New York Film Academy
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New York Film Academy About Us



Michael J. Young Michael J. Young

BA, Harvard University, magna cum laude; MFA, NYU, Tisch School of the Arts. Student Academy Award finalist. Award-winning film McJew screened at festivals internationally, including Oberhausen, Cinema Du Reel, Clermont-Ferrand, Tel-Aviv, Ann Arbor, et al. NEA grant. Scorsese post-production award. Founding faculty of NYFA.

David Klein David Klein
Senior Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer

Klein is the Senior Executive Vice President at the New York Film Academy. Klein received his Master of Fine Arts in Film Directing at New York University's Graduate School of Film and Television in 1995. He has worked closely with NBC News, the Guggenheim Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and New York City public schools to create innovative media arts programs. In his current position at the Academy, he oversees the operations, development, and delivery of programs in the various disciplines taught, including Acting for Film, Filmmaking, Musical Theatre, Broadcast Journalism, and Cinematography, at the Academy's locations across the globe. As a film director and producer, Klein is a recipient of the Tisch Excellence in Producing Award for producing several short films, including Gone With the Moon and Butterfly Dance starring Vera Farmiga. He was awarded the Warner Brothers Post-Production Award for a film he wrote and directed titled To Dye For.

Dan Mackler Dan Mackler
Chief Strategy Officer/Senior Vice President/Dean of NYFA Los Angeles

MFA, NYU Tisch School of the Arts; BA, Dartmouth College. Russian film scholar. Consulted on Spike Lee’s 25th Hour. Director of feature film The Karaoke King.

Elli Ventouras Elli Ventouras
Dean of NYFA New York

MFA, Parsons School of Design. M.A., New York Institute of Technology - summa cum laude. Currently Ms. Ventouras oversees the day to day Academic operations in the New York location. Previously, she was the Founding Dean for the New York Film Academy in South Beach where she contributed to the development of the Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree programs in Filmmaking and Acting as well as the Conservatory and short term programs.

As a director, producer and editor, her Award winning film Voices screened internationally at: Golden Gate Documentary Film Festival in San Francisco (Distinguished for Special Artistic Value), Festival Du Cinema de Bruxelles (winner for the La Realisation Integrale Award), Festival Du Court Metrage De Lyon (winner of Le Senario). Voices was also Semifinalist at Boston Motion Picture Awards and was requested and screened as part of the activities planned in Athens, Greece for the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Other screenings include The Queens Theater in the Park in Flushing NY, Panorama Film Festival in Thessaloniki, Greece; Drama Short Film Festival in Greece, Miami International Short Film Festival, Barcelona Short Film Festival, and the Hollywood International Student Film Festival. Her film Modern Greek Tragedy was nominated for best international film at the Drama Film Festival and screened at the Molodost Film Festival in Russia.

Maylen Dominguez Maylen Dominguez
Dean of NYFA South Beach

Maylen Dominguez started her career as an Agent Trainee at Endeavor Talent Agency, now William Morris Endeavor, in Beverly Hills, California, where she read and covered twenty scripts per week. She worked for Galan Entertainment, which produced content for Latin American television and films, such as The ALMA Awards, Los Beltran and Padre Alberto. Maylen then joined Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting, Gross Pointe Blank) and her production company, Two Drivers Production, as Director of Development, where she had the opportunity to develop film projects and well as work on the production sets of Return To Me, Beautiful and Slow Burn.

Maylen received a scholarship from NBC Universal for a television spec comedy script she wrote as a graduate student at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. She was also able to spend time on the sets of various sitcoms, notably Will and Grace. She received the Zaki Gordon Award for Excellence in screenwriting, and was given the opportunity to interview actors, writers and directors, which were conducted in front of large studio audiences and filmed in the style of Inside the Actor's Studio.

Maylen holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Writing for Screen and Television from the University of Southern California, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature and Film from Yale University. She is one of the five original founders of the Orlando Film Festival and a member of the Advisory Board of the Florida Film Festival.

Sonny Calderon Sonny Calderon
Vice President of Academic Affairs

MFA in Screen and Television Writing, USC. BA in Communications, University of Michigan. As co-founder, writer, and producer at Impressionista Films, created and produced award-winning branded entertainment for clients such as Hilary Duff, Miller Beer, DKNY, Ford Motor Company, Macy’s, DirecTV, and Martha Stewart.

