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  • NYFA Screenwriting Graduates Celebrate With an Industry Pitch Fest

    Graduating New York Film Academy MFA and BFA screenwriting students recently attended their culminating Industry Pitch Fest Event, held at the penthouse ballroom of the Andaz Hotel on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, surrounded by astounding views of Los Angeles.

    The catered event provided mingling and networking opportunities for the students, executives, and faculty alike. It was a capstone evening celebrated the New York Film Academy’s graduating screenwriting students, offering them an outlet to jumpstart their careers by pitching their film and TV thesis projects to entertainment industry professionals.

    These writing students spent their final semester in their Business of Screenwriting classes working with instructors Adam Finer, Doc Pedrolie, and David O’Leary, in conjunction with Faculty Chair Nunzio DeFilippis and other members of the Screenwriting Department, preparing and fine-tuning their pitches.

    The students’ hard work and dedication shined as they pitched their thesis projects, which they had developed for nearly a year. Students left with new contacts, excitement about the scripts they’d worked so hard to create, and a sense of what it’s like to meet with industry professionals.

    Considered by the school as the graduating students’ first night as professional screenwriters, the evening showed that this group of talented and creative students’ hard work has paid off, as they pitched agents, managers, studios, and digital, TV and film production company execs in a relaxed, round-table environment.

    Organized and hosted by Adam Finer, the event featured representatives from Hollywood companies, including Blumhouse, ICM, Left Field Pictures, Madhouse Entertainment, Manifest Talent, Quadrant Pictures, Skydance, Studio71, This is Just a Test Productions, and Weed Road Pictures.

    NYFA wishes to thank all of its participants, particularly our industry guests, without whom this evening could not have been possible. Also, we’d like to extend a big congratulations to all of our MFA and BFA graduates!

    September 15, 2017 • Academic Programs, Community Highlights, Screenwriting • Views: 110

  • NYFA and RED Digital Cinema Reveal RED Challenge Contest Winners

    After months of absolute suspense, New York Film Academy and RED Digital Cinema finally revealed the winners of their fierce competition. The Brazilian alumni pair, Leco Moura and Rodrigo Zan, took the stage for their clean sweep of awards at the wrap event hosted at RED Studios Hollywood on August 31.

    Moura took home the most coveted accolade of the festival, a brand new RED EPIC-W, an 8K professional digital cinema camera, as the Grand Prize for Best Cinematography for his outstanding work on “Jimbo.” Zan was the writer/director of the same heist short film, which could soon become his debut feature. From RED, he already got the jump-start: a three-week rental of a DSMC2 camera for winning the Filmmaker’s Prize.

    It was also a night to remember for Colombian alumnus Andres Hernandez. As the jack-of-all-trades in his dramedy “Monday” — script, directing, and photography — he won the Audience Award. His leading actor, Carlos Perez, accepted the prize on his behalf, for which Hernandez got a $1,500 REDucation voucher for an intensive professional camera workshop.

    The awards ceremony was the culmination of a blazing competition that started in late March, raising more than 130 submissions of the school’s one-year projects or thesis films shot entirely on RED cameras. Then, a NYFA Selection Committee led by the Chair of Cinematography Tony Richmond, best known for his work on “Legally Blonde” and “Men of Honor,” carefully watched over 30 hours of film, picking the top 19.

    Those semi-finalists had the opportunity to participate in the Audience Award category while keeping in the run for the Cinematography and Filmmaker prizes. Eleven of them decided to give it a shot at the online voting. Andres Hernandez’s film “Monday” was the favorite of the public.

    In late July, RED narrowed the 19 semi-finalists to just five. Along with “Jimbo,” the top NYFA alumni films were the coming-of-age drama “The Farthest Apple From the Tree,” by director Elmo Kebour with Italian director of photography Andrea Gavazzi; the twisted fable “Feast,” led by a female pair, Kazakhstani writer/director Aizhan Tuganbayeva with French D.P. Julie Angelo; The U.S.A. was represented in the supernatural western “Revelation,” directed by John Willment-Knowles with Ruperto Sanchez as director of photography; and the sci-fi comedy “H.A.M.,” by writer/director Boise Esquerra with Spanish D.P. Julio Escames.

