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  • The 93rd Academy Awards Includes NYFA Alum Shivani Rawat’s “The Trial of The Chicago 7”

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    On Monday morning, Oscar hopefuls awaited as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (“The Academy”) announced the highly anticipated list of Academy Award nominees vying for a gold statue at the 93rd Annual Academy Awards.

    With the COVID-19 pandemic, the award ceremony got pushed from its normal February/early March broadcast and will now be held on Sunday, April 25, 2021, honoring the films released in 2020.

    (L-R): Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”), Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), and Steven Yeun (“Minari”)

    In the midst of Hollywood’s pandemic year, the 2021 Oscars nominations shattered some historic milestones that have cemented this year’s ceremony as one to watch, with nods that include:

    • Netflix setting a record for distributors with 35 total nominations in 2021. The streaming giant also leads the Best Picture category with two nods, while Amazon, A24, Focus, Searchlight, and Sony Classics held one nomination each. This year, major studios were not present in this category, a notable exception given the tumultuous distribution efforts major studios faced with releasing tentpole and lower budget films across the production slate in 2020.
    • Chadwick Boseman has become the seventh actor to receive a posthumous nomination for his work on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
    • Riz Ahmed is the first Muslim actor to be nominated in the Best Actor category for his performance in The Sounds of Metal.
    • Steven Yeun, the first Asian American to receive a Best Actor nod, and Best Supporting Actress nominee Youn Uh-Jung are the first actors born in Korea to earn Oscar recognition for their performances in Minari.

    Best director nominees Chloé Zhao (Left) and Emerald Fennell (Right)

    While there are already incredible highlights from this year’s nominees, the most striking and celebrated have been the nominations received among women, with previous records being shattered across multiple categories including the best director category, which has received criticism in the past for the lack of women’s representation.

    “NYFA is celebrating Women’s History Month by recognizing the women making history at the 93rd Academy Awards. 70 women received 76 nominations – the most in a given year! It’s the first time the Academy nominated two women – Chloé Zhao and Emerald Fennell – for Best Director at the same time. Zhao is the first woman of color to get a nod in that category and also nabbed nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing. Fennell’s nomination is also the first time a woman has been nominated for her first feature.

    Viola Davis is the most-nominated Black actress ever, with her fourth Oscar nod. Women are also getting the spotlight in the Best Documentary Feature category with 4 of the 5 nominated films being directed by women. We’d like to also give special recognition to a former NYFA grad, Shivani Rawat (1-Year Screenwriting alum), who executive produced The Trial of Chicago 7 – a Best Picture nominee. We look forward to watching these inspirational ladies take the red carpet on April 25th!” – NYFA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council

    (L-R): Shivani Rawat (“The Trial of The Chicago 7”), Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), Christina Oh (“Minari”), and Ann Roth (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”)

    Other notable records made this year include a historic nomination for Minari producer and NYFA guest speaker Christina Oh, who is the first Asian American woman to receive a nomination for best picture. Meanwhile, costume designer Ann Roth ties for the oldest Oscar nominee-at-large and is nominated for her work on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at age 89.

    New York Film Academy is incredibly excited to congratulate the talented and diverse group of nominees representing the body of work at this year’s Academy Awards and will be cheering on NYFA alum Shivani Rawat’s The Trial of The Chicago 7, which is nominated for six awards.

    _______________________

    BEST PICTURE

    “The Father”
    “Judas and the Black Messiah”
    “Mank”
    “Minari”
    “Nomadland”
    “Promising Young Woman”
    “Sound of Metal”
    “The Trial of the Chicago 7″

    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”

    ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

    Sacha Baron Cohen, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
    Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah”
    Leslie Odom Jr., “One Night in Miami”
    Paul Raci, “Sound of Metal”
    Lakeith Stanfield, “Judas and the Black Messiah”

    INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM

    “Another Round” – Denmark
    “Better Days” – Hong Kong
    “Collective” – Romania
    “The Man Who Sold His Skin” – Tunisia
    Qu Vadis, Aida? – Bosnia and Herzegovina

    DOCUMENTARY (SHORT)

    “Colette”
    “A Concerto Is a Conversation”
    “Do Not Split”
    “Hunger Ward”
    “A Love Song For Latasha”

    DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

    “Collective”
    “Crip Camp”
    “The Mole Agent”
    “My Octopus Teacher”
    “Time”

    ORIGINAL SONG

    “Fight For You” from “Judas and the Black Messiah”
    “Hear My Voice” from “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
    “Husavik” from “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”
    “lo Sì (Seen)” from “The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se)”
    “Speak Now” from “One Night in Miami…”

    ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

    “Onward”
    “Over the Moon”
    “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon”
    “Soul”
    “Wolfwalkers”

    ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

    “Borat Subsequent MovieFilm”
    “The Father”
    “Nomadland”
    “One Night in Miami”
    “The White Tiger”

    ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

    “Judas and the Black Messiah”
    “Minari”
    “Promising Young Woman”
    “Sound of Metal”
    “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

    ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

    Riz Ahmed, “Sound of Metal”
    Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
    Anthony Hopkins, “The Father”
    Gary Oldman, “Mank”
    Steven Yeun, “Minari”

    ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

    Viola Davis, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
    Andra Day, “The United States vs. Billie Holiday”
    Vanessa Kirby, “Pieces of a Woman”
    Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”
    Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman”

    DIRECTOR

    Thomas Vinterberg, “Another Round”
    David Fincher, “Mank”
    Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari”
    Chloe Zhao, “Nomadland”
    Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman”

    PRODUCTION DESIGN

    “The Father”
    “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
    “Mank”
    “News of the World”
    “Tenet”

    CINEMATOGRAPHY

    Sean Bobbitt, “Judas and the Black Messiah”
    Erik Messerschmidt, “Mank”
    Dariusz Wolski, “News of the World”
    Joshua James Richards, “Nomadland”
    Phedon Papamichael , “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

