Four Film Alumni Invited to Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Nicole Saldarriaga
July 13, 2021

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently announced its list of 2021 invitees, and four Film alumni are among them. Ben Odell '04 (Overboard, How to Be a Latin Lover) and Adjunct Professor Shrihari Sathe '09 (The Sweet Requiem, It Felt Like Love) have both been invited to join the Producer's Branch, Cherien Dabis '04 (May in the Summer, Amreeka) has been invited to join the Director's Branch, and Angela Tucker '05 (Belly of the Beast, (A)Sexual) has been invited to join the Documentary Branch. 

These four accomplished alumni are part of one of the Academy's most diverse group of invitees. Comprising 395 artists and executives—less than half of last year's class of 819—this year's class is made up of 46% women, 39% members of underrepresented ethic/racial communities, and 53% international artists from 49 countries outside the United States. 

Founded in 1927, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences invites film artists "who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures" to become members of the organization each year. Candidates are nominated and sponsored by two Academy members or automatically considered for membership if they have been nominated for an Academy Award. 

According to the Academy, membership selections are "based on professional qualifications, in addition to representation and inclusion standards outlined as a priority in its initiative Academy Aperture 2025, aimed at diversifying its membership and as a consequence, award nominees." 

Odell, Sathe, Dabis, and Tucker will join a long list of over 9,000 distinguished Academy members. 

Ben Odell is partner of 3pas Studios with Mexican comedian and director Eugenio Derbez. Odell was previously Head of Production for Pantelion Films. He lived in Colombia, South America from 1992 to 2000. He first worked as a freelance journalist before becoming a Spanish language television writer and screenwriter there. He has taught screenwriting and production at Columbia University and The New School in New York City and has given lectures in filmmaking all over Latin America and Europe. He was a contributing writer to the film anthology, Swimming Upstream, A Lifesaving Guide to Short Film Distribution, published by Focal Press and to the professional textbook Producer to Producer produced by Michael Wiese Productions, about the art of low budget filmmaking. He is a member of the Producers Guild of America.

Shrihari Sathe is an Independent Spirit Award-winning producer. Sathe is a 2013 Sundance Institute Creative Producing Fellow and has received fellowships from the HFPA, PGA, IFP, Film Independent, and The Sundance Institute to name a few. Sathe is a Trans Atlantic Partners fellow (2013) and Cannes Producers Network fellow (2014, 2015, 2016). Sathe's latest production, Paul Felten and Joe DeNardo's Slow Machine had its North American premiere at the 2020 New York Film Festival and will be distributed by Grasshopper Films. He is currently in post-production on Mostofa Sarwar Farooki's No Land's Man. In 2016 Sathe received the Cinereach Producer Award. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and is a member of the Producers Guild of America and Indian Motion Picture Producers Association.

Cherien Dabis is an award-winning narrative filmmaker, television writer, and producer. She was born in Omaha, Nebraska to Palestinian immigrant parents and was raised between small town Ohio and Amman, Jordan. Studying dance and theater in her youth, she went on to earn her MFA in film from Columbia University. Drawing from her background as a first generation Arab American, Dabis’ films focus on cross-cultural issues with a perceptive, anthropological eye to depict worlds seldom seen on the big screen. Her feature films May in the Summer (2013) and Amreeka (2009) both had their world premieres at the Sundance Film Festival; short films include Not Another Word (2013) and Make A Wish (2006).

Angela Tucker is an Emmy nominated producer, writer, and director. Her directorial work includes (A)Sexual, a feature length documentary available on Hulu, Netflix and iTunes, Black Folk Don't, a documentary web series filming its fourth season, The Older Fish, a short documentary for Time Inc and Killer Films and Just the Three of Us, a short fiction film starring Leslie Uggams that won the Audience Award for Best Short at NYC Shorts. She is the Series Producer for the PBS documentary series, Afropop. She is a Co-Producer on The New Black (PBS’ Independent Lens), nominated for a NAACP and a GLAAD Media Award. In 2006, she founded TuckerGurl LLC, a production company passionate about telling compelling and irreverent stories about underrepresented communities.