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  • Playwright Lindsey Ferrentino Visits New York Film Academy (NYFA) Production of ‘Ugly Lies the Bone’

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    On Monday, July 1, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film department had the opportunity to host a special performance of Ugly Lies the Bone, directed by NYFA Acting for Film alum Coco de Bruycker. This special performance was followed by a Q&A with playwright Lindsey Ferrentino and actor Ralf Little, who were in attendance for the show.

    Ugly Lies the Bone tells the story of Jess, a veteran returning from her third deployment in Afghanistan who was wounded in action. She has been assigned to a new video game therapy—an immersive virtual reality experience created to distract soldiers from their pain. However, ignoring her actual reality proves more difficult than it seems. The spotlight is on Jess as she navigates her new life, desperate to feel comfortable in her—literally—new skin.

    Lindset Ferrentino Ugly Lies the Bone

    Director Coco de Bruycker worked with the NYFA Acting for Film department to arrange the Q&A after connecting with Lindsey Ferrentino. “That we had the honor to play Ugly Lies the Bone for Lindsey Ferrentino is truly amazing, says de Bruycker. “Truthfulness is probably the biggest thing I take away from her … It impressed me how much time she actually spends on research and discovery as you go. And that’s also one of the reasons why I chose to do this play.”

    Actor Luke Sweeney, who played Stevie, was inspired by the fact that Lindsey and Ralf came to the show and spoke afterwards. “I was just very grateful to have them in the audience,” says Sweeney. “They both have big things happening in their careers and personal lives right now and for them to take a night to come and see us perform was a gift … It also inspired me to know that even though there may be some quiet months, Lindsey and Ralf still work really hard to make sure they are making a living doing what they love. It gave me an immense amount of confidence starting off my career path to know that even the best actors and storytellers you meet are still navigating their way.”

    Actress Isabelle Germain spoke of the difficulty of working on the play, telling NYFA, “Becoming Jess was one of the toughest challenges I’ve had as an actor … I absolutely love this play and all of the characters within it. Ugly Lies the Bone was a cathartic, healing experience.”

    Lindset Ferrentino Ugly Lies the Bone

    Ángel Gabriel, who played Kelvin, was excited to be a part of the production. “To have the playwright with us on Monday with one of the original cast members was surreal,” says Gabriel. “A truly mesmerizing night for all of us … The universe prizes you when it sees the hard work and determination that you put in. I couldn’t be happier with the results.”

    de Bruycker discussed the process of directing the play: “In rehearsals—and also during the shows—we discovered so many things together, both cast and crew as a team, and I’m utterly grateful for all those different angles …The show taught me also to trust the team, the process, and myself. Any creative work is unpredictable, sometimes painful, and Ugly Lies the Bone shows that pain doesn’t necessarily have to discourage you. It’s empowering. You can use anything on your way, both the highs and the lows.”

    de Bruycker was thrilled to have been able to make the Q&A work, adding, “I’m so glad we could unite the playwright with our actors and great crew at New York Film Academy for a night. And also the audience in the tears and laughs they shared together every night we brought this story to life. Thank you.”

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    July 19, 2019 • Acting, Guest Speakers, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 157

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Screenwriting Alum David Barbeschi Nominated to Popular Austin Revolution Film Festival

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    David Barbeschi has been racking up plenty of festival selections since earning his MFA in Screenwriting from New York Film Academy (NYFA). Most recently, his thesis pilot script Odysseus was nominated to the Austin Revolution Film Festival, an industry favorite fest that is ranked best on FilmFreeway.

    Odysseus is a television pilot developed by Barbeschi as part of the MFA in Screenwriting program at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus. The script is a sequel to the Ancient Greek poem by Homer, The Odyssey. The screenplay expands the mythology of the classic epic and follows Homer’s titular character Odysseus, now past his prime, as he sets sail for Central America to save his estranged son. He soon finds out that the gods he’d challenged in Greece are nothing compared to the ones to the west.David Barbeschi

    “The idea is to rediscover lesser known myths from other cultures,” explains Barbeschi, “through the lens of a more popular mythological character. For example, at some point, Odysseus will have to face off against the Mayan Gods.” In addition to the Austin Revolution Film Festival, Odysseus was also selected for  the Finish Line Script Competition.

    Barbeschi has also been finding success with his Feature 2 script, White Crow, which focuses on an agoraphobic woman who must guide her blind brother to a safe house through a dystopian city. To date, White Crow has been selected in several festivals, including the Nashville Film Festival Screenwriting Contest, and was just nominated at the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards.

    Both scripts are personal to Barbeschi. “Something I’ve learned at NYFA,” he says, “which I applied when writing Odysseus and White Crow, was ‘write what you like, instead of what you think others will like.’

