Columbia Student Film Advances to Finals of Student Academy Awards

woman sitting at a small table across from a dog wearing a sweaterStill from Close Ties to Home Country
Close Ties to Home Country was written and directed by Akanksha Cruczynski (MFA, Cinema Directing) and produced by Felicia Ferrara (MFA, Creative Producing).

Columbia College Chicago is pleased to announce that a short film written, directed, and produced by two Columbia students, has advanced to the Finals of the Student Academy Awards.

Close Ties to Home Country, which is nominated among seven finalists in the Academy Awards Narrative (Domestic Film Schools) category, follows an immigrant dogwalker who finds home in the hearts of the rich people’s dogs she dogsits.

The fills was written and directed by Akanksha Cruczynski and produced by Felicia Ferrara, students in the MFA directing and producing programs at Columbia. Akanksha Cruczynski was born in India and grew up in Saudi Arabia. Felicia Ferrara is a Chicago-based filmmaker who was born in the Midwest and raised in Southern Africa. The film was on the BAFTA Student Shortlist 2021, won the Best Comedy Award and a cash prize of $1000 at the Oscar-qualifying Indy Shorts International Film Festival, won the Audience Award and a cash prize of $1250 at Academy Award-qualifying Aspen Shortsfest, and won two Best Performance awards at the Walla Walla Movie Crush. It has also played at Oscar-qualifying LA International Short Film Festival, Salute Your Shorts Film Fest, Los Angeles Comedy Film Festival, Nevada City Film Festival, and the Palm Springs International Shorts Market and Clermont-Ferrand International Film Festival Market.

More information on Close Ties to Home Country can be found here.

The 48th annual Student Academy Awards will take place on Thursday, October 11, 2021. Read the full list of finalists and learn more about the program at