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  • New York Film Academy Australia Filmmaking Alum Josh Hale Shoots Second Feature on Gold Coast

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Australia alum Josh Hale just completed production of House of Inequity, his second feature film, on the Gold Coast of Australia.

    Australia’s Gold Coast is known for its beautiful natural scenery, so it might not be the first place you’d think of when choosing a location for a creepy horror film, but that outside-the-box thinking is part of what makes Hale such a talented filmmaker.

    Hale attended New York Film Academy Australia in 2014, taking the Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media in Filmmaking program at the Gold Coast campus, where students have the opportunity to shoot on the Village Roadshow Studios backlot. Before then, he was shooting skateboard videos, but felt inspired to do more with the medium. 

    “I tried to make my own film in 2009 and failed miserably,” Hale tells the Gold Coast Bulletin. “I was overly ambitious. I didn’t know anything except I wanted to make a film. I always loved writing so it was a natural progression.”

    Josh Hale

    After graduating, Hale wrote and directed his first feature, a comedy entitled Digital Athletes: The Road to Seat League, which won several awards at multiple festivals, including the NYC Indie Film Awards, Festigious International Film Festival, IndieFEST Film Awards, and Los Angeles Film Awards.

    “Josh utilized his hands-on training with NYFA Gold Coast to go make a feature film right out of college,” NYFA Gold Coast Director Tasha Cooper stated after the North American premiere of Digital Athletes. “He’s one of our success stories and we’re very proud of his recent achievements.

    His sophomore effort, House of Inequity, was shot in two distinct locations on the Gold Coast—Jacobs Well and Helensvale. The independent film is being financed by an American investor; Hale also received a film grant from the Australian Government. 

    Josh Hale House of Inequity

    House of Inequity, was written in 16 days, and shot over several months across both Gold Coast locations. Filming recently wrapped on the US-Gold Coast co-production, and House of Inequity is expected to premiere later this year. And Hale isn’t slowing down—he is currently producing two other films, including a documentary.

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA Australia Filmmaking alum Josh Hale on his latest work, House of Inequity, and looks forward to seeing the completed version later this year!

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    August 16, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 199

  • New Wave of Chinese Talent from New York Film Academy (NYFA) Win Big at Los Angeles Shorts International Film Festival

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    On July 25, the LA Shorts International Film Festival held its final awards ceremony, where alumni from New York Film Academy (NYFA) swept the entire “Chinese New Wave” film category.

    Alumni Shi Tanxuan and Jin Lingxi were awarded “The Best Chinese New Wave Filmmaker” award and “Special Mention in the Chinese New Wave,” respectively. The films of both alumni beat out several highly competitive films from other prominent and respectable film and art universities. 

    Shi Tanxuan started the MFA in Filmmaking program at New York Film Academy in Summer 2017 at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus. His film, Lip Reader: Game of Detective, which he wrote and directed, has a cast and crew of several other Chinese students and alumni from NYFA, including:

    General Executive ProducerLip Reader: Game of Detective - Shi Tanxuan
    Peipei Duan
    2017 Fall MFA Producing

    Second Unit Director
    Kaibo Xu
    2017 Fall MFA Filmmaking

    1st & 2nd Assistant Director
    Fei Chen
    Mengmeng
    2018 Fall BFA Filmmaking

    Post Supervisor
    Cherry Cao
    2015 Fall MFA Filmmaking

    Post Production Coordinator
    Zhenghao Yang
    2016 Fall MFA Filmmaking

    Cast:
    Klay Li
    2016 Spring MFA Filmmaking

    Demi Ke
    2015 Spring MFA Acting for Film

    Xinran Cao
    2018 Summer MFA Acting for Film

    Yiwen Sun
    2016 Fall BFA Acting for Film

    Jiani Yang
    2017 Fall BFA Acting for Film

    Shi’s previous work has earned several awards and accolades, including from the Beijing University Student Film Festival, the Guangzhou University Student Film Festival, and other domestic and international film festivals. 

