Academic Programs

  • Playwriting Students Attend “Guards at the Taj” at the Geffen

    “Spain’s beloved poet and playwright, Federico García Lorca, whose work flourished in the 1930’s, asserted that duende—a simultaneously dark and beautiful moment of inspiration and truth that is both euphoric and painful as well as purely visceral for both artist and audience—is most present during live performances. The artists as well as the audience can feel the potent, devilish energy of creation when the art is happening right in front of them, wonderfully and devastatingly altering the air and therefore one’s senses, ultimately generating an atmosphere ripe for revelation. I agree with Lorca, and this is why it is vital for my students to see and experience live art.“ – Megan Breen, Playwriting Instructor at New York Film Academy

    On Sunday, October 11th, Megan Breen took her Playwriting class to Brooklyn playwright Rajiv Joseph’s exciting new play, Guards at the Taj, at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood. The story follows the complicated brotherhood between two Imperial Guards at the Taj Mahal in India, in 1648, when the exquisite and otherworldly palace was completed.

    geffen playhouse

    The Playwriting class is made up of screenwriting students who had read Joseph’s critical Broadway hit, Bengal Tiger and the Baghdad Zoo. The students were so responsive to its existential playfulness and provocative metaphysical explorations, that when the opportunity to see one of Joseph’s works live came about, they jumped at the chance.

    Guards at the Taj, and other works by Joseph, has a style that is more theatrical and magical, not as mainstream. It is visceral and thematically challenging with heightened language and a complex tone — the light and dark of duende. So seeing and experiencing how a play like this can be produced is exciting as well as educational for students who are new to playwriting. The students responded to the play’s visceral narrative, which allowed them to feel as if they were there with the characters and therefore more connected to them and their difficult, high stakes plights— soldiers at the whim of an insane ruler. They also loved the humor in the play, and the moving, heartbreaking struggles of the two best friends whose friendship must face an unthinkable challenge.

    geffen play

    After the play, the students engaged in a thought-provoking discussion of how to channel what they felt and thought as audience members into their writing, paying specific attention to the theatricality of the stage and how it is unique from film. Each student in the class will be writing his or her own one-act play.

    All in all, the field trip was an illuminating, fun and insightful outing vital to the students’ growth as new playwrights. Theater in Los Angeles is very much alive, and the students got to experience its vibrancy firsthand.

    October 16, 2015 • Musical Theatre, Screenwriting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 572

  • NYFA LA Welcomes Tony Richmond as New Cinematography Chair

    The New York Film Academy Los Angeles is pleased to announce Tony Richmond, A.S.C., B.S.C., as its new Faculty Chair of the Cinematography Department.

    Born and raised in London, Richmond began at the age of 16 as a messenger with Associate British Cinemas and later with Pathe-News, where he was promoted to the camera department. He next worked as Assistant Cameraman on such films as: Call Me BwanaFrom Russia with LoveDevil-Ship PiratesThe GorganA Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum; Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451 and David Leans’s Dr. Zhivago.

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    Tony Richmond and Anjelica Huston on the set of “Bastard Out of Carolina”

    The award-winning cinematographer went on to numerous collaborations as Director of Photography for director Nicolas Roeg, lensing five of his films: Don’t Look Now — for which Richmond won the prestigious BAFTA award; The Man Who Fell To Earth; Bad Timing; Heart Of Darkness; and Full Body Massage for Showtime. Some of Richmond’s other credits include: The Sandlot; Candyman; Stardust for Michael Apted; Playing God; Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights; Rough Riders for John Milius; Silver Bears for Ivan Passer, That’s Life and Sunset for Blake Edwards; The Eagle Has Landed for John Sturgesand The Greek Tycoon for J. Lee Thompson. He also served as DP on Tony Goldwin’s directorial debut Walk On The Moon, Sean Penn’s directorial debut Indian Runner, and Anjelica Houston’s directorial debut Bastard Out Of Carolina, and collaborated again with her on Agnes Brown and Riding The Bus With My Sister.

