Ekaterina Terekhovich
Author archives

  • A Conversation with Bolashak Scholarship Recipient, NYFA Alumnus Dias Azimzhan


    New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) MFA Alumnus Dias Azimzhan was always interested in storytelling, starting out as a blogger before deciding to pursue filmmaking. Azimzhan’s transition to a new profession wasn’t seamless and he had to spend some time working for an international airline company before attending NYFA.

    Eventually, with help of the Kazakh Bolashak Scholarship program, Azimzhan was provided the opportunity to attend NYFA, and recently graduated completing the education he dreamed about. His first film, “Moments of Enlightenment,” screened at numerous festivals, taking home awards from the Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival.

    NYFA sat down with Azimzhan to find out more details of his journey.

    Dias Azimzhan | Kazakh Bolashak Scholarship

    NYFA: Based on your experience, what do you recommend to those who are just planning to apply for the Bolashak scholarship program?

    DA: At the beginning of the process, you may be scared and demotivated by the list of documents that you need to collect, but this procedure is also similar in other countries (including the U.S.) when applying for certain grants, so I advise you to be patient.

    Look at this process as the first step of the journey to your dream. Further, during following stages, be self-disciplined and organized as possible. Plan and rationally use your time for preparing other documents and visas. It is important do not be late for the beginning of the academic year. Start dates can vary depending on the school and country.

    NYFA: What was most difficult during the Bolashak application process?

    DA: During the examinations, I often heard from the candidates for the scholarship that the third stage is the most difficult, that is, the last stage of the selection. In this round, the candidate surrounded by members of the selection committee (usually composed of the President of the Center of International Programs, doctors of science, professors and public figures) answers various questions. Those questions can be absolutely unpredictable — they can ask you about the constitution of the country, continuing with questions in poetry, mathematics, history, psychology, foreign languages, etc.

    However, personally, for me, the most difficult stage was the second one, where the candidates who passed the first round have to take an IQ and psychological test. Additionally to logic tasks, it includes various mathematical and geometric questions. About 500 questions in total.

    It’s also important to mention that each Bolashak scholarship candidate has to know Kazakh language on a very high level. Everyone will have to pass KAZTEST in the first round (analog to TOEFL and IELTS), and based on results you will either go to a second round or not.

    Dias Azimzhan graduates form NYFA

    NYFA Why did you choose the New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts?

    DA: It all started in 2011 when I decided to write a script. At that time I had a blog (where I was writing my thoughts and observations) and I thought that it would not be difficult for me to write a story for the movie. I installed “Finaldraft” (screenwriting software) and started. But on the first paragraph, it became clear that I did not have enough knowledge in this area. I did not know how to structure and tell the story for the screen using pen and paper. The art of screenwriting has its own nuances (for example, you can not write the characters’ thoughts as in novels, as the viewer simply does not see it). I began to look for materials and educational institutions to fill the gap.

    I primarily considered the New York Film Academy because of the intensive program, with an emphasis on practice. Also, NYFA instructors are working in the film and television industry, which is important in terms of gaining new knowledge from them.

    Unfortunately, at that time I did not know about Bolashak, and did not have the necessary financial funds to apply. I had to postpone my dream. And, as it turned out, everything does happen for reason: While creating a financial basis for the future, I was working in the international airline company. I saw the world and got acquainted with the culture of many countries, which helped to significantly improve and broaden my horizons and critical thinking. Those qualities are very important for the director and filmmakers in general.

    Eventually, already with little life experience and certain skills, I decided to return to the realization of my dream and plunge into the creative process, which imbued the walls of NYFA.

    Dias Azimzhan | Kazakh Bolashak Scholarship

    NYFA: What is your impression of your NYFA program? Do you have a favorite subject or instructor?

    DA: I was enrolled in NYFA’s MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in Filmmaking, where the main emphasis is on directing, screenwriting and cinematography. You also learn producing, acting and other components of film art in general. Since this is a degree program, in the first year of study we simply do not have time for anything else besides school. The world of cinema becomes a part of your life (if not all life), whether you like it or not.

    I would like to highlight screenwriting instructor, Lee Gordon. In his class, I gained knowledge on structuring story and the ability to apply this knowledge directly to the shooting process. Also, a thank you goes out to directing instructors Steve Morris and Michael Sandoval, for teaching me working with actors and listening and feeling every member of the crew. All these years, Carl Bartels taught us the art of cinematography. In his classes, we learned different cameras, lenses, compositions and how to feel the visual components of the frame. I also want to highlight Mark Horowitz, who shared his huge experience in the film business and content promotion.