    Jin won for his film, The Outlying Islands, which was also produced and shot by a group of NYFA alumni. Production took place at the gorgeous Shengsi Islands in Zhejiang province, China. The film perfectly showcased the specific vision and style of Jin, who recently graduated from New York Film Academy with a BFA degree in Filmmaking. The crew of The Outlying Islands included multiple NYFA alumni:

    Producer
    Zexia Wang
    2015 Spring MA Film and Media

    Screenwriter & Assistant Director
    Jingwei Zhou
    2016 Spring MFA Filmmaking

    Cinematographer
    Gaofei Zheng
    2013 Fall MFA Cinematography

    Colorist
    Egor Povolotskiy
    2013 Spring MFA Cinematography

    The film has received several awards and accolades at various film festivals, including the Singapore International Short Film Festival, Shanghai Pride Film Festival, and other domestic and international film festivals.

    The Los Angeles International Short Film Festival (LA Shorts) is one of the world’s largest international short film festivals. It was founded in 1997 and has been successfully held 23 times, with more than 300 films per year. LA Shorts is hailed as the largest international short film festival on the West Coast and not only has a high degree of recognition in the American film industry, but also is accredited by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) and the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. LA Shorts is an official qualifying event for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) short film awards.

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA alumni Shi Tanxuan and Jin Lingxi on their awards at the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival!

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    August 15, 2019 • China, Film Festivals, Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 255

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Roshni Bhatia Wins WINGS Grant from Zonta Club

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking alum Roshni Bhatia was recently a Guest of Honor at the Zonta Club of Burbank and was awarded their WINGS grant, allowing her to focus more on directing and shepherding her film Plasmid through the festival circuit.

    Roshni Bhatia

    (from L to R): Zonta President Gloria Salas, Roshni Bhatia, Marva Murphy

    Plasmid is a horror short about a young nurse fighting to survive after her house is invaded by an unearthly intruder. The film has been widely met with praise, and will screen next on August 27 at the Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival.

    The film was written and directed by Bhatia, who attended the 1-Year Filmmaking conservatory in 2017 at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus.

    The WINGS grant program is the signature service project of the Zonta Club of Burbank Area and helps women who have overcome adversity or a life-changing setback better their lives through education with one-time financial assistance. The next application deadline is September 30.

    “The award allows me to make more short films while studying,” remarks Bhatia. “With the award, I can continue to work with great people creating cinematic and pithy shorts with (hopefully) an interesting story to tell.”

    Bhatia was the only one considered for and awarded this year’s grant. “It was Zonta Club of Burbank’s wonderful opportunity to contribute to the education of a NYFA former student,” says Marva Murphy, Chair, WINGS Committee. “Our WINGS grant offers assistance and encouragement for a brighter future.”

    Part of what makes Bhatia worthy of the award is her perseverance and determination. “One will face endless obstacles and sometimes reasons not to do something, just because they’re waiting for the right moment or the right person to do it for them,” Bhatia says. “To go out there and not just think about it, but to just do it, is the hardest, yet most rewarding part.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Roshni Bhatia on winning the Zonta Club WINGS grant and wishes her success as she continues screening Plasmid in the festival circuit.

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    August 14, 2019 • #WomenOfNYFA, Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 323

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Australia Students Participate in VIVA Surfers Paradise Parade

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    Last month, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Australia students participated in a street parade as part of VIVA Surfers Paradise, a week-long festival held in Australia’s Gold Coast.

    VIVA Surfers Paradise

    VIVA Surfers Paradise is described as Australia’s ultimate tribute artist festival, and consists of multiple live performances and other events over the course of a week, including tributes to Elvis, Elton John, Queen, and The Beatles. This year’s event had an overall attendance of more than 132,000 visitors. 

