New York Film Academy
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New York Film Academy Faculty



Dan Mackler Dan Mackler

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.

Sonny Calderon Sonny Calderon
Dean of the College

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.

Nunzio DeFilippis Nunzio DeFilippis
Dean of the Faculty

Nunzio DeFilippis has worked in television, film, comic books and videogames for the last two decades. He received his MFA in Screenwriting from USC, and had his thesis screenplay optioned by Hollywood Pictures. Soon afterwards, he began writing with his writing partner and now wife, Christina Weir (also NYFA faculty).

Together, DeFilippis & Weir have written for the HBO series ARLISS and the Disney Channel series KIM POSSIBLE. They have developed an animated series at Disney, a TV movie at Oxygen, feature films at Process Media and Humble Journey Films, and a video game at Sony. Their work in comic books has included runs on NEW X-MEN, ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, and BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL. Their creator-owned comics include THE AMY DEVLIN MYSTERIES (in development as a TV series at E!) and FRENEMY OF THE STATE (co-written with Rashida Jones, optioned as a feature film by Imagine Entertainment/Universal Pictures). They are currently working on a novel and a television pilot.

DeFilippis joined the faculty of NYFA Los Angeles in 2009. He helped introduce Transmedia and Sequential Art to the school and became Director of Curriculum Development for the Screenwriting Department in 2013 before becoming chair in 2014.

Kelly Gardner Kelly Gardner
Dean of Students

Kelly Gardner is a filmmaker with a background in theater, television, and film. After obtaining a B.A. in Dramatic Art from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in 1999, Kelly moved to Washington D.C. where he enjoyed a successful career as a stage actor while simultaneously directing educational outreach programs for the The Arena Stage, The United States Library of Congress, The Smithsonian Institute, and countless schools and non-profit organizations. In 2006 he decided to pursue an MFA degree in film directing from the California Institute of Art. In 2009 his cinematography on the film "The Seawall" was honored with acceptance into the acclaimed Cannes film festival. He is currently serving as the Director of Community Outreach for the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles.

Mike Civille Mike Civille
Dean of Academic Advising

PhD American Studies (Boston University); MFA Film Studies (Boston University) As a film scholar, Mike has presented papers on Hollywood cinema and popular culture at the Society of Cinema and Media Studies, the Popular/American Culture Association, the California American Studies Association, the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), and the Baseball Hall of Fame. As a film director, his short "After June" (2006) played at several nationwide film festivals including the Tribeca Film Festival and the Palm Spring International Festival of Short Films.

Barbara Weintraub Barbara Weintraub
Chair of Industry Outreach and Professional Development

Barbara Weintraub is a leading Hollywood entertainment career counselor with a history of hands-on experience, working with many of the industry’s most acclaimed producers and directors.

Barbara’s father was a studio executive and producer of the Kung-Fu phenomenon Enter the Dragon, starring Bruce Lee. After appearing in the Martin Scorsese film Mean Streets, Barbara returned to work behind the camera.

Barbara honed her production skills working with legendary producer Jerry Bruckheimer on Beverly Hills Cop and Top Gun. She moved on to join the senior management team responsible for launching E! Entertainment Television, the first all-entertainment reporting cable channel. During her tenure she produced over 45 shows with top Hollywood filmmakers including Brian De Palma and Ivan Reitman.

Ale Salinas Ale Salinas
Director of High School Programs

Originally from Monterrey, Mexico, Ale is a graduate of the New York Film Academy's Acting for Film Program. With over 10 years of experience as an actor, singer, musical theatre performer, dancer, director, and teacher, she enjoys guiding aspiring artists. Ale has helped thousands of high school students from all over the globe successfully complete New York Film Academy programs and fostered their growth as visual and performing artists. Most recently, she spearheaded NYFA's first Musical Theatre Ensemble on the West Coast.

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