New York Film Academy
New York Film Academy Master of Fine Arts
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$12,666 per semester*
MFA film students shoot with a Red Epic camera outdoors MFA film students operate a film camera on set MFA filmmaking student folding a clap board MFA Filmmaking students work with a film camera on set


The Academy makes the accelerated two-year schedule possible by creating an extended academic year allowing students to complete three full-length semesters in each calendar year.

New York Film Academy MFA degree programs are offered only at our Los Angeles Campus.
Each student writes, shoots, directs, and edits 8 films and works on 28 more in the first year.


The Academy's Master of Fine Arts in Filmmaking Program is a two year accelerated course of study that gives students the all-around filmmaking experience necessary to make their own films.

In the 69 credit program, students receive over 2,000 hours of hands-on instruction and actual production experience.

MFA film student shoots with digital camera on set New York Film Academy degree programs are offered at our Los Angeles Campus. Qualified students have the option of completing course work at the New York Film Academy in New York City in a one-year non-degree program and requesting that their course work be accepted for advanced standing and start in the second year of the degree program at the Los Angeles campus. In order to do so, students must apply and be accepted to the degree program in Los Angeles.

Students shoot projects on 16mm film, 35mm film, High-Def, Super 16mm, and the RED Epic camera system. All projects are edited digitally.

The curriculum integrates intensive study in all the major filmmaking disciplines including directing, cinematography, screenwriting, producing, and editing. Our program is for people who have the passion to plunge into full-time filmmaking, and to commit themselves to a focused and demanding curriculum.

No previous filmmaking experience is required, however, participants must work with self-discipline, energy and mutual respect. Our program is for people who have the passion to plunge into full-time filmmaking, and to commit themselves to a focused and demanding curriculum.

As in all New York Film Academy programs, handson learning is emphasized.

MFA film student looks through lens while filming with digital camera Film directing classes are not theoretical explorations; they are practical classes designed to put students in the director's chair as quickly as possible. The New York Film Academy encourages students to take creative risks and find their own voices as visual artists.

Students complete two years with skills in all the filmmaking crafts, an enormous amount of production experience, ten films of their own and an expanded awareness of themselves and others.

Students' films are celebrated in school screenings open to cast, crew, friends, family, and invited guests.


Beginning on day one, students participate in an intensive sequence of classes in Film Directing, Screenwriting, Cinematography, Digital Editing, Directing Actors and Production Workshop. They extend and deepen their in-class learning by producing their own short 16mm films. Working in crews of three or four, each student writes, produces, directs and edits four films of increasing complexity.

In addition, each student fulfills the essential roles of Director of Photography, Assistant Camera Operator, and Gaffer (Lighting Technician) on the films of her/his crew members. Thus, everyone has the extensive hands-on experience of working on sixteen short films in the first two months. Students then progress to new digital video technology. With its ease of use, the digital video cameras allow the students to delve deeper into the director's craft.

MFA filmmaking student operates camera while another uses walkie talkie Each individual directs two digital projects. These projects and in-class production workshops challenge students to explore the dramatic mechanics of motion picture story- telling and the critical collaboration between actors and directors. The supporting classes include Screenwriting, Directing Actors, Directing, and Digital Production Workshop. The combination of these classes and projects prepare students for the second and third semester and production of their intermediate films.

In the second and third semester students move into more advanced topics of directing, cinematography, screenwriting and producing. Students learn the more advanced equipment including 16mm sync cameras, dollies, 35mm cameras and cinematography. Each student completes the semester by filming their own intermediate film, a project of up to fifteen minutes incorporating all of the skills learned thus far in the program.

  • Write, direct, and edit 10 films of increasing complexity and length including a master's thesis film.
    • Mise-en-scène
    • Continuity
    • Music & Montage Film
    • Quarter Film
    • POV
    • Semester One Film
    • Year One Film
    • Advanced Directing Project
    • Advanced Cinematography Project
    • MFA Short Film Thesis
    • MFA Feature Thesis
  • Perform key crew positions on your classmates' films including: cinematographer, gaffer, sound recordist, assistant director, and assistant camera.
  • Write a feature length script of 90-120 pages
  • Learn the art and technique of visual storytelling including directing, cinematography, editing, and postproduction sound design.
  • Learn the fundamentals of digital video production and digital editing.
  • Fundamental training in acting craft and directing actors.
  • Immersion in screenwriting craft.
  • Fundamental training in acting craft and directing actors.
  • Immersion in screenwriting craft.

