George Leone
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  • NYFA ANNOUNCES FEDERAL FINANCIAL AID PROGRAM!!!

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    THE NEW YORK FILM ACADEMY IS
    PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE PARTICIPATION IN
    TITLE IV FEDERAL FINANCIAL AID PROGRAMS!

    The steps below will take you through the application process. Be sure to contact our Financial Aid Staff, Oscar Vasquez or Brian Koplow, in our Financial Aid Office at 212-674-4300 or financialaid@nyfa.edu if you are having any difficulties. Please use this contact information for both New York and L.A. students.

    1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It’s the first step and is required for all the New York Film Academy aid programs. The FAFSA is available online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The FAFSA code for The New York Film Academy is 041188. Please submit the FAFSA as soon as possible. There is no charge for submitting this form.

    2. Register for a “PIN” number with the U.S. Dept. of Education. If your parent’s information is used in applying for financial aid, one parent should also register for a PIN.

    3. Watch for an email from the U.S. Department of Education : the link to your Student Aid Report (SAR) should arrive a few days after you submit the FAFSA online. If necessary, submit corrections (for example, income or tax information) as instructed on the SAR.

    4. After receiving confirmation receipt of your Student Aid Report, please contact Oscar Vasquez or Brian Koplow at 212-674-4300 or via email at financialaid@nyfa.edu. Please use this contact information for both New York and L.A. students. If you are having any difficulties please do not hesitate to contact us, we are here to help and expedite your application process!

    Thank you,

    Oscar Vasquez, Federal Student Aid Director
    Brian Koplow, Financial Aid Director
    New York Film Academy Financial Aid Office
    financialaid@nyfa.edu
    P: 212-674-4300
    F: 212-477-1414

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    October 13, 2010 • Acting • Views: 5108

  • Alum Kemi Adetiba Makes Her Name in Music Video Production

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    Kemi Adetiba’s ambition within the entertainment industry has expanded the breadth of her career from fashionista to lawyer to DJ to director and producer of music videos. Perhaps the first Nigerian woman to have successfully broken into this many branches of the industry and made a name for herself in music video production, the New York Film Academy filmmaking graduate is known for her impeccable attention to detail when conceptualizing, shooting and editing her videos. She’s attracted attention in the Nigerian entertainment industry for pushing herself to keep learning more about filmmaking techniques and technology even after becoming successful.

    Her drive to diversify her talents is how Kemi ended up studying filmmaking and production with us at the New York Film Academy. She explained her journey to NYFA in an interview last year.

    I’m a restless person, highly ambitious, and I hunger to learn more. You tend to get the ‘side-eye’ though, because you are a woman and have no formal training. Well, I couldn’t do anything to change the former, but I ‘heck-sure’ could do something to change the latter. So I picked up my junk and went back to school.

    A lot of people thought I was crazy for leaving at the supposed height of my career, but I went through it, graduated, and I’m now better for it. I’m actually gearing up to do a more concentrated course in cinematography. I want to stand anywhere, open my mouth, and know what I’m taking about – at least within my industry.

    A 2008 graduate of NYFA, she drew from her heritage when producing her thesis film, Across the Bloodied Ocean. The film tells the story of a wealthy African family living in the United States, dealing with their daughter’s refusal to return home to take part in a traditional coming of age ritual.

    Right now, Kemi splits her time between Lagos and New York City. She has recently signed with an American management agency and is frequently invited to speak at film festivals and music conferences when she isn’t producing videos.

    Above, we’ve posted her most recent video for the artist Bez. Check out more of Kemi’s work in fashion and music video directing and production on fashion blog Ladybrille.

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    August 16, 2010 • Acting • Views: 5308

  • Life After NYFA: Documentary Alum Frederik Boll

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    We’re glad to see NYFA 1-Year Documentary Filmmaking alum Frederik Boll keeps popping up on our radar! You may remember Frederik from his work documenting adventures in grassroots politics on the BamaBus in 2008. He and fellow Documentary Filmmaking alumnus Annie Woods took a road trip across the country generating support for the future President of the United States and filming the American experience during election season.

    Well, we got wind that Fred’s been up to some other fantastic projects. After getting in touch, Fred was kind enough to give us a little summary of his adventures since NYFA and how he ended up at the New York Film Academy in the first place.

