David OLeary
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  • Documentary Filmmaking Alum Elaine Minionis Awarded Regional Emmy Award for “Uncanny: The Dolls of Mariana Monteagudo”

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    NYFA is excited to celebrate Documentary Filmmaking alum Elaine Minionis joining the ranks of multiple creatives who have had the distinguished honor of being awarded an Emmy. The regional Emmy, awarded in late 2020 by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Suncoast Chapter, was for Minionis’ film Uncanny: The Dolls of Mariana Monteagudo.

    The short documentary was produced by Minionis and was picked up for national broadcast by PBS. The film follows renowned Venezuelan visual artist, Mariana Monteagudo, who currently lives in Florida. The film especially captures Mariana’s creative process and her inspirations behind her intriguing, eerie doll sculptures, all made of repurposed materials. From following Mariana dumpster diving to visiting local thrift shops for useful material, Uncanny also touches on topics like immigration, consumerism, and more viewing them through the lens of contemporary art.

    Still from “Uncanny: The Dolls of Mariana Monteagudo”

    “Coming from a strong family tradition of ceramists in Venezuela, Mariana loves giving a second life to objects that are discarded by our society,” shared Minionis on her personal Instagram. “Like a waste picker, she [Marina Monteagudo] walks around neighborhoods to salvage gems from people’s bulk trashes, rescuing textiles or baseball balls, plastic bottles of orange juice, or an old unkempt teddy bear. To her, everything has potential for inspiration and hybridism, and that’s the way she lives her life: continuously seeking, always resuscitating abandoned things, permanently combining and thinking ahead of time, and placing her faith into the most unimagined creations.”

    Also a native of Venezuela, Minionis got her start in the arts by writing poetry at a very young age. Her big break came in 2005 when she was one of a handful of winners selected for a national poetry contest, receiving as a reward a text publication with one of the most important literary houses in Venezuela (CELARG). As she grew up and continued to study, her love of photography and documentary became more clear.

    NYFA alum Elaine Minionis with her Emmy and one of Mariana Monteagudo’s dolls

    In 2006, the Emmy-winner saw her still photography work featured as part of the advertising for the 20th Century Fox production of Elipsis. In 2008, Minionis came to study Documentary Filmmaking in NYFA’s 1-Year Conservatory program. Of her experience, she shared that “non-fiction visual storytelling became an artistic and intellectual space” that allowed her to explore research and visual concepts of storytelling.

    After graduating, Minionis worked at the Brooklyn-based production company Flicker Flacker Films, as an intern and then the assistant editor for a History Channel feature-length documentary The Naturalized. She eventually became an independent producer at Discovery Networks Latin America/US Hispanics in the Original Production & Development Department.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Minionis on her Emmy win and is proud to count her amongst the NYFA alum ranks. We look forward to her future projects and wish her continued success.

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    February 19, 2021 • Acting • Views: 624

  • NYFA’s Q&A-List Welcomes President of MGM Motion Picture Group Pam Abdy

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    NYFA had the honor of hosting a live video Q&A with the President of MGM’s Motion Picture Group, Pam Abdy, to discuss the film production process with NYFA students and alumni. Tova Laiter, Director of the NYFA Q&A-List Series, curated and moderated the event.

    Abdy is the current President of MGM’s Motion Picture Group and oversees the development, production, and post-production for all MGM and Orion films. Abdy is currently developing a multitude of films such as Fiddler on The Roof, Project Hail Mary, and Ron Howard’s Thirteen Lives, amongst others.

    At her previous position, Makeready Films/eOne, the company financed and produced Queen & Slim from director Melina Matsoukas and writer Lena Waithe and A Million Little Pieces from director Sam Taylor-Johnson. Previously, Abdy served as President of Production at New Regency, where they released the acclaimed Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Academy Award-winning Birdman, David Fincher’s Gone Girl, Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, Adam McKay’s Academy Award-winning The Big Short, and Iñárritu’s The Revenant in 2016, which received twelve Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and Best Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio.

    Tova Laiter (Left) and Pam Abdy (Right)

    Laiter began the conversation by asking Abdy what a day in the life of the President of MGM Motion Picture Group looks like. Abdy explained that most days consist of hours of Zoom meetings from pitching and financial planning to meetings with production staff and discussing forward slate planning. “It’s an all-encompassing job especially being at home with my daughter in the next room,” shared Abdy. “It’s a little chaotic, but that was just today. Every day is different.”

    Abdy, whose original plan to be a dancer got derailed by injury, got her first big break as Danny DeVito’s assistant, after working at the front desk at DeVito’s Jersey Films. “It was a life-changing opportunity for me,” she remembered. “He is a mentor to me and a second father. I learned how to make movies at that company and was given space to grow and they [the whole team] really taught me how to make films and be on set.”

    Sometimes the best education is watching and observing something Abdy does to this day, even as President at MGM Motion Picture Group. She urged NYFA students to remember that no job is too small to do no matter how many years of experience you have. “It doesn’t matter what I have to do. Every job is meaningful and nothing is beneath me,” said Abdy. “I will do whatever it takes to navigate a problem. I feel like some people think things are not their job, but to be a great producer, you have to manage so many different personalities and money. It’s an incredible responsibility that doesn’t get enough credit.”

    Part of being a great producer means being able to collaborate with the director, something Abdy mentioned as being one of the most important parts of putting a movie together and in production. “It’s everything to find the right director for your film,” she emphasized. “If it’s not the right director the film won’t have the right point of view. The best day of a producer’s life is getting the director on the movie, but it’s also the worst day because it becomes the director’s and you may not agree with everything they do. Your vision may not be their vision. But when that person comes on and they elevate that, there’s nothing better.”

    Pam Abdy (Left) with the cast and crew of “Queen & Slim”

    One of the career highlights for Abdy has been the vision of Melina Matsoukas and Lena Waithe, with whom she worked with on Queen & Slim. While on the film, Abdy learned a very important lesson that has stayed with her to this day. “I usually have to be part of everything and find solutions. That movie wasn’t about that. It was about creating a safe space and giving Melina and Lena the floor while I stand in the background to help navigate things as they needed them,” she began. “What was so joyful about that film is both of those women are such visionaries. Allow artists and visionaries to have the space to tell their stories. Don’t impose your own on their process. I learned about creating space for artists’ voices and it was the greatest joy of my career.”

    Abdy, like many others in the film industry, is continuing to adapt to the film industry facing restrictions due to the COVID pandemic. “Before, you hustled, made major movies, dealt with your budget, and put the movie together which – sometimes things took longer. Now, you don’t have the luxury of time anymore. You are locked down. If you are not working in a pod, then you leave the set. It’s not as fun,” she laughed. “Sometimes magic happens when you are making a film and I worry that the new rigidness may impact that work. There’s no answer right now as to when this part is going to stop, and it’s so expensive. What it’s doing is putting a burden on film budgets for COVID costs. There is a danger that good movies won’t get made because the cost is too burdensome.”

    Pam Abdy during promotion for Zach Braff’s “Garden State”

    One student asked Abdy how to become a better producer. Abdy urged them to get their hands on as many scripts as possible, even the one that got made already. “Study filmmakers. Filmmakers love to know their producers understand other filmmakers’ work. Take time and watch how filmmakers grow. See what changes. Watch the language and understand the common thread of their films throughout. Then, define your taste and identify what actually is your taste.”

    As Laiter closed the discussion and thanked Abdy for her generous wisdom, Laiter asked Abdy what has made her so successful in her career. Abdy replied it’s all the positives and the negatives about herself combined. “As I get older I recognize my flaws and I’m trying to do better with delegating. Be kind and be generous to everyone. This whole business is based on relationships and the experience of those relationships.”

