• NYFA Students & Alumni Crew Up for TIFF’s “After the Storm”

    “After the Storm,” a film from first-time writer and director Jessica Oyelowo, recently screened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Jessica’s husband, David Oyelowo, known for his portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King in the award-winning film “Selma,” was a producer on the project.
    on set of "After the Storm"

    on set of “After the Storm”

    Shot in only four days at Oyelowo’s home in Tarzana, the production included a number of New York Film Academy students and alumni in its crew. Giulia Governo, a NYFA alumna from the Cinematography program, was the 1st AC on the shoot; David Hebrero, a NYFA alumnus from the Filmmaking program, was the gaffer; Konstantin Frolov, a NYFA alumnus from the Cinematography program, was the boom operator; Vince GE, a student from the Filmmaking program, was a Production Assistant; and Joann Wong, a student in the Filmmaking program, was in the swing department.
    after the storm

    on set of “After the Storm”

    Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“Belle,” “Beyond the Lights”), Chiké Okonkwo (“The Birth of a Nation”) and newcomer Caleb Oyelowo (Jessica’s son) star in the film about the emotional journey of an African American family in the wake of tragedy.
    after the storm

    on set of “After the Storm”

    “I became interested in what it’s like for the families of those out on the front lines,” said director, Jessica Oyelowo. “What happens to relationships when things go wrong, change doesn’t come, or loved ones are away or taken away?”

    “The movie has a bit of a surreal tone, as it deals with how tragedy can affect a family in ways they may not be fully aware of,” said NYFA Instructor Craig Ross.

    The film recently screened at the Urbanworld Film Festival in New York City. For more information, visit their Facebook page at

  • 20th BRAFF MarketPlace at NYFA South Beach

    Recently, the New York Film Academy South Beach hosted a number of filmmaking workshops as part of the 20th Brazilian Film Festival of Miami. The 20th BRAFF kicked off on Sept. 17 with the US premiere of “Enchanted” (2014) — Tizuka Yamasaki’s love story centered in the mythical world of the Caruanas — at New World Symphony – SoundScape Park.

    pedro and carvalho

    Filmmaker Walter Carvalho with NYFA’s Pedro Fernandes

    The festival continued from Sept. 17 to the 20 at Miami Beach Cinematheque with two programs: Special Documentaries and the Brazilian Female Film Directors’ Screenings, the latter with a focus on women’s achievements in the audiovisual generating debates on women equality in contemporary society.

    The Competitive screenings were hosted by the art deco-style Colony Theatre from Sept. 21 to 24. Films in competition represented a diverse panorama of the latest Brazilian productions.

    The two day BRAFF MarketPlace event, which took place Sept. 19 and Sept. 22 at NYFA South Beach, included the following workshops:

    Welcome Remarks

    • Sandy Lighterman, – Film Commissioner – Miami-Dade Office of Film & Entertainment
    • Adriana Dutra – Founder & Director – Inffinito Festival Circuit & Brazilian Film Festival of Miami

    RioFilme, Rio’s Audiovisual Content Promotion and Investment Agency

    By Claudia Pedrozo – President – RioFilme

    An overview of the mission, objectives and operations of RioFilme’s investment lines, co-production and co-distribution operations and training programs.

    RioFilme & Film Commission Int’l Film Project Partnership Platform

    By Steve Solot – President – Rio Film Commission

    Solot introduced the International Film Project Partnership Platform, where filmmakers are able to get involved with a co-production with Rio Film, which is located in Brazil.

    This new and unique initiative aims to generate visibility and provide a contact interface between producers of the city and state of Rio de Janeiro and international actors to perform feature film projects, whether co-production, investment, marketing, agency sales or any other form of international partnership.

    “I loved the opportunity to get involved with the industry, said NYFA SB BFA Acting for Film student, Manuel Zota. “I was able to talk about my family production company, and hopefully we will be able to do something.”

    Music and Cinema: The Sound as language

    By Mo. Rodrigo Toffolo – Orchestra Ouro Preto

    Toffolo characterized the sound as acoustic phenomenon, understanding the transformation of its comprehension as a form of art until it gets to the movie theaters. An approach to sound as language.

