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  • NYFA Alum Pens First Tanzanian Film to Stream on Netflix, “Binti”

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Screenwriting Alum Angela Ruhinda is a writer and producer from Tanzania. In 2018, Ruhinda started a production company, Black Unicorn Studios, with her sister Alinda. After holding a screenwriting competition for writers in Tanzania, they found the story that would be the studio’s first feature film, Binti.

    Binti, which centers on the lives of four women as they navigate entrepreneurship, motherhood, infertility and love in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, will premiere on Netflix on January 7th. It is the first Tanzanian film to be acquired by Netflix for global distribution!

    Angela spoke with NYFA about Binti, the start of Black Unicorn Studios and the challenges of doing post-production during a global pandemic.

    How did you come across the project or idea for Binti?  

    In 2018, I started a production company with my sister, Alinda. We named it Black Unicorn Studios. Our first project was a stage play that I wrote. After we wrapped our theatre run, we decided we wanted to venture into film. We had a screenwriting competition only open to Tanzanian writers. We asked for original stories that spoke to the theme of female empowerment. In early 2019, we picked our winning story – Her Life by Maria Shoo. We acquired the script and re-wrote it. We loved that it told the story of four contemporary Tanzanian women and thought it would be the perfect first project for our company. The name ‘Binti’ didn’t occur to us until we finished post production. ‘Binti’ is Swahili for ‘young woman’ and no other name is more fitting for this story.

    What was your process for writing and producing the film? 

    After acquiring the original screenplay, we approached a dear friend of mine named Seko Shamte to join our team as a director and producer. She ended up co-writing the shooting draft of Binti with me. We spent many Saturday afternoons writing powerful scenes together and the whole process took us about a month or so. And then the pre-production process began. The three of us assembled a dream team for the crew. Everyone in the crew was Tanzanian with only three exceptions. Our talented cinematographer, Justin Aguirre, flew in from L.A. I worked with him previously on a pilot called Occupied and really enjoyed working with him. Our sound guy was from Kenya and our assistant director flew in from Zimbabwe. Our director had a lot of experience with these two men and insisted they were the best of the best. We had open casting calls for the actors and saw a lot of great raw talent. There were chemistry tests to make sure we got the right leads in our four women. While we prepped the crew for the three-week shoot in July, we held rehearsals for our actors so that no steps were missed. The shoot was exactly 21 days in July 2019.

    Producers Angela and Alinda Ruhinda on the set of “Binti.”

    What was your biggest challenge while producing Binti?

    The greatest challenge I had while producing Binti happened during post-production. The pandemic completely disrespected our deadline. The film was initially edited in Tanzania but it also travelled to LA for more editing, Egypt for sound and to India for VFX effects. As you can imagine, each location had its own lockdowns and restrictions so we were constantly on standby and it delayed our deadlines. We ended up completing everything in early 2021 after we secured a distributor.

    Do you have a filmmaker statement you’d like to share about Binti?

    Binti is a love letter to African women. I also want everyone who watches Binti to see our strength, our beauty, our resilience and our ability to choose our own destiny.

    Has Binti been picked up for any festivals or competitions?

    Binti has already screened at several international festivals. It premiered at the Pan African Film Festival earlier this year. Binti has

    “Binti” movie poster

    also screened at Nollywood Film Week (Paris), Durban International Film Festival (SA), Jozi Film Festival (SA), Zanzibar International Film Festival and AFRIFF (Nigeria). In Zanzibar, Binti was awarded Best Feature Film which is something that we are really proud of. It’s a very prestigious film festival. Now we’re really looking forward to sharing it with the world via Netflix! January 7, 2022. Save the date!

    What did you learn at NYFA that you applied directly to this project and others?

    During my time at NYFA, I studied screenwriting. Thus, NYFA taught me a lot about the art of storytelling. I learned how to carefully weave a story, how to create compelling characters and how to move an audience. I always thought my first feature would be a comedy because it is a genre I’ve always been more comfortable writing. However, when I was given the opportunity to show contemporary Tanzanian women enduring specific hardships, I tapped in to all that I learned in school. Drama and comedy are often seen as polar opposites but I’ve found that sometimes one genre can inform the other. In terms of producing a feature film, I literally learned everything on the job. And boy did I learn a lot!