Course Description (*Electives)

Film Aesthetics 1: The Director's Craft

This is the first part of an in depth study of the methodologies used by the great directors to affect their audiences and to trigger emotional responses. In this course, students learn the language and craft of film aesthetics from a director's perspective. They learn to integrate several concepts from the arts, the behavioral sciences, and the humanities to achieve maximum psychological impact by studying the director's decisions in camera placement, blocking, staging, and visual image design. This course requires that students challenge themselves not only to become competent directors but also compelling storytellers by utilizing the most effective and expressive visual means to tell their stories. Film Aesthetics 1: Director's Craft exposes students to the unique ways great directors have approached visual storytelling and how they have used the task of staging scenes and moving actors within the frame or mise-en-scène.

Screenwriting 1

This course introduces the established tools and language used to write a film project. Students take a story from initial idea, treatment and outline to a rough draft, and finally, a shooting script. Instruction focuses on the fundamentals of visual storytelling. The intersection of story structure, theme, character, tension, and conflict is examined through detailed scene analysis. In-class discussion provides students with constructive analysis and support. Students are encouraged to tell their stories visually, rather than rely on dialogue to tell the story. The scripts they write become the basis of all class work in the first semester.

Cinematography 1

In the first week of the course, students are trained to use the 16mm Arriflex-S motion picture camera and its accessories. Our students learn to load the cameras and take light readings on the very first day. Within the first week, they perform test shoots to learn about the latitude of the film stock, how to get a correct exposure, the effect of different lenses, focus pulling, and incamera effects. In lighting class, they learn fundamental lighting techniques through shooting tests on film. As they progress through the workshop, students learn how to support the mood of the story with lighting choices and they experiment with expressive lighting styles.

Digital Production Workhsop

Production workshop is designed to demystify the craft of filmmaking. It is a hands-on class in which students stage and shoot exercises under the supervision of the instructor. The technical aspects of filmmaking are seen as tools to realize the story. Through this in-class practice, students learn to articulate the objective of a given scene, which allows the necessary craft and techniques to follow. The rules and tools of mise-en-scene and continuity are defined and practiced. This applies to the use of lenses, lighting, performance, and editing.

Digital Editing 1

Students are taught multiple aesthetic approaches to editing film and video. They learn how to apply concepts such as temporal continuity and spatial continuity, as well as less traditional discontinuous editing techniques to their work. Students also discuss the psychological and emotional effects of editing on the overall story. Additionally, students learn to operate digital editing software. Each student edits his or her own films. Classes are supplemented with individual consultations at the computer.

Acting For Directors

This course adheres to the philosophy that in order to direct actors, one must understand and experience acting as art and methodology. Directing students will become actors. Students learn how to identify a screenplay's emotional "beats" and "character objectives" in order to improve their actors' performances. Students are prepared to not only communicate and collaborate with their actors, but to actualize the best emotional outcome of a scene.

Critical Film Studies I

Through screening and discussion this class investigates techniques used by cinematic innovators. It is the beginning of a course of study that intensifies during the second year of the MFA.

Producing 1

Producing I leads students through the entire process of pre-production, including scouting and securing of locations, permits, and casting. The producing instructor and the students design a production schedule for the entire class. The instructor encourages students to form realistic plans for successfully making their films. Using script breakdowns, students learn how to plan and keep to a schedule and budget for their productions. They use their own finished scripts in class as they learn how to take advantage of budgeting and scheduling forms and methods. The importance of having a finished script before going into a shoot is stressed as it applies to creating realistic budgets and schedules.

Film Aesthetics 2

This class further explores the aesthetic elements of mise-en-scene: shot choice, composition, setting, point-of-view, action of the picture plane, and movement of the camera. Starting where the first semester directing class left off, students learn how to cover a dialogue scene with a series of shots as well as more sophisticated approaches to coverage including the use of dollies. Students practice different approaches to coverage by breaking down scenes from their own scripts. They create floor plans and shot lists, and then discuss their choices with the instructor.

This class also takes a comprehensive look at casting from the actors and directors point of view. Students are asked to identify the dramatic beats of their scenes and translate this into effective casting choices. Students learn to adjust character objectives through rehearsal of their own scripts. A strong emphasis is put on establishing believable performances.

Cinematography 2: Painting With Light

This class immerses students in the technical and creative demands of cinematography. Color film stocks are tested to help students make the best choice for their films. The use of color correcting filters and gels is practiced through shooting tests. Lighting and contrast ratios are reviewed. A special focus on lighting for and shooting with HD teaches students how to achieve a film look and maximize possibilities of working with this format.

