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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screens Groundbreaking VR Film ‘Agent Emerson’ with Director and BFA Filmmaking alum Ilya Rozhkov and Filmmaking Team

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) recently hosted a screening of groundbreaking VR action film Agent Emerson, followed by a Q&A with award-winning writer, director, producer, and NYFA BFA Filmmaking alum Ilya Rozhkov; Associate Producer & VP of Development of the Rogue Initiative, Bradley Etheridge; and Line Producer and NYFA alum, Radhika Womack. The event was held on Friday, November 15 at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus, with the president of the NYFA Broadcasting Club, Derek “DJ” Johnson II, moderating.

    BFA Filmmaking alum Ilya Rozhkov has directed award-winning shorts including Wes-Andresonesque Sabre Dance, starring Olympian Greg Louganis as Salvador Dali. His films have been distributed worldwide, featured on NBC, and screened at over 50+ festivals; winning numerous awards including Best Picture and Best Director. 

    Agent Emerson Ilya Rozhkov
    As a lead development executive at Rogue Initiative, Bradley Etheridge is responsible for input for both creative and business development. Etheridge’s diverse range of duties includes working with directors, writers, and producers on film, TV, and VR projects; managing Rogue’s internal team of game developers; and interfacing with contacts in various industries for everything from investment to content distribution opportunities. 

    Radhika Womack began her career producing commercials in the Indian film industry. Since moving to the United States, she has produced a number of feature films, shorts, documentaries, and music videos. Her most recent credits include producing the feature film In This Gray Place and line-producing Agent Emerson.  

    DJ Johnson II opened the Q&A by asking how the idea of Agent Emerson came about, highlighting the fact that Rozhkov conceptualized the film’s story with Womack during their time as students at NYFA.

    The VR film allows the audience to see an action movie from the 360-degree POV of its hero. The film, starring Andrew Bowen, Lyndsy Fonseca, and Tony Denison, has toured with Samsung and Verizon Media in a series of events in several states and recently had its successful red carpet premiere with high-profile guests from major Hollywood studios, Silicon Valley, the Producers Guild, the VR industry, and several Academy Award nominees.

    Agent Emerson Ilya Rozhkov

    “It was a very long planning process; about a year of it,” Rozhkov shared. “When I thought about it for the first time, I tried to figure out what would make it unique as a storytelling medium, just like people were with movies 120 years ago. So when the script was there and the concept was there, we started looking into technology and it simply did not exist, so I sat down with engineers and we had to create technology to make this possible.” 

    Johnson continued by inquiring how you set a frame that is 360 degrees. Rozhkov joked by saying, “Just like how there is no spoon in The Matrix, there is no frame in VR.” Rozhkov continued, “It’s storytelling through location and it’s a cinematic medium for sure, but it takes a lot from theater and it takes a lot from gaming. There’s no storytelling laws, especially when we started, so we had to find what works and just like any film, figure out the storytelling language.” 

    When asked about what the biggest challenge the filmmaking team faced during production, Womack expressed, “The biggest challenge was the technology. There’s so many unknowns in filmmaking already, and here you just triple that. It’s just sitting and brainstorming all the things you need even though there’s a lot of similarity with regular productions and other narratives. You have your locations, your permits, your crew, and the camera is taken care of, but again it’s a much bigger department than you would have on a regular film. The biggest challenge was to let everyone in every department know the difference: if you can see the camera, the camera can see you.” 
    Agent Emerson Ilya Rozhkov

    The Q&A then opened up for questions from the audience. A student asked the filmmaking team, “How did you combine the digital assets with the footage from your camera while maintaining the stereoscopic effect of the film?” 

    Rozhkov answered, “Everything was carefully measured, and we had a lot of sensor data from set that helped a lot. 360 degree video has a lot of limitations, especially when it comes to 3D, so we utilized game engine to bypass some of them. The film tracks in real time where you’re looking and adjusts the 3D accordingly.” 

    New York Film Academy thanks BFA Filmmaking alum Ilya Rozhkov, as well as Bradley Etheridge, and Radhika Womack for sharing their VR film and expertise with our students. Agent Emerson will be released on Oculus Rift (Go and Quest), HTC Vive, and Cosmos on November 22. 

