Academic Programs

  • Award-Winning NYFA Filmmaking Alumnus Talks “Money”

    Martin Rosete came to the New York Film Academy in 2007 thanks to La Caixa Fellowship Program in Spain. “At that time I could not even dream everything what I was about to learn at NYFA and all the opportunities it would provide me in the professional world,” said Rosete.

    martin rosete

    After attending the Two Year Filmmaking Program, Rosete went on to direct the short film “Voice Over,” which won numerous awards at festivals all across the world.

    From there, Rosete went on to direct the feature film, “Money,” which continues to gain buzz on the festival circuit. The movie stars Kellan Lutz (“Twilight saga,” “The Legend of Hercules”) and Jesse Williams (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Cabin in the Woods”).

    On November 5th, the film will premiere in NYC at the Big Apple Film Festival, and on November 4th it will play in LA at the Egyptian Theater as part of the Arpa International Film Festival. Next year, the movie will be commercially distributed worldwide.

    We had the opportunity to speak with the award-winning director and NYFA alumnus before his upcoming premieres in NYC and LA.

    Congrats on all of your success! Can you tell us about your new film, “Money”?

    “Money” is an elegant thriller that talks about human greed and how money (and the lack of it) can affect different individuals from different backgrounds. We tried to do it as universal and commercial as possible, and we are really happy with the final movie.

    VOICE OVER (English subtitles) from Kamel Films on Vimeo.
    How did this film come about?

    After directing my short film, “Voice Over,” which won over 100 awards in film festivals and got a nomination for the Spanish Academy Award (Goya), I felt that I was ready to jump and direct my first feature film. I started to read a bunch of scripts that my agent (at WME at that time) sent me and, in the end, I found the script for “Money.” I felt it was perfect for my first feature. It was contained, commercial, fun, with great characters and dialogue. I fell in love with it.

    I teamed up with Atit Shah, an American producer based in NY, and we decided to produce it together. It took us a little bit of time to put all the pieces in place, and I have to say that it is been an exciting and fun process, and we are already planning to repeat the team for our next film.

    What was the most rewarding aspect of the production?

    Probably the cast we got. It was amazing to have the opportunity to work with so many talented actors such as Jesse Williams, Kellan Lutz, Jess Weixler, Jamie Bamber and Lucia Guerrero. And besides the talent they have, I will be always thankful for the professionalism and commitment they showed on set. It was a dream to work with all of them.

    on set of "Money"

    How did your NYFA education prepare you to direct “Money”?

    I am from Spain, and the time that I spent at NYFA helped me a lot in understanding the way things are in the industry, in the US; and the fact that we were literally shooting every week also helped in having the opportunity to try different things without any fear of failing. That is really important to be prepared for the real world after your studies are over, and I am really happy to have had that opportunity.

    You’ve had tremendous success at the film festivals. Can you provide any advice to students about to enter their films into festivals?

    Film Festivals are the main door to the professional world. Being in the big ones and winning awards gives you the visibility that you need to find the right producer, agent, or investor interested in your work. My work has been selected in more that 500 film festivals, winning over 100 awards. The only secret is to have something good to show out there and to have the energy to find the resources to distribute your work in order to get as much as possible out of it.


    Is there anything you can tell us about distribution for “Movie”?

    The movie was completed in April 2016 and it is doing great in film festivals. About the commercial life of the movie, it has been sold to many territories and we are negotiating a deal with a studio right now. I would love to be more specific, but unfortunately I cannot reveal more yet. All I can tell you is that in 2017 “Money” will have worldwide distribution.

    What kind of advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers and NYFA students looking to direct their first film?

    Whatever you do, do it right. Even if you are doing a small practice with no budget. Try your best. Put all the energy and passion to get the best out of it. Sometimes the result won’t be great but you may get a good lesson that you can apply in the next shooting. I always joke with my crew, even on low budget sets, telling them that we have to face the shoot as if we were doing “Ben-Hur,” because that kind of commitment from everyone makes the difference. And besides all that, for me, it is very important to do things this way to show the respect for the profession and for the professionals involved.

    Are you currently working on any other projects that you’d like to share?

