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  • NYFA Acting for Film Alum Anatolii Panchenko Stars in ‘Infiniti’ and ‘OnePlus Nord 2 5G: Origins’

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    Anatolii Panchenko

    Photo of Anatolii Panchenko by LA-Based Photographer, David Zaugh

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum Anatolii Panchenko (Анатолий Панченко) has been cast in a Canal+ mini-series, Infiniti, which began filming in March of this year. 

    Directed by Thierry Poiraud (Black Spot, Don’t Grow Up, and Goal of the Dead) and written by Stéphane Pannetier (Research Unit, Les Ombres Rouges) and Julien Vanlerenberghe (Les Ombres Rouges, Famille d’accueil), the series follows a crew aboard the International Space Station after discovering the murdered corpse of a fellow astronaut on-board. 

    Anatolii Panchenko

    Photo of Anatolii Panchenko by Anna Vialova (NYFA Cinematography alum)

    Now in search of the culprit, a French astronaut and Kazakh cop work together to solve the crime. Production companies Empreinte Digitale and Federation Entertainment Belgique are distributing the series on Canal+ and StudioCanal in 2022. 

    The series was filmed in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and France and shot in English, Russian, and French. The thriller will span six hour-long episodes. Panchenko will be working alongside an international cast including co-stars Céline Sallette (La Flamme, Vernon Subutex, and Marie Antoinette), Daniyar Alshinov (A Dark-Dark Man), Vlad Ivanov (The Transporter, Snowpiercer), Lex Shrapnel (Les Médicis: Masters of Florence, Harlots), Karina Arutyunyan (The Bureau), Ellora Torchia (The Cowboys, Midsommar), Laurent Capelluto (Moloch, Into The Night), Jarreth Merz (Six, Titans), and Samal Yeslyamova (Ayka, Three).

    Anatolii Panchenko

    Promotional artwork from ‘OnePlus Nord 2 5G: Origins’

    Anatolii Panchenko also starred in a recent commercial called OnePlus Nord 2 5G: Origins (also known as OnePlus Nord 2 5G: Nord of the Rings), a project by Stink Films. Directed by Keith McCarthy (The Ganzfeld Procedure) and written by Josh Erickson, the commercial merges humor and a Lord of the Rings-inspired narration to tell the origin story of the Nord 2 5G smartphone. 

    The crew uses advanced VFX, beautiful cinematography, and music to capture the different tempos for each “chapter” of the phone’s history. From fantasy to a Sci-Fi film to an action thriller, the team uses a combination of extras, makeup, and costumes to bring you out of each scene and into the next. 

    Be sure to check out behind-the-scenes footage of the film crew working their magic to bring the commercial together. 

    New York Film Academy congratulates acting alum Anatolii Panchenko on his role in Infiniti and looks forward to watching the series once it’s released next year. 

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    September 22, 2021 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 337

  • NYFA Alum Galo Semblantes Directs ‘The Legend of Tayos’

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    Production still from The Legend of Tayos (2021)

    Production still from The Legend of Tayos (2021)

    New York Film Academy MFA Filmmaking alum, Galo Semblantes directs a recent film, The Legend of Tayos (2021), which follows the story of Janos Moricz, a Hungarian explorer who finds a metal library inside the caves of the Ecuadorian Amazon. For this film, Semblantes worked with fellow NYFA alum, Janek Ambros who produced the film. Ambros is an MFA Producing alum with a recently released film, Mondo Hollywoodland, available on Amazon

    Semblantes is not only a documentarian, but a director, writer, and producer as well. A graduate of the MFA Filmmaking program at New York Film Academy, Semblantes has worked on numerous feature films and short films. His screen credits include American Dreams (2019), Oblivion (2012), Project Heaven (2014), Napkins (2012), Tell Me a Memory (2012), Nighttime (2011), and more. The film Oblivion was an official selection for the Columbia Gorge Film Festival in 2011, and his film Project Heaven was an official selection for the Los Angeles Diversity Film Festival in 2014. 