All the fundamental creative skills and concepts students have learned working with 16mm film and HD video carry over to the 35mm filmmaking component. The 35mm class is an opportunity for students to see how the wider frame and higher resolution of 35mm affects their shot design, framing, composition, staging, camera movement, lens choice, and lighting.

Synchronous Sound Production Workshop

In a series of sync-sound production exercises, students shoot scenes on 16mm film and HD from their own scripts with the guidance and critique of the instructor. Through these exercises, students are able to make any necessary adjustments to their scripts and shooting plans before their films go into production. These practice scenes are fully pre-produced (storyboarded, cast, scouted, rehearsed and pre-lighted) and treated as actual productions. Students gain experience working together and fill all the key crew positions (Director, Director of Photography, Sound Recordist, Gaffer, Grip, and Boom Operator). They spend a full production day shooting each scene with the same lighting, sound, and camera support they will use on their own films. They work with a grip equipment package (flags, nets, gels, stands, and clamps) and practice how to control light. Students come out of a series of production workshops with practical producing, directing, lighting, shooting, and location sound recording experience.

This class also teaches students how to record sync-sound for their projects. Location recording, sound mixing and boom operation are practiced using scenes from the students' scripts. Sound is recorded using digital harddrive recorders, portable mixers, shotgun microphones, and wireless lavalier microphones.

Digital Editing 2

Film dailies and HD media are imported to digital editing software where students learn to sync and edit with dialogue. This experience provides students with the hands-on technical training they need to edit their own projects. An even greater benefit is the creative discoveries students make when they compare the very different versions that are edited from the same material. With this hands-on practice in sync-sound editing, students go into production on their own films with a full understanding of the challenge that awaits them after the shoot.

Screenwriting 2

In addition to providing an in depth study and exploration of dialogue in film, focuses on the writing, rewriting, and polishing of Intermediate Film scripts. Students conduct live readings of their screenplays and engage in instructor led, round table discussions of the work. To successfully complete this class, all students must achieve "script lock." At the completion of this class, each student formally enters into Pre-Production of the Intermediate Film.

Feature Screenplay I

The goal of this workshop is to fully immerse each student in an intensive and focused course of study, providing a solid structure for writing a feature film outline. Students will learn the craft of writing by gaining an understanding of story, structure, character, conflict, and dialogue. With strict adherence to professional standards and self-discipline, students will complete an outline of a feature-length script that will be further developed in the second year of the program.

Intermediate Film Crew Participation, Production, and Post-Production

Students start with a finished script of up to 15 pages. They continue to improve these scripts in one-on-one consultations with their mentors and as they work with scenes from their scripts in their other classes. During the instruction period they find locations, cast, and design their shoots. They continue to meet with instructors in one-on-one advisement sessions to get feedback on their shooting script, casting, storyboards, floor plans, schedules and budgets.

Each student receives five shooting days, according to a production schedule designed in class. Students work on their classmates' films in the principal crew roles. Schedules are designed to allow for days off between productions and for last-minute preparations for the subsequent shoot. The production period is as intense and demanding as a professional feature film shoot.

After the production period, students begin editing their films. They screen rough-cuts of their films for the directing instructor and their mentors and receive feedback before presenting their finished films to an invited audience at the end of the semester. Throughout the post-production period, the editing instructor is available for consultation. They finish their films with a digital sound mix on the computer. Some students may choose to do more elaborate sound work and take their films to a professional sound mixer.

Intermediate Film screenings

At the end of the year one, a screening of completed films is open to friends, family and invited guests. Students may use their intermediate films as part of their portfolio reel and they also submit their work to the many film festivals in the U.S. and abroad.

Feature Screenplay II & III

These classes are designed as a creative and academic safe-haven for students to develop and write a feature film script. The treatments from Feature Screenplay I will be further developed here. The greater canvas of the feature film allows for a deeper investigation of character definition and narrative structure. These advanced topics will be explored in depth increasing each student's command of filmic storytelling.

Advanced Approaches to Directing

This class is an advanced exploration of the art of directing performance. Students hone their skills and prepare a number of scenes for inclass presentation. Students are provided with a selection of prepublished texts, including plays, television scripts, and scenes from produced feature length screenplays. They workshop the scenes (both inside and outside of class) with professional actors from the local community. Instruction and in-class criticism focuses on the process of the director in working with actors. Meticulous sculpture of these scenes continues throughout the semester. They will also create the advanced directing project in this class.