    My Life changed after my experience as a NATO soldier in Kosovo for the Danish Royal Guard. It was a very peaceful mission where we mostly did humanitarian work. Kosovo is the poorest country in Europe, and it made a huge impression on me. I quickly found that I felt a tremendous sense of satisfaction from helping others.

    When I returned to Denmark, my good friend who works as a videographer offered me a room, which I gratefully accepted.  I started tagging along on a couple of the productions he was working on and found out that I really enjoyed it. I started contacting various production companies and found work as a production assistant. I had found my calling. I wanted to make pro social documentary films, a media where I can challenge people’s view of the world by telling a story on a creative and entertaining way.

    I knew that I would need to learn my craft. I applied to several Danish schools, but I needed one with a film department. I had a better idea: I was going to move to America. I was accepted into NYFA’s Documentary Conservatory Program and moved to New York less than a month after I had turned down school in Denmark.

    It is one of the greatest learning experience I’ve ever had. It culminated with my thesis film where I followed a group of Latino immigrants’ struggle against NYC to keep their artisan food stands in Brooklyn.

    Straight after school, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime. It was election year, and the US was brimming with excitement. A couple of my friends had decided to buy an old VW bus, stencil it with Obama’s picture and drive it through all the battleground states in hopes of engaging young people in the political debate. I was invited along to film the entire trip. We paid for the trip by selling spray painted political t-shirts that Obama supporters painted themselves. It meant a lot to me that I got to experience that election.

    When I finally returned to New york, it didn’t take long before I was called up by one of the guys I traveled with, asking me to become involved with a start-up company where he’d just begun working. The company has the same sense of social responsibility that I strive to live my life by – it’s a place where I feel I can make a difference.

    Along with his work on the BamaBus, Frederik Boll has worked with Volunteers of America, an organization that goes out to the most violent urban areas in America to help the homeless into shelters. In Camden, New Jersey, he accompanied VoA’s Hal Miller helping people out of tent cities and into save houses. Boll also filmed a video for the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, the COP15 summit in Copenhagen and, most recently, the China Digital Media Summit, amongst other projects.

    We can’t wait to hear more about your work Fred!

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    July 16, 2010 • Acting • Views: 5320

  • The New York Film Academy & India’s Bollywood

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    India’s film industry, colloquially known as Bollywood, is the biggest in the world, and aspiring Indian filmmakers need an edge, (or a connection), in order to get a leg up in the business. The New York Film Academy’s own Vice President of International Relations recently visited the country to meet with aspiring filmmakers. She had some interesting comments about what it takes to get recognized in the industry.

    India has huge potential in the area of education in filmmaking and acting. Last year we saw over 100 students signing up at our institute and the number is slated to grow further as more and more students realize the importance of technical know-how in this space.

    NYFA has already produced Bollywood successes. Imran Khan, currently one of the biggest stars in Bollywood, is one of our alumns. So the question remains, is NYFA going to start a school in India? Our Vice President admitted that the New York Film Academy is open to expanding in the country.

    It will, however, be in the long-term, we have only just begun an active association with India, and yes, we do not rule out the possibility of a branch or some sort of joint venture here in the future.

    The response from young filmmakers in India has been great, and no one can deny that there is a lot of passion for film in the country. Hopefully, NYFA’s involvement with Bollywood will continue to grow stronger, and we will have the opportunity of working with more and more students from India!

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    July 9, 2010 • Acting • Views: 10940

  • How do I pay for film or acting school?

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    We get a lot of questions at the New York Film Academy about paying for your film and acting education. Our friends in the Financial Aid Department gave us some advice to share that will hopefully set you in the right direction when figuring out your financial options.

    Attending film school is an excellent investment in your future career in cinema. However, it is also an investment that requires careful planning. When you are developing a financial strategy for your education, a great way to start is by talking to whichever family members or friends are involved economically. A prospective student should know what amount of funds they have available to them as well as the tuition costs and other fees for the program they will be taking. Don’t forget to factor in living costs, (rent, food, etc.), and try to come up with a realistic budget that you feel you will be able to maintain. The more informed you are about your own financial situation, the better equipped you will be to know what forms and what amounts of financial aid you will require.

