The regular Stranger Than Fiction spring season is shown at IFC Center every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. for eight weeks, plus two Thursday night screenings, all starting April 17.
The new season’s lineup kicked off with Sara Driver’s Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat (April 17), about the pre-fame years of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat; and will close with Jason Kohn’s Love Means Zero (June 5), about the controversial tennis coach Nick Bollittieri. Other works include New York rappers Nas and Dave East in Rapture (May 1).
Legendary Queens rapper Nas
Each event includes a discussion with the filmmaker or special guests, followed by a gathering at a nearby bar. The full season schedule appears at the bottom of the blog. For detailed information, visit here or IFC Center’s website.
Tickets for Stranger Than Fiction screenings are $17 for the general public and $14 for IFC Center members. A Season Pass, good for admission to all 10 evenings, is available for $99 ($80 for IFC members). A NYFA ID gets you nearly a 20% discount at the door!
View the full schedule below:
Jean-Michel Basquiat from Boom For Real
April 17 – Opening Night: BOOM FOR REAL: THE LATE TEENAGE YEARS OF JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT (2017, 78 min) Q&A w/ dir Sara Driver
April 19 – Thursday Special:HAIKU ON A PLUM TREE (2016, 78 min) Q&A w/ dir Mujah Maraini-Melehi
April 24: THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND (2003, 92 min) Q&A w/ dir Sam Green & prod Carrie Lozano
May 1: RAPTURE: NAS & DAVE EAST (2018, 63 min) Q&A w/ dir Sacha Jenkins & EP Ben Selkow
May 8: GOTTI: GODFATHER AND SON (2018, 90 min) Q&A w/ dir Richard Stratton & subject John Gotti Jr
May 15: THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ANDRÉ(2017, 94 min) Q&A w/ dir Kate Novack
May 22: THE FOURTH ESTATE (2018, 90 min) Q&A w/ dir Liz Garbus
May 24 – Thursday Special:A JIHAD FOR LOVE (2007, 81 min) Q&A w/ dir Parvez Sharma
May 29: ATOMIC CAFE (1982, 92 min) Q&A w/ dirs. Pierce Rafferty, Kevin Rafferty & Jayne Loader
June 5 – Closing Night:LOVE MEANS ZERO (2017, 89 min) Q&A w/ dir Jason Kohn
This April, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Los Angeles was proud to host Greenlight Women for a special screening of the documentary A Classy Broad, followed by a Q&A with the film’s director, prolific editor Anne Goursaud, and it’s subject, Marcia Nasatir — the first woman to be vice president of production in a major Hollywood studio.
From left to right: Marion Rosenberg, Anne Goursaud, Marcia Nasatir, Lawrence Kasdan, and Meg Kasdan.
Anne Goursaud is known for her work as an editor on films including Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula and The Outsiders. Her 2016 documentary A Classy Broad chronicles Marcia Nasatir’s career from her beginnings as a literary agent in New York City to making history as the first woman to become vice president of production at United Artists, as well as her continuing career as an independent producer. Nasatir is known for driving such films as The Big Chill and Hamburger Hill.
Moderated by manager/producer Marion Rosenberg, the Q&A event was introduced by actress Piper Laurie and Greenlight Women President Ivy Kagan Bierman. Marion Rosenberg opened the event by asking how Anne Goursaud and Marcia Nasatir met.
Anne Goursaud reminisced about going to a yard sale hosted by Marcia Nasatir, and striking up a friendship. Marcia then passed Anne’s name along to Fred Roos — leading to Goursaud becoming Francis Ford Coppola’s editor.
Ivy Kagan Bierman, Lucy Webb, and Kim Ogletree.
“She immediately took me in, like she does everybody,” Goursaud recounted fondly.
The conversation turned to films, and Rosenberg asked, “Do you think it’s possible to make a good film from a bad or moderately well-written script?”
Marcia responded positively, saying that for her, “It’s not always about all the words, it’s about characters you care about … you go to the movies, or you begin to hear a story that sort of interests you, and you wanna find out what’s gonna happen.”
