Crickett Rumley
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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screenwriting Instructor Alan Trezza Writes and Executive Produces ‘We Summon the Darkness’

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    We Summon the Darkness, a horror film written and executive produced by New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screenwriting instructor Alan Trezza, recently screened at Fantastic Fest.

    Trezza teaches screenwriting to students at New York Film Academy’s Burbank-based campus. Trezza previously wrote and directed the short film Burying the Ex, which was adapted into a feature directed by Joe Dante.

    “I learned a great deal writing and executive producing We Summon the Darkness,” Trezza tells NYFA, “and I look forward to sharing all the lessons I’ve learned with my students.”

    The film stars Alexandra Daddario, Maddie Hasson, Amy Forsyth, and Johnny Knoxville, and was directed by Marc Meyers. A period story set in the height of the “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s, the movie follows three best friends into heavy metal after they head off to a secluded party one night, where the evening takes a deadly turn.

    We Summon the Darkness has been receiving overwhelmingly positive praise, including at Fantastic Fest, with Bloody Disgusting calling the film “a metal mayhem joyride” with “extremely likable, fully realized characters in a fully fleshed out world.” 

    Fantastic Fest is an annual festival held in Austin, Texas that focuses on genre films, including horror, fantasy, science fiction, action, and cult movies. This year’s Fantastic Fest was held from September 19 – 26.


    We Summon the Darkness
    will next be holding its premiere on Thursday, October 17, at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, followed by Q&A with director Marc Meyers and cast members Keean Johnson, Johnny Knoxville, Logan Miller, Maddie Hasson, Amy Forsyth, and Austin Swift. Tickets to the screening are available here.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Screenwriting instructor Alan Trezza on his new film We Summon the Darkness and encourages everyone who can to attend to the Los Angeles premiere on October 17!

    (UPDATE: 4.3.2020) We Summon the Darkness will be available to view on iTunes and Amazon on Friday, April 10, 2020.

    ‘We Summon the Darkness’ Official Film Poster

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    April 3, 2020 • Faculty Highlights, Screenwriting • Views: 1438

  • New York Film Academy Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre (PCMT) Welcomes David Yazbek and Anna K Jacobs for Musical Theatre Workshop

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    On March 3rd, the Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre (PCMT) participated in a master class with Tony Award-winner David Yazbek and New York Youth Symphony Musical Theater Songwriting Program (NYYS). The master class was hosted at New York Film Academy’s (NYFA) New York campus.

    The composers in the NYYS songwriting program vary in age from 12-22 years old.  Under the guidance of the program director, Anna K. Jacobs (2020 Jonathan Larson Grant recipient), the young songwriters chose moments from the animated Pixar film Inside Out to set to music in a verse/chorus musical form. Students from the Harlem School of the Arts, as well as students from the New York Film Academy, were assigned different songs, rehearsed with the composers, and then performed the songs in front of David Yazbek and an audience.

    David Yazbek (Left) and Anna K. Jacobs (Right) share with PCMT, NYYS, and Harlem School of the Arts students

    Yazbek offered feedback on all of the compositions to the NYYS songwriters. Siya Simanga (PCMT) sang a song called “Bing Bong Guide Song”, written by Grace Gamins, in which the character of Bing Bong (Riley’s childhood imaginary friend) offers Joy and Sadness help in getting back to headquarters.  Jordan White (PCMT) sang the final song of the night called “I Miss Minnesota”, written by Kayden Merritt and arranged by Simon Broucke, in which Riley confesses to her parents how sad she sometimes about leaving her childhood home.Jordan was joined by PCMT students Alexis Loiselle as Sadness, Jennifer Molson as Joy, Lucia Caballero as Disgust, Mario Greiner as Anger and Siya Siyamtanga as Fear.

    All of the NYFA PCMT students that participated and attended said it was very refreshing to hear the creative process talked about in a different way. Yazbek’s call to remain curious and explore multiple genres of music and types of culture was a valuable lesson for actors and composers alike and he  encouraged everyone to collaborate constantly with those around them. Several PCMT students commented later that they were struck by his kindness and humility as he offered feedback, even as his obvious expertise shone through.

