The fifth annual Columbia Film Festival will unspool in Manhattan April 11-21 with a competition of film and video student shorts, a tribute to critic Andrew Sarris and $80,000 in awards to be presented by Polo Ralph Lauren and New Line Cinema, among other sponsors.
Chevy Chase will host the closing night ceremony, at which New Line and Polo development awards, of $10,000 each, will be given to two student filmmakers. Three $5,000 special jury prizes also will be awarded during the fest, one by New Line (which will also bestow a $5,000 director award) and two by Polo (which also has committed a $10,000 best film prize).
Other awards will include a $5,000 prize from the National Board of Review to recognize excellence in student filmmaking; and the Lifetime student filmmaker award, which will give $5,000 to one woman student for completion of her MFA thesis film.
During a ceremony at the DGA Theater on April 19, Sarris (a professor at Columbia) will be on hand to receive the inaugural Andrew Sarris Award, which will be given annually to outstanding Columbia faculty and alumni.
Last year’s festival winner, “One Day Crossing,” directed by Joan Stein and penned by Christina Lazaridi, is a current Oscar nominee for live-action short film. Other entries in recent years include Kimberly Peirce’s short-film blueprint for “Boys Don’t Cry.”
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