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  • NYFA Screens “Blank City” with Filmmakers Amos Poe and Celine Danhier

    blank city“There’s no relationship between New York now and in the 70s,” said New York Film Academy’s recent guest speaker, filmmaker Amos Poe. This became apparent for incoming New York Film Academy students who were fascinated by Celine Danhier’s documentary “Blank City,” which captured New York’s indie filmmakers of the 70s, who were inspired by the burgeoning underground art and music scene.

    The era included this cross-pollination of art, music and film. Filmmakers with hardly enough money to pay their Con-Ed bills would hit the streets to shoot guerrilla-style movies while unknowingly influencing the highly regarded No Wave movement. Danhier’s film examines the events that led to No Wave’s creation, in which the city itself, which was in decay at the time, plays a significant role. Danhier, who came to New York from Paris, interviews such filmmakers and artists as Jim Jarmusch, John Waters, Amos Poe, Thurston Moore, Debbie Harry and Lydia Lunch.

    “I didn’t know how to make movies but I had a camera,” said Poe. “I thought: I’m never going to make a movie that anyone is going to see, so why not make a film movement.”

    Danhier, who spoke to NYFA instructor Ben Maraniss and students after the screening, became interested in the lawless and desolate city streets of New York’s No Wave movement after seeing Poe’s “The Blank Generation” and Edo Bergoglio’s “Downtown 81.” In the spring of 2007, after meeting with producers, she began shooting her first movie, a documentary on the films associated with the No Wave movement and the city that set the backdrop.

    “I was charmed by her and her interest in our work,” said Poe. “Celine was dealing with a lot of difficult people and she stuck with it — even though it took four years.”

    Celine’s documentary screened at both the Tribeca Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival, where she eventually found a distributor.  

    Poe and Danhier are now working on their own project, which deals with their admiration for French New Wave cinema.

    May 26, 2017 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 160

  • NYFA Students Showcase Films at LA Live Score Film Festival

    On Friday, May 12 five students from the New York Film Academy showcased their short films at the Los Angeles Live Score Film Festival. Held at the beautiful Barnsdall Gallery Theater in Hollywood, select filmmakers were paired with composers to create an original score. The scores were performed live as the films were projected on a screen above the players.

    la live score

    The following students represented the New York Film Academy:

    • Naimah Hawsah, “Bicycle”
    • Nani Li Yang, “The Most Beautiful Woman” 
    • Jessica Chung, “Sushi Man” 
    • Tiffany Paulsen, “The Swan”
    • Zesheng Gao, “Trio”

    The New York Film Academy is especially pleased and proud of this collaboration with the Festival, as Tiffany Paulsen’s “The Swan” won the Audience Award for Best Film, and Jessica Chung’s “Sushi Man” won the Audience Award for Best Score.

    live score nyfa

    Hawsah said, “I felt like I was inside the film,” while watching her movie “Bicycle.” Happy with the reception Hawsah said she plans to submit to many more festivals as she hopes her story of a shy young boy will influence children across the globe.

    Myriam Frankel, Head of Festival Department at the Los Angeles Campus, created the partnership with the Live Score Film Festival in hopes of elevating the film projects being created by students. NYFA offers degrees in nearly every aspect of filmmaking, but music composition has to be sought outside of the school. Frankel hopes that by building solid bridges with composing communities like fellow sponsors Helix Collective, Megatrax, and the Academy of Scoring Arts students will encourage students to seek original, high quality and customized music scores for their films, as well as facilitate opportunities for fruitful collaboration with composers.

    live score nyfa students

    One of the students in attendance, Furaha Bayibsa, described the experience as, “Incredible.” She was particularly taken with a cellist player who received a standing ovation when introduced at the end of the show. “She played with such passion. At one point it looked as if she was going to cry. It was wonderful.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank the composers: Jane Lin, Benjamin Hoff, Annie Rosevear, Bronson Buskett, and Wei-San Hsu for creating beautiful and lasting scores for our students. Congratulations to all of our participants on an amazing showcase.

