George Leone
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  • Good University Ranking Guide Ranks NYFA Screenwriting Programs as the Best!


    The Good University Ranking Guide, a ranking of MBA and University League programs from Australia, Canada, UK, USA, and the World just ranked the New York Film Academy as one of the top schools for screenwriting. The site commented, “The Screenwriting Workshops and Programs of the NYFA are the most comprehensive screenwriting courses of all top film schools.” Check out our Screenwriting MFA program today!


    December 7, 2010 • Acting • Views: 6977

  • NYFA Alum Signs with Major Talent Agency


    New York Film Academy Acting School student Joy Rovaris has just signed with an LA based talent agency. Rovaris is a MFA acting student who completed her first year in New York this past May and is now working towards completing her degree at NYFA Los Angeles. Rovaris comments,” NYFA prepared me for auditioning because they gave me the training, pretty intense mock auditions, and then confidence needed to first send out my information and then to be at a ‘300% performance level’…(Paul Warner) once inside the door.  NYFA has helped me get to where I am because they exposed me to the science behind my natural talent.  The program was much more intense than I’d imagine.  I learned how to bring my emotions to JUST below the surface and let them fester and manifest through my body in a performance. No way I could have been ready for this prior to a year at NYFA. I feel the teachers I had at NYFA NYC have prepared me most for where I am now. We’ll see what else LA brings!” Congrats Joy!


    November 17, 2010 • Acting • Views: 4111



    The LA Examiner labeled New York Film Academy as the “TOP GUN OF MODERN FILM SCHOOLS” in its article praising the academy and founder Jerry Sherlock for his no-frills, hands-on approach to teaching filmmaking. Here is the full article:

    (Photo by current NYFA student Chris Chunk. Article written by Rob Irwin, Burbank Entertainment Industry Examiner, LA Examiner)

    It would be no misrepresentation to say clearly that the New York Film Academy is the future for modern filmmaking. Sure there are those venerable institutions such as NYU, USC and UCLA. All fine schools, of course, and in between classes in required academic areas like, oh I don’t know, The Love Life of the North American Fruit Fly perhaps one can get a decent education in film making over time. It is true that these fine schools have in the past and still do turn out some very successful writers, actors and directors. But in 1992 Producer Jerry Sherlock (Hunt for Red October) became frustrated with what he saw as a serious lack of good “hands on” real world film making information and education. Never the kind of man to sit still with an idea Jerry Sherlock created a workshop for film makers. It was the beginning of what has grown today into the New York Film Academy.

    It all started at Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Film Center. It was an intensive four week workshop that taught each student how to engage in visual story telling or film making. The word spread and soon the demand exceeded the available resources and growth was inevitable. And while the subject of Fruit Flies never got involved there really is much more to professional acting, writing and directing than could be reasonably presented in a four week work shop. The program rapidly grew into an intense immersion into the world of film making that led to the granting of a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in just three years. That alone is brilliant in my opinion for giving every degree seeking student one extra year of real life.

    As this growth was taking place Solomon Brother’s currency trader extraordinaire Jean Sherlock was wrapping up a three year stint in the very exciting city of Hong Kong. He went back to his hometown of New York City and his father, Jerry Sherlock, brought him aboard the now degree granting and still rapidly growing New York Film Academy. Soon that brought Jean to Los Angeles and the back ot of Universal Studios where NYFA-Los Angeles lives today. New York Film Academy now has three full time campuses in; New York City, Los Angeles, and South Beach, Miami. But it was on the Los Angeles campus where I meet the very gracious Jean Sherlock.

    I honestly had no preconceptions about New York Film Academy, nothing good or bad. It really was a blank slate when I first sat down with Jean Sherlock to discover exactly where his school, the New York Film Academy, fit in amongst the well known giants. The picture that unfolded was rich and exciting.

    New York Film Academy offers its students a true immersion in real world hands on experience. For example at the New York Film Academy each student writes, shoots, directs and edits eight projects and works on crew of 28 more in the first year. That is intense. But it is possible in part because NYFA keeps class size down to about 16 students per section, even less for the acting classes. This allows a strong interplay between teacher and student. Oh and those teachers all come from strong academic and industry backgrounds. From day one the students work with real proven industry professionals and that quality is enhanced with regular guest speakers such as actor Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote), Producer/Director Doug Liman (Bourne Identity) and actress Glenn Close (Fatal Attraction). So impressive are their programs that many of the Hollywood elite have sent their children to NYFA. Psst! A Spielberg child has been seen on campus. Yes, that level.

    Film schools need equipment and that they have in abundance as well and it is all high level genuinely professional gear made for making movies. It is even possible for students to get access to top of the line Panavision gear and that just doesn’t happen in Gallop, NM. Which brings up the matter of location.

    With our official interview in the can Jean Sherlock turned me over to his trusted assistant Tom Slivinski for a tour of the rest of the campus. For that we used a vehicle because the campus is the Universal Studios back lot. All of it. Yes, THAT back lot, the one millions of tourists pay big money to ride around in a tram. This is all included in the NYFA package and it is clearly inspiring. There is just no better location for a top end film making school. Students at NYFA start at the pinnacle.

    Today the New York Film Academy has grown into a giant provider of high quality education in all major aspects of film making. They offer associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees across all three domestic campuses. They also offer a wide variety of summer programs directed at tweens, teens and adults. You should at least visit their website at and explore their many exciting offerings. The only thing NYFA doesn’t offer is a football team, but I am sure if you want they can make a movie about football. In the mean time if you or your child or a friend is passionate about a career in film making he or she would be well advised to read the information on the website and then arrange for a visit to the campus. The excitement and energy is palpable and real and it moves you. From its humble beginnings the New York Film Academy has truly emerged as the TOPGUN of modern film schools.


    October 22, 2010 • Acting • Views: 6046




    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 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 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 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
    P: 212-674-4300
    F: 212-477-1414


    October 13, 2010 • Acting • Views: 5108

  • Alum Kemi Adetiba Makes Her Name in Music Video Production


    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.


    August 16, 2010 • Acting • Views: 5308

  • Life After NYFA: Documentary Alum Frederik Boll


    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!


    July 16, 2010 • Acting • Views: 5320

  • The New York Film Academy & India’s Bollywood


    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!


    July 9, 2010 • Acting • Views: 10940

  • How do I pay for film or acting school?


    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: and 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!


    June 21, 2010 • Acting • Views: 1571

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



    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.


    June 15, 2010 • Acting • Views: 11286

  • NYFA Graduate’s Film Sweeps African Academy Awards


    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.


    May 26, 2010 • Acting • Views: 5849