    NYFA PCMT students perform their musical piece based on the Pixar film ‘Inside Out’

     

    After meeting PCMT’s music supervisor, Anna Ebbesen, at a workshop a few years ago, Anna K. Jacobs has had an affiliation with NYFA in several different ways. She composed music for an original movie musical, Kaya: Taste of Paradise, for the PCMT 2-Year program. The film was directed by NYFA’s Paul Warner, choreographed by head of dance, Michelle Potterf, with a book by Jerome Parker and music supervised and orchestrated by Ebbesen.

    Jacobs also did a reading of her show Echo as part of the NYFA “New Works Series ” with our musical theatre students. Ebbesen has also joined Jacobs at the NYYS Musical Theater Songwriting Program as music director. It’s true, having multiple “Anna’s” on email chains is confusing, but both of them are happy to have such a strong relationship with both the Harlem School of the Arts and the New York Film Academy, and they appreciated this opportunity to share new musical theatre with the next generation of performers and creatives.

    David Yazbek observes as students perform their musical pieces

    New York Film Academy thanks David Yazbek and Anna K. Jacobs for sharing an evening with NYFA PCMT students to provide constructive feedback and industry expertise. NYFA would also like to thank the New York Youth Symphony Musical Theater Songwriting Program for opening up the master class to NYFA PCMT students, and the Harlem School of the Arts for their participation and collaboration.

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    March 31, 2020 • Musical Theatre • Views: 336

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) 3D Animation & VFX Faculty Matt Galuppo Works on 3 Super Bowl Commercials

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    One of the biggest advantages to studying 3D Animation & Visual Effects at New York Film Academy (NYFA) is studying under faculty members who not only have experience in the industry, but also continue to work in it and have the most up-to-date and relevant perspectives from the inside out.

    Matt Galuppo, Associate Chair of the NYFA-LA 3D Animation & VFX school, is one of these experienced faculty members, with credits as a visual effects artist on films including Divergent, Hercules, Warcraft, The Maze Runner, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014). Most recently, he worked on not one but three Super Bowl commercials as part of the pitch and pre-pro team for the production companies behind them:

    Microsoft – Bring it to the Surface
    m:United

    Verizon 5G
    McCann Ericson

    NFL 100 Opening – Take It to the House
    72 and Sunny

    super bowl liv

    In his own words, Galuppo describes what it was like pitching and working on Super Bowl commercials seen by millions of television and streaming viewers:

    Working on the pitch and pre-production for every commercial is different. It can shift between visual research and script breakdowns to taking passes on the actual script itself. You have to have a great sense of collaboration, client sensibilities, visual storytelling, as well as copywriting. It is doing a little bit of everything over a very short period of time.

    Whatever the individual asks for, most agency and production company pitches usually culminate in some sort of treatment or deck. The purpose of these is to take the agency and brand step by step through the spot, covering everything from pacing, tone, story arc, etc.

    For the Microsoft spot centering on the first female coach in the Super Bowl, it included watching and reading hours of interviews of the coach, Katie Sower, to better get to know her. What came out of that research was that she was an avid journaler, and we were able to use her reading from her old journals as a narrative frame for the longer spot itself.

    The Verizon 5G spot did a great job of doing what no one else was doing. While everyone else was talking about smartphones and emerging technologies, Verizon reframed the conversation around those how jobs could work with or without the technology. It refocused the conversation on the bravery and humanity of first responders and their organic relationship to technology.

    The trick of the NFL 100 opening is a giant montage across America where every shot had to include references to both past and present NFL players, coaches, and commentators, while also referencing the city themselves. The agency was very open to hearing additional gag pitches for the teams and cities involved.

    New York Film Academy thanks Associate Chair of NYFA-LA 3D Animation & VFX Matt Galuppo for describing what it was like behind the scenes working on these Super Bowl ads!

