Columbia Filmmakers Head to the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival

August 22, 2018

The Toronto International Film Festival is dedicated to presenting the best of international and Canadian cinema and creating transformational experiences for film lovers and creators of all ages and backgrounds. This year, 9 films by Columbia filmmakers will screen at the festival that takes place next month.


Still from Tel Aviv on Fire

Still from Tel Aviv on Fire, courtesy of TIFF


Tel Aviv on Fire, directed by Alumnus Sameh Zoabi ’15 and co-written by Special Lecturer Dan Kleinman is having its North American premiere at the festival. The film has also been selected as part of the Discovery Program, flagging Zoabi as a director to watch.


“A middle-aged slacker fails upwards in his job on the set of a popular Palestinian soap opera only to end up fielding script notes from a disgruntled Israeli military officer, in this satire from writer-director Sameh Zoabi.”


Still from Screwdriver

Still from Screwdriver, courtesy of TIFF


Screwdriver, written and directed by Alumnus Bassam Jarbawi ’10 and produced by Alumnus Shrihari Sathe ’09 is having its North American premiere and has also been selected as the final film playing in the Discovery Program.


“After spending more than a decade in prison for a failed attack on an Israeli settler, Ziad struggles to readjust to life in Ramallah, in Bassam Jarbawi’s incisive drama examining the effects of the Occupation and its attendant traumas.”


Still from Mercy of the Jungle

Still from Mercy of the Jungle, courtesy of TIFF


The Mercy of the Jungle, co-written by Alumnus Casey Schroen ’12 is having its North American premiere, also in the Discovery Program.


“Set in 1998 at the outset of the Second Congo War, Rwandan director Joël Karekezi’s second feature is a propulsive odyssey about a pair of Rwandan soldiers navigating both wilderness and personal existential crises while lost behind enemy lines.”


Schroen connected with the film’s director, Joël Karekezi, during a collaboration project between Columbia students and those students from Mira Nair's Maisha lab.


Many other films are having their world premieres in other programmes of the festival.


Still from The Sweet Requiem

Still from The Sweet Requiem, courtesy of TIFF


The Sweet Requiem (སྐྱོ་དབྱངས་མངར་མོ།), produced by Alumnus and Adjunct Assistant Professor Shrihari Sathe ’09 is premiering through the Contemporary World Cinema Programme.


“In a follow-up to 2005’s Dreaming Lhasa, Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam return with a story of a young Tibetan woman grappling with living in exile, revealing a side of the refugee crisis we rarely get to see.”


Still from Green Book

Still from Green Book, courtesy of IndieWire

Green Book, directed by Writing Alumnus Peter Farrelly ’86 is premiering in the Gala Presentations Programme, flagging the film as a must see.


“Award-winning actors Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen star in this engrossing story of a working-class Italian-American bouncer who takes a job chauffeuring an African American classical pianist across the American South in the 1960s.”


Still from Land of Steady Habits

Still from The Land of Steady Habits, courtesy of TIFF


The Land of Steady Habits, written and directed by Alumna Nicole Holofcener ’88, is also premiering in the Gala Presentations Programme.


“Ben Mendelsohn, Edie Falco, and Connie Britton star in the latest from Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said), in which a newly retired husband and father leaves his wife in search of freedom, but his reckless new path leaves him longing for the steady comforts of his old life.”


There are a number of short films of note premiering at the festival.


Still from Viktoria

Still from Viktoría, courtesy of TIFF


Viktoría, written and directed by Current Student Brúsi Ólason and produced by Current Student Kari Ulfsson, will have its international premiere as part of the Short Cuts Programme.


“In this wonderfully controlled depiction of a resolute woman maintaining her strength, determination, and small pleasures when faced with a harsh reality, a dairy farmer weighs her options as she struggles to keep the family farm afloat in Iceland.”


Still from A New Year

Still from A New Year, courtesy of TIFF


A New Year, written and directed by Alumnus George Sikharulidze ’17, is also premiering worldwide through Short Cuts.


“When a man decides to follow his faith, his family faces a crisis at a time of year usually filled with hope. Sensitively wrought and exquisitely performed, George Sikharulidze's drama reveals the impact of a choice that will change many lives.”


Still from Interior

Still from Interior, courtesy of TIFF


Interior, produced by recent Creative Producing Alumna Apoorva Charan ’18, is premiering worldwide in this category.


“Gripping and provocative, Reed Van Dyk's superb follow-up to his recent Oscar nominee DeKalb Elementary delineates the increasingly fraught dynamic between a lonely boy and his mother within the home that may feel more like a prison to them both.”


The Toronto International Film Festival runs September 6 - 16, more information, including showtimes and trailers are available now on the website.