    Are there any other upcoming projects we should know about?

    I’m currently developing a TV series that I’m super excited about but can’t give any details on just yet. I would also like to write and produce one or two romantic comedies for 2022 and 2023. There are a lot of opportunities for African creators on the continent right now and it’s all very exciting!

    Do you have any advice for incoming NYFA students? 

    Soak in every single thing you learn at NYFA. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Start watching at least one film a day (something I was told during my first week). And if you can, start building your tribe by meeting creatives from other departments. If you’re a writer, collaborate with some of the producers, editors and actors. Make a few short films. Those relationships might become very valuable after you graduate and the practice will prepare you for the future.

    Be sure to catch Binti, today, on Netflix!

     

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    January 6, 2022 • Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 689

  • NYFA Acting Alum Cleavandor Wright in ‘Meeting Juan Jones’ and ‘Diablo’

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA Acting for Film alum Cleavandor Vandorn Wright is a retired Military Army veteran turned actor now working in the film industry. The Florida-based actor spoke with NYFA about his latest work, life after graduation, and advice for NYFA students. 

    Wright first started acting in 2016, at PlayBuilders of Hawai’i Theater Company in a production called ‘Dragonfly.’ The play tells the story about a girl’s journey through foster care and was directed by Terri Madden. The actor performed eleven times, playing six characters, each with dialogue, and toured with the troupe as performances were carried out throughout the island of Hawai’i. Wright was awarded the Ensemble Award at the theater company’s banquet, PO’ OKELA AWARD Ensembles Performance: Non-Traditional. 

    In 2017 Wright was also featured in the television series revamp of Hawaii Five-O in episode five of season eight alongside Chi-McBride. The NYFA alum played the role of a Security Guard. 

    Wright starred in the 2019 film Diablo directed by Cedric Livingston, a suspense thriller following protagonist Reggie who lurks from town to town, picking victims for murder. The film is available for streaming in certain locations on Amazon Prime Video

    NYFA Acting alum Cleavandor Wright plays Edgar in the film Meeting Juan Jones (2021) 

    NYFA Acting alum Cleavandor Wright plays Edgar in the film Meeting Juan Jones (2021)

    The alum also plays Edgar in the 2021 feature film Meeting Juan Jones, in which cryptocurrency trader Tim loses his life’s savings after an insider tip goes wrong. Tim meets Juan Jones, a local Miami shylock who takes Tim for a ride through the streets of Miami for a night of corruption and self-discovery. The film was both directed and written by Larry Camacho and Alejo Vega. The film was produced by Mcpree Production Films based in Miami, Florida. 

    A behind-the-scenes photos of the short film From Miami with love with NYFA alum Cleavandor Wright

    A behind-the-scenes photos of the short film From Miami with love with NYFA alum Cleavandor Wright (left)

    Wright teamed up a second time with Cedric Livingston (Diablo) to be featured in the short film From Miami with love, which was directed, written, and produced by Cedric Livingston. 

    In support of the NYFA community, the actor appeared in two NYFA student films which were directed, written, and produced by a NYFA student and alum from the South Beach (Miami) campus. The two short films Silver Mettel directed by 1-Year Filmmaking student Clay Ransom Greenwald, and 222 directed by NYFA BFA Filmmaking alum Zoe Bell, were also thesis films for the two filmmakers. 

    NYFA acting alum Cleavandor Wright on the set of the student short film Silver Mettel 

    NYFA acting alum Cleavandor Wright on the set of the student short film Silver Mettel

    When asked what he learned from NYFA that he applied to his work as an actor, Wright replied, “Everything, everything, and everything. I learned consistency, focus, a work ethic, discipline, and resiliency. How to dissect a script and get a visual understanding of what the character’s psychological mentality is so that you exact out the script what the director or writer wrote is what I took away from New York Film Academy.” 

    The actor has advice for incoming NYFA students, which is to “be on time to class and turn in your assignments before the deadline because this all ties into being on time to auditions and film sets. There’s a motto the Army lives by, which is also my motto since I’m a retired Military Army veteran, ‘If you’re early, you’re on time, if you’re on time, you’re late.’ Early arrival is always authorized.” Wright goes on to remind students to “ask questions, actively listen, be actively engaged during the exercises to construct techniques for your craft. And don’t forget to have fun!” 

