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  • New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Hosts Lunafest: Short Films By, For, About Women

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    On Saturday, March 7, New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) had the pleasure to once again host Lunafest, a series of films by and about women for the Zonta Club of Burbank. Crickett Rumley, NYFA Director of Film Festivals, moderated the event. Lunafest was also attended by Burbank Mayor Sharon Springer and Council Member Tim Murphy. 

    lunafest 2020

    NYFA Acting faculty Lee Quarrie, NYFA Film Festival Director Crickett Rumley, LADY PARTS writer/director Jessica Sherif, NYFA MFA Filmmaking student Jumanah El Shabazz, NYFA Filmmaking alum Roshni “Rush” Bhatia

    In order to combat the underrepresentation of women in film, Lunafest was created in 2001 as the first all-women traveling film festival. Since then, the festival has opened opportunities to more than 150 women filmmakers, giving them the recognition and platform they deserve. In addition, Lunafest travels to nearly 200 cities annually, raising funds for local women’s causes. This year, proceeds from NYFA’s presentation of Lunafest were allocated to Zonta Burbank, a volunteer organization working to empower women through service and advocacy.  

    Following a screening of the short film program, Rumley began a guided conversation where students and panelists had the opportunity to talk about the films. Students from all backgrounds saw themselves in the stories, and even felt uncomfortable, in good ways–they had moments of realization, moments of uplift, and moments of inspiration. 

    NYFA previously hosted Lunafest in 2019. Panelists included members of the campus Film Festival Club, including its president, Jumanah El Shabazz; NYFA alum and recipient of the Zonta Wings Grant, Roshni “Rush” Bhatia; NYFA Acting Faculty and Academic Adviser, Lee Quarrie; and Director and Producer of the Lunafest-selected film Lady Parts, Jessica Sherif.

    Speaking on the relatability of the films to both students and Zonta Burbank members alike, Rumley shared, “Lunafest is such a strong program, and it was fascinating to see how the films reflected audience experiences.” She continued, “Not only was the dance in Ballet After Dark beautiful to watch, the protagonist’s determination to survive trauma spoke to women of all ages. And Zonta members who have been breaking glass ceilings for decades were heavily impacted by PURL because the main character faced such an uncomfortable, if not hostile, all-male workplace that she had to overcome.”

    lunafest 2020

    NYFA alum Roshni “Rush” Bhatia and Jessica Sherif, director/producer of LADY PARTS

    The writing and emotional impact of the films pierced through to everyone in the audience. NYFA student Nadiia Pavlyk-Vachkova, stated, “I invited my friend, a director from India, and I wasn’t sure that he would endure 90 minutes of content devoted to women. But all the films were so strong and well done that we got the impression we were watching Oscar nominees. After the performance, we discussed the funny and tragic moments that we both learned from.” 

    New York Film Academy thanks Lunafest, the Zonta Club of Burbank, and the panelists for joining us for such a successful event and sharing it with our students.

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    March 18, 2020 • #WomenOfNYFA, Film Festivals, Film School, Guest Speakers • Views: 425

  • Feature Film By NYFA BFA Filmmaking Alumni ‘Easy Living’ Screens at Santa Barbara International Film Festival

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    Easy Living, the debut feature film by New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA Filmmaking alum Orso Miyakawa and his brother Peter—and shot by NYFA BFA Filmmaking alum Andrey Nuzhnyy, is screening at this month’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival as an Official Selection.

    The film is self-described as a melancholic, coming-of-age comedy about a fourteen-year-old boy, his older sister, and a bizarre American tennis teacher who come up with an absurd plan to help a migrant sneak across the border. It recently had its premiere at the Torino Film Festival in Turin, Italy.

    Orso Miyakawa and Andrey Nuzhnyy met during their first year together at NYFA’s New York campus. Together, Miyakawa and Nuzhnyy moved to Los Angeles a year later to complete their BFA in Filmmaking studies at NYFA’s Burbank-based location.

    easy living torso miyakawa

    NYFA BFA Filmmaking alum Orso Miyakawa

    “We always worked on each other’s projects,” says Miyakawa of his time with Nuzhnyy at NYFA, “we watched hundreds and hundreds of movies together, and most importantly, we developed a similar sense of humor—which I believe is the key to understanding why we collaborate so well with each other.”

