New York Film Academy Photography School alumna Zhuoqun Jiang’s photography work, “Living Shape,” has been selected by the Florence Biennale. The FlorenceBiennale is the major contemporary art exhibition in Florence (Italy), where it is regarded as an outstanding showcase of the international contemporary art production. Every two years the FlorenceBiennale enlivens the Medicean city with a program of collateral events such as conferences, displays, performances, workshops and lectures. All this with a view to offer artists and their audience the opportunity to engage with art and culture, and know more about the theme of each edition of the biennial.
Originally from China, Jiang moved to NY to attend Photography School at NYFA, where she created this piece as her first year final project. She then moved on to her MFA in Photography at NYFA Los Angeles.
“This piece was created to show my respect of life,” says Jiang. “I am a minimalist, and I think the most simple thing carries the greatest power. The triangle represents strength and the color means growing and blooming of life. I handmade the costume as a soft sculpture and asked a model to dress it up.”
Jiang says she was always encouraged by her instructors to create and explore new ideas and concepts. “The skills I learned at NYFA made me confident to face any problem while shooting my projects,” she added.
Jiang has experience in many fields of art; her work consists of sculptural, fashion based, fiber art and photo illustrations. They can be exhibited both as photographs and individual pieces. Her current focus is on exploring the artistic expression through craft, sculpture and photography.
The Florence Biennale 2017 will be held October 6th – 15th at Fortezza da Basso, Florence.
Growing up in Argentina, Gonzalo Maiztegui has been acting since drama club days in school. In fact, he recalls the moment he came to the realization that acting was going to be his lifelong passion and career. From there he says he fell in love with the New York Film Academy, where he attended the AFA Acting for Film program at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles.
After graduating, Maiztegui booked his first National Commercial for Kellogg’s Eggo in the famous “Leggo my Eggo” campaign.
“I auditioned for the part, like any other actor, but truthfully many things I learned at NYFA helped me a lot in that audition,” said Maiztegui. “I was simply myself, and not fake, and then I made strong decisions like my teachers taught me to. Later on the day of the shoot, on set, the owner of the spot came up to me and told me he had made the decision of picking me, and he chose me because I was myself and he liked that and the strong choices I made.”
Maiztegui recently finished shooting a project for BuzzFeed, which will actually be the first Web-series for Snapchat. He also booked an Apple Commercial for their most recent App, “Clips.”
While many young artists flock to New York City from all around the world, few realize just how difficult it can be to break into the competitive world of “show business.” This personal and relatable struggle was the inspiration behind director Rodrigo Baumgartner Ayres’ film “Felices Acá En New York” (“Happy Here in New York”), which stars NYFA alumna Caroline Rosalino. Both Ayres and Rosalino met during their studies at the New York Film Academy and collaborated on the project soon after.
The film has been well received, having screened at eight film festivals and having been recognized with a “Best Actress Award Nomination” at the Queens World Film Festival. The film won a “Best Audience Award” at Indie Works and a “Best Actress Platinum” at NYC Indie Fest.
NYFA caught up with the two alumni to discuss more about the film and their blossoming careers since graduating.
Congrats on the success of your film! Can you tell us where you’re from, and what brought you to NYFA?
CR: I’m from Brazil, but I also lived in Argentina for five years where I did my BFA in Acting, as well as working in their “off-Broadway theater circle.” I came to the US for the first time for a three month work intership, and I walked past NYFA the very first day I was in New York City. I even have a picture of myself in front of NYFA saying, “Mom, I don’t think I am coming back,” and the funny thing is, it became true. I started researching about NYFA and I found it was exactly what I was missing in my work — since at that point my focus was mainly theatre and soap opera acting.
RA: I am from Porto Alegre, Brazil. I decided to come to NYFA during my last year of adversing & marketing school in Brazil. I wasn’t excited about pursuing that career, I felt there was somehitng missing and it was one of my instructors Anny Baggiotto who had attended NYFA a few years earlier the recommended the school to me.
