Still from Darling, image courtesy of IMDB

Columbia Filmmakers Screen at South by Southwest

BY Felix van Kann, February 26, 2020

The SXSW Film Festival returns to Austin from March 13 - March 22 with many Columbia filmmakers participating in the 23rd edition of the festival. Ten of Columbia’s writers, directors, actors and producers are heading to Texas to present their work on six different films at this year’s festival. 


The complete list of accepted films and filmmakers is below:


Category: Narrative Feature Competition


Still from Lapsis, image courtesy of SXSW Film Festival.



Alex Peace-Power ’17, Line Producer


In a parallel present, delivery man Ray Tincelli is struggling to support himself and his ailing younger brother. After a series of two-bit hustles and unsuccessful swindles, Ray takes a job in a strange new realm of the gig economy: trekking deep into the forest, pulling cable over miles of terrain to connect large, metal cubes that link together the new quantum trading market. As he gets pulled deeper into the zone, he encounters growing hostility and the threat of robot cablers, and must choose to either help his fellow workers or to get rich and get out.


Category: Narrative Spotlight


Still from Uncorked, image courtesy of SXSW Film Festival



Veronica Nickel ’10, Executive Producer

Meera Khumbina ’10, Actor


Fueled by his love for wine, Elijah enrolls in school to become a master sommelier. It’s a dream that upends the expectations of his father Louis who insists Elijah take over the Memphis barbeque joint that’s been passed down from father to son since its inception. Elijah struggles with the demands of school and a new relationship, while Louis wrestles with feelings of his son rejecting the family business until life forces both of them to slow down. 



Still from Small Engine Repair, image courtesy of SXSW Film Festival


Small Engine Repair

Jordana Spiro ’15, Actor


Blue collar childhood buddies Frank, Swaino and Packie - deeply bonded over Frank’s daughter Crystal, who they helped raise - meet off-hours one night in Frank’s out-of-the-way repair shop under cloudy circumstances that only Frank seems to have a handle on. Enter Chad, a rich, college jock, whose arrival ignites a long-simmering resentment that sets this dark, twisty drama on its breathless course.


Still from The Quarry, image courtesy of SXSW Film Festival


The Quarry

Andrew Brotzman ’11 (CC ’03), Writer


The Quarry is a tense and harrowing tale of sin and redemption, violence and grace, and the lengths to which men will go to outrun their evil deeds. A mysterious new minister (Shea Whigham) takes up residence at a rundown church in a desolate Texas town. Despite the growing suspicions of the townsfolk – the hardened local police chief (Michael Shannon), the drug-dealing brothers caught in the chief's crosshairs (Bobby Soto and Alvaro Martinez), and the mournful woman who keeps up the church (Catalina Sandino Moreno) – the congregation grows. But how long can the minister keep his secrets safe and who can be forgiven when the truth comes to light? Based on the acclaimed novel by Damon Galgut.


Category: Festival Favorites, Narrative Feature


Still from Charm City Kings, image courtesy of Sundance Film Festival


Charm City Kings 

Sherman Payne ’16, Writer


Mouse desperately wants to join The Midnight Clique, an infamous group of Baltimore dirt bike riders who rule the summertime streets. When Midnight’s leader, Blax, takes 14-year-old Mouse under his wing, Mouse soon finds himself torn between the straight-and-narrow and a road filled with fast money and violence.


Charm City Kings recently made waves during its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival where the film won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Ensemble Cast.


Category: Narrative Shorts Competition



Saim Sadiq ’19, Director and co-writer

Rodney Llaverias, current student, co-writer

Mahak Jiwani ’18, Producer

Jasmin Tenucci, current student, Co-Producer


An erotic dance theater in Lahore prepares for a new show just as a sacrificial goat disappears, an attractive trans girl aspires to grab the limelight and a naive young man falls in love.


Darling was one of the breakout successes of Columbia filmmakers last year when it  won the prestigious Orizzonti Award for Best Short Film at the 76th Annual Venice International Film Festival. 


Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. For nine days in March, creatives of all stripes gather for the acclaimed SXSW Film Program to celebrate raw innovation and emerging talent both behind and in front of the camera. Running concurrent with the SXSW Conference and Music and Comedy Festivals, attendees can take advantage of the opportunity to connect with tech and music industry experts, making the SXSW Film Festival an unparalleled experience at the forefront of discovery, creativity, and innovation.