Filmmaking
Category

  • NYFA Welcomes Award-Winning Italian Filmmaker Nanni Moretti

    Considered one of the most original Italian filmmakers over the past several decades, it’s hard to think of a more accomplished international guest speaker than Italian director, Nanni Moretti. In 1976, Moretti released his first feature film, Io sono un autarchico, and never looked back. From that point on, Moretti became a professional filmmaker, eventually gaining international acclaim with his film, Sogni d’oro, which won the Silver Lion at the 38th Venice International Film Festival. Moretti was also awarded for La messa è finita, which won the Silver Bear – Special Jury Prize at the 36th Berlin International Film Festival and La stanza del figlio, which won the Palme d’Or at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.

    moretti panel

    In an event moderated by NYFA President Michael Young, students from the New York Film Academy in New York were treated to a screening of his 1993 film Caro diario—which awarded Moretti with Best Director at Cannes—followed by a Q&A with Moretti. Like so many of his films and similar to Woody Allen, Moretti writes, produces, directs and stars in the semi-autobiographical film. Presented in three chapters, Moretti uses the experiences of traveling on his motor scooter, cruising with his friend around a set of remote islands in search of peace to finish his new film and consulting doctor after doctor to cure his annoying rash to cast a humorous look at his life and those around him.

    While bouncing around from doctor to doctor, Moretti eventually discovers he has a lymphatic system tumor on his lung. Based on his actual battle with the illness, Moretti told a full house of students that he only wanted to tell of his struggle if it was delivered in the appropriate tone—dry and ironic.

    nanni moretti

    Most of Moretti’s films are very personal and yet universally relatable. Admitting there’s no calculated plan to succeed in that regard, Moretti says he writes and creates films about his life, his experiences and his neuroses, each a terrific starting-point for a screenwriter staring at a blank page.

    As a kid who began making short films on Super 8, Moretti recommends the current generation of up and coming filmmakers band together with a crew and shoot on video. And while it may be enjoyable at moments to work alone, Moretti says, “In the long run, working alone can be very tiresome and boring.”

    Be sure to check out his most recent award-winning film, Mia Madre, which stars Moretti, Margherita Buy and John Turturro.

    April 5, 2016 • Acting, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 643

  • NYFA Grad Cody Broadway to Direct Documentary on Texas School for the Deaf Football Team

    New York Film Academy Filmmaking alumnus Cody Broadway is set to direct a new documentary that will follow the Texas School for the Deaf football team. The film will showcase a team that faces a life challenge but overcomes it each week while competing against several high schools throughout Texas. Even though the whole team and coaching staff may be deaf, they still have a winning tradition that dates years back.

    Joining Broadway on the documentary will be Director of Photography Michael Lukasjewskyj, a 7-time Emmy award winner. Production for the film will begin in April and will continue through the fall of 2016, with a release date in 2017.

    cody broadway
    “This will be a new experience for me, but who would I be if I wasn’t challenging myself to learn more about life,” says Broadway. “The goal is to tell a touching story that will speak and inspire people.”

    footballBroadway is currently directing an award-winning web series I Have A Voice, and has already directed the award-winning film She Rides Bulls, as well as the award-winning documentary A Cup of Coffee.

    In addition to his filmmaking, Broadway was brought on as host and producer of a show called FOX Live after FOX reviewed a NYFA work of his. Within a month, Cody became Promotions and Production Manager, a position where he oversaw the production and promotions for FOX in both Texas markets. He currently works in San Antonio for KENS 5 TV where he has been nominated for 3 total Emmys (as Editor/Director/Single Spot).

  • Discussion with 20th Century Fox Chairman & CEO James N. Gianopulos

    New York Film Academy students were invited to a theatre on the 20th Century Fox Studios Lot in Beverly Hills for an amazing opportunity—a Q&A with Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of 20th Century Fox Corp., James N. Gianopulos. The event was moderated by producer Tova Laiter.
    fox ceo

    Often, throughout the event, the subject of international filmmakers and more diversity in the industry came up. When asked if students from abroad who studied here should stay here or return home to start their careers, Mr. Gianopulos said,  If you’re [already] here, stay here…there’s so much talent here. It’s no accident that Hollywood is what it is.”

    He acknowledged, though, that “very few movies are filmed in Hollywood—it is too expensive,” but overall he still believed that students should remain here if they can, unless they want to return to live in their original country and make movies about their own culture.

