NYFA Celebrates Alumni Meshal Aljaser, Tushar Tyagi, and Dr. Ariel Orama López Qualifying for 93rd Academy Awards


New York, NY, Jan. 27, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- New York Film Academy (NYFA) is excited to announce the eligibility of three alumni projects that have qualified to be nominated for the upcoming 93rd Academy Awards in the Live Action Short Film category. With the Oscars ceremony pushed to April 25, 2021, the Academy will announce the shortlist of potential nominees (10) on February 9, 2021, with the second round of voting narrowed to five official Oscar nominees on March 15, 2021.

The following short films from NYFA alumni have qualified to be nominated for the 2021 Oscars in the Live Action Short Film Category: 

  • Screenwriting BFA alum Meshal Aljaser with Arabian Alien 
  • Acting for Film Workshop alum Dr. Ariel Orama López with 2ḦOOM [Zoom] 
  • 1-Year Filmmaking alum Tushar Tyagi with Saving Chintu

 Short films can qualify for nomination one of three ways: a seven-day theatrical run in one of six major US cities (like Tyagi did for Saving Chintu and López for 2ḦOOM), winning a qualifying award at a competitive film festival (like Aljaser did for Arabian Alien) or winning a Gold, Silver, or Bronze Medal in the Student Academy Awards (for which NYFA students are eligible).

Arabian Alien, written and directed by Saudi filmmaker Meshal Aljaser and produced by NYFA Producing alum Almotaz Aljefri, tells of a married Muslim man, who gets over his depression after a space alien is introduced into his life. The film had its world premiere at the prestigious Sundance 2020, where it won the Vimeo Jury Award and later went on to be the winner of the Atlanta Film Festival (AFF) Jury Prize for Best Narrative Short Film where it was hailed “a layered, suspenseful and powerfully strange tale of societal taboos and marital tension, told with emotional precision, silent-film-evoking visuals, cultural authenticity, and startling humor.”

The AFF win for Arabian Alien, which cemented the film for Oscar consideration, catapulted the film to further critical acclaim including a feature in GQ Middle East, among others, applauding the work of Aljaser and Saudi influencer and actor Mohammed Alhamdan (Warchief), who starred in the film. 

"I enjoyed going to Sundance. It was a great experience,” shared Aljaser. “I met so many inspiring people. However, after that COVID hit, everything was virtual. It was still a high privilege to be part of Palm Springs Shortfest and the Atlanta Film Festival."

2ḦOOM [Zoom] from Dr. López is an experimental live-action and animation hybrid short film about two brothers from the Caribbean who discover what unifies them. Using the backdrop of the current pandemic and the all-too-familiar COVID communication platform of choice, Zoom, the film includes voices and talents from the Caribbean, Latin America, Spain, and Italy.

This is Dr. López’s second consecutive nod for Academy Award consideration with his previous short film, One, qualifying for an Oscar nomination in 2020. “I feel blessed by the opportunity to qualify for the Oscars two years in a row,” Dr. López shared. “I believe that films, more than entertain, can heal us, and represent who we are, as humans.”

Saving Chintu from Tyagi tells of an American-Indian gay couple who travel to India to adopt a child living with HIV in an orphanage and encounter cultural challenges along the way. Starring Adil Hussain (Life of Pi, Star Trek: Discovery), the film appeared as an official selection at numerous film festivals and received notable critical acclaim, most recently being hailed by both Variety and Rolling Stone India

The NYFA alum shared that being part of the 2021 Oscars race is “almost unbelievable” and having Saving Chintu “being watched and celebrated at the top film festivals and praised by so many is a very blissful feeling.” 

“I’m incredibly proud of Tushar, Meshal, and Ariel. These major talents have created short films that are so thought-provoking, powerful, infused with humanity that they stay with you long after the credits stop rolling,” says Crickett Rumley, Director of NYFA’s Film Festival Department. “It’s no surprise that they have been rewarded with strong festival runs. And qualifying for an Oscar nomination? It’s tremendously exciting and so well-deserved!”

NYFA congratulates the alumni who have qualified for Academy Award consideration and wishes them the best of luck when the shortlist is announced on February 9, 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


Film Posters Featured: Meshal Aljaser's "Arabian Alien," Dr. Ariel Orama López's "2ḦOOM," and Tushar Tyagi's "Saving Chintu."

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