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  • DOC NYC Screens Exclusive Lineup of New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking Department Shorts

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    DOC NYC, which runs from November 6 – 15, showcased the work of the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking department in an exclusive lineup of NYFA short films on Thursday, November 7.

    DOC NYC is celebrating its tenth year, after bursting onto the scene in 2010 that the Village Voice called “selective but eclectic.” With a mission statement to guide audiences toward the work of various artists—filmmakers, photographers, and more—and to help documentarians make the most of emerging technologies and the networking opportunities one can only find in New York.

    DOC NYC 2019

    The festival spans ten days at theaters across Manhattan, with an impressive multitude of special guests. Past guests have included Hillary Clinton, Emma Watson, Jim Carrey, Thandie Newton, Susan Sarandon, Martin Scorsese, Itzhak Perlman, Michael Moore, Chris Rock, Michel Gondry, Errol Morris, Oliver Stone, Jonathan Franzen, and Al Sharpton, among others. DOC NYC is overseen by Executive Director Raphaela Neihausen and Artistic Director Thom Powers.

    NYFA has collaborated with DOC NYC in the past, with the fest screening the work of several distinguished students and alumni at the precipices of their careers. This year’s DOC NYC U: NYFA lineup was held on Thursday, November 7, at 1:00 p.m. at the IFC Center in Manhattan’s West Village, running for 68 minutes.

    Here is the 2019 DOC NYC U: NYFA lineup:

    Ghost Villages of the Himalayas | Director: Kuldeep Sah Gangola
    Despite encroaching leopards and relentless isolation, 89-year-old Ammaji refuses to leave her home.
    (USA, 16 MIN)

    My Dad Vernon | Director: Serena Smith
    Vernon teaches Serena creative life-hacks while she tries to understand why he lives in his car.
    (USA, 3 MIN, excerpt)

    Mamá | Director: Lucia Florez
    Chia joins her mother to research motherhood in the Andes, where they confront their own relationship.
    (USA, 6 MIN, excerpt)

    All I See Is the Future | Director: Nancy Dionne
    A former drug dealer becomes a successful optician—until a mistake threatens his dream.
    (USA, 14 MIN)

    A Word Away | Director: Mollie Moore
    For 18 years, selective mutism has kept Cosmo silent about escaping South Sudan—until now.
    (USA, 20 MIN)

    Get It | Director: Joe Cleary
    Reem hustles to parlay street-dancing fame into a rap career.
    (USA, 3 MIN, excerpt)

    B-city | Director: Carolina Gonzales
    Bhustak creates a makeshift hip-hop studio to help neighborhood kids escape violence in Bogotá.
    (USA, 3 MIN)

    Baladna | Director: Aya Hamdan
    A Syrian baker navigates economic instability and immigration status to bring his family to Bahrain.
    (USA, 3 MIN)

    Epiales | Director: Anna Panova
    Follow a photographer into the frightening universe of sleep paralysis.
    (USA, 3 MIN, excerpt)

    Unloved | Director: Nika Nikanava
    The story of three women coming to terms with having fathers who abandoned them.
    (USA, 11 MIN)

    The Rhythms | Director: Nika Nikanava
    In memoriam to a promising and well-loved filmmaker.
    (USA, 2 MIN)

    New York Film Academy congratulates the documentary filmmakers representing NYFA at this year’s DOC NYC and is elated to see their important work being appreciated!

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    November 7, 2019 • Documentary Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 625

  • Short Film Associate Produced by New York Film Academy (NYFA) Student Aya Hamdan Competes at Sundance

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    Dunya’s Day, a satirical short film tackling class privilege and associate produced by current New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary student Aya Hamdan, is premiering at this year’s Sundance Film Festival as part of its international shorts competition. The film is notable for its all-female, Saudi cast, who give complex, layered performances that are generating a lot of buzz.

    The film, written and directed by Raed Alsemari, tells the story of Dunya, who struggles to throw the perfect graduation party after she’s abandoned by her domestic help. The film already has the honor of being the first Saudi film to have its premiere in Saudi Arabia, with an IMAX screening at the Vox Cinema at Riyadh Park organized by the General Culture Authority, represented by the Saudi Film Council.

    Aya Hamdan Dunya's Day

    Hamdan first attended NYFA’s 1-week Filmmaking workshop before enrolling in the Academy’s Documentary Filmmaking 1-year conservatory in New York City, where she is being prepared by professional, distinguished faculty members for the practical challenges, opportunities, and realities that arise when creating documentary films.

    Hamdan is grateful for the support she has received from the Documentary school staff while working on Dunya’s Day. She tells NYFA, “I want to thank Andrea, Tracie, Joao, Claudia, and Maxine for all of their support.”

    As part of her curriculum, Hamdan is working on several documentary shorts, including a social issue film and a thesis film that she will shoot in her home country, the Kingdom of Bahrain. She also plans on working with Alsemari on his next film, possibly a feature set in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 

    “He has the creativity and drive to positively influence the perception of Arab women in the media,” Hamdan says of writer/director Raed Alsemari. She adds, “I am truly thankful and proud to be part of this journey. I love this film and what it represents not only for Saudi Arabian cinema but for cinema across the Middle East. I can’t wait for it to be shared with a wider audience; it touches on a universal topic that anyone can relate to, but through the stories of the fierce women of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.”

    Aya Hamdan Dunya's Day

    Hamdan served as associate producer on Dunya’s Day. In addition to Alsemari, the crew includes Sarah Elnawasrah as producer, Oliver Theurillat as director of photography, and Tamara Kalo as production designer, and stars Sara Balghonaim, Rahaf Bazian, and Ayah Bazian. 

    The first screening of Dunya’s Day at Sundance is Thursday, January 24, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. at Prospector Square Theater. 

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Documentary Filmmaking student Aya Hamdan on the Sundance premiere of Dunya’s Day and looks forward to following her work as she completes her studies!

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    January 23, 2019 • Documentary Filmmaking, Film Festivals, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1439