    NYFA: Your short social drama “Moments of Enlightenment” has won many awards at various film festivals. Tell us how the idea for this film was born?

    DA: In 2008, one of my friends lost her job. It was during the global financial crisis. By the way, I also lost my job then. I think almost everyone remembers this difficult period for many in the world. On one cloudy autumn day, I met her at the cafe, and she told me about her difficult situation, including problems in the family. I was helping her as much as I can. Part of her story remained in my head forever.

    And when I had an opportunity to tell the world a small story, I decided to share that period of my acquaintance’s life (with her permission), through the prism of two immigrants living in the U.S.

    Dias Azimzhan | Kazakh Bolashak Scholarship

    NYFA: Recently, you starred in Alisher Suleimen’s “Cloud on the Roof.” Did you use behind-the-scenes experience and knowledge in acting?

    DA: I think behind-the-scenes experience gives a huge advantage to the actor, not only in knowing the geography of the scene and the shooting process but also in understanding the story itself since not every actor can think like a director. But neither does every director think like an actor in terms of becoming a new character; finding and making new skills, habits, weaknesses and strengths his own.

    I had the opportunity to synchronize my knowledge in both, because I already had acting experience in small projects, as well as experience in studying the art of improvisation at NYFA along with the courses I had taken in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

    NYFA: What did you learn from acting as a director?

    DA: Nowadays, due to lack of time and the fast pace of pre-production, not every director, unfortunately, has the opportunity for deep and detailed exploration of characters, giving preference to breaking down the story itself — which is also very important. Actors can fill that gap and breathe life into the characters, but they need to do it together with the director and screenwriter; otherwise, free interpretation can have a negative impact on the story and even ruin the project.

    Dias Azimzhan | Kazakh Bolashak Scholarship

    NYFA: What projects are you currently working on?

    DA: Now is the editing process of the recently shot short “Interius: The War Within.” I think we will finish the post-production of the film by fall.

    Also, we shot three music videos with Kazakh singers. One of them has already been aired on the national music channel. All of them were shot in Los Angeles, and I was responsible for the script and directing of storyline.

    In parallel with the editing, I am writing a script for a feature film under the working title “Pure Society.” I write in English, but depending on where it will be shot script can be translated and adapted.

    WATCH “Ulitio” Official Trailer :

    NYFA: Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

    DA: I see myself the founder of production studios and a film school. Perhaps, the director-inspirer of the younger generation, who still has to keep building our society together with you, a society of people with an unconventional thinking and a fair approach to life.

    New York Film Academy would like to thank Dias Azimzhan for sharing with us his story. We believe that his experience is truly inspiring and would like to wish him all the best with his filmmaking career.

  • NYFA Alumnus Pavel Suslov Talks About his Internship at Warner Brothers


    Growing up in Russia, Pavel Suslov developed his passion for filmmaking from the time he got his first camera at the age of seven. Who could have guessed that this camera would eventually lead him to an internship at Warner Brothers?

    “Kids today may not find this unusual (everyone has a smartphone in their hands from an early age),” noted Suslov, “But back then it was quite out of the norm.”

    Pavel Suslov |New York Film Academy Alumnus

    During school years, Suslov was making videos about his dogs, family members, friends, and toys. He soon realized that he wanted to turn this creative hobby into a professional career. After graduating from the St. Petersburg State University of Cinema and Television, he worked for five years creating music videos and commercials for such companies as Ski-doo and Mercury engines, as well as making video reports on local and international events for Gatebil, Formula Drift, and RDS.

    Suslov told NYFA, “At some point, I realized that I wanted to grow even more. That’s why I started looking for a film school abroad. There’s probably no better place to gain film industry experience and networking than Hollywood. It became one of the fundamental reasons I enrolled in the New York Film Academy’s MFA Filmmaking Program.

    Immediately after graduating, Suslov secured himself an internship at Warner Brothers, and was happy to sit down with us and share his experience with NYFA community.

    ET: First of all, congratulations on your internship with Warner Bros. Tell us, what is included in your daily duties?

    PS: Thank you! It’s hard to name it an internship; it’s more a full-time job. I work in the Visual Department, which is responsible for all the video content produced by the company: music videos, promo videos for social networks, new albums, singles, artists, etc. My duties include editing, project development, filming, creating graphics and concepts for various artists. One of my recent projects was a new clip for Linkin Park’s “Talking to Myself,” which was completed shortly before the death of the lead singer, Chester Bennington, and will be the last music video made with all the original members of the band. 

