Filmmaking
Category

  • NYFA Filmmaking Alum Indranil Banerjee Creates India’s First Anthology Horror Miniseries “4 Shades of Leap”

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    From his early childhood, Indranil Banerjee remembered watching Toy Story, Jurassic Park, Satyajit Ray’s Gupi Gyan Bagha Byan, and James Cameron’s epic film Titanic. He recalled how, as a kid, crying when Jack died, imagining himself proposing several times to Rose and talking with his friends at school about why his mom had to close his eyes at the theatre in several scenes of the film. It was movies that excited Banerjee at such a young age, and that captivation for filmmaking continued as he grew up. 

    Photo courtesy of Indranil Banerjee

    “When I grew up, I understood that film was something that was very attractive to me. , I started doing photography and slowly started learning about film and camera,” shared Banerjee. “From there, I began to comb through the filmography of some of the world’s best filmmakers.” 

    The likes of James Cameron, Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, and more inspired the aspiring director. Filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino inspired Banerjee to learn storytelling through camera tactics, while Satyajit Ray taught Banerjee how characters can come to life and music can elevate each story. 

    Film poster for “The Chase”

    After attending film schools in the UK, France, and the U.S, Banerjee’s sister told Banerjee about New York Film Academy (NYFA), where Banerjee enrolled in an 8-Week Filmmaking Workshop at the New York campus. 

    The filmmaking alum has directed the short film The Chase, which was recognized at the prestigious Los Angeles Cenefest. His other shorts include The Mirage, Trinyani, One Night Stand, and Hello. Banerjee also directed Bahannoborti (52), a television film for one of the most highly recognized Bengali channels in Kolkata, India. 

    Film posters for Banerjee’s anthology series “4 Shades of Leap”

    Now, the filmmaking alum is changing the way India is consuming horror, by launching the first horror anthology miniseries. 4 Shades of Leap is a series of four shorts that are about five minutes each. “The Idea Came in my head at the end of 2019. It was winter and me and my cinematographer Tuhin Dasgupta were having coffee in my terrace and discussing the new Indian Hindi-language anthology horror film on Netflix called Ghost Stories. We then planned to do our own research on some actual horror events in Kolkata, India.” 

    For one month, Banerjee and Dasgupta talked with individuals, visited many abandoned houses, and began forming the script for four individual stories based on real-life incidents. “As a filmmaker, I wanted to make this extremely natural and as real as I could. I used various cinematic elements as a poignant part of each and every tale; the shadows in the first episode, the rain in the second, the match cuts in the third, and the faces of various animals in the last episode.”

    Banerjee behind the scenes

    Banerjee and his crew finished filming the series just before the pandemic and the series has been met with critical acclaim and such a huge response that the series will return for a second season.

    “People like to watch spooky, but there is a difference between Ghostbusters and Insidious. All I can say 4 Shades Of Leap will Just take twenty minutes from your life to make you feel the various waves and stages of horror, with all four episodes based on real incidents. So, you will definitely enjoy it, and, yes, you will remain in shock.” 

    New York Film Academy recognizes the incredible achievement of filmmaking alum Indranil Banerjee and his latest project 4 Shades of Leap. You can watch the horror anthology on Amazon and Apple TV.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail
  • New York Film Academy Awards MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy Students With 8-Week Program Scholarship

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF), a New York Film Academy (NYFA) partner, recently announced the graduation of 60 students from the Lusaka, Nairobi, and Lagos MTF Academy hubs. 

    Through their partnership with NYFA, MTF Academy students have the opportunity to graduate with not only an MTF graduate qualification but also walk away with accreditation from NYFA as well. 

    MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) graduates

    Originally a 12-month course, MTF students experience an extended period of study to 18 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing for students to complete an intensive 3-week online NYFA course on the production of micro-documentaries, PSAs, and music videos and also worked with the United Nations on the global #PledgeToPause campaign, exposing the young creatives to global networks.  

