Filmmaking
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  • Filmmaking Graduates & Brothers to Screen at Italian American Museum

    Andrea and Matteo Cossi

    Andrea and Matteo Cossi

    In the industry, we use the term “elevator pitch” to refer to a summary of an idea that should be delivered in the hypothetical time span of an elevator ride. The hope is to have your pitch coherent and concise while keeping the listener entertained. A successful conversation could lead to an all important meeting with an agent or a producer. Such is the basis for One-Year Filmmaking students and brothers Andrea and Matteo Cossi’s film The Pitch. The short film is a comedy about Ben, a 20-year-old guy who wants to make a living in the filmmaking business. As storekeeper of Broadway Studios and an aspiring screenwriter, he decides with the help of a friend to pitch his film to the famous producer Mr. Bethorn in the elevator of Broadway Studios. The project was the brothers’ thesis film made with the intention of serving as a promo for a web-series.

    “Our goal with this short movie is to not only entertain the audience, but also express the idea that if you really want to realize your dreams, you have to create your own opportunities,” said Matteo Cossi. “The filmmaking industry is a very dynamic field — thus you always need to be proactive and you always have to consider the ups and downs that come with this career.”

    the pitch

    The brothers, originally from Italy, have already had success with the film, as it will be screening at the Italian American Museum in New York City on December 20th, 2014 at 7:30pm along with their first semester film, Colors. The first semester short is a drama that explores the theme of blindness with a tacit referral to organ donation. It also focuses on the parental love of a grandfather for his blind grandson.

    “The idea that led to the birth of Colors is right in the title. Colors are an interpretation of the reality that surrounds us by the response of our eye to the light. Light determines the colors, and colors create an image. What better choice to make a short film that represents us as filmmakers if not talking about colors? Cinema is light, after all. For those who live in the light, for those who can see, the color does not need much explanation. It is something that is there and always has been. But for those who live in the dark, for those who can not see, there is no color.”

    The goal with the short film Colors is to sensitize the audience to the theme of organ donation and show how love has the power to connect worlds that may seem far apart.

    colors

    The brothers are currently working on two new projects. The first one is a fantasy horror feature about love, family and forgiveness. The second is a fictional, historical drama that shows the vicissitudes of an Italian family who moves to an early twentieth century New York City. The brothers intend to underline the difficulties that Italian immigrants had to face when coming to America. The stories enable us to witness their sacrifice, their love for family and their ability to integrate with a different culture.

    “We had a life-changing experience at NYFA. We perfected our filmmaking craft while getting to know people from all around the world. We’d like to thank our teachers, in particular: Paul Warner, our directing teacher; Arsenio Assin, our cinematography teacher; and Liz Foley, our producing teacher, who all taught us to work as a group, a real crew, instead of as ‘singular heads’ before, during and after any shoot.”

    December 18, 2014 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 638

  • New York Film Academy Student Arabic Film Festival

    NYFA Arab Film Festival

    A frustrated screenwriter gets unlikely inspiration for his next “killer” screenplay. A young man is pressured by his father to leave his true love for an arranged marriage. A police detective viciously interrogates three suspects to uncover who murdered an innocent man over a parking spot.

    These stories were but three of the twelve films and music videos recently screened at New York Film Academy’s Student Arabic Film Festival. With Dean of Enrollment Tami Alexander in attendance (all the way from New York!), the festival showed how the themes and stories created by our Arabic students were truly universal.

    Recent alum Osama Alkhurayji along with current students Almotaz Aljefri and Fawaz Saleh organized the event with Dean of Students Eric Conner. After receiving submissions from several current students, a lineup was compiled which included an array of dramas, thrillers, comedy and romance.

    In a Question and Answer session after the screening, the student filmmakers described the passion (and occasional problems) that went into creating their work. What came across from the comments was how relatable the material was to an audience from all over the globe.

    At the end of the night, three projects were recognized by a judging panel that included Saudi film director Bader Alhamoud and Al Riyadh’s Film Critic Rja Almutairi.

    nyfa film fest arabic

    First Place
    NOT THIS WAY
    Producer / Director of Photography – Abdullah Alshuridah
    Producer – Mann Binabdulrahman

    Second Place
    SHARP
    Director – Omar Said

    Third Place
    JOHNNY SHADOW
    Director – Abdullah Abuljadail

    Congratulations to all the filmmakers on their work!

