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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography Camp Alum Sydney Ciardi Wins Griffin Foundation Scholarship

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    Sydney Ciardi

    Sydney Ciardi, courtesy of Griffin Foundation website

    Sydney Ciardi, an alum of the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography Camp for Teens, has won a Griffin Foundation scholarship for her incredible work.

    The Arthur Griffin Foundation for Winchester provides scholarships for young visual artists with the mission to preserve and enhance the beauty of the Winchester, MA community. The Student Scholarship Award is an annual grant of $5000 that is presented to current Winchester students committed to and interested in the visual arts. 

    Sydney Ciardi attended NYFA’s Photography Camp for Teens in June 2018, after having attended NYFA’s 3-Week Filmmaking Camp for Teens a year prior. She attended both camps at NYFA’s summer location on the Harvard University campus. Ciardi won the scholarship over other entrants who, like her, had to submit a portfolio of work that represents both their creativity and experience. 

    Ciardi’s artist statement is available on the Griffin Scholarship webpage, and reads: “Throughout my life I have expressed myself through art, whether it be media or motion. I have always found it an effective way to share stories and interpret the world in which I live. Photography, film, and dance are important creative outlets for me: they let me articulate the sometimes elusive ideas in my mind and better understand those of others. Art has influenced the way I see life, the world, and the person I have become by allowing me to understand the way others interpret the world and giving me the opportunity to share my own interpretation of the world.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA Photography Camp alum Sydney Ciardi on her well-deserved Griffin Foundation scholarship and looks forward to her future work as a visual artist! 

    Sydney Ciardi

    Photography by Sydney Ciardi

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    October 15, 2019 • Photography, Student & Alumni Spotlights, Summer Camps • Views: 9

  • ‘Don’t Look Now’ Gets 4K Digital Restoration from Criterion Collection 

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    Forty-six years after its release, Don’t Look Now, the drama/thriller/horror directed by Nicolas Roeg and shot by New York Film Academy (NYFA) Los Angeles Chair of Cinematography Anthony B. Richmond, BSC, ASC, is still held up as a cinematic classic, so it’s no surprise that Criterion Collection has released a 4K digital restoration of the film.

    With the new restoration, many in the film world are taking another look at the beloved 1973 film, which stars Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland as a couple who’ve recently lost their daughter and come across a pair of elderly sisters—one of which claims to be a psychic in touch with the spirit of their child.

    Cinephilia & Beyond recently published an in-depth look at the film, including quotes from Roeg and Richmond. Cinephilia & Beyond started out as a small blog centered on independent film and has evolved into a community of passionate lovers of film, including A-list names like Guillermo del Toro, Ava DuVernay, and William Friedkin.

    The article, written by Jasun Horseley, takes the reader through the entire film from start to finish, with in-depth analysis on several key scenes, incorporating interviews and quotes from the filmmakers

    “It is a fabulous movie,” says Richmond, the director of photography for Don’t Look Now. “Not because I shot it, but it still stands up today. It was probably the most difficult thing I have shot, because in Venice everything goes in and out on barges. We shot it in the winter with an Italian crew, which was fantastic, because Venice in the winter is dark, cold and foreboding, which was wonderful.”

    Tony Richmond is the London-born, BAFTA-winning cinematographer who has shot numerous productions, including The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Sandlot, Legally Blonde, and Sympathy for the Devil. He is currently Chair of Cinematography at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus, where he works closely with talented, hard-working students. 

    Richmond also spoke with Antonia Quirke about Don’t Look Now on BBC’s Film Programme. Among other things discussed was the film’s infamous and oft-scrutinized sex scene between Sutherland and Christie. 

    The interview, which takes place during the first 11 minutes and 30 seconds of the show, can be found here.

    Don't Look Now

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    October 15, 2019 • Cinematography, Faculty Highlights • Views: 16

  • New York Film Academy Documentary Filmmaking Instructor Claudia Raschke & Alum Todd Leatherman Work on Nat Geo’s Activate

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    Activate: The Global Citizen Movement, a new six-part documentary series from National Geographic, features cinematography from New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking instructor Claudia Raschke; NYFA Documentary alum Todd Leatherman also served as assistant camera on three episodes. The series will air its finale on Thursday, October 10.

    Activate was developed by National Geographic and co-produced by Global Citizen and RadicalMedia LLC, and includes celebrity activists like Pharrell Williams, Common, Hugh Jackman, Uzo Aduba, Darren Criss, and Rachel Brosnahan. The series showcases the Global Citizen movement, which strives to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, and focuses on a different poverty-related issue with each episode.

