NYFA Australia Alumni Find Success at Gold Coast Film Festival

April 19, 2023

The Blair Witch Project (1999), Donnie Darko (2001), and Little Miss Sunshine (2006) are all great independent films with something in common: they all premiered at film festivals. For filmmakers who aspire to exposure for their projects, submitting exceptional projects to film festivals can be a great way to connect with production companies, get press about their films, and reach audiences. At NYFA, many of our students choose to submit their work to festivals, including NYFA Australia alum Alex Free and NYFA Australia student Mariam Hassan. 

This year, the two filmmakers join the ranks of previous NYFA Australia students with projects selected for the Gold Coast Film Festival in Queensland. The annual twelve-day festival began in 2002 and is an AACTA-Award qualifying festival for feature films. Every year, the festival features exceptional international and Australian films and has hosted a number of Queensland premieres.

This year, the festival will host the Queensland premiere of Polite Society, starring Priya Kansara (Bridgerton, 2020) and Ritu Arya (Red Notice (2021), The Umbrella Academy, 2019). Image via gcfilmfestival.com.

NYFA Australia at the 2023 Gold Coast Film Festival

NYFA Australia Filmmaking Diploma alum Alex Free has been selected as the finalist for Gold Coast Film Festival Emerge!, the festival’s student film category. His film, Things That Are Beautiful and Transient, is about a young man who seeks to capture a photo of a rare and fleeting sight. To accomplish this, he accepts help from an unexpected guide. It will screen on April 26th. 

Cinematography and Film/Video Production student Mariam Hassan‘s film Choice is under Sipfest: Gold Coast Film Festival’s Shorts In Paradise and will screen on April 29th. The film centers around a woman who experiences the loss of her husband during a protest against the oppression of women in Iran. The screenings are an exciting opportunity for both students to get their work in front of an engaged audience passionate about Australian film. In the past few years, the festival has welcomed guests that include Simon Baker, Sigrid Thornton, George Takei, Dolph Lundgren, Kellan Lutz, and Margaret Pomeranz. 

“NYFA Australia’s talented alumni and students continue to amaze and inspire our community,” says NYFA Australia CEO Elle Bailey. “Both Alex and Mariam’s films are testaments to their talent, hard work, and foundation in their education in filmmaking, provided by the New York Film Academy Australia’s curriculum and instructors.”

Previous Gold Coast Film Festival Screenings

NYFA Australia students, including Stephen Osborne, Anantha Krishna Raj, and Jackson Fields, had films screened at the 2022 festival. Osborne’s feature film Dome House 6 premiered at the Home of the Arts (HOTA) theater and was a part of the Gold Coast Film Festival’s official selection. Similar to Free, Raj’s and Fields’ short films were also showcased at EMERGE!. 

In 2021, Osborne was also invited to screen his feature film Strangeville and competed in the Best Australian Indie Film category. The film included many cast and crew members who attended NYFA’s Gold Coast campus. NYFA Australia alum Josh Hale was also selected to screen his feature film at the 2021 Gold Coast Film Festival. Hale’s film House of Inequity was featured in the ‘Dark Nights and Fantastic Fans’ group. The film also credits several NYFA Australia alumni and faculty members, highlighting the importance of connecting and networking with peers throughout film school. 

Pursue Your Passion for Film at NYFA Australia

Film school is an incredible opportunity to pursue and polish your passion projects, and NYFA congratulates Alex and Mariam on their success this year. To learn more about the programs offered at NYFA Australia in filmmaking, acting, and more, request additional information today!