    Having received both their MTF and NYFA qualifications, MTF graduates are made even more sought-after candidates as they re-enter their respective local film and TV sectors as highly qualified industry professionals. 

    Africa’s creative industries are custodians of the continent’s cultural heritage, and as Africa’s most-loved storyteller, MultiChoice has always put to use its burning desire to develop and invest in African talent through initiatives such as MTF. And like the previous cohort, the skills gained by the Class of 2020 once again shone through during their course.

    In addition, NYFA also awarded an 8-week scholarship, which goes to the top-performing graduate per region, to the below MTF graduates:

    • Abisola Aboaba (Nigeria)
    • Daisy Masembe (Uganda) 
    • Maira Tauacale (Mozambique).

    MTF Academy graduate and NYFA scholarship recipient Abisola Aboaba

    “This is a proud moment for everyone involved in ensuring that the students became graduates. It’s also been fulfilling to see just how in-tune this next generation of African storytellers are with the importance of being multi-skilled and intuitive creatives,” shared Yolisa Phahle, CEO of General Entertainment and Connected Services, MultiChoice Group. “All this would not have been possible without the collaboration and commitment of our fantastic partners.”

    New York Film Academy congratulations to the class of 2021, who are now alumni of the exceptional MTF Academy program, a proud partner of NYFA.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    April 15, 2021 • Entertainment News, Film School, Filmmaking, International Diversity • Views: 730

  • NYFA Filmmaking Instructor Braden Duemmler’s Film “What Lies Below” Lands on Netflix

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    NYFA instructor Braden Duemmler’s film What Lies Below is currently has the the #1 spot on Netflix’s Top 10 in the U.S. Today spot, a coveted ranking across all streaming services.

    Duemmler, who wrote and directed the film, is a filmmaking instructor at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus. What Lies Below is a horror-thriller film that tells the story of a teenage girl who comes back home from camp, only to realize that her mother’s attractive new boyfriend is too good to be true.

    Braden Duemmler (Left) and Ema Horvath (Right) on the set of “What Lies Below”

    The film stars Ema Horvath (who was recently cast in the upcoming Lord of The Rings series for Amazon Prime), NYFA guest speaker Mena Suvari (American Beauty, American Pie), and Trey Tucker (who was recently cast in the upcoming show Heels on Starz).

    For Duemmler, What Lies Below was a labor of love, and seeing all of the work that went into writing the film as well as seeing it cast and begin shooting was an incredible moment for the director. “It was wonderful and terrifying at the same time. I still remember the first table read with Ema, Trey, and Mena going through the lines. I had tears in my eyes at the end because I just couldn’t believe I was sitting there, with these incredibly gifted actors, listening and watching them bring the story to life!”

    Behind the scenes of filming “What Lies Below”

    “As we were making the film, it was a battle. Every day had its trials and triumphs and you just had to stay focused on the scene, the shot, the moment, every step of the way,” shared Duemmler. “Every time we wrapped a day, and I knew in my head we got what we needed, I felt the same as I did at that table read: this is happening, this is working, this is awesome!”

    Mena Suvari in “What Lies Below”

    What Lies Below has now been picked up and released by streaming giant Netflix, which has been the launching point for many directors and multiple genres of content for the past decade.

    “It’s very exciting. We’re being released the same week as a film starring Idris Elba! It makes me appreciate the platform [Netflix] and its unique ability to bring films from all genres, budgets, and styles to one place.”

    Trey Tucker in “What Lies Below”

    According to the filmmaking instructor, audiences will be able to enjoy the “intensity of the story” and the mystery that is riddled throughout the film. But most of all, he hopes audiences will argue over the ending. “It is a very polarizing finale and I’ve already seen some great fan theories on the internet. All I’ll say is the ending is not open-ended; it is very definitive and all the answers to the mystery are layered into those final two shots. I hope people enjoy picking it all apart and trying to figure it out!”

