MFA Filmmaking student Rafael Pires Nani’s short film, “Rose Garden,” which he shot in his first year at the New York Film Academy, was accepted into 24 film festivals so far, and has won fifteen awards.
“Rose Garden” tells the story of an intelligent kid who manages to easily drive his family and neighbors crazy. Though, more than relationships and family, it is about how some people can suddenly appear in our lives and completely change us. Like a fable, the movie is able to disarm minds and hearts, making people dive deep into the story.
“As an Intermediate Project, we spent four months constantly work-shopping the script in class,” recalls Nani. “My teachers and classmates were extremely important in helping me take my script to the next level. And all development — in terms of script analysis, shot list, floor plan, storyboards, and directing actors — made all the difference to me on set. It’s on the screen; everything was well thought out, and you can see the harmony in all of these elements.”
Nani says film festivals are about personal voice and style, and believes audiences at festivals are more open minded for new ideas. “They want something different, something that they can’t find in the mainstream,” says Nani. “Of course, they want to see a really good story, but I’ve been in lots of film festivals around the world, and I can tell there is a huge space for what’s new or different — even when the story is common and usual.
Though, Nani warns filmmakers not to create a film while thinking about festivals. “Do whatever you want to do; be proud of your work,” he adds. “When it’s done, you will find the festivals that will be related to your ideas.”
While continuing his MFA Filmmaking degree program, Nani is developing his thesis project, which is a feature sci-fi / horror film called “Bloody Eyes.”
“It’s a project that I’m really excited about, and I can’t wait to be back on the set to shoot it,” Nani said.