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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Paula Bryant-Ellis on Faith in Storytelling & the Importance of Mentorship and Representation

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum Paula Bryant-Ellis’ story is proof that you do not have to grow up in the entertainment industry or start in showbiz at an early age to find your voice or succeed in the business. With the foundation of her faith and the skills from her career and educational experiences, Bryant-Ellis has managed to switch vocations and elevate her voice and the experiences of others along the way. 

    After graduating from Concordia University in Texas, where she majored in Accounting, Bryant-Ellis furthered her education with an MBA from UOP and an executive MBA from MIT. After years in corporate America as an executive and COO in banking and finance, Bryant-Ellis decided it was time for a change. “I was unfulfilled and really felt God pulling me in a different direction. So, my husband and I took a leap of faith and we sold our house, packed up our belongings, and moved to Los Angeles.”

    That leap of faith led Bryant-Ellis to attend NYFA’s Los Angeles campus to study producing. “I enrolled at NYFA because I needed a way to learn the industry and get up to speed quickly,” she says. “I came out of the producing program convinced that I could produce my first project, and I did!” Bryant-Ellis also learned filmmaking at NYFA’s New York City campus. “I was able to develop relationships with students from LA, New York, Russia, Nigeria and South Africa and keep in touch with them even now,” she shares. 

    Photo courtesy of Paula Bryant-Ellis

    Bryant-Ellis has gone on to produce TV series Hard Medicine and the short film Twelve Steps. She also recently made a small cameo appearance for an episode in season four of HBO’s Insecure, directed by her son Jay Ellis, who also stars on the show opposite NYFA filmmaking alum Issa Rae

    Bryant-Ellis’ most recent project to date has been her docuseries Behind Her Faith, which focuses on women in entertainment and their personal journey and the role of their faith in their career. The series features Essence Atkins (A Haunted House, Are We There Yet?), Niecy Nash (Claws, When They See Us), Angelica Nwandu (The Shade Room), and Aisha Hinds (Godzilla: King of the Monsters, 9-1-1).

    Mentoring and encouraging women has always been extremely important to me, especially because there were no role models for me in my field as I was working my way up through corporate America,” reveals Bryant-Ellis. “There were very few females in the upper ranks and there were absolutely no men or women of color in senior or executive level positions.”

    ‘Behind Her Faith’ created by an produced by Paula Bryant-Ellis

    Behind Her Faith is currently streaming on Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Roku and UMC.tv (an AMC network), and Bryant-Ellis hopes to have more seasons in the future. “I want the audience to know that God loves them and that He’s waiting to have an encounter with them that’s more powerful than they could ever think or imagine.”

    With faith being a cornerstone of Bryant-Ellis’ storytelling foundation, she also shares that this time in show business is crucial for people to understand that all stories should properly represented and calls for change in the industry. “Stop believing you can tell my story better than I can. No one’s story is more important than the other but BOTH must be told.”

    Paula Bryant-Ellis behind the scenes during a film shoot

    With the Black Lives Matter movement continuing to bring a reckoning in Hollywood, Bryant-Ellis also adds “it’s not enough to say that you are aligned with a cause when you don’t provide resources to support the cause,” and this is not just an issue that appears in the entertainment industry. “It does not matter what industry you’re in; your Boards and your decision-making team must be diverse and reflective of the people that support and purchase your products.”

    Bryant-Ellis also reveals she has a couple of additional projects in the works including a docuseries and a drama, but is unable to officially share more information just yet. For now, she has this to say:

    “Believe in you. This industry requires tough skin and staying power. Find a niche that works for you and create content that keeps you true to who you are. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. No one can do you better than you, you just have to believe it and trust it. Trust your voice and your vision!”

    New York Film Academy would like to congratulate alum Paula Bryant-Ellis on her docuseries, Behind Her Faith, and looks forward to what exciting and inspiring projects come next from the NYFA alum!

    Photo courtesy of Paula Bryant-Ellis

    To learn more about Paula Bryant-Ellis and to keep an eye out for her upcoming projects, check out the links below:

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    July 6, 2020 • Diversity, Filmmaking, Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 144

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Hosts SAGindie Executive Director Darrien Gipson on the State of the Industry During Covid-19

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    The New York Film Academy recently hosted an Industry Speaker session with the Executive Director of SAGindie, Darrien Gipson. Students and Faculty from all NYFA campuses attended as Gipson addressed the state of the industry during Covid-19.  With all sectors of the industry focused on returning to work, it was a prescient discussion moderated by NYFA Producing Chair Neal Weisman.

    Gipson spoke of the various protocols that are being proposed once production resumes. While a certain degree of uncertainty prevails, and as the industry awaits government guidelines, a consensus around various parameters is formulating.  They include reduced crew sizes, staggered work hours, “pods” of crew alternating on set, various departments working timed shifts, longer days sanctioned by the unions, strict enforcement of social distancing, personal and set/equipment sanitizing regimes, monitoring for symptoms, and isolating actors.

    NYFA Producing Chair Weisman with SAGindie’s Darrien Gipson

    On a positive note, various “silver linings” are beginning to emerge from the current environment. Smaller productions with lower budgets, like student films and web series, are going to find it easier to handle the logistics and flexibility required to move forward. There will be a great hunger for projects as a result of the freeze on production in effect since March. 

    The smaller productions that can proceed at a quicker pace than the larger, more cumbersome projects will be better positioned for distribution. Gipson cited that a smaller number of “starry” submissions to festivals like Sundance will enhance the chances of less high profile films obtaining top-tier festival launches. Streaming platforms and other distribution entities will be seeking more product than ever. These observations connected with the NYFA audience as the conversation made it more apparent that there has rarely been a better time for emerging producers, filmmakers, writers, and actors to create content for a voracious audience. 

    The New York Film Academy has a long standing relationship with SAGindie, and thanks Executive Director Darrien Robbins for her insight and generosity. SAGindie is an invaluable resource for the NYFA community, as they not only assist in navigating the various paths forward working with the Screen Actors Guild, SAGindie will also offer guidance on a host of matters from financing to festival strategies, and more.  SAGindie welcomes NYFA students who would like to reach out and learn more. 

    For more information on SAGindie and how to contact them click here.

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    June 2, 2020 • Entertainment News, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 612

  • New York Film Academy’s Inaugural Virtual Industry Pitch Fest

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    The New York Film Academy’s New York campus Producing Department hosted their first ever Virtual Industry Pitch Fest on May 4, 2020. Students in the Fall 1-Year Conservatory Program in Producing presented their “final” feature film pitches to a group of esteemed producers, casting agents, and production executives, who gave feedback to the Producing students over the course of the day. 

    Film producer Chris Bongrine listens to a NYFA student, Alice Shy, give her “final pitch”

    Industry Guests included Chris Bongirne (Marshall featuring Chadwick Bosemen,, I Am Legend, featuring Will Smith) along with Dan Hank (Former executive in charge of production for Netflix/Marvel and AMC Networks), Darren Dean (The Florida Project, Tangerine) and Eve Pomerance (Son of the South, sadly Brian Dennehey’s most recent and last film).

    Industry professional Dan Hank shares feedback with NYFA Producing student, Caspian Khonigh

    Producing instructor Nick Yellen organized the event and said, “students received detailed critiques on their presentations, along with invaluable industry advice and strategies on how to further their projects toward production. More importantly, students made valuable industry contacts and found it exciting, informative and… nerve-racking!”

    NYFA Producing student Richard Payne recounted, “Monday’s Virtual Industry Pitch Fest was definitely nerve-racking at first. It was the first time my “final pitch” was done virtually. My classmates and I would have liked for it to be in person, but due to the current state of the world that clearly wasn’t going to happen. With that being said, it went really well.” He continued, “It was a great experience to practice pitching with real industry professionals. Nick Yellen does a great job in preparing his students for the “final pitch” and for pitching [stories] in the real world.”

    Producer Eve Pomerance discusses Camille Rao’s “final pitch”

    When asked about the Virtual Industry Pitch Fest, Producing Chair, Neal Weisman, said, “this is the culmination of months of students’ work, and it’s gratifying to see it all come together on this new online platform.” Weisman also concluded, “this is exactly the kind of interaction our students will encounter when moving into the industry. The Pitch Fest also serves as a terrific networking opportunity.”

    Producer Darren Dean listens as a NYFA Producing student, Christine Aberyuf, gives her “final pitch”

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) would like to thank special guests Chris Bongrine, Dan Hank, Darren Dean, and Eve Pomerance for providing their industry expertise and constructive feedback for NYFA student’s final pitches. NYFA would also like to congratulate its Producing students for presenting outstanding work as a culmination of their hard work and creativity.

    For more information on the Producing School at New York Film Academy, click here.

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    May 6, 2020 • Producing • Views: 964

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Producing Students Get Hands-On Film Set Experience

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    One of the great things about studying Producing at New York Film Academy New York (NYFA-NY) is the variety of exciting locations available in New York City. The diverse and sometimes iconic locations lend themselves well to all sorts of projects for Producing students, from commercials to web videos to short films.
    Producing February 2020 PW
    Recently, NYFA’s 1-Year Producing conservatory students shot their “Producing Commercials” project at The Wagner, one of Manhattan’s most glamorous downtown hotels. With glorious views of the New York harbor and the Statue of Liberty, this is an incredible spot (and, conveniently, just one block away from NYFA-NY’s Battery Park campus.)
    Producing February 2020 PW
    In addition to their individual and group production projects, all NYFA 1-Year Producing conservatory students participate in a one-day Production Workshop (PW). The students assume crew positions under their instructors who act as heads of departments–director, Filmmaking and Producing instructor Brad Sample; cinematographer, camera and lighting instructor Arsenio Assin; first assistant director, Producing instructor Richard D’Angelo; production designer, Producing and Filmmaking instructor Debbie DeVilla; and sound mixer, sound instructor Jonathan Appell.
    Producing February 2020 PW

    From left to right: Joey Hindersman, Vivian Wang, Camille Rao, Christine Aberyuf, Richard Payne, Idil Canli, Alice Shy, Caspian Khonigh, Nikki Soo

    This most recent PW was written by Brad Sample, and told the story of two office workers caught in a deadly situation in their company’s storage closet during an office holiday party. Students built a claustrophobic yet effective “storage closet” set, dressed by NYFA Producing student members of the art department. The production workshop, appropriately titled Blood On Our Hands, offers students hands-on insight into how a professional set is run.

    And not a drop of fake stage blood was wasted!
    Producing February 2020 PW

    Fall 2019 1-Year Producing students Christine, Aberyug, VIvian Yang, Richard Payne, Idil Canli, Camille Rao, Nima Khonigh

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    March 19, 2020 • Producing • Views: 983

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Welcomes ‘The Black Godfather’ Producer Nicole Avant

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    On Tuesday, February 18, New York Film Academy (NYFA) had the pleasure to host Nicole Avant, former US ambassador and producer of the award-winning Netflix documentary The Black Godfather. Tova Laiter, Director of the NYFA Q&A Series, moderated the event. 

    Tova Laiter & Nicole Avant

    Nicole Avant produced The Black Godfather after collecting stories about her father, Clarence Avant, who has held significant influence on dozens of the world’s most high profile entertainers, athletes, and politicians. The film charts the exceptional and unlikely rise of Clarence, who became a powerhouse negotiator amid extreme racism in America, a music executive whose trailblazing behind-the-scenes accomplishments impacted the legacies of icons such as Bill Withers, Quincy Jones, Muhammad Ali, Hank Aaron, and Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

    Nicole Avant was nominated by President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the US Senate to be the 13th Ambassador to The Bahamas. On September 9, 2009, she was sworn in by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, becoming the youngest as well as the first African American woman to hold the position. Avant’s successes in The Bahamas earned her a nomination for the Sue M. Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service. 

    Following a screening of The Black Godfather, Laiter opened up the Q&A by asking Avant how she started in the business. Avant shared, “My parents made me do every kind of job all my life and one time my father said he had gotten me an internship at Warner Bros. television. He told me I should learn all the different types of business because all of entertainment is one business, so it is important to learn the different facets.” She continued, “So I went and did the internship and I have to say, I loved it and I learned everything. I went to work for all the different departments and met so many people that helped me understand the business.”  

    Producer Nicole Avant

    Laiter then asked Avant how the documentary came to fruition. Avant revealed, “This documentary happened because I was trying to figure out a way to tell my dad’s story. I said something to my husband [Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos] one day about how I wished there was a way to tie in sports and movies and television and activism and civil rights and all these elements into a character and film. He then pointed out that the character I had just described was, in fact, my father.” 

    Speaking about her director and collaborator Reggie Hudlin, Avant expressed, “I knew Reggie for a very long time and we would talk about African American history and get frustrated that no one really understood our history and no one had seen documentaries on us or knew enough. It was always simplified to ‘all Black people in America live this way, eat this food, and do these specific things’ and it would drive Reggie and me nuts. Therefore, I figured he would be a great person to direct this documentary.”  

    The Q&A was then opened up to students. One student asked Avant, “What do you think are the most important changes for the African American community in the entertainment industry since the beginning of your father’s career.” 

    Avant imparted, “The biggest changes and the most important changes were putting people in a position of power where they could therefore make decisions and control their destiny and in turn, open the door for other people to come in.” She added, “When I was younger, Billboard used to have the Top 100 charts and the Black charts. They used to separate them all. It was really important for my dad to say ‘Why can’t Black people and women be in charge of certain departments that are run by only one type of person? It should be everybody.’ So I think the most important thing is that you started to see more people of color, in general, really having high-level positions that they otherwise would have never had.” 

    Laiter concluded the Q&A by thanking Avant for coming amidst a very busy Oscar season. Avant remarked, “I was really looking forward to this night more than anything else, because humans have to tell stories to each other and connect with each other and I think these events are very important.” 

    New York Film Academy would like to thank producer and former US Ambassador Nicole Avant for joining sharing her time and expertise with our students!

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    February 21, 2020 • Diversity, Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 887

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Producing Student Aliza Jafri Uses Volunteer Work to Earn Social Media Gig at 2020 PGA Awards

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    There are countless avenues into the entertainment industry, and New York Film Academy (NYFA) students and alumni have shown the versatility and foresight to explore them all. One such alum, NYFA MFA Producing student Aliza Jafri, used volunteering to network and seek valuable opportunities for her career.

    Last year, Jafri, who is currently earning her MFA in Producing from NYFA Los Angeles, volunteered at the Produced By Conference, where she met writer/actress/producer Mandy May Cheetham. Cheetham was looking for some assistance with social media for the Produced By Conference and Aliza seized the chance, offering her help. 

    Over the course of two days, Jafri helped with social media posts including Instagram stories and Snapchat content for the conference. From there, throughout 2019, Jafri was recommended for different social media projects. When the Producers Guild of America’s needed someone to run their Instagram account for the PGA Awards earlier this year, there was no doubt: Aliza was the one to do it. 

    Aliza Jafri

    NYFA MFA Producing Student Aliza Jafri

    During the PGA Awards, she worked on three events including the pre-Awards events like the nominees’ breakfast on the morning of the awards, as well as the ceremony itself that evening.

    Among her tasks, she researched all the nominees and producers, created a fact sheet with data and pictures for each nominee and during the PGA Awards, she recorded stories, took photos, and walked the red carpet with E! Entertainment to get content and post it on Instagram.

    On her experience, Jafri says: “I think it’s a huge honor to be able to be a part of one of the biggest events for producers in the industry. As a Producing student, being in a room full of the greatest producers of all time is a huge learning opportunity in and of itself … Getting the opportunity to do social media also allows me to interact with many people that I would normally never get a chance to interact with. As a producer, these opportunities to interact and network with people from the industry are crucial.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Producing student Aliza Jafri on the cool PGA Awards gig, an encouragement to other students and alumni using volunteer work to network and make connections in their careers.

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    February 19, 2020 • Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1118

  • New York Film Academy Producing Alum Federico Guarascio Coproduces Festival Hit ‘The Fourth Kingdom’

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    The Fourth Kingdom, a documentary directed by Adán Aliaga and Alex Lora and coproduced by New York Film Academy (NYFA) Producing alum Federico Guarascio has been storming the festival circuit since its premiere earlier this year.

    The film documents a redemption center in Brooklyn founded by a Spanish ex-missionary where cans and plastic bottles are exchanged for cash—a “Fourth Kingdom” of plastics, and a hub for immigrants and underdogs who desperately believe in the American Dream.

    Federico Guarascio

    Since its premiere last February at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, where it won the award for Best Short Film, The Fourth Kingdom has been selected in 20 film festivals—eight of them Oscars-qualifying—and has won two of them, including the Brooklyn Film Festival, which allows the short film to be considered for the Academy Awards. 

    It has additionally screened at the Rooftop Summer Series, the Americas Film Festivals, the Palm Springs International Film Festival, DOC NYC, and opened at the United Kingdom’s prestigious Sheffield Doc Fest.

    Federico Guarascio originally hails from Italy and first came to New York Film Academy through the Torno Subito program, a joint public/private sector work study initiative that supports new talent development in the Italian film and television industry and is based in Italy’s Lazio region. New York Film Academy provides the “study” element of the program, with students enrolling in short-term workshops across various NYFA disciplines. Once their program is completed, graduates return to pre-arranged film and television internships in Italy.

    Alex Lora & Federico Guarascio

    Alex Lora & Federico Guarascio

    Guarascio first attended the 4-Week Producing workshop at NYFA’s New York campus, and was so impressed that he subsequently returned to enroll in the 1-Year Conservatory in Producing. Upon graduation, Federico has remained in New York City to work on a variety of film projects, including The Fourth Kingdom.

    “[NYFA] proved to be essential during my journey with this doc,” says Guarascio, “and it would not have been possible for me to get this far without the skills I learned in your classes and, for that, I am immensely grateful.”

    Guarascio’s talent as a producer was evident early on. “As a student, Federico showed all the hallmarks of a fiercely independent producer,” recalls NYFA-NY Chair of Producing Neal Weisman. “He consistently demonstrated a great passion for the process and a curiosity which inevitably led to to interesting projects. It is no surprise that Federico has moved on to find success with films moving onto the festival circuit. We are very proud.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates Producing alum Federico Guarascio on the success of The Fourth Kingdom and encourages everyone to check out the film’s trailer, available on Vimeo. 

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    December 16, 2019 • Film Festivals, Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1734

  • BAFTA New York / New York Film Academy (NYFA) Produce Second Successful Teen Workshop

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    The 8-Week Digital Storytelling workshop presented by BAFTA New York and New York Film Academy (NYFA) culminated in a joyous graduation screening on Saturday, November 23.

    Participating students from DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx showed their recently completed short films to a capacity crowd of friends, family, and well-wishers at NYFA’s Battery Park campus. A total of eleven films—written, directed, and edited by each of the students—were screened. Romance and horror genres figured prominently, along with a good dose of comedy.

    BAFTA DeWitt Clinton High School November 2019

    Over the course of eight Saturdays, the students learned basic skills of filmmaking: directing, screenwriting, camera, lighting, producing, and editing. Under the expert guidance of various New York Film Academy instructors, the students were working hands-on with state-of-the-art equipment and shooting test sequences from their very first day. The finished films showed a high degree of proficiency, especially considering the short schedule.

    This was the second workshop sponsored by BAFTA NY, an outgrowth of the Learning and New Talent Committee, in conjunction with the New York Film Academy. DeWitt Clinton High School boasts an impressive list of alumni including such luminaries as James Baldwin and Stan Lee, as well as BAFTA winner, Committee member, and Chair of NYFA-NY Producing Neal Weisman. 

    All are looking forward to continuing this workshop program, helping to give voice and digital storytelling skills to some of New York City’s most diverse public school population.

    New York Film Academy congratulates the DeWitt Clinton High School students on their impressive work!

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    November 27, 2019 • Outreach, Producing • Views: 990

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Welcomes President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige

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    On Wednesday, October 23, New York Film Academy (NYFA) had the pleasure to host Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios and Chief Creative Officer of Marvel. He is also the producer of Marvel’s hit movies and #5 in last week’s Hollywood Reporter’s top 100 most important people in the movie business. Tova Laiter, Director of the NYFA Q&A Series, moderated the event.

    Feige has been the driving creative force behind several billion-dollar franchises and an unprecedented number of blockbuster feature films, all connected to create the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In his current role as producer and president of Marvel Studios, Feige is a hands-on producer and oversees Marvel Studios’ feature film productions, whose 23 films released have all opened #1 at the box office and collectively grossed over $21 billion worldwide. Eight of the MCU films have crossed the $1 billion threshold at the global box office. Avengers: Endgame broke records on its way to becoming the highest-grossing worldwide release of all time after just 89 days in theaters. Most recently, Feige was just announced as producer for a new Star Wars franchise. 

    Kevin Feige

    Following a compilation reel of all the Marvel films, Laiter opened up the Q&A by inquiring what it takes to create those successful Marvel movies, asking “Is there a formula, or some concept, that you would like to share with us?” 

    Feige answered, “I wish there was a formula I could divvy out to everybody, but the truth is, we came about as a studio in an interesting way. We were tasked with making two movies in 2008, and I had been with Marvel for five to six years at that point. I learned just by being around filmmakers. By the time we got to Iron Man, I got to use everything I learned—the good and the bad—and focus our vision on what we wanted.” 

    Feige shared his more of his wisdom, telling NYFA students, “You need a couple things to make a great film. You need an amazing team and you need to trust that team around you. We’ve been very lucky with the filmmakers we’ve worked with, in that they’ve all wanted to work with us and make a fun crowd-pleasing movie. It’s easy to stop when it’s hard and it’s easy to settle, but we don’t. Once we announce a movie and it’s release date, we are committed. We reshoot and edit sometimes up to the premiere and once we added a shot to Avengers the day after… Obviously we earned the trust of the studio to do that.”

    Kevin Feige

    Laiter then opened up the Q&A to students. When asked by a student what he believes was the key to the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Feige expressed, “I think the key to success was Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and dozens of writers and artists that created an amazing world in the span of 40+ years. It’s amazing. And not just them, but we also have these new artists putting their own spin on these characters. There’s too many people responsible for it.” 

    New York Film Academy would like to thank Marvel Studios President and Marvel Chief Creative Officer Kevin Feige for his time and for sharing his film expertise with our students!

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    October 25, 2019 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 1464

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Welcomes Participant Media CEO David Linde

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    David Linde, CEO of Participant Media, the leading global media company dedicated to entertainment that inspires and compels social change, recently spent a morning in conversation with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Producing Chair Neal Weisman as the latest NYFA Producing Department Industry Speaker. Linde and Participant are coming off a hot streak having produced recent Oscar winners Green Book and Roma.

    Linde spoke at NYFA’s New York campus. Attending the speaker series event were students of the NYFA Producing department, as well as students from the NYFA Documentary, Screenwriting, and Filmmaking departments.David Linde

    Linde shared his biographical highlights, starting with his first job in the paralegal department of Paramount Studios in New York City.  He discussed his move into film sales starting with Fox Lorber, and then Miramax, before becoming a partner of the seminal New York production outfit Good Machine. 

    Many of Linde’s relationships with acclaimed filmmakers were forged during this period, including directors Alfonso Cuarón, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Ang Lee, Todd Haynes, and Todd Solondz. Linde lavished high praise on one of his mentors, legendary producer Saul Zaentz; they worked together on The English Patient (winner of nine Academy Awards).

    Linde also shared his experience as Chairman of Universal Pictures, where his lengthy—and ultimately successful—campaign brought the studio full force into animation and the family market.

    Two major themes emerged from the discussion – Linde spoke extensively about melding his sales perspective with long-standing relationships with filmmakers. As Co-Head of Focus Features, he went on to distribute such notable projects like Brokeback Mountain, The Motorcycle Diaries, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 21 Grams, and Lost in Translation.

    David Linde

    Linde also shared Participant’s philosophy of backing entertaining narrative feature films and documentaries that can serve as catalysts for social change. 

    He spoke extensively of the social and political action inspired by Roma. One victory cited by Linde is that domestic workers in Mexico will now be entitled to participate in their country’s social security system. Weisman mentioned that comparable efforts are underway through Participant’s work in the US in conjunction with the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Students are encouraged to check out the social action element of the Participant website here.

    Linde also addressed the role of Netflix in the distribution of Roma and the industry-at-large. Both Participant and Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuarón are exceedingly pleased with the way Netflix rolled out the picture, as well as the large viewing figures. Weisman mentioned that Roma blazed a trail for a new kind of hybrid distribution model, about to be put to use with the release of the new Martin Scorsese film The Irishman.

    Linde then inspired the students in attendance by noting that the advent of streaming services has created great opportunities as there are “so many new buyers.”

    New York Film Academy thanks CEO of Participant Media, David Linde, for generously sharing his insight and wisdom with our students!

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    October 21, 2019 • Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 1194