This May, NYFA was excited and very proud to announce that 10 NYFA students and recent graduates had been accepted to be part of The Academy Gold Program, a prestigious educational initiative hosted by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). The students accepted were Yuanhua (Gwendolyn) Wang, Caterina Piccardo, Veronica Badell, Junke (Coco) Li, Destinee Easley, Gowtham Namasivayam, Rodrigo Gomez, Eunicet Pamela Rubio Rojas, Juan Sanchez and Mayur Patankar.
Out of thousands of applicants, our students were selected within a group of 30 interns for the Production Track, offering summer-long technical workshops designed for those with a career interest in cinematography, production design, costume design and film editing.
“This year has been the first online edition, and although some parts of the program -like visiting museums or studios, or shooting scenes on a soundstage – can’t be the same, the staff has done an amazing job not only in terms of organization and quality of the panels, but also creating a true sense of community between all the participants, now proud to call ourselves the ‘Gold Family’,” says Rodrigo Gómez, a Filmmaking student.
“I can only have words of gratitude,” shares Gómez. “Firstly, to Barbara Weintraub, for inviting the members of the Program to meet us at NYFA, and for helping me so much throughout the selection process. Then, to the Academy Gold staff, for seeing in me the potential and boosting my confidence in the goal of becoming a filmmaker. Next, to the panelists, leaders in every field of the Industry, always kind and approachable, and delivering the best professional advice. Finally, to my Gold fellows: an incredible group of talented, creative, diverse and helpful people. Together we have built the best possible network, supporting and wishing each other’s success.”
For this year’s enhancement program, students were introduced to numerous executives from top studios including Warner Bros., Disney, Marvel and some of the most experienced producers, directors, editors, etc. that one can imagine. They had career prep sessions on networking, resumes, interviews and a mentorship program that will be starting in November.
“Being part of the Academy Gold Production Track for Cinematography, it opened my horizons to a whole new world. This program not only introduced me to some of the most experienced and skillful industry experts, but also the kind, talented and generous people who were fellow Gold participants. The Academy gave us so many opportunities to learn and grow, including seminars, networking events and q&a sessions. Among the hardships brought upon the world this year, the program leaders were able to give and pull through a one of a kind virtual experience. I felt eternally thankful for the chance to be a part of this program and I hope to be able to someday be a part of the giving end.”
Yuanhua( Gwendolyn) Wang
“I still can’t believe that I become part of the gold. It means a lot to me. In this specific time, the Academy Gold team had so much effort to make sure the program went online. I’m so grateful. Meeting via zoom has it’s down side but I think it’s the first time we can meet people all over the world. That’s so amazing. I am into sound, and it’s amazing that in this program we have those Oscar panelists to share their wisdom. I learned a lot from them. Our eight weeks program has ended now but I’m looking forward to the future communications with all my gold alumni.”
At the end of their 8-Week summer intensive program, the students got to present their short film pitches and/or D&I initiative pitches in virtual presentations to a panel of industry professionals.
“Working on the project has been amazing! Our idea was always an Inclusion and Diversity Initiative but it evolved from a Gallery Art exhibit to an actual collaboration with The Academy Museum and that happened because after having a virtual tour with Bill Kramer and Amy Homma during the internship we reached back to Amy with our idea and she actually became a mentor of the project, she put us in touched with different departments to make our idea more viable and accurate for the Museum and then encourage us to actually pitch it to the Executives Producers.
Our project is a leverage between The Academy and The Academy Museum to make an extension on the mobile app to highlight legacies of people that have worked in big productions and only a few people know their work. Our objective is that legacies are meant to be known and The Museum really wants to support the idea.
We are currently in actual meetings to make this project a reality and that is what I like the most because it started as an “imaginary” project for the internship but we are definitely going to keep working on it.”
“I was invited to watch our students at the final pitch session,” said Barbara Weintraub, Director of Industry Outreach and Professional Development. “I was impressed with the work and ideas our NYFA student presented”
The relationships and contacts made during the Academy Gold Program are new beginnings as our students go out into the world and pursue their careers,