    For the VIVA Surfers Paradise street parade, there were around 50 different groups and floats, including New York Film Academy, which has a campus on the Gold Coast. Additionally, six student actors from NYFA played zombies as part of a “fest-evil” float. The NYFA float included three students, representing two actors and a director, from NYFA-Australia’s Diploma and Advanced Diploma programs.

    The parade was a huge hit, with large crowds filming and photographing the various artists and floats that passed by.

    “The team’s professionalism, punctuality, and dedication to ensuring they remain in character for the whole duration of the parade is a testament to the students and mentors at the Academy,” says Ian Maclachlan, NYFA-Australia Operations Manager.

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    August 13, 2019 • Acting, Community Highlights, Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 247

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Dhruv Sachdev Continues Winning Awards

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    Dhruv SachdevNew York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking alum Dhruv Sachdev has been very successful since taking the 1-Week Filmmaking Workshop, winning several awards for Redrum and A Gift of Love: Sifar.

    Both films adapt classic American authors; Redrum is based on a story by Edgar Allen Poe while Sifar is based on The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry. Sachdev’s next film will be an adaptation of O. Henry’s The Last Leaf.

    Sachdev, who originally hails from New Delhi, India, attended the Filmmaking Workshop in 2016 at NYFA’s New York campus. “At NYFA we were taught a basic rule,” says Sachdev, “that every scene, every shot, or every dialogue has to strike a chord with the audience—and that can only be done by a filmmaker who understands which emotion is to be captured. Thus, we not only learned the technicalities of filmmaking, but in the process also learned to observe the complexity of emotions.”

    Sachdev took that lesson to heart, and his work has been recognized at multiple festivals for its strong craftsmanship. Here is a list of the awards and nominations won so far by A Gift of Love: Sifar:

    Winner – CKF International Film Festival, England – Best Feature
    Winner – Crown Wood International Film Festival – Best Indian Feature
    Winner – Cult Critic Movie Awards – Best Debut Director
    Winner – Calcutta International Film Festival – Best Debut Director
    Winner – Mahul Woods International Film Festival – Outstanding Achievement Award – Best Feature
    Winner – Mahul Woods International Film Festival – Outstanding Achievement Award – Best Debut Director
    Winner – L’Age d’Or International Arthouse Film Festival
    Winner – Virgin Spring Cinefest
    Winner – Five Continents International Film Festival, Venezuela – Best Independent Feature
    Winner – Five Continents International Film Festival, Venezuela – Best Actress in a leading role
    Winner – Five Continents International Film Festival, Venezuela – Background Score
    Winner – Gold Movie Awards – London – June 2019 – Best Producer
    Winner – Los Angeles Film Awards
    Winner – Druk International Film Festival – Best Debut Director
    Winner – Druk International Film Festival – Best Feature
    Winner – Druk International Film Festival – Best Actress
    Winner – South Film and Arts Academy Festival – Best Drama Feature
    Winner – South Film and Arts Academy Festival – Best Screenplay Honorable Mention
    Winner – South Film and Arts Academy Festival – Best Lead Actress in a Feature Film
    Winner – South Film and Arts Academy Festival – Best Actor in a Supporting Role
    Winner – South Film and Arts Academy Festival – Best Cinematography Honorable Mention
    Winner – South Film and Arts Academy Festival – Best Editing Honorable Mention
    Winner – South Film and Arts Academy Festival – Best Production
    Winner – South Film and Arts Academy Festival – Best Art Direction Honorable Mention
    Winner – Bacalar International Film Festival, Mexico
    Finalist – Oniros Film Awards (award pending)
    Semifinalist – Near Nazareth Festival – Israel
    Official Selection – Rome Independent PRISMA Awards
    Official Selection – Miami Independent Film Festival (award pending)
    Official Selection – Berlin Flash Film Festival (award pending)
    Official Selection – New York Aphrodite Film Awards (award pending)

    “Once you start understanding human emotions,” Sachdev adds, “your journey towards being a filmmaker begins.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Dhruv Sachdev on his growing list of accolades and looks forward to his upcoming projects!

