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  • Film From New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum, ‘Love is War’, Available to Stream on Netflix

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    Multi-award winning actress, screenwriter, director, and New York Film Academy (NYFA) Digital Editing alum, Omoni Oboli, directs and stars in Nigerian drama Love is War. The film, originally released on September 27, 2019, nationwide in Nigeria, is now available to stream on Netflix in the U.S.

    Omoni Oboli on set for ‘Love is War’

    In addition to Love is War, Oboli has directed Being Mrs Elliott, The First Lady, Wives on Strike, and Okafor’s Law. The Nigerian actress has also received accolades including the ‘Big Screen Actress of the Year’ award at the ELOY Awards for her film Being Mrs. Elliott, and the ‘Personality of the Year’ by Sun Nollywood in 2015.

    For Love is War, Oboli pull double duty as both director and actress, starring in the lead role as Hankuri Phillips, a Minister in her government who is elected to be her party’s candidate in an upcoming election for Governor. Her husband, Dimeji Phillips, is a medical doctor, who is supportive of Hankuri until a turn of events has him running for the same seat in office as his wife. What follows next is a string of events that test the limits of two people at political odds and ultimately their marriage.

    Behind the scenes for ‘Love is War’

    The film highlights themes of social structure, nationality, and gender equality. With the release of Love is War and her past films, Oboli’s talent and dedication to creating cinema on the African continent has catapulted her to success in one of the fastest growing entertainment scenes in the world, Nigeria’s “Nollywood.”

    Still from ‘Love is War’

    New York Film Academy congratulates Oboli on the success of her film Love is War and encourages everyone to check out the Nollywood drama on Netflix.

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    May 26, 2020 • Alumni Events, Filmmaking • Views: 552

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Filmmaking Alum Kevin Nwankwor Films ‘Muna’

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    After finishing the film Tempting Fate, New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Filmmaking alum Kevin Nwankwor didn’t take a break—he immediately got to work on his next film, Muna. Earlier this month, the trailer for Muna was released.

    Muna is an action-drama directed by Nwankwor and written by Nwankwor, Joe Leone, and Liam Parry based on a story by award-winning author Unoma Nwankwor. The film was executive produced by Emmanuel Ojeah and Unoma Nwankwor. 

    Shot in both the US and Nigeria, Muna tells the story of an assassin who falls in love while getting tangled in the global sex trafficking crisis. The cast includes Adam Huss, Robert Miano, Massi Furlan, Mayling Ng, and stars Adesua Etomi-Wellington, wife of musician and NYFA alum Banky Wellington. 

    “Human trafficking has become a great menace in our world today—the most troublesome part is the impact it has on the victims, turning them into something they would never have dreamt of becoming,” says Nwankwor. “Listening to the stories of these victims and knowing about those who go missing is heartbreaking. This is what motivated me to make Muna.” 

    After earning his MFA in Filmmaking from Burbank-based NYFA-Los Angeles, Nwankwor became CEO of family-owned production company KevStel, based in Atlanta, Georgia with an office in Abuja, Nigeria. KevStel produced both Tempting Fate and the upcoming Muna.

    “I came into NYFA with a goal and a desire to succeed,” adds Nwankwor. “I hear people say there’s no need for film school, but after the drilling and hands-on training while acquiring my Master’s degree in Filmmaking from New York Film Academy, I was able to make my first feature, Tempting Fate, which received some nominations and awards even while I was still a NYFA student. And now in the new feature film Muna, you will see the traces of a Master’s touch.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Filmmaking alum Kevin Nwankwor on his latest film Muna and looks forward to its release! 

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    June 13, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2339

  • R&B Star Banky W. Completes NYFA Screenwriting Workshop

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    Banky W

    Nigerian actor and R&B star Banky W. completed his second workshop at the New York Film Academy, adding screenwriting to his already-impressive list of artistic talents.

    Perhaps more impressive is just how busy Banky has been, and how he makes time for all his creative pursuits. In addition to finishing the 8-Week Screenwriting workshop at our New York campus, just this year he’s released a new album, “Songs About U,” starred in the feature film “The Wedding Party,” and even gotten engaged!