    COSTUME DESIGN

    “Emma”
    “Ma Rainey’s Blackbottom”
    “Mank”
    “Mulan”
    “Pinocchio”

    ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND

    “Greyhound”
    “Mank”
    “News of the World”
    “Soul”
    “Sound of Metal”

    ANIMATED SHORT FILM

    “Burrow”
    “Genius Loci”
    “If Anything Happens I Love You”
    “Opera”
    “Yes-People”

    LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

    “Feeling Through”
    “The Letter Room”
    “The Present”
    “Two Distant Strangers”
    “White Eye”

    ORIGINAL SCORE

    “Da 5 Bloods”
    “Mank”
    “Minari”
    “News of the World”
    “Soul”

    VISUAL EFFECTS

    “Love and Monsters”
    “The Midnight Sky”
    “Mulan”
    “The One and Only Ivan”
    “Tenet”

    FILM EDITING

    “The Father”
    “Nomadland”
    “Promising Young Woman”
    “Sound of Metal”
    “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

    MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

    “Emma”
    “Hillbilly Elegy”
    “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
    “Mank”
    “Pinocchio”
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    March 17, 2021 • Diversity, Entertainment News, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 540

  • NYFA Community Among Shortlist for 93rd Academy Awards

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    After teasing the annual announcement of shortlists for this year’s upcoming Oscar nominations, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences finally announced nine categories of shortlists on Tuesday afternoon. Included among the list in the Documentary Feature category was All In: The Fight For Democracy from NYFA alum and producer Lisa Cortés; Boys State from Documentary Cinematography instructor Claudia Raschke; and Dick Johnson is Dead from Cinematographer instructor John Foster. 

    The shortlists for the 93rd Academy Awards were announced for: Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, International Feature Film, Makeup and Hairstyling, Music (Original Score), Music (Original Song), Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film and Visual Effects.

    NYFA alum Lisa Cortés

    Cortés co-directed and produced the documentary All In: The Fight For Democracy, released September 18, 2020, on Amazon Prime. The film follows Georgia’s Stacey Abrams and the struggle against voter suppression. As of February 10, 2021, the film holds an approval rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and has been met with widespread critical claim with Kevin Crust from the Los Angeles Times writing “All In manages the triple-E feat of being entertaining, educational, and enlightening.” 

    This past year, Cortés attended the NYFA’s Rock The Vote Rally rally in October, where she brought a special sneak preview of Janelle Monae’s end-credit song, “Turntable,” song written exclusively for the film. Cortés also spoke about how her NYFA Producing education proved to be valuable in pulling together a project like All In during such challenging times. 

    Lisa Cortes, Lee Daniels, and Mo’Nique (Photo Credit: WireImage.com)

    The producing alum has had an extensive career prior to her success with All In. Cortés co-produced NYFA guest speaker Nicole Kassell’s film The Woodsman, co-directed The Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion, produced The Apollo, and executive produced Academy Award-winning film Precious from Lee Daniels. 

     Documentary Cinematography instructor Claudia Raschke was an additional cinematographer on the set of the shortlist contender Boys State from A24. The film follows an unusual annual experiment in Texas that joins together a thousand 17-year-old boys from across the state to build a representative government from the ground up. The film won the U.S Documentary Competition Grand Jury at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and is currently available to stream on Apple TV+.

    Shortlist contender Dick Johnson is Dead was worked on by Cinematographer instructor John Foster.  The documentary film directed by Kirsten Johnson focuses on Johnson’s father Richard, who suffers from dementia, portraying different ways—some of them violent “accidents”—in which he could ultimately die. The comedic and heartfelt film premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Award for Innovation in Non-fiction Storytelling. 

    New York Film Academy congratulates Lisa Cortés, Claudia Raschke, and John Foster for their films making the 2021 Oscars Shortlist for Best Documentary Feature and wishes all the projects that made this year’s Academy shortlist the best of luck when the full list of nominations are announced on March 15, 2021.

    The full shortlists for each announced category can be found below:

    DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

    “All In: The Fight for Democracy”
    “Boys State”
    “Collective”
    “Crip Camp”
    “Dick Johnson Is Dead”
    “Gunda”
    “MLK/FBI”
    “The Mole Agent”
    “My Octopus Teacher”
    “Notturno”
    “The Painter and the Thief”
    “76 Days”
    “Time”
    “The Truffle Hunters”
    “Welcome to Chechnya”

    DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

    “Abortion Helpline, This Is Lisa”
    “Call Center Blues”
    “Colette”
    “A Concerto Is a Conversation”
    “Do Not Split”
    “Hunger Ward”
    “Hysterical Girl”
    “A Love Song for Latasha”
    “The Speed Cubers”
    “What Would Sophia Loren Do?”

    INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM

    Bosnia and Herzegovina, “Quo Vadis, Aida?”
    Chile, “The Mole Agent”
    Czech Republic, “Charlatan”
    Denmark, “Another Round”
    France, “Two of Us”
    Guatemala, “La Llorona”
    Hong Kong, “Better Days”
    Iran, “Sun Children”
    Ivory Coast, “Night of the Kings”
    Mexico, “I’m No Longer Here”
    Norway, “Hope”
    Romania, “Collective”
    Russia, “Dear Comrades!”
    Taiwan, “A Sun”
    Tunisia, “The Man Who Sold His Skin”

    MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

    “Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn”
    “Emma”
    “The Glorias”
    “Hillbilly Elegy”
    “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey”
    “The Little Things”
    “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
    “Mank”
    “One Night in Miami…”
    “Pinocchio”

    MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)

    “Ammonite”
    “Blizzard of Souls”
    “Da 5 Bloods”
    “The Invisible Man”
    “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey”
    “The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se)”
    “The Little Things”
    “Mank”
    “The Midnight Sky”
    “Minari”
    “Mulan”
    “News of the World”
    “Soul”
    “Tenet”
    “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

    MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)

