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  • 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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  • Summer 2020 Film Festivals Recap

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    New York Film Academy students & alumni had an extraordinary summer, full of online streaming premieres.

    Join us in celebrating some of them by watching our Summer 2020 Film Festival Recap below or read more about them by clicking here.

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  • NYFA Screenwriting Alum Miguel Ángel Parra’s Enjoys Successful Festival Run With Screenplay ‘The Pink House’

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    We hear it all the time, “write what you know.” As a journalist, Spanish native Miguel Ángel Parra was all too familiar with that phrase and went from applying it to his work as a journalist to becoming a screenwriter writing stories that reflect pockets of his own life. 

    After he lost his job in January 2019, Parra realized it was time to make his dreams come true and focus solely on screenwriting. He also credits the many “voices that have been silenced along the way throughout history” to being the driving force behind wanting to make people listen to those stories as a screenwriter. 

    Enrolling in the 8-Week Screenwriting program at NYFA finally allowed Parra to learn how to improve crafting the structure of his scripts and how to write better dialogue for his characters, crediting instructor Dennis Green as being the driving force behind learning new techniques.

    While studying at NYFA, Parra wrote his screenplay for The Pink House, which has since gone on to win screenplay contests in the Madrid International Film Festival (2020), the LGBTQ Toronto  Film Festival (2020), the All Genre Screenplay Contest (sponsored by Amazon, 2020), and become a semi-finalist in the Nashville International Film Festival (2020). 

    “It [The Pink House] is my first feature film script and I wrote it in English! When I came back to Spain, I translated it into Spanish and rewrote it several times,” shared Parra. “During the quarantine, I finished it and translated into English again in order to be able to submit to international competitions.” 

    NYFA screenwriting alum Miguel Ángel Parra

    The Pink House is a dramedy that, while humorous, is also a story about the abandonment suffered by LGBTI seniors. “The young activists who fought for the LGBT rights in the late 70s in Spain are nowadays men and women in their 70s and 8os and most of them don’t have a home to live in, as they were rejected by their families or have lost their couples,” explained Parra about his award-winning script. 

    “It is a story that needs to be told. In my country we lived 40 years of dictatorship, with a hard repression on these people, so I felt that I HAD to thank them for their fight somehow because, thanks to them, we have the rights we have right now.”

    Parra hopes that audiences, especially the younger generation, will be able understand that the story is about having the rights and freedoms of today “because someone fought for them.” Since Parra has submitted his script to multiple festivals and competitions, he has received incredible notoriety and shared that the positive response is overwhelming.

    “Being my first feature film script, it is quite exciting to see that people (and jurys) like it. It’s been an honor to see The Pink House selected at the Nashville Film Festival Screenwriting Competition and reaching the semifinals, or being one of the Best Unproduced Scripts at Madrid International Film Festival, or seeing my script published and sold on Amazon thanks to the All Genre Screenplay Contest. I never imagined something like this would happen. “

    As for what’s next for the newly minted screenwriter, Parra’s upcoming short film The Eternal Angels was shot in August and is expected to premiere at the Seville European Film Festival in November. Parra also revealed he recently wrote a play that he hopes will open in January a TV pilot called The Golden Boys, a renewed, gay remix of the popular TV show The Golden Girls, which has already shown interest with a production company.

    Miguel Ángel Parra on set for ‘The Eternal Angels’

    New York Film Academy would like to thank Screenwriting alum Miguel Ángel Parra for taking the time to share his journey on writing his first feature film script and the importance of telling the stories of those who have been silent for a long time. NYFA looks forward to seeing what is next from Parra and wishes him the best on his upcoming short film The Eternal Angels.

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    October 7, 2020 • Film Festivals, Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1477

  • NYFA AFA Filmmaking Alum Nick Venuti Screens Film ‘Buffalo Scientists’ at Dances With Films Festival

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    In a classic case of “write what you know,” recent alum Nick Venuti, from the Fall 2018 AFA Filmmaking class, drew from his past when developing ideas for his thesis film, Buffalo Scientists. “Thinking about what it would be like if two of my childhood friends attempted some big crazy thing and picturing how it would play out” was his inspiration. “They always had big imaginations and typically don’t think things through,” Venuti said, ”so I thought it would make an entertaining movie. From there, I just started thinking, how could I turn it up a notch? What if the clerk (main character) was our favorite high school math teacher, Mr. Hughes?” 

    The result is Buffalo Scientists, a quirky dark comedy, that had its world premiere at the Dances with Films festival in Los Angeles on August 28, 2020.  Director of NYFA’s Film Festival Department, Crickett Rumley, caught up with Nick to talk about the film right after his first screening and before his second with the well-known indie festival. 

    Crickett Rumley (CR): Congratulations on getting into Dances With Films!  Tell us a little bit more about your film. 

    Nick Venuti (NV): Buffalo Scientists is a comedy about an ex-history teacher named Bill Peterson. Bill works at a convenience store in Sacramento run by his egotistical manager, Carl. After Carl leaves for the night, 2 masked men, Jeremy and Alan, enter to rob the store. During the robbery they recognize Bill as their former high school history teacher. After reminiscing about the past, Bill decides to join the boys on an adventure into the night.  

    CR: And what a bizarre adventure it is.  It must have been so much fun to direct.  What was your favorite thing about directing it?

