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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Game Design Alum Guillermo Quesada Helps Develop The Lion King VR Set

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    Magnopus, the visual development company that employs New York Film Academy (NYFA) Game Design alum Guillermo Quesada, helped create Disney’s new remake of The Lion King in an innovative, groundbreaking way—with VR.

    Guillermo QuesadaThe company pioneered a virtual reality system that allowed director Jon Favreau (Iron Man), director of photography Caleb Deschanel (The Passion of the Christ), and The Lion King crew to shoot a film that used extensive computer imagery in a physical three dimensional space. By mimicking what it would be like to shoot on a live action soundstage, The Lion King crew used the VR tools developed by Magnopus to place themselves in a virtual landscape of the African savannah and visualize how their animal characters would interact in the space.

    According to the io9 piece that went into extensive detail about the process, 90 percent of The Lion King was created in a nondescript warehouse on a backroad in Los Angeles. Monitors and VR kits, mostly HTC Vive headsets, were placed around a large open space—with the virtual savannah existing only in code.

    NYFA alum Guillermo Quesada, originally from Spain, joined the company’s large team of bright, young, VR and AR developers after graduating from the NYFA MFA in Game Design program at our Burbank-based campus. While studying at NYFA, he was taught the art and craft of game design and storytelling at the professional level, acquiring the skills of game prototyping, playtesting, iteration, presentation, collaboration, and how to develop software using industry standards—including workflow, multiple platforms, and coding.

    “At NYFA Guillermo was pushing boundaries and innovating,” recounts Matt Galuppo, NYFA Associate Chair of Games and Animation. “He was the first student to produce a full VR game and make it part of his game showcase. He went on to use the skills he learned developing that game to develop tools for the film industry.”

    After months of post-production, Disney’s latest remake was released in theaters on July 19 and boasted an all-star cast that included Donald Glover, Beyoncé, James Earl Jones, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, and John Oliver, among several others. The film was a commercial juggernaut, becoming Disney’s fourth film of 2019 to gross over $1 billion in less than a month.

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA MFA in Game Design alum Guillermo Quesada and the entire Magnopus team on giving Disney’s filmmakers the tools to bring The Lion King back to life!

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    August 6, 2019 • Game Design, Student & Alumni Spotlights, Virtual Reality • Views: 239

  • New York Film Academy Game Design (NYFA) Welcomes Insomniac Games President Ted Price

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    Ted PriceOn Thursday, June 20, 2019, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted veteran game developer and president of Insomniac games, Ted Price.

    Price came to speak at NYFA as part of the school’s Masters of Game Design series. The Masters of Game Design is a speaker series in which distinguished members of the gaming industry visit for an informal chat with NYFA Game Design instructor Scott Rogers and NYFA students about their career in gaming.

    The event was attended by over 60 students and industry professionals who have been invited by the school. Price and Rogers talked about Price’s 23-year career, including his transition into the gaming industry after college. 

    Also discussed was Insomniac’s vast and successful catalog of games, including the Spyro the Dragon series, the Ratchet and Clank series, the Resistance series and 2018’s PS4 mega-hit Marvel’s Spider-Man. Audience attendees were then invited to ask Price questions.

    The entire event will be available for viewing on NYFA’s Twitch channel.

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    July 11, 2019 • Game Design, Guest Speakers • Views: 443

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA Game Design Alum Crafts Breathtaking World of ‘CyberNeon’

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA Game Design alum Junliang Zhang has created CyberNeon, an incredibly impressive and visually striking 3D environment that evokes the classic hallmarks of cyberpunk art.

    Cyberpunk has its roots in the musical subculture of punk rock, early computer hacker culture, 80s Japanese culture, and American crime novels and movies; particularly film noir. In 1984, author William Gibson wrote Neuromancer, a novel about high-tech and low-life. The book took the science fiction community by storm and popularized the genre called cyberpunk.

