What brings Hip Hop star, John Legend, America’s richest man, Bill Gates, paradigm-shifter TED and New York Film Academy Documentary professor, Tony Gerber together with the top education thought-leaders from around the world? TED Talks Education, hosted by John Legend, which premieres tonight at 10/9 c on PBS.
Our two time Emmy-winner directed and produced the documentaries with the help of NYFA Documentary grads, Todd Leatherman, (’11 NYC Documentary) who is now Tony’s Production Coordinator/Equipment Manager at Market Road Films, and Ilaria Polsonetti, (’11) who served as Field Producer and Casting Associate. Both get big props from the Market Road crew. As do interns, Daphne Louise Ostendorf (’12) and JR Cronheim (’12).
TED Talks Education, hosted by John Legend, premieres May 7, 2013 at 10/9 c on PBS
Check out this short film, starring Michael Cera, that Susanne Dollnig (’12) assistant edited on her meteoric rise to editor at House of Trim. Susanne graduated from the New York Film Academy in August of 2012 and immediately began working as an intern at HOT. Very soon after, she was hired as a full-time Assistant Editor, and was just promoted to Editor two weeks ago. All of this taking place only 8 months after graduating from NYFA’s Documentary Department. Congrats Susanne!
Brazzaville Teenager, directed by Michael Cera, is a brand new release on the new youtube channel JASH.
Last September,New York Film Academy Documentary graduate, Louisa Merino, won the honor of representing New York City in Seimens’ Big International CityStories project for her thesis film, Andre’s River. The award included full funding for a short documentary about environmental sustainability in the city; and the one-on-one mentorship of Academy Award winning documentary director, Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth). Now, Louisa is highlighted on CNN.
Louisa Merino left Mexico less than two years ago to study Documentary Filmmaking at the New York Film Academy in New York City. There, her thesis film, LIFELINE (soon to enter the festival circuit), attracted an independent producer, $10,000 in Kickstarter contributions, and subjects that ranged from an Oscar-winning writer and director team to Harry Potter star, Daniel Radcliffe.
Within a year of graduating, Louisa has cut a feature documentary; been selected for the prestigious privilege of serving as the State of Guerrero, Mexico’s Minitemporalidad’s Visiting Filmmaker; taught film editing in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Art and Film” course, and has been hired as David Lynch Foundation’s editor. – CNN
“It was an important and great experience,” says Merino. “I want to say thank you to my wonderful crew for all of your help and support, including [NYFA Documentary Chair] Andrea Swift for being there for me all the way!”
Indian Summer, a documentary about a Hindu summer camp, was selected for the PBS Online Film Festival. The film was directed by New York Film Academy documentary professor, Mridu Chandra, and shot by NYFA doc. prof., Eliana Alvarez.
“I’m very proud that my short documentary Indian Summer has been selected by PBS & the Center for Asian American Media to participate in its 2013 PBS Online Film Festival,” said Chandra. “It is screening online this month from March 4th to March 22nd. The festival showcases 25 short films, and the film with the most number of votes will receive the People’s Choice Award.”
Chandra’s films have already premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and SXSW, aired on national PBS, screened for members of US Congress and the United Nations, and been showcased at Museums and film festivals worldwide. Indian Summer is the first in a trilogy of short films about Indian American culture. To read more about the series visit: mriduchandra.com
“It is such a hands-on intensive course, and it really drills into every single aspect of the filmmaking program from directing to producing, photography, and editing.” said Louis Mole. “You come out of the program with the fundamental expertise of every single aspect of making a film – which is so unique.”
Immediately after graduating the New York Film Academy, Louis went to Singapore and worked on 2 series. One of which was Asian Swindlers, a six part series about Asian conmen, in which Louis wrote 3 episodes and oversaw the edit.
After Singapore, Louis came back to New York where he currently works for the production company behind the Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winning Documentary, The House I Live In.
With 5 years of college education and some work in television and media, Andrea Picco was looking for a school that focused on the hands-on experience and not just theory. “I first enrolled in the 4 week digital filmmaking class just to see how I would like the school and if it really was what I was looking for,” said Andrea. “The very first day we were already out shooting! Those 4 weeks were the longest of my life. I wrote, directed, casted and shot 2 short films and a short documentary. In the process, I learned everything about digital cameras, film vocabulary, menu setting, lenses, proper lighting, F-stops, etc.”
After finishing the documentary, Andrea decided to enroll in the one year documentary class. “Looking back, I know it was the right decision. New York Film Academy is a place where you can become a filmmaker within a year – if you take it seriously and work hard. It is no nonsense. The equipment they provide is great and updated. The staff is very helpful and friendly. The Head of the Documentary Department, Andrea Swift, is absolutely amazing, passionate and inspiring. We had producers, filmmakers, production companies and even Discovery Channel executives come to our classes. Our thesis editing supervisor was Bob Eisenhardt.”
