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  • Panamanian Filmmakers Breaking Barriers

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    Grupo NUR 1New York Film Academy would like to congratulate students from Grupo NUR, a Panamanian organization promoting arts education for hearing-impaired youth. Working in cooperation with the government of Panama, New York Film Academy hosted a group of students in a 4-Week HD Filmmaking program at the school’s Los Angeles campus. In just four weeks, students learned all aspects of filmmaking, including writing, directing, production, and editing. With the skills they learned in the workshop, the students plan to return to Panama to raise funds and shoot their first feature film.

    NUR (from the Arabic word meaning “light”) supports young people with various special needs. Through classes in filmmaking, dance, art, and singing, NUR is helping them break barriers. With innovative and integrated programs, New York Film Academy is proud to support the education and training of the next generation of filmmakers with unique abilities.

     

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    June 4, 2013 • Academic Programs, Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 5732

  • NYFA’s Paul Warner Directing at The Baryshnikov Arts Center

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    NYFA Directing Instructor, Paul Warner

    NYFA Directing Instructor, Paul Warner

    New York Film Academy Directing Instructor, Paul Warner is directing a new contemporary multi-media dance theatre opera with a group of iconographic international performers at The Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City. WOMEN: THE WAR WITHIN will be a Princess Grace Foundation-USA Works-in-Progress residency that will culminate in work-in-progress showings on: June 26th at 2pm, June 27th at 6:30pm and June 28th at 3pm.

    Warner has directed more than fifty stage productions and numerous films, including the award-winning short In the Name of the Father, as well as the feature, Fall Time (Lionsgate/Artisan) starring Mickey Rourke, Stephen Baldwin, Sheryl Lee, David Arquette, and Jason London, which premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival (and subsequently, Outfest) where it was nominated for The Grand Jury Prize.

    His newest project, Women: The War Within poses these questions: How does a woman in love wield her power? How does a woman in power balance her love for another with her responsibilities to her people? Can female rulers alter history’s cycle of testosterone-driven destruction? Women: The War Within will dramatize the parallel stories of four of history’s most influential women: two from the distant past, who seduced and murdered their way to absolute power, and two contemporary women who have chosen to lead on a non-violent path to political revolution. These female icons are: Wu Zetian, the first Empress of China, Cleopatra, the last Pharaoh of Egypt, Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winning opposition leader of Myanmar, and Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State of the United States. Women’s journey explores an evolution and rise of female consciousness in the pursuit of power, starting with the use of sex as a strategic weapon in campaigns of violence, and ends with the arrival of a non-sexual, non-violent wielding of might. The climax erupts in a display of awakenings through song, dance, text, and swirling projections that propel all four women to the precipice of spiritual transcendence.

    Colloborating with Warner are a team of talented professionals, including: Wendy Whelan (New York City Ballet, who is considered the premiere ballerina in The United States), Stephen Petronio, the choreographer, Matthew Maguire, the obie winning librettist, and the composer, Du Yun, who is one of the most famous young new Chinese composers. Not only that, New York Film Academy graduate and current Producing Instructor, Dorottya Mathe, is on board as producer.

    Developmental Residency begins May 13th-15th, followed by June 3rd-28th, 2013. Presentations will be held on June 26th, 27th, and 28th, 2013.

    For more information visit: http://www.bacnyc.org/residencies/resident/paul-warner.

     

     

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    April 22, 2013 • Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 6787

  • Philip Dorling Screens “Why Stop Now”

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    This Monday evening, the New York Film Academy welcomed back former 1-Year filmmaking graduate, Philip Dorling. Philip’s last visit came back in 2011 when he screened his thesis film, “Predisposed.” Since then, Philip raised funds to shoot the feature with Melissa Leo, Jesse Eisenberg, and Tracy Morgan. The film was accepted at Sundance and picked up for distruction by IFC. Along the way, the title was changed to Why Stop Now, which Philip says was the producers’ idea. Though, Eisenberg eventually came up with the wording for the title. This being one of several compromises Philip had to make in order to successfully finish his feature film. As the evening’s host, NYFA Instructor Tassos Rigopoulus puts it, “Filmmaking is all about compromises.”

