Huck Hodge, Radhika Jones, and Other Alumni in the News

Four Columbia alumni worked on a winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival this year. Casting director Jessica Daniels Schwarz ’07SOA, production designer Markus Kirschner ’09SOA, post supervisor Andrew Hauser ’12SOA, and co-producer Rob Cristiano ’13SOA were all honored for their contributions to The Miseducation of Cameron Post. The film, starring Chloë Grace Moretz, is set in a gay conversion-therapy center in the early 1990s.

Huck Hodge ’08GSAS won the Charles Ives Living Award, which grants $200,000 over a two-year period to a promising American composer. Hodge’s work, which is inspired by light patterns in nature, has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and many festivals. He teaches composition at the University of Washington.

Wei Zhang ’09GSAS and Andrea Young ’06CC, ’12GSAS are recipients of 2018 Breakthrough Prizes, a group of awards commonly known as the Oscars of science, which are funded by Mark Zuckerberg’s Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Zhang, a mathematics professor at MIT, and Young, a physicist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, each won in the New Horizons category, which recognizes extraordinary contributions by junior researchers.

Life and Nothing More, a feature film written and directed by Antonio Méndez Esparza ’08SOA, won the John Cassavetes Award at the 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards. The Cassavetes award is given annually to the best feature made for under $500,000. Life and Nothing More follows a young African-American boy searching for a connection with his absent father.

Radhika Jones ’08GSAS has been named editor in chief of Vanity Fair magazine. Jones, who has a PhD in comparative literature from Columbia, was previously the managing editor of the Paris Review and editorial director of the books department at the New York Times.

Junk, a play by Ayad Akhtar ’02SOA, won this year’s Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History. The play, which ran on Broadway from October 2017 through January 2018, explores how the reckless sales of junk bonds in the 1980s transformed our economy. Akhtar won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for his last play, Disgraced.

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