12th Annual BronzeLens Film Festival 2021 to Screen Short Films "Aftermath" and "Loving Byron" by New York Film Academy Alumni

New York, NY, Aug. 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- New York Film Academy (NYFA) is excited to congratulate alumni Tarik Holmes & Jonathan Samukange, and Deante’ Gray on the official selection of their short films, Aftermath and Loving Byron, for this year’s 12th Annual BronzeLens Film Festival. An Oscar-qualifying festival that showcases films by, for, and about people of color, the Atlanta-based BronzeLens Film Festival will feature the films in online screenings August 20-23, 2021.  

Tarik Holmes, an honors graduate of NYFA’s MFA Acting for Film program, wrote, produced, and played the lead in his thesis film Aftermath. NYFA Acting Department Associate Chair Anne Moore describes Holmes as "a sensitive, driven, and talented artist whose vision is unique as an actor and storyteller. His powerful voice is valuable and needs to be heard." 

Aftermath is about a young man who abducts his older brother as revenge for their troubled past, and Holmes found inspiration for the story in his relationship with his own brother. “When I left home for film school in California, it was my first time being that far away from my family,” the filmmaker says. “Although we would call each other all the time, I felt like I left my younger brother behind and I was missing certain milestones in his life. So I created this crazy story as a love letter to him.” 

When it came to finding an outside director to helm the production, Holmes was introduced to a NYFA BFA Filmmaking student, Jonathan Samukange, by a mutual professor. They clicked instantly. Holmes recounted that he was on the way to their first meeting when Samukange called and said “he was surprised at how great the script was and he had to direct it! I was so surprised and humbled.” Samukange concurs, saying “Tarik is hardworking, dedicated, and came highly recommended. I completely connected with him and the screenplay, which I felt was well written. And I could relate to the subject.”

Holmes describes Samukange as an actor's director. “He really made me feel comfortable and was specific about investing in each character. Before each take, he spoke with us to see how we were feeling and guided us into the scene,” Holmes says. “I remember while we were shooting one scene, I kept messing up a line, so he told me to ad-lib in character, and it felt so freeing to let out my frustrations. That moment ended up being in the final cut.”

Writer-director Deante’ Gray completed his MA in NYFA’s Film and Media Production program after a torn ACL sidelined him from his first career as a professional football player. His thesis film Loving Byron is about a 17-year-old boy who runs away from his problematic home with his girlfriend to live in the middle of nowhere. Gray says the inspiration for the film “was my upbringing growing up in Houston. How a kid can be so in love, so hopeful in life, and have it all stripped away at a moment’s notice.” 

Gray’s favorite part of directing the film was exploring the characters with his actors. “My lead is actually my best friend who I grew up with in Houston,” he explains. “So our connection and us knowing everything about one another only amplified the focus and care that was needed to make this film what it is.”

After graduating from NYFA’s Los Angeles campus, all three creatives went back home to build their careers. Holmes is in Jamaica producing, writing and acting in original work that he will promote through social media. Samukange returned to Zimbabwe and built a film production studio where he plans to produce his first feature this fall. Gray has used his time in Houston, Texas, to write, shoot, and direct the web series Sunday Dinner, which is currently available on YouTube.

“I’m so proud of these filmmakers and the hard work they’ve put into film festivals,” says Crickett Rumley, the director of NYFA’s Film Festival Department. “Deante’ has already screened at New Filmmakers LA and won an award at WorldFest Houston. Tarik and Jonathan have been at the African Film Festival in Dallas and the Charlotte Black Film Festival. I feel confident they will have a great experience with BronzeLens and enjoy the festival’s impressive offerings.”

The New York Film Academy congratulates Holmes, Samukange, and Gray on their films’ selection by the prestigious BronzeLens Film Festival. To pre-order your tickets, to watch the film trailers and for more information about the Friday Screening series (available online August 20-23), please click here for Aftermath and click here for Loving Byron.


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



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