    Production still from The Legend of Tayos (2021)

    Production still from The Legend of Tayos (2021)

    The documentary film follows Janos Moricz, who pushes for government support to make new expeditions after claiming to have found valuable information within the caves of the Amazon that could change humanity. According to the director, “La Leyenda de Tayos is a film that talks about the value of idealism that leads us to explore unknown places to which we would not have gone otherwise.”

    Production still from The Legend of Tayos (2021)

    Production still from The Legend of Tayos (2021)

    Officially released in September 2021, The Legend of Tayos is a production that spanned several years. Winner of the Documentary Development Fund in 2013, the film began gaining public attention, due to its enigmatic subject matter. The Cueva de los Tayos, located in southeastern Ecuador, attracted many explorers in expeditions, including Neil Armstrong in 1976

    You can follow Galo Semblantes on Twitter, or stay up-to-date on the latest content by his production company, Non-Sequitur Films by visiting their website or following them on YouTube or Facebook.

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    September 17, 2021 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 672

  • Filmmaking Instructor at NYFA Tackles Queerness in Shakespeare Adaptation ‘HAMLET/HORATIO’

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    Paul Warner, Director and Filmmaking Instructor with NYFA, released feature-length film, HAMLET/HORATIO, available on Amazon Prime. A collaborative effort with writer David Vando, the film is a contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic “Hamlet.” 

    HAMLET/HORATIO centers around the grieving producer and main character, Hamlet (played by NYFA Alum Andrew Burdette), who is now head of a film production company following the death of his father. His right-hand man and director, Horatio (played by NYFA Alum Themo Melikidze) captures his close friend’s pain in an enduring promise to tell Hamlet’s story through the production of a film. 

    While the work includes all major themes from the original play, Warner takes a unique approach in explaining the relationship between the close companions. An exploration of their relationship with undertones of gender-fluidity and sexuality, HAMLET/HORATIO captures the essence of the characters’ closeness as a series of dream-like scenes with soft-focused camera work and a series of fourth-wall breaks. 

    Quoted in an article by Washington Blade which touches on the theme of sexuality in the adaptation, “There’s a tremendous amount of exploration of gender fluidity in his work,” says Warner, “There’s never a label on it, but it permeates Shakespeare. There are a lot of characters who fall in love with the soul of the person, rather than the gender.”

    The film captures Hamlet’s search for fulfillment in front of a backdrop of fascism, with characters and visuals resembling a previous White House Administration. Whilst battling the corruption of his surroundings, Hamlet sacrifices his own life in the arms of his companion, Horatio, who then pledges to capture his story. 

    According to a Signal Horizon Magazine review, “The two light up near each other literally and figuratively. Beautiful lighting and soft-focused camera work highlight the friend’s interactions.”

    HAMLET/HORATIO won a Film Jury Award for Best Feature at the 2020 edition Film Festivals To Go (FFTG). The film will be available for viewing on all platforms next month. 

    Amazon Prime Film Reviews: 

    “This film has already won many awards in the film festival circuits and for obvious reasons! All of the acting performances are great and this is such a unique, modern take of a Shakespearian classic. Definitely one of the best Indie films I’ve seen. If you are a fan of classics with a twist or artistic and unique indie films, then this is definitely for you! I would love to see them make a version of A Midsummer’s Night Dream like this as well. Bravo!”

    “I love this film! The best thing is you do not have to have a Shakespeare background to understand the story. The movie is beautiful to look at with an outstanding score. I can not believe how great the production value is for this type of indy film. Do yourself a favor and rent this film!”

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA instructor Paul Warner as well as alumni Andrew Burdette and Themo Melikidze for the success of HAMLET/HORATIO, now available on Amazon Prime.

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    September 15, 2021 • Faculty Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 293

  • NYFA Alum Bob Ahmed’s ‘Tikkun Olam’ Tackles Homelessness with Humanity in Award-Winning Short

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    Bob Ahmed opens his interview at the 2021 SEEMA Summit with a translation from a poem written by a famous Indian poet, Mirza Ghalib: “To be human is easy, but to be humane is almost impossible.” Thus was born the inspiration for his award-winning short Tikkun Olam (2021), which tackles the subject of homelessness in Washington, D.C.