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    November 19, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Virtual Reality • Views: 576

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Game Design Alum Guillermo Quesada Helps Develop The Lion King VR Set

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    Magnopus, the visual development company that employs New York Film Academy (NYFA) Game Design alum Guillermo Quesada, helped create Disney’s new remake of The Lion King in an innovative, groundbreaking way—with VR.

    Guillermo QuesadaThe company pioneered a virtual reality system that allowed director Jon Favreau (Iron Man), director of photography Caleb Deschanel (The Passion of the Christ), and The Lion King crew to shoot a film that used extensive computer imagery in a physical three dimensional space. By mimicking what it would be like to shoot on a live action soundstage, The Lion King crew used the VR tools developed by Magnopus to place themselves in a virtual landscape of the African savannah and visualize how their animal characters would interact in the space.

    According to the io9 piece that went into extensive detail about the process, 90 percent of The Lion King was created in a nondescript warehouse on a backroad in Los Angeles. Monitors and VR kits, mostly HTC Vive headsets, were placed around a large open space—with the virtual savannah existing only in code.

    NYFA alum Guillermo Quesada, originally from Spain, joined the company’s large team of bright, young, VR and AR developers after graduating from the NYFA MFA in Game Design program at our Burbank-based campus. While studying at NYFA, he was taught the art and craft of game design and storytelling at the professional level, acquiring the skills of game prototyping, playtesting, iteration, presentation, collaboration, and how to develop software using industry standards—including workflow, multiple platforms, and coding.

    “At NYFA Guillermo was pushing boundaries and innovating,” recounts Matt Galuppo, NYFA Associate Chair of Games and Animation. “He was the first student to produce a full VR game and make it part of his game showcase. He went on to use the skills he learned developing that game to develop tools for the film industry.”

    After months of post-production, Disney’s latest remake was released in theaters on July 19 and boasted an all-star cast that included Donald Glover, Beyoncé, James Earl Jones, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, and John Oliver, among several others. The film was a commercial juggernaut, becoming Disney’s fourth film of 2019 to gross over $1 billion in less than a month.

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA MFA in Game Design alum Guillermo Quesada and the entire Magnopus team on giving Disney’s filmmakers the tools to bring The Lion King back to life!

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    August 6, 2019 • Game Design, Student & Alumni Spotlights, Virtual Reality • Views: 471

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) VR Game Design Alum Pilar Aranda Bada Featured in Play NYC’s Graffiti Games Showcase

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) VR Game Design alum Pilar Aranda Bada debuted a new VR game at Play NYC, New York’s first and largest game convention. Aranda Bada was one of a select few developers invited to create new pieces for Graffiti Games, an installation at the event that invited first-generation immigrants to creatively express their culture and experiences through their work.

    Together with teammate Saúl Peña Gamero under the name Alpaca Games, Aranda Bada created one of the installation’s “standout” entries. The game, The Llama Express, invites players to ride a train through the fictional country of Esperú while feeding fluffy llamas along the way with traditional Hispanic food like sausages and beets. The VR game features a soundtrack of traditional Spanish music, and received praise for being an “endearing” way of honoring the creators’ cultural roots.  

    The installation was brought to life in six opera boxes in Manhattan Center’s historic Hammerstein Ballroom, where they were enjoyed by as many as 10,000 participants. In addition to the showcase in New York, the games were displayed on the event’s Twitch stream for fans around the world.

    Born in Valencia, Spain, Aranda Bada is a Mixed Reality developer at Planeta.cc, a product studio focused on sound and media. In 2016, she graduated from NYFA’s pioneering VR Game Design program, which focuses on concept development, VR design, and production of interactive VR experiences, games and 360-degree films. She holds a B.S. in Industrial Design, an M.A. in Graphic Design, and an M.M. in Communications. She specializes in immersive games and experiences in both virtual and augmented reality environments.

    After the success of the game at the installation, the teammates both expressed interest in continuing to develop The Llama Express for market, though any possible release of the game would likely be far off.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Pilar Aranda Bada on her success, and looks forward to seeing her future projects!

     

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    October 10, 2018 • Game Design, Virtual Reality • Views: 278

  • New York Film Academy Partners with AT&T SHAPE

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    We are excited to be working with AT&T this year on AT&T SHAPE being held at Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles on June 2-3, 2018. SHAPE is an immersive event that explores the convergence of technology and entertainment. Discover how the future of content creation and distribution will usher in new audience experiences. Get inspired by visionary speakers, and experience interactive exhibits from promising start-ups and industry leaders at Warner Bros. Studios backlots.

