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  • Filmmaking Instructor at NYFA Tackles Queerness in Shakespeare Adaptation ‘HAMLET/HORATIO’

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    Paul Warner, Director and Filmmaking Instructor with NYFA, released feature-length film, HAMLET/HORATIO, available on Amazon Prime. A collaborative effort with writer David Vando, the film is a contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic “Hamlet.” 

    HAMLET/HORATIO centers around the grieving producer and main character, Hamlet (played by NYFA Alum Andrew Burdette), who is now head of a film production company following the death of his father. His right-hand man and director, Horatio (played by NYFA Alum Themo Melikidze) captures his close friend’s pain in an enduring promise to tell Hamlet’s story through the production of a film. 

    While the work includes all major themes from the original play, Warner takes a unique approach in explaining the relationship between the close companions. An exploration of their relationship with undertones of gender-fluidity and sexuality, HAMLET/HORATIO captures the essence of the characters’ closeness as a series of dream-like scenes with soft-focused camera work and a series of fourth-wall breaks. 

    Quoted in an article by Washington Blade which touches on the theme of sexuality in the adaptation, “There’s a tremendous amount of exploration of gender fluidity in his work,” says Warner, “There’s never a label on it, but it permeates Shakespeare. There are a lot of characters who fall in love with the soul of the person, rather than the gender.”

    The film captures Hamlet’s search for fulfillment in front of a backdrop of fascism, with characters and visuals resembling a previous White House Administration. Whilst battling the corruption of his surroundings, Hamlet sacrifices his own life in the arms of his companion, Horatio, who then pledges to capture his story. 

    According to a Signal Horizon Magazine review, “The two light up near each other literally and figuratively. Beautiful lighting and soft-focused camera work highlight the friend’s interactions.”

    HAMLET/HORATIO won a Film Jury Award for Best Feature at the 2020 edition Film Festivals To Go (FFTG). The film will be available for viewing on all platforms next month. 

    Amazon Prime Film Reviews: 

    “This film has already won many awards in the film festival circuits and for obvious reasons! All of the acting performances are great and this is such a unique, modern take of a Shakespearian classic. Definitely one of the best Indie films I’ve seen. If you are a fan of classics with a twist or artistic and unique indie films, then this is definitely for you! I would love to see them make a version of A Midsummer’s Night Dream like this as well. Bravo!”

    “I love this film! The best thing is you do not have to have a Shakespeare background to understand the story. The movie is beautiful to look at with an outstanding score. I can not believe how great the production value is for this type of indy film. Do yourself a favor and rent this film!”

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA instructor Paul Warner as well as alumni Andrew Burdette and Themo Melikidze for the success of HAMLET/HORATIO, now available on Amazon Prime.

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    September 15, 2021 • Faculty Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 492

  • 7th Annual Nordic International Film Festival Partners with NYFA for Workshop Scholarship

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    NIFF 7th year LOGO BLACK

    The largest Nordic film festival outside of Europe takes the stage in its seventh year to showcase the power of international film. The 7th Nordic International Film Festival (NIFF) will take place between 8/25 and 8/29 this year in the heart of Manhattan. The Park Avenue location, Fotografiska, will feature films from an array of internationally recognized filmmakers. Included in this year’s selection: Persona Non Grata, Come to Harm, and Abyss of the Birds. Check out the full 2021 selection here

    persona non grata film poster

    Persona Non Grata (2021) directed by Lisa Jespersen

    Fotografiska, the largest photography museum in the world, is a key partner of NIFF. With a mission to inspire a more conscious world, the museum’s exhibits are developed by the artists themselves. 

    The festival was founded by New York Film Academy (NYFA) alumni, Johan Matton and Linnea Larsdotter. Actor and Producer, Johan Matton graduated from NYFA’s 2-year Acting for Film conservatory at the New York City campus, as well as the 2-day Line Producing workshop. Actress and Producer, Linnea Larsdotter graduated from NYFA’s 2-year Musical Theatre program also at the New York City campus.

    come to harm film poster

    Come to Harm (2021) directed by Anton Kristensen & Ásgeir Sigurðsson

    New York Film Academy has partnered with the Nordic International Film Festival for the third consecutive year to award a scholarship to the winner of the Aurora Borealis category. The award will be presented by NYFA New York Acting For Film Creative Director, Amy Van Horne.

    The two acclaimed Producers co-founded NIFF with the hopes of bridging the divide between Nordic film and the international film community. In keeping with its mission, NIFF dedicates its efforts to support the Black Lives Matter movement and gender equality in the filmmaking community. 

    abyss of the birds film poster

    Abyss of the Birds (2021) directed by Jacob Krzysztof Glogowski

    Caption: Abyss of the Birds (2021) directed by Jacob Krzysztof Glogowski

    In 2020, NIFF pivoted along with every other organization to keep its attendants and participants safe by re-structuring its film showings in response to COVID-19. They included outdoor film screenings and COVID-19 safety restrictions. Back with an in-person venue, the festival is ready to continue its work in maintaining a safe environment in adherence to CDC guidelines. 

    In keeping with its mission, NIFF allocated 50% of its 2020 Official Selection ticket sales to the Brown Art Ink and the Black Independent Filmmaker app. In 2019, the festival touted a staggering 250% more female directors showcased than in the top 250 grossing films in the US, which was a mere 13% in the same year. 

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA alumni Johan Matton and Linnea Larsdotter on the continued success of the Nordic International Film Festival as well as this year’s Aurora Borealis winner, Lisa Meyer who directed Birds of Passage.

