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  • Next Generation of Indywood’s Storytellers Train at New York Film Academy

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    The New York Film Academy has attracted many aspiring artists with its intensive, hands-on approach to teaching the skills of filmmaking and the performing arts. It’s also caught of the eye of many established artists and celebrities, who then encourage their own friends and family to attend NYFA’s programs and workshops. 

It’s no surprise then that many of NYFA’s alumni have close relationships to famous personalities from Hollywood and Indywood alike. This next generation of performers and storytellers are quickly making a name for themselves in their own right, working hard and using the skills they acquired at the New York Film Academy. Here are just a few of our up-and-coming alumni from India:

    Imran Khan (nephew of Aamir Khan and Mansoor Khan; grandson of Nasir Hussain):

    Imran Khan


    Imran Khan took the 1-Year Acting Conservatory at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus in 2004 before winning a Filmfare Award for his debut in “Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na.” He has also starred in commercial hits “I Hate Luv Storys,” “Delhi Belly,” and “Mere Brother Ki Dulhan.” Imran’s uncle is Aamir Khan, one of India’s most popular award-winning artists, a wildly successful and talented actor, producer, director, singer, television talk show host, activist, and philanthropist. Imran is also the nephew of producer and director Mansoor Khan and grandson of director, producer, and legendary screenwriter Nasir Hussain.

     

    Krish J. Sathaar (son of Jayabharathi and Sathaar)

    Krish Sathaar


    Krish J. Sathaar studied in the 1-Year Acting Conservatory art NYFA’s New York campus before starting his career as an award-winning actor. After his 2011 graduation, Krish debuted in “Ladies and Gentlemen,” starring Mohanlal. He followed that up with “Malini 22 Palayamkottai” and “To Noora with Love,” and has also acted in the video game adaptation short “Halo: Helljumper.” Krish’s acting career with no surprise to his family–both his parents are stars in India. His father, Sathaar, has acted in nearly 300 films, including “Adiyozhukkukal,” “Sarapanjaram,” “Lava,” and “Samrajyam” Krish’s mother, Jayabharathi, has won two State Film Awards and a National Film Award, and has starred in many films, including “Rathinirvedam,” “Prathikaaram,” and “Madhavikutty.”

    



    Athiya Shetty (daughter of Sunil Shetty)

    Athiya Shetty

     

    Athiya enrolled in the 1-Year Acting Conservatory at NYFA’s New York campus in 2011. In addition to being featured in Indian editions of Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, and Verve, Athiya starred in the Bollywood romantic action film “Hero.” For her role she was nominated for a Filmfare Award and won the Dadasaheb Phalke Excellence Award. She also became the brand ambassador for Maybelline New York’s India franchise. Her father, Sunil Shetty, is a Bollywood action star who has acted in over 110 films, including “Balwaan,” “Dhadkan,” “Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat,” “Sapoot,” “Main Hoon Na,” and “Red Alert: The War Within.”

     

    Pannaga Bharana (son of T.S. Nagabharna)

    Pannaga Bharana

    Pannaga attended the 1-Year Filmmaking Conservatory at NYFA’s New York campus in 2008 and has directed two feature length films: 2017’s anthology drama “Happy New Year” and “Maduve Impossible,” an upcoming movie set for a 2018 release. Pannaga’s father is T.S. Nagabharana, a renounced director in the Kannada film industry and a pioneer in the Parallel Cinema movement. With both success in film and TV, he has received numerous accolades, including nine National and 14 State awards.

    Naga Chaitanya (son of Akkieni Nagarjuna)

    Naga Chaitanya

    Naga took an Acting For Film workshop at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus in 2007 and has since gone on to both commercial and critical success. His credits include “100% Love,” “Dhada,” “Bejawada,” Autonagar Surya,” and two of the most successful Bollywood films of 2016, “Premam” and “Sahasam Swasaga Sagipo.” His highest grossing film to date is the 2017 film “Rarandoi Veduka Chudham.” Naga’s father, Akkieni Nagarjuna, has starred in over 90 films including “Geetanjali” and “Shiva,” and has won nine state Nandi Awards, three Filmfare Awards South, and a National Film Award-Special Mention.

     

     

     

    Karan Raj Kanwar (son of Raj Kanwar)

    Karan Raj Kanwar

    Karan Raj Kanwar enrolled in both 1-Year Filmmaking and 1-Year Producing at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus and is now recognized as one of India’s youngest leading producers. He currently heads the production company Inderjit Films Combine. His father, Raj Kanwar, was a Bollywood filmmaker based in Mumbai who directed the hit film “Deewana,” as well as “Laadla,” “Jaan,” “Daag: The Fire,” and “Badal.”

