June 27, 2017

New York Film Academy filmmaking alumnus Assaad Yacoub’s feature film “Cherry Pop,” starring Bob the Drag Queen from “Rupaul’s Drag Race” along with Tempest DuJour, Latrice Royale and Lars Berge, has created buzz during Pride Month — and caught the attention of NYLON magazine, which features an interview with the filmmaker this month.

“Cherry Pop” juxtaposes the glamor of drag performances with the drama and hilarity of the backstage relationships on one night in a drag club, as one legendary performer takes her last bow and one new drag queen makes her debut. The film has been awarded with Best Film, Best Director, Best Feature Comedy, Best Cinematography in a Feature Film, Best Editing in a Feature Film, and Best Original Score by the London International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema.

Filmmaker Assaad Yacoub’s energy is contagious, and as he shares with NYLON, his “Cherry Pop” is not only about the color, energy, and drama of drag, but also has a deeper purpose: “I think that’s what I want people to get from it — you have to accept someone no matter what they are, and you have to accept yourself. It’s an important message because a lot of people are doubting themselves and they don’t know what to do, and they’re hearing negative things in the media about who they are. No, you should stick up for yourself and be proud of who you are. I hope people can look at the characters and be like, ‘If they can accept themselves, I can accept myself, too.'”

“Cherry Pop” made its first appearance as Yacoub’s undergraduate thesis project at NYFA Los Angeles, but it truly started even before then, during his studies at NYFA New York. As a student in NYFA’s 2-Year Filmmaking Program, Yacoub would spend much of his free time at New York’s famous Stonewall Inn, a National Historic Landmark at the heart of the LGBTQ+ community. It was there that he met Bob the Drag Queen. Yacoub persuaded the rising star to be a part of his student project, “Cherry Pop.”

From New York, Yacoub went on to complete not one, not two, but three NYFA programs, graduating from the 2-Year Filmmaking Program before earning his BFA and MFA in Filmmaking at NYFA Los Angeles. While in school, Yacoub was well known for tackling social issues in his films, such as “The Wing,” which earned an humanitarian award for outstanding achievement from the 2015 Best Shorts Competition. After graduating, Yacoub became a part of NYFA’s Industry Lab and completed several music video projects. And all throughout Yacoub’s NYFA journey, “Cherry Pop” gained a life of its own.

Premiering with a bang at NYC Pride’s OutCinema, “Cherry Pop” will soon make a splash on the West Coast at Outfest Los Angeles and at the Castro Theater in San Francisco.

Along with NYLON magazine, the film has also been featured in The Pride Los Angeles as one of the most-anticipated films of Outfest 2017. To learn more about “Cherry Pop,” visit the filmmaker’s website and watch his recent appearance on NYFA’s Popcorn Talk.