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  • New Years Update From New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism

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    We’re only a few weeks into the New Year, but it already feels like months have gone by. That is the essence of digital journalism today. And with the coming of the New Year, I’ve heard from some more NYFA Broadcast Journalism graduates.

    One of the last times I saw Alyssa Cruz was when she was sitting in our Green Screen studio, getting ready to record on-camera segments for her Resume Reel.

    Following graduation, she spent time in New York, then returned to her home country, the Philippines. But then she was on the move again. She wrote recently:

    “I am currently a video editor and narrator for a media company which features food documentaries, here in Singapore.”

    Having worked in Singapore, I can tell you that it is an important hub for Asia-Pacific media production.

    Another graduate, Tommy Germain, was here at NYFA a few weeks back. And he arrived with a camera crew! Tommy is originally from Cameroon, and from there he went to Brazil. He’s had a successful acting career, but now he is working behind the camera as well. His first digital project is all about New York City. He and his team flew all the way from Nigeria, just so he could include NYFA in this program.

    Thanks, Tommy!

    Six months ago, a series of devastating earthquakes hit southern California. NYFA alum Karen Hua, as part of a series of end-of-the-year stories, went back to see how people living in the communities hit hardest by those earthquakes were coping. And the news director at her station sent her by herself…

    This is what it means to be a multimedia journalist (MMJ.) Karen brought along all of the camera, lighting, audio and editing equipment needed for the assignment, packed in the back of the station’s SUV. Karen herself described the trip:

    “Nothing like solo MMJing in the desert, popping your tire and having limited service! It’s one big adventure!”

    Working “on the road” may sound glamorous, but the truth is it often involves plastic dinner plates and lots of coffee…

    If you are one of my former students, you know that I have a tendency to launch into personal stories that I feel help “illuminate” the subjects we deal with in class. (And if you are Evgenia Vlasova, you have probably heard all of those stories at least four times…) 

    One of those oft-told stories is about me traveling on-the-road for a month, trying to record voiceover narrations in a different hotel room every night. (Rooms similar to the one pictured above.) The one way I finally was able to get good audio was to go into a hotel room closet, close the door, put a blanket over my head, and read my script by flashlight.

    For those of you who doubt successful video producers actually use such techniques, I submit the picture below of NYFA grad Wes Newfarmer. Yes, this hack actually works…

    Finally, just before Christmas, Genia and I spent a week in Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan. We were there to teach a Journalism workshop for mid-career professionals at Kazmedia, the nation’s dominant TV media company. We weren’t there to tell them what to report, but rather offer suggestions on how to report. The workshop was funded through a contract with the US State Department, one which NYFA won over other colleges and universities. And at the conclusion, one of the national channels there announced they were going to produce a new political talk show based on what we explored in the workshop. (The folks with the certificates in the picture below were some of the attendees.)

    We must have done well, seeing as we will be going back sometime in the spring to hold a second workshop. In addition, NYFA responded to another Request for Proposals from the State Department and was selected to offer a three-week Journalism Summer School for early-career journalists this coming July in Moscow.

    It’s a good thing one of us speaks Russian…

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    January 21, 2020 • Broadcast Journalism, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 345

  • 92nd Academy Awards Nominees Includes Film Featuring New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Anouar Smaine

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) community celebrated multiple nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards Monday morning, including Best Animated Feature nominee I Lost My Body, which co-starred Filmmaking alum Anouar Smaine as the English-language voice for the Father character.

    Smaine graduated from the Filmmaking program at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus in early 2010. The Algerian-born actor, director, and playwright has numerous credits across several different disciplines, including as an actor in The Looming Tower, Westworld, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Veronica Mars, and the first Arabic-language original production from Netflix, Jinn. Fluent in French, Arabic and all kinds of Middle Eastern and North African dialects, Anouar has found success in both acting and voiceover work, with credits in some of Hollywood’s biggest productions, including John Wick, Jarhead, Charlie’s Angels, The Looming Tower, Westworld, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, and Veronica Mars.

    Anouar Smaine

    NYFA alum Anouar Smaine

    He also writes and directs in addition to acting, and made the multi-award-winning films Sharia and Battle Fields. Both films toured world festivals and earned several awards, including Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Film. 

    “Whether you’re an aspiring actor, writer, producer or a director,” says Smaine about his Filmmaking studies, “NYFA will give you a chance to go into the trenches of creativity and prove your worth based on what you’re taught, and most importantly on what you want to express as a creative. NYFA will both empower you and challenge you to go beyond being a student by embracing the filmmaker, actor, and artist in you.”

