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  • Noted Film Critic Peter Rainer Discusses ‘Straight Time’ with New York Film Academy (NYFA)

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    On Thursday, December 5, New York Film Academy hosted a screening and discussion with noted film critic Peter Rainer on Straight Time, directed by Ulu Grosbard. Made in 1978, the American crime drama centers around a career criminal, Max Dembo (Dustin Hoffman), who is determined to go straight after his latest stint in prison. He takes a mindless job in a cannery, patiently endures the abuse of Earl, his pompous parole officer, and begins a romance with a sympathetic girl from the employment office. But when Earl erroneously busts Jack for drug abuse, the ex-con cracks, setting off a reckless crime spree.

    Peter Rainer Straight Time
    Peter Rainer has 30 years of professional experience as a film critic and is currently the film critic for the Christian Science Monitor and can be heard regularly on NPR’s Film Week on KPCC-FM. He was one of three finalists in 1998 for the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism and is a three-time winner of the Arts and Entertainment Journalism Award for best online film critic. He has also written and co-produced two A&E biographies—on Sidney Poitier and John Huston—as well as co-authoring the film Joyride (1977). He has served on the main juries for the Venice and Montreal film festivals.

    Rainer opened up the discussion by asking students in attendance what they thought about Straight Time in relation to Hoffman’s more popular work in more well-known hits such as The Graduate and Tootsie. One student expressed, “From what I know of Dustin Hoffman, I expected the film to be a redemption story for the protagonist trying to assimilate back into society after prison, but the film quickly took a left turn that I was not anticipating and it was a role I’ve never seen him play before.” 

    straight time peter rainer
    Rainer touched upon the fact that Straight Time was not a film that gained a lot of traction, and felt that was partly due to the fact that the role of Max Dembo was such a deviation from Hoffman’s usual beloved underdog characters. Instead, Rainer shared, the film got more attention for the events that occurred behind the scenes; citing the litigation battle between Hoffman and First Artists Production Company over the creative rights to the film after the shooting had gone 23 days over schedule and $1 million over budget.  

    Sharing his film critic expertise, Rainer advised, “A good way to look at a scene is to think about all the different ways it could have been shot, and then decipher why it is the director chose to portray it in that specific way,” specifically referring to scenes in Straight Time that contributed to the depiction of Hoffman’s character as a hardened criminal versus an individual in unfortunate circumstances. 

    Additionally, Rainer commended the film’s use of film noir techniques while also effectively humanizing the characters and removing the glitz of Los Angeles to portray a more realistic story. In turn, students in attendance were able to compare and contrast the film’s strategic use and deviation from classic film noir.       

    Peter Rainer Straight Time
    New York Film Academy thanks Peter Rainer for taking the time to share his knowledge and critical expertise with students.

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    December 12, 2019 • Acting, Film School, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 103

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Celebrates 2020 Golden Globe Nominations

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    Nominations for the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards were announced this morning, with several going to projects that New York Film Academy (NYFA) alumni, faculty, and guest speakers have worked on, including HBO’s Barry, starring NYFA alum Bill Hader.

    Barry Bill Hader

    NYFA alum Bill Hader (right) in HBO’s ‘Barry’

    The awards are selected by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). This year’s nominations were announced early on December 9 by Tim Allen, Dakota Fanning, and Susan Kelechi Watson, who were joined by Golden Globe ambassadors Dylan and Paris Brosnan, HFPA President Lorenzo Soria, and Barry Adelman of Dick Clark Productions.

    Netflix dominated the list with 17 total nominations, with several going to the Martin Scorsese epic The Irishman, including Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor for co-stars Joe Pesci and previous NYFA guest speaker Al Pacino. 

    Marriage Story and Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood also earned several nominations each. NYFA guest speaker Nathan Kelly served as unit production manager on Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, which earned nods for Best Motion Picture – Comedy, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and acting nominations for stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story was nominated for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Original Score, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actress, and Best Actor, with the latter going to star and previous NYFA guest speaker Adam Driver.