    Tikkun Olam poster

    Image Source: IMDb

    For anyone who has lived in the nation’s capital or is familiar with the city’s history of poverty, you may not be surprised by the alarming number of homeless, an issue that plagues veterans and civilians alike. Tikkun Olam is a poignant film that revolves around the love and humanity of an eight-year-old boy who encounters a homeless veteran. 

    Based on Ahmed’s own experiences while living in Washington, D.C., The Daily Times described the film as an “urgently needed story of hope in our broken world today” with “blistering performances”. Views & News describes the film as “a rare, polished gem” with “riveting performances”. Voice of America calls it “a unique film on an important topic”.

    Director and NYFA Filmmaking Alum, Bob Ahmed

    Director and NYFA Filmmaking Alum, Bob Ahmed | Photo courtesy of Arielle Lewis

    Tikkun Olam won almost universal acclaim garnering success on the festival circuit where the director’s choice to focus on his actors, putting them in a position to evoke truly intense emotional responses was rewarded. The film won ‘Best Short Film – Teens’ at the 22nd ShorTS International Film Festival in Trieste, Italy in July 2021. The short is also an official selection for the 35th Washington DC International Film Festival and the 27th Sedona International Film Festival, which is ranked amongst the “Top 10 film festivals in the world.”

    “I studied at the New York Film Academy and that is where I really got inspired to make film,says Ahmed in an interview with South Asian icon, Aroon Shivdasani, at the 2021 SEEMA Summit. 

    Ahmed believes his role as the director is not to evoke emotion from his actors, but rather to remove the pressure from the set and create an environment in which the actors can create someone truly special on camera. 

    This approach with his actors which encourages them to do what they believe they would do in a scene (even if slightly different from the script) reaps rewards as the short film was also selected for the 21st D.C. Asian Pacific American Film Festival and selected for the 10th D.C. South Asian Film Festival. 

     

    The director is working on a new film, Johnny & The Golden Gifts about a young boy in Washington D.C, whose life spirals out of control because of a personal tragedy. The story explores themes of forgiveness as a solution to ongoing challenges in modern American Society. 

    Considered both a Director and Screenwriter, Ahmed also wrote, Lost in DC, about a Pakistani man who visits Washington, D.C. and runs into a former high school friend. The two men spend the next several days in each other’s company, learning more about the other’s path in life following their school days. The script is currently a finalist at the 52nd Nashville Film Festival, an Academy Award Qualifying Film Festival. 

    New York Film Academy congratulates Bob Ahmed for his success and looks forward to the upcoming Johnny & The Golden Gifts.

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    August 11, 2021 • Acting, Alumni Events, Filmmaking • Views: 1474

  • The NYFA 20/20 Series: A Conversation with Author and Consultant Thomas Werner

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    Guest Spotlight: Who is Thomas Werner? 

    Thomas Werner, Author, Consultant, and Instructor with the New York Film Academy joined global viewers with host, Liz Hinlein for our June 30th 20/20 Online Series. Werner is the author of The Fashion Image with a second book on the way. 

    Author and Consultant Thomas Werner

    Author and Consultant Thomas Werner

    Now a Consultant and Founder of TWP Creative Edge, Werner supports artists and students to achieve their goals as they pursue careers in Fine Arts. As a Curator and former Owner of the Thomas Werner Gallery in Manhattan’s Chelsea Art District, Werner built a robust network of art collectors over the years, during which time he developed a keen eye for various qualities of work. It’s from this experience that Werner is able to support students with active, hands-on learning experiences. 

    Every Artist Needs Funding. What Do I Keep in Mind for Grant-Writing? 

    Short answer: start small. Thomas Werner advises artists to begin with small funds in order to build experience in the skill of grant-writing. For example, he suggests beginning with $2,000 or $3,000 total funds at a time. Once new artists perfect their writing style based on successes and failures, Werner suggests targeting larger funding opportunities. 

    A grant is “not about me and my artistic vision,” says Werner, but rather a description of “how you’re going to make that vision happen.” In order to set realistic expectations for a project, writers should remain clearly defined in their scope of work that ultimately fits the mission of the organization. According to Werner, sometimes organizations will ask for budgets, so it’s critical that young artists keep their goals in check. At the end of a project, you will be expected to deliver on what you promised. 

