Columbia School of the Arts Alumni and Faculty Shine at Telluride Film Festival

Carlos Barragán
September 06, 2023

The Telluride Film Festival featured a broad selection of films and programs for its milestone 50th edition this past weekend, including selections from School of the Arts alumni and faculty. 

Among them was If Dreams Were Lighting, a new short documentary by Associate Professor Ramin Bahrani '96 focusing on America's rural health crisis in Appalachia and the tenacious health providers—predominantly women—who care for patients living in a vast medical desert.

Notably, two of the five student shorts selected for the festival are from Columbia alumni. Film alumna Katie Blair ’21 showcased her short, Imogene, a film about a free-spirited and single New Yorker in her 40s whose absurdly traditional family thrusts a pregnancy upon her; and Natalia Luque ’21 presented So They Say, a short film set in a small Chilean town where a fetus is discovered in a lake.

A woman floats in an expanse of water

As part of the festival's Guest Director program, Writing alumna Rachel Kushner '01 selected and presented a screening of Frederick Wiseman’s Juvenile Court, a Memphis children’s court drama; while Professor Annette Insdorf served as moderator for several panel discussions about cinema, art and life. 

Additionally, former SOA adjunct faculty Madeleine Gavin debuted her film, Beyond Utopia, which explores the journey of families fleeing oppression in North Korea.

The Telluride Film Festival, which took place this year from August 31 to September 4, 2023, brings together cinema enthusiasts, filmmakers, and artists to discover the best in world cinema in the beautiful mountain town of Telluride, Colorado. This year, TFF screened over eighty feature films, short films, and revival programs representing twenty-nine countries.

See the full festival lineup here