    Braden Duemmler on the set of “What Lies Below”

    For anyone out there looking to make their own film, Duemmler says it’s time to stop asking for permission. “You don’t need the studios, or Sundance, or a big-time producer. All you need is a great script and a little start-up capital that will allow you to attach a cast that is recognizable enough to get you your full budget! The cast is EVERYTHING and they care about great scripts!”

    New York Film Academy congratulates filmmaking instructor Braden Duemmler on the release of his first feature film What Lies Below, which is now available to stream on Netflix. Once audiences finish arguing over the ending of What Lies Below, it won’t be long before Duemmler releases his next film Mold, which will begin casting this summer.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    April 7, 2021 • Entertainment News, Faculty Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 793

  • New York Film Academy Instructors Shoot “The Sisters Karras” And Enter Post-Production

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Two estranged half-sisters, a will reading, a valuable antique rug, and a mysterious stranger. 

    NYFA Acting for Film and Filmmaking instructor Micah Stathis’ latest film, The Sisters Karras, has deep roots within the NYFA community. With Stathis’ SK Deli Market Productions at the helm of the production, the film also includes New York campus instructors Dan Rodriguez, Dennis Green, and Andy Mendez among the film’s cast and crew.

    Poster for “The Sisters Karras”

    The film, shot last Summer in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, is an original feature written, directed, and starring Stathis. NYFA teaching assistant for Acting for Film Dan Rodriguez served as the film’s director of photography, with NYFA’s Post-Production Supervisor, Andy Mendez, serving as the main editor of the film. Joining Stathis in the cast is NYFA screenwriting instructor Dennis Green.

    Photo courtesy of Micah Stathis

    The shoot itself proved challenging for the crew as safety took precedent with the filming during the pandemic. 

    “It was very stressful shooting during the pandemic,” explained Stathis. “We were a SAG registered production, so the COVID protocols were very strict and required a lot of additional planning and precautions. Not to mention, it’s really hot shooting in New York in August…especially while having to wear masks!”

    With the production wrapped, The Sisters Karras now enters the post-production phase. Like many filmmakers know, shooting the film is half the battle, with a huge part of the filmmaking process dedicated to putting all the finishing touches on the project and getting the film out in the public eye.

    Dan Rodriguez (Left) and Micah Stathis (Right)

    “I hope that audiences enjoy the tragicomic tone and nature of the film. I hope audiences find the story of the two sisters captivating, funny, and stressful but ultimately, relatable,” shared Stathis.

    Photo courtesy of Micah Stathis

    “We are definitely aiming for a festival run with an eye towards sales and distribution. We have already been in dialogue with a few distribution companies who are waiting for the film to be ready. We do not want to rush the post-production process and want to make sure the film is, ultimately, as good as it can possibly be. That’s why we’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign specifically for post-production.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates the instructors who banded together to create a feature film safely in the middle of the pandemic. To learn more about The Sisters Karras, you can visit the film’s Kickstarter page by clicking here.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail
  • Founder of VanPack Productions, Vseant Nath, Talks Learning Filmmaking Online at NYFA and His Upcoming Projects

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Vseant Nath has been studying improv since 2017 and immediately fell in love with it. He then decided to take some acting workshops not long after to fully understand the craft of performance, where he discovered he thoroughly enjoyed the direction given by the instructors.

    “This sparked my interest in producing and directing,” he shared. “I purchased books on filmmaking, but I had been researching the NYFA program as well. Then, COVID hit and it was a standstill for all, but my passion for learning continued and I was further drawn towards NYFAs hands-on approach.”  

    Vseant Nath in “Ganush: The pursuit of 5 Stars”

    Nath then decided to be one of the first groups of people to take NYFA’s new Online Film Directing Workshops. While it wasn’t in-person learning because of the pandemic, Nath was able to still have an active creative learning experience from the comfort of his own home, interacting with the instructor and his classmates over Zoom, and creating original work. 

