Alumni, Students and faculty Head to Berlinale 2019

February 4, 2019

Alumni Ophelia Harutyunyan '15 and Bora Kim '11, current student Selman Nacar, and faculty members Bette Gordon and Sandra Schulberg are all heading to the 2019 Berlinale Film Festival.


Still from Varody

Still from Varordy, image courtesy of Berlinale


Varordy, produced by Ophelia Harutyunyan, was selected for development for Berlinale's Talent Project Market 2019. The film follows a young mother of two and her struggles to provide when her husband lands in the hospital. Her lack of work experience, as a result of her traditional husband’s confinement, makes it more challenging than anticipated. Harutyunyan's films have shown at Sundance, TIFF, Clermont-Ferrand, Raindance, Woodstock, Austin FF, and elsewhere. Red Apples, the short she wrote and produced, premiered at TIFF and played at a number of other international film festivals, winning the Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Short at Florida FF (qualifying for the Oscars), an Artist Award at Odense FF, and an Audience Award at Austin FF. Currently, Harutyunyan is producing Oscar winning documentarian Alex Gibney's upcoming feature for HBO.


Still from House of Hummingbird

Still from House of Hummingbird, courtesy of Variety


House of Hummingbird, directed and written by Bora Kim, follows a story of a young woman coming of age. In 1994 14-year-old Eun-hee is the youngest of three children, sibling to a difficult middle sister and an overachieving but violent older brother. Variety called the film, “sensitive, keenly observed and unflinchingly honest.” House of Hummingbird received the Pitch & Catch Megabox Grand Award from Seoul International Women's Film Festival and received production support from Korean Film Council, Seoul Film Commission and Seongnam Cultural Foundation. It was also selected for IFP Narrative Lab and received post production support from Sundance Film Festival. Kim previously directed the 2011 short The Recorder Exam.


Still from Aidiyet

Still from Aidiyet, image courtesy of Selman Nacar


Aidiyet, a film produced by Selman Nacar and others, is a contemporary thriller that maps out a criminal case, though it’s the very opposite of a genre film. In a voice-over delivered in the sober tone of a confession, a man reconstructs the murder of his future mother-in-law. Nacar is also a part of Berlinale Talents, and is working on a feature film called Aralık (Lacuna) now, for which he has been awarded a grant of 100,000 TL from the Malatya Film Platform. Nacar previously produced The Pillar of Salt in 2018, which premiered at the 68th Berlin Film Festival in the Forum Section.


Still from Variety

Still from Variety, image courtesy of Metrograph


Variety, a 1983 film directed by Professor Bette Gordon, inverts the traditional narrative structure of cinema – whereby a man watches and a woman is watched – without showing, and thus flaunting, the object of female desire. Unemployed, Christine takes a job at a porn cinema that develops into an obsessive fascination with the darker underworld of NYC. While her family worries, she finds herself on a street corner meeting the man she’s been stalking. Gordon holds a BA, MA, and MFA from The University of Wisconsin–Madison. She began making films in the late 1970s, and some of her credits include Luminous Motion (2000), Handsome Harry (2010), and The Drowning (2017). Some of her films are now a part of permanent collections in several different museums including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.


Headshot of Sandra SchulbergAdjunct Associate Professor Sandra Schulberg is being honored with the Berlinale Camera for her “40 years of service to the field. Since 1986, the Berlinale Camera has been awarded to individuals and institutions that have a connection with the festival and have made an extraordinary contribution to the world of filmmaking… Schulberg founded the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) in 1979, and one year later co-founded the independent distribution company First Run Features. In 2008 she launched IndieCollect, a national campaign to save indie films from extinction. She also serves on the advisory committee of the Women's Film Preservation Fund, established by New York Women in Film & Television.


The Berlinale Film Festival runs February 7 - 17, 2019, and a full view of the program can be found here.