    Yes, as I said, Atit and I are working on a wonderful dark comedy called “Remember Me” written by Rafa Russo. The script was one of the top scripts of the year on The Black List, and it is one of the best scripts that I have read in my life. We are super excited because we know we have another winner on those pages. I cannot wait to start shooting!

    October 21, 2016 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1258

  • Golden Globe Winner Jacqueline Bisset Brings “The Last Film Festival” to NYFA

    On Thursday, October 13th, 2016, Golden Globe winner Jacqueline Bisset brought her film The Last Film Festival to New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus. Bisset’s credits as an actress are wide and varied from her premiere role in Roman Polanski’s Cul-De-Sac, Casino Royale, Welcome to New York, Two for the Road, Murder on the Orient Express, and Nip/ Tuck. NYFA’s Director of Industry Lecture Series, Tova Laiter, and Acting for Film Professor, Phil Kaufman, led the Q&A discussion after the screening.


    The Last Film Festival was a big hit with the students, who laughed from the first scene on in recognition. Dennis Hopper’s last movie holds a bit of bittersweetness amongst the hilarious nature of the film. Director Linda Yellen’s crafted a film about passion and hope when everything is going wrong for your movie.

    Bisset had this to say about working with female directors, “Women directors have to adjust, particularly to the men. That was a big lesson to me. Female directors can’t behave like me. Their voice level, their tone, their gestures all have to be controlled at all times. The minute she gets a bit wobbly, everyone jumps on her and tries to seize control.”

    Laiter kicked off the conversation by asking Bisset the age-old question, “How’d you get your first break?” Bisset responded with, “The biggest break was me going, ‘well I might give it a try.’”

    jaqueline bisset

    Two comments she received in her youth helped define the direction of her career.

    “My Latin teacher told me once, ‘You’re such a chatterbox. You might make a good actress.’ Then I went to a dinner party; I was fourteen at the time and Roman Polanski was there. He said to me, ‘You’re quite the introvert. You might make a good actress.’” She tried her best to bring these two separate thoughts together to envision what kind of actress she would become.

    After making her decision, she had one fear. “I was very nervous about telling them [her parents] because I knew my father wasn’t going to pay for anything.” So Bisset began to work as a waitress in her spare time after school. She was cast in a Polanski film and did a few other projects before being offered a multiple picture deal with 20th Century Fox. She joined a talent pool and legendary director George Cukor (My Fair Lady and Philadelphia Story).

    jacqueline bisset
    But, coming to America wasn’t a waltz for Ms. Bisset. She was accustomed to English tradition, which stipulates one give up their chair to an elder and say “yes, sir” and “yes, ma’am.” “People in Hollywood want to be treated with respect, but they don’t want to be treated as if they’re older. It took me a little time to figure it out.”

    Bisset went on to answer some questions from students. One asked, what advice Bisset would give to women entering Hollywood, “Don’t do anything that you don’t want to do. I mean anything sexual you don’t want to do. I think a lot of people get caught up in the seedy part of life. How you dress has a tremendous effect on how men treat you. When I hear some of the tales people tell, particularly in books, I’m mortified. You’ve got to be very sure what you want. Never do any of that to get the job. It won’t guarantee the job. Absolutely not.”

    Another question asked was, knowing what you know now, what advice would you tell your younger self? “Educate yourself. We are the breath of other people. We have to empathize with the world and people around us. What you have in your eyes will tell a story. You emanate in your energy and passion. It’s about the make-up and the costumes, of course, I think if you educate yourself you become a more interesting person which means you have more to give. Don’t have a silly life. Try to have a deep relationship soon. All of that stuff.”

    New York Film Academy would like to thank Ms. Bisset for her time. You can see Bisset in her upcoming films Nine Eleven and Backstabbing for Beginners coming out in 2017.

    October 20, 2016 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 976

  • Photography Alumnus’ Work Published on L’Officiel India and Factice Magazine

    New York Film Academy Photography alumnus Ping Wang‘s fine art project, “The Nostalgia of the Infinite,” is a bold combination of high-end fashion and metaphysical art, or as Wang eloquently puts it: “my exploration and self meditation about time and memory.”

