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  • July 24 Broadcast Journalism Update

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    One topic that goes around-and-around-and-around here in the United States is the toxic relationship between the administration of President Donald Trump and the American news media. I normally don’t include items on this subject, as they would crowd out everything else. But this week I am making an exception…
    ABC News is launching a new digital program called “Briefing Room.” It is a response to the Trump Administration’s decisions to hold daily audio-only press briefings off-camera, or invitation-only office briefings, or no briefings at all.  The show will stream live on ABCNews.com and the ABC News YouTube and Facebook pages. So even when the White House restricts access, or refuses to even hold formal briefings, there will be a “briefing” none-the-less.Screenshot 2017-07-25 15.41.02
    NBC News is gearing up a new digital daily news program called “Stay Tuned” that will be distributed via Snapchat’s Discover platform. Aimed squarely at folks who get their news on the phone, this four-minute program will air twice a day on weekdays, and once on weekends. Media reports say it will have a staff of 30, which makes it a substantial undertaking.
    Note that I saw this story on Refinery 29, another example of a platform where all different types of content are gathered. The pop-up ad on the page I grabbed had an ad for Nordstrom, which is an upmarket department store. (It was a fluke … I’m not really all that fashionable.)
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    As my current and former students know, I love a good graphic. So, staying with the theme of digital distribution, Bloomberg has been working to speed up load times for its content. (Because a slow load often translates into a bored viewer leaving a site and looking for something else.) Note the graphic that accompanied an article on the subject in Digiday. Those of you of a certain age will recognize the American cartoon character Wile E. Coyote. Even if you don’t know the cultural context, it is still funny. (Isn’t it?) But if you do know, it says a lot about how even a generally straight-ahead news publisher sometimes decides to have some fun.
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    I got so much feedback from the NYFA Viewbook galley proof I posted last week that I decided it made sense to post another. Current students and alumni will recognize the studio we use to produce “NYFA News.” We employ a green screen effect to insert the co-anchors into a “virtual set'” which is made up of only zeros and ones, but looks like a network control room. The two co-anchors come from Brooklyn and Kunming (China).
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    NYFA grad Daniel Fideli is hard at work back home in Brazil, where he is working with the sports channel SPORTV. (The channel is owned by the Brazilian media giant Globo.) Daniel holds a special place in NYFA broadcast journalism history, thanks to an epic journey he and a classmate took through the New York subway system in order to retrace the footsteps of the heroes of the 1970s cult movie “The Warriors.” (The film takes place in a dystopian New York at some point in the not-so-distant future: 2016.) It was one of the most unique student projects I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of student projects.
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    Former NYFA student Linda Zhang had the lead story recently on KION News in California. The station broadcasts to two separate cities on two different channels. (Plus cable, of course.) The story is about a seaside community where the beach sand was literally being “mined,” then sold. An agreement has been reached to end the mining, and save the beach.

    Nice work, Linda. And working “on deadline” too!
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    And we end with a “postcard” from NYFA instructor Zack Baddorf, currently on sabbatical in the Central African Republic. For 90 seconds, join him as he goes “Flying Down the Chinko” in an ultralight aircraft.
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    July 24, 2017 • Academic Programs, Broadcast Journalism, Entertainment News • Views: 1816

  • NYFA Welcomes Sherry Lansing and Stephen Galloway as Guest Speakers

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    NYFA students at the Los Angeles campus were invited to an exclusive Q & A event featuring former Paramount Pictures chairman Sherry Lansing and Hollywood Reporter writer Stephen Galloway, who penned Sherry Lansing’s recent biography, “Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker.” Director of Q and A series Tova Laiter hosted the evening.

    Lansing started her career as a script reader and worked her way up the ladder until she became president at 20th Century Fox in 1980. Lansing was the first woman in history to hold the position.