    “I was now being taught by the best of the best instructors at NYFA, right from the safe space of my home,” said Nath. “It was one of the most exciting things in my life at that moment and the experience was further amplified by the whole world being at a standstill. I felt it was an extreme privilege to be learning with other students from across the globe.” 

    After getting to take the Online Workshop course at NYFA, Nath shared that anyone who wants to go out and become a filmmaker needs to seek to create for themselves. “Create films, as many as you can. Study them, make them better each time. You’ll have good ones and bad ones, but they’re yours. Be open to criticism; good bad and otherwise.”

    Now that he is done with his course, Nath has been focused on creating inspiring stories with impactful scenes with his VanPack Productions. Inspired by his grandmother who raised him, his inherited love of storytelling inspired him to create the production company and produce content, with his current goal to produce 20 short films before his first feature film.

    Film poster for the upcoming film “Neighborhood Racket”

    Nath’s company is currently working on shooting a new episode of Ganush: The Pursuit of 5 Stars, which is based on Nath’s own experience with unfair online reviews. “It made me think about the struggles of the business owner and the reviewer,” he remarked. The NYFA alum also has also created film festival favorites Nature Crawls, Pigs in a Blanket: A Bloody Tale, and Mic in: Dead Silent, and is currently working on more shorts including the horror film Inked.

    Booked and busy on his next projects, NYFA congratulates alum Vseant Nath on his upcoming projects and is excited to celebrate Nath upon the release of his first feature film in the near future. 

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    April 1, 2021 • Diversity, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1384

  • New York Film Academy Partners with the 2021 FOLCS – International Short Film Competition

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) is excited to announce another year of partnership with the Forum on Life, Culture and Society (FOLCS) International Short Film Competition in a five-day virtual event, culminating in an Awards Night on April 8, 2021.

    FOLCS is a non-profit organization that houses culturally relevant conversation topics, providing a unique and enriching experience for audience goers that speaks to the moment with captivating conversations from special guests across multiple industries. NYFA has been a co-host on the FOLCS series of events for the last three years. 

    The annual FOLCS – International Short Film Competition (F-ISFC) is a special event that showcases short films that explore themes of justice, human rights, and the law by emerging filmmakers from all over the world. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for the very first time, FOLCS, in partnership with NYFA, will be virtually hosting its annual short film competition, allowing viewers to screen all of the finalist entries over the course of five days starting April 5, 2021.  

    Finalist films for the FOLCS – International Short Film Competition

    This year’s official film selections include titles from Iran, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Malaysia, and the United States, giving entrants the opportunity to have their films shown to a wide audience and films viewed by distinguished professionals including renowned filmmakers, actors, writers, and journalists. Previous F-ISFC judges from NYFA include Cinematography Chair Piero Basso, Screenwriting Chair Randall Dottin, Filmmaking Chair Andrea Swift, and Filmmaking instructor Jonathan Whittaker.

    Actor William Fichtner

    All ISFC attendees will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite short, which will be counted towards the Audience Favorite Award which will be announced during Awards Night on April 8, 2021. The awards night is open to all F-ISFC ticketholders and will feature a discussion with the finalist filmmakers, NYFA’s own President Michael Young, and actor William Fichtner (Black Hawk Down, Prison Break, The Perfect Storm, The Dark Knight), who will present the award for The Best Short.

    HOW TO WATCH THE FILMS & VIRTUALLY ATTEND:

    The first 200 people to register for this year’s F-ISFC will receive tickets for the virtual film screenings free of charge, while all other registrants will be charged a $2 fee to unlock the official film selections. To view the F-ISFC slate of films selected for this year’s competition, click here. If you would like to register to attend one or all of the screenings for this year’s F-ISFC, click here to register. On April 5, 2021, you will receive an email with instructions on how to unlock and watch each film online. 

    New York Film Academy is a proud partner of this year’s FOLCS – International Short Film Competition and looks forward to being part of this special event celebrating aspiring independent filmmakers from around the globe. 

