Columbia Filmmakers Head to 2019 New Orleans Film Festival in October

Felix van Kann
September 27, 2019

Five films from Columbia alumni and students will show at the 30th edition of the New Orleans Film Festival. This year’s festival runs from October 16-23. 

Chemistry of Mood, directed and executive produced by alumnus Nona Schamus '18, written and produced by current student Ryan Craver and executive produced by alumnus Eric Salmon '18 will have its world premiere on October 19th in the Narrative Shorts selection. In Chemistry of Mood, a new-age lifestyle guru thinks she ‘knows her wound,’ but discovers the path to healing is full of unexpected twists and turns.

Dios Nunca Muere (God Never Dies), written and directed by alumna Barbara Cigarroa '18 and produced by alumna Julie O'Leary '16 will also screen in the Narrative Shorts selection. When a new mobile home arrives on the farm where they live with dozens of other undocumented families, Paula allows herself and her children to imagine the home is their own – if only for a moment.

Hierophany, written, directed and produced by alumnus Kevin Contento '18 is another contender in the Narrative Shorts selection. The film follows a Florida boy living on the margins of American society as he comes in contact with the sacred via a stolen backpack full of rabbits. Hierophany will also screen at the Bushwick Film Festival in October. In August, Contento won the Best Director Award at the 307 Film Festival in Wyoming.

Also running in the Narrative Shorts selection is Manila is Full of Men Named Boy, written and directed by alumnus Andrew Stephen Lee '18, co-written by alumnus Emre Gulcan '17 and current student Neda Jebelli, co-produced by alumna Mica Coburn '17 and executive produced by alumna Valerie Castillo Martinez '16. Set in Manila, July 7, 2009, Michael Jackson’s funeral is televised throughout the Philippines, while terrorists attack in the south. An estranged son purchases a child who can drink and smoke to impress his father.

Another world premiere will be Amateur Night by director and current student Gina Hackett which precedes the film Test Pattern in the Narrative Feature Competition. The film focuses on sisters Ruby and Emma who scramble to find fast cash so little Emma can perform in her ballet recital. Left with no alternatives, teenage Ruby decides to dance too…just not ballet.

As the longest running festival of its kind in the state of Louisiana and one of the largest film festivals in the South, the New Orleans Film Festival shows more than 220 films and has more than 500 filmmakers attending. The festival is one of the few festivals that is Oscar-qualifying in all three Academy-accredited categories.