    NV: It was the first film that I felt like I was really the director. I had such an amazing team with me on set that for the first time ever I didn’t feel like I had to micromanage every aspect of production. I could focus solely on directing. I got to spend so much more time with the actors than I ever have. I love doing almost everything on set, but it was so cool to experience being just the director for once. 

    Film poster for ‘Buffalo Scientists’

    CR: Did you experience any challenges in making the film? 

    NV: I think the most challenging part for me, and for a lot of people is the final 5% of post-production; when the energy and excitement of being on set and seeing the first cut is over. It is hard to work in that final stretch where you have already seen the film 50+ times and you still need to watch it two or three times a day just to clean up all the small glitches and hiccups. You start to fall out of love with the film a little bit after seeing it so many times. After crossing the finish line, all the fun comes back with festivals and showing people for the first time, but the hardest part is definitely locking the film. 

    CR: I agree. I think all artists get tired of their work at some point, and that’s when you have to dig in even deeper.  What was your biggest takeaway from making the film? 

    NV: I learned how awesome it is to have a producer helping. I could not have done it to this scale if I didn’t have my producer (and NYFA Alumni) Andrew Reyna. I handled all the paperwork and logistics for my previous films, so I didn’t realize how much a great producer frees you up to focus on the creative aspects until this project. 

    CR: Let’s back up a little. How and when did you decide to go into film?  

    NV: I am from Binghamton, a city in upstate New York. I started looking into film when I had a stop motion project in high school. I loved directing and writing the project so much that I took some film courses at my local community college. My teacher saw I was really passionate about the subject, so he recruited me to drive down to the Everglades to work on a project for the school. I had to live in a tent for two weeks as we had to shoot a documentary for a local news station. At this point I still barely knew how to turn on a camera, but I loved every second of it. When I got back, I started looking for film schools. I knew I wanted to try and make a career in film, so I began looking for a school that could help me do just that. I discovered the New York Film Academy, went to New York to check it out and knew it was the place for me. I went to the New York City campus for the first year and liked it so much I decided to do my second year at the LA campus. 

    CR: Do you think your education at NYFA and the work you did here prepared you for a career in filmmaking? 

    NV: I think NYFA does an amazing job at throwing you straight into the deep end and just having you try to see what you can do. I believe just two months in we already had four films under our belts. This made it so easy to experiment and try things that I would never have done otherwise. We just constantly had to make new films and got to see what worked and what didn’t. It was tough making a new film every week but it was essential in helping me to build my own style and voice. 

    Nick Venuti on set with actors

    CR: Do you have any special shout-outs to faculty or staff who helped or inspired you? 

    NV: There were so many teachers that helped and inspired me: Lea Brandenburg, Ben Cohen, Brad Sample, Joe Burke, Crickett Rumley, and Richard D’Angelo all impacted me more than they could ever know. There are many more but those in particular stood out. 

    CR: Thanks for the shout-out!  Much appreciated.  So, this is your first film festival with Buffalo Scientists, and Dances with Films is such a great place to get started.  What has it been like to work with them? 

    NV: Dances with Films has been absolutely amazing. The festival has to be online this year due to COVID-19, but they are working as hard as they can to get it as close to the real thing as possible. They have virtual lounges and panels, and everything is live. It all helps it to still feel special even though we can’t experience being in Los Angeles and in the theater. Dances with Films has gone above and beyond with this as an online festival. 

    CR: What were you looking forward to about your screening? 

    NV: Before the virus, I was really looking forward to finally sharing the film with everyone in The Chinese Theater on the big screen and getting to meet the other amazing filmmakers in our block. Unfortunately, the whole festival went online, so that dampened the excitement a little, but it still was a pretty cool feeling knowing that lots of people from all over the world were watching. 

    CR: You moved back to New York after finishing your degree at the LA campus. What are you up to these days? 

    NV: I’ve been keeping busy since getting out of school. I have directed a few local commercials, was DP for a feature film in January, shot a couple music videos for local artists, and I have been getting consistent editing work on the side. Currently, SUNY Broome hired me to direct and shoot virtual field trips for the college and I have been working on scripts for future projects. I am also waiting to see how Buffalo Scientists does in festivals and if there is any interest in a feature version of the film. 

    CR: Back to Dances With Films, when is your next screening and where can we get tickets? 

    NV: We have another screening on Saturday September 5 at 11:15 pm PDT. You can get tickets for the Midnight Shorts block here.

    CR: Is there anything else we should know about the screening? 

    NV: Although our film is a comedy, I want to mention that we are placed in the comedy/horror section of the festival, so some of the films in our shorts block can be very dark and violent. 

    CR: Definitely one for the late night crowd!  Congratulations again, Nick.  Enjoy that next screening.

     Nick Venuti’s film, Buffalo Scientists, will screen a second time on Saturday, September 5, 2020 at 11:15 p.m. PT. For tickets and more information, click here.

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    September 3, 2020 • Film Festivals, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1259

  • Film Festivals Success of the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Community

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    Each year, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) community–including our students, alumni, and faculty–find a great deal of success on the film festival circuit, including fests around the globe like the Venice Film Festival, Berlinale, and Sundance.