    New York Film Academy will hold Interactive Demos led by NYFA award-winning instructors. You’ll be able to try out the latest full-body motion capture technology and create a live digital action scene with a fellow performer. See your emotions come to life on animatronics and robotics through the magic of facial motion-data conversion. Get some hands-on experience creating your own VFX video using green screens and the most popular visual effects programs. There will be live Twitch streaming for the gaming enthusiasts, and more.

    2018 AT&T SHAPE logo

    What Can You Explore at SHAPE 2018?

    Take a stroll through interactive exhibits that will demonstrate how technology is revolutionizing entertainment. There will be a variety of demos on display that feature a visual effects studio, full body and facial motion capture, drone and filming tech, virtual and augmented reality and 5G. Here are just a few that you can explore at SHAPE:

    • Full Dome Pro: Take a step into our 360 projection dome and get transported to the next level in immersive experiences. This is VR made social. No headsets, no goggles, no limits- just breathtaking shared virtual reality. Experience VR you will never forget.
    • Open the Portal: –Mirror Rorrom, Electronic Countermeasure, and Open the Portal teamed up to create a hall of mirrors unlike any other. A stop motion character will guide you through an experience that transforms your image before your eyes and facilitates a thought-provoking journey for you to consider your own feelings about the future that technology is facilitating and your place within it.
    • KUKA: See how robotics can enhance the motion picture capture process. KUKA Robotics, in cooperation with their integration partner Motorized Precision, are demonstrating the KIRA 2.0 cinema robotic automation system.
    • Red: Sample games, movies, and other content on the RED Hydrogen One smartphone before it is released to the public.

    Visionary Speakers at SHAPE

    Be inspired by visionary speakers as they discuss how new technologies like mixed reality, interactive storytelling, emerging tech in networking, blockchain are transforming digital media, film, television, and gaming. A few of our featured speakers and sessions include the following:

    • Ava DuVernay: A writer, producer, director, and distributor of independent film, DuVernay will co-host our AT&T Film Awards finals and discuss her experience as an aspiring filmmaker. She is the director of Selma, which chronicles the historic 1965 voting rights campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Her most recent work includes her 2018 film, A Wrinkle in Time. and screening. Join her as we screen the finalists’ films in front of a live audience. Attend this session to vote for your favorite short and help determine who will take home a share of $60,000 in prizes.
    • Issa Rae: With her own unique flare and infectious sense of humor, Issa Rae’s content has garnered million of views online and she has received two Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress for her hit show, HBO’s Insecure. Issa’s web series, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl was the recipient of the coveted Shorty Award for Best Web Show and her first book, a collection of essays, is a New York Times Best Seller. Rae has graced the cover and pages of major national media outlets including Essence, The Hollywood Reporter, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, CNN, VOGUE and TIME with appearances on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning America, The View and more. She’ll join us at SHAPE for an intimate conversation about her experience in getting to mainstream broadcast.
    • Brian Krzanich: The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Intel, Krzanich was elected CEO in May 2013 after serving in a variety of technical and leadership roles in manufacturing and as the company’s Chief Operating Officer (COO). As CEO, Krzanich is transforming Intel from a PC-centric to a data-centric company. Under his leadership, Intel has expanded in markets like memory, modems, and programmable solutions while investing in emerging areas such as AI, 5G, and autonomous driving. Hear Krzanich talk about the new ways content will be delivered and monetized through immersive experiences, including how data and investments in 5G will transform networks to meet the growing demand for new entertainment experiences.
    • Brian McLean: In 2016, McLean was awarded a Scientific and Engineering Oscar® plaque for pioneering the use of 3D printers in stop-motion animated characters. In 2017, he received an Academy Award® nomination for Best Visual Effects for his contributions to Kubo and the Two Strings. In 2009, McLean won an Annie Award for Special Achievement in Animation for his work on Following the release of ParaNorman, he was named by Variety as one of 2012’s “Animation Elite.” Prior to LAIKA, Brian worked as a traditionally trained sculptor and model maker for print and TV ads.
    • Steve Emerson: An Oscar®-nominated visual effects supervisor and longtime LAIKA collaborator, he has contributed to all four award-winning films: Kubo and the Two Strings, The Boxtrolls, ParaNorman, and Coraline. Prior to joining LAIKA, Steve spent nearly twenty years working in visual effects as an artist and technical director. He has worked on many feature films and television series including The Matrix Reloaded, Transformers, The Dark Knight, and Sliders for Universal Television. In 2017, he received the Visual Effects Society Award for Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature for Kubo and the Two Strings.
    • Brent Bushnell: An entrepreneur, electrical engineer, software developer, and an authority in immersive entertainment, VR, MR, and AR, Bushnell also serves as CEO of experiential entertainment company, Two Bit Circus. Brent is an expert in the art of engagement and passionate about using immersive technologies to create new ways to capture people’s hearts and minds. The interdisciplinary team strives to create immersive, social fun and is currently building a network of micro-amusement parks featuring free-roaming VR, robot bartenders, an interactive supper club, and more.
    • Jess Fuselier: A community outreach, marketing, and data specialist, Fuselier pioneered a community outreach program to connect film sets across the U.S. with the communities in which they operate. An experienced coder, she co-founded Young Women Who Code, teaching elementary-age girls the building blocks of STEM education. As Manager of Research and Education at Sundance Institute’s Creative Distribution Initiative, Fuselier works to cultivate meaningful insights rooted in data transparency, in order to create resources that impact the sustainability of the independent film community.
    • Liz Manashil: In addition to her work at Sundance Institute’s Creative Distribution Initiative, Manashil is also a feature writer and film director. She earned her B.A. in Film & Media Studies at Washington University, and her M.F.A. from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Manashil spent several years as a film critic for the PBS/Hulu series Just Seen It and has worked with distribution guru Peter Broderick. Her debut feature, Bread and Butter, was called “an absolute must-watch for women everywhere” by HelloGiggles. Liz is currently in pre-production on her next film, Speed of Life.
    • Ross Goodwin: Artist, creative technologist, hacker, gonzo data scientist, and former White House ghostwriter, Goodwin employs machine learning, natural language processing, and other computational tools to realize new forms and interfaces for written language. Ross’s projects—from word.camera, a camera that expressively narrates photographs in real-time using artificial neural networks, to Sunspring (with Oscar Sharp), the world’s first film created from an A.I.-written screenplay—have earned international acclaim.
    • Oscar Sharp: A BAFTA-nominated British filmmaker, Sharp is best known for short films The Kármán Line, Sign Language, and Sunspring, and upcoming feature Woolly for 20th Century Fox. In 2016, Sharp teamed up with Ross Goodwin and actor Thomas Middleditch to create Sunspring, the first film to be entirely scripted by artificial intelligence and produced widespread international discussion. Sharp and Goodwin followed Sunspring in 2017 with It’s No Game starring David Hasselhoff, in which the actor performs dialogue generated by an AI from a large collection of his past performances.

    SHAPE Competitions

    Every year at SHAPE, a few competitions are held to inspire aspiring filmmakers and creators.

    • AT&T Create-a-thon:Watch or participate in the AT&T Create-a-thon where you can shoot your short film at Warner Bros. Studios using select iconic cityscapes and backlots. You’ll have a chance to win a $10,000* cash prize for the best, completed film in a number of categories.
    • AT&T Film Awards: Come see the finals of the AT&T Film Awards, a short film competition for aspiring creators who are using emerging filmmaking technologies to tell their stories. Vote for your favorite short and help determine who will take home a share of $60,000 in prizes, as we screen the finalists’ films in front of a live audience and esteemed panel of judges.

    Take the Warner Bros. Studio Tour and explore outdoor sets and soundstages used to create productions such as Gilmore Girls, The Big Bang Theory, and Argo. Visit the DC Universe and walk through the DC Comics Exhibit, the real Central Perk Friends set, original Batman Museum, where you’ll see the Batmobile Collection, and so much more.

    Continue to check the schedule on the registration website to give you the most recent information about SHAPE. We hope to see you in Los Angeles in June!

     

    *No purchase necessary, U.S. resident, age of majority. Enter by 4/27/17. Void where prohibited. See Official Rules.