     

  • G.K. Reid from Bravo’s ‘Double Exposure’ Speaks to Photography Students

    G.K. Reid at NYFA

    photo by Mauricio Pazmino

    Recently, New York Film Academy’s Co-chair of Photography Paul Sunday invited guest lecturer G.K. Reid. Reid is a celebrity stylist, editor, designer and filmmaker.

    G. K. was a co-star of the Bravo television series Double Exposure with photographers Markus Klinko and Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri. He has worked with many of the most renowned artists and celebrities of our time, including Beyonce Knowles, David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Janet Jackson, Rihanna, Kanye West, Britney Spears, Anne Hathaway and Katie Holmes. His editorial work has appeared regularly in V, Harpers Bazaar, GQ, Flaunt, Arena Homme Plus, iD, Interview, Vibe, and Rolling Stone.

    Mr. Reid’s visit was an inspiring evening of advice from an industry insider. He shared strategies for photographers interested raising the quality of their image-making. He also emphasized the importance of diligence in training your eye, following your dreams and transforming your ideas into images. He urged students to take full advantage of the opportunities that full-time study provides and also warned, “don’t save your great ideas for later, start working on them now!”

    G.K. has a remarkable eye and has consistently been ahead of the curve on trends in fashion and photography. We’d like to thank G.K. Reid for sharing his insight.

    December 12, 2014 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Photography • Views: 748

  • NYFA Sydney Holds First Inaugural Filmmaking Showcase at Event Cinemas

    NYFA Sydney Event

    The New York Film Academy Australia campus in Sydney held its first Inaugural Filmmaking Showcase at Event Cinemas, George Street in VMAX 2. The multiplex theater, which screens today’s top films, just so happens to be filmmaker Baz Luhrmann’s favorite cinema in Australia!

    To kick off the event, filmmakers strutted the red carpet outside of the theater. After all, what would an award-ceremony be without a red carpet? Guests included our filmmakers and their families and friends, screen industry professionals, 2015 committed students, potential new students and NYFA Sydney alumni. NYFA Australia Director Simon Hunter and NYFA Australia Academic Manager Craig Proudley were also on hand for the night. NYFA is the first and only film school to have showcased thesis films in a VMAX cinema at Event Cinemas, George Street, Sydney. We love being pioneers.

    The awards ceremony gave out 4 awards, including Outstanding Student, Best Cinematographer, Best Director and Best Film, which was chosen by a panel of screen industry professionals.

    nyfa sydney actors

    “It is an exciting partnership that Event Cinemas has with NYFA,” said Event Cinemas General Manager, Anthony Kierann. “Last night was a night of talented filmmakers and actors expressing their creative journey and discovering their voice within the magical process of storytelling in the art of filmmaking. There is a huge appetite within the film-going community to experience extraordinary stories with universal themes and social significance. Last night there was a range of styles, performances, screenwriting and visual bravery with astute detail and a willingness to explore all the nuanced options creatively available to tell a story — the films screened last night at the thesis screenings certainly were a testament to the talent pool at NYFA in Sydney. As an exhibitor, it is encouraging to see such a depth of talent. Events looks forward to furthering its support and partnership; to be in some small way a nurturing component that may allow these young filmmakers and actors wings to grow. Congratulations to everyone involved and a special congratulations to Ren Thackham for her audacious visionary film Lady Luck, which won the Best Film Award”

    Anthony and Event Cinemas were so pleased with the night that they have committed to playing one of our filmmakers thesis films, Wolf by Ethan Thomas before a feature film. Overall, it was not only an entertaining night, it was a whopping success. We look forward to our next Filmmaking Showcase at Event Cinemas!

