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  • NYFA Animation and VFX Students Visit California Science Center

    Last week, with stops in Santa Monica and downtown, a group of New York Film Academy Animation and VFX students got to go behind-the-scenes at SideFX Software and take in the sites at the California Science Center.

    california science center

    If you don’t know SideFX, well, it’s rapidly taking over the VFX and interactive world with its powerful procedural cg animation and VFX tool Houdini. Gabriel Fernandez and Ujala Saini are one year students in the Animation and VFX program and they made the most out of meeting the people that know Houdini best — the people that make it and use it everyday — and asked lots of great questions.

    Tiffany Victor, a student in NYFA’s Animation VFX BFA program, jumped at the chance to be the first to beta test a new UNITY game built with the powerful Houdini Engine in the Htc Vive Virtual Reality System. Big CG thanks to Ben Mears, Rob Stauffer, Genesis Lee and the rest of the team at SideFX for opening their doors to the NYFA Animation and VFX students here in Los Angeles.

    space shuttle

    After that, the trip headed downtown to the California Science Center with its Science of Pixar Exhibition, and the Space Shuttle Endeavour for the cherry on top. The Pixar show was full of over-sized interactive learning stations that brought the nuts and bolts of CG animation to life. The exhibition gave everyone a chance to see how the tools they use for homework today are the same tools they will use in their careers tomorrow.

    With only time for one last stop, the group took the opportunity to check out NASA’s Space Shuttle Endeavor.

    January 13, 2017 • 3D Animation • Views: 1251

  • NYFA Acting Grad Plays Boston Marathon Bomber in “Patriots Day”

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    photo by Jeff Berlin

    Perhaps the most hyped film to open this weekend is Peter Berg’s “Patriots Day,” starring Mark Wahlberg. The film is based on accounts from the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and the ensuing search for the Tsarnaev brothers. The New York Film Academy is thrilled to recognize Acting for Film alumnus Themo Melikidze, who plays the role of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the two brothers responsible for the bombings.

    In addition to Boston native Mark Wahlberg, Melikidze acts alongside former NYFA guest speakers J.K. Simmons and Michelle Monaghan, as well as John Goodman and Kevin Bacon.

    His climb to acting in a major motion picture and the upcoming FOX TV series “24: Legacy” certainly wasn’t handed to him. After graduating from NYFA, Melikidze attained his OPT status and worked for a year with an Off-Broadway show (“The LiveInTheater”) in NYC. After that, he attained the O1 Artist Visa and moved to Los Angeles to further pursue acting for film and TV.

    “The first months [in LA] were probably the hardest times in my life, since I had no solid place to stay and had no car,” recalled Melikidze. “I was using my bicycle for four hours a day to get to any type of audition. I had one headshot and a few videos posted on LA Casting. One day a talent coordinator contacted me trough the website, stating that the Park Noack Agency wanted to meet with me. Later that week I sat down with the agency and, after a few auditions, I was signed for theatrical and commercial representation.”

    Two weeks later his agency gave him a call to audition for “Patriots Day.” After a self-tape and multiple callbacks, he was invited for the “director’s callback” with Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg.

    That audition completely changed his life, as two weeks after the “director’s callback,” he got the call from his agent that they wanted him for the role of Tamerlan.

    “A majority of young acting students take a course, only skimming the surface of acting, but few have the patience and dedication to hang in for the long haul as Themo has,” said Melikidze’s Acting for Film Instructor at NYFA, Paul Warner. “His passion for the craft, intelligence, and meticulousness in embracing all of its complexities made it clear then, that if Themo was given professional opportunities, that he would excel.”

    Melikidze’s role put him in the difficult situation of portraying a wanted terrorist, who was shot three days after the horrific bombings. While not easy to wrap his mind around the character, Melikidze stepped up to the challenge, adding, “The most challenging thing was certainly to get inside the head of this individual. Knowing his background of having a family, wife, little kid, a brother and friends, and still be able to commit such a horrible act is unthinkable. But I committed myself 100% to the character and really dove into his state of mind, by doing all the research that I could do on the web, watching horrible Jihadi videos that he used to watch, and also having to train with his boxing coach John Allen, who gave me incredible insight to his personal life and his characteristics. But, at the end of the day, what really drove me to portray this character was the absolute hate, disgust and anger that I had for this horrible individual. “

    Be sure to check him out in “Patriots Day,” which is out in US theaters Friday, Jan. 13!

