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  • NYFA Celebrates a Historic Year at the Oscars: Chloé Zhao, Emerald Fennell, Daniel Kaluuya & More

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    Hollywood’s biggest night celebrated some of the industry’s finest as the 93rd Academy Awards went off without a hitch (well, almost), awarding some of the top talents in the business with the coveted golden Oscar statue. The awards show took a break from multiple traditions for this year’s ceremony, the most notable being the ceremony itself taking place inside of Union Station in Los Angeles, a break from the classic Dolby Theatre.

    Kicking off the Steven Soderbergh-directed awards show was actor-turned-director Regina King, whose directorial debut film One Night in Miami was also up for multiple awards that night. King kicked off her speech noting the real-world issues at play outside of the realm of the Oscars ceremony.

    “We are mourning the loss of so many, and I have to be honest, if things had gone differently this past week in Minneapolis, I might have traded in my heels for marching boots,” she began. “Now, I know that a lot of you people at home are going to reach for your remote when you feel like Hollywood is preaching to you, but as a mother of a Black son, I know the fear that so many live with and no amount of fame or fortune changes that.”

    King then explained to attendees and those watching at home that this year’s ceremony would be treated like a movie set. Nominees would be allowed to remain maskless while on camera but would place their masks back on during each commercial break.

    The first award of the night went to Emerald Fennell for Best Original Screenplay. Her film Promising Young Woman is, staggeringly, the first screenplay penned by a woman to win this award since Diablo Cody’s Juno in 2008.

    Nomadland director Chloé Zhao is the first woman of color to win the Oscar for Best Director and only the second woman to win this award in the history of the Academy Awards. In her acceptance speech, Zhao paid tribute to her dad and her Chinese heritage with a short passage from the Three Character Classic (三字经), citing the translation as “at birth, people are innately good.” Zhao also became the second Asian woman, after Parasite‘s Kwak Sin-ae last year, to pick up an Academy Award for Best Picture, the most coveted award of the night.

    In perhaps one of the most powerful acceptance speeches of the night, Judas and The Black Messiah actor Daniel Kaluuya paid tribute to his parents and Black Panther Party chairman Fred Hampton for his monumental Best Supporting Actor win and called out to the audience to unify in these trying times. “When they play divide and conquer, we say unite and ascend. There’s so much work to do, and that’s on everyone in this room.”

    After three previous Black nominees in the category for Best Live-Action Short, Travon Free became the first Black winner in the category for his film Two Distant Strangers, which he shared with co-director, Martin Desmond Roe. 

    Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson celebrated their huge win for their work on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom as the first Black winners for Makeup & Hairstyling to ever receive an Oscar. “I stand here, as Jamika and I break this glass ceiling, with so much excitement for the future,” beamed Neal. “Because I can picture Black trans women standing up here, and Asian sisters, and our Latina sisters, and indigenous women, and I know that one day it won’t be unusual or groundbreaking, it will just be normal.”

    In one of the most charming acceptance speeches of the night, Korean screen legend and Minari actress Yuh-Jung Youn picked up a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. In her speech, Youn joked with Minari producer Brad Pitt about where he was for the duration of the film production, forgave everyone who ever butchered her name, and dedicated her Oscar to her first director, Kim Ki-young. Youn, along with her Minari co-star and fellow Oscar nominee Steven Yeun are the first actors born in Korea to earn Oscar recognition for their performances in Minari.

    (Left) Sharon Choi standing next to (Right) Bong Joon-ho (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)

    Outside of the winner’s circle, this year’s Oscars pushed for more diversity overall with 2020 Oscar-winner Bong Joon Ho presenting the Best Director category completely in Korean, with English translation by Sharon Choi, while Marlee Matlin presented the two documentary categories in American Sign Language (ASL). Also, in a new development, this year there was also an ASL interpreter made available in the Oscars’ press room. 

    While there is still a way to go for, as Mia Neal puts it, for the Oscars to present a diverse pool of winners where it “won’t be unusual or groundbreaking” this year’s nominees and winners proved that the Academy is working to make strides for the “new normal” and awarding deserving talent that are bringing never-before-heard voices to the forefront of audience’s screens worldwide.

    New York Film Academy congratulates this year’s Oscar winners and nominees and looks forward to seeing what 2021 has in store for the industry’s most innovative and dedicated storytellers. 

