New York Film Academy
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New York Film Academy Faculty


Filmmaking Department

Claude Kerven Claude Kerven
Chair of Filmmaking Department New York City Campus, Director

Director of over 25 film and video segments for Saturday Night Live; "Starstruck," Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Children's Special, "High School Narc," nominated for DGA Award, "Birthday Boy," Nominated for Cable ACE Award, and "Candy Store," winner Academy Award for Best Dramatic Student Film. Co-writer of "Mortal Thoughts," starring Bruce Willis and Harvey Keitel, "The Shadow War," for Universal Studios, and "Darkman and the Circus of Fear," Prod. Sam Raimi. Has directed such actors as Eddie Murphy, Sarah Jessica Parker, Billy Crystal, Viggo Mortensen, Martin Short, Stevie Wonder, Christopher Guest, Lily Tomlin, Jim Belushi, Julia-Louis Dreyfus, Jerry Lewis, Peter Stormare and Elizabeth Moss.

Paul Warner Paul Warner

Paul Warner is a director and writer, who most recently directed a new dance theatre opera, Women: The War Within at The Baryshnikov Arts Center where he was the recipient of a 2013 Princess Grace Foundation Works In Process grant that funded his developmental residency. Warner has directed over fifty theatre and film productions including the award-winning short In the Name of The Father (Sundance), and the feature Fall Time (Lionsgate), starring Mickey Rourke and David Arquette, which premiered at the Sundance Festival and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize. In 2012 he produced and co-wrote the award-winning short, The Puritans, directed by Sean Robinson. Next, he will direct Reclaiming Eden from a screenplay co-written with Robinson. The LGBTQ Academy of Recording Arts commissioned Warner to direct the 25th anniversary of the OUTmusic Awards in 2014, as well as to produce a documentary celebrating the history of LGBTQ recording artists which will be directed by long time collaborator Sean Robinson. He directed the actors and served as Creative Consultant for visual artist David Michalek's 2011 Portraits in Dramatic Time—a series of slow-motion cinematic shorts featuring performers from all performance mediums, including Holly Hunter, Patti Lupone, Alan Rickman, and Wendy Whelan for The Lincoln Center Festival. Warner is grateful for the support of the Princess Grace Foundation, beginning with a fellowship for his Second Stage Theatre residency, followed by a Statue Award, and now, the Works-in-Process grant. He is an alum of the Drama League Directors Project in addition to the recipient of a Cite-Read fellowship to develop a new translation of Nelson Rodrigues’ Wedding Dress, for which Warner’s production garnered seven Drama-Logue Awards, including best direction. He has directed more than fifty new and classical works for the stage. Favorite projects include: Out In America (Daryl Hannah and Stephen Baldwin), Mercury by Gary Sunshine (HERE/Eve Ensler), and Chinese Cabaret in collaboration with composer Peter Melnick at the LA International Festival under the artistic direction of Peter Sellars. Training: Harvard, B.A., the American Film Institute, M.F.A in Filmmaking. In addition to his many years teaching Directing and Acting at the New York Film Academy, Paul has taught at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase.

Geoffray Barbier Geoffray Barbier
Editing, Producing

Geoffray Barbier directed the feature Documentary Pardon Us For Living But The Graveyard Is Full, the Encore Music Sessions, sponsored by Absolut Vodka, the short film “Garcia / Cachao” starring Andy Garcia for Cognac Martell as well as the directors series “just films” produced for the Lincoln center. He has also served as line producer on a variety of independent features in addition to his work as a director. Most notably he worked with director with Eugene Jarecki (Why We Fight) on HBO segment “Addiction”, with Alyssa Bennett on The Pack, and Matthew Modine on his film Cowboy. Barbier has directed television commercials and several music videos for artists such as Shivaree and Holly Miranda and Elliott Murphy. In addition to Barbier’s work in film, he composed the soundtrack for Subaru’s national televised ad campaign.

