International Diversity

  • NYFA Filmmaking Alum, Aditya J. Patwardhan’s, Film is Streaming on Amazon Prime!


    NYFA Filmmaking Alum Aditya J. Patwardhan has been making waves since graduating in 2014 from our Film and Media Production program. Aditya hails from Jaipur, India and has directed an array of different works from feature films to documentaries to short films and TV series. He has also directed and produced films in multiple foreign languages including Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, and Lithuanian. 

    His latest project, A Nomad River, is a docu-fiction feature written, produced and directed by Aditya.  “[A Nomad River] is a blend of fictional and non-fictional narrative … This is a personal struggle of four ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, as they travel across India, an ancient civilization struggling with climate change, water crisis, poverty, and hygiene issues.” Aditya says of the film. The film takes place in India and follows four characters: Adriana, a refugee from crisis-hit Venezuela, Kankana, an Indian actress working in Hollywood, Suraj, a street cleaner from a slum in Rajasthan, and Ravi who is a television news reporter from Jaipur. 

    “We journey with them as they travel across India, an ancient civilization struggling with climate change, water crisis, poverty, and hygiene issues,” Aditya shared with NYFA. “One of the storylines in the film portrays Isha Foundation’s Rally for Rivers, a pan India water-conservation drive supported by the Government of India and endorsed by celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Shahrukh Khan.”

    Aditya J. Patwardhan with the cast of “And The Dream that Mattered,” including NYFA alumni Themo Melikidze (second left) and Jongman Kim (third left).

    Patwardhan is well-known for his collaborations with other NYFA Alumni. And the Dream that Mattered features a number of NYFA alumni including Acting for Film alumni Themo Melikidze and Jongman Kim and Anup Kulkarni from 2014 NYFA One-Year Cinematography.

    “Almost all the projects I have done have had important team members who were from NYFA and I had collaborated with them first when I was doing school projects. That just stresses how important good collaborations are and the crucial role NYFA plays.”

    A Nomad River was no different. He enlisted the talents of former classmate and collaborator, cinematographer Anup Kulkarni as well as lead actress, Kankana Chakraborty, who is from the 2014 MFA acting program. Many of the other crew members are also from NYFA.  

    A Nomad River is now streaming on Amazon Prime!

    NYFA congratulates Aditya on his success! We look forward to seeing more of Aditya’s work and NYFA collaborations!

  • Q&A with BFA Acting for Film Student Rosario Amico


    NYFA BFA Acting for Film Student Rosario Amico has had the unique opportunity to work on set of A Good Cop while also completing his BFA at New York Film Academy.

    Rosario spoke with NYFA on the art of balancing his work and his studies, mental health and booking without an agent!

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): First, can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you’re from? A memory that you’d like to share?

    Rosario Amico (RA): Hello! I am from Garden City Long Island, NY –  grew up there my whole life. I am 22 years of age and I got bit by the acting bug at 15 and I haven’t stopped since. A memory that comes to mind, since this is an interview about me and acting, I thought it would be appropriate to recall the moment in time I decided to quit conventional college for the third time studying business management to pursue my dream of being an actor full time. 

    NYFA: What brought you to the New York Film Academy?

    RA: I started performing on the stage in musical theater productions in highschool and I did regional shows for about two years after graduating high school. Until one day I literally decided I wanted to do something different. I wanted to make my transition to film and TV. None of my theater  contacts had any knowledge of that field. I knew I needed to take it upon myself to find a school where I could get the education required to succeed in film and TV. I had a friend from high school who went to NYFA right after graduating. So I reached out to her, visited the school and here I am! I loved the hands-on approach. 

    NYFA: Why did you decide to do the One-Year program?

    RA: I initially signed up for the one-year program because if I didn’t enjoy it, I figured it would be much easier to just walk away and I’d have a certificate of some sort. Also I hadn’t finished any school I started up to that point and I wanted to finish something. 

    NYFA: What made you want to study more? Why the BFA Program at NYFA?

    RA: First, I want to say I don’t believe you can ever get enough of an education. I mentioned earlier I only did the one-year program in case I didn’t like it, as like a trial period. I discovered I loved it and made the decision to further my education in case my dream career didn’t go as planned. 