    Here is the full list of 2021 Oscar Winners

    Best Picture

    • “The Father” (David Parfitt, Jean-Louis Livi and Philippe Carcassonne, producers)
    • “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Shaka King, Charles D. King and Ryan Coogler, producers)
    • “Mank” (Ceán Chaffin, Eric Roth and Douglas Urbanski, producers)
    • “Minari” (Christina Oh, producer)
    • “Nomadland” (Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey and Chloé Zhao, producers) – WINNER
    • “Promising Young Woman” (Ben Browning, Ashley Fox, Emerald Fennell and Josey McNamara, producers)
    • “Sound of Metal” (Bert Hamelinck and Sacha Ben Harroche, producers)
    • “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Marc Platt and Stuart Besser, producers)

    Best Director

    • Thomas Vinterberg (“Another Round”)
    • David Fincher (“Mank”) 
    • Lee Isaac Chung (“Minari”) 
    • Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”)  – WINNER
    • Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”) 

    Best Actor in a Leading Role

    • Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”) 
    • Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) 
    • Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”) – WINNER
    • Gary Oldman (“Mank”) 
    • Steven Yeun (“Minari”) 

    Best Actress in a Leading Role

    • Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) 
    • Andra Day (“The United States v. Billie Holiday”) 
    • Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”) 
    • Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”) – WINNER
    • Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”) 

    Best Actor in a Supporting Role

    • Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”) 
    • Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”) – WINNER
    • Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami”) 
    • Paul Raci (“Sound of Metal”) 
    • Lakeith Stanfield (“Judas and the Black Messiah”)

    Best Actress in a Supporting Role

    • Maria Bakalova (‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”) 
    • Glenn Close (“Hillbilly Elegy”) 
    • Olivia Colman (“The Father”) 
    • Amanda Seyfried (“Mank”) 
    • Youn Yuh-jung (“Minari”) – WINNER

    Best Animated Feature Film

    • “Onward” (Pixar) 
    • “Over the Moon” (Netflix) 
    • “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon” (Netflix) 
    • “Soul” (Pixar) – WINNER
    • “Wolfwalkers” (Apple TV Plus/GKIDS) 

    Best Adapted Screenplay

    • “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Peter Baynham, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Mazer, Jena Friedman, Lee Kern; Story by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Nina Pedrad
    • “The Father,” Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller – WINNER
    • “Nomadland,” Chloé Zhao 
    • “One Night in Miami,” Kemp Powers 
    • “The White Tiger,” Ramin Bahrani 

    Best Original Screenplay

    • “Judas and the Black Messiah.” Screenplay by Will Berson, Shaka King; Story by Will Berson, Shaka King, Kenny Lucas, Keith Lucas
    • “Minari,” Lee Isaac Chung 
    • “Promising Young Woman,” Emerald Fennell – WINNER
    • “Sound of Metal.” Screenplay by Darius Marder, Abraham Marder; Story by Darius Marder, Derek Cianfrance
    • “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Aaron Sorkin 

    Best Original Song

    • “Fight for You,” (“Judas and the Black Messiah”). Music by H.E.R. and Dernst Emile II; Lyric by H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas – WINNER
    • “Hear My Voice,” (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”). Music by Daniel Pemberton; Lyric by Daniel Pemberton and Celeste Waite
    • “Húsavík,” (“Eurovision Song Contest”). Music and Lyric by Savan Kotecha, Fat Max Gsus and Rickard Göransson
    • “Io Si (Seen),” (“The Life Ahead”). Music by Diane Warren; Lyric by Diane Warren and Laura Pausini
    • “Speak Now,” (“One Night in Miami”). Music and Lyric by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth

    Best Original Score

    • “Da 5 Bloods,” Terence Blanchard 
    • “Mank,” Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross 
    • “Minari,” Emile Mosseri 
    • “News of the World,” James Newton Howard 
    • “Soul,” Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste – WINNER

    Best Sound

    • “Greyhound,” Warren Shaw, Michael Minkler, Beau Borders and David Wyman
    • “Mank,” Ren Klyce, Jeremy Molod, David Parker, Nathan Nance and Drew Kunin
    • “News of the World,” Oliver Tarney, Mike Prestwood Smith, William Miller and John Pritchett
    • “Soul,” Ren Klyce, Coya Elliott and David Parker
    • “Sound of Metal,” Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michelle Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Bladh – WINNER

    Best Costume Design

    • “Emma,” Alexandra Byrne 
    • “Mank,” Trish Summerville 
    • “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Ann Roth – WINNER
    • “Mulan,” Bina Daigeler 
    • “Pinocchio,” Massimo Cantini Parrini

    Best Animated Short Film

    • “Burrow” (Disney Plus/Pixar)
    • “Genius Loci” (Kazak Productions) 
    • “If Anything Happens I Love You” (Netflix) – WINNER
    • “Opera” (Beasts and Natives Alike) 
    • “Yes-People” (CAOZ hf. Hólamói) 

    Best Live-Action Short Film

    • “Feeling Through” 
    • “The Letter Room” 
    • “The Present” 
    • “Two Distant Strangers” – WINNER
    • “White Eye” 