    New York Film Academy congratulates alum Cleavandor Wright for his work in the acting profession, thank him for his service in the United States Army, and wishes him the best of success in his upcoming feature films. You can stay updated on Wright’s latest work by following him on Instagram (@mr_cleavandor).

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    December 23, 2021 • Acting, Community Highlights, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 471

  • New York Film Academy & Sichuan University of Media and Communications Launch New Degree in Filmmaking

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    In a virtual ceremony on December 14th, 2021, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) and the Sichuan University of Media and Communications (SUMC) celebrated the launch of a collaborative bachelor’s degree in filmmaking.

    New York Film Academy & Sichuan University of Media and Communications Launch New Degree in Filmmaking

    New York Film Academy and the Sichuan University of Media and Communications (SUMC) celebrated the launch of a collaborative filmmaking degree

    Jean Sherlock (NYFA’s Principal), Michael Young (NYFA’s President), Dan Mackler (Dean of NYFA’s Los Angeles campus), Joy Zhu (NYFA Executive Vice President of the China Region), and other NYFA faculty and staff attended the ceremony.

    Zhang Shuyu (SUMC’s Chairwoman), Zhang Yingjiang (SUMC’s President), Zuo Xuzhou (SUMC’s Vice President), and other SUMC professors also attended the event, as well as an outstanding alum from both institutions.

    Zhang Yingjiang opened the event crediting the success of the program launch to the hard work and long-term partnership between NYFA and SUMC. “This collaborative program is a milestone, marking a new period of collaboration between the two institutions,” said Zhang Yingjiang, SUMC’s President.

    New York Film Academy & Sichuan University of Media and Communications Launch New Degree in Filmmaking

    Zhang Yingjiang, SUMC’s President (above)

    “Sichuan University of Media and Communications is one of our most trusted partners. Over the years, we have successfully developed collaborative projects and enhanced our relationship,” said Michael Young, NYFA’s President.

    New York Film Academy & Sichuan University of Media and Communications Launch New Degree in Filmmaking

    Michael Young, NYFA’s President (above)

    Zhang Shuyu (SUMC’s Chairwoman) said in her speech that the New York Film Academy is an old friend of SUMC and as the collaboration grows, there will be more and more outstanding students, rising into the forefront of the international film industry.

    Zhang Shuyu, SUMC’s Chairwoman (above)

    Jean Sherlock (NYFA’s Principal) congratulated the official launch of the program. He appreciated the high quality of students from SUMC and hoped that the program would bring the partnership between the two institutions to the next level.

    New York Film Academy & Sichuan University of Media and Communications Launch New Degree in Filmmaking

    Jean Sherlock, NYFA’s Principal (above)

    NYFA and SUMC believe that the new collaborative bachelor’s degree in filmmaking will further enrich academic and educational exchanges between the United States and China, and cultivate more young storytellers with a global vision.

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    December 20, 2021 • China, Filmmaking • Views: 310

  • NYFA Faculty Justin LaReau & Lydia Cedrone Release ‘Lantern’s Lane’ in Select Theaters and Amazon Prime

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA)’s Justin LaReau & Lydia Cedrone released a new feature film, Lantern’s Lane (2021), to select theaters in November 2021. The film is now available for streaming on Amazon Prime and Apple TV

    The film follows a recent college graduate and her estranged high school friends as they return to Lantern’s Lane, the location of an evil urban legend, and must fight to survive the night. Directed by NYFA Film Festival Coordinator Justin LaReau and co-produced by NYFA staff member Lydia Cedrone, the film stars Brooke Butler, Andy Cohen, and Ashley Doris. 

    The horror-thriller comedy Lantern’s Lane was filmed during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. The distributing company, Vertical Entertainment, released the film in the United States to select cities on November 5th, 2021. 

    Director Justin LaReau is a NYFA alum as well, having earned his MFA in Producing back in 2014. LaReau founded Zoe and Pebbles Productions, which produced the feature film A Demon Within (2017) and has several projects currently in production. LaReau was a producer for No Alternative (2018) and worked on the crew for We Are Your Friends (2015). His film No Alternative opened the Dances with Films Festival in 2018. 