    The NYFA community worked on other films nominated this year, including three nominees for  Best Motion Picture – Animated. NYFA Game Design alum Guillermo Quesada helped develop the VR technology used to film Jon Favreau’s remake of The Lion King. NYFA 3D Animation & Visual Effects instructor Kelley Williams, who has worked as a character TD, rigger, and modeler, did animation work on the Disney sequel Frozen II. NYFA guest speaker Tony Hale starred as the breakout new character Forky in the Pixar hit Toy Story 4.

    tony hale
    The Golden Globes cover television in addition to theatrical film releases; this year, TV productions Chernobyl, The Crown, and Unbelievable led the crop of nominations. HBO’s Barry, co-created by NYFA Filmmaking alum and previous guest speaker Bill Hader, picked up multiple nods, including Best TV Series – Musical or Comedy, Best Supporting Actor for NYFA guest speaker Henry Winkler, and Best Actor for Hader, who earned a nomination for the same role last year as well (as well as two Primetime Emmys.)

    New York Film Academy is delighted to see the NYFA community represented once again at the Golden Globes and congratulates all of the 2020 Golden Globe nominees. The 77th annual Golden Globe Awards will air live on NBC from 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. ET on January 5.

    Here is a full list of this year’s Golden Globe nominees:

    Best Picture, Drama
    1917
    The Irishman
    Joker
    Marriage Story
    The Two Popes

    Best Actor, Drama
    Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari
    Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
    Adam Driver, Marriage Story
    Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
    Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

    Best Actress, Drama
    Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
    Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
    Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
    Charlize Theron, Bombshell
    Renée Zellweger, Judy

    Best Picture, Musical or Comedy
    Dolemite Is My Name
    Jojo Rabbit
    Knives Out
    Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
    Rocketman

    Best Actor, Musical or Comedy
    Daniel Craig, Knives Out
    Roman Griffin Davis, Jojo Rabbit
    Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
    Taron Egerton, Rocketman
    Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name

    Best Actress, Musical or Comedy
    Ana De Armas, Knives Out
    Awkwafina, The Farewell
    Cate Blanchett, Where’d You Go, Bernadette
    Beanie Feldstein, Booksmart
    Emma Thompson, Late Night

    Best Supporting Actor
    Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
    Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
    Al Pacino, The Irishman
    Joe Pesci, The Irishman
    Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    Best Supporting Actress
    Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
    Annette Bening, The Report
    Laura Dern, Marriage Story
    Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers
    Margot Robbie, Bombshell

    Best Director
    Bong Joon-ho, Parasite
    Sam Mendes, 1917
    Todd Phillips, Joker
    Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
    Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    Best Screenplay
    Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
    Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won, Parasite
    Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes
    Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
    Steven Zaillian, The Irishman

    Best Original Score
    Alexandre Desplat, Little Women
    Hildur Guđnadóttir, Joker
    Randy Newman, Marriage Story
    Thomas Newman, 1917
    Daniel Pemberton, Motherless Brooklyn

    Best Original Song
    “Beautiful Ghosts,” Cats
    “I’m Gonna Love Me Again,” Rocketman
    “Into the Unknown,” Frozen II
    “Spirit,” The Lion King
    “Stand Up,” Harriet

    Best Foreign Language Film
    The Farewell, U.S.A.
    Les Misérables, France
    Pain and Glory, Spain
    Parasite, South Korea
    Portrait of a Lady on Fire, France

    Best Animated Film
    Frozen II
    How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
    The Lion King
    Missing Link
    Toy Story 4

    Best TV Drama
    Big Little Lies (HBO)
    The Crown (Netflix)
    Killing Eve (BBC America)
    The Morning Show (Apple TV+)
    Succession (HBO)

    Best Actor, TV Drama
    Brian Cox, Succession
    Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
    Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
    Tobias Menzies, The Crown
    Billy Porter, Pose

    Best Actress, TV Drama
    Jennifer Aniston, The Morning Show
    Olivia Colman, The Crown
    Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
    Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
    Reese Witherspoon, The Morning Show

