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NYFA Alum Releases <em>Coyote Lake</em>

New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Sara Seligman Premieres Coyote Lake Starring Riverdale’s Camila Mendes

July 24, 2019 [UPDATE (1/2/2020): Coyote Lake is now available on all HBO platforms in the US - NYFA encourages everyone to check out the debut feature by NYFA Filmmaking alum Sara Seligman today!]

Coyote Lake, the feature filmmaking debut of New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking alum Sara Seligman, is having its US premiere on August 2 before screening for the public in a limited theatrical release. Written and directed by Seligman, the film stars Camila Mendes (Riverdale, The Perfect Date), Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee Adriana Barraza (Amores Perros, Thor), and Manny Pérez (Homeland, Luke Cage). The screenplay was co-written by NYFA alum and Seligman’s classmate, Thomas Bond.

Seligman originally hails from Mexico and attended the 2-Year Filmmaking program at NYFA’s New York campus in 2008. After graduating and working as a production assistant, Seligman became a producer and joined the PGA, working on both high-profile projects as well as her own personal ones, including a screenplay she sold in 2015, Plan V, which was released in Mexico last year. She wrote, directed, and produced the short film Diego, which screened at over twenty film festivals around the world and won multiple awards, including the Gold Lion at the Barcelona Film Festival.

The screenplay for her feature directorial debut, Coyote Lake, was part of Film Independent’s Fast Track program, and was awarded the Tribeca Film Institute’s TAA Grant. The film is an intense thriller about a mother and daughter who rob and drown drug runners in their home near the border between Texas and Mexico. One night, two drug runners take them hostage, unaware of exactly who they’re dealing with.

Coyote Lake began as Seligman’s first-year thesis, a 17-minute short she made while studying at NYFA and co-wrote with fellow NYFA classmate Ian Cobb. The story has its origins in an old newspaper article Seligman’s mother described to her about a French mother and daughter during World War I who killed soldiers in a very similar manner as Coyote Lake’s protagonists. The parent-child psychology and dynamic between the mother and daughter interested her even more than their sensationalist story.

“While murder is obviously very far from a ‘normal’ upbringing,” Seligman states in the film’s Director’s Statement, “this story was ultimately about one’s coming-of-age: learning about yourself and who you want to become, which felt like a universally relatable theme I could explore.”

In the end, however, Seligman felt there was still more story than what a short film could explore. “I always knew,” she continues, “that there was much more to discover in this story, and that’s why I decided to write the feature version. I wanted to explore all the little details of that mother-daughter relationship. But what the thesis film lacked, and what I wanted in the feature, was for this story to happen in the present day, in a world that was relevant to me, and everyone watching.”

Seligman than adapted the script into a feature, based on the cartel violence of real-life Falcon Lake, a reservoir by the US-Mexico border. She eventually filmed the script with a stellar cast, led by Camila Mendes from The CW’s Riverdale and Adriana Barraza, who was Oscar-nominated for her role in Babel.

After its August 2 premiere and a Q&A panel, the film will have a limited theatrical release in select locations across the country. During its release, you can find Coyote Lake at the following theaters:

Los Feliz 3 - Los Angeles
IFC Center & AMC Empire - New York City
Cosford Cinema - Miami, FL
North Oaks - Houston, TX
Galaxy - Austin, TX
Gateway - Columbus, OH
Coyote Lake will later screen as part of HBO’s New York International Latino Film Festival Official Selection in New York City.

New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Sara Seligman on her feature directorial debut and encourages everyone to see Coyote Lake during its theatrical release!

Please note: NYFA does not represent that these are typical or guaranteed career outcomes. The success of our graduates in any chosen professional pathway depends on multiple factors, and the achievements of NYFA alumni are the result of their hard work, perseverance, talent and circumstances.

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