    “Turntables” from “All In: The Fight for Democracy”
    “See What You’ve Done” from “Belly of the Beast”
    “Wuhan Flu” from “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan”
    “Husavik” from “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”
    “Never Break” from “Giving Voice”
    “Make It Work” from “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey”
    “Fight For You” from “Judas and the Black Messiah”
    “Io Sì (Seen)” from “The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se)”
    “Rain Song” from “Minari”
    “Show Me Your Soul” from “Mr. Soul!”
    “Loyal Brave True” from “Mulan”
    “Free” from “The One and Only Ivan”
    “Speak Now” from “One Night in Miami…”
    “Green” from “Sound of Metal”
    “Hear My Voice” from “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

    ANIMATED SHORT FILM

    “Burrow”
    “Genius Loci”
    “If Anything Happens I Love You”
    “Kapaemahu”
    “Opera”
    “Out”
    “The Snail and the Whale”
    “To Gerard”
    “Traces”
    “Yes-People”

    LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

    “Bittu”
    “Da Yie”
    “Feeling Through”
    “The Human Voice”
    “The Kicksled Choir”
    “The Letter Room”
    “The Present”
    “Two Distant Strangers”
    “The Van”
    “White Eye”

    VISUAL EFFECTS

    “Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn”
    “Bloodshot”
    “Love and Monsters”
    “Mank”
    “The Midnight Sky”
    “Mulan”
    “The One and Only Ivan”
    “Soul”
    “Tenet”
    “Welcome to Chechnya”

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    February 10, 2021 • Diversity, Entertainment News, Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1152

  • NYFA Alumni Meshal Aljaser, Tushar Tyagi, and Dr. Ariel Orama López Qualify for 93rd Academy Awards

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) is excited to announce the eligibility of three alumni projects that are officially qualified to be nominated in the upcoming 93rd Academy Awards for the Live Action Short Film category. With the Oscars ceremony pushed to April 25, 2021, the Academy will announce the shortlist of potential nominees on February 9, 2021, with the second round of voting narrowed to five official Oscar nominees on March 15, 2021.

    The following short films from NYFA alumni have qualified to be nominated for the 2021 Oscars in the Live Action Short Film Category: 

    • Screenwriting BFA alum Meshal Aljaser with Arabian Alien 
    • Acting for Film Workshop alum Dr. Ariel Orama López with 2ḦOOM [Zoom] 
    • 1-Year Filmmaking alum Tushar Tyagi with Saving Chintu

    Short films can qualify for nomination in one of three ways: a seven-day theatrical run in one of six major US cities, winning a qualifying award at a competitive film festival or winning a Gold, Silver, or Bronze Medal in the Student Academy Awards.

    Arabian Alien, written and directed by Saudi filmmaker Meshal Aljaser and produced by NYFA Producing alum Almotaz Aljefri, tells of a married Muslim man, who gets over his depression after a space alien is introduced into his life. The film had its world premiere at the prestigious Sundance 2020, where it won the Vimeo Jury Award and later went on to be the winner of the Atlanta Film Festival (AFF) Jury Prize for Best Narrative Short Film where it was hailed a layered, suspenseful and powerfully strange tale of societal taboos and marital tension, told with emotional precision, silent-film-evoking visuals, cultural authenticity, and startling humor.”

    The AFF win for Arabian Alien, which cemented the film for Oscar consideration, catapulted the film to further critical acclaim including a feature in GQ Middle East, among others, applauding the work of Aljaser and Saudi influencer and actor Mohammed Alhamdan (Warchief), who starred in the film. 

    2ḦOOM [Zoom] from Dr. Orama López is an experimental live-action and animation hybrid short film about two brothers from the Caribbean who discover what unifies them. Using the backdrop of the current pandemic and the all-too-familiar COVID communication platform of choice, Zoom, the film includes voices and talents from the Caribbean, Latin America, Spain, and Italy.

    This is Dr. Orama López’s second consecutive nod for Academy Award consideration with his previous short film, One, qualifying for an Oscar nomination in 2020. “I feel blessed by the opportunity to qualify for the Oscars two years in a row,” Dr. Orama López shared. “I believe that films, more than entertain, can heal us, and represent who we are, as humans.”

    Saving Chintu from Tyagi tells of an American-Indian gay couple who travel to India to adopt a child living with HIV in an orphanage and encounter cultural challenges along the way. Starring Adil Hussain (Life of Pi, Star Trek: Discovery), the film appeared as an official selection at numerous film festivals and received notable critical acclaim, most recently being hailed by both Variety and Rolling Stone India.

    The NYFA alum shared that being part of the 2021 Oscars race is “almost unbelievable” and having Saving Chintu “being watched and celebrated at the top film festivals and praised by so many is a very blissful feeling.”

    NYFA congratulates the alumni who have qualified for Academy Award consideration and wishes them the best of luck when the shortlist is announced on February 9, 2021. 

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  • New York Film Academy MFA Filmmaking Student Phyllis Tam Named a Finalist in 47th Annual Student Academy Awards

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    New York Film Academy’s (NYFA) own Phyllis Tam, who recently graduated with her MFA in Filmmaking from NYFA’s Los Angeles campus, has been named a finalist in the 47th Annual Student Academy Awards for her narrative short film Fragile Moon.

    Still from Student Academy Award finalist film ‘Fragile Moon’ (Photo Courtesy of Phyllis Tam)

    Tam’s short film will compete in the Narrative (Domestic Schools) category in the Student Academy Awards.

    “I could not be more excited that Fragile Moon made it to the semifinals for the Student Academy Awards,” shares NYFA’s Director of Film Festivals, Crickett Rumley. “Phyllis worked so diligently to perfect every single detail of her film — down to the placement of subtitles — that it’s no wonder her dedication paid off. It is such a timely story about the impact that immigrating to the U.S and pursuing the American dream has on families. The themes of memory, loss, and the healing power of art resonate long after the film is over.”