    The Wrap Event held at RED Studios Hollywood highlighted the five finalists and the audience favorite to a handpicked group of guests from the industry and the NYFA/RED Jury. That is the same room where David Fincher color-corrected “Gone Girl.” Formerly an MGM lot and then later the home of the famous Desilu Productions — run by Hollywood royalty supercouple Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball — the place preserves a piece of American film history. It was acquired by RED in the early 2000s, preventing the land from turning into high-rise condos.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank RED Digital Cinema for this consistent and fruitful partnership through several years, being instrumental in the mission of fostering a global new generation of talented and diverse filmmakers. NYFA would also like to congratulate all winners, finalists, and semi-finalists, wishing this competition serves them as a stepping stone in the visual storytelling arts journey to become industry leaders.

    Semi-finalists (in alphabetical order):

    • “Beyond Cornfield Street”
    • “Blue Bird”
    • “Brad Lee”
    • “Family”
    • “Feast” 
    • “H.A.M”
    • “Harmonica”
    • “Jimbo”
    • “Monday”
    • “Mutus”
    • “One Last Breath”
    • “Revelation”
    • “Rosetta’s Blues”
    • “Somewhere”
    • “The Farthest Apple from the Tree”
    • “The Hook”
    • “The Other Side”
    • “Twenty Years After”
    • “Visitors”

     

  • NYFA Gold Coast Celebrates January ’17 Screenwriters End of Year Showcase

    NYFA Gold Coast was pleased to celebrate with the Class of January 2017 Diploma of Screenwriting students at their End of Year showcase this August. The End of Year Showcase for the graduating diploma students was  held in the Southport Campus theatre.

    Screenwriting lecturer Rachael Morgan McMurray stated, “The graduating screenwriters’ showcase was a complete success, with Adam and Markus’s’ work brought to brilliant life both by our talented acting students and also on screen.”

    As a part of NYFA Australia’s commitment to hands-on education, the end of year showcase offers graduating students an opportunity to share their work with invited guests.

    “Family, friends and fellow students delighted in their success,” continued Rachael Morgan McMurray, “Laughing in all the right places and impressed by the quality of their writing. It has been a pleasure to teach both of these writers and see them eagerly taking on feedback and committing to their craft so fully. We wish them well as they head out into this exciting industry.”

  • NYFA Alum Jianda Song Talks “Priestess of Egypt” and North Media Capital Collaboration

    New York Film Academy alumnus Jianda Song has achieved what so many in the industry are trying to accomplish: making a film with North Media Capital, the Chinese Production company that invested in “Wonder Woman” and “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.”

    Now, in the midst of starting a new production company, Papyrus Entertainment, and promoting short film “Priestess of Egypt,” Song agreed to an interview via email with NYFA Correspondent Joelle Smith.

    NYFA: What inspired you to write “Priestess of Egypt”?

    JS: “Priestess of Egypt” is a story that I have always wanted to write. I didn’t think I could because it’s a historical film set in Ancient Egypt, and I was born in China and I need to write it in English — which is my second language.   After I finished my first quarter at New York Film Academy with instructor Dennis Green, I felt I had gotten to know the process of finishing an entire feature script within a short period of time of four to six weeks. So, I decide to finally start to write “Priestess of Egypt,” which is the most personal story to me.

    NYFA: Why is now the right time to tell this story?

    JS: I can’t find a more relevant time than now to tell this story. First of all, the story is about the equality of all human races. Ancient Egyptians tend to believe they are superior to all other races, thus they abuse their esoteric knowledge for power struggles and warfare. Populism and racism, which poisoned the Ancient Egyptian Kingdom, has risen again in our modern society.  I want to share with the world the value of respecting one another.  Values like love, respect and tolerance could be easily lost to bigotry and hatred, and that’s extremely dangerous. We need to be alert to this danger.

    My protagonist is a strong heroine. She is mystical, powerful, beautiful, fiercely intelligent but also hot-headed and arrogant. I find, even in today’s world, when a male character has flaws, he is the anti-hero. However, when a female character possesses these same flaws, people label her as even worse. That’s just wrong. Even in our time, there aren’t enough great female characters as compared to great male characters, which bothers me.

    I heard what Jessica Chastain said in Cannes about female characters in movies: They don’t have their own agency. They just react around men. That’s also my own experience reading other people’s screenplays and watching movies. So, I decide to let Henut’s voice be heard.

    By the way, I am so grateful 2017 brings us “Wonder Woman,” the highest grossing film of this summer, a standalone female superhero film with an indie female director that surpassed “Batman vs Superman” and “Suicide Squad” and broke so many records.

