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  • Q&A With MFA Filmmaking Alum Apoorv Arora on Life After NYFA and Recent Work

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    Filmmaking alum Apoorv Arora has been busy since graduating from NYFA Los Angeles’ MFA Filmmaking Program in 2018. He has gone on to direct and produce a number of projects and even launched his own production company, Apoorv Arora Films.

    The Indian-born filmmaker is currently based in Los Angeles and runs Apoorv Arora Films. The production company is already credited with the creation of music videos, promo shoots, and short films for both Bollywood and Hollywood.

    In his career as a producer, Arora worked with artists and celebrities including Priyanka Chopra, Diljit Dosanjh, and B Praak. His body of professional work includes projects for leading international brands like Speed Records, The Walt Disney Company, White Hill Studios, Balaji Telefilms, MTV, and others.

    Producer Apoorv Arora on a film set

    Producer Apoorv Arora on a film set

    NYFA caught up with Apoorv to discuss his past and upcoming projects and what he’s been up to since graduating.

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): What projects have you worked on during the year? Have you won any awards or been showcased in any festivals or competitions?

    Apoorv Arora (AA): I have worked on multiple projects this year and am still working on a few. I am working on two independent feature film projects as Executive Producer and Producer. These projects are in development and pre-production. 

    I have been a believer in promoting black artists and artists of color. This year I produced a couple of music videos with artists of color. One of them is  J.Breckenridge’s single debut, Come To Me. He’s a Broadway artist from the Book of Mormon. He can be seen most recently on the 2020-21 season of The Blacklist (CBS) and Blue Bloods (NBC). This music video was published in the Playbill Magazine.

    The other Music Video I produced is called Olorun Maje by Sir Boyò, which means “God Forbid” in English. The video contains elements of symbolism and abstract art while conveying impactful lyrical content that discusses themes of hope and spirituality. Olorun Maje won Best Music Video Award winner at the Frostbite International Indie Film Festival and Direct Monthly Online Film Festival. The music video is a semi-finalist and finalist at many other film festivals.

    This year has also been great because I registered my company Apoorv Arora Films LLC with the California Secretary of State. It’s a big achievement of mine and something for which I’m very proud. 

    NYFA: Tell us more about your latest project and how you got involved?

    AA: One thing I like to do is build relationships, and I firmly believe that relationships can make you or break you. 

    After my first music video success with over 100,000 views on YouTube, I recently wrapped producing another music video for artist Sir Boyò. It’s called I Know U Like It and right now it’s in post-production and will be released later this year. 

    I was involved as a Producer from the idea to distribution and release. I think my clients believe in me and have faith in me.

    Producer Apoorv Arora (middle) on a film set

    Producer Apoorv Arora (middle) on a film set

    NYFA: What did you learn at NYFA that you applied directly to this project and others?

    AA: I graduated from NYFA with an MFA in Filmmaking and Producing. I think all that I do in Producing on an everyday basis comes from the knowledge that I gained at NYFA. From budgeting to scheduling to skills and knowledge in directing, camera and lighting. All this I learned at NYFA. But I think NYFA isn’t just teaching you film, I believe NYFA also taught me LIFE. 

    I believe it’s just not about what you learn in class but also what you learn outside of it. I have had amazing conversations with some of the great Instructors at NYFA like Nick Sivakumaran, Matt Kohnen, and Igor Kovacevich. These guys are brilliant at what they do and teach. I have learned how to handle things in the toughest situations because things can go wrong even if you have the best plan. I have learned negotiations and how to handle different people differently. 

    These are some of my greatest lessons at NYFA.

    NYFA: Are there any other upcoming projects we should know about?

    AA: I’m working on two independent feature film projects as Executive Producer and Producer. These projects are in development and pre-production. I’m also working on a commercial for an up-and-coming eyewear brand. I am also working on a short film based on Black Lives Matter and finally, I have a couple more shorts and a music video in development.

    NYFA: Do you have any advice for incoming NYFA students?

    Producer Apoorv Arora on a film set

    Producer Apoorv Arora on a film set

    AA: I would like to tell students that you get one life with multiple opportunities. You should try to seize every opportunity you can in this life. For students, I suggest creating content while they are in school as much as they can. Just keep creating content, so by the time you graduate you have enough on your portfolio to start with. 

    The school gives you access to the best of the best equipment, make sure you use it in your favor. Because the reality is once you graduate you’ll be on your own with your DSLR, so make sure you use those RED Dragons and Arri Alexas as much as you can while in school and keep creating.

    NYFA: How can folks get in touch with you? 

    AA: Students looking for any advice or help to produce a project can email info@apoorvarorafilms.com, visit my website apoorvarorafilms.com or follow me on Instagram

    NYFA would like to thank Apporv Arora for taking the time to speak with us and congratulate him on all his success. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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    October 12, 2021 • Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 447

  • NYFA Student’s Film “Dr. Elevator” Selected to 32 Film Festivals

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    Born and raised in Bhopal, India, Kartikye Gupta always longed to entertain and inspire people’s lives. “I think, before going and making a film, film education is very essential, so when I finished my high school, New York Film Academy was always on the top of my list,” says Gupta, who is a BFA Filmmaking student at NYFA Los Angeles. “It’s the most hands-on film school, the student gets to write, direct and edit a short film every week, which made me get better and better. More importantly, the school provides an opportunity to interact from different professionals from all over the world and to learn more about different cultures and filmmaking styles from around world.”

    gupta

    Gupta has a firm belief that a film should be a medium of entertainment, where one creates an environment for the audience to forget all their problems and fully enjoy.

