Earlier this month, representatives from the Jinling Institute of Technology (JIT) visited New York Film Academy (NYFA) at its New York City campus near Battery Park in downtown Manhattan. The Jinling Institute of Technology is an officially accredited higher education institution located in Nanjing, Jiangsu.
The distinguished representatives included Mr. Chen, Professor, Party Secretary, Jinling Institute of Technology; Mr. Dai, Professor, Dean, School of Animal Science and Technology; Mr. Xing, Professor, Dean, School of Art; Ms. Zhao, Deputy Head, School of Animation; and Ms. Fang, Deputy Chief, Foreign Affairs Section, Office of International Exchange & Cooperation.
The representatives sat down with Michael Young, President of New York Film Academy, Mr. David Klein, NYFA Senior Executive Vice President, and Dr. Joy Zhu, NYFA Executive Vice President for the China Region.
At the gathering, President Young and Dr. Zhu introduced the history of the New York Film Academy, its various disciplines, and the characteristics of each discipline. They highlighted NYFA’s commitment to an intensive, hands-on approach to education in the visual arts, as well the high employment rate of NYFA graduates, especially from the Academy’s Animation department.
Additionally, the representatives from both institutions discussed their respective student bodies. The student body of NYFA is not only talented but diverse in many ways. Not only can students from China attend NYFA workshops, but also teachers and other administrators.
Mr. Chen noted that roughly half of the students of JIT study engineering, mathematics, art & media art, but that the school is interested in cultivating more composite talents. He also expressed his thoughts on less theory-oriented and more hands-on education for students in general.
Both parties shared mutually agreeable views on co-cultivating additional students that are especially talented in their respective fields, including 3D Animation & Visual Effects, and both looked forward to further cooperation between the two educational institutions in the near future.
The New York Film Academy thanks the representatives from the Jinling Institute of Technology for their visit and for a meaningful and intelligent discussion over several topics both schools find very important.
UPDATE: The winners were announced last night, February 11. The list includes Free Solo, which won Best Documentary, and which was edited by New York Film Academy (NYFA) instructor Bob Eisenhardt.
The full list of winners for this year’s BAFTA Film Awards are named below.
–February 12, 2019
Nominations for the 2019 BAFTA Film Awards were announced earlier today, as this year’s awards season continues towards its crescendo.
The BAFTA Awards are given out by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and celebrates cinematic achievements by both British artists and those around the world. The Academy was formed from the combination of the Guild of Television Producers and Directors, founded in 1953, and the British Film Academy, started in 1947. The first BAFTA Award went to silent film star and filmmaking legend Charlie Chaplin.
Many of this year’s BAFTA nominees should seem familiar, as they have already been recognized by various industry guilds as well as this year’s Golden Globes. Historical comedy The Favourite dominated the nominations with a total of 12 following star Olivia Colman’s win for Best Actress at the Globes.
Spike Lee picked up his first BAFTA nom for directing Best Film nominee BlackKklansman. Bradley Cooper broke BAFTA records by earning five nominations from five different disciplines for his film A Star is Born, which received seven total, including Best Film.
Two previous guest speakers of New York Film Academy (NYFA) also received BAFTA nominations. Adam Driver, who spoke with NYFA students at our New York campus last year, received a nod for Best Supporting Actor for his work in BlackKklansman. Glenn Close, who also spoke with NYFA students, picked up a Best Actress nomination for her starring role in The Wife. Close won earlier this week at the Golden Globe Awards for the same performance.
Three films that were worked on by New York Film Academy faculty and alumni also received BAFTA nominations. Avengers: Infinity War received a nod for Best Special Visual Effects. NYFA 3D Animation and VFX alum Francesco Panzieri worked on the visual effects team for the epic blockbuster.
Additionally, two of this year’s Best Documentary nominees feature work by faculty members of the NYFA Documentary school. RBG, the hit documentary about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, was shot by director of photography and cinematography instructor Claudia Raschke. Free Solo, the critically-acclaimed film about Alex Honnold as he attempts to free climb El Capitan, was edited by instructor Bob Eisenhardt.
Here is a full list of this year’s BAFTA nominees. The WINNERS are listed in bold.
