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Film Program News

View press coverage of the MFA in Film and TV Writing program HERE

2021

Lisa Thomas Video 'Candy Store' Wins Munich Music Video Award

candy store video 'Candy Store,' a long-form video directed by second-year director's track student Lisa Thomas, has won Best Production at the Munich Music Video Awards.

The music novella, produced by Thomas' Thin Edge FIlms, was shot in August 2020 immediately after lockdown. It had earned the coveted #1 spot on the popular alternative music site The Tinnitist , and was featured in Post Magazine.

Said Thomas: "Big shout out to The Dust Bowl Faeries, Nichola Benizzi, Jesika Farkas, Fabrizio Fama and the whole Catskill Covid Crew for daring to make art during a pandemic!"

The song is off off The Dust Bowl Faeries' album The Plague Garden. The video has an old-time feel, with a young couple struggling to keep their business afloat. Looking to collect on an insurance policy, they hatch a scheme to burn down their sweet shoppe.

Micah Demby Wins Turner Research Award

micah dembyHuge congrats to first year Turner Fellow and film student, Micah Demby, who was just awarded the Turner Research Award for her short film project,  Silhouette. She wrote a phenomenal proposal to earn the award for this worthy project.

In its briefest summary, Silhouette is a short film in which a young escort falls for one of her clients, only to discover he is not the man he presents himself to be. However, Silhouette is much deeper than that. It is a short film that addresses the stigma society has placed on sex workers, the dangers women face when dating, and the lack of care society often has towards black women and people of color.

Tom of Your Life Is a Multiple Festival Winner

T tom of your lifeom of Your Life , a full-length feature produced by MFA in Film graduate James Sharpe, was a winner at three film festivals and a finalist in several others.

Sharpe provided the story for the film, which was directed by Jer Sklar. The two also appear in the film, and Sklar wrote the screenplay.

The comedy-drama, available for streaming on Amazon Prime and Apple TV, won Best Narrative feature at the Albuquerque International Film Festival, Best Editing - Narrative Feature at the Culver City Film Festival, and earned Honorable Mention for Best Director at the Paris/Around International Film Festival.

The film, which has received rave reviews, was a finalist for Best Picture - Comedy at the Burbank International Film Festival, the DaVinci International Film Festival and the California Music Video and Film Awards. It was also an official selection at several other events, including the Stony Brook Film Festival, Dances With Films, the Cinquest Film and VR Festival and the Seattle True Independent Film Festival.

From the film's description on IMDB:

“When a baby is born who inexplicably grows, evolves and ages four years an hour, a strung-out nurse smuggles him out of the hospital to show him what life is all about before the authorities and time catch up with them both.”

Sharpe graduated from the MFA Film Program at Stony Brook University in 2018. Since graduating he has produced three feature-length films and was recruited into the newly formed film department at Jacksonville State University. In his final year of studies at SBU, he co-produced Big Fork, which is scheduled have its world premiere at the Breckenridge Film Festival this fall. He went on to single-handedly produce Tom of Your Life.

 

2020

Stony Brook Adds First MFA in Television Writing in the SUNY System

Stony Brook University announced today that the New York State Education Department has approved SUNY’s first-ever Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Television Writing. This stand-alone MFA is one of a handful in the country to offer in-depth graduate studies in the burgeoning field of TV Writing.

Read the complete press release

Student Lisa Thomas Directs Long-Form Video 'Candy Store'

Second-year MFA student Lisa Thomas directed the long-form video for 'Candy Store,' from The Dust Bowl Faeries, and it has made an immediate impression.

The video earned the coveted #1 spot on the popular alternative music site The Tinnitist , and was featured in Post Magazine, a monthly publication that looks at all areas of post production, including film, television, animation, graphics, audio and the Web.

The song is off off the Faeries' upcoming album 'The Plague Garden,' set for release Friday, November 20. The video has an old-time feel, with a young couple struggling to keep their business afloat. Looking to collect on an insurance policy, they hatch a scheme to burn down their sweet shoppe.

