Given the diverse backgrounds of New York Film Academy’s students and instructors, it’s no wonder we’re well represented in this year’s festival. See which members of NYFA are representing this year’s Cannes Film Festival!
Cannes Finds Liana
New York Film Academy’s filmmaking student Jimmy Chen’s thesis film Looking for Liana was accepted to the prestigious Cannes Short Film Corner. The film follows Steven, a young composer struggling to complete a new piece of music, who wants nothing more than to escape Los Angeles to be alone with his thoughts and find inspiration. His plans are thwarted when he is kidnapped by Gary, an old man with a failing memory and a mission of his own: to scatter his wife’s ashes at the lighthouse where they first fell in love.
Jimmy attended film school in Beijing before joining the New York Film Academy at Universal Studios. Of the school, he says, “It’s amazing. The school [taught] me a lot. I’m really glad I came. There’s loads of opportunities to shoot.”
He says he came up with the concept for the film, which he wrote and directed, while facing troubles in his own life, explaining, “I was struggling with my career and emotions and went [for a drive]. I imagined myself as an old man, reviewing my life and what was important to me.” Inspiration hit him and he went home to start work on the story.
Jimmy shot the film in the summer of 2011 with help from his producer and co-writer, Paris Bauldwin, who we featured on our blog a few weeks ago. Jimmy also worked as art director on Paris’ film, Chrysalis. Both filmmakers were accepted to Cannes and will attend the festivities in May. “Paris and I are going together,” he said. “It’s my first time going to Europe!” Looking for Liana will also screen at the Long Island International Film Expo in New York in July.
New York Film Academy Graduate Screening at Cannes Film Festival!
New York Film Academy graduate Samir Banerjee, a US based Bengali filmmaker, will be screening his short film Amar Maa at the Cannes Film Festival in May. The film has already made its way to different film festivals around the globe including Yes India Film Festival, Bombay Elektrik Showcase, and Stepping Stone Film Festival. Samir plans to release the film online at amazon.com by the end of the year.
Ammar Maa (My Mother) tells the story a Bengali woman who has lived with her mother for 27 years before moving to New York. When she falls in love with an American man and gets engaged, she must find a way to break the news to her traditional mother.
The story started for NYFA Grad Samir in May 2010 when a delayed flight at a Nashville Airport gave him time to brainstorm, outline, and write a full draft of the screenplay. He is now busy promoting the film and hopes to next take on a feature. Congrats Samir!
New York Film Academy Screenwriting Alumni Supported by Cannes and Focus Features
Nigerian screenwriter and 2010 NYFA Alum Chika Anadu
As an alum of the NYFA screenwriting course, I cannot recommend it enough. And I don’t doubt that the other courses are as thorough and useful as the screenwriting course. It could be the beginning of a genuine career in filmmaking for you.
Chika Anadu is a 2010 graduate of New York Film Academy’s Four Week Screenwriting Course in Nigeria. With the feature treatment she completed in the course, Chika applied and was accepted to the Cannes Cinefondation Residence, one of the most exclusive residential programs in the country, accepting only 12 applicants each year. Chika was also a winner of the 2010 Focus Features Africa First Program, sponsored by Focus Features, which grants five African filmmakers $10,000 towards creation of a short film. Between completing the Cannes Residence and darting to the Berlin Film Festival, the NYFA blog was lucky to get a few minutes to catch up on Chika and all of her accomplishments.
Chika, what was your experience with New York Film Academy?
I did the four week Intensive Screenwriting Course. The course was a revelation. It opened up for me in a new way, the world of storytelling in film. I would absolutely recommend this course to anyone who wants to be a screenwriter.
During the four week course, I worked on the first treatment of my first feature script, B For Baby Boy. With this treatment, I applied and got into the Cannes Cinefondation Residence, where I then finished the first draft of the script. I intend to shoot the film before the end of the year (2011).
What Cannes program did you participate in after New York Film Academy?
I just finished the Cannes Cinefondation Residence. It’s a residential program that brings six filmmakers (wrtier/directors) to Paris from all over the world, in two sessions a year, for a period of four and a half months, to work on their first or second feature scripts. You also get introduced to producers that can help you realize your film.
I applied, and was shortlisted along with seven other people. We were all invited to Paris for face-to-face interviews with a jury of people in the film industry (mostly producers), as well as Gilles Jacob, the president of the Cannes Film Festival. I was one of the six chosen.
The Cannes Film Festival is the number one film festival in the world, so it’s a brand that a lot of people want to be associated with. At the time I applied, there were about 200 other applicants. It’s very selective because being chosen is like being given a stamp of approval or support by Cannes, and you’re forever their baby, so to speak. So I would think they wouldn’t want to give that stamp of approval to just anyone.
We heard you also won an award through Focus Features?
I was one of the winners of the 2010 Focus Features Africa First Program, which grants each year five African filmmakers $10,000 to make a short film. Focus Features is a brand I admire, so to be associated with it is a real honour.
What is your ultimate goal in the entertainment industry?
I want to be able to tell interesting and relevant stories, particularly Nigerian stories, in a visually interesting way. And I want to be able to earn a living from doing that.
What advice would you give to someone considering a program at NYFA?
Just do it. As an alum of the NYFA screenwriting course, I cannot recommend it enough. And I don’t doubt that the other courses are as thorough and useful as the screenwriting course. It could be the beginning of a genuine career in filmmaking for you.
Film School Student Pornpatchaya Supannarat Success At Cannes Film Festival
Wise Kwai’s Thai Film Journal - Thai news reports led me to search for more Thai films at Cannes in the online catalog of the Short Film Corner. I found a couple of them — the animated Victim and a live-action drama called Revenge Tragedies.
The latter is the one that’s been getting all the press in Thailand the past couple of days. It’s a student film by Pornpatchaya Supannarat. Listed on IMDb, Revenge Tragedies is a drama about a young Asian woman (Cindy Chiu) who’s left with hard choices after she’s raped by her boss (Gary Daniels). It was made as a semester project for Pornpatchaya’s studies at the New York Film Academy.
Sensationalized Thai media reports say her film won some sort of award, but I can’t find specific details about what competition it was selected for or where the award was given.
Nonetheless, Revenge Tragedies is real, and it caught the attention of influential producer Prachya Pinkaew, who has put Pornpatchaya, or just Chaya, to work at Baa Ram Ewe production company…
Full article - Wise Kwai’s Thai Film Journal
Film School Graduate Janice Perez Accepted To Cannes Film Festival
Inquirer.net - MANILA, Philippines—It was an auspicious e-mail. Returning from Easter Vigil Mass, New York-based Filipino filmmaker Janice Y. Perez checked her inbox and found a message that made her heart skip.
“I saw these words in big letters: ‘See you in Cannes and welcome to the Short Film Corner,’” she told Inquirer in an e-mail interview.
It was surprising, she said, especially since her short film, “Sabongero,” took a circuitous route to the premier world fest.
Before she could shoot this dream project, many doors were closed for Perez. She even lost a grant because the script tackled cockfighting in her home province of Cebu, a pastime considered cruel by animal activists.
Perez, an accountant by profession, remained steadfast. Three years ago, she had just come out of the New York Film Academy. In a 2006 forum hosted by the Independent Feature Project, she found her Eureka moment.
“One of the panelists, filmmaker Dito Montiel, told the audience at Lincoln Center: ‘If you want to make your first feature, write a story you know nothing about. That will make you want to get to know it more…full article.