Cinematography
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  • NYFA Los Angeles Holds Social Media Networking Night

    _DSC7452Chair of Industry Outreach and Professional Development Barbara Weintraub held a Social Media Networking Night at NYFA Los Angeles in late July. Over 220 students from the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus attended the event held in the Riverside Building.

    The lobby was filled with film companies like Film Independent and New Filmmakers LA. They were there to share opportunities for students, membership experiences, and career paths.

    A color-coded system helped students get in touch with other students. Small dots on name tags indicated whether the attending was an actor, filmmaker, photographer, or game designer.  

    “There are so many students that I hadn’t met,” said acting student An Phan. “I’m at the Barham building most of the time while the photography and filmmaking students are at Riverside. I never get to interact with them. I saw a lot of portfolios and I was blown away by how talented everyone was. It was great interaction. I had a lot of fun.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to wish all the students applying for professional memberships and those students teaming up to work on a project success on their next venture.

  • June Graduation for NYFA Teens and Kids Summer Camps

    On Friday, June 27, the first New York Film Academy teen and kids summer camp programs came to an end. As students waited for their graduation ceremony to start, they took selfies while their parents banded together.

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    As the lights dimmed, the acting students presented their one to two minute monologues. Their head shots were projected before the video began. Filmed against a white background “audition style,” each actor chose a unique piece to perform.

    Then, the student’s short films were screened. Their backdrop was the Universal backlot, the same place “Hairspray” was filmed. Students were given a challenge to make a movie without dialogue. They wrote, directed, filmed, and edited their own productions from start to finish.

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    Their instructors and councilors were in attendance and issued certificates of completion. In their farewells they offered words of encouragement. Camera Instructor Bart Mastronardi offered the wise words of Helen Keller: “Life is either an incredible journey or it’s nothing at all.”

    “In five days you’ve done an amazing job. This is one of the best one-week programs. You’re all so ambitious. Parents and grandparents keep pushing these kids. They really appreciate it. Even if they don’t always show it,” said NYFA Instructor Martin Thompson.

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    After they collected their certificates each student was given a copy of their work to use for reels or to share with friends and family. The graduates and their families finished the night with cupcakes and dancing by the pool.

    Head of programs Ale Salinas described the programs objectively in her farewell, stating, “Some of you may have learned that this isn’t what you want to do at all, that’s valid, too. But I’m being honest when I say we’re going to miss you.”  6B2A0062

    The New York Film Academy would like to congratulate all of the students in finishing their first film. We look forward to the seeing second film real soon.

  • Chair of Cinematography Tony Richmond Screens His Classic “The Man Who Fell to Earth” At NYFA Los Angeles

    On Monday, June 26 New York Film Academy students were treated to a star-studded screening. NYFA’s Chair of Cinematography Tony Richmond screened his classic film “The Man Who Fell to Earth.” The film’s leading lady Candy Clark joined him for the discussion of one of David Bowie’s most popular films.

    Directed by Nicolas Roeg,The Man Who Fell to Earth is about an alien (Bowie) trying to save his planet by siphoning water off of Earth. To do so, he assumes the identity of Thomas Jerome Newton, starts a billion dollar company, and moves in with Mary-Lou (Clark). But the creature could not predict the cruelty of business done here on Earth and soon must face the consequences.

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    Film critic and frequent NYFA collaborator Peter Rainer hosted the Q and A. Rainer kicked off the evening by enquiring about working with the renowned director and frequent collaborator of Richmond, Nicholas Roeg.

    Landing the lead male role for any film can be difficult. Roeg originally had someone else in mind for the role. As Richmond shared, “Nick’s first choice was Michael Crichton. He was very tall. He was going to do it and then pulled out. The whole thing kind of fell apart. Then Nick saw ‘Cracked Actor,’ a documentary on David Bowie on the television. They scheduled a meet-up. Bowie kept him waiting for about six hours, eventually said he would do it, and then we were off and running.”

    Many perceive “The Man Who Fell to Earth to be a science fiction film. According to Rainer, this is not the case: The themes are much more closely related to a family drama. This weird blend of genres along with the magnetism of superstar David Bowie at the helm the film led to the creation of a hit. But, as actress Candy Clark told students, not everyone thought that success would translate.

    “It’s a two hour and twenty-three-minute movie,” Clark began. “Donald Rugoff, head of Cinema 5 at the time, was like Harvey Weinstein. He had a reputation for putting out art house films that exemplified the director’s vision. But with this film, he started seeing dollars. Nick Rogue and Graeme Clifford had spent a year and a half meticulously cutting this film, piece by piece. Rugoff got a hold of it. Despite his reputation, he decided to cut twenty-three minute. He hired a guy who cuts commercials. This film took a year to cut. The new guy did it in a week. He just willy-nilly took out stuff.”

