Academy Award-nominated editor and documentarian Kristen Nutile visited the New York Film Academy recently for a screening of Heroin(e) followed by a Q&A at the NYFA Theatre at the Battery Park campus.
A Netflix original, Heroin(e) was nominated in the 90th Academy Awards Best Documentary Short category. The film follows three community leaders, all women, as they battle the opioid epidemic and work to save lives their city of Huntington, West Virginia, a place where the overdose rate is 10 times the national average. Heroin(e) is directed by Peabody-awarding winning Elaine McMillion Sheldon and edited by Kristin Nutile, a NYFA instructor.
“When I was approached by Elaine, I was very moved by this particular problem and that is why I took on the project,” Nutile has told NYFA. “I loved how she was following three women trying to make a difference. I love that it was female-centric.”
Despite the early, 7 p.m. start time and the fact that Heroin(e) runs at a tight 39 minutes, the event lasted late into the night, as Nutile generously and thoughtfully stretched her time to answer every student question.
Nutile explained to a packed house of NYFA New York Documentary Filmmaking students, “I choose projects because I am interested in the subject and like to work with great people. Winning awards is never the goal. To be in an Oscar-nominated crew is truly amazing. Ultimately to me, it’s about the work.”
Nutile has directed six of her own films and edited two dozen more in addition to teaching at New York Film Academy’s Documentary Filmmaking program in New York City. The program was named by The Independent Magazine in the Top 10 Academic Programs for Documentary Filmmakers and recently featured in IDA’s Documentary Magazine.
This February, the director and stars of Lifetime Television’s Unwritten Obsession stopped by New York Film Academy (NYFA) Los Angeles for a special screening and Q&A with our students. The evening was hosted by NYFA Instructor and Co-Chair of the Producing Department Roberta Colangelo.
In attendance were the film’s director, NYFA Instructor David Martín Porras, and leading actors Haley Webb and Chelsea Lopez, who spoke about the filmmaking process from pre-production through post.
Unwritten Obsession follows the story of Skye (Lopez), a struggling writer who loses her husband to suicide. In desperate need of money, she decides to mentor a young fan, Holly (Webb). When Holly completes her book, it is better than anything Skye had ever written. Devastated, Skye submits the book to her publisher with her own name on the cover. When Holly finds out, she decides to take what she’s learned about Skye and use it against her.
From left to right: NYFA moderator Andres Rosende with Unwritten Obsession Director David Martin Porras and Actors Chelsea Lopez and Haley Webb.
Webb spoke about her process for getting into character. One of her more ambitious strategies was to begin writing a novel of her own. “I didn’t finish it,” Webb admitted. Yet the process of beginning a novel helped her get into the right headspace.
“I focused a lot on the justice Holly was trying to get,” Webb explained. “She may seem evil at times, but there’s more happening underneath the surface.”
Adding to the discussion of an actor’s preparation, Lopez shared that, for her, the rehearsals were the most important aspect of developing her character. She remarked that it isn’t often that actors have time to rehearse before production begins.
Actors Chelsea Lopez and Haley Webb.
“Getting to hear David’s thoughts on each scene and how my character evolves was very helpful,” she said.
For Porras, on the other side of the camera, the hardest part of completing the film was finding a way to make two characters in a house feel dramatically interesting for an hour and a half.
“Slowly I realized none of the characters were as transparent as I thought,” Porras said. He got to work reorganizing portions of the script so the film would feel more like a thriller, and focused on working with his actors to illuminate the motives of their character. Porras described this process as “a pleasure.”
Both Lopez and Webb spoke highly of their time on set, reminiscing that between takes they would have fits of laughter.
Director David Martin Porras and Actors Chelsea Lopez and Haley Webb.
“It was a really great set, said Webb. “When a director is grounded in what they’re doing, they create a domino effect. They set the tone for the rest of the crew. It allowed us to perform and be present.”