Producing 2

Students will apply the fundamentals of film producing to their own Thesis Project. This class continues to examine the job of producer by matching tasks and challenges with ways of approaching them. Students will hone group problem-solving skills, a film industry must-have, and learn through sharing real examples. Emphasis is placed on developing skills to produce larger scale projects at a reasonable cost through advanced planning, budgeting and scheduling. Students will also learn the basics of the business of filmmaking to help them pursue their burgeoning careers. These topics include option agreements, financing, sound licensing, film festivals, representation, distribution and marketing.

Cinematography 3

This intensive course expands students' knowledge of cinematography and introduces them to the advanced equipment package including the Red Epic Camera and HMI lights. The course examines sophisticated techniques in depth such as lighting for a sound stage and mastery of contrast, composition and camera movement. In a hands on environment students will work with dollies, flats, green screens, and on a professional sound stage. Students will shoot several in class group projects and learn to replicate shots from their favorite films.

Directing The Thesis Film

An intensive examination of the visual style of film, this class helps students define and then prepare a presentation of the visual language of their thesis films. Students will use these presentations at thesis committee meetings where their projects will be reviewed by a panel of faculty.

Advanced Post Production

In a series of lectures, field trips, and hands-on demonstrations, students study the constantly evolving world of high end digital Post-Production and finishing to film. Many aspects of Post- Production including telecine, datacine, Efilm, negative cutting, conforming, color timing, answer printing, sound editing, sound track mastering, effects compositing, ADR, foley, looping, and theatrical printing will be explored.

Critical Film Studies II

This course is an intense film studies seminar in which students are taught to identify the techniques used by cinematic innovators throughout the history of filmmaking. Through screenings and discussions, student grow to understand how filmmakers have approached the great challenge of telling stories with moving images from approximately 1960 to the digital age. The course explores ways that the crafts of directing (particularly shot construction), cinematography, acting, and editing have developed. This course, however, does not just take a critical look at the evolution of filmmaking. Students are asked to place themselves in that development with regard to their on- going film projects.

Master's Seminar: Industry Perspectives

On a week-to-week basis, industry professionals address New York Film Academy master students following a screening of their recent work. A broad cross-section of the film community is represented in this lecture series, ranging from directors, producers, and writers to directors of photography, editors, production designers, and casting directors. Students are exposed to multiple avenues for pathways to break into the film industry. All lectures are followed by an extensive Q&A session.

Screenwriting: Short Form Thesis

The focus of this class is to prepare students for short form thesis films. Students develop, outline, and write, and rewrite, their thesis scripts in class. Emphasis is placed on exhibiting a deeper understanding of the short film script and preparing a story with greater depth and nuance than possible in previous semesters. As these young filmmakers develop a unique directing style their writing instructors encourage them to "write it in" to these scripts giving them a unique and specific vision. These scripts will go into production as their thesis films.

Thesis Film Post Production

The ability to receive analyze creative notes during preproduction is an essential skill for all filmmakers. It is often said that the edit is the final rewrite of the script and this class helps guide the student through that process. Extensive notes are received from classmates and the instructor that must be analyzed and either incorporated, interpreted or set aside. This process helps students to gain a more objective perspective on their material and edit that "final rewrite" more effectively. Ultimately this process helps students create more concise and powerful short films, as well as preparing them to enter the editorial process on future films where they will receive extensive, and at times contradictory notes from producers, cast, financiers and other creatives.

Navigating The Industry

There is no single path or formula for creating a career in filmmaking. During the last weeks of the MFA Program, students explore the many different possible roads to a life in film. Guest filmmakers share their experiences with students; and mentors work individually with students to discuss the next step in their careers.

During the last weeks of the program, students explore the many different possible roads to a life in film. Guest filmmakers share their experiences with students.

Production Design*

Production design plays an important role in the success of any production, as it provides the audience with the visual clues that establish and enhance the production content. The production designer works to create a design style or concept that visually interprets and communicates a story, script or environment appropriate to the production content and action. This workshop is intended to help students prepare for the design requirements of their feature film projects. Topics covered in this handson workshop include set design and construction, creating the visual language of the film, costume design, and basic aesthetics.

Advanced Cinematography*

This hands-on study of the art and craft of motion picture photography provides the student with multiple approaches towards intelligent and artistic ways of shooting. It is an in depth analysis of painting and sculpting with light, cinematographic control of the aesthetic, and the emotional possibilities of a well designed and executed photographic image. Students who wish to crew as Director of Photography on any Year Two thesis films are strongly encouraged to take this elective. Students who choose to pursue the Cinematography thesis option are required to take this elective.