    While touring to promote the film, Clark saw the fist American cut of the film.  She called Nick immediately after, but the damage was done. “Years later I called up Cinema 5. I pitched this big lie that I was getting asked about the film all of the time.” Clark then convinced them to release the original cut of the film, saying she told them, “You don’t have to spend any money. Just take the original poster and add a banner with the word: uncut. I’ll promote it any way you want … As a result, the American cut has dwindled to the wayside. All that is seen now is the director’s cut. It’s now out on Criterion. I never gave up on this film.”

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    During the Q and A, one student asked how Richmond planned so many of the daytime shots to get the light just right.

    Richmond revealed, “I would like to say that I did it. But I was so, so lucky with the sky. Every time we did some vast exterior there would be this incredible sky. The scene with the cottage, for instance, that cloud hung over the cottage all day. It never moved. I went back to Mexico and I was going through this little town and I felt like I’d been there. Now, it’s a huge artist commune.” The location holds artistic magic.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Tony Richmond and Candy Clark for sharing their experiences with our students. We would also like to thank Peter Rainer for hosting the night’s festivities. The 4k restoration of “The Man Who Fell to Earth is now available everywhere Blu-Rays are sold. Rainer’s book “Rainer on Film” is also available for sale on Amazon.

  • NYFA Welcomes Hire Heroes USA

    On June 24, The New York Film Academy College of Visual and Performing Arts (NYFA) Veteran Services Department was fortunate to collaborate with Hire Heroes USA (HHUSA) to host a daylong exclusive employment workshop for NYFA’s veteran students. The NYFA military students also benefited from one-on-one time with the Transition Specialists from HHUSA.

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    Hire Heroes visits the New York Film Academy

     

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    Hire Heroes USA is a nonprofit that provides free, expert career coaching and job sourcing to hundreds of transitioning U.S. military members.

     

    Hire Heroes USA is a nonprofit that provides free, expert career coaching and job sourcing to hundreds of transitioning U.S. military members, assisting veterans and spouses with finding employment.

    The first half of the eight-hour workshop was a practicum related to resume theory, networking techniques, and how to affectively prepare for an interview. Representatives from Hire Heroes USA, Jamie Rimphanli and Walter Serrano, coached veteran students on how to properly format their resumes and discussed, in-depth, the importance of networking and how to prepare for a job interview.

    For the second half of the workshop, industry professionals from Disney Studios, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Legendary Entertainment, and Plan A Locations joined the workshop for a moderated Q&A panel discussion. Panelists discussed how they began their careers in the entertainment industry and how they’ve navigated their careers for success.

    Highlights from the day included an exercise that had all of the participants do a speed networking session. Also, HHUSA brought a photographer who took professional head shots for the veteran students’ LinkedIn pages.

    “We felt that this training and these types of vet student-centric activities are increasingly important because they help prepare our students to meet with HR/Talent Acquisition teams from the major studios,” explained NYFA Director of Veterans Services Department John Powers.  

    Retired Army veteran and MFA cinematography student Bryan Hudson stated, “The Hire Heroes USA workshop was a fantastic forum to introduce veterans with industry insiders and provide the opportunity to learn from them. The event was beneficial to everyone involved about learning the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of the interview process and how to break into the entertainment industry. One thing that I learned from the workshop is to establish relationships that will be beneficial to both parties. Thank you to the NYFA Veterans Department for putting on this marvelous event, and I hope that this will be the first of many events with Hire Heroes USA.”

    The NYFA Veteran Services Department is extremely grateful to Hire Heroes USA for partnering with us to bring this wonderful opportunity to NYFA veteran students.

  • MFA Cinematography Grad Bob Nguyen Wins Vietnam’s Highest Award for Cinematography

    IMG_2291New York Film Academy is proud to congratulate MFA Cinematography graduate Bob Nguyen on winning the Golden Kite Award for Best Cinematography in 2016 for his work on the feature film “Sut.” The Golden Kite is the highest award given in Vietnam, and represents the country’s equivalent to an Academy Award.

    During his time as a student at NYFA, Bob worked hard to refine his cinematography skills and master his craft. He built a strong network, collaborating with many students from different programs. In addition to making connections, Bob built an impressive reel with a range of striking images that showcased his skills as a cinematographer. Bob took advantage of the network he built, finding work in Los Angeles, Italy, Australia, and Vietnam. Since graduating, he has photographed three feature films and a number of short films.

