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  • Former NYFA Student Publishes “Sociedad En El Diván: Una Década en Los Medios”

    Three years after the publication of his theoretical framework “Crëative Synapse: Create.your.Universe” and parallel with his full celebration of a decade in media, former New York Film Academy Acting for Film student, Dr. Ariel Orama López (AG Orloz), published his new book “Sociedad En El Diván: Una Década en Los Medios.” His contributions as a media psychologist, artist and performance coach, and professional actor have been immortalized on Telemundo, WAPA, Freemantle Media, Piccolo Universe by Ricky, TISOC Barcelona, PsicoPediaHoy Colombia, JWT Agency and Fundación Mi Sangre of the Colombian artist Juanes.

    Sociedad En El Diván: Una Década en Los Medios

    AG was selected as a finalist of the Telemundo: Actors Workshop in Miami directed by well-known Mexican actress Adriana Barraza (nominated for an Oscar for her role in “Babel”) and performed as Performance and Creative Life Coach for the reality show “Idol Kids Puerto Rico.” He will soon be returning to the screen in the experimental and artistic film “Etreum,” co-directed by the well-known distinguished actress, Idalia Pérez Garay, and the respected director, Vicente Juarbe.

    AG is an active member of the Puerto Rican Actors and Actresses Organization (Colegio de Actores de Puerto Rico), has been participated as a juror of the PEN CLUB OF PUERTO RICO, was quoted by one of his texts at the distinguished Spanish University Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and has been highlighted as an author in the collective book “Communication and Education: Strategies of Media Literacy,” at Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona. He received multiple awards for his contributions in sciences, humanities and arts.

    AG Orloz will also be acting in an upcoming web series, a new short film, and as a co-producer of a new reality web series with the finalist of Telemundo GRAN HERMANO USA, Jommart Rivera.

    As a composer, AG was one of the three winners of Festival International de la Voz y la Canción in Miami, and was selected as a jury member in the next event on November 2017.

    February 24, 2017 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 460

  • NYFA Student, Actress & Producer Daniela Lavender Takes Part in Sundance “Women in Film” Panel

    Daniela LavenderBorn in Bahia, Brazil, Daniela Lavender has been training and pursuing the arts since the age of eight years old. She began by exploring ballet, jazz, contemporary dance, and eventually stepped into acting and the performing arts. Her theatre credits include British Shakespeare company production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” playing Hippolyta and Titania and a one woman show, “A Woman Alone” written by Dario Fo. From there she went on to appear in film and TV series, including the independent film “Emotional Backgammon,” where she was awarded Best Actress at the Denver Film Festival.

    Lavender is also taking on the role of producer, and currently attends the Producing School at New York Film Academy Los Angeles. As Vice President of Lavender Pictures Productions, which she co-owns with her husband, her company has produced “A Birder’s Guide to Everything,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival 2013 and was awarded the Heineken first runner up audience award; “Learning to Drive” directed by Isabel Coxiet, which won the Audience Award at Provincetown Film festival; “An Ordinary Man” directed by Brad Silberling; and “Backstabbing for Beginners” directed by Per Fly, which will be released in 2017. Lavender Pictures is currently developing “Cousin Bazilio,” a 6 part mini-series; “TAJ,” an 8 part mini-series; and “Jutland,” a futuristic war drama.

    Recently, Lavender was invited to take part in a panel at the the Sundance Film Festival, which focused on Women in Film. We asked her about her involvement in the panel and her career.

    Can you tell us about your experience at this year’s Sundance?

    I much preferred my second visit to Sundance because I felt empowered. On my first visit I accompanied my husband on his press junket, so I only saw one aspect of Sundance; through an actor’s point of view and someone accompanying an actor.

    This time I went with a group of producers and filmmakers and Sundance was a different experience. I had been invited to participate in the ‘Women in Film’ panel and so I had a function that I was excited about.

    As I was there on my own, people didn’t know anything about me apart from the fact that I had a production company and was taking part in the panel. No one googled me — we didn’t google each other! So I felt that my first interactions with people were truly fresh; uncluttered by the projections that research and misinformation can so often bring.