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    Next, Lansing took on producing for such hits as “Fatal Attraction” (1987) and “Indecent Proposal” (1993). Later, Lansing became the chairman and CEO at Paramount where, for 12 years, she oversaw production and marketing on 200 movies — including blockbusters such as “Braveheart,” “Forrest Gump,” “Saving Private Ryan,” and “Titanic.”

    Lansing had a lot of advice for up-and-coming film creators. One large piece of advice was, “Returning every phone call is just good business. You never know were ideas come from.”

    ‘The executive’s job is to just find good talent,” she told students. “Every film that does poorly is my failure. Every film that does well is not my success.”

    Lansing left the entertainment industry at 60 to pursue an entirely new career in the non-profit industry, and created the Sherry Lansing Foundation, which focuses on cancer research and education. She sits on nine major profit and non-profit boards.

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    Galloway centered the book on Lansing’s journey from an insecure young girl to her incredible ability to make a space for herself where previously there had been no women, saying, “There was no Churchill before Winston Churchill. There was no Sherry Lansing before Lansing.”  

    One of the questions asked was, “What advice do you have for screenwriters and working with a budget? We are always instructed to write from our imagination, but I’ve heard other people say you should write for the budget. What do you think?”

    Lansing responded, “You should always write from the heart. Our job in the studio is to keep the eye on the budget.”

    Lansing advised that striking a harmonious balance is in the best interest of the writer, particularly when working with a studio: They have bought the script and will eventually do with it as they please. If the writer wants to stay on the project they should find a way to work with the studio.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Sherry Lansing and Stephen Galloway for taking the time to speak with our students.  

     

     

     

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  • NYFA Veterans Division Screens “Between Iraq and a Hard Place” With Special Guest Q&A

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    This month, the New York Film Academy College of Visual and Performing Arts (NYFA) hosted a special screening of the military documentary, “Between Iraq and a Hard Place,” at its Los Angeles campus.

    Following the screening, NYFA Acting Instructor Michael Bershad moderated a Q&A with the film’s producer, Rex Pratt, and current MFA acting student, technical advisor and retired Navy/Marine Corps Chaplain Ron Ringo.

    (Left to Right) Moderator Michael Bershad discusses the process of making the film withProducer Rex Pratt and current MFA student and Technical Advisor Ron Ringo.

    The film takes a deep look at the impact that war has on members of our nation’s military when they return from home, and asks the question; Are we are really doing enough to help service members with this transition?

    Packed with raw and unfiltered footage from the war and personal interviews with the men that were there, the film helps the audience gain a valuable perspective on the issues that face our returning men and women who serve our country in the military.

    Marine Corps Veteran and BFA filmmaking student David Jimenez said:

    The film hit home. It captured the stress and fear of combat and how we still manage to have a sense of humor about things, and push through it all. The fact that they mention the difference between coming home on a ship and coming home on a plane is actually astonishing since no one normally thinks of that. I came home on a plane and I was literally on the I-5 freeway going home 25 hours after a mortar attack in the Middle East. The last scene in the film when they are being mortared was powerful. I remember being that scared when it happened to me. That is something that I don’t normally talk about with people.”

    For more information on “Between Iraq and a Hard Place,” please visit the film’s website

     

    by Michael Kunselman

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  • NYFA Alumni interviewed for Brazilian TV Program “Planeta Brasil”

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    NYFA MFA filmmaking alumnus Rafael Nani recently found a unique venue to share his student NYFA experience — Brazilian TV juggernaut Globo’s program “Planeta Brasil.” The program aims to show how Brazilian nationals live outside of their homeland, highlighting success stories as well as the inevitable struggles in foreign cultures. “Planeta Globo” came to interview Nani in Los Angeles while the then-student was hard at work on the set of his NYFA thesis film, “Bloody Eyes.”

    “Planeta Globo” spoke with Nani about his previous short film projects, including “Rose Garden,” which he filmed during his first year at the New York Film Academy. Nani, who recently completed NYFA’s MFA program at the Los Angeles campus, shared his perspective on some of the finer points of filmmaking and the complexities of directing a film.