Best Film BlacKkKlansman The Favourite Green Book Roma A Star Is Born
Outstanding British Film Beast Bohemian Rhapsody The Favourite McQueen Stan & Ollie You Were Never Really Here
Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer Apostasy — Daniel Kokotajlo Beast — Michael Pearce, Lauren Dark A Cambodian Spring — Chris Kelly Pili — Leanne Welham, Sophie Harman Ray & Liz — Richard Billingham, Jacqui Davies
Film Not in the English Language Capernaum Cold War Dogman Roma Shoplifters
Documentary Free Solo McQueen RBG They Shall Not Grow Old Three Identical Strangers
Animated Film Incredibles 2 Isle of Dogs Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse
Director BlacKkKlansman — Spike Lee Cold War — Paweł Pawlikowski The Favourite — Yorgos Lanthimos Roma — Alfonso Cuarón A Star Is Born — Bradley Cooper
Original Screenplay Cold War The Favourite Green Book Roma Vice
Adapted Screenplay BlacKkKlansman Can You Ever Forgive Me? First Man If Beale Street Could Talk A Star Is Born
LeadingActress Glenn Close — The Wife Lady Gaga — A Star Is Born Melissa McCarthy — Can You Ever Forgive Me? Olivia Colman — The Favourite Viola Davis — Widows
Leading Actor Bradley Cooper — A Star Is Born Christian Bale — Vice Rami Malek — Bohemian Rhapsody Steve Coogan — Stan & Ollie Viggo Mortensen — Green Book
Supporting Actress Amy Adams — Vice Claire Foy — First Man Emma Stone — The Favourite Margot Robbie — Mary Queen of Scots Rachel Weisz — The Favourite
Supporting Actor Adam Driver — BlacKkKlansman Mahershala Ali — Green Book Richard E. Grant — Can You Ever Forgive Me? Sam Rockwell — Vice Timothée Chalamet — Beautiful Boy
Original Music BlacKkKlansman If Beale Street Could Talk Isle of Dogs Mary Poppins Returns A Star Is Born
Cinematography Bohemian Rhapsody Cold War The Favourite First Man Roma
Editing Bohemian Rhapsody The Favourite First Man Roma Vice
Production Design Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald The Favourite First Man Mary Poppins Returns Roma
Costume Design The Ballad of Buster Scruggs Bohemian Rhapsody The Favourite Mary Poppins Returns Mary Queen of Scots
Makeup & Hair Bohemian Rhapsody The Favourite Mary Queen of Scots Stan & Ollie Vice
Sound Bohemian Rhapsody First Man Mission: Impossible — Fallout A Quiet Place A Star Is Born
Special Visual Effects Avengers: Infinity War Black Panther Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald First Man Ready Player One
British Short Animation I’m OK Marfa Roughhouse
British Short Film 73 Cows Bachelor, 38 The Blue Door The Field Wale
EE Rising Star Award Barry Keoghan Cynthia Erivo Jessie Buckley Lakeith Stanfield Letitia Wright
Last night, movie and TV fans around the world watched the 76th Golden Globe Awards, where award winners were announced and presented with the famed statuettes at a televised dinner ceremony hosted by Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg.
The Golden Globe Awards are voted on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and have been given out to cast and crew of film and television productions since 1944. The awards show is typically looser and more casual than other ceremonies like the Emmys and Academy Awards, with Hollywood stars drinking and mingling in a dinner atmosphere.
Highlights of the evening include Jeff Bridges winning the Cecil B. DeMille Award for outstanding contributions to the entertainment industry and the subsequent, seemingly off-the-cuff speech he gave that ranged from heartfelt thanks to his family and collaborators to the invention of ship rudders called trim tabs. Among many other feelings, Bridges referred to his role in The Big Lebowski: “If I’m lucky, I’ll be associated with The Dude for the rest of my life.”
Other memorable moments from the evening included host Sandra Oh speaking to her parents from stage and winning a Globe herself for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama for her role in Killing Eve, and a surprise appearance by Taylor Swift, who presented the awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song. The latter award went to Lady Gaga for “Shallow”, seen here being covered by New York Film Academy (NYFA) student Amanda Jerlov:
Additionally, the second Golden Globes ceremony since the start of the #MeToo movement contained multiple nods, references, and calls to action for more diversity in the entertainment industry for women and people of color.
The big winners of the night was an eclectic mix of expected wins for favorites, mild surprises, and upsets. The Americans won Best Television Series – Drama for its final season, while The Kominsky Method won Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy for its inaugural first season. In a year of genre-bending films, Green Book won for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy while Bohemian Rhapsody took home the prize for Best Motion Picture – Drama.
Veteran actress and previous New York Film Academy guest speaker Glenn Close also surprised many with her win for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, for which A Star is Born lead Lady Gaga was considered a favorite. Close seemed genuinely surprised and gave a powerful, tearful speech that touched on her mother and gender roles in both the industry and society as a whole.
After describing how her mother regretted not doing more with her life, Close told the audience, “Women — we’re nurturers — and that’s what’s expected of us… but we have to find personal fulfillment. We have to follow our dreams. We have to say, ‘I can do that’ and ‘I should be allowed to do that.’”
Other NYFA guest speakers were at the Golden Globes too, as well as several alumni. New York Film Academy Acting for Film alum Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (Widows, The Magnificent Seven) was in attendance, as was NYFA Camp alum Lana Condor (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, X-Men: Apocalypse.)
Former Saturday Night Live star and NYFA Workshop Alum Bill Hader was also present last night. Hader earned five Emmy nominations last year for his work on Barry, a dark comedy about a midwestern hitman who moves to Hollywood to become an actor. At that awards show, Hader picked up the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor. The Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy was the latest achievement in the comedic actor’s evolving career.
The show itself was nominated for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy, an impressive feat for a new series with only one season of episodes to date. Barry has received glowing reviews since its 2018 debut, with Hader’s performance being an obvious standout.
