After months of absolute suspense, New York Film Academy and RED Digital Cinema finally revealed the winners of their fierce competition. The Brazilian alumni pair, Leco Moura and Rodrigo Zan, took the stage for their clean sweep of awards at the wrap event hosted at RED Studios Hollywood on August 31.
Moura took home the most coveted accolade of the festival, a brand new RED EPIC-W, an 8K professional digital cinema camera, as the Grand Prize for Best Cinematography for his outstanding work on “Jimbo.” Zan was the writer/director of the same heist short film, which could soon become his debut feature. From RED, he already got the jump-start: a three-week rental of a DSMC2 camera for winning the Filmmaker’s Prize.
It was also a night to remember for Colombian alumnus Andres Hernandez. As the jack-of-all-trades in his dramedy “Monday” — script, directing, and photography — he won the Audience Award. His leading actor, Carlos Perez, accepted the prize on his behalf, for which Hernandez got a $1,500 REDucation voucher for an intensive professional camera workshop.
The awards ceremony was the culmination of a blazing competition that started in late March, raising more than 130 submissions of the school’s one-year projects or thesis films shot entirely on RED cameras. Then, a NYFA Selection Committee led by the Chair of Cinematography Tony Richmond, best known for his work on “Legally Blonde” and “Men of Honor,” carefully watched over 30 hours of film, picking the top 19.
Those semi-finalists had the opportunity to participate in the Audience Award category while keeping in the run for the Cinematography and Filmmaker prizes. Eleven of them decided to give it a shot at the online voting. Andres Hernandez’s film “Monday” was the favorite of the public.
In late July, RED narrowed the 19 semi-finalists to just five. Along with “Jimbo,” the top NYFA alumni films were the coming-of-age drama “The Farthest Apple From the Tree,” by director Elmo Kebour with Italian director of photography Andrea Gavazzi; the twisted fable “Feast,” led by a female pair, Kazakhstani writer/director Aizhan Tuganbayeva with French D.P. Julie Angelo; The U.S.A. was represented in the supernatural western “Revelation,” directed by John Willment-Knowles with Ruperto Sanchez as director of photography; and the sci-fi comedy “H.A.M.,” by writer/director Boise Esquerra with Spanish D.P. Julio Escames.
The Wrap Event held at RED Studios Hollywood highlighted the five finalists and the audience favorite to a handpicked group of guests from the industry and the NYFA/RED Jury. That is the same room where David Fincher color-corrected “Gone Girl.” Formerly an MGM lot and then later the home of the famous Desilu Productions — run by Hollywood royalty supercouple Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball — the place preserves a piece of American film history. It was acquired by RED in the early 2000s, preventing the land from turning into high-rise condos.
The New York Film Academy would like to thank RED Digital Cinema for this consistent and fruitful partnership through several years, being instrumental in the mission of fostering a global new generation of talented and diverse filmmakers. NYFA would also like to congratulate all winners, finalists, and semi-finalists, wishing this competition serves them as a stepping stone in the visual storytelling arts journey to become industry leaders.
Semi-finalists (in alphabetical order):
- “Beyond Cornfield Street”
- “Blue Bird”
- “Brad Lee”
- “One Last Breath”
- “Rosetta’s Blues”
- “The Farthest Apple from the Tree”
- “The Hook”
- “The Other Side”
- “Twenty Years After”