    January 12, 2017 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2232

  • NYFA Animation Alumna Works on FX for “Suicide Squad” and “Fantastic Beasts”

    alex lorussoSince graduating from the Animation School at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles, Alexandra LoRusso has worked on the visual FX for major Hollywood movies like “Suicide Squad,” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” She currently works for the VFX company MPC Montreal, where she is now working on two other films.

    While the animation alumna has admitted she’s extremely busy with her work, she took the time out to answer a few questions about her career in FX.

    Which film would you say is the reason you chose this profession?

    It’s hard to pick just one. I will always remember the first movie I saw and it was also my first Disney movie. “Dumbo” inspired me to want to work in the world of Animation/VFX, and in films in general.

    Which area of 3D animation and VFX has been your focus since graduating?

    Since completing the 1 Year Animation program, my focus has been in Effects Animation.

    Which films or projects most proud of, and why?

    Out of all the films I’ve worked on so far, I think I would have to say that I’m most proud of the work I did on “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

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    still from “Suicide Squad”

    If you take a look at this still from “Suicide Squad,” I was tasked to do all the tracer hits, so all the sparks/debris/smoke.

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    still from “Fantastic Beasts”

    For the still from the final trailer of “Fantastic Beasts,” I was tasked to break the crate when it hit the Occamy, and added in splinters.

    When you’re working on the FX for a film, who are you typically collaborating with?

    I collaborate the most with my lead/leads and other FX artists on the film. We do also have daily review sessions with our FX Supervisors who give us feedback on the shot/shots we are working on.

    Would you say your experience at NYFA’s Animation School was useful in terms of the work you’re currently doing?

    The tools I learned while at NYFA were a great introduction to what I’m currently doing.

    Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

    Since finishing up on “Fantastic Beasts,” I’ve gone on to work on two other films, which I can’t really say anything about at the moment.

    January 11, 2017 • 3D Animation, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1477

  • Broadcast Journalism Alumni Working with CBS News, Vice Media, TVW and More

    The new term is well underway, and the incoming Spring Broadcast Journalism class will soon be here. Before we look to the future, we thought we’d highlight more of our successful Broadcast Journalism alumni.

    NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Nour Idriss is still working at CBS News, but now she has two jobs… She continues to be part of the production team for The CBS Evening News Weekend Edition.

    “I produce and edit VO’s and teases, and some packages by myself. I also oversee the headlines and help with research and material gathering for other producers.” During the week, she is over on the digital side at CBS.com as a freelance Associate Producer for video. “Basically I publish CBS content on the web, using a variety of software.”

    This is the incredible story she did as a NYFA student that launched her career.

    Regular readers will recall some of the stories we featured when Yasmine Muffoletto was a NYFA student. After graduation back in May, she returned to France and a job at Vice Media. Here is the latest from her…

    “I recently joined the VICELAND production team and am no longer with Vice Digital. I also want to thank you once again for everything you taught me. I would not be at Vice anymore if I didn’t know how to edit or even write a script. Those long hours in the edit room actually paid off.”

    We heard from Summer Session grad Starla Sampaco as well.

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    Starla Sampaco

    “I just wrapped up an internship at KING 5 (Seattle’s NBC affiliate station) and am about to move to Olympia, Washington for a full-time internship at TVW (Washington state’s version of C-SPAN) during the legislative session. My internship will require me to do on-air reporting, write scripts and interview legislators. I would not have had the skills necessary for this role if it weren’t for NYFA.”

    Finally, last week we featured Francielle Maines’ marvelous “summer in the city” story, with one of the most remarkable “stand-ups” I have ever seen. (That’s a street dancer flying over Francielle in City Hall Park in New York City.)

    francielle maines

    Francielle Maines

    Well, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that Francielle was there as part of a production team. (Who do you think shot the video?) That team included Barbara Makarevich, who for two years hosted a TV talk show in her hometown of Moscow. Barbara has now moved to another famously cold city — Chicago — where she is working on a Masters Degree in Journalism at DePaul University.

    Barbara Makarevich

    Barbara Makarevich

    Francielle wrote: “Had a great time studying at the NYFA. This was one of the best experiences of my life. I learned a lot! Remember that hot day, Barbara?” Who responded:”Sure, I don’t forget things like this. You really did a great job, and I was glad to be a part of your team!”

    January 10, 2017 • Broadcast Journalism, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 676

  • NYFA Grad’s “Shoot” Premieres at Arab Cinema Lab

    shootSaudi director and New York Film Academy alumnus Aymen Khoja recently screened his soccer-themed film “Shoot” at the inaugural edition of the Arab Cinema Lab at DIFF. What makes the story unique is the fact that the main character is from Saudi Arabia. The privately-financed production is Saudi Arabia’s fourth-ever feature-length film.