    But what was most important for me, what made my stay so enjoyable and productive, was that I went empowered by knowledge. For the first time, instead of thinking of how I’m perceived or whether I’m being accepted or all these ego driven thoughts we invariably conjure up in situations like this, I was able to listen because I had knowledge; I knew why I was there and what I had to offer. That knowledge had been enhanced by my joining the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles.

    sundance panel

    How did you become involved with the “Women in Film” panel?

    I met an entertainment lawyer who had been running panels at Sundance and Cannes for the past 15 years. He was a guest speaker at NYFA and my class was fortunate to attend his talk. This was part of the producer’s department programs. After class I contacted him with a question. We talked and, as by then I had been at NYFA for three months and had acquired knowledge, our talk was interesting. He felt that his women’s panel could benefit from what I had to say, so off I went.

    What do you believe was the most important topic of the panel?

    This year Sundance happened at the time of a controversial election and it became very clear to me that the most important topic of the event was knowledge. Emotions were running high and it became evident that if you don’t have knowledge to guide your emotions, passions, even love, will hinder your goals, your effectiveness.

    The more I listened to the women around me the more I was certain that what made them succeed wasn’t that they aggressively fought or protested for their place (even though some might believe so). All the successful women I came across were successful because they were outstanding at what they did. Yes, the fight for women’s rights is important as women have been discriminated against in the past, and still have room to progress until they are treated equally in every area of society, but nowadays we all have opportunities, and the most powerful way to succeed is to be great at what you do. To be the most efficient person in the room. Period. Because great skill is irresistible. Many producers and filmmakers I saw had projects they were passionate about. ‘My passion project’ as’ we say… But then distributers turn to them and say ‘well, but it’s not mine.’ One needs more than passion.

    Do you feel there has been any progress over the last few years in terms of equality for women in film?

    Yes there has been. I still wish to see more female directors. I’m looking for one right now for our TV miniseries, but there has been. The head of the panel mentioned that in his last film 90% of his crew were women. That wouldn’t have happened in the past. I see the world as a much more competitive arena today. The standards are higher, and I believe that isn’t so much about gender or race, I believe that it’s about who is the best at what they do. Who has work ethic versus who is lazy.

    When you ‘play out there with the big guns’ we see fewer nice people and more effective people. To me real kindness is to strive to be good at what you commit yourself to do, and I’m learning that. How good and ambitious you are at your job in the film business is crucial, because the film is like a chain and if one link is weak the film will suffer.
    So the weak link has no place. The one who wants to be nice and not do the work has to go. And the generous ones, the ones who give themselves to the job, the ones who care, they will have a great chance out there if that is their destiny. So for women (as for everyone else), these are great times.

    Aside from producing. You’re also an actress. As an actress in today’s world, what would be your ideal role?

    My ideal role would be a revolutionary social worker with a military background. This woman would restructure the foster care system and children wouldn’t be left in the care of the abusers. This woman would be a strong, lean machine, intelligent and have zero tolerance for child abuse. She would also operate undercover to rescue victims of child trafficking. She would be a kick ass. Like a Navy SEAL. She wouldn’t be upbeat or nice, on the contrary, she would be moody but deeply compassionate. She would also have a dynamic romantic life; she’d like boyfriends and girlfriends alike.

    Can you tell us a little bit more about the projects you’re currently working on?

    Our company has two TV miniseries and a war film in development. I’m in talks regarding a third TV mini series, but it’s in the very early stages. I’m also shooting two films as an actress, one in March called “Nomis” and another one in April called “Intrigo” directed by Daniel Alfredson (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Trilogy).

    February 21, 2017 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 785

  • NYFA Australia Gold Coast Grad Stars in ABC’s “Newton’s Law”

    Makwaya Masudi, a graduate of the Acting for Film program at the New York Film Academy, Gold Coast, has landed the opportunity of a lifetime as a series regular on the new ABC program “Newton’s Law” starring iconic Australian actor Claudia Karvan (“The Heartbreak Kid,” “Paperback Hero,” “Daybreakers”).

