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  • NYFA Hosts “Theater of War” Performance in Partnership with NYC Department of Veteran Services

    “A great man must live in honor or die an honorable death” were the weighty words spoken by actor Zach Grenier (“The Good Wife,” “Fight Club”), as he voiced the character of Ajax, the mighty Greek warrior. Grenier’s Ajax then turns to his wife, Tecmessa, played by the multiple Tony and Academy Award nominee Amy Ryan, describing the indignities and horrors he has suffered since returning home from the Trojan War.

    Inside the dimly lit walls of New York Film Academy’s (NYFA) campus theater on October 25, the student veterans and their supporters, over a hundred in attendance, were deeply moved by the performances by Mr. Grenier, Ms. Ryan, and NYC Council Member Jumaane Williams.

    Justin Ford, a U.S. Army Combat Veteran, NYC-based filmmaker, and NYFA Alumni, offered, “I never met anyone who sees [“Theater of War”] and isn’t moved — it’s an amazing emotional experience.”

    Like the fabled wars of antiquity, veterans returning home from modern conflict face challenges and obstacles with themselves, their colleagues, and their loved ones stemming from violence. Moral injury is at the center of the discussion that director of “Theater of War” Bryan Doerries hopes to start by utilizing ancient Greek plays to foster constructive community discussion.

    Chair of NYFA’s Veterans Advancement Program Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient and one of the most decorated soldiers of the Vietnam War, gave an opening welcome to the audience before a panel discussion about the challenges and obstacles that come from the invisible wounds of war and combat followed the night’s performance.  

    “Knowing this issue is at least 2,500 years old, it seems silly that we aren’t rock stars at helping our veterans return home from war and give them the help, support, and an environment that facilitates healing,” said USMC combat veteran, infantry officer, and NYFA student, Caleb Wells, who participated in the night’s discussion as a panelist offering his own unique viewpoint on assimilating back into civilian culture after the experience of war.

    Theater has been recognized since the days of ancient city-states as a powerful medium for audiences to experience the release of negative emotions, or catharsis, through performance. Retired Brig. Gen. Commissioner Loree Sutton, MD of New York City’s Department of Veteran Services, has supported the dialogue through the City’s Public Artist in Residency Program, believing that an open dialogue is key to reducing stigma and encouraging sufferers of PTSD and moral injury to seek assistance.  

    “New York Film Academy, being an avid supporter of the veteran community and veterans in the arts, was eager to host the ‘Theater of War’ performance,” stated NYFA’s VP for Strategic Initiative Jim Miller. “The evening was important to us because we not only provided this powerful performance to veteran students, but our non-veteran students were able to better understand their classmates who have experienced war, and the scars that combat leaves on their emotions. NYFA is grateful to Commissioner Sutton and Mr. Doerries for this very special opportunity.”

    November 6, 2017 • Academic Programs, Acting, Community Highlights, Film School, Filmmaking, Veterans • Views: 804

  • Acting for Film Alum Matty Cardarople to be in “Stranger Things” Season Two

    The long-awaited second season of  “Stranger Things” premieres Friday, October 27th on Netflix, and NYFA’s very own Matty Cardarople will be in multiple episodes.

    Having studied acting for film at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus, Matty has had roles in a number of hits on television and on the big screen. His credits include parts in hit films including “Jurassic World” and “The Big Sick” as well as television shows “The New Girl,” “Scrubs,” “Bella and the Bulldogs,” “Comedy Bang! Bang!,” “You’re the Worst,” Netflix’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” and ABC’s “Selfie.”

    Matty Cardarople is in Season two of Stranger Things

    In his most recent role on season two of “Stranger Things,” Matty will play Keith, an employee of the local video arcade, The Palace. You can expect Keith to primarily interact with the boys—Mike, Dustin, Will, and Lucas–possibly withholding some treasured information in hopes of obtaining a favor…

    Matty visited NYFA’s Los Angeles campus as part of the Guest Lecture Series and had this advice for aspiring actors:

    “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.”

    Season one’s cast prominently featured NYFA Board Member and Master Class Lecturer Matthew Modine as Dr. Martin Brenner – a character whose appearance Modine has a strong hand in styling. The same cast won a SAG award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.

    The New York Film Academy would like to congratulate Matty on his ongoing success. We look forward to seeing him in the upside-down.

    October 25, 2017 • Acting, Entertainment News, Guest Speakers • Views: 1690

  • NYFA Gold Coast Acting Showcase Enchants the Crowd

    New York Film Academy Gold Coast held their July 2017 Acting for Filmmaking Mid Year Performance Showcase on September 6, a successful night of performance and laughs.