    In addition, “Planeta Globo” seized the chance to shine the spotlight on five other NYFA Los Angeles grads and students: acting for film alumnae Sabrina Percario and Carolina Inoue; filmmaking student Iylia M. Idris; film and media production student Ricardo Mata; and NYFA New York filmmaking alumna Flavia Vieira. These five were showing the true community spirit of NYFA while working with Nani on the set of “Bloody Eyes.”

    Each discussed their different roles on set.

    Percario, the project’s supervising producer, discussed the challenges and advantages of working on a multicultural set. Inoue, who is in charge of production design, spoke about the importance of getting right look down for the film. Idris is both first and second assistant camera person for the film, and she explained the different responsibilities for each role. Vieira is lending her expertise to the picture as the lead makeup artist, and discussed the ways good (or bad) make up can effect the look of a film. Finally, Mata, the resident sound technician, explained the differences and similarities between working on short and feature length films.

    You can see the whole segment here, along with more interviews of the cast and crew.

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  • NYFA Documentary Students Attend Full Frame Festival

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    IMG_4316-retouched-updatedFour lucky NYFA documentary filmmaking students got to attend the renowned Full Frame Documentary Film Festival as fellows this spring.
    The festival is distinguished from most major festivals by its laid back atmosphere.  There’s a lot more hanging out and talking film, which creates a refreshing creative atmosphere.
    Even so, there were plenty of documentary bigwigs present, who made themselves very accessible to the student fellows.
    On the first day, festival Artistic Director Sadie Tillery invited them to have lunch with Steve James (“Hoop Dreams”) and discuss his new doc, “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.” Later, she invited them to join her again for a special master class with Peter Nicks focused on his new doc, “The Force.”
    Tillery also hooked the fellows up with a specially curated program of films, many of which were in such high demand students wouldn’t have gotten in on their own.

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    Tillery shared that the Fellows Program holds a special place in her heart: “It is particularly inspiring to welcome students to the festival. Through the Fellows Program, we strive to create a forum for up-and-coming artists to connect with content, filmmakers, and each other.”

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  • NYFA Community Outreach Program’s NEXT Big Venture

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    The New York Film Academy’s Community Outreach Program has been around since 2012, forging partnerships that have included The British Academy of Film and Television Arts – Los Angeles, HandsforHopeLA, AmeriCorps, Young Storytellers, and the Bill Duke Media Foundation. NYFA’s Community Outreach Program has managed to teach fundamentals of filmmaking to students in a Los Angels Unified school district, students who typically don’t have access and who are from underserved communities. What they have in store NEXT will elevate their already commendable level of service education.

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    It is the goal of Community Outreach to not just educate, but to encourage students to tell their story from their perspective. This goal is achieved in a variety of ways. Here’s what’s been happening lately in NYFA’s Community Outreach Program:

    AmeriCorps

    With the AmeriCorps, Program Head of Outreach Mason Richards took NYFA Instructor Bart Mastrodoni and three cameras to a local high school. The challenge presented to the student was to write, direct, and edit a short film in a single day.

    Bill Duke Media Foundation

    Most teens have asked the question, “Who am I?” With the Bill Duke Media Foundation partnership and NYFA, students were asked this very question and challenged to create an answer on film. The goal was to help them get comfortable with telling their own stories. They made a short film exploring that query on the Universal Backlot that screened for their families at their graduation.

    Young Storytellers

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    Students involved in the Young Storytellers Program were given the opportunity to film on the Universal Backlot. Learning from instructors and teacher’s assistants, the kids formed teams and filmed several projects on the Western lot.

    UPDATE: CBS This Morning reported on The Young Storytellers Foundation. You can see the full clip here.

    HandsForHopeLA

    HandsForHopeLA is an after-school program for children living in a single parent home. They teamed with NYFA to create a PSA on texting and driving. Students involved with this program created an anti texting and driving PSA. Families of the students were able to see the final product.