    Egyptian actor El-Masry, best known internationally for his roles in “Rosewater” and “The Night Manager,” stars as a young Saudi expat in Los Angeles with dreams of pursuing a soccer career in the city against the wishes of his traditional father. The film also includes actors Patrick Fabian, Ayman Samman and US soccer star Bryan Jordan.

    “I’ve always loved soccer, and we all know there aren’t many movies that focus on soccer,” said Khoja. “So, I decided to challenge myself and write one, and I told myself it had to be low budget.”

    “As we all know movies can bring the world together, so I was really encouraged to write the story and pushed myself to make it happen,” added Khoja. “We don’t typically see a lot of movies that speak to Arabs in America.”

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    The New York Film Academy Los Angeles alumnus wrote, produced and directed the film under the auspices of his Santa Monica and Jeddah-based Khoja Bros label.

    “NYFA provided me with a lot of knowledge,” said Khoja. “Not only how to direct a movie, but also how to write, how to produce, and how to use all the other elements: music, sound, color, production design, etc. NYFA has great staff. Without their help I wouldn’t be able to make the movie.”

    Khoja is now developing a second film that will also marry both US and Arab cultures — a thriller about the kidnapping of a young Saudi student by a ruthless gangster.

    “We need more Saudi filmmakers to make feature films,” says Khoja. “They need to be brave to make the decision and have the commitment. I care about telling stories and helping in developing our cinema industry.”

    His aims for “Shoot” to have a limited theatrical release worldwide before online streaming platforms and TV.

    January 9, 2017 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1327

  • MFA Cinematography Grad Wraps As Assistant to Director of Photography on “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”

    We’ve had many instances of students not only collaborating with their peers, but also students and alumni reconnecting and working with their former instructors. As many of the New York Film Academy instructors are working professionals outside of the classroom, Cinematography School alumnus Jeremy Harris was able to capitalize on this through his relationship with Cinematography Chair Tony Richmond.

    Richmond, who has an extensive career as a professional cinematographer, was recently brought on board as Director of Photography for the upcoming Twentieth Century Fox sequel, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul.” The film, which stars Alicia Silverstone, Tom Everett Scott and Jason Drucker, revolves around the character of Greg (played by Drucker), who convinces his family to take a road trip to attend his great grandmother’s 90th birthday as a cover for what he really wants: to attend a nearby gamer convention.

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    Jeremy Harris with Tony Richmond on set of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”

    “It was great having Jeremy on set with me on ‘Wimpy Kid “The Long Haul,'” said Richmond. “I am convinced, having seen Jeremy work on the set, that he is now well on his way to a long and successful career as a cinematographer.”

    As Assistant to the Director of Photography, Harris was able to see first-hand the working relationship between the Director and the Director of Photography. He was able to work with Richmond’s three camera crews and the three Alexa cameras, as well as two sets of old Taylor Hopson Cooke Speed Pancro Lenses, which were used from the 1950’s. Even more exciting for the young cinematographer, he had access to multiple techno cranes and stabilized heads.

    diary of wimpy kid

    Some other valuable experiences that Richmond noted for Harris were him being able to be in the DIT tent with not only Richmond, but also his Digital Imaging Technician — to see how the team was using the Technicolor LUT and the color and contrast decisions they were making. He gained working experience with both the electrical and grip crews as well as the rigging crews. Harris also worked with both the 2nd Unit and Stunt Unit of the film.

    “I think the most exciting and fulfilling part of this endeavor was just waking up knowing that every day I would get a chance to not only learn, but be around some of the most lovely, hard-working people I’ve ever met, as well as just having quality time with Tony,” said Harris. “NYFA helped me a lot when it comes to understanding each aspect of being a crew member, as well as being a DP. I didn’t always feel like a fish out of water on set.”

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    As for where this position could lead him in the future, Harris says he still can’t quite put a finger on the exact direction, adding, “I think that’s a good thing. I do know that anything, any opportunity that comes my way from now on, I feel as though I am definitely more prepared, more skillful, clever, and creative.”

    This role also allowed Harris to join the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Union, which supports Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts. Being a member of the IATSE gives Harris a huge leg up in his career pursuits.

    “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” is currently in post-production and will be in theaters May 19, 2017.

    January 6, 2017 • Cinematography, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1902

  • NYFA LA Instructor’s “The Rachels” to Air on Lifetime Movie Network

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    Filming the dramatic finale on a rooftop in Marina Del Rey, CA.

