New York Film Academy
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New York Film Academy Faculty


Documentary Department

Sanora Bartels Sanora Bartels
Chair of Documentary Department

Sanora Bartels holds a master's of professional writing degree from University of Southern California. At USC, she studied screenplay under Syd Field, the author of "Screenplay," the industry’s bible on screenwriting. Her screenplay "Straying Home" was a semi-finalist in NexTV Writing and Pitch competition. She has worked as an assistant director on several projects, including reality television shows for Discovery and NatGeo Channel. She has also produced several feature documentaries including “Michael & Me” and “Taking the Hill: A Warrior’s Journey,” a documentary about PTSD, and she travelled all over the world as the field producer for the documentary “Greedy, Lying Bastards,” executive-produced by Daryl Hannah. She currently teaches screenwriting, documentary writing, and producing at New York Film Academy.

Eric Babinec Eric Babinec

Eric Babinec has provided color correction and online editing services for hundreds of network and cable television programs and films Clients include networks and production companies such as 51 Minds Entertainment, LMNO Productions, Comcast Networks/G4 Media, TLC, OWN and Discovery. He founded ColorTime Pictures in early 2006.

Ashley Bank Ashley Bank

Ashley Bank has been working in the entertainment industry for virtually her entire life. She’s worked as an actress, stand-up comedian, producer, and writer. She has continued her work behind the camera, producing several award winning short films, one of which won the prestigious NYU Wasserman/King Award, and another of which was sold to IFC. She also worked as a producer for CBS News/48 Hours, and later for CBS News’ documentary department, working on documentaries for The History Channel, The Food Network, A&E, Discovery, and ESPN. She is a graduate of New York University, with a BA in Film, Journalism, & Political Science. She is also a graduate of The Second City Conservatory.

Carl Bartels Carl Bartels
Camera and Lighting I and II

A working cinematographer since 1996, Carl is credited with dozens of feature films and several award-winning documentaries. Originally from Massachusetts, Carl is now based in Los Angeles. He has shot numerous shows for Discovery and A&E, and directed several episodes. His most recent credits include Greedy, Lying Bastards, a documentary produced by Daryl Hannah, and Taken3 starring Liam Neeson and Forrest Whittaker.

James H. Coburn IV James H. Coburn IV

C.A.S., has been working professionally in Production Sound for over twenty years, mixing such independent features as Free Enterprise (1998) with Eric McCormack and William Shatner, and The Bronx Bull (2013) with William Forsythe and Joe Mantegna. His television work includes the series Black Scorpion produced by Roger Corman, the reality show Guru2Go for Discovery Networks’ channel Health TV, and most recently, segments of Kobe Bryant’s Muse (2015). He served on the Board of the Cinema Audio Society for seven years, and was instrumental in creating the CAS Technical Achievement Awards honoring innovation in the equipment and software used by production and post-production sound mixers.

Robi Colangelo Robi Colangelo

BA Academy of Fine Arts Milan Italy, Paralegal Certificate, UCLA. Robi has been a producer’s representative, an associate producer and president of her own company, Focus Documentaries. She works to help documentary filmmakers to draft deal memos, negotiate distribution rights and write and review contracts.

Paola di Florio Paola di Florio

Counterpoint Films founder Paola di Florio is an Oscar and Emmy-nominated director, writer, and producer, whose work has focused on maverick individuals that have been agents of change in the world. Di Florio’s documentary “Awake: The Life of Yogananda,” about the Hindu swami who brought yoga and meditation to the west, was cited by The Guardian as a “sleeper hit of 2014.” The film reached 65 U.S. markets (grossing $1.5 million in domestic box office) and is now being released in theaters overseas, where it played for 23 weeks in Australia and was booked in over 40 theaters in Germany. Di Florio’s first two films (“Speaking In Strings” and “Home of the Brave”) were nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the Sundance Film Festival, won numerous festival awards and were honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the Writer’s Guild, Women in Film, and the International Documentary Association.

Mary Beth Fielder Mary Beth Fielder

Mary Beth Fielder is a filmmaker and teacher with over twenty five years experience in film and television.

Fielder has written screenplays for Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros and directed the television drama, thirtysomething. She wrote and produced award-winning feature films Wild About Harry, named Best of Fest at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in 2009 and Togetherness Supreme, winner of Best International Feature Film at the 2011 Santa Barbara International Film Festival and multiple African Movie Academy Awards. Fielder has taught film directing, screenwriting and acting at USC, Loyola Marymount University, Tel Aviv University, New York Film Academy and the Dodge College of Film and Media at Chapman University.

Denise Hamilton Denise Hamilton

Denise Hamilton is a writer-producer for television whose work has been produced for NBC and CBS affiliates in New York and Boston, the Discovery Channel, the Fox Family Channel, E! Entertainment, de Passe Entertainment, and Quincy Jones-David Saltzman Entertainment. Ms. Hamilton wrote and produced the documentary Ngone’s Story: A Tale of Africa’s Orphans for the NBC/IBC series Horizons of the Spirit. Ms. Hamilton was coordinating producer for both the ABC-TV documentary Motown 40: The Music is Forever, and WNBC-TV’s For Peace Sake: Youth Speaks Out that won three local Emmys. She also was the writer and field producer of two hour-long documentaries on Rwandan refugees for GBGM Productions: A Harvest of Love and Refugee Camps of Zaire which aired on the Odyssey Channel; as well as Nicaragua, a 1-hour documentary on missionary work in that country. For the past nine years she has served as co-chairperson of the Black Association of Documentary Filmmakers-West. B.F.A. Theater, Howard University, M.A. Education, NYU.

