The Kanbar Institute of Film & Television at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts has announced the winners of the 2010 Chris Columbus/Richard Vague Film Production Fund awards for alumni filmmaking. The Production Fund supports annual awards to recent alumni of the Kanbar Institute’s Graduate and Undergraduate divisions to direct their first feature film, either narrative or documentary. Due to the excellence of the submissions this year the selection panel decided to give awards of $50,000 each to four filmmakers.
The 2010 Chris Columbus/Richard Vague Film Production Fund winners and their projects are:
Nicolas Calzada (Graduate) – Sunset Bakery – He inherited the most popular joint in town… now if he could only get rid of it.
Kim Spurlock (Graduate) – Kin – A one-armed Appalachian optometrist suffers a crisis of sexual identity when his wife leaves him for the church choir director.
Lance Edmands (Undergraduate) – Bluebird – In the frozen woods of an isolated Maine logging town, one woman’s tragic mistake leads to strange and unexpected consequences.
Matt Manson (Undergraduate) – Wannabe – An overweight black girl and a neurotic Jewish boy find friendship in New York City during the summer of 1991.
“We are enormously proud of this year’s group of finalists and winners,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, dean of the Tisch School of the Arts. “Their ability to create and develop so many original and authentic stories of such excellence so impressed the selection committee that it felt compelled this year to increase not only the total amount awarded but the number of winners as well.
“None of this would be possible, however, were it not for the faith and vision in the future of young artists shown by alumnus and filmmaker Chris Columbus (’80) and longtime patron and supporter Richard Vague. The Film Production Fund has allowed us to create a community for our alumni through their work while at the same time giving these emerging filmmakers an important early start to their careers. Thank you both for your generosity and continued support.”
The 2010 Chris Columbus/Richard Vague Film Production Fund finalists from Graduate Film are: Nicolas Calzada ’08 – Sunset Bakery, Sharri Hefner ’04 – Baby, Mark Robert Jackson ’06 – Say Uncle, Joanna Jurewicz ’06 – Sweet Home Tennessee, Janet McIntyre ’05 – Faded, Joseph Saito ’09 – A Lone Star State, Sasie Sealy ’08 – Sarahn_12, and Kim Spurlock ’08 – Kin.
The 2010 Chris Columbus/Richard Vague Film Production Fund finalists from Undergraduate Film & TV are: Brendan Bellomo ’08 – Blue Star, Yoni Brook ’04 – Shot Nurse, Lance Edmands ’05 – Bluebird, Razan ElGhalayini ’09 – Fishing Without Water, Sania Jhankar ‘09 & Reema Dutt ’10 – Butterflies of Bill Baker, Matthew Manson ’04 – Wannabe, Michael Plunkett ’07 – Charge, Christine Turner ’04 – The Undertaker, and Adriano Valentini ’08 – Bocce Boys.
The Chris Columbus/Richard Vague Film Production Fund was established in 1999. To be eligible, the 2010 applicants must have graduated between 2004 and 2010 and have demonstrated exceptional talent and ability in film production. In addition, each must have a feature screenplay and demonstrate his or her ability to complete the project. Required supporting materials included a feature screenplay or documentary outline, comprehensive budget, production schedule, and preliminary cast and crew lists.
The Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at the Tisch School of the Arts provides an intensive and professional education in filmmaking. The program shared first place in recent U.S. News and World Report rankings of the nation’s film programs; since 1992, seventeen Student Academy Award gold medals have been presented to NYU student filmmakers by the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences—most recently, in 2010 when Luke Matheny won for his thesis film “God of Love.” At the Sundance Film Festival, the premiere showcase for independent film, Tisch is consistently represented among the approximately 200 films screened every year, but noteworthy are: 2005 and 2006 when alumni films took home nine prizes, 2009 when thesis student Cary Fukunaga won a Directing Award and the Excellence in Cinematography Award, and 2010 when alumna Debra Granik won a Grand Jury Prize and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. In 2010, alumni Geoffey Fletcher (Adapted Screenplay for “Precious”) and Juan José Campanella (Best Foreign Language Film for “El Secreto de Sus Ojos”) won Oscars. Approximately 150 graduate and 1,050 undergraduate film students pursue degrees in film and television production, photography, cinema studies, dramatic writing, and interactive telecommunications. Distinguished alumni of the Kanbar Institute include Joel Coen, Chris Columbus, Billy Crystal, Martha Coolidge, Ernest Dickerson, Amy Heckerling, Jim Jarmusch, Ang Lee, Spike Lee, Brett Ratner, Nancy Savoca, Martin Scorsese, Susan Seidelman, and Oliver Stone, among many others.