    Philip suggests young filmmakers take the independent route, as opposed to writing a script and trying to get it in front of a big agent or producer. “If you want to make independent films, you should try to relate to someone who can raise money,” says Philip. Ultimately, Philip was able to convince three major actors to believe in his vision and after three years of planning, the financing eventually came from BCDF Pictures. With NYFA’s intense training and busy schedule under his belt, Philip was able to pull off a twenty day shoot on a relatively small budget, especially for feature standards. And from the words of renowned film critic Roger Ebert, “Why Stop Now is a bright screwball comedy about one fraught day in the life of a piano prodigy, his crackhead mother and her drug dealers.” Not a bad critic to have on your side.

    The young director is currently in the middle of raising finances for his next project, Eat My Love, which he began writing two days after Why Stop Now was completed. Not only that, Philip extended an open invitation to NYFA filmmakers and actors to be a part of his next film. He hopes to have more details in the near future.

     

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    February 12, 2013 • Film School, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 6301

  • Finding Luck With ‘The Lucky One’

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    Filmmaker Bala Balakrishnan graduated from New York Film Academy in 2010. Shortly after graduation, he wrote, produced, and directed a short film called The Lucky One. It made the festival rounds in 2012, and proved to be a hit, winning 8 awards in competitions across the nation.

    Bala works as a software engineer during the day. Like many people with day jobs, he decided an Evening Filmmaking program would work best with his busy schedule. “I was always interested in film,” says Bala. “After I had my second kid, I said, ‘I don’t want to be sitting in front of a computer all the time.’ It was my childhood desire to tell stories. I said, ‘Okay, I’ll go take a class.’ I invested and it paid off.”

    He began commuting to New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus from nearby Orange County. As he puts it, “You start from the beginning, and get hands-on experience.” The Evening Filmmaking program covers writing, directing, cinematography, and editing – all the building blocks for getting started in filmmaking.

    After graduation, Bala decided to start work on a short film. Working around his day job, he wrote a story about a young boy whose parents would rather spend time on their iPhones than taking care of their child. Like many filmmakers these days, he turned to Indiegogo to fund his 18-minute short film. Bala started production in the summer of 2011, working with a number of his New York Film Academy classmates.

    Since its completion, The Lucky One has played numerous festivals across the nation, and just won its eighth award last week at the California Film Awards. Bala Balakrishnan is currently working with a screenwriter for a feature length action thriller, in addition to two other feature length scripts.

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  • Encore Sessions at Le Baron Chinatown

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    New York Film Academy instructor, Geoffray Barbier is directing a music concert series sponsored by Absolut Vodka. Shot in high definition, ENCORE! streams live music sessions featuring the very best at le Baron Chinatown in New York City. For those of you not hip on the scene, the Chinatown outpost, Le Baron of Andre Saraiva’s famed Paris’ “boite” is serving as a creative platform for talents to showcase themselves in a unique way. The successful online series is in its second season and episodes are recorded twice a month. Be sure to check out the most recent episode, featuring the popular band Wild Belle!

     

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    December 13, 2012 • Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 4311

  • New York Film Academy Music Video Competition!

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    New York Film Academy is excited to announce a music video competition with Born Leaders Entertainment/Management artists Weston Coppola Cage, Christina Fulton, and Hassan Khaffaf. Students will compete for the chance to direct, shoot, and produce the singles for the artists’ upcoming singles.

    The competition is open to AFA, BFA, and MFA students in their second year, and alumni. Students will have the opportunity to meet the artists on Thursday, August 9 at 7 p.m. in the Welles room at the school’s Universal Studios campus. After the meet and greet, students will have a week to come up with their pitches for the music videos, and the winning concepts will be chosen by the artists.