Hader’s Barry co-star, Henry Winkler, was also nominated for a Golden Globe, for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television. The veteran television actor has previously been a guest speaker at New York Film Academy.
Other guest speakers and lecturers at New York Film Academy have also worked on several Golden Globe-nominated works this year, including Adam Driver. Driver spoke with NYFA students in New York City earlier this year, and has a featured role in BlacKKKlansman, nominated for Best Motion Picture – Drama.
Guest speaker for NYFA Los Angeles Amy Smeed served as an animator on Ralph Breaks the Internet,Golden Globe nominees for Best Motion Picture – Animated. Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose agent Andrew Finkelstein spoke with NYFA students in a productive Q&A at our Los Angeles campus, was a nomineefor Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for his role in Mary Poppins Returns.
Additionally, Francesco Panzieri, an alum of New York Film Academy’s animation school, worked on the HBO series Westworld, whose star Thandie Newton earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television. Panzieri is a Visual Effects artist whose other credits include Spider-Man: Homecoming, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Avengers: Infinity War.
Eric Demeusy, who attended the 1-Year Filmmaking program at NYFA’s film school in Los Angeles, also worked on Westworld, having helped create its famous and evocative title sequence. Demeusy has previously won the Emmy for Main Title Design for his work on Netflix smash hit, Stranger Things.
The New York Film Academy is proud to see its alumni and other members of its community involved with such highly regarded, award-winning productions.
Congratulations to all of this year’s winners and nominees! Here is a full list of the winners and nominees for the 2019 Golden Globe Awards:
Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Green Book The Favourite Vice Mary Poppins Returns Crazy Rich Asians
Best Motion Picture, Drama
Bohemian Rhapsody BlacKkKlansman If Beale Street Could Talk Black Panther A Star Is Born
Best TV Movie or Limited Series
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story The Alienist Escape at Dannemora Sharp Objects A Very English Scandal
Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy
The Kominsky Method The Good Place The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Kidding Barry
Best TV Series, Drama
The Americans Bodyguard Homecoming Killing Eve Pose
Best Foreign Language Film
Roma Capernaum Girl Never Look Away Shoplifters
Best Motion Picture, Animated
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Incredibles 2 Isle of Dogs Mirai Ralph Breaks the Internet
Best Director – Motion Picture
Alfonso Cuaron, Roma Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman Adam McKay, Vice Peter Farrelly, Green Book
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie; Green Book Alfonso Cuaron, Roma Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, The Favourite Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk Adam McKay, Vice
Best Original Score – Motion Picture
Justin Hurwitz, First Man Marco Beltrami, A Quiet Place Alexandre Desplat, Isle of Dogs Ludwig Goransson, Black Panther Marc Shaiman, Mary Poppins Returns
Best Original Song – Motion Picture
“Shallow,” A Star is Born “All The Stars,” Black Panther “Girl in the Movies,” Dumpling “Requiem for a Private War,” A Private War “Revelation,” Boy Erased
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk Amy Adams, Vice Claire Foy, First Man Emma Stone, The Favourite Rachel Weisz, The Favourite
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Mahershala Ali, Green Book Timothée Chalamet, Beautiful Boy Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me? Sam Rockwell, Vice
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Glenn Close, The Wife Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born Nicole Kidman, Destroyer Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me? Rosamund Pike, A Private War
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Christian Bale, Vice Lin Manuel Miranda, Mary Poppins Returns Viggo Mortinson, Green Book Robert Redford, The Old Man and the Gun John C Riley, Stan And Ollie
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman
Best Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie
Patricia Arquette, Escape at Dannemora Amy Adams, Sharp Objects Connie Britton, Dirty John Laura Dern, The Tale Regina King, Seven Seconds
Best Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie
Darren Criss, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story Antonio Banderas, Genius: Picasso Daniel Bruhl, The Alienist Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Melrose Hugh Grant, A Very English Scandal
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited Series, or TV Movie
Patricia Clarkson, Sharp Objects Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Penelope Cruz, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story Thandie Newton, Westworld Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid’s Tale
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited Series or TV Movie
Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method Kieran Culkin, Succession Edgar Ramirez, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story Henry Winkler, Barry
Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Kristen Bell, The Good Place Candice Bergen, Murphy Brown Alison Brie, Glow Debra Messing, Will & Grace
Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy
Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method Sasha Baron Cohen, Who Is America? Jim Carrey, Kidding Donald Glover, Atlanta Bill Hader, Barry
Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve Caitriona Balfe, Outlander Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale Julia Roberts, Homecoming Keri Russell, The Americans
Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama
Richard Madden, Bodyguard Jason Bateman, Ozark Stephan James, Homecoming Billy Porter, Pose Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Twenty students from the Chinese GMFZ High School joined a 1-Week Animation Workshop from July 30th to August 3rd at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus. At the end of the course, the students prepared a special Tea Performance to show their appreciation to the New York Film Academy (NYFA).