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    August 23, 2021 • Film Festivals, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1090

  • 6 NYFA Alumni to Support this Black-Owned Business Month

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    August is National Black Business Month, where we as a nation of consumers recognize and support black-owned businesses across the United States. According to the 2019 Annual Business Survey (covering the reference year 2018), 124, 551 businesses are owned by Black Americans, representing just over 2% of total businesses in the US. In the Arts-related sector, only a handful of businesses (relative to the number of Black-Owned businesses across all sectors) are Black-Owned – they fall within the Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation sector. 

    In support of National Black Business Month, New York Film Academy is highlighting just a handful of incredibly talented NYFA alumni who not only own a business and have earned success through their crafts but continue to build their brands in order to support other artists. 

    We encourage you to support these individuals by contributing to their business or sharing their incredible work.

    Issa Rae

    Writer, Producer, & Actress

    Chief Executive Officer of HOORAE (formerly known as Issa Rae Productions), Issa Rae oversees the multi-faceted entertainment media company to ensure a diverse set of stories and stories about the community are told. An award-winning actress and producer in her own right, Issa Rae gained critical acclaim and international attention from her hit HBO show, Insecure. The show received multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. 

    HOORAE includes HOORAE Film & TV, as well as groundbreaking companies such as ColorCreative Management and Raedio.XXX. While overseeing the company, Rae continues to perform incredible work across Netflix and HBO, including The Lovebirds and Coastal Elites.

    Rae studied filmmaking with us back in 2005. You can keep updated on the latest from Issa Rae by following her on Instagram or LinkedIn

    Leonice (Leo) Brown-Young Jr

    Partner & Co-Founder 

    Co-Founder and partner in starting MoonRift Entertainment, LLC, Brown-Young Jr inspires and innovates by re-imagining the future. MoonRift Entertainment is an entertainment company with the mission o change the game by building a foundation for success. The business curates content across a variety of forms, including video games, films, and novels. 

    Always pushing the box, MoonRift Entertainment continues to reflect the same values of its co-founder. Brown-Young Jr is co-founder of Young Dreamers United, which strives to pave the way for success for middle school students in the San Diego area in California. 

    Brown-Young Jr studied with us to earn his MFA in Game Design 2021. You can learn more about MoonRift’s latest content on Instagram, or follow Young-Brown Jr on LinkedIn

    Thandiwe Mlauli

    Founder & CEO 

    Founder & CEO of Studio Yez, Mlauli created her studio to illuminate and capture hearts at home and around the world. Studio Yezi is a development and animation studio dedicated to creating and telling stories made for people of color and the black community. Studio Yezi equalizes the playing field for black animators by creating content opportunities. Mlauli studied producing for film and TV as well as screenwriting with us back in 2015. 

    Learn the latest news about Studio Yez and updates from Thandiwe Mlauli on Instagram and LinkedIn

    Arthur Hylton (a.k.a. Nestlè Snipes)

    Photographer & Visual Artist

    Born & Raised In East Flatbush Brooklyn, Arthur goes by the professional name, Nestlè Snipes. Snipes founded Snipes Studios in order to create imagery that models his passion and visual influences. Snipes considers himself a muse-based photographer and takes inspiration from other professionals like Helmut Newton, Yves Klein, and Daido Moriyama. 

    Snipes focuses his imagery around muses of color and processes his photos as little as possible to ensure the models are depicted as realistically as possible. Snipes prides his craft around creating art that forces audiences to see the world as it “really is” and not “as they want it to be” by creating work that showcases models of color into scenes that typically feature light-skinned models. 

    Snipes studied photography with us back in 2017. You can follow Snipes’ work by following him on Instagram or LinkedIn.

    Donald (EAD) Eferere

    Creative Director & Digital Content Creator

    Founder and Creative Director of RDCYF Brand, Eferere has a wide array of filmmaking and content creation within the entertainment industry. RDCYF Brand is an award-winning production company and agency founded in 2019. Based in NYC, the agency has produced a variety of content. Eferere brings to the agency his own film in film direction, music videos, editing, video color grading, and general content development. 

    Eferere studied filmmaking with us back in 2018. You can keep tabs on Eferere on Instagram or LinkedIn

    Nicole “Soul” Creary 

    CEO & Executive Director 

    Experienced entrepreneur and CEO of Soul2Soulz, Nicole “Soul” Creary has a professional history of working for nonprofits doing social work as well as for film and education organizations. 

    Soul2Soulz’s mission is to create connections that build positive relationships. The organization aims to develop communities where youth, families, and all people, reach their fullest potential. Creary has professional strengths in organizing grassroots initiatives and coalitions, philanthropy, and community organizing. 

    Creary studied filmmaking with us back in 2018. You can keep tabs on her work and the great work of Soul2Soulz on Instagram or LinkedIn

    Like all of the alumni we’ve noted here, there are many other NYFA alumni with no shortage of drive to share their voice through business acumen or support for the black community. Continue to raise the bar by supporting Black-owned businesses even beyond this month. 

    If you’re an NYFA alum with a story to tell, please share it with us by submitting your NYFA Alumni Success Story

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    August 19, 2021 • Alumni Events, Diversity, Progressive & Social Causes • Views: 1195

  • NYFA Alum Bob Ahmed’s ‘Tikkun Olam’ Tackles Homelessness with Humanity in Award-Winning Short

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    Bob Ahmed opens his interview at the 2021 SEEMA Summit with a translation from a poem written by a famous Indian poet, Mirza Ghalib: “To be human is easy, but to be humane is almost impossible.” Thus was born the inspiration for his award-winning short Tikkun Olam (2021), which tackles the subject of homelessness in Washington, D.C.

    Tikkun Olam poster

    Image Source: IMDb

    For anyone who has lived in the nation’s capital or is familiar with the city’s history of poverty, you may not be surprised by the alarming number of homeless, an issue that plagues veterans and civilians alike. Tikkun Olam is a poignant film that revolves around the love and humanity of an eight-year-old boy who encounters a homeless veteran. 