    Abdy’s upcoming slate includes Joe Wright’s Cyrano, Ridley Scott’s Gucci, Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin’s Dog, and Paul Thomas Anderson’s untitled upcoming film. New York Film Academy would like to thank Pam Abdy for sharing her time and invaluable knowledge of the film business with NYFA students and looks forward to welcoming her back again in the near future.

    To watch the full conversation, click here or view the video below:

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    February 18, 2021 • Acting • Views: 489

  • Akinola Davies Jr. Awarded Short Film Grand Jury Prize at Sundance For Film “Lizard”

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum Akinola Davies Jr. has won big at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, winning the Short Film Grand Jury Prize for his film Lizard.

    Sundance announcement of “Lizard” winning the Short Film Grand Jury Prize

    The film was written by Davies and his brother Wale Davies, and was backed by BBC Film and producer Rachel Dargavel. Lizard follows an eight-year-old girl, Juwon, who has the ability to sense danger. After getting ejected from a Sunday school service, Juwon witnesses the underbelly in and around a Mega Church in Lagos, Nigeria. In addition to the Sundance win, the film was also nominated for an ALFS Award by the London Critics Circle Film Awards.

    Film poster for “Lizard”

    Davies has previously made short films Zazzau and Unity Is Strength. The UK-Nigerian filmmaker is known for his exploration of themes of community, race, spirituality, identity, and gender. Ultimately, through his work in film and music videos, Davies aims to navigate the collision of both colonial and imperial tradition, whilst advocating a return to indigenous narratives. His next slated project will be sci-fi film X Us.

    NYFA alum Akinola Davies Jr.

    “I’m overwhelmed and as much as I’d love to gloat, filmmaking is really crazy hard,” shared Davies on his Instagram after the winners were announced in a virtual ceremony. “Big love to all those who were part of the shorts program – it’s an honour to be amongst such brilliant films. I have to say this award is really for the whole cast and crew who worked so hard and committed their all to this little film pre and during a global pandemic. I’m so proud this was made in Lagos by the many hands that make up the beautiful people of Nigeria.”

    To view the full list of Sundance Film Festival winners, click here.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Akinola Davies Jr. on his important Grand Jury win at Sundance for his short film Lizard and looks forward to seeing the film’s impact and Davies’ upcoming projects.

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  • NYFA Alum Irene Mendez on Film Sustainability and a UN Campaign to Change The Film Production Landscape

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    Spanish producer Irene Mendez has always been interested in visual storytelling. With her degree in communications coupled with her education from NYFA’s 1-Year Producing Conservatory, Mendez is seeking change in the production space, aiming to make all media projects more sustainable across the industry. 

    Coming to NYFA, Mendez knew it would give her a new perspective on film production. “I’ve always thought it is essential to know and understand how movies are made in different countries, and I saw in NYFA the opportunity to do so,” she shared. “NYFA has some of the best professionals teachers, including instructors who have won BAFTAs and have been in some of the most important film festivals.”

    NYFA alum Irene Mendez

    From her time at NYFA, Mendez has learned that preproduction is the most essential part of any project. “Work before you get to the set. Study every possibility that might happen once you are filming,” she emphasized. “Be ready for any inconvenience. It is so vital to plan what might happen and be prepared for any kind of problem. It is funny cause it’s actually the same advice I will give to anyone who wants to make a more sustainable film.”

    Mendez first got involved in sustainability in filmmaking after attending Madrid’s Another Way Film Festival in Madrid, which focused on sustainable progress in filmmaking. “I realized that we can do much more. There are many things we can change to create the same entertainment content in a much better way,” urged Mendez. “We can tell the same great stories without hurting the planet and its future. Even more, we can help to be part of the change.”

    Mendez is now involved with Fiction Changing the World, an organization that specializes in sustainable audiovisual productions, working both in reducing the negative impact of productions and creating fiction and entertainment formats that convey important info about sustainable development to the viewers. “There is a lot of things that we can do when we work on a project to reduce the negatives impacts and create good ones. Not only on how we do things but also in how we tell the stories and entertain.”

    This past year, Mendez worked with Fiction Changing the World on a UN campaign to show the world that a new way to make content is possible. “Being part of the UN campaign and seeing Paloma Andres and Rhoda N. Wainwright (Founders of Fiction Changing the World) speak beside people with innovative ideas and famous names as Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones), makes you understand that we are not alone. There is a lot of people trying to be part of the change. Thousands of unique ideas can help us all to do our bit.”

    Fiction Changing the World has also started their campaign The Dante Movement, which focuses on creating fictional media that will inspire sustainable action and change in the world among others to do their part. “Documentaries are a wonderful way to bring attention to different topics, but they have a couple of problems when it comes to reaching the general public,” shared Mendez when asked why the fictional format is a better medium for the campaign as opposed to documentary filmmaking. 

    Irene Mendez on set

    “They [documentaries] often focus on particular topics, which is fine, but it is more difficult to get millions of people interested in very a specific issue. Also, documentaries are not always the first choice of entertainment for the general public. On the other hand, fiction is a format that is consumed by everyone on the planet; it leaves no one out. It is a more global and entertaining way to send a message and to educate and raise awareness.”

    “For example, I would dare to say that the vast majority of Spaniards of my generation know that water rotates in a different direction in each hemisphere thanks to an episode of The Simpsons in which Bart travels to Australia,” Mendez said. “Fiction is a way to reach every home. We all get motivated watching the Avengers fighting together against Thanos. In our universe, we can all unite to fight our own common enemy.”

    Though The Dante Movement is focused on fictional stories to get the message across to viewers, Fiction Changing the World still allows for other formats to be used to reach different people, like documentaries. In addition to working with the organization, Mendez has also been working on the TV series Foundation for Apple TV+ here in Spain, but what Mendez expressed she is most proud of is producing the first certified Positive Carbon Footprint spot for Greenpeace

     

    “This proves that it is possible to create sustainable content. We had to think from the script in how to make it more environmentally friendly way,” shared Mendez. “I had several meetings with the screenwriters and the production company to explain to them what are the points that make a film create more or fewer carbon emissions and what makes more negative impacts. They quickly understood what was needed and realized that thinking in a sustainable way doesn’t have to compromise the project’s creativity.” 

    As a lover of making films and the environment, Mendez is an advocate for change in the industry, working to make sets reduce their negative impact on the environment from issues like not recycling properly and consuming more on set than necessary. “The reality is that there are many more things we aren’t doing right. The material we use to build a set, the fabric to sew amazing costumes, and the places we choose to use as scenarios are decisions we can make to reduce the negative impact of production,” she explained. “Our responsibility as filmmakers is not solely to entertain, but also to inform and inspire our audiences. We have the power to reach every single soul, and we should use it.”

    New York Film Academy would like to thank Irene Mendez for taking the time to share more about the sustainability movement that is taking place on sets all over the world. With the urgency to act, filmmakers like Irene can continue to make a difference and be agents for change across the industry. NYFA looks forward to seeing what’s next from the alum and to hear more updates on Mendez’s mission for film sustainability. 

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  • NYFA Alum Boise Esquerra’s “Blackwater” Screens at 2021 Slamdance Film Festival

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    Known both as a festival “by filmmakers, for filmmakers” and for its Oscar-qualifying short film awards, the Slamdance Film Festival has long been a mecca for emerging independent directors. This year NYFA alum Boise Esquerra, a graduate of the Los Angeles campus’s MFA Filmmaking and MFA Screenwriting programs, will be right in the middle of the action when his episodic film Blackwater screens in the virtual festival February 12 – 25, 2021. 