    Through NYFA’s Community Outreach Program and partnerships, some students discover a future hobby and some discover a potential career. It is these career-minded students, the ones who arrive early and stay late, the ones excited to work on other peoples projects, the students eager to come back to NYFA for whom The NEXT Young Filmmaker Program was created.

    NYFA’s NEXT Young Filmmaker Program

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    The NEXT Young Filmmaker Program is the “advanced outreach” program offering hosted by the NYFA Office of Community Outreach. Select students who have already participated in one of our Community Outreach Partner programs have an opportunity to go a step further in learning the filmmaking process with the NEXT Young Filmmakers Outreach Program, and learn supporting roles and crew positions in the film industry beyond directing and acting.

    Head of Community Outreach Mason Richards said of the program, “We’ve found that most young filmmakers are only taught key positions in film production such as ‘director’ or ‘actor.’ We strive to show them what else is out there as far as careers in filmmaking.”

    He continued, “We at NYFA feel that there are multiple ways to prepare young people for a career in cinema, and being a part of a team, working on skills of collaboration, team-building and communication are integral to the craft of filmmaking.”

    The hope of the NEXT Young Filmmakers Outreach Program is to offer an opportunity for select LA high school students to receive a scholarship to participate in our advanced filmmaking program. Those selected will participate in a one-week workshop at the end of the summer when there are fewer opportunities for students from underserved communities until school is back in session.

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    In our week-long filmmaking program, we teach these talented young filmmakers advanced classes in lighting, production design, production sound, and assistant directing training. The aim is to keep the students who are engaged and serious about a career in filmmaking on a track to prepare them for college.

    This is also a way for them to develop their personal voices as storytellers and filmmakers. In the NEXT Young Filmmakers program, 12 outstanding students will have the opportunity to work with NYFA faculty to further explore their paths in filmmaking.

    The first NEXT Young Filmmaker’s Program will begin in August. The New York Film Academy would like to wish the students a successful semester.

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    July 17, 2017 • Academic Programs, Community Highlights, Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 3338

  • NYFA Filmmaking Alumnus Cartier Williams Hoofs With Smirnoff Sound Collective

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    New York Film Academy filmmaking alumnus Cartier Williams is drumming up a revival in the world of dance on film with his unique brand of tap dance. Williams is a self-professed “hoofer,” a dancer who loves the element of tap that emphasizes stomps, stamps, syncopation, percussion and heel motion. With a recent collaboration with Smirnoff Sound Collective, Cartier is on a mission to bring tap back in film.

    NYFA: Tell me a little about your background and what brought you to NYFA.

    CW: Well, I started tap dancing when I was four years old, taught by my grandmother Audrey Williams. At the age of six, I performed a piece choreographed by Grammy-award winning singer Mya, and won Apollo Kids at the prestigious Apollo Theater, distinguished as one of The Apollo Theater’s youngest “Apollo Legends.”

    Later that year I was invited to the Kennedy Center Honors alongside Robert Downey Jr. When I was 10 years old, I toured with tap legends Buster Brown, Jimmy Slyde, and Dianne Walker on a international tour called “Footnotes.” I shared the stage with Gregory Hines, The Nicholas Brothers, and Peg Leg Bates. On that tour I performed for two U.S Presidents and co-starred in “PBS Special: In Performance at The White House” with Bill Clinton.

    I toured Japan and the U.S in the Tony Award-winning show “Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in da Funk,” co-starring Savion Glover. I performed for the AFI Awards: A Tribute To Tom Hanks. Other appearances include The State Department, CIA, FCC, New York Botanical Garden, and New York Children’s Museum of Manhattan. I performed for The Opening of the Cannes Film Festival for Moulin Rouge, appeared in Spike Lee’s Bamboozled and recently appeared in Bart Mastronardi & Alan Rowe Kelly horror film Tales of Poe.