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    March 26, 2020 • 3D Animation, Faculty Highlights • Views: 305

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking & Photography Alum Paquita Hughes Works on Hulu’s ‘Little Fires Everywhere’

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    Paquita Hughes, Navy veteran and alum of New York Film Academy’s Filmmaking and Photography schools, has added Little Fires Everywhere to her growing list of Hollywood credits. 

    Little Fires Everywhere, which debuted on Hulu on March 18, stars Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, who both also served as executive producers on the dramatic miniseries. The show is adapted from the 2017 novel of the same name by Celeste Ng and tells the story of two mothers from diametric socioeconomic backgrounds in Shaker Heights, Ohio during the 1990s.

    little fires everywhere
    Hughes is a
    veteran of the United States Navy and first attended NYFA’s 1-Year Filmmaking conservatory in July 2011 at our Burbank-based campus in Los Angeles. After completing the program, she then enrolled in the 1-Year Photography conservatory. Her thesis project was a pilot for the dramedy web series Sugar, which dealt with the sex industry and included strongly written, complicated female protagonists.

    Since filming Sugar and graduating, Hughes has been very busy working in Hollywood working in various positions, including as location manager on hit productions like Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS: Los Angeles, and Marvel’s Runaways. Additionally, Hughes is working as location manager on the new period-set reboot of Perry Mason, starring NYFA Guest Speaker Matthew Rhys.

    “I had an epiphany when I was in the Navy,” Hughes says in a NYFA video spotlighting her success as an alumni, “and I thought to myself if I could succeed at serving my country during a time of war, I could succeed at following my dreams attending film school, so I decided to get out and study film.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA Filmmaking and Photography alum Paquita Hughes on her prolific work on Hollywood productions and encourages everyone to watch Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu!

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking Alum Pedro Álvarez Gales Works on Netflix’s ‘Tiger King’

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    Netflix has become an essential service now more than ever while most of the world stays indoors, and seemingly everyone watching Netflix is watching its latest original docuseries, Tiger King, co-edited by New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking alum Pedro Álvarez Gales.

    Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is a true crime docuseries that explores a convicted criminal and flamboyant zoo owner and the larger world of big cat owners and enthusiasts that he inhabits. Over the course of seven episodes, co-directors Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin tell the story of Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka “Joe Exotic,” who plotted the murder of Carole Baskin of Florida’s Big Cat Rescue.

    The show has resonated with television viewers stuck at home due to self-isolation and quarantine, and in just its first three days of release Tiger King became one of the top 10 shows watched on the popular streaming service.

    Documentaries typically involve a great deal more editing than narrative productions when factoring in all the raw footage that needs to be culled into a cohesive story. New York Film Academy Documentary Filmmaking alum Pedro Álvarez Gales was a perfect choice by the production to serve as co-editor. The talented young editor and director has worked on productions including Black Market with Michael K. Williams, King of the Road, Weediquette, and last year’s buzzworthy documentary FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.

    Gales, who is originally from Caracas, Venezuela, first received his training at the NYFA Documentary Filmmaking school at our New York Campus in 2013. “Almost everything I do today I learned in NYFA,” Gales told us in an interview last year. “I had never touched any editing software until I went there. It was through NYFA I got my first job in New York too (Vice and Viceland) where I stayed for three years and went from being an assistant editor to junior editor.”

    tiger king pedro alvarez gales

    NYFA Documentary Filmmaking alum Pedro Álvarez Gales

    He adds, “The Documentary program can be a really intense one with long hours and days, but if you apply yourself and choose to absorb everything that’s coming your way you’ll leave that building a documentary filmmaker.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA Documentary Filmmaking alum Pedro Álvarez Gales on the success of Tiger King and encourages everyone at home to check out the docuseries on Netflix!

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    March 25, 2020 • Documentary Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 756

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) AFA Acting for Film Alum Masali Baduza Stars in BBC’s Noughts + Crosses

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) AFA Acting for FIlm alum Masali Baduza has landed one of the lead roles in BBC’s buzzworthy new adaptation of Noughts + Crosses.