    In the days leading up to the festival Crickett Rumley, NYFA’s Director of Film Festivals, caught up with Boise to talk about the personal experience that inspired his series and the importance of filmmakers from diverse backgrounds telling their own stories.

    NYFA alum Boise Esquerra

    Cricket Rumley (CR): Hi, Boise! Congratulations on getting into Slamdance! Tell us a little about yourself.

    Boise Esquerra (BE): I’d be happy to. I am a Native (Hopi) and Mexican American filmmaker enrolled in the Colorado River Indian Tribes in Parker, AZ. I am a recent graduate of the New York Film Academy (MFA Screenwriting) and hold a BA in Digital Filmmaking and Video Production and an additional MFA in Filmmaking from NYFA. I love storytelling, creating, and everything that entails filmmaking from start to finish. Currently, I reside here in lovely Burbank, CA, and am represented by Sandra Avila at Inclusion Management.

    CR: Tell us about your film. What is it about and where does it take place?   

    BE: Blackwater is an episodic pilot about Native American country music star Birdie Blackwater whose career is fizzling due to excessive drinking that began 10 years ago. Upon moving back to her home reservation, barely clinging onto what little dignity she has left, Birdie is arrested for a barrage of drunken charges and lashing out at tribal police officers during a late-night performance. The next day, tribal courts order Birdie to complete 180 days of wellness therapy and intense probation or face two years in prison. Birdie now finds herself contending each week with a group of offbeat individuals who each possess their own…“unique” mental limitations. The story takes place on a fictional Native American reservation call Red Rock. 

    CR: Sounds very powerful. Can you tell us about the inspiration for this story? 

    BE: The inspiration for Blackwater came about in September of 2018… a tough experience. I had started a new class (Transmedia) at the New York Film Academy in Burbank, CA. The ultimate goal of the class: develop, write, and shoot a web series pilot. During the first half of the six-month course, I was given the news that my older brother Brandon had developed cirrhosis of the liver to such a serious extent that he would need a liver transplant. My brother had gotten this condition from depression and extreme alcoholism after the death of our mother in 2015. The additional news I would receive from him is that he would be opting for hospice care and wanted to just go peacefully with family for the remainder of his time. That news, to say the least, was devastating. 

    Shortly after his funeral, I returned to my Transmedia class. The project I had been working on up to that point was scrapped. I wanted to write something I was familiar with. I had felt my brother in my heart moving me to lean into all that I had experienced with drug addiction and dependency. I also wanted to heal from losing him to alcoholism. Thus, I put forward a new proposal to my instructors, which was Blackwater

    CR: Boise, I’m so sorry for your loss and the pain your family must have experienced. It’s truly inspiring how you were able to transform your personal tragedy into a meaningful story, and so quickly. 

    What was it like to direct the film?

    BE: My favorite experience directing Blackwater was working with such a phenomenal cast and crew who brought their A-game to each and every scene both on and off-screen. I mean, this was a set from heaven, and pulling off a thirteen-page script in just one day with minimal time, a skeleton crew, and several different scenes went by like clockwork. Heck, we even had an hour to spare after the whole thing was over! Directing that day was one of the best experiences I ever had on set.

    Kyla Garcia as Birdie Blackwater (“Blackwater”)

    CR: You directed a thirteen-page script in one day? Wow! Dare I ask what was the most challenging thing about making the film? 

    BE: It’s crazy because you usually are anticipating challenges that may or may not arise on the day of production, and they did of course, but they were minor and quickly remedied. No. The challenges here were definitely in the final days leading up to production. You would think that getting a simple location (an empty room) for the group scene would be easy-peasy in LA, but when you’re working with a shoestring budget, a simple task all of a sudden becomes a near impossibility. And that was the case up until the last week of location scouting. We finally locked our location, which was an old American Legion post here in Burbank. It was great because they had everything we needed for each scene! 

    The other difficult part was not in pre-production or production, but actually editing. Here I am, dealing with footage of numerous great takes from each actor/actress and reviewing them over and over. Now, you have to realize, that when you’re dealing with high caliber talent as we had, each throwing you grade-A performances with each take, it is extremely hard to pick the right one! This was mainly the case with our main character, Birdie Blackwater, portrayed by Kyla Garcia. What she brought was gold, I tell ya…GOLD. So for her, sorting through the stuff she gave us and settling on certain clips was by itself a two-month process. Keep an eye on Kyla, SHE IS AMAZING!

    CR: It’s true – Kyla is downright riveting to watch. Besides the editing, what did you learn while making this film?  

    BE: To say I didn’t learn much would be a “shooting myself in the foot” moment and never being able to walk right again, hahaha. I learned a hell of a lot. But I’ll narrow it down to one thing above others, and that was giving my talent the freedom they needed to experiment with their characters and craft on set. There was a lot of ad-libbing, and the more I stepped back and let them have at it, the more they gave. Their performances were elevated, and aside from the few adjustments I gave every now and then, I just kept my mouth shut and steered the ship. I believe this is extremely important because, by the end of any script, these people are going to be the ones who embody this person you wrote, and ultimately bring them to life – and not only the talent, but the entire crew as well. 

    As a director, I realized that you can only hold onto the material for so long before giving it up. You must trust your talent and pass the baton you have and be the coach they need, guiding them from the sideline. Hopefully, if you put in the hard work needed in pre-production and cast the film right, the process will fully evolve on its own. You only need to sit back and enjoy the show at that point. 

    CR: Can you talk about the development process for this pilot and the class you developed it in? 

    BE: Given I had changed my proposal during the six-month Transmedia course, development for Blackwater was done in a three-month period, which is not much time. But…it came very easily to me. The vision for it was clear, so it was really a matter of honing in on what was already in my head. I knew I wanted to do something that was set in a Native American world, and I completely cast with Indigenous talent. This was something I have always wanted to do, I just felt I hadn’t honed in on my craft enough back then. But now it was different. I felt confident enough to give it a try. It was a matter of finding the right, tone, cast, and overall theme, which it turned out to have many. 

    CR: Do you have any special shout-outs to faculty or staff who really helped or inspired you?  

    BE: One of the coolest things about the Transmedia 1 & 2 courses at NYFA were instructors Jenni Powell and Chris Modoono. Not only were they extremely wise and easy to talk to, but their guidance was priceless as they were able to get me from concept to a finished pilot. I can’t stress enough about the creative freedom Jenni and Chris gave us in class. I really owe the experience and opportunity to them and to NYFA. 

    CR: That is so cool. You know every teacher’s dream is to inspire and elevate students at the level you just described. 

    Let’s talk about the amazing festival run you’re having with Blackwater.  

    BE: Blackwater has garnered twenty festival selections, five of those being the Austin Film Festival, Slamdance, Nashville Film Festival, Hollyshorts, and Cinequest Film and VR Festival. 

    CR: That is any filmmaker’s dream list! So what are you looking forward to with Slamdance? 

    BE: I hope to get as much positive attention as possible and of course find a potential buyer or investor for continued production. Native American content and storytelling are so important in this day and age — and extremely hard to find. Slamdance is one of those benchmark experiences you constantly take a step back and go “Wow, I did something really cool here” and realize you’re on the right path. I also hope to network virtually and meet many of the talented filmmakers at this year’s festival! 

    Poster for “Blackwater” pilot

    CR: You will definitely have some great opportunities there. Do you have any advice for recent graduates making their way into the professional world?  

