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Columbia University Film Festival Celebrates 25 Years

Malia Scotch Marmo to receive prestigious Andrew Sarris Award

“What Glass Ceiling? The Remarkable Success of Columbia’s Women Filmmakers” panel to include Lisa Cholodenko, Nicole Holofcener, Larysa Kondracki and Kimberly Peirce

Early works from prominent alumni to be included in Opening Night Celebration

This year’s festival to be co-presented by
Columbia University School of the Arts Film Program and Film Society of Lincoln Center,
Opens May 4th in New York with a Retrospective Celebration at Alice Tully Hall.

New York, March 27, 2012 – Columbia University School of the Arts Film Program and Film Society of Lincoln Center have announced they will co-present the 25th Anniversary of the Columbia University Film Festival (CUFF), a week-long program of screenings, dramatic readings and special events in New York. The celebration will continue with events to be announced for June in Los Angeles. This marks the first time that the festival is co-presented by the Film Society and the first time Opening Night will be held at Alice Tully Hall.  The festival will open with a 25 Year Celebration featuring a selection of the best student short films representing the past 25 years, presented by esteemed alumni of the program.

Opening Night
In addition to the retrospective montages shown at the celebration with introductions from esteemed graduates, the following shorts will be shown in their entirety: “Swingin’ in the Painter’s Room” (1989), directed by Greg Mottola;  “The Lunch Date” (1989), written and directed by Academy Award Winner Adam Davidson; “One Day Crossing” (2000), screenplay by Christina Lazaridi, directed by Academy Award Winner, Joan Stein, produced by Karen Severns;  “Chicken Heads” (2009), written and directed by Bassam Jarbawi, produced by Ed Blythe; and “Off Season” (2010), written and directed by Jonathan van Tulleken, and produced by Jacob Jaffke, a film that was nominated for a BAFTA Award.  In addition, excerpts from early works of Lisa Cholodenko, James Mangold, Kimberly Peirce, Tanya Wexler, and many others, will be included.

The Andrew Sarris Award
Malia Scotch Marmo (’88) will receive this year’s Andrew Sarris Award, named for School of the Arts Film Program professor and world-renowned critic and theorist Andrew Sarris, which honors outstanding service by and artistic achievement of distinguished Film Program alumni.  Marmo’s screenwriting credits include “Rafina,” “Madeline,” “Hook” and “Once Around.” The award will be given at the Opening Night Celebration.

The annual Andrew Sarris Award winner is selected by current School of the Arts Film Program students. Past recipients include Greg Mottola (’91, “Super Bad”), Albert Berger (’83, “Little Miss Sunshine”), Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (’95 and ’94, “The Extra Man”), Kathryn Bigelow (’81, “The Hurt Locker”), Lisa Cholodenko (’97, “The Kids Are All Right”), Sabrina Dhawan (’02, “Monsoon Wedding”), Simon Kinberg (’03, “Sherlock Holmes”), Kimberly Peirce (’96, “Boys Don’t Cry”), James Mangold (’99, “Knight and Day”), and Nicole Holofcener (’88, “Please Give”).

What Glass Ceiling? The Remarkable Success of Columbia’s Women Filmmakers
Lisa Cholodenko (“The Kids Are All Right”) Nicole Holofcener (“Please Give”), Larysa Kondracki (“The Whistleblower”) and Kimberly Peirce (“Boys Don’t Cry”) will be the featured panelists in a special Columbia University Women Filmmakers Panel titled “What Glass Ceiling? The Remarkable Success of Columbia’s Women Filmmakers.”  The event, which is free to the public, will be held Wednesday, May 9th at the Film Society of Lincoln Center: Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center and will also be streamed live.

The festival is the annual premiere of over 40 thesis short films and feature screenplays by MFA students in the School of the Arts Film Program. Many of the films premiered over the past 25 years have gone on to win top awards and honors at prestigious festivals worldwide. 

The schedule of this year’s events is as follows:

Friday, May 4
7:00pm:  Opening Night: 25 Years of the Columbia University Film Festival
Lincoln Center: Alice Tully Hall

Saturday, May 5 – Sunday, May 6
Film Screenings: 2012 Showcase of MFA Films
Film Society of Lincoln Center: Walter Reade Theater

Monday, May 7
7:00pm:  Screenwriting Night — The McGraw-Hill Companies Theater

Tuesday, May 8
7:00pm:  Student Selects — Columbia University: Miller Theatre

Wednesday, May 9
7:00pm:  Panel Discussion: What Glass Ceiling? The Remarkable Success of Columbia's Women Filmmakers
Film Society of Lincoln Center: Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center