    NYFA:  What from your own life made it into this script?

    JS: “Priestess of Egypt” is the most personal story to me, and that’s all I want to share.

    NYFA: Why was Scriptapalooza a good competition fit for your script?

    JS: Every script that is entered into Scriptapalooza is read by either a producer, a manager, or an agent. These are the people that can make a difference.

    NYFA: How does it feel to be a semi-finalist?

    JS: I will not stop till I get this script made into a feature film. So I don’t give any thoughts about prizes, they are good but not my final goal.

    NYFA: Tell us about Papyrus Entertainment.

    JS: We will be a company focused on producing indie films and also acting as an international sales agent for mini-majors and indie companies.

    NYFA: What goals do you hope to achieve with this venture?

    JS: Papyrus Entertainment’s goal is to bridge the world with content that transform our societies. Let people’s voices travel far away across the sea.

    NYFA: How did you partner with North Media Capital?

    JS: We owe this all to the owner of the company, Steven Wang, who co-produced “Reset” with Jackie Chan, and his first film “At Cafe 6” won a Golden Horse Award for best-supporting actor. He has a very strong connection within China’s film industry.

    NYFA: What’s up next for you?

    JS: Producing indie films to send to Cannes, Venice, and Berlin.

  • NYFA at IFP Week: Faculty Panel, Student and Alumni Discounts, and More

    The New York Film Academy is proud to be a sponsor of upcoming top industry gathering IFP Week, in Brooklyn from Sept. 17-21. This year, NYFA faculty will be represented on an IFP panel — stay tuned for more details as they come!
    “If you can go, go!” said NYFA Documentary Filmmaking Program Chair Andrea Swift.
    NYFA Documentary Chair Andrea Swift and Producing Chair Neal Weisman explain that IFP Week is a critical industry gathering — whether you’re a producer, documentary filmmaker, screenwriter, director, or are involved in the industry in any way. It is as important for launching and maintaining careers as Sundance, and people fly in from all over the world to attend. Simply put, IFP Week is one of the most important events in the U.S. film industry.
    NYFA is proud to help sponsor it and is very pleased to share that IFP has extended a 20% discount to our alumni with special code: NYFA20.

    “IFP’s signature event, IFP Week, has expanded again this year to include numerous public screenings, talks, meet ups, and exhibitions centered on cutting-edge independent content for the big screen, small screen and Internet,” says IFP Deputy Director & Head of Programming Amy Dotson. “From our Filmmaker Magazine Talks, IFP Screen Forward Conference, Direct Access program, VR exhibitions from The Guardian, and more, our guests will have access to some of the most interesting, innovative and outspoken storytellers and leaders working today.”

    NYFA Chair of the Producing Department Neal Weisman will represent as moderator of the “Direct Access” panel: “Finding the Sales.” Neal Weisman is an award-winning film and television producer with over 20 years of international experience. Producing credits include “The Politician’s Wife” (BAFTA and International Emmy Awards for Best Drama Serial, Peabody Award), “Seeing Red” (Christopher Award), and “My Kingdom,” which starred Richard Harris in his last leading role. “Let’s Talk About Sex,” a documentary about adolescent sex in America, broadcast on TLC, digital and DVD release through New Video. Vice President, Edward Pressman Film Corporation: Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street” and “Talk Radio,” Barbet Schroeder’s “Reversal of Fortune,” Taviani Brothers’ “Good Morning Babylon,” Fred Schepisi’s “Plenty,” David Byrne’s “True Stories,” David Hare’s “Paris By Night,” Alex Cox’s “Walker,” Charles Burnett’s “To Sleep With Anger,” and Kathryn Bigelow’s “Blue Steel.”

    NYFA VR Instructor Caitlin Burns will appear on the IFP Panel “(Virtual) Reality Check: Bringing Filmmakers into the 21st Century.” As a transmedia producer for over 15 years, Ms. Burns has developed storyworlds and sustainable multiplatform strategies for franchises ranging from global blockbuster feature films, award-winning television shows, AAA console games and Virtual Reality. She also works with international brands, and organizations to use new media technologies to reach audiences and create impact. She currently serves as Vice Chair of the Producers Guild of America’s New Media Council and Lead Instructor for 360° Filmmaking and VR Gaming at the New York Film Academy.