    Best Cinematography

    • “Judas and the Black Messiah,” Sean Bobbitt 
    • “Mank,” Erik Messerschmidt – WINNER
    • “News of the World,” Dariusz Wolski 
    • “Nomadland,” Joshua James Richards 
    • “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Phedon Papamichael 

    Best Documentary Feature

    • “Collective,” Alexander Nanau and Bianca Oana
    • “Crip Camp,” Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht and Sara Bolder
    • “The Mole Agent,” Maite Alberdi and Marcela Santibáñez
    • “My Octopus Teacher,” Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed and Craig Foster – WINNER
    • “Time,” Garrett Bradley, Lauren Domino and Kellen Quinn

    Best Documentary Short Subject

    • “Colette,” Anthony Giacchino and Alice Doyard – WINNER
    • “A Concerto Is a Conversation,” Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers
    • “Do Not Split,” Anders Hammer and Charlotte Cook
    • “Hunger Ward,” Skye Fitzgerald and Michael Scheuerman
    • “A Love Song for Latasha,” Sophia Nahli Allison and Janice Duncan

    Best Film Editing

    • “The Father,” Yorgos Lamprinos
    • “Nomadland,” Chloé Zhao 
    • “Promising Young Woman,” Frédéric Thoraval 
    • “Sound of Metal,” Mikkel E.G. Nielsen – WINNER
    • “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Alan Baumgarten 

    Best International Feature Film

    • “Another Round” (Denmark) – WINNER
    • “Better Days” (Hong Kong)
    • “Collective” (Romania) 
    • “The Man Who Sold His Skin” (Tunisia)
    • “Quo Vadis, Aida?”(Bosnia and Herzegovina) 

    Best Makeup and Hairstyling

    • “Emma,” Marese Langan, Laura Allen, Claudia Stolze
    • “Hillbilly Elegy,” Eryn Krueger Mekash, Patricia Dehaney, Matthew Mungle 
    • “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal, Jamika Wilson – WINNER
    • “Mank,” Kimberley Spiteri, Gigi Williams, Colleen LaBaff
    • “Pinocchio,” Mark Coulier, Dalia Colli, Francesco Pegoretti

    Best Production Design

    • “The Father.” Production Design: Peter Francis; Set Decoration: Cathy Featherstone
    • “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Production Design: Mark Ricker; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara and Diana Stoughton
    • “Mank.” Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Jan Pascale -WINNER
    • “News of the World.” Production Design: David Crank; Set Decoration: Elizabeth Keenan
    • “Tenet.” Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas

    Best Visual Effects

    • “Love and Monsters,” Matt Sloan, Genevieve Camilleri, Matt Everitt and Brian Cox 
    • “The Midnight Sky,” Matthew Kasmir, Christopher Lawrence, Max Solomon and David Watkins
    • “Mulan,” Sean Faden, Anders Langlands, Seth Maury and Steve Ingram
    • “The One and Only Ivan,” Nick Davis, Greg Fisher, Ben Jones and Santiago Colomo Martinez
    • “Tenet,” Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley and Scott Fisher – WINNER

    Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award

    • Tyler Perry
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    April 26, 2021 • Entertainment News, International Diversity • Views: 1136

  • NYFA Filmmaking Alum Indranil Banerjee Creates India’s First Anthology Horror Miniseries “4 Shades of Leap”

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    From his early childhood, Indranil Banerjee remembered watching Toy Story, Jurassic Park, Satyajit Ray’s Gupi Gyan Bagha Byan, and James Cameron’s epic film Titanic. He recalled how, as a kid, crying when Jack died, imagining himself proposing several times to Rose and talking with his friends at school about why his mom had to close his eyes at the theatre in several scenes of the film. It was movies that excited Banerjee at such a young age, and that captivation for filmmaking continued as he grew up. 

    Photo courtesy of Indranil Banerjee

    “When I grew up, I understood that film was something that was very attractive to me. , I started doing photography and slowly started learning about film and camera,” shared Banerjee. “From there, I began to comb through the filmography of some of the world’s best filmmakers.” 

    The likes of James Cameron, Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, and more inspired the aspiring director. Filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino inspired Banerjee to learn storytelling through camera tactics, while Satyajit Ray taught Banerjee how characters can come to life and music can elevate each story. 

    Film poster for “The Chase”

    After attending film schools in the UK, France, and the U.S, Banerjee’s sister told Banerjee about New York Film Academy (NYFA), where Banerjee enrolled in an 8-Week Filmmaking Workshop at the New York campus. 

    The filmmaking alum has directed the short film The Chase, which was recognized at the prestigious Los Angeles Cenefest. His other shorts include The Mirage, Trinyani, One Night Stand, and Hello. Banerjee also directed Bahannoborti (52), a television film for one of the most highly recognized Bengali channels in Kolkata, India. 