    Best TV Musical or Comedy
    Barry (HBO)
    Fleabag (Amazon)
    The Kominksy Method (Netflix)
    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
    The Politician (Netflix)

    Best Actor, TV Musical or Comedy
    Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
    Bill Hader, Barry
    Ben Platt, The Politician
    Paul Rudd, Living With Yourself
    Ramy Youssef, Ramy

    Best Actress, TV Musical or Comedy
    Christina Applegate, Dead to Me
    Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Kirsten Dunst, On Becoming a God in Central Florida
    Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
    Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag

    Best TV Miniseries/Movie
    Catch-22 (Hulu)
    Chernobyl (HBO)
    Fosse/Verdon (FX)
    The Loudest Voice (Showtime)
    Unbelievable (Netflix)

    Best Actor, TV Miniseries/Movie
    Christopher Abbott, Catch-22
    Sacha Baron Cohen, The Spy
    Russell Crowe, The Loudest Voice
    Jared Harris, Chernobyl
    Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon

    Best Actress, TV Miniseries/Movie
    Kaitlyn Dever, Unbelievable
    Joey King, The Act
    Helen Mirren, Catherine the Great
    Merritt Wever, Unbelievable
    Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon

    Best Supporting Actor, TV
    Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method
    Kieran Culkin, Succession
    Andrew Scott, Fleabag
    Stellan Skarsgård, Chernobyl
    Henry Winkler, Barry

    Best Supporting Actress, TV
    Patricia Arquette, The Act
    Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown
    Toni Collette, Unbelievable
    Meryl Streep, Big Little Lies
    Emily Watson, Chernobyl

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  • New York Film Academy Australia’s Unprecedented Partnership with Warner Bros. Movie World for Theme Park Hot Sets

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    Warner Bros. Movie World

    Visitors to Warner Bros. Movie World now have the chance to see filmmaking in action thanks to a first-of-its-kind partnership between the iconic Gold Coast theme park and New York Film Academy Australia.

    Through the collaboration, film production hot sets will be installed on the grounds of Warner Bros. Movie World for NYFA Australia students to sharpen their skills in the various elements of film craft using state-of-the-art, industry standard equipment under the guidance of NYFA Australia faculty and staff.

    Guests visiting the park will be able to watch the magic of movie making up close and in action, which falls in line with the movie-centric attractions of the popular vacation spot. Some guests may even be asked to participate in the hot sets, and serve as on-camera performers in the scenes filmed.

    Warner Bros. Movie World

    “In addition to offering our students the invaluable opportunity to participate on set,” says NYFA Australia Director, Tasha Cooper, “this unique partnership simultaneously offers guests to the park the premium, ‘movie magic’ experience they desire.”

    Warner Bros. Movie World is one of the most popular destinations in Queensland for both locals and visitors, and is based on the characters and properties of the Warner Bros. film studio, including the iconic roster of DC Comics superheroes like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. The park is operated by Village Roadshow Studios (VRS), which has a long-standing relationship with NYFA Australia. Throughout their studies, NYFA Australia students also have the opportunity to shoot films on the VRS backlot, where NYFA Australia houses its own production workshop studios. The VRS backlot has been home to some of the biggest movies of the decade, including Aquaman, Thor: Ragnarok, and San Andreas.

    Warner Bros. Movie World

    “Movie World and NYFA Australia share an affinity for the film industry on the Gold Coast and I am excited at the prospects of this unique partnership,” shares Michael Croaker, Head of Entertainment for Village Roadshow Theme Parks. “Excitingly, Movie World guests will have the opportunity to watch a real ‘hot set’ operating in the park with a few even getting the chance to get in on the action themselves.”

    The interactive hot sets can be found off the theme park’s Main Street, near Gotham City Hall. Various films and productions by the students will be shot there; recently, NYFA Australia alumni even had the opportunity to shoot a promo video for hit90.9’s Breakfast show. One lucky student was chosen based on their pitch to work with popular radio hosts Lise Carlaw, Sarah Wills, Dan Anstey, and Ben Hannant to create the promo. NYFA Australia students aren’t just getting exposure on the radio; the theme park hot sets were also recently featured in a story on 7NEWS Gold Coast.