    IFP Week in Brooklyn, NYC Sept. 17-21, Programming to include (via official website):

    Filmmaker Magazine Talks @ BRIC

    This year’s IFP Week will kick off on Sunday, September 17th with Filmmaker Magazine Talks @ BRIC. In honor of the 100th issue of the iconic publication, programming will celebrate the creative talents and industry who have filled Filmmaker Magazine’s pages for a quarter of a century. The event will feature Editor-in-Chief Scott Macaulay in talks with 2017 Academy Award-winners Barry Jenkins & Adele Romanski (“Moonlight”), Emmy-nominated director Dee Rees (“Mudbound”), The Safdie Brothers (“Good Time”), Sean Baker (“The Florida Project”) as well as past and 2017 Filmmaker Magazine “25 New Faces of Independent Film.”

    IFP Screen Forward Conference @ Made in NY Media Center by IFP

    Featuring intimate conversations with some of the most interesting, innovative and outspoken storytellers and leaders today, the program runs Monday, September 18 through Wednesday, September 20 at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Speakers include Cenk Uygur (“The Young Turks”), Julie Klausner (“Difficult People”), Mark Douglas (“The Key of Awesome!”), Anjali Sud (Vimeo CEO), Jenna Wortham (“Still Processing”) and many more!

    IFP Direct Access & Meet The Decision Makers @ Made in NY Media Center by IFP

    IFP also offers aspiring artists and entrepreneurs – as well as working professionals in the media & tech industry – direct access to top industry leaders through its Meet the Decision Makers and Direct Access tracks.

    Meet The Decision Makers

    Get face-time with some of the most exciting organizations in indie entertainment today in small group meetings with company representatives from Amazon Studios, A&E, Bleecker Street, Cinetic, First Look Media, Field of Vision, HBO, IFC, Killer Films, POV, Oscilloscope, Sony Pictures Classics, Submarine, Vimeo, and more.

    IFP Direct Access

    NEW TO IFP WEEK 2017.  Join top industry leaders for sage advice and time-saving information on how to launch your narrative feature, doc, serialized content, in intimate, small workshops with accomplished industry leaders whose expertise ranges from finding financing to digital distribution.

    NYFA students and alumni are invited to attend the prestigious independent filmmaking event. As part of our partnership, IFP is offering 20% discount to students and alumni. To purchase your ticket(s), go to the website and use the Partner Code.

     

  • NYFA Screenwriting Alumnus Jon Mann’s “Wolfville” Selected for National Screen Institute 2017’s Totally Television Program

    NYFA Screenwriting alumni and New Brunswick, Canada native Jon Mann was recently accepted along with producing partner Rob Ramsay into the National Screen Institute (NSI) 2017 Totally Television program. Mann’s selected pilot project, “Wolfville,” is set in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and follows the saga of two old friends who end up on opposing sides of the law.

    The NSI Totally Television program is an incubator that trains Canadian filmmaking teams to develop TV pilots into full series, and has been a driving force behind the success of such series as “What Would Sal Do?” (CraveTV), “Less Than Kind” (HBO Canada and Citytv), ‘“da Kink in My Hair” (Global and Showcase) and “Todd & the Book of Pure Evil” (Space, The Comedy Network). Mann was the only filmmaker accepted east of Toronto, Canada.

    We had a chance to catch up with the busy screenwriter and hear his take on Totally Television, his time at NYFA, and “Wolfville.”

    NYFA: First, can you tell us a little bit about your journey and what brought you to the New York Film Academy?

    JM: I always had an honest passion for film and television, but it wasn’t until midway through my undergraduate degree at Acadia University that I realized how big of an impact movies, TV, books — and storytelling in general — had on my life.

    When I was humbly offered a spot to study screenwriting through NYFA it was a no-brainer. NYFA gave me the opportunity to master a subject I did not realize I had been studying my entire life.

    NYFA: Do you have any favorite NYFA moments from your time as a student?

    JM: Of all the things that I experienced during my time with NYFA, the moment that sticks out the most was a teaching moment I had with a member of the screenwriting faculty (who shall remain nameless!) after he reviewed a draft of the feature I was writing for my thesis. It had somehow found its way to him and he gave my advisor a message to pass onto me. It wasn’t positive, and he was completely right. He really put my writing in its place — which without knowing it, I needed to hear at the time. I’ve been a better writer ever since because of him.

