Maksodul (Mak) Hossain-winner of the Student Academy Award Bronze Medal for his Documentary, Three Beauties
Recent correspondence from Mak Hossain
May 1, 2008
You would be proud to know that I was offered admission to New York University's prestigious MFA program in Film Production (directing). Thank you for an awesome recommendation! Previous graduates from the film school have included Martin Scorsese, Joel Coen, Oliver Stone, Ang Lee, Spike Lee, M. Night Shyamalan, Tamara Jenkins, Marc Forster, Brett Ratner, Ryan Fleck and others. I frst learned about NYU's film school when I was only 11. My family rented a copy of Oliver Stone's JFK and watched it after dinner. The semi-documentary storytelling style of the film got my attention and led me to look up the director. In my research I discovered that while at NYU Stone was taught by some famous American director named Scorsese. So I got a hold of some of his films and as a child it was etched in my mind that NYU's film school was the place to be if you are serious about filmmaking (of course my views have developed quite a bit since then -- thanks to you and others at Purdue). As a Bangladeshi kid growing up in the United Arab Emirates attending the school seemed like one of those day dreams that would never come true. 15 years later, I'm finally in and trying to figure out how to finance my NYU MFA. I must confess it feels good.
From time to time, I get emails from some Purdue Film Video studies students asking me what it takes to be a good filmmaker. While I don't consider myself an authority on the subject and have no illusions about my limited experience in the field (a few short films and two years in the outer trenches of Hollywood) I can offer the following advice with confidence:
If you want to be a good filmmaker:
1. have something to say
2. know how to write well and tell a story
3. know how to direct actors
...and remember what Woody Allen said "Talent is luck, the important things in life are courage, passion and perseverance."
June 6, 2006Ben,
I got bronze but had the time of my life. I shamelessly promoted myself throughout the week and made a lot of connections. A producer from Frontline (PBS) has shown interest in the piece. I've provided a copy of the doc to her. Among others, Shannon Kelley, associate director of the documentary film program for Sundance Institute has approached me to go the Sundance Film Festival with "Three Beauties". Next week I'm meeting with a number of producers to discuss future projects.Carrie Lozano who took the gold for her documentary, "Reporter Zero" was one of the producers of Oscar nominated documentary "The Weather Underground". Needless to say we bonded a lot, simply because I knew her work so well. Xiaoli Zhou took the silver for "The Women's Kingdom" which is going to air on PBS shortly.
We met all sorts of people during the week. At the Director's Guild we talked to Jamie Babbit (TV director of CSI, Alias, Malcolm in the Middle, Gilmore Girls etc.) and Mark Romanek (God of music videos). At the American Society of Cinematographers we talked to a panel of distinguished cinematographers, such as Bill Butler (Jaws, The Conversation, Grease, Rocky etc.), Owen Roizman (The French connection, The Exorcist, Network), Woody Omens (Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Magnum P.I.) among others. Kevin Smith and Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding fame) were the two celebrity presenters at the ceremony.All in all, I had a great experience. I can't wait to make my next film!
Mak has been interviewed by press and broadcast media. His response to one written interview follows:From: MWBLOCK@aol.com
Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2006 12:11:07 -0400
To: firstname.lastname@example.orgMak, I was glad to meet you Saturday at the Academy. Congratulations on your win at the student awards.
A few questions about your work for INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY. This is the publication of the International Documentary Association.
1. Could you tell me about your school's film program?2. Number of faculty, courses, nature of the major, number of major films (like your doc) being made, nature of doc program? how long has the program (for docs) been around?
3. This was your program's first student academy win, do you expect other films being made to be contenders?4. Any other info about your program that students and potential employers would find helpful.
In advance, thank you.
It was a pleasure meeting you as well. Purdue University's film program is relatively small but growing. The Film/Video Studies Program is part of the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies in Purdue's College of Liberal Arts. The Interdisciplinary Film/Video major is a professionally-oriented program based on a strong liberal arts foundation. The program draws on over 20 faculty and numerous courses from the School of Languages and Cultures, English, Communication, Creative Arts, and Computer Graphics Technology. Other than that it also offers its student the opportunity to intern on live productions (Blue Collar Comedy Tours, Nashville Country Music Awards etc.). Purdue does not have a documentary program, per se. However, starting next semester the school will be offering a course on documentary filmmaking. It also offers great film courses such as Italian Cinema, Understanding Film, Mafia & the Movies, Screenwriting, Avid Editing, Production etc. To get more info on the program, please contact Prof. Ben Lawton, Film & Video Chair ( email@example.com). Ben has limited access to the net as he is on vacation in Italy [he has since returned from the trip].These are very exciting times for Purdue University film program. I'm very confident that more films will come out of Purdue and achieve similar or greater success. As I mentioned before the Purdue film program is growing every semester. Prof. Lawton and his colleagues are working tirelessly to secure more funding to introduce more courses. The film faculty has been very encouraging and I owe a lot to them for my success.
Please let me know if you would like to know anything else.Thanks,