    A student asked what would make Mr. Gianopulos want to work with an international filmmaker, and he told the student, “it’s not whether they are international or not, it’s whether they are a talented filmmaker with a good story to tell.”

    7 (1)

    Producer Tova Laiter with 20th Century Fox Chairman & CEO James N. Gianopulos

    “Culture is more diverse than ever and the studios are looking to match it both because it is the right thing and also because the movies will appeal more to the the diverse audience around the globe. He brought the example of The Martians in which the cast was very diverse. Ridley Scott chose them because they were best for the role.

    Where the industry is lacking is behind the camera. He expressed Fox’s support for “The Ghetto Film School,” which is a program for high schooler filmmakers in disadvantage areas of NYC and LA to learn without cost to them. In terms of gender, four out of the five top positions of the creative divisions at Fox are women (big applause here from NYFA females!).

    When asked where a young filmmaker should start in order to get the attention of the bigger studios, Mr. Gianopulos told the student that Fox doesn’t “take unsolicited material,” so the students should “keep making stuff and keep networking relentlessly until [they] get noticed by an agent who can submit for you.” He candidly told students “I worked my a– off in between the lucky breaks.”

    When asked what trait that he found most useful, he considered the question for a moment, and then said that “I’ve been trying to put humility to work.” He also said to “have trust in the people you work with.”

    After the Q&A, students were treated to a trailer for the film X-Men: Apocalypse on the big screen.

    March 25, 2016 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 823

  • NYFA Australia Student Works on Set of “The Nest 3D”

    Barry Havenga

    Part of the benefits of attending the New York Film Academy Australia is its accessibility to the Village Roadshow Studios. Over the past few months, NYFA Australia Filmmaking student, Barry Havenga, had the opportunity to work on-set of The Nest 3D, which just so happened to be filming at Village Roadshow Studios. The young filmmaker will be working as a stand-in for actor Kellan Lutz, known for his roles in the Twilight series as well as many other film and television productions.

    It just so happens that Barry was initially scouted by a casting agent at a café near the school who thought he had a suitable look for the role. Either way, it was certainly a case of being in the right place at the right time!

    From a filmmakers’ perspective, Barry feels that he now has a better understanding of what actors go through and what they require from their directors, as he was able to observe different approaches from the directors on set. Having been prepared for on-set experience at NYFA, Barry felt familiar and confident with the everyday protocol. Not only that, the experience has further fueled Barry’s interest in acting.

    His first day on set involved feeding lines to Kelsey Grammer, who Barry admits is quite “awesome.” From this, Barry developed a working relationship with both Grammer and Lutz, mentioning a vision board night with Lutz and fellow actors as his most memorable experience.

    We wish Barry the best of luck in pursuing both his filmmaking and acting passions!

  • NYFA Industry Lab Creates Video for Che’Nelle’s Youtube Channel

    Che’Nelle, a Malaysian Australian recording artist, signed with Universal Music Japan with her 2015 hit single “Fierce,” and is now giving back to the community by working with the Nashville based organization Soles4Souls. The non-profit global social enterprise is committed to fighting poverty through the collection and distribution of shoes and clothing.

    che'nelle

    Recently, the New York Film Academy’s Industry Lab filmed Che’Nelle’s charitable cause, donating from her own closet with the help of Los Angeles based celebrity stylist from NBC’s Fashion Star and Eva Longoria’s Ready for Love, Daniel Musto, a current member of E! Style Collective and the Costumer Designers Guild.

    The concept for the video was written by New York Film Academy alumnus Todd Lien and directed by alumna and Director of Les Femmes du Ciné (New York Film Academy’s Women’s Club) Mariana Thome.

    che'nelle

    Other notable crew members from New York Film Academy’s Industry Lab are alumnus producer, Davin Tjen, cinematographer Alejandro Talens, and sound mixer Steve Johnson. Along with current students, gaffer Jiaqing “Vince” Ge and sound mixer Anastasia Reinhard.

    Be on the look out for the video, which should be going live soon on Che’Nelle’s Youtube Channel.

