Sepia, a film written, directed, and starring New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Acting for Film alum Vicente Almuna, has been generating a ton of buzz since entering the festival circuit.
Almuna originally hails from Chile and enrolled in the MFA in Acting for Film program at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus in 2016. While studying at NYFA-Los Angeles, Almuna learned skills not just in acting but behind the camera as well.
He put those skills to work with Sepia, which he scripted and directed as well as starred in. The film tells the story of a man rejected from reentering his country of residence after visiting his country of origin. Due to being a former immigrant, he is prohibited from coming back to the place where he has built his life and relationships. Separated from his wife, he decides to undertake a journey by foot across the desert in order to be reunited with his love.
“I believe we are going through very fervent times where a lot of meaningful events are occurring all over the world,” Almuna tells NYFA. “The violence and hate that humankind is experiencing nowadays, with fanatic nationalism rising in different parts of the globe; the terror of a next world war; the disputes between races and the immigration banning; or the desire of some countries to lock themselves hermetically from the rest of the world and people.
“There is too much to be concerned about and I am not going to be just a simple witness of all that is going on around me,” he continues. “This is why I want to discuss about this, to talk about all this. To make a choice from an individual that has been living through this and has a perspective and something to say. I want to talk about my world and I want to create worlds about my world and contribute to make awareness and step by step, build a better place.”
The film, co-directed by Luis Sánchez and produced by Sommer Saqr, has struck a nerve with festival audiences. Sepia has picked up awards for Best First-Time Director (Independent Short Awards), Best Actor (Independent Short Awards), and Best Cinematography (El Paso Film Festival), and has been nominated for Best First-Time Director (Queen Palm International Film Festival), Best Actor (Queen Palm International Film Festival), Best Dramatic Short (StoryMode Short Film Awards), Best Original Story (StoryMode Short Film Awards), Best Actor (StoryMode Short Film Awards), Audience Award (StoryMode Short Film Awards), and Best International Short (South Texas International Film Festival). Additionally, Sepia has screened at numerous other festivals.
“NYFA taught me the primordial concepts and training to proceed on my own creative writing adventure,” Almuna describes when asked about his experiences studying at the Academy. “I understood the concept of try, fail, redo, try again. I understood the ideas of drafts, having my last script version after sixteen drafts. And I could keep on changing and modifying it eternally. I think every real and true artistic process never meets an end, it never reaches perfection. We could infinitely try to make it better.”
New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Acting for Film alum Vicente Almuna on the success of Sepia and looks forward to following his career as it grows!