    Nat Geo Activate RaschkeClaudia Raschke teaches cinematography for the NYFA Documentary Filmmaking program at our New York campus. Her previous credits as director of photography include Mad Hot Ballroom, My Architect, and Small Wonders. Raschke recently shot the feature doc RBG, about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, which became a box office hit and has won numerous major awards and nominations.

    Todd Leatherman attended the 1-Year Documentary Filmmaking conservatory at NYFA’s New York campus in January 2011. Since then, he’s worked in the camera department for numerous projects, including Obvious Child, The Freedom to Marry, and Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics.

    Nat Geo Activate LeathermanLeatherman worked as AC on three episodes of Nat Geo’s new series, Activate: The Global Citizen Movement, including its premiere, “Eradicating Extreme Poverty,” which was shot by Raschke. 

    The premiere episode, “Eradicating Extreme Poverty,” which was worked on by both Raschke and Leatherman, features Hugh Jackman, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Becky G as they join Global Citizen in campaigns to push world leaders into enacting policies that would end global extreme poverty.

    The second episode of the series, “Ending Cash Bail,” showcases Common and Usher as they support the fight for criminal justice reform; episode three, “Education Cannot Wait,” features actress Rachel Brosnahan as she mobilizes global citizens to fund education for displaced children.

    “Keeping Girls in School,” the fourth episode, focuses on the movement to break down barriers to girls’ education, and features Priyanka Chopra Jonas. “Ending Plastic Pollution” shows Darren Criss and Pharrell Williams calling for the flow of plastic into the oceans to cease, while the finale, “Clean Water”—which airs Thursday, October 10—features Uzo Aduba and the push for clean drinking water and proper sanitation for the world’s most vulnerable people.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Documentary Filmmaking instructor Claudia Raschke and alum Todd Leatherman on their work for a vitally important series, and encourages everyone to check out Nat Geo’s Activate: The Global Citizen Movement.

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Game Design Alum Drew Fletcher Works on ‘Avatar’ Game

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    Drew Fletcher, graduate of the MFA in Game Design program at New York Film Academy (NYFA) is working on the video game adaptation for the massive blockbuster Avatar franchise. The game is being produced by FoxNext.

    The game, being developed for mobile, is called Avatar: Pandora Rising, and is based on the 2009 film Avatar, the 2009 Best Picture nominee that held the all-time box office record for nearly a decade. Two sequels have already been filmed with director James Cameron, with subsequent sequels already in pre-production. 

    Fletcher, who earned his MFA in Game Design from NYFA’s Los Angeles campus after enrolling in 2015, is working on the game as a QA Tester. His responsibilities include playing the game to seek and log any functional or gameplay bugs. His work on Avatar: Pandora Rising is specializing as the QA pro for combat play; the combat system being developed is similar to Clash Royale.

    Fletcher, who knows the ins and outs of the game even outside its combat play, describes Avatar: Pandora Rising as a “4x game. The objective of our game is to gain resources, build up your army/commanders, build up your alliance and rule Pandora. Similar games to ours in different parts are Rise of Civilization and Clash Royale.”Drew Fletcher

    He enthusiastically adds, “For more information download the game early next year!”

    In addition to Avatar, Fletcher is working on a personal project, saying it is “a mix of color theory and Paper Mario.” While pursing his career in game design, he’s also working on the side researching voiceover acting. 

    Giving advice to current and future NYFA students, Fletcher says, “NYFA gave you the tools to succeed, but the road to your dreams will be long—but worth the fight!”

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Game Design alum Drew Fletcher on his cool job and looks forward to seeing his future work as a game designer! 

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    October 3, 2019 • Game Design, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 252

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography Exhibit a Huge Success at This Year’s Photoville

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    This year’s Photoville was yet another huge hit, including the exhibit by the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography department. The annual photo festival held at Brooklyn Bridge Park took place from September 12 – 22. Produced by United Photo Industries, this is the festival’s eighth year.

    Photoville 2019

    The crowds were in full force this year, with over 100,000 visitors checking out the varied and beautiful work at Photoville. In addition to exhibits held in the fest’s trademark re-purposed shipping containers, the event included panels, walking tour guides, workshops, and delicious food from Smorgasburg and Brooklyn Roasting Company. Photoville also included an Education Day, participated by several artists, schools, and organizations. 

    The exhibit from the Photo Arts Conservatory at New York Film Academy (PAC at NYFA) was curated by NYFA Photography Chair David Mager and Joan Pamboukes, and featured works from NYFA students, alumni, and faculty. NYFA’s container exhibit was made up of art from FAYN, NYFA’s collaborative photography magazine. FAYN, produced by PAC at NYFA, is published three times per year, and features students, faculty, and alumni whose work explores contemporary concepts in art and culture.

    Photoville 2019

    “The turn out at Photoville this year was incredible, with lots of positive comments about the gallery,” says Mager. “One of the highlights was the guided walks provided by Photoville; we had around six artists on site to talk through their projects with the tour. It was an amazing experience.”