    Based on Ahmed’s own experiences while living in Washington, D.C., The Daily Times described the film as an “urgently needed story of hope in our broken world today” with “blistering performances”. Views & News describes the film as “a rare, polished gem” with “riveting performances”. Voice of America calls it “a unique film on an important topic”.

    Director and NYFA Filmmaking Alum, Bob Ahmed

    Director and NYFA Filmmaking Alum, Bob Ahmed | Photo courtesy of Arielle Lewis

    Tikkun Olam won almost universal acclaim garnering success on the festival circuit where the director’s choice to focus on his actors, putting them in a position to evoke truly intense emotional responses was rewarded. The film won ‘Best Short Film – Teens’ at the 22nd ShorTS International Film Festival in Trieste, Italy in July 2021. The short is also an official selection for the 35th Washington DC International Film Festival and the 27th Sedona International Film Festival, which is ranked amongst the “Top 10 film festivals in the world.”

    “I studied at the New York Film Academy and that is where I really got inspired to make film,says Ahmed in an interview with South Asian icon, Aroon Shivdasani, at the 2021 SEEMA Summit. 

    Ahmed believes his role as the director is not to evoke emotion from his actors, but rather to remove the pressure from the set and create an environment in which the actors can create someone truly special on camera. 

    This approach with his actors which encourages them to do what they believe they would do in a scene (even if slightly different from the script) reaps rewards as the short film was also selected for the 21st D.C. Asian Pacific American Film Festival and selected for the 10th D.C. South Asian Film Festival. 

     

    The director is working on a new film, Johnny & The Golden Gifts about a young boy in Washington D.C, whose life spirals out of control because of a personal tragedy. The story explores themes of forgiveness as a solution to ongoing challenges in modern American Society. 

    Considered both a Director and Screenwriter, Ahmed also wrote, Lost in DC, about a Pakistani man who visits Washington, D.C. and runs into a former high school friend. The two men spend the next several days in each other’s company, learning more about the other’s path in life following their school days. The script is currently a finalist at the 52nd Nashville Film Festival, an Academy Award Qualifying Film Festival. 

    New York Film Academy congratulates Bob Ahmed for his success and looks forward to the upcoming Johnny & The Golden Gifts.

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    August 11, 2021 • Acting, Alumni Events, Filmmaking • Views: 1715

  • The NYFA 20/20 Series: A Conversation with Author and Consultant Thomas Werner

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    Guest Spotlight: Who is Thomas Werner? 

    Thomas Werner, Author, Consultant, and Instructor with the New York Film Academy joined global viewers with host, Liz Hinlein for our June 30th 20/20 Online Series. Werner is the author of The Fashion Image with a second book on the way. 

    Author and Consultant Thomas Werner

    Author and Consultant Thomas Werner

    Now a Consultant and Founder of TWP Creative Edge, Werner supports artists and students to achieve their goals as they pursue careers in Fine Arts. As a Curator and former Owner of the Thomas Werner Gallery in Manhattan’s Chelsea Art District, Werner built a robust network of art collectors over the years, during which time he developed a keen eye for various qualities of work. It’s from this experience that Werner is able to support students with active, hands-on learning experiences. 

    Every Artist Needs Funding. What Do I Keep in Mind for Grant-Writing? 

    Short answer: start small. Thomas Werner advises artists to begin with small funds in order to build experience in the skill of grant-writing. For example, he suggests beginning with $2,000 or $3,000 total funds at a time. Once new artists perfect their writing style based on successes and failures, Werner suggests targeting larger funding opportunities. 

    A grant is “not about me and my artistic vision,” says Werner, but rather a description of “how you’re going to make that vision happen.” In order to set realistic expectations for a project, writers should remain clearly defined in their scope of work that ultimately fits the mission of the organization. According to Werner, sometimes organizations will ask for budgets, so it’s critical that young artists keep their goals in check. At the end of a project, you will be expected to deliver on what you promised. 

    An Artists’s Life on Social 

    Young artists may already have a social media presence on several different platforms. But Werner advises keeping professional and personal lives separate. While artists are human and may be expected to showcase themselves in some of the content they promote, Werner advises keeping the content focused on the work itself. In order to do so, artists may consider creating separate social media handles for the “brand”. 

    Actively promoting your brand is equally as important as having an online presence. Werner suggests a few channels for emerging artists to showcase themselves and their work. For example, he discusses his own presence on Instagram (you can follow Thomas Werner @thomaswernerprojects) and encourages artists to showcase their work in popup shows. 

    In-person and virtual networking offer a much-needed avenue for artists to grow their access to collectors. As a former gallery owner, Werner reminds viewers to pitch to smaller galleries alongside larger names. The reason: smaller gallery owners have a huge network of collectors given the fast-paced nature of their work. 

    Hang in There 

    Werner offers a few truths. He relays, “no one says ‘ your work is amazing, we’re going to fund what you do’ forever,” which means for emerging artists, grant-writing is an essential part of your career. As a consultant, Werner prides himself on his with students to advance their careers with tactile learning. With him, the interactions are not simply transactional. 

    Werner takes time to understand his client’s process. For example, he takes time out of his schedule to learn how the artist creates by visiting the studio or area in which they work and notes any blockers as part of the artists’ process. Anticipating criticism is one very real disincentive for artists to actively showcase their work.

    As a motivation for those who may be experiencing this fear, Werner shares a story from his own experience starting out in the field. During his early years exhibiting his work, much of his work was severely criticized by his own educators. He says, “the work I exhibited–I was told was awful,” Werner pauses before continuing, “but it sold. That’s why I don’t tell people that their work is awful.” 

    As Werner advanced his career, he became his “biggest critic.” Now hyper-aware of everything related to his work and his business, he shares that his journey from curator to gallerist offered experiences that enhanced his ability to tune in with the qualities of his work that are more likely to sell. 