    NYFA: What was the audition process like for A Good Cop? How did you prepare?

    RA: I have an Actors Access like everybody else that aspires to become an actor. I didn’t have representation at the time so I was submitting myself for roles. I submitted for A Good Cop and received an invitation to submit a self tape via Eco-Cast. I then received an in-person call back at the studio in NYC – it was a screen test essentially. After that, I had my second in-person audition with a room full of producers and executives. I was asked lots of questions about the character, the show, and my thoughts on them. I was also asked more personal information like my availability during this designated period of time. They said they would let me know either way next week. And then I got the great news that I booked the part!

    NYFA: You’re still a student in the BFA program, how do you manage working on a show while being a student? What are your day-to-day duties?

    RA: Well, l I never imagined that I would be fortunate enough to get the amazing opportunity to work consistently. It was a challenge at first and ultimately made the decision to take off from school for a semester.  The reason being I wanted to fully dedicate myself to my work and get to know my character. My day to day duties at the time consisted of a lot of zoom meetings with the cast and in-person rehearsals. I think taking care of my mental health and physical health was a huge piece of the puzzle to staying consistent and up to snuff. It was very overwhelming especially for someone who hadn’t done anything before so it was important I remained grounded in my own life so that I could work well. Talking with my teachers from NYFA helped a lot as well.

    NYFA: What other projects are you working on or do you plan to work on? Do you have any projects coming up?

    RA: I finished filming season 1 at the beginning of September 2021 and the show aired on national television on December 5th. So I’ve mostly been relaxing and enjoying my time off while watching the show every Sunday with friends and family and focusing on my studies. My agent started reaching out to me about auditioning again which I have been doing. Hopefully the show gets picked up for season 2 which would be the dream because I signed on for 4 renewals. But I’m back to the drawing board and I’m moving to LA in September of 2022 so I have a lot of things I’m focusing on right now. 

    NYFA: What did you learn at NYFA that you applied directly to your work and to your work on A Good Cop?

    RA: I think the biggest thing I learned from NYFA that doesn’t have to do with technique but has to do with character, was developing my sense of belonging. Going to set everyday believing I was meant to be there. So learning confidence and the belief I deserve to be there as much as everybody else. This gave me great confidence to perform at my peak. I am indebted to NYFA for the terminology I learned and all those countless hours on simulated set environments definitely prepared me for the real deal. When it came down to acting I was very fortunate I had a character I got a chance to dissect over 10 episodes and really break down my script and find my WHY. label my beats within my script for each scene. I think the constant practice really delivered for me when I got the script I immediately got to work breaking it down.  

    NYFA: What advice would you give to students just starting out at NYFA?

    RA: I think really it might  just be as simple as taking action. Immediately. Get your hands on a camera or jump on the opportunity to be on a set in any way shape or form. Put yourself out there. I have gotten tons of advice over the years but something that stands out to me is what my high school theater director told me “there will always be people who come who are better looking or more talented, but nobody should ever ever work harder than you”. People think it’s luck. The harder you work you’ll notice the “luckier” you’ll get. Also if there is a story you want to tell…do it. You are not just an actor who acts out other peoples stories, you are also a creative. You have the ability to make an impact. Also don’t take the NYFA staff for granted. They are all very friendly, successful, and extremely talented individuals. Go to them…just go to them, they will help. I honestly couldn’t have done it without them although I’m not done yet. 

    NYFA congratulates Rosario Amico on his work on A Good Cop! We look forward to seeing more of his work!



    February 18, 2022 • Acting, International Diversity • Views: 1078

  • Q&A with NYFA Screenwriting Alum Shreyas Ayaluri


    NYFA One-Year Screenwriting alum Shreyas Ayaluri hails from India and currently resides in Los Angeles, California were he’s been working as a screenwriter since graduating in 2018.

    Shreyas’ recent film Elvis Escobar & Juniper Lea has been gaining traction in the film festival circuit and was Second Rounder at the Austin Film Festival. Second Rounders were chosen from a record field of 14,648 scripts entered in Screenplay, Digital Series, Playwriting, and Fiction Podcast Competitions at AFF.