    Book Launch & Cocktail reception

    “The Expanding Brazilian Film, Television and Digital Industry”

    By Steve Solot – President – Rio Film Commission

    Filmmaker Walter Carvalho – Screening & Debate

    brazil festival

    The event began with a screening of legendary cinematographer and director Walter Carvalho’s latest film followed by a casual filmmaking debate. After showing his work, “Keep the ridgeline, not the fainting plains,” Carvalho opened to a Q&A that transformed into a masterclass where students were able to get some insight from the legendary filmmaker.

    “I really liked the talk with Walter,” said BFA Filmmaking student, Ester Meyer Nunes. “He was able to show me so much in so little time.”

    “Filmmaker Success Strategies:  How to Increase Visibility and Financial Success for your Next Film”

    By Joanne Butcher – Independent Producer

    Students were given the opportunity to learn insider secrets of the film business — how to translate your creative filmmaking skills to rock your marketing and overcome internal blocks to financial and critical success.

    Butcher provided tips on how to improve your chances of success as a filmmaker, discussing a lot about the financial aspect of it. Students were also offered the chance to network with the indie-producer as well.

    September 27, 2016 • Community Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 1235

  • Gabriele Fabbro’s “Two Steps Away” Wins Best Comedy / Dramedy Short Student Film

    two steps awayNew York Film Academy student Gabriele Fabbro has spring boarded his POV project into an award-winning short. He won Best Comedy/ Dramedy Short Student Film at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, the Hollywood Boulevard Film Festival, and the Direct Monthly Online Film Festival. He is a finalist for the All-American Drive-In and a semi-finalist for the Los Angeles CineFest.

    The original goal of the assignment is to have the same scene and show it from two different points of view. Gabriel credits his teacher, Gareth Dunnet Alcocer, with helping him grow. His previous assignment didn’t live up to his standard. Fabbro’s main objective was to, “…not make the same mistakes this time.” He wrote many, many different versions of the story, but they were all too heavy. “It wasn’t the right story to tell.” A week before he was set to film he wrote “Two Steps Away.” “Everyone was surprised how well we did because it was the most rushed project in the class.”

    Fabbro’s background is in photography. He says when he first got here he knew nothing about cinematography. Making the switch from still images to 24 frames per second has pushed him to be a better filmmaker. He said his fellow creatives Director of Photography Mark Cekham, actors Ydalie Turk and Connor Williams, as well as his sound department Luis Alberto Quijano and Karissa Ketelhut were the only reason he was able to survive the shoot.

    Fabbro pitched “Two Steps Away” as two students, on break, who are trying desperately to get the others attention without being noticed. He was nervous screening the film for the first time. “I’m always like nervous a lot when the film starts up, before and during. It’s terrifying. When they were screening it, I was afraid because they were laughing at parts I didn’t expect to laugh at; but at the end, they laughed…” right where they were supposed to.

    Knowing he had made a good film it was time to begin the submission process. There were numerous sites checked, but Fabbro’s favorite was FilmFreeway. “It’s easier. Faster,” Fabbro said of the service, “The main point is they give you updates. Whether you’re accepted or your not, you get a notification.”

    If you would like to see more of Fabbro please check out his work on Facebook, YouTube, and his IMDb Page.

    “Two Steps Away” has two upcoming festival screenings at the Glendale International Film Festival (September 29) and the Los Angeles International Film Festival (October 15).

    September 22, 2016 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1977

  • NYFA Alumni and Faculty Team Up for “Karate Tortoise”

    karate tortoiseFor those of you who grew up on “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Super Mario Bros,” “Looney Tunes,” and superhero cartoons — basically if you grew up in the 90s — be on the lookout for an upcoming comical web-series that combines all of your favorite stereotypes into one Adult-Swim-esque parody called “Karate Tortoise.”

    From a team that consists of New York Film Academy alumni and faculty, director Mike Diaz aims to deliver his audience what they’ve all been waiting for — a crazy cast of human-animal hybrids, aliens, and anthropomorphic reptiles that come to life through puppeteers, animators, sculptors, and builders. In fact, playing one of the super-villain hybrids, Rat Bastard, is actor and comedian Gilbert Gottfried (“Aladdin,” “Problem Child”), who is sure to deliver a dose of 90s nostalgia.

    “‘Karate Tortoise’ was born out of this simple question: Why, oh why, of all the eligible creatures on this planet, would you choose a turtle to be a mutant ninja?” says Diaz. “The story, aesthetic, and characters of each eight minute episode will make older viewers nostalgic for their childhood, while also capitalizing on the Snapchat addled attention spans of younger audiences.”

