• Screenwriting Instructor and NYFA Alumnus Team up for “Pali Road”

    pali roadWritten by New York Film Academy Screenwriting instructor Doc Pedrolie and directed by NYFA Beijing alumnus Jonathan Lim, the romantic thriller Pali Road opened April 29th in selected AMC, Regal and Consolidated theaters nationwide. Pedrolie has pitched and developed projects at Sony, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Universal, Fox, Fox 21, Jerry Bruckheimer, Parkes/MacDonald, Brillstein, and Gaunt Television. Before that, he worked as a story analyst for Amazon Studios for seven years. Lim has over 10 years’ experience in Film and Television in the Chinese market. He has created and produced several ongoing TV series for such international companies as the NBA, World Poker Tour and Sony Pictures Dr.Oz.

    Pali Road, a US-China co-production, stars Michelle Chen (You Are the Apple of My Eye), Jackson Rathbone (Twilight series), Sung Kang (Fast and Furious series) and Henry Ian Cusick (Lost, the 100). It was produced by Daxing Zhang, Cathy Lee, Kenneth Burke, and Jonathan Lim. Anthony Lim of Cuixing Media Group, Jon Chiew of Huace Media Group Grace Zhang and Geng Ling of Dadi Digital Cinema & China Film Assist, and Ricardo S. Galindez and Roy J. Tjioe of Island Film Group serve as executive producers.

    The story is a mysterious and thrilling journey in search for true love between two different worlds. Lily (Chen), a young doctor, wakes up from a car accident and discovers she is living a completely different life. Now married to her boyfriend’s rival, Dr. Mitch Kayne (Kang), and a mother to a 5-year-old son, she has an established life she remembers nothing about. Everyone around her denies that her boyfriend Neil (Rathbone) ever existed. As Lily begins to doubt her own sanity, memories of Neil resurface, causing her to encounter unexplainable incidents. While desperately searching for the truth of her past life, she questions her entire existence; but in the end, she discovers the meaning of true love.

    The film has already been nominated for the Grand Jury Award for Best Feature Narrative Film at the upcoming 32nd Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. Pali Road also received an Honorable mention for Best Feature Narrative at CAAMFest 2016 and was nominated for the Halekulani Award for Best Feature Narrative at last year’s Hawaii International Film Festival.

    See Pali Road is select theaters now!

    May 3, 2016 • Filmmaking, Screenwriting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 573

  • Grad’s Thesis “The Nutcracker Princess” Rakes in Festival Awards

    Students graduating from New York Film Academy’s Filmmaking Department typically leave the course with the experience and finished product, a thesis film, which is often used as their calling card into the world of entertainment. Former student, Lorenzo Lanzillotti, says his NYFA experience was immediately helpful from day one, as it gave him more of an understanding of the production process involved in the making of a film. Upon graduating, Lanzillotti took his film on the road and received numerous awards and festival screenings for his thesis film, The Nutcracker Princess (not to be mistaken for The Nutcracker Prince). To put things into perspective we’ve listed his festival accomplishments below:
    • nutcracker princessBest short competition – Award of recognition for best short
    • MOFF Film festival – Best international short selection
    • Ferrara film festival – Best international short selection
    • United international film festival – Best director nominee
    • Miami independent film festival – Best short selection
    • Cordoba International film festival – Best short selection
    • Roma cinema doc – Best international short selection
    • International independent film awards – Silver award for best short – Silver award for best director
    • Hollywood international moving pictures film festival – Award of recognition for best short
    The award-winning film, The Nutcracker Princess, tells the story of a popular actress in the process of developing a character for her upcoming film—based on the last days of the life of a Broadway star—who embraces an introspective experience that is able to affect the perception of her own life.
    the nutcracker princess

    “I wrote the script with a clear idea of showing the two different faces of the same world,” said Lanzillotti. “In this case, the acting one. This short film is a psychological war between the youngest, most popular Hollywood actress, and Broadway’s most notable rising star. I wanted to see how the concept of the acting experience is interpreted in two completely different ways between these two worlds, so similar, but at the same time only divided by a thin line that defines the real expression of acting and the way that the audience experiences it.”

    Lanzillotti recommends submitting thesis films to festivals, recognizing how rewarding the experience is both literally and from a general standpoint for him, his cast and the crew. Though, the festival run is still far from over for him, as he anticipates screening at several other festivals this year.