Special Topics in Production*

An elective allows students to create a short project that can be a music video, short documentary or new media piece. Students utilize their production skills while exploring new modes of storytelling in this class. Topics covered include the ever-changing world of new media and new methods of storytelling created by it. The world of documentary style and practice is also explored as an alternative to the traditional narrative method of storytelling. Finally, the music video and its continual evolution are examined as a third mode of visual storytelling. Students will participate in groups to produce a project using one of these three modes of filmmaking.

MFA Film Projects & Crews

Students in the MFA Program write, direct and edit their own films. Nonetheless, it is essential that filmmakers understand the importance of collaboration. Therefore, in addition to directing their own films, students are required to rotate among principal production positions.

For the first four projects these positions are:
  • Director
  • Director of Photography
  • Assistant Camera
  • Gaffer/ Grip
For projects five through seven students also rotate in the role of the sound recordist.

During the second semester, the crews expand to six or more and may include the roles of Assistant Director, Sound Mixer, Boom Operator, Production Manager, and Key Grip. Crews are required to meet each week with the directing instructor to review scripts, shooting, and production plans.

The Film Academy designed the following film projects to build students' technical and creative skills. They are intended to instill in each student a degree of confidence in visual and dramatic storytelling and to provide a strong foundation in film craft. Those new to filmmaking begin to understand how the disciplines of writing, cinematography, sound, and editing work together, while those with experience can practice and refine specific craft skills.

All students should seize this opportunity to experiment freely in order to develop their ability to engage and entertain an audience.

Projects one through four are filmed on 16mm black and white film stock. However, students may choose to shoot their fourth films on 24p digital video. Projects five through seven are shot on 24p digital video. Students may shoot their final film of the year on 16mm, 35mm, 24p DV, or HD.

Film Projects

Film Project - One

In their first film, students are introduced to mise-en-scène, or directing a shot to visually tell a story. Once they create a dramatic moment, they concentrate on the dynamics of the shot that will best express it. This project teaches students how the relationship of the subject and the camera creates drama. Each student designs and shoots a scene that has a beginning, middle, and end. Students will learn to pay close attention to the choice of lenses, distances, and angles.

Since the story will be told within one long shot, it must be staged to express as much as possible about the characters and their actions. Students should rehearse the shot for blocking of actors and camera until the scene works without needing to stop; only then should they roll film. Students each shoot one roll of black and white reversal film, then edit and screen their films for critique and discussion.

  • Allotted shooting time: 3 hours
  • Editing time: One 4-hour slot
  • Screening time: 30 seconds to 2 minutes

Film Project - Two

Continuity is one of the fundamental principles of modern filmmaking. By making a "continuity film," students learn the way cuts can advance the story while sustaining the reality of the scene. They learn the difference between "film time" and "real time." Students are challenged to make a film that maintains continuity in story, time, and space. The action in these films unfolds utilizing a variety of shots (10–15) in a continuous sequence (no jumps in time or action). In the continuity films, students must produce a clear, visual scene while maintaining the authenticity of the moment. It is essential that the audience believe in the reality of the scene. Students write, direct, shoot, edit, and screen a film of up to three minutes.

Students must thoroughly pre-plan and complete the following pre-production elements:
  • Script
  • Location Scout
  • Script Breakdown
  • Floor Plan
  • Storyboard
  • Schedule of shots
Students shoot two rolls of film then edit and screen their films for critique and discussion.

  • Allotted shooting time: 4 hours
  • Editing time: Two 4-hour slots
  • Screening time: 1 to 3 minutes

Film Project - Three

Music & Montage Film
The third project introduces students to the relationship between sound and film, as well as to narrative tools like montage and jump cuts.

In this project, students are encouraged to explore a more personal form of visual storytelling. For this film, students choose a piece of music. In the editing room, they cut their images to work in concert with, or in counterpoint to, the music. Students should experiment with rhythm and pacing. Each student writes, directs, shoots, edits, and screens a film of up to four minutes. In addition to storyboards, students may use a still camera to plan their films. This assists them in their choice of locations, angles, and lighting.

  • Allotted shooting time: 5 hours
  • Editing time: Three 4-hour slots
  • Screening time: 2 to 4 minutes

Film Project - Four

Quarter Film
From the first week of the program, students begin developing their scripts in Writing class for their fourth film.

This fourth film is more ambitious in scope than the previous exercises. It builds upon the foundation of skills and knowledge gained in the first part of the semester. Students may use sound effects, music, voice-over and ambient sound to help tell their stories. The final project may be from 3-10 minutes in length, keeping in mind, "less is more."