While enrolled in the One Year Documentary Class, Andrea Picco knew she wanted to produce her thesis film on a story related to human trafficking. After filming a promo video for a non-profit in 2008, she met a woman who was a survivor of human trafficking. Andrea shortly became friends with the woman and was soon on her way to Ohio to film what would become her thesis film.
The Girl Next Door is a story of redemption and empowerment.”When you first hear about ‘Human Trafficking’ you usually think it only happens overseas in 3rd world countries, but we don’t usually think about American kids and teens.” The film tells the story of how Theresa survived two years of sex trafficking in the suburbs of Detroit and how she overcame her past to became an abolitionist.
Andrea’s film has been to four film festivals and has won two awards. She plans to turn her short film into a full feature. Andrea is also planning to start filming a documentary about the human trafficking business in Corona, Queens. As Andrea says, “Great stories are easy to find when you keep your heart and eyes open.”
Congratulations to Lahoe Ku (Documentary ’11) whose New York Film Academy thesis documentary was broadcast in Korea!
The film, Bon Appetit, New York, and an interview with Lahoe, aired on an OBS show that features up and coming independent films and filmmakers.
Another congratulations to Sharon Brooks! Sharon graduated from the NYFA Documentary Program less than a month ago and has already been hired as Production Manager for the David Lynch Foundation. ”Since I began last Monday, I have been on two shooting days,” said Sharon. Sharon also coordinated a shoot on war veterans with PTSD for Operation Warrior Wellness.
Congratulations to Valerio Ciriaci (’12)! His Semester 1 documentary, Melodico, has been selected to premiere at The Big Sky Film Festival. Melodico is a short documentary, chronicling the story of Tony Maiorino, a modern day Italian immigrant living in the Bronx’s Little Italy. Tony’s a normal guy on the surface. He runs a barbershop, he raises his family, he has his vices, but underneath it all is a passion for singing. The barber trades in his scissors for a keyboard and microphone. The film follows Tony after the announcement that he’ll be singing at the Feast of Saint Anthony, the largest Italian event in New York City. Tony’s journey to the stage portrays not only his life, but that of the entire community in its search for solidarity within its traditions and its nostalgia for a landscape left behind.
For anyone who happens to be in Montana this February, check it out!
Melodico is scheduled for February 20, 7:30pm at the Crystal Theater.
And congratulations to his crew, Sharon Brooks (’12) and Janna Kyllästinen (’12). The three are partners in the hot new production company, Awen Films.
Saturday evening, New York Film Academy Documentary graduate, Muhammad Hamdy accepted the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for World Cinema Documentary for The Square- which he began shooting in Tahir Square almost exactly two years earlier.
Using his 500 hours of footage, Hamdy worked with director, Jehane Noujaim, to create The Square.
“I am so proud of Hamdy. I could burst,” said NYFA Documentary Chair, Andrea Swift. “Not only has he developed his filmmaking and shooting skills to a world class level, he has integrated them with a fierce love for his country. His passion for social justice will help see his generation through the long tail of their Egyptian Spring, and will help the rest of us see it through their eyes.”
Congratulations to Mohamed Hamdy, New York Film Academy Documentary graduate and Cinematographer of the much anticipated, The Square, which premiered at The Sundance Film Festival! The Square, a new film by Jehane Noujaim, looks at the hard realities faced day-to-day by people working to build Egypt’s new democracy. Catapulting us into the action spread across 2011 and 2012, the film provides a kaleidoscopic, visceral experience of the struggle. Cairo’s Tahrir Square is the heart and soul of the film, which follows several young activists. Armed with values, determination, music, humor, an abundance of social media, and sheer obstinacy, they know that the thorny path to democracy only began with Hosni Mubarek’s fall. The life-and-death struggle between the people and the power of the state is still playing out.
In February 2011, Egyptian, particularly young one, showed the world the way people demanding change can drive an entire nation to transformation. The result was a profound movement toward democracy that is still evolving across the Arab world.
Hamdy shot over 500 hours of the Tahir Square revolution as he lived it, and ended up the Cinematographer of Jehane Noujaim’s new documentary made from inside the Tahir Square revolution by young Egyptians who were (and still are) part of it.
“Aside from Hamdy’s excellent cinematography, my favorite thing about The Square is that it is about and by people who lived it – and are still living – the revolution,” said NYFA Documentary Chair, Andrea Swift. “Hearing their voices, rather than that of third party reporters, makes this the most immediate and important accounting of the one seminal events of our century. Not to mention, it’s the best.”