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New York Film Academy About Us

FACULTY

Producing Department

Jenni Powell Jenni Powell
Chair of Producing

The Emmy Award-winning producer of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Welcome to Sanditon, Lonelygirl15, Emma Approved, and The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy. For two years, Jenni was Director of Content and Social Media for VidCon and was a producer at Felicia Day's YouTube Premium channel Geek & Sundry, where she produced the Geekie Award-winning Talkin' Comics Weekly. Most recently, Jenni was Head of Production for NewMediaRockstars, before founding her own production company Discourse Productions.

David Armstrong David Armstrong
Directing, Cinematography

David A. Armstrong has more than 35 years of film industry experience and holds an MFA in Cinematography from the prestigious American Film Institute (AFI) and a BFA from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). Starting as a camera assistant, he has risen through the ranks to become a cinematographer. He has over 100 feature film and television productions to his credit.

He is the first recipient of the ASC (American Society of Cinematographers) Student Heritage Award, and his AFI short film John received the Student Academy Award Gold and the AFI's Franklin J. Schafer Award. He served as director of photography for James Wan (The Conjuring, Aquaman) on the Saw film franchise (Saw I-VI). As a key team member of the Saw franchise, he helped to create the Guinness Book of World Record for largest-grossing horror film franchise in history.

Armstrong also directs feature films, and has directed actors including Forest Whitaker, Ray Liotta, Peter Stormare, Common, Justin Chatwin, Stephen Lang, Michael Chiklis, Nikki Reed, and Martin Csokas. His most recent feature, The Assassin's Code, a neo-noir thriller starring Peter Stormare (Fargo) and Justin Chatwin (Shameless), premiered at the 42nd Cleveland International Film Festival in April 2018, with theatrical release by Gravitas Venture and VOD in May 2018.

Ashley Bank Ashley Bank
Producing Documentaries, Acting, Thesis Advising

Ashley Bank has been working in the entertainment industry virtually her entire life, as an actress, producer, stand-up comedian, and writer. She is a graduate of New York University, with a B.A. in Film, Journalism, & Political Science. She is also a graduate of The Second City Conservatory. As an actress, Bank has appeared in over 40 commercials, and has guest starred on TV shows like Family Ties, My Two Dads, Frasier, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. She’s also appeared in numerous TV movies, working with greats like Henry Winkler, Dolly Parton, and Raquel Welch, as well as in the film The Monster Squad. Bank has produced several award-winning short films, one of which won the prestigious NYU Wasserman/King Award, and another of which was sold to the IFC Channel. 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. Ashley continues working as an actress and a writer, recently appearing with her sketch comedy group at the LA Comedy Festival and in several plays, as well as performing stand-up at The Improv and The Comedy Store. She recently appeared in a production of The Country Club and directed Don’t Dress for Dinner with her theater company, Accidents Happen.

Joseph Bonier Joseph Bonier
Sound

An active sound mixer and sound designer, Joseph graduated with a BA from the University of Maryland. Joseph also has a degree in Recording Engineering from the Recording Connection. He has worked as boom operator and sound mixer for numerous features, TV shows, and shorts. He also worked as an engineer at Avalon studios in Washington D.C. and Matrax productions in Philadelphia.

John Briscoe John Briscoe
Editing

Editor of multiple commercials broadcast both in Western Pennsylvania as well as Los Angeles. Worked as a freelance contractor on various independent films, webisodes and commercials. Editor of an 8-episode "war time" style documentary independently and aired locally in Los Angeles. Director, Producer and Editor of various segments airing on Pennsylvania television including a commercial for Hyundai, as well as various local food establishments and businesses.

Preston Butler Preston Butler
Editing

Editor of multiple commercials broadcast both in Western Pennsylvania as well as Los Angeles. Worked as a freelance contractor on various independent films, webisodes and commercials. Editor of an 8-episode "war time" style documentary independently and aired locally in Los Angeles. Director, Producer and Editor of various segments airing on Pennsylvania television including a commercial for Hyundai, as well as various local food establishments and businesses.