    The genre’s visual style has greatly influenced movies like 1982’s Blade Runner, 1985’s Brazil, and 1988’s Akira. Video games such as Shadowrun, the Metal Gear series, Deus Ex, and the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 are all clearly inspired by cyberpunk’s tropes and visuals.

    With these games and movies serving as inspiration, NYFA BFA Game Design alum Junliang Zhang has perfectly captured the spirit of cyberpunk in CyberNeon, the 3D environment he spent over a year creating. Zhang hails from Shanghai, China, and enrolled in NYFA’s BFA Game Design program in Fall 2014 at our Burbank-based campus.

    Zhang’s Chinese heritage replaces many of the traditional Japanese motifs found in the genre, and giving the world an identity all its own. William Gibson once said that “Japan IS cyberpunk” while Zhang’s work proudly proclaims “China IS cyberpunk.” 

    Junliang Zhang CyberNeon
    Using the Unreal engine, Zhang built a world of perpetual night and neon that could easily be inhabited by cyberpunk notables Rick Deckard or Kanada. Flying cars zoom over through canyons of skyscrapers that are festooned with advertisements for all manner of products. Futuristic displays literally dance, twirl, and flash—making the dark urban landscape come alive with motion and movement. 

    Technology is everywhere; even the darkened alleys have computer screens that flash data faster than the human eye can comprehend. The camera lingers for a few moments on a tricked-out street rod that announces “I See You” on its digital license plate. This “electric city” feels alive and as if it is constantly watching you.

    New York Film Academy congratulates BFA Game Design alum Junliang Zhang on the amazing work he’s done on CyberNeon and looks forward to what the talented game developer has in store next!

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    June 17, 2019 • Game Design, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 583

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) VR Game Design Alum Pilar Aranda Bada Featured in Play NYC’s Graffiti Games Showcase

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) VR Game Design alum Pilar Aranda Bada debuted a new VR game at Play NYC, New York’s first and largest game convention. Aranda Bada was one of a select few developers invited to create new pieces for Graffiti Games, an installation at the event that invited first-generation immigrants to creatively express their culture and experiences through their work.

    Together with teammate Saúl Peña Gamero under the name Alpaca Games, Aranda Bada created one of the installation’s “standout” entries. The game, The Llama Express, invites players to ride a train through the fictional country of Esperú while feeding fluffy llamas along the way with traditional Hispanic food like sausages and beets. The VR game features a soundtrack of traditional Spanish music, and received praise for being an “endearing” way of honoring the creators’ cultural roots.  

    The installation was brought to life in six opera boxes in Manhattan Center’s historic Hammerstein Ballroom, where they were enjoyed by as many as 10,000 participants. In addition to the showcase in New York, the games were displayed on the event’s Twitch stream for fans around the world.

    Born in Valencia, Spain, Aranda Bada is a Mixed Reality developer at Planeta.cc, a product studio focused on sound and media. In 2016, she graduated from NYFA’s pioneering VR Game Design program, which focuses on concept development, VR design, and production of interactive VR experiences, games and 360-degree films. She holds a B.S. in Industrial Design, an M.A. in Graphic Design, and an M.M. in Communications. She specializes in immersive games and experiences in both virtual and augmented reality environments.

    After the success of the game at the installation, the teammates both expressed interest in continuing to develop The Llama Express for market, though any possible release of the game would likely be far off.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Pilar Aranda Bada on her success, and looks forward to seeing her future projects!

     

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    October 10, 2018 • Game Design, Virtual Reality • Views: 147

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Game Design Camp Students Hold Demo Night

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    Game Design Demo Night Summer 2018
    On July 27, the six graduates of the 1-Week Game Design Camp celebrated a week of hard work and education with their very own Demo Night, showing off the different video games they had worked on putting together. The event was held at the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus.

    The five-day course the campers completed is intensive, especially for students as young as these, and covers every step of the process to design and build an original video game. “During this week,” stated Game Design Instructor Jeb Havens, “we worked on prototyping, coding, creating a story behind the game… and they came up with the games you see here.”