During the week-long animation workshop, the students learned about Paper Puppets, Stop Motion Animation, Visual Story, VFX, and Editing. In addition, they had the opportunity to film on the Universal Studios Backlot, Hollywood’s world-famous lot where movies such as American Beauty, Back to the Future, and Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds have been filmed. NYFA has a special relationship with Universal Studios, where students have the unique opportunity to spectate the importance of “studio life” to the Los Angeles area up close and first-hand, while also getting the one-of-a-kind experience of shooting on the lot themselves.
The location shooting went very well as students were taught hands-on skills in storytelling. The GMFZ students showed satisfaction with this learning experience upon getting their certificate at the end of the week.
The program was concluded with the Chinese GMFZ School performing a unique tea performance, a cultural exchange that was greatly appreciated by NYFA staff and faculty. The performance demonstrated the traditional Chinese art of tea tasting as a show of gratitude to NYFA for arranging their Animation Workshop.
During the ceremony, students explained the history and procedures involved in the art of tea-making with a recital and performance. A sample of 10 kinds of teas from various provinces in China were brought to the Chair of Animation, Craig Caton-Largent, who happened to be an ardent fan of Chinese tea.
The New York Film Academy proudly holds a special relationship with Chinese filmmaking students. In 2017, President of NYFA Michael Young visited multiple schools in China, and the Academy has offered local workshops in Shanghai and Beijing. The New York Film Academy congratulates the Chinese GMFZ High School students on their completion of the 1-Week Animation Workshop, and warmly extends their gratitude for their exquisite Tea Ceremony!
Francesco Panzieri is no stranger to big hits, both in television and film. Panzieri’s name has been included in the credits for Spider-Man: Homecoming, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Mad Men, True Detective, Westworld, and many others.
Still, the New York Film Academy alum’s most recent work on Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War may be the biggest film he has worked on to date. The superhero blockbuster raked in $630 million on its opening weekend, which is the biggest opening of all time.
The digital effects compositor sat down with us to discuss Avengers, his upcoming projects, and how his time at NYFA helped prepare him for career.
NYFA: How did your experience on Infinity War compare to the other Marvel films you’ve worked on? Francesco Panzieri: On my first Marvel movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming, I was actually working in-house within Marvel Studios, where I was tasked with 2D live-action visual effects. As such, my work scope was compositing actors from green screen onto photographed backgrounds, monitor insert, wire removal, plate re-timing, re-positioning, scale-up and split-screen.
On Thor: Ragnarok and eventually Avengers: Infinity War, the team at Digital Domain had to deal with some intricate compositing of CG characters onto live-action plates. I came aboard late in the game on Thor, yet I was still lucky to get some cool looking shots, including the composite of a blue-screen take of Chris Hemsworth over a fully-CG environment in the Sakaar chase sequence, where Thor smashes the engine of a spaceship barehanded.
On Avengers, stakes got higher. Almost every one of our shots in the sequence featured Thanos versus an Avenger; I was very lucky to get him in each of my five shots and by getting to work on one of the trailer shots released to the public two months before the movie came out. Captain America and Thor were the other two characters in my shots, so I also focused on locking down their hands onto Thanos’ gauntlet and head, to make sure that the audience would really perceive that rock solid hold as the Avengers attempt to save half the universe.
DD had developed a technique to color-grade Thanos in a photo-realistic yet nonhuman way while adding some splash of purple on selected areas of his face and body. We also made a great use of the subsurface scattering render-layer to fine-tune his color and deep ID’s for his stubble and hair. Thanos was fully rendered in VRay with many proprietary skin shaders that DD has been continually refining for years; all the compositing was done in Nuke.
NYFA: Was it harder to deal with mo-cap and completely CG characters like Thanos, Groot, and Rocket, or easier to incorporate VFX in their scenes? Francesco: The photo-realism that Digital Domain was trying to achieve on this feature definitely pushed the CG characters to be the most-challenging part. The team really cared about giving them a perfect fitting in the scene under every point of view. We made sure that black levels matched accurately to the live-action plate and brainstormed every possible interactive light from the environment onto the characters and vice versa.
Ultimately, during every session of dailies, the supervisors kept asking, “How can we make the shot look spectacular?” or ‘What is this shot missing from looking memorable?” For Thanos, we had some great rigging work done to enhance all the muscle tension from Josh Brolin’s performance onto his digital character to help perceive the struggle during the fight scenes, as well as the weight he is bringing in the game to fight the Avengers.
All of the Thanos work you see in the movie, with the exception of the sequence on Titan, belongs to the tireless work of the artists at Digital Domain.
NYFA: How much direction, or conversely, freedom, are you given by the directors when crafting VFX? Francesco: It can vary. As previously mentioned, with Marvel, if you’re tasked with something that has already been done in their previous movies, you can rest assured that they will ask you to stay on that same beaten path. Of course, your work might exceed their expectations in terms of presentation and integration, but they really care about keeping the continuity with their previous movies as the MCU is a big shared playground.
On another note, if you’re being asked to introduce something new to the visual story, you can really push the limit of your creativity and submit different versions for their review, as long as you also keep in mind what your VFX supervisor asks you to do and that your work must look coherent with the storytelling.