    New York Film Academy Australia is thrilled to partner with Warner Bros. Movie Studios for this innovative approach to instructing students in the craft of filmmaking and preparing them for the bustling dynamics of professional, real world film sets.

    All programs and workshops are solely owned and operated by the New York Film Academy Australia and are not affiliated with Village Roadshow Studios.

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    November 27, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 508

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Workshops at the Bilbao Bizkaia Design Week 

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) was honored to be included in the Bilbao Bizkaia Design Week earlier this month, held in the idyllic city of Bilbao, Spain. 

    Bilbao Bizkaia Blake Babbitt Featured
    Blake Babbitt, NYFA’s Associate Director for Recruitment, delivered a masterclass to creative Spanish students in which he outlined tools aspiring filmmakers need to have in their proverbial backpacks. The demonstration proceeded to show the delighted audience how to use these elements in their filmmaking and storytelling projects.

    The event was hosted in the magnificent Ensanche Building in the city center of Bilbao and sponsored by EIKEN – Basque Audiovisual & Digital Content and Five Lands (International Education), an official recruiting agency of NYFA.

    Bilbao Bizkaia Blake Babbitt Featured
    Babbitt’s stay in Bilbao included a visit to Ayalde School to deliver a second masterclass on visual storytelling to students coming from different educative centers in the area. The event was hosted by COAS and allowed youngsters with ages ranging from 15 to 18 to learn how to convey a story from paper to on screen.

    “Maybe there was a future storyteller in the audience,” states David Morera, CEO/President of Five Lands. “Who knows? If not, there were several students eager to enjoy a good story. At the very end, that’s one of the things that make us human.”

    Bilbao Bizkaia Blake Babbitt Featured

    (from L to R): David Morera (Five Lands), Fernando García (COAS), Blake Babbitt (NYFA) and Óscar Salazar (Five Lands)

    New York Film Academy is grateful to Five Lands International Education, COAS,a and EIKEN – Basque Audiovisual & Digital Content for hosting these events, and we look forward to returning to Bilbao in the near future!

    The live stream of NYFA’s Bilbao masterclass event is available here:

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    November 26, 2019 • Film School, International Diversity • Views: 368

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screens Groundbreaking VR Film ‘Agent Emerson’ with Director and BFA Filmmaking alum Ilya Rozhkov and Filmmaking Team

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) recently hosted a screening of groundbreaking VR action film Agent Emerson, followed by a Q&A with award-winning writer, director, producer, and NYFA BFA Filmmaking alum Ilya Rozhkov; Associate Producer & VP of Development of the Rogue Initiative, Bradley Etheridge; and Line Producer and NYFA alum, Radhika Womack. The event was held on Friday, November 15 at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus, with the president of the NYFA Broadcasting Club, Derek “DJ” Johnson II, moderating.

    BFA Filmmaking alum Ilya Rozhkov has directed award-winning shorts including Wes-Andresonesque Sabre Dance, starring Olympian Greg Louganis as Salvador Dali. His films have been distributed worldwide, featured on NBC, and screened at over 50+ festivals; winning numerous awards including Best Picture and Best Director. 

    Agent Emerson Ilya Rozhkov
    As a lead development executive at Rogue Initiative, Bradley Etheridge is responsible for input for both creative and business development. Etheridge’s diverse range of duties includes working with directors, writers, and producers on film, TV, and VR projects; managing Rogue’s internal team of game developers; and interfacing with contacts in various industries for everything from investment to content distribution opportunities. 

    Radhika Womack began her career producing commercials in the Indian film industry. Since moving to the United States, she has produced a number of feature films, shorts, documentaries, and music videos. Her most recent credits include producing the feature film In This Gray Place and line-producing Agent Emerson.  

    DJ Johnson II opened the Q&A by asking how the idea of Agent Emerson came about, highlighting the fact that Rozhkov conceptualized the film’s story with Womack during their time as students at NYFA.

