• Film and New Media majors at NYU Abu Dhabi explore every aspect of the field, from practice to production.
  • Capstone Projects, the culmination of students’ studies, take myriad forms, including screenplays, curated exhibits, and films.
  • Grants allow Film and New Media majors to spend their summer experimenting and creating their own meaningful projects.
Two male-presenting students carrying large cameras.

A documentary about the climate crisis. A short fiction film drawing inspiration from Palestinian culture. A Capstone Project delving into the lives of Latin American migrant women. A class of young girls in Mumbai learning to share their lives through film. For students majoring in Film and New Media at NYU Abu Dhabi, no topic is too big and no medium is off-limits. Against a backdrop of vibrant creativity and captivating stories, students interested in pursuing filmmaking can take advantage of world-class instructors and top-of-the-line equipment as they access some of the largest and oldest film industries in the world. There, they can begin their journey as artists and leaders in the field.

Students, with their professor’s guidance, trying out film equipment during a class outing.

Artists in Training

Classes focus on all aspects of film and media, from practice to production. “Many of our classes work to give students not only technical skills but also the ability to think about film as a medium of expression,” says Surabhi Sharma. She’s the program head and an associate professor of practice of film and new media. “We frame film as an approach, a mode of perspective. As a result, students find their own unique relationship with the art.”

In addition, Film and New Media majors explore other interests and experiment with their relationship to filmmaking. All students are required to take at least one class from another arts major, like Art and Art History, Music, or Theatre. Moreover, many students pursue a second major, such as Psychology, General Engineering, or Political Science. Consequently, the Film and New Media program emerges as a nexus of interdisciplinary learning and inspiration.

“The course Immersive Audio Storytelling for Motion Picture gave me a lot of experience and knowledge in the sphere of sound design,” says sophomore Kate Ezubova. She is majoring in both Film and New Media and Music. “For example, it allowed me to certify as a Pro Tools specialist and even helped me get an internship at NYU Prague. Plus, Professor Matteo Marciano is very experienced and knowledgeable. So I enjoyed listening to him and learning from him. All in all, the class provided me with industry-oriented and eye-opening knowledge.”

A student sitting with recording equipment while on set.

Capstone and Beyond

Students’ training culminates in a yearlong Capstone Project, resulting in a significant piece of research or creative work. This can take the form of a paper or screenplay, a curated exhibition, or a film or multiplatform new media object.

Senior Ibad Hasan’s Capstone Project is a short narrative fiction project called “Aathvi” (“Eighth”). It explores the life of a young 7-year-old boy and his relationship with his mother as the two navigate an uncomfortable moment in their lives. “The project is a culmination of everything I have ever worked on within the program, from stories of migration and language to lighting and composition,” he says. “With this film I pay a purposeful homage to several of the settings and places I previously shot in. As such, there are themes of adolescence, familial dysfunction, and migratory alienation.”

Students seeking additional opportunities to create can apply for one of 10 summer grants. These grants provide recipients with money and equipment to shoot a film. Then, they get to experiment outside of the classroom and create meaningful projects in their home countries. Additionally, many Film and New Media majors spend a semester studying away. Some take film classes at the Tisch School of the Arts in New York City, while others pursue their interests across the globe, in cities such as Prague, Madrid, and Berlin.

Ibad received two summer grants at the end of his sophomore and junior years. “The first grant enabled me to make a 10-minute experimental documentary called ‘Thoughts in Transit.’ It is a compilation of my personal and poetic reflections across four seasons and cities,” he shares. “Then, the second brought me to an art studio for students with disabilities in Dubai. There, I worked as a visual arts intern and explored visual anthropology as a medium for creating video-related projects.”

Postgraduation, some film and new media students build careers in advertising, television, and film production. At the same time, others use their film training to break into new fields, like design, interactive media, museum curation, and education. Still, wherever they end up, one thing is certain: Film and New Media majors are changing the world.