    Richmond was also responsible for photography on the seminal British music scene of the late 60’s. He shot the Rolling Stones classic, Sympathy For The Devil for Jean-Luc Godard, and then collaborated with Michael Lindsey Hogg on The Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus and the Beatles’ Let It Be. His other rock and roll credits include: The Who’s The Kids Are Alright, as well as the Documentary Glastonbury Fayre.

    Richmond will be taking over New York Film Academy’s Cinematography Program, which currently has a strong curriculum with a focus on hands-on, intensive learning.

    “I believe that students learn cinematography by going out and shooting movies, and both the MFA and One-Year Cinematography programs offer our students the opportunity to make many projects,” said Richmond. “They have access to the latest equipment and technology, which we teach in combination with the fundamental concepts of visual storytelling.”

    In recent years, Richmond has taught the next generation of cinematographers. He relishes mentoring aspiring filmmakers and looks forward to meeting with our students to discuss their needs on upcoming projects. Moving forward as Faculty Chair of the Department, Richmond hopes to strengthen NYFA’s connections to the professional film industry and maintain its position as one of the premier schools to study cinematography.

    “I want to share the lessons I learned in my early days working with David Lean, Nicolas Roeg, Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut, Blake Edwards, John Sturges, and pass this knowledge on to the next generation of cinematographers and filmmakers,” added Richmond. “I have worked as a cinematographer and director at the highest levels of the film business, and I understand what it takes to have a successful career in a very challenging industry. Though I started my career in a different era, I believe I can offer the students a perspective on how to do the cinematographer’s job, and how to work in a business that is constantly changing.  Personal relationships are still key to your success as a filmmaker.”


    Tony Richmond on set of Nicholas Roeg’s “Don’t Look Now”

    Richmond stressed that though there have been a number of changes in how movies are made, personal relationships and networking are still the key to making it in the film business. You need to know how to do the job, you need to have a strong eye and you need to be good at working together with the director and everyone on the crew to put a great story on the screen. He also strongly recommends that current student filmmakers and recent graduates utilize the Internet and social media as way to get their work seen. In today’s modern entertainment world, they can act as your calling card into the business.

    In closing, we’re thrilled and honored to have Tony Richmond as the new Chair of NYFA Los Angeles Cinematography Program. We believe Mr. Richmond will help guide our program to continue its development as one of the most rewarding schools for aspiring cinematographers.

    October 15, 2015 • Cinematography, Community Highlights • Views: 1022

  • Hollywood Mogul Brett Ratner Visits NYFA


    Brett Ratner at NYFA LA

    New York Film Academy students enthusiastically lined up at the Warner Bros. lot doors to participate in a Q&A with one of Hollywood’s most successful filmmakers. His diverse films resonate with audiences worldwide and have grossed over $2 billion at the global box office. He’s known all over for his infectious positivity, tenacity for his work and intense passion for films and filmmaking. The man we are referring to, of course, is director and producer Brett Ratner. The discussion followed a screening of X-Men: The Last Stand and was moderated by producer Tova Laiter and Dean of Students Eric Conner.

    Brett Ratner eagerly took the stage and immediately began dispersing meaningful advice to the students. The first point he made was regarding the importance of a mentor. Brett recounted how founder of the New York Film Academy Jerry Sherlock was a vital mentor to him as he was just starting out in his career. He has remained a close friend of Mr. Sherlock and NYFA ever since, regularly visiting and reconnecting with students at the school’s various campuses.

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    Eric Conner, Tova Laiter and Brett Ratner

    In addition to his undeniable talent, the trait that becomes apparent within seconds of meeting him is his unending confidence. In regards to this, Brett relayed a very entertaining and downright baffling story about something that happened to him as a young man. While attending college in New York, Brett sent his short film and a letter to 40 of the biggest filmmakers in Hollywood and received 39 rejection letters. Later he was called into the Dean of his college’s office, and was informed that Steven Spielberg called the school and would like talk to him. Brett assumed it was a prank being played on him by his mother or fellow classmates. However, Kathleen Kennedy, the producer of all of Spielberg’s films, later called him on behalf of the legendary director. Brett went on-and-on over the phone to Kathleen about how he was going to be a big director just like Steven Spielberg. Later, Ratner received a check in the mail from Spielberg for his next student film. He took the check to Kinkos and made a gigantic copy of it that he posted in the halls of his dormitory.