    His fashion editorials inspired by “The Nostalgia of the Infinite,” named “Untramelled,” have been published on L’Officiel India, and the fashion story inspired by the same fine art project named “Delusional” has been published on Factice Magazine.


    photo from L’OFFICIEL INDIA | SEPTEMBER 2016

    “I’ve loved writing since I was very young,” said Wang. “I always take photos with my cellphone and put them into my personal blog. I believe this is the starting point for my photography. However, I didn’t know how to use a professional camera when I came to NYFA. NYFA values the practical and basic learning; it gives students a lot of time to think and then achieve.”

    "Eye of the Painter" in Factice Magazine | photography by Ping Wang

    “Eye of the Painter” in Factice Magazine | photography by Ping Wang

    With Wang focusing on fashion photography since his graduation, he says he notices two trends in the space.

    1. More “motions” are catching the spotlight in the industry. Fashion film has been a big trend.

    2. Fashion photography is cyclical. I’m beginning to see some retro elements and a preference for film lighting.

    photos by Ping Wang

    “In everything that I do, I want to express myself and feel the world,” says Wang.

    For more of Ping Wang’s amazing work, visit his website at

    October 20, 2016 • Photography, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 984

  • Game Design Master’s Showcase at NYFA Los Angeles

    This past September 2016, the Game Design Department held their annual Master’s Showcase at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles campus. Students displayed games ranging from virtual reality, tabletop, side scrollers, card games, and PC games.

    game design

    The event also played host to the second Twitch stream for NYFA. Previously, NYFA hosted a Twitch stream for the Pokémon Go Event in July. Students and professors play-tested new games so fans could see the gameplay.

    I asked the team producing the Twitch TV stream, NYFA student Davin Tjen and Nicholas Cunha, about the response they were hoping for from their audience. “We’re very excited for it and we’re very excited to go live. We don’t know (what to expect). Our last stream was a hit, but that’s because it was Pokémon Go.”


    Guillermo Quesada Paez, Master of Fine Arts student, had several games at the event including Identity, Fetch Through Time, and Samurai V Skeletons.

    Paez said, “Samurai V Skeletons is a tower defense game, but we also made it so you could control the main character. You can play as your tower but you can also play as a guy and help shoot the enemy. We basically mixed two different games together: tower defense and a top down shooter.”

    The hardest part about making the game was creating path finding for the enemy. “We needed an algorithm to find the shortest paths between points,” Paez explained. “The player keeps moving around and the enemy has to keep recalculating their path to get to the player.”

    nyfa game design

    Drew Fletcher, Master of Fine Arts student and one of the developers on Fetch Through Time, told us about his game. “In Fetch Through Time, you’re a gelatin dog bouncing through the world trying to collect bones. You have to make sure you don’t run into anything otherwise you’ll pop.”

    The inspiration behind the game was simple, “…we had two ideas. One teammate had an idea for a gelatin game and another teammate had an idea for an endless bouncing ball, so we combined the two.”

    Board games were also on display. Associate of Fine Arts student Jeffery Lay told us about his game, inspired by the game Set. “I used something called the script effect. For example, here we have the word blue written in green. Your left side of the brain is trying to read the word and the right side of your brain is seeing the color. That brings a clash in your brain and it makes the game more challenging. If you do the script affect often it increases your logical brain. ”

    game design

    Lay also showcased his game Capture, a horror game without monsters. “My main focus was environmental designs. I don’t like horror games. Well … it’s not that I don’t like them. I’m scared of them. So, I thought it might be fun as a challenge to create one. I used environmental design to make it look realistic or give it that natural feeling and I wanted something that had a scary vibe without scaring the person directly. In some of the horror games something just pops up in your face. It’s not fair to the player. I try with music and sound to give players that scary feeling.”