    Masudi, a Kenyan native who came to Australia as a refugee, plays Zareb Mulumba – an office cleaner turned legal client to Karvan’s character Josephine Newton. The stellar cast also includes Toby Schmitz (“McLeod’s Daughters,” “Home and Away,” “The Pacific”), Georgina Naidu (“Offspring,” “Winners and Losers”) and Miranda Tapsell (“The Sapphires,” “Love Child”).

    Of his student experience at the New York Film Academy, Makwaya says, “NYFA trained me on how to work under a huge amount of pressure like calm water. It also gave me so much experience and helped me find out what type of actor I am.” He also believes that “getting to study in a production set-like environment” helped him prepare for the real world of television and entertainment.

    Acting opportunities are now in abundance for Masudi as he sets his sights on the American market. Check out Makwaya as Zareb Mulumba on “Newton’s Law” Thursday nights on ABC.

    February 20, 2017 • Acting, Entertainment Australia, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1096

  • NYFA Produced Movie Musical “Streetwrite” Introduced at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

    The Musical Theatre Conservatory at the New York Film Academy (NYFA) is one of the only musical theatre programs in the world that teaches both musical theatre for the stage and film.

    Blanche Baker

    Blanche Baker

    A recent prime example is “Streetwrite,” written and directed by Blanche Baker, an Emmy Award winning actress and Senior Faculty member of the New York Film Academy, and shot by Piero Basso, an award-winning Director of Photography. The film was fully funded by NYFA, with an international cast of talented Musical Theatre students working alongside NYFA’s faculty and staff of professional artists.

    This Feb. 14, 2017, “Streetwrite” was introduced at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Bonnie Sacerdote Lecture Hall. The introduction included a screening of the trailer, followed by a 20-minute performance work by Artists Fighting Fascism: Rebecca Goyette, Brian Andrew Whiteley and Kenya (Robinson).

    Opening remarks were given by International Institute for Conservation (IIC) Council Member, Amber Kerr and introductions by Moderator, Rebecca Rushfield. IIC is an independent international organization supported by individual and institutional members. It serves as a forum for communication among professionals with responsibility for the preservation of cultural heritage. It advances knowledge, practice and standards for the conservation of historic and artistic works through its publications and conferences. It promotes professional excellence and public awareness through its awards and scholarships.

    “We were thrilled that the New York Film Academy and Blanche Baker allowed the International Institute for Conservation to open its Feb. 14, 2017 colloquium, held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with a showing of the trailer for the NYFA Musical Theater film ‘Streetwrite,’ said Rebecca Rushfield, IIC Conference Organizer. “With an explosion of sound, movement, and color, “Streetwrite” set the context for the discussion that followed, demonstrating how art is created as an expression of protest or outrage.”

    blanche at the met

    Political graffiti has a long history dating back to the walls of Ancient Rome. It represents an alternative means of expression that gives voice to the issues and concerns of the common people. This tradition of free expression forms the basis of “Streetwrite,” a movie musical that asks the question, “How can speech be free if only those who pay can speak?”

    Using street art as a focal point, the film examines the various ways people struggle to express themselves in situations where free speech is curtailed or suppressed. It also explores how certain kinds of expression can be repressive to individuals.

    “Streetwrite’ will have its public world-premiere at The Cutting Room (44 East 32nd Street, NYC 10016) on Sunday, March 12th from 2pm-4pm. It will also have its East Coast Premiere at The Queens World Film Festival on Sunday, Mar. 19 in the Zukor Theatre at Kaufman Astoria Studios. The film has also been accepted to screen at Cinémonde, a private film series at the Roger Smith Hotel in NYC.

    February 20, 2017 • Acting, Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights, Musical Theatre • Views: 1808

  • NYFA Grad’s “Like Father, Like Son” Wins Best Short at NYC Indie Film Awards

    Like Father, Like SonBorn in Manila, Philippines, Heinrik Caesar Matias flew to New York City in 2016 to study filmmaking at the New York Film Academy. Matias says he is passionate in acting, and creating realistic and immersive stories with characters that the audience can connect to. His passion and determination led him to create the award-winning film, “Like Father, Like Son,” while attending NYFA.