    May 2, 2016 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 748

  • Grad’s ‘Susie Q’ to Premiere at NYC Independent Film Festival

    susie qLike so many filmmakers, from amateurs to professionals, there came a time when New York Film Academy graduate Vilan Trub felt like a failure after being unable to complete his first attempt at directing a feature film. As the cliché goes, most people will fail many times before achieving something great.

    To take his mind off of his disappointing debut, Trub went to the NY Film Forum to enjoy a screening of Jean-Luc Godard’s Bande a Part (Band of Outsiders) — a movie that was never completed. He kept thinking if Godard could make that film, there’s no reason he couldn’t put a feature together himself.

    “That’s the ultimate lesson we, as filmmakers, should take from Godard’s work,” says Trub. “All you need is a simple story and the will to go out and shoot it to completion. If you’ve studied movies and why they work, you’ll know how to make even the smallest feature work.”
    With a newfound motivation and reenforced confidence, Trub went out and completed the feature film, Susie Q, which surrounds two down-and-out brothers spending their days fighting over the attention of a neighborhood ‘bad girl’ while plotting how to rob her.
    susie q

    “This movie is meant to show what it’s like to be young, what it’s like to be in love, what it’s like to think you’re in love, and what it’s like to be stupid,” said Trub. “I want people to watch this movie and remember what specific emotions and feelings they had when they were the same age as the characters in the movie. The only way I could achieve that was by creating characters and a world that are ridiculous and generally unbelievable. Sometimes the only way to be reminded of a real feeling is by seeing the day dreams we create while living with that feeling. That is why the more ridiculous the characters’ actions seem, the more believable their emotions become.”

    Susie Q, starring Antonio Robles, Ausar English, and Olga Elliot, will premiere Thursday, April 28 at 7:15PM at the NYC Independent Film Festival at the Producers Club in Manhattan.

    “NYFA was definitely an important experience for me because it gave me the opportunity to work together with other filmmakers,” said Trub. “It showed me what kind of other personalities are going into this and what drives them and how. It was like being an athlete playing against the best competition. We learned how to work together for a common goal. There is a respect and at the same time the drive of knowing you want to be better than the other students and want to make the best movies ever made, because you know it’s in you.”

    “Being a TA for a summer youth program at NYFA was just as important. It gave me the opportunity to see growing passions for cinema as they first start to develop. Everything is new to the students and what they consider important and inspiring and why is very interesting.”

    With one successful feature film in the books, Trub is already preparing for his next movie, which he describes as an “anti sci-fi movie.”

    “It’s about the gene inside us that drives us to explore, whether crossing the Atlantic Ocean for the first time to see new lands or exploring our own limits as human beings,” addes Trub. “Is that drive inherently part of our existence?”

    For more information and tickets for Susie Q, please CLICK HERE

    To view the trailer for Susie Q, please CLICK HERE.

    April 27, 2016 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2063

  • Filmmaking Grad Lands Editor Position at ‘Content’ in LA

    The latest music video, “Champion,” from famous Trinidadian cricketer and singer Dwayne “DJ” Bravo made quite an impression around the world. After blowing up on YouTube with over 12 millions views in a month, it successfully premiered on ESPN. The music video was edited by NYFA Grad Bogdan Yansen, who became involved with the project as a part of the CONTENT team.

    Yansen admits that he wasn’t initially sure what he wanted to do in the film industry when he first came to Hollywood. So he decided to start by attending the One-Year Filmmaking Program at New York Film Academy where he was able to get experience in all of the key positions involved with filmmaking. During the educational process he realized that his main interest was in cinematography and digital editing.

    “To succeed in the industry you have to find the right position for yourself,” said Yansen. “Once you can determine what your real passion is, things will fall into place. NYFA helped me to find out what I’m good at. Prior to NYFA, I received a Master’s in Architecture and never knew that it could be so useful in terms of cinematography. I can analyze the space and apply it for the visual aspects of the shot.”


    Bogdan Yansen on set of “Dudes”

    It seems that Bogdan Yansen is on the right track in his career. Right after graduating from New York Film Academy he was offered an editor position at the Los Angeles based production company Content, which provides its clients  with all aspects of video, photo, audio and SM content, including photoshoots, films production, commercials, music videos, and more.

