Tisch Grad Film alumni Chloe Zhao and Jonas Carpignano take top honors in the Directors’ Fortnight section of the festival, highlighting the work of up-and-comers
An unprecedented six directing alumni from the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television had their work selected for the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, widely regarded as the world’s most prestigious global film festival.
Two of the directors, Chloe Zhao (MFA candidate, Film & TV) and Jonas Carpignano ‘17 (MFA, Film & TV), walked away with top honors from the festival’s Directors’ Fortnight, which is dedicated to discovering and promoting filmmakers’ first and second feature films.
Beijing-native Zhao received the Fortnight’s highest honor, the Art Cinema Award, for her film THE RIDER, about the lives of rodeo cowboys in South Dakota. THE RIDER is Zhao’s second feature after her debut SONGS MY BROTHERS TAUGHT ME, which screened in the Directors’ Fortnight in 2015.
Carpignano received a second top honor, the Label Europa Cinema Award, for the Italian language feature film A CIAMBRA, which chronicles the challenges and shifts of contemporary life in a southern Italy town. A CIAMBRA also a second feature, was developed from a short film that played in Cannes in 2014, and was executive produced by NYU film program alumnus and Tisch Dean’s Council member Martin Scorsese. Carpignano’s first feature, MEDITERRANEA, also screened at Cannes in 2015 as part of the Critic’s Week showcase.
Other Tisch alumni directors in the Directors' Fortnight and elsewhere in the festival included:
• Directors’ Fortnight: Vladimir de Fontenay ’17 (MFA, Film & TV), with his feature MOBILE HOMES;
• Directors’ Fortnight: Sean Baker ‘98 (BFA, Film & TV), with his feature THE FLORIDA PROJECT
• Critics’ Week: Atsuko Hirayanagi ’13 (MFA, Film & TV, Tisch Asia), with her feature OH LUCY! and
• Cinefoundation: Marian Mathias ‘17 (MFA, Film & TV), with her short film GIVE UP THE GHOST
Both de Fontenay’s MOBILE HOMES and Hirayanagi’s OH LUCY! began as Tisch student short films that were later developed into feature films.
THE RIDER was picked up by Sony Pictures Classis. A CIAMBRA was acquired by IFC’s Sundance Selects. THE FLORIDA PROJECT was picked up for distribution by A24 (US rights) and Altitude Film Distribution (UK and Ireland).