    After graduating and working on various film sets around the world, Miyakawa and his brother Peter, who also collaborated on several NYFA projects, returned to their home country of Italy where they started a production company with their friends, family, and Nuzhnyy. Their company, Wise Pictures began producing short films and music videos before moving onto international feature films and collaborating with artists like Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name, Suspiria)

    Their film Easy Living kicked off its festival run with its premiere at Torino, one of the largest fests in Italy. The film, written and directed by the Miyakawa brothers, was inspired by their childhood home, a small seaside town on the border between France and Italy.

    easy living Andrey Nuzhnyy

    NYFA BFA Filmmaking alum Andrey Nuzhnyy

    Despite its specific, personal roots, the Miyakawa brothers have always aimed for the film to reach a universal audience. “The movie takes place around the Italian border with France,” Miyakawa tells NYFA, “but it could easily be transported to the US border with Mexico and work perfectly fine.”

    Easy Living will screen at Santa Barbara International Film Festival, one of California’s most prestigious cinema fests, on Monday, January 20 at 4:30 p.m. local time. The film will screen two more times at Santa Barbara, on Tuesday, January 21 at 2:40 p.m. and Wednesday, January 22 at 8:20 a.m.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Peter Miyakawa and New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA Filmmaking alumni Orso Miyakawa and Andrey Nuzhnyy on Easy Living and encourage everyone in the Santa Barbara area to check out the film!

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    January 28, 2020 • Film Festivals, Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 405

  • New York Film Academy MFA Filmmaking Alum Jaco Dukes Premieres ‘El Guardia’ at Cannes Film Festival’s Marché du Film

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    New York Film Academy MFA Filmmaking Alum Jaco Dukes saw all of his hard work come to fruition last May when he premiered his film El Guardia at the Cannes Film Festival’s Marché du Film.

    Dukes originally hails from Chile and first attended NYFA in September 2011, enrolling in the MFA in Filmmaking program at our Los Angeles campus. “My first year at NYFA was one of the best years of my life,” says Dukes. “For the first time, I was able to think about filmmaking all day, every day of the week. It was paradise. My thesis film that I shot at NYFA opened the door for me to every project and work opportunity that came after. So I think that, if you have all the guidance, support and resources that NYFA can offer (like the amazing instructors; James, Ryan, Nick, Tim, Andrew, and many others), plus an obsession for film and filmmaking, then probably great things will come.”

    El Guardia Jaco Dukes

    The English-language poster for ‘El Guardia’

    Since graduating NYFA, he has written and directed the short films Silent and Mikey, as well worked several others as an editor and cinematographer. Dukes directed, wrote, and co-produced El Guardia, his first feature film. The script is based on the true story of the highly acclaimed businessman, life coach, and best-selling author Juan Rosado from Puerto Rico, and was inspired by Rosado’s empowering book Rags to Riches (El Guardia Que Compró Su Sueño).

    The story focuses on a frustrated security guard that starts a network marketing business as a second job with his mentor and veterinarian friend, which leads them into a life-changing journey that will affect the lives of everyone around them.

    The film made its grand debut at the Marché du Film in Cannes, France in May 2019. The distribution of the film is being managed by Adler & Associates Entertainment, who are submitting the film to festivals around the world as well as planning a theatrical premiere and distribution in cinemas in Puerto Rico, Miami, New York, and Los Angeles sometime in 2020.

    El Guardia Jaco Dukes

    NYFA MFA Filmmaking alum Jaco Dukes

    Dukes is currently working on his next screenplay, an indie film that he’s always wanted to make—he’s devoting all of his energy to producing it in 2020. Says Dukes, “[El Guardia] was the most challenging learning experience of my life as a film director, and thanks to all the obstacles, failures, and successes I had making this film, now I am a little more confident about directing my passion project, my own script, and kick ass with it.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Filmmaking alum Jaco Dukes on the Cannes Film Festival Marché du Film premiere of El Guardia and looks forward to seeing what he makes next! 

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    January 10, 2020 • Film Festivals, Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 741

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Li Cheng’s ‘José’ Gets National Release After Winning Queer Lion Award at Venice Film Festival

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    It’s becoming more and more common for New York Film Academy (NYFA) alumni to win major festival prizes, so it wasn’t any surprise when news broke out that Filmmaking grad Li Cheng won the 2018 Queer Lion Award at the 75th Venice Film Festival, one of the world’s most prominent cinema competitions; his film José is now the first Central American film to do so. Following the prestigious award as well as premieres in 50 countries and 100 festival cities worldwide, José now has a national USA theatre release, starting in a dozen major markets, with Cheng personally be presenting the film and speaking with audiences during each of the first three days for both the New York and Los Angeles screenings.