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail
  • NYFA Australia Alum Julian Lawrence Works on “Godzilla vs. Kong”

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    New York Film Academy Australia (NYFA Australia) alum Julian Lawrence has multiple blockbusters under his belt. Having tackled Aquaman, Pacific Rim: Uprising, Thor: Ragnarok, and many others, Lawrence will now add one of the biggest cinematic events of 2021 to his list of credits with Godzilla vs. Kong from Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures.

    NYFA Australia alum Julian Lawrence

    Lawrence, a cinematographer, served as a Digital Imaging Technician (DIT) for the second unit team shooting in Australia. A DIT typically has three primary responsibilities while working on a project: data wrangling and protection, assisting the DP, and managing the dailies. Overall, a DIT has multiple responsibilities as the digital format becomes increasingly advanced and more complicated across the industry. Godzilla vs. Kong is no exception as the film is heavy in digital elements that require the utmost care to uphold quality and creativity across the board for the film.

    The Filmmaking alum previously served as a DIT on Den største forbrytelsen and worked as a DIT Utility for Aquaman, Pacific Rim: Uprising, Thor: Ragnarok, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Kong: Skull Island, and Alien: Covenant.

    Film poster for “Godzilla vs. Kong”

    Godzilla vs. Kong is a sequel to both Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Kong: Skull Island, marking the first convergence of cinematic monsters in Legendary Pictures’ new MonsterVerse. The film will have audiences in the middle of an epic clash between two titan figures of mythic proportions in a battle for the ages. The film will star Millie Bobby Brown, Alexander Skarsgård, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza González, and more.

    The film marks the fourth film in the MonsterVerse series, the 36th film in the Godzilla franchise, and the 12th film in the King Kong franchise. Originally set for a March 13, 2020 release, the premiere was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Audiences will now be able to see Godzilla vs. Kong internationally on March 26, 2021, and in the United States on March 31, where it will be released simultaneously in theaters and on streaming via HBO Max.

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA Australia alum Julian Lawrence on his recent work on one of the most highly-anticipated films of the year and looks forward to seeing what Lawrence will work on next.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail
  • NYFA Alum Rajni Mysore Chamaraj on Working With Her Sister and Studying in Los Angeles

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Rajni Mysore Chamaraj, along with her younger sister Shynica Mysore Chamaraj made The Day I Met Joshua, a short film about a social media influencer who encounters a path of self-discovery in the desert. The film was written, directed, and edited by both Chamaraj and Shynica and was screened at the Canadian Academy qualifying festival, Yellowknife Film Festival. The short film also garnered Chamaraj a Best Debut Director award at the Hollywood Film Awards and the Best Editor award in the New York Movie Awards. 

    Film poster for “The Day I Met Joshua”

    “I always felt that film combined the paradox of human nature so well, sometimes the simplicity of a character has left a deep impact. It brought about many changes, subtle, yet life-changing for me. This thought always lingered as to how visual storytelling overcomes all the barriers, be it geography, the human mindsets, or cultural barriers.” – Rajni Mysore Chamaraj

    Chamaraj got her start in Mumbai as the Assistant Creative Director for a television show on Star Plus, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company, and eventually became involved in sports broadcasting as an Assistant Producer, creating live and pre-recorded content for sports including NBA games, Champions League, FIFA-U19 World Cup, French Open, World Rally Championship, PGA tours exclusive for the Indian audience. 

    NYFA alum Rajni Mysore Chamaraj (Right) and sister Shynica Mysore Chamaraj (Left)

    After nearly working for four years in the television industry, Chamaraj took her first step to follow her dream of being a storyteller and made the tough decision to leave her job and take-up full-time filmmaking. Her younger sister Shynica, also a filmmaker, was a big influence on that decision. With both siblings having a strong love of the universal language of film and understanding of the other, both knew they needed to pursue filmmaking and eventually work together. 