    Anouar is currently developing a feature film he plans to direct in early 2021 based on his internationally renowned short Battle Fields, in which he plays an Iraqi refugee who drives a limo in Los Angeles that comes face-to-face with an American Iraq War Veteran, played by Sean Stone, son of legendary director Oliver Stone.

    I Lost My body

    I Lost My Body is a 2019 French animated drama fantasy film directed by Jérémy Clapin that premiered at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. The Oscar-nominated feature tells the story of a dismembered hand that escapes from a dissection lab and goes on a journey through Paris to get back to its body, remembering the life with the young man it was originally attached to.

    Smaine was just one of the NYFA community members involved with this year’s Academy Award nominations, which were presented early Monday morning by NYFA Filmmaking alum Issa Rae and actor John Cho.

    NYFA Game Design alum Guillermo Quesada helped develop the technology that allowed last year’s remake of The Lion King to be filmed on a virtual reality set. The Lion King was one of the Best Visual Effects nominees named Monday morning.

    NYFA 1-Year Documentary Filmmaking alum Camille Bildsøe worked as the assistant to the director of Best Documentary Feature nominee The Cave, Feras Fayyad. Also competing in that category is The Edge of Democracy, directed by Petra Costa, who has taught master classes to NYFA Documentary Filmmaking students in the past.

    Several New York Film Academy guest speakers also received nominations, including Al Pacino, who earned a Best Supporting Actor nod alongside co-star Joe Pesci for his work in Best Picture nominee The Irishman. Pacino, whose daughter Julie Pacino is a NYFA alum, spoke with NYFA students at our Los Angeles campus in 2014.

    Adam Driver, who spoke with NYFA students at our New York campus in 2018, received an Academy Award nomination for Best Lead Actor for his work in Best Picture nominee Marriage Story.

    Best Animated Feature nominee Toy Story 4 co-starred NYFA guest speaker Tony Hale as new breakout character Forky. Hale spoke with NYFA students at our Los Angeles campus last summer, as did Nathan Kelly, who served as unit production manager on Best Picture nominee Once Upon a Time … In Hollywood. NYFA 3D Animation & VFX alum Francisco Panzieri worked on Once Upon a Time as a compositor.

    Another guest speaker celebrating this year’s nominations is President of Marvel Studios and Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Kevin Feige, who spoke with NYFA students at our Burbank-based campus last October. Avengers: Endgame, the culminating film of his brainchild—the Marvel Cinematic Universe—was nominated for Best Visual Effects.

    issa rae i lost my body oscars 2020

    John Cho and NYFA alum Issa Rae presenting the 2020 Oscars nominations

    All in all, the nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards held the usual mix of snubs, sure things, and surprises. Gritty supervillain origin story Joker led the list with 11 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor, while close behind were Sam Mendes’s 1917, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood with ten nominations each, including Best Picture. The Best Picture nominee list was rounded out by Ford v Ferrari, Jojo Rabbit, Little Women, Marriage Story, and Parasite.

    The list notably lacked any women in the Best Director category, despite Greta Gerwig’s film Little Women picking up two acting nominations and a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination along with its Best Picture nod. Other notable moments from Monday morning’s announcement includes Antonio Banderas receiving his first-ever Oscar nomination, for his leading role in longtime collaborator Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain and Glory, and Scarlett Johansson becoming the 11th actor in history to be nominated for two different roles in two different films in the same year.

    Like last year, the televised Oscars ceremony will go without a host, instead relying on various bits and presenters. The Academy Awards airs live on ABC on February 9. Announced presenters include last year’s winners Mahershala Ali, Olivia Colman, Regina King, and Rami Malek. Other presenters include Zazie Beetz, Timothée Chalamet, Will Ferrell, Gal Gadot, Mindy Kaling, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anthony Ramos, Mark Ruffalo, Kelly Marie Tran, and Kristen Wiig. Additionally, Cynthia Erivo, Elton John, Idina Menzel, Chrissy Metz, Randy Newman, and Billie Eilish will perform.

    New York Film Academy congratulates this year’s nominees and looks forward to seeing who goes home with an Oscar or two (or more) next month!

    Here is a full list of the 2020 Oscars nominees:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • New York Film Academy MFA Filmmaking Alum Jaco Dukes Premieres ‘El Guardia’ at Cannes Film Festival’s Marché du Film

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    New York Film Academy MFA Filmmaking Alum Jaco Dukes saw all of his hard work come to fruition last May when he premiered his film El Guardia at the Cannes Film Festival’s Marché du Film.