    NYFA: What inspired your screenplay for “Wolfville”?

    JM: My writing/production partner Rob Ramsay and I met as students at Acadia — located in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. We weren’t writing together during our time at Acadia, but it was always an important town and community for us.

    I grew up in a small east-coast Canadian town, as did Rob, and we always loved the idea of a small, picturesque, Canadian town dealing with issues that pushed the comfort zone of the community as a whole. We wanted to take the idea of disturbing the comfortable and comforting the disturbed, within the streets of a small town; which a lot of great TV shows have done an incredible job of lately. So those conversations turned into, well, why not in Atlantic Canada?

    NYFA: Can you tell us a bit about the process of finding your way into National Screen Institute 2017 Totally Television, program? (And congrats!)

    JM: Thanks! Rob and I shot a short film a few summers ago (“Rearview”) which made its way into NSI’s Short Film Festival, and that was a huge accomplishment for us. About a year later we got an email with a call out for writer & producer teams with pilots written to be part of their Totally Television program.

    Rob and I have been writing together for years and have a tall stack of pilots, so after some conversations back and forth we decided to go with “Wolfville.” Then, honestly, we were completely humbled to be put on the short list for the program, and now to find out we have been selected and to be working with NSI as part of Totally Television is incredible.

    NYFA: Was there anything that surprised you about the Totally Television selection process?

    JM: I think everyone knows the professionalism and expertise of the National Screen Institute and this process was no different. From day one they’ve been nothing but helpful and supportive.

    NYFA: What do you most look forward to in bringing “Wolfville” to life with the National Screen Institute?

    JM: I think what I’m most looking forward to is showing the masses a corner of the world — and the characters that live there — that they have never seen before. I am a very proud maritimer and I am excited to show people why.

    NYFA: What advice would you offer fellow NYFA students who aspire to bring a series script to development?

    JM: I’m still trying to figure it all out, but if you have an idea, write it. Things become exponentially easier once you have something to show people.

    NYFA: Are you working on any other upcoming projects you’d like to share?

    JM: Constantly! I have two features that are ready for production, and I’m finishing a script for a short that Rob and I are shooting in November.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Jon Mann for taking the time to share some of his story with our community.

     

  • NYFA Power Couple Haik Gazarian & Valentina Rendón Share Their Success Story

    At the New York Film Academy, it is not uncommon to see actors and directors who have already made great strides in their career seek a focused short-term learning experience in order to brush up on a rusty skill or even learn an aspect of the movie-making business in which they have never participated.

    Already successful in their native Colombia,  NYFA graduates Valentina Rendón and Haik Gazarian have attended the New York Film Academy a combined 10 times and are self-described evangelists for the school. In Colombia, Rendón has worked as a pop star, soap-opera actress, and scriptwriter, and Gazarian has managed actors and written and directed features. The couple returns to NYFA before almost every project.

    Gazarian grew up in Venezuela shooting on an 8 mm camera. He worked for a television station where he saw how newsreels were made. He was fascinated. While there, Gazarian began meeting actors. As those connections grew he built a career out of those relationships. For the next 15 years he managed actors, but his dream to make feature films never faded.

    As his connections multiplied, Gazarian began to figure out how to make that desire a reality. He began writing and sought out fundraising opportunities. Gazarian is practical in everything he does. Despite his years in the entertainment industry and the incredible talent he was surrounded by, Gazarian wanted to go back to school.

    He wanted to make sure that the work he produced would be of a professional quality and he wanted to do it himself. In 1996 he found the New York Film Academy and enrolled in the eight-week filmmaking course. By the time he had completed the course he had the first draft of his script, “Venezzia.”

    He would spend the next eight years re-writing, workshopping and developing the script. During that time Gazarian kept an open mind about his work and was willing to hear suggestions on how to better it.

    One day while on set while visiting a client, Gazarian was taking photos as his client rehearsed a scene. Through a camera lens, he spotted Valentina Rendón. This would be an encouter that changed his life.

    Columbian actress Rendón is perhaps best known for winning “Bailando por un Sueño.” Her work includes appearances in television shows like “Copas Amargas,” “Tabú,” and “Allá Te Espero.” She was also one-fourth of the pop group Luna Verde in the mid-’90s. Now, Rendón has started to center her attention behind the camera. She came to NYFA to study editing.