    Here are some of the proud achievements the NYFA community has made on the festival circuit:

    AFI LATIN AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL

    Elizabeth Grimaldo Associate of Fine Arts (AFA) – Los Angeles Alum Algo Azul 2021  Official Selection

    ALEXANDRA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

    Mohamed Maged 1-Week Filmmaking – NYC Alum Cricket Liu 2019  Jury Award Winner – Best Short Film

    AMERICAN DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL (AmDocs)

    Julia Cheng 1-Year Documentary Filmmaking – NYC Alum Cricket Liu 2019 Winner – Best International Short Documentary

    ATLANTA FILM FESTIVAL

    Meshal Al Jaser BFA Screenwriting – LA Alum Arabian Alien 2020 Winner – Best Narrative

    ARIZONA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

    Sara Seligman 2-Year Filmmaking – NYC Alum Kosnin 2017 Winner – Special Jury Award

    BARCELONA FILM FESTIVAL

    Sara Seligman 2-Year Filmmaking – NYC Alum Diego 2014 Golden Lion Award – Short Film Category

    BEIJING DOCUMENTARY WEEK

    Bill Einreinhofer Broadcast Journalism – NYC Faculty Chair Century Masters – Mei Lanfang 2021  Official Selection
    Zi Xiang & José Val Bal MFA Filmmaking – LA Alum A Dog Barking at the Moon 2019 Nominee – GWFF Best First Feature Award – Panorama

    BIG SKY DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL

    Mollie Moore 1-Year Documentary Filmmaking – NYC Alum A Word Away 2020 Official Selection

    BLACK STAR INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

    Felipe Araujo 8-Week Filmmaking – NYC Alum Glass Man 2019 Official Selection

    BUSAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

    Farkhat Sharipov 4-Week Filmmaking – LA Alum The Secret of a Leader 2019 World Premiere

    CAMDEN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 

    Mollie Moore 1-Year Documentary Filmmaking – NYC Alum A Word Away 2019 Official Selection

    CANNES INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL – MARCHÉ DU FILM

    Bill Einreinhofer Broadcast Journalism – NYC Faculty Chair Invisible Love 2020 Official Selection

    CANNES INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL – SHORT FILM PALME D’OR

    Marija Apcevska MA Film and Media Production – LA Alum Severen Pol (North Pole) 2021 Official Selection

    CINEMALAYA FILM FESTIVAL

    Tim Muñoz 1-Week Acting for Film Alum Don Filipo 2021 Official Selection

    COLUMBIA GORGE FILM FESTIVAL

    Galo Semblantes MFA Filmmaking Alum Oblivion 2011 Official Selection

    CYRUS INTERNATIONAL MONTHLY FESTIVAL OF TORONTO

    Kartik Venkatraman 1-Year Filmmaking – NYC Student Tehravin 2020 Official Selection

    DANCES WITH FILMS FESTIVAL

    Nick Venuti

    AFA Filmmaking – LA Alum Buffalo Scientists 2020 Official Selection

    DOC NYC

    Kuldeep Sah Gangola 1-Year Documentary NYC Alum Ghost Villages of the Himalayas 2019 Official Selection
    Serena Smith 1-Year Documentary NYC Alum My Dad Vernon 2019 Official Selection
    Lucia Florez MFA Documentary LA; 1-Year Documentary NYC Alum Mamá 2019 Official Selection
    Nancy Dionne 1-Year Documentary; 6-Week Documentary NYC Alum All I See Is the Future 2019 Official Selection
    Mollie Moore 1-Year Documentary NYC Alum A Word Away 2019 Official Selection
    Joe Cleary 1-Year Documentary NYC Alum Get It 2019 Official Selection
    Carolina Gonzales 1-Year Documentary; 6-Week Documentary NYC Alum B-city 2019 Official Selection
    Aya Hamdan 1-Year Documentary; 1-Week Filmmaking NYC Student Baladna 2019 Official Selection
    Anna Panova 1-Year Documentary NYC Alum Epiales 2019 Official Selection
    Nika Nikanava 1-Year Documentary NYC Alum Unloved; The Rhythms 2019 Official Selection
    Mollie Moore 1-Year Documentary NYC Alum A Word Away 2019 Official Selection

    DTLA FILM FESTIVAL

    Janek Ambros MFA Producing Alum Mondo Hollywoodland 2021 Best Director

    DUMBO FILM FESTIVAL

    Blanche Baker NYC  – Acting for Film Faculty Make America Safe 2020 Semi-Finalist

    FANTASTIC FEST

    Alberto Trezza NYFA-LA Screenwriting Faculty We Summon the Darkness 2019 Official Selection

    FFTG FILM FEST

    Themo Melikidze 1-Year Conservatory Acting for Film – NYC Alum Hamlet/Horatio 2020

    Jury Choice Award – Best Feature Film

    Andrew Burdette 2-Year Conservatory Acting for Film – NYC Alum Hamlet/Horatio 2020 Jury Choice Award – Best Feature Film
    Paul Warner Acting Instructor – NYC Instructor Hamlet/Horatio 2020 Jury Choice Award – Best Feature Film
    David Vando Former Acting Instructor – NYC Instructor Hamlet/Horatio 2020 Jury Choice Award – Best Feature Film

    GÄSSLI FILM FESTIVAL

    Giacun Caduff 8-Week Filmmaking NYC Alum n/a 2009 Founder

    GLOBAL IMPACT FILM FESTIVAL

    Blanche Baker NYC  – Acting for Film Faculty Make America Safe 2020 Official Selection – Social Relations Documentaries & Narratives