     

     

    These are just six notable alumni from the New York Film Academy, part of a group that expands with every new program and workshop. Other alumni from India with illustrious family backgrounds whose careers are now coming into their own include:

    Tisha Mehra (niece of Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra)
    Aadar Jain (cousin of Ranbir Kapoor)
    Bilal Amrohi (grandson of Kamal Amrohi)
    Armaan Jain (grandson of Raj Kapoor)
    Umeshy Chakraborty (son of Mithun Chakraborty)
    Dishani Chakraborty (daughter of Mithun Chakraborty)
    Nara Rohit (cousin of Nara Lokesh)
    Suhana Khan (daughter of Shah Rukh Khan)
    Ananya Panday (daughter of Suyah “Chunky” Pandey)
    Aalia Furniturewalla (daughter of Pooja Bedi)
    Devansh Shukla (son of Umesh Shukla)

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    December 12, 2017 • Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2210

  • New York Film Academy Alum’s “Newton” Selected as India’s Entry for Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award

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    Amit V Masurkar’s “Newton”

    “Newton,” a feature-length film by NYFA alumnus Amit V Masurkar, is now in the running for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film — just one in a long line of successes the Indian dark comedy-drama and its writer & director have already seen.

    Co-written and directed by Amit, “Newton” stars Rajkummar Rao as Newton Kumar, a rookie government clerk who seeks to uphold democracy and conduct fair elections in Chhattisgarh’s conflict-ridden jungles. The film has received positive reviews, including from India’s Huffington Post, which called it “a touching, personal and very human film.”

    Amit first premiered “Newton” at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival, where it won the CICAE Art Cinema Award. Since then, Amit has presented his film at nearly 50 festivals, including the Tribeca Film Festival in April, where it screened in the International Narrative Competition, and the Hong Kong International Film Festival, where it won the coveted Jury Prize.

    An Academy Award would be the crowning achievement to go with these accolades, and the journey to attaining one is a long and tough road. Films that are produced outside of the United States and are delivered in a predominantly non-English language are eligible for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. Unlike other Oscars, the Foreign Language Film Award is unique in that the golden statue is presented not to the filmmakers, but to the nation that produced it—adding an air of patriotic pride to the category.

    Each country must then select just one film per year to represent it at the Academy Awards, creating a lot of competition between movies of all genres, especially in a nation as populated and cinema-oriented as India. “Newton” was selected from a shortlist of 26 films to represent India at this year’s Oscars, and the final nominations from five different countries will be announced along with the other Academy Award noms early next year. The 90th Academy Awards will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on March 4, 2018.

    Amit V Masurkar honed his screenwriting skills at New York Film Academy’s New York campus, taking the 8-Week Screenwriting workshop in 2009. After writing for numerous sketch and comedy shows, Amit’s directorial feature-length debut “Sulemani Keeda” became a surprise indie hit. “Newton” is only his second feature film, and Amit has proven to be one of India’s most exciting voices in filmmaking.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Amit V Masurkar on such a fantastic achievement, and looks forward to seeing what further accomplishments he and “Newton” will achieve!

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  • NYFA Launches New Mumbai, India Location

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    With the every-growing popularity and tremendous interest in cinema in India, the New York Film Academy is thrilled to announce its newest Mumbai location, which welcomed its first group of filmmaking and acting students.

    nyfa mumbai

    NYFA Kitty Koo with film and acting students at NYFA Mumbai

    Located in the heart of the world’s largest film industry and the home of Bollywood, NYFA Mumbai offers both an 8-Week Filmmaking Workshop and a 4-Week Acting for Film Workshop. The workshops are held at the Urmi Estate (95 Ganpatrao Kadam Marg, Lower Parel [West] Mumbai, Maharashtra 400 013, India).

    “The New York Film Academy turns 25 years old this year, and we’re thrilled to add this beautiful new location in Mumbai to the global NYFA family,” said Kitty Koo, NYFA Vice President – Mumbai, India. “There is no place better than Mumbai, India — the land of Bollywood.”

    Similar to its core curriculum, the Mumbai Filmmaking Workshop focus on learning in a hands-on film environment, where students will have the opportunity to make a fully-realized final film. The Acting for Film Workshop provides students with a strong foundation of acting skills with a specific focus on the basic elements of the craft of acting using Stanislavski’s System, scene study, and monologue work as starting points. Students also participate in courses aimed specifically at training the actor for the technical requirements of acting on a film set.

    mumbai

    NYFA Acting for Film Associate Chair Peter Stone with Acting for Film students at NYFA Mumbai

    “We’re proud to bring our innovative film and acting for film programs to Mumbai, India, an epicenter for world cinema,” added NYFA President Michael Young. “We look forward to teaching a whole new generation of Indian filmmakers and actors.”