    "All in the Timing" performance by NYFA Gold Coast July 2017 Acting for Film

    “All in the Timing” performance by NYFA Gold Coast July 2017 Acting for Film

    Directed by Acting Lecturer Veronica Neave, students presented excerpts from the play “All In The Timing” by David Ives. Of the performance, Neave stated, “the world according to David Ives is a very odd place. It is enchanting, perplexing, incessantly intelligent and side-splitting funny.”

    "All in the Timing" performance by NYFA Gold Coast July 2017 Acting for Film

    New York Film Academy Australia strives to provide our acting students with engaging material that inspires them to take chances and stretches their talents to better strengthen them.

    "All in the Timing" performance by NYFA Gold Coast July 2017 Acting for Film

    Neave continued, “The July Actors have risen valiantly to this challenge and have give an outstanding performance.” New York Film Academy congratulates the July 2017 AFF students and looks forward to their next showcase!

    "All in the Timing" performance by NYFA Gold Coast July 2017 Acting for Film

    October 17, 2017 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 919

  • NYFA Student Veteran Organization Welcomes New Veteran Students

    Recently, the New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) Student Veteran Organization (SVO) of the NYFA Los Angeles Campus organized a new student welcome event at the local Burbank VFW Ship. The morning began with a breakfast for a Burbank scout troop that was organized by a NYFA alumnus who is also a veteran.

    Veteran students from all branches of service and disciplines met to network and to develop the camaraderie that many service members felt while in the military. The NYFA Student Veteran Organization facilitates these events to build on the vet-to-vet interaction that helps many of our returning warriors as they transition out of the military.

    NYFA welcomes new Veteran students

    Those who attended were able to connect with fellow NYFA veterans and military dependents. “The Burbank VFW is a great resource for our student veterans as they have welcomed all of our veterans with open arms and serve as liaisons to the local community, said Vincent Cugno, NYFA BFA Acting student who also serves as the SVO President.”

    The SVO used this opportunity to host its first meeting of the fall 2017 semester and to introduce the new incoming class of NYFA veteran students and also to discuss ideas as to how to engage the veteran community and to organize events to support their fellow veterans. The SVO plans on creating a Veteran Production team within the College in conjunction with the VFW.

    The New York Film Academy student population is incredibly diverse just as is the US military. NYFA’s enrollment is more than 50% international students who come from many different countries, backgrounds, and all have unique life experiences. The SVO intends to bring NYFA veteran students together with their classmates from around the world to tell stories in collaboration.

    The SVO is collaborating with the NYFA Service Learning Department and the City of Burbank – Thank A Soldier event on 21 October.

    October 17, 2017 • Acting, Veterans • Views: 738

  • NYFA Graduates Organize Donation Center for Mexico Earthquake Victims

    New York Film Academy Acting for Film alumnae Laura Gudino, Diana Perez and Diana Valencia have spent the last few weeks organizing relief efforts for the victims of the Mexico earthquake. The actresses set up a donation center in downtown Los Angeles and worked round the clock organizing and packing goods that were then sent to the earthquake-stricken areas of Mexico.

    NYFA sat down with these incredible ladies for a full account of their experience.

    Donation Center in downtown LA | Mexico Earthquake

    NYFA: How did you start your donation center?

    It started as an idea of 7 Mexican friends (Diana Valencia, Laura Gudiño, Nitzia Chama, Diana Pérez, Armando Bernal, Mauricio Guzmán & Katia S.T.) who were completely heartbroken after the consecutive earthquakes that hit our beloved country. We were looking for a way to help and after some investigation, we discovered there were no donations centers in LA. With the help and generosity of the owner of Patrón Envíos and Shiff Cargo, Armando Bernal, we opened a donation center in Downtown LA. After that, social media helped us spread the word.

    NYFA: Did you decide to start it together and how did that come about? 

    It was September 19th, we were all in different parts of California talking to each other, asking about our families, and trying to be super active on social media, sharing information and contacting people. The day after the earthquake, we met at the shipping company and we started to make a list of what kinds of goods were we going to ask people to donate; we created a work schedule and worked on getting the word out. That night, September 20th, we had a flyer that was sent as public posts in social media and the response was incredible. The first 24 hours we had tons of boxes, volunteers, news reporters, and radio phone calls. It was beautiful.