    Still from ‘Fragile Moon’ (Photo Courtesy of Phyllis Tam)

    “We are proud to see Phyllis Tam’s creativity and hard work pay off with her film Fragile Moon as she continues to advance in this prestigious competition for student filmmakers worldwide,” says NYFA President Michael Young. “Like Phyllis’ honorary achievement with the Student Academy Awards, we are excited to see NYFA students go on to achieve their dreams with their outstanding work.”

    Finalists for the Student Academy Awards were announced on August 13, 2020, with the ceremony confirmed for Thursday, October 15, 2020.

    The winners of the Student Academy Awards will be eligible to compete for the 2020 Oscars in the following categories: Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film, or Documentary Short Subject category. Previous Student Academy Award winners have gone on to win 11 Oscars, and receive 63 Oscar nominations, among them include: Cary Fukunaga, Spike Lee, Trey Parker, and Robert Zemeckis.

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  • ‘Parasite’ Leads Record-Breaking Night at the 92nd Academy Awards

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    The 2020 Awards Season culminated with a groundbreaking Best Picture win for South Korean film Parasite at the 92nd Academy Awards on Sunday, February 9. The win for the critically-acclaimed film by Bong Joon Ho was the first time in Academy history that a foreign language film took home the top prize.

    The film also won Best International Feature Film, as well as Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for Bong, who shared the latter with Jin Won Han. The multiple wins for Bong follows years of critical acclaim for previous efforts including Snowpiercer and Okja.

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism alum Federica Polidoro was able to interview Bong Joon Ho right after last year’s Cannes Film Festival, where Parasite won the Palme d’Or. The interview was an Italian video exclusive and released on Il Sole 24 Ore.

    Parasite wasn’t the only win for diversity at the Academy Awards. With Hair Love winning Best Animated Short, producer Karen Rupert Toliver became the first black woman to win an Oscar in an animation category. Jojo Rabbit director Taika Waititi was the first indigenous person to be nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, and when he won, became the first person of Maori descent to win an Oscar.

    Other notable news from this year’s ceremony includes the announcement of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which will open its door in December of this year. Netflix also celebrated on Sunday, with Laura Dern’s Oscar win giving the streaming giant its first Academy Award in any acting category. Dern won for Netflix’s Marriage Story, co-starring previous NYFA guest speaker Adam Driver.

    At this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, the NYFA community celebrated a win as well, after seeing several alumni, faculty, and guest speakers involved with Oscar nominees across many categories. Toy Story 4, co-starring previous NYFA guest speaker Tony Hale, brought Pixar another trophy for Best Animated Feature.

    New York Film Academy congratulates all the winners at this year’s Academy Awards, and looks forward to seeing even more international diversity included in the future!

    Here is a full list of the 2020 Oscars nominees:

    Best Picture
    Ford v Ferrari
    The Irishman
    Jojo Rabbit
    Joker
    Little Women
    Marriage Story
    1917
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
    Parasite – WINNER

    Lead Actor
    Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
    Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
    Adam Driver, Marriage Story
    Joaquin Phoenix, Joker – WINNER
    Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

    Lead Actress
    Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
    Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
    Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
    Charlize Theron, Bombshell
    Renee Zellweger, Judy – WINNER

    Supporting Actor
    Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
    Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
    Al Pacino, The Irishman
    Joe Pesci, The Irishman
    Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – WINNER

    Supporting Actress
    Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
    Laura Dern, Marriage Story – WINNER
    Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
    Florence Pugh, Little Women
    Margot Robbie, Bombshell

    Director
    Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
    Todd Phillips, Joker
    Sam Mendes, 1917
    Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
    Bong Joon Ho, Parasite – Winner

    Animated Feature
    How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Dean DeBlois
    I Lost My Body, Jeremy Clapin
    Klaus, Sergio Pablos
    Missing Link, Chris Butler
    Toy Story 4,  Josh Cooley – WINNER

    Animated Short
    Dcera, Daria Kashcheeva
    Hair Love, Matthew A. Cherry – WINNER
    Kitbull, Rosana Sullivan
    Memorable, Bruno Collet
    Sister, Siqi Song

    Adapted Screenplay
    The Irishman, Steven Zaillian
    Jojo Rabbit, Taika Waititi – WINNER
    Joker, Todd Phillips, Scott Silver
    Little Women, Greta Gerwig
    The Two Popes, Anthony McCarten

    Original Screenplay
    Knives Out, Rian Johnson
    Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach
    1917, Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino
    Parasite, Bong Joon-ho, Jin Won Han – WINNER

    Cinematography
    The Irishman, Rodrigo Prieto
    Joker, Lawrence Sher
    The Lighthouse, Jarin Blaschke
    1917, Roger Deakins – WINNER
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Robert Richardson

    Best Documentary Feature
    American Factory, Julia Rieichert, Steven Bognar – WINNER
    The Cave, Feras Fayyad
    The Edge of Democracy, Petra Costa
    For Sama, Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
    Honeyland, Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov

    Best Documentary Short Subject
    In the Absence, Yi Seung-Jun and Gary Byung-Seok Kam
    Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone, Carol Dysinger – WINNER
    Life Overtakes Me, Kristine Samuelson and John Haptas
    St. Louis Superman, Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan
    Walk Run Cha-Cha, Laura Nix

    Best Live Action Short Film
    Brotherhood, Meryam Joobeur
    Nefta Football Club, Yves Piat
    The Neighbors’ Window, Marshall Curry – WINNER
    Saria, Bryan Buckley
    A Sister, Delphine Girard

    Best International Feature Film
    Corpus Christi, Jan Komasa
    Honeyland, Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov
    Les Miserables, Ladj Ly
    Pain and Glory, Pedro Almodovar
    Parasite, Bong Joon Ho – WINNER

    Film Editing
    Ford v Ferrari, Michael McCusker, Andrew Buckland – WINNER
    The Irishman, Thelma Schoonmaker
    Jojo Rabbit, Tom Eagles
    Joker, Jeff Groth
    Parasite, Jinmo Yang