    Film posters for Banerjee’s anthology series “4 Shades of Leap”

    Now, the filmmaking alum is changing the way India is consuming horror, by launching the first horror anthology miniseries. 4 Shades of Leap is a series of four shorts that are about five minutes each. “The Idea Came in my head at the end of 2019. It was winter and me and my cinematographer Tuhin Dasgupta were having coffee in my terrace and discussing the new Indian Hindi-language anthology horror film on Netflix called Ghost Stories. We then planned to do our own research on some actual horror events in Kolkata, India.” 

    For one month, Banerjee and Dasgupta talked with individuals, visited many abandoned houses, and began forming the script for four individual stories based on real-life incidents. “As a filmmaker, I wanted to make this extremely natural and as real as I could. I used various cinematic elements as a poignant part of each and every tale; the shadows in the first episode, the rain in the second, the match cuts in the third, and the faces of various animals in the last episode.”

    Banerjee behind the scenes

    Banerjee and his crew finished filming the series just before the pandemic and the series has been met with critical acclaim and such a huge response that the series will return for a second season.

    “People like to watch spooky, but there is a difference between Ghostbusters and Insidious. All I can say 4 Shades Of Leap will Just take twenty minutes from your life to make you feel the various waves and stages of horror, with all four episodes based on real incidents. So, you will definitely enjoy it, and, yes, you will remain in shock.” 

    New York Film Academy recognizes the incredible achievement of filmmaking alum Indranil Banerjee and his latest project 4 Shades of Leap. You can watch the horror anthology on Amazon and Apple TV.

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  • New York Film Academy Awards MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy Students With 8-Week Program Scholarship

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    MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF), a New York Film Academy (NYFA) partner, recently announced the graduation of 60 students from the Lusaka, Nairobi, and Lagos MTF Academy hubs. 

    Through their partnership with NYFA, MTF Academy students have the opportunity to graduate with not only an MTF graduate qualification but also walk away with accreditation from NYFA as well. 

    MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) graduates

    Originally a 12-month course, MTF students experience an extended period of study to 18 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing for students to complete an intensive 3-week online NYFA course on the production of micro-documentaries, PSAs, and music videos and also worked with the United Nations on the global #PledgeToPause campaign, exposing the young creatives to global networks.  

    Having received both their MTF and NYFA qualifications, MTF graduates are made even more sought-after candidates as they re-enter their respective local film and TV sectors as highly qualified industry professionals. 

    Africa’s creative industries are custodians of the continent’s cultural heritage, and as Africa’s most-loved storyteller, MultiChoice has always put to use its burning desire to develop and invest in African talent through initiatives such as MTF. And like the previous cohort, the skills gained by the Class of 2020 once again shone through during their course.

    In addition, NYFA also awarded an 8-week scholarship, which goes to the top-performing graduate per region, to the below MTF graduates:

    • Abisola Aboaba (Nigeria)
    • Daisy Masembe (Uganda) 
    • Maira Tauacale (Mozambique).

    MTF Academy graduate and NYFA scholarship recipient Abisola Aboaba

    “This is a proud moment for everyone involved in ensuring that the students became graduates. It’s also been fulfilling to see just how in-tune this next generation of African storytellers are with the importance of being multi-skilled and intuitive creatives,” shared Yolisa Phahle, CEO of General Entertainment and Connected Services, MultiChoice Group. “All this would not have been possible without the collaboration and commitment of our fantastic partners.”

    New York Film Academy congratulations to the class of 2021, who are now alumni of the exceptional MTF Academy program, a proud partner of NYFA.

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    April 15, 2021 • Entertainment News, Film School, Filmmaking, International Diversity • Views: 1473

  • One Year Success for NYFA 3-D Animation & VFX Alum Marthinus Philippus (MP) Rabie

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    To say 2020 was a difficult year, would be an understatement. However, during these uncertain times, Marthinus Philippus Rabie (MP) was not only able to make the most of his final semester of the 1-Year Conservatory program for Animation, but he also landed his dream job at the previsualization, postvisualization, and virtual reality company, The Third Floor (TTF).

    Originally from South Africa, MP was excited by the idea of studying abroad in America. When asked how he decided on animation, Rabie said, “It’s one of those very scarce skills.” Having already tried getting into 3-D animation for several years, he wasn’t able to get the answers he sought on his own, ultimately holding him back from being able to learn and have the ability to create the images that were stuck in his head. MP admits that, “Sure YouTube is a thing, but that only helps you to a certain extent and you don’t really learn that much. It’s better to be taught by a professional who can answer all those burning questions.” Between conversations amongst friends during lunch breaks at his old film school to the many Instagram posts, NYFA seemed like the right place to go.

    NYFA alum MP Rabie

    Much to MP’s delight, the 3-D Animation & Visual Effect’s 1-Year program at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus had no shortage of professionals to answer those burning questions. “Having actual professionals that work in the industry today as teachers is probably the best thing the school could’ve done. Not only are they very knowledgeable about their crafts, but they also have tons of connections and real experience.” Most notably for Rabie was Animation Supervisor and NYFA instructor, Gael Harlow.