    Shreyas spoke with NYFA about his passion for storytelling, his process and his “pandemic baby” Elvis Escobar & Juniper Lea.

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): First, can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you’re from, and what brought you to the New York Film Academy?

    Shreyas Ayaluri (SA): At the age of 22, I decided that I want to tell stories for a living, and quit my perfectly fine advertising job. I moved to the states from India with little-to-no knowledge of screenwriting and film history. I had heard good things about New

     York Film Academy’s screenwriting program and I knew I had to start there. So I started my storytelling journey in the spring of 2018, among aspiring artists and working professionals, and it was probably the best decision I’ve ever made.

    NYFA: Why have you decided to focus on screenwriting?

    SA: Ever since I was a little kid, I was obsessed with Hollywood and storytelling. I grew up watching Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop, The Karate Kid and I would conjure up characters, situations, set pieces in my head and put that on a piece of paper. I always had a certain bond with paper and  pen that grew and transitioned to a keypad and a screen. It sounds anticlimactic but the point is I would always write. I just had a lot of stories in me that I wanted to share. I would later write short stories, experiment with genres and linearity and post it on my since-deleted blog. My friends and family seemed to really like my work, but then again they are friends and family. I was later able to secure a copywriting job because of that very blog. And one day as I was driving back home from my copywriting job, I stopped at a billboard of an ad I wrote, and that was it, when I saw my words spread across that massive billboard, it hit me – I finally knew what I really wanted to do with my life.

    NYFA: What are your day-to-day duties as a screenwriter?

    SA: The world of screenwriting hasn’t changed much, maybe the last change was the transition to laptops from typewriters. That reminds me, I’ve always wondered what they did back in the day when they had a typo in the second to last line, but I digress. “Screenwriting” sounds fancy but for me, it’s really a lot of observation, contemplation and introspection. I love it. The day’s writing usually begins with an idea I scribbled down before I went to bed the previous night, and knitting an idea mentally before I put it down on the paper and from there it’s a lot of testing and seeing what sticks. And I spend at least an hour digging through various rabbit holes to find the perfect music for a specific scene. When I’m able to churn out good five to ten pages, it’s like a VIP pass to Coachella with your favorite artists headlining. The feeling is euphoric. No, I’ve never been to Coachella.

    Every story idea blossoms from my memories or the ones that I think are memories, stories I hear, someone I met, some experience I had, felt and from there I pull myself out completely and try and write that very thing objectively.

    NYFA: Can you tell us about your most recent film? What inspired it? 

    SA: I wrote a silly idea I had into a full blown screenplay during the pandemic called “Elvis Escobar & Juniper Lea” as an ode to Jeff Goldblum and also to bring some laughter during those testing times, and little did I know the screenplay took off and garnered some great reviews! Today EEJR, my pandemic baby, has been gaining great traction in the festivals, and has been placed as:

    Screencraft Comedy 2021— Quarterfinalist

    Austin Film Festival 2021— Second Rounder

    StoryPros Awards 14th Annual — Semifinalist

    Filmmatic Comedy Screenplay Awards Season 6 — Quarterfinalist

    Still awaiting results from other top-tier festivals. And through all of that, I was able to get Elvis Escobar & Juniper Lea in front of some really influential people in the industry, and is currently being viewed and vetted by a few managers.

    NYFA: What other projects are you working on or do you plan to work on?

    SA: I’m working on a couple of different projects at the moment: a sci-fi feature, an unscripted TV show pitch, and my passion project, a limited series that I’ve been ideating for years. The show sprouts from childhood memories that couldn’t be more far from reality. I know, what kind of an elevator pitch was that? But that’s how my mind works. I’m also currently shopping for representation.

    NYFA: What did you learn at NYFA that you applied directly to your work?

    SA: The school taught me all there is to learn in screenwriting. NYFA gave me the skills I needed to adapt and grow with the industry and its needs. 