    Many of our instructors are working professionals outside of the classroom. New York Film Academy instructor Mike Civille’s feature film thriller “The Rachels,” which he directed in the summer of 2016, just sold to Lifetime and will air on the Lifetime Movie Network on Jan. 15, 2017.

    Civille was also recently published in the Fall 2016 issue of “Cinema Journal” (one of the top peer reviewed academic journals in the field) with his article “Ain’t Got No Chance”: The case of the Breaking Point (1950).”

    His upcoming film, “The Rachels,” is about the teen queens of Hills High School. When one of them suddenly dies, the other basks in the glow of the social media attention, until a former friend begins to unwind the tangled threads of the mysterious death.

    We had a chance to talk to Civille before his movie airs on Jan. 15th.

    How did you become involved with this project?

    They say there’s always a bit of luck involved — in my case I’m happily married to a very successful development and production executive: my wife Hannah Pillemer is Senior VP at MarVista Entertainment. She and I had been speaking for some time about collaborating on a film, but we had not been able to coordinate our schedules over the last couple of years. Finally, this project came up, the timing was right, I loved the script, and Hannah hired me to direct it for MarVista. We met with the writer, Ellen Huggins, to hash out some ideas in the spring, and then in the summer I took two months off from NYFA as we went into preproduction and filming.

    Was there any particular element of the story / premise that made you want to direct?

    I had taken time away from directing to earn my PhD, but I eagerly dove back into it with this project. I loved that it was a commentary on celebrity culture, and how far people are willing to go to become recognized and remain well known. This is something I actually studied for my PhD, so I loved being able to weave some of my previous research into the story. I also valued the ability to use the camera and production design to show the difference between a person’s filtered social presentation and the real (sometimes fiendish) selves that they try to keep hidden. This idea of perception versus reality really fascinated me, and how we all craft our own version of ourselves and the events in our lives. The movie suggests that truth can be slippery, and things are not always what they appear to be.

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    Still from the film of Rachel Richards (Caitlin Carver) and Roxie (Daniela Bobadilla)

    It’s hard to not notice a similarity in the logline to the film “Heathers.” Was there any inspiration from that film?

    Any high school movie featuring characters with the same name who are fixated on their own popularity has to pay some debt to “Heathers.” I love the tone of “Heathers,” and we tried to instill some of the same feeling into this film, with a little of the same bite. At the same time, it was also important for me to understand and even like these characters to avoid making them one dimensional and shallow. So I worked with the actors to bring some humanity to their performances — they all hurt, they all feel, they all desire validation. So while they might sometimes stray down the wrong path or lash out, there’s something tragic about the ways they are trying to keep up with each other and the world around then. I think it was important to add that layer to our film, which wasn’t a straight satirical comedy like “Heathers.” Instead, we called it a “mischievous thriller” — a self-conscious film about a celebrity that has fun while also providing traditional elements of drama and excitement along the way. Other films that inspired us thematically were “To Die Fo”r (1995), “Sunset Blvd.” (1950), “Virgin Suicides” (1999), and “Mulholland Drive” (2001), with a little dash of “The Conversation” (1974) and “Rashomon” (1950) thrown in.

    How did Lifetime come about? Was this a project you sold to Lifetime prior to production or rather did you sell the finished film to the network?

    The project was produced without a distribution deal, so I was excited to hear that MarVista recently sold it to Lifetime. They have sold other projects to Lifetime, so there’s a relationship there, but there was no guarantee from the beginning. I was proud that the film sold, because it told me that others see value there, it confirmed MarVista’s faith in me, and it validated my wife’s decision to hire her husband!

    Directing actress Caitlin Carver.

    Mike Civille directing actress Caitlin Carver.

    Did you learn anything while directing this film that you would like to share with your students?

    This was my first time as a “director for hire,” so this was the first time I had to passionately push for certain creative decisions. I had produced previous projects, so I always only had to convince myself. But this was the first time I had to present my ideas to producers and argue for why it should be that way (and not the less expensive way!). Of course, you have to pick your battles, but there were a handful of things I really wanted for the movie, so I had to prepare notes and sketches and descriptions and film clips to show how and why it could work. It reminded me that you have to be energetic and determined in your vision — you don’t yell at people to get your way, but rather you thoroughly present your case to convince them. And at the end of the day, we were able to accomplish a lot, including the most elaborate and dangerous stunt in MarVista history. There’s no such thing as too much preparation, and if you don’t have a vision for how you see it, people are not going to buy it.

