Columbia Film Festival Closes with Jury Honors Screening at Awards Night

May 25, 2016


The 29th annual Columbia University Film Festival ended in New York on May 17 with a screening of films selected by the festival jury and an awards ceremony at the DGA Theater in Manhattan. Five films were chosen to participate in the Jury Selects screening, representing the jury’s selections of the best short films of the festival, and 11 others received Jury Honors. The Student Selects lineup, chosen by current Film MFA students, was announced on May 15, shortly before a screening of the selected films later that night.

The CUFF Jury, which included Film Program faculty members Trey EllisBette GordonJamal JosephTom Kalin and Jack Lechner, as well as Cinereach’s Caroline Kaplan and BAFTA New York’s Julie La'Bassiere, selected five films for this year’s Jury Selects lineup: Red Apples, directed by George Sikharulidze and written and produced by Ophelia HarutyunyanPria, written and directed by Yudho Aditya and produced by Valerie Castillo MartinezNocturne in Black, written and directed by Jimmy Keyrouz and produced by Felecia HunterAnd the Whole Sky Fit in the Dead Cow's Eye, written and directed by Francisca Alegría and produced by Birgit Gernböck; and Submarine, written and directed by Mounia Akl and produced by Cyril Aris.

The Jury Selects lineup will also screen at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Los Angeles on June 16 as part of CUFF LA.

The 11 films selected for Jury Honors include Antarctica, written and directed by Iesh Thapar and produced by Sarah OhBakri (The Goat), written and directed by Sushmita Saha and produced by Gernböck; Black and Blue, For You, written and directed by Mark Sean Haynes and produced by Kelly WydrykFive Hard Lessons, written and directed by Tim O'Connor and produced by Andrew K. LiHow Far She Went, written and directed by Ugla Hauksdottir and produced by Chloe LenihanI'm in Here, written and directed by Willy Berliner and produced by Julie O'LearyMrs. Nebile's Wormhole, written and directed by Pinar Yorgancioglu and produced by Oh;Search Party, written and directed by Tesia Walker and produced by Ryan PedersonThe Art of Not Appearing, written and directed by Pernille Rivedal Hellevik and produced by Inger Sveberg Dietrichs; The Law of Averages, written and directed by Elizabeth Rose and produced by Julia Thompson; and Turnings, written and directed by Robert Herzog and produced by Sam Mariotti.

In addition, 14 awards were given out on Awards Night to students whose films either screened at the festival this year or for will screen at next year’s festival. Red Apples received the award for Best Film, and Akl received the Vimeo Award for Best Director for her work on Submarine, which also screened at the Cannes Film Festival this year.

Harutyunyan also received the ​Richard Brick Award for Special Distinction in Line Producing for her work on Red Apples, and Martinez received the Entertainment Partners Producing Award for her work on Pria; the Entertainment Partners Producing Honorable Mentions went to Aris for Submarine and Giovanni Ferrari for If We Must Die. Hellevik received the Adrienne Shelly Foundation Award for Best Female Director for The Art of Not AppearingEllie Foumbi received the Breaking Barriers Production Award for her work on Zenith; Foumbi was filming in Paris at the time of the ceremony, so her award was collected by Walker, who also received the SimonSays Entertainment Award for Innovative Filmmaking for Search Party.

The Katharina Otto-Bernstein Film Fund Awards, production grants presented by Otto-Bernstein, were presented to director Mansi Jain and producer Sasha John for 42nd and Bombay; director Valerie Schenkman and producer Mustafa Kaymak for Magical Thinking; director Fabio Montanari and producer Tara Roy for My White Nike Shoes; and director Cyril Aris and producer Valerie Castillo Martinez The President’s VisitGregorio Franchetti received the James Bridges Production Award for Lobster Dinner. All films will screen at next year’s CUFF.

The ​​Alex Sichel Fellowship was awarded to Barbara Cigarroa, and Sean Dunn and Dea Kulumbegashvili both received the Milos Forman Directing Fellowship. Also in a tie, Christopher Abeel and Thomas Locke both shared the Michael Hausman/FilmHaus Foundation Award. The Arthur Krim Memorial Awards were given to Roy and Caron Williams.

Two days before Awards Night, the films chosen for Student Selects was announced. Judged by a community of the student filmmakers’ peers in the MFA program, the lineup included How Far She WentSubmarineThe Art of Not AppearingFive Hard LessonsAnd the Whole Sky Fit in the Dead Cow's Eye and I'm in Here. All films were also included in either Jury Selects or Jury Honors.