    Get in Touch with Thomas Werner

    If you’re a student or young artist interested in learning more about Thomas Werner, his background, or his ongoing support for emerging artists, follow or DM Werner on his Instagram profile (@thomaswernerprojects) or visit his website thomaswernerprojects.com

    Don’t miss our next 20/20 Online Series with Liz Hinlein by registering directly on our NYFA Events page. The virtual event is held every Wednesday at 3 pm EST

    Host Spotlight: Who is Liz Hinlein?

    Liz Hinlein

    20/20 Online Series Moderator Liz Hinlein

    Liz Hinlein is the Creative Director of Filmmaking and Cinematography with the New York Film Academy. During her tenure, she created our popular weekly virtual event, The 20/20 Series

    Hinlein is an award-winning DGA director and graduate of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Her background in filmmaking and media content includes a robust portfolio of work that spans feature-length films, commercials, and music videos for artists including Mary J. Blige, Britney Spears, Quincy Jones, Incubus, and Fishbone.

    The 20/20 Series is a pop-up virtual event that takes us into the homes, hubs and workspaces of an array of dynamic creative visionaries to allow for relaxed, engaging conversations on craft, creation and artistic vision.

    Each conversation with a creative visionary features 20 minutes of discussion with a moderator and a 20 minute Q&A from YOU, the audience.

    This event is open to the public, as a means of promoting global connection and creativity, a key mission of NYFA.

    You can catch videos from The 20/20 Series as they are released, here

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    July 30, 2021 • Filmmaking, Screenwriting • Views: 688

  • The NYFA 20/20 Series: A Conversation with Commercial Director Jordan Brady

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    Guest Spotlight: Who is Jordan Brady? 

    Stand-up comedian turned Director, Jordan Brady is a self-taught filmmaker with narrative feature films and commercial videos within his professional portfolio. 

    Brady directs advertising campaigns for global brands and agencies. With a focus on comedy commercials, he has directed comedy giants including Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Keegan-Michael Key, Rory Scovel, and more. 

    Commercial Director Jordan Brady

    Brady received multiple Clios, National Gold, ADDY’s, Gold Promax Award, One Show, D Show, Pencil, and AICP Awards. His work is routinely spotlighted on AdWeek, Ads of The World, and Agency Spy. You can catch Brady on his filmmaking podcast RESPECT THE PROCESS, described as “The Rosetta Stone of filmmaking.”

    What does it mean to respect the process?  

    For Jordan Brady, it’s important to respect the process. So what does that mean? For those new to filmmaking, the shoot is a day (or many days) of executing a vision. More work than play, Brady experienced his fair share of experiences observing unfocused crew members. 

    As a director, he understands that while there are opportunities throughout the filmmaking process that encourage play and exploration. However, the day of the shoot is not one of those times. When you arrive to work on set, you should be ready to perform the tasks defined before the big day. 

    What excites you about directing commercials?

    For some, it may be challenging to see the glamour of commercials, but as Brady so aptly put it, “it’s a one-time assignment. So you mount an army of love, and everyone’s in a great mood, because it’s a one day or five-day shoot,” as opposed to feature-length films which can run for weeks at a time. 

    For those wondering what a strong commercial director looks like, it’s someone like Jordan Brady. According to the expert, the indecisive director is the mood killer. A director needs to be firm in the decisions they choose on set, in addition, focused on the vision. 

    “It’s ok to be wrong,” says Brady, “but if you set the party train to go in one direction, you better have a good reason to stop.” According to the director, it’s almost better to get the shot even if you change the course or vision afterward.

    Given the new world of hyper-short video for social media ads and other mobile platforms, the six-second ad is the new 30-second ad. Described as a liking to calligraphy, it’s important to gather the essence of the vision in about three shots because you are limited on time and resources. 

    How do you handle the special effects for your shoot? 

    Hands-down, Jordan Brady believes in doing your homework. According to Brady, you don’t try to figure out the effect on set. The day of the shoot should be kept focused on getting shots. To figure out the logistics of an effect are expensive, time-consuming, and generally not received well by the client. 

    Brady recommends trying things out before you bid for a job. In fact, for some projects, Brady works with everyday objects and his phone to work out an effect before sending in a bid. Regardless of whether the agency moves forward, Brady graciously gives away comedy bits as a professional courtesy should the content fit the narrative. This is a helpful technique to keep your name on an agency’s radar even if you don’t land a project. 

    What are the main challenges you face as a commercial director? 

    For Brady, the biggest challenge is communicating your vision over and over….and over…again. While time management is tough, communicating with an agency, client, actors, assistants, copywriters, and producers can become burdensome. 

    The one area Brady agrees is NEVER a challenge, is the actual screen direction. For him, that’s the fun part of the job. To achieve success is to simply use your imagination, bring some fun and personability to the set, and bring out the best of your actors by remaining focused on the original vision. 

    According to Brady, the trending comedic bit across commercials is the awkward ending. The moments of silence at the end with the meta focus and acknowledgment of the silence is an industry favorite. 

    Keep in touch with Jordan Brady

    You can follow Jordan Brady on Instagram by following @thatjordanbrady. You can also see his work on his Linktree

    Don’t miss our next 20/20 Online Series with Liz Hinlein by registering directly on our NYFA Events page. The virtual event is held every Wednesday at 3 pm EST

    About Liz Hinlein and The 20/20 Series

    Liz Hinlein

    20/20 Online Series Moderator Liz Hinlein

    Liz Hinlein is the Creative Director of Filmmaking and Cinematography with the New York Film Academy. During her tenure, she created our popular weekly virtual event, The 20/20 Series

    Hinlein is an award-winning DGA director and graduate of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Her background in filmmaking and media content includes a robust portfolio of work that spans feature-length films, commercials, and music videos for artists including Mary J. Blige, Britney Spears, Quincy Jones, Incubus, and Fishbone.

