At the New York Film Academy’s film school, faculty members and curriculum are focused on providing students with the real world know-how to help them achieve their goals. These achievements are the result of their hard work, perseverance, talent and circumstances. Below are some of the positions and networks in which our alumni have worked:
Hands-On Programs and Workshops at NYFA
The field of Documentary Filmmaking includes feature films, doc-style TV series, micro docs and social media content, which aims to portray an aspect of reality to an audience in a compelling way. At NYFA’s Documentary Filmmaking School, located at our New York and Los Angeles campuses, students learn the fundamentals of telling engaging stories about real people, places, and events.
Studying under the guidance and mentorship of professional filmmakers, students receive practical, hands-on training through the completion of short films and projects, advancing in their collaboration, interviewing, presentation, and pitching skills.
As the original disruptors of the Hollywood gate-keeping system, NYFA is committed to making education in documentary filmmaking accessible to the most diverse, international, and broadest spectrum of students. At our Documentary Filmmaking School, we foster an environment that is creatively challenging, respectful and supportive of each unique student and of a collectively diverse student body.
Documentary Filmmaking Degrees
NYFA offers a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree program in Documentary Filmmaking at our NYFA Los Angeles campus. This accelerated, two-year graduate program is designed to educate talented and committed prospective documentarians in a total immersion environment. The intensive curriculum aims to challenge, inspire, and prepare candidates to pursue their goals in documentary film and non-fiction film. Throughout the program, students are in documentary production and complete a series of short films, culminating in a final thesis film.
For students who want to explore film, media, and entertainment while maintaining a focus in Documentary Filmmaking, NYFA also offers a comprehensive Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Entertainment Media. This program is complemented by liberal arts classes designed to support their development as a visual artist. Students may then choose the Documentary Filmmaking concentration, where they learn fundamental skills in storytelling, writing, filmmaking, editing, and producing by creating their own short films and content. The BFA in Entertainment Media is offered at NYFA New York.
Documentary Filmmaking 1-Year Certificate Program
For students eager to create their own non-fiction films and content, the 1-Year Certificate program in Documentary Filmmaking provides a substantial amount of practical training.
Through the creation of a series of their own short documentary films of increasing length and complexity, students develop skills in filmmaking, directing, writing, and editing.
The Documentary Filmmaking workshops enable students to explore the fundamentals of documentary storytelling, writing, filmmaking, and editing. During the short-term programs, students create their own short documentary projects and gain an introduction to the craft. These workshops are offered in-person and online.
At NYFA, students work directly with our faculty of professional filmmakers and directors, gaining mentorship and guidance. As our faculty is composed of individuals who actively work in the film, television, and entertainment industries, students learn the unique challenges and realities of this ever-changing field.
Chair of Filmmaking
Andrea Swift Chair of Filmmaking
With over 20 years of filmmaking experience, Swift served as executive producer and director of PBS’ Emmy-nominated documentary magazine series, “In the Life.” Her films have been screened at the United Nations Earth Summit and honored by festivals around the world, including Berlin International Film Festival and Sundance’s Environmental Film Festival. She has created content for AMC, History, WE, the NY Knicks, Madison Square Garden, and Clearview Cinemas; and has written for and directed top talent including Oscar winner Susan Sarandon, Oscar nominees Laura Linney, Patricia Clarkson, and Lesley Gore, and Tony Award winners Alan Cumming, Harvey Fierstein, Denis O’Hare and Cherry Jones. Currently, Swift focuses on writing, story producing, and creative producing on a variety of documentary projects including “The Crossing Borders Project,” a featured program of National Geographic’s education wing. MFA, Columbia University.
Bob Eisenhardt is an Academy Award nominee, three-time Emmy Award winner and recipient of the coveted “Eddie,” or American Cinema Editors Award. He has edited over 60 films, which have garnered another two Academy Award nominations, three more Emmys, a Peabody Award, three Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Award nominations, and even a Grammy nomination. Meru won the Audience Award at Sundance (2015) and was shortlisted for the 2016 Oscar. HBO’s Everything is Copy premiered at the 2015 New York Film Festival and earned another two Emmy nominations. Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood made its world premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. Jerusalem, Meru, Valentino: The Last Emperor and Dixie Chicks: Shut Up & Sing are among the highest earning documentaries of all time. Other editing credits include Wagner’s Dream and Living Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders, which was also shortlisted for the Oscar. Bob shares a director’s credit, an Emmy Award, IDA Award and a DGA Award with legendary documentarian Albert Maysles.
Producer for several feature documentaries including Michael & Me and Taking the Hill: A Warrior’s Journey, a documentary about PTSD. Most recently, she was the Field Producer for the documentary Greedy, Lying Bastards, executive produced by Daryl Hannah. She has worked as an Assistant Director on shows for Discovery and NatGeo Channel.
The Documentary Filmmaking School at NYFA strives to offer an intensive and focused education that provides hands-on experience and practical training. The achievements of our NYFA alumni are the result of their hard work, perseverance, talent and circumstances, and we’re proud of the numerous alumni who have gone to find success in film and entertainment. A number of our alumni have earned awards such as an Emmy Award, Academy Award nomination, honors at Sundance and numerous other major festivals, as well as positions as Director, Writer, Cinematographer, Assistant Director, Producer, Programmer, and Showrunner with VICE, Rolling Stone, HBO, October Films, Alex Gibney, and many others.
Please note: Equipment, curriculum, and projects are subject to change and may vary depending on location. Students should consult the most recently published campus catalog for the most up-to-date curriculum.