    His most recent film, “Dr. Elevator,” was officially selected in 32 film festivals for Best Short Film and screened in major cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, New Orleans, Wellington, Punjab, Queensland, Phoenix, Idyllwild and Copenhagen. The short film takes place in a trapped elevator, where a woman goes into labor, forcing an Indian mathematician with Asperger’s to rise to the occasion and deliver the baby.

    “When Cody Smart, NYFA MFA Screenwriting alumnus, narrated the story, I instantly loved the characters,” said Gupta. “It has a very simple, funny conflict with very interesting characters meeting at the same time. I trusted my actors, gave them a lot of freedom, but still told them what I needed; and they did a great job.”

    dr. elevator

    “I am honored to be a student at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles,” he says. “My lifelong dream of becoming a filmmaker is moving forward, thanks to a generous college like yours. Being a film student at New York Film Academy was a great advantage for me to produce, shoot and edit this film. I used to get notes, feedbacks from my screenwriting and directing instructors on the script, and the film when it was completed, which helped me to make it better and better.”

    Gupta hopes to get “Dr. Elevator” on Amazon in order to reach a larger audience. He’s currently editing another short film, which he directed last year, and intends on submitting it to top tier film festivals.

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    February 13, 2017 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 7624

  • Check Out the Short Film that Would Become Whiplash

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    One of the things that all students learn in our directing classes is that if you are unable to fund a feature-length version of your idea for a film, a short film is often a great means to attract funding for their projects.

    The Oscar-winning Whiplash initially started off life as an 18-minute short film directed by Damien Chazelle in which J.K. Simmons—who would go on to earn a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his star turn—starred opposite actor Johnny Simmons, who would later be replaced by Miles Teller.

    The short film, which was also titled Whiplash, is being included as part of the Blue-ray release of Whiplash and it can be viewed by clicking on the video box above. It originally appeared at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival where Simmons electric performance and the fact that it won the jury award for Best Short Film helped it to secure financing for Chazelle’s full-length version.

    An interesting fact for those that were vexed why Whiplash was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at this year’s Oscars instead of Best Original Screenplay: since the full-length version of the film was based on the short, it was considered an adaptation and not an original screenplay.

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    March 3, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 6036

  • Call For Entries: Athens Video Art Festival 2014

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    Call for entries for Athens Video Art Festival

    Here’s an exciting opportunity we’ve found for students and alumni to have their work reach an international audience. The Athens Video Art Festival is holding its 10th edition in May and is currently receiving submissions across a number of categories. A celebration of digital culture, the festival aims at bringing both local and international artists together who work in different fields to encourage all facets of digital creation. With a focus on blurring the boundaries between disciplines, interested applicants can apply online in the following areas by March 10.

    • Video Art
    • Animation
    • Installations
    • Performances
    • Music
    • Web Art
    • Digital Image

    There are no entry fees and applicants can choose to create an original piece on a subject of their choosing.

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    February 27, 2014 • Film Festivals • Views: 4898

  • Art Imitates Life for Horror Film Director

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    Screenwriting Chair Eric Conner with 'Smiley' Director Michael Gallagher at New York Film Academy

    Screenwriting Chair Eric Conner with ‘Smiley’ Director Michael Gallagher

    Director Michael Gallagher attended summer camps at New York Film Academy’s Universal Studios campus 3 times as a youngster. He started making short films, music videos, and documentaries while in high school. Since then, he has started a wildly popular web series called Totally Sketch, which has over 850,000 subscribers on YouTube.

    During a recent guest speaker event at New York Film Academy, Gallagher shared his recently-released horror film, Smiley, which was released in theaters nationwide. He described how his experience with internet shorts helped prepare him for his first feature length film. “Most of the sketches I shoot are like little scenes,” he said. “It was like 110 sketches in a row.” Working with a tight budget, the indie film was shot in just 15 days, and the filmmakers were shooting as many as 8 pages of the script per day. But as Gallagher puts it, “Horror movies fit the low budget. You can do a lot more with a little.”

    Gallagher cast friends and actors with large YouTube followings to help build buzz around the film. To date, the trailer has racked up over 21 million views on YouTube. At just 23 years old, his first feature length film was about to be released in AMC theaters across the nation. Things were going well until users of the website 4Chan got wind of the film’s plot.

    Gallagher said he was going for authenticity when he decided to make 4Chan users the villains of his film. In an interview with Huffington Post, he said, “I anticipated a minor backlash of people leaving harassing comments online.” But he didn’t anticipate the website’s users posting his home address, his personal information, and leaving dozens of death threats on his cell.

    After interviews with the TODAY ShowInside EditionVarietyPaste (and the FBI), 4Chan users realized they were only giving him free publicity. Just as the movie was released in theaters nationwide, the threats disappeared.

    Much to 4Chan’s chagrin, we’re happy to report the Smiley DVD is now available for pre-order.

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    December 14, 2012 • Academic Programs, Guest Speakers, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 7273