FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORK, May 12, 2017—Columbia University School of General Studies (GS) student Barret Mindell has been awarded the George Lucas Scholarship for graduate study in film at the prestigious University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. Started by Lucas and his wife to promote fair representation of minorities in the entertainment industry, the scholarship seeks to support the perspectives of artists from communities that are largely overlooked.
In addition, Mindell’s screenplay “Mara for Caleb” was recently awarded the Guy Gallo Memorial Award in Screenwriting, given in memory of former Columbia University professor Guy Gallo. The screenplay was selected by a jury that included Columbia University MFA screenwriting faculty.
“While all the submissions we read were well-written and entertaining, Barret’s screenplay was a complicated, nuanced psychological portrait—one that would have thoroughly impressed our late colleague, Guy Gallo.”
Mindell has a long history with the camera, having worked as an actor for over a decade in New York City. He began to feel worn out by the career’s ups and downs and decided to go back to school to study a newfound love of writing.
When someone suggested he look into the School of General Studies, Mindell laughed at the suggestion.
“I got about halfway through the admissions exam before I started thinking that I might not be Columbia material,” Mindell said. “I went to the restroom, and there I realized I had put my underwear on backward. At that moment, attaining a degree from Columbia felt like an insurmountable task."
However, he was indeed Columbia material and will graduate this month with a Bachelor of Arts in film and media studies. He is also a member of the GS Honor Society.
“GS saw something in me,” Mindell said. “GS nurtured my ability. GS supported my education, helped tremendously with figuring out my finances, and surrounded me with amazing, brave people who are also on nontraditional paths. I couldn’t be more proud than to graduate from the School of General Studies, and I can say for a fact I would not be taking this next big step without having attended this phenomenal college.”
The Columbia University School of General Studies (GS) is the premier liberal arts college in the United States for nontraditional undergraduate students seeking a rigorous, traditional, Ivy League education. GS students take the same courses, study with the same faculty, and earn the same degree as all other undergraduates at Columbia University.