One student wanted to know if Parra had given his actors a specific theme or note to follow throughout the film. Webb jumped in and said, “Maintaining secrecy and holding secrets in my body posture was something we spoke about a lot.”
“We spoke about journaling too,” Lopez added. The actress shared that journaling isn’t something that is usually a part of her process, but she found it was helpful in Unwritten Obsession. “We shared our journals with David. He was able to use each of our internal motivations and drives to help us bring life and depth to our characters.”
From left to right: NYFA moderator Andres Rosende with Unwritten Obsession Director David Martin Porras and Actors Chelsea Lopez and Haley Webb.
The New York Film Academy would like to thank David Martin Porras, Chelsea Lopez, and Haley Webb for taking the time to speak with our students. To learn more about New York Film Academy’s Guest Speaker series, click here.
This Women’s History Month, which also includes International Women’s Day on March 8, the New York Film Academy joins the conversation on gender inclusivity with an updated Gender Inequality in Film Infographic as well as a full slate of events across its campus locations.
From International Women’s Day industry panel events to film screenings and raffles, check out NYFA’s calendar of Women’s History Month activities, below, and join us on campus in Los Angeles, New York City, South Beach, and NYFA Australia, Gold Coast. And on social media, we’ll be shouting out to many of the Women of NYFA — alums who are doing incredible work in the community, in the entertainment industry, and beyond.
New York Film Academy Women’s History Month events will include:
MARCH 7 – Stand Up for Women Comedy Night
Lisa deLarios – Lisa has toured the country featuring for Zach Galifianakis, Paul F. Tompkins, Anthony Jeselnik, and Maria Bamford among others. She was showcased on Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham and has been a frequent guest on Doug Loves Movies.
Laura House – Laura is a headlining comedian who has performed on HBO, Comedy Central, NBC, and starred in MTV’s Austin Stories. She written on the Emmy-winning shows Mom and Samantha Who, BAFTA-winning Secret Lives of Boys, as well as Nicole Byer’s Loosely, Exactly, Nicole, The George Lopez Show, Mad Love, Blue Collar TV & more.
Jackie Kashian – Jackie is a comic whose new album, I Am Not The Hero Of This Story, was the #1 comedy album on iTunes and Amazon. She is in the 12th year of her podcast The Dark Forest and has a new podcast on the Nerdist Network called The Jackie and Laurie Show.
Jena Friedman – Jena is a comedian, writer, filmmaker and political satirist who recently appeared on Conan. Her Adult Swim special Soft Focus with Jena Friedman aired in February. She has been a field producer at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and has written for Late Show with David Letterman.
Annie Lederman – Annie was the co-host of We Have Issues on E! and has been a cast member on Chelsea Lately, Girl Code, @midnight, and Impractical Jokers.
Kate Willett – Kate tours nationally and internationally, has been featured on Viceland’s Flophouse and Comedy Central’s This is Not Happening, and recently taped a Netflix special.
Vanessa Gonzalez – Vanessa was recently voted “Best Stand-up Comic” in the Austin Chronicle readers’ poll, and created and stars in the Mas Mejor web series Ms. Vanessa.
Jessica Sele– Jessica is a stand-up comedian who tours across the country, and has performed at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival and SF Sketchfest. She was written about in HuffPost.
Ellington Wells – Ellington is a filmmaker and comedian who hosts the monthly stand-up show Blackberry Jam, and has worked on television shows such as Insecure, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Baskets.
March 8 – International Women’s Day: A Perspective on Women in Entertainment: Industry Panel Discussion
Dea Lawrence – CMO of Variety
Kelly Gilmore – Sr. VP Marketing at Warner Bros.
Barbara Bain – 3 time Emmy Winning Actress
Jeanette Collins – Producer/Writer: Big Love, Drop Dead Diva, Suddenly Susan
From its home base at the crossroads of the world, students at the New York Film Academy’s New York City campus are often at the cutting edge of industry news and events. This week, NYFA students received an exclusive invitation from 20th Century Fox to the world premiere of one of the season’s most-anticipated films: Red Sparrow.