    Dukes originally hails from Chile and first attended NYFA in September 2011, enrolling in the MFA in Filmmaking program at our Los Angeles campus. “My first year at NYFA was one of the best years of my life,” says Dukes. “For the first time, I was able to think about filmmaking all day, every day of the week. It was paradise. My thesis film that I shot at NYFA opened the door for me to every project and work opportunity that came after. So I think that, if you have all the guidance, support and resources that NYFA can offer (like the amazing instructors; James, Ryan, Nick, Tim, Andrew, and many others), plus an obsession for film and filmmaking, then probably great things will come.”

    El Guardia Jaco Dukes

    The English-language poster for ‘El Guardia’

    Since graduating NYFA, he has written and directed the short films Silent and Mikey, as well worked several others as an editor and cinematographer. Dukes directed, wrote, and co-produced El Guardia, his first feature film. The script is based on the true story of the highly acclaimed businessman, life coach, and best-selling author Juan Rosado from Puerto Rico, and was inspired by Rosado’s empowering book Rags to Riches (El Guardia Que Compró Su Sueño).

    The story focuses on a frustrated security guard that starts a network marketing business as a second job with his mentor and veterinarian friend, which leads them into a life-changing journey that will affect the lives of everyone around them.

    The film made its grand debut at the Marché du Film in Cannes, France in May 2019. The distribution of the film is being managed by Adler & Associates Entertainment, who are submitting the film to festivals around the world as well as planning a theatrical premiere and distribution in cinemas in Puerto Rico, Miami, New York, and Los Angeles sometime in 2020.

    El Guardia Jaco Dukes

    NYFA MFA Filmmaking alum Jaco Dukes

    Dukes is currently working on his next screenplay, an indie film that he’s always wanted to make—he’s devoting all of his energy to producing it in 2020. Says Dukes, “[El Guardia] was the most challenging learning experience of my life as a film director, and thanks to all the obstacles, failures, and successes I had making this film, now I am a little more confident about directing my passion project, my own script, and kick ass with it.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Filmmaking alum Jaco Dukes on the Cannes Film Festival Marché du Film premiere of El Guardia and looks forward to seeing what he makes next! 

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    January 10, 2020 • Film Festivals, Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 558

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA 3D Animation & VFX Student Arina Andriushchenko Works on Dish TV Commercial

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    It’s been a productive winter for New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA 3D Animation & VFX student Arina Andriushchenko; just weeks after working on a stop motion animated video for the hit video game Borderlands 3, Andriushchenko has now completed work on a commercial for Dish TV.

    What makes Andriushchenko’s productivity all the more impressive is that she’s smack in the middle of studying for her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 3D Animation & VFX from NYFA’s Burbank-based campus.

    Like the Borderlands 3 commercial, this new project is stop motion animation, a forte of NYFA instructor Misha Klein, who worked on both ads. The ad playfully recalls the Wild West as it promotes classic western and outlaw movies for the TV provider.

    The set itself was designed in 3D using Maya, but recreated in real life with plastic and foam materials. As an assistant for the art department, Andriushchenko worked on some set decorations and set dressings for the video. She also worked on miniatures and small jewelry mounts (bracing) that allow the models to move. At one point, she even improvised by creating a new size for the drill since no existing sizes exist for such small objects.

    New York Film Academy congratulates BFA 3D Animation & VFX student Arina Andriushchenko on her work and encourages everyone to check out the Dish TV stop motion video here.

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    January 10, 2020 • 3D Animation, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 412

  • International Community Gathers Together to Aid Victims of Australia Bushfires – Here’s How You Can Help

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    The devastating bushfires in Australia have now been raging for their fourth straight month, scorching millions of acres of land and already resulting in the deaths of over two dozen people and more than one billion animals. The international community has watched in horror as the fires show no signs of slowing down, rallying together to do what they can through donations and charities. It has been estimated that over a million people worldwide have supported the relief with no amount considered too small for the victims, firefighters and wildlife.

     

    The sheer magnitude of the devastation has been impossible to ignore, dominating the international news cycle and even the awards speeches of Hollywood’s Golden Globe Awards, held last Sunday.  Several award winners took the time from their speeches to share their sympathies for the victims of the bushfires and urged anyone who can to donate to charities and organizations supporting Australia and those affected by the fires.