Said Thomas: “The location, which was empty with a ‘For Rent’ sign in the window, in many ways called out to me to restore it for the shoot. So, along with the help of our amazing production designer, Jesika Farkas, we brought back all the former details of the one-time candy shoppe, down to the original candy cases, fixtures and lights."

Read more about the Dust Bowl Faeries and the video at Rock and Roll Globe.

Conor Demmett and Zhuoga Renqing Take First Prize in SUNY PACC

conor demmettCongratulations to Conor Demmett, Zhuoga Renqing (Gaga), their deck-master behind the scenes, Maja Cule, and the 2019 Dogme cohort for winning the $10K first prize in the SUNY Performing Arts, Creation and Curation competition on Saturday, Nov. 14.

The win represents not only the 110 collective hours that went into filming the Dogme project, a year's worth of multiple practice pitches and the development of an amazing pitch deck, but also four rounds of pitches before seven judges.

Congrats and thanks go also to Lenny Crooks for keeping the Dogme flame alive, and to all the professors — including Simone Pero and Jennie Allen — who listened to the pitch and gave notes. 

Their pitch states: "Our goal is to become agents for this kind of filmmaking.... (and to) ....take back power as storytellers and artists." Mission accomplished! 

Read the full story in SBU News

Jared Szafman Wins Page Award for Drama Pilot Script

jared szafmanJared Szafman, a student in the Stony Brook University MFA in Film and Television Writing program, won the Gold Prize in the TV Drama Pilot category at the 2020 Page International Screenwriting Awards.

Szafman's pilot script, RX, topped a field of more than 8,000 script submissions from over 97 countries.

Szafman entered the MFA in Film program in 2015, as part of the first film cohort, where he studied screenwriting and directing. With the introduction of Alan Kingsberg's TV Writing curriculum, Jared took a deep dive into TV Writing and wrote a spec script and three pilots. 

Film and television industry judges read and evaluate all the contest submissions at the Page Awards, searching for the best new screenplays and teleplays. Each year the Page Awards presents Gold, Silver, and Bronze Prizes in ten genre categories, plus a $25,000 Grand Prize.

Learn more about the Page Awards at the contest website.

John Kim Short Selected to Asian American International Film Festival

kim short film at AIFFBig Congratulations to third year student John H. Kim!  

His first year film, Cupcake Dad, is going to be featured in the Shorts program at the 43rd Annual Asian American International Film Festival. The AAIFF will be held online October 1-11, 2020 .

Since 1978, the Asian American International Film Festival, produced by Asian CineVision, is the nation’s first and longest running festival of its kind and the premier showcase for the best independent Asian, Asian diaspora and Pacific Islander cinema.

We couldn't be more excited to have one of our own featured!

Chris Arnold's Script, 'Cornerstone', Wins Best Student Script Award

chris arnold scriptGraduate student Chris Arnold’s script, Cornerstone, has won Best Student Script at the 2020 Los Angeles Film & Script Festival.

It is the latest honor for Cornerstone, which has also been ️ a Finalist at Script Summit 2020, a Semifinalist at the Create World Awards 2020, ️ a Quarterfinalist at the ScreenCraft True Story & Public Domain Competion 2020, and a Semifinalist at the Los Angeles International Screenplay Awards Winter 2020.

Congrats on racking up so many nominations Chris! We’re rooting for your success!

Halofsky's 'Going Out of Business' Wins Award at Women's Comedy Film Festival

Ada Lee Halofsky's mircro-short screenplay, Going Out of Business, was just named winner Best Romantic Comedy at the Women's Comedy Film Festival.  The script was written as an exercise in her TV Writing class at Stony Brook Manhattan's MFA program.

The Women’s Comedy Film Festival is described as "a comedic haven, existing to elevate writers with fun, unique, and female-centric stories."

