould Salahi’s 2015 Guantánamo Diary, a memoir. The legal drama stars Jodi Foster, Tahar Rahim, Shailene Woodley, and Benedict Cumberbatch. The film has been longlisted in eleven categories: Film, Outstanding British Film, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Leading Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor, Casting, Cinematography, Editing, and Sound. 

Still from The Truffle Hunters

The Truffle Hunters, co-directed and produced by alumnus Gregory Kershaw ’11, centers on Northern Italy’s white Alba truffle, coveted by the world’s wealthiest, kept secret by a small group of Italian elders and their dogs. The film has been longlisted in two categories: Film Not in English Language and Documentary. 

Still from Becoming

Becoming, co-produced by Associate Professor Maureen Ryan and former Professor Marilyn Ness, with Adjunct Assistant Professor Veronica Nickel ’10 as Production Supervisor, Adjunct Assistant Professor Jamund Washington ’10 as Line Producer, alumnus Kevin Contento ’18 as a Production Assistant, and former professor Rick Siegel as Lighting Designer, is a Netflix documentary following former first lady Michelle Obama. It has been longlisted in the Documentary category. 

Still from Dick Johnson is Dead

Dick Johnson Is Dead, also co-produced by Ryan and Ness, assistant directed by Michael Toscano ’12, with alumnus John Wakayama Carey ’14 as Director of Photography, and production managed by Adjunct Assistant Professor Sarah Seulki Oh, follows award-winning documentary director Kirsten Johnson as she stages clever ways for her father, who suffers from dementia, to die. It has also been longlisted in the Documentary category. 


Several other Columbia alumni and one student worked on Dick Johnson Is DeadJoshua Ryan Troxler ’18, Production Coordinator, Mahak Jiwani ’18, Production Coordinator, Kristy Richman ’19, Production Coordinator/Extras Casting, Markus Kirschner ’09, Production, Federica Gianni ’17, Media Manager, Ewing Luo ’18, Production, Frank Liu ’19, Production Assistant, student Alex Yarber, Production Assistant, Jaclyn Noel ’19, Production Assistant, and Christina Wood ’19, Production Assistant. 


Athlete A, executive produced by non-degree alumnus Dan Cogan ’96, centers on young gymnasts who survived USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar’s abuse and The Indianapolis Star reporters who exposed USAG’s negligence. It has also been longlisted in the Documentary category. 


All In: The Fight for Democracy, also produced by non-degree alumnus Dan Cogan ’96, follows filmmakers Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortes as they examine the history of voter suppression and the activists who advocate for the rights of US citizens. It has also been longlisted in the Documentary category. 


The Assistant, produced by Professor James Schamus and directed by Kitty Green, takes place over the course of a single day; junior assistant Jane (Julia Garner) has been working at a New York City film production company for five weeks when she learns her boss has been having sex with many younger women in his office. The film has been longlisted in three categories: Director, Original Screenplay, and Leading Actress. 


I’m No Longer Here, written and directed by alumnus Fernando Frias de la Parra ’15  and produced by alumnus Gerry Kim ’11, follows a young street gang in Northern Mexico. Its members spend their days dancing and partying until there’s a mix-up with a local cartel that forces their leader to flee to the US. It has been longlisted in the Film Not in English Language category. 

The shortlist nominations will be announced on March 9, 2021. 


Still from I'm No Longer Here (Ya No Estoy Aquí)