Senior Naaz V. Wins Award in New York Alliance Film Festival

Congratulations to rising senior Naaz V., whose film “Growing Up Downtown” won Best Overall Cinematography at the 2021 New York Alliance Film Festival
Of this year’s 70+ submissions, Naaz’s film, shot entirely in black and white, was awarded the distinction for Best Cinematography. “Naaz has been great to work with throughout this year,” stated Mr. Todd, who advised Naaz as she created the film. “She is really dedicated to the craft of filmmaking and always seeks out criticism and ways to improve her films. She has a natural talent with the camera and visual storytelling.”

The film is a brief documentary that celebrates and discusses being a teenager in New York City. Featuring narration from several teens, “Growing Up Downtown” explores the experience of going through such a pivotal part of life in one of the largest cities in the world, something that hits close to home for the young filmmaker. “My motivation behind making the film emerged from my own experience of growing up downtown,” she explains. “I certainly went into the film with my own opinions and biases. I grew up in Brooklyn until I was twelve years old and then moved to the Lower East Side as a seventh grader. This transition was at times overwhelming and took some adjusting. I wanted to create the film to explore the viewpoints of other kids and affirm some of my own beliefs as well as contrast them.”

How does Naaz feel about her win? In short, “Incredible,” she says. “All I want as an artist is to be understood, and to have the ability to intrigue the audience the way my favorite filmmakers have done the same with me. Winning this award has given me that affirmation that I’m doing my part, and that people appreciate and understand what I attempt to create.”

You can view “Growing Up Downtown” here.

Founded in the Fall of 2015, the NY Alliance Film festival aims to connect students from independent schools across New York State through a shared interest in filmmaking. Students in grades 9-12 are eligible to submit films in genres ranging from documentary to animation, eventually rewarding gold, silver, and bronze placements for each category.
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Grace Church School is a co-educational independent school in downtown Manhattan, New York City providing instruction for nearly 800 students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12.