    Other celebrities have taken to social media to do the same, using the massive goodwill and capital they’ve earned from successful careers in the entertainment industry to make large calls to action. Actors and performers like Nicole Kidman, Chris Hemsworth, Russell Crowe, Pink, Selena Gomez, Celeste Barber, Rebel Wilson, Naomi Watts, Kylie Minogue, Cate Blanchett, and Bindi Irwin have all implored their fans and followers to join them in supporting Australia in any way they can.

    New York Film Academy Australia (NYFA Australia) students from both Australia and the international community have had the distinct luxury of shooting in one of the most beautiful and diverse environments in the world. It is no coincidence that the film industry has turned to the Gold Coast and Australia so often to shoot iconic films and television series—the charm and beauty of the island continent is effortlessly captured by the camera’s eye.

    Films and series like Game of Thrones, Aquaman, Thor: Ragnarok, San Andreas, The Shallows, Kong: Skull Island, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and the 70s Australian film Walkabout—as well as countless student films by NYFA Australia students and alumni—have all taken advantage of Australia’s scenic backdrops. Seeing the continued destruction of both land and lives has been unspeakably heartbreaking, and NYFA Australia encourages those who can to support the victims of Australia’s fires in any way possible.

    In light of these devastating bushfires, the Gold Coast campus has been in contact with Foodbank Queensland to see how they can support those in need during this challenging period. Foodbank Queensland has requested much-needed toiletries and non-perishable items as donations for those affected. The NYFA Australia community has come together and collected donations at the Southport campus which will be sent down to Foodbank NSW Team on January 10th in support of the Bushfire Relief. The campus has received an overwhelming amount of support from staff and students who are keen to help out in any way they can which has been wonderful.

    Donations collected by NYFA Australia for the Bushfire Relief.

     

    Here’s How You Can Help

    For those willing and able to help, here are some of the organizations you can support to aid displaced people, wildlife populations, and Australia as a whole during this unprecedented emergency:

    The cinematographer of the Australian film Walkabout also NYFA Los Angeles’s Cinematography ChairAnthony Richmond shares this message and plea for support:

    Every dollar counts so any amount you are able to donate will help and Australians will surely appreciate it.

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    January 10, 2020 • Entertainment Australia, Outreach, Progressive & Social Causes • Views: 845

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Li Cheng’s ‘José’ Gets National Release After Winning Queer Lion Award at Venice Film Festival

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    It’s becoming more and more common for New York Film Academy (NYFA) alumni to win major festival prizes, so it wasn’t any surprise when news broke out that Filmmaking grad Li Cheng won the 2018 Queer Lion Award at the 75th Venice Film Festival, one of the world’s most prominent cinema competitions; his film José is now the first Central American film to do so. Following the prestigious award as well as premieres in 50 countries and 100 festival cities worldwide, José now has a national USA theatre release, starting in a dozen major markets, with Cheng personally be presenting the film and speaking with audiences during each of the first three days for both the New York and Los Angeles screenings.

    Li Cheng Jose

    NYFA alum LI Cheng on set of Jośe, Courtesy of YQstudio LLC

    In 2008, Cheng attended the 4-Week Filmmaking workshop at our New York campus. “My NYFA experience was wonderful,” Cheng tells NYFA, “and key to getting started right: hands-on, quickly, low-cost/high-value, with passionate film professionals, and meeting and working together with creative, energetic, inspiring faculty, staff, and student-cohorts from day one. I couldn’t have asked for more, or a better kickstart to my career in film.”

    Cheng used that kickstart to his full advantage. His feature film José is a nuanced look at the challenges and joys of gay life in Central America. The Spanish-language, English-subtitled film follows star José (Enrique Salanic), who lives at home with his mother (Ana Cecilia Mota), who makes ends meet by selling sandwiches at bus stops and who is not ready to let go of her youngest child. But when he meets Luis (Manolo Herrera), José is pushed to break down his own boundaries and take a leap of faith with this new relationship. 

    José was written and produced by Cheng, along with George F. Roberson, and was shot in Guatemala with a non-industry artist and academic crew, making it the first major LGBTQIA+ film to come from the nation. Outsider Pictures is the film’s North American distributor and world sales, while international festival sales are handled by Rediance (of Paris and Beijing).

