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

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

    Tova Laiter & Nicole Avant

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

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

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

    Producer Nicole Avant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    February 21, 2020 • Diversity, Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 116

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Alum Gary Bencheghib Joins Greta Thunberg at Davos World Economic Forum

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking alum Gary Bencheghib was invited to speak at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos in January to discuss his work and the impact of climate change.

    Bencheghib joined thousands of business leaders, economists, journalists, international political figures, and more from all over the globe to discuss key issues of global concern, including the devastating effects of climate change.

    Notable activist on the topic, Greta Thunberg, was selected to speak on the issue, along with Bencheghib, who addressed climate change head on and was able to point back to his upcoming documentary, Plastic River, as well as his entire body of work—past and present—as a case study to the destructive, man-made effects to the environment.

    Back in 2009, Bencheghib, along with his brother Sam, founded Make A Change World, an organization to raise awareness for environmental pollution and sustainable waste management. Since it was founded, the platform has distributed multiple micro-docs and other projects addressing climate issues, including Bencheghib’s miniseries and NYFA thesis film, The Reclamation.

    Gary Bencheghib

    NYFA Alum Gary Bencheghib Speaks at Davos World Economic Forum

    “NYFA completely changed my life in giving me the best formation imaginable on the entire filmmaking spectrum—from shooting to editing and producing,” Bencheghib said about his time at the Academy.

    Among the other notable projects the Bencheghib brothers have created since Gary graduated in 2014, includes documenting themselves paddle-boarding along two of New York City’s most polluted waterways and convincing Indonesia’s President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to clean up the country’s contaminated Citarum River.

    At Davos, Bencheghib also spoke about his latest initiative from him and his brother called Sungai Watch, a platform that maps out the details of rivers in real time, allowing people to test floating trash booms for rivers and smaller trash blocks for streams throughout Bali’s waterways. “Imagine watching the cleanup of the world’s most polluted river in real time,” says Gary. This new initiative, along with the additional conversations sparked by Bencheghib and others at Davos will, hopefully, allow attendees and others throughout the world to address the innovative and urgent solutions needed to combat man-made environmental damage.

    New York Film Academy is proud to see NYFA alumni like Gary Bencheghib bring their stories to political and business leaders around the world and is excited to see the important role documentary filmmaking is taking in global conversations about the vital issues of our time.

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    February 21, 2020 • Documentary Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 107

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

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

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

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

    Aliza Jafri

    NYFA MFA Producing Student Aliza Jafri

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

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

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

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

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    February 19, 2020 • Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 164

  • New York Film Academy Cinematography Alum Shoots Awkwafina’s Award-Winning Film ‘The Farewell’

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    The Farewell Qianying Zhou & Anna Franquesa-Solano

    NYFA Alumni Qianying Zhou & Anna Franquesa-Solano

    The Farewell, the multiple award-winning drama-comedy film starring Awkwafina, was shot by director of photography and New York Film Academy Cinematography alum Anna Franquesa-Solano, with BFA Filmmaking alum Qianying Zhou working as 1st Assistant Camera.

    Both Solano and Zhou started their journeys from outside the United States. Solano originally hails from Spain and attended the 1-Year Cinematography conservatory at NYFA’s New York campus in 2010. Zhou, who enrolled in the 1-Year Filmmaking conservatory at NYFA’s New York campus in 2010 before continuing her studies in the BFA Filmmaking program at NYFA-Los Angeles, is from China.

    I believe in order to grow, you have to step out of your comfort zone,” Franquesa-Solano tells NYFA. “My first big leap was moving to New York without even speaking English in order to study cinematography. A few years later I challenged myself again by shooting The Farewell, a demanding project that came with a lot of responsibility. These two have been so far some of the most important decisions of my career.”

    The Farewell Anna Franquesa-Solano

    NYFA Cinematography Alum Anna Franquesa-Solano

    These decisions have paid off, both for Franquesa-Solano and for the beautifully-shot film. The Farewell was a Grand Jury Prize nominee at Sundance before earning numerous nominations and awards, including nominations for Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes and BAFTA Awards and, most recently, winning top prize at the Independent Spirit Awards for Best Feature.