A shot from The Avengers: Infinity War
NYFA: Was it easier creating VFX taking place in NYC and the real world or easier creating them in the totally made-up space fantasy worlds? Francesco: It is always easier to work with a photographed plate as a reference for compositing anything over it. Trying to create a fully CG environment without any real photographic reference can really make things unfriendly, unless you know precisely what you’re aiming at and what you want it to look like. The flexibility that comes with it can very well be a double-edged weapon if you’re on a tight deadline, however it also gives you plenty of creative freedom to fully express the storytelling.
NYFA: How did NYFA prepare you for this particular job? Francesco: NYFA trained me to work very hard and for long hours. I was able to grasp a solid knowledge of 2D and 3D during my time there, thanks to a very organic and inclusive approach to the art of filmmaking and storytelling. I was able to develop technical and artistic skills that could help me find a job once I graduated, and I had a fantastic time during my studies.
NYFA is excited Francesco’s upcoming work following the tremendous success of Avengers: Infinity War. You can learn more about him and his credits on his website.
The New York Film Academy (NYFA) 3D Animation & VFX and Filmmaking students packed the Riverside Theater at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus for a storyboarding master class from veteran The Simpsons director, Mike Polcino.
The Simpsons just surpassed Gunsmoke to become the longest-running scripted show in television history, and Mike Polcino has been with the Simpsons from the very beginning, directing 31 episodes in addition to episodes from the first season of Family Guy.
Polcino started his career in animation doing all of the tedious work that goes into a massive production such as The Simpsons, such as animation timing and quality control.
“Occasionally, we’d get the final animations back and Bart’s eyes would be looking in two different directions,” Polcino reminisced. “You’d be surprised what people miss.”
His talent was unmistakable and, after a few short years, he moved up to become a director. Since then, Polcino has been a staple at Fox Television Animation, whose office is next door to the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus in Burbank, California.
Polcino took the students through his process of breaking down an Emmy-winning script to put it on screen. Episode #593, Fland Canyon featured some of The Simpsons most cinematic sequences, such as great sweeping shots of the Grand Canyon. Polcino took the enraptured audience through a visualization process to find the key shots.
“Part of the fun,” he said, “is coming up with shots that would be impossible without the animation.”
He then melded the material for both the Animation and Filmmaking students by sharing his process for storyboarding The Simpsons and how it is more directing than animating. The students loved the class, asking for autographs and even taking selfies with the Homer Simpson drawing Polcino left on the whiteboard.
The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mike Polcino for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak with our students.
We are excited to be working with AT&T this year on AT&T SHAPE being held at Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles on June 2-3, 2018. SHAPE is an immersive event that explores the convergence of technology and entertainment. Discover how the future of content creation and distribution will usher in new audience experiences. Get inspired by visionary speakers, and experience interactive exhibits from promising start-ups and industry leaders at Warner Bros. Studios backlots.
New York Film Academy will hold Interactive Demos led by NYFA award-winning instructors. You’ll be able to try out the latest full-body motion capture technology and create a live digital action scene with a fellow performer. See your emotions come to life on animatronics and robotics through the magic of facial motion-data conversion. Get some hands-on experience creating your own VFX video using green screens and the most popular visual effects programs. There will be live Twitch streaming for the gaming enthusiasts, and more.
What Can You Explore at SHAPE 2018?
Take a stroll through interactive exhibits that will demonstrate how technology is revolutionizing entertainment. There will be a variety of demos on display that feature a visual effects studio, full body and facial motion capture, drone and filming tech, virtual and augmented reality and 5G. Here are just a few that you can explore at SHAPE:
Full Dome Pro: Take a step into our 360 projection dome and get transported to the next level in immersive experiences. This is VR made social. No headsets, no goggles, no limits- just breathtaking shared virtual reality. Experience VR you will never forget.
Open the Portal: –Mirror Rorrom, Electronic Countermeasure, and Open the Portal teamed up to create a hall of mirrors unlike any other. A stop motion character will guide you through an experience that transforms your image before your eyes and facilitates a thought-provoking journey for you to consider your own feelings about the future that technology is facilitating and your place within it.
KUKA: See how robotics can enhance the motion picture capture process. KUKA Robotics, in cooperation with their integration partner Motorized Precision, are demonstrating the KIRA 2.0 cinema robotic automation system.
Red: Sample games, movies, and other content on the RED Hydrogen One smartphone before it is released to the public.
Visionary Speakers at SHAPE
Be inspired by visionary speakers as they discuss how new technologies like mixed reality, interactive storytelling, emerging tech in networking, blockchain are transforming digital media, film, television, and gaming. A few of our featured speakers and sessions include the following:
Ava DuVernay: A writer, producer, director, and distributor of independent film, DuVernay will co-host our AT&T Film Awards finals and discuss her experience as an aspiring filmmaker. She is the director of Selma, which chronicles the historic 1965 voting rights campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Her most recent work includes her 2018 film, A Wrinkle in Time. and screening. Join her as we screen the finalists’ films in front of a live audience. Attend this session to vote for your favorite short and help determine who will take home a share of $60,000 in prizes.
