2 NYU alumni nominated for student filmmaking awards
“Eagles Rest in Liangshan” by Bohao Liu and “Finding Freedom” by Fiqah Rahman are in the running for a Television Academy Foundation student-produced television award.
Mar 23, 2022
Bohao Liu and Fiqah Rahman, alumni of NYU’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, have been nominated for the Television Academy Foundation’s 41st College Television Awards. The award ceremony will be held on Saturday, March 26, at 9 p.m. and will conclude the organization’s three-day long virtual summit.
Liu was nominated for his documentary, “Eagles Rest in Liangshan,” and Rahman was nominated for her independent film, “Finding Freedom.” Both graduated from the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute’s news and documentary graduate program in 2021.
“I treated this film as not a student project, but as a project I wanted to show to a larger audience,” Liu said. “It made me feel I should continue this career as a documentary filmmaker. It recognized me and told me that I’m on the right path.”
Liu’s documentary, which took over a year to produce, also won a silver medal in the documentary category at the 48th Student Academy Awards and a Directors Guild of America Student Film Award. The film was inspired by a TikTok featuring a basketball game in Liangshan, China, and follows the story of a man who returns to his hometown to instruct young basketball players. Liu aimed to showcase the impact of the sport — and late American basketball player Kobe Bryant — on the Yi people, an ethnic minority group in China.
While at NYU, Liu took a documentary course with professor Carol Dysinger at the graduate film program at the Tisch School of the Arts. Dysinger’s documentary, “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl),” inspired Liu to pursue a project he felt passionate about.
Rahman based her documentary, “Finding Freedom,” on her identity as a Muslim woman of color from Brunei, as well as her experience in participating in Black Lives Matter protests — specifically one by Washington Square Park — in October 2020. She said that joining the protests helped her come to terms with the internal conflicts she felt about her home country, including the Sharia law that was implemented in 2014.
“I’m from Brunei, a country where you can speak out, but the thing is, you’re restricted to speak out on certain things,” Rahman said. “I was watching this video of George Floyd, and it was very visual — you can hear everything that he said,” Rahman said. “I really sympathize with that moment. This was my first time at protests, and they were moving.”
Rahman said she was inspired by many artists who participated in the 2020 protests. She recalled one artist, a man named Kareem, who had cancer, yet still came to the protests after his chemotherapy treatments.
While studying journalism at NYU, Rahman said she found solace in documentary filmmaking. She hopes to inspire others with her story.
“This documentary was meant for me,” she said. “But what’s amazing was that a lot of people responded and reacted in a great way, and I was very happy that that actually touched a lot of people’s hearts.”
Contact Mitali Sapra at [email protected].