Scarecrow Video Picks: NFFTY’s 2020 Filmmakers Share their Inspirations 

It’s almost time for NFFTY! This year, the National Film Festival for Talented Youth is all online Oct. 23 – Nov. 1 with no geo-fencing, so audiences across the globe can enjoy 234 great short films from filmmakers 24 and under. In addition to film screenings, the virtual festival will feature special presentations and in-depth workshops from our alumni and industry guests. 

To celebrate the 2020 festival, some of this year’s filmmakers are sharing their cinematic inspirations. Pick up a NFFTY pass to see some incredible work from emerging filmmakers and rent some of the films that inspired them to create from Scarecrow! 

Director Ragini Bhasin cites Asghar Farhadi as her favorite director. Some of Farhadi’s films include A SEPARATION and EVERYBODY KNOWS (TODOS LA SABEN). She also LOVES THE GODFATHER trilogy and Bong Joon-Ho’s PARASITE. Bhasin’s film GHAZAAL, about a 13-year-old Afghan in a refugee camp, is screening as part of NFFTY’s Opening Night Showcase. 


Director Q Le names Satoshi Kon as an inspiration for her work. She called out Kon’s films PAPRIKA as one of her faves, as well as THE GRANDMASTER, directed by Wong Kar-wai, and THE WIND RISES, directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Le’s film, I NEVER PICKED COTTON (a collaboration between 12 student filmmakers), is an animated documentary about one woman’s experience with racism, and is screening as part of NFFTY’s Opening Night Showcase. 


Director Sam Aidan-Joshon says Alejandro Inarritu’s work cemented his belief in the power of cinema, and recommends both BIRDMAN and THE REVENANT. Aidan-Johnson co-directed CHILDREN PLAY WITH FIRE (with JaKari Thompson), about a young Chicagoan who must reconcile with the murder of his older sibling. FIRE is screening as part of NFFTY’S Centerpiece Showcase. 


Director Kira Findling’s biggest inspiration is Debra Chasnoff, an activist and documentary filmmaker who inspired Kira from a young age. Two of her films that were particularly influential are THAT’S A FAMILY! and STRAIGHTLACED—HOW GENDER’S GOT US ALL TIED UP. Kira also learned a lot from watching Rose Troche’s low-budget LGBTQ+ indie drama GO FISH. Findling’s film WITNESS examines a world where women go missing every day, and is screening as part of NFFTY’s Closing Night: What Do You Stand For? Program. 


Director Ciani Walker named three filmmakers and films that inspired them to make their own films: Cary Fukunaga, BEASTS OF NO NATION; Fernando Meirelles, CITY OF GOD; and Adam McKay, THE BIG SHORT. Walker’s film, MISFITS, about two sisters and leaders of the Black Panther Party who must set aside their differences to navigate one of the most turbulent nights in history, screens as part of NFFTY’s Closing Night: What Do You Stand For? Program. 


NFFTY Series Passes and Pay-What-You-Can tickets are on sale now

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