Student Felix van Kann Finalist for 2021 Humanitas College Fellowship

BY Nicole Saldarriaga, August 18, 2021

Humanitas has announced that Film student Felix van Kann is a finalist for the 2021-22 David and Lynn Angell College Comedy Fellowship. 


Van Kann's script, Legends of Local League, is inspired by his own experiences playing German club tennis. The story follows Lukas, who is "forced to put his slightly delusional dream of going pro on hold and become a coach at this childhood club in Germany" after he trips on a rogue tennis ball.

According to Van Kann, "I wrote the first draft of the script in my TV Writing class with [Assistant Professor] Blair Singer. The story is heavily based on the experiences I had and the people I have met in almost twenty years of playing German club tennis, so I'm very grateful and humbled that Humanitas has chosen this script to advance to the final round of this amazing competition."

 

Humanitas will announce the winner of this prestigious prize in September, 2021.

 

Felix van Kann is a German screenwriter and director from Frankfurt, Germany, who is currently completing his MFA in the Columbia University Film program. He is the recipient of a Sloan Screenplay Grant for his script Upstreamers about doping in professional tennis. In 2020, his documentary Eagles of 1960 about the first German football team to reach the finals of the Champions League received a development grant from HessenFilm und Medien. Felix finds himself drawn to dramas and comedies with an often absurd and dark tone exploring themes such as human irrationality, fragile masculinity, and boyhood. He is based in NYC where he is currently in post-production for his short film The Fastest Man and in pre-production for his thesis film The Devil on Screen.


Original Article: 7/27/21

Six Filmmakers Semi-Finalists for 2021 Humanitas College Fellowships

 

Humanitas recently announced its semi-finalists for the 2021-22 David and Lynn Angell College Comedy Fellowship and the Carol Mendelsohn College Drama Fellowship. Four Film students—Ryan Levitt, Jackie Todd, Cole Smith, and Felix Van Kann—are semi-finalists for the Comedy Fellowship while two recent Film alumni—Minka Bleakley '20 and Alies Sluiter '20—are semi-finalists for the Drama Fellowship. 

 

Humanitas is a non-profit organization whose mission is to "honor and empower film and television writers whose work explores the human condition in a nuanced, meaningful way."

 

The renowned College Comedy Fellowship, established in 2003, is named after David Angell, staff writer for Cheers and co-creator of Wings and Frasier, and his wife Lynn—both of whom were aboard Flight #11 when it was flown into the World Trade Center on September 11. Before their tragic death, the Angells were philanthropists that focused on helping others to achieve their fullest potential. 

 

According to Humanitas, "The David and Lynn Angell College Comedy Fellowship was created to recognize and financially reward young writers. In doing so, we hope it encourages them to create works that enrich the lives of others through comedy that entertains with humor and captures the human spirit." 

 

The winner of the fellowship, which will be announced in September 2021, will receive a reward of $20,000 in order to support and encourage their work in comedy writing. 

 

Ryan Levitt is a writer from Northern Arizona who likes to tell stories about people who struggle to change, about lovable losers and cynics who desire to connect with others and the world around them but are challenged by a flawed inner life. His themes usually include the importance of empathy and introspection

 

Jackie ​​Todd was born, raised, and educated in Chicago. She has been producing short documentaries, industrials, live streams, and short narratives over the last decade. She attended the University of Chicago, where she performed as a contortionist in the university circus and competed in Model UN conferences, and graduated in 2010 with a BA in Cinema and Media Studies. Her work has been featured by The Washington Post, Wired, and National Geographic. Alongside her full-time producing work, Todd has produced short films for Columbia Alumni. The film Lost Boy, produced for alumna Aisha Porter-Christie ’13, screened at over 15 festivals worldwide.

 

Cole Smith is a writer and director from Charlotte, NC. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and served as an Air Force officer from 2012 to 2017. He is an MFA candidate in Screenwriting at Columbia University in New York City. Smith is the recipient of the 2021 Sloan Screenplay award for his feature script Damascus, which tells the story of a 1980 Titan Missile explosion and is informed by his five years of personal experience as an Air Force nuclear missile operator. He is also the writer of Sunday Money, a NASCAR themed TV pilot chosen as a 2021 Columbia University Film Festival Faculty selection. 

 

Felix van Kann is a German screenwriter and director from Frankfurt, Germany, who is currently completing his MFA in the Columbia University Film program. He is the recipient of a Sloan Screenplay Grant for his script Upstreamers about doping in professional tennis. In 2020, his documentary Eagles of 1960 about the first German football team to reach the finals of the Champions League received a development grant from HessenFilm und Medien. Felix finds himself drawn to dramas and comedies with an often absurd and dark tone exploring themes such as human irrationality, fragile masculinity, and boyhood. He is based in NYC where he is currently in post-production for his short film The Fastest Man and in pre-production for his thesis film The Devil on Screen

 

The College Drama Fellowship is named after television writer and producer Carol Mendelsohn, known for her work on CSI, which at one time was the most-watched TV show in the world. The fellowship was established in 2017 thanks to a generous endowment from Mendelsohn herself, and "exists to recognise and reward the talents of young writers with financial support to empower them to tell meaningful stories."

 

Bleakley and Sluiter join 18 other writers on the list of semi-finalists, all of them selected from hundreds of applicants. Like the David and Lynn Angell College Comedy Fellowship, the Drama Fellowship will be awarded in September 2021, and the winner will receive a $20,000 prize. 

 

Minka Rose Bleakley is an Australian filmmaker and screenwriter. She received an MFA with Honors in Screenwriting at Columbia University. She is the recipient of the 2019 Teaching Fellowship at Columbia University and the 2020 Indian Paintbrush Grant. Her past work has screened at the Academy Qualifying Seattle International Film Festival, as well as Australia's biggest regional film festival, Byron Bay International Film Festival. Her latest film, After Dark features rising star, Pauline Chalamet. Bleakley is currently in pre-production on Bite The Hand, a proof of concept short film set in the Northern Rivers of NSW to be shot early 2021. She is also attached as a producer to Juliet Darling's feature film, Smashing, with a late 2021 production. Bleakley has worn many hats within the film and entertainment industry, including on set experience on major television shows, such as Billions and Master of None

 

Alies Sluiter recently received her MFA from Columbia University, which she attended on full scholarship from the General John Monash Foundation. At Columbia, she was awarded a Screenwriting Fellowship and taught the undergraduate Screenwriting Lab. Her short film Ayaan was a finalist for the Dendy Awards at the 2020 Sydney Film Festival and is currently nominated for Best Direction in a Student Film, from the Australian Directors Guild. Ayaan also received the Leone Family Film Production Award, the IFP Audience Award, the Adrienne Shelly Best Female Director Award and a US National Board of Review Student Grant. Also an Australian Academy Award nominated composer, Alies has performed worldwide with eminent artists including Nitin Sawhney, Sylvie Guillem, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Akram Khan. Musically directing Laurence Olivier Award and Time Out Critics Award (UK) nominated theatre and dance productions. Alies is currently in development on several features and TV series.