Namanja Bala – Screenwriter and Director – Class of 2001

I received an excellent background both in the theory and production of film

I am a film writer and director who came to the US when I was 19 and received a tennis scholarship to study at the University of Hartford. I majored in film studies and began making short narrative and documentary films. My film, On The Bridge, inspired by the 1999 NATO bombings of Serbia, was shown on Serbian National Television.

At the University of Hartford, I received an excellent background both in the theory and production of film. I would study films of Hitchcock, Truffaut, or Bruce Conner, and at the same time I would be shooting my own 16mm film or making a digital video. Every week I’d also try to catch a rare documentary at Real Art Ways or a new print of Peeping Tom or such classics at Trinity. It was a busy time but a lot of fun. Not very often do you get so many things in one place.

I continued to direct and produce short films while at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Film, but my interest mostly shifted to screenwriting. My script, Broken String, was an award winning screenplay, and Exile reached finalist stages at Sundance Writer’s Lab and Tribeca’s All-Access Program. Since receiving my MFA in Screenwriting in 2006, I have been working as a freelance writer and filmmaker in New York City. Most recently I founded Beam5, a creative studio of filmmakers, animators and designers, which focuses on commercial work.

Nemanja’s most recent feature, directed with his brother, recently premiered at the Warsaw International Film Festival and may be coming to city near you in the future!