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    “Sut” tells the story of young man who became a national soccer star early in his life, but soon found himself lost after the death of his younger brother. Searching for purpose in his life, he returns to the sport he loves as the coach of his brother’s soccer team. He struggles to find a way to teach the players to come together and win as a team.

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    14Working with the director to realize his vision, Bob wanted to avoid the clichés of a formulaic sports movie. He and the director were inspired by a number of films, including “Moneyball,” and they worked to tell a simple human story against a backdrop of the world of professional soccer.  Shooting with the Red Epic digital cinema camera, Bob carefully planned his compositions and choice of lenses to present a different side of Vietnam not often seen on the screen. The film has been praised for its distinctive visual style, including winning the highest honor for cinematography given by the Vietnamese film community.

    We are proud to congratulate Bob on this incredible award, and we wish him continued success in his career as a professional cinematographer.

    June 23, 2017 • Academic Programs, Cinematography, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1666

  • NYFA LA Chair Tony Richmond Interviewed by Cineaste

    New York Film Academy Los Angeles Cinematography Chair Tony Richmond recently discussed his long-standing career as well as the new 4k digital restoration of “The Man Who Fell to Earth” with Cineaste, a leading magazine on the art and politics of cinema.

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    Beginning with his first gig as a news runner on London’s Wardour Street, Richmond chronicles his rise in the business. Early in his career, Richmond had the extraordinary opportunity to work with Jean-Luc Godard on “One Plus One” (“Sympathy for the Devil”), followed by three groundbreaking films for Nicholas Roeg, including “Don’t Look Now,” “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” and “Bad Timing,” among many other films.

    “The greatest thing about Godard, for me, and this has resonated throughout my career, is that, as he once said, movies have a beginning, a middle, and an end, but not necessarily in that order,” said Richmond about his work with Godard. “I think that’s fantastic…bloody fantastic!”

    As to his work with director Nicholas Roeg, Richmond said, “The cinematographer’s job is to put the director’s vision on the screen and maybe enhance it. But Nic has a very strong vision for the movie. What I’ve always found is that as a cameraman, or as a cinematographer as we’re called, we want to learn from the director exactly how he wants his movie to look, feel, and smell. Some of them know what they want, but they can’t put those feelings into works, whereas Nic can.”

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    To date, Richmond has worked as a cinematographer on more than ninety films from all genres, including “Men of Honor,” “Candyman,” Legally Blonde,” “Dumb and Dumberer,” and recently completed “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul,” with NYFA alumnus Jeremy Harris working as his personal assistant on the film.

    Having worked on a variety of genres, Richmond says he has now reached a point in his career where he will only work with friends. He’s currently working on a movie a year while serving as the Chair of NYFA LA Cinematography.

    “It’s wonderful watching these new kids coming up,” said Richmond in his interview with Cineaste.“

    Richmond will be heading east to NYFA’s New York location for an exclusive Cinematography Master Class on June 16, 2017.

    May 30, 2017 • Cinematography, Faculty Highlights • Views: 1599

  • MFA Cinematographers Complete Production Design Workshop

    The Spring 2016 MFA Cinematography students at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles completed their Production Design workshop last week, spending two days building a three-room set.  They worked on a soundstage at Burbank Studios, famous as the home of the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Jay Leno, among many NBC Studios productions. The class painted and dressed the set to incorporate a high level of detail, then rigging a 50’ translight backing of the New York skyline to complete the illusion. The translight will be seen outside the set windows, lit for both day and night at different points in the story.

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    This workshop was part of the Production Design course in the MFA Cinematography program, taught by instructor Francis Pezza, whose credits as an Art Director include “Outbreak,” “Dante’s Peak,” “Big Fat Liar,” and the original “Miami Vice” TV series. In addition to learning the fundamental concepts of production design, the students worked throughout the semester on designing a set that fit the needs of an original short screenplay.

    The script was written by NYFA directing instructor Anthony Cook, whose credits include writing and directing the independent feature film “Wal-Bobs,” and producing the upcoming Lionsgate series “Dead House” for actor and former NYFA student Andrew “King Bach” Bachelor and executive producer Kevin Hart. For this workshop, Cook wrote a story about an obsessive-compulsive man who must defend his carefully manicured apartment from a trespassing mouse.

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    Once the set was completed, the students shot for three days on stage as the final part of the Cinematography Practicum class. The project was photographed on the Red Dragon digital cinema camera, allowing the cinematographers to shoot in 6K and utilize a RAW image workflow.