    An Artists’s Life on Social 

    Young artists may already have a social media presence on several different platforms. But Werner advises keeping professional and personal lives separate. While artists are human and may be expected to showcase themselves in some of the content they promote, Werner advises keeping the content focused on the work itself. In order to do so, artists may consider creating separate social media handles for the “brand”. 

    Actively promoting your brand is equally as important as having an online presence. Werner suggests a few channels for emerging artists to showcase themselves and their work. For example, he discusses his own presence on Instagram (you can follow Thomas Werner @thomaswernerprojects) and encourages artists to showcase their work in popup shows. 

    In-person and virtual networking offer a much-needed avenue for artists to grow their access to collectors. As a former gallery owner, Werner reminds viewers to pitch to smaller galleries alongside larger names. The reason: smaller gallery owners have a huge network of collectors given the fast-paced nature of their work. 

    Hang in There 

    Werner offers a few truths. He relays, “no one says ‘ your work is amazing, we’re going to fund what you do’ forever,” which means for emerging artists, grant-writing is an essential part of your career. As a consultant, Werner prides himself on his with students to advance their careers with tactile learning. With him, the interactions are not simply transactional. 

    Werner takes time to understand his client’s process. For example, he takes time out of his schedule to learn how the artist creates by visiting the studio or area in which they work and notes any blockers as part of the artists’ process. Anticipating criticism is one very real disincentive for artists to actively showcase their work.

    As a motivation for those who may be experiencing this fear, Werner shares a story from his own experience starting out in the field. During his early years exhibiting his work, much of his work was severely criticized by his own educators. He says, “the work I exhibited–I was told was awful,” Werner pauses before continuing, “but it sold. That’s why I don’t tell people that their work is awful.” 

    As Werner advanced his career, he became his “biggest critic.” Now hyper-aware of everything related to his work and his business, he shares that his journey from curator to gallerist offered experiences that enhanced his ability to tune in with the qualities of his work that are more likely to sell. 

    Get in Touch with Thomas Werner

    If you’re a student or young artist interested in learning more about Thomas Werner, his background, or his ongoing support for emerging artists, follow or DM Werner on his Instagram profile (@thomaswernerprojects) or visit his website thomaswernerprojects.com

    Don’t miss our next 20/20 Online Series with Liz Hinlein by registering directly on our NYFA Events page. The virtual event is held every Wednesday at 3 pm EST

    Host Spotlight: Who is Liz Hinlein?

    Liz Hinlein

    20/20 Online Series Moderator Liz Hinlein

    Liz Hinlein is the Creative Director of Filmmaking and Cinematography with the New York Film Academy. During her tenure, she created our popular weekly virtual event, The 20/20 Series

    Hinlein is an award-winning DGA director and graduate of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Her background in filmmaking and media content includes a robust portfolio of work that spans feature-length films, commercials, and music videos for artists including Mary J. Blige, Britney Spears, Quincy Jones, Incubus, and Fishbone.

    The 20/20 Series is a pop-up virtual event that takes us into the homes, hubs and workspaces of an array of dynamic creative visionaries to allow for relaxed, engaging conversations on craft, creation and artistic vision.

    Each conversation with a creative visionary features 20 minutes of discussion with a moderator and a 20 minute Q&A from YOU, the audience.

    This event is open to the public, as a means of promoting global connection and creativity, a key mission of NYFA.

    You can catch videos from The 20/20 Series as they are released, here

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    July 30, 2021 • Filmmaking, Screenwriting • Views: 559

  • The NYFA 20/20 Series: A Conversation with Commercial Director Jordan Brady

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    Guest Spotlight: Who is Jordan Brady? 

    Stand-up comedian turned Director, Jordan Brady is a self-taught filmmaker with narrative feature films and commercial videos within his professional portfolio. 

    Brady directs advertising campaigns for global brands and agencies. With a focus on comedy commercials, he has directed comedy giants including Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Keegan-Michael Key, Rory Scovel, and more. 