    As those who have taken a workshop with NYFA know, the workload is intensive, meaning students must be prepared to live and breathe the program during their enrollment.

    “Taking that experience from NYFA, I was able to act as a major supporting role in ‘Baahubali’,” said NYFA alumnus Rakesh Varre, who plays Setu Patti in “Baahubali: The Conclusion.” The film has become the highest grossest Indian film in history, and has even been impressive in the North American market.

    For those interested in studying in Mumbai, please visit www.nyfa.edu/mumbai for more information.

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    May 15, 2017 • Acting, Filmmaking, Study Abroad • Views: 4859

  • NYFA Grad Kalpana Malviya’s “Made in America” to Air on Zee TV

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    Kalpana Malviya is a New York Film Academy graduate who’s been blazing a trail in new television programing. Her new show, “Made in America,” is the first English language reality TV program designed for South East Asians to be shot in Hollywood. But she’s not content in just creating new programing, she’s also determined to bring the next generation of content makers with her.

    kalpana

    “Somebody helped me. I’m not too big to help anybody,” Malviya told me under a shady tree just outside of the studio where “Made in America” was shooting a dramatic prison scene. Malviya’s passion is earnest and forthright, “(students) have fresh ideas. We can learn from them and also guide them along the way.”

    Malviya credits the New York Film Academy with giving her a leg up in the industry, “I’m from India. Hollywood films really pop in India. I took what I learned at NYFA and landed a job with Zee TV.” While at Zee TV, she noticed the abundance of talent and resources and wondered why no one, anywhere outside of South East Asia, was making content for the region. She sought to change that, “I pitched them the idea. They loved it and now, here we are.”

    kalpana

    New York Film Academy would like to thank Kalpana Malviya for taking the time to speak with us. Malviya has created two more shows for Zee TV that will begin filming shortly.

    “Made in America” will release August 2017, and has been reviewed by India.com. Read more here.

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    November 2, 2016 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5545

  • NYFA Grad Cinematographer on ‘Neerja’

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    Released in the US over the weekend, the Indian film Neerja has been receiving numerous praises for actress Sonam Kapoor’s portrayal of the life of the courageous Neerja Bhanot, who sacrificed her life while protecting the lives of 359 passengers on the hijacked Pan Am flight 73 in 1986.

    mitesh

    Working as the cinematographer with one of the best Indian directors in the business, Ram Madhvani, was New York Film Academy alumnus Mitesh Mirchandani. The NYFA grad has worked on a few commercials with Madhvani and working with him on Neerja was a no brainer.

    “When I first met Ram, he said, ‘Mitesh, I would like to shoot this film in a particular way—no lights, 360 degree shooting, long takes, really long takes, freedom for the actors and let’s be completely candid in our approach,” recalled Mirchandani. “At first I was a little reluctant as it was a feature, but soon enough I realized what we were after. We had close to 45 minute takes in almost every sequence without any rehearsals or marks for the focus pullers.”

    mitesh m

    With four cameras rolling at all times, the cast and crew gelled together seamlessly, as though there was only one camera rolling on set. The entire film was shot without using any lights.

    “You really need crew that’s as crazy as you to pull this off,” said Mirchandani. “I was really blessed to have the best crew ever assembled. I didn’t want the film to feel framed and lit, it needed to be as if we were there capturing what was happening at that moment.”

    The hard work paid off, as the Fox Star Studios film has been doing well both critically and at the box-office.

    “I learned a lot from NYFA—the faculty was amazing and really helpful,” added Mirchandani. “The access to equipment really prepared me to get out there and be confident about what I was shooting.”

    Mirchandani is currently busy shooting TV commercials.

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    February 25, 2016 • Cinematography, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 14853

  • NYFA Alum Rohit Gupta in the Running for the Prestigious NRI of the Year Award

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    rohit gupta nyfaNew York Film Academy alumnus and New York-based film director, Rohit Gupta, is one of five global Indians short-listed for the prestigious NRI (Non-Resident Indian) of the Year award for Distinctive Global Achievement in Arts and Entertainment, according to a leading Indian media organization.

    To recognize globally successful Indians and to celebrate their achievements, Times Now – an English news channel from the Times Group – announced a new international initiative to honor successful NRIs around the world.

    Rohit’s films Life! Camera Action... and Another Day Another Life have jointly won over one hundred international accolades in various categories around the globe. His journey and process of work are considered a major source of inspiration among aspiring filmmakers, media, film students and youth at large the world over.

