Filmmakers of Color United in Spirit is a multicultural organization dedicated to increasing the visibility of filmmakers and film scholars of color within Columbia University and the surrounding community through outreach initiatives, recognition of diversity in education and networking with alumni and the film industry at large.
FOCUS (Filmmakers of Color United in Spirit) is an organization within the Film Division of Columbia that addresses the need to diversify the range of voices within filmmaking. Open to people of all colors and racial heritages, it creates programming that promotes the work and accomplishments of people of color within the industry as well as preparing film students for their film careers. Our past events have ranged from film screenings and panel discussions to social gatherings and are open to the Columbia community at large.
Recent FOCUS events have included:
- Screening of Medicine for Melancholy and Q&A with filmmaker Barry Jenkins
- Master class and screening with director Kasi Lemons (Eve’s Bayou, Talk to Me)
- Preview screening of The Secret Life of Bees and Q&A with director Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball)
- Screening of The Tuskeegee Airmen with writer and faculty member Trey Ellis
- Screening of the John Sayles film Honeydripper followed by Q&A with producer and faculty member Ira Deutchman
For students, FOCUS offers students a sense of community, gives perspectives on working within the film industry and celebrates the work and achievement of filmmakers of color. For the filmmaking community at large, it encourages the development of young filmmakers in order to widen the base of opportunity and the range of stories told through film.
Columbia University’s student filmmakers of color have garnered attention at many levels of the art and industry. The following is just a representative sample of the range of achievement of student filmmakers in the program:
- Three Columbia alums among Indie Wire’s ” Ten Exciting New Voices in Black Cinema”
- Khary Jones’ short film “HUG” accepted to Sundance Film Festival
- William Sutphin (Film ’08) wins DGA “Best African American Student Filmmaker” category
and named finalist for the HBO Short Film Award at the American Black Film Festival
- Moon Molson Wins Bronze at Student Academy Awards and takes top HBO short award honors
- Tala Hadid Receives Silver Medal at the 32nd Student Academy Awards and Cinecolor Award at the 2005 Columbia University Film Festival
- Kit Hui’s “Missing” selected for 2005 Cannes Short Film Fest
- Kevin Choi accepted to AIVF Screenwriter Mentorship Program
- Akin Salawu Wins Tribeca All Access Open Stage Program
- SOA Alumnus Randall Dottin Wins Gold Medal at Student Academy Awards
- Graduate Thesis film to screen at New York African Film Festival
- Patricia Riggen’s “La Milpa” Succeeds on the Festival Circuit
If you are an applicant to the school and would like a question answered by a Focus member, or want to speak with a Focus member for any reason, please make a note of this in your email to the admissions officers of the School of the Arts.