  • Netflix Announces New Series “Tidelands” to Film in Queensland, Australia

    netflix australiaQueensland, Australia, home of the New York Film Academy Australia Gold Coast, continues to cultivate film production and acting jobs, with last year being its best year attracting production expenditure of more than $200 million. “Aquaman” is currently being filmed in south-east Queensland and the location also hosted the international and domestic productions of “Pirates of the Caribbean 5,” “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Pacific Rim 2.” The most recent announcement of Netflix’s newest Australian series, “Tidelands,” adds to the list of yet another major production in the region.

    “Tidelands will be the very first Netflix Original Series to be commissioned and made completely in Australia, with all filming to take place in south-east Queensland,” said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

    “Tidelands,” which is expected to create eighty jobs for Queensland acting talent and crew, was written and developed through Brisbane-based production house Hoodlum.” Set in the fictional Australian sea-side town of Orphelin Bay where the residents harbor deep secrets and nothing is as it seems, the series plays out with a supernatural undercurrent. Production will begin in early 2018.

    “Screen Queensland is committed to investing in innovative projects with international appeal and ‘Tidelands’ will deliver great opportunities for Queensland. The series will film ten 50-minute episodes in Queensland for its first season,” said Screen Queensland CEO Tracey Vieira.

    nyfa Australia gold coast

    NYFA Australia Gold Coast students filming on set

    “High-profile filmmakers now consider the Gold Coast as a world-class destination with excellent filming options and multi-skilled crew,” said NYFA Australia Gold Coast Director Tasha Cooper. “I don’t even bat an eyelid these days with the amount of blockbusters filming in our very own backyard. It’s become very much like living in Hollywood. It’s great for the local industry. ”

    NYFA Australia maintains exclusive premises, located at Village Roadshow Studios. NYFA Australia alumnus Damian Lang has worked on both “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Aquaman,” both of which were filmed in the Gold Coast. Between his on-set experience and filmmaking background, Lang is currently working on an idea for his first feature film.

    “It makes us proud and acknowledges what we’ve always known — our unique learning style offers students incredible training that set them up for life — whether on small scale productions or massive blockbusters,” said Cooper.

    May 25, 2017 • Entertainment Australia, Filmmaking • Views: 1043

  • NYFA Launches New Mumbai, India Location

    With the every-growing popularity and tremendous interest in cinema in India, the New York Film Academy is thrilled to announce its newest Mumbai location, which welcomed its first group of filmmaking and acting students.

    nyfa mumbai

    NYFA Kitty Koo with film and acting students at NYFA Mumbai

    Located in the heart of the world’s largest film industry and the home of Bollywood, NYFA Mumbai offers both an 8-Week Filmmaking Workshop and a 4-Week Acting for Film Workshop. The workshops are held at the Urmi Estate (95 Ganpatrao Kadam Marg, Lower Parel [West] Mumbai, Maharashtra 400 013, India).

    “The New York Film Academy turns 25 years old this year, and we’re thrilled to add this beautiful new location in Mumbai to the global NYFA family,” said Kitty Koo, NYFA Vice President – Mumbai, India. “There is no place better than Mumbai, India — the land of Bollywood.”

    Similar to its core curriculum, the Mumbai Filmmaking Workshop focus on learning in a hands-on film environment, where students will have the opportunity to make a fully-realized final film. The Acting for Film Workshop provides students with a strong foundation of acting skills with a specific focus on the basic elements of the craft of acting using Stanislavski’s System, scene study, and monologue work as starting points. Students also participate in courses aimed specifically at training the actor for the technical requirements of acting on a film set.

    mumbai

    NYFA Acting for Film Associate Chair Peter Stone with Acting for Film students at NYFA Mumbai

    “We’re proud to bring our innovative film and acting for film programs to Mumbai, India, an epicenter for world cinema,” added NYFA President Michael Young. “We look forward to teaching a whole new generation of Indian filmmakers and actors.”

