Columbia Alumni Shine at Tribeca Festival with Several Awards

Carlos Barragán
June 18, 2024

The 23rd annual Tribeca Festival announced the winners in its competition categories at an awards ceremony at Racket NYC, and several Columbia alumni are among the honorees. 

Griffin in Summer, produced by Juliet Berman (CC '07), swept the awards, receiving multiple accolades in addition to the top honor for the prestigious Founders Award for Best U.S. Narrative Feature. The film also took home the award for Best Screenplay in a U.S. Narrative Feature, and a Special Jury Mention for New Narrative Director, for director Nicholas Colia. 

According to the jury, “This film had the audience in the palm of its hand from the first minute. It straddled the very thin line between heartwarming, tragic, hilarious and awkward. It fills a void in the marketplace for films that touch on sophisticated themes while remaining family friendly. Never pandering, always fresh, full of relatable universal experiences while being incredibly specific and nuanced—this film also features a breakout performance from a young exciting newcomer!"

The Shallow Tale of a Writer Who Decided to Write About a Serial Killer, produced by Alex Peace-Power ’17 and assistant produced by Samantha Lori Glass ’23, won second place in the Narrative Category of the Audience Awards

Finally, Asher Grodman (CC ’10) took home the award for Best Content Creator in the Tribeca X Award Competition for his work on 2023 Jacksonville Jaguars Schedule Release, a mockumentary that went viral last year with 8M views online.

“After a banner year of Tribeca programming, I do not envy our jurors’ task of selecting this year's winners,” said Tribeca Festival Director and SVP of Programming Cara Cusumano. “I'm delighted to see they've chosen to honor a diverse, international, adventurous group of films that truly reflect the Tribeca spirit. We can't wait to continue to follow and support all these films' journeys into the world.”

See a list of winners here.

Original: May 17, 2024

The Tribeca Film Festival has revealed its feature film lineup for 2024, including films by Columbia alumni. Between the Temples, edited by John Magary ’07 and co-written by C. Mason Wells (CC ’06), and The Shallow Tale of a Writer Who Decided to Write About a Serial Killer, produced by Alex Peace-Power ’17 and assistant produced by Samantha Lori Glass ’23, will both screen in the Spotlight Narrative category—a section of the festival which brings audiences highly anticipated premieres from acclaimed filmmakers. Griffin in Summer, produced by Juliet Berman (CC '07), will screen in the US Narrative Competition. The Rising Voices category, a program highlighting the latest short films created by the next generation of BIPOC storytellers, will screen Meal Ticket, directed by Wes Andre Goodrich '23 and co-produced by Patrick Nichols '22 and Yoko Kohmoto '23. In addition, It Was Written: 2023 Jacksonville Jaguars Schedule Release, a short film written, directed, and produced by Asher Grodman (CC '10), is nominated for a Tribeca X Award.The festival, set for June 5-16 in New York City, will showcase 103 feature films from across the world overall.

Between the Temples, co-written by Wells and edited by Magary, will have its New York premiere. The Film follows Ben (Jason Schwartzman), a young widower reeling from the sudden death of his wife. He lives at home with his meddling mothers who not-so-subtly push him to start dipping a toe back into the dating scene. While he participates as a cantor at the local synagogue, Ben suddenly encounters a sense of purpose and unexpected connection in the form of Carla (Carol Kane), his septuagenarian elementary school music teacher who yearns to become a bat mitzvah. While he initially balks at the idea, Carla’s off-kilter yet refreshing takes on the world prove to be the shake-up he needs to start participating in his own life. Their work studying Torah morphs into a friendship that begins to bleed into the personal as they find surprising solace in each other’s presence. 

Two people lie in bed facing each other.

The Shallow Tale of a Writer Who Decided to Write About a Serial Killer, produced by Peace-Power and assistant produced by Lori Glass, will enjoy its world premiere at the festival. In this darkly comedic tale, a struggling writer (John Magaro) finds his life taking a bizarre turn when he befriends a retired serial killer (Steve Buscemi) who becomes his unlikely marriage counselor and muse. As the writer grapples with his second novel and a crumbling marriage to his disillusioned wife (Britt Lower), the former killer reluctantly offers guidance on both matters, leading to a series of twists and turns that blur the lines between reality and fiction. 

Meal Ticket is co-written by Goodrich and Nichols. Goodrich also directed the short film, and Nichols produced alongside Kohmoto. Exciting and tense, Meal Ticket is an anxiety thriller about a tour manager, Saint, who is forced to decide what to do with life-changing news he receives about his client—a young hip hop star fifteen minutes out from the first performance of his debut tour.

Griffin in Summer, produced by Berman, follows fourteen-year-old Griffin over his summer vacation as he attempts to stage his new play—an ambitious cross between Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and American Beauty—despite the tempting distraction of his family's new handyman. This engaging coming-of-age story, which features a supporting turn by Melanie Lynskey, is a portrait of the artist as a young boy dealing with the initial experiences of unrequited love in a way that’s both hilarious and refreshingly original.

2023 Jacksonville Jaguars Schedule Release, written, directed, and produced by Grodman, is available to view on Youtube. The short mockumentary has already won a Webby for Best Scripted Video and went viral last year with 8M views online. In addition to being nominated for a Tribeca X Award, Grodman will speak on a panel at the festival. 

The films screening at Tribeca were selected from an unprecedented pool of 13,016 submissions. Half of the competition films are directed by women, and 35% (36) of the feature films are directed by BIPOC filmmakers. The festival includes 30 films from first-time directors and 25 directors who are returning to the annual New York film festival.

“In a year of record high submissions, despite industry-wide challenges, and global tumult, our incredible filmmaking community delivered again with some of the most surprising, inspiring, hilarious, galvanizing, boundary-breaking and downright entertaining work we’ve had the privilege to feature at the festival,” said Cara Cusumano, Tribeca Festival director and SVP of programming. “Whether grappling with everything from the crisis of global democracy to the most intimate of human dramas, it was heartening to be reminded of the undeniable power of a great film to illuminate our world.”

See the full list of festival films here.