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    August 13, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 332

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Issa Rae Executive Produces HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show

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    This Friday, HBO will premiere its newest comedy series, A Black Lady Sketch Show, executive produced by New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum Issa Rae and created by Robin Thede. The landmark show will be the first ever sketch series on television starring an all-black women cast, as well as the first with an all-black women writers room.

    The first season of A Black Lady Sketch Show, which debuts August 2, 11:00-11:30 p.m. ET/PT, comprises six episodes and around forty sketches. The show is a direct response from veteran comedy writer Robin Thede to the traditional lack of diversity in comedy; in 2015, Thede had become late night’s first black woman head writer when after joining The Nightly Show.

    “[A Black Lady Sketch Show] was definitely written from a very specific point of view,” Thede tells Salon, “but it’s from a diverse array of black women. So you’re going to get sketches that have aliens or musicals or thrillers or murder. You’re going to get sketches with all sorts of different things because of the diversity amongst the black women in our writer’s room … For us it’s really about showcasing something that is seen as very homogeneous and showing the layers that black women have. And even on this show, in six episodes, we can’t, we’ve barely scratched the surface.”

    The cast will include Thede, as well as Ashley Nicole Black, Gabrielle Dennis, and Quinta Brunson. The show will be co-executive produced by Issa Rae Productions, the production company of New York Film Academy alum Issa Rae.

    After graduating the 4-Week Filmmaking Workshop at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus, Rae turned the success of her award-winning web series The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl into a deal with HBO. The deal included her series, Insecure, which she writes, produces, and stars in, and for which she earned Golden Globe nominations in 2017 and 2018. It also included developing more projects for HBO with a special focus on diversity. A Black Lady Sketch Show turned out to be the perfect fit for Issa Rae productions.

    New York Film Academy prides itself on its diverse, international student body with aspiring performers and visual artists coming from over 120 countries in a nearly even female-to-male ratio. Recently, NYFA Screenwriting alum Abby Ajayi was one of 63 black female writers featured in an epic photo shoot by The Hollywood Reporter late last year. Other notable women of color that have graduated from NYFA include Amy Wright, Furaha Bayibsa, Omoni Oboli, Paquita Hughes, and Akila Robinson.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Issa Rae on her latest production and wishes the best of success to Robin Thede and the cast and crew of HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show!

     

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  • New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Filmmaking Instructors Keep Busy Outside of Class

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) prides itself on its faculty of professionals working in the film and television industry, who then pass on their first-hand knowledge and experience to their students.

    Here’s a look at some of the latest projects from NYFA-Los Angeles filmmaking instructors:

    Steve Morris
    Steve Morris has been making The Cine-Files Podcast since 2016. Each week, The Cine-Files takes deep a dive into a single great film, exploring its themes, history, filmmaking, and the influence it has on us today. Its goal is to explore films from every era and every genre. 

    So far, Morris and his podcast has tackled over 100 films and explored everything from Citizen Kane and Lawrence of Arabia to The Big Lebowski, Star Wars, Fight Club and Ken Burns’ Civil War. 

    With approximately 20,000 downloads a week, The Cine-Files is a must listen for any serious film fan. The podcast is available on iTunes, YouTube, Google Play, Sticher, and Spotify.

    Mark Sawicki
    Cinematography instructor Mark Sawicki played the role of Sultan Karim in the latest Asylum film Adventures of Aladdin, directed by Emmy-winning VFX Artist Glenn Campbell. Campbell is a previous NYFA guest speaker; Sawicki held a Q&A with him and interviewed him about the Sharknado franchise.

    Sawicki also did do a project for Disney as technical director, with Sofia Carson, utilizing the latest technology in motion capture and live compositing with game engines. Sawicki is hoping this exposure will lead to new opportunities for teaching current technology and practice in VRARMR.