    As those who have taken a workshop with NYFA know, the workload is intensive, meaning students must be prepared to live and breathe the program during their enrollment.

    “Taking that experience from NYFA, I was able to act as a major supporting role in ‘Baahubali’,” said NYFA alumnus Rakesh Varre, who plays Setu Patti in “Baahubali: The Conclusion.” The film has become the highest grossest Indian film in history, and has even been impressive in the North American market.

    For those interested in studying in Mumbai, please visit www.nyfa.edu/mumbai for more information.

    May 15, 2017 • Acting, Filmmaking, Study Abroad • Views: 1724

  • Virtual Reality School Highlights at New York Film Academy

    Last month the inaugural 8-Week Virtual Reality students showcased their final projects in conclusion with their graduation. Students and faculty were able to experience student work through interactive stories and games, which captured everything from Central Park to a virtual beer pong game.
    vr students

    Carlos Cruz, who worked for more than fifteen years in video production in Brazil, came to NYFA to learn about the emerging VR technology. “It was a great opportunity to come to NYFA,” said Cruz. “To study here was like a dream.” Cruz’s project allowed us to explore a blossoming relationship which began as an accidental encounter in Grand Central Station.

    “I find VR absolutely captivating as a medium,” added Catherine Dionne Henry, a NYFA VR student who is a native New Yorker. “We are at the forefront of a technological transition and I feel that this is a very exciting medium to be in.”

    Henry’s final project “Welcome to Harlem USA!” captures the legacy and culture of Harlem, which she says is a neighborhood in a period of transition and change.

    The projects were all impressive, making the 8-Week program a huge success. The Academy looks forward to its next batch of VR pioneers and wishes the best of luck to its recent graduates.

    In VR Faculty news, NYFA VR instructor Caitlin Burns headed a panel discussion on Virtual Reality at the Las Vegas Convention Center on April 23. Burns and other panelists tackled questions as to whether the technologies will be around for the long run and explored how to use and take advantage of the growing technologies, uncover how the experiences will look down the road, and the potential revenue strategies.

    Currently serving as Vice Chair of the Producers’ Guild of America New Media Council, Burns has spent a decade working with narrative intellectual property franchises, independent artists, brands and philanthropic initiatives. Developing content strategies, overseeing multiplatform storyworlds and supervising localization campaigns spanning the globe, she understands what it takes to create a success story.

    Her past work includes: “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Disney Fairies,” “Tron Legacy” and “Disney Descendants” for The Walt Disney Company, James Cameron’s “Avatar” for Fox, “Halo” for Microsoft, “The Happiness Factory” for The Coca-Cola Company, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” for Nickelodeon and “Transformers” for Hasbro.

    She has also worked with Sony, Showtime, Pepperidge Farm, Scholastic, Tribeca New Media Fund, FEMSA, Diageo, Wieden+Kennedy, Odd Division, Tool of North America, Hush, Campfire, Reebok, Stratasys and UNICEF. Her independent feature McCarren Park, a film distributed by geolocated mobile app, premiered at the Tribeca Film Institute’s Interactive Day and screened at New York Film Festival.

    Burns will soon be heading a panel discussion on VR in New Zealand as well as introducing the technology to a group of Maori children.

    May 12, 2017 • Filmmaking, Game Design • Views: 1387

  • NYFA Alumni Team up for Short Film “Felices Acá En New York”

    While many young artists flock to New York City from all around the world, few realize just how difficult it can be to break into the competitive world of  “show business.” This personal and relatable struggle was the inspiration behind director Rodrigo Baumgartner Ayres’ film “Felices Acá En New York” (“Happy Here in New York”), which stars NYFA alumna Caroline Rosalino. Both Ayres and Rosalino met during their studies at the New York Film Academy and collaborated on the project soon after.

    caroline and rodrigoThe film has been well received, having screened at eight film festivals and having been recognized with a “Best Actress Award Nomination” at the Queens World Film Festival. The film won a “Best Audience Award” at Indie Works and a “Best Actress Platinum” at NYC Indie Fest.