Thomas Barnes Thomas Barnes
Directing, Producing

Director Thomas Barnes' life and career has spanned several continents and multiple genres. Educated in UK, he got his professional start in London before moving to Hong Kong and then USA where he is now based.

His work includes TV commercials, music videos, narrative films and television. As Senior Producer, he was one of the core production team to set up MTV Asia where he made shows with artists such as Radiohead, Bon Jovi and Bryan Adams.

After six years at MTV, he launched his music video and TV commercial career and directed clips for top Asian stars like Andy Lau and Faye Wong, & international artists like Rod Stewart and Disney's Keke Palmer. His TV commercials for US and Asian market include Coke, M&M and Chrysler.

His short films - such as 'Whales' and 'Pork Chop' - continue to screen internationally at dozens of film festivals such as Clermont Ferrand France, Los Angeles International Shorts, and San Francisco International Asian.

During this eclectic professional adventure, he discovered a passion for teaching and mentoring the next generation of filmmakers. Since 2007 he has taught a range of courses at NYFA.

Piero Basso, A.I.C. Piero Basso, A.I.C.

Born in northern Italy, Piero received his Laurea di Dottore in Cinema and Art Studies from the University of Turin. Currently working on the documentary Life after Wall Street and preparing the feature film Seven Acts of Mercy, he has photographed thus far three feature films and numerous short films and documentaries that have won Festival Awards around the world, including Oberhausen, Edinburgh, Turin and Huesca. Some of his work has also received nominations at the European Film Awards and at the David di Donatello. The strongest characteristics of Piero's work are his eloquent fusion of lighting and perspective connected with a deep understanding of the moviemaking process and great capacity for adaptation, artistically to pratically amid varied and demanding conditions. After living in Turin and Rome for much of his professional career, in 2008 Piero relocated to New York City where he lives with his wife and daughter.

Pablo Berger Pablo Berger
Master Classes

MFA, NYU, Tisch School of Arts Feature Film
Writer/Director Goya Award winning "Blancanieves," and "Torremolinos '73"

Benjamin Cohen Benjamin Cohen
Writing/Editing/Studies Instructor

Ben Cohen is a Brooklyn-based comedy filmmaker. Born in the Bay Area, raised in Atlanta, Ben Cohen has been writing and directing since 2004 and teaching since 2009.

He attended the undergraduate University of North Carolina Wilmington film school and graduated from Georgia State University with an M.A. in Film Production & Screenwriting. He also studied Sketch and Improv Comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and French Culture at The University of Paris - La Sorbonne.

As co-creator of the Godamsterdam independent pilot following two TV-obsessed unemployed girls in 1992, Ben has appeared on CNN and The Examiner who called him, “One of the best filmmakers Atlanta has and will produce.” He is also an active member of the WGA.

Most recently, Ben was featured on College Humor. You can see more of Ben’s work at TheRealBenCohen.Com. In addition to filmmaking, Ben teaches Screenwriting, Editing, and Cinema Studies at the New York Film Academy.

Seth Michael Donsky Seth Michael Donsky
Writing, Directing

MFA, Columbia University. Award Winning Feature Film Twisted (1997). Recipient of the 2002 Hallmark Development Grant for the short film Loopy.

Randall Dottin Randall Dottin
Directing, Screenwriting

MFA, Columbia University Writer/Director of Student Academy and DGA winning film A-Alike, Writer/Director Fox Searchlab film Lifted, Director of Sloan Feature Film Grant recipient, Indelible.

Liz Foley Liz Foley

MFA Columbia University with Honors. BA Smith College Director, Writer and or Producer of numerous film and television productions including Funny Peculiar, Ode to Joy, and The It Factor.

Heng-Tatt Lim Heng-Tatt Lim
Directing, Cinematography

MFA, NYU, Tisch School of the Arts. Awarded Excellence in Filmmaking at NYU's First Run Festival, 1991. Wien Scholar, Brandeis University. Worked on over fifty films.