     

    David Martin-Porras
    David’s most recent feature (Chain of Death) opened on July 19 at the Laemmle Music Hall and will be released shortly on home release and video on demand. The cast includes NYFA alum Nicolás Montesinos; NYFA alum Pablo Gómez Castro served as 1st assistant director. The screenplay was co-written by Martin-Porras and NYFA instructor Andrés Rosende.

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    July 30, 2019 • Faculty Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 310

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Sara Seligman Premieres Coyote Lake Starring Riverdale’s Camila Mendes 

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    Coyote Lake, the feature filmmaking debut of New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking alum Sara Seligman, is having its US premiere on August 2 before screening for the public in a limited theatrical release. Written and directed by Seligman, the film stars, Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee Adriana Barraza (Amores Perros, Thor), Camila Mendes (Riverdale, The Perfect Date), and Manny Pérez (Homeland, Luke Cage).

    The film is an intense thriller about a mother and daughter who rob and drown drug runners in their home near the border between Texas and Mexico. One night, two drug runners take them hostage, unaware of exactly who they’re dealing with. Coyote Lake began as Seligman’s first-year thesis, a 17-minute short she made while attending the 2-Year Filmmaking conservatory at NYFA’s New York campus, which she co-wrote with fellow NYFA classmate Ian Cobb. Seligman was inspired by an old newspaper article Seligman’s mother described to her about a French daughter and mother during World War I who killed soldiers in a very similar manner as Coyote Lake’s protagonists. The parent-child psychology and dynamic between the mother and daughter interested her even more than their sensationalist story.

    Sara Seligman Coyote Lake

    “While murder is obviously very far from a ‘normal’ upbringing,” Seligman states in the film’s Director’s Statement, “this story was ultimately about one’s coming-of-age: learning about yourself and who you want to become, which felt like a universally relatable theme I could explore.”

    However, Seligman still felt there was more story than what a short film could explore. “I always knew,” she continues, “that there was much more to discover in this story, and that’s why I decided to write the feature version. I wanted to explore all the little details of that mother-daughter relationship. But what the thesis film lacked, and what I wanted in the feature, was for this story to happen in the present day, in a world that was relevant to me, and everyone watching.”

    Seligman than adapted the screenplay into a feature with fellow NYFA classmate Thomas Bond, based on the cartel violence of real-life Falcon Lake, a reservoir by the US-Mexico border. The script was part of Film Independent’s Fast Track program, and was awarded the Tribeca Film Institute’s TAA Grant.  She eventually filmed it with a stellar cast, led by Camila Mendes from The CW’s Riverdale and Adriana Barraza, who was Oscar-nominated for her role in Babel.

    Sara Seligman Coyote LakeThe filmmaker originally hails from Mexico and while Coyote Lake is her feature directorial debut, she has been very productive since graduating NYFA. After working as a production assistant, Seligman became a producer and joined the PGA, working on both high-profile projects as well as her own personal ones, including Plan V, a screenplay she sold in 2015 that was released in Mexico last year. She produced, wrote, and directed the short film Diego, which screened at over twenty film festivals around the world and won multiple awards, including the Gold Lion at the Barcelona Film Festival.

    Coyote Lake will have its US premiere on August 2, accompanied by a Q&A panel. The film will then have a limited theatrical release in select locations across the country. During its release, you can find Coyote Lake at the following theaters:

    Los Feliz 3 – Los Angeles
    IFC Center & AMC Empire – New York City
    Cosford Cinema – Miami, FL
    North Oaks – Houston, TX
    Galaxy – Austin, TX
    Gateway – Columbus, OH

    Coyote Lake will later screen as part of HBO’s New York International Latino Film Festival Official Selection in New York City.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Sara Seligman on her feature directorial debut and encourages everyone to see Coyote Lake during its theatrical release!