    But Banky isn’t finished. Since collaborating with NYFA on his music video for “Unborn Child” and completing our 8-Week Filmmaking workshop in 2014, Banky has worked behind the camera as well as in front of it, proudly showcasing his education here on his ever-expanding résumé.

    In a recent spotlight video, he explains “The name ‘The New York Film Academy’ has a certain level of stock,” remarked Banky W., “so that in and of itself is a feather in the cap… you know that I have the training behind it to pull this great idea off.”

    By learning the art and techniques of screenwriting, Banky builds on his overall filmmaking skills. This is important to him not just as an artist, but as a role model. He continued, “We have a whole generation of young filmmakers in Nigeria now, young storytellers who are passionate and talented.”

    Banky hopes that students who follow in his footsteps can combine their passion with proper training like New York Film Academy can provide. He elaborates on the importance these skills can have for young people, saying “you’ll have a whole new generation of people who really can change their country, and they can change their continent, and they can elevate the art that is coming out from these parts of the world with their own stories.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates Banky W. on his completion of the 8-Week Screenwriting workshop, and proudly supports his dream to usher in a new generation of musicians, filmmakers, and storytellers.

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  • Nigerian Filmmaking Grad Wins 2 African Oscars

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    The Fetus

    Filmmaking student John Chuka graduated from the New York Film Academy with the goal of revolutionizing the African film industry. Thus far, John is on the right track with his short film, The Fetus, winning Best Short Film/Trailer and Best Original Score/Soundtrack at the Nollywood and African Film Critics’ Awards (NAFCA) – otherwise known as the African Oscars. Two other NYFA alumni, Jason Mohan and Jessica Garza, who contributed to the making of the film’s theme song, were also on hand to receive the awards at the NAFCA Ceremony in Washington D.C.

    John Chuka on set of "The Fetus"

    John Chuka on set of “The Fetus”

    The Fetus is about Catalina, a religious undocumented teenage immigrant, who worked at a nursery in Arizona, but relocates to California as a result of her sexual abuse experience that left her pregnant. Now, working in a Californian sweatshop, trying to climb out of her horrible living conditions, Catalina’s destiny unfolds as she struggles with immigration laws, religious dogmas, abortion laws, and the fetus in her womb. “The film cuts across a wide range of hot topic social issues – immigration, abortion, and religion,” says John Chuka. “Being an immigrant that went through all kinds of hoops to get to where I am today, I’m hoping that somebody will watch my film and decide to do things a little bit differently in regards to how immigrants are treated around the world.”

    John is originally from Nigeria. After acquiring a business degree, he tried his hand at a few businesses, but realized that he didn’t quite have a product. While living in the United States, it dawned on him that he comes from a country with an emerging film industry. While at the time he understood business, he did not know film. It was at this point John decided to attend the New York Film Academy. “Considering the fact that I wasn’t going back to school to acquire just a degree, but a product, I chose NYFA because of its hands-on approach to teaching filmmaking. And moreover, NYFA is highly recognized as a credible film school in my country of origin, Nigeria.”

    With the success of his short film under his belt, John is working diligently to start a film production company that will generate and develop African story ideas into screenplays, transform the screenplays into films, and ultimately distribute the films to the worldwide African films enthusiasts.

     

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    September 25, 2013 • Diversity, Film School, International Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 4984

  • Nollywood Star Gives Back

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    After her successful debut as writer, director and producer of the award-winning film “Through the Glass,” A-List Nollywood actress Stephanie Okereke-Linus, a graduate of the New York Film Academy film school, is working on a new film-making project, titled “Dry,” that will further her mission of helping victims of vesico vaginal fistula (VVF). The feature film is the latest in Okereke-Linus’ myriad endeavors, which also include international acclaim as a model, style icon, and winner of the 2008 Beyond the Tears Humanitarian Award for her work against rape and VVF. VVF are holes resulting from a breakdown between the vaginal wall and the bladder or rectum, usually caused by days of a baby struggling to fit through the birth canal. In “Dry,” Okereke-Linus tells the story of two young girls trying to survive in a world of rejection and hopelessness brought on by their condition.