    ET: What day during the internship was the most striking and why?

    PS: It is difficult to single out a certain day, since each of them is very different from other. Today you are going to work on a shoot with Echosmith, tomorrow you are editing the Linkin Park music video, after that you are thinking through new ideas for Mastadon and how to revive their cover visually and dynamically, and the next day you go to the lobby where you meet the new singer of the label. I’m very grateful to my manager, Laura Mende, who tells me various stories about artists and the shooting processes.

    It is worth noting that team spirit is very developed at Warner Bros. Every week there are different staff lunches or meetings. Sometimes bands come to our office to give mini-performances for employees in the backyard. Every time a band or a single of the label goes to the top of the chart, we order huge pizzas for the entire office and arrange lunch in the courtyard.

    Pavel Suslov | NYFA MFA Filmmaking

    ET: How long will your internship last?

    PS: Under my current contract the internship will last 5 months. After that I can decide whether I want to stay or not. I think that my answer is obvious.

    ET: Do you think that the experience you got at NYFA has come in handy for you during this internship?

    PS: Definitely. Firstly, it’s about communications, and team work. Almost nothing can be done without a team. I learned this from numerous experiences at NYFA and from our group workshops.

    Then, the filming process. Of course I had experience in implementing projects before, but at NYFA I got an education that allows me to understand who is responsible for what on a set, as well as the main points of pre-production.

    I must say that the differences in the filmmaking process between Russia and here are enormous. I have never regretted going to NYFA, it allowed me to strengthen my filmmaking knowledge and afforded me the chance to intern at Warner Bros.

    NYFA: What are you planning to do after your internship at Warner Brothers?

    PS: In fact, there are many plans. Recently, I started my Vlog on YouTube: at the moment it is designed for a Russian speaking audience, but I have plans to expand it to the English speakers as well. I do not know yet where it will lead, but I can say one thing; for the time that I’m doing this internship, I met a lot of people from completely different industries. And with some of them, we have interesteing projects planned for the future. 

    At the same time, I manage to work on independent projects: commercials and music videos. I’m about to finish my short film and in August we have plans to shoot an Imagine Dragons video, but unfortunately I cannot disclose details yet.

    And, of course, I would like to continue working for Warner Brothers.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Pavel Suslov for his time and wish him continued success in his endeavors.

  • NYFA Welcomes Renown Kazakh Cinematographer Azamat Dulatov


    Recently, Kazakh Cinematographer, Azamat Dulatov, and NYFA alumnus, Aisultan Seitov, gave a Q & A at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles following a screening of “The Jackal.” The award-winning short film is the first mutual project of Dulatov and Seitov.

    the jackal

    From early childhood, Dulatov was interested in photography and painting, and this passion for visual arts eventually led him into the field of cinematography. His first feature film “999” earned multiple awards among different festivals. Since then he has continued to work on successful Kazakh movies such as “Barrier” directed by Zhasulan Poshanova, “Marry in 30,” directed by NYFA alumnus, Askar Bisembin, and “Taraz” by Nurtas Adambaya, to name few.

    Despite his extremely busy professional schedule, Dulatov agreed to be director of photography on Seitov’s thesis film, “The Jackal,” immediately after reading the script. “The script is the most important element to me when making a decision,” said Dulatov.

    the jackal

    “If I like the story I would work on a small indie film and would even deny a big commercial project if the story isn’t that great. Also, I always discuss with the director and production designer as to how they see the film in terms of colors, temp, atmosphere. And what actors do they want to cast,” Dulatov continued. “Film is a team effort and it’s important to make sure we are all on a same track before we start shooting.”

    While in Los Angeles, Dulatov and Seitov worked together on a new music video for Ivan Dorn, and prepared for an upcoming feature film, which will be shot in Kazakhstan in spring 2017.

    kazak jackal

    When one student asked Seitov what is the best way to enter the professional world after graduation, he replied, “Use any opportunity to get on a professional set and meet people. There are a lot of projects shot in Hollywood every single day and they all need help. Go work as a PA, or just stay all day long and observe. Yes, you might end up working for free, but it is up to you to decide if this all is about money or experience.”

    New York Film Academy would like to thank Azamat Dulatov for coming in to speak to our students, and we wish all the best to Aisultan Seitov.