    Also, the courage to break a few rules here and there once I was well-versed on the subject. Instructors at NYFA are simultaneously working in the industry or at least have one foot in the industry so they’re not only teaching you the subject but are also sharing their industry experience as they live it. And you want all those tidbits, their experiences, the tales they remember from the backlot and that’s what makes NYFA so wholesome. Jerry Shandy & Benjamin Sztajnkrycer were two such instructors who went along with my idiosyncrasies and pushed me to further explore and create.

    I graduated from NYFA’s one-year screenwriting program in 2018, and the feature screenplay that I developed while in the program “Amuse Me” fetched me an award for Best Screenplay and a bunch of accolades from top tier festivals, and is still going strong. The script went to Austin twice. There were queries from the industry members for the script – and this was my first ever screenplay! And since then I have written over 7 screenplays including features & tv (most of them placed in top-tier film festivals) produced multiple award-winning shorts and went on to write a song for Broadway.

    NYFA: What advice would you give to students just starting out at NYFA?

    SA: NYFA’s curriculum is such that, they not only teach you the subject but they also guide you through all aspects of filmmaking, and and at the end of it, you can have your first screenplay, your directorial debut, your first film that you produced and your acting reel for Curb Your Enthusiasm season 15. 

    Think of NYFA as the coolest and the fastest DMV that has international staff and comes with its own driving school that not only provides you with the license but also teaches you how to drive a car, a truck, a jet-ski, and also a Segway, even if you went there only for a scooter. 

    You’re surrounded by such talented people from all walks of life, you’re always learning. The exposure, the experience and the knowledge is irreplaceable. NYFA is the best place to create, experiment, fail and to rinse & repeat. 

    NYFA: What is next for you?

    SA: I believe the world has seen and had enough. Especially this past year and honestly everyone needs a break. People are just running crazy, there’s so much stress and anxiety everywhere. I just want to bring laughter into this world. I want to be an enabler in all this. And that’s what I’m trying to do through my stories. I want to bring back the charm and the fun of the 80’s and 90’s with today’s relevance and themes wrapped in a delightful, light package, and leave all the preachings, the teachings and the Oscar tales to the wiser ones.

    NYFA congratulates Shreyas on his successes and Elvis Escobar & Juniper Lea!


    February 18, 2022 • Diversity, Film Festivals, International Diversity, Screenwriting • Views: 1291

  • New York Film Academy & EducationUSA Pakistan Celebrate International Education Week 2021


    New York Film Academy (NYFA) was honored to be involved with EducationUSA, the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP), and the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, to celebrate International Education Week (IEW) with film as a vehicle to bridge mutual understanding between the United States and Pakistan.

    For the third year in a row, Professor Piero Basso, NYFA’s New York Campus Chair of Cinematography, led a team of NYFA faculty judges for the filmmaking competition ‘Filminute‘, which was created to help Pakistani students improve their communication skills and unleash their creative potential. Budding filmmakers between the ages of 15 to 18 submitted one-minute films with their unique interpretation on the theme: ‘if these walls could talk.’

    On November 18th, EducationUSA Pakistan held a virtual event to celebrate each film and the award-winning filmmakers. At the event, NYFA Professor Piero Basso provided remarks to the online attendees. He began, “As an educator, it’s always a reason of joy to see the young, new generation creatives expressing themselves in films and willing to take risks, explore creative storytelling, and to not be shy of talking about challenging topics. The theme ‘If These Walls Could Talk’ inspired some filmmakers to confront extremely serious and difficult subjects with a remarkable maturity”.

    Further encouraging young Pakistani filmmakers, Professor Basso stated, “One of the greatest qualities of these movies is the willingness of the filmmakers to find ways to express themselves without the fear of judgment, especially on the technical elements. As the Chair of the Cinematography Department at NYFA’s New York campus, I watched several portfolios and you can often notice in older applicants the fear of submitting work less than technically perfect. Personally, I admire the freshness of younger filmmakers less bothered by the fear of judgment on how they set the camera and more focused in sharing their stories. They produce movies that are imperfect and raw, but intense, true to themselves and a pure expression of their creativity.”