    New York Film Academy professor Scott Rogers (History of Video Games) had this to say about the event, “I’m really proud of all our students. They managed to do some pretty amazing things in a very short period of time. I’m always impressed with the work they do.”

    game design

    Rogers then explained how the students learn to develop their games. “One of the things that we like to teach the students here is that paper prototyping is the foundation of good organized game design, whether it’s making maps for their level designs or actually creating a playable version of their game in paper form. We’re trying to teach them to work not only well, but smart. So paper prototyping is this great tool that’s been around since Dungeons & Dragons.”

    “The other side of this is you could just learn to make a board game. In fact, one of our students earlier tonight was talking to a fellow who’s a Creative Director at a board game company. The guy took the students card because he was so impressed with the game.”

    October 19, 2016 • Game Design, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 931

  • Broadcast Journalism Alumna Reporter for Sweden’s Expressen-TV

    These days, some of the most interesting TV news operations aren’t seen on conventional TV. Case in point, Expressen-TV. Expressen is one of Sweden’s most successful newspapers. But the future is digital, so the news operation has evolved into a cross-platform news service that is now challenging the dominance of traditional broadcasters. And even in Stockholm, much of the talk is about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

    Last week NYFA Broadcast Journalism students got an “insider” perspective of Expressen-TV from Emilie Olsson, a 2013 New York Film Academy graduate. After working with Swedish state broadcaster SVT and commercial outlet TV-4, Emilie is now a general assignment reporter at Expressen-TV.

    emilie olsson

    She shared with the students her career path since leaving NYFA, and described a typical day for a TV news reporter. She began her fascination for broadcast journalism as early as ten years old. On a two-day trip to New York City, Olsson stopped at NYFA to learn more about its Broadcast Journalism program. It wasn’t long until she was hooked and attending the 8-Week program.

    Emilie Olsson

    “During the 8 weeks I learned a lot about the camera, editing programs. It prepared be both technically and improving my language. It makes me feel like I can do interviews in New York. I like the motivation NYFA gives to students.”

    “If you’re from another country, NYFA will be a change for you,” added Olsson. “But don’t be worried. There are people from all different countries, and you learn from your own path. Enjoy it, and take advantage of your education as much as possible.”

    After class, she spent time talking informally with members of the class. Thanks for visiting NYFA, Emilie!

    October 18, 2016 • Broadcast Journalism, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1070

  • “Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan” Screening with Director Nicholas Meyer

    Famed writer and director, and the man credited with saving Star Trek, Nicholas Meyer came to New York Film Academy to screen Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan. New students filed onto the historic Warner Bros lot to discuss his classic film as part of the New York Film Academy’s exclusive Guest Speaker Series for students and alumni. Meyer sat in for an informative Q&A with Producer, and moderator, Tova Laiter of Varsity Blues and Glory.

    nicholas meyer

    Meyer hadn’t been a fan of Star Trek before he was asked to direct. “When I saw it on TV, I saw the guy with pointy ears and I just kept going,” Meyer said. But then Harve Bennett, a friend of Meyer’s and one of the film’s producers, handed Meyer the script.

    “There were a lot of things I didn’t understand… But, I was aware later, that it did remind me of something I rather liked. It took me a while to figure it out what it was. Then I remembered the books I read when I was twelve or thirteen about Captain Horatio Hornblower from the C.S. Forester novels. He was a British sea captain during the Napoleonic Wars and he has a girl in every port.”

    From those naval stories, Meyer simply placed the navy in space. He spoke to James Horner, the film’s composer, about including the sounds of famed naval composers such as W.C. Handy and Jean-Baptiste Lemire.

    star trek

    Other essential changes Meyer made to the series was setting a time period. “I put at the beginning: In the Twenty-Third Century because I thought my father wouldn’t have a clue what he was seeing if it didn’t say something. Then, I realized… I was really putting it in for myself because I was trying to explain it. People say it’s science fiction, but it’s really rather Earthbound in terms of its subject matter.”

    Once the naval themes were cemented in his mind, Meyer knew what the story needed to be. And he let NYFA students in on a secret, “I wrote the script. There were five drafts, but they were really five different attempts to get a second Star Trek film.”

    There was a fifth draft coming in and Meyer was getting excited. Five months went by and he hadn’t heard anything. Meyer called Harve Bennett and asked him to send each draft over. After a long discussion, they decided to make a list of everything they liked in each draft. Then Meyer would make a final script with one caveat; he had to have the script finished in twelve days.