    February 27, 2017 • Diversity, Filmmaking, International Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 3780

  • NYFA Alumnus David Epstein Lands Role in the Animated Feature Film “The Son of Bigfoot”


    son of bigfootDavid Epstein came to the New York Film Academy from Vancouver to pursue his passion for acting in the heart of the film industry, Los Angeles. “Growing up, I was always very active on the stage, and after my undergraduate in theatre I felt ready to get auditioning for film and TV in Vancouver. After a year and a half, I didn’t book a thing! I figured it was because I had no idea what I was doing when it came to acting for a camera, so I started looking into programs,” said Epstein. “New York Film Academy seemed like the most hands-on school I could find. I thought, ‘I could wait it out and audition in Vancouver for another two years with nothing to show for, or enroll at NYFA. Not only would I get to complete a Master’s Degree, but I would also gain the hands-on film experience day in, and day out.’”

    And right after graduation he landed a role in the animated feature “The Son of Bigfoot” directed by Jeremy Degruson and Ben Stassen.

    Congrats on getting the part. How did your role in “The Son of Bigfoot” come about?

    Epstein: I was actually camping in Yosemite Valley for the weekend with no wifi or cell phone service. We were about to go on a hike for the day when we stopped off in a lodge. I guess we hit a cell phone spot and my phone just started blowing up. Text messages and phone calls galore from my mom, brother, and agent all trying to get a hold of me. When I called them and, they told me that I booked this part in an animated feature – a project that I had zero recollection of ever auditioning for. Weeks earlier, I had just gotten my reel from school and was showing it off to a friend of mine. Fast forward a couple of months and her dad is directing this project called “Son of Bigfoot.” I don’t know the details, but apparently one of the other actors had to drop out and they needed to fill the roll very quickly. He listened to my reel and decided to give me a shot. It was one of those “right place, right time moments.”

    Please tell us about your experience working on this project. What did your learn as an actor?

    Epstein: While I had spent many hours working in the NYFA booth, this was my first time acting in a proper animated film, so I really didn’t know what to expect. I remember flipping furiously through my voice over textbook leading up to the shoot, giving myself a quick refresher before going into the studio… ironically the writer was actually playing one of the leads in the film. The first thing I thought when I got there was: “Where’s that smell of bacon coming from?” Of course, I followed it and saw walls just covered in classic cartoon cells and a huge trophy case filled with Emmys. It was very surreal. I got the chance to meet some of the other cast members and we were all called in one by one into our recording sessions. None of the animation was done at the time of the recording, so we didn’t have to worry about matching the characters’ lip flaps, which was nice, but that said, there wasn’t a whole lot to work off of, either. It was a really steep learning curve trying to figure out how to create the world without any other actor to work off of and no real picture of what the scene would look like. That said, it was a pretty freeing experience too, in that there wasn’t really a wrong answer. Only limit was imagination.

    One of my biggest surprises about the experience was how quickly everything moved. It was like a machine gun session in there. I was given my script, asked to give a few reads of each line and we would move on. Occasionally, there was a redirection, but I was in and out of the studio within an hour. It was crazy!

    david epstein

    Were there any challenges working on this project?

    Epstein: The biggest challenge working on the project was not being able to really prepare. I wasn’t given my script until the day, so I was really going in blind. There was a small character description that was sent to me in advance, but everything was really explained to me on the day. Also, there was no animation at the time, so to this day I still have no idea what my character even looks like. The director just said “alright give me the voice you were thinking of doing,” and I blurted out the first thing that came to mind. I guess it worked because we just kind of went with it. I would have loved the opportunity to play a bit more and really find my character, but everything moved so fast. Just trusted my gut and hoped for the best.

    What projects are you currently working on?

    Epstein: Next week I start shooting for my role in the show “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce.” I am also excited to collaborate with my friend/coach Carol Stanzione, Elliot Herman and NYFA alumnus Kevin Chua in an upcoming animated series called “Lei Gong: Chronicles of the Sword.”

    Until then, I have been fortunate enough to get a gig hosting a game show for Hyundai at Auto Shows around the states. It has been such a great experience getting to travel around the country and work a job that is creative in nature.

    david epstein

    Who do you believe will get the most out of the NYFA program? 

    Epstein: I think anyone with a true passion and the desire to learn will get the most out of the program. There are so many great opportunities and teachers, that if you care to work, you can learn so much! That said, you’re only going to get what you put into the program. It’s one thing to be in class and to do your assigned work, but it’s the work you do outside of the curriculum that is really special. NYFA’s consult program lets you meet with any of your teachers outside of class time. It’s a private coaching session with industry professionals. I don’t know many other places that offer that.

    What, if any, do you think are the biggest obstacles for new actors in Hollywood?