Lydia Cedrone Lydia Cedrone
Feature Track

Lydia Cedrone is a former executive at The Walt Disney Co., Trimark Pictures, and Savoy Pictures. She managed finances on more than two dozen studio films, and oversaw company operations for Michael Mann and the film Ali, starring Will Smith. She produced two films, including the MGM release The Betrayed. She earned her MBA at NYU Stern School of Business and her BA at Boston College.
Denise Carlson Denise Carlson
Producing, Thesis Advising, Advanced Pitching

Denise is a former Disney executive, overseeing more than 40 Disney Channel movies, including the megahit High School Musical. She earned her BFA from Rollins College and her Masters in Counseling Psychology from Ryokan College.
James Coburn James Coburn
Sound

James H. Coburn IV, C.A.S., has been working in production sound for over 20 years, mixing such independent features as Free Enterprise (1998) with Eric McCormack and William Shatner, All's Faire in Love (2009) with Christina Ricci and Ann-Margret, and The Bronx Bull (2013) with William Forsythe and Joe Mantegna. His TV work includes Black Scorpion produced by Roger Corman, and reality show Guru2Go on Discovery Networks' Health TV. 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. Before moving to NYFA, from 2008-2015 James shared his enthusiasm for sound with students at LAFS. He teaches the fundamentals of production audio — utility sound, booming, recording & mixing — emphasizing performance capture, and the importance of production sound in enhancing and supporting the director's artistic vision.

Kevin DiNovis Kevin DiNovis
Business Practices, Marketing & Distribution

Kevin DiNovis studied dramatic craft with Pulitzer Prize-winning absurdist playwright Edward Albee. His first feature film, Surrender Dorothy (1998) won the Grand Jury prize for Best Feature at Slamdance, Chicago Underground, and New York Underground Film Festivals. DiNovis has also adapted the bestselling thriller Loves Music, Loves to Dance for USA Networks, wrote Death & Texas with Academy Award nominee Charles Durning, and teamed up with former Paramount President Frank Yablans on the adaptation of the bestseller, Soul Surfer. Has served as a long-term judge for the Slamdance Screenplay Competition, discovering the scripts The Woodsman and Maria, Full of Grace. Kevin is the first writer selected to inaugurate the Marvel Studios Writers Program.
Josh Eiserike Josh Eiserike
Screenwriting

Josh is a writer/cartoonist who has written for the HUB animated series G.I. Joe: Renegades and MAD Magazine. He has developed pilots and features with various production companies. Josh's first comic book, Class of ‘99 won an Ignatz award (the Independent Spirit Award of comics) and his subsequent graphic novel Anyone But Virginia is currently distributed by Alterna Comics. Josh has an MA in journalism from the University of Missouri and an MFA in film production from USC.
Rick Greenwood Rick Greenwood
Cinematography and Directing

Rick Greenwood is a cinematographer and producer, known for Hunger Games: Tribute Johanna (2013), Hinnon Valley (2010) and 4 Dead Girls: The Soul Taker (2012).
Denise Hamilton Denise Hamilton

Denise Hamilton is a writer-producer for TV, 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, which 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 one-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. She earned a BFA in Theater, Howard University and an MA in Education from NYU.

Matt Harry Matt Harry
Producing Reality TV

MFA in Film Production, USC. Has worked as a reality television writer, editor, director, and feature film producer on the following: The Bachelor, Design on a Dime, Seriously Funny Kids, Rock the Reception, and Red Serpent. Wrote and produced Fugue, which won Best Horror Film at the Mississippi Film Festival. Written for Flynn Picture Co., Evolution Entertainment, and Fishbowl Films. Wrote and co-directed Super Kids for 1st Ave Machine/YouTube. Has also written the novel Sorcery for Beginners and its sequel Cryptozoology for Beginners.

Susanne Kent Susanne Kent
Acting for Producers

Suzanne was a series regular on Pee-Wee's Playhouse and has television credits including St. Elsewhere, The Garry Shandling Show, and Brotherly Love. She was a voice actor on Rugrats, The Wild Thornberrys, and Rocket Power. She has over 30 film credits, including Middle Men, Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, Nuts, The Boost, and History of the World: Part I.
Justin LaReau Justin LaReau
Producing, Thesis Advising, Feature Track, Film Production

BS in Economics, Illinois State University; MAT in Teaching, Olivet Nazarene University; MFA in Producing, New York Film Academy. Justin founded Zoe and Pebbles Productions in 2013 and his feature, A Demon Within (2016), is to be distributed by Blue Fox Entertainment. He is currently in development on several feature projects.
Emerson Machtus Emerson Machtus
Business Practices