    New York Film Academy was thrilled to participate in another successful edition of Photoville and looks forward to another amazing fest next year!

    Photoville 2019

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    October 3, 2019 • Photography • Views: 360

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Alum Dr. Ariel Orama López Films Award-Winning ‘One’

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    One—an experimental film about Hurricane Maria and the devastation it wreaked on Puerto Rico in 2017—filmed by New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum Dr. Ariel Orama López, has been steadily accruing awards since its completion.

    The film already has over 36 international laurels and ten international prizes, including from Belarus, Australia, Spain, Italy, the Philippines, Morocco, Peru, Chile, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, as well from festivals in New York and Los Angeles. It has screened on every inhabited continent in the world.

    Dr. Ariel Orama López
    One
    is the second of three short films, along with Esteban and Boxers, that compose the collective project titled “Hydrographic Triptych: Cinematography of Water” and was presented in August on Por Amor al Arte Fest at Centro de Convenciones de Puerto Rico.

    The film also includes the voices of international actresses Gilda Haddock, Amneris Morales, and Belange Rodríguez. The distinguished late tenor, Master Antonio Barasorda, the mezzo-soprano Vianca Alejandra, AG Orloz, and singer Danny Rviera are parts of One’s unique musical elements.

    Lopez directed One, as well as serving as its protagonist. He attended NYFA’s 1-Week Acting for Film workshop in 2011, an experience and education that has stayed with him ever since.

    “The opportunity to have been trained in Acting for Film by NYFA-Los Angeles allowed me to meet great masters of the different facets inherent in filming, an experience I will never forget,” says Dr. Lopez.Dr. Ariel Orama LópezHe continues, “All the learning acquired at NYFA is reflected in my surrealist and experimental style as a director/actor, added to the commercial vision that I intend to promote in this new project. NYFA is not only the best school of fine and pure art in the film world, but also the most unforgettable experience I’ve had in my entire life related to the Seventh Art. My best wishes to all those who are part of my unforgettable alma mater and to those that establish new paradigms with their creativity, innovation and substantial art.”

    Lopez, who is also a professor at the University of Puerto Rico and the University of the Sacred Hearth, has received more than 50 laurels and multiple prizes for his roles as an actor, director, and producer. Recently, he was awarded as one of the Top Ten Young Persons of Puerto Rico. He is currently working on the film Ysla, with distinguished actors from the island.

    Ysla is a collective of thirteen stories that revolve around Christmas Eve, days before the transition to the year 2020. “The film Ysla seeks to provoke reflections on what we will be as islanders, after 2020, with a cast of 65 actors and actresses that are participating actively in filming, theatre, and publicity,” states Dr. Lopez. 

    He adds, “I believe that the film industry has evolved with the new achievements of Latinos. The strong presence of young directors who were awarded in the Short Film category at the 2019 Oscars is also evidence that there is a substantial group of creatives who recognize the immense value of telling stories through the cinematographic universe, from aesthetics, innovation, verisimilitude and diversity, in all its spectra. And we are celebrating this effort.”

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    October 2, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 492

  • A Banner Year for New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Alfonso Perugini

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    For New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum Alfonso Perugini, 2019 is shaping up to be a banner year.

    Since graduating the 2-Year Filmmaking conservatory in 2015, Perugini has worked on several Italian film productions, including some with well known Italian actors like Giacomo Rizzo, Pietro De Silva, Yuliya Mayarchuck, and singer Cheryl Porter, among many others. 

    Perugini also acted in the webseries Garganta, directed by Modestino Di Nenna; the first episodes are now online. Thanks to a respected cast well known from the Italian theatre and television scenes, including Francesco Paolantoni and Antonio Fiorillo, the comedy already has a dedicated following. The immediate success of Garganta has convinced producers Danilo Battista and Rossella De Falco to set up a second season.

    Perugini has also recently released the pilot episode of Hotblade, filmed earlier this year and produced by 16NONI Produzioni Visive and directed by Luigi Borriello. Hotblade is a highly innovative and experimental product for Italy, combining the crime genre with action, humor, erotic, and Asian genre cinema. Perugini is also an associate producer of this ambitious project, and stars in the series alongside model Anna Montella, who plays the role of the heroine Hotblade. Perugini plans to release an English translation of the series as well, anticipating an American audience.

    Uno zio tutto mio, a comedy and Perugini’s fourth feature film as a director, was also announced in a press conference in the Town Hall of Grassano, in the province of Matera, in southern Italy. The film is produced by Pio Volpe for PFOX Produzioni, executive produced by Nancy Mastia, and written by Brando Improta. The film recently shot sequences in Naples, Sorrento, and Matera.