Caroline, can you tell us how you met Rodrigo?
CR: While at NYFA, I saw him working everyday at our computer lab, but we never had the opportunty to work together during school time. During my OPT time after NYFA, I invited Rodrigo to direct this film and luckily he dedicated himself entirely to the project.
Rodrigo, in your own words, can you tell us what this film is about?
RA: It’s about me, and Caroline’s, and a whole bunch of other foreigner artists’ lives. People who come to NYC with a dream to make it in show business, but soon realize that life here is harder than it looks. It’s about the idealized image that people in our home countries have of us because of the fact that we are living in New York City, supposedly the city of dreams. They don’t know what it means to be a foreigner in this country: working day jobs, struggling with money, having a constant fear of failure, which will culminate into us having no other option besides going back to our home countries with a feeling of defeat. It’s also about friendship. Sol’s character is sacrificing a long lasting friendship with Vicky in order to fulfill her dreams. And these ‘breaking apart’ situations happen no matter how hard you try to keep in touch with friends and family because your life in NYC is very intense; you can’t take a breath between working day jobs and pursing your career as an artist.
How did this film come about?
RA: This film was a nine day pre-production process: one day of shooting and over six months of editing, which I did myself. Caroline sent me a story written by Alejandro Escaño, a writer and theatre performer from Argentina, and she told me she wanted me to DP it. She thought I had a camera and equipment, which I didn’t, and she had another director lined up for the shoot. I told her I didn’t have a camera, but I might be able to put the production together. Apparently, the other director wasn’t showing much interest, so I took over and brought my friend Daniel Rey Lozano to DP and operate the camera, borrowed sound equipment from an indie company called ‘Gradient Films’, whom I worked with before, and Caroline called Andrei Costanzi Posse to operate the sound, a Brazilian actor who lives in NYC, which I had also previously met in another project.
We were only five people on set and shooting guerrilla style. Months later, in the later stages of editing, I brought in my cousin from Brazil, Saulo Baumgartner Mosna, to compose the music for us.
The biggest challenge was adapting the story that was sent to us by Alejandro, which was a great story with a lot of heart, but also not written in a standard script format. It was a story written in Word, which required a lot of changes if we wanted to have any hopes of executing it as a film. The original story involved a higher budget, at least three or four days of shooting, and more time of pre-production. So with nine days until the shooting date, Caroline and I were re-writing the story and adapting it into our ‘one day’ schedule.
One day of shooting seems like a lot to handle. Can you tell me how you were able to pull off a one day shoot?
RA: We got a crew of reliable people who are in it for the art rather than money, and that’s why we were able to shoot for some 16 hours. It was definitely exhausting, but when you have people like that, you know are going to see it through to the end. When Carolyn and I were writing the script I was careful with how I was shaping the scenes. Like I said, the original story was quite different — more places, different style — so I tried to make it logistically viable, so that we could travel quickly between locations.
What did you see in Caroline that made her a perfect fit for the role of Sol?
RA: Caroline is a great actress, seasoned, reliable and she really fit the role, because just like her character Sol, Caroline is also an immigrant who is struggling to make a living here in NYC. Except maybe for the ‘killing’ visions and day dreaming, Sol and Caroline are quite similar. But the fact was that Caroline reached me with the story first. Knowing her for her professionalism and talent, I had no doubts that we could make this project work.
Caroline, can you tell us a little bit about Sol and who she is as a character?
CR: Sol is a struggling actress that has been living in NY for three years. She wants to sustain the image of a successful life, but deep down she is not completely proud of all her choices. The truth comes to surface when her best friend from Argentina comes to visit her.
Would you two say your NYFA experience was useful in terms of being prepared for this film?
CR: I was truly blessed to have a great group at NYFA. From my colleagues that had so much potential — not even mentioning the unforgettable time we had together — but also our teachers were excellent and always open to work as well. NYFA prepared me not only to shift my theatre acting experience into film format and understand the professional filmmaking process, but essentially to understand acting as a business and how the film industry works in the US.