    Masali Baduza

    NYFA AFA Acting for Film alum Masali Baduza

    Baduza originally hails from South Africa and is bilingual in both English and Xhosa, and earned her Associate Degree of Fine Arts in Acting for FIlm after enrolling at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus in Los Angeles in 2015. Since earning her AFA in Acting for Film, Baduza has appeared in the productions Bhai’s Cafe, The Fighter, and Trackers, before landing her biggest role yet in BBC’s Noughts + Crosses.

    The television show is adapted from a series of young adult stories that began with the novel Noughts & Crosses, first published in 2001. The speculative fiction saga, written by Malorie Blackman, takes place in an alternate history where black Africans colonized and enslaved white Europeans, rather than the other way around. The story is told from the perspectives of two lead characters–Callum and Sephy. 

    Masali Baduza

    ‘Noughts + Crosses Stars’ Jack Rowan and NYFA AFA Acting for Film alum Masali Baduza

    Baduza stars as Sephy, opposite Jack Rowan (Peaky Blinders, Born to Kill), who plays Callum. The cast also includes Paterson Joseph (The Leftovers, Timeless), Josh Dylan (Mamma Mia 2, The End of the F***ing World), Kiké Brimah (Doctors), Luke Bailey (Ordinary Lies), Jonathan Ajayi (Wonder Woman 1984), Helen Baxendale (Dirk Gently), and British rapper Stormzy.

    New York Film Academy congratulates AFA Acting for Film alum Masali Baduza on landing the lead role in BBC’s exciting new show and encourages everyone to check out her work on Noughts + Crosses!

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    March 24, 2020 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 279

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA Acting for Film Alum Michael Johnson Receives Inaugural Elan Vega Award

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    Before he unexpectedly passed away last summer, New York Film Academy (NYFA) 1-Year Screenwriting conservatory and BFA Acting for Film alum Elan Vega lit up the lives of everyone around him, especially his NYFA classmates. His positivity, hard work, and commitment to the arts now lives on through NYFA’s Elan Vega Award, and it was no surprise that the award’s first recipient was NYFA 1-Year Filmmaking conservatory student and BFA Acting for Film grad Michael Johnson.

    Both Johnson and Vega graduated from the BFA Acting for Film program at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus. Both alumni also sought to expand their artistic talents into other avenues; in Spring 2019, Johnson enrolled in NYFA-LA’s 1-Year Filmmaking conservatory while Vega began studying in the 1-Year Screenwriting conservatory. Vega was a veteran of the United States Marine Corps who had a huge heart and who personified service, perseverance, and passion. Johnson is also a military veteran, having served in the US Army, and shares these same virtues, making him the perfect choice to receive the inaugural Elan Vega Award.

    Michael Johnson Elan Vega Award

    NYFA alum and Elan Vega Award recipient Michael Johnson

    The award will be distributed each semester by New York Film Academy in Vega’s honor to students that embody Vega’s kindness, selflessness, and thoughtfulness, students who have demonstrated the desire to help their fellow artists whenever and wherever needed, as Vega had done so many times. Vega loved the process of storytelling, our community, and the friends he made at NYFA, and elevated both his classmates and his program with his enduring attitude.

    To that end, the Elan Vega Award includes both a beautifully-crafted plaque and a financial grant to help recipients further their studies and artistic pursuits. Johnson received the award in February in a ceremony attended by, among other NYFA senior faculty, actor and NYFA Master Class instructor Matthew Modine.

    Michael Johnson Elan Vega Award

    Michael Johnson receiving the Elan Vega Award with senior NYFA faculty

    Like Vega, Johnson is beloved by his peers in the NYFA community, as well as his instructors and other faculty and administration. While the tragic passing of Vega will never be forgotten, his spirit living on through his friends and through future graduates of NYFA who embody that spirit is something to celebrate. Friends and classmates of both Vega and Johnson were glad to see Vega’s memory honored by Johnson, who gave a heartfelt acceptance speech at the award ceremony.