    The first edition of the Times Now ICICI Bank NRI of the Year Awards powered by Global Indian International School will be held in Mumbai later this month.

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    March 10, 2014 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 3975

  • NYFA Grad Rohit Gupta Honored by the Limca Book of Records

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    Rohit and Ravi

    Rohit (Left) and Ravi Kumar (Right)

    Acclaimed filmmaker and New York Film Academy graduate, Rohit Gupta has been honored by India’s renowned Limca Book of Records for his award-winning feature film Life! Camera! Action. The film sets a new record being the first full-length motion picture shot by a two-person crew: producer/director Rohit Gupta & Ravi Kumar R. It is also the first film to be released via facebook.

    LCA Movie PosterSince its release, Life! Camera! Action has received wide critical acclaim, earning over seventy international accolades in various categories including the prestigious Top Nine Most Popular and Board of Directors’ Special Awards, 28th Goldie Film Awards (USA), Orson Welles Award-California International Film Awards, Royal Reel Award-Canada International Film Festival, Grand Jury Award-Oregon Film Awards (USA), Best Feature Film-IFFPIE (Official World Peace Film Festival) (Indonesia) and many others around the world. Renowned news producer Silicon India listed the film as One of the 10 Outstanding Movies by Indian American Filmmakers. The list includes Hollywood blockbusters such as The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable by M. Night Shyamalan, Mississippi Masala and Namesake by Mira Nair, and Fire and Earth by Deepa Mehta.

    This inspiring ninety-minute quasi-autobiographical family drama features the struggle of the protagonist Reina – played by award winning actress Dipti Mehta – who sets off on a career in filmmaking against parental consent. Running the risk of being disowned for going against the norm of pursuing a future in engineering, medicine or architecture, the film celebrates the strength of the central character to challenge the rules regardless of the consequences.

    Gupta’s journey and the process of his work is widely considered a major source of inspiration to aspiring filmmakers, students of cinema and youth at large the world over. Gupta who has co-written, produced, directed, edited, written lyrics, shared credits in music and photography, marketed, branded and distributed his work, commented that, “It has been a marvelous journey and the road ahead looks equally interesting.”

    Rohit first forayed into films with a four-minute American suspense-thriller film, Another Day Another Life, which also received tremendous acclaim from around the world including an Official Selection at Cannes in 2009. He is currently working on the post-production of his highly anticipated upcoming American comedy feature titled Midnight Delight, due for release in 2014.

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    January 3, 2014 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5579

  • Landing a Role on Life of Pi

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    After a nationwide talent search of India, by Casting Director Avy Kaufman, Vibish Sivakumar scored an opportunity of a lifetime meeting Oscar winning director Ang Lee for a role in the film, Life of Pi. Prior to landing the role, Vibish was studying Telecommunication Engineering, but his curiosity led him to acting. “I had to audition for about 5 or 6 months before I got to meet with Ang Lee. It was a long journey to land a role in Pi, but absolutely worth it at the end.”

    While filming Life of Pi, Vibish took up the 8 Week Acting for Film Workshop at the New York Film Academy for proper training. “I have a friend who lives in New York and he really recommended attending NYFA over the other acting schools in New York. My experience at NYFA was delightful. I got to interact with fellow actors from different parts of the world, and they brought a lot to the table in their own ways and methods. But what I would really take away from my experience there was my interaction with the faculty. I had an incredible batch of teachers: Peter Stone, Anna Cianciulli, Tina Benko, Miguel Parga, Katie and John. I truly learned a lot from them. My stint at NYFA reaffirmed my choice of becoming an actor.”

    Vibish plays the role of 18 year old Ravi Patel in what looks to be another Oscar contender for Ang Lee. “Working with Ang Lee is something you cannot describe in a paragraph. There’s a reason why he is one of the best directors in the world and it’s evident right from when you first meet him. He is an incredible human being and a wonderful filmmaker. The biggest thing I learned from him was humility and staying true to your craft and story.”

    Vibish added that right now is the hardest part of his career thus far, finding the right agent.

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    November 29, 2012 • Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5908

  • From Hollywood to Bollywood

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    Originally from Kolkata, India, Sharad Malhotra took an early interest in sports. He played soccer and cricket as a child. He went on to play professionally for the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB). He also spent some time working as a financial advisor. He hadn’t really considered a life on the silver screen, but at his girlfriend’s suggestion, Sharad got in contact with scouts from Zee TV, a leading entertainment channel in India — a choice changed the course of his life.

    After getting good feedback and support from Zee TV, Sharad moved to Mumbai where he began going on auditions. He modeled for a number of national and international print campaigns before landing a leading role on Banoo Main Teri Dulhann, a wildly popular Indian soap opera.