Each student must complete a production book that includes the following:
  • Statement of Objective: idea of the film and stylistic approach in a concise statement.
  • Scenario, shooting script, storyboards and floor plan.
  • Analysis: Intention, realization, mistakes, crew work.
Films may be of any genre, and can be narrative, documentary, or experimental. The fourth film project may be shot on 16mm film or digital video.

  • Allotted shooting time: 2 days
  • Editing time: Up to 1 week
  • Screening time: 3 to 10 minutes

Film Project - Five

Each shot in a film expresses a point of view, and in narrative film, the point of view changes often, sometimes with each new shot. For the most part, point of view-- which is often called narrative stance-- is largely invisible to the audience; though the accumulated effect of the changes profoundly affects the way the audience interprets any scene. Students will analyze different ways to create a point of view through visual means: POV Shot Construction, Camera Placement and the 180 Degree Rule, Shot Size, Shot Constructions such as Over the Shoulder Construction, In Depth and Linear Staging and Blocking, Lens choice, and Sound Design, etc.

The POV project is designed for students to explore the various techniques directors use to create a character's point of view in a scene. Students create a short twominute scene containing minimal dialogue and no more than two characters with conflicting objectives. The Director will create two versions of the script and edit two distinct versions of the scene. Each should visually present the viewer with a clear and distinct point-of-view.

  • Allotted Shooting Time: 5 hours
  • Editing Time: One 4-hour slot
  • Screening Time: Up to 2 minutes

Film Project - Six

Semester One Film
The Digital Dialogue Film is a narrative digital film project of up to ten minutes. This film should build on the lessons and techniques students have learned in their Acting for Directors classes, production workshops, and the POV film. It should be a performance driven film with no more than three characters and one or two locations. The "story time" of the film should be limited to minutes or hours not days, weeks, years. Students also have the option of producing a documentary film as a digital dialogue film.

  • Allotted shooting time: 2 days
  • Editing time: 40-80 hours
  • Screening time: Up to 10 minutes

Film Project - Seven

Year One Film
This project is the culmination of the year's work. Each student's goal is to produce a fully realized short film that demonstrates his or her own artistic vision and point of view. Student's work with larger crews and with more time allotted for pre-production, production and post-production than the previous projects. Students prepare for this project with the assistance of all classes in the second semester, including the producing class, which is specifically designed to guide students through the preproduction of this project. Students must prepare detailed production books and receive a "green light" from the faculty to check out for their shoots. Each student can choose to shoot this film in one of three formats - high definition digital video, 16mm film or 35mm film.

  • Allotted shooting time: 5 days
  • Editing time: Up to 4 weeks
  • Screening time: Up to 15 minutes

Film Project - Eight

Advanced Directing Project
Each student writes and directs a selfcontained short scene from their upcoming thesis film on digital video. Throughout the course of the semester, each student presents these scenes in class using professional actors from the community. Advanced scene work and performance techniques are refined in each class session with the directing instructor. This project allows the students to refine their integration of script analysis and directing actor's skills before embarking on their more ambitious thesis projects.

  • Allotted shooting time: 1 days
  • Editing time: Up to 1 week
  • Screening time: Up to 4 minutes

Film Project - Nine

As part of the class cinematography III, each student will conceive of a complex shot to be executed on a sound stage using the advanced equipment package that includes the Red Epic Camera, HMI lights and industry standard dollies from Chapman or Fisher. This project challenges the student to incorporate the new equipment into their creative tool kit as they bring their command of lighting, composition, camera movement and blocking to a higher level. These advanced cinematography projects are conducted on a Universal Studios Sound Stage using complete sets and production design.

  • Allotted shooting time: Half a day
  • Editing time: Up to 1 week
  • Screening time: Up to 2 minutes

Optional Film Project

Special Topics Elective
Students work in groups to produce a short video projects. The formats for these productions are open ended and may include commercials, music videos, webisodes, or non-fiction films.

Thesis Project

Option A: Short Film
Direct and edit a short up to 30 minutes in length, and fill essential crew positions on short form films directed by fellow students.

The final capstone project of the MFA program, this film combines all of the skills learned thus far into a single project of up to thirty minutes in length. These thesis films function as the calling card project for MFA Filmmakers enabling them to demonstrate their creative vision and professional skills to the world of film festivals and the larger community of the entertainment industry. Filmed using the entire advanced equipment package that includes, Red Epic cameras, HMI lighting and industry standard advanced dollies, these projects have the necessary equipment and longer production period to allow filmmakers to work on both a more detailed and nuanced level and with a larger scope.