    Along the way, the students learned how the video games they grew up playing really work, and gained an appreciation for both the craft and the art of game design. The course taught them how to use the software Unity so they could each construct their own game.

    The students’ parents and relatives were invited to attend the Demo Night, along with counselors and campers from other courses, including Filmmaking, Photography, and Acting. Six computer stations were set up, each with one of the students’ games. Everyone invited had a chance to play the games.

    Some of the games were quite hard to beat, a testament to the hard work and design that went into their assembling. Parents were thrilled to be challenged by their kids’ skillfully crafted games. Many players kept trying over and over to beat the trickier games. The environment was energetic and fun all throughout the night.

    “I’m very impressed with what these students created in such a short amount of time,” Havens continued. “Building a game takes months and months of work, and what [the students] did here in only five days is impressive!”

    At the end of the night, and week-long course, each student left camp with a copy of their game, so they can have other friends and family members play it back home. The brief but intensive and hands-on Game Design camp can be a stepping stone to longer, more advanced programs in game coding and design. 

    The New York Film Academy congratulates the 1-Week Game Design Camp students on their hard work and well-designed, challenging, fun, new games. 

    Interested in learning game design? Check out more information on New York Film Academy’s programs here!

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    August 1, 2018 • Community Highlights, Game Design • Views: 1074

  • Game Design Students Venture to New York Film Academy Alum’s Escape Hotel in Hollywood

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    Last week, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Los Angeles Director of Media Lab Matthew Sheehan took a group of NYFA Game Design postgraduate students out for a heck of a final: the one hour to escape challenge from Slaughterhouse at the Escape Hotel in Hollywood. The stakes: solve the puzzle or pay the ultimate price — no, not a failing grade, just the pain of defeat.

    For the uninitiated, an escape room is a little bit theater, a little bit puzzle, and a whole lot adventure. Groups of anywhere between two to eight, whether coworkers, families, friends, or even couples, are placed into a themed room filled with puzzles and surprises, and have one hour to solve the clues to find their way out.  Escape rooms are amazing fun and they are all over the place, but nobody is doing them like the Escape Hotel in Hollywood.

    Photo courtesy of Cassie Hunter (NYFA).

    A soon as you enter the Escape Hotel in Hollywood, you know you are about to go on an adventure. Going into the hotel is like stepping into a story line. The lighting, the sound, and the costumed employees of the hotel all set the stage.

    When the NYFA group talked over the choice of which of the rooms we could go through with a macabre bellhop, MFA student Fabio Ribak’s face lit up when we were told, “You start the Slaughterhouse room blindfolded and handcuffed to the floor.” Challenge accepted!

    In the end, we did not make it out. But it was okay, as the room was so much fun. The teamwork, the panic, and the discoveries were worth every second of it. These rooms are more than padlocks and puzzles; they are stories, little movies, games come to life, with you in the center. For a group of students who had recently completed story-focused visual and performing arts training, it was the perfect evening.

    Photo courtesy of Cassie Hunter (NYFA).

    Escape Hotel co-creator Ivan Leon sat down with us afterward. Ivan is also a NYFA alum, who after completing his education went to work starting the Escape Hotel with some of his classmates.

    “It’s what’s next,” he told us. “It’s combining every form of media arts, theater, and games, in a way no one else is doing, and we wanted to make a big commitment, to be on top.”

    If you want to see it, you will have to come up to the Escape Hotel in Hollywood and put your blindfold on. If you want to make friends with the next Ivan Leon, you should come over to the New York Film Academy.

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  • Boy Scouts of America Earn Special Merit Badges at New York Film Academy

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) celebrated the third year of its partnership with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), with a special event offering scouts the chance to earn merit badges in the visual and performing arts.

    Through NYFA, boys and girls from local scouting dens were given the opportunity for special merit badges in Game Design, Filmmaking, Photography, or 3D Animation, through one day of hands-on intensive training at the New York Film Academy. In the morning, scouts attended classes with NYFA instructors, where they learned the basic rules of their selected craft and began to formulate the stories they wanted to tell. By the end of the day, each scout had completed a project and earned a new badge.