    I ended up at the New York Film Academy in 2009 because I wanted to rekindle the love between tap dancing and film. But I also had something else on my mind, too, that I had to settle: I’m a huge fan of horror films and I wanted to become a director because of Wes Craven and the genius movie he made called “Scream.” I felt I needed to go to the Film Academy to figure this out. So I had two goals: to fix tap dancing and film’s beautiful long relationship, and learn how to make horror films.

    NYFA: Can you tell us a bit about your latest project with Smirnoff Sound Collective?

    CW: It’s funny how the Smirnoff video came about. I was on the computer and had just set up my Facebook for my new dance company and I received a message about me dancing in the video. So immediately I talked to the director Stacey Lee, who was hired by VICE to put it altogether.

    I was excited all these great brands coming together for tap dancing! Stacey and I had a great creative talk about me and my dancers and what my creative world was like. We met up a couple times and had one glitch: all the dancers except one in my company weren’t of age to be in the video. So it ended up being only me and Yusaku Komori, who you see in the video.

    A few weeks later we then shot the music video. The process was awesome! Of course early call times, breakfast, hair and makeup … It was complete fun because both of my favorite worlds are coming together all at once. Some scenes there were lots of people on set and sometimes just me and the director because maybe someone is setting something up on the next shot somewhere else.

    The most important thing as a tap dancer is good sound, so that was the first thing I wanted to talk about when I arrived. Tap dancing is percussive and visual, and for me the percussiveness is just as important as the visual. So I must say me and the sound man were best buds! Because sound is important and that was reinforced at NYFA.

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    NYFA: What did you learn at NYFA that helped you on your career journey?

    CW: When I was at NYFA I became so independent creatively. I learned so much about myself and the stories I wanted to tell. NYFA helped me become the confident director and writer I wanted to be. I ended up directing, choreographing,and producing my own shows when I left the school. My dancing became more powerful because I had stories to tell with the dance that was meaningful. I also learned how to work with people more [collaboratively], because tap dancing is a solo art form at heart and film is not. I learned how to be a team player and how to be patient.

    NYFA: What’s next for you?

    Next I am performing on July 22 at The Smithsonian Museum of American History for The March On Washington Film Festival closing ceremony. But currently I am in production for my new show called “ZIGITYBOP!” It will premiere at the Oslo Jazz Festival and in Zurich Switzerland this August. I recently started a GoFundMe page because I would love to bring the show back home to the states. I’m also currently writing a tap-horror short film that I will film this fall.

    NYFA: What is your greatest memory at NYFA?

    My greatest memory at NYFA was creating a show with my classmates Matt Denoma and Max Schiano called “Beautiful Choas.” It was a tap show that infused multimedia with electronic music. We performed the show numerous times in Long Island for the public school system. The kids loved it and it was just a blast for me, because the guys I depended on in film class was there for me when it was time to create a tap show. How fun!

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Cartier Williams for taking the time to share some of his story with our community.

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    July 17, 2017 • Acting, Diversity, Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2404

  • Highlights from Disney’s D23 Expo 2017

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    This week, Disney held its bi-annual fan expo, D23, in Anaheim, CA. Marvel, Pixar, Disney Animation, Disney Interactive Studios, and Walt Disney Productions rolled out major announcements this weekend, while fans and industry insiders were treated to sneak-peek teasers, celebrity appearances, exclusive merchandise, incredible cosplay, and more. Here are some highlights.

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    A New “Star Wars” Park?

    Disney took the opportunity at D23 to reveal new details about its plans for a new themed-land called “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.” The project is shaping up to be one the company’s most immersive fan experiences.

    The Verge quoted Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek as explaining: “We are working on our most experiential concept ever … It combines a luxury resort with immersion in an authentic environment.” Basically, the goal will be for guests to live out their own “Star Wars” adventure throughout the course of their stay, complete with windows that look into outer space and a hotel designed like a spaceship.