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  • UploadVR Highlights New York Film Academy VR Faculty Member Hugh McGrory’s Company Datavized

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    New York City-based startup Datavized Technologies, Inc. is a media studio focused on Virtual Reality production and consultancy. The company, founded by New York Film Academy Virtual Reality Instructor Hugh McGrory, combines the immersive power of virtual reality with the seamless delivery of the mobile web. Datavized strives to build smart but accessible ways to experience cities. “At Datavized we build proprietary software tools using WebVR — virtual reality experiences that run on the web,” McGrory summarizes.

    McGrory and his company were recently featured in UploadVR, a leading digital virtual reality publication that was founded in 2014 in San Francisco. The article discusses Datavized opening beta access for their product after three years of development as well as the company’s presence at Data for Development Festival.

    Datavized Yellow Taxi

    Datavized NYC Yellow Taxi Example

    Datavized’s web-based drag and drop tools allow users to effortlessly turn spreadsheets into interactive 3D maps. The map above allows users to pare through country-by-country life expectancy between the years 1800 and 2015. Below is a map using NYC Yellow Taxi trip data that allows users to fully immerse themselves in New York City. In March 2018, the company announced plans to release a virtual reality air pollution visualization at the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Festival in Bristol, United Kingdom. In December, Datavized appeared at the United Nations Environment Assembly.

    Datavised Earth NYFA

    Life Expectancy Over Time Worldwide

    McGrory explains the appeal of his company’s tools: “The technical baseline is already there with WebVR being part of web browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and on both Android and iOS for phones.” He continues, “But people don’t see it yet because they’re still viewing the web on 2D screens. The next step is tools and content for the immersive web.” McGrory excitedly describes the future of the medium, “This intersection of 3D, VR and the Web is exciting. He cautions against making rash comparisons to other recent technological advances saying, “This is not like moving from film to tape or VHS to DVD. It’s a big leap that’s more comparable to the transition from radio to TV.”

    As for any concerns about Datavized working better on certain devices compared to others, McGrory explained to UploadVR, “Datavized has been coded from the ground up for optimal performance across devices.”

    McGrory is currently a faculty member for the New York Film Academy’s New York campus. He is an award-winning director/producer and his past projects include serving as executive producer for Northern Ireland Screen/UK Film Council’s Deviate project and as filmmaker in residence at CINEMA Microscopy Lab, Yale University School of Medicine.

    See a video of Hugh McGrory discussing data science, VR, and more below:

    To learn more about NYFA’s VR programs, visit the virtual reality program page.

     

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  • Gender Inequality in Film Infographic Updated in 2018

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) released its original Gender Inequality in Film infographic in 2013. Now, following the TIME’S UP™ movement and actress Frances McDormand’s impassioned call at the 90th Academy Awards for the industry to embrace Inclusion Riders, NYFA’s updated Gender Inequality in Film infographic presents research on gender in film from 2007 to 2017, from more than 40 sources and scholarly studies. 

    “With all that’s happening in the film industry, the New York Film Academy hopes to contribute what we can to the conversation with this infographic. It can be used as a reference and an educational tool to raise further awareness and inspire leaders within the entertainment industry, and beyond,” explains NYFA Chair of Documentary Andrea Swift. “It is an accessible way to interact with key information to support the movement to reach 50/50 by 2020.”

    Throughout Women’s History Month in March, NYFA will be highlighting different aspects of the data in this infographic as a four-part series. This is part one, and reveals the full, updated infographic. Stay tuned for more!

    To further support the conversation around gender inequality in film, NYFA will also host events throughout Women’s History Month, with a focus on International Women’s Day on March 8. For more information, click here.

    For additional content related to the conversation surrounding gender equality in film, check out these additional resources from the New York Film Academy:

    1. Time’s Up and #MeToo Dominate the 2018 Golden Globes
    2. Oscar-nominated Editor Kristen Nutile Screens Heroin(e) at New York Film Academy
    3. Anna Serner Speaks on Behalf of Gender Equality in Film
    4. Actress Rose McGowan Screens her Directorial Debut Dawn at NYFA
    5. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Diversifies With 774 New Members
    6. Patricia Arquette Demands Equality for Women
    7. Black Inequality in Film
    8. Sony Pictures Television Selects NYFA Alum Tiffany Paulsen for Diverse Directors Program
    9. NYFA Student Takes Part in Women of Sundance Panel
    10. Legendary Agent Boaty Boatwright Speaks at the New York Film Academy
    11. NYFA Spotlight: Gina Theresa on Women in Games and Motion Capture Acting
    12. Brandii Grace Discusses Inclusiveness in Video Games
    13. NYFA Embraces the Fearless Girl Statue Outside New York Campus
    14. Has Female Equality in Hollywood Progressed in 2014?
    15. UNESCO’s Gender Equality Heritage & Creativity 2014

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  • Celebrate Women’s History Month at the New York Film Academy

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    This Women’s History Month, which also includes International Women’s Day on March 8, the New York Film Academy joins the conversation on gender inclusivity with an updated Gender Inequality in Film Infographic as well as a full slate of events across its campus locations.