    So then Meyer made what he called a “big mistake.” Producers told him they couldn’t even write his deal in twelve days, so he fell on the sword. He said to forget the deal and wrote the script for free in twelve days.

    When it came time to film, money was in short supply. The first film went way over budget, had multiple script changes daily, and never found its footing with audiences. A second splurge wouldn’t be allowed, so they recycled set, reused special effects, and reduced the number of sets and costumes. Because of these restrictions, the story of Khan was allowed to thrive.

    On this note, he gave the students some advice, “All great artistic media rely for their success on something they leave out. Paintings do not move. Music has no intellectual content. Words are just code on a page. It is only when they intersect with the auditor, the viewer, the listener, that it comes alive. When you bring your imagination to it, the painting moves when it meets your eye. Beethoven’s Fifth becomes profound when it hits your ear. Otherwise, it’s just catguts and tubing. And the words that make you laugh or cry on the page is when you decode them. Movies alone… have the hideous capacity to do everything for you.”

    Meyer put this thought into practical application, “So, as a director, not only am I working to make a little money go a long way by invoking people’s imagination, I am also at pains to leave things out of the movie to make your imagination kick in as opposed to simply presenting you with two hours of eye candy. When you’re making your movies, you have to look for ways to do things that may be counter-intuitive in order to get the audience to exercise their imaginations. Every time somebody points to something in a movie, you don’t have to show what they’re pointing to. When someone asks a question, the other person doesn’t have to answer it. You can leave things out, because the audience participates.”

    New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Meyer for speaking with our students. You can read more about Meyer’s adventures and his thought on art in his books Views from the Bridge and The Seven Percent Solution.

    October 18, 2016 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 1008

  • Producing Grad’s “Long Island Lights” Wins Best Web Series at LA International Film Fest

    New York Film Academy Producing alumnus Anthony Scordio won Best Web Series / New Media at the Los Angeles International Film Festival Awards for his pilot of the half hour comedy show, “Long Island Lights.” The pilot episode recently screened at the Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, California. The show was also a semifinalist at the Los Angeles Cinefest and has high hopes as it continues it festival run.

    long island lights 2

    Long Island Lights is a half hour comedy about a group of misfits at an amateur production company on Long Island who are hungry to become rich and famous.

    “This is a story about millennials trying to find their way in life and the real issues they deal with from romance and success to redefining who you are in this age of hyper connectivity — where you can feel small and disconnected,” said Scordio. “What they are really chasing after is validation in a world where the “LIKE” button hails king. We watch them fail over and over again, but the real success comes in the bonds that they form with one another.”

    It features similar romantic story lines and co-worker drama like the popular TV series “The Office,” the goofy family dysfunction of Mitch Hurwitz’s “Arrested Development,” and the dark and often raunchy humor of the hilarious “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” 

    “The series came about after I quit my job at an investment bank in my early 20’s and decided to pursue my passion in filmmaking,” says Scordio. “There were a lot of growing pains and ridiculous people I met along the way — many of whom were in the industry for the reasons of becoming rich and famous. So I thought it would be funny to highlight that pursuit in a comedic way, but have a theme of friends and family at the core.”

    The NYFA grad attended the 1-Year Producing Program at the New York Film Academy’s New York location, where he created the pilot for the series as his thesis project.

    long island lights

    “NYFA’s training was crucial in being prepared to create the pilot,” he says. “It laid the foundation of skills that were necessary in order to pull it off, especially because we had over 150 actors and 50 crew members working on the pilot. I wouldn’t have been able to manage that without the education NYFA provided. Also, several of my collaborators are people I met directly or indirectly through NYFA.”

    Scordio now runs a Long Island based production company, Scordio Productions, Inc. Scordio and his team are currently in pre-production for a Jon Bon Jovi music video that shoots at the end of October.

    October 17, 2016 • Producing, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1010

  • Musical Theatre Alumnus Roy Khoury Brings Broadway to Lebanon

    roy khouryNew York Film Academy Musical Theatre alumnus Roy Khoury came to the Academy to pursue his childhood dream of performing on Broadway. However, Khoury took it one step further by bringing Broadway to his home country of Lebanon.