    For many students, the rate-determining step in funding their education is applying for a student loan. Student loans can be used to cover tuition as well as living expenses for most film school programs. Most students will need a co-signer in order to be approved for a loan; generally a parent or other family member with a good credit score. It is very important to make sure you understand the terms of the loans, and if you have questions always feels free to ask the New York Film Academy Financial Aid Department!

    Additionally, there are many other forms of financial aid available to film students in the form of grants and scholarships. First apply for school-specific grants, and then broaden your search to include awards from outside organizations. There are many different organizations that grant funds to students, and here are two good websites to help begin your search: www.fastweb.com and www.finaid.org. Finding outside monies takes a lot of research and a lot of advanced planing, but can also be a great way to lower your personal tuition expenses. Remember, every little bit helps!

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    June 21, 2010 • Acting • Views: 1565

  • NYC vs LA: Which NYFA campus is right for me?

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    VS

    A question we hear often from prospective NYFA students is “which location is right for me?” The decision between attending the New York Film Academy at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, California or in New York City is one of the most common hang-ups applicants face. The curriculum and tuition at both campuses is identical. The real difference is life in the city.

    Transportation, climate, location accessibility and living space are the biggest differences between Los Angeles and New York.

    An empowering aspect of New York City life is the public transportation. There is no need to own a car in New York, and all five boroughs, (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island), are accessible with your metro card. New Jersey and Long Island are also just a train ride away. The trains run 24/7, and though there are sometimes service change surprises, the entire city is more or less accessible at all times. Los Angeles, on the other hand, requires a car, especially if you plan to pursue a long-term program in the city. In order to scout locations, transfer crew and equipment or just to go out on the town, it is necessary to drive in LA. However, once you have a car in the city, the possibilities for filming locations open up enormously.

    While New York has a huge offering of scenes to shoot – parks, city streets, river views, beach side carnivals in Coney Island and neighborhoods that vary from fancy Upper East Side digs to stoop culture in Brooklyn – city shots definitely out-number outdoor locations, and you should still expect to construct a lot of your sets indoors. Los Angeles allows for variety of natural scenes and open spaces and, of course, the versatility of the Universal Studios Backlots. Along with the urban and suburban environments in and around LA, mountains, hills and beaches, students have the privilege of filming on the active backlots in Universal Studios. The ability to recreate any environment in the studios is extremely useful, and waving at buses full of tourists as the Universal Backlot Tour trams drive by is also a perk of the location.

    In the way of climate, the difference is very simple: New York has seasons, Los Angeles does not. Living in New York, you will experience our lovely fall foliage and beautiful spring blooms, but they go hand in hand with one season of snowfall and another of oftentimes muggy heat. In Los Angeles, the weather stays warm and sunny for pretty much the entire year, but while LA’s one season is very pleasant, the unchanging climate can be a little claustrophobic for some. New York has wonderfully well-rounded weather, but you must be willing to deal with frigid January and blazing August.

    Cost also factors in heavily when students make their campus location decision. It’s difficult to gage overall cost of living for each city, as everyone has their own habits and lifestyles, but we’ll do it anyway: The general cost of living in New York City is higher than living in Los Angeles, but that goes without factoring in the cost of owning a vehicle. Maintaining a car and paying for gas and insurance can easily push the price of living in LA to the same level as New York while an $89 per month Metrocard puts all of New York at your fingertips.

    One of the most important differences between attending the New York Film Academy in New York City versus going to school in Los Angeles is your place of residence. In New York City, NYFA manages dorms for students, and accommodations can be arranged through the housing department. There are no NYFA-run dorms in Los Angeles; however, NYFA also has a relationship with a gated community across the street from the campus that will offer students housing at a discount. NYFA also maintains a roommate list where students may be put in touch with each other. In turn, independent housing is more difficult to find in NYC. Students need to be able to prove they can produce each month’s rent or provide a co-signer who can, and due to New York’s competitive housing market and rapid turn-over, renters also can’t start the housing search more than 30 days before move-in while the LA housing market moves at a more normal speed.

