Three Columbia Filmmakers Selected for Cine Qua Non Lab 2021

Angeline Dimambro
August 13, 2021

Three Columbia filmmakers have had their screenplays selected to participate in Cine Qua Non Lab’s esteemed script revision lab. They are: Jade Edwards ’21Emil Benjamin ’20, and Maggie Briggs ’19.

The Cine Qua Lab was co-founded in 2010 by a group of independent filmmakers, including alumnus Jesús Pimentel Melo '11, now Executive Director, as well as alumna Sarita Khurana '11 and Assistant Professor and Screenwriting Concentration Head Christina Lazaridi '98, both of whom serve on the lab’s executive board. The lab is a nonprofit organization based in Morelia, Mexico and New York City that supports independent cinema by providing a space for filmmakers to envision and develop their work. The lab brings filmmakers together to exchange ideas, share perspectives, and find new opportunities for collaboration. Its residential workshops, offered for both English and Spanish language storytelling, are held in Tzintzuntzan, a small town in the state of Michoacán, Mexico, in a quiet natural retreat overlooking Lake Pátzcuaro. 

The following scripts by Columbia alumni have been selected for the 2021 English language script revision lab:


Written by Jade Edwards ’21

In Cicada, an Iranian journalist struggles to uncover the truth when Libyan refugees start to go missing around the coast of Monaco.

Jade Edwards is an English-Irish writer/director hailing from London. She is drawn to stories concerning humanitarian issues and her work reflects an acute interest in moral ambiguity, social injustice, underdogs, outsiders and female-driven narratives. She is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she obtained a BFA in Film Production with a minor in Entertainment Business from Stern School of Business. She is a 2021 graduate of Columbia University Film MFA Program in screenwriting and directing. She was also selected as a BAFTA 2020 Newcomer. Edwards started her film career as a creative executive for Pandemic Films and co-produced their debut feature film, starring Jeremy Irons. She has worked on projects with SMUGGLER, Sony Screen Gems, Nu Image, SHFT, and Deltree.

It Would Have Been Enough

Written by Emil Benjamin ’20

It Would Have Been Enough follows a 13-year-old boy as he traverses the country with his mother, seemingly to get away from his abusive father. However, he soon discovers that she might be the real danger.

Emil Benjamin is a filmmaker and theatre artist based in New York City. His short films White People (2016) and We Can Do It (2018) have screened and won prizes at festivals across Europe and North America. He recently completed his first feature documentary, Oyate, which centers around Indigenous rights and was featured in DOC NYC’s works-in-progress program. Benjamin holds an MFA in directing and screenwriting from Columbia University in New York City and is the founder of Irrelevant Media, an international production company and artist collective that has shown films at Cannes, Venice and Toronto film festivals, among many others.

Prone to Wander

Written by Maggie Briggs ’19

Told through a collection of seven Sundays, Prone to Wander follows Lua Dunn as she falls hard into adolescence during the summer of her eleventh year as she navigates her first love with conflicting lessons from her street and her church.

Originally from Asheville, North Carolina, Maggie Briggs is an award-winning screenwriter, director and producer currently based in New York City, where she received her MFA in Film from Columbia University. Her short film To Sonny (2020) has screened at festivals around the world, including the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, the Champs-Élysées Film Festival, BOGOShorts, and the Busan International Short Film Festival, and was awarded Best International Film at the Still Voices Film Festival in Ireland. As a producer, her work has shown at festivals including Toronto International Film Festival, Palm Springs, and Nordisk Panorama. She is in development on her first feature, Prone to Wander, which has been supported by the Tribeca Film Institute and the New Orleans Film Society and was awarded as a Jury Select at Columbia University in 2019. Briggs is currently working as a writer on the second feature for director Samir Oliveros, in development with Fabula. Briggs’ films often explore quintessential Americana culture and the misconceptions and dangers of “normalcy” within that setting.

The 2021 English language script revision lab sessions will take place between August 1st and September 5th, 2021. The follow-up session will be held in November/December 2021.