    NYFA caught up with the two alumni to discuss more about the film and their blossoming careers since graduating.

    Congrats on the success of your film! Can you tell us where you’re from, and what brought you to NYFA?

    CR: I’m from Brazil, but I also lived in Argentina for five years where I did my BFA in Acting, as well as working in their “off-Broadway theater circle.” I came to the US for the first time for a three month work intership, and I walked past NYFA the very first day I was in New York City. I even have a picture of myself in front of NYFA saying, “Mom, I don’t think I am coming back,” and the funny thing is, it became true. I started researching about NYFA and I found it was exactly what I was missing in my work — since at that point my focus was mainly theatre and soap opera acting.

    RA: I am from Porto Alegre, Brazil. I decided to come to NYFA during my last year of adversing & marketing school in Brazil. I wasn’t excited about pursuing that career, I felt there was somehitng missing and it was one of my instructors Anny Baggiotto who had attended NYFA a few years earlier the recommended the school to me.

    Caroline, can you tell us how you met Rodrigo?

    CR: While at NYFA, I saw him working everyday at our computer lab, but we never had the opportunty to work together during school time. During my OPT time after NYFA, I invited Rodrigo to direct this film and luckily he dedicated himself entirely to the project.

    Rodrigo, in your own words, can you tell us what this film is about?

    RA: It’s about me, and Caroline’s, and a whole bunch of other foreigner artists’ lives. People who come to NYC with a dream to make it in show business, but soon realize that life here is harder than it looks. It’s about the idealized image that people in our home countries have of us because of the fact that we are living in New York City, supposedly the city of dreams. They don’t know what it means to be a foreigner in this country: working day jobs, struggling with money, having a constant fear of failure, which will culminate into us having no other option besides going back to our home countries with a feeling of defeat. It’s also about friendship. Sol’s character is sacrificing a long lasting friendship with Vicky in order to fulfill her dreams. And these ‘breaking apart’ situations happen no matter how hard you try to keep in touch with friends and family because your life in NYC is very intense; you can’t take a breath between working day jobs and pursing your career as an artist.

    How did this film come about?

    RA: This film was a nine day pre-production process: one day of shooting and over six months of editing, which I did myself. Caroline sent me a story written by Alejandro Escaño, a writer and theatre performer from Argentina, and she told me she wanted me to DP it. She thought I had a camera and equipment, which I didn’t, and she had another director lined up for the shoot. I told her I didn’t have a camera, but I might be able to put the production together. Apparently, the other director wasn’t showing much interest, so I took over and brought my friend Daniel Rey Lozano to DP and operate the camera, borrowed sound equipment from an indie company called ‘Gradient Films’, whom I worked with before, and Caroline called Andrei Costanzi Posse to operate the sound, a Brazilian actor who lives in NYC, which I had also previously met in another project.

    We were only five people on set and shooting guerrilla style. Months later, in the later stages of editing, I brought in my cousin from Brazil, Saulo Baumgartner Mosna, to compose the music for us.

    The biggest challenge was adapting the story that was sent to us by Alejandro, which was a great story with a lot of heart, but also not written in a standard script format. It was a story written in Word, which required a lot of changes if we wanted to have any hopes of executing it as a film. The original story involved a higher budget, at least three or four days of shooting, and more time of pre-production. So with nine days until the shooting date, Caroline and I were re-writing the story and adapting it into our ‘one day’ schedule.

    One day of shooting seems like a lot to handle. Can you tell me how you were able to pull off a one day shoot?

    RA: We got a crew of reliable people who are in it for the art rather than money, and that’s why we were able to shoot for some 16 hours. It was definitely exhausting, but when you have people like that, you know are going to see it through to the end. When Carolyn and I were writing the script I was careful with how I was shaping the scenes. Like I said, the original story was quite different — more places, different style — so I tried to make it logistically viable, so that we could travel quickly between locations.

    What did you see in Caroline that made her a perfect fit for the role of Sol?

