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Ithaca College Student’s ‘Ninja Warrior’ Documentary Wins Festival Award

People across the country tune in to watch incredible athletes tackle challenging obstacle courses on the television show “American Ninja Warrior,” but they usually aren’t familiar with the training process required for the contestants to get to primetime. Ithaca College senior Amy Jacobson recently won Best Short Documentary at the Angeles Documentaries Film Festival for “Real Life Ninja,” which follows one ninja warrior as he trains people to overcome obstacles.

Amy Jacobson followed Drew Drechsel for two days at his gym. (Photo provided)


With a camera in hand, Jacobson filmed contestant Drew Drechsel for two days at his gym in Connecticut, where he teaches classes inspired by those on the NBC show.

“I was a huge fan of the show and thought it would be an interesting and unique topic,” said Jacobson.

The cinema and photography major entered her film in the Angeles Documentaries Film Festival, and was notified in February that she was a finalist. Jacobson said she had a feeling her film could win because the festival was using pictures from her documentary on social media.

“I knew that it was going to do well and I was just really excited to find out,” she said.

Angeles Documentaries is an international film festival. The festival screens and presents awards to both students and prominent filmmakers, bringing them together to learn and inspire each other. Jacobson plans to attend the festival, which will take place on May 2 in Los Angeles.