    I also was reminded that motivating a cast and crew comes from the top. Early on, DP Michael Pessah, AD Karim Nabil, and I decided that we were going to have fun and keep people motivated by making every day, every shot a fun experience — no matter the hot temperatures, an intense shooting schedule, and several complicated setups. Of course we had stressful moments, but mostly we had fun and the crew appreciated that we were enjoying the process so much. I respected the cast and crew so much, and I decided not to be a director working in a bubble and only talking to actors and the DP. Instead I got to know everyone, and thanked them by shaking everyone’s hand at the end of every shooting day. I wanted to let everyone from the DP to each PA know that I appreciated their effort and what we accomplished. At the end of the shoot, many of the cast and crew remarked that they would do another project with us at any time because they had so much fun and appreciated our gratitude. I’m really proud of that.

    Still from the film of Rachel Richards (Caitlin Carver) and Rachel Nelson (Madison Iseman).

    Still from the film of Rachel Richards (Caitlin Carver) and Rachel Nelson (Madison Iseman).

    Can you tell us about the stunt that you were able to pull off?

    We filmed a dangerous stunt in which we dangled an actress off the roof of a building seven stories up. Our incredible stunt coordinator Tim Mikulecky helped design and achieve this stunt with steel cables — he was such a pro and always looking for how to do the stunt effectively and safely. I’ll never forget standing on the roof during the location scout, and looking over the side with Tim, and he says, “You know, we could actually hang her off of here pretty easily…as long as she’ll go for it.” So when I asked the actress, she said, “Sure, sounds like fun! It will help my performance!” It was by far the most stressful night of the shoot because if anything went wrong, it could be disastrous. But it all went great — thanks to a lot of detailed prep and Tim’s expertise.

    Were there any of crew members from NYFA?

    One of the background performers was former NYFA BFA Acting student Giullianna Martinez. She was a student in my American Cultural History class and it was great to see her on set! Because I knew her, I was able to get her more prominent placements onscreen.

    The DP Michael Pessah used to be the Chair of the Cinematography department at NYFA’s LA campus. I’ve known Michael for 15 years, and he introduced me to the folks at NYFA LA when I moved out to LA. He’s an incredibly talented cinematographer and a joy to work with. His crew respects him so much that they would run through a brick wall for him. Bringing that kind of loyalty with him on set was vital for us to achieve a stylish film in a short production window.

    Finally, I could not have done this film without the support of NYFA administrators Jean Sherlock, Dan Mackler, Sonny Calderon, and Mary Samuelson, plus the valuable input I got from our instructors, who always made themselves available for tips and advice.

    I’m hoping to have Michael, lead actress Caitlin Carver, and producer Rebecca Stone join me for a screening and Q&A at NYFA on February 13!

    January 5, 2017 • Faculty Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 3130

  • Film Critic Peter Rainer to Teach at NYFA Los Angeles

    Part of what makes up a successful filmmaker is a having a vast knowledge of cinema history. Look no further than Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino, who are both well known for having an encyclopedic memory of films over the last century.

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    Peter Rainer with NYFA President Michael Young

    Given the importance of film and cinema studies, the New York Film Academy is delighted to welcome its newest faculty member, Peter Rainer, who has thirty years of professional experience as a film critic. “There is still nothing like seeing a movie in a theater on a big screen and being awed by the whole experience — that communal feeling,” says Rainer.

    Rainer is currently the film critic for the Christian Science Monitor, a columnist for Bloomberg News, the president of the National Society of Film Critics, and a regular reviewer for FilmWeek on NPR. He’s also written for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles magazine, New York magazine, and New Times Los Angeles, where he was a finalist in 1998 for the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism. He is also a three-time winner of the Arts and Entertainment Journalism Award for best online film critic.

    The first film Rainer reviewed professionally was “Chinatown,” which is considered a must-see for any aspiring screenwriter or director.

    “I really had this jones to be a critic ever since my dad gave me this book called ‘Agee on Film: Criticism and Comment on the Movies,'” says Rainer. “I learned you could be a real writer and still be a critic.”There is still nothing like seeing a movie in a theatre on a big screen and being awed by the whole experience, that communal feeling.

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    NYFA Dean of the College Sonny Calderon with Peter Rainer

    Beginning this spring, Rainer will begin teaching a special topics seminar at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus, which will consist of eight courses. His love for Robert Altman’s career will be an integral part of his course as he intends to screen and discuss much of his work.