    Commercial Director Jordan Brady

    Brady received multiple Clios, National Gold, ADDY’s, Gold Promax Award, One Show, D Show, Pencil, and AICP Awards. His work is routinely spotlighted on AdWeek, Ads of The World, and Agency Spy. You can catch Brady on his filmmaking podcast RESPECT THE PROCESS, described as “The Rosetta Stone of filmmaking.”

    What does it mean to respect the process?  

    For Jordan Brady, it’s important to respect the process. So what does that mean? For those new to filmmaking, the shoot is a day (or many days) of executing a vision. More work than play, Brady experienced his fair share of experiences observing unfocused crew members. 

    As a director, he understands that while there are opportunities throughout the filmmaking process that encourage play and exploration. However, the day of the shoot is not one of those times. When you arrive to work on set, you should be ready to perform the tasks defined before the big day. 

    What excites you about directing commercials?

    For some, it may be challenging to see the glamour of commercials, but as Brady so aptly put it, “it’s a one-time assignment. So you mount an army of love, and everyone’s in a great mood, because it’s a one day or five-day shoot,” as opposed to feature-length films which can run for weeks at a time. 

    For those wondering what a strong commercial director looks like, it’s someone like Jordan Brady. According to the expert, the indecisive director is the mood killer. A director needs to be firm in the decisions they choose on set, in addition, focused on the vision. 

    “It’s ok to be wrong,” says Brady, “but if you set the party train to go in one direction, you better have a good reason to stop.” According to the director, it’s almost better to get the shot even if you change the course or vision afterward.

    Given the new world of hyper-short video for social media ads and other mobile platforms, the six-second ad is the new 30-second ad. Described as a liking to calligraphy, it’s important to gather the essence of the vision in about three shots because you are limited on time and resources. 

    How do you handle the special effects for your shoot? 

    Hands-down, Jordan Brady believes in doing your homework. According to Brady, you don’t try to figure out the effect on set. The day of the shoot should be kept focused on getting shots. To figure out the logistics of an effect are expensive, time-consuming, and generally not received well by the client. 

    Brady recommends trying things out before you bid for a job. In fact, for some projects, Brady works with everyday objects and his phone to work out an effect before sending in a bid. Regardless of whether the agency moves forward, Brady graciously gives away comedy bits as a professional courtesy should the content fit the narrative. This is a helpful technique to keep your name on an agency’s radar even if you don’t land a project. 

    What are the main challenges you face as a commercial director? 

    For Brady, the biggest challenge is communicating your vision over and over….and over…again. While time management is tough, communicating with an agency, client, actors, assistants, copywriters, and producers can become burdensome. 

    The one area Brady agrees is NEVER a challenge, is the actual screen direction. For him, that’s the fun part of the job. To achieve success is to simply use your imagination, bring some fun and personability to the set, and bring out the best of your actors by remaining focused on the original vision. 

    According to Brady, the trending comedic bit across commercials is the awkward ending. The moments of silence at the end with the meta focus and acknowledgment of the silence is an industry favorite. 

    Keep in touch with Jordan Brady

    You can follow Jordan Brady on Instagram by following @thatjordanbrady. You can also see his work on his Linktree

    Don’t miss our next 20/20 Online Series with Liz Hinlein by registering directly on our NYFA Events page. The virtual event is held every Wednesday at 3 pm EST

    About Liz Hinlein and The 20/20 Series

    Liz Hinlein

    20/20 Online Series Moderator Liz Hinlein

    Liz Hinlein is the Creative Director of Filmmaking and Cinematography with the New York Film Academy. During her tenure, she created our popular weekly virtual event, The 20/20 Series

    Hinlein is an award-winning DGA director and graduate of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Her background in filmmaking and media content includes a robust portfolio of work that spans feature-length films, commercials, and music videos for artists including Mary J. Blige, Britney Spears, Quincy Jones, Incubus, and Fishbone.

    The 20/20 Series is a pop-up virtual event that takes us into the homes, hubs and workspaces of an array of dynamic creative visionaries to allow for relaxed, engaging conversations on craft, creation and artistic vision.

    Each conversation with a creative visionary features 20 minutes of discussion with a moderator and a 20 minute Q&A from YOU, the audience.

    This event is open to the public, as a means of promoting global connection and creativity, a key mission of NYFA.