Emerson Machtus was born into the film business. He has lived extensively in Europe, South America, and the Caribbean, and speaks Spanish natively. Emerson has been actively working in the International Film Business for over 15 years in different capacities, including film production, creative development, acquisitions, international sales, film distribution, and financing in Mexico, Spain, London, and Los Angeles. He's produced and been involved at different stages of production on projects of many sizes and budgets from studio to small indies. He wrote and produced the documentary From River To Sea. He has acquired European and Latin American rights for multiple titles and bought movies like David Ayer's Harsh Times, starring Christian Bale, for the domestic US market. He has represented international film distributors, film buyers, and media companies, as well as multiple film producers and content creators worldwide. He has consulted with a major internet company on development of digital content and media, and is currently a principal of Foton Pictures.
Rebecca Martos Rebecca Martos
Production Sound, Post Sound

Rebecca Martos is a filmmaker and Academic All-American Scholar who earned her MFA from New York University (NYU) where she was mentored by critically acclaimed director, Spike Lee. She was also privileged to study location sound under Peter Schneider, New York-based sound-mixer and co-owner of Gotham Sound and Communications, Inc. During her time at NYU, Rebecca ran the Chair’s Workshop series, where she facilitated weekly workshops with industry professionals such as Todd Solondz, Alan Taylor, David Fincher, Peter Dinklage, Elodie Keene, and Scott Frank. Rebecca then worked for many years in both the capacity of a freelance boom operator and sound mixer in New York. Rebecca has since worked as an animation producer with Pulitzer Prize Winning editorial cartoonist, Matt Bors, and legendary adult animation studios, Augenblick Studios and PFFR. Prior to NYU, Rebecca studied experimental art and sound design under Guggenheim Fellow Composer, and sound artist, Richard Lerman at Arizona State University, and also managed TallCat Studios, a music recording studio based out of Phoenix, Arizona. Currently, Rebecca is developing multiple children’s animation series, feature films, and recording her self-titled studio album “BEXX” in collaboration with drummer / songwriter, Keith Walker, from the 90’s alternative band, “Power of Dreams.”
Anne McCaffrey Anne McCaffrey
Producer's Craft: Budgeting, Short Film, Thesis Advising

Anne McCaffrey is a line producer and has worked in production management in both film and TV worldwide for over thirty years. Her extensive credits include Powder featuring Sean Patrick Flanery, Can't Buy Me Love with Patrick Dempsey, Young Guns II featuring Emilio Estevez and Kiefer Sutherland, Nightjohn with Carl Lumbly, Asunder with Blair Underwood, and Wildflower, directed by Diane Keaton, as well as reality shows The Amazing Race, Survivor, America's Next Top Model, and LA Ink starring tattoo artist Kat Von D. Anne is currently in development on two new features, Ghostkiller and Pops.
Stephen Miele Stephen Miele
Entertainment Law, Business Affairs

JD, Glendale University College of Law; BA, State University of New York, Albany. Stephen is a practicing lawyer for more than 25 years, with clients including songwriters, musicians, actors, business and personal managers, producing companies, banking institutions and manufacturers. He was appointed and acted as judge pro tem for the Los Angeles Superior Courts.
Jennifer Penton Jennifer Penton

Bachelor's degree in English and creative writing, UCLA; Master's degree in film, with an emphasis in experimental animation, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).

Jennifer Penton has worked at Warner Brothers, Klasky/Csupo, and Yahoo!, and on special projects for Disney. She has also worked with many independent filmmakers as an editor and web developer. One of her greatest joys is to help students explore their creativity and gain the technological tools to express themselves through live action and animated motion pictures.