    HEARTLAND FILM FESTIVAL

    Prarthana Mohan NYFA-Los Angeles Faculty The MisEducation of Bindu 2019 Winner – Indiana Spotlight Award for Best Director
    Ed Timpe NYFA-LA Filmmaking Faculty The MisEducation of Bindu 2019 Official Selection

    HOLLYWOOD GOLD AWARDS

    Rajni Chamaraj MA Film & Media Production – LA Alum The Day I Met Joshua 202o Winner
    Israa Al-Kamali MFA Filmmaking LA Student Founder 2020 Founder
    Jameelah Rose Lineses 1 Year Filmmaking Conservatory – NYC Alumni Atareek 2019 Best Cinematography Award

    INTERNATIONAL INDEPENDENT FILM AWARDS

    Ling Zhu and Zhiyuan Duan MA Film and Media Production; BFA Acting for Film – LA Alumni Song of Love 2021 Gold Winner

    KANSAS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

    Mohamed Maged 1-Week Filmmaking – NYC Alum Cricket Liu 2019  Official Selection

    KCET FINE CUT FESTIVAL OF FILMS

    Yueh-Tzu Sun BFA Filmmaking – Los Angeles Alum A-Tien 2020 Winner – Jack Larson Southern California Filmmaker Award

    LGBTQ TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL

    Miguel Ángel Parra 8-Week Screenwriting – NYC Alum The Pink House 2020 Winner – Screenplay Contest

    LOS ANGELES DIVERSITY FILM FESTIVAL

    Galo Semblantes MFA Filmmaking Alum Project Heaven 2014 Official Selection

    LULEA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

    Tim Muñoz 1-Week Acting for Film Alum Don Filipo 2021 Winner – Best LGBT Film

    LUNAFEST

    Crickett Rumley NYFA – Los Angeles Director, Film Festivals n/a 2019 Moderator

    KEY WEST FILM FESTIVAL

    Steven Wieclaw  MFA Filmmaking – South Beach Alum Nonstop 2020 Official Selection – World Comedy Shorts

    MABIG FILM FESTIVAL

    Tim Muñoz 1-Week Acting for Film Alum Don Filipo 2021 Winner – Best LGBT Film

    MADRID INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

    Miguel Ángel Parra 8-Week Screenwriting – NYC Alum The Pink House 2020 Winner – Screenplay Contest

    MANCHESTER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (MANIFF)

    Mark O’Connor 6-Week Filmmaking Workshop – NYC Alum Cardboard Gangsters 2017 Winner – Best Feature Film; Film of the Festival; Best Actor; Outstanding Director; Outstanding Screenplay; Outstanding Cinematography

    MIAMI FILM FESTIVAL

    Anastasia Kochetkova BFA Acting for Film & MFA Filmmaking – South Beach Alum Late Again Ana 2019 Official Selection – Cinemaslam
    Braulio Jatar & Anaïs Michel 6-Week Documentary Filmmaking Workshop – NYC
    1-Year Documentary Filmmaking – NYC
    Alum Where Chaos Reigns 2019 Honorable Mention – HBO Ibero-American Award

    MIAMI INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL

    Yulia Korotkova MFA Acting for Film – SoBe Alum Waters 2020 Official Selection
    Elaine Minionis 1-Year Documentary Filmmaking – NYC Alum

    Uncanny: The Dolls of Mariana Monteagudo

    2019 Winner – Best Documentary

    MOSCOW INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

    Farkhat Sharipov 4-Week Filmmaking – LA Alum The Secret of a Leader 2019 Grand Prix

    NASHVILLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

    Miguel Ángel Parra 8-Week Screenwriting – NYC Alum The Pink House 2020 Semifinalist – Screenwriting

    NATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL FOR TALENTED YOUTH

    Catalina Loret  BFA Filmmaking – LA Alum Flores Dentro 2020 Official Selection
    Matthew Avery Berg  Teen Filmmaking – LA Alum Accomplice 2020 Official Selection

    NEWPORT BEACH FILM FESTIVAL

    Mark O’Connor 6-Week Filmmaking Workshop – NYC Alum Cardboard Gangsters 2017 Winner – Best Foreign Film

    NEW WAVE SHORT FILM FESTIVAL

    Samantha Soule 4-Week Filmmaking & Cinematography Workshop – Online Alum Shed 2021 Women Empowerment Best Film Special Jury Selection

    NEW YORK FESTIVAL RADIO AWARDS

    Jean de Meuron 1-Year Cinematography – NYC Alum Blockbuster 2020 Winner – Best Mini Series
    Winner – Best Biography/Profile

    NEW YORK INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL

    Aakash Prabhakar 4-Week Filmmaking – NYC Alum Freddie’s Piano 2020 Official Selection

    NEW YORK LATINO FILM FESTIVAL

    Sara Seligman 2-Year Filmmaking – NYC Alum Coyote Lake 2019 Official Selection

    NEW YORK LIFT-OFF FILM FESTIVAL

    Kartik Venkatraman 1-Year Filmmaking – NYC Student Tehravin 2020 Official Selection
    Jia Wertz 6-Week Documentary Filmmaking – NYC Alum Conviction 2020 Official Selection

    NFMLA ANNUAL LATINX AND HISPANIC EVENT

    Maria Fernanda Belmar MFA Filmmaking – Los Angeles Student Undocumented 2020 Official Selection

    NORDIC INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (NIFF)

    Linnea Larsdotter & Johan Matton 2-Year Musical Theatre – NYC & Alum: 2-Year Acting for Film; 2-Day Line Producing – NYC Alum n/a 2015 – Present Founders
    Michael Young NYFA President n/a 2019 Award Presenter