    Sound Editing
    Ford v Ferrari, Don Sylvester – WINNER
    Joker, Alan Robert Murray
    1917, Oliver Tarney, Rachel Tate
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Wylie Stateman
    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Matthew Wood, David Acord

    Sound Mixing
    Ad Astra
    Ford v Ferrari
    Joker
    1917 – WINNER
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Production Design
    The Irishman, Bob Shaw and Regina Graves
    Jojo Rabbit, Ra Vincent and Nora Sopkova
    1917, Dennis Gassner and Lee Sandales
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Barbara Ling and Nancy Haigh – WINNER
    Parasite, Lee Ha-Jun and Cho Won Woo, Han Ga Ram, and Cho Hee

    Original Score
    Joker, Hildur Guðnadóttir – WINNER
    Little Women, Alexandre Desplat
    Marriage Story, Randy Newman
    1917, Thomas Newman
    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, John Williams

    Original Song
    “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” Toy Story 4
    “I’m Gonna Love Me Again,” Rocketman – WINNER
    “I’m Standing With You,” Breakthrough
    “Into the Unknown,” Frozen 2
    “Stand Up,” Harriet

    Makeup and Hair
    Bombshell – WINNER
    Joker
    Judy
    Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
    1917

    Costume Design
    The Irishman, Sandy Powell, Christopher Peterson
    Jojo Rabbit, Mayes C. Rubeo
    Joker, Mark Bridges
    Little Women, Jacqueline Durran – WINNER
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Arianne Phillips

    Visual Effects
    Avengers: Endgame
    The Irishman
    1917 – WINNER
    The Lion King
    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    bong joon ho oscars

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    February 10, 2020 • Entertainment News, International Diversity • Views: 2111

  • Remembering NBA Legend, Academy Award Winner, and Supporter of the Arts Kobe Bryant

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    NBA superstar and Academy Award winner Kobe Bryant was among nine passengers, including his daughter Gianna, who died tragically in a helicopter accident on Sunday, January 26.

    One of the greatest basketball players of all time, Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers for twenty years, before retiring in 2016. Among his many athletic achievements, Bryant was the youngest player in league history to reach 30,000 career points, the all-time leading scorer in Lakers franchise history, and was selected to start the annual NBA All-Star game for a record 18 consecutive appearances—where he won a record-tying four MVP awards. Additionally, he won two Gold Medals as part of the United States Olympic team.


    After retiring from the NBA, Bryant made a name for himself off the court as a supporter of the visual arts. He founded the multimedia production company
    Granity Studios, which partners with award-winning writers, producers, and illustrators to develop original content that would marry sports concepts with fantasy and storytelling elements.

    Bryant wrote, produced, and hosted one of Granity’s first projects, Detail, a series for ESPN+ that aims to teach basketball by deconstructing in detail individual NBA playoff performances.

    In 2018, Bryant won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film for Dear Basketball, which he co-produced through Granity Studios. The animated short, directed by Glen Keane and scored by John Williams, visualizes the letter Bryant wrote announcing his retirement from the NBA. The film’s win made Bryant the first African American to win an Academy Award in that category and the first former professional athlete to be nominated and to win an Oscar in any category.

    Bryant’s cross-cultural contributions have left the sports community, arts community, the city of Los Angeles, and Bryant’s friends and family deep in shock and mourning. Just hours after the accident, the Grammy Awards were presented live, where numerous presenters, performers, and award winners—including Lizzo, Lil Nas X, and Alicia Keys—paid respects to the star and his family.

    Shaquille O’Neal, a New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking alum who played with Bryant on the Lakers and earned three consecutive NBA championships alongside him, was one of the countless mourners praising the life of Kobe Bryant on social media.

    “Kobe was so much more than an athlete, he was a family man,” O’Neal wrote in one of several posts remembering his friend. “That was what we had most in common. We love our families. Whenever we got together I would hug his children like they were my own and he would embrace my kids like they were his.”

    New York Film Academy is deeply saddened by the loss of NBA legend and Academy Award winner Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and all those lost in Sunday’s crash. Rest in Peace, Black Mamba.




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    January 27, 2020 • 3D Animation, Entertainment News, Filmmaking • Views: 2322

  • 92nd Academy Awards Nominees Includes Film Featuring New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Anouar Smaine

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) community celebrated multiple nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards Monday morning, including Best Animated Feature nominee I Lost My Body, which co-starred Filmmaking alum Anouar Smaine as the English-language voice for the Father character.

    Smaine graduated from the Filmmaking program at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus in early 2010. The Algerian-born actor, director, and playwright has numerous credits across several different disciplines, including as an actor in The Looming Tower, Westworld, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Veronica Mars, and the first Arabic-language original production from Netflix, Jinn. Fluent in French, Arabic and all kinds of Middle Eastern and North African dialects, Anouar has found success in both acting and voiceover work, with credits in some of Hollywood’s biggest productions, including John Wick, Jarhead, Charlie’s Angels, The Looming Tower, Westworld, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, and Veronica Mars.

    Anouar Smaine

    NYFA alum Anouar Smaine

    He also writes and directs in addition to acting, and made the multi-award-winning films Sharia and Battle Fields. Both films toured world festivals and earned several awards, including Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Film. 

    “Whether you’re an aspiring actor, writer, producer or a director,” says Smaine about his Filmmaking studies, “NYFA will give you a chance to go into the trenches of creativity and prove your worth based on what you’re taught, and most importantly on what you want to express as a creative. NYFA will both empower you and challenge you to go beyond being a student by embracing the filmmaker, actor, and artist in you.”

    Anouar is currently developing a feature film he plans to direct in early 2021 based on his internationally renowned short Battle Fields, in which he plays an Iraqi refugee who drives a limo in Los Angeles that comes face-to-face with an American Iraq War Veteran, played by Sean Stone, son of legendary director Oliver Stone.