    His film received “Best Short Film” nominations at film festivals all over the world, including Chandler International Film Festival (USA), Los Angeles CineFest (USA), Barcelona Planet Film Festival (Spain), MedFF (Italy), and Feel The Reel International Film Festival (UK). It won the Gold Award for Best Short Film at the NYC Indie Film Awards.

    “The experience I had, and the lessons I learned from the New York Film Academy were all applied in the making of this film,” said Matias. “It had to be or there was no way this film could have been made given the conditions we faced. I never had any experience in filmmaking prior to NYFA and, I will admit, it was very difficult. We didn’t have a big budget plus there were only four crew members, including me as the director, and three cast members. We all had to work twice as hard. It was very draining and it was a very challenging time for all of us, but we all felt like this was a story that needed to be told. I was lucky that I had a very professional crew and a talented cast that were all patient with me and the film during its production.”

    The short film is a psychological drama that explores the dark natures of depression and how it can even affect the people around the person who’s depressed. After 20 years, Charles, an unemployed alcoholic, finally reunites with his absentee father. The two of them soon realize that the apple does not fall far from the tree.

    “Many people fail to see the magnitude of depression and it is very often dismissed as ‘all in your head,’ but I believe that this is a real thing, and it is a serious matter that must be dealt with,” says Matias.
    heinrik caesar matias

    According to the Word Health Organization, as of 2016, depression is the most prevalent mental illness with 350 million cases worldwide and, if left untreated, can often lead to suicide.

    While Matias also continues to focus on his acting career, he’s currently working on two different projects — a short story that he hopes to film this year and his first feature film screenplay.

    February 17, 2017 • Acting, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1417

  • NYFA South Beach Welcomes Emmy Nominated Filmmaker Carlos Sandoval

    On Monday, January 30th, the New York Film Academy South Beach welcomed award-winning and Emmy nominated director and producer, Carlos Sandoval, for a special screening of his 2009 American Experience historical documentary, “A Class Apart,” which has been optioned by Eva Longoria to be turned into a feature narrative, and is currently in development with a major studio. Joined onstage by his Associate Producer, Jordi Valdés, current NYFA South Beach faculty member, the event was moderated by Mark Mocahbee, Chair of the NYFA SB Acting for Film Program. The screening was followed by an engaging Q & A with the student body.

    carlos sandoval

    Inspired by the enthusiasm of the students, Sandoval covered a wide range of topics, including recounting his story of how he came to make his first documentary “Farmingville” (ITVS) at 49 years of age, which consequently went on to win the Special Jury Prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.

    Referring to himself as “the accidental filmmaker,” he originally came to the story in part, moved by a headline “They Wanted to Get Some Mexicans” in the local newspaper (Newsday) regarding the attempted murder of two Mexican day laborers on the Long Island town of Farmingville. Carlos originally had thought as a former lawyer, policy wonk and journalist to potentially get involved in the issue(s) from the legal perspective yet ultimately came to realize that he felt compelled to do more.

    Of Mexican-American and Puerto Rican descent and having grown up in the southwest “the echoes of segregation were around us while I was still growing up,” Sandoval recounted. “I never thought I’d see a headline like that again, in what had just become the Twenty-First Century.” It was the power of story and, in particular, the power of the ability of the film medium to, “work and get at people through their emotions; through story” that propelled him to give documentary filmmaking a try.

    In “A Class Apart,” Sandoval would once again find himself returning to issues dealing with the discrimination of Mexican-Americans, but this time in a historical context.

    carlos sandoval

    Pooling from his own documentary filmmaking experiences, Sandoval discussed the differences in approach, the process and the challenges between making a historical documentary such as “A Class Apart,” and making verité docs such as “Farmingville” and his Emmy nominated and most recent feature length film, “The State of Arizona” (PBS).