    Cinematography instructors Anthony Richmond, ASC, BSCJacek Laskus, ASC, PSC and Rick Greenwood joined the class on stage for the shoot days. They offered guidance on lighting and blocking the scenes, helping the student cinematographers to realize the story and make best use of the intricate set.  Richmond showed the students one of his trademark techniques for creating transitions in camera, teaching them how to use nets and dimmers to recreate one of his signature visuals from films including “The Man Who Fell to Earth.”

    With guidance from their instructors, the MFA students leave this workshop with an understanding of what it takes to build a professional set, and how to shoot it. Having completed their final Cinematography Practicum shoot at New York Film Academy, the students will incorporate these ideas in their work as they begin their MFA Thesis Films next semester.

    May 17, 2017 • Cinematography • Views: 2138

  • NYFA Alumni Team Up on Short Film “Worth It?”

    worth itInspired by films like “The Jungle Book,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Gravity,” and “Inception,” among others, Edgar Vega began his career working as a Lighting/Compositing artist on a feature animated film in Guadalajara, Mexico. From there, he wanted to further his knowledge and skill in the field of cinematography and decided to leave his hometown of Mexico to study at the 1-Year Cinematography Program at the New York Film Academy.

    “After working on that feature film I needed to properly learn the origins of lighting for picture as well as how camera and light reinforces the narrative,” said Vega. “There was always an interest in narrative since I did my Bachelor’s in Animation & Digital Arts back in Guadalajara, but I never had a real approach to lighting until I worked in this film I’ve mentioned. The final look of it relied more on illustration rather than the use of cinematography tools, which is not bad, it was just the vision of the director at the time. I believe that in a film that uses 3D and CGI rendering tools that produce photorealistic images, cinematography would be the right tool for producing and achieving the desired result.”

    Vega wanted to learn and experiment with merging both worlds like “Gravity” and the other films that inspired him. He says his favorite cinematographer is Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, not only because he’s from his country, but also because while filming “Gravity,” Lubezki and the VFX Supervisor Tim Webber developed technology to merge the hybrid CGI and live action into one image. “That was the challenge there,” said Vega. “They had to determine how lights would affect character’s faces, and then match it to composite the live action and animation perfectly.” The film ended up winning the Academy Award in both fields in 2015.

    Since graduating from the Cinematography Program, Vega has had the opportunity to work as a Lighting/Compositing Artist on the Nick Jr. series called “Block Party.”

    “Chris Papa, Scott Kennell, and their team were developing a new pre-school franchise that speaks about teamwork and unity,” Vega said about the series. “I was invited onto ‘Block Party’ to develop a possible final look, which earned an internally good response. As a result, a first episode was made. Thanks to the concepts learned at NYFA, I was able to assertively respond to the necessities of both Chris and Scott.”

    He is now in postproduction on his thesis film, “Marcus,” which merges live action and CGI.

    Vega also was the DP on NYFA Filmmaking alumna Cheyenne Pasquer’s film, “Worth It?,” which screened at the London Monthly Film Festival December 2016, Miami Independent Film Festival December 2016, The Lovecraft January 2017, and the California Women’s Film Festival February 2017, where it was nominated for Best Director.

    “At the beginning we both had a lot of questions about the complexity of the film, since the script was extensive for the amount of days I could afford to shoot,” said Pasquer about her collaboration with Vega. “Most of the shoot was overnight, so I think the adaptation was a crucial skill that me and Edgar developed during the shoot of ‘Worth it?’ We were both in a difficult scenario not only because the film was physically demanding, but also because we successfully worked out with our crew and actors. As a DP he delivered beautiful shots that matched with the requirement of the story, both aesthetically and narrative wise.”

    “Worth It?” will be screening at this year’s Cannes Short Film Corner in May.

    April 28, 2017 • Cinematography, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2331

  • NYFA Dean of Academic Advising Screens His Newest Film “The Rachels”

    Dean of Academic Advising at the New York Film Academy, Michael Civille, screened his third feature film, “The Rachels,” at the Los Angeles campus. Civille was joined by actress, Rebecca Stone, who has over fifty credits in shorts, features, and television series. The star of the film, Caitlin Carver, was also in attendance. Carver is set to portray Nancy Kerrigan in the upcoming film, “I, Tonya.”

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    Finally, Michael Pesa was in attendance. He is the former Chair of NYFA’s Cinematography program in LA and has over sixty credits, including “The Rachels.”

    Lydia Cedrone, Chair of Feature Track at the New York Film Academy LA, hosted the evening. She kicked off the Q and A by asking Civille to elaborate on the development of the project.