    Last year, Yansen made several projects as a DP, including the music video “Roller Skater” for Swedish DJ Chris Tall, travel guide TV project “Citizen of the World,” and the character-driven short comedy “Amish.”

    NYFA wishes Bogdan Yansen all the best and is looking forward to hearing about his future professional accomplishments!

    April 26, 2016 • Digital Editing, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1793

  • NYFA South Beach Campus Hosts Premiere Screening: “Beyond Glory”

    A red carpet, lights beaming into the sky, celebrities and local dignitaries posing for photographs—this was the scene this past Saturday night at the City of Miami’s historic Manuel Artime Theater, where the New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) South Beach campus held a Hollywood-style film event in support of the veterans community of South Florida.

    nyfa south beach jacobs

    NYFA is grateful to have partnered with the City of Miami’s Office of Film & Television, Miami Dade College, and 8180 Films in presenting the documentary film, Beyond Glory, written and performed by the award-winning stage and screen star, Stephen Lang. The film was directed by Larry Brand, narrated by Gary Sinise, and was executive-produced by multiple film-industry award-winners, James Cameron and Jon Landau.

    Beyond Glory tells the stories of eight veterans from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. It renders first-hand accounts of valor that resulted in the awarding of the nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor. The oral histories of these eight men are brought to life through Lang’s commanding performance. The Wall Street Journal’s entertainment critic reported the experience as, “One of the richest, most complex pieces of acting I’ve seen in my theater-going life”. On hand Saturday for the Q & A with Mr. Lang was NYFA’s-own Colonel Jack Jacobs, the College’s Chair of the Veteran’s Advancement Program. The conversation, which was moderated by Maylen Dominquez, Associate Chair of Filmmaking at NYFA’s South Beach campus, was an inspirational exchange between the actor and Colonel Jacob’s, who is one of 75 living Medal of Honor recipients. Both Col. Jacobs and Mr. Lang personally knew the Medal of Honor recipients portrayed in the film, and there was a wonderful exchange of stories both of the battlefield valor and the colorful characters of the men.

    colonel jacobs

    The program began with a celebration of the collaboration between the City of Miami and NYFA. Mayor Tomas Regalado presented the key to the City of Miami to Colonel Jacobs in recognition of his valor in service to the country. The Mayor also presented Mr. Lang with a special certificate of appreciation. Lt. Col. Antonio Colmenares, the Director of Veteran Services in the City of Miami, spoke passionately about the need to support local veterans and joined the Mayor and others in welcoming the New York Film Academy to the South Florida community. NYFA’s VP and South Beach Director, Elli Ventouras, spoke about the College’s facility in South Beach, opened last September, which offers degree programs and workshops in filmmaking, acting, and photography, among other professional disciplines.

    It was a special evening, enjoyed by many Miami citizens—including those in military service—as well as NYFA faculty and students.

    You may view the entire photo album of our photo booth on the NYFA Facebook page by clicking HERE.

    For more images from the event, please click HERE.

    April 25, 2016 • Acting, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 659

  • Matthew Modine’s “Super Sex” Premieres at Tribeca

    Friend and frequent guest of the New York Film Academy, Matthew Modine premiered his short film last week at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film, Super Sex, was shot by Julio Macat and stars Kevin Nealon, Elizbeth Perkins, Efren Ramirez, Ruby Modine, and the legendary Ed Asner. Given Modine’s strong relationship and respect to the Academy and its students, he and his team crewed up with the NYFA Industry Lab—a program set up at the Los Angeles campus to provide real world experience while preparing students for life after graduation

    “It’s important to give back,” said Modine in an interview with Rafael Pi Roman from MetroFocus. “All of these experiences that we have in our life. It’s important to give people the opportunity to apprentice.”

    Several students, in fact, had the opportunity to be an apprentice to Modine and Hollywood cinematographer, Julio Macat. Evan Stulc of the Industry Lab’s camera department was brought on to be Macat’s camera assistant, giving him an amazing opportunity to work with one of the leading cinematographers in the motion picture industry. Macat has worked as cinematographer on films like Home Alone, Ace Ventura, Horrible Bosses 2, and many others.

    julio macat

    Julio Macat with NYFA Industry Lab student

    “It was a fantastic experience,” said NYFA’s Evan Stulc. “I learned so much about the craft working alongside a legend like Julio.”