Marion Rosenberg, Marcia Nasatir, Piper Laurie, and Anne Goursaud.
Hanan Higgi, a recent documentary filmmaking alumna, asked, “Do you have any tips for how to get mentors?”
Goursaud advised, “You never know where you’re going to meet people. You go to festivals … keep the relationships, keep telling people what you’re doing … have coffee with them … people in the industry are actually very nice.”
To illustrate Goursauds advice, special industry guests were in attendance for the evening, including writer/director Lawrence Kasdan, known for Empire Strikes Back, The Big Chill and recently, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and his wife, Meg Goldman Kasdan. Nancy Schreiber, the fourth woman ever voted into membership of the prestigious American Society of Cinematographers, and recipient of the 2017 ASC President’s Award, was also present.
The New York Film Academy would like to thank Marcia Nasatir, Anne Goursaud, Marion Rosenberg, Piper Laurie, Ivy Kagan Bierman, and Greenlight Women for joining us to host this wonderful event.
“What I’ve mainly learned from NYFA is to be able to tell stories. Of course, I’ve learned about image and sound, which are also important, but being able to include some kind of drama in a story stands out above the rest. As a matter of fact, during the final editing process of Soul, I would call the director while he was editing the film and, after watching the cuts together, he applied what I was discovering at NYFA. I think is has helped the film.”
Already a successful journalist in Egypt, Abdallah came to NYFA to study filmmaking and enhance his storytelling skills. He is keenly aware of the impact movies can have on people and his thesis film, Doors of Mercy, seeks to shed light on the plight an Egyptian woman can face when giving birth to a child out of wedlock.
Monika is a portrait and fashion photographer whose work has been published in IKONA, L’Officiel, Elegant Magazine, Promo Magazine, Shuba Magazine, Eden Magazine, Fayn Magazine, Stilius Magazine, Zurda Magazine (online), The Wrap (online), and Luxure Magazine. Her work was also featured at the 2017 edition of Photoville, one of New York’s premier photography festivals.
A New York Film Academy MFA Screenwriting alum, Melarissa wants to help grow the film industry in her native Indonesia and empower women by telling their stories. She has said that being a Fulbright scholar and being able to make personal and professional connections throughout the course of her studies has been a life-changing experience. Of her time at NYFA she’s said:
“I learned a lot about structure, dialogue, character. I feel like I now have the skills that are expected of me. That’s why I want to use my voice to speak for those who can’t.”
Already a founder of a production company in his homeland of Angola, Hugo earned his Master of Fine Arts in Filmmaking at NYFA’s Los Angeles Campus. Even though he was encouraged to pursue medicine and engineering, of which Angola is in dire need, he replied, “To me, culture is just as important as those other things.”
HBO’s Women in Comedy Festival (WICF) is an inclusive event focused on smashing gender inequality in comedy, where they flip the usual gender ratio in comedy: 80% of WICF performers are women.
The ninth annual WICF will be held April 19-22 in Boston. Along with HBO, this year’s event is sponsored by NBC, ImprovBoston, and Le Chevalier. Major stars are headlining, including Wanda Sykes and Tig Notaro, with additional performances by Kat Radley, Gina Yashere, Emma Willman, and Kelly McFarland.
Although Wynona Barbera studied documentary filmmaking at NYFA, El Cat is a fiction film — which just goes to show how NYFA students can apply their skill set in so many ways as they forge their own paths as storytellers.
“Congratulations to Wynona,” said NYFA New York Chair of Documentary Filmmaking Andrea Swift. “HBO’s Women in Comedy Festival is a major player in launching the next generation of leaders and innovators in comedy. It just goes to show the skills NYFA Documentary Filmmaking students develop here can be applied to all kinds of content, especially fiction films. Can’t wait to see what’s next!”
El Cat will be competing in the The HBO Insider Comedy Short Challenge and WICF Comedy Short Contest with Paul Feig on Saturday, April 21, in Cambridge, MA. #WomeninFilm #WomenOfNYFA
The New York Film Academy (NYFA) released its original Gender Inequality in Film infographic in 2013. Now, following the TIME’S UP™ movement and actress Frances McDormand’s impassioned call at the 90th Academy Awards for the industry to embrace Inclusion Riders, NYFA’s updated Gender Inequality in Film infographic presents research on gender in film from 2007 to 2017, from more than 40 sources and scholarly studies.
