January 23, 2020

New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA Screenwriting student Meshal Al Jaser is headed to Utah later this month–his short film, Arabian Alien, will screen in this year’s lineup at the Sundance Film Festival, and is nominated for the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Film.

Al Jaser originally hails from Saudi Arabia and enrolled in the BFA Screenwriting program at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus in Summer 2017, where he honed his skills at writing short and feature screenplays.

Arabian Alien was written and directed by Al Jaser and tells the story of Saad, a married Muslim man dealing with depression when an alien from outer space is suddenly introduced into his life. The short was produced by NYFA alum Almotaz Aljefri.

Al Jaser, only 24 years old, has already shown his skills as a filmmaker, having written several shorts, as well as acting in and directing Is Sumiyati Going to Hell?, which won Best of the Month at the 2017 Gold Movie Awards.

The iconic Sundance Film Festival is the country’s largest independent film fest and one of the most well-known around the globe. Held annually in Park City, Utah, this year’s Sundance Film Festival will run from January 23 – February 2.

The lineup for this year’s Sundance is its most diverse to date, with accepted feature films representing 27 countries and including 44 first-time feature filmmakers. Nearly half of the directors are women, while 38% are people of color. As a native of Saudi Arabia, Al Jaser continues NYFA’s proud tradition of graduating talented filmmakers from every corner of the world.

New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA student Meshal Al Jaser and NYFA alum Almotaz Aljefri on the success of Arabian Alien and wishes them success at this year’s Sundance Film Festival!