    Ratner told a fascinating story to students that conveyed the importance of a film school education. A filmmaking professor, who Brett perceived as obstinate and overly hard on him while he was in school, once made him stay up all night rewriting a comedy script that he felt wasn’t funny before shooting it at 6am the next day. Years later Brett was hired at the age of 26 to direct his first feature Money Talks. He was challenged with shooting the biggest and most important scene, the movie’s climax, on the first day of shooting. Ratner had set up the first shot and was ready for the film’s two stars, Chris Tucker and Charlie Sheen, however he was informed that both actors had refused to leave their trailer. Panicked, Brett visited Sheen and Tucker who explained to the newbie director that they would not shoot the scene because it wasn’t funny. Although he was under a huge time constraint, Ratner proceeded to rewrite the scene with Sheen and Tucker for the next two and a half hours while producers banged on the trailer door insisting they all come out. Brett Ratner understood that the story and his lead actors’ trust in him took precedent over everything else and if he hadn’t have stopped to address these things, he would have probably soon been fired from the movie. And it wasn’t until all those years later that Brett realized his stubborn filmmaking instructor was preparing him for that exact moment which allowed him to continue on a path to unimagined success.

    brett ratner at nyfa

    Brett stayed late into the night answering all the students questions. Afterwards, he took pictures with students and his staff handed out trucker hats with his RatPac company logo. We sincerely thank Brett Ratner for visiting the New York Film Academy and being such a generous friend to the school’s students.

    BIOGRAPHY: Brett Ratner began his career directing music videos before making his feature directorial debut with Money Talks, starring Charlie Sheen and Chris Tucker. He followed with the blockbuster Rush Hour and its successful sequels. Brett also directed The Family Man, Red Dragon, After the Sunset, X-Men: The Last Stand, Tower Heist and Hercules. Ratner has also enjoyed success as a producer. His recent films include the smash hit comedy Horrible Bosses and its sequel, and the re-imagined Snow White tale Mirror Mirror. He also served as an executive producer on Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp. Upcoming RatPac projects include Truth, starring Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett; I Saw the Light, starring Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen; an as-yet-untitled Howard Hughes project, written and to be directed and produced by Warren Beatty; and the much-anticipated drama The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. His additional producing credits include the documentaries Catfish, the Emmy-nominated Woody Allen – A Documentary, Helmut by June, and I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale. He also executive produced the Golden Globe-nominated FOX series Prison Break, and is currently executive producing the television series Rush Hour, based on his hit films. Brett, along with his business partner James Packer, formed RatPac Entertainment, a film finance production and media company, in 2013. RatPac has a first-look deal with Warner Bros. and joined with Dune Capital to co-finance over 75 films including Gravity, The Lego Movie, and American Sniper. Internationally, Warner Bros. and RatPac have formed a joint venture content fund with China’s Shanghai Media Group to finance local Chinese content. In partnership with New Regency, RatPac also finances the development and production of Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment.

    October 14, 2015 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 1457

  • Oscar Nominated Producer Michael Shamberg Visits NYFA for Screening and Q&A


    Michael Shamberg at New York Film Academy

    On October 6th, New York Film Academy in Los Angeles hosted renowned producer Michael Shamberg after a screening of one of his films, Out of Sight, directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez. Following the film was an in-depth Q&A, moderated by producer Tova Laiter and Dean of Students Eric Conner.

    Mr. Shamberg was the epitome of calm, cool and collected as he shared stories of his 35 year career as a producer of Hollywood favorites like Get Shorty, Be Cool, Pulp Fiction, Erin Brockovich, A Fish Called Wanda, Django Unchained and many, many more.

