New York Film Academy
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New York Film Academy About Us



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.

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.

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.

Carlye Bowers Carlye Bowers
Director of Campus Life/Sr. Director of Title IX

Carlye Bowers finally considers herself an “official New Yorker” after making the move from Texas in 2013. Since then, Carlye has spent the larger part of her professional career at the New York Film Academy developing and expanding the Student Life and Title IX Departments. Under her leadership, New York Film Academy has implemented a Student Ambassador program, New Student Orientation Week, and a robust ongoing prevention and awareness campaign, including the rollout of the Sexual Respect Training for the all students and employees. June through May, Carlye has the pleasure of taking on the role of Director of Teen Summer Camps.

Carlye holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Marketing from the Neely School of Business and a Bachelor of Science in Radio, Film & Television. She is a lover of all things glitter, never says no to popcorn or ice cream, and enjoys a good snuggle from her siamese cat, Finn.

Mary Samuelson Dr. Mary Samuelson
Dean of General Education; Chair of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Dr. Mary Samuelson received her Ph.D. and MA degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and completed her undergraduate work in Cinema-Television and English Literature at the University of Southern California (USC). For the past four years, Mary has taught courses and advised students in the Cinema and Media Studies and Writing Programs departments at UCLA, the Cinema-Television department at Los Angeles Community College (LACC), and here at the New York Film Academy (NYFA). Her essays "Radical Moment: The National Recovery Administration and Hollywood's 'New Deal'" and “Wartime News Flow: Government and Studio Newsreels, 1941-1945” will come out in collections focusing on film and the law (September 2016) and the U.S. newsfilm (June 2016), respectively. Mary’s dissertation “The Patriotic Play: Roosevelt, Antitrust, and the War Activities Committee of the Motion Picture Industry” is slated for book publication in Spring 2017.

Barbara Weintraub Barbara Weintraub
Director 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 first job was an actress on Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets, which convinced her she wanted to work “on the other side of the camera." She honed her production skills working with legendary producer Jerry Bruckheimer on Beverly Hills Cop and Top Gun before joining the senior management team responsible for launching E! Entertainment Television, the first all-entertainment reporting cable channel.

Barbara started her own production company, producing television shows including an NBC comedy special with Kelsey Grammer, Jason Bateman and Tony Shaloub. She is also Vice President and Board Member of GreenLight Women.

Prima Gonzalez Prima Gonzalez
Director, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

Prima Gonzalez received her Master’s in Teaching from the University of Southern California and holds a Bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing from Washington State University. Prima brings years of experience teaching and mentoring instructors to develop and refine educational resources in learner-centered environments.

Her background in fine arts and writing has allowed her to blend her artistic and educational interests by connecting storytelling, critique, and the artistic process to academic skill development. Prima is very committed to professional development and stays active in the community by consistently presenting at conferences and holding a position on the CATESOL Board of Directors. Her presentations have covered a variety of topics including the enhancement of peer-to-peer feedback, using critique to sharpen English language development, and promoting inclusivity through reexamination of practices and educational tools.

As CETL Director, Prima will share her passion for teaching while collaborating on professional development offerings that address the needs of departments on the LA, NYC, and South Beach campuses.

Prima Gonzalez Crickett Rumley
Senior Director, Film Festival Department

Crickett Rumley received her MFA in Film at Columbia University, adapted projects for Killer Films and PBS, and authored the novel Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt and Other Things I Learned in Southern Belle Hell. The founder and senior director of the New York Film Academy’s Film Festival Department, she is based in Los Angeles. With diversity, equity, and inclusion at the foundation of her work, Crickett regularly develops educational programs and festival strategy for both NYFA’s diverse student body and international organizations. She has hosted webinars with TV writers Boo Killebrew and Gail Lerner, Jordanian filmmaker Zaid Abu Hamdan, BAFTA, Oscar, and Student Academy Award winners and nominees, as well as moderated panels with staff from festivals such as New Filmmakers LA, Hollyshorts, Austin, and Reel Sisters of the Diaspora. A regular juror for the Forum on Life, Culture, and Society’s International Short Film Competition, Crickett also sat on the jury for the 2021 Tallgrass Film Festival, one of MovieMaker Magazine’s 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee. You can find her doling out festival tips in Backstage Magazine and on Twitter at @Crickett_NYFA.

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."

Peter Bloland Peter Bloland

Dr. Bloland served for 30 years with the U.S. Public Health Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He held a variety of scientific and leadership positions at CDC in the areas of malaria research and control, emerging infectious diseases, global public health systems strengthening and capacity development, and vaccine-preventable diseases. He has participated on US public health response teams in a variety of domestic and global emergencies, including refugee crises (Zaire, 1994) and urgent refugee relocations (Eritrea, Burundi, Liberia, Cambodia), SARS-CoV-1 (Taiwan, 2003), Rift Valley fever outbreaks (Kenya and Tanzania, 2007), Haiti earthquake (2010), and global polio eradication (2013-2019). He has published over 100 scientific articles. Dr. Bloland received bachelor’s degrees in Psychobiology (University of California Riverside) and Veterinary Science (University of California Davis), Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (University of California Davis), Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine, (University of California Davis), and is an alumnus of the Epidemic Intelligence Service (CDC’s “disease detective” training program).

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