    RA: Caroline is a great actress, seasoned, reliable and she really fit the role, because just like her character Sol, Caroline is also an immigrant who is struggling to make a living here in NYC. Except maybe for the ‘killing’ visions and day dreaming, Sol and Caroline are quite similar. But the fact was that Caroline reached me with the story first. Knowing her for her professionalism and talent, I had no doubts that we could make this project work.

    Caroline, can you tell us a little bit about Sol and who she is as a character?

    CR: Sol is a struggling actress that has been living in NY for three years. She wants to sustain the image of a successful life, but deep down she is not completely proud of all her choices. The truth comes to surface when her best friend from Argentina comes to visit her.

    Would you two say your NYFA experience was useful in terms of being prepared for this film?

    CR: I was truly blessed to have a great group at NYFA. From my colleagues that had so much potential — not even mentioning the unforgettable time we had together — but also our teachers were excellent and always open to work as well. NYFA prepared me not only to shift my theatre acting experience into film format and understand the professional filmmaking process, but essentially to understand acting as a business and how the film industry works in the US.

    RA: NYFA played an absolutely fundamental role in my career as a filmmaker. I had no previous background in film before — coming from advertising and marketing — so everything I learned was at NYFA. I did the One-Year Filmmaking Conservatory, which was very intense and an incredible learning experience. Kudos to my directing instructor Paul Warner; he was my main source of inspiration and I follow his teachings blindingly. I definitely learned a lot from him. NYFA cultivated my passion for the art and set me on track for a career that I can no longer live without. NYFA’s program is complete. I graduated the school feeling confident about my talent and what I could accomplish in the future.

    Tell us what’s next for the two of you.

    CR: I have a few jobs lined up. I might be traveling around the country for that. One of them is a virtual reality film. I can’t wait for the experience of shooting in 360. And for certain the feature of “Felices Acá en New York.”

    RA: I am shooting two new short films in May – June, 2017. One is a comedy that pays tribute to NYC as a romantic and also productive environment. The other one is a drama about loss and grief that criticizes America’s support program to veterans of war. Besides that, I also work as 1st Assistant Director, so I am involved in a sci-fi short film to be shot in September, 2017. I am also constantly writing. I have six scripts in the works that are dialogue pieces primarily made for the stage and that I also intend to turn into films.

    May 4, 2017 • Acting, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1733

  • A Lecture From Storyboard Artist John Davis

    Last week, the New York Film Academy Filmmaking students were given an in-depth lecture on storyboarding from one of the best, John F. Davis. As a Storyboard Artist and Illustrator for over 70 major motion pictures, Davis has designed camera shots and scenes for directors such as Sydney Pollack, Martin Scorsese, Sam Mendes, Robert De Niro, Baz Luhrmann, Lasse Hallstrom, Jonathan Demme, M. Night Shyamalan and Barry Sonnenfeld, among many others, with an initial collaboration in 1983 with Jim Henson and Frank Oz. In 2005, Davis won the Best In Show Award for the Society of Illustrators’ first “The Art of the Storyboard” exhibition, an international competition with over 300 entries worldwide.

    john davis

    Since coming to New York City in 1979 from the Yale School of Drama, he has been a Production Designer, Visual Consultant, Storyboard Artist and Illustrator. Davis won two Emmy Awards in 1988 for designing the broadcast sets for the Summer Games of the XXIV Olympiad in Seoul for NBC Sports; he has also been a political media consultant on presidential, senatorial and gubernatorial campaigns and in 1993 produced and directed a 3-hour nightly literacy show for the State of Mississippi (where he is from originally). In 1982, he designed all the News and Sports sets for ABC and has designed two independent films as well as creating concepts, storyboards and set designs for numerous music videos, industrials, and television commercials since the mid-80s.

    Davis began the lecture by allowing the students to check out his original storyboards from several major films including “The Departed,” “Black Swan,” “Zoolander,” and many others. The focus of the lecture was “awareness.”

    davis storyboard

    “There’s an awareness factor that needs to be in storytelling,” he said. “To engage the audience in a way that they’re surprised and taken by it.”