    I Lost My body

    I Lost My Body is a 2019 French animated drama fantasy film directed by Jérémy Clapin that premiered at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. The Oscar-nominated feature tells the story of a dismembered hand that escapes from a dissection lab and goes on a journey through Paris to get back to its body, remembering the life with the young man it was originally attached to.

    Smaine was just one of the NYFA community members involved with this year’s Academy Award nominations, which were presented early Monday morning by NYFA Filmmaking alum Issa Rae and actor John Cho.

    NYFA Game Design alum Guillermo Quesada helped develop the technology that allowed last year’s remake of The Lion King to be filmed on a virtual reality set. The Lion King was one of the Best Visual Effects nominees named Monday morning.

    NYFA 1-Year Documentary Filmmaking alum Camille Bildsøe worked as the assistant to the director of Best Documentary Feature nominee The Cave, Feras Fayyad. Also competing in that category is The Edge of Democracy, directed by Petra Costa, who has taught master classes to NYFA Documentary Filmmaking students in the past.

    Several New York Film Academy guest speakers also received nominations, including Al Pacino, who earned a Best Supporting Actor nod alongside co-star Joe Pesci for his work in Best Picture nominee The Irishman. Pacino, whose daughter Julie Pacino is a NYFA alum, spoke with NYFA students at our Los Angeles campus in 2014.

    Adam Driver, who spoke with NYFA students at our New York campus in 2018, received an Academy Award nomination for Best Lead Actor for his work in Best Picture nominee Marriage Story.

    Best Animated Feature nominee Toy Story 4 co-starred NYFA guest speaker Tony Hale as new breakout character Forky. Hale spoke with NYFA students at our Los Angeles campus last summer, as did Nathan Kelly, who served as unit production manager on Best Picture nominee Once Upon a Time … In Hollywood. NYFA 3D Animation & VFX alum Francisco Panzieri worked on Once Upon a Time as a compositor.

    Another guest speaker celebrating this year’s nominations is President of Marvel Studios and Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Kevin Feige, who spoke with NYFA students at our Burbank-based campus last October. Avengers: Endgame, the culminating film of his brainchild—the Marvel Cinematic Universe—was nominated for Best Visual Effects.

    issa rae i lost my body oscars 2020

    John Cho and NYFA alum Issa Rae presenting the 2020 Oscars nominations

    All in all, the nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards held the usual mix of snubs, sure things, and surprises. Gritty supervillain origin story Joker led the list with 11 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor, while close behind were Sam Mendes’s 1917, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood with ten nominations each, including Best Picture. The Best Picture nominee list was rounded out by Ford v Ferrari, Jojo Rabbit, Little Women, Marriage Story, and Parasite.

    The list notably lacked any women in the Best Director category, despite Greta Gerwig’s film Little Women picking up two acting nominations and a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination along with its Best Picture nod. Other notable moments from Monday morning’s announcement includes Antonio Banderas receiving his first-ever Oscar nomination, for his leading role in longtime collaborator Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain and Glory, and Scarlett Johansson becoming the 11th actor in history to be nominated for two different roles in two different films in the same year.

    Like last year, the televised Oscars ceremony will go without a host, instead relying on various bits and presenters. The Academy Awards airs live on ABC on February 9. Announced presenters include last year’s winners Mahershala Ali, Olivia Colman, Regina King, and Rami Malek. Other presenters include Zazie Beetz, Timothée Chalamet, Will Ferrell, Gal Gadot, Mindy Kaling, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anthony Ramos, Mark Ruffalo, Kelly Marie Tran, and Kristen Wiig. Additionally, Cynthia Erivo, Elton John, Idina Menzel, Chrissy Metz, Randy Newman, and Billie Eilish will perform.

    New York Film Academy congratulates this year’s nominees and looks forward to seeing who goes home with an Oscar or two (or more) next month!

    Here is a full list of the 2020 Oscars nominees:

    Best Picture
    Ford v Ferrari
    The Irishman
    Jojo Rabbit
    Joker
    Little Women
    Marriage Story
    1917
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
    Parasite – WINNER

    Lead Actor
    Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
    Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
    Adam Driver, Marriage Story
    Joaquin Phoenix, Joker – WINNER
    Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

    Lead Actress
    Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
    Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
    Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
    Charlize Theron, Bombshell
    Renee Zellweger, Judy – WINNER

    Supporting Actor
    Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
    Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
    Al Pacino, The Irishman
    Joe Pesci, The Irishman
    Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – WINNER

    Supporting Actress
    Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
    Laura Dern, Marriage Story – WINNER
    Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
    Florence Pugh, Little Women
    Margot Robbie, Bombshell

    Director
    Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
    Todd Phillips, Joker
    Sam Mendes, 1917
    Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
    Bong Joon Ho, Parasite – Winner

    Animated Feature
    How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Dean DeBlois
    I Lost My Body, Jeremy Clapin
    Klaus, Sergio Pablos
    Missing Link, Chris Butler
    Toy Story 4,  Josh Cooley – WINNER

    Animated Short
    Dcera, Daria Kashcheeva
    Hair Love, Matthew A. Cherry – WINNER
    Kitbull, Rosana Sullivan
    Memorable, Bruno Collet
    Sister, Siqi Song

    Adapted Screenplay
    The Irishman, Steven Zaillian
    Jojo Rabbit, Taika Waititi – WINNER
    Joker, Todd Phillips, Scott Silver
    Little Women, Greta Gerwig
    The Two Popes, Anthony McCarten

    Original Screenplay
    Knives Out, Rian Johnson
    Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach
    1917, Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino
    Parasite, Bong Joon-ho, Jin Won Han – WINNER

    Cinematography
    The Irishman, Rodrigo Prieto
    Joker, Lawrence Sher
    The Lighthouse, Jarin Blaschke
    1917, Roger Deakins – WINNER
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Robert Richardson

    Best Documentary Feature
    American Factory, Julia Rieichert, Steven Bognar – WINNER
    The Cave, Feras Fayyad
    The Edge of Democracy, Petra Costa
    For Sama, Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
    Honeyland, Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov

    Best Documentary Short Subject
    In the Absence, Yi Seung-Jun and Gary Byung-Seok Kam
    Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone, Carol Dysinger – WINNER
    Life Overtakes Me, Kristine Samuelson and John Haptas
    St. Louis Superman, Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan
    Walk Run Cha-Cha, Laura Nix

    Best Live Action Short Film
    Brotherhood, Meryam Joobeur
    Nefta Football Club, Yves Piat
    The Neighbors’ Window, Marshall Curry – WINNER
    Saria, Bryan Buckley
    A Sister, Delphine Girard

    Best International Feature Film
    Corpus Christi, Jan Komasa
    Honeyland, Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov
    Les Miserables, Ladj Ly
    Pain and Glory, Pedro Almodovar
    Parasite, Bong Joon Ho – WINNER

    Film Editing
    Ford v Ferrari, Michael McCusker, Andrew Buckland – WINNER
    The Irishman, Thelma Schoonmaker
    Jojo Rabbit, Tom Eagles
    Joker, Jeff Groth
    Parasite, Jinmo Yang

    Sound Editing
    Ford v Ferrari, Don Sylvester – WINNER
    Joker, Alan Robert Murray
    1917, Oliver Tarney, Rachel Tate
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Wylie Stateman
    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Matthew Wood, David Acord

    Sound Mixing
    Ad Astra
    Ford v Ferrari
    Joker
    1917 – WINNER
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Production Design
    The Irishman, Bob Shaw and Regina Graves
    Jojo Rabbit, Ra Vincent and Nora Sopkova
    1917, Dennis Gassner and Lee Sandales
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Barbara Ling and Nancy Haigh – WINNER
    Parasite, Lee Ha-Jun and Cho Won Woo, Han Ga Ram, and Cho Hee

    Original Score
    Joker, Hildur Guðnadóttir – WINNER
    Little Women, Alexandre Desplat
    Marriage Story, Randy Newman
    1917, Thomas Newman
    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, John Williams

    Original Song
    “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” Toy Story 4
    “I’m Gonna Love Me Again,” Rocketman – WINNER
    “I’m Standing With You,” Breakthrough
    “Into the Unknown,” Frozen 2
    “Stand Up,” Harriet

    Makeup and Hair
    Bombshell – WINNER
    Joker
    Judy
    Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
    1917

    Costume Design
    The Irishman, Sandy Powell, Christopher Peterson
    Jojo Rabbit, Mayes C. Rubeo
    Joker, Mark Bridges
    Little Women, Jacqueline Durran – WINNER
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Arianne Phillips

    Visual Effects
    Avengers: Endgame
    The Irishman
    1917 – WINNER
    The Lion King
    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

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  • Oscar-Nominated New York Film Academy Filmmaking Alum Giacun Caduff Working on New Projects

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking alum Giacun Caduff, along with NYFA Acting for Film alum Stefanie Lacher, have been working nonstop across the globe as they work on films and other projects following the massive success of La femme et le TGV, the Oscar-nominated short produced by Caduff.

    Caduff attended the 8-Week Filmmaking workshop at NYFA’s New York campus in the summer of 1999. Lacher attended NYFA’s 8-Week Acting for Film workshop at our Los Angeles campus in September 2011. The pair met several years later at a party in Switzerland, Caduff’s native country.

    Giacun Caduff and Stefanie Lacher

    NYFA Alumni Giacun Caduff and Stefanie Lacher

    In 2009, Caduff founded the Gässli Film Festival in his hometown of Basel, Switzerland, a platform for young aspiring filmmakers to present their shorts and network with industry professionals. He also runs a film camp and drive-in movie theater.

    These projects haven’t stopped Caduff from working on his true passion though—making movies. He has produced such films as Etienne! (2009), 2B or Not 2B (2005), Salad Days (2011), and directorial effort 20 Regeln für Sylvie (2014).

    His biggest success to date was the 2016 short La femme et le TGV, written and directed by NYFA Filmmaking alum Timo von Gunten, which tells a touching story of a lonely woman and a TGV train driver. Among many other awards, nominations, and festival selections, La femme et le TGV was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film. The film was executive produced by NYFA alum Jean de Meuron.

    View this post on Instagram

    What a night!

    A post shared by Giacun Caduff (@jacquesabale) on

    “In a funny way, the nomination has helped more with other projects than with movies,” Caduff tells NYFA. “I learned that in the end it’s an interesting process where suddenly people introduce you as an Oscar nominee, which is nice, but at the same time, people will automatically expect that same level from you—which in the film world is another Oscar-nominated movie. With projects outside the film business it’s a bit easier, because the expectations are high too but there is no 1:1 comparison. So, I was happy to work with excited people to create the basis for the Gässli Film Festival that—maybe one day—will be Oscar-qualifying.”

    Those high expectations haven’t stopped Caduff though, who is working on multiple new films, and will possibly collaborate in the future with NYFA alum Stefanie Lacher, whom Caduff calls “a wonderful inspiration.” 

    la femme et le tgv giacun caduffGiacun Caduff

    He adds, “There are two scripts of my own that I’m finalizing and one that the director of La femme et le TGV is writing. This journey took me to the US and later to Russia, where I spent time in a lake house without internet to focus on the writing. With enough luck, I hope to shoot this year. Probably next year, but this year should be key in getting funding and cast attachment. Fingers crossed!”

    Making films and collaborating with fellow NYFA classmates stems from a passion Caduff found when he attended the Filmmaking workshop in New York. “Using 16mm film for the first time,” describes Caduff, “I re-discovered my love and passion for film. I knew right there that I was making movies for the wrong reasons so far and started to understand the importance of story, light, lenses—and I mean, being in New York City during that time of my life… amazing.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA alumni Giacun Caduff and Stefanie Lacher on their respective successes since graduating the Academy and looks forward to seeing what projects they work on next!