    In addition to his seminars, Rainer has been a guest speaker at NYFA LA and intends on speaking at its New York campus in 2017.

    January 4, 2017 • Faculty Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 1488

  • Broadcast Journalism Grads Land Jobs at “Squawk Box,” “Record TV,” “Globo,” & “KION”

    cameron costaA number of Broadcast Journalism graduates from the New York Film Academy got in touch with Chair Bill Einreinhofer over the holidays, to inform him of some of the success they’ve achieved in 2016. Below are just a few of the graduates who have gone on to begin their careers in the industry.

    Cameron Costa started a new job just days before she graduated from the September 12-week Evening Broadcast Journalism Workshop. Costa’s hard work got her a job on the CNBC show Squawk Box. She reports for work 4:30 am weekday mornings at the NASDAQ Stock Exchange here in Manhattan, and helps produce the leading cable business news morning program in the United States. In fact, the program is seen globally as well on CNBC International. Congratulations, Cameron!

    Francielle Maines, a Summer Session graduate from Brazil, is now working a video editor at Record TV in her home town of Santa Catarina. She has been assigned to a wide range of projects, and we have no doubt she is doing remarkable work. We will always remember her for the fabulous story she did on a sultry August afternoon about dancers in City Hall Park, not far from NYFA’s Battery Place campus. (Don’t miss her remarkable stand-up, at :44 into the story.)

    Francielle Mianes
    Laura Isern is also from Brazil. She attended the September 2016 4-week Broadcast Journalism workshop. Just before the Christmas holiday, she told me that she was hired as a Journalism Intern at media giant Globo. (Globo dominates the media scene in Brazil, across print, broadcast, cable and digital media platforms.) “During my interview, it was clear that my experience at NYFA was the one thing they liked the most about my curriculum,” said Isern. “I’ll be writing articles, but mainly, I’ll be practicing my audiovisual skills, producing content for their social networks.”

     Laura Isern

    The first class Einreinhofer taught at NYFA when he became the Chair of the Broadcast Journalism department was the 12-week Evening course, and one of the graduates from that first class was Linda Zhang. Born in China, she moved to New York as a teenager. Bilingual and bi-cultural, she is a talented reporter. Last year she joined the news staff of KION in Salinas, California. While the Central Coast is generally considered a small TV market, Linda is right next door to Los Angeles, the #2 market in the country.

    Congratulations to all of our graduates! We wish them much success as they continue represent the Academy all over the world.

    January 3, 2017 • Broadcast Journalism, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1285

  • Child Dance Sensation Takes Up Acting for Film at NYFA

    Kevin Tellez began having an interest in dance when he was four years old, but his talent was far beyond your average four-year old’s little shimmy. By the time he was seven years old he won first place at The World Latin Dance Cup.

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    Kevin Tellez with Gloria and Emilio Estefan

    “His father loves music, but I think that his talent comes from his hard work because he loves acting and dancing more than anything.”

    Kevin has made appearances on several TV shows, including Ellen where he was able to show off his skills to the host, who is known for her love of dancing. He is now in Gloria Estefan’s Broadway show “On Your Feet,” where he has performed for over a year as the young Emilio Estefan.

    Now at the age of 11, Tellez has taken up the 12-Week Kids Acting for Film Weekend program at the New York Film Academy.

    “Before NYFA we tried other programs where he didn’t feel comfortable and didn’t enjoy it,” said Tellez’s mother, Anny Tellez. “At NYFA, he is learning and doing what he really loves. We definitely have seen improvement and growth in his acting.”

    Like most parents with children in show business, Tellez’s parents were nervous about letting their son travel around the world and performing on Broadway. “Our main concern was school,” said Mrs. Tellez. “We thought it was going to be too much for him; going to school like everyone else and then going to Broadway. Luckily, we have been able to manage the acting and dancing career as well as school. He is a very responsible child and he has amazing grades in school. My husband and I didn’t want him to be home schooled. Kevin is the type of child that enjoys being around his peers and we try to keep his life as normal as possible.”

    Kevin dreams to some day be an actor in Hollywood and hopes he will inspire other kids to follow their dreams.

    “As a parent I would say that our job is to support our children in whatever it is that they want to do,” said Mrs. Tellez. “I never in my life thought that my son would be on Broadway and have a career in entertainment at such a young age. Sometimes it’s not easy to make time for everything that as parents we have to do, but we always want our children to be happy and will do the impossible for them — and some way or another we manage to do it. At the end of the day all of the sacrifices that we make are so worth it.”

    January 2, 2017 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 731