Still from Rift (Rökkur), written, directed & co-produced by Erlingur Óttar Thoroddsen '13

Columbia at the New Orleans Film Festival

BY Ijaaz Noohu, October 19, 2017

Six films from Columbia alumni, students, and affiliates are playing at the New Orleans Film Festival. The festival, which runs from October 9th - 19th, is the longest running festival of its kind in the state of Louisiana and one of the largest film festivals in the South.     


Rift (Rökkur), written, directed & co-produced by Erlingur Óttar Thoroddsen '13, will screen at the festival and the Brooklyn Horror Fest this week. It screened at the BFI London Film Festival last week, where Sight & Sound named it one of the best films in the festival's Cult section. Next week, it will play at the Twist Queer Film Festival in Seattle.


Absent, co-written & directed by current student Sudarshan Suresh, co-written by current student Shakti Bhagchandani and produced by alumnus Steven Chua ‘16, is a short film that will premiere at the festival. The synopsis: 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.


Tiger Team, written, directed and produced by current student Harry Bartle also has its world premiere at the festival. This film is about three start-uppers who want to sign a lease on a new office, but business may not be booming.


Santo Cerro, written & directed by current student Rodney Llaverias, produced by current student Estefania de la Chica, and co-produced by current student Apoorva Charan is a short that will play at the festival, following a premiere at the Dominican Film Festival. The synopsis: In the heat of summer, the sexual awakening of an orphan boy provokes the curiosity of a nun.


Former staff member, Lauren Domino also has two films that she produced playing at the festival. Alone, is a documentary short that premiered at Sundance at the beginning of the year. Its synopsis: With her fiancé in jail, single mother Alone Watts must decide whether to go through with their wedding. Filmed in black and white, Alone mines layers of mass incarceration and its shaping of love within the modern Black American family. Her other short Intersection, explores the nature of identity and race in contemporary America.


The festival works hard to offer guests countless opportunities to connect with the industry presence at the fest, facilitating meetings with distributors like Paramount, Array, FilmBuff, and The Orchard; as well as funders, broadcasters, and other film organizations like Cinereach, Kickstarter, the National Black Programming Consortium, ITVS, Seed&Spark, and the International Documentary Association.