    Li Cheng Jose

    NYFA alum LI Cheng on set of Jośe, Courtesy of YQstudio LLC

    In 2008, Cheng attended the 4-Week Filmmaking workshop at our New York campus. “My NYFA experience was wonderful,” Cheng tells NYFA, “and key to getting started right: hands-on, quickly, low-cost/high-value, with passionate film professionals, and meeting and working together with creative, energetic, inspiring faculty, staff, and student-cohorts from day one. I couldn’t have asked for more, or a better kickstart to my career in film.”

    Cheng used that kickstart to his full advantage. His feature film José is a nuanced look at the challenges and joys of gay life in Central America. The Spanish-language, English-subtitled film follows star José (Enrique Salanic), who lives at home with his mother (Ana Cecilia Mota), who makes ends meet by selling sandwiches at bus stops and who is not ready to let go of her youngest child. But when he meets Luis (Manolo Herrera), José is pushed to break down his own boundaries and take a leap of faith with this new relationship. 

    José was written and produced by Cheng, along with George F. Roberson, and was shot in Guatemala with a non-industry artist and academic crew, making it the first major LGBTQIA+ film to come from the nation. Outsider Pictures is the film’s North American distributor and world sales, while international festival sales are handled by Rediance (of Paris and Beijing).

    Li Cheng Jose

    The powerful film has resonated with audiences. Winning the Queer Lion is an incredible achievement; the Queer Lion Award is the trophy awarded, starting in 2007, to the “Best Movie with LGBT Themes & Queer Culture” among those presented during the Venice International Film Festival. Previous winners include Tom Ford’s A Single Man and Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl. José has also won Best Film at the Boston LGBT Film Festival and was cited for its “confident visual sense…a sensitive portrait [with a] depth of feeling” by The Hollywood Reporter.

    The film will screen at the Quad Cinema in New York City from Friday, January 31 – Sunday, February 2. Tickets are available here. Other screenings for José, including at the Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles on February 7, can be found here. Q&A sessions between the audiences and Cheng will follow screenings each of the first three days for both the New York and Los Angeles releases.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Li Cheng on winning the Venice Film Festival’s Queer Lion award and looks forward to following his career as a filmmaker!

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Acting for Film Student Amir Rahim Stars in Debut Feature Film

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Acting for Film student Amir Rahim is starring in his first Malaysian feature film, Suraya, set for release in early January.

    NYFA alum Amir Rahim

    The film made its theatrical debut in the Philippines at the Mindanao Film Festival earlier in December, and tells the story of Adam and Nabila, two avid YouTubers who set across Malaysia and end up in a mysterious homestay. 

    Rahim, who hails from Malaysia, co-stars in the thriller as Adam. He attended the MFA Acting for Film program at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus from 2013 – 2015.

    This is the second project Rahim has made with Feisk Productions and director Feisal Azizuddin; the first was the film Temenggor, still in post-production. He earned the role while living in Los Angeles through an audition call he heard from a friend. “My acting coaches at NYFA always tell me to be prepared for auditions,” says Rahim, “i.e having your headshot and resume ready and up to date, have some monologues prepared (if the audition doesn’t have any sides) and most importantly, be early. That’s what I did. After completing Temenggor, the director wanted me to be in his next film, Suraya.”

    Rahim is grateful for the education that led to his casting and shares this advice for his fellow NYFA students: “Get involved in as many projects as you can while you’re there, whether it’s a film or theatre project, and don’t just look for projects at NYFA, look outside as well … The best way to learn is by doing. Use this time to experiment with the different kinds of characters you want to play and also discover the kind of actor you want to be. If you have friends from other programs like Filmmaking or Screenwriting, get together and create your own project—you don’t have to wait for people to offer you roles. Also build a showreel while you’re at it. That will come in handy when you graduate and start looking for agents and auditions. No agents, casting directors, or producers want to hire an inexperienced actor. Never stop hustling.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Acting for Film alum Amir Rahim on his Malaysian feature debut and looks forward to the release of Temenggor and whatever films Amir has in his future.

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    January 8, 2020 • Acting, Film Festivals, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 857

  • Oscar-Nominated New York Film Academy Filmmaking Alum Giacun Caduff Working on New Projects

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking alum Giacun Caduff, along with NYFA Acting for Film alum Stefanie Lacher, have been working nonstop across the globe as they work on films and other projects following the massive success of La femme et le TGV, the Oscar-nominated short produced by Caduff.