    Epstein: I think the toughest thing about Hollywood is being seen. You could be doing great work, but it’s getting the right people to see your work that is the real challenge. Coming to LA you hear it over and over again, “there’s so much competition!” At first, I took that to mean that I would be sitting in an audition room with 50 David Epsteins that look just like me. The truth is, the competition is really getting into the door. A good part can get 3000+ submissions. When a casting director has three hours to see 90 actors, why are they going to pick your headshot over anyone else’s? You hear it all the time: This business is all about networking. It’s figuring out the creative ways that you can get on these casting directors’ radars and then about winning them over so they bring you back again and again.

    If anyone has come to LA to become rich as an actor, they could have a rude awakening. It is a super competitive job and while the payday can be sweet, work can definitely be sparse (especially at the beginning). I have often found myself comparing my lifestyle to my doctor and lawyer friends. It can be very disheartening to hear about the condos they are buying or the cars they drive, but it has begged me to check in with my passions. While my car and apartment are far from fancy, I wouldn’t want to do anything else in the world.


    February 3, 2017 • Acting, International Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 6170

  • NYFA Alumna Produces Six Feature Films in Three Years


    Producing six features in three years since graduating from film school sounds impossible. However, New York Film Academy graduate, Mariietta Volynska, proved that you can do it as long as you have the true desire to set that goal and accomplish it.

    Her first notable break into the industry was when she won the Best Commercial at the Tribeca Festival with her NYFA thesis project, an American Express Spec Commercial.

    Since graduating in 2013 she has produced numerous shorts, music videos, commercials and several feature films including “El Freeman” directed by Eljazz Rakhimbekov and Antonio Chavez Trejo, “Summer of 8” and “Still Life” directed by Ryan Schwartz, “Bornless Ones” directed by Alexander Babaev, starring Michael Johnston, and most recently the independent thriller “Culture of Fear” starring Malcolm McDowell, Steven Bauer, Edoardo Costa and Kayla Tabish.

    We recently spoke with Mariietta Volynska and asked her what she thought helps her start and keep the ball rolling on so many projects.


    1% talent and 99% hard work will get you there. The competition is huge, pure talent is not enough. Don’t be lazy.” Every day Volynska wakes up at 6am and goes to bed around midnight. This schedule allows her to have more working hours.

    Experience. “You learn while you are doing and NYFA provides you with all of the opportunities to get solid experience. Be on set while in school as much as you can, do not avoid participating in a project, because there is only a PA position left or no budget. Work for free. Work as a PA. Just be on set, observe! Get valuable, strong experience.” Before producing her first feature Volynska already had about 30 shorts under her belt.

    Reputation. “Start building your reputation from the first day of classes. You have to click together with your peers. You see who you will work with in the future.” Half of Volynska’s crew are NYFA alumni. They help each other. They recommend each other and always try to get hired as a team. But it’s not only the New York Film Academy that they have in common; all of them are hardworking, trustworthy, and passionate.


    Broad knowledge. “I’m very happy that I got my BFA in Filmmaking,” said Volynska. “During this program I studied every aspect of filmmaking. I know the equipment and how to use the equipment. I know how to work with actors. I know editing and I know the responsibilities of each crew position on set. All of this knowledge helps me tremendously in line producing and saves a lot of time on all stages of production.”

    Be prepared. If you take a look in the trunk of Volynska’s car you will find everything that could possibly be missed or forgotten on set. Her experience has helped her build a kit, so that no production will be stopped and no set will ever be missing the tools needed to keep working.

    And of course communications. “As a producer you have to know how to deal with every personality to make it work. You need to know how to make your crew a team.”

    nyfa test

    “In another life I probably would be a car racer,” said Volynska with a smile on her face. “But in this one I am the producer and I love every moment of producing, every single problem, every hour I didn’t sleep — everything!”

    Mariietta Volynska goes far and beyond with her passion of being a line producer. As a true problem solver she recently launched a new locations website, which certainly looks to be an asset for many people in the industry. All locations have special rates for students and independent filmmakers.

    nyfa marrietta

    NYFA would like to thank Mariietta Volynska for sharing her experience and wish her luck with the launch of her new website. We hope to see more of her movies on screen very soon.


    January 19, 2017 • Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 4389

  • NYFA Alumni’s “Suka” Featured on Youtube’s Russian Cinema Week


    From November 28 through December 4 YouTube hosted “Russian Cinema Week.” During that period more than 200 Russian films were available in to watch in full. To launch that project Google has partnered with multiple production companies and distributors.