Thursday, May 10
7:00pm:  Faculty Selects — Symphony Space: Peter Jay Sharp Theatre

Visit for up-to-date information, as well as a full list of festival films, synopses, filmmaker bios, and ticket information. Ticket prices range from $7 to $25 depending on the event.
The Columbia University Film Festival Host Committee for 2012 includes Michael Barker, Albert Berger, Kahane Cooperman, Peter Farrelly, Erik Feig, Jodie Foster, Terry DeRoy Gruber, Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal, Milos Forman, Stephen Frears, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Molly Haskell, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Nicole Holofcener, Simon Kinberg, Jack Larson, Ang Lee, Jon Levin, James Mangold, Alan Myerson, Katharina Otto-Bernstein, Patricia Riggen, Tom Rothman, Andrew Sarris, Peter Sarsgaard, Paul Schrader, Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz, Ronald K. Simons, Amy Meara and Jerry Stiller, Amy Talkington, Stanley Tucci, and John Turturro.
Columbia University’s School of the Arts Film Program is one of the most prestigious programs in the country and boasts a graduate list that includes Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”), Ron Nyswaner (“Philadelphia”) and Lisa Cholodenko (“The Kids Are All Right”) and an esteemed faculty that has included Milos Forman, Martin Scorsese, Emir Kusturica and Paul Schrader.

Ira Deutchman, Chair of the Columbia University School of the Arts Film Program stated,  “The 25th anniversary of the Festival is an opportunity to take a step back and marvel at the amazing body of work that has been presented by our students over the years. We are very pleased that the Film Society is co-presenting the festival with us this year. They are not only providing us a prestigious platform, but also validation of the quality of the work. It is an acknowledgement that there is no other film festival anywhere that showcases student work with such accomplishment, ambition and diversity.”

Richard Peña, Program Director of the Film Society at Lincoln Center and Columbia University School of the Arts Film Program faculty member, added, “It's a great year for anniversaries–the New York Film Festival's 50th, and the Columbia University Film Festival's 25th. As a member of the faculty since 1989, I've been delighted to see CUFF grow into an essential date on anyone's calendar who cares about the shape of cinema to come.”

To date, the Columbia University Film Festival has received generous support from McGraw-Hill and Thomson Reuters as Festival Sponsors; 20th Century Fox, The Bridges/Larson Foundation, Chockstone Pictures, Columbia Alumni Association, Doddle PRO, HBO Films, The Ezra Litwak Fund, and Offhollywood as Patron Sponsors; CAA, Movie Magic, Focus Features, National Board of Review, SimonSays Entertainment, and Sound Lounge as Supporting Sponsors; with special thanks to The ASCAP Foundation, Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund, Film Society of Lincoln Center, IFP, and Kinetic.

About the Film Program at Columbia University School of the Arts
The Film Program at Columbia University School of the Arts offers students the opportunity to go to film school at one of the world's great universities, with a faculty of working professionals esteemed in both Hollywood and the independent film community. New York City, creative capital of the United States, is its home, affording access to exceptional talent pools and locations, major research collections and the constant opportunity to see films from every country and era. The Film MFA programs—in Screenwriting/Directing and in Creative Producing—are among the world's premiere training grounds for the next generation of filmmakers. Alumni of the school have won numerous awards, including top prizes at Sundance, Cannes, Venice, Berlin and the Academy Awards. The MA Film Studies program and the undergraduate Film Studies major give students a unique opportunity to study film history and theory in the midst of an active filmmaking community. In addition to graduate degrees in Film, Columbia University School of the Arts awards MFA degrees in Theatre Arts, Visual Arts and Writing. The School is a thriving, diverse community of artists from around the world, with a faculty composed of acclaimed and internationally renowned artists, film and theatre directors, writers of poetry, fiction and nonfiction, playwrights, producers, critics and scholars.

About the Film Society of Lincoln Center
Under the leadership of Rose Kuo, Executive Director, and Richard Peña, Program Director, the Film Society of Lincoln Center offers the best in international, classic and cutting-edge independent cinema. The Film Society presents two film festivals that attract global attention: the New York Film Festival, currently planning its 50th edition, and New Directors/New Films which, since its founding in 1972, has been produced in collaboration with MoMA. The Film Society also publishes the award-winning Film Comment Magazine, and for over three decades has given an annual award—now named “The Chaplin Award”—to a major figure in world cinema. Past recipients of this award include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, and Tom Hanks. The Film Society presents a year-round calendar of programming, panels, lectures, educational programs and specialty film releases at its Walter Reade Theater and the new state-of-the-art Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center.

The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from Royal Bank of Canada, American Airlines, The New York Times, Stella Artois, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts. For more information, visit and follow #filmlinc on Twitter.