    From International Women’s Day industry panel events to film screenings and raffles, check out NYFA’s calendar of Women’s History Month activities, below, and join us on campus in Los Angeles, New York City, South Beach, and NYFA Australia, Gold Coast. And on social media, we’ll be shouting out to many of the Women of NYFA — alums who are doing incredible work in the community, in the entertainment industry, and beyond.

    New York Film Academy Women’s History Month events will include:

    Los Angeles

    MARCH 7 – Stand Up for Women Comedy Night

    Host:

    • Lisa deLarios – Lisa has toured the country featuring for Zach Galifianakis, Paul F. Tompkins, Anthony Jeselnik, and Maria Bamford among others. She was showcased on Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham and has been a frequent guest on Doug Loves Movies.  

    Featured Comedians:

    • Laura House – Laura is a headlining comedian who has performed on HBO, Comedy Central, NBC, and starred in MTV’s Austin Stories. She written on the Emmy-winning shows Mom and Samantha Who, BAFTA-winning Secret Lives of Boys, as well as Nicole Byer’s Loosely, Exactly, Nicole, The George Lopez Show, Mad Love, Blue Collar TV & more.
    • Jackie Kashian – Jackie is a comic whose new album, I Am Not The Hero Of This Story, was the #1 comedy album on iTunes and Amazon. She is in the 12th year of her podcast The Dark Forest and has a new podcast on the Nerdist Network called The Jackie and Laurie Show.
    • Jena Friedman – Jena is a comedian, writer, filmmaker and political satirist who recently appeared on Conan. Her Adult Swim special Soft Focus with Jena Friedman aired in February. She has been a field producer at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and has written for Late Show with David Letterman. ​
    • Annie Lederman – Annie was the co-host of We Have Issues on E! and has been a cast member on Chelsea Lately, Girl Code, @midnight, and Impractical Jokers.
    • Kate Willett Kate tours nationally and internationally, has been featured on Viceland’s Flophouse and Comedy Central’s This is Not Happening, and recently taped a Netflix special.
    • Vanessa Gonzalez – Vanessa was recently voted “Best Stand-up Comic” in the Austin Chronicle readers’ poll, and created and stars in the Mas Mejor web series Ms. Vanessa.
    • Jessica Sele– Jessica is a stand-up comedian who tours across the country, and has performed at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival and SF Sketchfest. She was written about in HuffPost.
    • Ellington Wells – Ellington is a filmmaker and comedian who hosts the monthly stand-up show Blackberry Jam, and has worked on television shows such as Insecure, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Baskets.

    March 8 – International Women’s Day: A Perspective on Women in Entertainment: Industry Panel Discussion

    Moderators:

    • Mike Civille
    • Lydia Cedrone

    Panelists

    • Dea Lawrence – CMO of Variety
    • Kelly Gilmore – Sr. VP Marketing at Warner Bros.
    • Barbara Bain – 3 time Emmy Winning Actress
    • Jeanette Collins – Producer/Writer: Big Love, Drop Dead Diva, Suddenly Susan
    • Winship Cook – Producer: K-19: The Widowmaker, Sound the Crossing,Family Plan
    • Valorie Massalas – Casting Director/Producer: Back to the Future 2 & 3, Indiana Jones, Total Recall
    • Ronnie Yeskel – Casting Director: Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Curb Your Enthusiasm  
    • Elvi Cano – Executive Director EGEDA U.S.
    • Lisa Guerriero – Camera operator: Suicide Squad, Mad Men, Mission Impossible, Fight Club

    New York City

    FEB. 28,  6:30 PM EST – Heroin(e) SCREENING & Guest Speaker Event

    • Exclusive screening of Oscar-nominated Netflix short documentary Heroin(e) with the film’s editor and special guest lecturer Kristen Nutile.

    MARCH 5-6 – Women’s International Film Festival Raffle

    TBD – NYFA Women in Film Screening Series

    • Further details coming soon.

    MARCH 21 – Women in VR: Chat with Vice Chair of the Producers’ Guild of America New Media Council & NYFA Instructor Caitlin Burns 

    • Further details coming soon.

    Vice Chair of the Producers’ Guild of America New Media Council & NYFA Instructor Caitlin Burns

    South Beach

    March 21 – NYFA Women in Film Screening and Q&A

    • A screening of the 2016 drama Hidden Figures
    • A Q&A led by South Beach Filmmaking chair Maylen Dominguez

    March 21 – NYFA Women in Film Industry Panel

    • An all-woman panel featuring Rhonda Mitrani, Susie Taylor, Maha McCain, Elli Ventouras, and Giorgia Lo Savio

    NYFA Australia, Gold Coast

    March 8 – International Women’s Day Film Series

    • A screening series of films focused on female protagonists, including The Color Purple, Joy, Thelma & Louise, and Whip It.

    For updates on Women’s History Month events at the New York Film Academy, and to join us for International Women’s Day, be sure to follow us on social media: FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram

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  • New York Film Academy Narrative Theory Students Explore IMAX VR Centre

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    The Narrative Theory Course is a part of the New York Film Academy’s Game Design curriculum. The class focuses on storytelling methods in gaming. Virtual Reality (VR) provides an entirely new way of looking at how to tell stories. Without the control limits of a two-dimensional screen the ability to direct a player’s eye-line is no longer an option. A whole new set of rules has to be developed. This new frontier of technology brought NYFA students to the IMAX VR Centre in Hollywood, CA.

    For many students, this was their first experience with VR. “I had a really great time at the VR Center,” said student Kamen Marinov. “The moment I put those Oculus ‘goggles’ on my head I felt this strange feeling — that I was inside someone else. It was like I was seeing through another person’s eyes. It felt odd at first, but when I got used to the visuals and the game mechanics I had an amazing experience.”

    Students were able to experience a ton of games that are new to the market. The new “Justice League” game based on the Warner Brother’s film allows players to drive the Batmobile or take out Steppenwolf’s lackeys with Cyborg’s arm cannon. This is just one of the many games currently on display. Set up in an arcade style, students can could jump into several cinematic worlds including “John Wick,” “The Mummy,” “Deadwood,” and the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises.

    Some students choose to play two first-person shooters “Raw Data” and “John Wick.” Jeffery Lay found the experience both taxing and informative: “In ‘John Wick,’ I was hiding behind a bar, watching my six, as enemies come from everywhere. A big vase covering an area of my view-making forced me to me lean around it, or jump to shoot over it, even though in reality, nothing is there.” 

    “VR had a lot more movement than I expected,” said Lay. “I probably changed between standing and crouching about 50 to 100 times in a row.” 

    Nathan Hales wasn’t just having fun. He learned a lot. “The level of immersion offered by virtual reality is really something that one cannot explain but must be experienced,” said Hales. “I felt like I was living within these virtual spaces. I was cutting down robots in ‘Raw Data,’ instead of the usual extra degree of separation offered from a traditional TV or computer monitor setup. Moving forward with the knowledge I gained from experiencing the capabilities and limitations of virtual reality, I can now envision games for the medium.”

    This is important because VR is a hot commodity in the entertainment industry. Since Nonny de la Pena’s VR project in immersive journalism entitled “Hunger in Los Angeles” premiered at Sundance 2012, there’s been a lot of buzz around the future of VR, yet there were many unanswered questions about the possibilities the new technology held at the time. Facebook set a new precedent when it acquired Oculus Rift in 2014. Since then, we’ve seen the development of both VR recording technologies and creative endeavors rapidly accelerate.

    Overall, the day was a rousing success. The New York Film Academy would like to thank IMAX VR for giving our students an opportunity to glimpse the future of gaming.

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  • NYFA Faculty and Students Screen Work at Jump Into VR Fest

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    For the first time in New York’s Lower East Side, the world has a chance to experience Jump Into VR Fest, a premier film festival striving to bring cutting edge VR/VX (virtal reality/extended reality) developments to light through showcases, performances, parties, workshops, product launches, demos, and panels — and the New York Film Academy is proud to congratulate two alumni and one faculty member who will be showcasing their work amongst the thought leaders and industry changes who are shaking the world through VR.