RA: NYFA played an absolutely fundamental role in my career as a filmmaker. I had no previous background in film before — coming from advertising and marketing — so everything I learned was at NYFA. I did the One-Year Filmmaking Conservatory, which was very intense and an incredible learning experience. Kudos to my directing instructor Paul Warner; he was my main source of inspiration and I follow his teachings blindingly. I definitely learned a lot from him. NYFA cultivated my passion for the art and set me on track for a career that I can no longer live without. NYFA’s program is complete. I graduated the school feeling confident about my talent and what I could accomplish in the future.
Tell us what’s next for the two of you.
CR: I have a few jobs lined up. I might be traveling around the country for that. One of them is a virtual reality film. I can’t wait for the experience of shooting in 360. And for certain the feature of “Felices Acá en New York.”
RA: I am shooting two new short films in May – June, 2017. One is a comedy that pays tribute to NYC as a romantic and also productive environment. The other one is a drama about loss and grief that criticizes America’s support program to veterans of war. Besides that, I also work as 1st Assistant Director, so I am involved in a sci-fi short film to be shot in September, 2017. I am also constantly writing. I have six scripts in the works that are dialogue pieces primarily made for the stage and that I also intend to turn into films.
Last week, the New York Film Academy Filmmaking students were given an in-depth lecture on storyboarding from one of the best, John F. Davis. As a Storyboard Artist and Illustrator for over 70 major motion pictures, Davis has designed camera shots and scenes for directors such as Sydney Pollack, Martin Scorsese, Sam Mendes, Robert De Niro, Baz Luhrmann, Lasse Hallstrom, Jonathan Demme, M. Night Shyamalan and Barry Sonnenfeld, among many others, with an initial collaboration in 1983 with Jim Henson and Frank Oz. In 2005, Davis won the Best In Show Award for the Society of Illustrators’ first “The Art of the Storyboard” exhibition, an international competition with over 300 entries worldwide.
Since coming to New York City in 1979 from the Yale School of Drama, he has been a Production Designer, Visual Consultant, Storyboard Artist and Illustrator. Davis won two Emmy Awards in 1988 for designing the broadcast sets for the Summer Games of the XXIV Olympiad in Seoul for NBC Sports; he has also been a political media consultant on presidential, senatorial and gubernatorial campaigns and in 1993 produced and directed a 3-hour nightly literacy show for the State of Mississippi (where he is from originally). In 1982, he designed all the News and Sports sets for ABC and has designed two independent films as well as creating concepts, storyboards and set designs for numerous music videos, industrials, and television commercials since the mid-80s.
Davis began the lecture by allowing the students to check out his original storyboards from several major films including “The Departed,” “Black Swan,” “Zoolander,” and many others. The focus of the lecture was “awareness.”
“There’s an awareness factor that needs to be in storytelling,” he said. “To engage the audience in a way that they’re surprised and taken by it.”
He also stressed the fact that research is imperative. “If you do the right research it’ll inform your project,” he said.
While Davis did admit that drawing is the foundation of the visual arts, he did say that a filmmaker doesn’t necessarily have to be great a drawing in order to create a storyboard. Davis broke down the drawing process, allowing students to understand how to properly draw and interpret a scene from page to visual.
The process of storyboarding is extremely beneficial when it comes time for a director to set up his shots. Davis’ lecture brought about a true appreciation for storyboard art and the man or woman who provides the art for each of our favorite films.
On June 24, 1973, an arsonist set fire to the Up Stairs Lounge, a gay bar located on the edge of the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana. For 43 years, it was the deadliest single event to affect the gay community in U.S. history. Thirty-two people were killed and some bodies were never identified. One-third of the New Orleans chapter of the Metropolitan Community Church were killed in the blaze, including two clergy. The primary suspect was never charged with the crime. The tragedy did not stop at the loss of lives. There were also the delayed injuries: lost jobs, fear, public ridicule and severed families. The devastation was compounded by the homophobic reactions and utter lack of concern by the general public, government and religious leaders. The fire permanently altered lives and was the root of many lifelong struggles.