    He also stressed the fact that research is imperative. “If you do the right research it’ll inform your project,” he said.

    While Davis did admit that drawing is the foundation of the visual arts, he did say that a filmmaker doesn’t necessarily have to be great a drawing in order to create a storyboard. Davis broke down the drawing process, allowing students to understand how to properly draw and interpret a scene from page to visual.

    The process of storyboarding is extremely beneficial when it comes time for a director to set up his shots. Davis’ lecture brought about a true appreciation for storyboard art and the man or woman who provides the art for each of our favorite films.

    May 3, 2017 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 1250

  • NYFA Grad’s Documentary Shines Light on Historic LGBT Tragedy in “Upstairs Inferno”

    On June 24, 1973, an arsonist set fire to the Up Stairs Lounge, a gay bar located on the edge of the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana. For 43 years, it was the deadliest single event to affect the gay community in U.S. history. Thirty-two people were killed and some bodies were never identified. One-third of the New Orleans chapter of the Metropolitan Community Church were killed in the blaze, including two clergy. The primary suspect was never charged with the crime. The tragedy did not stop at the loss of lives. There were also the delayed injuries: lost jobs, fear, public ridicule and severed families. The devastation was compounded by the homophobic reactions and utter lack of concern by the general public, government and religious leaders. The fire permanently altered lives and was the root of many lifelong struggles.

    Robert Camina

    NYFA Alumnus Robert Camina at Manhattan Film Festival Premiere

    Despite the staggering historical significance, few people know about the devastating event. Filled with the desire to bring this tragic story to life, director Robert Camina made this the focus of his second documentary feature, “Upstairs Inferno.” Camina’s documentary brings humanity to the headlines by shining a light on the very painful effect the tragedy had on survivors, witnesses and loved ones. Their interviews are gut wrenching, yet insightful. Some of the people interviewed in the film haven’t publicly discussed the fire until now, especially on camera. The film is narrated by New Orleans’ own New York Times Best Selling Author, Christopher Rice.

    The documentary has been an official selection of nearly 40 film festivals around the world, winning a total of 8 Jury Awards, 4 Audience Awards, 2 Special Programming Awards and 2 Community Awards. It’s been in the spotlight in the New York Times and CNN. The film has received glowing reviews, including the San Francisco Chronicle citing that the doc “echoes of Spike Lee’s [Oscar nominated] civil rights film “4 Little Girls.” It was also invited to screen at the Library of Congress in February 2017.

    Camina, a 2006 graduate of the New York Film Academy 8-Week Film Workshop, recently returned to New York for his NY premiere at the Manhattan Film Festival at Cinema Village. The festival awarded his film with the distinguished Film Heals Award.

    “New York has a very special place in my heart,” said Camina at his premiere. “This is where my film career began — at the New York Film Academy in 2006.”

    Camina’s first official film, “Hunter4Love,” a short comedy produced at the New York Film Academy, played in twelve film festivals across the U.S.

    “The New York Film Academy provided more than technical training,” added Camina. “It provided an opportunity to meet other people like myself. You can’t place a value on that. Before our session, I had never felt such a strong bond with a group of people. I felt I had finally found my tribe after years of looking. My class was filled with phenomenal people from around the world with a common passion: to tell stories. We got very close and in fact, we all still keep keep in touch through a Facebook group. Two members of my class who met for the first time while at NYFA, ended up getting married and starting a family. We not only made movies, we made lifelong friendships. My classmates gave me (and continue to give me) the support to pursue filmmaking.”

    A promotional video that Camina directed for the Dallas Theater Center, “Meet Kevin Moriarty,” earned him 2 Telly Awards: “Outstanding Achievement in Direct Marketing” – Bronze, and “Cultural Marketing” – Bronze.  The Telly Awards are the advertising industry’s highest accolade.

     upstairs inferno

    “Martini the Movie,” Camina’s second official short film, wrapped production in the Fall of 2008. The film screened at 10 film festivals across the country, winning the award for “Best Comedic Short Film (Men’s)” at the 2009 QCinema Film Festival. The film also won the Audience Award for “Best Musical” at the 2012 Out in the Desert – Tucson International LGBT Film Festival.