    NYFA’s Justin LaReau

    NYFA’s Justin LaReau

    Lydia Cedrone, co-producer of Lantern’s Lane, previously worked for Disney and Forward Pass. In partnership with LaReau, the two professionals launched Tidal Wave Entertainment in 2017. Having expansive professional experience across production and costume and/or wardrobe work, Cedrone worked on costume and wardrobe for the film Pearl Harbor (2001), starring Ben Affleck and Kate Beckinsale. Cedrone has credits for her production assistant work as a crew member for films like Ali (2001) and A Bronx Tale (1993). 

    NYFA’s Lydia Cedrone (left)

    NYFA’s Lydia Cedrone (left)

    New York Film Academy congratulates both Justin LaReau & Lydia for the release of Lantern’s Lane and its continued success across streamlining platforms. 

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    December 20, 2021 • Acting • Views: 409

  • Deadline Magazine Interviews NYFA’s Colonel Jack Jacobs on Roku Docu-Series ‘Ten Weeks’

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    New York Film Academy’s (NYFA) Division of Veteran Services (DVS) is delighted to share a recent news piece highlighting Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient, and Chair of NYFA’s Veteran Advancement Program, published last month in the entertainment industry digital magazine “Deadline.”

    “For those choosing to join the United States Army, their journey from citizens to Soldier begins with basic training,” a quote from Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston that’s a direct correlation to ten-part docuseries on the US Army’s basic training ritual, Ten Weeks. In an interview with “Deadline,” Colonel Jacobs explained that the show was inspired by a book he wrote, Basic: Surviving Bootcamp and Basic Training. This docu-series follows five young Americans through 10 weeks of basic training, showing their transformation from civilians into Soldiers.

    Ten Weeks was originally greenlit by the startup streaming service, Quibi, however the subscription streamer has been acquired by Roku in early 2021. The 8-10 minutes in length episodes are now available to free stream on the Roku Channel in the U.S., Canada and U.K. Executive producer and chief content officer of production firm “We Are the Mighty,” Chase Millsap states, “I am proud of how Ten Weeks captures the equally exhausting and exhilarating experiences of the military and look forward to sharing these inspiring stories on the Roku Channel.” The stories of the five Soldiers represent the collective sacrifice, bravery, and resilience of the more than half a million Americans who serve in the Army and Army Reserve today. This series is executive produced by Jason Blum, Jeremy Gold, Marci Wiseman, Mary Lisio, Chris Rowe, David Gale, Chase Millsap, Col. Jack Jacobs and Val Nicholas.

    On February 2, 2021, NYFA held a virtual panel event with Colonel Jacobs, David Gale and Chase Millsap, that was moderated by Tova Laiter, Director of the NYFA Q&A-List Series, which can be viewed here.

    In the past 10 years, NYFA has proudly welcomed nearly 2,500 veterans and servicemembers’ dependents as students at NYFA; the NYFA community is grateful to each for their service to our country. For more information, please contact NYFA DVS, at creshaun.sanders@nyfa.edu or 818- 333-3558.

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    December 10, 2021 • Acting • Views: 359

  • NYFA Accepting Applications for 2022 One-Year Conservatory, MFA & Short programs in Documentary Filmmaking

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) is accepting applications for 2022 One-Year Conservatory, MFA and Short programs in Documentary Filmmaking.

    Apply now for a remaining spot in the 1-Year Conservatory in Documentary Filmmaking starting in Fall 2022.

    The 1-Year Conservatory in Documentary Filmmaking is the flagship program of NYFA’s Documentary Filmmaking Division.

    • Learn to make films by making films.
    • One-year intensive and extremely hands-on.
    • Award-winning filmmakers teach new filmmakers through workshops, lectures and real-time mentoring as students make their own films.
    • Make 6 short nonfiction films and digital media pieces and develop a TV series.
    • Faculty work has won and been nominated for multiple Academy Awards and Emmy Awards, among many top honors.
    • Alumni have won an Emmy Award and been nominated for Emmy and Academy Awards. They have been honored at major film festivals around the world including Sundance, Cannes, Berlin and Toronto Film Festivals.