    The Farewell tells the story of a Chinese family who decide not to tell their grandmother she is dying, scheduling a wedding to bring the family together before she dies. The film was written and directed by Lulu Wang and stars Awkwafina, the Queens-born rapper, comedian, producer, writer, and actress who has steadily risen in fame since appearing in films like Ocean’s 8 and Crazy Rich Asians. Her dramatic talent in the film earned her numerous nominations and awards as well, including a Golden Globe win for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

    New York Film Academy congratulates 1-Year Cinematography alum Anna Franquesa-Solano and BFA Filmmaking alum Qianying Zhou on the success of The Farewell and looks forward to following their blossoming careers!

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) 3D Animation & VFX Alum Daniela Lobo Dias Works on ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) 3D Animation & VFX alum Daniela Lobo Dias has been doing animation work on some of Hollywood’s biggest movies since graduating NYFA in 2015 , including the hotly-anticipated Sonic the Hedgehog movie.

    Lobo Dias first attended New York Film Academy in 2014, enrolling in the 4-Week 3D Animation & VFX workshop at our New York campus. She later advanced her studies later that fall in NYFA’s 1-Year 3D Animation & VFX conservatory.

    “Daniela was a spectacular student whilst enrolled in NYFA,” says NYFA Animation and VFX faculty Robert Appleton, “where she—along with three other outstanding female students—created an incredible final project.”

    After graduating, Lobo Dias interned at a top animation company in New York before relocating to the West Coast and then Canada. She has worked on special effects-heavy films such as Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Venom, Ad Astra, Bumblebee, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, and recently, Cats.

    Her latest film is Sonic the Hedgehog, a mix of live-action and animation that adapts the wildly popular Sega video game franchise about a snarky blue hedgehog that outruns the bad guys at lightning speed. The film stars Jim Carrey as Sonic’s live action nemesis Dr. Robotnik, with Ben Schwartz voicing a completely animated Sonic. Sonic the Hedgehog is directed by Jeff Fowler and co-stars James Marsden, Adam Pally, and Tika Sumpter.

    Lobo Dias worked as a layout artist on the film, with her primary tasks being blocking out CG elements (such as characters and environment assets) over the live action plate, creating projection camera setups to integrate live action plates into CG environments, and creating final camera animation with character blocking for full CG shots.

    With Sonic coming out on Valentine’s Day, the animation had to be completed well before its theatrical release. In the interim, Lobo Dias worked on the upcoming Disney film Jungle Cruise, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Emily Blunt. She is currently working on the upcoming sequel Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Her hard work at NYFA has certainly paid off.

    “You get out of NYFA what you put in,” says Lobo Dias. “When you show up each day with enthusiasm and a readiness to listen and learn, you’re planting seeds with your teachers and classmates that blossom into a professional network.”

    Daniela Lobo Dias Sonic the Hedgehog

    Lobo Dias is quick to express her gratitude for those who helped her along the way, however. “I am very grateful for my teachers at NYFA who not only taught me the skills I needed,” she adds, “but also nurtured my potential, and then gave me my first industry opportunities. A special shoutout to Rob, Boaz, Gavin, Tim, and Phoebe!”

    New York Film Academy congratulates 3D Animation & VFX alum Daniela Lobo Dias on the release of Sonic the Hedgehog and looks forward to seeing the blockbusters she’ll be working on in the future!

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    February 13, 2020 • 3D Animation, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 212

  • The Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre at New York Film Academy (PCMT at NYFA) Debuts 2020 Winter New Works Series

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    This February, the Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre at New York Film Academy (PCMT at NYFA) performed two new plays as part of its New Works Series. The PCMT at NYFA New Works Series is held each winter and summer—this year’s 2020 Winter New Works Series is NYFA’s twelfth to date.

    The two plays that debuted in the PCMT at NYFA 2020 Winter New Works Series were Wasp Woman and Victorian Courting & Zombies. Both shows are laugh-out-loud comedies with heart.

