I spent a lot of time researching for the right summer program for me. Save for those conducted by universities, most of the others are scams and their sales representatives are relentless in their pursuit for international students. So I think it is important to state at the outset that the International Film Institute of New York Summer Intensive is a legitimate program that I wish I could experience all over again. The defined and structured curriculum gave me a solid foundation in filmmaking basics from writing, directing to practical on-set production know-how. I signed up without any filmmaking background or experience and enjoyed all the classes with the engaging and brilliant instructors, in particular screenwriting with Keola. He kicked off the first lesson with a generative image writing exercise to get our creatives juices flowing and it helped to get our class acquainted with each other as well. The end goal of the program was to produce a short film. This was on top of the daily writing and directing assignments so it was rather intensive but I enjoyed every moment of it. Being objective, I do think that this program is better suited for highly motivated individuals with a collaborative spirit and are prepared to put in the work. The film shoots were the most fun I've ever had and I became confident that filmmaking was what I wanted to pursue in graduate school. Quite apart from the educational aspect, I love the people at this program. The instructors and staff have continued to provide me with their guidance long after the program ended (shoutout to Misael, Donella, Keola, Stephen and Jesus). They genuinely want the best for their students in terms of their personal filmmaking growth and are willing to help whenever they can. These guys are simply the best. Another plus point, my classmates / housemates on-campus (J and D) have become some of my closest friends and I am so happy that we met at this program.