Igor Kovacevich Igor Kovacevich

Igor Kovacevich produced psychological thriller Downloading Nancy starring Maria Bello, Jason Patric, Rufus Sewell and Amy Brenneman. The movie premiered in the main Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival and was distributed theatrically by Strand Releasing. Igor also produced Black Cloud, Rick Schroder’s directorial debut. The movie stars Tim McGraw and Rick Schroder and was distributed by New Line Cinema. Igor is originally from Sarajevo, Bosnia, and worked in Croatia early in his career (amongst others with world-acclaimed director Emir Kusturica). Igor earned his MFA in film directing/producing from Ohio University School of Film. Igor directed and produced a number of shorts and documentaries and the feature film 1000 Miles From Nowhere, which was shown at IFP in New York and at the Sarajevo Film Festival. Igor also worked at Focus Features/Universal Pictures in feature acquisitions and development.

Heather Mathews Heather Mathews

Heather Mathews is an editor and producer. She produced and edited the award winning short film, Miss This At Your Peril, and edited Spoonful, which premiered at Sundance in 2012. Having worked in film since before graduating from Sarah Lawrence in 1994, Heather moved to Los Angeles in 1998 to continue this passion. Working both in production and in the office for such notable filmmakers as David Fincher, Tony Scott and Gary Ross and with directors like Wong Kar-wai, John Frankenheimer, John Woo and Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu, Heather quickly accumulated a vast knowledge of the Hollywood machine. In 2007 she decided to change course and entered the American Film Institute to attain her MFA in film editing. Since graduating Heather has edited countless short films, both narrative and documentary, and number of music videos and spec commercials.

Matteo Nurizzo Matteo Nurizzo

Matteo is an editor for various short independent films. He has also been an Avid Certified Instructor since 2013. He is a freelance videographer and editor whose clients include: BM Factory, Banque PSA Finance, Castiglioni. Matteo was director and editor of "Style In Frames" for Comune di Milano. He was an industrial designer and graphic artist in Italy. He holds a Master of Science in Industrial Design from the Politecnico di Milano, Italy.

Huch Platt Huch Platt

Head of the New York Film Academy Sound Dept, Avid Pro Tools HD Certified Instructor, Owner Majestic Sound Studios, Foley Mixer, Dialog Editor on Flags for Our Fathers, Black Dawn and Stranger by Me. Huch has dedicated his life to teaching the art and craft of Sound Design and helping new Documentarians achieve amazing sounding films.

Charles Rose Charles Rose

AIC Cinematographer with over 30 years of experience on an international level having worked on motion picture narrative films, documentaries, commercials, music videos, and as a 3D cinematic consultant. Over 14 years of experience teaching all aspects of cinematic creation using 16/35 mm film cameras (Panavision, Arri, Movicam, Aaton) to all current digital cameras from Red cameras, Alexas, Sony F65 to DSLR cameras. Extensive experience teaching the concepts and techniques related to set illumination for both film and digital imagery creation.

Leander Sales Leander Sales

Member of the Motion Pictures Editors Guild, certified Avid instructor, worked with Spike Lee on nine of his feature films in the editing department as assistant editor, associate editor on Clockers and Girl 6, then as editor on Lee’s documentary Get on the Bus. Editor on HBO documentary Hookers at the Point, directed by Brent Owens. As a director, Leander won first place at the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame Film Festival of Oakland, California for his debut feature film Don’t Let Your Meat Loaf. The Life I Meant to Live is the second feature film Leander directed.

Mark Sawicki Mark Sawicki

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 editions, both published by Focal Press.

Joanna Sokolowski Joanna Sokolowski

Ms. Sokolowski is an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker. She is the director of the PBS documentary “Ovarian Psycos” (2016), which premiered at SXSW and will be broadcast on the award-winning documentary series Independent Lens in March 2017. She co-produced the HBO film “Very Semi Serious” (2015), a feature-length documentary about New Yorker cartoonists that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. She has worked as a producer at Walking Iris Media and Open Studio Productions. Her short film “Still Time” (2012) chronicles life after serving 20 years in prison. She holds a B.A. in community development & urban planning and received her M.A. in social documentation at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she was the recipient of the Human Rights Center fellowship.

Zack Stoff Zack Stoff

Zack studied at Bates College and the University of Westminster in London where he pursued a Film and Television degree. Shortly after graduating, Zack directed and edited a BBC documentary in cooperation with The Prince's Trust entitled Hidden Talents, promoting a national project that encourages youth music programs for disadvantaged musicians. Continuing with his passion for music, Zack directed two short documentaries for Maroon 5, following their international tours between 2003-2005. These were released as special features on their DVD, Maroon 5 Live: Friday the 13th. This project gave Zack a renewed appreciation for documentary editing. Since then, he has focused his career on post-production, editing short and long form documentaries, music videos, and narrative films. He continues to work as an editor and assistant editor on several films, including Che Part One and Che Part Two, and Seven Days in Havana directed by Benicio Del Toro.

Tina Cesa Ward Tina Cesa Ward

Tina Cesa Ward is a writer, director and producer. In 2008, after having success in short films, Tina made the jump to new media. Her indie hit Anyone But Me has nearly 50 million views world wide and has won several awards including the first Writers Guild of America Award for Original New Media, which Tina won in 2011. Tina also won the International Academy of Web TV for directing in drama in 2013. And in 2015, Tina received the IAWTV award for writing in drama for her fourth web series, Producing Juliet. Tina is considered one of the early pioneers of web series.

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