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  • NYFA Student Directs Comedy TV Show for Kazakhstan Television

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    Egor Povolotsky and Medet Shayakhmetov

    Egor Povolotsky and Medet Shayakhmetov

    At just 22 years old, New York Film Academy BFA Filmmaking student Medet Shayakhmetov has taken giant steps toward achieving his professional goals. His numerous filmmaking credits include directing music videos for the top Russian rap artist duo Basta/Guf and a commercial for a Swiss social network — Swiss Social, which he wrote, directed and shot. Last spring he directed a comedy TV-show “Q-eлi,” about life in different parts of Kazakhstan, for the Kazakhstan TV’s “Channel Seven.” But his journey into the film industry wasn’t always smooth sailing.

    “It is very important to follow your heart, believe in yourself and believe that everything is possible,” says Medet. From a very young age he loved arts and wanted to pursue a career in design. But in high school his friend asked him to help make a video for a friend’s 16th birthday. Once Medet held a camera in his hands, he knew right away that filmmaking was going to be one of his life’s passions. He made a serious effort to choose the right film school while building a strong video-portfolio. His dream was to study filmmaking, particularly in the United States. And when—thanks to his talent, hard work and perseverance—Medet won a scholarship from the non-commercial organization “Saby Charitable Foundation,” he immediately chose the New York Film Academy.

    “Before I started my education at New York Film Academy I had already shot many music videos and commercials, but I never made a real movie. At NYFA I learned how to make films and work in a team, which is very important. On the first week of the program we were given film equipment and immediately began shooting our first project.”

    on the set of “Q-eлi”

    “Q-eлi” is Medet Shayakhmetov’s first big professional project for television. The practical on-set experience gained at New York Film Academy helped him to accept the offer to direct this project without any doubts. He already knew what the responsibilities of each crew position were and felt confident to plan and manage a full size cast and crew with more than 50 extras.

    “The knowledge I received from the Acting for Filmmakers course was very useful,” recalls Medet. “NYFA instructor Salvatore Interlandi taught us how to hold casting sessions and how to get the best performance from an actor on set.

    Medet is currently working on his thesis film and two new music videos. One is for the indie-pop band POMPEYA (post-production) and the second one is for the Chicago-based DJs FLOSSTRADAMUS (pre-production). After graduating from the New York Film Academy, Medet Shayakhmetov is planning to go back to his home country. He believes the film industry in Kazakhstan has a bright future and he hopes his contribution of the knowledge he gained at NYFA will help the industry to gain recognition on a global level.

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    December 16, 2015 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 7784

  • Husband & Wife Grads Release ‘Bridenapping’ in Kazakhstan

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    A husband and wife team from Kazakhstan, who are both New York Film Academy MFA alumni, Askar Bissembin and Bayan Yerimbet have just released their feature film, romantic comedy Bridenapping (Svadba Na Troih). Bissembin was the writer/director of the film while Yerimbet produced.

    In the film, Azamat agrees to kidnap his best friend’s bride Alia, according to Kazakh ancient tradition. But when his family mistakenly believes Alia Azamat’s wife-to-be, he has to marry his best friend’s fiancée.

    The film was their final project that they developed while at NYFA — Askar in Filmmaking and Bayan in Producing.

    “Thanks to NYFA teachers, Bridenapping developed into a solid story,” said Yerimbet. “After returning to Kazakhstan, I was able to produce the feature.”

    Bridenapping was released all over Kazakhstan on March 5th, 2015.

    The husband and wife team are already in pre-production on a sequel.

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    March 12, 2015 • Filmmaking, Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5283

  • Timur Bekmambetov Talks Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, and Vampire Hunting

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    Director/producer Timur Bekmambetov, who has been called “the Russian Steven Spielberg,” recently visited students at New York Film Academy, following a screening of his film Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Born in present-day Kazakhstan, Bekmambetov made his mark with Hollywood studios and U.S. audiences with Night Watch, one of the highest-grossing Russian films of all time.

    He made his Hollywood directorial debut with 2008’s Wanted, an action blockbuster starring Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman. Of his stars, he said, “Morgan is very simple to work with, and always jokes around on set. Angelina is very different. She is very serious, very focused. She’s a genius. She’s very powerful. You have to surround yourself with actors you trust.”

    Following the success of Wanted, Timur Bekmambetov teamed up with producers Tim Burton and Jim Lemley for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. When asked how he decided to take on a film based on a vampire/action/historical/period piece novel, Bekmambetov said, “It’s a challenge. It’s important to fall in love with the material. You need to be brave and forget about the rules. There’s no way to [know] how the audience will respond.” The audience responded well, with the film bringing in over $114 million worldwide. Bekmambetov is currently hard at work on preproduction for Wanted 2.

    Timur is also at work on a startup related to the film, and we are proud that he chose NYFA students to work with him on developing it further.

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    December 3, 2012 • Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 7394