    NYFA: What has been the most challenging and rewarding parts of these efforts? –

    The most challenging part was enduring the long hours of work. That was the only hard part because there were definitely more rewards. There was so much generosity from the community, celebrities, reporters, TV channels, radio channels, and even companies. People in the donation center became friends, and the energy from morning to sundown was amazing. There were chants, laughter, and cheers. We were able to put together four trailers full of clothes, food, water, medical equipment, medicine, tools, apart from being full of love, hope and strength. The organization that we were able to partner with is Caravana de Amor which took the charge of receiving the donations in Morelos, Mexico and distributed them to those in need. The person in charge of that organization is the writer and radio & TV host, Carlos Márquez.

    NYFA: How can people continue to help? Are there any non-profits or other organizations you recommend donating to? –

    People can continue helping in many ways. Our donation center is closed but there are many organizations like UNICEF, Cruz Roja Mexicana.

    You can follow Diana, Laura, and Diana’s efforts on their official Instagram account, @la4mexico.

    October 13, 2017 • Acting, Community Highlights • Views: 958

  • NYFA Gold Coast Holds July 2017 Acting for Film Mid-Year Student Performances

    This September, New York Film Academy Gold Coast Campus held the July 2017 Acting for Filmmaking mid-year performance showcase for an enthusiastic invited audience.

    The mid-year performances provide Acting for Film students the important opportunity to gain hands-on experience, utilizing what they have learned so far in their course whilst working on challenging material.

    Directed by Acting Lecturer, Veronica Neave, students performed excerpts from the play “All In The Timing” by David Ives.

    On the choice of material: “The world according to David Ives is a very odd place,” explained Neave. “It is enchanting, perplexing, incessantly intelligent and side-splitting funny. The July actors have risen valiantly to this challenge and have give an outstanding performance.”

    October 11, 2017 • Academic Programs, Acting, Community Highlights, Film School • Views: 423

  • NYFA Explores the Legacy of “The Death and Life of Martha P. Johnson”

    “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson” takes a searing look at how American society mistreated transgender and queer civil rights leaders. Directed by David France, the documentary film follows Victoria Cruz as she tries to solve the mystery behind the death of trans-activist and friend, Marsha P. Johnson.

    “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson” is, unfortunately, a timely exploration, not just of the many unsolved murders within the trans community, but of how the queer community, in general, has failed their transgender family. There’s a particularly heartbreaking scene where trans-activist Sylvia Rivera is booed off the stage at the 1973 Pride Parade.

    During a Q and A held at the Netflix compound in Hollywood, France revealed an early working title for the film was, “We All Killed Marsha P. Johnson.” The title conveys the anger and frustration at how little was done to uncover the truth.

    During that Q and A, France said of the legend, “If you were gay and living in ‘queer New York’ during Marsha’s lifetime, you knew Marsha.” Johnson was an incredibly kind woman known for giving away her clothes. If someone complimented how much they loved her scarf, she would remove it from around her neck and hand it to them.

    Martha P. Johnson | Stonewall

    She was also a mother to many. In the early 70’s Johnson created STAR House, a home for transgender youth. The facility was run with her best friend, Sylvia Rivera. For three years they were able to provide safe housing for kids who were often thrown out of their family homes. Johnson didn’t have a job and would often have to prostitute herself to help support those around her.

    It was that kind of spirit that led many to call her a saint. She was a muse to Andy Warhol and a key participant of the Stonewall Riots, which gave birth to the Gay Civil Rights movement in 1969. When her light went out unexpectedly, the LGBTQA community, couldn’t get justice for her. France wanted to know why.

    After seeing the film, we here at NYFA had some questions of our own. We asked Kean O’Brien and Alejandro Ibarra, two LGBTQA identifying faculty members of the New York Film Academy about how Ms. Johnson’s life has affected their lives and why documentaries like this are so important.

    NYFA: What is your relationship to the Stonewall?

    Ibarra: I grew up seeing Stonewall almost like a sacred, mythological place. It is a place I never thought I would see in person. It held a massive importance amongst a community that wasn’t yet tangible to me. The first time I visited the bar, I was an openly gay adult. I got goosebumps all over and my eyes were watery. I participated in a protest at Stonewall earlier this year. We stood against the government’s proposed travel ban. Being there was a powerful thing.

    O’Brien: I have had the luxury of attending Pride Parades because of those who fought for our rights at Stonewall.

    NYFA: What does this historic event mean to you?

    Ibarra: It’s something that has greatly influenced me. Even though I was born much later, I am able to walk down the street, while holding hands with a partner, and I have the option to get married. That is all thanks to the Stonewall movement.