Documentary Executive Produced by Simone Pero wins Gracie Award

This Changes Everything, a documentary film executive produced by Stony Brook Killer Films MFA in Film Visiting Faculty Simone Pero, was among 100 winners at the 45th Gracie Awards, announced today by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF). Told first-hand by some of Hollywood’s leading voices in front of and behind the camera, This Changes Everything takes an incisive look into the history, empirical evidence, and systemic forces that foster gender disparity in Hollywood. CONTINUE READING >

 

2019

North Fork TV Fest Announces Second Annual TV Pilot Competition Winners

The NOFO TVFest/SB Pilot Competition announced the winning scripts for best original television pilot. Splitting first prize and $500 are Noelle P. Wilson for her pilot, By the Book, and Kate Levitt for her pilot, TroubleCONTINUE READING >

Levitt Pilot Script Wins First Place at Nantucket Film Festival

Stony Brook’s MFA in Film and TV Writing student Kate Levitt won first prize at The Nantucket Film Festival for her one-hour pilot script Living As winner of the top prize in the Showtime one-hour pilot competition, Levitt gets a development meeting with a Showtime executive and $1000. CONTINUE READING >

MFA Student Shorts Featured in 2 Film Festivals

MFA in Film students Jamie DiNicola and Kathleen Harty have had their short films entered into the Inside Out Fil Festival in Toronto and the Big Apple Film Festival in New York, respectively. CONTINUE READING >

MFA in Film Grad Juhyoung Ra Screens New Film at Joenju Film Festival

Stony Brook University MFA in Film graduate Juhyoung Ra has a feature film screening at the 20th Annual Jeonju International Film Festival in South Korea. Atlantic City is a full-length feature film that will screen from May 4-9. Ra, who attended the MFA in Film program in Manhattan and graduated in 2017, wrote, directed and edited the film.
CONTINUE READING >

Simone Pero Is Redefining the Meaning of 'Impact'

Simone Pero could not possibly have chosen a more appropriate name for her strategic marketing and production firm specializing in the confluence of content and social action: For Impact Productions. CONTINUE READING >

 

2018

Soo Hugh Joins TV Writing Program Guest Series  on November 5

Soo Hugh, showrunner for the television adaptation of the bestselling novel "Pachinko" by Min Jin Lee currently in development, will be interviewed by Alan Kingsberg at the Stony Brook Manhattan Center for Creative Writing and Film on Monday, November 5.  CONTINUE READING >

TV Writing Guest Series Begins September 24 with 'Power' Showrunner Gary Lennon

The Stony Brook Southampton TV Writing program based at the Manhattan Center for Creative Writing and Film will launch a new TV Writing Guest Series on Monday, September 24, at 8 p.m. with special guest Gary Lennon, co-showrunner of the Starz hit “ Power ."  CONTINUE READING >

Levitt Wins Inaugural North Fork TV Fest TV Pilot Competition

North Fork TV Fest, in association with Stony Brook's MFA in Film (and TV Writing), announces its inaugural TV Pilot Competition winner: Kate Levitt.  CONTINUE READING >

MFA in Film Student Eugina Gelbelman Receives New York Women in Film & Television HP Scholarship

Stony Brook Killer Films MFA in Film student Eugina Gelbelman has been selected to receive the 2018 New York Women in Film & Television Ha Phuong (NYWIFT-HP) Scholarship.  CONTINUE READING >

Film Screening: Keep the Change

Please join us for a special screening of  Keep the Change, followed by a talk with Stony Brook's MFA in Film's Artistic Director Christine Vachon, Writing/Directing Faculty Jennie Allen, and Writer/Director Rachel Israel. May 15, 2018 at 5:20 p.m. at Stony Brook Manhattan, 535 Eighth Avenue. CONTINUE READING >

 

2017

MFA in Film Student Eugina Gelbelman Accepted for New York Women in Film & Television Intensive Workshop

Out of a highly qualified field of seriously motivated competition, Stony Brook's MFA in Film student Eugina Gelbelman has been selected for the intensive year-long New York Women in Film & Television workshop, "From Script to Pre-Production (FS2P).”  CONTINUE READING >

 

MFA in Film Student Yasmine Gomez Receives New York Women in Film and Television Scholarship

Stony Brook Killer Films MFA in Film student Yasmine Gomez has been selected to receive the 2017 New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT) Scholarship.  CONTINUE READING >

 