    March 22, 2016 • Community Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 697

  • Matt Kohnen Wins Best Director at LA Indie Festival

    matt kohnen

    Matt Kohnen awarded Best Director at LA Indie Film Festival

    Most of us aren’t too fond of attending funerals, but in the case of New York Film Academy instructor Matt Kohnen’s film, The Funeral Guest, the main character, Emily, feels a connection to mourners in the emotionally raw atmosphere. Produced and co-written with his brother, Sean, Kohnen’s dark comedy has been getting terrific responses from the festival circuit. Coming off its premiere at the Shanghai Film Festival and screening at festivals in Carmel and Bahamas, The Funeral Guest recently won both Best Actress for Julianna Robinson and Best Director for Kohnen at the LA Indie Festival.

    “Initially, The Funeral Guest was not written, just a vague idea,” said Kohnen. “But we hustled up and wrote a draft in a month and helped get it financed through the Eyde company, which does real estate in Lansing, MI, where we shot. It was a small budget, and a quick prep time, but we did it; and premiered at the Shanghai Film Festival, where I went and did some work with NYFA, talking to student groups.”

    Kohnen’s first feature as a director, Wasting Away/Aaah! Zombies!! was a horror/comedy that won the Audience Award at Screamfest LA, Best Picture Midnight Extreme at Sitge International SciFi/Horror Fest, Audience Award/Best Screenplay/Best Comedy at the Zompire Genre Fest, Best Picture at the Festivus Film Festival, and has been the hit of a host of other film festivals including the well-regarded London Sci Fi Festival and Lund Fantastik Film Festival, gaining Worldwide distribution.

    Repped by Verve Agency and Writ Large Management, Kohnen has also written for producers such as the aforementioned Rob Fried and developed with a wide array of companies such as Gold Circle Films (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), Spring Creek Productions (Blood Diamond), and Dark Horse Comics (Hellboy).

    With his brother Sean, he is currently working with Producer Michael Shamberg (Django Unchained, Erin Brockovich, Pulp Fiction) on a TV pilot set in the world of illegal arms, and has recently sold a pilot about money laundering to Universal Studios, with Omar Epps (House, Resurrection) attached.

    Next on the festival circuits for The Funeral Guest is the Capitol City Film Festival (Lansing, MI) and the Julian Dubuque Film Festival, and more to come!

    March 17, 2016 • Community Highlights, Filmmaking, Screenwriting • Views: 727

  • NYFA Moderates Talk with Sacha Baron Cohen at “The Brothers Grimsby” NY Event

    As a man who has built a career on shocking his audience, Sacha Baron Cohen continues to push the envelope with his new comedy, The Brothers Grimsby. In celebration of his new release, Sony invited New York Film Academy students to a special New York City screening, which was moderated by NYFA Instructor Ben Cohen.

    Adorned in some sort of hipster, cowboy attire, the always hilarious Sacha Baron Cohen took the time to chat and take photos with our students. Before screening the film, Sacha showed us an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at some of the production behind Bruno, which gave insight into the delicate and creative planning that goes into each bit. It’s actually more complicated and dangerous than one would think.

    nyfa cohens

    NYFA Instructor Ben Cohen with Sacha Baron Cohen

    The Brothers Grimsby, which also stars actors Mark Strong, Isla Fisher, Rebel Wilson and others, revolves around a football hooligan who winds up teaming up with his long lost brother, a top spy, in order to ultimately save the world from a deadly virus outbreak. As expected, the film delivers outrageous moments that would only fly in Cohen’s world, and one can’t help but laugh.

    Following the screening at the Regal Union Square in New York, Ben Cohen opened up a discussion with Sacha Baron Cohen that focused on the character and story development that went into the pre-production of the film. Sacha explained how he sees his rowdy, family-oriented character as a sort of “everyman” thrown into the high-tech world of a spy where the stakes are extremely high.

    sacha baron cohen nyfa hat

    Several NYFA students were given the opportunity to ask questions as Ben opened the discussion up to the sold out Regal theatre. In fact, at one point, the crowd seemed as though they were on a comedy audition of their own as the discussion included a bit of hilarity in itself.

    “I had an amazing night with other NYFA students and also got to meet one of my heroes, Sacha Baron Cohen,” said NYFA student and U.S. veteran, Corporal Michael J. Lynch.

    Sacha Baron Cohen reached a somewhat touching conclusion to the evening by stating, “I know it sounds cheesy, but I had a moment when I heard the crowd going wild and I had this realization that I’m doing this all for the fans.”

    The Brothers Grimsby is now playing in theaters.