    Last year, he created, starred and directed his own musical concert “One Night on Broadway” at the Casino Du Liban in Lebanon. The musical received an award of appreciation in the “Murex D’Or” 2015. Khoury also had the opportunity to showcase “One Night on Broadway” in the “Zouk Mikael International Festival.”

    The show is a collection of the most beloved Broadway musicals which are converted into a chain of tableaux that focus on the most fascinating features of the Broadway culture.

    “In our country there isn’t much of a known local musical theatre / Broadway scene,” said Khoury. “I have always dreamed of directing my own musical, as well as starring in it, so I threw the idea over to producers and they loved and invested in it. And it was a huge success!”

    one night on broadway

    Khoury and his team were able to perform the musical at international festivals, private events, and concerts.

    “The whole process of being the director and performing was a challenge for me, and I guess I nailed it,” said Khoury. “Thanks to NYFA and the awesome experience that I had in NYC. NYFA is the place where I became a musical theatre performer and director. I’ve worked a lot on myself in other schools and I’ve practiced intensively in different showcases and musicals, but it all comes back to NYFA and the most amazing teacher I met there.”

    Due to the huge success of “One Night on Broadway,” a producer from Dubai contacted Khoury to be the performing arts and stage director of the popular TV talent show, “Arab Casting.” The show hired Khoury to be an artistic director, acting coach and choreographer.

    Khoury says he’s now brainstorming for another show, as a variety of producers are interested in investing in his next big project.

    one night on broadway

    His advice to students and recent graduates: “Be patient, positive, and embrace every single word or class or project at NYFA because it gives you a lot and it’s a brilliant domain. My mentor have always talked to us about one’s discipline and attitude towards others and towards yourself in order to merge into this field. And don’t stop practicing and working on your talent and technique. Everything makes a difference. Finally, take risks and do what you love. You’ll make it if you love it.”

    October 14, 2016 • Musical Theatre, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2177

  • NYFA Instructor Joe Burke Stars in Romantic Dramedy “Dependent’s Day”

    With gender equality being ever more present in today’s modern relationships, the upcoming film, “Dependent’s Day,” tackles this theme after the leading woman claims her boyfriend as a dependent on her tax returns. Directed by Michael David Lynch, the romantic dramedy stars New York Film Academy Los Angeles Directing instructor Joe Burke, along with actress Benita Robledo. Outside of his teaching, Burke has appeared on the critically acclaimed Showtime series “Ray Donovan,” as well as the popular Disney show “Dog With A Blog.”

    depedents day

    We decided to have a little chat with the actor, filmmaker, and NYFA instructor, to find out more about his upcoming film, which recently received a glowing review in the LA Times.

    Congrats on the film! How did this role come about for you?

    The role of Cam in “Dependent’s Day” came about through a mutual friend. Writer/Director Mike Lynch was preparing to make a new short film and was looking for a lead actor who would be perfect for his project; and our mutual friend Josh Staman (also in the movie) recommended me to Mike. At the time, Mike knew me more as a filmmaker, not as an actor, but still invited me in for a table read after Josh’s recommendation. So I met with Mike, and actor Benita Robledo, and we did a table read of the short film Mike had written. We ended up improvising on top of the short film script and exploring the material a bit (which was a lot of fun). After one thing led to another, Mike quickly decided this idea was not meant to be a short film, but something bigger.

    After exploring the idea of making a web series, we landed on going out and making a feature film two months later. I personally knew Mike Lynch before “Dependent’s Day,” and was actually an extra in his student thesis film yeas ago. But I think that’s a great story, and one I always share with my students, because you never know who you might meet in film school and later collaborate with down the road. And to go from being an extra in one project to the lead in the next (10 years later), just shows how much you need to trust the process and stick with it.

    Dependent’s Day Trailer from Michael Lynch on Vimeo.
    Can you tell us a little bit about your character and his role in “Dependent’s Day”?