    Diaz hopes ‘Karate Tortoise’ will eventually find a home on Adult Swim, IFC, or Comedy Central.

    In order to raise the production budget for the series, the team turned to the crowdfunding site “Seed and Spark,” with the hopes of raising $30,000. With under a month to go on the fundraising, the team has already amassed over $12,000, and promises to deliver some pretty interesting prizes to fans who can fork out a few bucks of support. In fact, for the right price, Diaz and his producing partner Billy Hiller will get “Karate Tortoise” tattoos on their inner thigh.

    If you’re interested in learning more about the project or would like to donate your support, visit their crowdfunding site by clicking HERE.

    September 21, 2016 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 419

  • NYFA Los Angeles Grad’s “Bornless Ones” Screens at the DTLA FIlm Festival

    Bornless OnesCongratulations to the New York Film Academy MA Filmmaking graduate, Alexander Babaev, whose horror feature debut, “Bornless Ones,” premieres at the DTLA Film Festival in LA on Sept. 22 at 9:30pm.

    “Bornless Ones” tells the story of Emily (Margaret Judson), her fiancé (Devin Goodsell), and two friends, who move into a remote house with Emily’s crippled brother, Zach (Michael Johnston). After spending a single night in the house, Zach begins to heal, but in turn reveals a force that creates the most horrific night anyone could ever face.

    “We shot ‘Bornless Ones’ right after I graduated from New York Film Academy,” said Babaev. “The way it happened was sort of a miracle. I was very lucky to be surrounded by people who are as passionate about filmmaking as I am.”

    Directed by Alexander Babaev, produced by NYFA alumna Mariietta Volynska, and shot by NYFA MFA Cinematography Grad, Egor Povolotskiy, “Bornless Ones” became, for the three of them, the beginning of a solid professional friendship.

    “Even though we all knew that feature film was our next step, this next step felt painfully far away from the point we were all at until someone said, ‘Hey, my friend has a house where we could potentially shoot. Why don’t we write something?’ And I did. I wrote a script. We lost the house, but we found funds and got another house.”

    Soon after “Bornless Ones” was shot, Babaev, Volynska and Povolotskiy were invited, as a team, to work on a new feature, Culture of Fear. The premier is scheduled for 2017.

    “I think the biggest thing NYFA gave me was the courage to believe in myself, to believe that everyone can make a film no matter who you are or where you came from,” said Babaev. “I’m very proud of this film and I believe that the new wave of filmmakers — people like me and hundreds and thousands of other young filmmakers — are the future!”

    Don’t miss the “Bornless Ones” screening. If you have friends who love horror, or enemies that hate horror, invite them! Tickets available at –

    September 21, 2016 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1683

  • Paul Brown Holds Masterclass in London’s Soho Theatre

    New York Film Academy instructor Paul Brown’s recently held a “Secret of Great Stories” Masterclass at London’s famed Soho Theatre that was both insightful and uplifting. Brown has a great way of cutting through all of the noise and focusing on what makes a great story and an effective storyteller.

    paul brown london

    Brown is an award-winning writer, director and producer, having worked in film and television for over twenty-five years. He has produced over one-hundred television dramas, pilots, and movies, working on such series at The X-Files, Quantum Leap, The New Twilight ZoneStar Trek Voyager and Enterprise. He has received nominations for three “Emmy Awards” and three “Golden Globes” as well as winning the “Edgar Award” from the Mystery Writers of America for Best TV Drama. He has also received the “Genesis Animal Rights Award.”

    He co-created Disney’s world-wide smash hit Camp Rock. Most recently, he directed and co-wrote the dramatic feature film Heaven’s Rain in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest.

    As a teacher for the New York Film Academy, he also gives lectures on writing, acting, and filmmaking throughout the year in Latin America, Europe, and Russia.

    “His emphasis on emotion and honesty as the cornerstones of great stories resonated with the audience, which was made up of very enthusiastic film lovers — many of whom are looking to expand on their film education at the New York Film Academy,” said NYFA’s Recruitment Manager Roger Del Pozo.

    The attendees in London had very articulate questions and feedback and even shared some of their own film projects with us after the Masterclass.