    Caduff attended the 8-Week Filmmaking workshop at NYFA’s New York campus in the summer of 1999. Lacher attended NYFA’s 8-Week Acting for Film workshop at our Los Angeles campus in September 2011. The pair met several years later at a party in Switzerland, Caduff’s native country.

    Giacun Caduff and Stefanie Lacher

    NYFA Alumni Giacun Caduff and Stefanie Lacher

    In 2009, Caduff founded the Gässli Film Festival in his hometown of Basel, Switzerland, a platform for young aspiring filmmakers to present their shorts and network with industry professionals. He also runs a film camp and drive-in movie theater.

    These projects haven’t stopped Caduff from working on his true passion though—making movies. He has produced such films as Etienne! (2009), 2B or Not 2B (2005), Salad Days (2011), and directorial effort 20 Regeln für Sylvie (2014).

    His biggest success to date was the 2016 short La femme et le TGV, written and directed by NYFA Filmmaking alum Timo von Gunten, which tells a touching story of a lonely woman and a TGV train driver. Among many other awards, nominations, and festival selections, La femme et le TGV was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film. The film was executive produced by NYFA alum Jean de Meuron.

    View this post on Instagram

    What a night!

    A post shared by Giacun Caduff (@jacquesabale) on

    “In a funny way, the nomination has helped more with other projects than with movies,” Caduff tells NYFA. “I learned that in the end it’s an interesting process where suddenly people introduce you as an Oscar nominee, which is nice, but at the same time, people will automatically expect that same level from you—which in the film world is another Oscar-nominated movie. With projects outside the film business it’s a bit easier, because the expectations are high too but there is no 1:1 comparison. So, I was happy to work with excited people to create the basis for the Gässli Film Festival that—maybe one day—will be Oscar-qualifying.”

    Those high expectations haven’t stopped Caduff though, who is working on multiple new films, and will possibly collaborate in the future with NYFA alum Stefanie Lacher, whom Caduff calls “a wonderful inspiration.” 

    la femme et le tgv giacun caduffGiacun Caduff

    He adds, “There are two scripts of my own that I’m finalizing and one that the director of La femme et le TGV is writing. This journey took me to the US and later to Russia, where I spent time in a lake house without internet to focus on the writing. With enough luck, I hope to shoot this year. Probably next year, but this year should be key in getting funding and cast attachment. Fingers crossed!”

    Making films and collaborating with fellow NYFA classmates stems from a passion Caduff found when he attended the Filmmaking workshop in New York. “Using 16mm film for the first time,” describes Caduff, “I re-discovered my love and passion for film. I knew right there that I was making movies for the wrong reasons so far and started to understand the importance of story, light, lenses—and I mean, being in New York City during that time of my life… amazing.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA alumni Giacun Caduff and Stefanie Lacher on their respective successes since graduating the Academy and looks forward to seeing what projects they work on next!

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    January 6, 2020 • Acting, Film Festivals, Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1162

  • New York Film Academy Producing Alum Federico Guarascio Coproduces Festival Hit ‘The Fourth Kingdom’

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    The Fourth Kingdom, a documentary directed by Adán Aliaga and Alex Lora and coproduced by New York Film Academy (NYFA) Producing alum Federico Guarascio has been storming the festival circuit since its premiere earlier this year.

    The film documents a redemption center in Brooklyn founded by a Spanish ex-missionary where cans and plastic bottles are exchanged for cash—a “Fourth Kingdom” of plastics, and a hub for immigrants and underdogs who desperately believe in the American Dream.

    Federico Guarascio

    Since its premiere last February at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, where it won the award for Best Short Film, The Fourth Kingdom has been selected in 20 film festivals—eight of them Oscars-qualifying—and has won two of them, including the Brooklyn Film Festival, which allows the short film to be considered for the Academy Awards. 

    It has additionally screened at the Rooftop Summer Series, the Americas Film Festivals, the Palm Springs International Film Festival, DOC NYC, and opened at the United Kingdom’s prestigious Sheffield Doc Fest.

    Federico Guarascio originally hails from Italy and first came to New York Film Academy through the Torno Subito program, a joint public/private sector work study initiative that supports new talent development in the Italian film and television industry and is based in Italy’s Lazio region. New York Film Academy provides the “study” element of the program, with students enrolling in short-term workshops across various NYFA disciplines. Once their program is completed, graduates return to pre-arranged film and television internships in Italy.