    Modine and his producer, Joe Toronto, also interviewed NYFA students eager to work on the film. Toronto chose Mara Topic as an Associate Producer. Joann Wong, Alyssa Manno, Egor Povolotskiy, Aaron Pong, James Geyer, David Mori, and Nick Ramsey worked in the art, lighting, and editorial departments.

    modine nyfa

    Matthew Modine on set of “Super Sex”

    “It was wonderful working with the NYFA students,” said Toronto. “They were helpful and enthusiastic and worked hand-in-hand with experienced professionals. I feel the best way to learn a craft is by doing—and they did!”

    The film received a terrific response at the TFF, which leads us to believe we’ll be seeing Modine’s feature films in the near future.

    To watch the full interview with Matthew Modine on MetroFocus, in which he discusses his film, his upcoming projects and his work with the New York Film Academy, please click HERE.

    April 25, 2016 • Cinematography, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 889

  • NYFA’s Craig Ross Jr. to Direct Pilot for TV One

    craig rossNew York Film Academy Directing Instructor Craig Ross, Jr. has been tapped to direct an upcoming drama series from media titan Cathy Hughes. Ross has previously directed a number of high profile television shows, such as Number, Bones, Prison Break, and NCIS. Ross says he and the producers worked together in the past, and he has been on the verge of working with this network for months now.

    Hughes founded Radio One and later expanded into TV One, which went public in 1998, making Hughes the first and only African-American woman to head a publicly traded corporation at the time.

    The upcoming series for TV One, tentatively titled “Cathy Hughes Presents Media,” was written by Kevin Arkadie and is being produced by Sheila Ducksworth, Susan Banks, Kevin Arkadie, and Mitchell Galin. The series is said to be a soap opera surrounding a black family with a media empire called JUMP—Jones Universal Media Productions.

    “It’s intelligent writing with suspense and dramatic twists,” says Ross. “So, yeah, that’s definitely in my wheelhouse.”

    Production is set to begin on May 9th, 2016.

    April 21, 2016 • Community Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 575

  • ‘Blair Witch’ Producer Michael Monello Discusses TV Marketing Through Storytelling

    New York Film Academy Game Design Chair Phoebe Elefante invited Michael Monello, a pioneer in digital marketing and storytelling. As one of the creators of the cult classic The Blair Witch Project, Monello and his film forever changed how audiences engage with story, and how marketers approach the Internet.

    After Blair Witch began opening doors for Monello, he founded Campfire—where he currently leads the creative team—working with some of the world’s biggest and most prestigious brands including HBO, Cinemax, Harley Davidson, Infiniti, National Geographic, FX, Verizon and more. His work has been awarded top honors at the One Show, Clio, Mixx, ad:Tech, Effies and Cannes Lions Festival.


    Still a staunch storyteller at heart, Mike was a charismatic and highly informative speaker, who understands the future of storytelling and the rapidly shifting media landscape. As a creative entrepreneur who has landed major work with shows like Game of Thrones and True Blood, Monello advised students interested in acquiring similar clients to have a tight pitch with a focus.

    “You must understand what the investor or the specific company wants,” said Monello. “You have to know who you are selling to. What’s the organization like? Where are they going? Is there a statement about the future of the company? Then, pitch through that lens.”

    As an example, Monello recalled his initial pitch to HBO in order to promote their first season of True Blood. Not only did Monello and his team have to discover who their audience is and what they want, but they also had to learn and truly understand the overall internal landscape of HBO—the creators, executives, marketing team, on-air promo team, etc. Once he and his team had a firm grasp on the duties and needs of each team, they were able to secure the job with a “capabilities pitch” that fit the needs for everyone.


    Michael Monello and NYFA Game Design Chair Phoebe Elefante

    In terms of continuing to work and maintain relationships with networks like HBO, Monello says it’s all about delivering quality work and always knowing your audience. “Never get cynical about your audience,” says Monello. Just as gamers don’t want to be typecast as teenage boys who live in their parents’ basement, other audiences do not appreciate being pigeonholed in terms of the marketing approach to gain their interest.

    As a final piece of advice for NYFA game design students, Monello encouraged them to look for ideas outside of gaming. Do not draw inspiration solely from other games. Considering the surrounding landscape of our campuses and the diverse background of our students, we’re feeling pretty confident that our students will be able to develop truly original content.