    Li Cheng Jose

    The powerful film has resonated with audiences. Winning the Queer Lion is an incredible achievement; the Queer Lion Award is the trophy awarded, starting in 2007, to the “Best Movie with LGBT Themes & Queer Culture” among those presented during the Venice International Film Festival. Previous winners include Tom Ford’s A Single Man and Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl. José has also won Best Film at the Boston LGBT Film Festival and was cited for its “confident visual sense…a sensitive portrait [with a] depth of feeling” by The Hollywood Reporter.

    The film will screen at the Quad Cinema in New York City from Friday, January 31 – Sunday, February 2. Tickets are available here. Other screenings for José, including at the Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles on February 7, can be found here. Q&A sessions between the audiences and Cheng will follow screenings each of the first three days for both the New York and Los Angeles releases.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Li Cheng on winning the Venice Film Festival’s Queer Lion award and looks forward to following his career as a filmmaker!

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Acting for Film Student Amir Rahim Stars in Debut Feature Film

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Acting for Film student Amir Rahim is starring in his first Malaysian feature film, Suraya, set for release in early January.

    NYFA alum Amir Rahim

    The film made its theatrical debut in the Philippines at the Mindanao Film Festival earlier in December, and tells the story of Adam and Nabila, two avid YouTubers who set across Malaysia and end up in a mysterious homestay. 

    Rahim, who hails from Malaysia, co-stars in the thriller as Adam. He attended the MFA Acting for Film program at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus from 2013 – 2015.

    This is the second project Rahim has made with Feisk Productions and director Feisal Azizuddin; the first was the film Temenggor, still in post-production. He earned the role while living in Los Angeles through an audition call he heard from a friend. “My acting coaches at NYFA always tell me to be prepared for auditions,” says Rahim, “i.e having your headshot and resume ready and up to date, have some monologues prepared (if the audition doesn’t have any sides) and most importantly, be early. That’s what I did. After completing Temenggor, the director wanted me to be in his next film, Suraya.”

    Rahim is grateful for the education that led to his casting and shares this advice for his fellow NYFA students: “Get involved in as many projects as you can while you’re there, whether it’s a film or theatre project, and don’t just look for projects at NYFA, look outside as well … The best way to learn is by doing. Use this time to experiment with the different kinds of characters you want to play and also discover the kind of actor you want to be. If you have friends from other programs like Filmmaking or Screenwriting, get together and create your own project—you don’t have to wait for people to offer you roles. Also build a showreel while you’re at it. That will come in handy when you graduate and start looking for agents and auditions. No agents, casting directors, or producers want to hire an inexperienced actor. Never stop hustling.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Acting for Film alum Amir Rahim on his Malaysian feature debut and looks forward to the release of Temenggor and whatever films Amir has in his future.

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    January 8, 2020 • Acting, Film Festivals, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 643

  • New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Acting for Film Alum Natalya Butkevich Creating New YouTube Channel

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    Buzz has been steadily growing for influencer and television personality Natalya Butkevich, an alum of the Acting for Film program at New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA.)

    Butkevich originally hails from Russia and in August 2009 she attended the 4-Week Acting for Film workshop at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus.

    Natalya Butkevich

    NYFA alum Natalya Butkevich

    Since graduating NYFA, Butkevich has steadily increased her star power as an actress, producer, and TV presenter, and had the foresight to use social influencing as a medium even in its earliest days. 

    In 2010, Butkevich owned a program on television, Kinoshanc, and has been featured in many top publications, as well as on the covers of magazines including Elle, Women’s Health, Tatler, and Cosmopolitan.

    Also a writer,  Butkevich has created a brand from her love of travel, writing blogs about her travel experiences. Her Instagram popularity is growing at a rapid pace as she provides insight into her day to day life from her fashion styles to her favorite destinations. To date, Butkevich has traveled to many destinations including Turkey, Miami, New York, Bahamas, and Dubai.

    “It is really important to understand your body from within and surround yourself with positivity,” Butkevich recently shared with The Statesman. A YouTube channel is a perfect fit for Butkevich, so it’s no surprise she is currently working on launching her own.

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA-LA Acting for Film alum Natalya Butkevich on her new YouTube channel and encourages everyone to subscribe!

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    January 7, 2020 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 609

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Teaches Journalism Workshop in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) is an internationally recognized thought leader in the field of Broadcast Journalism. That status was recognized by the US State Department, which chose NYFA to conduct a week-long Journalism workshop for mid-career TV professionals in Nur-Sultan, the capital of the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan. Broadcast Journalism Chair Bill Einreinhofer, and instructor Evgeniia Vlasova made the long journey from New York City to Kazakhstan just before Christmas, a time of year when Nur-Sultan is known for its bone chilling weather and frequent snow.