    Alex Lora & Federico Guarascio

    Alex Lora & Federico Guarascio

    Guarascio first attended the 4-Week Producing workshop at NYFA’s New York campus, and was so impressed that he subsequently returned to enroll in the 1-Year Conservatory in Producing. Upon graduation, Federico has remained in New York City to work on a variety of film projects, including The Fourth Kingdom.

    “[NYFA] proved to be essential during my journey with this doc,” says Guarascio, “and it would not have been possible for me to get this far without the skills I learned in your classes and, for that, I am immensely grateful.”

    Guarascio’s talent as a producer was evident early on. “As a student, Federico showed all the hallmarks of a fiercely independent producer,” recalls NYFA-NY Chair of Producing Neal Weisman. “He consistently demonstrated a great passion for the process and a curiosity which inevitably led to to interesting projects. It is no surprise that Federico has moved on to find success with films moving onto the festival circuit. We are very proud.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates Producing alum Federico Guarascio on the success of The Fourth Kingdom and encourages everyone to check out the film’s trailer, available on Vimeo. 

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    December 16, 2019 • Film Festivals, Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1360

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Acting for Film Alum Vicente Almuna’s ‘Sepia’ Generating Lots of Buzz

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    Sepia, a film written, directed, and starring New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Acting for Film alum Vicente Almuna, has been generating a ton of buzz since entering the festival circuit.

    Vicente Almuna

    NYFA alum Vicente Almuna

    Almuna originally hails from Chile and enrolled in the MFA in Acting for Film program at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus in 2016. While studying at NYFA-Los Angeles, Almuna learned skills not just in acting but behind the camera as well.

    He put those skills to work with Sepia, which he scripted and directed as well as starred in. The film tells the story of a man rejected from reentering his country of residence after visiting his country of origin. Due to being a former immigrant, he is prohibited from coming back to the place where he has built his life and relationships. Separated from his wife, he decides to undertake a journey by foot across the desert in order to be reunited with his love.

    Trailer Sepia from Vicente Almuna Morales on Vimeo

    “I believe we are going through very fervent times where a lot of meaningful events are occurring all over the world,” Almuna tells NYFA. “The violence and hate that humankind is experiencing nowadays, with fanatic nationalism rising in different parts of the globe; the terror of a next world war; the disputes between races and the immigration banning; or the desire of some countries to lock themselves hermetically from the rest of the world and people.

    “There is too much to be concerned about and I am not going to be just a simple witness of all that is going on around me,” he continues. “This is why I want to discuss about this, to talk about all this. To make a choice from an individual that has been living through this and has a perspective and something to say. I want to talk about my world and I want to create worlds about my world and contribute to make awareness and step by step, build a better place.”

    The film, co-directed by Luis Sánchez and produced by Sommer Saqr, has struck a nerve with festival audiences. Sepia has picked up awards for Best First-Time Director (Independent Short Awards), Best Actor (Independent Short Awards), and Best Cinematography (El Paso Film Festival), and has been nominated for Best First-Time Director (Queen Palm International Film Festival), Best Actor (Queen Palm International Film Festival), Best Dramatic Short (StoryMode Short Film Awards), Best Original Story (StoryMode Short Film Awards), Best Actor (StoryMode Short Film Awards), Audience Award (StoryMode Short Film Awards), and Best International Short (South Texas International Film Festival). Additionally, Sepia has screened at numerous other festivals.

    “NYFA taught me the primordial concepts and training to proceed on my own creative writing adventure,” Almuna describes when asked about his experiences studying at the Academy. “I understood the concept of try, fail, redo, try again. I understood the ideas of drafts, having my last script version after sixteen drafts. And I could keep on changing and modifying it eternally. I think every real and true artistic process never meets an end, it never reaches perfection. We could infinitely try to make it better.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Acting for Film alum Vicente Almuna on the success of Sepia and looks forward to following his career as it grows!

    Vicente Almuna

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  • New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Associate Dean and Filmmaking Chair Collaborate for ‘The MisEducation of Bindu’

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Prarthana Mohan recently won the Indiana Spotlight Award for Best Director at the Heartland International Film Festival for her film The MisEducation of Bindu; NYFA Los Angeles Chair of Filmmaking Ed Timpe co-produced the film.

    The feature-length comedy tells the story of a bullied high school sophomore from India who must seek help from her classmates after forging her mother’s signature to test out of high school and discovering the test has a fee she cannot afford. The film co-stars Priyanka Bose, Megan Suri, and David Arquette (Scream, Never Been Kissed.)

    The MisEducation of Bindi was executive produced by the Duplass Brothers (Togetherness, Room 104) and was directed by Mohan, who co-wrote the screenplay with Kay Tuxford and co-produced the film with Ed Timpe. 