NYFA Alumnus Robert Camina at Manhattan Film Festival Premiere
Despite the staggering historical significance, few people know about the devastating event. Filled with the desire to bring this tragic story to life, director Robert Camina made this the focus of his second documentary feature, “Upstairs Inferno.” Camina’s documentary brings humanity to the headlines by shining a light on the very painful effect the tragedy had on survivors, witnesses and loved ones. Their interviews are gut wrenching, yet insightful. Some of the people interviewed in the film haven’t publicly discussed the fire until now, especially on camera. The film is narrated by New Orleans’ own New York Times Best Selling Author, Christopher Rice.
The documentary has been an official selection of nearly 40 film festivals around the world, winning a total of 8 Jury Awards, 4 Audience Awards, 2 Special Programming Awards and 2 Community Awards. It’s been in the spotlight in the New York Times and CNN. The film has received glowing reviews, including the San Francisco Chronicle citing that the doc “echoes of Spike Lee’s [Oscar nominated] civil rights film “4 Little Girls.” It was also invited to screen at the Library of Congress in February 2017.
Camina, a 2006 graduate of the New York Film Academy 8-Week Film Workshop, recently returned to New York for his NY premiere at the Manhattan Film Festival at Cinema Village. The festival awarded his film with the distinguished Film Heals Award.
“New York has a very special place in my heart,” said Camina at his premiere. “This is where my film career began — at the New York Film Academy in 2006.”
Camina’s first official film, “Hunter4Love,” a short comedy produced at the New York Film Academy, played in twelve film festivals across the U.S.
“The New York Film Academy provided more than technical training,” added Camina. “It provided an opportunity to meet other people like myself. You can’t place a value on that. Before our session, I had never felt such a strong bond with a group of people. I felt I had finally found my tribe after years of looking. My class was filled with phenomenal people from around the world with a common passion: to tell stories. We got very close and in fact, we all still keep keep in touch through a Facebook group. Two members of my class who met for the first time while at NYFA, ended up getting married and starting a family. We not only made movies, we made lifelong friendships. My classmates gave me (and continue to give me) the support to pursue filmmaking.”
A promotional video that Camina directed for the Dallas Theater Center, “Meet Kevin Moriarty,” earned him 2 Telly Awards: “Outstanding Achievement in Direct Marketing” – Bronze, and “Cultural Marketing” – Bronze. The Telly Awards are the advertising industry’s highest accolade.
“Martini the Movie,” Camina’s second official short film, wrapped production in the Fall of 2008. The film screened at 10 film festivals across the country, winning the award for “Best Comedic Short Film (Men’s)” at the 2009 QCinema Film Festival. The film also won the Audience Award for “Best Musical” at the 2012 Out in the Desert – Tucson International LGBT Film Festival.
In June 2009, Camina began principal photography on his first full length feature film, “Raid of the Rainbow Lounge,” a documentary about the controversial and violent police raid of a Fort Worth, Texas gay bar that sparked an unprecedented outcry by the gay community leading to historic change. The film, narrated by Emmy nominated actress and TV icon, Meredith Baxter, opened to rave reviews and a media frenzy in March 2012. It was the official selection of more than 30 film festivals and garnered a number of awards, including 5 “Best” film awards and 3 “Audience” awards.
One of the many highlights of Camina’s career was receiving an invitation to the White House to meet President Obama during Obama’s 2012 LGBT Pride Month Reception.
“Upstairs Inferno” is now available on Blu-ray and DVD, and can be purchased here.
Photographer/Retoucher: Rutvik Katuri Model: Camille John @ BMG Models NY MUAH: Sonia R Magazine: Imirage, Issue: Living For Love #3.