    New York Film Academy congratulates 1-Year Filmmaking conservatory and BFA Acting for Film grad Michael Johnson on receiving the inaugural Elan Vega Award and honoring the spirit of NYFA alum Elan Vega.

    Michael Johnson Elan Vega Award

    NYFA alum and Elan Vega Award recipient Michael Johnson

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) AFA Acting for Film Alum Gonzalo Martin Nominated for BAFTA Game Award for ‘Life is Strange 2’

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) AFA Acting for Film Alum Gonzalo Martin has been nominated for a BAFTA Game Award for his voiceover work in the critically-acclaimed video game Life is Strange 2. Martin will be competing in the Best Performer in a Leading Role category, along with notable actors Logan Marshall-Green (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Prometheus) and Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead, The Boondock Saints). The winners of the prestigious awards will be announced at the 2020 British Academy Games Awards ceremony on Thursday, April 2.

    Gonzalo Martin

    NYFA AFA Acting for Film Alum Gonzalo Martin

    Gonzalo Martin stars as lead protagonist Sean Diaz, who the player controls throughout the game. Martin is an Acting for Film alum from New York Film Academy, having attended the AFA program in 2015, and has previously been a part of the Academy’s admissions team. 

    Life is Strange 2 is a graphic adventure video game, available on nearly all major platforms (including Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC and macOS), and is the sequel to the smash hit and critically-acclaimed Life is Strange, originally released in 2015. That title has sold over three million copies to date and comes from Square Enix, the Japanese developer and publisher of wildly popular games Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, and Dragon Quest, among others. 

    The game was developed by Dontnod Entertainment (Vampyr, Twin Mirror) and has already been nominated for several gaming awards and won the Special Jury Prize at the 2018 Ping Awards. The game tells the story of young brothers Sean and Daniel Diaz, who are on the run from the police. The game is a third-person story adventure, with dialogue trees and gaming decisions affecting the story and future episodes.

    “It’s an honor to be nominated for such a prestigious award in a field that I am just getting my feet in,” Martin tells NYFA. “I already feel like I have won, just because of being nominated side-to-side with all these other amazing actors, whose work I admire so much, such as Norman Reedus.”

    Martin’s previous acting roles include BuzzFeed Murder Mystery Stories, and the films I’ll Be Next Door for Christmas and When It Rings. He is currently finishing with post-production of the first feature film he’s produced and starred in, titled Back to Lyla, which features more than five other NYFA alumni on the production.

    “I am a very, very proud NYFA alum,” adds Martin. “And the most fulfilling thing about this nomination was the ability to go back to school and share this amazing news with all my teachers and mentors. They are a big part of the reason why I have made it this far.”

     

    UPDATE (4.3.20): Gonzalo Martin was awarded the BAFTA Game Award for Best Performer in a Leading Role for Life is Strange 2. The winners of the BAFTA Game Awards were announced at the 2020 British Academy Games Awards ceremony via livestream on Thursday, April 2.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Gonzalo Martin on his exciting BAFTA Game Award win for Best Performer in a Leading Role for Square Enix’s Life is Strange 2!

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    March 20, 2020 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 353

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism – March 2020 Update

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    Without a doubt, the spread of the COVID-19 virus is at the top of TV newscasts around the world. That’s not surprising. That said, it is “business as usual” for the Broadcast Journalism department. And even if we can’t meet in Manhattan, my office in cyberspace is functioning just fine.

    The Broadcasting Department connecting online

    Something else that has been transformed is the U.S. Presidential race. Big campaign rallies have been cancelled, until further note. But, before they were, NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Celina Liv Danielsen was traveling throughout the United States for Denmark’s TV2, and was able to capture when President Donald Trump arrived in New Hampshire.

    NYFA Alum Celina Liv Danielsen captures Donald Trump at his campaign rally in New Hampshire.

    As voters were getting ready for Super Tuesday and the selection of Democratic convention delegates in 11 different states, NYFA alum Karen Hua covered a Bernie Sanders rally in California for the NBC affiliate station in Bakersfield; note that she covered this event solo and posted on social media. TV news reporters are now expected to do so, as such
    postings are essential to building and maintaining audiences.

