It was a film noir night for New York Film Academy Filmmaking students, who were treated to Brian DeCubellis‘ new film, “Manhattan Night,” coincidentally on a rainy night in lower Manhattan. The film stars Academy Award winner, Adrien Brody, Yvonne Strahovski, Campbell Scott, and Jennifer Beals. Porter, played by Brody, is an investigative Daily News reporter who becomes involved with a mysterious woman, Strahovski, while investigating her late husband’s death.
Director Decubellis has written and directed films, TV shows, commercials, music videos and branded programming for MTV, Fox, VH1, Comedy Central, Spike, Teen Nick, ABC and more. Formerly the founding Creative Director at MTV and Viacom’s creative group Scratch, his work has been recognized with an Effie Award, Ava Platinum Award, Creativity Annual, Beacon Award, Mobius Award, Gracie Award, Prism Award, the prestigious Peabody Award, Telly Award, and an Emmy nomination.
He has directed programming with over 300 recording artists for MTV Networks as well as RollingStone.com and getmusic.com where he was the in-house video director.
DeCubellis, who spoke to students after the screening, adapted the screenplay from the Colin Harrison novel, “Manhattan Nocturne.” From the moment he wanted to adapt the book until the film was in the theaters, was a span of about 17 years. While his background is in creating short content for TV and branded campaigns, DeCubellis had been motivated since film school to be a feature filmmaker and storyteller. He advised students to “keep making your stuff and building your reel. Keep writing if you’re a writer. Keep making shorts to really hone your craft, so you’re ready when you have that opportunity.”
He also suggested that screenwriters read Blake Snyder’s, “Save the Cat,” and to truly work on their script until it is at a professional level and is enticing for actors. “When you’re writing the script, think of the actors and why they would like to do this.” Not only do you want to have talented actors in your film, investors want to see a package with known talent attached.
DeCubellis also stressed the importance of knowing the financial side of the business, especially as an independent movie director. At the end of the day, you’re the one with the vision, and you’re the only one who can be the driving force behind your first feature film.
“Manhattan Night” is now available on VOD.