    NÒT FILM FESTIVAL

    Silvia Susanna 8-Week Filmmaking – NYC Alum Normality 2020 Official Selection

    PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

    Meshal Al Jaser BFA Screenwriting – LA Alum Arabian Alien 2020 Official Selection

    PAN AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL

    Edrei Hutson MFA Filmmaking – LA Alum Sisters 2020 Official Selection

    PARIS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

    Bill Einreinhofer Broadcast Journalism – NYC Faculty Chair Invisible Love 2021 Winner – Best Narrative Feature Film

    PEMBROKE TAPARELLI FILM FESTIVAL

    Blanche Baker NYC  – Acting for Film Faculty Make America Safe 2020 Official Selection

    PBS SHORT FILM FESTIVAL

    Drama del Rosario MFA Documentary Filmmaking Alum In This Family 2020 Official Selection; Juried Prize

    PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL

    Cleavandor Vandorn Wright BFA Acting for Film – South Beach Student True Romance Revamped 2017 Offical Selection

    RAINBOW CINEMA AWARDS LGBT FILM FESTIVAL

    Kai Kaldro 1-Year Filmmaking – NYC Student Sinner’s lullaby 2020 Semi-Finalist

    RINCON INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

    Dr. Ariel Lopez 1-Week Acting for Film Workshop – LA Alum 2ḦOOM 2020 Official Selection

    RIVER TO RIVER FLORENCE INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL

    Aastha Verma MFA Filmmaking – LA Alum The Last Rights 2020 Official Selection

    SAN DIEGO ITALIAN FILM FESTIVAL 

    Eleonora Privitera 1-Year Documentary Filmmaking – NYC Alum Queenz of The Night 2019 Official Selection
    Eleonora Privitera 1-Year Documentary Filmmaking – NYC Alum Rebirth 2020 Silver Award

    SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

    Drama del Rosario MFA Documentary Filmmaking Alum In This Family 2020 Jury Winner – Golden Gate Award for Best Short Documentary

    SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL NEW CONCEPT FESTIVAL

    Mohamed Maged 1-Week Filmmaking – NYC Alum Cricket Liu 2019  Official Selection

    SAN LUIS OBISPO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

    Meital Cohen Navarro MFA Filmmaking – LA Alum Over My Dead Body 2021  Winner – George Sidney Independent Film Competition for Best Narrative Short Film

    SAN SEBASTIAN FILM FESTIVAL 

    Pedro Peira MFA Documentary – LA Alum Camí Lliure (Free Way) 2020 Official Selection

    SANTA BARBARA FILM FESTIVAL

    Orso Miyakawa & Andrey Nuzhnyy BFA Filmmaking – LA Alum Easy Living 2019 Official Selection

    SCOTTSDALE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

    Somasekhar Kovvuri  4-Week Filmmaking – NYC Alum Freddie’s Piano 2020 Official Selection
    Aakash Prabhakar 4-Week Filmmaking – NYC Alum Freddie’s Piano 2020 Official Selection

    SHANGHAI Film Festival FILM FESTIVAL

    Janek Ambros MA Producing Alum Since August 2022 Competed – Golden Goblet

    ShorTS International Film Festival

    Bob Ahmed Filmmaking Alum Tikkun Olam 2021 Winner – Best Short Film 

    SOUTHERN SHORTS AWARDS

    Ling Zhu and Zhiyuan Duan MA Film and Media Production; BFA Acting for Film – LA Alumni Song of Love 2021 Winner – Winter 2021 Southern Shorts Award

    STOCKHOLM CITY FILM FESTIVAL

    Tim Muñoz 1-Week Acting for Film Alum Don Filipo 2021 Winner – Best LGBT Film

    STUDENT ACADEMY AWARDS

    Phyllis Tam  MFA Filmmaking – LA Alum Fragile Moon 2020 Finalist – Narrative (Domestic Schools)
    Kaiyi Niu BFA Filmmaking – LA Alum Way Out 2021 Semi-finalist

    SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

    Meshal Al Jaser BFA Screenwriting – LA Alum Arabian Alien 2020 Nominated – Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Film
    Aya Hamdan 1-Week Filmmaking & 1-Year Documentary Filmmaking – NYC Student Dunya’s Day 2019 Winner – Short Film Jury Award for International Fiction
    Anna Solano & Qianying Zhou 1-Year Cinematography NYC & BFA Filmmaking LA Alumni The Farewell 2019 Nominated – Grand Jury Prize Drama
    Akinola Davies Jr. 8-Week Filmmaking – NYC Alum Lizard 2019 Winner – Short Film Grand Jury Prize

    TAMPA BAY UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL

    Yulia Korotkova MFA Acting for Film – SoBe Alum Waters 2020 Official Selection

    TORINO FILM FESTIVAL

    Orso Miyakawa & Andrey Nuzhnyy BFA Filmmaking – LA Alum Easy Living 2019 Official Selection

    TORONTO INTERNATIONAL NOLLYWOOD FESTIVAL

    Donald A. Eferere (EAD, the Creator) 1-Year Filmmaking – NYC Alum Dari Ji Mi 2020 Best Short Film