    Shamberg, previously a correspondent for Time Life, got a taste for film while working on experimental documentaries (or guerrilla television as he coined it). After moving to Los Angeles and reuniting with college buddy and beloved director Harold Ramis, Shamberg got his foot in the door producing the generational classic The Big Chill.

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    Eric Conner, Tova Laiter and Michael Shamberg

    After meeting actor Danny Devito and producer Stacey Sher, the three created Jersey Films production company, producing hit after hit like Matilda, Reality Bites and the night’s feature Out of Sight, which sparked a continual collaborative partnership with Steven Soderbergh.

    Shamberg postulated that the key to his successful movies is being commercially approachable with fresh aesthetics, and not necessarily execution-proof. He also noted the key qualities of a producer as a delicate balance of belief in the material, creative loyalty of the director, and a confident showmanship for the studio executives.

    Michael recalled a time when Soderbergh was adamant on shooting the meeting between George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez’s characters in Out of Sight in one take. Though Shamberg initially supported the decision, studio executives hated the poor scores from audience screenings. He eventually made the call to reshoot with more coverage, and the scene became the legendarily steamy trunk scene that skyrocketed both Clooney and Lopez’s movie careers. “A producer has to make sure the movie is made and make sure the movie is made well,” Shamberg noted. “It’s not always the same job.”

    Shamberg has remained on the cutting edge of the rapidly changing state of media distribution. He was recently brought on as an advisor to the newly created Motion Pictures division of Buzzfeed, the wildly successful American Internet news media company. Michael describes Buzzfeed as a lab for filmmakers and studios, who can experiment with content in short form and see what sticks with the audience. In this way, creativity is maximized and nothing is lost if something doesn’t hit.

    We sincerely thank Michael Shamberg for his inspiring visit and wish him continued success in his career.

    October 12, 2015 • Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 530

  • NYFA Graduate Releases Children’s Book “B is for Brighton Beach”

    b is for brighton

    Former New York Film Academy Digital Filmmaking student and current pre-K teacher Michael Salita has recently released the children’s book B Is For Brighton Beach, which provides a loving tribute to Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach. The pre-K level book includes illustrations by Elena Stekacheva, and cleverly engage students with the alphabet while preparing them to read.

    Similar to Salita’s life, the story is also about a Brooklyn resident who emigrated from Ukraine and has embraced his new home in Brighton Beach. In the book, every letter manages to tell a story. Given Salita’s filmmaking background, he wanted to create a book that looks just like the movies.

    “My book [is] an alphabetical journey of Brighton Beach with a social studies component. Children, parents, grandparents, teachers and others can learn about the beautiful, bustling, beachfront neighborhood of Brighton Beach from a young child’s point of view,” said Salita. “And tourists and visitors can take advantage of the map and explore Brighton Beach from A to Z.”

    Thus far, Salita’s book has already received wonderful reviews from the New York Post, Bay News, and Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

    Salita’s next project will be another alphabet book O is for Odessa, which will focus on the city where he was born and provide an introduction to that city for U.S. children and educators.

    If you’re interested in purchasing B is for Brighton Beach, please CLICK HERE.

    October 9, 2015 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 567

  • Veteran Student Highlight: Nic Lewis

    Considered a Top Military Friendly School, the New York Film Academy has wholeheartedly welcomed hundreds of military veterans and servicemembers to its long-term and degree programs. Often our veterans are uncertain of what direction to take their careers after service, and this was no different for former NYFA screenwriting student and current filmmaking student in Los Angeles, Nicholas Lewis.

    “My last deployments with the military were with the 5th and 10th special forces,” said Lewis. “They ended up being pretty brutal, as it was during the rise of the insurgency. It took a pretty heavy toll on me physically—since I was a turret gunner—and I got my retirement out of it.”