    Wasp Woman is a musical with book and lyrics by Harris Doran and music by Arthur Lafrentz Bacon, and is based on the Roger Corman cult classic of the same name. The outrageous, sci-fi comedy has a catchy, killer score and was directed by Harris Doran, a native New Yorker who was shortlisted for the Independent Spirit Awards “Someone To Watch” Award for his debut feature film Beauty Mark. Musical direction was by Daniel Lincoln; the alumni assistant was Luiza Francabandiera.

    “I am incredibly inspired by the passion and talents of the students I am working with in the New Works Series,” says Harris. “It is a lot even for professionals to do this amount of work in such a small amount of time, and I have been blown away by the students’ professionalism and ability to step up to this challenge with such dedication, skill, and joy.” 

    Wasp Woman tells the story of an aging model who discovers she is being removed as the face of her own cosmetics company now that she’s in her forties. She becomes the first test patient of a mysterious fountain of youth serum made from queen wasp extract, but fails to anticipate the stinging side effects. 

    New Works Series Winter 2020

    The second play of the series is period musical comedy Victorian Courting & Zombies, with a book by Susan Sassi and music and lyrics by Bryan Blaskie. The musical direction was by PCMT at NYFA music supervisor Anna Ebbesen and the alumni assistant is Rebecca Keenan. The play was directed by Travis Greisler, who recently served as associate director on The Cher Show on Broadway.

    Set during the Elizabethan period, Victorian Courting & Zombies is about the hapless and ill-fated Funkbottom sisters, who will be left in a nunnery if they do not marry off Elizabeth to a wealthy suitor by the end of the evening, but no suitor can look past their facial defects, extra limbs, and minuscule dowry and appreciate them for their brains. Their luck may turn around when Mr. Blubberbutt, their ward, introduces them to Mr. Bingsley, an interesting fellow with a limp, a grunt, and an appetite for flesh.

    The New Works at NYFA are such a fantastic opportunity for everyone on both sides of the table,” says Travis Greisler. “For the creatives, it’s a chance to dive into a process and see what your piece needs to hopefully reach its full potential—and for the students it’s a replica of the experience of a professional reading or workshop production. Together we dive into the whirlwind of learning new material and what our show hopes to become—and with the talent and diversity of NYFA’s program, every voice gets heard.”

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    February 11, 2020 • Musical Theatre • Views: 261

  • ‘Parasite’ Leads Record-Breaking Night at the 92nd Academy Awards

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    The 2020 Awards Season culminated with a groundbreaking Best Picture win for South Korean film Parasite at the 92nd Academy Awards on Sunday, February 9. The win for the critically-acclaimed film by Bong Joon Ho was the first time in Academy history that a foreign language film took home the top prize.

    The film also won Best International Feature Film, as well as Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for Bong, who shared the latter with Jin Won Han. The multiple wins for Bong follows years of critical acclaim for previous efforts including Snowpiercer and Okja.

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism alum Federica Polidoro was able to interview Bong Joon Ho right after last year’s Cannes Film Festival, where Parasite won the Palme d’Or. The interview was an Italian video exclusive and released on Il Sole 24 Ore.

    Parasite wasn’t the only win for diversity at the Academy Awards. With Hair Love winning Best Animated Short, producer Karen Rupert Toliver became the first black woman to win an Oscar in an animation category. Jojo Rabbit director Taika Waititi was the first indigenous person to be nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, and when he won, became the first person of Maori descent to win an Oscar.

    Other notable news from this year’s ceremony includes the announcement of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which will open its door in December of this year. Netflix also celebrated on Sunday, with Laura Dern’s Oscar win giving the streaming giant its first Academy Award in any acting category. Dern won for Netflix’s Marriage Story, co-starring previous NYFA guest speaker Adam Driver.

    At this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, the NYFA community celebrated a win as well, after seeing several alumni, faculty, and guest speakers involved with Oscar nominees across many categories. Toy Story 4, co-starring previous NYFA guest speaker Tony Hale, brought Pixar another trophy for Best Animated Feature.

    New York Film Academy congratulates all the winners at this year’s Academy Awards, and looks forward to seeing even more international diversity included in the future!