    According to The Hollywood Reporter, the list of featured movies included the Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning film “Leviathan,” Timur Bekmambetov-produced, New Year’s themed franchise “Yolki” (Christmas Trees) and one of Russia’s all-time box-office champions a Nikolai Lebedev’s hockey biopic “Legenda Nomer 17” (Legend No. 17).

    NYFA is pleased to announce that the short film, “Suka” — created and produced by New York Film Academy alumni, producer Maria Rogotskaya and director Cyril Zima — was chosen to be a part of the short selection of the site. It is now the film with the most views!

    “Suka” previously won Best Foreign Film Award at the Myrtle Beach International Film Festival and was renowned at many others film festivals including San Jose, BUSHO, and Sapporo Short Fest.

    russian cinema

    producer Maria Rogotskaya and director Cyril Zima

    Rogotskaya and Zima are currently working on a feature noir / Sci-Fi thriller called “Charon,” which takes place in present-day Los Angeles. As a former crime journalist, Zima uses his huge investigating experience to work on the story development. Without giving away any spoilers, the film is a very deep physiological drama.

    “When Maria and I came to NYFA to obtain our Master’s Degree, we already had a solid background in the field, but we had no experience working in Hollywood. NYFA was a good transition; we obtained a lot of practical experience and met a lot of collaborators who we continue to work with after graduation,” said Zima.

  • New York Film Academy Visits Kiev, Ukraine


    The New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) is a truly international educational institution. With schools in six cities across three countries, and programs in many more, NYFA also runs special weekend workshops throughout the world. Recently, one of those workshops took place in the beautiful and historical Kiev, Ukraine.

    kiev paul brown

    The event was hosted by the educational center FILM.UA Faculty. Based out of one of the largest studios in the Ukraine, FILM.UA Faculty offers a powerful combination of lectures, courses, seminars and training in professions related to the film and television industry.

    Over the weekend more than a hundred representatives of film production companies, as well as independent screenwriters, directors and producers expanded their knowledge under the guidance of award-winning writer, director, producer, and NYFA Instructor, Paul Brown (“The X-Files,” Quantum Leap,” “Twilight Zone,” “Star Trek: Voyager”) and producer, as well as head of NYFA MFA Feature productions, Lydia Cedrone (“The Betrayed,” “In Memorium”).

    producing kiev

    Despite the snow and frigid temperatures outside, it was really hot inside the studios from all of the creative ideas pumping up in the air. “It was friendly, fun, really intense, with 100% of dedication,” said one of the students, Igor Shvetsov. “At the end, we even performed our first mini-plays! To be honest, I did not plan to act… but it happened that I had to come up on stage … Enormous thanks to all for a great time and gained experience. Special thanks to Anastasia Lodkina for the creative idea, Marina Borodina for the acting talent, Alina Dianova for directing and tough character, and Vasily Popov for co-writing and moral support.”

    Producing student Ksenia Bugrimova added: “The information about unions was very helpful; finally I got a clear understanding about them. And, of course, a great relief to find out that our budgeting and production stages are exactly the same. Hence we are on the right track!”

    workshops in kiev

    “Together with our students we spent three days with Paul Brown and Lydia Cedrone from the New York Film Academy. This means 20 plus hours of creative and productive work, 100 plus professional connections, 101 loglines created, and 20 new scripts. And, of course, a triple portion of excitement and inspiration,” FILM.UA Faculty commented on their FB page.

    New York Film Academy would like to thank everyone who spent this productive weekend with us and express special gratitude to the management and staff of FILM.UA Faculty for creating such a positive and collaborative learning environment.


    December 14, 2016 • Community Highlights, Study Abroad • Views: 4449

  • New York Film Academy Moscow Workshops with Paul Brown and Lydia Cedrone


    The long awaited event has happened. New York Film Academy returned to Russia with two special workshops. With excitement in the air, eager students were fully immersed in producing and screenwriting workshops throughout the weekend. With a strong emphasis on hands-on learning and practical exercises, the workshops allowed students to immediately apply the knowledge they gained throughout the weekend.

    Moscow Screenwriting Workshop, an Inside Look:

    NYFA screenwriting instructor, Paul Brown, an award-winning writer, director and producer, conducted the screenwriting workshop. Brown has worked in film and television for over twenty-five years. He has produced over one hundred television dramas, pilots, and movies, working on such series as “The X-Files,” “Quantum Leap,” “The New Twilight Zone,” “Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise.” He won the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best TV Drama, and has been nominated for three Emmy Awards and three Golden Globes.