    The partnership between BSA and NYFA began with NYFA Service Learning Manager Paul McKenna. A native of Burbank, CA, McKenna got the idea for the partnership after reading about a similar program at Harvard. As a father and a scout leader, McKenna explained that many titans of the entertainment industry got their start in programs like the Boy Scouts.

    “Both David Lynch and Michael Moore began making films when they were in the scouts,” McKenna said. “Giving these kids an opportunity today could lead to a life-long passion.”

    Throughout the day, local scout leaders worked with NYFA instructors to help guide the scouts through the process. Assistant Scout Leader Paul Chiaravalle remarked, “The scouts are really enjoying this. … In scouting, we try to balance both outdoor and technical skills. It’s really nice of NYFA to provide this opportunity.”

    Scouts who chose the Filmmaking or Photography tracks at NYFA were taken to the Universal Backlot, where they shot a short film or learned to take portraits against a world-famous backdrop: the European set, which included storefronts, old houses, and even a train station.

    The student filmmakers were ultimately responsible for making a three-minute silent film. In teams of four or five, scouts took turns acting, directing, and filming their movies. Photography students learned how to work with light and shadow and were encouraged to explore the dynamic range of natural light. Framing was also heavily emphasized.

    At the end of the day, parents were invited to attend an award ceremony. Each scout received a certificate with his or her name on it in addition to their badges, which would be received at a later date. The scouts cheered for one another as they received their awards and celebrated their full day of storytelling through the visual and performing arts.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Universal Studios, The Boy Scouts of America, and our instructors, who helped make this event possible. Congratulations, scouts!

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  • Congratulations to the Winter Class of 2018 at New York Film Academy Los Angeles

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    New York Film Academy would like to congratulate another class of graduating students.

    The end of a program is always a bittersweet time, as our students and instructors develop a strong bond over the many intense hours spent learning, practicing, and crafting projects, but before the winter class of 2018 walked across the graduation stage to accept their diplomas, the New York Film Academy celebrated all the graduates’ work with a series of final pres

    entations. The day before graduation, all students were given an opportunity to show off their work for family, friends, and entertainment professionals. Filmmaking, Documentary, Acting for Film and Cinematography students held their final screenings at the Riverside Theater and on the Warner Brothers Studios backlot. Photography students had their work displayed in galleries throughout Los Angeles. Game Design students held a game night where anyone in the school could play their games. Writing and Producing students had evenings where they could pitch their projects to industry professionals.

    The winter 2018 graduation ceremony was held at the Harmony Gold Theatre in Hollywood. The graduating class of 2018 was so large the ceremony had to be broken into two parts. Both ceremonies were standing room only. Families and friends came from all over the world.

    In his graduation speech, NYFA Instructor Mike Civille asked the students to think of their education as a gift. He said, “You come from places near and far. You have treated each other and your instructors to your fascinating stories. In this process, you have joined the great filmmakers who have also spoken to audiences about what was important to them. You have learned a new universal language. It’s young, only 100 years old. It crosses both political and cultural borders. This was the gift of the Lumiere brothers and it has traveled all the way to you. Use it wisely to tell your story.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to congratulate all of the incredible students who have completed their training here. We look forward to watching your films, playing your games, seeing your photographs, and celebrating your creative endeavors for years to come. Congratulations.