    NYFA accepting applications for documentary filmmaking

    Perfect for:

    Graduates of a short term NYFA Documentary Workshop

    • NYFA Documentary Workshop tuition is deducted from Conservatory Tuition.
    • Films made in the workshop can be submitted as part of an application for a Talent Based Award.

     Professionals ready to pivot and finally pursue their documentary dreams

    Alumni include former teachers, journalists, military veterans, researchers, anthropologists, and motion picture professionals of various stripes. Others have had jobs in international development, technology, criminal justice, and higher education, among many others.

     Gap Year

    •  College aged students who aren’t ready to start college can spend a year making documentary films.

     Alternative to college

    • Some students choose the Conservatory over traditional academics.
    • Single intensive year vs multi-year investment.
    • Focus solely on the practice of non-fiction filmmaking.

     Activists

    •  Make a movie, change the world (a little bit).
    • Alumni have used documentaries and nonfiction content to create real change.

     World Travelers

    • Because the world is awesome and documentary filmmaking can be an exceptional passport.

    Filmmakers

    • Many fiction filmmakers got started by making documentaries.
    • Others move back and forth between the two.

     Graduates of a different discipline

    • Students have come with degrees in business, social sciences, journalism, psychology, international studies, the arts, health sciences, and information technology, just to name a few.
    • Some use documentaries to share their vocation with a broader audience.
    • Others want an additional area of expertise.

    MFA in Documentary Filmmaking

    • Apply to our 2-Year degree program offered on the Los Angeles campus.
    • Our intensive curriculum prepares candidates with advanced knowledge about independent documentary filmmaking.
    • Apply for credits from a New York City 1-year non-degree program for advanced standing in the MFA program.
    • Fall ’22 is the next start date for the second year.

    6-Week Documentary Filmmaking Workshops

    • Start dates slated for February, May, July and September.
    • Introduction to the basics of Documentary Filmmaking.
    • Created for students who can’t take a year off for the Conservatory.
    • Some try out a workshop and before the Conservatory.
    • Graduates of Online Workshops who want an intensive, live experience.

     Online Documentary Filmmaking Workshops

    4-Week Intensive Online Programs in Documentary Filmmaking/Social Media Micro Docs

    • Start dates slated for January 10th, March 7th, May 9th, June 6th, July 5th, August 1st, and September 6th.
    • Introduction to the basics of Documentary Filmmaking & Micro Docs.
    • Created for students who aren’t able to travel to NYC for an in-person program.
    • Learn how to use your smartphone to shoot 3 documentary films or micro docs.

    15-Week Part Time Online Programs in Documentary Filmmaking/Social Media Micro Docs

    • Start dates slated for January 10th, May 2nd and August 29th
    • Introduction to the basics of Documentary Filmmaking & Micro Docs
    • Created for students who aren’t able to travel to NYC for an in-person program
    • Learn how to use your smartphone to shoot 3 documentary films or micro docs

    To learn about all of NYFA’s Documentary Filmmaking programs, visit the Documentary School website. Ready to apply? Click here to submit your application.

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    November 29, 2021 • Documentary Filmmaking • Views: 665

  • NYFA Screenwriting Instructor Paul J. Salamoff Wins at 46th Annual Saturn Awards

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    Paul J. Salamoff, writer, director, and New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screenwriting Instructor, received recognition for his latest feature film, Encounter (2019), at the 46th Annual Saturn Awards. The film was awarded ‘Best Independent Film’ at the Awards Ceremony and features a star-studded cast. The Saturn Awards, presented by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films, recognizes great work in the genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror. The non-profit organization was founded in 1972 and just a year later organized the first annual Saturn Awards.  

    Encounter stars Luke Hemsworth (Westworld), Anna Hutchison (Cabin in the Woods), Tom Atkins (Lethal Weapon, Halloween III, Creepshow), Cheryl Texiera (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Glenn Keogh (Transformers: Age of Extinction), Vincent M. Ward (The Walking Dead), and Christopher Showerman (George of the Jungle 2). The film was produced by Amy Bailey and distributed by Vega Baby. 

    Encounter follows the story of a wheelchair-bound artist who, after having lost everything in a car crash (including his daughter), experiences hardship once more when his friends discover an otherworldly object crashed in a rural field. He continues to investigate in order to confirm if the strange alien life form has nefarious intentions or if it could be the key to getting back what he once lost. 