    During the Workshop Orientation, students delved into the secrets of great stories and paired up to work on monologues.

    paul brown

    Day One: Brown explained how to hook audiences with exciting movie concepts by showing scenes from popular films. He stressed the importance to wake up certain emotions in the audience. Students learned to develop characters with use of curiosity, compassion, charm and complexity. They examined the structure of the inner story and the inner story’s need, movie climaxes and examples of key scenes.

    Day Two: Brown explained how to combine internal and external relationships of the characters, thematic storylines, dialogue and the importance of subtext.

    The workshop culminated in the final presentation of the projects. Professional actors were invited to participate in the students’ short screenplays. Throughout the presentations of scenes, with no scenes longer than three minutes, the audience laughed, cried and cheered.

    paul brown

    Student Feedback: “We had a chance to try ourselves not only as writers, but as directors and were able to work with professional actors. It was a very interesting experience. The classes were so valuable, not only in terms of receiving new information and practical skills, but also from a psychological point of view. Paul Brown made us thoroughly delve into ourselves and face our ‘skeletons in the closet’. It helped to release our fears and reconsider many things. I thank him for it!” said Wagina Yevgeniya.

    Producing Workshop Highlights:

    Lydia Cedrone, NYFA Head of MFA Feature Productions and former longtime Chair of Producing, taught the Producing Workshop. Cedrone is a film producer with credits including the MGM release, “The Betrayed,” and was an executive at The Walt Disney Company, Trimark Pictures and Savoy Pictures. She managed finances on more than two-dozen studio films, and oversaw company operations for filmmaker Michael Mann’s production company and finances for the film “Ali,” starring Will Smith, Jon Voight and Jamie Foxx. She urged producers to maintain a balance between finance and creativity. From her lecture, students learned that the producer is the driving force behind the project who manages all stages of the project’s lifespan, from developing the script to determining the necessary budget and securing investors, and from hiring the film’s cast and crew to guiding the project through distribution.

    russia workshop

    Many of the students in the Producing Workshop were working producers or had a background in the local film and television industries. These students participated to deepen their knowledge and to apply that knowledge to the U.S. standards and practices outlined in the workshop.

    At the Workshop Orientation, students began to develop the concepts for their own projects.

    Day One: On the first day, students learned about the roles of producers in film and television, producer hierarchy and project workflow. Private investors and funding independent films were discussed at length. Cedrone stressed a balance between financial transparency and the producer retaining full control of the project. She also covered, in detail, the main points of a independent film business plan for fundraising, as well as how to create a television series show bible, along with many other topics.

    Day Two: Students learned the U.S. standard rules and practices of scheduling and budgeting. Cedrone led several interactive class exercises, along with a lively Q&A session. On the final evening, students presented their project loglines, along with a short project pitch, during this Mini Pitch Fest. Students clapped and cheered their classmates during the Pitch Fest, and the workshop ended with many friendships forged, along with the promise of many future collaborations.

    russian workshop

    “I am an actress, and NYFA gave me the opportunity to expand my vision of the film industry. I know how the industry works through the eyes of the artist, and these workshops showed me the production process from a different angle. I learned a lot of useful and interesting information in a short time! I am happy that I met Lydia Cedrone, she’s wonderful!” said Valeria Koltsova, one of the Producing Workshop students.

    Another participant, Vasilyeva Margarita, added, “Despite the fact that I currently study producing at the University, the NYFA workshops were very useful for my professional growth! We talked about the producer’s responsibilities, finding funding, and about the world in which producers live. We discussed, in detail, the steps of implementation for different television and film projects, both independent and studio. Lydia Cedrone is a brilliant person and teacher, who knoews her subject and how to present it. It was amazing to spend the whole weekend in the classroom. We had a very warm, family atmosphere. I believe this course can be suitable to all, regardless of the previous level of training. Everyone will feel at ease.”

    We thank the student participants in Moscow who made these recent Producing and Screenwriting Workshops such a great success!


    November 10, 2016 • Community Highlights, Road Show • Views: 3953

  • New York Film Academy Open House in Moscow


    Recently, the New York Film Academy held an Open House in the heart of Moscow. Close to one hundred people attended the event to learn more about NYFA programs. Prospective students had an opportunity to meet NYFA admissions representatives and alumni, who have achieved a lot of success in the professional field, including executive producer of TV channel “Success” Guram Gabunia, independent filmmaker Costa Fam, producer Andrei Kim, director Anna Lobanova, and documentary filmmaker/TV-host Leyla Agirbova.

