Eight Columbia Filmmakers Invited to Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences

BY Felix van Kann, July 10, 2020

Eight Columbia filmmakers were recently invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as part of an initiative to change its otherwise long-term white-male dominance. Columbia invitees include Associate Professor Maureen A. Ryan and alumna Tala Hadid '05 for their work in Documentary, alumna Sabrina Dhawan '02 as the only Columbia filmmaker invited as a writer and Adjunct Assistant Professor Madeleine Gavin as the sole Columbia Editor. Professor Bette Gordon and alumna Summer Joy Main-Muñoz ’04 were among the selected directors with Main-Muñoz being the only Latina director on this year’slist and alumni José David Figueroa García '13 and Mounia Akl '17 were added to the Short Films and Feature Animation list. 


In total, the Academy invited 819 new members to its 2020 class to grow its number to 9,412 participants who can now vote for the Academy Awards. The 2020 class consists of 45% women, 36% underrepresented ethnic/racial communities, and 49% internationals from 68 countries in the Academy’s push to diversify its member group. Last year, four filmmakers from the Columbia community were asked to join the Academy. 


“The Academy is delighted to welcome these distinguished fellow travelers in the motion picture arts and sciences.  We have always embraced extraordinary talent that reflects the rich variety of our global film community, and never more so than now,” said Academy President David Rubin in a comment on the Academy’s website


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a global community of more than 9,000 of the most accomplished artists, filmmakers and executives working in film. In addition to celebrating and recognizing excellence in filmmaking through the Oscars, the Academy supports a wide range of initiatives to promote the art and science of the movies, including public programming, educational outreach and the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is under construction in Los Angeles.