    TRIESTE SCIENCE+FICTION FESTIVAL

    Alessandro Marcon 1-Year Filmmaking – LA Alum Anemone 2020 Official Selection

    UK JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL

    Leroy Button Diploma of Screen and Media – Filmmaking Alum Sense 2015 Best Student Film, Runner Up; Best Film; Winner – Audience Choice Award

    UNDERSTORY FILM FESTIVAL

    Meital Cohen Navarro

    MFA Filmmaking – LA Alum Over My Dead Body 2020 Official Selection

    URUVATTI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

    Tim Muñoz 1-Week Acting for Film Alum Don Filipo 2021 Winner – Best International Feature Film

    VENICE FILM FESTIVAL

    Craig Caton 3D Animation & VFX – Los Angeles Faculty Chair n/a 2019 Taught Master Classes as part of the fest
    Shahad Ameen 1-Year Screenwriting – New York Alum Scales 2019 Nominated – Critics Week Luigi De Laurentiis Award for Debut Film
    Li Cheng 4-Week Filmmaking – New York Alum José 2018 Winner – Queer Lion Award

    VENICE SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL

    Kai Kaldro  1-Year Filmmaking – NYC Student Sinner’s Lullaby 2020 Official Selection
    Kartik Venkatraman  1-Year Filmmaking – NYC Student Tehravin 2020 Official Selection

    VISIONS DU RÉEL FILM FESTIVAL

    Francesca Mazzoleni 4-Week Music Video Workshop Alum Puntasacra 2020 ‘Sesterce d’or la Mobilière’ (Best Feature Film)

    X WORLD FILM FESTIVAL

    Blanche Baker NYC  – Acting for Film Faculty Make America Safe 2019 Winner – Best International Short Winner – Best Original Music

    YELLOWKNIFE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

    Rajni Chamaraj

    MA Film and Media Production – LA

    Alum Let’s Pretend I’m Talking About You 2020 Winner – Audience Choice Award

    YONKERS FILM FESTIVAL

    Daniel Pradilla De Bedout

    1-Year Cinematography – LA

    Alum The Day I Met Joshua 2020 Official Selection

    ZED FEST FILM FESTIVAL

    Jessica Coro

    BFA Filmmaking – LA Alum Planet I.X. 2020 Official Selection

     

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    October 18, 2019 • Community Highlights, Film Festivals • Views: 2963

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Producing Students Aliza Jafri and Jon Legarda Win LA Live Score Film Festival

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA in Producing student Aliza Jafri and 1-Year Producing student Jon Legarda won big at this year’s Los Angeles Live Score Film Festival, coming away with both Best Film and Best Composer. The two students teamed up to produce documentary short A Deep Breath, which focuses on freediving as a place of solace from stress and the emotions tied into being far from home.

    LA Live Score Film Festival 2019

    The Los Angeles Live Score Film Festival is in its sixth year and featured selected works from local film schools that were paired with professional composers to create original scores. The films were screened on July 22 at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, with their new scores performed live by renowned performance and recording ensemble Helix Collective.

    The film was curated for the festival by Crickett Rumley, Director of the NYFA Los Angeles Film Festival Department, after a rigorous school-wide competition. “When I first heard about Jon and Aliza’s project, I thought it was incredibly ambitious and wondered how they could possibly meet the deadline,” says Rumley.

    She adds, “Then I saw the rough cut and knew immediately it would be a festival hit. The freediving is so peaceful and beautiful, and the interviews with Jon and his mother are incredibly charming. I look forward to seeing where the film goes next.”

    Jafri and Legarda’s hard work paid off: “It was an amazing feeling because all the late nights staying up editing and trying to push this movie out by the deadline of this festival were really hard,” says the filmmaker. “It gave us a chance to collaborate with a composer and see how that whole process works from beginning to end. It was an amazing experience to see how Cali Wang, the composer, brought life to our film with the score she composed.”

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    August 2, 2019 • Film Festivals, Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2121

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Screenwriting Alum David Barbeschi Nominated to Popular Austin Revolution Film Festival

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    David Barbeschi has been racking up plenty of festival selections since earning his MFA in Screenwriting from New York Film Academy (NYFA). Most recently, his thesis pilot script Odysseus was nominated to the Austin Revolution Film Festival, an industry favorite fest that is ranked best on FilmFreeway.

    Odysseus is a television pilot developed by Barbeschi as part of the MFA in Screenwriting program at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus. The script is a sequel to the Ancient Greek poem by Homer, The Odyssey. The screenplay expands the mythology of the classic epic and follows Homer’s titular character Odysseus, now past his prime, as he sets sail for Central America to save his estranged son. He soon finds out that the gods he’d challenged in Greece are nothing compared to the ones to the west.David Barbeschi

    “The idea is to rediscover lesser known myths from other cultures,” explains Barbeschi, “through the lens of a more popular mythological character. For example, at some point, Odysseus will have to face off against the Mayan Gods.” In addition to the Austin Revolution Film Festival, Odysseus was also selected for  the Finish Line Script Competition.

    Barbeschi has also been finding success with his Feature 2 script, White Crow, which focuses on an agoraphobic woman who must guide her blind brother to a safe house through a dystopian city. To date, White Crow has been selected in several festivals, including the Nashville Film Festival Screenwriting Contest, and was just nominated at the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards.

    Both scripts are personal to Barbeschi. “Something I’ve learned at NYFA,” he says, “which I applied when writing Odysseus and White Crow, was ‘write what you like, instead of what you think others will like.’