    For MP, “all the staff at NYFA are very helpful but sometimes there’s a teacher that’s just an extra ray of sunshine. Gael Harlow is one of them. She goes above and beyond all her duties. Her patience, care about student growth, and passion for what she does is undeniable.” In fact, it was at Harlow’s suggestion that MP look into working in previsualization.

    Work from MP’s Drawing Class at NYFA

    “At the time I had no idea what it was [however], the more she explained the more I liked it!” When it came to Harlow’s attention that The Third Floor was actively hiring, she informed Rabie who wasted no time getting in touch. “[Following my certificate from the program] I got all my stuff together and made a new reel, cover letter, and resume. I sent my reel to Gael, and she sent it to her friends at TTF. They gave me some suggestions, and I changed my reel accordingly; within less than two weeks I got a booking.” This isn’t to say that the road to getting any 3-D generalist’s dream job as a postvis artist was without its fair share of challenges.

    2020 left and continues to leave a significant impact. For Rabie, it meant not being able to see his family for more than two years as well as making the most of his time while living in isolation. “It’s difficult not being able to visit the ones who you care about most in this world, especially if you’re trapped alone in a room by yourself for such a long time. So, I distracted myself by learning as much as I could to try and make everything worth it.” I think it’s safe to say it was definitely worth it. 

    MP replicating lighting for a NYFA assignment

    When asked what advice he’d give to current students and those interested in pursuing animation, MP relayed the following, “learn with intent, practice doesn’t make perfect, good practice makes perfect. The school will give you everything you’ll need to succeed, all you have to do is your part. Just attending classes and doing your assignments isn’t enough, it’s a very tough industry, one where skills are prioritized over certification. So put in your hours after classes, and apply what you learn on your OWN personal projects. That’s how you will get good, very fast.” 

    He went on to say that, “[animation] seems very intimidating for the first two months… every day you will learn something new about the programs you use no matter how experienced you are. That’s what makes it fun, it’s all just one big sudoku puzzle, the more you fill in the better and faster the process becomes. If you love animation enough and can make it through those first two months without quitting then I can safely say that you should stick with it!”

    Photo courtesy of MP

    As for what’s next, only time will tell, that being said, MP has his sights set on becoming a supervisor. “It’s just such a respectable title to hold, everything about it screams experience. I would love to get to that level and be able to run a team of artists as one big collaborative group to create something amazing.” 

    For more information about MP and his work, check out his website or follow him on Instagram @mp.rabie. To learn more about NYFA’s programs for 3-D Animation & VFX, check out our website for more details on our course offerings.

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  • New York Film Academy Partners with the 2021 FOLCS – International Short Film Competition

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) is excited to announce another year of partnership with the Forum on Life, Culture and Society (FOLCS) International Short Film Competition in a five-day virtual event, culminating in an Awards Night on April 8, 2021.

    FOLCS is a non-profit organization that houses culturally relevant conversation topics, providing a unique and enriching experience for audience goers that speaks to the moment with captivating conversations from special guests across multiple industries. NYFA has been a co-host on the FOLCS series of events for the last three years. 

    The annual FOLCS – International Short Film Competition (F-ISFC) is a special event that showcases short films that explore themes of justice, human rights, and the law by emerging filmmakers from all over the world. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for the very first time, FOLCS, in partnership with NYFA, will be virtually hosting its annual short film competition, allowing viewers to screen all of the finalist entries over the course of five days starting April 5, 2021.  

    Finalist films for the FOLCS – International Short Film Competition

    This year’s official film selections include titles from Iran, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Malaysia, and the United States, giving entrants the opportunity to have their films shown to a wide audience and films viewed by distinguished professionals including renowned filmmakers, actors, writers, and journalists. Previous F-ISFC judges from NYFA include Cinematography Chair Piero Basso, Screenwriting Chair Randall Dottin, Filmmaking Chair Andrea Swift, and Filmmaking instructor Jonathan Whittaker.

    Actor William Fichtner

    All ISFC attendees will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite short, which will be counted towards the Audience Favorite Award which will be announced during Awards Night on April 8, 2021. The awards night is open to all F-ISFC ticketholders and will feature a discussion with the finalist filmmakers, NYFA’s own President Michael Young, and actor William Fichtner (Black Hawk Down, Prison Break, The Perfect Storm, The Dark Knight), who will present the award for The Best Short.

