The 2021 HollyShorts Film Festival presents four New York Film Academy (NYFA) alumni films
NYFA Alum Savannah Sivert on the set of his movie “The Tale of the Daughter”
NYFA Alum Nick Azzaro on the set of his movie “Retrieval”
Los Angeles, CA, September 23, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – The New York Film Academy (NYFA) is delighted to congratulate four alumni whose films are official selections for the Seventeenth HollyShorts Film Festival. Short films by Nick Azzaro, Sofia Garza-Barba, Savannah Sivert and Benjamin South will be screened live at the prestigious TCL Chinese Theaters in Hollywood from September 23 to October 1, 2021.
Each year, the Academy Awards® Qualifying Festival brings together the best creators, industry leaders and companies, and propels many filmmakers to the next step in their careers. A regular on MovieMaker Magazine’s Top 50 Festivals list, HollyShorts also engages its community and highlights short films year-round through monthly screenings, panels and networking events.
“HollyShorts is such a great festival, and they always have an awesome lineup,” said Crickett Rumley, director of the NYFA Film Festivals Department. “Considering their array of accolades, their Oscar qualifying Grand Prix and their many networking opportunities, I consider it one of the best festivals in the world for short filmmakers. I have no doubts that our NYFA filmmakers will have a productive experience.
The four alumni films will be screened in a variety of programs during the festival.
Recovery by NYFA Alum Nick Azzaro
Recovery, Nick Azzaro’s sci-fi thriller about a young woman who confronts her childhood trauma during a virtual reality therapy session to discover that her inner demons are real, was her BFA degree thesis project Filmmaking at NYFA. Most of the film takes place in a video game-like world that Azzaro designed the visual effects for. “Recovery is my biggest project to date, ”explains the Italian filmmaker, who recently returned to NYFA to continue his studies in the MFA Cinematography program. “Using the camera and directing simultaneously was a fun challenge, and it gave me full control over all aspects of the film. The film has been the official selection of numerous festivals around the world, including LA Shorts and Burbank International Film Festival. The film will screen at HollyShorts in the VFX program on Sunday, September 26 at 5 p.m. ET.
I’m a vampire (Soy Un Vampiro) by NYFA Alun Sofia Garza-Barba
The whimsical of Sofia Garza-Barba I’m a vampire (Soy Un Vampiro) is about an eight-year-old whose suspicion that she is turning into a vampire is heightened by the confusing behavior of her Mexican family during pandemic containment. “I wanted to create this explosion of mixed feelings and genres that 2020 unleashed in us,” says Garza-Barba, who participated in NYFA’s year-long screenwriting program and now directs commercials and music videos in addition to the short films. She says that during the pandemic “I found myself stuck in two worlds that quickly felt like limbo: the reality of the outside world and my home bubble. Over the weeks and months, I noticed my imagination continued to reach out to unexpected places, not knowing what to believe and what to ignore in order to keep me and my home afloat. I am a vampire is the result of the reality and the absurdity that crosses our minds when we desperately need to get back to “normal”.
In the midst of a rugged film festival, I’m A Vampire has been an official selection of the Cleveland, Guanajuato and Bentonville International Film Festival, to name a few, and will be part of the genre festival of world famous Sitges in Spain in October. Garza-Barba’s HollyShorts screening will take place on Tuesday, September 28 at noon in the Animation and Family block. “I think it’s amazing that festivals want to present all types of genres to kids who dream of being filmmakers,” says Garza-Barba. “My film can also be enjoyed by adults and children. There may be blood, but it’s all part of the fun.
The girl’s tale by NYFA Alum Savannah Sivert
For her first film since graduating from NYFA’s MFA in Filmmaking program, Savannah Sivert teamed up with writer-director Taylor Hinds to direct The girl’s tale. The film is based on a separated daughter who takes care of her mother who suffered a stroke when a dangerous acquaintance arrives to collect an old debt. The quirky western-themed allegory was shot in northern California, twenty-five miles outside of Yosemite, in the historic gold rush town of Groveland, and it was a labor of love between a group of filmmaker friends who formed a production company called Moonshine Pictures.