Issa Rae: With her own unique flare and infectious sense of humor, Issa Rae’s content has garnered million of views online and she has received two Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress for her hit show, HBO’s Insecure. Issa’s web series, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl was the recipient of the coveted Shorty Award for Best Web Show and her first book, a collection of essays, is a New York Times Best Seller. Rae has graced the cover and pages of major national media outlets including Essence, The Hollywood Reporter, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, CNN, VOGUE and TIME with appearances on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning America, The View and more. She’ll join us at SHAPE for an intimate conversation about her experience in getting to mainstream broadcast.
Brian Krzanich: The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Intel, Krzanich was elected CEO in May 2013 after serving in a variety of technical and leadership roles in manufacturing and as the company’s Chief Operating Officer (COO). As CEO, Krzanich is transforming Intel from a PC-centric to a data-centric company. Under his leadership, Intel has expanded in markets like memory, modems, and programmable solutions while investing in emerging areas such as AI, 5G, and autonomous driving. Hear Krzanich talk about the new ways content will be delivered and monetized through immersive experiences, including how data and investments in 5G will transform networks to meet the growing demand for new entertainment experiences.
Brian McLean: In 2016, McLean was awarded a Scientific and Engineering Oscar® plaque for pioneering the use of 3D printers in stop-motion animated characters. In 2017, he received an Academy Award® nomination for Best Visual Effects for his contributions to Kuboand the Two Strings. In 2009, McLean won an Annie Award for Special Achievement in Animation for his work on Following the release of ParaNorman, he was named by Variety as one of 2012’s “Animation Elite.” Prior to LAIKA, Brian worked as a traditionally trained sculptor and model maker for print and TV ads.
Steve Emerson: An Oscar®-nominated visual effects supervisor and longtime LAIKA collaborator, he has contributed to all four award-winning films: Kubo and the Two Strings, The Boxtrolls, ParaNorman, and Coraline. Prior to joining LAIKA, Steve spent nearly twenty years working in visual effects as an artist and technical director. He has worked on many feature films and television series including The Matrix Reloaded, Transformers, The Dark Knight, and Sliders for Universal Television. In 2017, he received the Visual Effects Society Award for Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature for Kubo and the Two Strings.
Brent Bushnell: An entrepreneur, electrical engineer, software developer, and an authority in immersive entertainment, VR, MR, and AR, Bushnell also serves as CEO of experiential entertainment company, Two Bit Circus. Brent is an expert in the art of engagement and passionate about using immersive technologies to create new ways to capture people’s hearts and minds. The interdisciplinary team strives to create immersive, social fun and is currently building a network of micro-amusement parks featuring free-roaming VR, robot bartenders, an interactive supper club, and more.
Jess Fuselier: A community outreach, marketing, and data specialist, Fuselier pioneered a community outreach program to connect film sets across the U.S. with the communities in which they operate. An experienced coder, she co-founded Young Women Who Code, teaching elementary-age girls the building blocks of STEM education. As Manager of Research and Education at Sundance Institute’s Creative Distribution Initiative, Fuselier works to cultivate meaningful insights rooted in data transparency, in order to create resources that impact the sustainability of the independent film community.
Liz Manashil: In addition to her work at Sundance Institute’s Creative Distribution Initiative, Manashil is also a feature writer and film director. She earned her B.A. in Film & Media Studies at Washington University, and her M.F.A. from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Manashil spent several years as a film critic for the PBS/Hulu series Just Seen It and has worked with distribution guru Peter Broderick. Her debut feature, Bread and Butter, was called “an absolute must-watch for women everywhere” by HelloGiggles. Liz is currently in pre-production on her next film, Speed of Life.
Ross Goodwin: Artist, creative technologist, hacker, gonzo data scientist, and former White House ghostwriter, Goodwin employs machine learning, natural language processing, and other computational tools to realize new forms and interfaces for written language. Ross’s projects—from word.camera, a camera that expressively narrates photographs in real-time using artificial neural networks, to Sunspring (with Oscar Sharp), the world’s first film created from an A.I.-written screenplay—have earned international acclaim.
Oscar Sharp: A BAFTA-nominated British filmmaker, Sharp is best known for short films The Kármán Line, Sign Language, and Sunspring, and upcoming feature Woolly for 20th Century Fox. In 2016, Sharp teamed up with Ross Goodwin and actor Thomas Middleditch to create Sunspring, the first film to be entirely scripted by artificial intelligence and produced widespread international discussion. Sharp and Goodwin followed Sunspring in 2017 with It’s No Game starring David Hasselhoff, in which the actor performs dialogue generated by an AI from a large collection of his past performances.
Every year at SHAPE, a few competitions are held to inspire aspiring filmmakers and creators.
AT&T Create-a-thon:Watch or participate in the AT&T Create-a-thon where you can shoot your short film at Warner Bros. Studios using select iconic cityscapes and backlots. You’ll have a chance to win a $10,000* cash prize for the best, completed film in a number of categories.