  • Allotted shooting time: 10 days
  • Editing time: Up to 8 week
  • Screening time: Up to 30 minutes

Option B: Feature Film
Direct and edit a feature length film in a paid fifth semester of study at the end of Year Two, and fill essential crew positions on short form films directed by fellow students.

Due to the extremely demanding nature of this thesis option, students must pass a rigorous review by faculty before being granted entrance into this track in semester 3. This option requires that students enroll for a fifth semester with an additional tuition payment.

In semester four, students must achieve specific milestones in order to maintain active status in the feature film program. If these milestones are not met, students will revert back to Option A and make a short thesis in semester five.

These milestones will include a clear template of delivery dates for script deadlines, casting calls, production meetings, budget breakdowns, location lockdowns and a demonstration of financial responsibility to obtain approval to shoot. Students must receive a "green light" before beginning production on their feature thesis films.

Option C: Cinematography
Collaborate as Director of Photography on two short films of fellow students or one feature length film.

Additional Semester

Students who choose to direct and edit a feature length film do so in an additional semester held after the end of Year Two. This is reserved entirely for Production and Post Production of the feature projects. Students who choose to direct a feature film as their thesis are required to pay for a fifth semester.

Dates & Tuition

Fees Per Semester

Tuition: $12,666 (USD) +
Equipment Fee: $1,334(USD)

Students will also incur additional expenses on their own productions. This varies depending on how much film they shoot and scale of the projects.

Location & Available Dates

For Los Angeles:
September 2014 - September 2016
October 2014 - September 2016
January 2015 - January 2017
May 2015 - May 2017
September 2015 - September 2017


New York Film Academy MFA Filmmaking Faculty Mike Civille

Mike Civille

Directing the Thesis Film; Thesis Film Production; Thesis Film Crew Participation

Ph.D. in American Studies, Boston University; MFA in Film Studies, Boston University. Director/producer of “After June,” showcased at the Tribeca Film Festival. Frequent film lecturer speaking most recently for the California American Studies Association and National Popular/American Culture Conference on “The Cinema of Narcissism: Self-Reflexivity in the New Hollywood.”

New York Film Academy MFA Filmmaking Faculty Jack Daniel Stanley

Jack Daniel Stanly

Acting for Directors

MFA in Directing, University of Washington; BFA in Acting, UT Austin. Extensive theater background directing world premieres and classics in New York, regionally, and abroad. Award-winning genre shorts screened at Tribeca, SXSW, Slamdance, Toronto After Dark, and on PBS’s “On Story,” Delta Airlines, and Sundance Channel online. Has written and produced content for the Syfy Channel and Chiller TV.

New York Film Academy MFA Filmmaking Faculty Travis Hoffman

Travis Hoffman


Growing up Travis found his love for photography while traveling the world and watching films with his father. Some years later he received his BS in Cinematography from Full Sail University. Wanting to further his education, Travis attended the MFA program in Photographic Theory at the Brooks Institute of Photography.

Since then Travis has had the opportunity to lens such artist as Jennifer Lopez, Neyo, Snoop Dogg, Katy Perry, David Guetta, Bret Michaels, Ice Cube, Diana Krull, Katrina Bowden and Malcolm Goodwin. His client list includes NBC, NIKE, A&E, History Channel, EMI Music and Universal Music Group.

His inspiration comes from all the beauty in the world that most people seem to miss. Travis draws upon his expertise in the fields of lighting, composition, art and design.This broad-based understanding of technique and visual storytelling contributes to his unique perspective and signature photography style.

New York Film Academy MFA Filmmaking Faculty Jefferson Loftfield

Jefferson Loftfield

Cinematography I, II

MFA in Film and Video Production, University of North Carolina at Greensboro; BA in English/Media Production, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Working as a cinematographer and camera operator, Jefferson has worked on a myriad of projects form “House, M.D.,” to operating on the indie hit “Junebug.” He has lensed projects from commercials to web series to feature films.

New York Film Academy MFA Filmmaking Faculty Gil McDonald

Gil McDonald

Screenwriting I; Screenwriting II/III Feature Screenwriting

MFA in Screenwriting, American Film Institute; BA in Radio/TV/Film Production, Minor in Psychology, Howard University. Award-winning writer, producer, and director on “Motel Paradise,” a short film selected and screened at the prestigious AFI Theatre.