    The goal was not to teach “what to report.” Rather, the workshop was about innovative “ways to report.” It also avoided the typical teacher/student paradigm and instead was structured as colleagues sharing potentially useful information with colleagues. 

    Broadcast Journalism Kazakhstan Workshop

    Einreinhofer drew upon his US network television experience, using the PBS NewsHour and NBC’s Meet the Press as models for how to explore complicated, controversial subjects in a non-partisan and engaging way. Vlasova has seven years of TV experience in her native Russia, and is also a graduate of NYFA’s 1-Year Broadcast Journalism conservatory program. She literally spoke the same language as workshop participants. (Many people in Kazakhstan speak both Kazakh and Russian.)

    The culmination of the workshop saw the participants go into a TV studio and create a “pilot program” incorporating the techniques discussed during the week. Their success can be measured in the decision of a major Kazakh TV network to develop an entirely new political talk show based on that pilot.

    Einreinhofer and Vlasova will be returning to Kazakhstan next spring to teach a second workshop there. In July they will conduct a three-week Journalism Summer School in Moscow, aimed at early career journalists. Both projects are being sponsored by the US State Department.

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    January 6, 2020 • Broadcast Journalism, International Diversity • Views: 515

  • Oscar-Nominated New York Film Academy Filmmaking Alum Giacun Caduff Working on New Projects

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking alum Giacun Caduff, along with NYFA Acting for Film alum Stefanie Lacher, have been working nonstop across the globe as they work on films and other projects following the massive success of La femme et le TGV, the Oscar-nominated short produced by Caduff.

    Caduff attended the 8-Week Filmmaking workshop at NYFA’s New York campus in the summer of 1999. Lacher attended NYFA’s 8-Week Acting for Film workshop at our Los Angeles campus in September 2011. The pair met several years later at a party in Switzerland, Caduff’s native country.

    Giacun Caduff and Stefanie Lacher

    NYFA Alumni Giacun Caduff and Stefanie Lacher

    In 2009, Caduff founded the Gässli Film Festival in his hometown of Basel, Switzerland, a platform for young aspiring filmmakers to present their shorts and network with industry professionals. He also runs a film camp and drive-in movie theater.

    These projects haven’t stopped Caduff from working on his true passion though—making movies. He has produced such films as Etienne! (2009), 2B or Not 2B (2005), Salad Days (2011), and directorial effort 20 Regeln für Sylvie (2014).

    His biggest success to date was the 2016 short La femme et le TGV, written and directed by NYFA Filmmaking alum Timo von Gunten, which tells a touching story of a lonely woman and a TGV train driver. Among many other awards, nominations, and festival selections, La femme et le TGV was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film. The film was executive produced by NYFA alum Jean de Meuron.

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    What a night!

    A post shared by Giacun Caduff (@jacquesabale) on

    “In a funny way, the nomination has helped more with other projects than with movies,” Caduff tells NYFA. “I learned that in the end it’s an interesting process where suddenly people introduce you as an Oscar nominee, which is nice, but at the same time, people will automatically expect that same level from you—which in the film world is another Oscar-nominated movie. With projects outside the film business it’s a bit easier, because the expectations are high too but there is no 1:1 comparison. So, I was happy to work with excited people to create the basis for the Gässli Film Festival that—maybe one day—will be Oscar-qualifying.”

    Those high expectations haven’t stopped Caduff though, who is working on multiple new films, and will possibly collaborate in the future with NYFA alum Stefanie Lacher, whom Caduff calls “a wonderful inspiration.” 

    la femme et le tgv giacun caduffGiacun Caduff

    He adds, “There are two scripts of my own that I’m finalizing and one that the director of La femme et le TGV is writing. This journey took me to the US and later to Russia, where I spent time in a lake house without internet to focus on the writing. With enough luck, I hope to shoot this year. Probably next year, but this year should be key in getting funding and cast attachment. Fingers crossed!”

    Making films and collaborating with fellow NYFA classmates stems from a passion Caduff found when he attended the Filmmaking workshop in New York. “Using 16mm film for the first time,” describes Caduff, “I re-discovered my love and passion for film. I knew right there that I was making movies for the wrong reasons so far and started to understand the importance of story, light, lenses—and I mean, being in New York City during that time of my life… amazing.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA alumni Giacun Caduff and Stefanie Lacher on their respective successes since graduating the Academy and looks forward to seeing what projects they work on next!

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