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.

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.

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

PhD., in Business Administration, California American University. BA and MA in English Language and Literature, in Heilongjiang University, China. Professor of English Language in China’s Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT),visiting professor in Shanghai Normal University, Hangzhou University of Science and Technology, Harbin Normal University. Dr. Zhu is the President of US-China Economic & Cultural Development Association, which aims to advance the cooperation of U.S and Chinese education institutions.

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.

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.

Sandra Schein Sandra A. Schein, Ph.D.
Director of Student Health and Wellness
Dean of Students

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."

Mitko Panov Mitko Panov
Director of NYFA Paris

Mitko Panov is a graduate of the famed Lodz Film School in Poland under the mentorship of Andrzej Wajda and other renowned film masters. Panov has received international awards including the Palme D'Or for best short film at Cannes and recieved Guggenheim and Rockefeller Fellowships, and the Sundance Film Institute Documentary Film Grant. He is the recipient of two screenwriting awards: Hungarian Pitch Point and Krzysztof Kieslowski Award at Scripteast, Cannes.

His films were broadcast on major television networks including: PBS, France 3, Canal +, Channel 4, Film 4, Arts & Entertainment, ARTE, ZDF, ARD/BR; and are collectede by MOMA, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Chicago Arts Institute. His latest film, "The Witness," starring Bruno Ganz was a Swiss-Macedonian-Irish-Croatian co production with the participation of Eurimages and the Council of Europe

Mitko was an Assistant Professor of Film Directing at NYU; a founding faculty member of NYFA; a Visiting Professor at the German National Film-School; and an Associate Professor at University of Texas at Austin. Mitko was the first director of NYFA Paris at the Sorbonne in 1998 and has returned to that role for many summers since at its current La fémis location.

Diana Santi Diana Santi
Director of NYFA Florence

Diana Santi is an award winning short movies, and commercials director and producer. She graduated in Film Studies at the Università di Bologna with honors and worked as First AD on many big budget Italian commercials. In 2004 Diana moved to Los Angeles where she attended the New York Film Academy at the Universal Studios obtaining a diploma in Filmmaking. Since 2005, she is the Florence Programs Director for the New York Film Academy where her major duties and responsibilities include: being the liaison with the Italian Film Industry (Cinecittá, Gruppo Mediaset, Panavision, Euro Lab), as well as the Florence and Tuscany authorities, and establishing contacts with top Italian Film Directors and Actors Nanni Moretti, Vittorio Storaro, Dario argento, Giorgio Pasotti to name a few. In August 2011 Diana founded Purple Reel Productions and directed a 15 minutes short comedy titled “Florence in Love” with the support of the Tuscan Film Commission and the City of Florence that made it to the top 30 of the David di Donatello awards.

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