    I play the role of Cam in “Dependent’s Day.” He’s our hero character that we follow through the film (as flawed at times as he may seem). But he’s a dreamer. And a guy going after his dreams in Hollywood. Something I can certainly relate to…we all can. And he struggles on finding the balance of how to both go after his dream while stepping up his game in his relationship with his girlfriend, Alice (played by Benita Robledo), who is the breadwinner of the relationship. Cam is a very sweet character with a big heart, and though he doesn’t always make the best decisions at times, he is certainly trying to do his best in life and figure it out. It’s a really hilarious and heartfelt role, and I had a blast playing it.


    behind the scenes of “Dependent’s Day”


    You seem to have such a camaraderie with Benita in front of the camera? What’s the secret?

    Working with Benita Robledo was great. We hit it off early on at the table read and found a great rhythm for these two characters. I think the key to developing a great chemistry with your co-stars is to really allow yourself to dive deep into the world of the character. To really feel like you’re in the characters shoes and to be grounded in all your decisions. Even for a comedy like “Dependent’s Day,” we always wanted to play it ‘real and honest.’ And another big key factor is to truly listen. The art of ‘listening’ as an actor is super important. It keeps you on your toes and allows you to react naturally in the moment to what’s going on. I always say keep it authentic. Mike, Benita, and I had a really fun time bringing these characters to life.

    Do you consider yourself primarily a filmmaker or actor? Or both?

    I definitely consider myself both a filmmaker and an actor. I have been doing both since I was a young kid. I did focus a bit more on filmmaking in college, but I truly enjoy both so much that I wouldn’t be able to do just one. And on “Dependent’s Day,” I was still in a position to bring my filmmaker side to the project, collaborating closely with director Mike Lynch. I am co-producer on the film, and also had fun helping develop the story and edit the movie.

    HOUSE SITTING from Joe Burke on Vimeo.
    I write and direct a lot of my own films as well, and most recently I wrote/directed a new short film titled “House Sitting,” which I also starred in. So working behind the lens and in front of it at the same time was really an exciting challenge and something I look forward to doing a lot more of — as well as looking forward to more awesome opportunities to play great characters and collaborate with other talented filmmakers on their projects.

    Do you believe it’s important for young filmmakers to understand and perhaps get some hands-on experience as an actor?

    I think it’s so important for a young filmmaker to understand the process of acting. I think the more you understand acting, and have some experience being an actor, the better director you will be. Also, having directing experience will make you a stronger actor. It all goes hand-in-hand. But I think getting strong performances is the most important part of making a movie… and in order to really achieve that, you have to have a really strong grasp and understanding on what the process of acting is all about. You have to really know how to communicate well with your actors. I would encourage every young filmmaker to take a couple of acting classes and learn that side of it. It’s very valuable and will make you a much better director.

    So when can we see it?

    We put a lot of time and energy into making “Dependent’s Day” and we can’t wait for everyone to see it as soon as it releases on VOD October 18th.

    October 13, 2016 • Acting, Faculty Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 913

  • NYFA Presents Screening Series with Jonathan Demme

    stranger than fiction

    New York Film Academy is pleased to present Academy Award winner, Jonathan Demme, with a retrospective of his documentary films in the special Fall season of Thom Powers’ “Stranger Than Fiction” screening series every Tuesday night through Nov. 1 at 7:00pm at IFC Center. Just last night Demme screened The Agronomist.

    Famous for block-buster movies like his Oscar-winner, “Silence of the Lambs,” Demme then essentially left Hollywood for New York, and for documentaries (though he has directed a couple of fiction films since).

    Esteemed Toronto Film Festival and DOC NYC programmer, Thom Powers, and Raphaela Neihausen programmed this exclusive Stranger Than Fiction retrospective series.  Here they present a short season of extremely rare screenings of some of the rock docs and social protest films that helped form decades of American counter-culture.  Simultaneously fun and powerful, every single film programmed is a must see.

    Upcoming Screenings:

    10/18 Neil Young: Heart Of Gold

    10/25  I am Caroline Parker: The Good, The Mad and the Ugly

    October 12, 2016 • Community Highlights, Documentary Filmmaking • Views: 737