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) congratulates Filmmaking alum Alfonso Perugini on a banner year filled with exciting projects and looks forward to the completion and release of Uno zio tutto mio!

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    October 2, 2019 • Film School, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 272

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) 3D Animation & VFX Instructor Kelley Williams Works on ‘Frozen II’

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    A new trailer for the Disney film Frozen II was recently released, featuring animation work from New York Film Academy (NYFA) 3D Animation & Visual Effects instructor Kelley Williams.

    Williams has been teaching at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus for six years as part of the 3D Animation & VFX school’s award-winning faculty of professional animators and effects artists. She currently works with students on thesis production. Williams has a great deal of experience as a character TD, rigger, and modeler.

    Frozen II is the highly-anticipated sequel to Frozen, the animated film about two sisters that became an instant Disney classic when it was released in 2013. Williams worked on the scene-stealing snowman character, Olaf, who is seen at the end of the latest trailer for Frozen II.

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA 3D Animation & VFX instructor Kelley Williams on her latest work and looks forward to the release of Frozen II later this year!
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    October 1, 2019 • Acting • Views: 409

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screenwriting Instructor Alan Trezza Writes and Executive Produces ‘We Summon the Darkness’

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    We Summon the Darkness, a horror film written and executive produced by New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screenwriting instructor Alan Trezza, recently screened at Fantastic Fest.

    Trezza teaches screenwriting to students at New York Film Academy’s Burbank-based campus. Trezza previously wrote and directed the short film Burying the Ex, which was adapted into a feature directed by Joe Dante.

    “I learned a great deal writing and executive producing We Summon the Darkness,” Trezza tells NYFA, “and I look forward to sharing all the lessons I’ve learned with my students.”

    The film stars Alexandra Daddario, Maddie Hasson, Amy Forsyth, and Johnny Knoxville, and was directed by Marc Meyers. A period story set in the height of the “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s, the movie follows three best friends into heavy metal after they head off to a secluded party one night, where the evening takes a deadly turn.

    We Summon the Darkness has been receiving overwhelmingly positive praise, including at Fantastic Fest, with Bloody Disgusting calling the film “a metal mayhem joyride” with “extremely likable, fully realized characters in a fully fleshed out world.” 

    Fantastic Fest is an annual festival held in Austin, Texas that focuses on genre films, including horror, fantasy, science fiction, action, and cult movies. This year’s Fantastic Fest was held from September 19 – 26.


    We Summon the Darkness
    will next be holding its premiere on Thursday, October 17, at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, followed by Q&A with director Marc Meyers and cast members Keean Johnson, Johnny Knoxville, Logan Miller, Maddie Hasson, Amy Forsyth, and Austin Swift. Tickets to the screening are available here.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Screenwriting instructor Alan Trezza on his new film We Summon the Darkness and encourages everyone who can to attend to the Los Angeles premiere on October 17!

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    September 27, 2019 • Faculty Highlights, Screenwriting • Views: 601

  • Short Close-Up Interviews New York Film Academy (NYFA) Cinematography Alum Anna Vialova

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Cinematography alum Anna Vialova was recently interviewed by Short Close-Up Film Magazine.Anna Vialova

    Vialova hails from the Ukraine, and first attended New York Film Academy in July 2015, enrolling in the 8-Week Filmmaking workshop at our Burbank-based campus. She followed that up in Spring 2018 with the advanced and rigorous studies in the 1-Year Conservatory at NYFA’s Cinematography school.

    Credits as a cinematographer include Devour, I Just Wanted to See You, Silent Voices, Things That Fall, and No Longer Perfect. Vialova also shot her own film, Brave. New., which she directed and produced. Additionally, Vialova is an accomplished photographer, and has had photos published in ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue UA, and L’officiel.

    Short Close-Up is an international, independent online magazine that covers a variety of culture, including, narrative, documentary, animation, music video, experimental, fashion, commercial, and mobile. Short Close-Up shares the experiences of established filmmakers by publishing in-depth profiles and interviews by the most in-demand filmmakers working today.

    In the interview, Vialova spoke about what inspired her to become a filmmaker, the important of collaborating on set, and the role film festivals have played in her life. She also asked about the relationship between a filmmaker and the artist, telling Short Close-Up, “I feel that the best thing I can do is to stay honest with my audience and myself. I don’t shoot scripts I don’t like. If I don’t feel connected to the story it will be disrespectful to director and audience to shoot it, because I won’t be able to tell the story in a best way.”

    New York Film Academy wishes Cinematography alum Anna Vialova the best of success as her career continues forward, and encourages everyone to check out her full interview with Short Close-Up here.

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    September 26, 2019 • #WomenOfNYFA, Cinematography, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 506