5 of 9 Films in Saudi Corner at Cannes Feature New York Film Academy Alumni & Students

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Saudi Corner at Cannes Features 5 Films by New York Film Academy Alumni

"Being at Cannes is genuinely an honor all by itself,” says The Scapegoat director and NYFA grad Talha Bin Abdulrahman, “But knowing that I have my country's full support makes it even more meaningful."

As the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia makes its debut at the Cannes Film Festival, five of the Kingdom’s nine short films to be screened at the Cannes Short Film Corner feature the work of New York Film Academy (NYFA) alumni and students.

"We are overwhelmed with pride by the success of our Saudi graduates,” says NYFA President Michael Young. “These young filmmakers have done extraordinary work, they are truly pioneers of cinema in their country."

NYFA has been honored to train many of the rising filmmakers, producers, and actors whose work is now featured in the “Saudi Corner” at Cannes, including:

  • Film School Musical - Directed by NYFA BFA Filmmaking alum Maan Bin Abdulrahman, who also produced fellow Cannes film The Scapegoat, directed by his brother, Talha. Maan recently appeared on CNN discussing the opening of cinema in Saudi Arabia.
  • The Scapegoat - Directed by NYFA BFA Filmmaking alum Talha Bin Abdulrahman, as his thesis film. The Scapegoat was recently an official selection at the 14th Dubai International Film Festival, as well as the second annual Young Saudi Film Festival, hosted by NYFA.
  • Sumiyati Going to Hell - Directed by current NYFA BFA Screenwriting student Meshal Al Jasser.
  • Coexistence - Directed by NYFA MFA Filmmaking alum Musab Alamri, and also featuring actor, current NYFA BFA Acting for Film student, and Young Saudi Film Festival President Rakan Anneghaimshi.
  • Wasati - Starring actor and NYFA 8-Week Acting for Film alum Mansour Al Nasser, as an opthamologist.

"It is no surprise that so many of our alumni and students’ work will be represented at the Saudi Short Corner this year,” says Vice President Middle East & North Africa Region Tami Alexander. “Their passion for storytelling shines in their work. We look forward to continue to welcome the future artists of Saudi cinema to study at NYFA."

NYFA Los Angeles recently hosted Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Culture as a part of Saudi Cultural Days, where student Rakan Anneghaimshi and alum Maan Bin Abdulrahman hosted a Q&A event featuring Hollywood producer Ted Field (Jumanji, The Chronicles of Riddick). In addition to the Q&A, NYFA screened some of these short films now featured at Cannes, for distinguished guests from the Kingdom including Khaled Al Saqer, Meshal AlSaleh and Abdulaziz AlMutairi.

NYFA Director of the Q&A Series Tova Laiter will be in attendance at Cannes to celebrate and support the NYFA and Saudi communities. “I had the opportunity to see a few of NYFA's Saudi students’ short films at the GCA screening at NYFA Los Angeles,” says Laiter. “I was extremely impressed, both in terms of cinematic quality and subject matter. They were all flawless, a rare occurrence. I intend to recommend them to all the major critics I know in Cannes.”

The Saudi Short Corner at Cannes represents a significant milestone in the Kingdom’s expansion of cinema under Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s Vision 2030 programme.

"Being at Cannes is genuinely an honor all by itself,” says The Scapegoat director and NYFA grad Talha Bin Abdulrahman, “But knowing that I have my country's full support makes it even more meaningful."

His brother, fellow NYFA grad and Film School Musical director, Maan Bin Abdulrahman agrees: “I never thought this day would come. My family is proud, my government is proud, my people are supporting me; life is good!”

The Saudi Corner Cannes screenings will take place May 14, 5:30 p.m., Palais D, and May 15, 11:30 a.m., Palais H.

Press Inquiries Contact: helen.kanti@nyfa.edu

About New York Film Academy
The New York Film Academy (NYFA) is a leading visual and performing arts school that offers courses across 15 areas of study in New York City, Los Angeles, South Beach/Miami, Gold Coast (Australia), Florence (Italy), Mumbai (India), and more. Thousands of aspiring artists come to study at the New York Film Academy each year from over 120 countries. For more information, please visit nyfa.edu.

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