Still from Mizaru

Many Columbia Films Show at Palm Springs International Shortfest 2020

BY Felix van Kann, June 26, 2020

Many alumni and current students showed their work at last week’s Palm Springs International Shortfest 2020. Seven Columbia films were selected out of over 6,000 submissions to be part of the Official Selection of the festival and were screened online through June 22nd. The festival handed out cash prizes worth $25,000 including five Academy Award® qualifying awards. Columbia was also represented among the jury with alumni Andrew Stephen Lee '18 and Victoria Rivera '20 serving as jurors for the Best Student International Short category and the Best Student U.S. Short category respectively.


Here’s a list of the participating films. 



Sudarshan Suresh '18, Writer, Director and Editor


Mizaru plays in a suburb of Mumbai, India, where a young couple tries to steal some private time in a very public place when they're paid a visit by the moral police. 


The film received Special Mention for direction: the Great Palm Springs CVB Best of the Festival Award and was labeled a Filmmaker Favorite. 


Mizaru was produced with funds from Columbia’s Katharina Otto-Bernstein production grant, and won the Best Film Award at Columbia University Film Festival in 2019.

Bye Bye Body

Charlotte Benbeniste (Current Student), Writer and Director

Barbara Twist '20, Producer  


Nina is fifteen and in her final week of weight loss camp. All summer she's stuck to her plan: work hard, drop the pounds, and return home to a brand new life. But when, in her last weigh in, the scale doesn't budge, Nina turns to desperate measures. 


Bye Bye Body also received a Filmmaker Favorite recognition.


In addition to screening at multiple festivals, the film also won the Vimeo Staff Pick Award at the Aspen Film Shortsfest Film Festival and is as such available to stream online.



Wale Olukayode (Current Student) Writer, Director and Editor 

Jungyoon Kim '20, Producer

Henry Arroyo (Current Student), Producer

Najah Diop '20, Producer


Home tells the story of Femi, a Nigerian immigrant who works as a manager at a grocery store in Brooklyn. One night, he is informed by a fellow manager that his older brother, Adeola, has stolen a large sum of cash during his shift as a cashier. 


Home was nominated for the Bridging the Borders Award and Best Student U.S. Short. 


Olukayode also received a DGA Student Film Award late last year. 



Saim Sadiq (Current Student), Director and Co-Writer 

Rodney LLaverias (Current Student), Co-Writer 

Mahak Jiwani '18, Producer

Jasmin Tenucci (Current Student), Co-Producer  


In Darling, as a new show is introduced at an erotic dance theatre in Lahore, a sacrificial goat goes missing, a dreamy trans girl desperately tries to become a star and a naive young boy falls in love. 


The film was in competition for Best LGBT+ Short and the Young Cineastes Award. In addition, Darling took home the Best Short Film Prize at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year and also received Special Jury Recognition at South By Southwest



Nicole Delaney '14, Director and Producer

Nicola Goddy  '15, Co-Writer

Sonya Goddy '15, Co-Writer 

Alvaro Valente '14, Producer

John Carey '14, Cinematographer 

Brandon Zuck '14, Editor 


Part Little Mermaid, part vampire-comedy, Thirsty is the story of a mosquito who falls in love with a man after she tastes his blood. Through her eyes we explore the ups and downs of sex, intimacy, love, and a bug’s unflinching desire to feel human. 


Thirsty was in competition for the Best Comedy Short Award.




Szu-Wei Chen (Current Student), Writer and Director


Jay, a 13-year-old Taiwanese boy, is fascinated by his toned and athletic older brother. In order to get close to him, Jay feigns an interest in basketball so that his brother will practice with him. Steadily, Jay’s fascination develops into an attraction—one with which Jay is forced to reconcile after his brother brings home a girlfriend.


Rubbed in Pink 

Kathy Esquenazi (Current Student), Writer and Director 


Rubbed in Pink follows Sofia, the daughter of a fashion photographer, who is starting to discover her femininity and is looking for guidance. At home her mother shows her ways to be a woman. At school she plays games that awaken her sexuality. In the process she realizes she feels different than the women around her.

Designated by AMPAS, BAFTA, BIFA and Goya Awards as an award-qualifying festival, and accredited by the International Short Film Conference, the Palm Springs International ShortFest and Short Film Market is one of the most acclaimed short film showcases in the world.