    The 20/20 Series is a pop-up virtual event that takes us into the homes, hubs and workspaces of an array of dynamic creative visionaries to allow for relaxed, engaging conversations on craft, creation and artistic vision.

    Each conversation with a creative visionary features 20 minutes of discussion with a moderator and a 20 minute Q&A from YOU, the audience.

    This event is open to the public, as a means of promoting global connection and creativity, a key mission of NYFA.

    You can catch videos from The 20/20 Series as they are released, here

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    July 30, 2021 • Filmmaking • Views: 655

  • Q&A With NYFA Alum Abdulrahman Al Madani on Filming ‘The Monster’ and Recent Work

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    NYFA Filmmaking alum, Abdulrahman Al Madani shares his personal experience tackling challenges in the filmmaking industry with anecdotes from his own recent work, as well as advice for emerging filmmakers. Al Madani wrote and produced the successful short film, Laymoon, and closing his newest project, The Monster. 

    Al Madani is a graduate of the One-Year Filmmaking program at the NYFA Abu Dhabi campus from 2014. 

    Abdulrahman Al Madani

    Filmmaker Abdulrahman Al Madani

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): What projects have you worked on over the past several years? Have you won any awards or been showcased in any festivals or competitions?

    Abdulrahman Al Madani (AM): My work has comprised of short films, documentaries, music videos, and public awareness campaigns. 

    Since graduating from NYFA Abu Dhabi in 2014, I have written, directed, and produced two short films including Laymoon (2019), which was a recipient of Sharjah Art Foundation’s Production Grant, and The Monster (2021). 

    Laymoon was screened all over the Arabian Gulf, including other Arab countries like Lebanon, North Africa, and Europe such as France, Spain, Germany, Denmark, and Norway. The film is currently playing on Etihad Airways flights. 

    My latest short film, The Monster, has completed post-production recently and is currently being submitted to film festivals worldwide. 

    NYFA: Tell us more about your latest project & how you got involved in the project?

    AM: I started writing The Monster over a year ago. Once the pandemic hit, I pushed myself to develop the script further. By the end of the year, I was ready to go into production and wrapped filming in February 2021. The film is a drama revolving around a young mother named Hessa who escapes her abusive husband, only to find herself pressured by her estranged mother to succumb to his abuse. 

    NYFA: What did you learn at NYFA that you applied directly to this project and others?

    AM: Being in NYFA was an eye-opening experience in terms of giving me insight into various aspects of production, which allows me to be knowledgeable of everybody’s work on set. Time management, speaking to actors, and writing three-dimensional characters are some of the most important lessons I learned in NYFA which I continue to find useful to this day. In addition, NYFA helped build a filmmaking community that makes it easier to find a group of people you can trust and help one another. 

    NYFA: Are there any other upcoming projects we should know about?

    AM: I am currently focused on distributing The Monster to festivals worldwide as well as developing my first feature script. 

    NYFA: Do you have any advice for incoming NYFA students? 

    AM: Allow yourself to make mistakes and do not be afraid to experiment. Learn to take feedback with a pinch of salt; everyone will have an opinion about your work. Making films is the best film school, and you will keep learning as you go. Challenge yourself with each project because being stuck in your comfort zone is the death of creativity.

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    July 30, 2021 • Acting, Filmmaking • Views: 1255

  • Alum Janek Ambros’ Feature ‘Mondo Hollywoodland’ Available on August 3

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    Janek Ambros, Filmmaker and Producer of Human Capital (2019), Ten Thousand Saints (2015), and Imminent Threat (2015), directed a new narrative film, Mondo Hollywoodland. Recently acquired by Green Apple Entertainment, the film will be released digitally on August 3, 2021, on Amazon and video-on-demand. The film will also release on Friday, July 30, 2021 in Los Angeles at select theaters, including the Arena Cinelounge. Ambros is an NYFA Producing alum, who has worked on a series of collaborative projects both while as a student as well as after graduation alongside other NYFA alum. 

    Mondo Hollywoodland

    ‘Mondo Hollywoodland’ coming out on August 3, 2021

    The film follows a mushroom dealer and man from the fifth dimension as they adventure on a drug-fueled series of events throughout Hollywood, California. The film was named after the X-rated 1967 documentary, Mondo Hollywood. Ambros’ film, Mondo Hollywoodland was executive-produced by Oscar-nominated James Cromwell. 

    The film premiered at the DTLA Film Festival where it won the ‘Creative Vision Award.’ Mondo Hollywoodland made an international appearance at the Innuendo International Film Festival where Ambros won ‘Best Director.’

    Ambros is head of Assembly Line Entertainment, which has produced a series of films including Since August (2022), Legend of Tayos, Exposure 36 (2022). The NYFA alum is co-executive producer of Monica, currently in production. The film Since August competed for the Golden Goblet at the Shanghai Film Festival and will be out in 2022. 

    Janek Ambros

    Director and Producer Janek Ambros

    Ambros has a robust network across industry professionals, including other NYFA alumni, resulting in a few collaborative projects throughout his career. For example, Ambros is a co-producer of the film, Legend of Tayos, alongside fellow NYFA alum, Galo Sablantes. 

    NYFA encourages readers to follow Assembly Line Entertainment’s Instagram account (@assemblylineent), where the team promotes their upcoming films. The company is soon to launch “Sixties” on the platform, which will highlight sixty-second films from filmmakers around the world.

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    July 30, 2021 • Acting, Film School, Filmmaking, Screenwriting • Views: 755

  • The NYFA 20/20 Series: A Conversation with Broadway Vocal Coach Aimée Steele

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    Guest Spotlight: Who is Aimée Steele? 