    Rendón began her career in industrial design, when she was awarded a music scholarship at the age of 18. “Since I was a little kid, I was driven by the creative process,” Rendón said. She would write songs and poems, practice ballet, play guitar and paint. When the opportunity arose to go to the Acting School of the National Theater of Colombia via a scholarship, she found the perfect way to combine all of her talents and jumped at the challenge.

    As she settled into acting, she found herself curious about the work happening on the other side of the camera. “I was always asking the DPs about how the camera worked,” Rendón said. When she first started dating Gazarian she would give him notes on the script for “Venezzia.” Gazarian brought Rendón in for re-writes, and she wound up writing the final draft of the script.

    In addition to the filmmaking, directing, and screenwriting courses they have already taken, the couple is now taking on the NYFA’s 4-Week Digital Editing Workshop. They are working on their next feature and, while they will not be editing the project themselves, they thought it important to know the language and styles of editing before they began post-production.

    There are two reasons the couple keeps coming back to attend NYFA programs in between projects: it is a a process they compare to training for sports. “We’re about to start pre-production,” Gazarian said. “It’s like a fine-tune-up before going into battle. You want to keep pushing yourself. It gives you a version of the orchestra you’re conducting. You should know the limitations of each position.”

    “Learning new skills will give you more information. This is what NYFA’s short programs are made for. You get to practice what you’re learning,” Rendón said. Gazarian added, “All of the information you learn here is meant to be applicable.”

    The other thing that keeps them coming back is NYFA’s global community. “Hanging out with people outside of your purview helps you pick up on little things,” Gazarian said. Rendón said that in one of her classes there wasn’t a single student from the same country. She even learned the Bollywood style of filmmaking from a classmate.

    The couple was tight-lipped about their upcoming project, but said that there was already a major studio interested in producing it.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Valentina Rendón and Haik Gazarian for taking the time to share their experience.

  • NYFA Collaborates With Prestigious Saudi Festival Hakaya Misk in Riyadh

    The New York Film Academy has played an active role by offering workshops and training through a collaboration with the prestigious youth arts festival of Hakaya Misk, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. NYFA is presenting workshops and trainings on the topics of film production and screenwriting in collaboration with the Pre-Hakaya workshops.

    According to Hakaya Misk’s official website, the festival is a cutting-edge Saudi Festival which focuses on incubating creative skills in the next generation through culturally and educationally conscious content creation: “The festival aims to motivate, teach, and inspire youth to express their ideas through writing stories, storytelling, painting, animation, production, and other forms of art.” Through local and international professional partnerships, the festival invites young people to participate in workshops, inspiring platforms, and exhibits, while building skills in storytelling through the visual arts. Events at Hakaya Misk are also offered for adults who are locally active in the creative fields.

    As the Washington Post has reported, Saudi Arabia is developing a new generation of artists and opportunities within a burgeoning film industry, which includes aspiring filmmakers have studied at the New York Film Academy. NYFA MFA alumna Lamia al-Shwwier told the Washington Post, “We have so many incredible stories to tell, whether they are stories of success or challenge. Our society is rich in stories and ideas.”

    At Hakaya Misk, NYFA alumni will be holding one-hour workshops daily, while NYFA representatives are present among the local production companies who also partner with Hakaya Misk. The festival has drawn hundreds of thousands of visitors through four sessions held in Riyadh, King Abdullah Economic City in Makkah, Dhahran in Eastern Province, and Abha in Aseer Province.

    “New York Film Academy is honored to have partnered with Misk in the Pre-Hakaya workshops in Riyadh,” NYFA’s Dean of Enrollment Services Tami Alexander reported from the event. “We had the opportunity to teach over 40 men and women interested in developing their craft in either film production or screenwriting. Our NYFA instructors were thrilled with the students’ confidence, ability and pride in their craft, and the opportunity to experience local Saudi culture.”

  • NYFA Los Angeles Welcomes Viceland’s Eddie Huang as Guest Speaker

    This month, the New York Film Academy welcomed New York Times Bestselling author (“Fresh off the Boat”), chef, designer, and producer Eddie Huang to the Los Angeles campus. The event was hosted by Q & A Director Tova Laiter, who produced “Glory” with Denzel Washington.

    Huang showed NYFA students a segment he filmed in D.C. part of a series he is producing and stars in for Viceland called “Huang’s World.”  On his show, Huang travels the world tasting unique foods from every culture.