    About EducationUSA:

    EducationUSA is the official U.S. government source of information on U.S. higher education. It offers accurate, comprehensive, and current information on accredited postsecondary institutions in the United States, and free guidance and assistance to students interested in applying to U.S. colleges and universities. In Pakistan, EducationUSA is hosted at USEFP, a bi-national commission established in 1950 by the Governments of Pakistan and the United States. USEFP also administers the prestigious Fulbright Student Program and several other scholarships and fellowships for Pakistani students interested in studying in the United States.


    About United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP):

     USEFP is guided by a binational commission composed of an equal number of Pakistanis and Americans, with the Chair alternating each year between a Pakistani and an American. USEFP is one of 49 “Fulbright Commissions” located throughout the world. Since 1951 when the first group of Pakistani grantees traveled to America and in 1952 when the first American grantees visited Pakistan, the USEFP has fostered mutual understanding between the people of Pakistan and the people of the United States through educational and cultural exchange. More than 8,000 Pakistanis and around 935 Americans have participated in USEFP administered exchange programs.

    The Foundation receives support and counsel from both the Pakistan and U.S. governments, but it is not an agency of either. The Foundation supervises a variety of programs that send Pakistani students and scholars to American campuses while bringing American scholars to universities in Pakistan. The goal of all USEFP programs is to help Pakistanis learn more about the U.S. and to help Americans learn more about Pakistan and its people.


    About New York Film Academy:

    New York Film Academy

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) is a leading film, media, and performing arts college that offers hands-on intensive undergraduate and graduate degree programs, certificates, and workshops across a multitude of areas of study in New York City, Los Angeles, South Beach/Miami, Gold Coast (Australia), Florence (Italy), Beijing and Shanghai (China), and more. Its programs are accelerated and NYFA students can complete a four-year BFA degree in three years. NYFA’s online program offerings allow students the opportunity to advance their creative and technical skills in NYFA’s “Hands-Online Workshops,” available across NYFA’s film, media, and performing arts disciplines.

    NYFA is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). This accreditation extends to all NYFA campuses in the United States and overseas.


    November 29, 2021 • Community Highlights, Contests, International Diversity • Views: 733

  • NYFA Filmmaking Alum, Aditya Patwardhan’s, Film is Streaming on Amazon Prime


    NYFA Filmmaking Alum Aditya J. Patwardhan has been making waves since graduating in 2014 from our Film and Media Production program. Aditya hails from Jaipur, India and has directed an array of different works from feature films to documentaries to short films and TV series. He has also directed and produced films in multiple foreign languages including Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, and Lithuanian. 

    His latest project, A Nomad River, is a docu-fiction feature written, produced and directed by Aditya.  “[A Nomad River] is a blend of fictional and non-fictional narrative … This is a personal struggle of four ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, as they travel across India, an ancient civilization struggling with climate change, water crisis, poverty, and hygiene issues.”Aditya says of the film. The film takes place in India and follows four characters: Adriana, a refugee from crisis-hit Venezuela, Kankana, an Indian actress working in Hollywood, Suraj, a street cleaner from a slum in Rajasthan, and Ravi who is a television news reporter from Jaipur. 

    “We journey with them as they travel across India, an ancient civilization struggling with climate change, water crisis, poverty, and hygiene issues,” explained Aditya. “One of the storylines in the film portrays Isha Foundation’s Rally for Rivers, a pan India water-conservation drive supported by the Government of India and endorsed by celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Shahrukh Khan.”


    Patwardhan is known for his collaborations with other NYFA Alumni. And the Dream that Mattered features a number of NYFA alumni including Acting for Film alumni Themo Melikidze and Jongman Kim and Anup Kulkarni from NYFA One-Year Cinematography.

    Aditya J. Patwardhan with the cast of “And The Dream that Mattered,” including NYFA alumni Themo Melikidze (second left) and Jongman Kim (third left).

    “Almost all the projects I have done have had important team members who were from NYFA and I had collaborated with them first when I was doing school projects. That just stresses how important good collaborations are and the crucial role NYFA plays.”

    A Nomad River was no different. He enlisted the talents of former classmates Kankana Chakraborty, from the 2014 MFA Acting for Film program, and cinematographer is Anup Kulkarni, from the 2014 Cinematography program. Many of the other crew members are also from NYFA.

    A Nomad River is now streaming on Amazon Prime and AppleTV!