    “I started out as a producer before coming to NYFA,” he continues, “so whatever I wrote, I wrote solely because of its supposed commercial value, despite not liking the genre or the themes. Ironically, the only projects of mine that have really shown any kind of success are the ones where I took my teachers’ advice and focused on writing good and entertaining stories which I was passionate about.”
    David Barbeschi

    Barbeschi is working as a freelance screenwriter and development producer and is currently juggling over 10 different projects, including a short entitled Off-Road that he wrote and produced; the project is also gaining traction in the festival circuit. Additionally, Barbeschi is working on adapting White Crow into an animated short film.

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Screenwriting alum David Barbeschi on the festival successes of his multiple projects and looks forward to following his endeavors as he continues his filmmaking “odyssey!”

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    July 19, 2019 • Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1992

  • New York FIlm Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Swati Chugh Finds Success With ‘New Heaven’

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    New Heaven, the final film project of New York Film Academy (NYFA) 4-Week Filmmaking Workshop alum Swati Chugh, has been steadily amassing awards since recently entering the international festival circuit. Swati Chugh - New Heaven

    Chugh is originally from India and made the film in April 2019 as part of graduating the 4-week Filmmaking Workshop at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus. New Heaven is about a middle-aged woman who is struggling to come to terms with aging and mortality. The film explores how she finds fulfillment while dealing with the memories of her younger days.

    “As a filmmaker,” Chugh tells NYFA, “I want to tell stories that bring hope and inspiration to the audience. If I manage to touch hearts and inspire people to view things differently, I believe my purpose is met. New Heaven is one such story … Age is a factor that affects us all and many times we tend to get stuck in the past on how we used to look earlier versus how we look like now … The story shows [the protagonist’s] struggles, conflict, and journey towards getting her self-worth back.”

    Since entering the festival circuit, New Heaven has won:

    Best Silent Film – Crownwood International Film Festival, India
    Best Silent Film – Druk International Film Festival, Bhutan
    Best Super Short Film – Five Continents Film Festival, Venezuela
    Special Mention Editing Short Film – Five Continents Film Festival, Venezuela
    Semifinalist for Best Writer – AltFF Alternative Film Festival, Canada
    Semifinalist for Best Actress – AltFF Alternative Film Festival Canada
    Official Selection – Florence Film Awards, Italy
    Official Selection – CKF International Film Festival, UK
    Official Selection – Berlin Flash Film Festival, Germany

    The film was a collaboration between multiple New York Film Academy alumni, including co-star Omega Melhem (8-Week Acting for Film), actor and director of photography Jialu Liu, (4-Week Filmmaking), and assistant camera Matias Alvarado (4-Week Filmmaking). Chugh praised both her cast and crew as well as the NYFA faculty who helped teach her the filmmaking craft.

    “The filmmaking course at NYFA was beyond what I had expected,” adds Chugh. “It was a fast-paced course, but that is what made it so exciting.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA Filmmaking alum Swati Chugh on the growing list of accolades for New Heaven and wishes her ongoing success as she continues her filmmaking endeavors.

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    July 18, 2019 • Film Festivals, Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 3232

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Students & Alumni Screen at 2019 Los Angeles Live Score Film Festival

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    This spring, four New York Film Academy (NYFA) students and alumni had the opportunity to collaborate on their films with professional composers through a partnership with the Los Angeles Live Score Film Festival. After being selected through a rigorous school competition, students Ion Legarda, Aliza Jaffri, and Jonathan Samukange, and alum Savannah Sivert were matched with professional composers who then wrote scores for their films.

    Since the dawn of the silent film era, music has played a critical role in cinematic storytelling. It accentuates emotion, sets a tone, and underscores conflict. Filmmakers work closely with their composers to create the right sound for their films. For these filmmakers just beginning their careers, the chance to have professionals score their films is a fantastic opportunity.

    On Saturday, July 20, they will have the once-in-a-lifetime experience of watching their films on the big screen at the Barnsdall Art Gallery Theater while the orchestra Helix Collective plays the new composed score live. 

    NYFA caught up with the filmmakers ahead of the Live Score Film Festival and asked them about their experiences working with their composers.

    Ion Legarda (Spring 2019 1-Year Producing) & Aliza Jafri (Spring 2019 MFA Producing)

    Title of Film: A Deep Breath
    Composer: Cali Wang
    Genre: Documentary
    Logline: After relocating to the United States, Ion Legarda uses his passion for free diving to cope with the stresses of starting a new life, taking us with him on an exploration of the magnificent world that exists underwater.

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): Tell us about your film.  

    Ion Legarda & Aliza Jafri (IL/AJ): We were building this movie around having beautiful cinematic underwater shots to take the crowd with the free diver to show the peaceful magnificent world under the surface. We had only one day on a boat with the underwater camera operator, the crew, and equipment. We prepared everything, even went to sleep on the boat.

    When the day came, Aliza, the director, together with the two co-producers and the person who was supposed to be our underwater camera operator got SEASICK. So, Isaac and Ion, the free divers, had to learn how to operate the underwater camera, and shoot all the footage by themselves. Because they weren’t exactly experienced, we had to find diving archival footage from Ion’s past. Most of the underwater footage in the movie was not shot intentionally for this film.

    NYFA: What has it been like to work with your composer?

    (IL/AJ): It was our first time. Cali is a very talented composer and made it really easy on us. After sending her a few examples and references, she knew exactly what we were looking for, and sent us revisions every week or two for us to give her corrections. Everything worked easily and smoothly.

