Students present world perspective through NYU GlobalFest films

International films by student filmmakers were a highlight of NYU’s recent GlobalFest, an annual event that celebrates the traditions of NYU’s global sites. The student audience was treated to films set in NYU study away and satellite campuses around the world. Three films, one shot in Prague, another in Shanghai and a third in Abu Dhabi, stood out for their execution and approach as they focused on imposing visuals and intimate tales.

“Zlodej” by Blake R. Brewer

A short film by Tisch senior Blake Brewer tours the antiquated streets of Prague through the eyes of a homeless boy on the run.

Shot during the summer of 2011 after Brewer studied abroad in Prague, the film opens with the boy’s eyes glued on a passerby’s briefcase. After being distracted by a violin player’s symphony, the boy is compelled to snatch the musician’s violin case and day’s earnings. Then, a chase begins.

“I knew I wanted to show as much of the city in my film as possible because not showing the beauty of the city would have been a crime,” Brewer said. “I figured that a good way to show a lot of the city would be to have a chase take place, transporting us to different parts of Prague.”

The film ends on a note of friendship after the boy leaves the money with a fellow homeless man.

“The message I want to get across is that just because a person is homeless doesn’t make them less of a human being,” Brewer said. “They are still people with feelings who experience joy and happiness.”

“50 Students On Top of a Mountain” by Lily van Leeuwen

An LSP writing class in Shanghai, China, in the 2011-2012 academic year was inspiration for Tisch sophomore Lily van Leeuwen’s documentary.

“Professors wanted to focus on a non-academic atmosphere and see whether a beautiful environment influences writing,” said van Leeuwen, who chose to document her writing class and fellow students in the film. “The movie is about our [class] trip to a mountaintop … to kind of focus on writing in a non-academic atmosphere.”

“Lullaby” by Besiki Turazashvili

NYU Abu Dhabi junior Besiki Turazashvili’s short film “Lullaby” explores the complex relationship between his love for dance and his struggle to gain support from his family.
“The short is about me growing up in a Georgian family and realizing my interests and developing them,” Turazashvili said.

During “Lullaby,” the camera remains fixed on a dancer while a narrator speaks in the background. The film is a product of the Sound, Image, and Story class Turazashvili took at NYU Abu Dhabi.

“This film is extremely personal to me since I think it is the most difficult task to film something about yourself,” Turazashvili said. “You have to be honest and still keep the viewer interested.”

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, March 10 print edition. Utpala Menon is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]