AT&T Film Awards: Come see the finals of the AT&T Film Awards, a short film competition for aspiring creators who are using emerging filmmaking technologies to tell their stories. Vote for your favorite short and help determine who will take home a share of $60,000 in prizes, as we screen the finalists’ films in front of a live audience and esteemed panel of judges.
Take the Warner Bros. Studio Tour and explore outdoor sets and soundstages used to create productions such as Gilmore Girls, The Big Bang Theory, and Argo. Visit the DC Universe and walk through the DC Comics Exhibit, the real Central Perk Friends set, original Batman Museum, where you’ll see the Batmobile Collection, and so much more.
Continue to check the schedule on the registration website to give you the most recent information about SHAPE. We hope to see you in Los Angeles in June!
*No purchase necessary, U.S. resident, age of majority. Enter by 4/27/17. Void where prohibited. See Official Rules.
The New York Film Academy (NYFA) celebrated the third year of its partnership with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), with a special event offering scouts the chance to earn merit badges in the visual and performing arts.
Through NYFA, boys and girls from local scouting dens were given the opportunity for special merit badges in Game Design, Filmmaking, Photography, or 3D Animation, through one day of hands-on intensive training at the New York Film Academy. In the morning, scouts attended classes with NYFA instructors, where they learned the basic rules of their selected craft and began to formulate the stories they wanted to tell. By the end of the day, each scout had completed a project and earned a new badge.
The partnership between BSA and NYFA began with NYFA Service Learning Manager Paul McKenna. A native of Burbank, CA, McKenna got the idea for the partnership after reading about a similar program at Harvard. As a father and a scout leader, McKenna explained that many titans of the entertainment industry got their start in programs like the Boy Scouts.
“Both David Lynch and Michael Moore began making films when they were in the scouts,” McKenna said. “Giving these kids an opportunity today could lead to a life-long passion.”
Throughout the day, local scout leaders worked with NYFA instructors to help guide the scouts through the process. Assistant Scout Leader Paul Chiaravalle remarked, “The scouts are really enjoying this. … In scouting, we try to balance both outdoor and technical skills. It’s really nice of NYFA to provide this opportunity.”
Scouts who chose the Filmmaking or Photography tracks at NYFA were taken to the Universal Backlot, where they shot a short film or learned to take portraits against a world-famous backdrop: the European set, which included storefronts, old houses, and even a train station.
The student filmmakers were ultimately responsible for making a three-minute silent film. In teams of four or five, scouts took turns acting, directing, and filming their movies. Photography students learned how to work with light and shadow and were encouraged to explore the dynamic range of natural light. Framing was also heavily emphasized.
At the end of the day, parents were invited to attend an award ceremony. Each scout received a certificate with his or her name on it in addition to their badges, which would be received at a later date. The scouts cheered for one another as they received their awards and celebrated their full day of storytelling through the visual and performing arts.
The New York Film Academy would like to thank Universal Studios, The Boy Scouts of America, and our instructors, who helped make this event possible. Congratulations, scouts!
Craig Caton-Largent has just marked his first anniversary as Chair of 3D Animation & VFX at the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Los Angeles Campus. Caton is renowned in the film industry for his groundbreaking VFX work on beloved blockbusters including Jurassic Park, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles,Big Trouble in Little China, Edward Scissorhands, Apollo 13, Tangled, and more.
To celebrate Craig’s anniversary, we’re sharing some highlights from his first year as chair of the Animation School at NYFA Los Angeles. Here’s looking forward to another great year!
This year, the NYFA Los Angeles 3D Animation School created an art wall and added a display cabinet to show off student work. The wall was a wonderful encouragement and inspiration for 3D Animation & VFX students as they worked on their showcase projects, creating a great talking point in the community and sharing their work with others. It was a great to share all their hard work with the rest of the NYFA community!
It’s been a big year at the NYfA Los Angeles Animation School — this year we’ve seen a 283% increase in student enrollment in our 3D Animation & VFX programs!
The NYFA Los Angeles 3D Animation & VFX School also joined Instagram this year! Follow “nyfa_animation_gaming” and join the conversation!
It’s been a great year for our NYFA Los Angeles 3D Animation &VFX alumni! Here are some inspiring stories:
BFA grad Jessica Chung is the Winner of the LA Livescore Film Festival for Best Original Score for her animation short, Sushi Man.
1-Year Conservatory grad Alex LoRusso isurrently working as an FX Artist at Scanline. Her 2017 major film credits Include Justice League, Pirates 5, & Alien Covenant. She also recently worked on Suicide Squad and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
1-Year Conservatory grad Soraia Malaquias is working as a 3D Generalist at TNF Visual Effects. Her impressive list of 2017 film credits Include: American Gods and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
1-Year Conservatory grad Gabriel Fernandez currently works as a Production Assistant at Eight VFX.
1-Year Conservatory alum Ujala Saini is a VFX/Post Production at Electric Theatre Collective.
There have been a lot of special events to celebrate this year!
