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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmakers Direct ‘Thrive’ with Maroon 5’s Jesse Carmichael

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum Shivin Sanjeev Grover and his brother, NYFA BFA student Sunny Grover, recently collaborated with Maroon 5 keyboardist and rhythm guitarist Jesse Carmichael on the two minute short film Thrive, which focuses on the struggle and obstacles still faced today by the LGBTQIA+ community.

    The film was written and directed by Shivin and Sunny, two brothers from India, and is part of Carmichael’s 2 Minute Movies (2mm) project, which was created last year. Thrive is the first film to come from 2mm with a focus on LGBTQIA+ rights.

    Thrive Maroon 5

    In an interview with Get Out Magazine, Carmichael says he is “hoping that things are moving in a more and more equanimous and loving, tolerant, and open direction in [India],” adding that Shivin and Sunny “reached out to me with an idea about doing some sort of film in the realm of trying to open people’s eyes to the violence that people in [the] LGBTQIA+ etc. experience.”

    Carmichael first rose to fame as a founding member of rock/pop group Maroon 5, one of the most popular and successful rock bands of all time. Maroon 5 played the Halftime Show at the most recent Super Bowl and have such hits as “Girls Like You,” “Sugar,” “Moves Like Jagger,” and “This Love.”

    “Through this process, we had the honor of being mentored by Jesse Carmichael who implored us to explore the subtlety and elegance that can be achieved through visuals and music,” says Shivin. “This experience goes beyond words and went on to make this process all the more special.”

    Thrive is a visually evocative and emotionally powerful film, that gets a lot across in its short two-minute running time. “We set out to create a visual letter that juxtaposes the love shared within the community with the violence and hate inflicted by those who have not yet had the chance to share this acceptance with us,” adds Shivin. 

    The film has been critically well received and was featured in at least two national magazines to date, as well as a laudatory review from renowned film critic Alan Ng and a recommendation from the BAFTA- and Oscar-qualifying Aesthetica Short Film Festival.

    Thrive Maroon 5

    In addition to the two brothers, much of Thrive’s film crew also came from New York Film Academy. This includes current NYFA BFA students Rob Hughes (key grip) and Jessica Coro (art director), and NYFA alumni Nupur Mehrotra (producer), Alex Cvetkov (cinematographer), Brandon Lattman (gaffer), Hala Abou Chakra (assistant director), and Maria Quintana (set photographer). In addition to co-writing and co-directing, Sunny also served as the film’s production designer.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates the NYFA students and alumni on their hard work and the success of Thrive, and wishes the best of luck to co-directors Shivin Sanjeev and Sunny Grover as they continue to make films they are passionate about!

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    April 22, 2019 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 543

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Avkash Mann Debuts Top 40 Song

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    Avkash Mann

    Avkash Mann
    Photo Credit: Facebook

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum Avkash Mann released his debut single, Away, this July. It wasn’t long before it made the American Top 40 Charts on Spotify, along with artists like Ariana Grande and Beyonce Knowles. Mann is the son of prominent Punjabi singer-actor Harbhajan Mann, though he strives to gain credit and success through his own hard work and talent rather than any nepotism or celebrity advantage.

    Away is a soulful modern pop/R&B track, written and composed by Mann in addition to being performed by him. Mann released it with a beautifully shot black-and-white music video as well. The track is in English, though Mann plans on writing and releasing Hindi tracks in addition to Punjabi songs he’s also previously written.

    Mann told India New England News, “I always thought that if I write songs then I would want to write them for people who can relate to them. My music is inspired by what is going on around me. Not just my own life, but also my friends’ and close family’s lives.”

    Mann also focuses his artistry on introspection and positive values, avoiding topics like violence  and alcohol in his work, whether it is more socially-focused or more romantically-inclined. “I don’t want to promote anything that would wanna make people do something that is detrimental to themselves or people around them,” he continued.

    In the same article, in addition to expanding on why he doesn’t rely on his father’s fame to further his own career, Mann mentions that he has “some film stuff in the pipeline too” — projects that he’ll elaborate on in the near future.

    In May 2017, Mann attended New York Film Academy’s 4-Week Acting for Film workshop. In the month-long course, acting students learn their craft with an emphasis on Stanislavsky’s System, scene study, and monologue work as starting points. In conjunction with their classes, students participate in courses aimed specifically at training the actor for the technical requirements of acting on a film set.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates alum Avkash Mann on his successful hit song, and looks forward to both his future musical and film projects! 

    If you are interested in attending New York Film Academy, you can find more information on our programs here.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    July 27, 2018 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 22631

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

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailThe 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) Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    December 12, 2017 • Diversity, International Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 3376

  • 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!Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

  • NYFA Launches New Mumbai, India Location

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailWith 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.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    May 15, 2017 • Acting, Filmmaking, Study Abroad • Views: 8555

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

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailKalpana 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.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

  • NYFA Grad Cinematographer on ‘Neerja’

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailReleased 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.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    February 25, 2016 • Cinematography, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 17006

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

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailrohit 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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  • 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.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

  • Landing a Role on Life of Pi

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailAfter 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.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    November 29, 2012 • Diversity, International Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 7378