MFA in Film Program Expands to TV Writing, Adds New Manhattan Location

With a new base of operations at 535 Eighth Avenue in Manhattan and the hiring of Alan Kingsberg as a full-time professor for the new TV Writing curriculum, the MFA in Film offered by Stony Brook Southampton in association with Killer Films is poised to join the ranks of top film schools in the U.S. CONTINUE READING >

 

Master Class in Acting Led by Academy Award® Winner Mercedes Ruehl

Stony Brook University announced today that it is offering a Master Class in Acting for Directors led by Academy Award® Winner Mercedes Ruehl. The Master Class will be held from  July 12-16 .   CONTINUE READING >

 

202020 Filmmaker Darcy Brislin Earns a Spot In Sundance Institute's 2017 Screenwriters Lab

Darcy Brislin, a student in the MFA in Film's groundbreaking 202020 program, and her writing partner Dyana Winkler have been selected to take part in Sundance Institute's 2017 Screenwriters Lab at the Sundance Resort in Utah running from January 13 to 18, 2017. CONTINUE READING >

 

2016

MFA in Film Student Nancy Bannon Accepted for NYWIFT Intensive Workshop

Out of a highly qualified field of seriously motivated competition, Stony Brook Southampton/Killer Films MFA in Film student Nancy Bannon has been selected for an intensive yearlong New York Women in Film and Television workshop, "From Script to Pre-Production (FS2P)." CONTINUE READING >

 

Bank, Heyman Achievements Equal More Success for MFA in Film Program

The Stony Brook Southampton/Killer Films MFA in Film program got two big boosts for its already meteoric momentum in the last week, based on two major achievements by Melissa Bank and Bentley Heyman. CONTINUE READING >

 

MFA in Film Student Emily Laue Receives New York Women in Film and Television Scholarship  

Stony Brook Southampton / Killer Films MFA in Film student Emily Laue has been selected to receive the New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT) Scholarship. CONTINUE READING >

 

MFA in Film Students Nominated for Careers in Entertainment Tour

Eugina Gelbelman and Matthew Gonzalez, two first-year students enrolled in the Stony Brook Southampton Killer Films MFA in Film program based in Southampton and Manhattan, and Viviana Leo and Yasmine Gomez, two second-year students, have been nominated to take part in the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation (WJSFF) Careers in Entertainment Tour stop in New York City on September 21, 2016. CONTINUE READING >

 

Magdalene Brandeis Joins Robin Pogrebin to Cohost Panel Following Screening of Equal Means Equal

Fresh from her visit to the White House as a juror for the March on Washington Film Festival, Associate Director of the Stony Brook Southampton MFA in Film program Magdalene Brandeis will be cohosting a panel on National ERA Day, following a screening of the documentary Equal Means Equal. CONTINUE READING >

 

Magdalene Brandeis Invited to White House for Film Festival Screening and Awards Program

Southampton, NY, July 14, 2016—Magdalene Brandeis, associate director of the Stony Brook Southampton MFA in Film program offered in association with Killer Films, has been invited to The White House in Washington, D.C. for a special March on Washington Film Festival awards ceremony and screening on Wednesday, July 20. Brandeis served as a juror in the Festival's inaugural Student & Emerging Filmmaker Competition this year. CONTINUE READING >

 

Master Class in Film Led by Academy Award® Winner Mercedes Ruehl

New York and Southampton, NY, June 24, 2016—Stony Brook University announced today that it is offering a Master Class in Acting for Directors led by Academy Award® Winner Mercedes Ruehl ( The Fisher King, Lost in Yonkers). CONTINUE READING >

 

Academy Award Nods for Killer Films' Carol Have Special Meaning for MFA in Film Students

SOUTHAMPTON, NY, February, 2016—When the film Carol earned nominations for Oscars in six categories this year, the Academy Awards attention had special meaning for students in Stony Brook Southampton's MFA in Film program. CONTINUE READING >

 

MFA in Film Co-Sponsors 2016 SUNYWide Film Festival

SOUTHAMPTON, NY, February 12, 2016—Less than a year after being approved by the New York State Education Department, the MFA in Film program at Stony Brook Southampton + Manhattan has announced that it will be co-sponsoring the 7th Annual SUNYWide Film Festival, to be held April 8-9, 2016 at the campus of festival host and co-sponsor SUNY Oswego. CONTINUE READING >