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    July 25, 2019 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 592

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Martín Rosete Films ‘Remember Me’ With Bruce Dern and Brian Cox

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    New York Film Academy Filmmaking Alum Martín Rosete is set to release his second feature film, Remember Me (Recuérdame). The American-Spanish-French romantic comedy stars Sienna Guillory (Love Actually, Eragorn), two-time Academy Award nominee Bruce Dern (Nebraska, The Hateful Eight), and Golden Globe winner Brian Cox (Adaptation, X-Men 2).Martin Rosete Remember Me

    Rosete originally hails from Spain and enrolled in the 2-Year Filmmaking conservatory at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus in 2007. In 2013, he was nominated for the Goya Award (Spanish Academy Award) and has won over 100 awards for his short film Voice Over, including the Melies d’Or at Stiges Film Festival. His directorial debut was the American thriller, Money. Variety has called Rosete “one of Spain’s most talked-about shorts/commercials directors.”

    Rosete’s sophomore effort tells the story of Claude, a seventy-year-old widower, who fakes his way into a senior living community in an effort to reunite with Lillian, the first love of his life, who is now suffering from Alzheimer’s. The script, which was the most downloaded screenplay by unrepresented writers on The Black List in 2014, was written by Rafa Russo.

    “I remember perfectly the moment when Rafa told me the story of Remember Me,” describes Rosete. “I remember also feeling that my hair bristled at everything that moved me in this story … I’m used to reading many scripts and getting calls from screenwriters telling me stories for possible movies, but I remember that from the first moment I heard the story of Remember Me, I knew it was something special.”

    Remember Me started shooting last year and was co-produced by Rosete as well as Gonzalo Salazar-Simpson, David Naranjo, and Atit Shah. The film will have a theatrical release in multiple countries; its Spanish release will be August 2.

    New York Film Academy encourages the NYFA community to see Remember Me, and congratulates Filmmaking alum Martín Rosete on the release of his second feature film!

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    July 24, 2019 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 439

  • New York FIlm Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Swati Chugh Finds Success With ‘New Heaven’

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    New Heaven, the final film project of New York Film Academy (NYFA) 4-Week Filmmaking Workshop alum Swati Chugh, has been steadily amassing awards since recently entering the international festival circuit. Swati Chugh - New Heaven

    Chugh is originally from India and made the film in April 2019 as part of graduating the 4-week Filmmaking Workshop at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus. New Heaven is about a middle-aged woman who is struggling to come to terms with aging and mortality. The film explores how she finds fulfillment while dealing with the memories of her younger days.

    “As a filmmaker,” Chugh tells NYFA, “I want to tell stories that bring hope and inspiration to the audience. If I manage to touch hearts and inspire people to view things differently, I believe my purpose is met. New Heaven is one such story … Age is a factor that affects us all and many times we tend to get stuck in the past on how we used to look earlier versus how we look like now … The story shows [the protagonist’s] struggles, conflict, and journey towards getting her self-worth back.”

    Since entering the festival circuit, New Heaven has won:

    Best Silent Film – Crownwood International Film Festival, India
    Best Silent Film – Druk International Film Festival, Bhutan
    Best Super Short Film – Five Continents Film Festival, Venezuela
    Special Mention Editing Short Film – Five Continents Film Festival, Venezuela
    Semifinalist for Best Writer – AltFF Alternative Film Festival, Canada
    Semifinalist for Best Actress – AltFF Alternative Film Festival Canada
    Official Selection – Florence Film Awards, Italy
    Official Selection – CKF International Film Festival, UK
    Official Selection – Berlin Flash Film Festival, Germany

    The film was a collaboration between multiple New York Film Academy alumni, including co-star Omega Melhem (8-Week Acting for Film), actor and director of photography Jialu Liu, (4-Week Filmmaking), and assistant camera Matias Alvarado (4-Week Filmmaking). Chugh praised both her cast and crew as well as the NYFA faculty who helped teach her the filmmaking craft.

    “The filmmaking course at NYFA was beyond what I had expected,” adds Chugh. “It was a fast-paced course, but that is what made it so exciting.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA Filmmaking alum Swati Chugh on the growing list of accolades for New Heaven and wishes her ongoing success as she continues her filmmaking endeavors.

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