    The Miseducation of Bindu
    The production was shot in Indiana, where Timpe went to school, and is tied deeply to the community. “We really want to take the film back to Indiana,” Mohan tells IndyStar. “We want to take it back to Indianapolis and the communities nearby because they were so gracious and kind and welcoming.”

    The film screened at the state’s 28th annual Heartland International Film Festival, Indiana’s largest and longest-running fest. This year’s festival, which ran from October 10 – 20, featured more than 100 independent films, 200 visiting filmmakers, and 300 film screenings.

    New York Film Academy congratulates the filmmakers on the success of their film The MisEducation of Bindu and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Prarthana Mohan on her well-deserved Best Director award!

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    November 1, 2019 • Faculty Highlights, Film Festivals, Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 786

  • Another Successful Year for Nordic International Film Festival Founders & New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alumni

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    Last week saw another successful edition of the Nordic International Film Festival (NIFF), founded by New York Film Academy (NYFA) alumni Johan Matton and Linnea Larsdotter. This October marked the fifth year for NIFF.

    This year’s fest was held at the renowned Roxy Cinema in Tribeca, and ran from October 16 – 20. The week saw a world premiere, six international premieres, two North American premieres, one US premiere, and 11 New York premieres among its multiple programs, with 79% of the official selections including at least one woman in a prominent role behind the camera. Jury members, hosts, and alumni of the festival included industry notables like Kristin Chenoweth, Bruce Greenwood, Jerome Flynn, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Veena Sud, Julian Glover, Lyndsy Fonseca, and Eric Roberts. Two special awards were given at this year’s program: the Nordic Film Grand Prize, which offers a one-week trip to the Faroe Islands, and the International Film Grand Prize, which offers a one-week trip to Finland.

    Nordic International Film Festival 2019

    Two additional awards were sponsored by New York Film Academy, and presented by NYFA President Michael J. Young. Night Cleaners by Hanna Nordenswan won Best Documentary Short, while Tia Kuovo, writer and director of We Retired People, won the Aurora Borealis Award for Best Up and Coming Filmmaker. Both award winners received scholarships for a 4-Week workshop of their choice at NYFA to advance their filmmaking studies.

    “New York Film Academy is proud to support the Nordic International Film Festival,” Young expressed to the audience in a short speech, continuing, “and especially proud of our alumni Johan and Linnea, who created such an extraordinary and enduring festival.”

    NIFF was founded in October 2015 by Swedish-born actors and producers Johan Matton and Linnea Larsdotter, both alumni of New York Film Academy. Matton attended the 2-Year Acting for Film conservatory in 2009 at our New York campus, as well as our 2-Day Line Producing workshop in 2018. Larsdotter attended the 2-Year Musical Theatre program at the Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre at New York Film Academy (PCMT at NYFA) in 2010.

    Matton and Larsdotter have worked hard to put NIFF together while building on each year’s success with bigger and grander goals. While speaking to the audience on closing night, Larsdotter highlighted the festival’s commitment to gender equality in filmmaking: “Here at NIFF it’s been our focus since the very beginning, me being a female producer in this industry, I know that there are obstacles we have to face, and I’m so proud to say … in this Official Selection we were 50/50 male and female directors,” stated Larsdotter to thunderous applause.

    Nordic International Film Festival 2019

    The Nordic International Film Festival is the biggest fest of its kind outside Europe, and features quality work of Scandinavian and international filmmakers in an exclusive, beautifully organized New York setting. NIFF has a mission that goes beyond the average film festival, one that seeks to build bridges between the Nordic region, encouraging and connecting filmmakers from all over the globe.

    NIFF has presented diverse independent films with strong characters and storylines from artists around the world, including Oscar-nominated filmmakers, Nobel Prize winners, and star-studded casts, and aims to achieve a 50-50 male/female ratio each year, as well as creating zero non-recyclable waste during the festival while providing only environmental friendly, vegan food and snacks.

    All in all, this year’s fest was a great success. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to have completed our 5th annual Nordic International Film Festival,” says Matton. “With our strongest lineup of world premieres yet and the support from our incredible partners and organizations … this film festival will keep growing–and now with the support from NYFA, so will these incredible filmmakers.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA alumni Johan Matton and Linnea Larsdotter on another successful edition of their Nordic International Film Festival, and looks forward to another stunning event next year!

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    October 23, 2019 • Acting, Film Festivals, Musical Theatre, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 792