Meet the 2017 MIFF Winners

Every year, the Manhattan International Film Festival (MIFF) recognizes young directors creating films that reveal or explore the human experience and the depth of the human condition. The annual competition receives hundreds of submissions from promising talent around the world and selects ten finalists that compete for the top prize. 

The 5th MIFF awarded four young directors from Spain, Taiwan, the USA, and the Philippines for their exemplary filmmaking and insightful storytelling.

Álvaro Hernández Blanco is a Spanish-born, Mexico-based filmmaker who studied film at the University of Navarra and the University of California in Los Angeles. Álvaro is the writer and producer of numerous short films and documentaries, as well as the popular culinary YouTube channel La Cooquette. Gotta Serve Somebody placed fourth at the 5th MIFF, and is a tale of a former gang member in Los Angeles and his struggles toward a virtuous and honest life with his family.

Lin Po-Yu is presently studying in the Graduate School of Motion Picture at the National Taiwan University of Art. He was born in Taipei, and his film Breaktime placed third in the 5th MIFF with its steady storytelling of a girl who much to the dismay of her mother, would rather practice her dance routine with her friends than to watch over her sick grandfather.

Skylar Burke is a 13-year-old actor, singer, dancer, writer, and director. She began acting in New York City at only 9 years old, and has since worked on projects such as Darren Aronofsky’s 2014 “Noah”, a Saturday Night Live sketch with Paul Rudd and One Direction, and the 2015 short “Drawing Inspiration”. Skylar’s film Frenemy placed second in the 5th MIFF, with its compelling picture of the realities of social bullying as experienced by a previously vibrant girl.

Anya Nicola Isabel Zulueta is a 22-year-old Filipina who believes that being a filmmaker means creating worlds and characters and trying to make them matter. A graduate of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, she is currently seeking to fund for her first full-length feature script at the Manila Film Financing Forum. Anya’s second short film, My 2014 Neighbor, won first prize at the 5th Manhattan International Film Festival and tells the heartwarming story of two little girls’ friendship.

The 5th MIFF was screened at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) Theater in New York City on March 27, 2017 to a considerable audience. See the full press release here.

Submissions for the 6th Competition of the MIFF are now being accepted. WYA invites young directors committed to creating films reflecting the depth of the human condition. The submission deadline is September 30, 2017. For submission guidelines, visit