    December 11, 2014 • Acting, Community Highlights, Filmmaking, Study Abroad • Views: 1663

  • NYFA Grad Earns 17 Awards for “Arde Lucus”

    NYFA Gladiator
    There is a place that exists where heavily armed gladiators sharpen their blades and prepare to battle before thousands. It’s a lesser-known city that remains tucked away where hooved mythological creatures roam the streets and come together to feast with legendary gods while the Praetorian Guard continues its watch over the Roman Empire. Except this isn’t Rome, and this isn’t 117 A.D. Instead, it’s present day June in the northwest of Spain where Lugo, Galicia residents annually celebrate Arde Lucus: The pivotal day that the 3rd century Roman rampart connecting the cities of Lugo, Astorga, and Braga was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000. It’s also the only rampart entirely intact from the Roman Empire in the world.

    arde lucas

    New York Film Academy alumnus and Lugo native, Brais Revalderia has earned himself (so far) 17 international awards such as “Best Director,” “Best Documentary,” and “Best Concept” for his documentary Arde Lucus, and that doesn’t include his 26 international festival selections. The film takes an in-depth look at the 4-day celebration and its people that prepare all year to authentically transform Lugo back in time over 1700 years in celebration of the newly bestowed historical site. With the festival still just 14 years old, the city has overwhelmingly seen visitors recently reach half a million with 99% of its residents, including government officials, participating in the reenactment.

    “I thought I knew everything about the city I was born in but I was completely wrong,” says Revalderia. “I decided to do this documentary to learn about Lugo’s past but also because I love Galicia. Spain focuses on getting tourists to visit the southern areas of the country and the same doesn’t happen for Galicia. To me it’s the most beautiful part, has the best food, and is home to very important history of the world.”

    Revalderia graduated from the New York Film Academy’s Two-Year Filmmaking Program in 2013. With little budget, help from fellow NYFA alumnus, Ota Hsieh, and a crew of 15, Arde Lucus took an intense year of preparation, shooting, and postproduction to complete. When asked about his experience at NYFA, the award-winning director said, “I really liked the fact that it was a hands-on program. For someone like me who already had a Bachelor’s degree, it was exactly what I needed to learn how a movie really gets done.”

    arde lucas nyfa

    Revalderia’s goal of Arde Lucus is to help bring awareness to the rest of the world of his historical hometown and the Roman and Castrexo roots that surround it with his unique documentary. Already receiving more awards than he can count on both hands, it seems this is just the beginning for Revalderia as he is close to a distribution agreement in Spain for the film.So what’s next for the award-winning NYFA graduate? Piruleta & Media, a company Brais started even before attending NYFA, is riding its momentum and working on several films such as the completion of 237np, his 2nd year Sci-Fi thesis project which he says will “Impress people for sure,” with visual effects he confidentially states will be up to Hollywood standards.

    For those who loved Arde Lucus, Brais is also entering the postproduction stages to his latest documentary, Lordemani, which will transport viewers into the world of Vikings this time around. And if those films don’t sound intriguing enough, The Arkham Archives will showcase Revalderia’s take on Batman.

    arde lucas cast

  • Julie Pacino Brings ‘Billy Bates’ to Her Alma Mater

    Julie Pacino

    Producer Julie Pacino with writer & director Jennifer DeLia

    Following a summer run of the play Phoenix at the Cherry Lane Theatre in the West Village, Poverty Row Entertainment, founded by New York Film Academy Filmmaking graduate Julie Pacino, and Jennifer DeLia, went on a cross-country tour with their feature film Billy Bates. The tour held screenings at cities across the country and will conclude this upcoming week with screenings at the Quad Cinema in New York City. Prior to the Quad Cinema premiere tonight, we were privileged to have Julie return to her alma mater with writer / director Jennifer DeLia. Jen and Julie played gracious guest speakers as they presented their film along with moderator and NYFA Senior Director David Klein.

    The film dives deep into the mind of an enigmatic artist and the arduous, psychological madness that goes into his creative approach. Bates, played by actor James Wirt, faces some rather disturbing inner-demons. While this is not your standard narrative, the film serves its purpose through its kaleidoscopic cinematography and provocative documentary style.

    Billy Bates art

    This was Julie Pacino’s debut as a producer, with her only previous experience from her short film, Abracadabra. She attached herself to the film about two-thirds of the way into the project after being taken by Jennifer’s footage. With Julie’s filmmaking background and training, she figured why not get the full experience of producing a film by tackling the project head on. From there on, Julie was one of the few leading forces in getting this film completed and distributed — a task that could be very daunting for an independent production.

    “It’s essential to know all aspects of filmmaking,” said Julie Pacino. “I learned that in the short I directed. It’s just as important to know the business side as it is to knowing your actors and crew.”

    Indeed it was clear that the success of a production, especially with this particular one, has to do with collaboration and respect for the entire cast and crew.

