IFP Announces Winners For Inaugural Student Short Film Showcase At 2019 IFP Gotham Awards

New Collaboration with JetBlue and Focus Features to Highlight Work of Student Filmmakers

IFP, the nation’s premier member organization of independent storytellers is proud to announce the winners of the inaugural Student Short Film Showcase, an innovative collaboration with JetBlue and Focus Features. Five NYC graduate student filmmakers and their films will be recognized at the 2019 IFP Gotham Awards, then shown on JetBlue’s inflight entertainment and on Focus Features’ Digital platforms.

The 2019 selected short films and filmmakers include Mizaru (Sudarshan Suresh, Columbia University), Darling (Saim Sadiq, Columbia University), Bob and Dale (David Melvin Rosfeld, CUNY Brooklyn College), Keeper of Earth and Time (Tiantian Wang, School of Visual Arts), and    Youth (Farida Zahran, NYU Tisch).

In an effort to provide greater awareness and a strong commercial entry point for these short films, each of the five filmmakers will receive a generous grant from JetBlue and Focus Features. The films will also receive a theatrical premiere in January 2020, distribution on JetBlue’s seatback entertainment systems under a newly-created “IFP Selects” movie category, and will be available on Focus Features digital streaming platforms.

“Many of the most daring and innovative stories are student films created by young and rising filmmakers who are not yet household names. We are so pleased to be joined by fantastic partners in JetBlue and Focus Features to celebrate these incredible artists and programs,” said Jeffrey Sharp, Executive Director of IFP. “This program showcases the continued role IFP plans to play in developing innovative approaches to distribution for forward thinking creators and industry partners.”

Focus Features Chairman Peter Kujawski echoed those sentiments, “We’re beyond thrilled to be partnering with Jeff, the IFP and JetBlue on this incredibly innovative partnership to support these vital, emerging and diverse filmmakers.”

“As the only US airline with seatback screens at every seat, JetBlue understands the importance of delivering a superior inflight entertainment experience,” said JetBlue VP of Marketing, Elizabeth Windram. “By utilizing our seatback screens as a discovery platform, our Customers have the option to watch everything from the latest blockbusters, up-and-coming student filmmakers, and everything in between. JetBlue has been a longstanding supporter of the arts, especially within our own backyard of New York, and is excited to be partnering with IFP and Focus Features to help pave the way for the next generation of student filmmakers.”

Films were submitted by each student’s respective school, and winners were selected by a jury, consisting of Eric Hynes (Curator of Film, Museum of the Moving Image), Bilge Ebiri (Film Critic, Vulture), and Lucy Mukerjee (Senior Programmer, Tribeca Enterprises). Opal H. Bennett (Programmer, DOC NYC, Aspen Shortsfest, Athena Film Festival and Nantucket Film Festival) served as the project lead for the initiative.


The IFP Gotham Awards, selected by distinguished juries and presented in New York City, the home of independent film, are the first honors of the film awards season. This public showcase honors the filmmaking community, expands the audience for independent films, and supports the work that IFP does behind the scenes throughout the year to bring such films to fruition.

For information on attending: http://gotham.ifp.org



JetBlue is New York's Hometown Airline®, and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando, and San Juan. JetBlue carries more than 42 million customers a year to 100+ cities in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America with an average of more than 1,000 daily flights. For more information please visit the website.