Still from The Raven, an immersive theater experience staged by Faculty members Lance Weiler and Nick Fortugno
Image courtesy of New York Film Festival

Columbia Filmmakers Head to 2019 New York Film Festival

BY Gina Hackett, September 19, 2019

Three works by Columbia filmmakers premiered at the 57th Annual New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center, Fit Model and The Raven.


The Moneychanger, a feature film written by former student Arauco Hernandez had its US premiere at the festival. The Moneychanger stars Daniel Hendler in a tightly coiled performance of comical discomfort as Humberto Brause, who takes advantage of Uruguay’s poor economy by specializing in offshore money laundering. Spanning the fifties to the seventies, the film follows Humberto as he gets increasingly in over his head with multiple shady book-cooking schemes throughout South America, leading to an ultimate life-or-death decision.


Fit Model, a short film by alumna Myna Joseph ’07, depicts a fiercely independent thirty-something actress (played by Lucy Owen) struggling to survive on day jobs while navigating frustrating negotiations with a hospital billing department.


Joseph’s previous work includes MAN, a short film that screened at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, and at MoMa’s New Directors/New Films Festival. In 2008, Joseph was featured by Filmmaker Magazine as one of the ‘25 New Faces of Independent Film.’


The Raven, an immersive theater experience staged by Faculty members Lance Weiler and Nick Fortugno, will also have its world premiere at this year’s New York Film Festival. Exploring the legacy and writings of literary legend Edgar Allen Poe, as well as the mysterious circumstances of his death, this piece combines elements of game play and cutting-edge audio technology.


The Raven will take place at The American Irish Historical Society as an immersive experience spanning all four stories of the historical building.


Weiler is an immersive storyteller, entrepreneur, and thought leader, as well as the director and a founding member of Columbia’s Digital Storytelling Lab, which explores new forms and functions of storytelling in the digital age. His previous work includes this year’s Where There’s Smoke, an autobiographical immersive experience that premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival and which IndieWire called “the crowning achievement of [Weiler’s] career in narrative experimentations.”


Fortugno is a game designer, immersive storyteller, and founder of the game company Playmatics. Both Weiler and Fortugno also collaborated on Frankenstein AI: a Monster Made by Many, an immersive experience that premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.


A longtime centerpiece of New York film culture, the 2019 New York Film Festival runs Friday, September 27 through Sunday, October 13 at Lincoln Center.