    HOW TO WATCH THE FILMS & VIRTUALLY ATTEND:

    The first 200 people to register for this year’s F-ISFC will receive tickets for the virtual film screenings free of charge, while all other registrants will be charged a $2 fee to unlock the official film selections. To view the F-ISFC slate of films selected for this year’s competition, click here. If you would like to register to attend one or all of the screenings for this year’s F-ISFC, click here to register. On April 5, 2021, you will receive an email with instructions on how to unlock and watch each film online. 

    New York Film Academy is a proud partner of this year’s FOLCS – International Short Film Competition and looks forward to being part of this special event celebrating aspiring independent filmmakers from around the globe. 

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  • NYFA Australia Alum Julian Lawrence Works on “Godzilla vs. Kong”

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    New York Film Academy Australia (NYFA Australia) alum Julian Lawrence has multiple blockbusters under his belt. Having tackled Aquaman, Pacific Rim: Uprising, Thor: Ragnarok, and many others, Lawrence will now add one of the biggest cinematic events of 2021 to his list of credits with Godzilla vs. Kong from Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures.

    NYFA Australia alum Julian Lawrence

    Lawrence, a cinematographer, served as a Digital Imaging Technician (DIT) for the second unit team shooting in Australia. A DIT typically has three primary responsibilities while working on a project: data wrangling and protection, assisting the DP, and managing the dailies. Overall, a DIT has multiple responsibilities as the digital format becomes increasingly advanced and more complicated across the industry. Godzilla vs. Kong is no exception as the film is heavy in digital elements that require the utmost care to uphold quality and creativity across the board for the film.

    The Filmmaking alum previously served as a DIT on Den største forbrytelsen and worked as a DIT Utility for Aquaman, Pacific Rim: Uprising, Thor: Ragnarok, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Kong: Skull Island, and Alien: Covenant.

    Film poster for “Godzilla vs. Kong”

    Godzilla vs. Kong is a sequel to both Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Kong: Skull Island, marking the first convergence of cinematic monsters in Legendary Pictures’ new MonsterVerse. The film will have audiences in the middle of an epic clash between two titan figures of mythic proportions in a battle for the ages. The film will star Millie Bobby Brown, Alexander Skarsgård, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza González, and more.

    The film marks the fourth film in the MonsterVerse series, the 36th film in the Godzilla franchise, and the 12th film in the King Kong franchise. Originally set for a March 13, 2020 release, the premiere was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Audiences will now be able to see Godzilla vs. Kong internationally on March 26, 2021, and in the United States on March 31, where it will be released simultaneously in theaters and on streaming via HBO Max.

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA Australia alum Julian Lawrence on his recent work on one of the most highly-anticipated films of the year and looks forward to seeing what Lawrence will work on next.

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  • NYFA Alum Rajni Mysore Chamaraj on Working With Her Sister and Studying in Los Angeles

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    Rajni Mysore Chamaraj, along with her younger sister Shynica Mysore Chamaraj made The Day I Met Joshua, a short film about a social media influencer who encounters a path of self-discovery in the desert. The film was written, directed, and edited by both Chamaraj and Shynica and was screened at the Canadian Academy qualifying festival, Yellowknife Film Festival. The short film also garnered Chamaraj a Best Debut Director award at the Hollywood Film Awards and the Best Editor award in the New York Movie Awards. 

    Film poster for “The Day I Met Joshua”

    “I always felt that film combined the paradox of human nature so well, sometimes the simplicity of a character has left a deep impact. It brought about many changes, subtle, yet life-changing for me. This thought always lingered as to how visual storytelling overcomes all the barriers, be it geography, the human mindsets, or cultural barriers.” – Rajni Mysore Chamaraj

    Chamaraj got her start in Mumbai as the Assistant Creative Director for a television show on Star Plus, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company, and eventually became involved in sports broadcasting as an Assistant Producer, creating live and pre-recorded content for sports including NBA games, Champions League, FIFA-U19 World Cup, French Open, World Rally Championship, PGA tours exclusive for the Indian audience. 

    NYFA alum Rajni Mysore Chamaraj (Right) and sister Shynica Mysore Chamaraj (Left)

    After nearly working for four years in the television industry, Chamaraj took her first step to follow her dream of being a storyteller and made the tough decision to leave her job and take-up full-time filmmaking. Her younger sister Shynica, also a filmmaker, was a big influence on that decision. With both siblings having a strong love of the universal language of film and understanding of the other, both knew they needed to pursue filmmaking and eventually work together. 

    “As siblings, we always influenced each other synergistically through our 3:00 a.m. philosophical discussions or just staring randomly into the cityscape of Mumbai with the Arabian Sea in the backdrop,” recalled Chamaraj. “It’s during one such moment, it struck me that I should also get into serious filmmaking and that my sister and I would make a brilliant team. So our idea of teaming up as a family was born with an idea to create an entertainment company that creates multimedia content inspired by regional themes for a worldwide audience. Essentially, we want to use the power of filmmaking to create content that inspires and elevates the human spirit and Entertainment studio that nourishes and mothers evolved, elevated entertainment.” 

