Three Films by Columbia Filmmakers Screen at 2021 Bushwick Film Festival
BY Angeline Dimambro, October 19, 2021
Three films by Columbia University filmmakers will screen at the 2021 Bushwick Film Festival. They are: Must Love Pie, written and directed by Patrick Clement ’20; The Breakdown Parables, written and directed by Emil Benjamin ’20 and produced by Mitchell Gomes ’20 and Kristy Richman '19; and Doublespeak, written and directed by student Hazel McKibbin, produced by student Stephanie Fine (’18 CC), and associate produced by student Meera Vaidya.
This year marks the 14th iteration of the festival, which will include a return to live screenings and special events alongside virtual screenings and panels. The hybrid structure speaks to the theme of this year’s festival—Dimensions. The blend of event formats will create an opportunity for filmmakers to engage with audiences multidimensionally including in person, online, and in the metaverse. As the official festival page notes, this year’s record number of selected films also highlight a wide scope of multidimensional and complex human experiences.
All three short films will be available to watch online throughout the five-day festival, which will take place from October 20 to 24, 2021. A full day of in-person screenings will take place on October 23, 2021 through a partnership with Regal Cinemas in downtown Brooklyn.
In Must Love Pie, a lonely man finds a love connection, then someone dies. In addition to his short being selected for the Bushwick Film Festival, Clement’s original feature screenplay, New Hampshire Boy was recently selected as part of the 2021 Annual Black List Feature Lab. In New Hampshire Boy, with a cross country trip less than a week away, two homeless punk rockers come to a crossroads when sexual exploration and street violence test their complicated friendship. Clement is one of six screenwriters chosen out of 1,400 submissions for the ninth annual Features Lab. As part of the lab, participants will workshop their scripts through peer groups, and one-on-one mentorship over the course of six weeks. Participating mentors include Minhal Baig (Hala), Jessica Bendinger (Bring It On), Scott Myers (Go Into the Story, the official blog of the Black List), David Rabinowitz (BlackKklansman), Kiwi Smith (Legally Blonde), and Chris Weitz (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story).
Patrick Clement is a Kansas-based screenwriter and filmmaker. His short films have screened at festivals in the United States and around the world including Reykjavik International, Bolton, Cardiff, Uppsala, Dances with Films, Cucalorus, the Florida Film Festival and more. His film Rabbits won Best Student Short at the New Hampshire Film Festival and his Columbia thesis Three Corner House won Best Actor at the Tallgrass Film Festival. His feature screenplays have been finalists at Screamfest, Nashville Film Festival, in the top ten on the Blacklist’s real-time Screenplay List and his psychological horror script Study in Blue won top honors at the Columbia University Thesis Screenplay Competition.
Comprised of five vignettes, The Breakdown Parables by Emil Benjamin follows a handful of actors as they unravel to reveal their truest selves in a purgatory-like casting office. All the while, The Receptionist slowly falls apart behind her desk as she’s bombarded by a flurry of over-the-top personalities barreling through her domain. Eventually, she questions her own complicity in the toxic environment created by her boss, whose portrait looms ever-menacingly behind her desk.
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.
The film’s co-producer, Mitchell Gomes is a filmmaker, writer, and producer from the San Francisco Bay Area. Hailing from a theater background, he’s produced several short films over the years. Fellow co-producer, Kristy Richman is a creative producer, director and content developer with a past in casting, social media and line producing. She was born in Cape May County, NJ, and currently lives and works in New York City. Recently, she partnered with Fullscreen to develop her multi-genre fantasy show, TableTalk, which is now streaming on the Fullscreen platform. She is also in the process of developing her short film The Daughter into a short format anthology series.
Doublespeak by Hazel McKibbin follows Emma after she lodges a complaint of sexual harassment against Peter, her supervisor. She meets with senior management to discuss the results of their investigation. Despite multiple incidents of predatory behavior, Peter’s conduct is deemed to be inappropriate but not illegal. Emma walks outside to compose herself and speaks with her mother. Then, she returns to work. Doublespeak will also screen at the Still Voices Short Film Festival and the Denver Film Festival in November. It recently screened at Flicker's Rhode Island International Film Festival, the Women X Film Festival, as well as the Boston Short Film Festival.
Hazel McKibbin is a British American writer and director based in Brooklyn. She is a 2020 BAFTA Newcomer and is currently working on her thesis at Columbia University, where she is pursuing an MFA in screenwriting and directing. McKibbin is drawn to realism, often through a feminist lens, and the idea that compelling stories can be created from ordinary relationships and interactions.
The film’s producer, Stephanie Fine is a New York-based producer and Creative Producing MFA candidate at Columbia University, where she also received her Bachelor’s degree in Film Studies in 2018. She has interned throughout New York City at companies including HBO, FilmNation Entertainment, Oscilloscope Laboratories and Darren Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures. She is currently working For Film Movement as a distribution intern.
Associate producer, Meera Vaidya was born in Mumbai, India and is now a New York based producer. Before moving to the United States, she worked as an assistant director and a production assistant on commercial films for Chrome Pictures in Mumbai where their clients included Tata Salt, Amazon India, and Samsung. She is now finishing her MFA in Creative Producing at Columbia University. She is passionate about telling stories that not only entertain people but also provoke conversations around social issues.