    You can catch videos from The 20/20 Series as they are released, here

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    July 30, 2021 • Filmmaking • Views: 521

  • Q&A With NYFA Alum Abdulrahman Al Madani on Filming ‘The Monster’ and Recent Work

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    NYFA Filmmaking alum, Abdulrahman Al Madani shares his personal experience tackling challenges in the filmmaking industry with anecdotes from his own recent work, as well as advice for emerging filmmakers. Al Madani wrote and produced the successful short film, Laymoon, and closing his newest project, The Monster. 

    Al Madani is a graduate of the One-Year Filmmaking program at the NYFA Abu Dhabi campus from 2014. 

    Abdulrahman Al Madani

    Filmmaker Abdulrahman Al Madani

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): What projects have you worked on over the past several years? Have you won any awards or been showcased in any festivals or competitions?

    Abdulrahman Al Madani (AM): My work has comprised of short films, documentaries, music videos, and public awareness campaigns. 

    Since graduating from NYFA Abu Dhabi in 2014, I have written, directed, and produced two short films including Laymoon (2019), which was a recipient of Sharjah Art Foundation’s Production Grant, and The Monster (2021). 

    Laymoon was screened all over the Arabian Gulf, including other Arab countries like Lebanon, North Africa, and Europe such as France, Spain, Germany, Denmark, and Norway. The film is currently playing on Etihad Airways flights. 

    My latest short film, The Monster, has completed post-production recently and is currently being submitted to film festivals worldwide. 

    NYFA: Tell us more about your latest project & how you got involved in the project?

    AM: I started writing The Monster over a year ago. Once the pandemic hit, I pushed myself to develop the script further. By the end of the year, I was ready to go into production and wrapped filming in February 2021. The film is a drama revolving around a young mother named Hessa who escapes her abusive husband, only to find herself pressured by her estranged mother to succumb to his abuse. 

    NYFA: What did you learn at NYFA that you applied directly to this project and others?

    AM: Being in NYFA was an eye-opening experience in terms of giving me insight into various aspects of production, which allows me to be knowledgeable of everybody’s work on set. Time management, speaking to actors, and writing three-dimensional characters are some of the most important lessons I learned in NYFA which I continue to find useful to this day. In addition, NYFA helped build a filmmaking community that makes it easier to find a group of people you can trust and help one another. 

    NYFA: Are there any other upcoming projects we should know about?

    AM: I am currently focused on distributing The Monster to festivals worldwide as well as developing my first feature script. 

    NYFA: Do you have any advice for incoming NYFA students? 

    AM: Allow yourself to make mistakes and do not be afraid to experiment. Learn to take feedback with a pinch of salt; everyone will have an opinion about your work. Making films is the best film school, and you will keep learning as you go. Challenge yourself with each project because being stuck in your comfort zone is the death of creativity.

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    July 30, 2021 • Acting, Filmmaking • Views: 1065

  • Alum Janek Ambros’ Feature ‘Mondo Hollywoodland’ Available on August 3

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    Janek Ambros, Filmmaker and Producer of Human Capital (2019), Ten Thousand Saints (2015), and Imminent Threat (2015), directed a new narrative film, Mondo Hollywoodland. Recently acquired by Green Apple Entertainment, the film will be released digitally on August 3, 2021, on Amazon and video-on-demand. The film will also release on Friday, July 30, 2021 in Los Angeles at select theaters, including the Arena Cinelounge. Ambros is an NYFA Producing alum, who has worked on a series of collaborative projects both while as a student as well as after graduation alongside other NYFA alum. 

    Mondo Hollywoodland

    ‘Mondo Hollywoodland’ coming out on August 3, 2021

    The film follows a mushroom dealer and man from the fifth dimension as they adventure on a drug-fueled series of events throughout Hollywood, California. The film was named after the X-rated 1967 documentary, Mondo Hollywood. Ambros’ film, Mondo Hollywoodland was executive-produced by Oscar-nominated James Cromwell. 

    The film premiered at the DTLA Film Festival where it won the ‘Creative Vision Award.’ Mondo Hollywoodland made an international appearance at the Innuendo International Film Festival where Ambros won ‘Best Director.’