Lisa Milinazzo Lisa Milinazzo
Directing Actors & Acting for Directors

Lisa Milinazzo (Director/Playwright, Theatre, Film): Nominated for 2 L.A. Weekly Awards. Her short film "The Query," played at 2007 Cannes Film Festival, New Filmmakers-New York and Garden State Film Festival. Directed Theatrical premieres of Eve Ensler, Alexandra Gersten-Vasillaros and George F. Walker. New York & Regional Theatre Directing credits include: Origin Theatre Company, Capital Repertory, HB Playwright's Foundation (w/ Amy Wright), Home for Contemporary Art, Rattlestick, Alice's Fourth Floor, HERE; Fleetwood Stage, Schoolhouse, Axial and Saint Genesius (L.A.). Actress/director with The Actors' Space Acting Company, 7 years. Adapted and directed Chekhov's The Black Monk, (w/ Tony Award Nominee, Marin Ireland) Chekhov Festival, NYC. Guest director for the Repertory Company of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Teaches the Directors & Actors Lab in Manhattan. Adjunct professor, Fairleigh Dickinson University. Performance/lectures: Poland, Canada and several universities in the U.S. Recipient Van Ameringen Grant, Rehabilitation Services Grant; NYU Tisch Grant. Vice President Wren Court Films Production Company. M.A. & B.F.A., New York University, Tisch School of the Arts.

Sol Negrin Asc Sol Negrin Asc
Master Classes

Instructor, New York University. President, New York Cinematography Union. Some of his credits include: Robocop, Superman, Coming to America, The Kojak TV Series

Tassos Rigopoulos Tassos Rigopoulos

MFA, UT Austin Writer/Director/Editor of Features, Shorts, Documentaries, TV Series, Commercials, and Corporate Videos. Student Emmy Award Winner.

Brad Sample Brad Sample

Brad Sample is an award winning writer/director for film, television and digital media. He holds an M.F.A. in Film Directing from U.C.L.A.'s school of Theater, Film and Television. His film credits include "Stuck," a painful comedy about an unattractive man's desire for his best friend's girlfriend, and the Iraq War film, "Attention," which aired on the Showtime Network. In addition, Brad has worked as a producer/director for the New York City based television production company ¡YO! Television, where he produced and directed the hip-hop dance battle show, "Crunkiao," and the celebrity profile show, "Mi Barrio." The highlight of his work for the web is "Stand Up," a promotional video he wrote and directed for the United Nations Millenium Campaign.

Along side his work in production, Brad began teaching film at the UCLA High School Acting and Performance Institute. He currently teaches film directing and writing at the New York Film Academy, and is nearing completion of his first novel.

Michael Unger Michael Unger
Master Classes

MFA, Columbia University, BA, Brown University. Writer and Director of numerous Shorts and Music Videos. Awards: "Best of the Festival" NYIIF Festival, 2001. Directed and Produced Kidz Show and Directed Off-Broadway. Editor of Documentaries and Music Videos appearing on PBS, MTV, MOMA, and THE BOX. He has just finished his latest film, GRAVITY. Program Director for NYFA workshops in Paris, London, Tokyo, Porto, and Bilbao.

Jonathan Whittaker Jonathan Whittaker
Chair, Short-term Programs

M.A. in Media Studies, The New School. Partner and founding member of ManInHat, a New York based production company. With over 15 years of experience in the film industry, having produced, directed and lensed short films, music videos, live concerts, commercials, TV shows, feature docs and 3D specials, he is never one to shy away from a new challenge. Nissan, Sony Pictures, DirecTV, Gillette and Sports Illustrated are just a few of his clients and collaborators. When he is not on set or in an edit you can usually find him at the head of a lecture hall sharing his thoughts on the art of cinematography and directing. In addition to being a resident professor at The New York Film Academy he has also given guest lectures all over the globe including the venerable Beijing Film Academy, Shanghai Theater Academy and Dar El-­‐Hekma (in Saudi Arabia).

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