    The VR film allows the audience to see an action movie from the 360-degree POV of its hero. The film, starring Andrew Bowen, Lyndsy Fonseca, and Tony Denison, has toured with Samsung and Verizon Media in a series of events in several states and recently had its successful red carpet premiere with high-profile guests from major Hollywood studios, Silicon Valley, the Producers Guild, the VR industry, and several Academy Award nominees.

    Agent Emerson Ilya Rozhkov

    “It was a very long planning process; about a year of it,” Rozhkov shared. “When I thought about it for the first time, I tried to figure out what would make it unique as a storytelling medium, just like people were with movies 120 years ago. So when the script was there and the concept was there, we started looking into technology and it simply did not exist, so I sat down with engineers and we had to create technology to make this possible.” 

    Johnson continued by inquiring how you set a frame that is 360 degrees. Rozhkov joked by saying, “Just like how there is no spoon in The Matrix, there is no frame in VR.” Rozhkov continued, “It’s storytelling through location and it’s a cinematic medium for sure, but it takes a lot from theater and it takes a lot from gaming. There’s no storytelling laws, especially when we started, so we had to find what works and just like any film, figure out the storytelling language.” 

    When asked about what the biggest challenge the filmmaking team faced during production, Womack expressed, “The biggest challenge was the technology. There’s so many unknowns in filmmaking already, and here you just triple that. It’s just sitting and brainstorming all the things you need even though there’s a lot of similarity with regular productions and other narratives. You have your locations, your permits, your crew, and the camera is taken care of, but again it’s a much bigger department than you would have on a regular film. The biggest challenge was to let everyone in every department know the difference: if you can see the camera, the camera can see you.” 
    Agent Emerson Ilya Rozhkov

    The Q&A then opened up for questions from the audience. A student asked the filmmaking team, “How did you combine the digital assets with the footage from your camera while maintaining the stereoscopic effect of the film?” 

    Rozhkov answered, “Everything was carefully measured, and we had a lot of sensor data from set that helped a lot. 360 degree video has a lot of limitations, especially when it comes to 3D, so we utilized game engine to bypass some of them. The film tracks in real time where you’re looking and adjusts the 3D accordingly.” 

    New York Film Academy thanks BFA Filmmaking alum Ilya Rozhkov, as well as Bradley Etheridge, and Radhika Womack for sharing their VR film and expertise with our students. Agent Emerson will be released on Oculus Rift (Go and Quest), HTC Vive, and Cosmos on November 22. 

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    November 19, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Virtual Reality • Views: 567

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) President Michael Young Tours Taiwan Art Institutes

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    Michael Young, president of New York Film Academy (NYFA), and Dr. Joy Zhu, NYFA Executive Vice President for the China Region, recently visited various art institutions across Taiwan over the course of eight days. The tour included multiple cities and meetings with several important officials.

    Taiwan 2019 Michael Young

    In the capital of Taipei, the NYFA representatives met with Taiwan’s Screenwriting Association and had a Q&A section. This meeting culminated in the preparation of a 15-Week Online Screenwriting workshop.

    On October 25, the opening ceremony of the 2019 Hsinchu Chuang International Cultural Season invited to serve as VIPs. The cultural event is hosted by Hsinchu Chuang University, and includes lectures and exhibitions on international education. Michael Young and Joy Zhu also had the chance to have an extended conversation with Hsinchu Chuang University President Jian Shaoqi.

    Following their visit to Hsinchu Chuang University, the NYFA representatives visited the National Taiwan University of Arts (NTUA), celebrating its 64th anniversary. NTUA is a top national school that have many famous alumni, including Oscar-winning director Ang Lee. Young had a great, in-depth conversation with the NTUA president, where he shared stories about time he spent in Taiwan as a young child, which was well-received by an audience of over 1500. Also discussed was the potential cooperation between the two schools in the future.

