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Student and Alumnus Representing NYFA in Weekend's Top Films


August 29, 2016 Two very noteworthy films that were released this past weekend were "Hands of Stone," directed by NYFA alumnus Jonathan Jakubowicz, and "Don’t Breathe," with music composed by MFA Filmmaking student Roque Baños and number one at the box-office, earning $26 million over the weekend.

The horror/thriller,"Don’t Breathe," directed by Fede Alvarez and produced by Sam Raimi, is about a group of friends who break into the house of a wealthy blind man, thinking they'll get away with the perfect heist. However, things don’t go according to plan. The film stars Jane Levy and frequent NYFA guest speaker, Stephen Lang.

Working on the musical composition of the film was MFA Filmmaking student Roque Baños, whose credits include "In the Heart of the Sea," "Risen," "The Machinist," "Sexy Beast," the 2013 remake of "Evil Dead," Spike Lee’s "Oldboy," and many award-winning films from Spain, including the 2004 hit "El Crimen Ferpecto."

Banos decided to pursue his MFA at NYFA in order to better understand the entire filmmaking process. In this way, he said, his musical contributions to film can be even more effective.

"Music is all experimentation," says Banos. "You never know what could make your movie more powerful. The best thing to do is collaborate with someone, and experiment. Fifty percent of the movie is sound. You might have a good movie, but if you have the wrong music, your movie will be bad." Another critically acclaimed film that came out this past weekend was Jakubowicz’s "Hands of Stone," starring Robert De Niro, Usher, and Edgar Ramírez.

The story follows Panamanian-American boxer Roberto Duran and his trainer Ray Arcel — two legends at the heart of the golden era of boxing — and what they went through to get to Duran’s battles with Sugar Ray Leonard. "It’s an inspiring story that shows how Duran came from nothing and became a hero for his nation," says Jakubowicz. "The son of a US marine, Duran grows up dreaming to take revenge against the Americans who are occupying his land, and his American trainer enables him to become the best version of himself. It’s a movie about a Latin hero, and Hollywood usually only shows Latinos as drug dealers."

When asked about his experience at NYFA and the skills it helped him develop, Jakubowicz said, "I went to the University in Venezuela and graduated with a major in journalism, but NYFA was the first exposure I got to any kind of formal education in filmmaking. It was my "ABC’s," the first steps I took to make movies professionally. That was twenty years ago. There’s no doubt that what I learned at NYFA helped. It was very emotional for me to shoot a scene with De Niro and Ellen Barkin, two legendary New Yorkers, a few blocks from the school. It definitely felt like those two moments in my life, being a film student and directing my dream movie, were connected."

The New York Film Academy would like to congratulate both Jonathan Jakubowicz and Roque Baños on their tremendous contributions to these two fine films, and wish them the best of luck as they continue to utilize their talents in the world of cinema.

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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