    Ambros is head of Assembly Line Entertainment, which has produced a series of films including Since August (2022), Legend of Tayos, Exposure 36 (2022). The NYFA alum is co-executive producer of Monica, currently in production. The film Since August competed for the Golden Goblet at the Shanghai Film Festival and will be out in 2022. 

    Janek Ambros

    Director and Producer Janek Ambros

    Ambros has a robust network across industry professionals, including other NYFA alumni, resulting in a few collaborative projects throughout his career. For example, Ambros is a co-producer of the film, Legend of Tayos, alongside fellow NYFA alum, Galo Sablantes. 

    NYFA encourages readers to follow Assembly Line Entertainment’s Instagram account (@assemblylineent), where the team promotes their upcoming films. The company is soon to launch “Sixties” on the platform, which will highlight sixty-second films from filmmakers around the world.

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    July 30, 2021 • Acting, Film School, Filmmaking, Screenwriting • Views: 638

  • The NYFA 20/20 Series: A Conversation with Broadway Vocal Coach Aimée Steele

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    Guest Spotlight: Who is Aimée Steele? 

    Vocal Coach for the Broadway revival, West Side Story, Girl from the North Country on Broadway, and collaborator on a multitude of projects including working with the cast members of Tom Kitt’s, The Visitor, at The Public Theater.

    Aimee Steele NYFA

    Broadway Vocal Coach Aimée Steele

    Aimée Steele has been teaching in NYC for over 20 years. She received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from The Eastman School of Music and a Master of Music in Vocal Pedagogy from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is a graduate of the Maggie Flannigan Acting Studio where she studied the Meisner technique and has intensively studied the Joan Lader technique with Andrea Green.

    It’s All About Confidence 

    According to Steele, there is often little difference between the seasoned acting veteran and the student starting out in the profession. The seasoned vocal coach notes that when a new student or new professional enters her studio, she takes time to learn how the client learns best. In order to serve him or her with the best support, Steele searches for the unique qualities that the client brings to their performance. 

    Since acting is considered a highly competitive profession with judgemental environments that often make actors feel lesser than they are, Steele advises new professionals to simply focus on what they love: to sing. 

    “In this industry, you have to have an immeasurable amount of confidence. We bear our souls.” 

    Teaching confidence is not an easy task for a vocal coach, but Steele reminds the audience not to compare themselves with others, or even with prior versions of themselves. The best way to achieve a level of confidence that continues to motivate a professional is to focus on the present and the tasks at hand. 

    Working on Broadway: Maintaining Professionalism When Star Struck

    As a vocal coach, Steele collaborated with high-profile named musical directors and actors. She’s only human, so Steele discusses how she manages to work with tenured professionals whom she admired from afar. To avoid getting too star-struck, Steele reminds herself that the client is simply human and they’re here for her services and help. 

    Often a collaborator on Broadway, Steele has worked with many musical directors on Broadway shows who typically reach out to ask for a collaboration. Oftentimes, according to Steele, the producers will have the final say on whether a vocal coach will be kept on stage throughout the production. The reason being, some productions have very tight budgets, but when there is funding available for vocal coaching, it is recommended. 

    Vocal coaches grant the bridge of communication between the actors and the musical director. As the most immediate partner to the actor, the vocal coach can provide ongoing tips and reminders to help singers stay on pitch and keep in focus the purpose of their scenes and the entire story. 

    How to Be Vulnerable 

    “Voice cracking is ok,” says Steele when considering the performances she’s seen in her work tenure, “Some of the best performances I’ve heard are not by people who are considered real singers.” In fact, the singers who provide the most human energy, Steele reminisces, were the singers that left the most impact. That didn’t translate to perfect pitch. 

    For those interested in technical advice, Steele notes that while singing solo to the audience, with no one else on stage, you are still singing to someone. Consider in your mind what happened to your character in the previous moment or scene. This should drive the motivation for your singing to achieve the emotional goal. It’s critical to allowing your vulnerability to shine during these moments to give a stellar performance. 

    Steele teaches both in-person and virtually around the world. Her vocal studio is based in the Upper West Side of New York City and you can learn more about her services and get in touch by visiting www.aimeesteele.com

    About Liz Hinlein and The 20/20 Series

    Liz Hinlein

    NYFA 20/20 Series Moderator Liz Hinlein

     

    Liz Hinlein is the Creative Director of Filmmaking and Cinematography with the New York Film Academy. During her tenure, she created our popular weekly virtual event, The 20/20 Series

    Hinlein is an award-winning DGA director and graduate of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Her background in filmmaking and media content includes a robust portfolio of work that spans feature-length films, commercials, and music videos for artists including Mary J. Blige, Britney Spears, Quincy Jones, Incubus, and Fishbone.

    The 20/20 Series is a pop-up virtual event that takes us into the homes, hubs, and workspaces of an array of dynamic creative visionaries to allow for relaxed, engaging conversations on craft, creation, and artistic vision.

    Each conversation with a creative visionary features 20 minutes of discussion with a moderator and a 20 minute Q&A from YOU, the audience.

    This event is open to the public, as a means of promoting global connection and creativity, a key mission of NYFA.

    You can catch videos from The 20/20 Series as they are released, here

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    July 30, 2021 • Filmmaking • Views: 496

  • Broadcast Journalism Update – July 2021 Edition

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    There are some professional moments you never forget.

    Near the top of the list is getting your first Press Card. It is recognition that you are indeed a “journalist.”

    Earlier this year NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Hannah Palmhagen received her Press Card for the Swedish Parliament (Sveriges Riksdag). Hannah took a very non-traditional route to this moment. It was a journey of self-discovery as well as professional training.

    Former student, Meiraj Haq also took a unique route to success. He came to NYFA to sharpen his producing/reporting skills and used those skills to produce an acclaimed documentary about then-candidate and now Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan. Amazingly, he became a top actor in Pakistani TV dramas! You can still see NYFA featured on Meiraj’s Facebook cover photo.

    Being nominated for an industry award is always a great honor. It is your peers going “on the record” in their praise of not just what you do, but how you do it. NYFA alum Kecia Gayle works in the challenging world of entertainment journalism. You can find her on Instagram and on Hollywood Unlocked’s own website.

    Of course, if you want to learn about fashion trends and popular culture, you just have to listen to NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Nicole Abebe on The Beat, 99.9 in Lagos. But if you want to double your knowledge, then check out (do people still say that?) the Abebe family on with the Abebes.

    Right now, we are in the middle of a typical New York City Summer. The days are hazy, hot and, humid. If you are a TV reporter, that means just one thing: visit places where people are cooling off. This is precisely what Broadcast Journalism alum Karen Hua did for News12 New York.

    Of course, even though it is Summer there are still important stories to cover (especially in the Southern Hemisphere, where it is Winter). One of the biggest stories continues to be COVID-19. Former NYFA student Fernanda Mueller has returned to Brazil, where she is working for NSC Comunicação, a Globo-affiliated company.

    “The company has a TV channel, radio station, digital and print media. I work as a multimedia reporter for digital and print. We recently made a video series about food prices. In this video, I talk about how prices of rice and beans have increased in Brazil and the state of Santa Catarina during the pandemic,” says Fernanda.

    Even the movies have a serious side, captured in all of its glory by NYFA graduate Federica Polidoro in a recent cover story in Vanity Fair Italia. Federica asked for comments from our own Broadcast Journalism Chair, Bill Einreinhofer.

    Evgenia Vlasova and Bill Einreinhofer are in the middle of producing a new Public TV documentary called Unsettled History: America, China and the Doolittle Tokyo Raid. In April 1942, the five American aviators pictured below, along with 59 of their comrades, were rescued from capture, torture, and certain death at the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army. The rescue mission was carried out by Chinese farmers, fishermen and militia members. These Americans either crash-landed or parachuted into rural China and survived thanks to the courageous actions of strangers in a foreign land.

    Producer Nancy Hanzhang Shen and Bill Einreinhofer shot the final interview last month, with Prof. Luo Shiping in Shangrao, Jiangxi province, China (centered in the picture below along with the local production team).

    The documentary will be distributed by American Public Television in April 2022, to mark the 80th anniversary of the Doolittle Tokyo Raid.

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