Alumnus Adewale Olukayode '21 Selected for Woodstock Film Festival's Filmmakers Residency/Incubator

BY Angeline Dimambro, April 15, 2022

Alumnus Adewale Olukayode '21 is among the four emerging filmmakers selected to participate in the Woodstock Film Festival's Filmmakers Residency/Incubator program.


2022 marks the second iteration of the festival's annual four-week residency program. The program hosts four emerging filmmakers of diverse and underrepresented backgrounds who are currently developing full-length narrative or documentary films that address social justice themes. The program builds on the Woodstock Film Festival’s legacy of nurturing and supporting independent filmmakers who seek to tell stories that examine today’s most pressing social issues. Each of the four projects fits within the residency’s mission of social responsibility, resting on these four pillars: Climate Crisis, Racism/Immigration, Wealth Inequality, and/or Gender Identity/Women’s Issues.


As part of the program, Olukayode will further develop his narrative feature, East New York, which chronicles the life of a Nigerian-American boy in his childhood, adolescence, and adulthood in the neighborhood of East New York as he watches his community change.  Olukayode previously wrote and directed Home, a short film that follows Femi, a Nigerian immigrant who works as a manager at a grocery store in Brooklyn. The short enjoyed a successful festival run, having screened at the Austin Film Festival, the March On Washington Film Festival, where it won the Grand Prize for Best Narrative Film, and the residency program’s own Woodstock Film Festival. Olukayode also received a DGA student film award for Home

Olukayode, along with the three other selected filmmakers, will participate in workshop sessions, craft lectures, filmmaking labs, and more during the residency program. This year, acclaimed filmmakers Rodrigo Garcia, Sterlin Harjo, Barbara Kopple, and Yoruba Richen will serve as keystone mentors for the program.


The residency will take place during May 2022 at the Theoria Foundation's artist residency in Woodstock, NY. One of the more unique components of the residency is its goal to “ground” the selected filmmakers in a uniquely site-specific manner by providing them with the option to take part in the day-to-day operations of White Feather Farm. The filmmakers will have the opportunity to participate in nature-related activities, workshops, and tutorials, including taking care of livestock and working in the fields or greenhouse.


Adewale Olukayode is a writer, director, educator and comedian born in Lagos, Nigeria, and raised in New York. He graduated from Columbia University’s MFA program for Screenwriting/Directing in 2021. His films address themes of justice, transformation and healing. His style is influenced by African cinema, which he spoke passionately about at the College de France as a guest lecturer. Olukayode won the 2019 Director’s Guild of America student award and has been recognized as a "Writer to Watch" at the Austin Film Festival. His latest short film, Home, has finished its festival run and is now streaming on Topic and Apple TV+. Olukayode’s current project, East New York, won the Princess Grace Louis Srybnik Award.