“With all that’s happening in the film industry, the New York Film Academy hopes to contribute what we can to the conversation with this infographic. It can be used as a reference and an educational tool to raise further awareness and inspire leaders within the entertainment industry, and beyond,” explains NYFA Chair of Documentary Andrea Swift. “It is an accessible way to interact with key information to support the movement to reach 50/50 by 2020.”
Throughout Women’s History Month in March, NYFA will be highlighting different aspects of the data in this infographic as a four-part series. This is part one, and reveals the full, updated infographic. Stay tuned for more!
To further support the conversation around gender inequality in film, NYFA will also host events throughout Women’s History Month, with a focus on International Women’s Day on March 8. For more information, click here.
For additional content related to the conversation surrounding gender equality in film, check out these additional resources from the New York Film Academy:
Academy Award-nominated editor and documentarian Kristen Nutile visited the New York Film Academy recently for a screening of Heroin(e) followed by a Q&A at the NYFA Theatre at the Battery Park campus.
A Netflix original, Heroin(e) was nominated in the 90th Academy Awards Best Documentary Short category. The film follows three community leaders, all women, as they battle the opioid epidemic and work to save lives their city of Huntington, West Virginia, a place where the overdose rate is 10 times the national average. Heroin(e) is directed by Peabody-awarding winning Elaine McMillion Sheldon and edited by Kristin Nutile, a NYFA instructor.
“When I was approached by Elaine, I was very moved by this particular problem and that is why I took on the project,” Nutile has told NYFA. “I loved how she was following three women trying to make a difference. I love that it was female-centric.”
Despite the early, 7 p.m. start time and the fact that Heroin(e) runs at a tight 39 minutes, the event lasted late into the night, as Nutile generously and thoughtfully stretched her time to answer every student question.
Nutile explained to a packed house of NYFA New York Documentary Filmmaking students, “I choose projects because I am interested in the subject and like to work with great people. Winning awards is never the goal. To be in an Oscar-nominated crew is truly amazing. Ultimately to me, it’s about the work.”
Nutile has directed six of her own films and edited two dozen more in addition to teaching at New York Film Academy’s Documentary Filmmaking program in New York City. The program was named by The Independent Magazine in the Top 10 Academic Programs for Documentary Filmmakers and recently featured in IDA’s Documentary Magazine.
This Women’s History Month, which also includes International Women’s Day on March 8, the New York Film Academy joins the conversation on gender inclusivity with an updated Gender Inequality in Film Infographic as well as a full slate of events across its campus locations.
From International Women’s Day industry panel events to film screenings and raffles, check out NYFA’s calendar of Women’s History Month activities, below, and join us on campus in Los Angeles, New York City, South Beach, and NYFA Australia, Gold Coast. And on social media, we’ll be shouting out to many of the Women of NYFA — alums who are doing incredible work in the community, in the entertainment industry, and beyond.
New York Film Academy Women’s History Month events will include:
MARCH 7 – Stand Up for Women Comedy Night
Lisa deLarios – Lisa has toured the country featuring for Zach Galifianakis, Paul F. Tompkins, Anthony Jeselnik, and Maria Bamford among others. She was showcased on Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham and has been a frequent guest on Doug Loves Movies.
Laura House – Laura is a headlining comedian who has performed on HBO, Comedy Central, NBC, and starred in MTV’s Austin Stories. She written on the Emmy-winning shows Mom and Samantha Who, BAFTA-winning Secret Lives of Boys, as well as Nicole Byer’s Loosely, Exactly, Nicole, The George Lopez Show, Mad Love, Blue Collar TV & more.
Jackie Kashian – Jackie is a comic whose new album, I Am Not The Hero Of This Story, was the #1 comedy album on iTunes and Amazon. She is in the 12th year of her podcast The Dark Forest and has a new podcast on the Nerdist Network called The Jackie and Laurie Show.