    Salamoff, the writer and director of Encounter, describes the film as “a deeply personal film to me and was shaped by the films and filmmakers that have inspired me over the years. Even though it is about loss, grief, and the fear of the unknown, ultimately it’s about hope.” The film is now available for viewing on Amazon Prime, Tubi, and released on Special Edition Blu-Ray.

    Screen still from Bob Salamoff’s Encounter (2019)

    Screen still from Paul Salamoff’s Encounter (2019)

    The film was inspired by legendary science fiction shows and movies including, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Gattaca, Solaris, Another Earth, Moon, Ex-Machina, and Arrival. Salamoff explored themes of loss, grief, and fear of the unknown in Encounter, with the underlying story surrounding the subject of hope. 

    An industry expert with over 30 years of professional experience in film, television, video gaming, and commercials, Salamoff has worked as a writer, producer, director, executive, comic creator, storyboard artist, and make-up FX artist. He was recently named one of The Tracking Board’s Top 100 up & coming Screenwriters and has developed projects with Mosaic Media Group, Hollywood Gang, Blumhouse, Wigram Productions, Silver Pictures, Valhalla Motion Pictures, Vertigo and Eclectic Pictures. 

    Screen still from Bob Salamoff’s Encounter (2019)

    Screen still from Paul Salamoff’s Encounter (2019)

    Salamoff is the author of ‘ON THE SET: The Hidden Rules of Movie Making Etiquette’ and the graphic novels ‘Discord,’ ‘Tales of Discord,’ ‘Logan’s Run,’ and issues of ‘Vincent Price Presents.’

    New York Film Academy congratulates Paul Salamoff for his much-deserved win and recognition for the film Encounter at this year’s Annual Saturn Awards.

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    November 23, 2021 • Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights, Screenwriting • Views: 742

  • Nika Nikanava’s ‘Generation 328’ Wins Best Student Short at 2021 Woodstock Film Festival

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    Generation 328

    Screen still from Nika Nikanava’s short film, ‘Generation 328’

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking graduate, Veranika (Nika) Nikanava, won “Best Student Short” at the 2021 Woodstock Film Festival with her short film, Generation 328.

    After passing in a tragic hiking accident in Alaska before she could see the film fully finished, Nika’s classmates and other graduates from the NYFA Documentary Filmmaking program worked together to complete the film and submit it to film festivals on her behalf.

    Veranika Nikanava

    Veranika Nikanava (above), NYFA Filmmaking student and posthumous winner of “Best Student Short” at the Woodstock Film Festival

    Anna Panova, one of Nika’s classmates, worked on post production and production of the film. Panova shared that for the graduates supporting the film, “it was important to work on this film as a memory and tribute to Nika’s life. It’s not about us, it’s about her… and making sure that the work of her life is getting proper recognition and is not forgotten. Even though she’s not with us anymore, her work continues to live.”

    Generation 328 is a character-driven documentary following a group of mothers as they defy Europe’s last dictatorship, fighting to free their children from draconian sentences in brutal Belarusian prisons. Under article 328, it is common for young Belarusians to spend around ten years in prison for possession of less than a gram of marijuana. 

    Film Poster for Generation 328

    Film poster for ‘Generation 328’

    The story of Generation 328 is also one that was very personal to Nika. Originally from Belarus, she had a deep passion for telling stories about unheard heroes and was deeply concerned about human rights issues in her home country. Many of Nika’s acquaintances had been detained or knew someone that had been detained under article 328.

    The film had its world premiere at DOC NYC in 2020 and has since been screened at festivals around the world, including the Anchorage International Film Festival, the Ghent Viewpoint Documentary Film Festival in Belgium, and the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival in Canada.

    You can read more about the film or follow Generation 328 on Instagram.

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  • Gianluigi Carella To Become A Director for Stept Studios

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    NYFA Filmmaking alum Gianluigi Carella joined the directorial roster at Stept Studios, a creative and production studio known for its advertising. Carella is a graduate of NYFA’s 1-Year Filmmaking conservatory program in New York City. The Italian filmmaker’s body of work includes a myriad of filmmaking jobs. He has worked on popular music videos as well as commercial videos for international brands, including Tommy Hilfiger, Samsung, T-Mobile, Prada, Gucci, Dior, Tom Ford, Tiffany & Co., and Spotify. 