Steven Peros Steven Peros
Screenwriting

Steven Peros is the writer of Lionsgate's The Cat's Meow, starring Kirsten Dunst and directed by Hollywood legend Peter Bogdanovich. Recently, Steve sold original pilots to MTV and NBC/Universal and directed two features, one of which, Footprints, was hailed as “One of the 10 Best Films So Far This Year” by the Chairman of the New York Film Critics Circle. He has written many features including Disney's Around the World In 80 Days, is a twice-published Samuel French playwright, and was a staff writer on AMC's Emmy-winning half-hour comedy series, The Lot. Steven has written projects for such diverse talent as Dolly Parton, Jackie Chan, and Eva Longoria. He is a graduate of the Film/TV program at New York University and has also taught Film/TV writing for UCLA Extension and The Writing Pad.
Francis Pezza Francis Pezza
Production Design

Francis J. Pezza has more than 40 years experience in Film, Television and Theater as a designer. Mr. Pezza is an MFA Degree graduate from the New York University School of the Arts (currently known as The NYU Tisch School of The Arts). He has been a Production Design Instructor teaching both MFA and BFA programs at the New York Film Academy. Among his many Television Credits as Production Designer are Miami Vice, The Flash, The Young Riders, Viper, Murder She Wrote. Mr. Pezza’s Major Motion Picture Credits include Outbreak, Dante’s Peak, Baby Geniuses, and Born To Ride.
Tony Schwartz Tony Schwartz
Producing and Thesis Advising

BA, California State Fullerton. Tony is a longtime assistant director and line producer for television and films, including Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Freaks and Geeks, The Unit, and CSI: New York. Tony served two years as Chair of Producing.
Jen Prince Jen Prince
Film Production, Alternative Media

MFA Film Production Program, USC; BFA in Acting and BA in Liberal Arts in the Plan II Honors Program, University of Texas at Austin. Jen is an independent producer, director, editor, and author, and has produced and co-edited the indie feature Quality Problems with Chris Mulkey, Mo Gaffney, and Brooke Purdy, winner of Best Independent Spirit Feature at Sedona Film Festival, Best Feature at Women Texas Film Festival and Hell's Half Mile Festival, among other awards and critical acclaim. Jen recently produced the feature And Then There Was Eve with Tania Nolan, Karan Soni, Mary Holland, and Rachel Crowl, together with Jhennifer Webberley (Metamorfic Productions), winner of a Jury Award at the 2017 Los Angeles Film Festival. She produced the micro-budget, award-winning feature, Eve Of Understanding with Bellamy Young and Rebecca Lowman, distributed through Vanguard Cinema and screened at over 20 festivals worldwide. She is currently in pre-production on her feature directorial debut, Miles Underwater, which received a Hometown Heroes grant from the Duplass Brothers/Seed&Spark, teaming up again with the Metamorfic filmmakers who created Quality Problems. Jen has also worked in post-production television. Credits include the Emmy Awards, The Contender (Mark Burnett Prods), and The Amazing Race (CBS).
Mark Ritcheson Mark Ritcheson
VFX Producing, Screenwriting

Mark Ritcheson is a Visual Effects Producer, Writer and Story Editor who has worked in the industry for nearly 3 decades with top directors, producers and filmmakers. Mark headed the visual effects department of RIOT Santa Monica and Hollywood’s Complete Post. As a Visual Effects Producer, he has worked closely with top directors and visual effects supervisors including James Cameron and David Lynch to bring their vision to the screen. His credits include: Xmen 2, Failure to Launch, What’s the Worst That Can Happen? and The Stepford Wives.
Rebecca Martos Rebecca Martos

Rebecca Martos is a filmmaker and Academic All-American Scholar who earned her MFA from New York University (NYU) where she was mentored by critically acclaimed director, Spike Lee. She was also privileged to study location sound under Peter Schneider, New York-based sound-mixer and co-owner of Gotham Sound and Communications, Inc.

During her time at NYU, Rebecca ran the Chair’s Workshop series, where she facilitated weekly workshops with industry professionals such as Todd Solondz, Alan Taylor, David Fincher, Peter Dinklage, Elodie Keene, and Scott Frank. Rebecca then worked for many years in both the capacity of a freelance boom operator and sound mixer in New York. Rebecca has since worked as an animation producer with Pulitzer Prize Winning editorial cartoonist, Matt Bors, and legendary adult animation studios, Augenblick Studios and PFFR.

Prior to NYU, Rebecca studied experimental art and sound design under Guggenheim Fellow Composer, and sound artist, Richard Lerman at Arizona State University, and also managed TallCat Studios, a music recording studio based out of Phoenix, Arizona.

Currently, Rebecca is developing multiple children’s animation series, feature films, and recording her self-titled studio album “BEXX” in collaboration with drummer / songwriter, Keith Walker, from the 90’s alternative band, “Power of Dreams.”
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