    September 20, 2016 • Community Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 1268

  • Australia Gold Coast Grad’s “Ravish Blue” Screens at NBC Universal Short Film Festival

    New York Film Academy Australia, Gold Coast graduate Jakim Wong’s thesis film “Ravish Blue,” is an Official Selection at the Discordia Sydney Film Festival, IndieFlix, and Indiegogo Film Festival. The film has also screened at the NBC Universal Short Film Festival in San Francisco.

    jakim wong

    “It’s been over six months since I graduated from NYFA,” said Wong. “Simply put, I have been having fun, which is the most important thing! ‘Ravish Blue,’ my final film, has been in several film festivals nationwide and still going strong. This has pushed me to do even more. ‘Ravish’ is now getting its own soundtrack, adding a scene or two, getting polished up, re-color-graded, and mixed.”

    jakim wong

    Wong has also completed filming his new short “Rawry McDermott and the Eon Bridger,” which is scheduled to be released on the festival circuit in September 2016.

    In addition, Wong has secured a deal with Ipswich’s “Willowbank Raceway,” who are providing him with funding to bring a drag-racing feature to life. This project will be his first feature film. Currently titled “SJDR,” the feature commences principal photography later this year in the Ipswich/Willowbank area of Queensland and will involve race cars, high performance vehicles, car chases, drones and, as Wong puts it, “guaranteed fun.”

    September 14, 2016 • Entertainment Australia, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1004

  • MFA Filmmaking Grad to Judge Washington West Film Festival

    Al Hallak

    Al Hallak

    MFA Filmmaking graduate Al Hallak has directed numerous award-winning film projects including his sci-fi thriller “The Paradigm,” which was his thesis film at NYFA. The film earned several honors including The Award of Excellence at Los Angeles Movie Awards.

    Since graduating, Hallak started his own film production business in Burbank, CA and received a certificate of recognition from Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy. He was also commended by The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors

    Given his status as a freelance filmmaker, currently working and residing in Washington D.C., Hallak was recently selected to be a judge at the upcoming Washington West Film Festival in Washington, D.C. The festival was founded upon the belief that story can change the world and aims to spotlight films that provoke us to dream and question what we know to be true. Films that inspire us to see the potential of what could be and that ultimately paint a unique picture of the raw human condition.

    “This is a great opportunity; it is a very important film festival sponsored by Boeing,” says Hallak. “I am always proud of NYFA, and I hope to see NYFA students and graduates at the Festival in October.”

    WWFF will run from October 19-25, 2016 in Washington D.C.

    September 13, 2016 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 6306

  • Summer Camp Grad Awarded at Global Film Competition in LA

    Sara EustáquioNew York Film Academy High School Summer Camp graduate Sara Eustáquio was the recipient of the Award of Merit at the Accolade Global Film Competition in Los Angeles for her narrative fiction short film “Mirror.” The film, which stars NYFA Summer Camp actress Jamie Marchuk, was Eustáquio’s final project of the intensive 3-week HD Filmmaking program.

    In the short horror film, Marchuk looks at her mirror for answers, but what she finds may change her life.

    The young Portuguese filmmaker, 16, had already been awarded with her debut narrative fiction short film “4242,” which has received 16 international prizes and was screened in more than 30 international film festivals across the globe.

    “My time at NYFA taught me much more than I could have imagined,” says Eustáquio. “During the program, I learned about all the technical aspects of the filmmaking process in a fast-paced environment, as well as the importance of telling a story and how to tell a story. It was an amazing experience which deeply changed my perspective and encouraged me to move forward. NYFA helped me find my voice and definitely made me realize this what I want to do.”

    September 9, 2016 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2278

  • Filmmaking and Acting Workshops Held in Beijing and Shanghai

    This summer, the New York Film Academy held Filmmaking & Acting workshops in both Beijing and Shanghai, China. The workshops have drawn a growing number of international students who want to live and learn in China, where the entertainment industry is growing exponentially.

    Students were able to learn the various aspects of the filmmaking process, including writing, directing, acting, editing, and lighting a set.


    “The instructors were quite helpful and always ready to help you with your specific project,” said Enna, a student who grew up in British Guiana. “It was great to have industry standard equipment to work with and bring our projects to life.”

    china workshop

    “I will definitely choose New York Film Academy,” added another student, Steven. “I think it’s very hands on, very practical; it will help me get started.”

    Many of the students had the same sentiment as the event was a tremendous success, with many attendees committed to pursuing their education further at the Academy.

    September 8, 2016 • Acting, Community Highlights, Filmmaking, Study Abroad • Views: 2101