Columbia University in the City of New York

Q&A with "99 Homes" Writer/Director, Columbia Associate Professor Ramin Bahrani

The Office of University Life hosted a screening on Feb. 10 of the critically acclaimed film 99 Homes, followed by a discussion with writer/director and Columbia professor Ramin Bahrani. Prof. Bahrani was joined by Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia University Professor of Economics and Nobel Laureate in Economics.

The Office of University Life asked Professor Bahrani to reflect on his experiences as a Columbia student and other thoughts:

I was at CC from '93 to '96 and enjoyed the core curriculum and being a very small part of the campus-wide push to expand its breadth. I was a film studies major and had many great professors who I'm thrilled to now call my colleagues. I have several close friends from my undergraduate years, for example Professor Hamid Dabashi and my former classmate, novelist Aravind Adiga.

On teaching at Columbia:

• I have been a Professor in the graduate film program for five years teaching film directing. I often found myself on the set of 99 Homes thinking of lessons I learned from working with my students and the other professors in my department. An added bonus of teaching at Columbia are the great minds you befriend in other departments like: Gregory Mosher, Carol Becker, Eric Foner and of course Joseph Stiglitz.

On the advice he would give aspiring filmmakers:

  • Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages."

On diversity in Hollywood and the entertainment industry:

  • It's so painfully obvious that there needs to be a much larger percentage of women and all minorities in decision making positions who can finance and distribute films. By 2040 minorities will be the majority in America - if for no other reason than self-preservation, the film industry needs to change. 

What he hopes audiences take away from Columbia's screening of 99 Homes:

  • Best for audiences to make up their own minds... and come to hear what Joseph Stiglitz has to say on February 10th! 

Watch Ramin Bahrani talk about the making of 99 Homes.