Diana Santi Dr. Darrius Douglas
Vice President of Enrollment

Dr. Darrius Douglas has more than two decades of strategic management and leadership experience drawn from a broad range of enrollment, financial aid and marketing positions in higher education. Previously, Darrius was a Director of Enrollment Management at Tulane University where he was integrally involved in developing key academic and enrollment initiatives that led to highest enrollment for an incoming class during the Fall 2020 term amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Darrius has also led efforts in creating financial literacy and programs targeted at retention and enhancing student success for first-generation students. He has also served in a variety of cross-functional executive and consulting roles surrounding leadership development workshops for college students and policy formulation and analysis.

Darrius has been widely recognized for contributions to communities where he has lived and worked. Among those honors were being named to the board of directors at Breaking Free, a non-profit agency dedicated to meeting the increasingly complex needs of today's families. Darrius holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from DePaul University, a Master of Science in Project Management from Benedictine University and a Doctor of Education from Benedictine University.

Dr. Joy Zhu Dr. Joy Zhu
Executive Vice President for the China Region

Ph.D. in Higher Education Management, University of Pennsylvania. MA and BA in English Language and Literature, Heilongjiang University. Visiting Professor at Heilongjiang University, Beijing Film Academy, Sichuan University of Media and Communications.

Dr. Zhu has spent more than two decades cultivating international collaborations. Some of her responsibilities at NYFA include managing international student recruitment and creating localization strategies in China.

Prior to joining the New York Film Academy, Dr. Zhu was previously a faculty member at Harbin Institute of Technology. She has also served as President of U.S.-China Economic and Cultural Development Association, which aims to advance collaboration between American and Chinese educational institutions.

As a scholar-practitioner, Dr. Zhu’s academic interests include higher education internationalization and global engagement strategy. She co-authored American Film and Television Education and Works Research, published by All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce Press, and Film and Television Production at Chinese and American Art Colleges, published by Communication University of China Press.

James S. Miller III James S. Miller III
Vice President, Strategic Initiatives

Jim Miller was a fashion industry entrepreneur before beginning his career in higher education at the Institute of International Education (IIE), where he served in various leadership capacities. Miller was the executive director of the Scholar Rescue Fund© (IIE-SRF), which has saved the lives and careers of over 600 threatened and persecuted scholars from 51 countries. Miller directed the Iraq Scholar Rescue Project, a public/private partnership of more than $28M, and was the architect of numerous innovative higher education and refugee programs including Camps to Campuses, the Artists Protection Fund (APF), and the Women’s International Network (WIN).

For a decade, Miller was the senior executive of Studio Art Centers International (SACI), an art and archeology college in Florence, Italy. Jim serves on numerous boards and is the founder of the Medhen Orphan Relief Effort (MORE), and served as a founding member of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA). Jim Miller has been a keynote presenter at numerous international academic conferences and has published articles — including in peer-reviewed journals.

Sandra Schein Sandra A. Schein, Ph.D.
Associate Vice President of Student Health and Wellness
Dean of Students, New York Campus

BA University of Pennsylvania, Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa; Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara. Licensed Psychologist in the State of New York. Previously held positions include Director, Counseling and Career Services, Oxford College of Emory University (recipient of the Emory University Award of Distinction) and Director, Eating Disorders Program, Kaiser Permanente, Atlanta, GA. Academic interests include positive psychology, strengths-based education, and leadership development.

Colonel Jack Jacobs Colonel Jack Jacobs
Chair of Veterans Advancement Program

Colonel Jack Jacobs, the Chair of the New York Film Academy's Veterans Advancement Program served in the U.S. military for more than 20 years and is considered a true American hero. Colonel Jacob's is among the most highly decorated soldiers from that era, having earned the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest combat honor, two Silver Stars, and three Bronze Stars. After leaving the military in 1987, Colonel Jacobs had a successful career in the financial industry; he currently is the on-air military strategist for NBC and MSNBC. Jacobs was nominated for Emmys in 2010 and 2011 and was the recipient of the distinguished Edward R. Murrow Award for his NBC segment "Iraq: The Long Way Out."

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