    Huang has an incredible resume that included being a lawyer and doing stand-up comedy. He shared that he had wanted to get into film but was told no one wanted to buy Asian American stories. He was crushed, but he did not let it stop him from being an artist.

    “Americans expect us (Asian Americans) to be good at cooking and kung-fu,” Huang said. So he started cooking, but kept his focus on Asian culture when he spoke to the media. Pretty quickly he was picked up for shows like “Munchies” and “Snack-Off.”

    Laiter asked Huang how he pitched “Huang’s World” to Viceland. Essentially, he blended his frustration with not being seen with his love of food: “I told them I wanted to explore culture through food.” That was it. The show was picked up for six episodes.

    When asked how he’s been able to accomplish so much in his short life Huang said, “It’s schedule and discipline. If I wake up and I’m not on it, I get mad.”

    That attitude has permeated every aspect of his life. He has studied everything  (“its about the science of it”) from boxing to film to the difference in how his parents cooked (“mother was more focus and her food tasted better!”).

    Huang expanded upon the unique racism he has faced. In one anecdote, he shared that once he had written an article for a local paper. They liked it so much, they asked him to come in for a job. But when they saw his face they didn’t think people would be interested in talking to him. This is one example of many.

    So, Huang began working a lot of different jobs: “I didn’t know where my entry point was.”

    Huang explained that it is impossible to know where to start a career, but by being forced to start over so many times he grew into a more knowledgeable person and a stronger candidate for every job he applied for afterward.

    His final lesson: “Whatever you’re doing, do it well.”

    Huang had a lot of advice for students, including taking advantage of the library here at NYFA. “I just happened to walk into your library and you guys have a great collection. Use it!” Huang likes to go to Cinefile and watch the entire filmography of a single director. “I like seeing how they’ve progressed from start to finish.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Eddie Huang for speaking to our students. You can watch his show “Huang’s World” on Viceland.

  • NYFA Gold Coast Hosts Q&A With Filmmaking Alumnus RK Musgrave

    Recently, New York Film Academy Australia filmmaking alumnus RK Musgrave returned to give a Q&A at the Gold Coast campus as a part of the Guest Speaker Series.

    RK graduated from the Diploma of Filmmaking program in 2013 and has since become a working writer and director in Queensland.

    He recently wrote, directed and produced the dark comedy theatre production “The Turn of Winston Haggle,” which ran for three nights at the Gold Coast Arts Centre Independent Season. Joining RK for the Gold Coast Q&A was one of the stars of the production, NYFA Gold Coast Acting Lecturer Dean Mayer.

    Students at the Gold Coast campus were given an insight into how RK established a creative relationship with his actors and how he utilized this during rehearsals as they collaborated to develop the characters.

    RK explained to the students, “It might be my script but it becomes everyone’s to a point. I’m leading the team, but if Dean comes to me with an idea we test it out to see if it works and if it does, great, we’ll use it … you can’t have an ego about what you’re doing.”

    As an actor, Dean Mayer explained what makes a good director: “Good communication makes me strive as an actor. They have to know what they want and know how to communicate it to actors.”

    RK also informed the students the importance of networking, as well as how it’s critical to establish long-lasting relationships with both filmmakers and actors. RK stated, “I was originally reluctant towards networking but I had to change my opinion. You’ve got to network. A lot of opportunities I’ve got is through the people I’ve gotten to know … now that I’m out in the industry, I’m meeting people and it’s important to build a team you want to constantly work and bounce ideas with … that’s what Steven Spielberg did, he works with the same people.”

    RK further spoke about how he won the 2013 Script-To-Screen longline competition while he was studying at NYFA, which granted him free script coverage. RK was also the winner of the 2016 Australian Commercial Radio Awards for Best Written Commercial.

    RK is currently developing a TV series and pitching to production companies Teddy Browne and Can’t Country. He also has written a 30-minute TV pilot that has been shot with Australia actor, Damian Garvey from “The Kettering Incident,” and is now in post-production with a view to pitching ABC later in the year.

    May 2017 Acting Diploma student Joshua Mackenzie was enthusiastic about the Q&A event: “It was so amazing to hear about his process of rehearsal, working with actors and how to network and maintain working relationships with filmmakers. I learnt a lot.”

    March 2017 Filmmaking Diploma student, Phillip Paton stated, “In one word … inspiring.”