    The school would like to extend its thanks to Carlos Sandoval for taking the time to share his stories and advice with the NYFA SoBe student body.

    February 16, 2017 • Community Highlights, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 1171

  • NYFA Alumnus Matty Cardarople Showcases Latest Work in Netflix’s “Lemony Snicket”

    On Feb. 8th, New York Film Academy alumnus Matty Cardarople came back to his roots to showcase his latest work in Netflix’s “Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events.”

    Matty Cardarople

    The popular children’s book written by Lemony Snicket has had fans on the edge of their seats since the show’s premiere on Friday, Jan. 13th. The theater was packed with students eager to discuss a childhood favorite come to life.

    Cardarople was seen earlier this year in Mike Mill’s “20th Century Woman” and “Jurassic World.” He’s appeared on television shows “The New Girl,” “Scrubs,” “Bella and the Bulldogs,” “Comedy Bang! Bang!,” and “You’re the Worst.”

    Guest Lecture Series Chair Tova Laiter and Christopher Cass, Associate Chair of Acting for Film, hosted the evening at the Los Angeles campus. Ms. Laiter began with the question, “How did you start?” Cardarople replied:

    I chose NYFA back in 2002…BC. I’m just kidding. I was nineteen. It was a long time ago. I studied here for a year and then I came back and did my own film with (Industry Lab) ‘I worked in production as a boom operator and a PA. I was an assistant director. I was craft service. I was a camera assistant. I did everything. You guys know. You’ve all learned that stuff.

    Then, Luke and Owen Wilson put me in a film called ‘Drillbit Taylor.’ I played a 7/11 clerk because that’s what I do. I play a lot of clerks. Then it really started to take off. I had seven years of commercials here and there. It was kind of dead cause I was going through this heart surgery at young age. It was a bummer.

    Then about three years ago I thought, ‘You know, I just really need to put myself out there. I’m going to go for it.’ I started to network and meet a bunch of people. That’s what it’s really all about; meeting good people and forming good relationships.

    If you are struggling right now and thinking I’m not going to make it. Just be patient. Just work hard and be nice and you can really go far. If you’re scared right now, it’s going to be okay. Everything is going to work out. Just keep moving forward. That’s my story.

    One student asked Cardarople what projects and people he would like to work with in the future. Cardarople responded, “I’d love to work with Jim Carey. I want to make stories that inspire people.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Cardarople for taking the time to speak with our students. This year you can find Matty Cardarople in the HBO series “Crashing” and the feature film “Please Stand By” starring Dakota Fanning and Toni Collette.

    February 15, 2017 • Acting, Guest Speakers, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1043

  • NYFA Acting for Film Alumnus Stars in “Life According to Saki” at 4th Street Theatre

    life according to sakiTom Machell is an actor, writer and comedy performer originally from the UK who decided to attend the New York Film Academy’s Acting for Film program for the school’s hands-on approach. “There is no school in the UK that offers as much on screen time as NYFA,” said Machell.

    Machell is part of the award-winning comedy team zazU, a group that has had sell out runs at the Soho Theatre and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and are currently developing their work for television and radio.

    As an actor, Machell has worked in the UK, Europe and the USA and can currently be seen in feature film “Dinosaur Hunter” starring Jenny Agutter and shorts “Litterbugg” “Sticky” and “Die Agentin,” which have been screened at the BFI and the Berlin Film Festival respectively.  Tom is currently filming the BBC Television Movie “Babs.” His theatre credits include New York City’s Shakespeare in the Parking Lot playing Antipholus E in “The Comedy of Errors,” “The Love and Devotion of Ridley Smith” at the Old Red Lion Theatre, London, and three runs of Guinness World Record holding comedy show, “News Revue,” which he also writes for.

    tom machellMachell is now making his Off Broadway Debut in the award-winning play, “Life According To Saki.” The play’s life began at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival and was the winner of the Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award. It is the debut play of award-winning author Katherine Rundell and will play at The New York Theatre Workshop at the 4th Street Theatre in Manhattan until March 6th.