    Vocal Coach for the Broadway revival, West Side Story, Girl from the North Country on Broadway, and collaborator on a multitude of projects including working with the cast members of Tom Kitt’s, The Visitor, at The Public Theater.

    Aimee Steele NYFA

    Broadway Vocal Coach Aimée Steele

    Aimée Steele has been teaching in NYC for over 20 years. She received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from The Eastman School of Music and a Master of Music in Vocal Pedagogy from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is a graduate of the Maggie Flannigan Acting Studio where she studied the Meisner technique and has intensively studied the Joan Lader technique with Andrea Green.

    It’s All About Confidence 

    According to Steele, there is often little difference between the seasoned acting veteran and the student starting out in the profession. The seasoned vocal coach notes that when a new student or new professional enters her studio, she takes time to learn how the client learns best. In order to serve him or her with the best support, Steele searches for the unique qualities that the client brings to their performance. 

    Since acting is considered a highly competitive profession with judgemental environments that often make actors feel lesser than they are, Steele advises new professionals to simply focus on what they love: to sing. 

    “In this industry, you have to have an immeasurable amount of confidence. We bear our souls.” 

    Teaching confidence is not an easy task for a vocal coach, but Steele reminds the audience not to compare themselves with others, or even with prior versions of themselves. The best way to achieve a level of confidence that continues to motivate a professional is to focus on the present and the tasks at hand. 

    Working on Broadway: Maintaining Professionalism When Star Struck

    As a vocal coach, Steele collaborated with high-profile named musical directors and actors. She’s only human, so Steele discusses how she manages to work with tenured professionals whom she admired from afar. To avoid getting too star-struck, Steele reminds herself that the client is simply human and they’re here for her services and help. 

    Often a collaborator on Broadway, Steele has worked with many musical directors on Broadway shows who typically reach out to ask for a collaboration. Oftentimes, according to Steele, the producers will have the final say on whether a vocal coach will be kept on stage throughout the production. The reason being, some productions have very tight budgets, but when there is funding available for vocal coaching, it is recommended. 

    Vocal coaches grant the bridge of communication between the actors and the musical director. As the most immediate partner to the actor, the vocal coach can provide ongoing tips and reminders to help singers stay on pitch and keep in focus the purpose of their scenes and the entire story. 

    How to Be Vulnerable 

    “Voice cracking is ok,” says Steele when considering the performances she’s seen in her work tenure, “Some of the best performances I’ve heard are not by people who are considered real singers.” In fact, the singers who provide the most human energy, Steele reminisces, were the singers that left the most impact. That didn’t translate to perfect pitch. 

    For those interested in technical advice, Steele notes that while singing solo to the audience, with no one else on stage, you are still singing to someone. Consider in your mind what happened to your character in the previous moment or scene. This should drive the motivation for your singing to achieve the emotional goal. It’s critical to allowing your vulnerability to shine during these moments to give a stellar performance. 

    Steele teaches both in-person and virtually around the world. Her vocal studio is based in the Upper West Side of New York City and you can learn more about her services and get in touch by visiting www.aimeesteele.com

    About Liz Hinlein and The 20/20 Series

    Liz Hinlein

    NYFA 20/20 Series Moderator Liz Hinlein

     

    Liz Hinlein is the Creative Director of Filmmaking and Cinematography with the New York Film Academy. During her tenure, she created our popular weekly virtual event, The 20/20 Series

    Hinlein is an award-winning DGA director and graduate of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Her background in filmmaking and media content includes a robust portfolio of work that spans feature-length films, commercials, and music videos for artists including Mary J. Blige, Britney Spears, Quincy Jones, Incubus, and Fishbone.

    The 20/20 Series is a pop-up virtual event that takes us into the homes, hubs, and workspaces of an array of dynamic creative visionaries to allow for relaxed, engaging conversations on craft, creation, and artistic vision.

    Each conversation with a creative visionary features 20 minutes of discussion with a moderator and a 20 minute Q&A from YOU, the audience.

    This event is open to the public, as a means of promoting global connection and creativity, a key mission of NYFA.

    You can catch videos from The 20/20 Series as they are released, here

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    July 30, 2021 • Filmmaking • Views: 597

  • NEW YORK FILM ACADEMY (NYFA) ALUM ISSA RAE EARNS NOMINATION IN 73RD ANNUAL PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum, Issa Rae is in this year’s nominations for the 73rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, announced Tuesday, July 13, 2021.

    The filmmaking alum was nominated for ‘Guest Actress in a Comedy’ in this year’s Emmy’s for her performance in the HBO sketch series A Black Lady Sketch Show. The HBO series was also nominated for an Emmy in the ‘Variety Sketch Series’ category. As executive producer of the show, A Black Lady Sketch Show is the first sketch comedy to be written by, directed by, and stars all black women.

    The actress and producer is no stranger to nominations. Issa Rae was twice nominated for Primetime Emmy Awards in 2018 and 2020 for her performances as Issa Dee in the HBO hit TV series Insecure.

    Producing NYFA alum, Lisa Cortés co-directed the Emmy-nominated documentary, All In: The Fight for Democracy, wwhich chronicles the political battle for Democratic Senate seats during the U.S. 2020 Presidential Elections. The documentary was nominated for “Outstanding Writing For A Nonfiction Program.”

    NYFA Guest Speaker Jonathan Groff was nominated for “Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie” for his performance in Hamilton. The play has gone on to win numerous awards, including a Tony, Pulitzer Prize, and Grammy Award.

    Elizabeth Olsen, one of the many stars in the hit Marvel Studios’ Avengers films and guest speaker at the latest NYFA Q&A-List series with Tova Laiter was nominated for “Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie” for her stellar performance as the Scarlet Witch in WandaVision. The Disney+ series was also nominated in the “Limited Series” after taking off in popularity at the start of 2021.