    1-Year Acting for Film

    Frederick Scott Basnight II

    Marlo Butler

    Emmanuel Pierre Cartier

    Undarga Enkhbaatar

    Isaac Wesley Fairley

    Gillian Griffin

    Terrel Mollison

    2-Year Acting for Film

    Daniel Berry

    Rodrigo Borges

    Peter Gomes

    Raymond Karago

    Tiara Donyae Murray

    Kurtis Potter

    Taraiyasi Hans Prymwaqa

    Matthew Robertson

    BFA Acting for Film

    Jazmin Hamilton

    Luis  Cordoba

    Zhiyun Zhou

    MFA Acting for Film

    Rajarshi Banerjee

    Taylor Byers

    Rebecca Cannizzaro

    Rei Alona Kennex Crossman

    Sumaia De Oliveira Radwan

    Jason Dolciani

    Anna Francisca Salles Marques Da Silva

    Craijece Lewis

    Lara Manatta Tenorio

    Jaylyn Neal

    An Thien Phan

    Leandro Luis Pineda Torres

    Aathira Rajeev

    Amber Resha Satcher

    Ke Shuai

    Eric Slaughter

    Lun Tan

    Julien Webb

    2-Year Producing

    Reginald E. Luck

    Nicole Zapata Quiles

    MFA Producing

    Johnnie Christopher Brown

    Kimbra Essex

    Xuan Liu

    Bahaguli Rehemutula

    Yosuke Sugimoto

    Bakhytzhan Urakhayev

    Liying Zhu

    BFA Screenwriting

    Zeyad Al Mutawa

    Katie Clem

    Seth Morton

    Louise Nyberg

    Patrick Kellam Lyons Stinich

    MFA Screenwriting

    Maria Androushko

    Katrina Brown

    Luis Alfredo Gonzalez

    Luke Jarret

    Harmony Kasper

    Joseph Knable

    Carmen Nelson

    Shane Redding

    Raul Ravindrakumar Sharma

    Melarissa Benedicta Sjarief

    Abigail Spencer

    Adam Tetelbaum

    Elon Washington

    MFA Photography

    Brittney Cathcart

    Monika Sedziute

    Yunzhi Wang

    MFA Documentary Filmmaking

    Hanan Higgi

    Amjad Tkroni

    Zhengyi Zhong

    MFA Game Design

    Nouf Bagazi

    Grace Ogwo

    Grettir Olafsson

    Santosh Peri

    Hetian Wang

    AFA Filmmaking

    Awana Morris

    BFA Filmmaking

    Ahmed Adil

    Hamda Al Midfa

    Ahmed Alghamdi

    Lionel Allen

    Saleh Mohammed Almalki

    Abdulaziz Almughrbi

    Faris Salah Beitar

    Danila Butovskiy

    Yujing Gao

    Yaser Hammad

    Wesley Garin Hobbs

    Lingxiao Jin

    Michael Moran

    Muhammad Raheem Sultan

    Victor Valerio

    Paulina Zamorano Castillo

    Marc Vital Guerin

    Jialei Li

    Yaonan Liu

    Topaz Peretz

    Yiding Xia

    Federico Sanna

    MA Film & Media Production

    Praveen Albert

    Oliver Berger

    Mansi Nitin Desai

    Qiqi Duan

    Hongzhi Guo

    Maryna Kovalevska

    Katlego Makhudu

    Natsumi Shibata

    Brionna Sutton

    Alessandro Turco

    Donatela Vacca

    Nihal Vasudevan

    Chuning Wang

    Ala Waznah

    Bingqi Xue

    Shipeng Yu

    MFA Filmmaking

    Khalid Ahmed Alsghair Ismail

    Roque Banos

    Siyuan Chen

    Chaaritha Dheerasinghe

    Travis Donald

    Weilun Feng

    Guoqing Fu

    Jialin Fu

    Yuanmei Ge

    Tingting Hua

    Shuntian Jiang

    Hongdon Lee

    Yixiang Li

    Hai Yao Liang

    Na Liu

    Yiwen Liu

    Jianan Ma

    Sholpan Murabuldayeva

    Anita Name Dos Santos

    Guangtao Pi

    Hugo Machado Salvaterra

    George Savidis

    Zicheng Tian

    Jiewen Wang

    Qiushi Xi

    Yuanyuan Xu

    Yuan Yue

    Han Zeng

    Shiyun Zeng

    Haoruo Zhang

    Hao Zhang

    Yuqing Zhang

    Jingwei Zhou

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  • Celebrate Women’s History Month at the New York Film Academy

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    This Women’s History Month, which also includes International Women’s Day on March 8, the New York Film Academy joins the conversation on gender inclusivity with an updated Gender Inequality in Film Infographic as well as a full slate of events across its campus locations.