    NYFA: What have you learned in this process?

    (IL/AJ): That communication and setting expectations in the beginning is the key to good work with a composer.

    NYFA: What are you looking forward to in the live screening?

    (IL/AJ): To hear Cali’s score being played live while our movie is on the screen.

    Live Score Film Festival

    Jonathan Samukange (Summer 2019 BFA Filmmaking)

    Title of Film: Honest
    Composer: Michael Paraskevas
    Genre: Drama
    Logline: When adolescence hits, a stubborn young man must choose to listen to his father’s wisdom or risk it all to find his own path.

    NYFA: Tell us about your film.

    Jonathan Samukange (JS):
    What’s special about this movie is that it’s crewed and cast by first-time filmmakers. Most of the people in this film had never seen a film camera before in their lives. That’s special. I traveled all the way home to Zimbabwe to film it. At first, I had two months to prepare, but my visit was cut short by unexpected events. I was left with just six days to write, cast, crew, find locations and equipment.

    I almost quit as the stress increased, but I couldn’t. You can’t quit just because it’s hard or no one believes in you. I looked like a wacko jacko making this movie. No one understood why I was driving up and down the place like a crazy man, but I did. That’s all that mattered. When no one understands you, don’t be discouraged by it. Embrace it. You’ll be surprised what you find on the other side.

    NYFA: What has it been like to work with your composer?

    JS: My composer was chosen for me, and what a fine choice Michael Paraskevas was. From the moment we met, it felt like we’ve always known each other—we just gelled. My vision for the score was simple. I asked Michael to put his heart and soul into it and to be inspired by what he sees, to follow his gut. He went for it. Freedom is at the heart of collaboration. When we give each other a chance to shine, the whole project benefits immensely.

    You must come to the screening to experience this magic with your friends and family. We would be honored to have you, and it will surely be a show to remember.

    Live Score Film Festival

    Savannah Sivert (Fall 2015 MFA Filmmaking)

    Title of Film: Siblings
    Genre: Drama
    Composer: Alex Robert Heinrich
    Logline: Three siblings must find a way to accept the death of their mother.

    NYFA: Tell us about your film.

    Savannah Sivert (SS): This film is heavy in the way that it is a personal reflection of the death of my mother, with the twist of what I wish my siblings and I would have done at her funeral reception. Two words: stink bomb. It’s drama that serves the point of view of a child amidst grief.

    NYFA: What has it been like to work with your composer?

    SS: The experience completely surpassed my expectations. Alex was so easy to work with and extremely knowledgeable. More often than not, Alex was finishing my sentences as we discussed the composition. He understood the tone of the film and truly enhanced what was important.

    NYFA: What have you learned in this process?

    I learned how refreshing post-production can be for a film. My collaboration with my composer has deepened my understanding of how to use music as a tool in storytelling.

    SS: What are you looking forward to in the live screening?

    I have absolutely never experienced a film of mine being screened while a live band plays the score. That’s a first for sure! My film has evolved into something else because of my collaboration with Alex Robert Heinrich. It will be the very first screening of what the film has developed into because of this process. I can’t wait to watch.

    Live Score Film Festival

    The New York Film Academy community is invited to attend the LA Live Score Film Festival this Saturday, July 20, 2019, from 6 – 10 p.m. at Barnsdall Art Park. To purchase tickets, please click here and use the code NYFA to get a $5 discount.

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    July 16, 2019 • Film Festivals, Filmmaking, Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2132

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA Filmmaking Alum Hani Alqattan Makes Award-Winning Film ‘Amal’

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    Amal, the award-winning film written and directed by BFA Filmmaking Alum Hani Alqattan, has been steadily picking up festival screenings as well winning Best Shorts Competition.Hani Alqattan Amal

    Alqattan always had a general interest in film, which he eventually followed by writing and directing several shorts before enrolling at New York Film Academy. In 2017, he earned his BFA in Filmmaking from NYFA’s Burbank-based campus.

    Since graduating, Alqattan has hosted a filmmaking workshop at WOW Middle East in Dubai and was a guest speaker at the Women Economic Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia—the first of its kind. Additionally, he has served as administrative director at Areen Academy in Khobar, Saudi Arabia.

    In 2016, Alqattan began production on Amal, a short film about a young girl whose father dies in a Paris attack and must deal with the repercussions the tragedy takes on her and her mother. 

    Amal Film – Directed by Hani Alqattan from Kartikye Gupta on Vimeo.

    Hani Alqattan AmalIn addition to winning Best Shorts Competition, Amal was a finalist in both the World of Women Film Fair Middle East and Miami Epic Trailer Festival, as well as a semi-finalist in the San Mauro Film Festival. It has also been an Official Selection at numerous other fests, including the Largo Film Awards, Kazan Film Festival, Ouchy Film Awards, Los Angeles CineFest, Fair International Film Festival, Qumara International Film Festival, 2nd Asian International Film Festival, WIND International Film Festivals & World Humanitarian Awards, and Steps International Short Film Festival

    Alqattan is keeping busy as a filmmaker and is currently shooting a proof of concept short for Needle in Thread, as well as working on the feature version of the script.

    New York Film Academy congratulates BFA Filmmaking alum Hani Alqattan on the success of Amal and wishes him the best of luck as his career after NYFA continues to steadily move forward!

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    June 21, 2019 • Film Festivals, Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2881