    Another Disney+ series nomination was granted to Legendary Actor, Carl Weathers, for his performance in The Mandalorian for “Guest Actor in a Drama.” Carl Weathers made an appearance as a NYFA guest speaker at our Los Angeles campus Industry Lab Panel discussion in 2019.

    Film legend and NYFA Guest Speaker Alec Baldwin was nominated for “Guest Actor in a Comedy” for his performance on Saturday Night Live (SNL). Most are familiar with parody performances as Former President Donald J. Trump, but the actor has a long screen history from dramas to comedies. Alec Baldwin was a guest speaker at a NYFA Q&A-List Series with Tova Laiter, where he discussed the craft of acting to students and faculty.

    New York Film Academy would like to congratulate all the nominees for the 73rd Annual Primetime Emmys and looks forward to the ABC broadcast of the virtual ceremony on Sunday, September, 19th, 2021 to be hosted by NYFA’s former guest speaker Cedric The Entertainer.


    OUTSTANDING DRAMA

    The Boys (Amazon Prime)

    Bridgerton (Netflix)

    The Crown (Netflix) – Winner

    The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)

    Lovecraft Country (HBO)

    The Mandalorian (Disney+)

    Pose (FX)

    This Is Us (NBC)

     

    LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA

    Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us

    Jonathan Majors, Lovecraft Country

    Josh O’Connor, The Crown – Winner

    Regé-Jean Page, Bridgerton

    Billy Porter, Pose

    Matthew Rhys, Perry Mason

     

    LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA

    Uzo Aduba, In Treatment

    Olivia Colman, The Crown – Winner

    Emma Corrin, The Crown

    Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale

    Mj Rodriguez, Pose

    Jurnee Smollett, Lovecraft Country

     

    SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA

    Aunjanue Ellis, Lovecraft Country

    Gillian Anderson, The Crown – Winner

    Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown

    Emerald Fennell, The Crown

    Madeline Brewer, The Handmaid’s Tale

    Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale

    Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid’s Tale

    Samira Wiley, The Handmaid’s Tale

     

    SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA

    Michael K. Williams, Lovecraft Country

    John Lithgow, Perry Mason

    Tobias Menzies, The Crown – Winner

    O-T Fagbenle, The Handmaid’s Tale

    Max Minghella, The Handmaid’s Tale

    Bradley Whitford, The Handmaid’s Tale

    Giancarlo Esposito, The Mandalorian

    Chris Sullivan, This Is Us

     

    GUEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA

    Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid’s Tale

    Claire Foy, The Crown – Winner

    Mckenna Grace, The Handmaid’s Tale

    Sophie Okonedo, Ratched

    Phylicia Rashad, This Is Us

     

    GUEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA

    Don Cheadle, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

    Charles Dance, The Crown

    Timothy Olyphant, The Mandalorian

    Courtney B. Vance, Lovecraft Country – Winner

    Carl Weathers, The Mandalorian 

     

    OUTSTANDING COMEDY

    black-ish (ABC)

    Cobra Kai (Netflix) 

    Emily in Paris (Netflix)

    Hacks (HBO Max)

    The Flight Attendant (HBO Max)

    The Kominsky Method (Netflix)

    PEN15 (Hulu)

    Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)  – Winner

     

    LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY

    Aidy Bryant, Shrill

    Kaley Cuoco, The Flight Attendant

    Allison Janney, Mom

    Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish

    Jean Smart, Hacks – Winner

     

    LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY

    Anthony Anderson, black-ish

    Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method

    William H. Macy, Shameless

    Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso – Winner

    Kenan Thompson, Kenan

     

    SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY

    Hannah Einbinder, Hacks

    Aidy Bryant, SNL

    Kate McKinnon, SNL

    Cecily Strong, SNL

    Juno Temple, Ted Lasso

    Hannah Waddingham, Ted Lasso – Winner

    Rosie Perez, The Flight Attendant

     

    SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY

    Carl Clemons-Hopkins, Hacks

    Kenan Thompson, SNL

    Bowen Yang, SNL

    Brett Goldstein, Ted Lasso – Winner

    Brendan Hunt, Ted Lasso

    Nick Mohammed, Ted Lasso

    Jeremy Swift, Ted Lasso

    Paul Reiser, The Kominsky Method

     

    GUEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY

    Jane Adams, Hacks

    Yvette Nicole Brown, A Black Lady Sketch Show

    Bernadette Peters, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist

    Issa Rae, A Black Lady Sketch Show 

    Maya Rudolph, SNL – Winner

    Kristen Wiig, SNL

     

    GUEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY

    Alec Baldwin, SNL

    Dave Chappelle, SNL – Winner

    Morgan Freeman, The Kominsky Method

    Daniel Kaluuya, SNL

    Daniel Levy, SNL

     

    LIMITED SERIES

    I May Destroy You (HBO)

    Mare of Easttown (HBO)

    The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix) – Winner

    The Underground Railroad (Amazon Prime)

    WandaVision (Disney+) 

     

    MADE-FOR-TELEVISION MOVIE

    Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square (Netflix) – Winner

    Oslo (HBO)

    Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia (Lifetime)

    Sylvie’s Love (Amazon Prime)

    Uncle Frank (Amazon Prime)

     

    LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

    Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You

    Cynthia Erivo, Genius: Aretha

    Elizabeth Olsen, WandaVision 

    Anya Taylor-Joy, The Queen’s Gambit

    Kate Winslet, Mare of Easttown – Winner

     

    LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

    Paul Bettany, WandaVision

    Hugh Grant, The Undoing

    Ewan McGregor, Halston – Winner

    Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton

    Leslie Odom, Jr., Hamilton

     

    SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

    Phillipa Soo, Hamilton

    Renée Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton

    Jean Smart, Mare of Easttown

    Julianne Nicholson, Mare of Easttown – Winner

    Moses Ingram, The Queen’s Gambit

    Kathryn Hahn, WandaVision

     

    SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

    Daveed Diggs, Hamilton

    Jonathan Groff, Hamilton 

    Anthony Ramos, Hamilton

    Paapa Essiedu, I May Destroy You

    Evan Peters, Mare of Easttown – Winner

    Thomas Brodie-Sangster, The Queen’s Gambit

     

    REALITY SHOW HOST

    Nicole Byer, Nailed It!

    Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Antoni Porowski and Jonathan Van Ness, Queer Eye

    RuPaul, RuPaul’s Drag Race – Winner

    Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John and Kevin O’Leary, Shark Tank

    Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons, Top Chef

     

    COMPETITION PROGRAM

    The Amazing Race

    Nailed It!

    RuPaul’s Drag Race – Winner

    Top Chef

    The Voice

     

    UNSTRUCTURED REALITY PROGRAM

    Becoming (Disney+)

    Below Deck (Bravo)

    Indian Matchmaking (Netflix)

    RuPaul’s Drag Race Untucked (VH1) – Winner

    Selling Sunset (Netflix)

     

    VARIETY SKETCH SERIES

    A Black Lady Sketch Show (HBO)

    Saturday Night Live (NBC) – Winner

     

    VARIETY TALK SERIES

    Conan

    The Daily Show With Trevor Noah

    Jimmy Kimmel Live

    Last Week Tonight With John Oliver – Winner

    The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

    Courtney B. Vance, Lovecraft Country

    Carl Weathers, The Mandalorian

     

     Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded)

    “Hamilton” – Winner

    “Bo Burnham: Inside”

    “David Byrne’s American Utopia”

    “8:46” – Dave Chappelle

    “Friends: The Reunion”

    “A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote”

     

    Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series

    “Hacks” (Episode: “There Is No Line”), Directed by Lucia Aniello – Winner

    “B Positive” (Episode: “Pilot”), Directed by James Burrows

    “The Flight Attendant” (Episode: “In Case of Emergency”), Directed by Susanna Fogel

    “Mom” (Episode: “Scooby-Doo Checks and Salisbury Steak”), Directed by James Widdoes

    “Ted Lasso” (Episode: “Biscuits”), Directed by Zach Braff

    “Ted Lasso” (Episode: “The Hope that Kills You”), Directed by MJ Delaney

    “Ted Lasso” (Episode: “Make Rebecca Great Again”), Directed by Declan Lowney

     

    Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

    “The Crown” (Episode: “War”), Directed by Jessica Hobbs  – Winner

    “Bridgerton” (Episode: “Diamond of the First Water”), Directed by Julie Anne Robinson

    “The Crown” (Episode: “Fairytale”), Directed by Benjamin Caron

    “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Episode: “The Wilderness”), Directed by Liz Garbus

    “The Mandalorian” (Episode: “Chapter 9: The Marshal”), Directed by Jon Favreau

    “Pose” (Episode: “Series Finale”), Directed by Steven Canals

     

    Outstanding Directing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie

    “The Queen’s Gambit,” Directed by Scott Frank – Winner

    “Hamilton,” Directed by Thomas Kail

    “I May Destroy You” (Episode: “Ego Death”), Directed by Sam Miller and Michaela Coel

    “I May Destroy You” (Episode: “Eyes Eyes Eyes Eyes”), Directed by Sam Miller

    “Mare of Easttown,” Directed by Craig Zobel

    “The Underground Railroad,” Directed by Barry Jenkins

    “WandaVision,” Directed by Matt Shakman

     

    Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

    “Hacks” (Episode: “There Is No Line”), Written by Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, and Jen Statsky – Winner

    “The Flight Attendant” (Episode: “In Case of Emergency”), Written by Steve Yockey

    “Girls5eva” (Episode: “Pilot”), Written by Meredith Scardino

    “PEN15” (Episode: “Play”), Written by Maya Erskine

    “Ted Lasso” (Episode: “Make Rebecca Great Again”), Written by Joe Kelly, Brendan Hunt, and Jason Sudeikis

    “Ted Lasso” (Episode: “Pilot”), Written by Jason Sudeikis, Bill Lawrence, Brendan Hunt, and Joe Kelly

     

    Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

    “The Crown” (Episode: “War”), written by Peter Morgan – Winner

    “The Boys” (Episode: “What I Know”), written by Rebecca Sonnenshine

    “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Episode: “Home”), written by Yahlin Chang

    “Lovecraft Country” (Episode: “Sundown”), written by Misha Green

    “The Mandalorian” (Episode: “Chapter 13: The Jedi”), written by Dave Filoni

    “The Mandalorian” (Episode: “Chapter 16: The Rescue”), written by Jon Favreau

    “Pose” (Episode: “Series Finale”), written by Steven Canals, Brad Falchuk, Our Lady J, Janet Mock, and Ryan Murphy

     

    Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie

    “I May Destroy You,” Written by Michaela Coel – Winner

    “Mare of Easttown,” Written by Brad Ingelsby

    “The Queen’s Gambit,” Written by Scott Frank

    “WandaVision” (Episode: “All-New Halloween Spooktacular!”), Written by Chuck Hayward and Peter Cameron

    “WandaVision” (Episode: “Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience”), Written by Jac Schaeffer

    “WandaVision” (Episode: “Previously On”), Written by Laura Donney

     

    Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series

    “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” – Winner

    “The Amber Ruffin Show”

    “A Black Lady Sketch Show”

    “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”

    “Saturday Night Live”

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    July 21, 2021 • Entertainment News, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1560