    From International Women’s Day industry panel events to film screenings and raffles, check out NYFA’s calendar of Women’s History Month activities, below, and join us on campus in Los Angeles, New York City, South Beach, and NYFA Australia, Gold Coast. And on social media, we’ll be shouting out to many of the Women of NYFA — alums who are doing incredible work in the community, in the entertainment industry, and beyond.

    New York Film Academy Women’s History Month events will include:

    Los Angeles

    MARCH 7 – Stand Up for Women Comedy Night

    Host:

    • Lisa deLarios – Lisa has toured the country featuring for Zach Galifianakis, Paul F. Tompkins, Anthony Jeselnik, and Maria Bamford among others. She was showcased on Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham and has been a frequent guest on Doug Loves Movies.  

    Featured Comedians:

    • Laura House – Laura is a headlining comedian who has performed on HBO, Comedy Central, NBC, and starred in MTV’s Austin Stories. She written on the Emmy-winning shows Mom and Samantha Who, BAFTA-winning Secret Lives of Boys, as well as Nicole Byer’s Loosely, Exactly, Nicole, The George Lopez Show, Mad Love, Blue Collar TV & more.
    • Jackie Kashian – Jackie is a comic whose new album, I Am Not The Hero Of This Story, was the #1 comedy album on iTunes and Amazon. She is in the 12th year of her podcast The Dark Forest and has a new podcast on the Nerdist Network called The Jackie and Laurie Show.
    • Jena Friedman – Jena is a comedian, writer, filmmaker and political satirist who recently appeared on Conan. Her Adult Swim special Soft Focus with Jena Friedman aired in February. She has been a field producer at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and has written for Late Show with David Letterman. ​
    • Annie Lederman – Annie was the co-host of We Have Issues on E! and has been a cast member on Chelsea Lately, Girl Code, @midnight, and Impractical Jokers.
    • Kate Willett Kate tours nationally and internationally, has been featured on Viceland’s Flophouse and Comedy Central’s This is Not Happening, and recently taped a Netflix special.
    • Vanessa Gonzalez – Vanessa was recently voted “Best Stand-up Comic” in the Austin Chronicle readers’ poll, and created and stars in the Mas Mejor web series Ms. Vanessa.
    • Jessica Sele– Jessica is a stand-up comedian who tours across the country, and has performed at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival and SF Sketchfest. She was written about in HuffPost.
    • Ellington Wells – Ellington is a filmmaker and comedian who hosts the monthly stand-up show Blackberry Jam, and has worked on television shows such as Insecure, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Baskets.

    March 8 – International Women’s Day: A Perspective on Women in Entertainment: Industry Panel Discussion

    Moderators:

    • Mike Civille
    • Lydia Cedrone

    Panelists

    • Dea Lawrence – CMO of Variety
    • Kelly Gilmore – Sr. VP Marketing at Warner Bros.
    • Barbara Bain – 3 time Emmy Winning Actress
    • Jeanette Collins – Producer/Writer: Big Love, Drop Dead Diva, Suddenly Susan
    • Winship Cook – Producer: K-19: The Widowmaker, Sound the Crossing,Family Plan
    • Valorie Massalas – Casting Director/Producer: Back to the Future 2 & 3, Indiana Jones, Total Recall
    • Ronnie Yeskel – Casting Director: Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Curb Your Enthusiasm  
    • Elvi Cano – Executive Director EGEDA U.S.
    • Lisa Guerriero – Camera operator: Suicide Squad, Mad Men, Mission Impossible, Fight Club

    New York City

    FEB. 28,  6:30 PM EST – Heroin(e) SCREENING & Guest Speaker Event

    • Exclusive screening of Oscar-nominated Netflix short documentary Heroin(e) with the film’s editor and special guest lecturer Kristen Nutile.