    “As siblings, we always influenced each other synergistically through our 3:00 a.m. philosophical discussions or just staring randomly into the cityscape of Mumbai with the Arabian Sea in the backdrop,” recalled Chamaraj. “It’s during one such moment, it struck me that I should also get into serious filmmaking and that my sister and I would make a brilliant team. So our idea of teaming up as a family was born with an idea to create an entertainment company that creates multimedia content inspired by regional themes for a worldwide audience. Essentially, we want to use the power of filmmaking to create content that inspires and elevates the human spirit and Entertainment studio that nourishes and mothers evolved, elevated entertainment.” 

    Before venturing into the business of filmmaking, however, Chamaraj wanted to hone her skills and began talking to friends and colleagues about their own film industry journey, leading Rajni to learn more about New York Film Academy. 

    “I attended a two-month program in NYFA Mumbai and instantly fell in love with their teaching methods. You shoot and learn from your mistakes, and there was more hands-on experience than theory classes. The faculty were from around the world which gave me a glimpse into how a long-term program would look like.”

    Photo courtesy of Rajni Mysore Chamaraj

    Eventually, Chamaraj applied and got accepted into the Film & Media Production MA program at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus. “While living in Los Angeles and studying in NYFA, the biggest advantage I got was that I worked on projects that had crew members from around the world. You get real-life experience of working on a film set right In the collage. [Students] can use this wonderful opportunity and make mistakes and learn from them too. It’s just a preparation for you to face the real world that’s not always as conducive as you would like it to be.” 

    “I am an Indian, the whole process of filmmaking is pretty different in India compared to the American way, so I had to learn a lot of new things such as division of work, laws of the land, and constantly update myself with the latest equipment, and technologies. So as an international student, you need to learn to adapt. You’ll learn that this is an important key that can make your career as a filmmaker outside your home country a little less stressful and a little more enjoyable. Go put your best foot forward, The staff and faculty at NYFA will be with you every step of the way. There were always there for me when I needed them.” – Rajni Mysore Chamaraj

    Poster for “The Day I Met Joshua”

    Now, Chamaraj and her sister are in the thick of their careers, with the recent success of their short film The Day I Met Joshua, which received a positive global response on the film festival circuit. 

    The film is based on Chamaraj’s own experience while on a vacation in Florida. “My phone became unusable as its entire software crashed. That night, I had a sense of awakening because it felt like a personal loss, How could a mere gadget have such a deep impact on me?” 

    Chamaraj and Shynica then wrote the film and shot it in the Mojave desert. “It was both a challenging and exciting experience. On the third day of the shoot, we even had unexpected rain, we had to stop shooting for a bit,” she remembered. “While shooting in nature, we have to be extra prepared as we are fighting the uncontrollable elements and all this with a cool head.”

    Shooting “The Day I Met Joshua”

    “We had crews representing almost nine different counties, from India, the USA, Cuba, Ireland to China. So as a team, we had to learn to communicate with each other effectively, considering each one of us was from different cultural backgrounds, it was important to keep the overall morale of the whole team-high and positive.”

    In post-production, the film took its shape. With the film marking the first time Chamaraj and Shynica were officially working together, their whole family celebrated their Best Original Story win at Hollywood Gold Awards. “Even more surreal was when our film was screened to a private audience at the Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank in the very same auditorium where an iconic film like Casablanca was screened for the very first time.”

    Poster for “Finding Home”

    Chamaraj currently resides in India and is working on getting her work visa in the U.S. During the pandemic, the NYFA alum wrote, directed, and edited a short Spanish web series in LA called Finding Home, which is currently streaming on Amazon Prime UK and US. As of now, Chamaraj is working on a four-part anthology series about the lives of four urban Indian girls living in different cities of India. 

    “We just shot the first part in Hyderabad city,” she shared. “I am also working as a screenwriter for an Indo-American feature film to be shot in mid of 2022. It’s going to be an exciting ride, I am looking forward to following my heart and dedicating all my energies to bring to life the stories that have had a deep impact on my life.”