    Here is a full list of the 2020 Oscars nominees:

    Best Picture
    Ford v Ferrari
    The Irishman
    Jojo Rabbit
    Joker
    Little Women
    Marriage Story
    1917
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
    Parasite – WINNER

    Lead Actor
    Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
    Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
    Adam Driver, Marriage Story
    Joaquin Phoenix, Joker – WINNER
    Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

    Lead Actress
    Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
    Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
    Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
    Charlize Theron, Bombshell
    Renee Zellweger, Judy – WINNER

    Supporting Actor
    Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
    Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
    Al Pacino, The Irishman
    Joe Pesci, The Irishman
    Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – WINNER

    Supporting Actress
    Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
    Laura Dern, Marriage Story – WINNER
    Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
    Florence Pugh, Little Women
    Margot Robbie, Bombshell

    Director
    Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
    Todd Phillips, Joker
    Sam Mendes, 1917
    Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
    Bong Joon Ho, Parasite – Winner

    Animated Feature
    How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Dean DeBlois
    I Lost My Body, Jeremy Clapin
    Klaus, Sergio Pablos
    Missing Link, Chris Butler
    Toy Story 4,  Josh Cooley – WINNER

    Animated Short
    Dcera, Daria Kashcheeva
    Hair Love, Matthew A. Cherry – WINNER
    Kitbull, Rosana Sullivan
    Memorable, Bruno Collet
    Sister, Siqi Song

    Adapted Screenplay
    The Irishman, Steven Zaillian
    Jojo Rabbit, Taika Waititi – WINNER
    Joker, Todd Phillips, Scott Silver
    Little Women, Greta Gerwig
    The Two Popes, Anthony McCarten

    Original Screenplay
    Knives Out, Rian Johnson
    Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach
    1917, Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino
    Parasite, Bong Joon-ho, Jin Won Han – WINNER

    Cinematography
    The Irishman, Rodrigo Prieto
    Joker, Lawrence Sher
    The Lighthouse, Jarin Blaschke
    1917, Roger Deakins – WINNER
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Robert Richardson

    Best Documentary Feature
    American Factory, Julia Rieichert, Steven Bognar – WINNER
    The Cave, Feras Fayyad
    The Edge of Democracy, Petra Costa
    For Sama, Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
    Honeyland, Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov

    Best Documentary Short Subject
    In the Absence, Yi Seung-Jun and Gary Byung-Seok Kam
    Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone, Carol Dysinger – WINNER
    Life Overtakes Me, Kristine Samuelson and John Haptas
    St. Louis Superman, Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan
    Walk Run Cha-Cha, Laura Nix

    Best Live Action Short Film
    Brotherhood, Meryam Joobeur
    Nefta Football Club, Yves Piat
    The Neighbors’ Window, Marshall Curry – WINNER
    Saria, Bryan Buckley
    A Sister, Delphine Girard

    Best International Feature Film
    Corpus Christi, Jan Komasa
    Honeyland, Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov
    Les Miserables, Ladj Ly
    Pain and Glory, Pedro Almodovar
    Parasite, Bong Joon Ho – WINNER

    Film Editing
    Ford v Ferrari, Michael McCusker, Andrew Buckland – WINNER
    The Irishman, Thelma Schoonmaker
    Jojo Rabbit, Tom Eagles
    Joker, Jeff Groth
    Parasite, Jinmo Yang

    Sound Editing
    Ford v Ferrari, Don Sylvester – WINNER
    Joker, Alan Robert Murray
    1917, Oliver Tarney, Rachel Tate
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Wylie Stateman
    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Matthew Wood, David Acord

    Sound Mixing
    Ad Astra
    Ford v Ferrari
    Joker
    1917 – WINNER
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Production Design
    The Irishman, Bob Shaw and Regina Graves
    Jojo Rabbit, Ra Vincent and Nora Sopkova
    1917, Dennis Gassner and Lee Sandales
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Barbara Ling and Nancy Haigh – WINNER
    Parasite, Lee Ha-Jun and Cho Won Woo, Han Ga Ram, and Cho Hee