    MARCH 5-6 – Women’s International Film Festival Raffle

    TBD – NYFA Women in Film Screening Series

    • Further details coming soon.

    MARCH 21 – Women in VR: Chat with Vice Chair of the Producers’ Guild of America New Media Council & NYFA Instructor Caitlin Burns 

    • Further details coming soon.

    Vice Chair of the Producers’ Guild of America New Media Council & NYFA Instructor Caitlin Burns

    South Beach

    March 21 – NYFA Women in Film Screening and Q&A

    • A screening of the 2016 drama Hidden Figures
    • A Q&A led by South Beach Filmmaking chair Maylen Dominguez

    March 21 – NYFA Women in Film Industry Panel

    • An all-woman panel featuring Rhonda Mitrani, Susie Taylor, Maha McCain, Elli Ventouras, and Giorgia Lo Savio

    NYFA Australia, Gold Coast

    March 8 – International Women’s Day Film Series

    • A screening series of films focused on female protagonists, including The Color Purple, Joy, Thelma & Louise, and Whip It.

    For updates on Women’s History Month events at the New York Film Academy, and to join us for International Women’s Day, be sure to follow us on social media: FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram

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  • New York Film Academy Narrative Theory Students Explore IMAX VR Centre

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    The Narrative Theory Course is a part of the New York Film Academy’s Game Design curriculum. The class focuses on storytelling methods in gaming. Virtual Reality (VR) provides an entirely new way of looking at how to tell stories. Without the control limits of a two-dimensional screen the ability to direct a player’s eye-line is no longer an option. A whole new set of rules has to be developed. This new frontier of technology brought NYFA students to the IMAX VR Centre in Hollywood, CA.

    For many students, this was their first experience with VR. “I had a really great time at the VR Center,” said student Kamen Marinov. “The moment I put those Oculus ‘goggles’ on my head I felt this strange feeling — that I was inside someone else. It was like I was seeing through another person’s eyes. It felt odd at first, but when I got used to the visuals and the game mechanics I had an amazing experience.”

    Students were able to experience a ton of games that are new to the market. The new “Justice League” game based on the Warner Brother’s film allows players to drive the Batmobile or take out Steppenwolf’s lackeys with Cyborg’s arm cannon. This is just one of the many games currently on display. Set up in an arcade style, students can could jump into several cinematic worlds including “John Wick,” “The Mummy,” “Deadwood,” and the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises.

    Some students choose to play two first-person shooters “Raw Data” and “John Wick.” Jeffery Lay found the experience both taxing and informative: “In ‘John Wick,’ I was hiding behind a bar, watching my six, as enemies come from everywhere. A big vase covering an area of my view-making forced me to me lean around it, or jump to shoot over it, even though in reality, nothing is there.” 

    “VR had a lot more movement than I expected,” said Lay. “I probably changed between standing and crouching about 50 to 100 times in a row.” 

    Nathan Hales wasn’t just having fun. He learned a lot. “The level of immersion offered by virtual reality is really something that one cannot explain but must be experienced,” said Hales. “I felt like I was living within these virtual spaces. I was cutting down robots in ‘Raw Data,’ instead of the usual extra degree of separation offered from a traditional TV or computer monitor setup. Moving forward with the knowledge I gained from experiencing the capabilities and limitations of virtual reality, I can now envision games for the medium.”

    This is important because VR is a hot commodity in the entertainment industry. Since Nonny de la Pena’s VR project in immersive journalism entitled “Hunger in Los Angeles” premiered at Sundance 2012, there’s been a lot of buzz around the future of VR, yet there were many unanswered questions about the possibilities the new technology held at the time. Facebook set a new precedent when it acquired Oculus Rift in 2014. Since then, we’ve seen the development of both VR recording technologies and creative endeavors rapidly accelerate.

    Overall, the day was a rousing success. The New York Film Academy would like to thank IMAX VR for giving our students an opportunity to glimpse the future of gaming.

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