    While discussing your film and acting future, we certainly cannot neglect to talk about the importance of making industry connections. The film and television industries in NYC and LA are both enormously important and differ greatly in their style of production. While far more studio movies are filmed in Los Angeles, New York plays home to more television work, and it’s independent film scene is sizable. After you become familiar with each city by scouting locations and negotiating permission to shoot, your career options will open up significantly.

    When you take time out of your busy NYFA schedule to explore outside activities, both cities can keep a person very entertained. Contrary to popular belief, neither New York nor LA boasts an entirely exclusive nightlife environment. They are both big cities, and there is something there for everyone. It should be noted that the majority of film premieres happen in LA, and there are unsurprisingly more opportunities for exposure to Hollywood lifestyle, but New York City boasts a truly huge diversity of film, television and other cultural social events that will be just as enlightening to a film student or actor.

    We hope that answers some of your questions concerning NYFA life in New York City or Los Angeles. Remember, there are great things about both cities – either way, you’ll find your place in NYC or LA while studying film and acting with us.

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    June 15, 2010 • Acting • Views: 11286

  • NYFA Graduate’s Film Sweeps African Academy Awards

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    The African Movie Academy Awards saw quite a bit of NYFA graduate Kunle Afolayan’s feature film, The Figurine, during their 2010 ceremonies. Out of the ten awards for which it was nominated, The Figurine took Best Picture, Achievement in Visual Effect, Heart of African Award for Best Film from Nigeria, Achievement in Cinematography and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. The film has solidified Afolayan’s future in filmmaking and attracted well-deserved attention to Nigeria’s rapidly growing film industry, Nollywood.

    Son of Ade Afolayan, the famed Nigerian actor, Kunle Afolayan didn’t exactly start out following in his father’s footsteps. A banker by profession, the Nigerian filmmaker at first regarded entertainment as more of a hobby. He spent a few years taking small acting jobs while working in banking. It wasn’t until 2005 that Kunle took a leap of faith and left his career to study digital filmmaking at the New York Film Academy in London.

    Irapada, his first work, gained recognition at a number of international film festivals and won the Best Indigenous Award at the 2007 AMAAs. Set in modern Nigeria, the film is colorfully injected with elements of Nigerian myth culture. After a successful building contractor tragically ignores an old relative’s devastating premonitions, he is forced to reassess his long-standing rejection of ancient superstitions.

    Kunle once again peppers a contemporary story with Nigerian folklore in The Figurine. A group of friends finds an effigy of Araromire, a goddess believed to grant good luck, and must confront the negative aspects of supernaturally bestowed fortune.

    Boasting relatively enormous production values, Afolayan’s work on The Figurine has made him a special effects pioneer in Nollywood. His intentions to revolutionize and promote the Nigerian film industry have also extended to his method of distribution. The film was shot with a movie theater audience experience in mind. In a move to reinvigorate Nigerian cinema culture, Kunle Afolayan has pushed for The Figurine to remain in theaters for as long as possible, in contrast to the usual DVD distribution goals of the average filmmaker.

    Kunle Afolayan’s unconventional approach to filmmaking and film distribution has put him at the top of the African film industry. Having recently run a filmmaking program in Abuja, those of us at the New York Film Academy are excited to see one of our graduates work to further advance the Nigerian industry.

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    May 26, 2010 • Acting • Views: 5846

  • Is New York Film Academy a College?

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    Many times people ask me “Is New York Film Academy a college?”. For the sake of time, the answer is yes. But if you have the time, you may be interested to learn a little more about what we offer.

    When we first opened our doors in 1992 our film school was referred to as a “filmmakers boot camp” because of our intensive and hands-on filmmaking training offered no college credit at that time. Today, we continue the same intensive and hands-on training while offering college credit and degree programs as well.

    New York Film Academy offers Associate, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degree programs at our three domestic campuses in New York City, Los Angeles, and South Beach, Miami.

    New York Film Academy offers MFA degrees in the following areas of study:

    New York Film Academy offers MA degrees in the following areas of study:

    New York Film Academy offers BFA degrees in the following areas of study:

    New York Film Academy offers BA degrees in the following areas of study:

    New York Film Academy offers AFA degrees in the following areas of study:

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    May 13, 2010 • Acting, Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 13455

  • NYFA Student Omri Bezalel Interviews George Lucas

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    Photo: Courtesy of The Jewish Chronicle Online

    New York Film Academy student Omri Bezalel learned that good deeds and great filmmaking sometimes produce unexpected rewards when he was granted the opportunity to interview George Lucas for an upcoming project.

