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  • ‘Boxing Girls’ Features Two New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alumni

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    Boxing Girls, a new Arabic-language drama from the Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC) premiered earlier this year and is the screenwriting debut of New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum Afnan Alqasimi. Additionally, the program features actress and NYFA alum Dana Al Salem.

    Alqasimi hails from the United Arab Emirates and attended NYFA’s 4-week Filmmaking workshop in April 2012. Alqasimi previously worked on the animation short Homecoming. Al Salem is originally from Bahrain and enrolled in NYFA’s 4-week Filmmaking workshop at our Los Angeles campus in August 2015. Al Salem previously appeared in The Sleeping Tree and the short film Canary.

    Boxing Girls is gaining buzz for its focus on female characters and stars several well-known Arabic performers, including Fatima Al Hosani, Ali Al Sherif, and Shaifan Al Otaibi. The program was directed by Saudi filmmaker Samir Aref and was produced by O3 Productions and twofour54 Abu Dhabi.

    Boxing Girls

    “This drama production is particularly unique, because it puts a real emphasis on the region’s young talent — both in front of and behind the camera,” says Maryam Eid AlMheiri, CEO of Media Zone Authority, Abu Dhabi (MZA) and twofour54.

    The program was shot over two months across various locations in Abu Dhabi, before completing production in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Additional cast members include Mila Zahrani, Abdul Aziz Skeirin, Alaa Shaker, Anoud Al Saoud, Abeer Sander, Noura Ezzer, Mohammed Meshaal, Rakan, Zuhair Haider, and Zara Al Balushi.

    Boxing Girls debuted in February of this year.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates workshop alumni Afnan Alqasimi and  Dana Al Salem on the production and success of Boxing Girls

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  • Q&A with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Fatima Al Taei

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum Fatima Al Taei stars in Justice, the procedural drama set in Abu Dhabi that is now available on Netflix. The 18-part legal series originally premiered on OSN HD in 2017 and is now available for streaming with subtitles in 20 different languages.

    Al Taei first attended NYFA in 2009 in Abu Dhabi. Since then, she has gained steady work as an actress, including a lead role in When the Autumn Blooms, Saudi Arabia’s first longform drama series.

    Justice (Qalb Al Adala) was created by Oscar nominee Walter Parkes (He Named Me Malala) and Emmy award-winning producer William Finkelstein (LA Law) and was filmed and produced in Abu Dhabi by Image Nation and Beelink Productions. The story follows a passionate lawyer, Farah, who rebels against her father’s firm and sets out on her own to become a defense attorney. 

    Netflix Justice

    The series uses actual cases from the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department as a basis for their stories, and was directed by Ahmed Khalid. In a recent Harper’s Bazaar Arabia piece, Al Taei’s character was called a “strong, ambitious” lead”—an important milestone for female representation on television in the Middle East.

    New York Film Academy spoke with alum Fatima Al Taei about her experiences at NYFA and filming her culturally important lead role in Justice:

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): What did you learn at NYFA that you applied directly to your work on Justice?

    Fatima Al Taei: When I was learning at NYFA, they made sure not to tie me into a specific technique—they taught us different ways to get into the character and it helped me in different situations during the shoot, being flexible and open yet focused and specific.

    Also, they taught me how to deal with other actors and directors. NYFA was a lab for me, with great helpful tutors!

    NYFA: Can you speak a little about your experience playing a strong, ambitious Emirati woman? Do you see yourself as a role model for other Emirati women?

    Fatima Al Taei: It was a unique experience. We had the opportunity to shoot inside actual courtrooms, because all the cases are based on true events.

    Playing a strong Emirati woman is the same to me as playing any “strong woman,” an inspiration for all women to follow what they believe in no matter what kind of pressure they may be under. So it’s not only for Emirati women, but for all women. 

    NYFA: What advice would you give to students just starting out at NYFA?

    Fatima Al Taei: NYFA will teach you so many things. You will be surrounded by people who have the same passion, which is good networking as a start. 

    But NYFA will not do the job you have to do—you have to secure your dream and make it happen. If it takes months or years, studying at NYFA won’t be a waste unless you give up. Many students disappeared after graduation because they didn’t have enough patience and didn’t want to get out of their comfort zone.

    The industry is not much in interested in your specific acting techniques (these are your tools.) If the industry is interested in “You” they will work with you—your attitude and passion is important, so MAKE THEM WANT TO WORK WITH YOU.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates actress and alum Fatima Al Taei on her success and encourages everyone to check out her legal drama Justice on Netflix! 