    O’Brien: Every year, at the Pride Parade, we are able to celebrate the brave activists that came before us. They allow us to stand strong within our identities.

    NYFA: What do you know of Marsha P. Johnson?

    Ibarra: Quite a bit, but not enough. I did my thesis in grad school on equality and gay rights. A big part of that was the Stonewall Riots and the major activists that arose from that. Marsha P. Johnson was a part of that research.

    O’Brien: Marsha P. Johnson is one of the trans women of color that have been erased from the history of Stonewall. Marsha, Sylvia Rivera, and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy are trans women who were willing to fight police at Stonewall. They still are symbolic to our community because trans women of color are still being violently murdered.

    NYFA: Has her work affected you personally? How?

    Ibarra: Overall, hearing of someone being so brave, at a time where the danger was much greater, combined with the fact that she’s a woman, is incredibly inspiring. We live in a time when the gay community needs to be very vocal. We have to fight and stand our ground. People like Johnson give us fuel to keep going.

    Her work with the trans and drag community has had an immeasurable impact. She even stood against members of the community who were scared of the images drag culture projected to the straight and cis-gender peoples of the world.

    O’Brien: Marsha P. Johnson is a hero and her fight lives on in many of us today.

    NYFA attends screening of "The Death and Life of Martha P. Johnson"

    NYFA: What other LGBTQ documentaries have had a positive effect on society?
    Ibarra: A recent one that comes to mind is, “Do I Sound Gay?” It addressed a stereotype, not just within the community, but with how other people view LGBTQA individuals. Another powerful documentary that I think all my friends, LGBTQA or not, were affected by, is “Bridegroom.” That film is such a heartbreaking story. I think it moved everyone, regardless of their association or opinion of the community.

    O’Brien: “Paris Is Burning” is a life-changing movie that has affected every queer person I know. This behind-the-scenes look at drag-queen culture was an intersection of race, class, and performative culture. This is another great film about Miss Major Griffin-Gracy and the fierce trans women who were part of Stonewall.

    NYFA: For those who don’t know Ms. Johnson’s legacy, what do you hope this documentary tells them?

    Ibarra: I hope it illuminates young queer people the same way I felt illuminated when I first learned about her. It put a face and name to the people who fought for me. I’m able to live, as openly as I do now, because of her work. It has a different weight and importance when you are able to think of a specific person and be grateful for their contributions.

    O’Brien: I hope it brings awareness and light to the trans women of color that were willing to put their bodies on the line for queer rights. They’ve been erased from history and that’s not right. I hope the film asks people to consider how valuable trans women of color are to our community today. We must protect them.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Netflix for giving us an opportunity to screen this film. Be sure to watch “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson” in theaters and on Netflix starting Friday, October 6th, 2017.

    October 6, 2017 • Acting • Views: 1107

  • NYFA Shows Early Screening of “The Florida Project” with Darren Dean

    On Wednesday, October 4th, New York Film Academy hosted an early screening of the already critically acclaimed “The Florida Project,” as part of the Producing Department’s Industry Speaker Series.  NYFA Instructor and Producer of the film Darren Dean was on hand to introduce the film and participate in a Q&A session following the screening. Produced by Sean Baker, “The Florida Project” focuses on Florida motel residents who live in the shadow of Disney World in and around Celebration, Florida (Kool & The Gang’s post-disco smash “Celebration” blares during the credits). We previously wrote about the film’s premiere at the prestigious Director’s Fortnight at Cannes. The film is being distributed by A24 which has positioned itself as a curator of excellent cinema with recent releases such as “Good Time,” and last year’s excellent, Academy Award-winning “Moonlight.”

    Darren Dean at NYFA

    Producer Darren Dean discusses “The Florida Project” with NYFA Producing Chair Neal Weisman

    Neal Weisman, Chair of Producing at NYFA, introduced the film and moderated the Q&A with his colleague. Dean described his entry into the film industry as such: “I started making films when I was 40. I was working marketing. I worked with Sean, went back to school to complete my degree, and ended up shooting a film he liked.” He continued,”I know no other world. I don’t know the ‘let’s go from the paper, let’s strictly follow the rules’ world.” His unique vantage point was valuable to students who may eventually try to marry traditional methods with experimental filmmaking styles such as Baker and Dean.