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    January 6, 2020 • Acting, Film Festivals, Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2373

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking & Cinematography Alum Jean de Meuron Invited to Join Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS)

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    Earlier this month the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) invited 842 new members to join its rankings, including Oscar-nominated New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking & Cinematography alum Jean de Meuron.

    Megan Jean de Meuronde Meuron was previously nominated in 2017 for an Academy Award for the short film he executive-produced, La femme et le TGV. de Meuron hails from Switzerland and first enrolled at New York Film Academy in 2009, taking several workshops, including in Filmmaking. He followed his short-term studies with NYFA’s 1-year Conservatory in Cinematography. His latest project, sci-fi epic Megan (co-produced with Giuseppe Mercadante and Olcun Tan and directed by Greg Strasz), recently won a Telly Award for its proof-of-concept short. It’s no surprise the highly talented filmmaker has been tapped to join AMPAS.

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the body of producers, directors, screenwriters, actors, and other filmmaking industry leaders. Every year, AMPAS members vote on the Academy Awards embodied by the iconic golden statuette, Oscar.

    Over the past few years, due to a demand from the public to catch up to to the current cultural landscape, AMPAS has been inviting more women and people of color to diversify its body, which has been historically dominated by white men. According to The Hollywood Reporter, this year’s 842 invitees include members from 59 countries, half of whom are female and 29 percent of whom are people of color.AMPAS

    Invitees often include previous Oscar winners and nominees, as well as up-and-coming Hollywood stars. The 2019 list of invitees includes directors Jonathan M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians), Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), and performers Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Sterling K. Brown, Gemma Chan, Tom Holland, Claire Foy, Will Poulter, Lady Gaga, and Adele.

    “I am incredibly humbled and grateful to have been invited to join the Academy as a member of the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch,” de Meuron tells NYFA. “It is such an honor and privilege to be a part of this organization of which many filmmakers, creatives, and executives belong to that have influenced as well as inspired me—and continue to do so.”

    New York Film Academy is incredibly excited for Filmmaking & Cinematography alum Jean de Meuron and congratulates him on his invitation to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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    July 9, 2019 • Cinematography, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1479

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Alumni Qualify for Academy Awards with Major Festival Wins

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    Three New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking alumni qualified for the 92nd Academy Awards last month by winning major film festivals for their documentary shorts.

    Where Chaos Reigns was directed by Braulio Jatar and Anaïs Michel. Jatar enrolled in both the 6-week Documentary Filmmaking Workshop as well as the 1-year Conservatory in 2016. A year earlier, Michel also studied in both the 6-week Workshop and 1-year Conservatory. Cricket Liu was directed by Julia Cheng, who graduated in 2018 from the 1-year Documentary Filmmaking Conservatory at NYFA’s New York campus.

    Where Chaos Reigns won the Golden Gate Award for Best Short Documentary at the San Francisco International Film Festival. This continues the momentum of Jatar and Michel, who recently won Honorable Mention for the HBO Ibero-American Award at Miami Film Festival.

    The documentary showcases Venezuelan citizens as they protest their government in clashes that sometimes lead to violence, and focuses on a paramedic group called “Green Crosses” that treats protesters, and the young medical student who founded the group. 

    The San Francisco International Film Festival is the longest-running film festival in the Americas and a major cultural event in the Bay Area. According to their press release, Where Chaos Reigns was awarded the Golden Gate Award “for its audacity, its haunting images and its ability to bring us closer to the crisis in Venezuela than anything we’ve seen thus far in America … Their unflinching cameras capture singular moments of courage, fearlessness and violence that linger long after the film has ended.”

    Andrea Swift, Chair of the Documentary Filmmaking department at NYFA’s New York Campus can’t help but agree, telling NYFA, “Braulio and Anais both did great work as students … It’s not at all surprising that when they met and joined talents, they [crafted] a film as powerful and unique as Where Chaos Reigns. The combination of their talents is formidable.”

    Cheng’s film, Cricket Liu is an 18-minute short that profiles an aging cricket fighting master who uses his ancient art to earn money for a grandson he barely knows. At the American Documentary Film Festival, also known as AmDocs, the film won Best International Short Documentary. AmDocs was founded by Teddy Grouya in 2011 with a mission to promote and celebrate documentaries and, according to their own website, “independent filmmakers around the world who bring knowledge and awareness through their stories about real people and issues.”

    Cricket Liu was the thesis project for Cheng while studying at NYFA. “I was so lucky to work with the gurus in the industry,” Cheng says of her NYFA instructors. “Just to name a few here: my [Chair] Andrea Swift was my story consultant, Claudia Raschke (DP of RBG) was my cinematography teacher, and Bob Eisenhardt (editor of Free Solo) was my editing supervisor. Without them, my film wouldn’t have come this far! Before coming to NYFA, I had little idea about nonfiction storytelling and didn’t know how to shoot and edit a film at all! This 1-year intensive, hands-on study at NYFA Docs completely changed my life as a filmmaker!”

    Of Cheng’s accomplishment, Andrew Swift says, “It’s exciting to see a student create a thesis film that’s masterful enough to merit an Academy Award qualification. And Cricket Liu absolutely does. Julia is a great testament to how much a passionate student can accomplish in a 1-year Conservatory.”

    Both the Golden Gate Award for Jatar and Michel and Cheng’s win at AmDocs each qualify their films for next year’s Oscars. A shortlist of nominees will be named later this year, before the official list of final nominees for all categories is announced in early 2020. Last year, NYFA Documentary Filmmaking faculty members worked on two Oscar-nominated docs, Free Solo and RBG, with the former winning Best Documentary Feature. 

    The three NYFA alumni are now in production on feature documentaries. Jatar and Michel are currently in Colombia shooting a documentary about Venezuelan refugees, while Cheng is in the middle of production for two high-profile films in Beijing, China.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Documentary Filmmaking alumni Braulio Jatar, Anaïs Michel, and Julia Cheng on their Academy Award-qualifying festival wins and wish them continued success in their careers as well as next year’s awards season.

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