    “As a director, it was important that I relate to all of the departments,” said writer and director Jennifer DeLia. “You realize that everyone, from actors to PA’s, should be treated the same — be humble — realize it’s a collaboration from everyone.”

    As a result of the team’s humble and ambitious efforts, independent film lovers across the country and around the world are able to see this film in theaters, as well as online distributors iTunes and Google Play.

    Poverty Row is now working on a feature based on the life of female silent film pioneer Mary Pickford, starring Lily Rabe, Julia Stiles, and Michael Pitt.

     

    December 5, 2014 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Producing, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1768

  • Kellen Gibbs Wins “Best Student Film” at the Los Angeles Thriller Festival

    unnamed-2

    Psychological thrillers have been a part of American culture for some time now. With legendary films like Se7en, The Machinist, and The Shining, it’s no wonder why audiences love submerging themselves into an alternate reality where they must question what is real, what isn’t, and what will happen next.

    Second-year New York Film Academy student, Kellen Gibbs, has done just that in his intermediate film, The Sky Won’t Fall and has earned himself the award of Best Student Film in the Los Angeles Thriller Festival by touching on the frightening side of encountering extra-terrestrial life.

    “I grew up with a father who would tell me wild alien stories that really fed [extra-terrestrial] intrigue,” says Gibbs. “For a while now I’ve been playing with the idea of doing a story like this and this just seemed like the time to do it.”

    The mind-boggling film follows Dale Richardson as his life suddenly begins to spiral downward after experiencing what he believes is an alien encounter. As the story progresses, not only do the loved ones around him begin to think he’s losing his sanity, but Dale himself begins to question his own thoughts and must choose between what he truly believes happened, or risk losing those closest to him.

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    Currently studying in the AFA Filmmaking Program in Los Angeles, Gibbs was asked about his experience with NYFA thus far. ”I’ve loved every minute of it and I wouldn’t change my decision to come here,” he said. “Prior to NYFA I was making films with no formal training. I would do things that I thought were right, not understanding why. Now I know the ‘why’ and my filmmaking toolkit is a lot bigger now.”

    Gibbs also took full advantage of utilizing his fellow classmates by assembling a crew that was comprised mostly of NYFA students and took on a 4-day shoot in Los Angeles. “Knowing each other for the year and being able to communicate made the set really organized and easy to manage,” he said.

    With his award for Best Student Film already secure, Gibbs expects to see The Sky Won’t Fall screen in numerous other festivals, but for now its festival premiere is slated to debut in the first block at the Los Angeles Thriller Festival on December 12. Watch the trailer below and find out more information here on tickets to its screening.

    The Sky Won’t Fall Trailer from Kellen Gibbs on Vimeo.

  • Robert Thorpe Wins Audience Choice Award for Best Director

    Robert Thorpe

    Robert Thorpe with his actor Randall Wulff

    As a proud supporter of the GI Bill, the New York Film Academy was the perfect fit for military veteran and former student, Robert Thorpe. Robert came out of the military at the age of 38, and was looking to get immediate experience on set. “I wanted hands-on,” said Thorpe. “Get in, get dirty and make films.”

    While attending NYFA for a BFA in Filmmaking, Robert focused on his thesis film, The Birthing Field. “I knew a lot coming in to NYFA, having studied film privately, but I still needed to gain a better understanding of why I choose specific shots, or why I cut here or there. In essence, NYFA taught me how to use the camera as an extension of the story and not merely just to shoot some cool stuff.”

    Already an Audience Choice Award Winner for Best Director at the International Film Festival of Cinematic Arts Los Angeles, The Birthing Field is a dramatic horror about a young couple, Matt and Angie, who leave Boston to start a new life in San Diego. On their way while in Arizona, they are abducted and forced into the world of human trafficking where they must reproduce children for the black market.

    the birthing field

    While sitting at his desk one day, he noticed an image of a malnourished boy standing in front of a glass door with the yellow brilliance of the sun blowing out the background outside. The tones were so warm and inviting to the point that he began writing a story around the imagery. This story eventually evolved into The Birthing Field.