NYFA students dressed in their best business attire for the opening, and had a chance to see director Francis Lawrence together with the films stars Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton, who attended the Feb. 26 premier at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.
Based on the book by Jason Matthews, Red Sparrow isa spy thriller starring Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton. The story follows ballerina Dominika Egorova, a young woman forced by necessity to navigate a complex web of international intrigue, violence, and intelligence when she is persuaded to join Sparrow School, a training ground for elite secret agents.
In order to survive and regain control of her life, she must learn to play the game better than anyone else. The all-star cast also includes Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker and Jeremy Irons.
While NYFA students were treated to this VIP World Premier, audiences across the U.S. will have a chance to see Red Sparrow in theatres nationwide on March 2.
With award season upon us, we’re always excited to hear from our alumni around the world as they find success screening their work. New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA Filmmaking graduates Talha (“B.”) Bin Abdulrahman and Maan Bin Abdulrahman have already seen their NYFA thesis film, The Scapegoat, celebrated at the Middle East’s leading film festival, the 14th Dubai International Film Festival. There, it was an official selection.
The short was an official selection at the following other festivals:
The Irvine International Film Festival
Orlando Film Festival
San Antonio Film Festival
Chandler Film Festival
The Scapegoat continues its momentum as an official selection at the second annual Young Saudi Film Festival, screening at NYFA Los Angeles Feb. 18.
Talha B. was able to take some time during his busy festival schedule to tell the NYFA Blog a bit more about his experience directing The Scapegoat.
NYFA: First, can you tell us a bit about your journey in filmmaking and what brought you to the New York Film Academy?
TBA: Let me just start this by saying that I feel incredibly fortunate to be a filmmaker. After graduating from high school almost nine years ago, I have gone through several academic paths before I found out that my real passion is filmmaking, which is how I ended up at NYFA — a decision that changed the course of my life, for the better.
NYFA: Why filmmaking? What inspires you most about the medium?
TBA: Ever since I was a kid, I was a big fan of watching and talking about films. I believe filmmaking is a format that contains a beautiful package of many different art forms, to tell stories that provoke emotional responses from viewers from all over the world. I always found that inspiring and compelling.
NYFA: Can you tell us more about your film The Scapegoat? What is the story, and what about the project grabbed you?
TBA: The Scapegoat is a 22-minute short I directed as my thesis project for the New York Film Academy’s BFA filmmaking program. The Scapegoat is about Paul Dugan, a former best-selling author who is in search of his next novel. Feeling the pressure to live up to his earlier success, he shelters himself in an isolated cabin in the woods to confront his internal demons.
Every creative person goes through some [form of] writer’s block, so the story was appealing to me, to represent that visually by telling this story. A creative mind can be its own worst critic, because it is continuously working — especially when there is too much pressure and a lot at stake.
To not do a project that deals with this topic would be madness.
NYFA: Were there any surprises or challenges along the way during production, and how did you adapt?
TBA: I’ve never directed a project that involved a single actor playing multiple roles all at once. In this case it was four distinct characters.
It was quite the brain teaser to think of all the factors in each scene we shot, from camera blocking to hair and makeup. It required an extra level of planning and coordination between every single person working on set.
I believe the biggest challenge I faced was when I learned that my actor’s body double refused to shave his facial hair to match the lead actor changing between character looks. Luckily enough, two talented performers stepped in to save the day.
The critical lesson overall for me was to believe in your crew, because it takes a village to make a film — no matter how big, or small.
TBA: Thank you, it was a pleasant experience. My producer Maan B. attended on behalf of myself and the team. The film was positively received by the audience, which is something I was delighted to hear.
TBA: Just one piece of advice that one of my instructors had shared with me, which is to be one of the first people who apply to the festival. Sometimes it’s good to be early, for your film to be noticed.
NYFA: What is next for The Scapegoat?