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    A former US Navy Firefighter and US Army Infantryman, Lewis returned home from combat and served as a bartender in Scottsdale, Arizona until he could figure out exactly what it is that he was meant to do. As fate would have it, one day Lewis befriended a patron of his bar over a few drinks. After a night of bonding and talking, Lewis soon discovered that the man was writer/producer Andrew Weiss, and he was in the Phoenix area shooting a film he had written called Middle Men. Weiss’ story peaked Lewis’ interest and led him on a career path toward screenwriting and filmmaking.

    His first gig was as an Art Department PA on a feature called Everything Must Go. While working in the art department, he met the 1st AD, Joe McDougal, who offered the job of being a PA in set. On the first day of shooting, the DP asked him to come in as a day player (2nd AC)—which allowed him to be in Arizona’s Union.

    While currently studying filmmaking at NYFA Los Angeles, Lewis also works as a Talent Coordinator on NBC’s Last Comic Standing. He’s also worked as a talent coordinator for multiple award shows including the ESPY’s, ASPCA Hero Dog Awards, American Cinematheque, and Race to Erase MS.

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    Lewis recently had the opportunity to be Episodic Director, Co-Executive Producer and Producing Director Glenn Kershaw’s “Director’s Shadow” on season 11, episode 7 of Criminal Minds.

    In the meantime, Lewis is preparing his own project, which will be a web-series called Bluffside Drive, premiering January 5th, 2016 on Youtube.

    October 8, 2015 • Film School, Screenwriting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 842

  • NYFA Australia Graduate to Screen 3 Films at Sydney Indie Film Festival

    It’s with great enthusiasm that we discover New York Film Academy Sydney graduate Ren Thackham has not one, not two, but three films screening in this year’s Sydney Indie Film Festival!

    Coming from a background in production design and having produced corporate videos for several years, Thackham returned to her hometown of Sydney to attend NYFA’s One Year Diploma of Screen and Media, in order to take her filmmaking skills to the next level.

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    “No matter how much experience you have flying solo, you’re miles behind anyone with a year of NYFA under their belt,” said Thackham. “The teachers are all industry, they’re speaking from experience not textbooks and they give real answers to real world questions. It provides the confidence to take on more ambitious projects. The training was definitely valuable and I miss it, but the post graduate support and the pride NYFA has in their graduates is worth the course fee alone.”

    The three films that Thackham will be screening at the Sydney Indie Film Festival, which runs from October 17-25, are:

    Lady Luck
    A film that follows one man through a game of poker where Lady Luck herself materializes and takes him to a fantasy world where he meets the characters at the table as they really are. This was Thackham’s NYFA graduation film.

    This short film throws a twist on the smartphone addiction debate by referring to it as an actual drug called Glow. Glow has been her most successful film thus far, as its been selected for nearly every online festival she has entered.
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    Brainless Killers
    This is by far her most ambitious project. It’s set in a world where zombies and humans coexist. Zombridge is the town where all the zombies reside and survive off donations of cerebral fluid. The story follows a couple of journalists into Zombridge where they uncover an illegal hunting and farming operation and have to blow the lid off the story before they become victims themselves. It’s a twist on the animal rights issue, but instead of showing how animals are treated, Thackham gives a new perspective of how humans would like it if they were treated similarly by someone else further up the food chain. “Starring Australian Comedian ‘Steve Hughes’ with ‘Odd Studio’ doing the make up (The artists behind Mad Max Fury Road), and the best production design I could muster, it’s going to be my best film yet.”
    on set ren

    Like most filmmakers, Thackham has a couple of feature scripts she’s currently writing. Her hopes are that her shorts will bring help her the attention and contacts needed to make her features a reality.

    “When you have a project, even at script stage, your perspective of the world becomes richer,” says Thackham. “Every place you visit is a potential location, every item a prop, every stranger you meet could inspire a character, every situation you’re in could be a scene. That’s what makes you want to do it forever; it’s way more fun than living in the real world!”

    If you’re in the Sydney area and would like to see Ren Thackham’s films, visit for more information.