    Filmmaker Gianluigi Carella

    Filmmaker Gianluigi Carella

    According to the filmmaker, “Having signed with an agency like Stept has definitely given me access to certain bids and opportunities. I also signed with Nicholas Berglund in Europe for commercial rep and I am represented by Forager.tv as an editor.”

    Carella was first recognized within the industry for his editing on the VMA-nominated ‘Rule The World’ music video for Ariana Grande, featuring 2Chainz. 

    The filmmaker has a forthcoming project, also produced by Stept Studios, for Oakley and is directing a feature documentary for Amazon on Bella Thorne. The documentary features Benji Mascolo and Bella Thorne. The Leone Film Group-produced film is currently in pre-production and will be available on Amazon Prime Video. 

    Filmmaker Gianluigi Carella

    Filmmaker Gianluigi Carella

    Stept Studios prides itself on the creative content its directors produce. The studio provides services in strategy, production, and post-production. Per their website, their team of directors “represent the next generation of storytellers.”

    An article from Shoot details Carella’s extensive and equally impressive career thus far. The NYFA alum started as an editor for Forager after he graduated from NYFA. He began making a name for himself after working on Ariana Grande’s ‘Rule The World’, which would earn Carella a great deal more work. 

    Carella made his directorial debut with the film, The Blind Man’s Ball. Since then, he’s directed many music videos for international artists (including Princess Nokia, Anna, Rich the Kid, Irama, and Sofia Reyes). In the commercial world, the NYFA alum also worked on a series of films for Lux Hotels, Audi, Cartier, and Donna Karan. Additionally, Carella directed and edited an ad for the Riot Games and Mercedes-Benz partnership too. 

    Carella’s advice for students is to get ready for when the opportunities come. The filmmaker says, “If I hadn’t spent so many endless nights smashing my head on the keyboard trying to understand how certain things are done, prepping my website, working on specs and personal projects to show my skills, I wouldn’t have been able to get hired and get noticed. When they come to you, you need to have your stuff together, something to show. Use every single school project as something you could potentially show to a client, go simple and clean, AND LEARN EDITING.”

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Gianluigi Carella for his impeccable work in the film industry and looks forwards to his upcoming projects.

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    November 5, 2021 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 608

  • Nidhie Sharma Shoots Homemade Trailer For Her New Book, Invictus: The Jungle That Made Me

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    Nidhie Sharma, a NYFA 1-Year Filmmaking alum, is building an impressive career as a filmmaker and as a best-selling author. Sharma worked on multiple projects in varying roles spanning her career, ranging from producing to co-directing to writing, but now she adds author to her CV. Her new book Invictus: The Jungle That Made Me was released on August 10th, 2021. You can see the trailer for her new book below. 

    Sharma has worked as a writer for the web series Inside Edge. Sharma has directed three climate documentaries for Current TV founded by Al Gore, creator of the Oscar-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. Her list of short films includes Kids Bank of India and Mask in the Mirror.

    She was also Associate Director on the second season of the Indian series adaptation 24, an action thriller show. Sharma has worked with national award-winning filmmaker Sudir Mishra and associate producer/director Melora Hardin’s indie feature You.

    Filmmaker and Author, Nidhie Sharma

    Filmmaker and Author, Nidhie Sharma

    The filmmaker’s literary debut came with her book Dancing With Demons, published by HarperCollins in 2014. Sharma’s latest book Invictus: The Jungle That Made Me made the Outdoor Survivor bestseller charts since its release was first announced.. 

    The alum shared with us that while filming the trailer Invictus, she used only her iPhone as Mumbai was under strict lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

    Sharma reflected on her creative journey, saying that thus far it “has been an interesting one” and recalled her days starting out at NYFA. The Filmmaker and Author has a passion for wildlife conservation and gender rights, describing them as “themes that regularly recur in [her] stories”. 

    New York Film Academy congratulates Nidhie Sharma on the success of her new book and future endeavors.

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    November 3, 2021 • Community Highlights, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 623