    “[Sean] likes to get involved with the families that live in the motels, for example, or, in ‘Prince of Broadway’, the West African street hustlers, or, in ‘Tangerine’, the trans sex workers.” As Mr. Weisman put it, this lends an authenticity and honesty to all of Baker’s work. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned to trust, it’s his instinct.” “Create this pastiche of ‘The Little Rascals. This is Sean’s tribute to ‘The Little Rascals.'”

    “We are two straight, white men from New Jersey who happen to think straight white male filmmaking is boring,” Dean joked referencing his work, such as the acclaimed “Tangerine,” with Baker. The newest film focuses on another marginalized group, the “hidden homeless” people living week-to-week in motels outside of Orlando. A number of the bit parts were people who actually live in the motels with no prior acting experience. Like many actors and actresses in Baker’s previous films, the female lead, Bria Vinaite, was cast from Instagram. Veteran actor Willem Defoe is the “name” of the cast and delivers a powerful performance as the tough but empathetic manager of the motel. The main child character, Moonee, is played by Brooklynn Prince who is astounding and is sure to receive recognition come award season.

    New York Film Academy students from Filmmaking, Screenwriting, Acting for Film, and other disciplines were captivated by the harrowing drama and stuck around for questions afterward. Following the Q&A, Dean was gracious enough to sign posters given by A24 and chat with students and aspiring filmmakers.

    “The Florida Project” is released nationwide this Friday, October 6. Director Sean Baker will be attending a Q&A at AMC Lincoln Square in New York City following the 9pm showing of the film. See below for more info.

    The Florida Project NY Q&As

    UPDATE: “The Florida Project” has since been nominated for the following major awards, among others:

    • Golden Globe – Willem Dafoe for Best Supporting Actor
    • Independent Spirit Award – Sean Baker for Best Director
    • Satellite Award – Sean Baker for Best Director
    • Screen Actors Guild Award – Willem Dafoe for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
    • Gotham Independent Film Award – Brooklynn Prince for Breakthrough Actor

    October 6, 2017 • Acting, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Producing, Screenwriting • Views: 2442

  • NYFA to Host the NYC Premiere of “The Lost Tree”

    The New York Film Academy is proud and excited to play host to a new film directed by Brian A. Metcalf. “The Lost Tree” will be making its New York City premiere next week on October 12th at 4 p.m. at NYFA’s New York campus at 17 Battery Place. Thomas Ian Nicholas, who plays Noah, will be attending and take part in a Q&A after the film.

    The feature-length drama/thriller focuses on a man named Noah, played by Thomas Ian Nicholas, who moves out of the city to an isolated cabin after he is guilt-ridden by the death of his wife. Upon arriving to his new surroundings, he begins noticing supernatural occurrences that seem to be coming from his deceased wife. He soon discovers that the source of the unsettling occurrences is a mysterious and ominous tree. Despite his life being in danger, Noah becomes obsessed with contacting his wife and uncovering the tree’s secrets.

     The Lost Tree NYFA
    About the micro-budget film, Thomas Ian Nicholas said, “I had the privilege of creating it with my friends. It was my third film with Michael Madsen, second with Clare Kramer, and I worked with Lacey [Chabert] on a 9-episode arc of ‘Party of Five.’ Scott Grimes helped me get my first agent back in 1986.” In other words, it was a family affair of sorts. Chabert plays Jenna, Madsen plays John, and Grimes plays Alan.Nicholas describes Metcalf’s approach as “thorough” and says, “He has a distinct vision for each of his projects.” Having acted in four of the director’s projects, Nicholas is very familiar with his work. The director has also worked on “Little Gandhi,” “Strange Ones,” and “Living Among Us.”

    Actor Thomas Ian Nicholas

    Even though he is often known to audiences for a number of comedies since the 90s, Nicholas said drama has actually always been his strength. “Comedy was my weakness when I started acting classes. I’m happy to be returning to my roots.” Over the years, Nicholas has starred in “Rookie of the Year,” “American Pie,” “Party of Five,” “Walt Before Mickey,” and many other films and television shows over the years. He also fronts the Thomas Nicholas Band which has released four albums and toured extensively.

    Thomas Ian Nicholas and Anna Sophia Berglund, who plays Claudia in the film, will be in attendance at the premiere at NYFA on October 12th. After that, “The Lost Tree” is set to be released in 20 theaters nationwide on Friday the 13th of October. Nicholas and Metcalf’s next joint project, the aforementioned “Living Among Us,” was recently picked up and will be released by Vision Films in association with Sony.