    NYFA congratulates Aditya on the completion of A Nomad River! We look forward to seeing more of his work and future NYFA collaborations!

  • Uruguayan Filmmakers to Learn Hollywood Production from New York Film Academy


    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) is thrilled to announce an exciting new partnership with the InterAmerican Development Bank (IADB); the Uruguay Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining; the Uruguayan Ministry of Education and Culture through the Directorate of Culture, and the National Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual; Uruguay XXI, and Punta del Este Studios. Through this partnership classes in Hollywood style movie and TV production will be offered to filmmakers and creative individuals of Uruguayan nationality.

    The educational program will cover the fundamentals of production including relevant topics such as Creative Producing, Line Producing, Pitching, Screenwriting, Cinematography, Directing, Sound, Editing, and Entertainment Law.

    As the Uruguayan filmmaking industry continues to grow, production companies will witness an ever-increasing need to enhance the filmmaking process of local talent to boost international interest in Uruguayan film. NYFA aims to support this effort by offering specially tailored skills-building training to two distinct cohorts: one for novice filmmakers and one for industry professionals.

    “We are pleased to partner with New York Film Academy in this pioneer program to empower the Uruguayan creative industry talent, attract outstanding international projects, boost its exports and to create more qualified employment. The number of interested people in these courses is showing we are on the right track,” said Matías Berdensky, IADB Country Representative, Uruguay.

    Classes begin on September 20, 2021, lasting 20 hours per week across a 4-week period. NYFA instruction will be held Monday through Friday from 6:00pm until 9:30pm local time with practicum workshops on the weekends. Courses will be taught by leading NYFA faculty who are also renowned film industry professionals.

    “It is an honor and a privilege for NYFA to collaborate with the Uruguayan Ministry of Education and Culture, the Uruguay Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining, the InterAmerican Development Bank, and Punta Del Este Studios to further develop the film industry in Uruguay at this pivotal time when local, national, and regional content creation is sought after in truly major ways. Our professional instructors from NYFA LA and NY campuses are experts in the art of storytelling and production, and we expect exciting results for the creative industry in Uruguay as a result of this multipronged partnership,” stated Dan Mackler, Dean of NYFA’s Los Angeles Campus.

    “We are very proud to be part of this strategic alliance which will undoubtedly continue to develop Uruguayan talent and creativity. Qualifying and certifying the local workforce internationally is mandatory for us, and vital for the talents of the new generations to learn and understand the development process, so that their stories travel globally and attract international content developers’ attention. This institutional partnership will improve Uruguay’s international exposure and contribute to develop an international production hub locally,” added Nicolas Aznarez, Founding Partner Punta del Este Studios.

    While much of the program will be held virtually, subject to strict health guidelines there will also be in-person learning opportunities available. To make the program more accessible to the people of Uruguay, IADB is subsidizing 75% of the entire program and thus significantly reducing the student fee.

    Uruguayan residents interested can apply here; all applications will be subject to an admissions committee review. Applications will be accepted from July 7, 2021, until August 20, 2021. Given the limited space available, acceptance will be based on submission timing and applicants meeting the program requirements.

    To further bolster this exciting multipronged collaboration, the National Directorate of Culture, the National Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual, and Producers Rights Management Entity will be offering the possibility of up to four scholarships for prospective students to cover the extra student fees. Those interested in applying for these scholarships should email


    About InterAmerican Development Bank

    The InterAmerican Development Bank (IADB) works to improve lives in Latin America and the Caribbean. Through financial and technical support for countries working to reduce poverty and inequality, IADB helps improve health and education, and advance infrastructure. The organization’s aim is to achieve development in a sustainable, climate-friendly way. With a history dating back to 1959, today IADB is the leading source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean. They provide loans, grants, and technical assistance; and conduct extensive research. IADB maintains a strong commitment to achieving measurable results and the highest standards of integrity, transparency, and accountability.

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


    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

    April 26, 2021 • Entertainment News, International Diversity • Views: 1558

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


    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.

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


    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.


    April 15, 2021 • Entertainment News, Film School, Filmmaking, International Diversity • Views: 2002

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


    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.