    BE: I would say be consistent, persistent, and honest in your work and what it is exactly you want for your future. Filmmaking and its many crafts are a life long pursuit. Pursuing it should make you happy, grateful, and full of good spirit to have such a calling. If it doesn’t, maybe take a step back and re-evaluate. Focus on what you want, whether that is screenwriting, directing (or both), and constantly sharpen your craft and talents in that world every day in some shape or form. Look to each day as an opportunity to move towards that ultimate goal, and eventually one day…you’ll find yourself there. But don’t forget to have fun and relax along the way. Be happy. 

    CR: Those are very wise words. And speaking of wise words, let’s talk about these trying times we live in today. Do you want to share any thoughts about the importance of film in the lives of humans living right now? 

    BE: Well, if I do share anything, it’ll be about the importance of diverse inclusion in today’s film industry and breaking the current mold at hand. And I am speaking specifically to Native American inclusion. Native Americans are perhaps the most underrepresented culture in the film and television industry right now in terms of film and television content, screenwriters, directors, and leading talent. We as Native Americans have been fighting an extremely uphill battle in finding large, fair platforms or opportunities to tell “our own stories,” tell our own history, and voice our own point of view. Since the dawn of cinema, history has been flat-out brutal in our depiction, reducing us to “elk skin and feathers,” mascots, savages, and whatever else the multitude of history books will have you believe. We as a people, as a culture, need to be allowed to write and depict our own stories, our own views, and our own history. Blackwater is one such example out of the 574 federally recognized tribes in the United States. The time for diverse inclusion is now, and Hollywood needs to comply accordingly. 

    CR: The time is definitely now, and I’m so happy that you and your work are a solution to this lack of diversity in Hollywood.

    So how we can watch your film during Slamdance and see your Q&A? 

    BE: Slamdance is an online format this year, meaning anyone with a computer or smart TV can access it for only ten bucks. Yes… $10. We’re talking the crème of the crop here, people! Although the official schedule of events isn’t out yet, getting your pass now will ensure you do not miss a single screening. All films will be viewable throughout the festival from February 12th – 25th

    Blackwater will be screening in the “Episodes” block with many other awesome filmmakers and their films, and you will also be able to watch our Q&A as a bonus feature. Go to www.slamdance.com now for your ticket! 

    CR: Thanks for stopping by, Boise. Congratulations and best of luck!

    [NOTE: NYFA students can get their festival passes for $5 by using their NYFA email address].

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    February 11, 2021 • Diversity, Entertainment News, Film Festivals, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1131

  • An Unscripted Romance Between NYFA Alumni Camille Lindelien and Niels Lindelien

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    Camille Lindelien and her husband Niels Lindelien met during the Summer of 2005 at NYFA’s Los Angeles Summer Camp Program. Niels was studying Filmmaking and directing while Camille was in the Acting for Film program. 

    I spotted Niels on a balcony staring at Cahuenga Peak and felt like there was something that set him apart from the other students who were all trying hard to fit in with the L.A. ‘scene,’ shared Camille. “He was calm, casual, and in love with the mountains as much as I was.”  

    NYFA alumni Camille Lindelien and Niels Lindelien

    After multiple encounters and helping each other study for their classes at NYFA together, the two became inseparable after that, spending our time helping each other study for our NYFA classes. “We had our first kiss on Dockweiler beach, at the NYFA end of program bonfire.  When it came time to leave camp, we thought we would never see each other again because he lived in Costa Rica, and I lived in New Jersey. Our only hope was that we might be reunited in LA again because of the passion for our crafts.”

    Both Camille and Niels ended up talking on the phone every night for five hours and dating long-distance for 2.5 years. “He even helped me complete my Acting Senior thesis by coaching me across the miles in how to use Final Cut Pro, utilizing the skills we learned at NYFA!  By the time he joined me at Chapman University, we had only seen each other in person for 23 days.  We worked on film sets together in college, just like during our last week at NYFA, and then graduated and went on to work together on professional sets in LA.”

    “Even though it seems like everything went to plan for us on paper, if there was any advice that we would give to current students it’s that life doesn’t go as planned, and fighting against the flow only causes pain. Niels needed to combine both his technical and creative brain, which led him to Steadicam and Cinematography and his current career success and fulfillment.,” shared Camille. “I pursued acting and reached so many of my goals, but after I was hit by an SUV while cycling, I spent my years of recovery re-learning to walk and creating a new business in content creation for brands. I’m happier now working for myself and taking on acting and modeling projects for clients that I choose and projects that support my greater aspirations of environmental stewardship, equality, and human kindness.”

    NYFA alum Niels Lindelien

    Niels is a Cinematographer and Camera Operator specializing in Steadicam, Trinity, underwater, and drone operating. He works on shows for Netflix, Hulu, HBO, as well as feature films, commercials and music videos, such as the 2020 VMA nominated The Weeknd video “Blinding Lights.”  He was recently nominated as Best Cinematographer at the 2020 Youtube Streamy Awards for his work on Lindsey Stirling’s music videos. 

    NYFA alum Camille Lindelien

    Camille is an actress and member of SAGAFTRA, whose career spans television, feature films commercials, and music videos. In 2016 Camille married Niels on the beach where he grew up in Costa Rica, and they went on a honeymoon around the world which helped launch their travel-centric production company Couple a Wanderers Creative. Camille is the Founder and Creative Director at Couple a Wanderers Creative, which focuses on creating content for travel and adventure brands as well as tourism boards. Their production company gives Camille and Niels the opportunity to travel and work together. Camille has created content and run campaigns for Jet Blue, United Airlines, Visit Big Bear, and Cambria Tourism Board, to name a few.  

    You can follow their adventures on Instagram and check out their recently launched brand page @CoupleaWanderersCreative or view their portfolio of brand photography and videography on their website.

    NYFA thanks alumni Camille Lindelien and Niels Lindelien for sharing their unique story about NYFA bringing them together and looks forward to see what these two creatives will get up to next in their careers.

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    February 11, 2021 • Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 759

  • NYFA Alum Lana Condor Stars in “To All The Boys: Forever and Always” on Netflix

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Lana Condor returns as Lara Jean Covey in Netflix’s original film To All The Boys: Always and Forever. The film is the third and final installment in the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series adapted from the novel series of the same name from Jenny Han.

    Lana Condor and Madeleine Arthur and in “To All the Boys: Always and Forever” (Netflix)

    After attending Acting for Film at NYFA’s camps, Condor graduated high school and had her film debut as the popular mutant Jubilee in the summer blockbuster X-Men: Apocalypse. Immediately following, Condor appeared in the Mark Wahlberg thriller Patriots Day, co-starring alongside fellow NYFA alum Themo Melikidze. Condor has also appeared in Alita: Battle Angel, the TV series Deadly Class, and the coming-of-age film Summer Night.

    To All The Boys: Always and Forever will have fans seeing beloved character Lara Jean (Condor) faced with the difficult decision of what to do after she graduates high school and whether her future includes long-term boyfriend Peter, played by Netflix favorite Noah Centineo (The Perfect Date, Sierra Burgess is a Loser). From the film series beginning with 16-year old Lara Jean having her secret love letters go public to all of her crushes, to the unexpected twists along the way leading up to the third film, fans will have to say goodbye to Condor’s character as she closes her high school chapter.