    Celebrity Appearances

    Directors, stars, animators, and Disney giants were all present throughout the D23 Expo, and fans able to enjoy exclusive panels, talk-backs, and sneak-peeks presented by their favorite Disney stars. As Nerdist reported, “We saw the cast of ‘Descendants 2,’ ran into Mark Hamill and Stan Lee as Grand Marshalls of the Ultimate Fan Street Party, and saw ‘Black Panther’sChadwick Boseman running to his meet and greet. It was always good to keep an eye on the D23 app for surprise appearances.”

    Live-Action Films

    This year’s D23 Expo saw two jam-packed presentations, for animated and live-action films, respectively. Trailers, teasers, and A-list stars were in attendance to promote upcoming Disney live-action films.

    Slated for 2018 is “A Wrinkle in Time,” and director Ava DuVernay was there with stars Oprah Winfrey and Mindy Kaling to screen the trailer. Audiences were also treated to a talks and teasers for upcoming mega projects, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”

    But that wasn’t all in the live-action arena. The expo also promoted upcoming live-action adaptations of Disney classics slated to be directed by industry giants: “The Lion King” (Jon Favreau), “Dumbo” (Tim Burton), and “Aladdin” (Guy Ritchie). You’ll be able to catch Disney’s n live action adventure, “Dumbo,” on March 29, 2019. “Aladdin” has been cast. Earlier this month rumors circulated online that Disney was having trouble casting the film. Will Smith has been tapped to play the Genie. “Power Rangers” break-out star Naomi Scott will play Jasmine, and jumping on the magic carpet as Aladdin is Mena Massoud.

    Animated Films

    In the animation category, Disney screened a short film called “The Speed Test,” and hosted panels and teasers for major upcoming releases including “Toy Story 4,” Pixar’s “Coco,” “The Incredibles 2,” “Frozen 2,” “Wreck it Ralph Breaks the Internet,” and an upcoming feature from Dan Scanlon, yet to be titled.

    Perhaps the biggest news on the floor was the fact that all of the living Disney Princesses would make an appearance in “Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-it Ralph 2.”  The cast includes Auli‘i Cravalho from “Moana,” Kristen Bell from “Frozen,” Kelly MacDonald as “Merida,” Mandy Moore from “Tangled,” Anika Noni Rose from “The Princess and the Frog,” Irene Bedard from “Pocahontas,” Linda Larkin from “Aladdin,” Paige O’Hara from “Beauty and the Beast,” and Jodi Benson from “The Little Mermaid.”

    More details were also released for “The Incredibles 2.” Holly Hunter shared that her character, Mrs. Incredible, will be doing more of the heavy lifting this time around: “Bob’s actually home with the kids this time…”

    “Tangled: The Animated Series” amassed the original cast in the same place for the first time. Mandy Moore and Zachery Levi shared their enthusiasm for the characters. “Disney said they didn’t want to do the show without us,” Levi said.

    Video Games & VR

    The long-awaited third installment of the Kingdom Hearts series revealed a new playable world. Andy’s room from “Toy Story” will be a playable space in “Kingdom Hearts 3,” coming out in 2018.

    Marvel will be releasing a new VR game in 2018 titled “Powers United VR.” The game will allow the player to become their favorite hero, including Hulk, Rocket Raccoon, and Captain Marvel and will be exclusive to the Oculus Rift.

    Free Treats

    It wouldn’t be Disney if magic wasn’t present in every detail. At this year’s D23 Expo, the free swag was cold brew coffee with foam designs of iconic Disney characters — including Darth Vader. Shoppers were treated to exclusive merchandise launches not yet available anywhere else, from limited edition figurines to clothing lines.

    To see NYFA’s behind-the-scenes coverage of live events, follow us on #Snapchat @NYFilmAcademy.

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  • Broadcast Journalism Weekly Update July 17

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    Nothing seems quite as dated as “yesterday’s tomorrow.” That may turn out to be the story of Snapchat. Not so long ago, it was seemingly everyone’s media darling. Now it is facing substantial doubts, especially with investors. A year ago publishers who couldn’t get into Snapchat Discover started private accounts, so they could benefit from all the buzz. Now Digiday reports that publishers are migrating to Instagram. Proving once again, there are no “sure things.”