    Check out the trailer below:

    October 5, 2017 • Acting • Views: 1524

  • NYFA Los Angeles Celebrates it’s Fall 2017 Graduates

    On Saturday, September 23rd, 2017, the New York Film Academy congratulated another graduating class as they crossed into the next stage of their professional careers. Three ceremonies were held throughout the day to accommodate the more than two hundred students who have now completed their education at NYFA.

    Many students spent the previous day at Warner Brother’s Studios screening their final films on the backlot. The occasion is always an emotional one. Warner Brothers is a Hollywood institution that has been home to some of the greatest names and films in the entertainment industry.

    Families were able to gather for photos before the ceremony began. A NYFA backdrop had everyone looking red carpet ready. When it was time for parents to take their seats, students formed neat rows as they filed into the building.

    This year’s commencement speakers ranged from a Hollywood star, a casting director who worked closely with Stephen Spielberg, and a producer/writer for several of the greatest television shows ever made. Each speaker had a copious amount of advice to give to the graduates. A common theme to all the speeches was that the students should learn from the speaker’s own mistakes so they could do even better in their own careers.

    New York Film Academy | Acting School Graduation

    The first speaker to grace the stage was Valorie Massalas, casting director extraordinaire. Her credits include “Indiana Jones,” “Chaplin,” “Total Recall,” “Alive,” “Honeymoon in Vegas,” “Gods and Monsters,” and “Back to the Future II” and III. She received an Emmy nomination for her work on “Annie.” She is a new inductee into the Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

    Massalas spoke directly to the actors about how the industry has changed since she began her career. The most disturbing change to Massalas is the rise of the social media actor. These are Hollywood hopefuls who have never taken an acting class but have 20 thousand or more followers, and they are being cast in major motion pictures because the heads of studios believe they can put audience members into seats.

    “I’m sharing that with you because it’s disturbing to me that you spend all your time training like you’ve done, with these beautiful people, honing your craft, but if you don’t have social media numbers you could lose a job to somebody who does,” Massalas said. “It’s important for you to be aware of that because it’s just part of our world today. It’s not going to go away, In fact, it’s going to get worse.”

    It wasn’t all bad news. Certainly, some of the changes would be favorable for the next generation chosen to run Hollywood. Social media is also giving other creatives access to the tight-knit entertainment community. “When I was first starting out you didn’t have the kind of access that you have today with social media,” Massalas said.

    “The most important thing you must always remember is that you are the president of your own company. You have to be prepared to run your business like the president of a company. If you’re not doing that, you’re failing your career because nobody is going to run your business better than you.” Massalas warned students.

    New York Film Academy | Film School Graduation

    The second commencement speaker to take the stage was actor Joshua Helman. Helman’s credits include some of the biggest action films of the last ten years including “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” “Jack Reacher.” He’s also been prolific in television starring in HBO’s “The Pacific,” the mini-series “Flesh and Bone,” and M. Night Shyamalan’s “Wayward Pines.”

    Throughout Helman’s hilarious speech, he blended solid life advice with anecdotes from his time getting started in the industry. He began with a bit of advice he had learned from a teacher. “When I was in acting school, a singing teacher told me that the most valuable things an entertainer has to offer the audience are vulnerability and generosity. And not only have I never forgotten that, but I found it to be true.” He concluded this thought saying, “Come back to vulnerability and generosity. It will never be wrong. Find the stuff that challenges you, the truth that scares you, and offer it up to the world with joy.”

    Helman also wanted to prepare students for the reality of how long it can take to start a career. “You have to prove yourself and that can suck. It means working a day job, it means losing sleep, and it means facing long stretches of seemingly infinite time when you feel like you are going nowhere. That is par for the course. Each of you, if you’re not an insane person, is going to want to give up at some point…”

    But, Helman amended, there’s a way to survive the hard years. “You can make peace with it if you never forget that you are doing it in order to do the job that you love and that (entertainment) is your real job.”

    New York Film Academy | Producing School Graduation

    The final speaker of the night was Cherie Steinkellner. She is perhaps best known for producing the multi-award winning television show, “Cheers.” She also wrote for such groundbreaking shows as “The Jeffersons” and “Who’s the Boss?” Finally, she wrote for and produced the Disney animated series and feature film, “Teacher’s Pet” starring Nathan Lane.

    Steinkellner takes issue with the adage, “Those who can’t-do, teach.” “I don’t believe that to be true,” she said. “I think those who can’t-do, learn. Which is to say, if you find yourself to be an irresistible force up against an immovable object, if you find that you can’t achieve something, instead of fighting the same darn thing, consider that the point isn’t to step over that obstacle. Maybe the point of the lesson is: What can I learn from this?”