TBA: More festivals will pick it up, hopefully.
NYFA: What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?
TBA: Excited about directing a feature with a working title of The Alien.
It is a stylized dramedy following the story of an unworldly immigrant who dares to go after his dream as an artist, despite the harsh reality he faces. It will be a collaboration with the same talented writers and producer behind The Scapegoat.
The New York Film Academy congratulates Talha, Maan and The Scapegoat team on their success! To see The Scapegoat (along with seven other excellent selections) at the Young Saudi Film Festival Sunday, Feb. 18, at 4 p.m., please RSVP here.
On Tuesday, Feb. 13, Deadline film critic and reporter, Pete Hammond, joined New York Film Academy (NYFA) students for a Q & A at the Los Angeles campus. NYFA Director of the Q & A Series Tova Laiter hosted the evening.
Hammond has worked as a contributor for Variety, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times.
Laiter began the evening by asking Hammond how he got his start in the industry.
It turns out Hammond didn’t set out to be a journalist. He just knew he wanted to be in the film industry. As an NBC Page, Hammond began working his way up the ladder. From page, he was promoted to a children’s television writer. Soon after, he became a researcher at Entertainment Tonight. From there he moved to the The Arsenio Hall Show, worked on Access Hollywood, and finally, Hammond created the entertainment news program Extra.
With the Oscars just around the corner, students were curious to know more about the inside politics of the Academy. One student wanted to know about the possibility of a shake-up at this year’s Oscars. “Looking at the statistics,” he began, “No film has won Best Film without first being nominated for Best Director and Best Screenplay.” Three Billboards hasn’t been nominated for Best Director, but it has been nominated for Best Picture and Best Screenplay. The student wanted to know if Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri could take home the grand prize.
Hammond was impressed and jokingly asked the student if he was looking for work. “Your predictions are spot on. This is what I’ve been writing about for the past couple of years.”
Hammond said that only three times in Oscar’s history has a film won Best Picture that had not been nominated for Best Director. Ben Affleck wasn’t nominated for Argo, though he did win the Director’s Guild Award later that year. Driving Miss Daisy director Bruce Beresford and Grand Hotel director Edmund Goulding were not nominated, either. “The odds are statistically against Three Billboards but I think it has a shot because of the preferential ballot.”
Hammond explained that when voting for the Oscars, Academy members number all of the nominees from their favorite to their least favorite. That numbering system can have a huge impact on the final turnout. If enough members place Three Billboards as a three or higher, it could mean a win.
Hammond also noted a new trend over the past five years: Four out of the five Best Picture winners didn’t see their director rewarded, but all of their scripts did win Best Picture. In looking at the history of the Oscars, this trend is very rare.
Of course, students also wanted to pick Hammond’s brain about his personal opinion on the 2017 lineup of films. Hammond was particularly impressed with the stamina of Get Out. A film released in February usually isn’t in contention for the Oscars a year after it’s release. In fact, the last Best Picture nominee to have a February release was another thriller film, Silence of the Lambs, in 1991.
The New York Film Academy would like to thank Pete Hammond for taking the time to speak with our students. The Oscars air on Sunday, March 4, 2018, on NBC. You can read Hammond’s film reviews here.
The New York Film Academy was proud to welcome Wonder Woman screenwriter Allan Heinberg to its Los Angeles Campus.
Heinberg has written for Party of Five, Sex in the City, The OC, Grey’s Anatomy, and Gilmore Girls. He is also the creator and showrunner of The Catch. Outside of television, Heinberg has worked for DC comics, writing The Young Avengers, Justice League, and the 2005 reboot of Wonder Woman.
Heinberg regaled students with the tale of how he was hired to write the Wonder Woman film. He first saw the character of Wonder Woman, aka Diana Prince, on an episode of Super Friends. He was seven. A few years later, when Linda Carter burst on television screens in the 1970s, Heinberg was hooked. The very first play he wrote after graduating college featured Wonder Woman. After that, Heinberg moved to Los Angeles and immediately began working in television.