    New York Film Academy is excited to share the success of Rajni Mysore Chamaraj and her sister for the film The Day I Met Joshua and looks forward to seeing Chamaraj’s upcoming projects come to fruition in the near future.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail
  • NYFA Filmmaking Alum Meital Cohen Navarro Wins George Sidney Independent Film Competition For Best Narrative Short

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) is thrilled to announce that MFA Filmmaking alum Meital Cohen Navarro has won the George Sidney Independent Film Competition at the world-class San Luis Obispo International Festival (SLO Film Fest) for her NYFA thesis film, Over My Dead Body. The film screened at the festival March 9 – 14, 2021.

    Film poster for “Over My Dead Body”

    Over My Dead Body is written, directed, and produced by Israeli-born female filmmaker Meital Cohen Navarro. Her short film explores the taboo of religious intolerance and inter-cultural marriage after a young Jewish Persian-American woman named Isfahan tells her parents that her fiancé is Muslim.

    Over My Dead Body had its world premiere at the prestigious UK Jewish Film Festival in London last November and its North American Premiere at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. Ahead of the film’s West Coast premiere at SLO Film Fest last week, Cohen Navarro also received critical acclaim for Over My Dead Body from Voice of AmericaNational Magazine Kayhan London, and the Jewish Journal.

    NYFA alum Meital Cohen Navarro

    “As a grandchild of immigrants, making this film was an amazing journey,” recalled Cohen Navarro. “I hope the film helps families with intergenerational rifts to better understand each other: for parents to see the toll it has on their children and for the younger generation to acknowledge their parents’ equally heartbreaking cultural challenges.”

    Behind the scenes during filming “Over My Dead Body”

    Shot in English and Farsi, Over My Dead Body features Muslim, Christian, and Jewish actors and iconic stars of Persian cinema Mary Apick (Dead End) and Bahram Vatanparast (Zan-e bakere) in leading roles.

    “I believe our role as filmmakers is to project a view of our daily lives onto the silver screen with such sincerity and honesty as possible,” shared Apick. “Each character must face all challenges and obstacles that we all face every day in today’s world. Meital Cohen Navarro has certainly accomplished that delicately and beautifully in the film Over My Dead Body.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates Meital Cohen Navarro on her well-deserved win for her film Over My Dead Body at the SLO Film Fest, and looks forward to when her short film will be available to the public.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail
  • Filmmaker & NYFA Alum Kushaal Chawla Directs and Produces Music Video for Rapper Badshah and LG Electronics

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Film director, writer, and producer Kushaal Chawla has directed multiple advertisements for some of India’s top brands. Most recently, the MA Film & Production alum directed the music video commercial for LG Electronics featuring popular Indian rapper Badshah. 

    Chawla also produced the commercial, which promoted the LG Tone Free Earbuds, under his production house Dream Slate Pictures, based out of New Delhi. 

    “I had the opportunity of being taught by some really good instructors who taught me the most practical things about film directing, which I will continue to use forever,” shared Chawla. “A special mention to Mr. David Newman who is responsible for all the directing tactics and perfectionism that he instilled in me, and also Mr. Neil Casey,  who enhanced my knowledge of cinematography and helped make me a technically sound director.”

    NYFA alum Kushaal Chawla

    “In addition to the instructors, NYFA has a great curriculum that includes practical applications and multiple filming projects at the best studios of Hollywood that make students well versed with the practicality of making movies by actually filming them as opposed to just learning about them.”

    “Another Time” film poster

    In addition to being the Executive Director of his own company and producing stellar content for clients, Chawla is also focused on feature films. He is currently working on a new screenplay for an upcoming feature film, and his most recent film, Another Time, which has been part of fifteen international film festivals and has won a handful of awards. It can currently be seen on Amazon Prime Video in the US and UK.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Kushaal Chawla on his growing production company and looks forward to seeing more content from the alum in the near future. 

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail