Columbia Filmmakers at 2021 Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival

BY William Hutton, December 20, 2021

Two films directed by alumnus Miguel Silveira ’15 screened this week at the 23rd Festival do Rio in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They are American Thief and The Last Election & Other Love Stories

Still from American Thief

Based on true events, American Thief tells the story of disparate characters—a teenage hacker, a conspiracy vlogger, and a programmer—who find themselves in a plot to derail the 2016 US Presidential Election. Silveira also served as producer, and co-wrote the script with fellow Columbia alumni Missy Hernandez ’17 and Michel Stolnicki ’17.

Still from The Last Election & Other Love Stories

Silveira’s second feature, The Last Election & Other Love Stories, combines documentary, podcast, and flash ethnography to portray Times Square on the day of the 2020 Presidential Election. In the feature, two amateur podcasters record interviews with strangers over a 24-hour period in the hope of catching the pulse of a divided nation. The film was produced by Hernandez. 


Miguel Silveira is a Brazilian-American independent filmmaker and arts educator. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Silveira studied filmmaking at Columbia College Chicago and later received an MFA in Directing from Columbia University. He made the award winning shorts, Namibia BrazilRooftop WarsDevil’s Work, and the feature films American Thief (2020) and The Last Election and Other Love Stories (2021). He will produce I Don't Dream in Spanish Anymore and co-direct A La Tamba, both written by his partner and collaborator, Missy Hernandez. 


Missy Hernandez is a filmmaker, writer, actor, and Assistant Professor in the Cinema and Television Arts departments at Columbia College Chicago, Hernandez graduated from Columbia University with a BA in Cinema Studies and an MFA in Screenwriting. She studied Meisner Technique at the William Esper Acting Studio with Bill Esper. Her most recent film credit and television credits include Associate Producer for Terence Nance’s Peabody Award-winning television series Random Acts of Flyness (produced in partnership with A24 for HBO), and Writer and Co-Producer of the feature length narrative/documentary hybrid social-thriller American Thief (Jerome Foundation Grantee 2016, IFP Narrative Lab Participant 2017). Her upcoming creative work focuses on female-centric narrative stories that highlight and investigate Latinx experiences within the US and the Caribbean. Hernandez teaches courses in screenwriting, television writing, and creative producing at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. 


Michel Stolnicki is a producer, director, writer, cinematographer and editor. His debut feature film as writer-producer is American Thief. Stolnicki executed one of Netflix’s first original productions from France, Solidarité (We Are One), and was part of multiple major Hollywood productions including the horror thriller Things Heard & Seen on Netflix. While a student at Columbia University, Stolnicki won the Jury Award at Urbanworld and the DGA Student Latino Award with Standing8. His thesis film, Alex, Listen To Your Heart, was acquired by HBO and as director, Stolnicki has received the Silver Palm Award at the Mexico International Film Festival with the film Stranded Fish