After years of working on Grey’s Anatomy, Heinberg began looking for a new project. There was a Wonder Woman feature in development but Heinberg did not consider applying. He explained, “Usually, there’s a big wall between movie writers and television writers … It is a big risk for a television writer to be asked to work a large tent-pole film. They just don’t do that.”
Heinberg was happy to cheer on his friend (and President of DC Comics) Geoff Johns as he worked to develop the Wonder Woman film for Warner Brothers. After about a year, Johns called Heinberg and told him that his team had hit a wall in the writing process. Producer Zack Snyder wanted to start over from the beginning.
Snyder and Johns brought their teams together to explore the fundamentals of Wonder Woman. When it came time to decide who would have a seat at the table, Johns said he didn’t want anyone except Heinberg. Snyder agreed and the brain trust that created the final screenplay was formed.
Heinberg listened as Synder explained the finer details of the project. Snyder broke down what the team had been preparing. Heinberg knew what story he wanted to tell. He said, “For me, there’s really only one essential Wonder Woman story and that’s her origin story.”
One of the major problems most writers run into when writing Wonder Woman is that her origin story does not typically contain the deeply personal, emotional hook — like a terrible crisis or loss to overcome — typical in a hero’s origin. For example, in contrast, Batman’s parents are murdered and, as he grows up, he is driven to protect his entire city from feeling that same pain. Similarly, Superman was orphaned and his home planet was destroyed, so he spends the rest of his life protecting his new home and the people in it. In the case of Wonder Woman, Diana Prince was molded from clay by her mother, Hippolyta, and grew up in a women-only utopian paradise, where the powerful Amazons live independently from the world and evils of mankind.
Using references like Splash and The Little Mermaid,Heinberg described Diana’s origin myth, where she leaves Themyscira to save mankind. Heinberg referred to it as a fish-out-of-water story. The comparison resonated with Snyder. By the end of the first meeting, everyone agreed that Heinberg’s version of Wonder Woman’s origin was the right direction to take the film.
Over the next three days, they constructed a story and broke down a script so Snyder could pitch it to the studio. It was green-lit on the fourth day. The film already had a release date. Now, Snyder wanted Heinberg to write the script.
The only problem was that Heiberg had a job. He was still a part of the Shondaland family after moving from Grey’s Anatomy to Scandal, and it was the middle of the season. Heiberg wasn’t sure how he was going to be able to do both the show and the film. So, he had to speak with Shonda Rhymes. He was convinced she would say no. With two more years on his contract, Heinberg fully expected to have to walk away from his dream job.
When he walked into her office, Rhymes thought he was going to quit. When he told her the news, she said simply, “It’s Wonder Woman. You have to do it.”
Heinberg was adamant that no other showrunner would have afforded him this opportunity, and says the moral of this tale is that none of this could have happened if it wasn’t for the relationships he’d previously built with his colleagues. He described Snyder as his hero for championing his vision of the film. It’s not a typical superhero film: Wonder Woman focuses on the human relationships, as opposed to the hero and villain aspect of the genre.
During the Q & A portion of the Guest Speaker event, one NYFA student asked, “How do you think the success of Wonder Woman has changed the way people will write women in the future?”
Heinberg gave a cheeky response, stating, “Well, Wonder Woman has made a lot of money.”
One obvious change is that more women-centered films in the superhero genre are being green-lit this year. Harley Quinn, Batgirl, and Captain Marvel will all be getting feature films soon.
“There’s an audience we can serve,” said Heinberg. “I don’t think the formula that made Wonder Woman can be replicated. You need to come up with a compelling and emotional story that can stand up on its own.”
The New York Film Academy would like to thank Allan Heinberg for taking the time to speak with our students. Wonder Woman is now available on DVD.
