Columbia University Film Festival 2014

The Columbia University Film Festival is the annual premiere of thesis short films, feature screenplays and teleplays created by graduate MFA students from Columbia University School of the Arts Film Program. (Source: Columbia University Film Festival website)

Held May 2nd-8th at Lincoln Center (with events scheduled in Los Angeles June 17-20) and its 27th year, this festival is an opportunity for the public at large to catch a glimpse at (possibly) the next Kathryn Bigelow, James Mangold or Jennifer Lee (of the Academy Award-winning animated feature Frozen) who is also the recipient of this year’s Andrew Sarris Award.

One of the things that continues to stand out to me is the production value of the work presented. Whereas last year, I attended the closing ceremonies and saw only the closing night (awards events), this time I felt as if I was in the thick of it and could truly enjoy the festival experience.

Unfortunately due to scheduling conflicts, I was unable to attend the screenplay workshops and panel discussions.


Some of the highlights for me included the following (synopses and photos courtesy of The Film Society of Lincoln Center website):

Alex the Magnificent
Director: Robert Monk Davis, USA, 2014, DCP, 14m
Fed up with his life, Alex Martin gives up all his worldly possessions to hitchhike across the country.

ILC’s take: an irreverent and almost unbelievable story. So entertaining.

Director: Tom Sveen, Producers: John Wakayama Carey & Sarah Dorman, USA, 2014, DCP, 10m
On a class field trip to the landfill, two boys make a startling discovery that draws them toward adulthood.

ILC’s take: A nostalgic gem. Could easily see this as being a smaller episode of a larger narrative.


Director: Aaron David DeFazio, Producer: Larissa Rhodes, USA, 2014, DCP, 16m
A curious shopping-cart collector investigates the suspicious owner of knife-sharpening truck after a string of brutal murders.

ILC’s take: Quirky without being irksome

The King’s Pawn
Director: Jonah Bleicher, Producer: Rob Cristiano, USA, 2014, DCP, 20m
A former chess prodigy challenges the world champion with the super computer he spent his life designing.

ILC’s take: had some really funny moments.



The winners were announced in a ceremony of May 8th:

A Mighty Nice Man
Devil’s Work
Sina Forma
The Immaculate Reception
Tobacco Burn

Amateur Dictator
Fault Lines
Party of Special Things To Do
Solid Ground

Alex The Magnificent
Amateur Dictator
American Gladiators
Body of Crime
Party of Special Things To Do
Sina Forma
The Immaculate Reception
Tobacco Burn

Finally, check out the festival trailer here:

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