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Six NYFA Alumni Screen Films at Micheaux Film Festival’s 4th Edition


Six New York Film Academy (NYFA) alumni will screen their films at the Los Angeles-based Micheaux Film Festival. This year, at the festival’s fourth edition, participants will engage in a series of activations, digital panels, master classes, networking mixers, workshops and film screenings from July 11 – 17, 2022. This year’s festival events will be available to participants both online and in-person starting on July 13, 2022 at the Regal Cinemas L.A. in downtown Los Angeles. You can purchase tickets here

The Micheaux Film Festival was recognized as one of the ‘Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee’ in 2022 by MovieMaker Magazine. The festival shares stories that focus on multiculturality, inclusivity of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), diverse representation and gender/identity parity. 

The organization seeks to cultivate a dynamic community that gives artists an honest space to share their unique stories, making it a perfect match for films made by NYFA’s incredibly diverse student body. Event sponsors include the Oprah Winfrey Network, SONY Entertainment, Panavision, The Academy Museum, Braham Entertainment.

Among the six lucky NYFA alumni chosen to showcase their work at this year’s festival include Abraham Amkpa (Master of Arts in Film & Media Production), Kate Burduzhan (2-Year Filmmaking Conservatory), Meital Cohen Navarro (Master of Fine Arts Filmmaking), Lethabo Mokgatle (Bachelor of Fine Arts Filmmaking), Victor Shao (Master of Fine Arts Filmmaking), and Dan Smith (Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting and Master of Fine Arts in Producing).

Learn about our alumni’s films below: 

Lift by Abraham Amkpa

Six NYFA Alumni Screen Films at Micheaux Film Festival’s 4th Edition

“Lift” by NYFA alum Abraham Amkpa

Abraham Amkpa, who earned his MA in Film & Media Production at NYFA, will screen his thesis film Lift, a story of two Nigerian immigrants competing against each other in order to gain US citizenship in the Greater Heights program. This film will be screened on July 16, 2022 as well as available to view online.

Check out Abraham’s interview below on New Filmmakers LA Film’s ‘Stage 5’ in partnership with MovieMaker Magazine. Abraham discusses his thesis film Lift, which screened at the NFMLA in May 2022 in their immigrant stories program.

It’s Your Fault by Kate Burduzhan 

Six NYFA Alumni Screen Films at Micheaux Film Festival’s 4th Edition

“It’s Your Fault” by NYFA alum Kate Burduzhan

Kate Burduzhan, who completed NYFA’s 2-Year Filmmaking Conservatory program, tells the story of Polina, a young woman looking to have some fun when she leaves a Russian nightclub with guys she just met only to find herself in an unexpected and dangerous situation in her film It’s Your Fault. The film screens online throughout the festival.

Over My Dead Body by Meital Cohen Navarro

Six NYFA Alumni Screen Films at Micheaux Film Festival’s 4th Edition

“Over My Dead Body” by NYFA alum Meital Cohen Navarro

Over My Dead Body, the intermediate film of Meital Cohen Navarro, tells the story of a young Jewish Persian-American woman who reveals to her parents that her fiancé is Muslim and is forced to choose between him and her family. The film will screen on Friday, July 15, in the True States program. Navarro earned her MFA in Filmmaking from NYFA.

Sebari Milach by Lethabo Mokgatle 

Six NYFA Alumni Screen Films at Micheaux Film Festival’s 4th Edition

“Sebari Milach” by NYFA alum Lethabo Mokgatle

Lethabo Mokgatle’s thesis film Sebari Milach will premiere in Los Angeles on July 14th in the Origins and Odyssey program as well as online. The film follows the story of a young African woman tricked by her mother into participating in a traditional purification ritual only to face either mutilation or exile from her tribal society. Mokgatle earned her BFA in Filmmaking from NYFA.

Date by Victor Shao

Six NYFA Alumni Screen Films at Micheaux Film Festival’s 4th Edition

“Date” by NYFA alum Victor Shao

Taiwanese filmmaker Victor Shao, who earned his MFA in Filmmaking from NYFA, will screen his thesis film Date in the Love, Lust & Other Drugs program on July 15th as well as online. Date surrounds a nervous man and a reserved woman who order dishes that take forever in an effort to prolong their awkward dinner rendezvous.

Tahriib (Those Who Travel North) by Dan Smith

Six NYFA Alumni Screen Films at Micheaux Film Festival’s 4th Edition

“Tahriib (Those Who Travel North)” by NYFA alum Dan Smith

Slipping away the mask of anonymity shrouding the 1.8 million refugees who have entered Europe since 2014, the short documentary Tahriib (Those Who Travel North) by NYFA MFA Screenwriting and MFA Producing alum Dan Smith will screen online throughout the festival. The documentary features six refugees who describe in their own words and voices, their previous lives, dangerous journeys, and attempts to integrate into Western culture.  


“It’s truly fantastic that so many NYFA alumni are official selections at Micheaux this year,” said Crickett Rumley, Senior Director of NYFA’s Film Festival Department. “This festival’s commitment to diversity and inclusive programming is superlative. They not only celebrate filmmakers, they help them move to the next level with panels, master classes, and networking events. I’m confident that our filmmakers will gain tremendously from this opportunity.”  


This year’s festival celebrity ambassadors include actors Sharon Lawrence and Anthony Anderson. Honors will go to Brenda Gilbert, the President & Founder of Bron Studios, who will receive the Oscar Micheaux Trailblazer of Excellence Award, and to director/cinematographer Ernest Dickerson, who will receive the Michael Ajakwe Pioneer of Influence Award. 

Tickets to all events can be purchased here

New York Film Academy congratulates its alumni on their selection to the fourth annual Micheaux Film Festival and wishes them the best of luck!