Jena Friedman – Jena is a comedian, writer, filmmaker and political satirist who recently appeared on Conan. Her Adult Swim special Soft Focus with Jena Friedman aired in February. She has been a field producer at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and has written for Late Show with David Letterman.
Annie Lederman – Annie was the co-host of We Have Issues on E! and has been a cast member on Chelsea Lately, Girl Code, @midnight, and Impractical Jokers.
Kate Willett – Kate tours nationally and internationally, has been featured on Viceland’s Flophouse and Comedy Central’s This is Not Happening, and recently taped a Netflix special.
Vanessa Gonzalez – Vanessa was recently voted “Best Stand-up Comic” in the Austin Chronicle readers’ poll, and created and stars in the Mas Mejor web series Ms. Vanessa.
Jessica Sele– Jessica is a stand-up comedian who tours across the country, and has performed at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival and SF Sketchfest. She was written about in HuffPost.
Ellington Wells – Ellington is a filmmaker and comedian who hosts the monthly stand-up show Blackberry Jam, and has worked on television shows such as Insecure, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Baskets.
March 8 – International Women’s Day: A Perspective on Women in Entertainment: Industry Panel Discussion
Dea Lawrence – CMO of Variety
Kelly Gilmore – Sr. VP Marketing at Warner Bros.
Barbara Bain – 3 time Emmy Winning Actress
Jeanette Collins – Producer/Writer: Big Love, Drop Dead Diva, Suddenly Susan
New York Film Academy Documentary Filmmaking grad Amy Wright hasn’t slowed down since winning Best Short at the March on Washington Film Festival at the White House. While busy at work creating a documentary with Emmy-winning media personality-turned-activist Darieth Chisolm, the young documentarian and producer took the time to catch up with the NYFA Blog to share her insights into the important issues behind her documentaires, what’s coming next, and how to revolutionize the mainstream narratives around people of color.
NYFA: Can you tell us a little bit about your journey, what drew you to documentary filmmaking, and why you chose New York Film Academy?
AW: I had a pretty roundabout journey that led me to documentary filmmaking. First and foremost, I’ve always loved documentaries. As a kid, I would watch nature documentaries with my grandfather, so there was always that positive feeling associated with docs.
I studied theatre in high school and undergrad, so the arts was always a part of my life. However, after graduation I moved to New York, went to grad school at LIU for education and became a high school special education teacher. I enjoyed being in the classroom and working with kids, but there were a lot of issues I saw within the system — issues that affected the kids I worked with the most (underprivileged, of color, immigrant, disabled).
It started getting to me and I knew that I was going to leave the profession. I just didn’t know what I was going to do next. Then one day, I was in Union Square when I saw a bus stop ad that said “Learn Documentary Filmmaking,” and something just clicked for me.
At the time, Netflix had started expanding their catalogue of docs, and I was watching docs multiple times weekly. I think at that point I had just watched The Black Power Mixtape and was completely inspired. I saw it as a path back to the arts, but also as a way to change the things I couldn’t accept in the world.
I went to the next available open house, learned about the doc program, was completely sold on the idea of learning by doing, and a month later I was resigning from the DOE! I finished out that school year with my kids, came to NYFA the following September and never looked back.
Amy Wright and Andra Swift at March on Washington Film Festival
NYFA: What inspires you most as a filmmaker?
AW: I think what inspires me the most is seeing grassroots movements enact change. Or even a single individual. There’s something so motivating about seeing one person, or one group who believes in something so fiercely, use the medium of film to change the world for good.
I think about films like Blackfish and I wonder if the filmmakers knew when they were first conceiving the film, what an impact it would have on whales in captivity. The idea that I could share something through film that is so important to me, particularly Black American stories, and it changes a system or even just people’s way of thinking about an issue — that’s what keeps me energized and inspired as a filmmaker.
NYFA: You’ve mentioned that your thesis film, Legacy, was inspired by your grandfather. Can you tell us how Legacy came to life and a bit about your experience of production?