Born and raised in the southern part of Hyderabad, India, Rutvik Katuri‘s hobby of photography slowly grew into his passion after shadowing local event and wedding photographers. He grew even fonder of the art after discovering the work of fashion photographers like Emily Soto and Lindsey Adler. From there, Katuri moved to New York City where he currently studies at the New York Film Academy Photography School.
“NYFA has definitely improved my skills in terms of getting the light setup quicker as well as with working on post-production in Photoshop,” says Katuri. “To give you a little bit of perspective, it used to take me 30 minutes to get a simple setup with one light. Now I take about 30 mins for a complex four light setup. Same goes for my post production — it has cut my time in half.”
Katuri’s final project for his Photo I class was “Holi Colors,” which was inspired by the Indian festival called Holi, a festival of colors and love. “It’s a play of analogous and complementary colors,” he says.
His photo was chosen for a recent cover of Imirage, a monthly magazine that applauds relevant and visually stunning features on art, design, writing, film, music, photography, style and other creative genres.
“Technically it was just a simple one light setup with a beauty dish and capturing the images with a simple macro lens,” said Katuri about the work on his cover image. “To me it was more about picking the right colors and figuring out what were the right designs that fit the face. We started out by adding red around one eye and we let the design go wherever it took us, but we kept in mind that it has to be symmetric on both the sides.”
Katuri says he is heading more into studio fashion and beauty and will be expanding to on-location fashion. Two projects that he is currently working on are “Futuristic Fashion” and “Symmetry.”
Inspired by films like “The Jungle Book,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Gravity,” and “Inception,” among others, Edgar Vega began his career working as a Lighting/Compositing artist on a feature animated film in Guadalajara, Mexico. From there, he wanted to further his knowledge and skill in the field of cinematography and decided to leave his hometown of Mexico to study at the 1-Year Cinematography Program at the New York Film Academy.
“After working on that feature film I needed to properly learn the origins of lighting for picture as well as how camera and light reinforces the narrative,” said Vega. “There was always an interest in narrative since I did my Bachelor’s in Animation & Digital Arts back in Guadalajara, but I never had a real approach to lighting until I worked in this film I’ve mentioned. The final look of it relied more on illustration rather than the use of cinematography tools, which is not bad, it was just the vision of the director at the time. I believe that in a film that uses 3D and CGI rendering tools that produce photorealistic images, cinematography would be the right tool for producing and achieving the desired result.”
Vega wanted to learn and experiment with merging both worlds like “Gravity” and the other films that inspired him. He says his favorite cinematographer is Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, not only because he’s from his country, but also because while filming “Gravity,” Lubezki and the VFX Supervisor Tim Webber developed technology to merge the hybrid CGI and live action into one image. “That was the challenge there,” said Vega. “They had to determine how lights would affect character’s faces, and then match it to composite the live action and animation perfectly.” The film ended up winning the Academy Award in both fields in 2015.
Since graduating from the Cinematography Program, Vega has had the opportunity to work as a Lighting/Compositing Artist on the Nick Jr. series called “Block Party.”
“Chris Papa, Scott Kennell, and their team were developing a new pre-school franchise that speaks about teamwork and unity,” Vega said about the series. “I was invited onto ‘Block Party’ to develop a possible final look, which earned an internally good response. As a result, a first episode was made. Thanks to the concepts learned at NYFA, I was able to assertively respond to the necessities of both Chris and Scott.”
He is now in postproduction on his thesis film, “Marcus,” which merges live action and CGI.
Vega also was the DP on NYFA Filmmaking alumna Cheyenne Pasquer’s film, “Worth It?,” which screened at the London Monthly Film Festival December 2016, Miami Independent Film Festival December 2016, The Lovecraft January 2017, and the California Women’s Film Festival February 2017, where it was nominated for Best Director.