    Noah Centineo and Lana Condor in “To All the Boys: Always and Forever” (Netflix)

    What is the NYFA alum up to now that the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy has concluded? Condor is still booked and busy and will appear in the upcoming films Moonshot and the edgy comedy Girls Night. In her spare time, the actress has been known to share style and beauty tips on her social media channels and was most recently profiled by Vogue.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Lana Condor for bringing the character Lara Jean Covey to life over the past few years and looks forward to her future roles in Hollywood and beyond. To All The Boys: Always and Forever will be available to stream on February 10, 2021, on Netflix.

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    February 10, 2021 • Acting, Diversity, Entertainment News, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 569

  • NYFA Community Among Shortlist for 93rd Academy Awards

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    After teasing the annual announcement of shortlists for this year’s upcoming Oscar nominations, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences finally announced nine categories of shortlists on Tuesday afternoon. Included among the list in the Documentary Feature category was All In: The Fight For Democracy from NYFA alum and producer Lisa Cortés; Boys State from Documentary Cinematography instructor Claudia Raschke; and Dick Johnson is Dead from Cinematographer instructor John Foster. 

    The shortlists for the 93rd Academy Awards were announced for: Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, International Feature Film, Makeup and Hairstyling, Music (Original Score), Music (Original Song), Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film and Visual Effects.

    NYFA alum Lisa Cortés

    Cortés co-directed and produced the documentary All In: The Fight For Democracy, released September 18, 2020, on Amazon Prime. The film follows Georgia’s Stacey Abrams and the struggle against voter suppression. As of February 10, 2021, the film holds an approval rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and has been met with widespread critical claim with Kevin Crust from the Los Angeles Times writing “All In manages the triple-E feat of being entertaining, educational, and enlightening.” 

    This past year, Cortés attended the NYFA’s Rock The Vote Rally rally in October, where she brought a special sneak preview of Janelle Monae’s end-credit song, “Turntable,” song written exclusively for the film. Cortés also spoke about how her NYFA Producing education proved to be valuable in pulling together a project like All In during such challenging times. 

    Lisa Cortes, Lee Daniels, and Mo’Nique (Photo Credit: WireImage.com)

    The producing alum has had an extensive career prior to her success with All In. Cortés co-produced NYFA guest speaker Nicole Kassell’s film The Woodsman, co-directed The Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion, produced The Apollo, and executive produced Academy Award-winning film Precious from Lee Daniels. 

     Documentary Cinematography instructor Claudia Raschke was an additional cinematographer on the set of the shortlist contender Boys State from A24. The film follows an unusual annual experiment in Texas that joins together a thousand 17-year-old boys from across the state to build a representative government from the ground up. The film won the U.S Documentary Competition Grand Jury at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and is currently available to stream on Apple TV+.

    Shortlist contender Dick Johnson is Dead was worked on by Cinematographer instructor John Foster.  The documentary film directed by Kirsten Johnson focuses on Johnson’s father Richard, who suffers from dementia, portraying different ways—some of them violent “accidents”—in which he could ultimately die. The comedic and heartfelt film premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Award for Innovation in Non-fiction Storytelling. 

    New York Film Academy congratulates Lisa Cortés, Claudia Raschke, and John Foster for their films making the 2021 Oscars Shortlist for Best Documentary Feature and wishes all the projects that made this year’s Academy shortlist the best of luck when the full list of nominations are announced on March 15, 2021.

    The full shortlists for each announced category can be found below:

    DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

    “All In: The Fight for Democracy”
    “Boys State”
    “Collective”
    “Crip Camp”
    “Dick Johnson Is Dead”
    “Gunda”
    “MLK/FBI”
    “The Mole Agent”
    “My Octopus Teacher”
    “Notturno”
    “The Painter and the Thief”
    “76 Days”
    “Time”
    “The Truffle Hunters”
    “Welcome to Chechnya”

    DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

    “Abortion Helpline, This Is Lisa”
    “Call Center Blues”
    “Colette”
    “A Concerto Is a Conversation”
    “Do Not Split”
    “Hunger Ward”
    “Hysterical Girl”
    “A Love Song for Latasha”
    “The Speed Cubers”
    “What Would Sophia Loren Do?”

    INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM

    Bosnia and Herzegovina, “Quo Vadis, Aida?”
    Chile, “The Mole Agent”
    Czech Republic, “Charlatan”
    Denmark, “Another Round”
    France, “Two of Us”
    Guatemala, “La Llorona”
    Hong Kong, “Better Days”
    Iran, “Sun Children”
    Ivory Coast, “Night of the Kings”
    Mexico, “I’m No Longer Here”
    Norway, “Hope”
    Romania, “Collective”
    Russia, “Dear Comrades!”
    Taiwan, “A Sun”
    Tunisia, “The Man Who Sold His Skin”

    MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

    “Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn”
    “Emma”
    “The Glorias”
    “Hillbilly Elegy”
    “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey”
    “The Little Things”
    “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
    “Mank”
    “One Night in Miami…”
    “Pinocchio”

    MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)

    “Ammonite”
    “Blizzard of Souls”
    “Da 5 Bloods”
    “The Invisible Man”
    “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey”
    “The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se)”
    “The Little Things”
    “Mank”
    “The Midnight Sky”
    “Minari”
    “Mulan”
    “News of the World”
    “Soul”
    “Tenet”
    “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

    MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)

    “Turntables” from “All In: The Fight for Democracy”
    “See What You’ve Done” from “Belly of the Beast”
    “Wuhan Flu” from “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan”
    “Husavik” from “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”
    “Never Break” from “Giving Voice”
    “Make It Work” from “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey”
    “Fight For You” from “Judas and the Black Messiah”
    “Io Sì (Seen)” from “The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se)”
    “Rain Song” from “Minari”
    “Show Me Your Soul” from “Mr. Soul!”
    “Loyal Brave True” from “Mulan”
    “Free” from “The One and Only Ivan”
    “Speak Now” from “One Night in Miami…”
    “Green” from “Sound of Metal”
    “Hear My Voice” from “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

    ANIMATED SHORT FILM

    “Burrow”
    “Genius Loci”
    “If Anything Happens I Love You”
    “Kapaemahu”
    “Opera”
    “Out”
    “The Snail and the Whale”
    “To Gerard”
    “Traces”
    “Yes-People”

    LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

    “Bittu”
    “Da Yie”
    “Feeling Through”
    “The Human Voice”
    “The Kicksled Choir”
    “The Letter Room”
    “The Present”
    “Two Distant Strangers”
    “The Van”
    “White Eye”

    VISUAL EFFECTS

    “Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn”
    “Bloodshot”
    “Love and Monsters”
    “Mank”
    “The Midnight Sky”
    “Mulan”
    “The One and Only Ivan”
    “Soul”
    “Tenet”
    “Welcome to Chechnya”

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    February 10, 2021 • Diversity, Entertainment News, Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 971

  • Documentary Filmmaking Instructor Claudia Raschke Lenses Upcoming “FAUCI” Doc For National Geographic

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    At New York Film Academy (NYFA), our instructors are not only teaching the next wave of filmmakers and creatives alike but are out focusing on their own work and setting up the shot for the next big film. In this case, veteran cinematographer Claudia Raschke is no different, having lensed yet another prominent documentary film, FAUCI from National Geographic Documentary Films. 

    The New York-based Documentary Filmmaking instructor is known for shooting the Oscar-nominated and Emmy award-winning documentary RBG, the Oscar-nominated film God is Bigger Than Elvis, the Peabody Award-winning film Black Magic, the Oscar short-listed Mad Hot Ballroom, The Freedom to Marry, and many more. 