    “Life According to Saki” is inspired by the life and short stories of British satirist Hector Hugh Munro, nicknamed “Saki.” We meet Saki in November 1916 at the Battle of the Somme, where he and his fellow soldiers bear witness to a world turned on its head. Their only refuge is the fantastical world of the imagination — Saki’s world.

    Each actor has multiple roles in the play. Machell’s main character, Walter Spikesman, is Saki’s right-hand-man in the trenches.

    “My NYFA training really helped me in the rehearsal room, as there was a lot of devising and focus needed to make the piece,” said Machell. “During my training we had a lot of improvisation training, which hugely aided in creating the multitude of characters that I needed to create for the play. Also, by having such an international class, I was able to pick up numerous helpful accents along the way.”

    “Life According to Saki” is now playing at the 4th Street Theatre until March 5, 2017. For tickets and information, please CLICK HERE.

    February 14, 2017 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 964

  • NYFA BFA and MFA Photography Gallery at Famous Bergamot Station

    The New York Film Academy BFA and MFA Photography Gallery show of graduating students was held at the famous Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, CA. The four MFA students and two BFA students had a wonderful turnout of 210 people, not including family, friends or alumni.

    olive banerjee

    photo by Olive Banerjee

    The curators from the various Bergamot Station galleries themselves said that the show has a beautiful cohesiveness, and, once again, one of the guests was the retired curator of photography from the Getty Museum, Weston Naef, who stopped by to enjoy his third New York Film Academy MFA/BFA exhibition.

    Tingting Lou

    photo by Tingting Lou

    Bergamot Station was previously a railroad station from 1875 to 1953, serving the Los Angeles and Independence Railroad and later the Santa Monica Air Line. The station was named after the Wild Bergamot flower, which once grew in the area. The Bergamot Station is in line to become a Historical Landmark in the next few years and it currently houses multiple art galleries.

    Xiao Xu

    photo by Xiao Xu

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Bergamot Station for hosting our students. Congratulations to our graduating MFA and BFA photographers on this excellent showcase.

    February 14, 2017 • Photography, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 841

  • NYFA Student’s Film “Dr. Elevator” Selected to 32 Film Festivals

    Born and raised in Bhopal, India, Kartikye Gupta always longed to entertain and inspire people’s lives. “I think, before going and making a film, film education is very essential, so when I finished my high school, New York Film Academy was always on the top of my list,” says Gupta, who is a BFA Filmmaking student at NYFA Los Angeles. “It’s the most hands-on film school, the student gets to write, direct and edit a short film every week, which made me get better and better. More importantly, the school provides an opportunity to interact from different professionals from all over the world and to learn more about different cultures and filmmaking styles from around world.”

    gupta

    Gupta has a firm belief that a film should be a medium of entertainment, where one creates an environment for the audience to forget all their problems and fully enjoy.

    His most recent film, “Dr. Elevator,” was officially selected in 32 film festivals for Best Short Film and screened in major cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, New Orleans, Wellington, Punjab, Queensland, Phoenix, Idyllwild and Copenhagen. The short film takes place in a trapped elevator, where a woman goes into labor, forcing an Indian mathematician with Asperger’s to rise to the occasion and deliver the baby.

    “When Cody Smart, NYFA MFA Screenwriting alumnus, narrated the story, I instantly loved the characters,” said Gupta. “It has a very simple, funny conflict with very interesting characters meeting at the same time. I trusted my actors, gave them a lot of freedom, but still told them what I needed; and they did a great job.”

    dr. elevator

    “I am honored to be a student at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles,” he says. “My lifelong dream of becoming a filmmaker is moving forward, thanks to a generous college like yours. Being a film student at New York Film Academy was a great advantage for me to produce, shoot and edit this film. I used to get notes, feedbacks from my screenwriting and directing instructors on the script, and the film when it was completed, which helped me to make it better and better.”

    Gupta hopes to get “Dr. Elevator” on Amazon in order to reach a larger audience. He’s currently editing another short film, which he directed last year, and intends on submitting it to top tier film festivals.

    February 13, 2017 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 3571