    With that thought in mind, Steinkellner also wanted to make sure students didn’t think that graduating meant their best days were behind them. She closed out her speech stating,

    “When I was in school, in the seventies, people would say to me these are the best years of your life. I hated that. School is short and life is long. You will never forget the years that you have spent here at the New York Film Academy. I haven’t forgotten the years that I spent in college. Please, trust this elder. The good stuff is all ahead of you. Let’s see what you make. Let’s see what you do. Let’s see your ‘weird.’ Congratulations on your graduation and welcome my friends to the best years of your life.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Joshua Helman, Valorie Massalas, and Cherie Steinkellner for taking the time to speak with our students. We’d also like to congratulate all of our incredible students on their graduation. We hope to see you back here soon, telling the next generation your success story.

    MFA in Acting:

    Vicente Almuna Morales

    Ainur Rauilyevna

    Alejandra Gonzalez

    Vincson Green II

    Haoran Li

    Elizabeth Otaola Cortina

    Nanli Wang

    Chaoyue Zhao

     

    BFA in Acting:

    Melissa Abugattas Lozada

    Reya Al-Jaroudy

    Ratnavali Anderson

    Ira Calilung

    Whitney Cheng

    Abbilyn Chuha

    Jennifer Anne Cipolla

    Briana Davis

    Joseph Ekstrom

    Michael Furlough

    Emmanouil Giamas

    Maria Manuela Gomez

    Anes Hasi

    Christian Elijah Leighty

    Nina Madzirov

    Phillip McNair

    Bethany Rhiannon Daisy Milner

    Rebecca Momo

    Alessio Mongardi

    Analisa Moreno

    Vanessa Rene Nuevo

    Chunxiao Ouyang

    Trinity Page

    Fernando Peralta

    Zachary Thomas Perry

    Raven Ramos

    Maurice Roberson II

    Simran Sangian

    Billy Xiong

    Ming Jie Yang

     

    AFA in Acting:

    Tia Blackwill

    Corinna Camero

    Melissa Celikovic

    Jassen Charron

    Gregory James Drake

    Kurt Alexander Eberle

    Andre Forrest

    Aaliyah Jones

    Wadley Sterlin

    Travis Nevin Tendler

    Robert Tevlin

    Danielle Torck

     

    MFA in Producing:

    Mazen Aleqbali

     

    BFA in Producing:

    Ruddy Cano Hernandez

    Nyshon Ferrell

    Carlos Gonzalez

    Chor Kei Hui

    Brandon William McCarthy

    Thandiwe Mlauli

    Gilma Edith Montecer Lore

    Sagar Patel

    Angel J. Pitre

    Sim Sagiroglu

    Peijun Zou

     

    AFA in Producing:

    Mengying Sun

     

    MFA in Photography:

    Amal Alahdal

    Dania Saud Altalhi

    Pamela Garcia-Aguirre

     

    BFA in Photography:

    Rushank Anil Agrawal

    Brenda Cantu

    Tanya Gawdi

    Kingi Kingibe

    Ziomara Ramirez

    Wen Tao Tu

     

    MFA in Documentary:

    Sultan Sulaiman Aljurays

    Camilla Elisabeth Borel Rinkes

    Amira Hamour

    Ashley Danielle Harris

    Yuan Li

    Kristin Lydsdottir

    Huda Abdulsalam Moraidikha

    Maria Carolina Sosa Andres

    Guangli Zhu

     

    MFA in Cinematography:

    Jhonny Fabian Garcia Sarmiento

    Rafael O. Rivera

    Maria Sevilla

    Manuel Velasquez Isaza

     

    MFA in Film:

    Joud AlAmri

    Gerald Albitre

    Mahfouz Maeid M. Alzahrani

    Almaz Amandossov

    Dias Azimzhanov

    Yang Bai

    Alma Baimuratova

    Rushikesh Bhadane

    Beatriz Cabrera Figuerez

    Xiaoyue Cao

    Yue Chen

    Moataz Ezzat Elsayed Gamal Elbahaey

    Boise Badilla Esquerra

    Efrain Santiago Fierro

    Anuja Ganpule-Sheorey

    Zesheng Gao

    Mariia Gerasymiuk

    Di Hang

    Amber A. Harris

    Jacob Houghton

    Oboatarhe Ikuku

    Runjie Ji

    Annu Kapil

    Gabriela Ledesma

    Jian Li

    Yitong Li

    Yixin Liang

    Gengru Liu

    Zichen Liu

    Michael Louka

    Kendra McDonald

    Rachel Gebrael Meguerdijian

    Maria Mitkovskaya

    Sonakshi Mittal

    Aditya Rajendra Mohite

    Amanda Molefe

    Rima Mori

    Dina Najialdaies

    Vibhav Vinayak Nayak

    Kevin Nwankwor

    Anita Name Dos Santos

    Hiroki Ohsawa

    Derek Parker

    Ana Camila Parra Bernal

    Yuntong Peng

    Rene Rodriguez

    Francia Romero

    Guoqiang Sheng

    Yu Sheng

    Savannah Sivert

    Jourdain Antoine Smith

    Julien Supplice

    Mohitha Vankima

    Shashank Narendra Varma

    Chenyi Wang

    Tixiao Wang

    Zheng Wang

    Erxuan Wu

    Yuzuan Wu

    Lijun Yang

    Meng Yu

    Xiankai Zhang

    Xiaoxiao Zhang

    Xiwen Zhang

    Rui Zhu

    Xuerong Zhu

     

    AFA in Film:

    James Bonfiglio

    Peter Farquhar

    Casey Swing

    Zhen Wang

     

    MFA in Screenwriting:

    Jean-Baptiste Hakim

    Keaton Kaplan

    Kobus Louw

    Aida Marie-Louise Noujaim

     

    MA in Screenwriting:

    Kwang Jin Chai

    Rosa Falu-Carrion

    Samuel Gonzalez Jr.

    Roberto Tapia

     

    BFA in Screenwriting:

    Nick Davis

    Nawaf al Hoshani

    Felix Martinez Autin

     

    MFA in Game Design:

    May Alotaibi

     

    BFA in Game Design:

    Cody Fowler

    Min Han

    Alecksandar Jackowicz

    Mario Monaco

     

    MA in Film:

    Mina Abrahim

    Vedang Bhatt

    Dhriti Borah

    Julian Andres Bueno Sanchez

    Maurice Cassidy

    Jaya Prasad Chitturi

    Xingyue Dai

    Abdallah ElDaly

    Jiawei Gao

    Giunel Ismaiylova

    Abebowale Johnson

    Melissa Johnson

    Vicken Joulfayan

    Chenyang Li

    Mengke Li

    Xi Lin

    Yilin Liu

    Haixiao Lu

    Hin Lam Allan Ng

    Yu Qiu

    Srikanth Navarathna Raju

    Jose Mario Salas Boza

    Kongpob Sangsanga

    Elizabeth Soto-Lara

    Sukrut Shirish Teni

    Jianyu Wang

    Yu Wang

    Jiaxing Wu

    Sipei Wu

    Xueqing Wu

    Siqi Xiao

    Qingjing Yan

    Zain Zaman

    Chen Zhang

    Yiyun Zhang

    Yang Zhou

     

    BFAin Film:

    Ryan Adams

    Sara Ait Benabdallah

    Fawaz Saleh Al-Batati

    Basil Alamri

    Abdullah Saleh Alawaji

    Hani Alqattan

    Ayman Ahmed Alzahrani

    Jascha Bellaiche

    Rolf Niklas Martin Berggren

    Ambre-India Bourdon

    Tammy Cook

    Jose Guilherme Correia Jr.

    Antonio Gassan Darwiche

    Rumena Dinevska

    Gabriel Erwin

    Cirenia Raquel Escobedo Esquivel

    Jiaqing Ge

    Daniel Ivan Gonzalez Ramirez

    Oliver Granö

    Kartikye Gupta

    Akira Hayakawa

    Anton Hermawan

    Nuria Stella Hernandez

    Dongyan Jiang

    Yudi Jiang

    Autumn Joiner

    Joanna Krawczyk

    Henrique Kraychete Freire

    Gabriel Legua

    Xuejiao Liu

    Zhuangzi Liu

    Ana Catalina Loret de Mola

    Mario Mazzarella

    Eric Milzarski

    Nikola Nikolovski

    Varunn Pandya

    Konstantinos Pateronis

    Vladislav Petrov

    Celeste Pillay

    Katherine Pinkston

    Albert Theodore Pranoto

    Anastasia Reinhard

    Alejandro Rojas Melo

    Brooke Schulte

    Richard Selvi

    Denis Semikin

    Muhamad Ashram Shahrivar

    Shiyi Shao

    Jiajin Song

    Michael Tharp

    Hary Johann Tuukkanen Itriago

    Santos Verdia-Cross

    Tiange Wei

    Assem Yedgey