This week, New York Film Academy welcomed producer Tom Fontana to its New York City campus as a part of the ongoing Producing Department Industry Speaker Series. As a part of the event, the full house of NYFA community attendees were treated to screenings of clips of Fontana’s work from police procedural Homicide: Life On the Street, HBOprison drama Oz, and BBC America drama Copper, a period piece set in the notorious 1860s New York City neighborhood of Five Points.
During the talk, Fontana sat down with Producing Department instructor and Marcia Mule Productions founder Marcia Mule, each sharing their bond over the fact that they’re both from Buffalo, New York, with students. The producer went on to discuss his early career as a writer for theatre, which led to an opportunity to write for the influential medical drama St. Elsewhere. He wrote dozens of episodes between 1982-1988.
Following St. Elsewhere, Fontana had a meandering path to his next job. Baltimore newspaper man David Simon (who would go on to create The Wire, The Corner, Treme, and The Deuce) sent his book Homicide: Life on the Killing Streets to fellow Baltimore-born director Barry Levinson, hoping it would become a film. Levinson suggested it was too dense with too many important characters, and instead pitched it as a TV show. This would ultimately become Homicide: Life on the Street, for which Fontana would go on to contribute to 67 episodes.
While writing for Homicide, Fontana began to ponder what happened to the characters the writers would send off to prison. Fleshing out the stories for these forgotten offscreen characters became the inspiration for Oz, a master class in character building set in a fictional, experimental prison unit called Emerald City.
HBO had never aired an original drama series and the timing for Oz — a gritty, realistic, brutal prison drama — was right. Fontana told an interesting story about a discussion with Dick Wolf, who wanted to use the popular character John Munch (played by Richard Belzer) on his new show Law & Order. Fontana and the Homicide creators let Munch use the character for free and don’t get royalties for his presence in over 300 Law & Order episodes. He has also since appeared in The Wire and Arrested Development, among other shows.
Oz premiered in 1997 and went on for six seasons, and ended up inspiring later-renowned HBO dramas such as The Wire, The Sopranos, and Boardwalk Empire.
Tom Fontana has written and produced many more groundbreaking television series, including The Philanthropist and Netflix’s Borgia. He has received, among other distinctions, three Emmy Awards, four Peabody Awards, three Writers’ Guild Awards, Four Television Critics Association Awards, the Cable Ace Award, the Humanitas Prize, a Special Edgar and the first prize at the Cinema Tout Ecran Festival in Geneva.
Fontana co-founded the non-profit charity, Stockings with Care. He’s on the Boards of the WGAE Foundation, The NYPD Police Museum, The Creative Coalition, The Acting Company, The Williamstown Theatre Festival and The International Council of The Paley Media Center.
The New York Film Academy thanks Tom Fontana for sharing his time and expertise with our student community.
On Monday, the Young Saudi Film Festival, hosted by the New York Film Academy, announced the films it will showcase this season. The festival opens Sunday, Feb. 18, at the Harmony Gold Preview House in Los Angeles. The eight films — six from Saudi Arabia and two from Egypt — cover a wide range of genres, from comedy to drama, thriller to family film.
“We had an impressive variety of films submitted from around the world, and we congratulate all the filmmakers,” said YSFF President and NYFA student Rakan Anneghaimshi (Spring 2016 BFA Acting). “It was very challenging for our selection committee to choose only eight films.”
Dan Mackler, Director of NYFA Los Angeles, greets YSFF President Rakan Anneghaimshi.
The committee consisted of NYFA Faculty Miraj Grbic (actor, Mission Impossible), producer Tony Schwartz, and James Coburn (production sound), among others, who did the first round of viewing. The second round of judging was led by YSFF Vice President and NYFA alum Abdulaziz Almutari (Fall 2015 MFA Cinematography) and Maan bin Abdulrahman (January 2013 BFA Filmmaking) of Prince of Arabia Entertainment.