    Robert created the film with the initial focus on creating awareness and as a tool for raising funds for a feature version, which he is currently writing the screenplay for. He started working on the film in the fall of 2012 and soon realized his love for the world he created. Over the next year, he wrote several drafts of the script as well as a first draft for the feature. “I learned about my characters and they told me what they do,” said Robert. “I just had to put it on paper for everyone else to see. I rarely start writing the first draft with a whole story in mind — I am a visual person.

    Robert plans on shooting another short, a Sci-Fi horror called Alien Desert, before tackling the feature version of the The Birthing Field.

    November 26, 2014 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 874

  • Producing an Award-Winning Film on a Budget

    andrey trevgoda

    photo by Pasha Kalachev

    One of the more celebrated thesis films from the New York Film Academy was Andrey Trevgoda‘s, The Bicycle. The short film, which was beautifully shot, screened at a number of film festivals around the world and won Best Narrative Short Film at the Beijing Student Film Festival.

    The story is a satirical adventure of a rusted old bicycle, neglected on the dark staircase by its owner, which becomes stolen by a petty young thief only to set off a series of unfortunate incidents as the bicycle passes from one eager hand to another, raising hopes and thwarting dreams of its fleeting new owners.

    In The Bicycle, Andrey set out to create a visually compelling story with a unique look and style. During production, Andrey faced many adversities due to the weather conditions, small budget, and scheduling issues with his crew. Despite the challenges, Andrey and his producer, along with help from NYFA’s equipment room heads, were able to finish what became an award-winning student film.

    “Andrey approaches cinema with a singular passion and persistence in pursuit of perfection,” said NYFA Directing Instructor Paul Warner. “His unconventional approach to visual storytelling as well as production methods has often yielded compelling outcomes, as in the case of The Bicycle.”

    From a young age, Andrey had a passion for drawing and shooting videos with his friends. After getting his degree in visual communication in Moscow, he moved to New York to study filmmaking at NYFA’s 2 year conservatory program in New York City.

    “By the end of my second year, things became a little more clear to me,” said Andrey. “I knew exactly what I wanted to do and how I was going to approach it in terms of film language.”

    Since graduating from NYFA, Andrey has been working as a freelance director and cinematographer. Thus far, he’s worked on music videos for such artists as Jordan Laz, Locksley, Detsl aka LeTruk.

    To get a glimpse of Andrey’s work, have a look at his trailer for The Bicycle!

    November 24, 2014 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1211

  • Filmmaker Rowan Joffe Screens His New Thriller Starring Nicole Kidman & Colin Firth

    rowan joffeAward-winning writer/director Rowan Joffe visited New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles branch to screen thriller Before I Go To Sleep, which he adapted for the screen from a S.J. Watson novel, before participating in a Q&A with students. Producer Tova Laiter moderated the event.

    Rowan Joffe is known as a writer for his box office success, The American, starring George Clooney, and for the acclaimed sequel, 28 Weeks Later. His directing debut for the BBC was Secret Life in 2007, and in 2009 he directed The Shooting of Thomas Hurndall, which won him the Best Single Drama at the BAFTA TV Awards. In 2011 he directed his own adaptation of Graham Greene’s classic novel, Brighton Rock, for Optimum Films.

    Rowan stressed to students the importance of making content that is personal to them and that they care about, or “writing what you know.” This is the only way that a filmmaker’s work will hold real meaning. When adapting screenplays from novels, which Rowan has had extensive experience with, he focuses on the story thread that he identifies with the most. In Before I Go To Sleep it was Nicole Kidman’s mother / son relationship that was central to his life. By doing this, Rowan can remain true to himself and the source material. The flip-side to “writing what you know” is to be careful to not literally tell your life story. This will most likely be interesting only to you.

    rowan joffe nyfa

    His expansion into directing has allowed Rowan Joffe to enjoy more control over his stories. For him, directing is not about ego or power but just having a greater ability to ensure that the story he feels is right will be translated to screen. He acknowledges that the actors are a large part of this process. Although, going into the direction of a scene, Rowan will have a detailed plan of how to stage and shoot it — he knows it is his responsibility to remain open to what the actors offer on set, be willing to acknowledge a better idea, and adapt at a moments notice.

    The depth of filmmaking knowledge that Rowan offered students through is advice was very beneficial. It was clear that we were in the presence of a master of his craft that continues to work hard at sharpening his skills on a daily basis. We thank Rowan Joffe for enlightening and entertaining us with his storytelling gifts.

    November 21, 2014 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 836