    NYFA 8-Week Narrative VR Workshop alumni Na “Melody” Liu and Ana Paula Loureiro Kler will both screen films made as a part of their NYFA studies at the inaugural festival (“Praying From Afar” and “The Drummer”), while NYFA VR instructor Martina Casas will also present an original film (“Hope after Devastation”).

    We had a chance to connect with NYFA alumna Ana as she prepares to screen “The Drummer.” Read on to hear her thoughts on the exponential speed of technology, what surprised her most at NYFA, and why she’s excited about Jump Into VR Fest.

    NYFA: First, can you tell us a little bit about your background and what brought you to NYFA? What drew you to VR?

    AS: I am a 36 year-old journalist, digital media content creator and now VR Filmmaker. In Brazil, where I was born, grew up and built my career, I have 12 years of background in television. In the last five years I’ve been creating website and social media content to the largest mass media group of Latin America (Globosat/Grupo Globo). I also had work experience as a reporter, producer, editor, director and screenwriter during the six years that I was an employee of the main public television in Brazil (TV Brasil). After I studied journalism, I attended a film school. After that I started to work in personal projects, such as a music video of the Brazilian singer Iara Renno (2014) and a short documentary about Burning Man (2011), both as a director.  As an editor, I worked in a short film named “Tradução” (2008).

    The exponential speed of technology has been transforming all the fields and leaving behind professionals who don’t update their careers. Journalism and cinema changed after the internet and keep changing once new technologies affect the communication between people. Since I became a journalist and filmmaker I’ve been learning how to use different tools to do my work. That’s why I decided to attend the VR program at NYFA. Now, I am totally focusing on 360/VR.

    NYFA: Can you share any detail on how your film “The Drummer,” which is screening at Jump Into VR Fest, was made as a part of your NYFA studies?

    AS: The film which was selected for the Fest was a class exercise. They asked us to go to Union Square and find a story to shoot in 360. I was the director of my team. I had two colleagues in my group: Andrew O’Leary, doing the production sound, and Carolina Sang operating the camera.

    We saw this good drummer with disability and he said yes when I asked him if I could make an interview with him. (By the way, he said many students have done the same before but he never saw anything. I think I should email him!)

    Basically, “The Drummer” is a short documentary about this street artist named Jesus. He talks about his life, why he is there, his thoughts, etc. He is always in Union Square. People pass by but have no idea about what he is going through. As a journalist and filmmaker, my goal was to go there, talk to him and transform all the information into entertainment, informing but also offering a nice way to hear from him.

    NYFA: What kind of equipment did you use?

    AS: The Samsung Gear 360, zoom recorder and ambisonic mic.

    NYFA: What surprised you the most about your narrative VR course at NYFA? Would you recommend it to others?

    AS: Definitely, the course was better than I expected! Surprised me how intense it was (many hours of class and projects). Also, the number of professionals from the market they brought to talk to us and how we had easy access to the equipment.

    The experience was really great. Location, teachers and coordinators were really nice. I wouldn’t imagine that in eight weeks I could learn and produce so many things.

    I was looking for something to change my life and my career. I think it was the perfect choice. I highly recommend.

    NYFA: Can you tell us about your experience with Jump Into VR Fest experience so far?

    AS: I am really excited about the Festival! It is a great opportunity to have a VR film that I directed and edited showcase here in New York.

    Besides “The Drummer” I made two more films. “Undone.” my final project, is more hybrid. It is an adaptation of an art performance about Muslim women. The VR experience is to be surrounded by six muslim women and hear their stories. I believe in the power of virtual reality, known as the empathy machine, to change people’s minds.

    My third VR film I made for an exhibition in a Art Gallery in Lower East Side. The idea was to give to people the experience to see the creative process of an artist: you see the painting in the gallery, you take the VR headset and when you put it on you are in his studio in upstate New York in the middle of the woods, hearing and seeing a stream, and you see the artist painting and talking about his work. The opening was great. People loved it.  

    “The Drummer” was also selected to be showcased at FoST Festival along with Ana’s final NYFA project, “Undone.” The New York Film Academy would like to thank Ana for taking the time to share about her experience with Jump Into VR Fest with the NYFA community.

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