“A month after the start of the 2020 pandemic, Taylor and I were spending hours on FaceTime with our producer partners and now roommates Jazlyn and Chris,” says Sivert. “Having only free time, we decided to make a film. The story began as a mother and daughter reunited with each other and ended up becoming the origin story of the superhero we all needed. Jazlyn’s family offered her cabin as their primary location, and Jazlyn herself learned how to throw axes for the role. “She started practicing a few months before principal photography,” explains Sivert. “In the movie, she throws the ax AND hits the target. We are all still afraid of her to this day. The trick is to run away in a zigzag formation.
The girl’s tale premiered at the 25th Rhode Island Flickers International Film Festival and is an official selection of the SENE (Rhode Island) and Bend (Oregon) film festivals in October. The HollyShorts screening takes place on Monday, September 27, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. in the Crime Drama block.
L’Arche by NYFA Alum Benjamin South
In March 2020, principal photography was due to begin for NYFA BFA film student Benjamin South’s sci-fi thriller thesis on two first-time assassins who believe they are fighting for a higher cause to have a crisis of faith. “L’Arche was originally scheduled to shoot in Los Angeles, but due to COVID-19 we moved all production to England and turned six months of pre-production into six weeks, ”South said. “We shot four very rainy, cold, dark and difficult nights in England, but it was a silver lining as the film was immeasurably improved by this change. The location of the hotel was out of this world, and I had the good fortune to work with so many friends in England that I would never have had the opportunity to work otherwise.
The screenplay, an adaptation of a short story by AM Khalifa, was sent to the South at a time when his grandfather had just passed away. “He dedicated his career to science and it was a good time to make this movie,” South said. “It was important for me to create a sci-fi movie that feels grounded and place it in a world that we can all relate to.”
At the start of what promises to be an impressive film festival, L’Arche is an official selection from the Bolton, Norwich, Sioux City and Valley Film Festivals as well as Cinegear Expo and NOLA Horror Fest. However, “HollyShorts is a milestone festival for us, for the prestige of being at the Chinese Theater and being an official selection in an Oscar qualifying festival. In addition, this is our first in-person screening. The film is part of the VFX program at HollyShorts, which premieres at 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 26.
“We are proud to have the opportunity to present four NYFA alumni films at this year’s HollyShorts,” said Daniel Sol, co-founder of HollyShorts. “Having known the NYFA team and watched their films for over 15 years, it has been a pleasure to witness the school’s growth and commitment to excellent and diverse storytelling. All the more evident. with this year’s four caps. Sofia Garza-Barba’s I am a vampire, The girl’s tale by Savannah Sivert and Taylor Hinds, by Ben South L’Arche, and that of Nicolo Azzaro Recovery present a wide range of ideas, themes and genres that we believe resonate with HollyShorts audiences. We look forward to welcoming these NYFA alumni and their films to TCL Chinese 6 Theaters this month! “
The New York Film Academy congratulates its alumni on their tremendous success and wishes them well in the competition.
About the New York Film Academy
The New York Film Academy (NYFA) is a leading film, media, and performing arts university that offers intensive undergraduate and graduate programs, certificates, and workshops in a multitude of fields of study in New York, Los Angeles, South Beach / Miami, Gold Coast (Australia), Florence (Italy), Beijing and Shanghai (China) and more. Its programs are accelerated, and NYFA students can earn a four-year BFA degree in three years. NYFA’s online program offerings allow students to develop their creative and technical skills in NYFA’s “online workshops”, available in NYFA’s film, media and performing arts disciplines.
NYFA is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). This accreditation extends to all NYFA campuses in the United States and abroad.
For more information, please visit nyfa.edu.
CONTACT: Helen Kantilaftis New York Film Academy (212) 674-4300 [email protected]