    He won several Best Actor awards for his work on the television show, but Sharad says, “I was hungry to learn more and better the craft. So as soon as my show ended, I headed toward the mecca of acting and filmmaking.” Impressed by New York Film Academy’s list of notable grads (including Paul Dano and Owen Kline, and Bollywood actors Imran Khan and Ahana Deol), Sharad decided to move from the west coast of India to the west coast of America, to attend the school’s Los Angeles campus.

    “It was a beautiful amalgamation of students of different… creeds, color, religions, nationalities, all coming under one roof with their own unique creative abilities and bonding over a common passion called cinema,” he says. “As we say in India, NYFA is a complete paisa wasool — worth every penny!”

    Since completing an Acting for Film program in 2009, Sharad has been busy at work in Mumbai. He recently completed his first Bollywood feature film, From Sydney With Love – the story of a small town girl from West Bengal who finds a new love and a new life while attending school in Australia. Sharad is looking forward to the Indian premiere of From Sydney With Love on August 31. The buzz about the film has already led to interest from film directors looking to book him for future projects.

    Sharad describes his journey as, “nothing short of a beautiful roller coaster ride…. It helped me mature as a person and made me realize that the essential five ingredients that are solely responsible for fulfilling dreams: patience, hard work, determination, belief, and finally the luck factor to put it all in place. From a cricketer to a financial advisor to a model and now an actor, it’s been one helluva fun trip.”

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    August 22, 2012 • Academic Programs, Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5374

  • Financing Your Indie Film and Developing an Audience

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    Rohit Gupta is a Mumbai native who came to the United States over 12 years ago. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, Rohit didn’t have “the slightest idea about filmmaking” until he joined the New York Film Academy  for a 4 week film workshop. Realizing his passion for the craft, he extended his stay and enrolled into the one year conservatory program. Rohit was an MBA graduate who came from a family of entrepreneurs. He decided to take his shot in an “unstable” industry and fell in love. The film assignments he was working on for classes became inspiration for later works. Another Day, Another Life was shot in seven hours, edited on his laptop, and completed on a $100 budget. His first feature film Life! Camera Action was shot in ten days with a two member crew on a Panasonic DVX 100. Rohit has claimed that his rounds on the festival circuit, including the Short Films Corner at Cannes, has resulted in over 100 awards and accolades internationally. Talk about independent success on a micro-budget!

    As an independent filmmaker, Rohit has compelling views on cultivating an audience and working with financiers to distribute your film. Rohit credits his success to his drive and ambition. He has an optimistic outlook in a field with many pitfalls and setbacks. “There is nothing more or less to it than just doing it now. With pure excitement, love and compassion in your heart, all will fall in place magically.” For any aspiring filmmaker, the most important thing is to keep an open mind. He advises current students to think of the possibilities, explore them, and figure out what they ultimately want to do. “The fun is to create something with what resources we have on-hand than worrying about what we don’t.”

    THE AUDIENCE. Speaking with other filmmakers from all over the world, the anxiety is the same. “What is the audience going to like?” Rohit is critical of those who worry too much about the audience’s reception of the product–to the point that it affects the process of creating the product. The audience, he says, won’t know what they like “until they see it.” Some worry too much about audience expectations that there is a choke hold on creativity and productivity. Many aspiring filmmakers say their biggest hurdle is the lack of resources. Rohit believes with technology at our fingerprints, everyone is able to do what they want. Find opportunities everywhere. How you take advantage of the resources at NYFA is solely your initiative in the end. As he says, “No one is to be credited or blamed but yourself.”

    FINANCIERS AND THE REAL INVESTMENT. “It’s not the creativity that needs to chase the finance, it’s the other way round!” Don’t waste your time with financiers if they don’t step up after your first meeting. Never give up your creative control just because someone is investing in your project. Be committed to execution without financial pressure. Unless you do this, you won’t know what you like about what you do and why. Only when you feel strongly about the work will your audience connect. This is the definition of success. Asking for advice from those who never made a feature film is a great way of finding reasons for not doing it. Learn from and collaborate with those who’ve objectively achieved a level of success that you can relate to. There is nothing like being original. If you try to make everybody happy, you will lose yourself. In the end, if you are happy, then everybody around feels the energy and, in turn, feels happy, too. It’s just like doing everything else. There is no mantra to it. Learning is a constant phenomenon and the beauty is no amount of learning will ever be enough.

    What do you think about Rohit’s views? Tell us if you agree or disagree with him on Twitter! And if you want to find out more about the filmmaking program, please request info here!

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    June 28, 2012 • Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5689