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    March 1, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1472

  • NYFA to Award Two Scholarships at Abu Dhabi Film Festival

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    abff 2014

    NYFA Provost, Michael Young at ABFF 2014

    The New York Film Academy in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2014 will be offering two scholarships to UAE nationals under the short film competition. The “New York Film Academy – Abu Dhabi Aspiring Filmmaker Awards” were open to the Student Narrative and Student Documentary competitions. The 8th edition of the festival is currently running until November 1st and the winners will be announced on that date.

    The two winners will be enrolled at NYFA into a course that provides the students with the opportunity to write, shoot, direct and edit a number of films, as well as crew on their colleagues’ films.

    At the opening ceremonies of the ADFF, producer Ed Pressman was honored with a lifetime achievement award. Ed Pressman has produced more than fifty films, including City Hall, Wall Street and Bad Lieutenant. In his acceptance speech, he referred to “inquisitive and intelligent students” he met at his ISB Expo workshop as “illustrating to him that there is a bright future for film in the UAE.” Many of the students he was referring to were students from the New York Film Academy Abu Dhabi, who attended the event with their instructors Scott Hartmann and Lars Myrvang.

    The NYFA team had the opportunity later in the evening to introduce Mr. Pressman to Ayham Subaihi, one of the NYFA students in attendance.

    “It was a very proud moment for both NYFA students and faculty, hearing this reference in Ed’s speech,” said Artistic Director of NYFA Abu Dhabi, Allan Nicholls. “We wish all participants good luck and look forward to welcoming them at the Abu Dhabi campus in Jan 2015.”

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    October 27, 2014 • Abu Dhabi, Community Highlights • Views: 4730

  • NYFA Abu Dhabi Grads Screen Films at Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2014

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailCongratulations to our two Abu Dhabi graduates, Marwan Al Hammadi and Shereen AbouOuf, who had their short films in the Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2014.

    Marwan Al Hammadi, a UAE national completed our 8-week Filmmaking intensive program and as each student in that program, he wrote, shot, directed and edited 5 short films and crewed on more than 15 others. Marwan has showed his talent and creativity in all of his films and he was awarded on his film CAT in 2012 under the New York Film Academy Aspiring Filmmaker Award. After completing our program, Marwan has joined the official newspaper in UAE “The National” as a Multimedia Producer.

    Marwan Al Hammadi

    Marwan Al Hammadi receiving an award from NYFA Provost, Michael Young

    Shereen graduated from the One-Year Filmmaking in Abu Dhabi and decided to continue in our Bachelor’s degree program by moving to the Academy’s campus in Los Angeles. As every student in the first year in Abu Dhabi, Shereen wrote, shot, directed and edited 8 short films and crewed on more than 28. Her final thesis film Ice Flower has been selected in the Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2014. The story is about Zahra (means Flower in Arabic), the first Emirati female who wanted to follow her dream to be an ice skater, and later on she became a winner of international award in ice skating.

    Ice Flower

    Ice Flower

    We invite you all to enjoy the screenings of these films during the Abu Dhabi Film Festival and show your support to our students and graduates!

    Transit directed by Marwan Al Hammadi
    UAE 2014 -5 min.
    WORLD PREMIERE

    Ice Flower directed by Shereen AbouOuf
    UAE 2014 -15 min.
    WORLD PREMIEREFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    September 23, 2014 • Abu Dhabi, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 4908

  • Emirati Graduate Stars in Saudi TV Series

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    Fatima

    The Emirati graduate from the New York Film Academy “Fatima Al Taei” has her dream come true after completing the One Year Acting program in Abu Dhabi.

    The first long Saudi drama series When the Autumn Blooms has just started on the OSN HD network and will continue for 90 episodes. Fatima is playing one of the lead roles of a girl who faces the challenges of life in a complex society. Fatima is one of the many brilliant UAE national students who had their passion and turned it into a career.

    Congratulations to Fatima! We look forward to seeing more passionate UAE nationals on the silver screen.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    September 10, 2014 • Abu Dhabi, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 7856

  • NYFA Grad Wins at Abu Dhabi Film Festival

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    On Wednesday night, the Abu Dhabi Film Festival announced the winners of the Black Pearl Awards for the Emirates Film Competition and the Short Film Competition. The awards were presented in a ceremony at the Emirates Palace.

    Aisha Abdulla, an Emirati New York Film Academy graduate, received her award in the Abu Dhabi Film Festival Emirates Short film competition for her short documentary film Against the Wind. The film was her final project in the 12-week evening program. Congratulations to Aisha!Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail