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  • NYFA Alumnus Jesse Kove Screens ‘As Night Comes’

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    As Night Comes

    NYFA Alumnus (Actor/Producer) Jesse Kove, along with (Director/Writer/Producer) Richard Zelniker, and other cast members Luke Baines, & Myko Olivier, all from the Upcoming Feature Film “AS NIGHT COMES”.

    On Tuesday, November 4th, New York Film Academy Alumnus (Actor/Producer) Jesse Kove, along with (Director/Writer/Producer) Richard Zelniker, and other cast members Luke Baines and Myko Olivier, all from the Upcoming Feature Film, As Night Comes, visited the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles branch to screen their film and participate in a Q&A with BFA Acting, MFA Acting, BFA Filmmaking, and other degree and short term program students. The film follows a troubled 17-year-old Sean Holloway as he falls in with a group of teenage outcasts called ‘The Misfits,’ whose charismatic leader, Ricky, takes him under his wing. As Sean becomes more and more entangled in the gang’s anarchist ways, things begin to spiral out of control, and Sean realizes Ricky is a ticking time bomb on a rampage of revenge.

    During the Q&A, NYFA alumnus and co-star/producer Jesse Kove talked about the types of obstacles the crew and cast encountered during production and how they overcame them to produce such a solid product. As anyone who has ever attempted to make a film knows, it’s not an easy task–add a large ensemble cast, plenty of action, multiple locations, and top notch costume and production design and the odds are stacked almost completely against you. However, it was clear that all parties involved in the making of AS NIGHT COMES embody the “no matter what” mentality required to do this type of impossible. Not only that, but what they did was darn good too.

    As Night Comes opens Friday, November 14 to a limited theatrical release in Los Angeles at the Laemmle’s Music Hall in Beverly Hills. For tickets, please visit: http://www.laemmle.com/films/38604. The film will also be available on several VOD platforms December 5th via Gravitas Ventures Distribution. 

    We wish Jesse Kove, Richard Zelniker and the whole cast and crew of AS NIGHT COMES the very best in their future filmmaking endeavors.

     

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    November 10, 2014 • Acting, Producing • Views: 4486

  • NYFA Finding Talent in Moscow

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    moscow open house

    The New York Film Academy recently wrapped another successful Producing Workshop in Moscow! During the last two weeks of October, NYFA marked the 5th Anniversary of its Moscow Workshops and Guest Lectures with a Two Week Producing Workshop attended by more than 20 industry professionals from Russia and surrounding countries. The Workshop included hands on instruction in U.S. standards of producing, production management, screenwriting and directing. The students, all working professionals in the Russian and surrounding countries’ film and television industries, came together for a two week intensive course that ended with an exciting Producers Pitch Fest, where each student pitched an original project conceived and developed during the course.

    Representing NYFA at the workshops were Head of MFA Feature Productions and former Producing Chair, Lydia Cedrone; veteran NYFA screenwriting and directing instructor, James Rowe; and NYFA Chair of Producing, Tony Schwartz.

    Also while in Moscow, Lydia Cedrone and James Rowe met over 100 guests and attendees at the NYFA Open House held on October 25 –more than 100 guests attended! Guests interested in degree programs abroad at NYFA campuses, along with those interested in short term workshops both abroad and in Moscow, attended a guest lecture of James Rowe, a highlight of the Open House.

    And we’re not done in Moscow. NYFA faculty will also be at the Radisson Royal Hotel, Moscow on November 8th and 9th to hold auditions, portfolio reviews and information sessions. If you’re interested in signing up for any of these events at the Radisson Royal Hotel, please CLICK HERE.

    moscow nyfa

     

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    November 4, 2014 • Community Highlights, Filmmaking, Producing, Screenwriting, Study Abroad • Views: 5416

  • Love and Business Blossom at NYFA

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    StratoSpace

    Helena Hilario and Mario Pece

    After working post-production in New York City and Los Angeles for five years on projects like Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New York Film Academy graduates, Helena Hilario (Producing) and Mario Pece (Directing) have decided to explore other opportunities in the Brazilian market by starting their own business. Their company, StratoStorm, will focus on developing visual effect sequences for commercials, films, television, music videos and digital projects for creative advertising agencies, production companies, and talented directors.

    “There is a demand in Brazil for VFX for advertising, television and films,” says Helena Hilario. “We wanted to bring our experience from Hollywood to Brazil.”

    Helena and Mario have invested in a state-of-the-art studio in São Paulo, equipped with workstations and render farms. Their remote-based workflow system allows them to work with clients and artists from around the world while residing in the tropical Brazilian countryside.

    Thus far, StratoStorm has hit the ground running, as they’re currently working on a TV commercial for Combatant Gentlemen, which will air in the United States. They are also creating visual effects for the Brazilian feature film Jonas e a Baleia, directed by Lô Politi, set to premiere in movies theaters in South America in the beginning of next year.

    Helena and Mario met while attending NYFA. From there, they developed a life-long relationship both personally and professionally. Helena had been working as a line producer at Academia de Filmes, one of Brazil’s largest production companies, until she decided to move to New York to learn about the movie business. “It was my dream to attend NYFA, I always heard about the great programs, excellent teachers and impeccable reputation of NYFA. When I found out about the Producing program, I had no doubts that it would be one of the best experiences of my life.”

    Following her studies at NYFA, Helena worked in NYC at Downtown Reel, a production company which specialized in TV commercials for foreign markets. After that, she moved to Los Angeles, where she was hired to work on the production team at KGB, a boutique, independent production company based on the legendary Paramount Studios lot in the heart of Hollywood. In mid 2013, she joined the team at Ingenuity Engine as a VFX Executive Producer and New Business Development. There she worked with various ad agencies and production companies.

    Helena’s partner, Mario Pece left Italy in 2008 to attend the 8-Week Directing Program. While enrolled, he directed several shorts films and decided to continue his education in the One-Year Directing Program. His focus was primarily on creating innovative and unique ways to incorporate VFX into his storytelling. After graduating, Mario became the lead VFX artist at Ingenuity Engine, an award winning VFX studio creating VFX for numerous clients such as Doritos, Reebok, Callaway, Jello, UFC and Virgin Holidays. For television, they produced the visual effects for TV shows Parks & Recreation, Happy Endings and Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Winner of Best Comedy at the Golden Globes 2014) and award-winning music videos. One of the music videos, Katie Perry’s Wide Awake, was nominated at the 2012 VMA’s for Best Visual Effects.

    “Our training at NYFA was definitely very important for our careers,” said Helena. “We created hundreds of projects from concept to delivery, including the award-winning trailer for the suspense thriller Out of Home, starring Patrick Boll.”

    Helena and Mario encourage talented visual effects artists and freelancers to send his or her reel to StratoStorm at info@stratostorm.com.

    Mario Pece Reel 2014 from StratoStorm on Vimeo.

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    October 22, 2014 • 3D Animation, Filmmaking, Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 8107

  • How Two Former NYFA Students Formed Fact Productions

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    fact productions

    (left to right) Ion Beroiz, Ivan Leon, Juan Carlos Arciniegas, Film Critic and CNN host

    One of the many positive aspects of attending a film school like New York Film Academy is the opportunity to meet and collaborate with motivated and creative artists. What’s fascinating about the collaboration between former NYFA students, Ion Beroiz and Ivan Leon, is their partnership came after not having seen or worked with each other for nearly eight months. Ivan, originally from Bogota, Colombia, had the desire to start his own production company, but needed the right partner who shared a similar passion of producing quality content. After discussing his ideas with Ion at party in Los Angeles, the two of them soon found themselves on the same page. Two days later, they registered the corporation name Fact Productions, Inc. They haven’t looked back since.

    Since it’s nearly impossible to start from scratch and acquire paid clients, the duo put together a few spec commercials, using footage from their NYFA productions, stock footage, and personal videos. Soon after, they submitted their best commercial for a contest and were awarded second place. Now that they were “on the map” and beaming with confidence, they were able to parlay the victory into a few video gigs for some local restaurants. Not exactly international acclaim, but certainly a step in the right direction for a blossoming young production company.

    It wasn’t long until NYFA was on their mind again. The duo pitched two more commercial ideas to NYFA Los Angeles’ Jean Sherlock and Dan Mackler. Jean and Dan were quite taken with their ideas and decided to assist in the production of another spec commercial, providing more quality content for Fact’s reel.

    After improving the portfolio, they landed their first major client: Samsung. The production called for a voice-over in Hungarian and re-editing two commercials—washing machines were the product. Following Samsung, Fact began working with Mattel, producing internal communications.

    As the ball continued to roll, a friend of theirs was able to introduce them to a contact at the record label, Universal Music Spain. It just so happened that the label was looking for a production company to take the lead on an upcoming video. Perfect, right? Well, they only had six days to prep! Looking back at their NYFA days, they realized, six days was plenty of time. They locked treatment with Universal two days before the shoot, providing them with 48 hours to produce a music video with full crew, 22 extras, a big band from Spain, and a mega star of the Spanish rock world, Enrique Bumbury. A hell of a challenge, to say the least.

    Fortunately, the team pulled it off. The band was thrilled with the final product and so was Universal. After that, the phones were ringing.

    “No matter how big or small our projects are, we always prepare them in the way our mentor from NYFA, Jonathan Pope Evans, told us, ‘As detailed as possible’,” said Ivan. “As Ion and I say, going to set is like going to war. We got that sense of preparation from NYFA.”

    Fact’s most recent project was a music video for the band Marlango, featuring their new single Dinero. Have a look at the video below!

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    October 20, 2014 • Filmmaking, Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 7597

  • New Indie Comedy “Teacher of the Year” Comes to NYFA

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    Teacher of the Year
    This week New York Film Academy Los Angeles gathered to watch the new indie comedy Teacher of the Year and participated in a Q&A with the movie’s writer/director Jason Strouse and lead actor Matt Letscher. The event was moderated by Tova Laiter, who has producing credits on such films as Varsity Blues, The Scarlett Letter, and Cop and 1/2.

    In a mockumentary fashion, Teacher of the Year depicts the honest efforts of a well-meaning teacher, surrounded by an eccentric faculty at Truman High School, as he grapples with whether he should accept a lucrative California Teacher of the Year award, which would mean leaving his job and abandoning the students he cares so much about. The movie was funny and played very well to the students who concluded its the kind of Indie movie they would like to make.

    Teacher of Year Director

    Jason Strouse (left) and Matt Letscher (right)

    Jason Strouse began his writing career on NBC’s Caroline in the City and appeared regularly as a stand up comic before ditching it to become a teacher in L.A. He directed The Audience that premiered at the Palm Springs Short Film Festival. Teacher of the Year is his first feature film. Matt Letscher was most recently seen as “Charles” in the Academy Award nominated Her. His extensive film/TV credits include Scandal, The New Adventures of Old Christine, The West Wing, NYPD Blue, Criminal Minds, and Entourage. He currently recurs on the final season of Boardwalk Empire as Joe Kennedy and on Castle.

    Writer/director Jason spoke about his roots in TV comedy show writers rooms and doing stand up comedy. The dynamics of both are very similar. He said that TV comedy writers are the funniest and smartest people you will meet, and keeping up with their witty banter in the room is quite a challenge. The writers room is where the magic happens. If your goal is write for TV, you should try to get in the room at all costs. Jason started out as a writer’s assistant, his talents were soon apparent to the writing team and he replaced a staff writer who couldn’t cut it. Later after having worked in the industry, Jason transitioned into teaching high school and works as a principle as he continues to write, produce, and direct. His teaching experience is what inspired Teacher of the Year. He used the mockumentary style to utilize his resources and tight shooting schedule to the greatest effect. The result is an outrageously funny and touching film coming from a truthful place.

    Actor Matt Letscher spoke in depth about the actors process. He discussed the differences between theater and film acting—which he describes as an “acting out” (theater) as opposed to “letting the camera in” on what’s going on inside the actor (in film). However, regardless of the acting style, the process of breaking down a script and understanding the reasoning and motivation behind every action is always the same. He believes acting is just like carpentry or any other craft, and your skills improve only by “doing the work.” Matt carried a massive notebook around with him on the set of Teacher of the Year, filled with his own notes about his character and the story, and would delve into it every moment he got in between shots and takes. When he worked early in his career with Anthony Hopkins, he saw a similar scenario with Hopkins making notes on every paragraph of his script.

    Jason and Matt stayed after their Q&A to mingle and take pictures with students. We sincerely thank Jason Strouse and Matt Letscher for visiting NYFA, and wish them the very best in their future filmmaking ventures!

     

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    October 17, 2014 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 6567

  • Producing ‘Strawberry Kisses’ For Michaela in Los Angeles

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    Michaela

    As part of the Producing Department and Diversity Development in Los Angeles, the NYFA Industry Lab aims to provide students with a truly hands-on, professional experience. Students, along with their instructors, are brought on to produce, shoot, and edit full productions for industry clients. Thus far, NYFA Industry Lab has worked with a number of major companies, including Warner Records and actor Matthew Modine, infamous for his role as “Joker” in Stanley Kubrick’s classic Vietnam film, Full Metal Jacket.

    Recently, the Lab embarked on its largest production to date. The team partnered with singer and songwriter, Michaela, to shoot her new music video, Strawberry Kisses. Michaela has appeared on the popular Nickelodeon show, iCARLY, and has appeared in commercials, theatre productions, as well as video games. Strawberry Kisses is Michaela’s brand new original song, which she even wrote the lyrics for.

    Produced in collaboration with management company, WaterWalks Entertainment, Inc., the video was shot entirely at New York Film Academy’s Riverside building. The video was co-directed by Directing Instructor Jeff Byrd and student Laura Elisa Perez Rebullen. Aside from his teaching at NYFA Los Angeles, Jeff is the Co-Chair of the African-American Steering Committee of the DGA.

    Pay close attention to the video, especially our NYFA Los Angeles students, as you may just catch your classroom in the shot!

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    October 15, 2014 • Community Highlights, Filmmaking, Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5249

  • NYFA Alum and Original Film Exec Visits Business of Screenwriting Class

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    Toby AscherOn September 9th 2014, New York Film Academy alum-turned-Original Film exec Toby Ascher joined our Business of Screenwriting class. Ascher was a student in NYFA’s Summer Filmmaking Program in Los Angeles back in 2001. With early aspirations to direct, Ascher soon fell in love with producing after college. His story of becoming a rising star at powerhouse producer Neal Mortiz’ production company is a fascinating one, which we were fortunate enough to have him share with us.

    “My very first gig was working as an intern on the Montel Williams Show,” Ascher explained. “My job was to keep the secret surprise guests separate from the regular guests, so that panelists on the show would have no idea their cheating wife or husband, or backstabbing best friend was waiting backstage… In retrospect, it was a lot of responsibility and pressure for an intern,” Ascher joked with the class.

    Ascher’s next stint was working for literary agent Todd Hoffman at the then Broder Webb Chervin Silbermann (BWCS) agency. “I learnt a lot on that desk,” Ascher remarked, “Todd was representing some of the hottest TV and film writers and directors in town. Guys like [Breaking Bad creator] Vince Gilligan… I knew I didn’t want to be an agent, but it was an invaluable experience nonetheless.”

    From there, Ascher went to work for Dimension Films. Here, he really got to understand the different divisions and inner workings of a mini-major studio, he explained. But, it was his next job, landing at Original Film, where Ascher finally found his niche. “Neal makes the types of movies that I grew up loving, the types of movies I was beyond excited to start putting together myself.”

    In his 7+ years working at Original (first as an assistant, then as a producer with a first look in-house deal, and now currently as an executive), that’s exactly what Ascher has done – develop projects with writers and put movies together.

    Currently, he’s working on projects such as the romantic comedy Save the Date, a new spin on Robin Hood entitled Merry Men, a movie adaptation of the popular trading cards Garbage Pail Kids, the sci-fi project, Leviathan, a sports drama based on the rise of Dallas Cowboy Jesse Holley, and a potential family film franchise based off of Sega’s beloved, Sonic the Hedgehog, amongst others.

    Ascher explained the complex process of turning pre-existing IP (intellectual property) into film projects, and the many steps the movie must go through first, from brokering deals with the rights holders to developing the screenplay in a way that’s faithful to the original IP, while still entertaining as a motion picture.

    Ascher also was honest about what he’s learnt about the projects he takes on over the years. “Truthfully, with experience, I’ve become a lot more resistant now than I used to be. If I can’t see the poster, if the project doesn’t have a clear high-concept hook that I can understand in the one-sheet, I usually don’t get involved, as marketing is a very big part of the process. And should be in today’s climate.”

    As for the types of writers he works with, however, Ascher closed out with some good news for the students, “So long as you’ve written a great piece of material, regardless of the genre, you’re someone I want to potentially be in business with. Look, it’s a collaborative process, particularly on studio films, and the writer’s job is to execute a great screenplay. My job is to help get the writer to the movie that we the producers envision so we can all tell an unforgettable story.”

    Ascher currently works at Original Film and was recognized in 2012 as one of Hollywood’s New Leaders by Variety.

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    September 22, 2014 • Guest Speakers, Producing, Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 7058

  • Producer Adi Ezroni Talks ‘Kelly & Cal’

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    Kelly CalNew York based producer Adi Ezroni recently spent time with New York Film Academy Producing students discussing the upcoming release of her new film Kelly & Cal. The film stars Juliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers) and is the feature debut of director Jen McGowan and writer Amy Lowe Starbin. Participating in a “Producer’s Craft” conversation with NYFA Producing Department Co-Chair Neal Weisman, Adi generously shared details of the project’s development, financing, production, as well as the sales/marketing/distribution of the film. Adi also spoke of her career trajectory, starting as an actress (and star of the Israeli television series that gave rise to Homeland), and her entry into producing with such films as A Late Quartet (starred Philip Seymour Hoffman).

    Adi’s film Kelly & Cal opens September 5 at the IFC Center in NYC, and on Video On Demand. The film has been receiving terrific reviews, including this recent New York Times review.

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    September 5, 2014 • Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 7026

  • Film Finance Expert John Hadity Speaks with NYFA Producing Students

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    John HadityJohn Hadity, the renown film finance expert, recently spent time with New York Film Academy‘s Producing students at the Battery Park New York City campus this month. An Industry Speaker in the Producing Program’s Film Finance series, John shared the latest developments in various areas, including: tax schemes, equity financing, and bank loans. Currently, John is the Executive Vice President for Entertainment Partners Financial Solutions. Over the course of his career, John has worked with a diverse group of film companies including twelve years as the Executive Vice President of Motion Picture & Television Production Finance for Miramax Films. He is also on the Executive Board of the Producers Guild of America. His expertise has established John as one of the first “go to guys” in the world of film finance, a fact not unrecognized by NYFA Producing students!

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    August 11, 2014 • Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 5011

  • It’s All About the Pitch

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    pitch fest

    Writer/producer David Rosenberg hears pitch from MFA student Gabriel Amora de Farias at our year-one Pitch Fest.

    As those of us in the industry are aware, talent and networking can take you far. However, your projects will have little chance if you don’t know how to “pitch” them. There is a certain charisma, confidence and mastery of storytelling that must be honed in order to sell your ideas. That’s precisely why the New York Film Academy has its students go through a constructive pitching process with actual industry professionals.

    On May 21st, the New York Film Academy Los Angeles Producing Department hosted our September, 2013 Year-One Pitch Fest at our new Riverside building in Los Angeles. It was a lively and enjoyable night for all who attended. The students pitched in a round-robin format to industry professionals as well as several of our instructors. All of our students received valuable feedback on their projects. And our “Pitchees” were very impressed with what they heard from our “Producers.”

    paul brown

    Writer/producer Paul Brown gives feedback to MFA student Yuki Naito at our year-one Pitch Fest.

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    June 24, 2014 • Community Highlights, Producing • Views: 5420