    Original Score
    Joker, Hildur Guðnadóttir – WINNER
    Little Women, Alexandre Desplat
    Marriage Story, Randy Newman
    1917, Thomas Newman
    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, John Williams

    Original Song
    “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” Toy Story 4
    “I’m Gonna Love Me Again,” Rocketman – WINNER
    “I’m Standing With You,” Breakthrough
    “Into the Unknown,” Frozen 2
    “Stand Up,” Harriet

    Makeup and Hair
    Bombshell – WINNER
    Joker
    Judy
    Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
    1917

    Costume Design
    The Irishman, Sandy Powell, Christopher Peterson
    Jojo Rabbit, Mayes C. Rubeo
    Joker, Mark Bridges
    Little Women, Jacqueline Durran – WINNER
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Arianne Phillips

    Visual Effects
    Avengers: Endgame
    The Irishman
    1917 – WINNER
    The Lion King
    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    bong joon ho oscars

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    February 10, 2020 • Entertainment News, International Diversity • Views: 501

  • Photo Arts Conservatory at New York Film Academy (PAC at NYFA) Showcases Work in Photo LA

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    This year, the Photo Arts Conservatory at New York Film Academy (PAC at NYFA) participated in Photo LA, the annual event that links local and global artists and thinkers by sharing work to create an encompassing photographic experience. Students, alumni, and faculty were able to showcase their work alongside galleries, artists, collectors, dealers, and publishers. 

    Photo LA 2020

    PAC at NYFA curated an exciting show representing the values, aesthetics, and the intellectual rigor of our students, alumni, and faculty. The work shows our strong commitment to facilitating an education that combines fine art and commercial skills with critical theory and contemporary issues. We are thrilled to be a community of global visual storytellers, made up of students and faculty from around the world. 

    Additionally. PAC at NYFA also produced, hosted, and moderated three panels at FOCUS Photo LA. Our first panel featured photographer and NYFA faculty Lane Barden discussing his work in the MONUMENTality exhibition at the Getty. Frances Terpak, Curator of Photographs at the Getty Research Institute, joined the discussion, sharing her process of curating the show and the ideas behind it. Also there to deepen the conversation was Roberto Scheiberg, architect from the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design, who was present and an active player in the funding and exhibiting of the Linear City project at Woodbury University’s gallery in Hollywood (Wuho). 

    Our next panel was called Social Media Giants: Thoughts and Advice on Instagram, which featured Baz Here (NYFA MFA Photography student), Maddie Smith (BFA Photography student), and Alejandro Ibarra (MFA alum and NYFA instructor), who all have strong Instagram followings. Silvi Naci, artist, curator, and NYFA faculty, moderated the discussion exploring their use of Instagram as a platform, how they got their following, and what they saw the future of Instagram to be for photography. 

    Photo LA 2020

    Our last and totally sold out panel was a round table discussion called Photo Reps: The Inside Scoop on Intersectional Trends in Advertising. Artist reps and photo producers discussed their experiences in finding and representing diverse photographers and the roles women and people of color take in the making of commercial imagery. This panel featured Maren Levinson (RedEye), Jigisha Bouverat (BOUVERAT COLLECTIVE), Jen Lamping (Director of Photo Production at RPA), and Clarissa Garrett (Producer at 72andsunny), and was moderated by artist and PAC at NYFA faculty Amanda Rowan.

    Artists from PAC at NYFA that exhibited at Photo LA included:

    Changhao Song, BFA Alum
    Eric Magana, BFA Student
    Baz Here, MFA Student
    Dia Yunzhi Wang, MFA Alum
    Oluwasegun Oladele-Ajose, 1-Year Conservatory Alum
    Suge Hou, BFA Student
    Yilin Li, MFA Alum
    Jon Henry, 1-Year Conservatory Alum and Faculty
    Mengmeng Lu, BFA Alum and Faculty
    Angel Alvarado, Digital Lab Coordinator
    Amanda Rowan, Faculty
    Andre Keichian, Faculty
    Jackie Neale, Faculty
    Lane Barden, Faculty
    Kean O’Brien, Co-Chair
    Naomi White, Co-Chair

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    February 5, 2020 • Faculty Highlights, Photography, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 305

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Screenwriting Graduates Celebrate With Largest Industry Pitch Fest to Date

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    Graduating New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Screenwriting students attended their culminating Industry Pitch Fest Event, held as always at the beautiful penthouse ballroom of the Andaz Hotel on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, surrounded by astounding views of Los Angeles.

    This semester’s event was particularly special because it was the largest the NYFA Screenwriting school has hosted to date, proving once again it is a favorite of industry professionals.

    Pitch Fest 2020

    A catered event and mingling opportunity for students, executives, and faculty alike, this capstone evening celebrates the New York Film Academy’s graduating MFA Screenwriting students, offering them a unique opportunity to jumpstart their professional development by pitching their Film and TV thesis projects to entertainment industry professionals.  A record number of industry professionals came out to celebrate and give invaluable input for the students to take away with them as they move into the exciting next stage of their careers.

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

    Considered by the Academy to be their first official night as professional screenwriters, the hard work of this group of talented and creative students paid off as they pitched agents, managers, studios, and alternative media, TV, and film production company execs in a relaxed, roundtable environment.

    Organized and hosted by Screenwriting faculty Jenni Powell and Adam Finer, the event featured representatives from Hollywood companies, including Monkeypaw Productions, Verve, Ventanarosa Productions, Energy Entertainment, Madison Wells Media, ICM, Lit Entertainment Group, Inclusion Management, Legacy Pictures, and nearly 20 other companies.

    New York Film Academy gives a heartfelt thanks to all of its participants, particularly our industry guests, without whom this evening could not have been possible, and extends a big congratulations to all of our MFA Screenwriting graduates and wishes them all the best as they move forward in their professional journeys!

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    February 4, 2020 • Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 317

  • Study Photography in Florence with New York Film Academy (NYFA)

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    Where better to study photography than in a city steeped with history, culture, and extraordinary light?

    This May, New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) will be running its hands-on and intensive 1-Week and 4-Week Photography programs in Florence, Italy—the birthplace of the Renaissance and where our understanding of portraiture originally stems from. 

    Florence photography violin

    NYFA Florence itself is located in the perfect setting for a photo workshop. The facility is in the neighborhood of Santa Croce, whose curved streets are the remnants of an amphitheater built 2,000 years ago! It is just steps away from the Piazza Santa Croce, one of the city’s most prominent squares and historical landmarks. The square is home to the Basilica of Santa Croce, which features sixteen beautifully decorated chapels as well as the tombs of many illustrious Italian figures, including Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Galileo, and Enrico Fermi. 

    Throughout the courses, students will explore the city of Florence, take day trips to surrounding towns, and visit museums and galleries to explore how photography in relation to classical and renaissance art. This is all while students are immersed in the art and craft of still photography, and are introduced to the tools necessary to capture great images and refine them through digital imaging.

    The programs are open to all levels of experience. Those newer to the field will benefit from their more experienced peers, and those with more experience will not only learn new material but learn from sharing their knowledge.

    While English is the language of instruction at all NYFA locations and in all coursework, we welcome students from all over the world, and have done so since the Academy’s inception in 1992. The NYFA environment offers a true international experience thanks to the richness of so many varied cultures converging together. US students will interact with local communities and citizens through the lenses of their cameras.

    Florence Photography

    Lisa Maria Valeskini, a student from Austria, took this photo during NYFA Florence’s 1-Week Digital Photo Program in May 2019

    Please note that all students are required to bring with them to the photography workshops a digital camera with manual exposure control and a hard drive for image backup.

    US college credits are available for these courses.*  

    written by Hannah Gilliland, Study Abroad Admissions Associate

    *Please note:  New York Film Academy makes no representation that credits awarded by NYFA will be accepted or applied toward the completion of any degree or certificate by any other postsecondary institution. The acceptance of transfer credits is always governed by the receiving school.

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    February 3, 2020 • Photography, Study Abroad • Views: 327