Columbia Filmmakers Screen at First Annual Diversity and Inclusion Film Festival

BY Angeline Dimambro, May 19, 2022

2022 marks the first-ever Diversity and Inclusion Film Festival (DIFF). The festival, which took place from May 6-8, 2022, is a joint effort between The Distribution Collective (TDC) and 30 Under 30 Film Festival (30U30FF). 

 

Presented at Lincoln Center, DIFF’s inaugural year focused on providing a supportive and inclusive atmosphere to diverse, independent filmmakers of all ages. It is the festival’s mission to connect filmmakers to the tools that can help them establish a network of career support. The festival’s three days included screenings, panels, parties, and networking opportunities aimed at supporting the careers of the next generation of diverse filmmakers.

 

Creative Producing alumna Sola Fasehun '15 is a co-founder of DIFF alongside Sebastian Rea (30U30FF), as well as the founder of TDC and president of Fasehun Films. In addition to screening two of her own films, Fasehun served as moderator for several of the festival's panels, including the closing night reception. 

 

Several films from Columbia alumni were featured at the festival. See below for a complete list:


 

Green

DIFF Shorts Program: Personal Journeys

Directed and co-written by Suzanne Andrews Correa ’17

Co-written and produced Mustafa Kaymak ’17

 

In Green, an undocumented Turkish pedicab driver unwittingly draws police attention, endangering his brother, his community, and himself.


 

Anita

DIFF Shorts Program: Personal Journeys

Directed by Sushma Khadepaun '20

Produced by Ankur Singh

Co-produced by Sasha John '17


 

While attending her sister's wedding in India, the forces of patriarchy push Anita to question whether her life in America is any better than in her hometown. The film won the Best Film Award at  the 2021 Columbia University Film Festival.


 

Leylak

DIFF Shorts Program: Personal Journeys

Directed by Scott Aharoni and Dennis Latos

Written and produced by Mustafa Kaymak

Executive Produced by Sola Fasehun

Associate Produced by Mark Castillo ’18

 

The film takes place in present day Queens, New York and follows a Turkish gravedigger who, unable to face a shattering truth, risks losing the dearest connection left in his life. 


 

Absent

DIFF Shorts Program: Family Ties

Co-written and directed by Sudarshan Suresh ’19

Co-written by Shakti Bhagchandani ’18

Produced by Steven Chua ’16

Co-Producer: Sola Fasehun

Edited by Sudarshan Suresh, Shakti Bhagchandani

 

Resigned to a mundane life of caring for a mother with dementia, Zola sees a fleeting chance at escape when she runs into an old crush.


 

1056 Metres

DIFF Shorts Program: Family Ties

Co-written and directed by Edwin Ho ’18

Co-written by Barbara Cigarroa ’18 and Tania Zarak

Produced by Steven Chua and Caleb Quek

 

Ling needs a kidney. She embarks on her journey from Malaysia and finally crosses the 1056-meters-long causeway to Singapore to see her younger brother who now lives there to seek this desperate favor. Will her last hope eventually save her? 


 

The Site

DIFF Shorts Program: Family Ties

Directed by Sola Fasehun

 

A few years after the death of his wife, Norm is forced (by his only daughter) to try online dating for the first time at the age of 65.


 

Mizaru

DIFF Shorts Program: Excavating for Truth

Written, directed, and edited by Sudarahan Suresh

Produced by Ankur Singh

Co-produced by Dorian Cambi ’18

 

Shot in one take, Mizaru tells the story of a young couple caught embracing in one of India’s public parks by a group of moral vigilantes on Valentine’s Day. As Suresh’s thesis film, Mizaru screened in the 2019 Columbia University Film Festival, where it took home the award for Best Film.  Mizaru was produced with funds from Columbia’s Katharina Otto-Bernstein '92 production grant.


 

A Nation Uplifted: Art in Nigeria

DIFF Shorts Program: Excavating for Truth

A documentary written and directed by Sola Fasehun