alon juwal
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  • NYFA Alumnus Alon Jawal Film “Visitors” Tours Festivals

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    New York Film Academy Alumni Alon Juwal has been on a veritable tour with his short film, “Visitors,” which has received nominations from the Newport Beach Film Festival, Phoenix ComicCon, USS Film Festival, New Hope Film Festival, and the New York City International Film Festival.

    VISITORS - Poster 2

    Juwal received the award for Best Director of a Sci-Fi Short at the New York City International Film Festival and an Honorable Mention at the Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival. The film has earned numerous nominations including Best Sci-Fi Short at Phoenix ComicCon and Best Student Short at the Vail Film Festival.

    “Visitors” follows characters George, Cole and Kayleigh, an estranged family who come together at a remote and isolated farm. Cole and Kayleigh find themselves facing a series of strange events and a group of uninvited visitors with mysterious and sinister intentions. An old, forgotten bond rekindles, and a once broken and divided family begins piecing itself together in order to survive, overcome and become whole again.

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    “‘Visitors’ was basically my way of fusing all of the sci-fi films I grew up watching as a child adding a bit of a personal twist and eventually creating something that is truly unique and original,” Juwal said in an interview via email.  “I wanted to make something that felt truly authentic, and in order to do that, I had to find the strength to expose my deepest feelings. Even a thriller needs a bit of a personal touch to fully connect with a viewer, so my personal touch to the story was the complex relationship I have with my father, and how his separation from my mother affected our family.”

    That relationship became the guiding light for the film. Grounding this film in a core that would touch viewers was Juwal’s main goal. “‘Visitors’ is a sci-fi thriller on the outside, but on the inside, it speaks of values such as family, loyalty and most importantly, forgiveness,” Juwal said. “When people leave the cinema, I don’t want them to think about aliens or tractor beams. Instead, I hope they will be thinking about their families.”

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    His impressive festival run was influenced by a gambler’s spirit: “You can’t win the lottery without buying a ticket.” He narrowed his focus to festivals that had the science fiction genre at the forefront of their thinking. “I carefully chose festivals that I believed showcased emerging talent (and) had the power of pushing our film forward.”

    Through all the screenings, conventions, and conferences, a lot of hands are shaken. Each handshake usually comes with a note about the film. All that criticism has worn down many great filmmakers but Juwal takes it all in stride. “When you make a film you are sometimes blind to many of its shortcomings. I can definitely say that I have learned a lot from every single screening. It’s always great to hear a positive comment, but the negative ones are the ones you end up learning from the most, and they are also the ones that make you grow as an artist.”

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    Lessons learned and classmates met at the New York Film Academy were instrumental in the completion of the project. Juwal reflected, “My time at NYFA taught me many things, but most importantly, it taught me the power of collaboration. I have many shortcomings as a director, and I fill those shortcomings with talented people who complete me. In the case of ‘Visitors,’ many of these people were my classmates.”

    Juwal’s next film, “A Golden Heart,” will tell the story of an 11-year-old boy who, after learning of his mother’s illness, sets off on a journey to find a rare flower that is rumored to have magical healing powers. Look for “Visitors” on Amazon Video Direct once the film has completed its festival circuit. To follow the film’s progress, follow “Visitors” on Facebook.

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    June 15, 2017 • Diversity, Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2516

  • BFA Filmmaker Wins Best Foreign Film at Williamsburg Film Fest

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    alon juwal

    Director Alon Juwal with actor Yair Grimberg and Tahunia (the dog)

    With award season in full swing, it’s always a great honor when students and alumni of our own are recipients of these awards. Such was the case for BFA Filmmaking student, Alon Juwal, who won Best Foreign Film at the Williamsburg Film Festival in Brooklyn, and was an official selection at the Student Filmmaker Awards and the Viewster Online Film Festival.

    His award-winning film, Castor, tells the story of an Israeli Army Dog Handler who takes his dying dog for one last walk before he is put down. The idea stemmed from a news story on Israeli television, in which Castor’s handler narrated the events leading up to Castor’s death. It was a story of bond and sacrifice that Juwal felt must be told.

    Juwal decided to attend NYFA because of its access to cutting-edge equipment — like the RED camera — that he was unable to access back at home in Israel. One of the benefits about studying at the New York Film Academy is the student’s ability to be bi-coastal. Like many of our degree students, Juwal began his BFA in Filmmaking at NYFA’s New York campus for a year, and is currently finishing his degree with two years at our Los Angeles campus. In essence, he’s getting the best of both worlds.

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    “My experience at NYFA has been extremely useful,” said Juwal. “I owe much credit to two of my instructors: my directing teacher Tassos Rigopoulos, who taught me the foundations of directing and how to handle a crew; and Claude Kerven, who helped me find my original voice and made me the storyteller I am today. I definitely recommend NYFA to many prospective students from Israel. I am glad I am able to call NYFA my home, and I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything in the world. It definitely was an amazing ride, and still is!”

    Juwal is currently focusing his work on music videos. This March, he will be shooting a music video for the folk band Yellow Red Sparks, who have are going on tour to entertain thousands of followers.

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    February 17, 2015 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 4519