    As the son of Nicolas Cage and Christina Fulton, actor and recording artist Weston Coppola Cage, carries on a rich artistic legacy. He released his first album with his band Eyes of Noctum, working with award-winning producer Jack Douglas, and top Swedish black metal producer Fredrik Nordstrom. He was asked to record a song for the major motion picture Drive Angry, and was asked back by the studio to record the monstrous evil voice in Ghost Rider. His much-anticipated solo album is due out at Christmas 2012, and will also star in the forthcoming film Sugar Rat in 2013.

    Shortly after coming to Hollywood, actress and recording artist Christina Fulton landed a part in Oliver Stone‘s critically acclaimed film, The Doors. Her portrayal of the enigmatic Nico launched an illustrious acting career that has included roles in Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s DraculaBrian DePalma’s Snake EyesAbel Ferrara’s Dangerous Games and the award-winning independent film, Lucinda’s Spell. Her debut single, Thank You, premiered on MTV’s Jersey Shore earlier this year. She previewed her second single, Freeing My Mind, while opening for Lupe Fiasco, Rock Mafia, and Cobra Starship at Kodak Theater this year.

    Hassan Khaffaf is a Middle Eastern producer and recording artists, soaring off his successful world debut with last year’s number one song in Asia, co-produced by Kanye West. Now he is on his own journey to captivate the world with his unique production and extraordinary artistry.

    Today, Christina Fulton released a statement saying, “New York Film Academy has long been a respected and renowned institution for students seeking training in the creative arts, acting, film, and photography. For many years I’ve wished to collaborate with them and I am very excited by the uniqueness and promise of the program we have designed that combines the excellent training NYFA has long been known for with premier exposure of the student’s work and most importantly, an opportunity for them to work with established artists that can greatly assist in their fretful transition from school to real world that every student must face. What I, and the wonderful NYFA executives who’ve embraced my idea, have done is to combine training with opportunity.”

     

     

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    August 7, 2012 • Academic Programs, Cinematography, Film School, Filmmaking, Producing • Views: 4690

  • Winning in Casablanca

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    Jaouad Bouddehbine winning Best Fiction at the Casablanca International Student Film Festival

    One year filmmaking graduate, Jaouad Bouddehbine, won Best Fiction at The Casablanca International Student Film Festival and was selected at Angelus Student Film Festival with his film, Stricken, which was his thesis film at New York Film Academy. The Moroccan native believes there is a wealth of untapped material which can shared through the medium of cinema. “Great stories can be told and shared worldwide. I would love to tell the world some of those stories.”
    Currently, Jaouad is looking to shoot his next film in which he tends to cross genres. In fact, he has set the bar high with his hopes to revolutionize Moroccan cinema. But, first, he plans to continue his film education through NYFA’s MFA Filmmaking program. “NYFA was a great experience, especially in terms of writing, shooting, and editing short films in the United States.”

    Click here, if you’re interested in learning filmmaking at New York Film Academy like Jaouad!

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  • New York Film Academy Presents 70 Years of Batman

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    Looking back over time, we’ve seen the caped crusader in many forms. Rugged, campy, and even nipply. So Ben Zhang at the New York Film Academy created an infographic that sums up the last 70 Years of Batman. One thing’s for sure, the hero has certainly evolved.

    batman infographic by nyfa film school
    Created by New York Film Academy

    Tweet us @NYFA to let us know which Batman is your favorite?

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    July 17, 2012 • Acting, Film School, Infographics • Views: 59298

  • Financing Your Indie Film and Developing an Audience

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    Rohit Gupta is a Mumbai native who came to the United States over 12 years ago. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, Rohit didn’t have “the slightest idea about filmmaking” until he joined the New York Film Academy  for a 4 week film workshop. Realizing his passion for the craft, he extended his stay and enrolled into the one year conservatory program. Rohit was an MBA graduate who came from a family of entrepreneurs. He decided to take his shot in an “unstable” industry and fell in love. The film assignments he was working on for classes became inspiration for later works. Another Day, Another Life was shot in seven hours, edited on his laptop, and completed on a $100 budget. His first feature film Life! Camera Action was shot in ten days with a two member crew on a Panasonic DVX 100. Rohit has claimed that his rounds on the festival circuit, including the Short Films Corner at Cannes, has resulted in over 100 awards and accolades internationally. Talk about independent success on a micro-budget!