     

    Meanwhile, Brazilian Broadcast Journalism graduate Livia Fernanda had a far more pleasant assignment. She got to cover Carnival in Saō Paulo… but everything ended at midnight with the arrival of Ash Wednesday.

    NYFA Alum Livia Fernanda covers Carnival in Brazil

    Former NYFA student Suzane de Oliveira works for the French news agency AFP in Rio de Janeiro. An important part of her job is taking international AFP stories and repackaging them for the Brazilian TV market. Certainly one of the most moving stories I have seen in a long time was about a father in Syria, who found the best way to keep his young daughter calm as their town was under artillery and aerial bombardment was to make her laugh. Every time an explosion took place nearby, the two would burst into exuberant laughter.

    Of course, some of our Brazilian grads (like some of our Danish grads) find their way back to New York City. Mariana Janjacomo was reporting from in front of the New York Stock Exchange recently, explaining the confusing economic news. She works for Jovem Pan, the main Brazilian radio station based in São Paulo. It is also the largest network of radio stations in the southern hemisphere and Latin America. Like other legacy media companies, they’ve branched out into online video news.

    Thanks to all of you that passed along information about the NYFA Moscow Journalism Summer School (JSS). We received more than three times as many applications and queries as we have available openings. Successful candidates will be notified later this month.
    Finally, if the Cannes Film Festival takes place this May (and right now, that is a big “if”) my independent feature film Invisible Love will be part of the Marche du Film. I must admit I was seriously surprised when I received a copy of the latest poster for the film, and discovered I got top billing! If anybody’s names should be up there, it ought to be Vietnamese actress Hoàng Phượng and NYFA Acting for Film alum Kazy Tauginas. They portray the two characters seen walking on a beach, near Da Nang in Viet Nam, in the poster.

    Poster for ‘Invisible Love’

    Stay tuned for more.
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    March 19, 2020 • Broadcast Journalism • Views: 601

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Producing Students Get Hands-On Film Set Experience

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    One of the great things about studying Producing at New York Film Academy New York (NYFA-NY) is the variety of exciting locations available in New York City. The diverse and sometimes iconic locations lend themselves well to all sorts of projects for Producing students, from commercials to web videos to short films.
    Producing February 2020 PW
    Recently, NYFA’s 1-Year Producing conservatory students shot their “Producing Commercials” project at The Wagner, one of Manhattan’s most glamorous downtown hotels. With glorious views of the New York harbor and the Statue of Liberty, this is an incredible spot (and, conveniently, just one block away from NYFA-NY’s Battery Park campus.)
    Producing February 2020 PW
    In addition to their individual and group production projects, all NYFA 1-Year Producing conservatory students participate in a one-day Production Workshop (PW). The students assume crew positions under their instructors who act as heads of departments–director, Filmmaking and Producing instructor Brad Sample; cinematographer, camera and lighting instructor Arsenio Assin; first assistant director, Producing instructor Richard D’Angelo; production designer, Producing and Filmmaking instructor Debbie DeVilla; and sound mixer, sound instructor Jonathan Appell.
    Producing February 2020 PW

    From left to right: Joey Hindersman, Vivian Wang, Camille Rao, Christine Aberyuf, Richard Payne, Idil Canli, Alice Shy, Caspian Khonigh, Nikki Soo

    This most recent PW was written by Brad Sample, and told the story of two office workers caught in a deadly situation in their company’s storage closet during an office holiday party. Students built a claustrophobic yet effective “storage closet” set, dressed by NYFA Producing student members of the art department. The production workshop, appropriately titled Blood On Our Hands, offers students hands-on insight into how a professional set is run.

    And not a drop of fake stage blood was wasted!
    Producing February 2020 PW

    Fall 2019 1-Year Producing students Christine, Aberyug, VIvian Yang, Richard Payne, Idil Canli, Camille Rao, Nima Khonigh

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    March 19, 2020 • Producing • Views: 577