Chair Craig Caton’s new animation software Animservo was announced, and NYFA conducted the test phase. The announcement was broadcast live, then received over 20K views in the first hour.
SIGGRAPH is the world’s largest, most influential annual conference and exhibition in computer graphics and interactive techniques. Chair Craig Caton gave demonstrations during the course of the convention at the Faceware Technologies booth.
Motion capture data from Faceware’s Analyzer and Retargeter software was output to an animatronic goblin using Caton’s new animation software, AnimServo.
This year also saw NYFA Los Angeles’ launch of the the Media Lab, to create opportunities for students and instructors to collaborate on research projects.
The first project was testing Chair Craig Caton’s animation software Animservo. With testing successfully completed, Animservo has now be become available atanimservo.com.
Matt Sheehan has been given directorship of the Media Lab and there is an exciting list of topics coming up … stay tuned!
The New York Film Academy’s Guest Speaker Series saw a number of incredible animation and visual effects artists visit to share their insights with NYFA Los Angeles Animation School students.
Amy Lawson Smeed, lead character animator of Disney’s Moana, came for a special screening and talk with Chair Craig Caton. That’s not all — NYFA alum Hanna Johansson then had a chance to meet with Amy personally to discuss her reel!
Amy Lawson Smeed
Byron Bashforth, character shading lead of Disney’s Coco, revealed more Disney magic in an intimate Q&A with Chair Craig Caton.
Head of Research and Development of DreamWorks Animation, Jeff Wike, was another honored guest, who treated Animation School students to a remarkable industry insider perspective on the innovation and inspiration behind much of today’s most cutting-edge animation.
Chair Craig Caton-Largent and Jeff Wikes at NYFA Los Angeles
Jason Liles, the Lead Actor in Netflix’s DeathNote, gave Animation School students an inside perspective of what it’s like for the actors working on the other side of motion capture technology.
There are many exciting projects as we move into Chair Craig Caton’s second year of leadership — stay tuned for more. Congratulations, Craig, on a remarkable 1st anniversary!
On Tuesday, March 6, 2018, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) 3D Animation & VFX students were excited to welcome Oscar-nominated producers Mimi Polk Gitlin and Anthony Leo of The Breadwinner, a feature animation executive-produced by Angelina Jolie.
Leo has produced Justin Bieber’s Believe, the Bruno & Boots Series, and television series Todd and the Book of Pure Evil. Polk Gitlin is perhaps best known for producing Thelma & Louise, and her work with Director Ridley Scott.
NYFA animation students watched the duo’s latest film, The Breadwinner, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Director of the Q&A Series at NYFA Tova Laiter hosted the evening.
Leo first encountered The Breadwinner, based upon by the book of the same name written by Deborah Ellis, while on vacation. One of his daughters had a friend who loved the book. One night, when the girl’s mother was reading the book aloud, everyone, no matter his or her, age stopped to listen. By the end of the vacation, the two families had both completed the book.
Leo didn’t immediately purchase the rights to the book. He was a young producer and unsure if he was ready to dive headfirst into such an important property. But, he and the book continued to cross paths. Finally, years after that fateful trip, when he was at Groundwood Books looking for properties to develop, The Breadwinner was revealed as an option. He jumped at the opportunity.
The decision to adapt the story as an animated film instead of a live-action film was not made lightly. The book was crafted for children ages 10-13 as a part of an educational curriculum. Even so, some of the themes in the book can be challenging to discuss.
“We thought, if we did a live-action film like The Kite Runner, our concern was that we would lose that 10-13 year-old audience the book was meant for,” Leo said. “Through animation, we could help make those harder scenes more palpable for kids and adults.”
From there, the producers looked at which animation studios were making this kind of content. Films like Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis and Cartoon Saloon’s The Secret of Kells had paved the way for animated films with serious content aimed at children. Leo pitched The Breadwinner to Cartoon Saloon and they eagerly agreed to work on the project. Soon, Polk Gitlin joined the team to help with financing and Nora Twomey decided to direct.
The Breadwinner is Polk Gitlin’s first formal introduction to animation. “I’ve always loved movies with strong female protagonists,” she said. “Not only is TheBreadwinner about a strong, young, female protagonist, but it also had great substance. It was an inspirational and helpful film that I thought could educate people about what was going on in this part of the world. I hoped this film would inspire people to get up and help make a difference.”
Polk Gitlin knows how to pick winners. When she and Ridley Scott were producing Alien, she encouraged Ridley to direct. “They’re not going to think of you for this kind of film,” she advised the young filmmaker. “You should take advantage of the fact that we own it and control it.”
When it came time for the Q&A portion of the evening, one student wanted to know what advice the two had for students just beginning their careers in animation.
“You should watch all of the animated shorts nominated for the Oscars,” Polk Gitlin told students. “It showcases multiple styles and all of these filmmakers worked on a very tight budget. It helps shape the way you think about your film. Most of those nominees are students.”
The New York Film Academy would like to thank Leo and Polk Gitlin for taking the time to speak with our students. The Breadwinner is now available to stream on Netflix in the United States.