    Before venturing into the business of filmmaking, however, Chamaraj wanted to hone her skills and began talking to friends and colleagues about their own film industry journey, leading Rajni to learn more about New York Film Academy. 

    “I attended a two-month program in NYFA Mumbai and instantly fell in love with their teaching methods. You shoot and learn from your mistakes, and there was more hands-on experience than theory classes. The faculty were from around the world which gave me a glimpse into how a long-term program would look like.”

    Photo courtesy of Rajni Mysore Chamaraj

    Eventually, Chamaraj applied and got accepted into the Film & Media Production MA program at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus. “While living in Los Angeles and studying in NYFA, the biggest advantage I got was that I worked on projects that had crew members from around the world. You get real-life experience of working on a film set right In the collage. [Students] can use this wonderful opportunity and make mistakes and learn from them too. It’s just a preparation for you to face the real world that’s not always as conducive as you would like it to be.” 

    “I am an Indian, the whole process of filmmaking is pretty different in India compared to the American way, so I had to learn a lot of new things such as division of work, laws of the land, and constantly update myself with the latest equipment, and technologies. So as an international student, you need to learn to adapt. You’ll learn that this is an important key that can make your career as a filmmaker outside your home country a little less stressful and a little more enjoyable. Go put your best foot forward, The staff and faculty at NYFA will be with you every step of the way. There were always there for me when I needed them.” – Rajni Mysore Chamaraj

    Poster for “The Day I Met Joshua”

    Now, Chamaraj and her sister are in the thick of their careers, with the recent success of their short film The Day I Met Joshua, which received a positive global response on the film festival circuit. 

    The film is based on Chamaraj’s own experience while on a vacation in Florida. “My phone became unusable as its entire software crashed. That night, I had a sense of awakening because it felt like a personal loss, How could a mere gadget have such a deep impact on me?” 

    Chamaraj and Shynica then wrote the film and shot it in the Mojave desert. “It was both a challenging and exciting experience. On the third day of the shoot, we even had unexpected rain, we had to stop shooting for a bit,” she remembered. “While shooting in nature, we have to be extra prepared as we are fighting the uncontrollable elements and all this with a cool head.”

    Shooting “The Day I Met Joshua”

    “We had crews representing almost nine different counties, from India, the USA, Cuba, Ireland to China. So as a team, we had to learn to communicate with each other effectively, considering each one of us was from different cultural backgrounds, it was important to keep the overall morale of the whole team-high and positive.”

    In post-production, the film took its shape. With the film marking the first time Chamaraj and Shynica were officially working together, their whole family celebrated their Best Original Story win at Hollywood Gold Awards. “Even more surreal was when our film was screened to a private audience at the Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank in the very same auditorium where an iconic film like Casablanca was screened for the very first time.”

    Poster for “Finding Home”

    Chamaraj currently resides in India and is working on getting her work visa in the U.S. During the pandemic, the NYFA alum wrote, directed, and edited a short Spanish web series in LA called Finding Home, which is currently streaming on Amazon Prime UK and US. As of now, Chamaraj is working on a four-part anthology series about the lives of four urban Indian girls living in different cities of India. 

    “We just shot the first part in Hyderabad city,” she shared. “I am also working as a screenwriter for an Indo-American feature film to be shot in mid of 2022. It’s going to be an exciting ride, I am looking forward to following my heart and dedicating all my energies to bring to life the stories that have had a deep impact on my life.”

    New York Film Academy is excited to share the success of Rajni Mysore Chamaraj and her sister for the film The Day I Met Joshua and looks forward to seeing Chamaraj’s upcoming projects come to fruition in the near future.

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  • Filmmaker & NYFA Alum Kushaal Chawla Directs and Produces Music Video for Rapper Badshah and LG Electronics

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    Film director, writer, and producer Kushaal Chawla has directed multiple advertisements for some of India’s top brands. Most recently, the MA Film & Production alum directed the music video commercial for LG Electronics featuring popular Indian rapper Badshah. 

    Chawla also produced the commercial, which promoted the LG Tone Free Earbuds, under his production house Dream Slate Pictures, based out of New Delhi. 

    “I had the opportunity of being taught by some really good instructors who taught me the most practical things about film directing, which I will continue to use forever,” shared Chawla. “A special mention to Mr. David Newman who is responsible for all the directing tactics and perfectionism that he instilled in me, and also Mr. Neil Casey,  who enhanced my knowledge of cinematography and helped make me a technically sound director.”

    NYFA alum Kushaal Chawla

    “In addition to the instructors, NYFA has a great curriculum that includes practical applications and multiple filming projects at the best studios of Hollywood that make students well versed with the practicality of making movies by actually filming them as opposed to just learning about them.”