“At the beginning we both had a lot of questions about the complexity of the film, since the script was extensive for the amount of days I could afford to shoot,” said Pasquer about her collaboration with Vega. “Most of the shoot was overnight, so I think the adaptation was a crucial skill that me and Edgar developed during the shoot of ‘Worth it?’ We were both in a difficult scenario not only because the film was physically demanding, but also because we successfully worked out with our crew and actors. As a DP he delivered beautiful shots that matched with the requirement of the story, both aesthetically and narrative wise.”
“Worth It?” will be screening at this year’s Cannes Short Film Corner in May.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Adrián Minkowicz, also known as “The Argentinean,” is an award-winning comedian based in New York. He performs stand-up in English and Spanish with equal success, touring internationally, performing in major clubs and festivals like “Just for Laughs” and the “Fringe” in Edinburgh. He has been featured guest on talk-shows and done sets on TV in Europe, South America and in the USA, on shows like “the Artie Lange Show” and “Gotham Comedy Live.” He also opened for renowned comedians like Artie Lange and Godfrey.
“I met Artie in the comedy circuit, at the Comic Strip Live or the Comedy Cellar,” recalls Minkowicz. “He thought that my story was interesting enough to bring me to his show and he interviewed me three times. I recently had the honor to open for him at the Count Basie in New Jersey. His fans really love him and he deserves it. He is not only a very talented and hilarious man, but a really nice and giving person.”
A prolific published writer, Minkowicz is also the author of several theatre plays, TV scripts, articles for magazines and newspapers, and sketches for radio.
“When I started living in New York many years ago I felt that I need it to complement my formation as an actor, playwright and comedian with film studies and I decided to attend New York Film Academy,” said the NYFA alumnus. “It has been really helpful for my career for several reasons. I’m not only a comedian but I’m also a published playwright in Argentina. I run a theater and dance company with my wife called ‘Human Works’ based in Brussels. Our last project ‘Dry Act #2: South Domino’ is a piece about games divided in three parts: a documentary, a performance and a board game that I invented. I would never have been able to make the documentary without attending NYFA.”
In addition to his work in New York, Minkowicz holds a yearly workshop for professional comedians in Buenos Aires, sharing his experiences as an international and New York based comedian. The workshop is given as a ‘writer’s room’ where the participants have the possibility of developing material together with colleagues. “I receive a lot of questions about whether you can translate material from one language to another, and my answer is normally no,” says Minkowicz. “The reason is that people will not perceive me the same way in Argentina as they do in the United States or United Kingdom. Therefore, the comedian should always be aware of what different peoples perception of you are and act in consequence, not necessarily giving them what they want, but you could prove them wrong in their opinions.”
Minkowicz will be featured in tonight’s April 27 open mic show at the New York Film Academy Theater at 17 Battery Place in lower Manhattan, hosted by NYFA Instructor Criag Fox. The evening begins at 7pm and includes a night of stand-up, live music, and poetry where NYFA students have the opportunity to share the stage with NYC pros.
On May 18, Minkowicz is producing his own show called “The Argentinean’s Rancho” at the New York Comedy Club. (Tickets are only $10 with the code “Rancho.”)
He will be performing for an hour at the “Best Newcomer” all August at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh. It’s a solo show with stand-up, film, and music, featuring known and not so known comedians from around the globe “advising” him on what is the best way to win a prize a the festival.
New York Film Academy Musical Theatre alumna Sophie Kim So-hyang has been cast in the US production of the hit Broadway musical “Sister Act,” making her the first Korean actress to have been cast in the American production of the musical. She will play the part of Sister Mary Robert, a quiet and timid nun who becomes inspired by the main character Delores to eventually break out of her shell. The show is a musical adaptation of the hit 1992 comedy film of the same name starring Whoopi Goldberg.
“My Korean agent told me that there will an audition for ‘Sister Act’ in the Asian tour and that I should try to get in,” said Kim. “At first, I didn’t think too much about it because there are no roles for Asians in the play. But since it was an Asian tour, my agent told me that there would be a slight possibility of getting the part. So, I auditioned, got several callbacks, and finally got it. I was so excited!”