    April 21, 2016 • 3D Animation, Filmmaking, Game Design, Guest Speakers • Views: 655

  • “Breakfast in Beirut” Nominated Film of the Year

    breakfast in beirut

    When we last caught up with New York Film Academy MFA Filmmaking graduate Farah Fuad ALHashem, she had been at dozens of festivals around the world to screen her film Breakfast in Beirut. The fictional documentary combines illusion with reality, converging a parallel honest side of Beirut.

    As of now, the film has officially been selected in various international film festivals, nominated as “Film of the Year” in Lebanese Film Festival (LFF Sydney, Australia) 2015, and received critical acclaim and special mention by the Jury of Nour Cherif competition at the Alexandria Film Festival For Mediterranean Countries in Egypt 2015.

    Breakfast in Beirut has also received an honorary recognition by the municipality of Treviso, Italy and in collaboration with the Gallery in Venice, Italy both have decided to name their Art Festival “Breakfast in Beirut Art Festival” as a way to honor the film and Farrah ALHashem. The film will officially premiere in Treviso followed by a press conference and series of continuous screenings around northern Italy.

    Under the patronage of Lebanese Embassy in France and VIOLETSKYE Films, the Official Premiere, for one night only, will be held at Le Brady Cinema in Paris on April 29, 2016 at 8pm. On April 30, it will screen in Venice and in Treviso, Italy at the “Breakfast in Beirut Art Festival,” which, as we mentioned, was renamed after Farrah ALHashem’s film as an honorary step by Italian curators Daniel Buso and Enas ELKorashi in collaboration with the municipality of Treviso.

    For those of you in the Paris area, please CLICK HERE for tickets and more information.

  • “Frankie” Selected for Prestigious Nastro d’Argento

    francesco mazza

    One of the most prestigious honors for a filmmaker in Italy is to have his or her film selected into the “Nastri d’Argento,” which is essentially the Italian Academy Awards where journalists vote on their favorite films of the year. Former One-Year Filmmaking graduate from New York Film Academy, Francesco Mazza, accomplished this feat with his thesis film, Frankie (Italian Roulette).

    Selected as a finalist for Best Short Film in this year’s Nastri d’Argento, Frankie depicts the story of an Italian immigrant, Frankie Tramonto, and his struggle to earn a Green Card in New York City. Mazza’s film was nominated alongside Brando De Sica, the nephew of famous Italian filmmaker Vittorio De Sica, and Fulvio Risuleo, whose short film Varicella won “La Semaine de la Critique” in Cannes.

    While at NYFA, Mazza was quite fond of his experience and instructors. In fact, last summer he and his former cinematography teacher, Piero Basso, worked on a documentary for Italian broadcaster Sky Arte. Last fall he worked with Instructor Ben Maraniss in the 8-Week Screenwriting Program on the feature version of his script, which is called The Green Card Lottery. Speaking further on his time at NYFA, Mazza said:

    Without NYFA there would be no Frankie at all. At NYFA I made one of the most important encounters of my life: Amos Poe. He taught me not to worry about which cameras I’m shooting on, but to keep in mind one obsession: the emotion, and how to deliver it to the audience in the best possible way. Amos is a cinematographic genius.

    I’m also in debt to Michael Sandoval, my first directing teacher. I’ve never met anybody else with that kind of sensitivity for narrative beats. He taught me how everything you do in a movie—even the color of the t-shirt of an extra in the background—is a choice you must have control over.

    I also want to mention Ben Maraniss, my screenwriting teacher: he is such a great teacher (and a great person). Before coming to NYFA I was already a TV writer in Italy (for the Italian comedy show “Striscia la Notizia”) but Ben took my skills and pushed them to a completely different level. And Ben Cohen: his cinema studies course made me understand that beyond the 3-act structured, classic American narrative movies there is a whole new universe that I just find more interesting.

    Some advice Mazza would like to extend to our current students is to submit only to Academy qualifying festivals (and some from the Moviemakers lists) and if they don’t accept you, save your money for the next movie.

    Speaking of festivals, Frankie will be screening at the seventh annual NYC Independent Film Festival on Thursday, April 28 at 12:00pm at the Producers Club in Manhattan. For tickets and more information, please visit:

    April 13, 2016 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 914