2021 Slamdance Film Festival Screens Episodic Pilot “Blackwater” from New York Film Academy Alum Boise Esquerra


New York, NY, Feb. 12, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- New York Film Academy (NYFA) is thrilled to congratulate MFA Filmmaking and Screenwriting alum Boise Esquerra, who will be screening his episodic pilot, Blackwater, at the esteemed 2021 Slamdance Film Festival. The festival will be held virtually this year from February 12 - 25, 2021. 

This year, Slamdance’s official theme, “Greenlight Yourself,” reflects the festival’s ongoing commitment to creating opportunities for the diverse voices of emerging creators. Native (Hopi) and Mexican American filmmaker Boise Esquerra will be among those creatives shining a light on indigenous voices in Slamdance’s “Episodes” category with his project Blackwater.

Blackwater is a fictional story about Native American country music star Birdie Blackwater, played by Kyla Garcia (Agents of Shield, Time Capsule), who continues to struggle with alcohol dependency. Upon moving back to her home reservation, Birdie is arrested and sentenced to complete 180 days of wellness therapy and intense probation and finds herself surrounded by a group of offbeat individuals who each possess their own limitations. The pilot also features Branscombe Richmond (Finding Ohana, The Scorpion King) and Loren Anthony (Red Dead Redemption II, We’re The Millers). 

Blackwater is a fascinating window into a Native American experience that rarely gets portrayed on screen, and Boise has shown great sensitivity and insight in bringing his characters and their struggles to life,” shared Crickett Rumley, the Director of NYFA’s Film Festival Department. “It’s no wonder that top film festivals such as Slamdance, Austin, and Cinequest are programming this episode -- fingers crossed there are more to come!”

As the director, writer, producer, and editor of the pilot, Esquerra revealed that his inspiration for Blackwater came during his time studying at NYFA when he had to develop, write, and shoot a web series pilot for a course. Around that time, Esquerra received news that his brother had developed critical cirrhosis of the liver and went into hospice care. It was during this time that Esquerra had to face the devastating reality of losing a loved one.

“At that point, I wanted to write something I was familiar with for my Transmedia course,” shared Esquerra. “I had felt my brother in my heart moving me to lean into all that I had experienced with addiction and dependency. I also wanted to heal from the loss of losing him to alcoholism. Thus, I put forward a new proposal to my instructors, which was Blackwater.”

“It was an absolute joy and honor supporting Boise as he developed Blackwater in the Transmedia program,” shared NYFA instructor Jenni Powell. “From the pitching process forward, I knew he had something powerful that needed to be shared with the world and he was focused and driven during the entire process: from ideation to pre-production to the final screening. All the success he's had with the project, and knowing all the work he has put into it, is undoubtedly well-deserved.”

New York Film Academy congratulates the outstanding achievement of alum Boise Esquerra, who will join the ranks of Slamdance’s incredible alumni of diverse creators, including Christopher Nolan, Bong Joon-ho, Sean Baker, Jennifer Kent, and many more. Tickets for the festival can be purchased on Slamdance’s official website and Blackwater will be screening along with 11 other projects in the “Episodes” category February 12 – 25, 2021. 

About New York Film Academy
New York Film Academy (NYFA) is a leading film, media, and performing arts college that offers hands-on intensive undergraduate and graduate degree programs, certificates, and workshops across a multitude of areas of study in New York City, Los Angeles, South Beach/Miami, Gold Coast (Australia), Florence (Italy), Beijing and Shanghai (China), and more. Its programs are accelerated and NYFA students can complete a four-year BFA degree in three years. NYFA’s online program offerings allow students the opportunity to advance their creative and technical skills in NYFA’s “Hands-Online Workshops,” available across NYFA’s visual, media, and performing arts disciplines.

NYFA is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), and is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). These accreditations extend to all NYFA campuses in the United States and overseas.

For more information, please visit nyfa.edu.


NYFA alum Boise Esquerra Poster for Boise Esquerra's "Blackwater"

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