Born and raised in Korea’s theatre district, Kim and her mother went to many shows as a child. “My parents were really supportive and always encouraged me to be an actress,” she recalls. “I was the kind of girl who loved to sing and dance.”
While in Korea, Kim performed in many shows such as “Rent,” “Aida,” “Mamma Mia,” “Dreamgirls,” “Fame,” “West Side Story,” “Evita,” and “Wedding Singer.”
After attending and graduating from NYFA’s Musical Theatre Conservatory, Kim became the first person to join the AEA (Actors Equity Association) as a theatre actress from Korea. She played ‘Gigi’ from Miss Saigon (Paramount Theatre) ‘Tupim’ from ‘The King and I’ (Harbor Lights Theatre). Kim also appeared in the show of “Oliver,” “Spool Girl,” “6 Month Club,” and “Portrait of Father.”
“Everything I’m doing now I learned from NYFA,” said Kim. “I learned history, preparing for auditions, ballet, vocal, stage combat, jazz, tap, Meisner, makeup, improv, and so much more. I would never be able to get a job if I didn’t go this school.”
This Friday, April 28th, Kim will perform in the EnoB Benefit Concert at Saint Peter’s Church in Manhattan. The Benefit Concert is a semi-annual fundraising event hosted by EnoB, a non-profit music outreach organization that serves hospitalized and disabled children and youth and senior citizens through the joy and the healing power of music. It’s an opportunity for EnoB to raise funds to sustain the critical services for people in need and celebrate its work among friends and family.
The Asian tour of “Sister Act” will begin in Singapore from May 9-28.
New York Film Academy Filmmaking alumnus Marcelo Mayen delivered an impressive thesis film that premiered at the Manhattan Film Festival at the Cinema Village in New York City. His film, “Bullock the Bruiser,” is an action-thriller with elements of comedy that surround Wilson “The Bruiser” Bullock, who gains his superhero persona after hospitalizing the most hated man in the city, Richard Tucker. However, in order for Wilson to win back the love of his ex-girlfriend, he’s going to have to prove that he’s done indulging his petty superhero identity.
“The main theme I explore in this film is wanting a fresh start in life,” said Mayen. “Whether we’ve wanted to explore a new career, leave a toxic relationship, or move to a new city, we’ve all been at a point where we’ve wanted a clean slate. But we also know there’s always something — or someone — that tries to keep us from getting that clean slate we need in order to achieve happiness, whatever that means for us. That’s the main theme I explore, and it was inspired by my own decision to move to New York City three years ago to pursue my passion for filmmaking and telling stories.”
Mayen admits that while Guy Ritchie’s “Snatch” certainly had an influence on his approach to Bullock, his inspiration comes from an eclectic mix of directors from other genres. “I wanted to find inspiration in films that balanced the perfect amount of comedy, action, and drama while keeping the pacing of the film entertaining and fun for the audience,” said Mayen.
Perhaps the most challenging part of the project was the post-production phase. Being a meticulous director, Mayen says, “I never like to rush art. I am so glad to have met my wonderful post-production team, Jay Rothman, Jose Venutolo, and Nate Seymour because they shared my same passion and determination to make sure this was a film worth showing.”
Speaking on his time at NYFA, Mayen says it was an extremely fast-paced learning environment that introduced him to many techniques including the importance of editing, sound, color-grading, lighting, cinematography, and all the elements that make up a great film.
NYFA photo by Stephany Viera
Mayen is currently working on two projects. One is a feature length action-comedy screenplay that he plans to pitch to studios and enter into The Blacklist. The other is a short film that will involve a Latino lead and will deal with issues of racism and the struggles of being an illegal immigrant in the era of Trump.
“Bullock the Bruiser” will be screening next at the NewFilmmakers Festival at the Anthology Film Archives in New York City.