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  • 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.”

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    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: 1773

  • 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.

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    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.

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    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: 575

  • 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.

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    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.

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    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: 756

  • 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: 552

  • ‘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.

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    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.

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    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: 636

  • Acting Grad Gianlorenzo Albertini Cast in “ONE: The Hip Hop Dance Musical”

    albertiniItalian actor and New York Film Academy BFA Acting for Film alumnus Gianlorenzo Albertini’s acting, singing and dancing chops caught the eye of the producer of a major hip-hop opera that has been over sixteen years in the making, landing Albertini a part in the first fully-staged production of “ONE: The Hip Hop Dance Musical,” by Walter Robinson, scheduled to premier in Los Angeles in the summer of 2016.

    The retelling of the story of Exodus began as “Moses,” a gospel opera first performed in Boston in 1999. The piece was performed in a concert or workshop setting several times over the past twenty years. For the past several months, Robinson has been work-shopping the piece in the Philippines with support of a three-year grant from Steven Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation.

    “I feel incredibly thankful and honored for being able to be a part of this project,” says Albertini. “It is very exiting because Walter is the creator and writer, and I was overwhelmed to find out that this was the first fully realized production. I felt compelled to start working with Walter, especially after I read the script. It explores the innocence of the human condition through the seduction of money, drugs and power.”

    “I believe God is Love,” says the young actor, who is about to start two months of rehearsals for the production. “‘ONE’ translates various passages of the Bible with a modern and artistic approach that carries along the core of the musical. I appreciate that the musical translates the Bible passages in a modern way that is easily accessible by the young people who are the target audience of the play.”

    This isn’t the first time producers and directors have recognized Albertini’s musical gifts. A conservatory-trained classical guitar player, Albertini also lent his composition and performance skills to his own award-winning short film, “Immortality In Blue,” an exploration of Pablo Picasso’s “Blue Period.” Albertini’s guitar performances were also captured along with his performance in the short film “Sound of Silence,” released in 2015.

    April 20, 2016 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 539

  • Adam Zucker Screens “The Return” at New York Film Academy

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    Last week, the New York Film Academy, in association with the City Congregation for Humanistic Judaism, presented a special screening of Adam Zucker’s documentary, The Return. The film follows the lives of four young women who are representative of a generation of Poles who were raised Catholic only to discover they were Jewish in their teens. The film highlights their struggle to create a living Jewish identity and community in a virtual vacuum—within the country that was once the epicenter of the Jewish world.

    Introducing the event was NYFA Senior Executive Vice President, David Klein and moderating the Q&A after the screening was NYFA Documentary Chair, Andrea Swift. Zucker’s most recent film, Greensboro: Closer to the Truth (2007) screened at over 35 festivals in the U.S. and abroad, and received the Audience Award for Best Feature at the Rome International Film Festival and Best Documentary at the Dead Center Film Festival. In addition, the film’s Audience Engagement effort, The Closer to the Truth Project, is facilitating the film’s use as a catalyst for change in communities across the U.S.


    Adam has edited numerous award-winning documentaries, including Rory Kennedy’s American Hollow (Sundance Film Festival and HBO) and Homestead Steel Strike (History Channel, Ten Days That Changed America series), Michael Kantor’s Broadway: The American Musical (PBS), Madison Davis Lacy’s Richard Wright: Black Boy (PBS), Ken Burns and Steve Ives’ The West (PBS), Dori Berinstein’s Show Business (Tribeca Film Festival and Showtime) and Josef Astor’s upcoming Lost Bohemia.
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    Sr. VP David Klein, Andrea Swift, and Adam Zucker

    As for the film of the evening, The Return, Zucker says, “How did I end up spending four years traveling across three continents to track the lives of four young Polish women as they explored their newfound Jewish roots? Because that’s what I do. I’m a documentary filmmaker. I try and get into the lives of people and make sense of their various turns and choices: the stories of how people change over time.”

    The Return has already screened in over eight different countries and will be screening at DOC NYC this upcoming November, 2016.

    April 19, 2016 • Acting • Views: 656

  • “Breakfast in Beirut” Nominated Film of the Year

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    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.

  • NYFA Students Learn Cutting Edge Techniques in Image Based Lighting for VFX

    Virtual lighting expert and Animation department faculty member Fred Durand treated students of chair of animation Mark Sawicki’s digital effects cinematography class to a guest lecture and demonstration of Image Based Lighting. Mr. Durand has served as a digital artist for Disney Animation, Sony Imageworks, The Mill and Digital Domain on such projects as “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” “Tomb Raider,” “Shark Tales” and “2012.”

    Fred Durand

    The demonstration began with the students lighting and executing a simple dolly move toward a performer sitting at a table. After the dolly shot Sawicki demonstrated how to shoot a 360 degree High Dynamic Range Image of the set using a Fish Eye lens and one of the school’s Canon 5D cameras. Each of the 4 camera views of the set was shot plus and minus 4 stops of exposure capturing the extreme latitude of the entire foot-candle range of the lights on the set. Both the dolly shot and the HDRI data were given to Mr. Durand to add synthetic computer graphic props in time for the next class session.

    In the lecture portion of the exercise Durand explained the process of stitching together all 36 HDRI images to create a virtual bubble onto which was mapped the location and intensity of all the lighting instruments and reflective objects on the set. At this stage Fred also had to create a matte painting to “paint out” the tripod legs underneath the Canon camera. This bubble of set image was then placed around the computer graphic coke bottles to light them with what were essentially the same lights that were used for the live action dolly shot. The “image” of the lights lit the computer graphic props giving them an ultra realistic look that matched the live action exactly.

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    To ensure that the virtual Coke props stayed locked to the table and tracked seamlessly Durand had to remove all of the rectilinear lens distortions of the live action lens to create a “perfect” lens that would match the perfect lens of the virtual camera that mimicked the dolly move to virtually photograph the Coke bottles. After the virtual camera tracked the CG props the distortion was added back to the virtual photography to match the live action lens so that the virtual dolly move could be composited atop the original dolly move for a perfect match.

    At New York Film Academy we strive to have our students take a multi disciplinary approach as they enter the field as cutting edge filmmakers. Our student cinematographers now have the skill sets to light on set with traditional methods and an understanding and vocabulary to collaborate with digital artists in the up to date virtual world of today.

    April 14, 2016 • 3D Animation, Guest Speakers • Views: 406

  • “Frankie” Selected for Prestigious Nastro d’Argento

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    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: www.nycindieff.com/film/frankie-italian-roulette.

    April 13, 2016 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 894