    Behind the scenes of “FAUCI” (National Geographic Documentary Films)

    Her latest project will see Raschke as the DP on the highly anticipated documentary FAUCI, directed by John Hoffman and Janet Tobias. The film will follow epidemiologist and famed White House COVID-19 pandemic advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, offering a glimpse into his career and life as a public servant who has advised seven U.S presidents from the start of the AIDS pandemic in the 1980s through SARS, Ebola, and now COVID-19. 

    There is no release date yet for the film as it was just announced on February 4, 2021, with special appearances listed like Bono, former President George W. Bush, Bill Gates, and more.

    NYFA instructor Claudia Raschke on set

    Raschke’s year is just getting started, as her feature documentary work on My Name is Pauli Murray recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and the 2021 premiere of Julia (CNN /Imagine Entertainment) on the horizon. Raschke’s new spy documentary, Codebreaker, aired this past January and is currently streaming after airdate on PBS’ American Experience.

    “Capturing the big and the small moments of the amazing world we live in feeds my passion for the art of cinematography. Equally important is that I bear witness to and document the unique stories that unfold before my eyes in a way that dismantles barriers, opens doors, and reveals the truth. I believe that filming intuitively, honestly and without inhibition is a journey that requires a compassionate heart and the ability to see and hear what lies beneath the surface.” – Claudia Raschke, DP

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA Filmmaking’s Documentary Division Cinematography instructor Claudia Raschke on all of her upcoming projects and looks forward to sharing more about the FAUCI documentary upon its release later in 2021. 

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  • NYFA Celebrates Nominations for 52nd NAACP Image Awards

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    On February 2, 2021, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) announced its list of nominations for this year’s NAACP Image Awards, an annual awards ceremony crediting the outstanding performances in film, television, music, and literature of the past year. This year, NYFA alumni and guest speakers were among the list of distinguished nominees across multiple categories.

    Presenting this year’s nominees were Anika Noni Rose, Chloe Bailey, Erika Alexander, Nicco Annan, and T.C. Carson. The announcement also featured a statement from NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson:

    “We are excited to recognize and celebrate this year’s nominees, who at times throughout this unprecedented year have provided moments of levity, brought our communities together, and lifted our spirits through culture when we needed it the most.”

    Topping off the nominees was Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, featuring Academy-Award winner Viola Davis and NAACP Image Award-winner and the late Chadwick Boseman. The film garnered multiple nods, including a Best Actress nomination for Viola Davis and a posthumous nod for Best Supporting Actor for Chadwick Boseman, who sadly passed away last August after a battle with colon cancer. Boseman is also nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category for his role in Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods.

    Still from “Jingle Jangle” (Netflix)

    Netflix, which led this year’s nominations with a whopping 48 nominations, also received multiple nods for the beloved family Christmas film Jingle Jangle from David E. Talbert. The film garnered ten nominations alone, including Best Motion Picture. NYFA alum, Francesco Panzieri, worked as the in-house compositing supervisor for the film which required multiple CGI sequences.

    NYFA alum Issa Rae in “Insecure” episode “Lowkey Feelin’ Myself” (HBO)

    Trailing behind Netflix in second for nominations was HBO, which scored 25 nominations including multiple nods for NYFA Filmmaking alum Issa Rae’s beloved show Insecure, which recently announced its fifth and final season to debut in 2021.

    Rae swept this year’s award nominations in all the top categories not only for Insecure but for her lead role in Universal’s The Photograph and guest appearance on the 46th season of Saturday Night Live. Rae’s full list of nominations can be found below:

    • Outstanding Comedy Series – Insecure
    • Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series – Issa Rae – Insecure
    • Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series – Issa Rae – Insecure (“Lowkey Feelin’ Myself”)
    • Outstanding Guest Performance – Comedy or Drama Series – Issa Rae – Saturday Night Live
    • Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture – Issa Rae – The Photograph

    Veteran and NYFA Alum Paquita Hughes

    HBO also received a nomination for HBO Max’s The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion, featuring NYFA alum Alfonso Ribeiro, for Outstanding Variety Show in which he, along with the cast, paid tribute to former castmate and NYFA guest speaker James Avery. Ribeiro also received a solo nomination for Outstanding Host in a Reality/Reality Competition, Game Show, or Variety Series for his work on America’s Funniest Home Videos.

    Not to be forgotten in the streaming competition, Hulu landed two nominations, including one for Outstanding Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special for Little Fires Everywhere, adapted from the 2017 novel of the same name by Celeste Ng. NYFA alum Paquita Hughes worked on the production team for the Hulu drama, starring Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon.

    Poster for “All In: The Fight For Democracy”

    All In: The Fight for Democracy from Amazon Studios earned producer and NYFA alum Lisa Cortes an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Documentary Film. The documentary, which currently holds a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, observes the history and current activism surrounding voter suppression with appearances by Stacey Abrams, Jayla Allen, Carol Anderson, and others.

    Acting for Film alum Tyler D’Andrea Lambert on “The Neighborhood” with Cedric The Entertainer

    Also receiving recognition this year is NYFA guest speaker, stand-up comedian, and actor Cedric The Entertainer. The actor, known for his iconic roles in Barbershop, Johnson Family Vacation, and Ice Age, has received a nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series for his lead role as Calvin Butler in the comedy series The Neighborhood from CBS. NYFA Acting for Film alum Tyler D’Andrea Lambert had the opportunity to work alongside the acclaimed actor for the nominated series.

    New York Film Academy congratulates all the nominees for this year’s NAACP Image Awards and encourages everyone to cheer on this year’s nominees when the 52nd NAACP Image Awards air on March 27, 2021, on BET, CBS, BETHer, VH1, MTV, MTV2, and Logo.

    View the full list of nominations below:

    SPECIAL AWARD CATEGORIES

    Entertainer of the Year
    D-Nice
    Regina King
    Trevor Noah
    Tyler Perry
    Viola Davis

    Social Justice Impact
    April Ryan
    Debbie Allen
    LeBron James
    Stacey Abrams
    Tamika Mallory

    TELEVISION + STREAMING CATEGORIES

    Outstanding Comedy Series
    “#blackAF” (Netflix)
    “Black-ish” (ABC)
    “Grown-ish” (Freeform)
    “Insecure” (HBO)
    “The Last O.G.” (TBS)

    Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series
    Anthony Anderson – “Black-ish” (ABC)
    Cedric the Entertainer – “The Neighborhood” (CBS)
    Don Cheadle – “Black Monday” (Showtime)
    Idris Elba – “In the Long Run” (Starz)
    Tracy Morgan – “The Last O.G.” (TBS)

    Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series
    Issa Rae – “Insecure” (HBO)
    Folake Olowofoyeku – “Bob Hearts Abishola” (CBS)
    Regina Hall – “Black Monday” (Showtime)
    Tracee Ellis Ross – “Black-ish” (ABC)
    Yara Shahidi – “Grown-ish” (Freeform)

    Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
    Andre Braugher – “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NBC)
    Deon Cole – “Black-ish” (ABC)
    Jay Ellis – “Insecure” (HBO)
    Kenan Thompson – “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
    Laurence Fishburne – “Black-ish” (ABC)

    Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
    Jenifer Lewis – Black-ish” (ABC)
    Marsai Martin – “Black-ish” (ABC)
    Natasha Rothwell – “Insecure” (HBO)
    Tichina Arnold – “The Neighborhood” (CBS)
    Yvonne Orji – “Insecure” (HBO)

    Outstanding Drama Series
    “All Rise” (CBS)
    “Bridgerton” (Netflix)
    “Lovecraft Country” (HBO)
    “Power Book II: Ghost” (Starz)
    “This Is Us” (NBC)

    Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
    Jonathan Majors – “Lovecraft Country” (HBO)
    Keith David – “Greenleaf” (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)
    Nicco Annan – “P-Valley” (Starz)
    Regé-Jean Page – “Bridgerton” (Netflix)
    Sterling K. Brown – “This Is Us” (NBC)

    Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series
    Angela Bassett – “9-1-1” (FOX)
    Brandee Evans – “P-Valley” (Starz)
    Jurnee Smollett – “Lovecraft Country” (HBO)
    Simone Missick – “All Rise” (CBS)
    Viola Davis – “How to Get Away With Murder” (ABC)

    Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
    Clifford “Method Man” Smith – “Power Book II: Ghost” (Starz)
    Delroy Lindo – “The Good Fight” (CBS All Access)
    J. Alphonse Nicholson – “P-Valley” (Starz)
    Jeffrey Wright – “Westworld” (HBO)
    Michael Kenneth Williams – “Lovecraft Country” (HBO)

    Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
    Adjoa Andoh – “Bridgerton” (Netflix)
    Aunjanue Ellis – “Lovecraft Country” (HBO)
    Lynn Whitfield – “Greenleaf” (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)
    Mary J. Blige – “Power Book II: Ghost” (Starz)
    Susan Kelechi Watson – “This Is Us” (NBC)

    Outstanding Television Movie, Limited–Series or Dramatic Special
    “Hamilton” (Disney+)
    “Little Fires Everywhere” (Hulu)
    “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker” (Netflix)
    “Sylvie’s Love” (Amazon Studios)
    “The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel” (Lifetime)

    Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Limited–Series or Dramatic Special
    Blair Underwood – “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker” (Netflix)
    Chris Rock – “Fargo” (FX)
    Daveed Diggs – “Hamilton” (Disney+)
    Leslie Odom, Jr. – “Hamilton” (Disney+)
    Nnamdi Asomugha – “Sylvie’s Love” (Amazon Studios)

    Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Limited–Series or Dramatic Special
    Aunjanue Ellis – The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel” (Lifetime)
    Kerry Washington – “Little Fires Everywhere” (Hulu)
    Michaela Coel – “I May Destroy You” (HBO)
    Octavia Spencer – “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker” (Netflix)
    Tessa Thompson – “Sylvie’s Love” (Amazon Studios)

    Outstanding News/Information (Series or Special)
    AM Joy: Remembering John Lewis Special (MSNBC)
    Desus & Mero: The Obama Interview (Showtime)
    The Color of COVID (CNN)
    The New York Times Presents “The Killing of Breonna Taylor” (FX)
    The Reidout (NBC)

    Outstanding Talk Series
    Red Table Talk (Facebook Watch)
    Tamron Hall (Syndicated )
    The Daily Show With Trevor Noah (Comedy Central)
    The Oprah Conversation (Apple TV+)
    The Shop: Uninterrupted (HBO)

    Outstanding Reality Program, Reality Competition or Game Show (Series)
    “Celebrity Family Feud” (ABC)
    “Iyanla: Fix My Life” (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)
    “Shark Tank” (ABC)
    “United Shades of America With W. Kamau Bell” (CNN)
    “Voices of Fire” (Netflix)

    Outstanding Variety Show (Series or Special)
    “8:46” (Netflix)
    “Black Is King” (Disney+)
    “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion” (HBO Max)
    “Verzuz” (APPLE TV)
    “Yvonne Orji: Momma I Made It!” (HBO)

    Outstanding Performance by a Youth (Series, Special, Television Movie or Limited–Series)
    Alex R. Hibbert – “The Chi” (Showtime)
    Lexi Underwood – “Little Fires Everywhere” (Hulu)
    Lyric Ross – “This Is Us” (NBC)
    Marsai Martin – “Black-ish” (ABC)
    Miles Brown – “Black-ish” (ABC

    Outstanding Guest Performance – Comedy or Drama Series
    Chris Rock – “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
    Courtney B. Vance – “Lovecraft Country” (HBO)
    Dave Chappelle – “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
    Issa Rae – “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
    Loretta Devine – “P-Valley” (Starz)

    Outstanding Breakthrough Creative (Television)
    Katori Hall – “P-Valley” (Starz)
    Keith Knight – “Woke” (Hulu)
    Ramy Youssef – “Ramy” (Hulu)
    Raynelle Swilling – “Cherish the Day” (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)
    Teri Schaffer – “Cherish the Day” (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)

    RECORDING CATEGORIES

    Outstanding New Artist
    Chika – “High Rises” (Warner Records)
    Doja Cat – “Say So” (RCA Records/Kemosabe )
    D Smoke – “Black Habits” (WoodWorks Records/Empire)
    Giveon – “When It’s All Said and Done” (Epic Records)
    Skip Marley – “Higher Place” (Island Records/ Tuff Gong Records)

    Outstanding Male Artist
    Big Sean – “Detroit 2” (Def Jam Recordings/G.O.O.D Music)
    Black Thought – “Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane & Able” (Republic Records)
    Charlie Wilson – “All of My Love” (P Music Group/BMG)
    Drake – “Laugh Now, Cry Later” (Republic Records)
    John Legend – “Bigger Love” (Columbia Records)

    Outstanding Female Artist
    Beyoncé – “Black Parade” (Columbia Record/ Parkwood)
    H.E.R. – “I Can’t Breathe” (RCA Records/MBK Entertainment)
    Jazmine Sullivan – “Lost One” (RCA Records)
    Ledisi – “Anything for You” (Listen Back Entertainment/BMG)
    Alicia Keys – “Alicia” (RCA Records)

    Outstanding Music Video/Visual Album
    “I Can’t Breathe” – H.E.R. (RCA Records/MBK Entertainment)
    “Anything for You” – Ledisi (Listen Back Entertainment/BMG)
    “Black Is King” – Beyonce´ (Columbia Record/ Parkwood)
    “Brown Skin Girl” – Beyonce’ feat WizKid, Saint Jhn, Blue Ivy Carter (Columbia Record/ Parkwood)
    “Do It” – Chloe x Halle (Columbia Record/ Parkwood)

    Outstanding Album
    “Alicia” – Alicia Keys (RCA Records)
    “b7” – Brandy (Brand Nu/eOne)
    “Bigger Lov”e – John Legend (Columbia Records)
    “Chilombo” – Jhené Aiko (Def Jam Recordings)
    “The Wild Card” – Ledisi (Listen Back Entertainment/BMG)

    Outstanding Soundtrack/Compilation Album
    “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Music from the Netflix Film) – Branford Marsalis (Milan)
    “Insecure: Music From the HBO Original Series” – Various Artists (Atlantic Records)
    “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” – Various Artists (Atlantic Records )
    “Soul Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste and Tom MacDougall (Walt Disney Records)
    “The First Ladies of Gospel: The Clark Sisters Biopic Soundtrack” – Donald Lawrence (Relevé Entertainment)

    MOTION PICTURE CATEGORIES

    Outstanding Motion Picture
    “Bad Boys for Life” (Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Entertainment)
    “Da 5 Bloods” (Netflix)
    “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” (Netflix)
    “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
    “One Night In Miami” (Amazon Studios)

    Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture
    Anthony Mackie – “The Banker” (Apple)
    Chadwick Boseman – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
    Delroy Lindo – “Da 5 Bloods” (Netflix)
    Forest Whitaker – “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” (Netflix)
    Will Smith – “Bad Boys for Life” (Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Entertainment)

    Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
    Issa Rae – “The Photograph” (Universal Pictures)
    Janelle Monáe – “Antebellum” (Lionsgate)
    Madalen Mills – “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” (Netflix)
    Tracee Ellis Ross – “The High Note” (Focus Features)
    Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)

    Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
    Aldis Hodge – One Night In Miami… (Amazon Studios)
    Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
    Clarke Peters – Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
    Colman Domingo – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
    Glynn Turman – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)

    Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
    Anika Noni Rose – “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” (Netflix)
    Gabourey Sidibe – “Antebellum” (Lionsgate)
    Nia Long – “The Banker” (Apple)
    Phylicia Rashad – “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” (Netflix)
    Taylour Paige – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)

    Outstanding Independent Motion Picture
    “Emperor” (Universal Home Video)
    “Farewell Amor” (IFC Films)
    “Miss Juneteenth” (Vertical Entertainment)
    “The 24th” (Vertical Entertainment)
    “The Banker” (Apple)

    Outstanding International Motion Picture
    “Ainu Mosir” (Array)
    “His House” (Netflix)
    “Night of the Kings” (Neon)
    “The Last Tree” (ArtMattan Productions)
    “The Life Ahead” (La vita davanti a se) (Netflix)

    Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in a Motion Picture
    Dayo Okeniyi – “Emperor” (Universal Home Video)
    Dominique Fishback – “Project Power” (Netflix)
    Jahi Di’Allo Winston – “Charm City Kings” (HBO Max)
    Jahzir Bruno – “The Witches” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
    Madalen Mills – “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” (Netflix)

    Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture
    “Da 5 Bloods” (Netflix)
    “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” (Netflix)
    “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
    “Soul” (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
    “The Banker” (Apple)

    WRITING CATEGORIES

    Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series
    Issa Rae – “Insecure” – “Lowkey Feelin’ Myself” (HBO)
    Lee Eisenberg, Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon – “Little America” – “The Rock” (Apple TV+)
    Michaela Coel – “I May Destroy You” – “Ego Death” (HBO)
    Mindy Kaling, Lang Fisher – “Never Have I Ever” “Pilot” (Netflix)
    Rajiv Joseph – “Little America” – “The Manager” (Apple TV+)

    Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series
    Attica Locke – “Little Fires Everywhere” – “The Spider Web” (Hulu)
    Erika L. Johnson, Mark Richard – “The Good Lord Bird” – “A Wicked Plot” (Showtime)
    Jessica Lamour – “Little Voice” – “Love Hurts” (Apple TV+)
    Katori Hall – “P-Valley” – “Perpetratin’” (Starz)
    Tanya Barfield – “Mrs. America” – “Shirley” (FX)

    Outstanding Writing in a Television Movie or Special
    Diallo Riddle, Bashir Salahuddin, D. Rodney Carter, Emily Goldwyn, Rob Haze, Zuri Salahuddin, Bennett Webber, Evan Williams, Will Miles – “Sherman’s Showcase Black History Month Spectacular” (IFC)
    Eugene Ashe – “Sylvie’s Love” (Amazon Studios)
    Geri Cole – “The Power of We: A Sesame Street Special” (HBO Max)
    Lin-Manuel Miranda – “Hamilton” (Disney+)
    Sylvia L. Jones, Camille Tucker – “The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel” (Lifetime)

    Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture
    David E. Talbert – “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” (Netflix)
    Kemp Powers – “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)
    Lee Isaac Chung – “Minari” (A24)
    Pete Docter, Kemp Powers, Mike Jones – “Soul” (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
    Radha Blank – “The Forty-Year-Old Version” (Netflix)

    DIRECTING CATEGORIES

    Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series
    Anya Adams – “Black-ish” – “Hair Day” (ABC)
    Aurora Guerrero – “Little America” – “The Jaguar” (Apple TV+)
    Eric Dean Seaton – “Black-ish” – “Our Wedding Dre” (ABC)
    Kabir Akhtar – “Never Have I Ever” – “…started a nuclear war” (Netflix)
    Sam Miller, Michaela Coel – “I May Destroy You” – “Ego Death” (HBO)

    Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series
    Cheryl Dunye – “Lovecraft Country” – “Strange Case” (HBO)
    Hanelle Culpepper – “Star Trek: Picard” – “Remembrance” (CBS All Access)
    Misha Green – “Lovecraft Country” – “Jig-a-Bobo” (HBO)
    Nzingha Stewart – “Little Fires Everywhere” – “The Uncanny” (Hulu)
    Steve McQueen – “Small Axe” – “Mangrove” (Amazon Studios)

    Outstanding Directing in a Television Movie or Special
    Beyoncé Knowles Carter, Emmanuel Adeji, Blitz Bazawule, Kwasi Fordjour – “Black Is King” (Disney+)
    Christine Swanson – “The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel” (Lifetime)
    Chuck Vinson, Alan Muraoka – “The Power of We: A Sesame Street Special” (HBO Max)
    Eugene Ashe – “Sylvie’s Love” (Amazon Studios)
    Kamilah Forbes – “Between The World and Me” (HBO)

    Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture
    David E. Talbert – “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” (Netflix)
    George C. Wolfe – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
    Gina Prince-Bythewood – “The Old Guard “(Netflix)
    Radha Blank – “The Forty-Year-Old Version” (Netflix)
    Regina King – “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)

    LITERARY CATEGORIES

    Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction
    “Black Bottom Saints” – Alice Randall (HarperCollins Publishers)
    “Lakewood” – Megan Giddings (HarperCollins Publishers)
    “Riot Baby” – Tochi Onyebuchi (TorDotCom Publishing, imprint of Tom Doherty Associates)
    “The Awkward Black Man” – Walter Mosley (Grove Atlantic)
    “The Vanishing Half” – Brit Bennett (Riverhead Books)

    Outstanding Literary Work – Nonfiction
    “A Black Women’s History of the United States” – Daina Berry (Beacon Press)
    “A Promised Land” – Barack Obama (Crown)
    “Driving While Black” – Gretchen Sorin (W. W. Norton & Company)
    “Long Time Coming: Reckoning With Race in America” – Michael Eric Dyson (St. Martin’s Press)
    “We’re Better Than This” – Elijah Cummings (HarperCollins Publishers)

    Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author
    “A Knock at Midnight” – Brittany Barnett (Penguin Random House)
    “Greyboy: Finding Blackness in a White World” – Cole Brown (Skyhorse)
    “Lakewood” – Megan Giddings (HarperCollins Publishers)
    “The Compton Cowboys” – Walter Thompson-Hernandez (HarperCollins Publishers)
    “We’re Better Than This” – Elijah Cummings (HarperCollins Publishers)

    Outstanding Literary Work – Biography/Autobiography
    “A Most Beautiful Thing: The True Story of America’s First All-Black High School Rowing Team” – Arshay Cooper (Macmillan)
    “A Promised Land” – Barack Obama (Crown)
    “Olympic Pride, American Prejudice” – Deborah Draper (Simon & Schuster)
    “The Dead Are Arising” – Les Payne, Tamara Payne (W. W. Norton & Company)
    “Willie: The Game-Changing Story of the NHL’s First Black Player” – Willie O’Ree (Penguin Canada)

    Outstanding Literary Work – Poetry
    “Homie” – Danez Smith (Graywolf Press)
    “Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry” – John Murillo (Four Way Books)
    “Seeing the Body” – Rachel Eliza Griffiths (W. W. Norton & Company)
    “The Age of Phillis” – Honorée Jeffers (Wesleyan University Press)
    “Un-American” – Hafizah Geter (Wesleyan University Press)

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    February 4, 2021 • Diversity, Entertainment News, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 691