Hotchkiss Film Festival Celebrates 10th Anniversary with All-Alumni Panel of Judges


2021 marks the10th anniversary of the Hotchkiss Film Festival! This year’s festival, accessible to the on-campus community, took place May 22 at 9 p.m. on Harris House lawn. Luke Gardiner ‘21, head of the Hotchkiss Film Festival Board, reported that this is a record year for submissions from all over the globe. U.S. submissions came from the northeast region and California; international entries included submissions from Jordan, India, South Africa, and Colombia.  Fifteen finalists cover experimental, narrative, and documentary film genres. 

The judges’ panel is comprised of four Hotchkiss alumni: Brian Ryu '13 (HFF co-founder), Carla Frankenbach '12 (HFF co-founder), Richard Ledes '74, and Keith Boynton '00. Their biographies are included below.

“The fact that we received over 50 films from all over the world speaks to the importance of art and storytelling in our lives. At a time when many teenagers were logging more screen time because of the pandemic, these students chose to tell stories, to share their vulnerability, curiosity, and perseverance. It's really inspirational,” said Ann Villano, instructor in film.  

After reviewing submissions, the festival board selected fifteen finalists whose films will be screened by the judges. Judges will make prize decisions in a pre-recorded video call: on the evening of the festival, an hour-long panel discussion with the judges, also pre-recorded, will be broadcast, followed by the films. Prizes will be announced at the end of the evening - bookmark this article and return for an update on the winners!

List of finalists - 10th Annual Hotchkiss Film Festival, May 22, 2021

Close to Home  by Calvin Glover (Hebron Academy)

Para Noia" by Sofia Porras Ramirez (Colegio Los Nogales)

Cooper Roh by Margie Bowen (The Hotchkiss School)

The Brink by Oscar Depp, Ruofei Shang and Farah Hmaid (King’s Academy)

What Hides in the Red Light  by Harry Morelli (The Hotchkiss School)

Powerless by Leila Pongracz (Marvelwood)

Inliminal by Arna Sharma (The Shri Ram School, Aravali)

Colors of the World by Dahlia Hellerstein (The Athenian School)

Hey Riley by Sada Schumman (The Hotchkiss School)

The Story of Santiago by George Fink (Marvelwood)

The El Boys by Hugh Holmes (Choate Rosemary Hall)

Dinner Party by Emma Winiarski (Suffield Academy)

Cut by Kelsey Sha (Cate School)

Untitled by Max Linder (The Hotchkiss School)

His Bright Future by Benjamin Adam Weiss (The Hotchkiss School)


Alumni Panel of Judges

Keith Boynton ’00

Playwright and filmmaker Keith Boynton is a graduate of Columbia University's MFA program where he studied under Craig Lucas, Anne Bogart, and Charles L. Mee.  His music video for Darlingside’s The Ancestor has been viewed over 300,000 times; he has also directed videos for songs by Alison Krauss, Mark Lanegan, and the Spring Standards.  His last feature film, The Scottish Play, won a Directors’ Choice Award at the Rhode Island International Film Festival; his newest feature, The Winter House, starring Lili Taylor and François Arnaud, is scheduled for release in 2022.  The New York Times called him “a talent worth watching,” but they said some mean stuff too.

He is currently offering a gap year filmmaking program to recent high school graduates.  The goal of the program is not only to have fun and to learn valuable skills, but also to complete a marketable feature film that every student will contribute to creatively and stand to profit from when it comes time to sell. For more information, visit

Carla Frankenbach ’12

After graduating Hotchkiss in 2012, Carla went on to attend the film school at the University of Southern California. Since graduating in 2016, she’s been working in television, first as a writer’s assistant to writer/producer John Wells, as well as completing a season as a staff writer on the sixth and final season of TNT’s drama Animal Kingdom. 

Richard Ledes ’74 

Richard C Ledes is a director, screenwriter and producer. His most recently completed film Adieu, Lacan is a fiction film set in the 1970 about a Brazilian woman who undergoes an analysis with Jacques Lacan in order to uncover why her own path to motherhood has become an impossible one. His film The Caller won the Made In New York prize at the Tribeca Film Festival and his film Fred Won’t Move Out was named by the British Film Institute one of the ten essential films of Elliott Gould. He is currently working on a short documentary about a summer program for young women who are gifted musicians and want to become conductors and on a light romantic comedy about the extinction of all life on earth. 

Brian Ryu ’13

Brian Ryu is a South Korean documentary filmmaker and journalist. He was a reporting fellow at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and a news fellow at ABC News and most recently completed Victoria’s Foil, a documentary that just aired on public television. 

He received a B.F.A. from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

His motion graphics designs have appeared in the New York Times, The New Yorker, and PBS POV Digital. He has also worked on animation for the Academy-nominated documentary filmmaker, Christine Choy, on her new documentary short.


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