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    There are, however, media heroes. Global Voices posted a fascinating story on how Syrian journalists living in exile are providing hope for their homeland, at a time when that quality is exceedingly rare. What we do, as journalists, does make a difference. It’s not always life-changing, but even the most modest story is important. And you don’t have to travel to the ends of the Earth to have an impact. Just look out your window. There are stories out there just waiting to be told.
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    Editing instructor Elizabeth Chatelain, when not teaching NYFA students, has been working on a spectacular PBS documentary called “Life on Parole.” It is about former prisoners in the state of Connecticut, and follows them as they navigate the challenges of their first year on parole. It’s a collaboration with The New York Times, and Beth was an associate editor on the project. It airs tomorrow (7/18) on the PBS “Frontline” series (check your local listings for times). Outside the United States, check the “Frontline” website.
    Life on Parole
    Here is a galley proof of the Broadcast Journalism title page in the new NYFA Viewbook. I think it pretty well captures the essence of the program, demonstrating that our students are trained to be multimedia journalists (MMJs). This particular trio comes from Spain, New Jersey and Sweden.
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    The new Summer session students arrived on campus last week, and they are already hard at work on their first stories. In fact, as you read this — assuming you are reading it on Monday 9a-5p NYC time, or the equivalent international off-set — they are out in the field shooting!
    Summer 2017

    As always, we have students from around the world and across the United States. Some of them are accomplished journalists back home, who have come to NYFA to increase and deepen their skill set(s). One is Amina Aslanova, who works for Moscow 24 in Russia. On Saturday — yes, they were in school on a Saturday in July — she shared with her classmates a story in which she reported from a race in which she was actually running…

    Amina Aslanova
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    July 17, 2017 • Academic Programs, Broadcast Journalism • Views: 3128

  • NYFA Instructor Heather Mathews Visits Popcorn Talk’s NYFA Hour

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    NYFA_Thumbnail_2017_07_06On Thursday, July 6, New York Film Academy Instructor and Documentarian Heather Mathews sat in the hot seat on Popcorn Talk’s NYFA Hour. She spoke about her latest project, “Forbidden: Undocumented and Queer in Rural America.” The film has been making waves since screening at Outfest last July. Since then, LOGO picked up the film for a special screening.

    Director Tiffany Rhynard had been filming for two years already. Rhynard met the film’s subject, Moises Serrano, by chance when collaborating with a friend, and instantly felt a connection.

    Serrano’s harrowing story as an undocumented immigrant was one that needed to be shared with the rest of the world. The fact that Serrano was also queer and DOMA was still in effect helped bring an eye to the intersectionality many undocumented people have to face daily.

    When Mathews heard about Serrano, she instantly knew she wanted to be a part of telling his story and signed on to edit the project. Her first task was to try and figure out the best format to tell the story, but the decision to do a feature or a television show wasn’t clear immediately.”We didn’t know what it would be until I was deep into watching footage,” Mathews explained, “About two months, when I realized it would make a feature.” 

    “We picture-locked just in time for Outfest,” Mathews began. “Right before Tiffany arrived I had lunch with David Michael Barrett, a really good queer filmmaker. We were trying to remain positive and stay out of the [political] fray, but he sat me down and had a real heart-to-heart with me.”

    Mathews pitched an idea to Rhynard and the powerful intro to the film, of a recent anti-immigration, rally was born.

    To watch the NYFA Hour tune into Popcorn Talk on YouTube every Thursday at 4 p.m. PST. You can catch up on previous episodes with amazing guests like film critic Peter Rainer, who discussed the legacy of Marlon Brando. Catch “Forbidden: Undocumented and Queer in Rural America” on LOGO, August 3, 9 p.m. EST/PST.  

     

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