Alumni Films Nominated at Vimeo Festival 2020
BY Felix van Kann, December 7, 2020
The Vimeo Festival 2020 is starting on January 14 with two films by Columbia filmmakers nominated for Vimeo's Best of the Year awards that recognize exceptional Staff Picked videos from the past year. Bye Bye Body, written and directed by student Charlotte Benbeniste and produced by alumna Barbara Twist ’20, was nominated in the Best Drama Film category where it competes against four other films for the award. Nominated in the Best Travel Film category is Malpelo, a short film written and directed by alumna Victoria Rivera '20 and produced by alumna Camila Zavala '19. The festival will hand out awards in a total of 19 categories in its first fully virtual award show.
Bye Bye Body follows Nina who, when failing to meet her goal at weight loss camp, makes a deal with the devil, only to discover a new understanding of her body. The film celebrated its world premiere at the Austin Film Festival in 2019.
Charlotte Benbeniste is a filmmaker from Los Angeles. She has worked in the AD Departments on Celeste and Jesse Forever, Before We Go, John Wick 2, and assisted fellow Iranian-American director Ana Lily Amirpour on her second feature film, The Bad Batch. Her first film June starred Mozart in the Jungle and Gone Girl’s Lola Kirke, and her short documentary, Take You Down To, about the Cowgirls of Color, premiered on Nowness in June 2017.
Bye Bye Body’s producer, Barbara Twist is a filmmaker based in New York City. Her most recent film, Articulate, screened as part of the University of Michigan’s 3C-Screens Bicentennial Celebration. She was listed on Celluloid Junkie’s Top 50 Women in Global Cinema in 2017, featured in BoxOffice’s “Women in Exhibition and Distribution” in October 2015, and has participated on many festival and conference panels on contemporary exhibition issues and micro distribution strategies.
Malpelo tells the story of Mia, a solitary free diver, who is recruited by someone from her past to take the treacherous journey to Malpelo—a remote Colombian island—in order to investigate the troubling disappearance of hammerhead sharks. To do so, she has to reconcile with her past and navigate the dangerous waters of the Pacific Ocean, trapped on a boat with an all-male crew that seems to be just as slippery as the predators she’s studying.
Its director, Victoria Rivera is a New York-based writer/director who hails from Colombia. Her award-winning short films have screened at Telluride Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival and Palm Springs Shortfest, where she was awarded a Jury Award in 2019 for Night Swim. In 2018, the Directors Guild of America awarded her the Student Film Award for Verde. Malpelo, her first feature, received recognition from Film Independent and was awarded a screenwriting grant by the Sloan Foundation. Rivera was recently featured in Filmmaker Magazine's 25 New Faces of Independent Film list.
Malpelo’s producer, Camila Zavala is a Peruvian writer and producer based in Los Angeles. As a producer, she has won several awards and has been selected to screen at festivals such as the Tribeca Film Festival, Palm Springs International Shortfest and Telluride Film Festival. Her thesis film, The Catch, which she wrote and produced, received the Katherina Otto-Bernstein Production Grant and the Bertha Tamayo Grant during the production stage, and was awarded the Richard Brick Fund for special distinction in Producing.