Still from Mizaru

Two Shorts by Columbia Filmmakers Win 2019 Gotham Awards

BY Gina Hackett, December 6, 2019

Two Columbia films were announced as winners in the IFP’s inaugural Student Short Film Showcase at the Gotham Awards this week.


Mizaru, written and directed by alumnus Sudarshan Suresh ’19, and Darling, co-written and directed by current student Saim Sadiq, co-written by current student Rodney Llaverias, co-produced by current student Jasmin Tenucci, and produced by alumnus Mahak Jiwani ’18, represented two of the five short student films selected by the IFP.


Columbia emerged as the only school to win two wins in the Student Short Film Showcase.


“In an effort to provide greater awareness and a strong commercial entry point for these short films,” each film will receive a generous grant, a theatrical premiere in January 2020, and a spot on JetBlue’s in-flight entertainment, as well as on Focus Features’ digital streaming platforms, according to Focus Features’ website.


Both films were funded by the Katharina Otto-Bernstein production grant at the 2018 Columbia University Film Festival.


Prior to the Gotham Awards, Mizaru enjoyed a premiere at the prestigious Telluride Film Festival this summer. It also received the 2019 Columbia University Film Festival’s Jury Award for Best Film.


Suresh was named as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in September.


Still from 'Darling,' image courtesy of Saim Sadiq


Darling likewise enjoyed its premiere at the 76th Annual Venice Film Festival, where it took home the prestigious Orizzonti Award for Best Short Film. It was also the first ever Pakistani film to screen at the Venice Film Festival.


Following its world premiere in Venice, the film also saw its North American premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in September.


Four other Columbia filmmakers were nominated in various categories at the 2019 Gotham Awards: alumnus Rob Richert ’13 (writer & director) and alumna Dede Gardner ’06 (producer) for The Last Black Man in San Francisco, alumna Lisa Cholodenko ’97 (director) for Unbelievable, and current student Moara Passoni (co-writer & associate producer) for The Edge of Democracy.

The Gotham Independent Film Awards are an annual celebration of achievements in independent filmmaking from the past year and is put on by the Independent Filmmakers Project (IFP).