Four Columbia-trained directors debut their first feature films in theaters – The Hollywood Reporter

The summer box office season is usually filled with blockbuster series milestones, but this July, Columbia University’s film program will mark one of its own. Four international female filmmakers (and MFA graduates) will have their first films in theaters this month.

List includes Nathalie Alvarez Mesen’s Clara SolaAntoneta Alamat Kusijanović’s MurinaMounia Akl’s Costa Brava, Lebanonand Anna Gutto’s Paradise Expressway. The second film, about a truck driver who reluctantly agrees to smuggle illegal goods (a little girl), is the film starring Juliette Binoche, Morgan Freeman, Cameron Monaghan, and Frank Grillo. Also of note: Columbia University Ellie Foumbi’s debut feature Our father, the demon received an audience award last month during the Tribeca Festival in New York.

Jack Lechner, director of film at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, says that each film is produced and distributed “like a beacon to all the others,” and that these four completed a something that will be “a light for those who come.” Lechner added: “We’re very proud. It’s a moment that reminds you that the process really works and we’re sending the filmmakers out. world in such a way that they can compete and fulfill their artistic ambitions.”

Columbia University film professor Annette Insdorf is also interested in the alumni. “It was a pleasure to teach Nathalie Alvarez Mesen, Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović, Mounia Akl and Anna Gutto in my Analysis of Cinematic Language course. They came to the CU School of the Arts from different countries,” she added, “and each found their own voice and went on to create a personal and resonant story. “

Murina, which received a Camera D’or in the Cannes Film Festival for best first film, revolves around the tensions between a teenager and her oppressive father when an old family friend arrives at her hometown in New York. their Croatian island. It was shown at the Laemmle Theater in LA and the Metrograph in New York. Clara Sola, site of New York’s IFC Center and LA’s Landmark Westwood, focuses on a remote village in Costa Rica where Clara embarks on a journey to break free of social and religious conventions to become a master of sex and her new-found power.

Costa Brava, Lebanon tells the story of a free-spirited family escaping the toxic pollution and social unrest of Beirut by seeking refuge in a remote mountain house. The film premiered at the Quad Cinema in New York and premiered on July 22 at Laemmle Monica in Santa Monica.

Lionsgate released Paradise Expressway on July 29 in select theaters and on demand.

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‘Costa Brava, Lebanon’

Kino Lorber

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Wendy Chinchilla Araya in Clara Sola

Courtesy of Luxbox, Hobab

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Morgan Freeman and Juliette Binoche in Paradise Expressway

With permission from Lionsgate

A version of tHis story first appeared in the July 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter. Click here to subscribe.

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