October 2, 2008 - As part of Independent Film Week, graduating CUNY students were given the opportunity to showcase their films for their peers and festival attendees. NextGenNYC, a new program created by IFP and the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, grants access for film and digital media students from the City’s universities to the events of Independent Film Week.
Ten finalists had their films screened over the course of two consecutive days.
Originally from Mexico City, David Figueroa-Garcia currently lives in Brooklyn and is pursuing a film M.F.A. At Columbia University School of the Arts. Figueroa-Garcia's narrative short Beautiful depicts a man trying to decide how to treat a woman with killer looks.
Thomas W. Campbell has lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for 25 years. He went back to school to focus on documentary directing. His film, Birth of the Sun, explores the short and creative life of Grady Alexis, an artist who typified some of the best of the New York City East Village art scene of the late 1980s.
Stacey Lee is in her fourth year as a cinema major at the College of Staten Island. A Day in the Life chronicles the life of a multi-tasking student. The film is shot in black and white.
In Drop, two outcasts head out on a road trip and engage in a game of lost-and-found. Director Janis M. Vogel, born in Germany and raised in Martha’s Vineyard, received her M.F.A. in Film Production at The City College of New York in 2008.
Kalim Armstrong is currently a graduate student at Hunter College documenting stories on the fringe of the mainstream. In his documentary A New England Field Guide to Life, Armstrong explores the journey of Kurt Weisman and his experience living in the woods of Vermont.
An Australian native, Jenny Byrne came to New York in 1998 and currently attends Hunter College, pursuing a degree in film. Her film Fremente follows a 19th century prisoner as he frantically attempts to finish a musical composition.
Nitzan Mager was born in Israel and lives in New York where she recently finished a dual degree in film and creative writing. In Period Portrait, four characters’ lives intertwine until their paths converge in the feminine hygiene aisle of the supermarket.
Something Invisible is Ryuichi Hiraishi first time directing a documentary film. His film tells the story of the Japanese civilians who hid in a cave near the beach where US troops first landed during World War II. This film recounts the survivors’ memories from their time in the cave.
Laura Melillo moved to New York to study film at CUNY Hunter College after growing up in Kansas and Texas. She wrote and directed Strays as her senior thesis, which follows the wanderings of a teenage couple in Staten Island and the stray cat they adopt.
Street Supreme examines the waste of food and details efforts to reduce this waste on the part of grassroot movements in the New York City. Director Micah Bochart recently graduated from Hunter College at the City University of New York with a Bachelor's degree in Film and English. He was raised in Haines, Alaska.
The winner of NextGenNYC will be announced at this year’s Gotham Awards, which will be held on December 2 in New York City.