    In June 2009, Camina began principal photography on his first full length feature film, “Raid of the Rainbow Lounge,” a documentary about the controversial and violent police raid of a Fort Worth, Texas gay bar that sparked an unprecedented outcry by the gay community leading to historic change. The film, narrated by Emmy nominated actress and TV icon, Meredith Baxter, opened to rave reviews and a media frenzy in March 2012. It was the official selection of more than 30 film festivals and garnered a number of awards, including 5 “Best” film awards and 3 “Audience” awards.

    One of the many highlights of Camina’s career was receiving an invitation to the White House to meet President Obama during Obama’s 2012 LGBT Pride Month Reception.

    “Upstairs Inferno” continues to screen at film festivals across the country.

    May 2, 2017 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1897

  • 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: 2019

  • Award-Winning Comedian Adrián Minkowicz Returns to NYFA to Perform Stand Up

    Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Adrián Minkowicz, also known as “The Argentinean,” is an award-winning comedian based in New York. He performs stand-up in English and Spanish with equal success, touring internationally, performing in major clubs and festivals like “Just for Laughs” and the “Fringe” in Edinburgh. He has been featured guest on talk-shows and done sets on TV in Europe, South America and in the USA, on shows like “the Artie Lange Show” and “Gotham Comedy Live.” He also opened for renowned comedians like Artie Lange and Godfrey.

     Adrian MInkowicz

    “I met Artie in the comedy circuit, at the Comic Strip Live or the Comedy Cellar,” recalls Minkowicz. “He thought that my story was interesting enough to bring me to his show and he interviewed me three times. I recently had the honor to open for him at the Count Basie in New Jersey. His fans really love him and he deserves it. He is not only a very talented and hilarious man, but a really nice and giving person.”

    A prolific published writer, Minkowicz is also the author of several theatre plays, TV scripts, articles for magazines and newspapers, and sketches for radio.

    “When I started living in New York many years ago I felt that I need it to complement my formation as an actor, playwright and comedian with film studies and I decided to attend New York Film Academy,” said the NYFA alumnus. “It has been really helpful for my career for several reasons. I’m not only a comedian but I’m also a published playwright in Argentina. I run a theater and dance company with my wife called ‘Human Works’ based in Brussels. Our last project ‘Dry Act #2: South Domino’ is a piece about games divided in three parts: a documentary, a performance and a board game that I invented. I would never have been able to make the documentary without attending NYFA.”

    In addition to his work in New York, Minkowicz holds a yearly workshop for professional comedians in Buenos Aires, sharing his experiences as an international and New York based comedian. The workshop is given as a ‘writer’s room’ where the participants have the possibility of developing material together with colleagues. “I receive a lot of questions about whether you can translate material from one language to another, and my answer is normally no,” says Minkowicz. “The reason is that people will not perceive me the same way in Argentina as they do in the United States or United Kingdom. Therefore, the comedian should always be aware of what different peoples perception of you are and act in consequence, not necessarily giving them what they want, but you could prove them wrong in their opinions.”

    Minkowicz will be featured in tonight’s April 27 open mic show at the New York Film Academy Theater at 17 Battery Place in lower Manhattan, hosted by NYFA Instructor Criag Fox. The evening begins at 7pm and includes a night of stand-up, live music, and poetry where NYFA students have the opportunity to share the stage with NYC pros.

    On May 18, Minkowicz is producing his own show called “The Argentinean’s Rancho” at the New York Comedy Club. (Tickets are only $10 with the code “Rancho.”)

    He will be performing for an hour at the “Best Newcomer” all August at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh. It’s a solo show with stand-up, film, and music, featuring known and not so known comedians from around the globe “advising” him on what is the best way to win a prize a the festival.

    April 27, 2017 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1660