    Taiwan 2019 Michael Young

    Young and Zhu then arrived in Shenzhen and met with the Governor of Guangming District and Director of Dapeng District, as well as Shenzhen University’s President and the Dean of their art school, where cooperation between the two schools was also discussed. The NYFA representatives also had the chance to speak with students and their parents and had a wonderful time hearing their input about art education.

    Finally, the visit culminated with a trip to Zhuhai, where Young and Zhu met with the Deputy Mayor of Education, Public Health, and Tourism. The meeting in Zhuhai, like the visits across the rest of Taiwan, were very positive indeed, and bodes well for NYFA’s cooperation with the art institutes around the island.

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    November 6, 2019 • China, Film School, International Diversity, Screenwriting • Views: 561

  • New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Associate Dean and Filmmaking Chair Colloborate for ‘The MisEducation of Bindu’

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Prarthana Mohan recently won the Indiana Spotlight Award for Best Director at the Heartland International Film Festival for her film The MisEducation of Bindu; NYFA Los Angeles Chair of Filmmaking Ed Timpe co-produced the film.

    The feature-length comedy tells the story of a bullied high school sophomore from India who must seek help from her classmates after forging her mother’s signature to test out of high school and discovering the test has a fee she cannot afford. The film co-stars Priyanka Bose, Megan Suri, and David Arquette (Scream, Never Been Kissed.)

    The MisEducation of Bindi was executive produced by the Duplass Brothers (Togetherness, Room 104) and was directed by Mohan, who co-wrote the screenplay with Kay Tuxford and co-produced the film with Ed Timpe. 

    The Miseducation of Bindu
    The production was shot in Indiana, where Timpe went to school, and is tied deeply to the community. “We really want to take the film back to Indiana,” Mohan tells IndyStar. “We want to take it back to Indianapolis and the communities nearby because they were so gracious and kind and welcoming.”

    The film screened at the state’s 28th annual Heartland International Film Festival, Indiana’s largest and longest-running fest. This year’s festival, which ran from October 10 – 20, featured more than 100 independent films, 200 visiting filmmakers, and 300 film screenings.

    New York Film Academy congratulates the filmmakers on the success of their film The MisEducation of Bindu and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Prarthana Mohan on her well-deserved Best Director award!

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    November 1, 2019 • Faculty Highlights, Film Festivals, Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 420

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Furaha Bayibsa Authors New Book, ‘Children’

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    Furaha Bayibsa ChildrenChildren, a new book written by New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking alum Furaha Bayibsa, was released last month.

    Bayibsa has been very busy since graduating the Fall 2015 1-Year Filmmaking program at NYFA-Los Angeles—as a producer, screenwriter, director, and now as an author. 

    Originally from the Congo and born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden, Bayibsa has written four short films, three of which she’s directed. She has also become a prolific and talented producer, having worked on over a dozen films to date. These include Landfill, directed by MFA Filmmaking student Yesser Laham, and Straight to Hell, a comedy short written and directed NYFA Filmmaking alum Damon J. Barnes.

    Bayibsa’s book is titled Children and takes place in a San Francisco community in present day. The book is based on new legislation approved and finalized by the Supreme Court that calls for police officers to be put on immediate unpaid leave, charged, and tried as a civilian when abusing their power in service to unarmed civilians. This legislation has been praised and implemented in several nations all around the world and began with the story of two children who fell in love.

    “Writing is one of the most fun things in the world; it’s something I’ve always believed,” says Bayibsa. “Attending NYFA gave me guidance on how to think when I write, not actually how to write; that’s what I liked about NYFA the most.” 

    Bayibsa plans to adapt Children into a feature film as buzz about the book grows, which she plans to also direct.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Furaha Bayibsa on her new book Children and encourages everyone to read a copy today!

    Furaha Bayibsa Children

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    October 17, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 628

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Damon J. Barnes Screens ‘Straight to Hell’

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    Straight to Hell, a period comedy written and directed by New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking alum Damon J. Barnes and produced by NYFA Filmmaking alum Furaha Bayibsa, screened last month in North Hollywood. Barnes attended the 1-Year Filmmaking conservatory at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus in 2016; Bayibsa attended one year earlier. 