    Omri Bezalel was born in Tel Aviv and has lived all over world. He believes his passion for film began when he was nine years old and spent his summer toying with a camcorder and filming commercials with a friend.

    In October 2009, Bezalel began his studies at the New York Film Academy. “It’s a great program which is very intense and hands on,” he reports of his experience with NYFA. A dedicated filmmaker, he publishes all of his work, including his film projects with the New York Film Academy, on his website, Carlito Montana Productions.

    Bezalel is currently working with Films Without Borders, a program to teach Israeli, Palestinian and Rwandan teenagers filmmaking skills and promote peaceful interaction between the three communities. Television producer Jill Samuels, the idea-lady behind Films Without Borders, happens to be a former employee of George Lucas. Lucas accepted her invitation to back the project, and this past April, 26 year old Omri Bezalel found himself walking into the Picadilly editing suites in London to interview the iconic director.

    During Omri’s interview, Lucas explains that the silver lining encircling today’s economically precarious environment offers a special place for young filmmakers.

    You live in a wonderful time. Because the consortium of rich corporations which used to control the entire medium is now doomed. Now anyone can make movies – you can buy a studio, everything, for around $3,000. And it’s as high quality as anybody has. And now with the internet you also have a distribution center which no one controls.

    Considering the delicate and overwhelmingly grim political circumstances that inspired Film Without Borders, Lucas’ subsequent comments concerning the enjoyability of a film are fitting. The content of a movie, no matter how serious, should still be appealing enough for the audience to want to watch it. ”Hopefully, in the process of entertaining them, you give them insight into their own lives and into their own world, but you can’t lose sight of the fact that people are giving you their time and money,” Lucas advices that it is important that a film entertain, not preach; otherwise, it is unlikely to gather many viewers.

    In his final words with the director, Bezalel voiced his anxiety that every good story has already been told. George Lucas admitted that, yes, they have, but reevaluating tropes is by no means a negative. “People have been telling stories for 10,000 years, ” is Lucas’ explanation, “There are only 32 kinds of story. So don’t think you’re going to tell a new story – the only thing that changes is the way you tell the story.” Retelling an archetypal journey, or a combination a several, is in the nature of all modern storytelling, and consequently, finding a unique way to do so is an integral part of cinema.

    Armed with the words of one of the world’s most influential directors, Bezalel has no dearth of inspiration to bring to his work with Film Without Borders and to Israel’s blossoming film industry. Omri Bezalel’s commitment to filmmaking is illuminated by his respect for his own nation’s work in cinema. “A lot of Israeli films I see are better than studio films. Film is an international language,” articulates the New York Film Academy student, “I want to see Israeli film celebrated at the Oscars for what it is, in the Best Film [sic] category, not Best Foreign-Language Film.” When Bezalel graduates from the New York Film Academy, he plans to return to Israel to teach a course for Film Without Borders. Bezalel has already made impressive progress bringing attention to Israeli film and using cinema to spread peace. We’ll certainly keep our ears open for more news about his ongoing projects.

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    May 5, 2010 • Acting • Views: 4426

  • NYFA Graduate Ben Adler’s Bagatelle

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    Graduate of the New York Film Academy’s 2002/03 one year program, Ben Adler, has been keeping busy since his time with us at NYFA. For the past four years, Adler has been studying and making short films in Paris and has found success with his short film Bagatelle.

    In the words of Mr. Adler, Bagatelle tells the tale of “an international group of amateur footballers [who] find their efforts to locate a pitch to play on halted by a group of angry French locals.” Selected for the Cannes program “Don’t Let the Bastards Get You Down” in 2009, Bagatelle stood out from 2000 other films in the Short Films Corner and earned screening in Palais F. Bagatelle went on to gain recognition at other international film festivals and won the award for Best Short Film at the Portobello Film Festival in London.

    This past year and a half, Adler worked as 2nd assistant to Wes Anderson on Fantastic Mr. Fox and directed a feature length music documentary which is currently in post-production. We’re sure we’ll be hearing more from him soon.

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    May 3, 2010 • Acting • Views: 5493