    At the beginning of the event, admissions representatives, Olga Mescheryakova and Elena Kulikova, spoke about the variety of programs NYFA has to offer in the United States, Australia and Europe, answered questions about upcoming Moscow Workshops, and went over details of admissions requirements.

    We are very happy that a number of former NYFA Moscow students came to speak and share their stories with the audience. This mini reunion did indeed become the best part of the evening. Loads of warm memories were brought up, which filled the room with inspiring vibes.

    moscow nyfa

    Director Anna Lobanova, who finished a 4-Week Screenwriting NYFA Program in Moscow, said that it gave her a better understanding of a screenwriters’ work and she now uses that understanding to develop a better director/screenwriter relationship. At the moment, Anna Lobanova is, as a director, finishing a new series for the main Russian TV-channel and co-writing a feature script with former NYFA classmate, Ekaterina Mazo.

    Author, and TV Host, Leyla Agirbova, who attended a 2012 Screenwriting Workshop with Paul Brown said, “In those two weeks I’ve got unforgettable experience. There is nothing more valuable than a human emotion and there is nothing more valuable than the energy that motivates you, stimulates you, sets the pace, and I got all of it at NYFA.”

    Currently, Leyla Agirbova not only continues to successfully develop her career in film and television, but also plans to launch her own business project using her pitching skills to attract investors.

    There was a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere during the evening. Our grads were able to spread around their positivity, passion for the profession and love for NYFA. One of the open house guests, an actor, Aleksey Bogdanov, said that it was very inspiring to hear stories of former students and learn about the changes that have occurred in their careers.

    nyfa moscow

    A pleasant surprise for all was the Skype chat with New York Film Academy Los Angeles instructors, Lydia Cedrone and Paul Brown, who will visit Moscow at the end of October with intensive weekend Screenwriting and Producing Workshops. Also, the Director of the Academy, Dan Mackler, joined the conversation and spoke with the audience in fluent Russian, which was met with a storm of applause!

    “It was nice to meet instructors and Director of the Academy via Skype, to see their faces. It gave me even more motivation and hope for the future,” said Alla Volodkina, who recently got enrolled into an 8-Week Screenwriting Program in NYFA Los Angeles.

    We would like to thank everyone who came to the Open House. New York Film Academy is very proud of all our graduates and look forward meeting new students. See you soon!

    Moscow Weekend Workshop dates are Saturday, October 22 and Sunday, October 23, with an Orientation on Friday evening, October 21. 
You can apply here.


    October 4, 2016 • Community Highlights, Road Show • Views: 4708

  • NYFA Los Angeles Grad’s “Bornless Ones” Screens at the DTLA FIlm Festival


    Bornless OnesCongratulations to the New York Film Academy MA Filmmaking graduate, Alexander Babaev, whose horror feature debut, “Bornless Ones,” premieres at the DTLA Film Festival in LA on Sept. 22 at 9:30pm.

    “Bornless Ones” tells the story of Emily (Margaret Judson), her fiancé (Devin Goodsell), and two friends, who move into a remote house with Emily’s crippled brother, Zach (Michael Johnston). After spending a single night in the house, Zach begins to heal, but in turn reveals a force that creates the most horrific night anyone could ever face.

    “We shot ‘Bornless Ones’ right after I graduated from New York Film Academy,” said Babaev. “The way it happened was sort of a miracle. I was very lucky to be surrounded by people who are as passionate about filmmaking as I am.”

    Directed by Alexander Babaev, produced by NYFA alumna Mariietta Volynska, and shot by NYFA MFA Cinematography Grad, Egor Povolotskiy, “Bornless Ones” became, for the three of them, the beginning of a solid professional friendship.

    “Even though we all knew that feature film was our next step, this next step felt painfully far away from the point we were all at until someone said, ‘Hey, my friend has a house where we could potentially shoot. Why don’t we write something?’ And I did. I wrote a script. We lost the house, but we found funds and got another house.”

    Soon after “Bornless Ones” was shot, Babaev, Volynska and Povolotskiy were invited, as a team, to work on a new feature, Culture of Fear. The premier is scheduled for 2017.

    “I think the biggest thing NYFA gave me was the courage to believe in myself, to believe that everyone can make a film no matter who you are or where you came from,” said Babaev. “I’m very proud of this film and I believe that the new wave of filmmakers — people like me and hundreds and thousands of other young filmmakers — are the future!”

    Don’t miss the “Bornless Ones” screening. If you have friends who love horror, or enemies that hate horror, invite them! Tickets available at –http://www.fandango.com/Bornless%20Ones_195800/movieoverview


    September 21, 2016 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 4310