    As an independent filmmaker, Rohit has compelling views on cultivating an audience and working with financiers to distribute your film. Rohit credits his success to his drive and ambition. He has an optimistic outlook in a field with many pitfalls and setbacks. “There is nothing more or less to it than just doing it now. With pure excitement, love and compassion in your heart, all will fall in place magically.” For any aspiring filmmaker, the most important thing is to keep an open mind. He advises current students to think of the possibilities, explore them, and figure out what they ultimately want to do. “The fun is to create something with what resources we have on-hand than worrying about what we don’t.”

    THE AUDIENCE. Speaking with other filmmakers from all over the world, the anxiety is the same. “What is the audience going to like?” Rohit is critical of those who worry too much about the audience’s reception of the product–to the point that it affects the process of creating the product. The audience, he says, won’t know what they like “until they see it.” Some worry too much about audience expectations that there is a choke hold on creativity and productivity. Many aspiring filmmakers say their biggest hurdle is the lack of resources. Rohit believes with technology at our fingerprints, everyone is able to do what they want. Find opportunities everywhere. How you take advantage of the resources at NYFA is solely your initiative in the end. As he says, “No one is to be credited or blamed but yourself.”

    FINANCIERS AND THE REAL INVESTMENT. “It’s not the creativity that needs to chase the finance, it’s the other way round!” Don’t waste your time with financiers if they don’t step up after your first meeting. Never give up your creative control just because someone is investing in your project. Be committed to execution without financial pressure. Unless you do this, you won’t know what you like about what you do and why. Only when you feel strongly about the work will your audience connect. This is the definition of success. Asking for advice from those who never made a feature film is a great way of finding reasons for not doing it. Learn from and collaborate with those who’ve objectively achieved a level of success that you can relate to. There is nothing like being original. If you try to make everybody happy, you will lose yourself. In the end, if you are happy, then everybody around feels the energy and, in turn, feels happy, too. It’s just like doing everything else. There is no mantra to it. Learning is a constant phenomenon and the beauty is no amount of learning will ever be enough.

    What do you think about Rohit’s views? Tell us if you agree or disagree with him on Twitter! And if you want to find out more about the filmmaking program, please request info here!

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  • Pixar’s Rules for Great Storytelling

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    Pixar Animation

    Thanks to department chair Eric Conner of the screenwriting program for this great tip! A story artist at Pixar Animation Studios had been tweeting a series of “story basics” which illustrates the kind of talent that exists at Pixar. Their overwhelming success is easily demonstrated by the numbers. 7 out of 12 Pixar films were nominated for Best Screenplay at the Oscars and the company won the Animated Feature Academy Award 6 times. They have 13 consecutive box-office toppers and 2 Best Picture nominations. If that’s not proof of their genius, then we don’t know what is. Steve Jobs purchased the studio in 1986 for $10 million. It was originally a hardware company with only one animator on its staff. Now it’s widely reputed to be one of the best film studios on the planet. Here’s a quote on Deadline from the producer of the latest Pixar hit Brave, which debuted at number 1 at the Box Office this weekend. They attribute their phenomenal success to the basic wisdom that story trumps all.

    It was not easy. The biggest challenges at Pixar are always the stories. We want really original stories that come from the hearts and minds of our filmmakers. We take years in crafting the story and improving it and changing it; throwing things out that aren’t working and adding things that do work. All of that  is just the jumping off point for the technology and how we are going to make this happen.

    Without further ado, here are 22 pointers from Pixar’s story artists for creating a compelling story and building a mega-successful franchise. Don’t forget to learn more about our animation curriculum and become a top-notch animator for Pixar. Click here to request more information on the program!

    1. You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

    2. You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be very different.

    3. Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
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    June 25, 2012 • 3D Animation, Film School, Screenwriting • Views: 3978