New York Film Academy MFA Filmmaking Faculty David Newman

David Newman

Emphasis in Cinematography - Crew Participation; Directing the Thesis Film

BS, Broadcasting/Film, Boston University. Entertainment professional with over a decade of experience writing, producing, and directing television series. Over fifteen years of experience as assistant director. Feature film writer.

New York Film Academy MFA Filmmaking Faculty Adam Nimoy

Adam Nimoy

Advanced Approaches to Directing; Thesis Film Post Production

JD, Loyola Law School; BS, UC Berkeley. Director of one-hour single camera television, including "The Practice," "Ally McBeal," "NYPD Blue," and "Gilmore Girls."

New York Film Academy MFA Filmmaking Faculty Tim Nuttall

Tim Nuttall

Cinematography I, II, III

MFA in Cinematography, American Film Institute; BFA in Film & Television, NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Cinematographer on “Not Yet Home,” “Blackbird,” “Thule,” "Coconut Island,” “47 Degrees, Partly Cloudy,” “Lucy in the Sky,” “Girl Grooming,” “For Want,” and commercials.

New York Film Academy MFA Filmmaking Faculty Nick Ozecki

Nick Ozecki

Hands-On Camera & Lighting

MFA in filmmaking, Chapman University; BA in English, Amherst College. Wrote and directed an award-winning feature film out of graduate school that was nominated for and Independent Spirit Award. He is also a part of the prestigious Fox Writer's Initiative, aimed at developing and writing original content for their networks.

New York Film Academy MFA Filmmaking Faculty James Rowe

James Rowe

Film Aesthetics IA, IB, II; Digital Production Workshop; Synchrounous Sound Production Workshop; Cinematography Practicum I, II, III; Intermediate Film Production; Director's Craft IA, IB; Intermediate Film Crew Participation; Advanced Cinematography Practicum

MFA in Directing, American Film Institute; BA in Communications, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Writing and directing credits in television, feature and short films. Festival selections at LA Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival, and many more.

Mark Sawicki

Mark Sawicki

Visual Effects

Mark is a veteran visual effects cameraman with a large body of work, including The Terminator, X-Men and The Dark Knight Rises. In addition to having taught for many years, Mark is the author of “Animating with Stop Motion Pro” and “Filming the Fantastic” first and second edition, both published by Focal Press.

Ryan Schwartz

Ryan Schwartz

Directing the Thesis

MFA in Film Production, USC; BA in International Relations, UC Berkeley. Production credits for Scott Free, MJZ, Bedford Falls, Tool, Propaganda. Co-founder of The Incite Group. Producer on "The Jenkins Orphanage Project," and "Making Love."

New York Film Academy MFA Filmmaking Faculty Tony Schwartz

Tony Schwartz

Producing II; Thesis Film Crew Participation

Over 20 years of experience as an assistant director for television and feature films of varying budgets. His credits include “Land of the Lost,” “Firefly,” “Freaks and Geeks,” “Kung Pow: Enter the Fist,” and “CSI: New York.”

New York Film Academy Film School Faculty Andrew Shearer

Andrew Shearer

Screenwriting I, II; Screenwriting: Short Form Thesis; Feature Screenplay II

BA in Multimedia, UNC Ashevile; MFA in Film Production, Chapman University. Co-writer on untitled David O. Russell project. Co-writer of ESPN’s "Back N the Day: The Rudi Johnson Story." Writer/director of "Son Up," an award-winning short film.

Igor Torgeson

Igor Torgeson

Digital Editing I, II; Advanced Digital Editing Software; Intermediate Film Post Production; Advanced Post-Production; Thesis Film Post Production

MFA Film, Boston University; BA Journalism, George Washington University. Freelance editor and actor in Los Angeles. Has edited for clients including the Gameshow Network, National Lampoon, McGraw-Hill Publications, Southern California Gas Company, and Cessna Aircraft. Commercial credits include campaigns for Citibank and Brighthouse Networks.

New York Film Academy MFA Filmmaking Faculty Todd Walker

Todd Walker

Elective: Special Topics in Production

MFA in Film, Columbia University. Director/writer of prize-winning short film, "Passengers.” Screened at over 30 film festivals, including Sundance, Telluride, and AFI. His documentary short, "Oldertimes,” won the Special Jury Prize at the San Francisco Int'l Film Festival and aired on PBS. Recently adapted Kevin Canty's first novel, "Into the Great Wide Open," for Tiny Dancer Films, and Joey Pantoliano's best-selling memoir "Who's Sorry Now," for Holedigger Films.

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