    “I am married to a very beautiful woman, named Hannah,” Civille began. “She is also an Executive Producer and the mother of my children. She works as the Senior V.P. of MarVista Entertainment, and we had talked for some time about wanting to collaborate.”

    ‘THE RACHELS’ EXCERPT (LIFETIME) from Michael Pessah on Vimeo.

    “Finally, this script came up and she handed it off to me,” he continued. “We hired a writer, then she hired Rebecca to shepherd us as a producer. The production came together very quickly. We shot for fifteen days in July and August. We locked picture in about five weeks and then we spent the fall getting it done.”

    Civille admitted to only taking about two months off from working full-time to complete the film. He says his secret is, “Work late and get up early.”

    That work ethic was present throughout the film shoot. At one point in the evening, the cast and crew began to discuss the dreaded “bathroom day,” referring to a scene in the film that takes place in the bathroom. A tight budget and a single location meant the cast and crew would have to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.

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    Stone elaborated, “We were lucky that we found a location for our school that allowed us to move around as needed. Thankfully, we were able to, for example, shoot everything in the bathroom in a day. It was ambitious.”

    The rest of the cast and crew quickly chimed in agreement. Civille spoke of 110-degree days and a record-breaking heat wave. Of course, “bathroom day” fell on one of those days.

    Carver spoke about her thirteen-page workday, “Bathroom day was one of the most challenging days. Madison, who plays Rachel Nelson, she and I were having the worst time with that scene. I think it was just being locked in a bathroom all day with toilets behind you and there are ten of our crew dudes behind us, and Mike is in there with us… It was a very challenging day. But then, Mike looked at us, ‘Let it go. Just let it go. I don’t care about the dialogue right now. Just let it go.’ And I think it ended up being one of the best scenes in the entire film.”

    From all of the stress came an incredibly successful film. “The Rachels” had its premiere on January 15th on the Lifetime Movie Network.

    February 28, 2017 • Cinematography, Faculty Highlights, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 1929

  • MFA Cinematography Grad Wraps As Assistant to Director of Photography on “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”

    We’ve had many instances of students not only collaborating with their peers, but also students and alumni reconnecting and working with their former instructors. As many of the New York Film Academy instructors are working professionals outside of the classroom, Cinematography School alumnus Jeremy Harris was able to capitalize on this through his relationship with Cinematography Chair Tony Richmond.

    Richmond, who has an extensive career as a professional cinematographer, was recently brought on board as Director of Photography for the upcoming Twentieth Century Fox sequel, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul.” The film, which stars Alicia Silverstone, Tom Everett Scott and Jason Drucker, revolves around the character of Greg (played by Drucker), who convinces his family to take a road trip to attend his great grandmother’s 90th birthday as a cover for what he really wants: to attend a nearby gamer convention.

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    Jeremy Harris with Tony Richmond on set of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”

    “It was great having Jeremy on set with me on ‘Wimpy Kid “The Long Haul,'” said Richmond. “I am convinced, having seen Jeremy work on the set, that he is now well on his way to a long and successful career as a cinematographer.”

    As Assistant to the Director of Photography, Harris was able to see first-hand the working relationship between the Director and the Director of Photography. He was able to work with Richmond’s three camera crews and the three Alexa cameras, as well as two sets of old Taylor Hopson Cooke Speed Pancro Lenses, which were used from the 1950’s. Even more exciting for the young cinematographer, he had access to multiple techno cranes and stabilized heads.

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    Some other valuable experiences that Richmond noted for Harris were him being able to be in the DIT tent with not only Richmond, but also his Digital Imaging Technician — to see how the team was using the Technicolor LUT and the color and contrast decisions they were making. He gained working experience with both the electrical and grip crews as well as the rigging crews. Harris also worked with both the 2nd Unit and Stunt Unit of the film.

    “I think the most exciting and fulfilling part of this endeavor was just waking up knowing that every day I would get a chance to not only learn, but be around some of the most lovely, hard-working people I’ve ever met, as well as just having quality time with Tony,” said Harris. “NYFA helped me a lot when it comes to understanding each aspect of being a crew member, as well as being a DP. I didn’t always feel like a fish out of water on set.”

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    As for where this position could lead him in the future, Harris says he still can’t quite put a finger on the exact direction, adding, “I think that’s a good thing. I do know that anything, any opportunity that comes my way from now on, I feel as though I am definitely more prepared, more skillful, clever, and creative.”

    This role also allowed Harris to join the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Union, which supports Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts. Being a member of the IATSE gives Harris a huge leg up in his career pursuits.

    “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” is currently in post-production and will be in theaters May 19, 2017.

    January 6, 2017 • Cinematography, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2556