  • Veteran Film Producer Tom Sternberg Joins Enthusiastic NYFA Students for Screening and Q&A

    On September 15, New York Film Academy in Los Angeles hosted veteran film producer Tom Sternberg, where he joined students for a screening of “The Talented Mr. Ripley” directed by Anthony Minghella and starring Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett and Philip Seymour Hoffman, which Mr. Sternberg produced. A lively Q&A, moderated by Lydia Cedrone, Interim Chair of Producing and Head of MFA Feature Productions in LA, followed the screening.

    Tom Sternberg

    Mr. Sternberg gave an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film and of working with the highly respected director and stellar cast, including the discovery of Jude Law in his star-making role. He shared his experience working with Miramax’s Harvey Weinstein and Paramount’s Sherry Lansing as heads of the companies distributing the film.

    He spoke of his collaboration with Francis Ford Coppola at Coppola’s American Zoetrope, where he produced the Academy Award-winning film “Apocalypse Now,” “The Black Stallion,” and “The Black Stallion Returns.” His conversation provided students with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from the much-publicized, volatile set of “Apocalypse Now.” Sternberg also fielded several questions from the audience, and discussed his work with acclaimed director David Lynch, as producer of Lynch’s “Lost Highway.”


    NYFA’s Lydia Cedrone with Tom Sternberg

    In addition to his work with Coppola and Lynch, Mr. Sternberg’s credits as producer include Wayne Wang’s “Dim Sum” and “Eat A Bowl Of Tea”; Audrey Wells’ “Under the Tuscan Sun” starring Diane Lane; Hossein Amini’s “The Two Faces of January” starring Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Isaac and Kirsten Dunst; and Kenneth Branagh’s “Sleuth” from a script by Harold Pinter and starring Jude Law and Michael Caine. Mr. Sternberg expressed his delight in working closely with the renowned Pinter on the development of the script for “Sleuth.”

    From there, Sternberg spoke candidly about the changes in the business of filmmaking from the 1970’s to the present day, and how several producers and production companies become attached to films. He spoke with much enthusiasm on his current project in development, and his own efforts in seeking funding and distribution in the modern landscape of the industry. He advised students to be passionate about each film he or she develops, and not to take personally the many rejections he or she will face on the journey of getting his or her film made.


    An inspiration to the many students in the audience, Mr. Sternberg has served as the American representative for many notable foreign film producers, selling the North American distribution rights to several important foreign-language films, including “Il Postino,” “Cinema Paradiso,” “Mediterraneo,” “Europa Europa,” “Indochine,” “Jean de Florette,” “Manon des Sources,” “To Live,” “The Story of Qiu Ju” and many of the films of Francois Truffaut and Eric Rohmer.

    A most gracious and inspirational guest, Mr. Sternberg was met with much applause and gratitude at the end of the Q&A, as he took time to pose for several photos with students. We sincerely thank him for his visit and wish him much success with his next film.

    October 7, 2015 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 464

  • NYFA Hosts PGA Event with Award-Winning Director Alex Gibney

    alex gibney

    Alex Gibney

    Last week, the New York Film Academy hosted a Producer’s Guild of America East Documentary Committee’s special Q&A event with director Alex Gibney. Moderated by TV executive producer Mark Marabella, Gibney highlighted the obstacles that he’s faced as a director and producer of some of his films. Having produced and directed dozens of acclaimed documentaries (Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room), Gibney “is becoming the most important documentarian of our time.” The statement from Esquire is no exaggeration, as the director has won an Academy Award, an Emmy, Grammy, Peabody, the DuPont-Columbia, the Independent Spirit, and Writers Guild of America Award, to name a few.

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    Alex Gibney with Mark Marabella at NYFA Battery Place

    As it is rare for everything to run perfectly smooth during the production of a film, Gibney shared some personal stories and anecdotes as to how he managed to address, manage and circumvent these issues, and in some cases, thrive in them. His detailed stories and anecdotes were not only fascinating from the point of a view of a film enthusiast, but inspiring in terms of knowing there are ways to escape disaster situations on set and turn them into something positive.

    We’re excited to see Gibney’s upcoming producing projects, which include Return to Timbuktu and The Penny Black. NYFA would also like to thank the PGA for arranging this wonderful evening, and we look forward to more insightful events in the future!

    October 6, 2015 • Documentary Filmmaking, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 726

  • Celebrity Photographer Indrani Speaks at NYFA’s Photography School

    This Wednesday, September 30th, Paul Sunday’s Photography class welcomed celebrity photographer and film director, Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri. Indrani’s vast experience and unique sensibility makes her one of the most sought after professional visual artists in the world. Where do we begin…

    Originally from Calcutta, India, Indrani’s photography career began while working with Markus Klinko in New York City. Indrani’s work was soon discovered by David Bowie, who commissioned her for his album cover. As one can imagine, Indrani was ecstatic to work with him, even mentioning she thought it was a prank at first.


    Indrani lecturing at New York Film Academy

    From there, Indrani’s celebrity clients grew to the likes of Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Anne Hathaway, Kate Winslet, Jennifer Lopez, Mary J. Blige, Eva Mendes, Katie Holmes, Britney Spears, Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson, Keanu Reeves, Jay-Z, Usher, Kanye West, Val Kilmer, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Will Smith, Jaden and Willow Smith. She has collaborated with KAWS and Richard Phillips, among others.

    Her advertising clients have included Barney’s New York, LVMH, Lancome, Elizabeth Arden, L’Oreal Paris, Shiseido, Pantene, Head & Shoulders Herbal Essences, Remy Martin, Sky Blue, Lolita Lempika, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Wolford, Girard Perregaux, Anna Sui, MAC, Baume et Mercier, De Beers, Epson, Mattel Broncolor, Hello Kitty, Jaguar, Nike, Pepsi and others.

    Her work has been featured in the top tier publications such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Harper’s Bazaar, Interview, GQ, The New York Times, The London Sunday Times, In Style and Time.

    From strategies for collaborating with celebrities, to practical guidance on balancing technique and creativity, she broke it all down and delivered a memorable masterclass for us. According to Indrani, a lot of her success has come from being a great diplomat as well as being original and pushing the boundaries.

    Often times, a photographer only has four to five solid minutes to work with a celebrity client, which can be a challenge within itself. “So much of photography is the talent you work with,” says Indrani. “Some actors are uncomfortable being themselves, and so sometimes you need to give them a role to play.”

    Unlike some of other photography guests, Indrani shoots digitally only. Though, while she feels the tools are much easier to work with, she insists photographers continually challenge themselves.

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    Indrani with NYFA Photography Co-Chair, Paul Sunday

    “Indrani moves through the world with diplomacy and grace and it is no surprise that celebrities the world over have trusted her with their images,” said New York Film Academy Photography Co-Chair, Paul Sunday. “She is a fine role model for emerging artists, balancing the glamour and gloss of her professional life with philanthropy as a persistent advocate for young women, education and environmental sustainability.”

    Moving forward in her career, Indrani has taken to her original passion of filmmaking. Indrani’s film and stills for Digital Death won two Gold Lions at Cannes Festival of Creativity for TBWA/Keep A Child Alive and raised millions to fight AIDS in India and Africa. She has also directed music videos for David Bowie and Alicia Keys.

    indrani lecture

    “It has been a joy to watch Indrani’s continued success as an image-maker, and a great honor to introduce her to our students,” added Sunday. “I was deeply touched by her advice to them regarding thinking and dreaming big. She firmly believes in the power of aspiration to greatly increase our chances of success and surprising ourselves. She counseled photographers to challenge themselves. She also encouraged all of us to hone our technical skills and keep pace with the changes in this ever expanding world of photographic possibilities.”

    We wish Indrani the best of luck moving forward in her already incredible career, and sincerely thank her for enlightening our young visual artists.

    October 1, 2015 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Photography • Views: 999