    “Another Time” film poster

    In addition to being the Executive Director of his own company and producing stellar content for clients, Chawla is also focused on feature films. He is currently working on a new screenplay for an upcoming feature film, and his most recent film, Another Time, which has been part of fifteen international film festivals and has won a handful of awards. It can currently be seen on Amazon Prime Video in the US and UK.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Kushaal Chawla on his growing production company and looks forward to seeing more content from the alum in the near future. 

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  • NYFA Alum Priya Darshini Nominated at 2021 Grammy Awards For Best New Age Album

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    Music’s biggest night of the year will include NYFA Acting and Filmmaking alum Priya Darshini, who is nominated for Best New Age Album at the 63rd Annual Grammys for her debut album Periphery.

    Darshini studied 4-Week Acting for Film and 8-Week Filmmaking at NYFA’s New York campus. After her studies, she appeared in The Letters and went to Bollywood. She then decided to pursue her first love of music and began focusing on her recording career.

    Album cover for Priya Darshini’s “Periphery”

    “I craved to create original music,” she told the Indian Express. American musician Roy Wilfred Wooten even chose her for his famed Black Mozart Ensemble, which combined jazz with classical music, hip hop, and bluegrass. She also became the Artistic Director of Brooklyn Raga Massive and co-led Women’s Raga Massive. Darshini has been featured by Elle India and was recently named by Tatler Magazine Malaysia as one of “Six Asian Women Around The World Changing the Face of Music.”

    Her debut album Periphery is an East-West crossover that blends Darshini’s Indian classical training with influences of American folk and pop. The album was recorded in an abandoned church in Brooklyn, New York over 12 days. Darshini also worked with collaborators Nicholas Prout (Recording Engineer), Max ZT, Dave Eggar, Chuck Palmer, and Will Calhoun. 

    New York Film Academy is proud to see Priya Darshini be recognized for her outstanding achievement by The Recording Academy and wishes her the bust of luck. The 63rd Annual Grammys will be televised on Sunday, March 14 on CBS (8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT). 

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  • NYFA Alum Uzair Merchant Works on CW’s “Superman & Lois”

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    Uzair Merchant has worked on some of the biggest franchises in the world. From Skyfall and Star Trek: Beyond to Fast & Furious 7 and Deadpool 2, Merchant has had an impressive roster of work, including his own personal projects, with his latest work displayed in the highly-anticipated CW series Superman & Lois.

    Poster for “Superman & Lois” (CW)

    Taking the lead from its own universe of Superman (Supergirl, Smallville, and Superman: The Animated Series), The CW is back with Superman & Lois, a spin-off series of Supergirl that follows Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) and Lois (Elizabeth Tulloch) reprising their respective roles.

    Not much is known about how the series will play out, but it will feature Superman and Lois’ kids Jonathan and Jordan as they return to Smallville and are reacquainted with Lana Lang and her family.

    NYFA alum Uzair Merchant

    Filmmaking alum Uzair Merchant worked as the Assistant Art Director on the series, bringing the show to life through means of concept art, graphics, set design, props, builds, and construction. “Working on Superman & Lois has been pretty awesome I must say,” shared Merchant. “It’s lovely to dive into the Warner Bros. and DC Universe.”

    The show, which is still finishing up filming the first season, faced the added challenge of filming during the COVID-19 pandemic and had to adapt to and implement new COVID-safe protocols. “The crew [on Superman & Lois] is great and that’s something I always look for in a production. We’ve had COVID-19 procedures, which is what makes this production special being able to do all of this in the restrictions, but that’s been the challenge.”

    In addition to his work on Superman & Lois, the NYFA alum has done everything from commercials, corporate films, features, TV shows, music videos, and more.

    “The ability to build worlds and tell stories that can directly affect and influence people, cultures or voices was something that’s always fascinated me about filmmaking,” shared Merchant.

    “Coming to New York Film Academy to study film was a dream,” he revealed when asked about his time at NYFA. “I also wanted to experience studying traditional film, not just digital. Future students should come with an open mind and heart to dive into an unknown world, it’s important to immerse yourself into places out of your comfort zone. That’s why it’s film school. Experiment, explore and be honest with your art.”

    What’s next for the alum? Merchant has also worked on the upcoming film The Misfits, starring Pierce Brosnan, Tim Roth, and Jamie Chung. The alum has also been developing an entire universe over the last decade called Kreativ Universe from his company the Kri8.labs. Part of that cinematic universe will include Merchant’s script Black Rose that won multiple screenwriting awards and is currently in pre-production. Merchant is also producing a music track for the film called “Star Dust.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates Uzair Merchant for his outstanding work on Superman & Lois and looks forward to hearing more about the Filmmaking alum’s upcoming personal projects. Superman & Lois will premiere tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern on The CW.

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