    March 10, 2016 • Acting, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 2106

  • Screening of 2016 Oscar Nominated “Room” with Oscar Nominated Director Lenny Abrahamson Q&A

    New York Film Academy students gathered in a Warner Bros. theater to watch the 2016 Oscar nominee Room followed by a Q&A with Director Lenny Abrahamson. The students were blown away by the film, which was released last September to rave reviews and recently awarded actress Brie Larson with Best Actress at the Academy Awards. Lenny Abrahamson inspired and enlightened the students with the discussion that followed. The event was moderated by producer Tova Laiter.
    lenny abrahamson
    Lenny emphasized the importance of students networking with each other. He has a longstanding, deep relationship with his producer, composer and writer—which has been a key factor in his projects being realized. When it’s more than just you, it helps in believing what you’re doing is actually real. In an industry where it’s easy to start feeling like your dreams are impossible, the support from the nucleus group is vital. Therefore, NYFA students’ greatest resource is their fellow students.

    Since a large part of the film took place in a single room, one NYFA student asked whether blocking actors in such a limited space proved to be difficult. Lenny said that initially this was a concern of his. He was challenged to take inventory of all the director’s resources—shot size, varying backgrounds, etc.

    Once he got into the thick of it, Lenny found that the story fueled him with enough variations to have the tiny space not be a limitation, except for the difficulty of squeezing the crew. Perhaps the best art comes not from the freedom but from limitations imposed on us.

    tova lenny

    Tova Laiter with Lenny Abrahamson

    Another question was about directing a seven-year-old boy, Jacob, to an especially praised performance. Mr. Abrahmson said that some of the technique was mimic, some improv; and toward the end Jacob was really on point and flowing. Having a child on set also helped lead actress Brie Larson—when things got too depressing, Jacob was on set to lighten the mood. Lenny also made sure Brie and Jacob had time to bond before the movie started.

    Lenny finally discussed his famous pitch letter to the author of the bestseller book and how it helped him get the job that so many other directors wanted. Most other directors just said how wonderful the book was, but he wrote a five-page letter about his vision while telling her why the other approaches she might have had would not work. Clever, productive and got the job done! (You can read the letter on the Internet or IndieWire blog.)

    March 1, 2016 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 2017

  • NYFA Australia Sydney’s Ben Osmo Wins Oscar for Best Sound Mixing

    ben osmo

    Coming in with a “technical” knockout in last night’s 88th Academy Awards was Mad Max: Fury Road, winning six behind-the-scenes Oscars. The groundbreaking visuals and sound from the production paved the way for its momentous evening, which included New York Film Academy Australia, Sydney Instructor Ben Osmo, who won an Oscar for Best Sound Mixing.

    ben osmo

    The acclaimed film, shot in both Namibia and parts of Australia, is about a woman who rebels against a tyrannical ruler in post-apocalyptic Australia in search for her home-land with the help of a group of female prisoners, a psychotic worshipper, and a drifter named Max. Director George Miller put together quite an impressive cast and crew in this critically and financially successful sci-fi adventure.

    Passing on that successful production experience to our students will be none other than Instructor Osmo, who teaches hands-on production and sound workshops, which take our students out of the classroom and directly onto a real set environment.

    ben osmo

    We’re so proud of Mr. Osmo and would like to congratulate him on his Oscar win!

    February 29, 2016 • Community Highlights, Entertainment Australia, Filmmaking • Views: 4467

  • NYFA Grad Starts ‘Live it Soul Records’

    Following his graduation from New York Film Academy’s One-Year Acting for Film Conservatory, Mickael Zieben began his acting and music producing career in Paris, France, even starting his own record label Live it Soul Records.

    ambition

    Most recently, Zieben produced a new song and visual entitled Love You Like This, which is a brand new single from Ambition The Kid, a rising star from Pennsylvania.

    Zieben says he decided to pursue music video production because it incorporates my two of his main passions in life: music and visuals. Have a look at his work below:

    “I would definitely say that my NYFA education was useful in terms of producing video content in general,” said Zieben. “Since my time at NYFA, my vision of the film industry and artistic acknowledgement have improved in many ways. Consequently, my self confidence truly got boosted, making me aspire for music video producing.”

    Zieben aims to gain even more credibility in the music industry by working with many more talented artists.

    At this time, Zieben is working on a beautiful acoustic wedding record entitled I Do.

    “In everyday life, I like to face new intellectual challenges—to outdo myself,” added Zieben. That literally is a way to grow as a person.”

    February 22, 2016 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1158