    Damon J. Barnes Straight to Hell
    The short film is a comedy about Christian gay conversation camps, and deals with very serious LGBTQIA+ issues in a humorous yet thoughtful way. Straight to Hell stars Bendan J. Shannon, Justin Selig, Noah Der, Gracie Lacey, and Collin Lapinsky.

    Straight to Hell began as Barnes’s thesis film while at NYFA. “One of the key driving forces for the film’s style, from choices in the script to choices in music, came from cinema from the 80s—more specifically, from the world of John Hughes,” says Barnes in an artist’s statement for the film. “The way Hughes’ storytelling captures the suburban teenage American experience in a fable-like, classicist body of work that stays true to the tradition of Hollywood romance and adventure was influential on the approach to make the story a comedy rather than a rough-edged, literal presentation—not to say those stories are not needed.” 

    Finding the right tone was important for Barnes. “At the heart of this film is a storyline that is tragic and unjust,” he continues in his statement on the film. “Comedy was used as the vehicle to tell that story. As absurd as conversion therapy is, is how absurd the comedy in the film was designed to be.”

    Damon J. Barnes

    NYFA Filmmaking alum Damon J. Barnes

    Damon plans to donate all the proceeds the film earns that week to nonprofit organization Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which uses litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy to fight hate and bigotry in our society.

    The film screened at the Laemmel NOHO Theater in North Hollywood from September 20 – 26.

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA Filmmaking alum Damon J. Barnes on his film and encourages everyone to check out Straight to Hell when they can!

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Students & Alumni Featured in VoyageLA Magazine

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    VoyageLA, the flagship publication for Voyage Group of Magazines, is a media and city guide for Los Angeles that aims to authentically represent a wide variety of artists and communities, looking for outside-the-box ways to bring together the many different small businesses, independent artists and entrepreneurs, local institutions of LA.

    It’s no surprise that many of New York Film Academy’s incredibly talented students and alumni have been featured on their pages, usually with personal and informative interviews. Here are the most recent NYFA artists who have been showcased by VoyageLA:

    Dayana Espinoza

    Recent 1-Year Acting for Film grad Dayana Espinoza has a knack for landing roles in quality films–she’s appeared in award winners Outlandish (Winner – CKF International Film Festival) and The Rosy Summer Day (Best Fantasy Film – Los Angeles Film Awards; Best Short – Top Short Film Festival; Best Women Short – Indie Short Fest; Best Director – Independent Shorts Awards; Best Director – Festigious International Film Festival) as well as Invisible Murderer, which was nominated in the Indie Short Fest for both Best Original Story and Best Film Noir Short. Espinoza, who was born and raised in Peru and has been recently interviewed by both VoyageLA and Film Daily, is currently represented by two agencies and recently worked on her first SAG-AFTRA project.

    Dayana EspinozaJoseph Ford

    Current BFA Photography Joseph Ford has been hired to shoot Instagram influencers including Blac Chyna and Brittany Renner, and has recently shot photo coverage of the Amazon float for the 2019 SF Gay Pride parade. The Marines veteran talks about his fashion photography company and the path that led him to NYFA-LA and beyond. 

    Joseph Ford VoyageLA

    Saana Laigren

    In her interview with VoyageLA, 1-Year Acting for Film alum Saana Laigren talks about how she first got into acting during her childhood, and about the internal struggles she’s faced while trying to create a career in the arts. In the end, though, her path ultimately led to her following her dream, and she’s recently won Best Foreign Actress at Chandra Khamini International Film Festival.

    Saana Laigren VoyageLA

    Alice Rehemutula

    VoyageLA calls MFA Producing alum Alice Rehemutula a “trailblazer” in an interview that charts her unconventional path from a Muslim province of China to Shanghai to Hollywood. Rehemutula found great success overseas as a performer, including appearing on China’s Got Talent, but she also has a passion for working behind the camera, earning her Master of Fine Arts in Producing from NYFA’s Los Angeles campus.

    Alice Rehemutula VoyageLA

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