 

2015

Hamptons International Film Festival Sloan Fellows Join Stony Brook MFA in Film Students in Master Class Led by Academy Award® Winner Mercedes Ruehl

New York and Southampton, NY, May 20, 2015 - Stony Brook University announced today that the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellows from the Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) will join Stony Brook Southampton MFA in Film students in a Master Class in Acting for Directors led by Academy Award® winner Mercedes Ruehl ( The Fisher King, Lost in Yonkers). CONTINUE READING >

 

Christine Vachon, Todd Haynes Premiere Carol at 2015 Cannes Film Festival
Film Served as Real-Time Case Study for Stony Brook MFA in Film Students

New York and Southampton, NY, May 12, 2015 - Stony Brook University announced today that Christine Vachon, Founder of legendary indie production company Killer Films and Graduate Director of Stony Brook's innovative Master of Fine Arts in Film Program, and Academy Award®-nominated Director Todd Haynes, who has served as guest faculty at Stony Brook's MFA in Film Program, will premiere their eagerly anticipated film Carol starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival scheduled for May 13-24. CONTINUE READING >

 

Stony Brook's MFA in Film Program Featured at Sixth Annual SUNYwide Film Festival

New York and Southampton, NY, April 28, 2015 - Stony Brook University announced today that its new MFA in Film Program, an innovative three-year graduate program in narrative film, led by Graduate Director Christine Vachon, Co-Founder of legendary indie production company, Killer Films was featured at the sixth annual SUNYwide Film Festival (SWFF6) in Oswego, New York, held April 24-26. CONTINUE READING >

 

Stony Brook Killers, Stony Brook's Film School Soccer Team, Makes Knockout Round of 2015 NYFEST Industry Tournament

New York and Southampton, NY, April 21, 2015 - Stony Brook University announced today that the Stony Brook Killers, the Stony Brook / Killer MFA in Film soccer team, made it to the knock out round on their debut performance at the 2015 New York Film and Entertainment Soccer Tournament (NYFEST) at Pier 5, Brooklyn Bridge Park held Saturday April 19.  CONTINUE READING >

 

Stony Brook University Offers MFA in Film - Groundbreaking, Affordable, Project-Driven, Led by Legendary Killer Films Producer Christine Vachon
New York and Southampton, NY, April 2, 2015 - Stony Brook University announced its new groundbreaking and affordable Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Film. With locations in Manhattan and Southampton, Stony Brook's innovative three-year MFA program is led by Graduate Director Christine Vachon, Co-Founder of legendary indie powerhouse Killer Films. Stony Brook and Killer Films share a mission to provide students an environment where they can learn, create and pursue their art without signing on to a lifetime of debt. This new program emphasizes original storytelling and is taught by a faculty of the most distinguished practicing artists in the country. CONTINUE READING >

 

Christine Vachon to Keynote at SXSW
Vachon, Legendary Founder of Killer Films and Graduate Director of Stony Brook’s Film Program

New York and Southampton, NY, March 11, 2015 – Stony Brook University announced today that Christine Vachon, Founder of legendary indie production company Killer Films and Graduate Director of Stony Brook’s innovative Master of Fine Arts in Film Program, will be a keynote speaker at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Conference and Film Festival.
CONTINUE READING >

 

Julianne Moore Wins Best Actress Academy Award for Still Alice, a Killer Films Production
Three Stony Brook Students Earn Credit on Crew

New York and Stony Brook, N.Y.—February 23, 2015—Stony Brook University announced today that three students in its MFA in Film program were credited participants in the feature film STILL ALICE, produced by Killer Films, which earned the 2014 Academy Award® for " Best Actress in a Leading Role" for Julianne Moore, who also won the Best Actress Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, BAFTA Award, and Independent Spirit Award. 
CONTINUE READING >

Stony Brook Southampton Adds First MFA Degree in Film in the SUNY System
Applications Now Being Accepted for Fall 2015

New York and Southampton, NY, February 3, 2015 – Stony Brook University announced today that the NY State Education Department has approved SUNY's first ever Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Film.
CONTINUE READING >