AW: During the gauntlet that is the second semester of the NYFA docs program (lol), I had settled on doing a doc on the education system, because I was already so invested in the lives of disabled students of color. But as we learn in production, there are lots of roadblocks and challenges to getting the type of access that we need, especially within the time constraints of the semester. I was struggling to come up with a plan B.
It just so happened that I was on my way to JFK airport when I passed by these stables that I had passed a million times before, and I saw a sign that read “The Federation of Black Cowboys.” And I knew that was my story.
Something about working in docs makes you look at the world a little more carefully. It felt like I was meant to see, really see that sign. Add to that, as a child my grandfather would take us all to the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo (a Black rodeo), and the Black Cowboy Parade in Oakland every year, so it seemed like a no-brainer for me to pursue it.
50 Shades of Silence via IMDB
NYFA: The Black Federation of Cowboys talks about its mission to promote and share knowledge of the “Black West.” After your experience of making Legacy, what is the Black West for you? AW: For me, the Black West is wherever the people are. Post slavery, I know for many freed men and women, the West represented a place with no chains or borders, and an escape from the oppressive South. Of course, we know that during that time there wasn’t really a place where a Black person could live without the looming fog of white supremacy and terror. However, the West was romanticized as a place where a man could be free, and forge his own way ahead, and Black people grabbed at that opportunity and never looked back. Which is how legends like Bass Reeves, “Stagecoach” Mary Fields, even outlaws like Nat “Deadwood Dick” Love, could go out and forge their own way ahead, despite being born into slavery. Today, the descendants of that cowboying tradition carry the Black West wherever they are, be it Oakland, Compton, Tulsa, Charlotte, Philly, or even Brooklyn.
NYFA: Legacy screened at DOC NYC and also won Best Short at the March on Washington Film Festival at the White House, which is amazing! How did this come about, and how did that moment feel?
AW: I can’t talk about this without first mentioning our [NYFA New York City campus] documentary chair, Andrea Swift. This woman has this amazing knack for putting her students in the right place at the right time, introducing us to the right people, and overall just setting us up for success.
My class (of 2015) was the first to screen in the DOC NYC U program, which was just an incredible opportunity. And if I do say so myself, being up there with NYU and Columbia … NYFA Docs were pretty strong! So that experience alone, screening at a major doc festival so shortly after graduation, was surreal. I even posted about it on Instagram, and Ava DuVernay liked my post and commented … my head just about exploded!
During DOC NYC, Andrea introduced me to one of the programmers, Opal Bennett, who also happens to program for March on Washington. She suggested I submit. I was thrilled just to be accepted to March on Washington — I had no clue it was a competition. So you can only imagine my shock when a few weeks after learning I was accepted, I found out that I had won for Best Short.
Then, to add to the excitement, we learned that we would be screening at The Obama White House! The actual screening was very bittersweet for me, though: The day I learned that we’d be screening at The White House, I called my grandfather to invite him. We lost him very unexpectedly later that day. So for him to have been a huge inspiration for the film, but not be able to attend that special screening … it was a pretty emotional day for me.
NYFA: So many times we see Black culture and Black women especially portrayed on film — and behind the scenes — in subservient or tertiary roles. As a minority woman director, what are the stories you see that still need to be told?
AW: I think right now there’s an active push to present images that counter the mainstream narratives about people of color and women of color. I mean, right now we have Black Panther, this huge blockbuster about a non-colonized Black, African people. That in and of itself is revolutionary. And it was shot by a woman! A whole action film, shot by a woman.
Visibility is key. Personally, what I would like to see are more stories about people of color that have nothing to do with the fact that they are people of color, because in many ways, unapologetic Blackness is inherently political. So it’s cool when we see things that show, “Hey we live normal lives and experience human emotions just like everyone else.”
In Detroit, right now, there are people who have repurposed the empty lots for beekeeping. They happen to be Black. That’s so dope to me, that as a people we do these incredible, regular things just like anyone else. That’s what I’d like to see more of.