    The film will raise funds to pay for VVF surgery and rehabilitation, and after its premiere, a mobile movie theatre will take it to African villages and towns, particularly those where VVF patients reside. Okereke-Linus has earned a reputation as Africa’s foremost actress, especially in Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry, which The New York Times reported to be the world’s third largest. In 2002, she became a household name in Nigeria for her performance in the movie “Emotional Crack,” which earned eight awards. Okereke-Linus herself won the 2003 Reel Awards for Best Actress English and Best Actress. The movie was screened at New York City’s 2004 African Film Festival.

    Since then, Okereke-Linus has starred in more than 100 films. In 2006, she won the Afro-Hollywood Award and the Film Makers USA Award for Excellence, followed by the Miriam Makeba Award for Excellence in 2007. “Through the Glass” premiered in October 2008 at the Pacific Design Center in Hollywood, Calif. and won the Recognition Award from the California Legislature and the city of Carson. It opened in theaters across Nigeria in 2009 and was the country’s first film to gross over 10 million naira in its first week. The movie was nominated for African Academy Movie Award as Best Screen Play. In 2010, the film premiered in Switzerland, the first Nigerian movie to open in a Swiss cinema, and it also had a market screening at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010.

    In 2010, Okereke-Linus was featured in the CNN documentary “50 years of Nigerian Independence.” That same year, she joined Hollywood A-list star Meryl Streep, for an exclusive stage reading of the play “Seven” at the Hudson Theatre in New York City as part of the Women in the World Conference, opened by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Okereke-Linus has been nominated three times for the prestigious Africa Movie Academy Awards. She was awarded Nigeria’s fourth highest award, Member of the Order of the Federal Republic. She also serves as a brand ambassador for LG Super 3D Smart Phone, Kanekalon, recently winning the Eloy award for brand ambassador of 2012 and a brand icon for numerous Nigerian fashion designers.

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    December 27, 2012 • Acting • Views: 5311

  • NYFA Graduate’s Film Sweeps African Academy Awards

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    The African Movie Academy Awards saw quite a bit of NYFA graduate Kunle Afolayan’s feature film, The Figurine, during their 2010 ceremonies. Out of the ten awards for which it was nominated, The Figurine took Best Picture, Achievement in Visual Effect, Heart of African Award for Best Film from Nigeria, Achievement in Cinematography and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. The film has solidified Afolayan’s future in filmmaking and attracted well-deserved attention to Nigeria’s rapidly growing film industry, Nollywood.

    Son of Ade Afolayan, the famed Nigerian actor, Kunle Afolayan didn’t exactly start out following in his father’s footsteps. A banker by profession, the Nigerian filmmaker at first regarded entertainment as more of a hobby. He spent a few years taking small acting jobs while working in banking. It wasn’t until 2005 that Kunle took a leap of faith and left his career to study digital filmmaking at the New York Film Academy in London.

    Irapada, his first work, gained recognition at a number of international film festivals and won the Best Indigenous Award at the 2007 AMAAs. Set in modern Nigeria, the film is colorfully injected with elements of Nigerian myth culture. After a successful building contractor tragically ignores an old relative’s devastating premonitions, he is forced to reassess his long-standing rejection of ancient superstitions.

    Kunle once again peppers a contemporary story with Nigerian folklore in The Figurine. A group of friends finds an effigy of Araromire, a goddess believed to grant good luck, and must confront the negative aspects of supernaturally bestowed fortune.

    Boasting relatively enormous production values, Afolayan’s work on The Figurine has made him a special effects pioneer in Nollywood. His intentions to revolutionize and promote the Nigerian film industry have also extended to his method of distribution. The film was shot with a movie theater audience experience in mind. In a move to reinvigorate Nigerian cinema culture, Kunle Afolayan has pushed for The Figurine to remain in theaters for as long as possible, in contrast to the usual DVD distribution goals of the average filmmaker.

    Kunle Afolayan’s unconventional approach to filmmaking and film distribution has put him at the top of the African film industry. Having recently run a filmmaking program in Abuja, those of us at the New York Film Academy are excited to see one of our graduates work to further advance the Nigerian industry.

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    May 26, 2010 • Acting • Views: 4940