Columbia Filmmakers at New Orleans Film Festival; Several Films Take Home Awards

Angeline Dimambro
November 18, 2022

Update: November 18, 2022

Several films from Columbia filmmakers are among the 2022 Award Winners at the New Orleans Film Festival

Ellie Foumbi '17, writer and director of Our Father, The Devil, was named the Jury Award Winner of the festival’s Narrative Features Competition. In recognition of her award-winning film, Foumbi will receive a $15,000 Panavision camera rental package and $13,500 of Light Iron Post Production services.

Stay Awake, written and directed by Jamie Sisley '15 and produced by Adjunct Professor and Senior Production Advisor Shrihari Sathe '09, received the Special Jury Recognition in the same category. The film also took home the Audience Award in the Narrative Feature category.

Several more films from Columbia filmmakers were Audience Award Winners in their respective categories, including: A New Orleans Noel, co-written and directed by Angela Tucker ’05, Evergreen, written, directed, and edited by Iman Shervington ’10, and Sound to Sea, a short film written and directed by Ryan Craver ’20 and produced by Barbara Twist ’20, co-produced by Glenn Brown '20, Lauren Fondren '22 and Patrick Nichols '22.

Find more about all of the exciting projects from Columbia filmmakers that screen at NOFF below.

Original: November 4, 2022

Columbia Filmmakers at New Orleans Film Festival

Multiple films from Columbia filmmakers have been selected to screen at the 2022 New Orleans Film Festival, which will take place in person November 3-8, 2022 in venues across the city.

The New Orleans Film Festival (NOFF) hosts filmmakers in New Orleans each year to celebrate works of emerging and established filmmakers from New Orleans, Louisiana, the South, and beyond. Audiences get a chance to meet filmmakers in person at talkback sessions after screenings while filmmakers get to network with each other and industry professionals flying in from Los Angeles and New York to discover emerging talent. The festival, now in its 33rd year, will give audiences a chance to see over 140 films, the majority of which will also be accessible online via the NOFF Virtual Cinema globally between November 3-13, 2022.

The following films from Columbia artists will have the honor of screening at the upcoming festival:

From Fish to Moon

Written and Directed by Kevin Contento '18

This short film takes its name from a common expression in medieval Persian verse, meaning "from the depths to the heights." In Pahokee, Florida, there is a grocery store at which those who work arrive early and stay all day, roaming the aisles. One of these employees is Jean Voltaire, who is at the center of this piece.

Contento’s film, for which he also served as cinematographer and editor, will screen as part of NOFF’s Doc Shorts: Southern Dreams and Ruminations Program, which showcases work from Southern filmmakers who weave disciplines such as photography, poetry and performance to explore where they come from and how it’s shaped them. The short will be available to stream virtually and have its in-person screening Saturday, November 5 at the New Orleans Jazz Market. 

From Fish to Moon marks Contento’s return to NOFF. His feature film The Conference of the Birds, which he directed and edited, previously won the Feature Narrative Jury Award at the 2021 iteration of the festival as well as the Directors’ Choice Award and the Audience Choice Award at the 2021 Tallahassee Film Festival

Our Father, The Devil

Written and Directed by Ellie Foumbi '17

In this stunning narrative feature, Masie Cissé works as the head chef at a retirement home in small-town France. Her easy day-to-day life is disrupted by the arrival of Father Patrick, an African priest whom she recognizes from a terrifying episode in her homeland. 

Our Father, The Devil first had its North American premiere at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival, where it was awarded the honor of Best Narrative Feature. The film will be available to stream through NOFF’s virtual portal and will screen at the Broad Theater on Tuesday, November 8, 2022.


Written and Directed by Rodney Llaverias '20

Produced by Fernando Iriarte '19 and Lauren López De Victoria '19

Co-produced by Esteban Garcia Vernaza '20

In this narrative short, an aging hermit frees herself from the caretaking of her ailing mother when a strange and wounded dog appears in her home, demanding all of her attention. The film will screen at the Broad Theater on Saturday, November 5 in addition to being available online. The film previously screened at the 2022 Columbia University Film Festival.

Still from Stay Awake - two young men sit solemnly in a living room filled with balloons.

Stay Awake

Written and Directed by Jamie Sisley '15 

Produced by Adjunct Professor and Senior Production Advisor Shrihari Sathe '09

This narrative feature film dramedy, inspired by Sisley’s own family, looks at the struggles of brothers Ethan (Wyatt Oleff) and Derek (Fin Argus) as they try to care for their addicted mother Michelle, played by Chrissy Metz.Stay Awake was awarded a Special Jury Mention in the 2022 Berlin International Film Festival. The original short film on which the feature is based premiered at the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival and won the Jury Award for Best Narrative Short Film at the 2015 Slamdance Film Festival. 


Still from Evergreen - a man stands in the background, in front of a building with large decorative windows and near an enormous tree


Written, Directed, and Edited by Iman Shervington ’10

In the midst of a downward spiral, Evergreen’s Brandon, a college student in New Orleans, discovers a truth about his past that could either liberate him or push him over the edge. After isolating himself from most of his friends, Brandon struggles to piece his life together and find the support he needs to get back on top. The film will be available to stream online through NOFF’s platform in addition to its in person screenings.


Still from Sound to Sea - Two children sit at a table in a cabin. A woman looks over their shoulders at their books laid out in front of them.

Sound to Sea

Written and Directed by Ryan Craver ’20

Produced by Barbara Twist ’20

Co-Produced by Glenn Brown '20, Lauren Fondren '22 and Patrick Nichols '22

In this narrative short, the lives of a closeted middle schooler and his closeted teacher intersect in a poetic rendering of an overnight ecology field trip on the coast of North Carolina. The film was supported by the 2019 Davey Foundation Grant and the 2019 Columbia University School of the Arts Sloan Production Award.


A New Orleans Noel

Co-written and Directed by Angela Tucker ’05

In this feature film perfect for the holiday season, Grace Hill (Keshia Knight Pulliam) and Anthony Brown (Brad James) could not be more different. Despite having gone to college to study architecture together, their lives took them on completely separate paths. However, when they’re both hired to work together on the home of Loretta Brown (Patti LaBelle)—a New Orleans praline icon—the two find themselves working together at Christmas and butting heads over more than just architecture. When Anthony and his family discover that Grace will be celebrating Christmas alone, they invite her to take part in their traditions and their celebrations. Soon, fiercely independent Grace begins to learn the importance of family and community, while modern Anthony learns to embrace tradition and the magic of Christmas. A New Orleans Noel will make its World Premiere at NOFF before its National Broadcast television premiere, which you can catch on Lifetime on Saturday, December 3 at 8 pm.