NYFA: What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
AW: Right now, I’m writing and producing an exciting project with former NBC journalist Darieth Chisolm called 50 Shades of Silence, in which we chronicle her terrible experience with revenge porn and her mission to have legislation passed to protect victims and punish perpetrators. We were recently featured on Dr. Oz and The Today Show with Megyn Kelly — you should check us out!
Also, I have been developing another (currently untitled) documentary feature about the Shreveport six that’s really near and dear to my heart. In 2010, six Black kids drowned in the Red River in Shreveport while trying to save a friend. That friend survived. It’s a tragedy that shook an entire community, and there are rippling effects of that tragedy in Shreveport to this day. But more to come on that … I don’t want to give too much away.
The New York Film Academy would like to thank Amy Wright for sharing her story with our community. Learn more about 50 Shades of Silencehere.
What’s it really like to play for one of the most successful football (or soccer, for my fellow Americans) teams in the European League? Beginning Feb. 16 you can find out, when Netflix’s First Team: Juventus, drops. We’ll be tuning in to see the work of New York Film Academy Documentary Filmmaking alum and instructor Andrea “Fuma” Fumagalli, who edits the series.
“With Fuma’s editing and storytelling chops, he’s a natural for a world class project like this,” says NYFA Documentary Filmmaking Chair Andrea Swift. “I think you’ll agree his work is both exciting and masterful. He’s also a very talented weekend football (soccer) player, and a huge Juventus fan. It would be hard to get closer to finding your dream job.”
Andrea Fumagalli came to New York City from Italy to attend NYFA’s Documentary Conservatory program, graduating in 2008. His work has been so successful that he returned as an Instructor a few years later. Fuma has kept quite busy as an editor, cinematographer, and photographer, with credits including Moving On, Le bambine di Calcutta crescono, La Casa Bianca, dozens of films for Canon and Rai and, now, Netflix’s First Team: Juventus.
The Netflix Original Series promises to offer a fresh new angle on the famous Italian team as it takes viewers behind-the-scenes, exposing the personal and professional pressures faced by the players.
Owned by the same family that controls Fiat, the Angielli family, Juventus claims an impressive legacy. Not only do they hold the most Italian championships, with an official 33 wins (though two were revoked), but Juventus has also boasted some of the world’s most lauded players, from Michel Platini to current forward Paulo Bruno Exequiel Dybala (who Messi wants to steal for Barcelona).
Get ready for the world cup this year with the inside story behind one of the world’s biggest teams. Congratulations, Andrea!
New York Film Academy alum Louis Mole has been promoted to Head of Development US at production company October Films, along with colleague Matt Dewar, who’s been made Head of Development UK.
Mole enrolled in NYFA’s 1-Year Documentary Program, chaired by Andrea Swift, in September 2011 at our New York City campus. In the program, Mole learned to conceive, pitch, produce, direct, and edit various types of documentary shorts, as well as gain experience as cinematographer, sound recordist and assistant camera.
Of his time at NYFA, Mole said in 2013: “You come out of the program with the fundamental expertise of every single aspect of making a film – which is so unique.”
Mole put the education to good use, heading to Singapore after graduation and writing three episodes for the docuseries Asian Swindlers. He then joined October Films in 2014 within their London development team, and later came back to the Big Apple when he transferred to the New York office of October Films.
October Films is an award-winning, fast-growing production company based in the US and UK that focuses on independent content from a variety of genres — including documentaries, dramas, and entertainment and reality programs.
Some of their recent projects include Eight Days That Made Rome, Dangerous Borders, Annie: Out of the Ashes, Motorheads, and From Russia To Iran: Crossing The Wild Frontier. October Films also has series in production for the BBC, Investigation Discovery, Lifetime, the Science Channel, and Channel 4.
Before his promotion to Head of Development, Mole worked on multiple projects for October Films, including Mygrations for the National Geographic Channel, Trailblazers for Discover Channel, and a seven-part series for Lifetime.
Louis Mole has also paid it forward to newer students at the New York Film Academy, speaking with them as a guest lecturer, and offering his solid expertise.
The New York Film Academy congratulates Louis Mole on his well-earned success, and looks forward to seeing where his career heads next!