Impressed with the amount of NYFA involvement in creating this festival, Dean of Enrollment Services Tami Alexander said, “We are very proud that New York Film Academy alumni and students are leading the media and entertainment industry in Saudi Arabia. We support Rakan and Abdulaziz’s vision for the Young Saudi Film Festival and are happy to sponsor the Festival in Los Angeles. After the announcement that cinemas will be allowed in the Kingdom again, I could not be more thrilled. We look forward to strengthening relationships and are excited for new collaborations in Saudi Arabia.”
In addition to the films, the festival will include a congratulatory video by Saudi Arabian actor Nasser Al Gassaby, a performance by the NYFA Improv Troupe (directed by Groundlings legends Suzanne Kent and George McGrath), and a question-and-answer session with the filmmakers moderated by host Maan B.
VIP invitees include the Saudi Arabian Ambassador, the Saudi Consul, the US Ambassadors from the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, the UAE’s Minister of Education, along with top-level Saudi Arabian actors, producers, filmmakers, and media.
The complete lineup of films includes:
Bloodline written and directed by Saud Al-Moghirah, produced by Javier Olmo
Coexistence by Musab Alamri
Hero Complex written and directed by Mohamad AlYamani, produced by Mohamad AlYamani and Douglas Spain
The Nostalgia written by Sarah Lotfy, directed and produced by Moataz Badran
Piece of Wood by Yassin Koptan
The Scapegoat written by Charlie H. Millen & Stephen Ranieri, directed by Talha B., produced by Maan B.
Spirit of North by Mohammad Ali Almarhabi
Under Concrete by Meshal Al Jaser
The Young Saudi Film Festival will be at the Harmony Gold Preview House on Sunday, February 18. It starts with a reception at 4 pm, and the program begins at 5 pm. To attend, please RSVP at nyfa.edu/ysff.
New York City’s Winter Film Awards International Film Festival will feature the short films of two New York Film Academy (NYFA) grads in its seventh season, beginning Feb. 22. NYFA Los Angeles grad Tamara Ruppart screens Path of Dreams, a love story based on the life of Japanese poet Ono No Komachi, while NYFA New York grad Joseph Park premiers Inner Glow, a surreal journey of self-discovery and freedom following a troubled young woman in the clouds. More details from the Winter Film Awards, below:
In poetic Japan, Komachi strikes a tantalizing bargain with suitor Shosho. If he agrees to write poetry with her for 99 nights, she promises they will create a love more beautiful than poetry. Every day he must ride to her home, and when the sun sets on the 99th night she will take him as her lover. For 98 nights, they journey through poetry, exploring their hearts and minds, as their love and desire grow in anticipation. On the 99th night, Komachi joyfully awaits her lover. But as she watches the sun set, Komachi moves from disappointment to anger, until a sense of mystery fills the stillness in the air, and heartbreak takes hold of her heart. In her grief, she will carry Shosho with her as she walks the path of dreams.
Directed by NYFA Alum Joseph Park
Short, from United States in English, 11 mins, 2017, World Premiere
Screening Saturday Feb 24, Block 4: 3:45 PM-6:15 PM /Wednesday Feb 28, Matinee: 2:00 PM-5:00 PM
Skye, a troubled young woman trapped amidst the dark clouds with nothing but a window, struggles to access her power to illuminate light bulbs. After much despair and failure, Skye discovers a calling from outside, which turns out to be her clone. This encounter allows her to draw more power, and therefore, the bulbs begin to glow. However, she finds that her clone disappears, which causes the light bulbs to fade away. Skye’s only hope of freedom lies in seeking her true self and acceptance in order to bring in light again.
The Winter Film Awards lineup will include a total of 93 films at Cinema Village in Greenwich Village, and this year the festival has reported their selected filmmakers come from 31 countries; 40% of the films were created by women, 43% were created by people of color. The New York Film Academy applauds the continued work to promote diversity in the entertainment industry, and congratulates Tamara Ruppart and Joseph Park. If you’re in the city, tickets are on sale now — check out our alumni films at the Winter Film Awards.