    “I started out as a producer before coming to NYFA,” he continues, “so whatever I wrote, I wrote solely because of its supposed commercial value, despite not liking the genre or the themes. Ironically, the only projects of mine that have really shown any kind of success are the ones where I took my teachers’ advice and focused on writing good and entertaining stories which I was passionate about.”
    David Barbeschi

    Barbeschi is working as a freelance screenwriter and development producer and is currently juggling over 10 different projects, including a short entitled Off-Road that he wrote and produced; the project is also gaining traction in the festival circuit. Additionally, Barbeschi is working on adapting White Crow into an animated short film.

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Screenwriting alum David Barbeschi on the festival successes of his multiple projects and looks forward to following his endeavors as he continues his filmmaking “odyssey!”

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    July 19, 2019 • Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 160

  • New York FIlm Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Swati Chugh Finds Success With ‘New Heaven’

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    New Heaven, the final film project of New York Film Academy (NYFA) 4-Week Filmmaking Workshop alum Swati Chugh, has been steadily amassing awards since recently entering the international festival circuit. Swati Chugh - New Heaven

    Chugh is originally from India and made the film in April 2019 as part of graduating the 4-week Filmmaking Workshop at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus. New Heaven is about a middle-aged woman who is struggling to come to terms with aging and mortality. The film explores how she finds fulfillment while dealing with the memories of her younger days.

    “As a filmmaker,” Chugh tells NYFA, “I want to tell stories that bring hope and inspiration to the audience. If I manage to touch hearts and inspire people to view things differently, I believe my purpose is met. New Heaven is one such story … Age is a factor that affects us all and many times we tend to get stuck in the past on how we used to look earlier versus how we look like now … The story shows [the protagonist’s] struggles, conflict, and journey towards getting her self-worth back.”

    Since entering the festival circuit, New Heaven has won:

    Best Silent Film – Crownwood International Film Festival, India
    Best Silent Film – Druk International Film Festival, Bhutan
    Best Super Short Film – Five Continents Film Festival, Venezuela
    Special Mention Editing Short Film – Five Continents Film Festival, Venezuela
    Semifinalist for Best Writer – AltFF Alternative Film Festival, Canada
    Semifinalist for Best Actress – AltFF Alternative Film Festival Canada
    Official Selection – Florence Film Awards, Italy
    Official Selection – CKF International Film Festival, UK
    Official Selection – Berlin Flash Film Festival, Germany

    The film was a collaboration between multiple New York Film Academy alumni, including co-star Omega Melhem (8-Week Acting for Film), actor and director of photography Jialu Liu, (4-Week Filmmaking), and assistant camera Matias Alvarado (4-Week Filmmaking). Chugh praised both her cast and crew as well as the NYFA faculty who helped teach her the filmmaking craft.

    “The filmmaking course at NYFA was beyond what I had expected,” adds Chugh. “It was a fast-paced course, but that is what made it so exciting.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA Filmmaking alum Swati Chugh on the growing list of accolades for New Heaven and wishes her ongoing success as she continues her filmmaking endeavors.

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA 3D Animation & Visual Effects Student Chris Su Wins Pixar Storyboard Contest

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    Xingyu “Chris” Su, a BFA in 3D Animation & Visual Effects student at New York Film Academy-Los Angeles (NYFA-LA), recently won a storyboard contest held by Campus Movie Fest and Pixar Animation Studios.

    Su submitted his work to the contest, which was judged by representatives from Campus Movie Fest and Pixar, the studio behind animation blockbusters Toy Story, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, WALL-E, Up, and Ratatouille.

    Chris Su

    NYFA 3D Animation & VFX Student Chris Su

    As part of his prize, Su was able to work with Pixar executives and artists in Atlanta, Georgia for four days at the end of June. Su and other contest winners visited the CMF Terminus at the Hilton in Atlanta, where he was able to participate in creative workshops and attend a Pixar SparkShort screening. There was also a mixer where Su was able to network with other artists and experienced members of the industry. The weekend concluded with the Golden Tripod Award ceremony.

    Perhaps most importantly, Su was able to work with these established animators, including producers and directors from Pixar and Disney, who shared their experiences and passed some of their knowledge along to the contest winners.

    “It was a fun weekend and I received so much good experience,” Su tells NYFA. “It was such a good opportunity. And I encourage NYFA students to submit their films to the contest next year.”

    Su is currently working on his thesis project. He plans to work as a storyboard artist after graduating NYFA’s BFA in 3D Animation & Visual Effects program, ideally for Pixar or Disney. His favorite recent Pixar film is Coco. “It’s such a touching story,” says Su, “and I want to tell a story like that some day.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates BFA in 3D Animation & Visual Effects student Chris Su on his win and looks forward to his future career in animation!

    See the award-winning work Chris Su submitted to Pixar below:

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    July 18, 2019 • 3D Animation, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 246

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking Department Works With Ben’s Lighthouse

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    Last Spring, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Chair of Documentary Filmmaking Andrea Swift and NYFA Docs alum Braulio Jatar taught a micro-docs workshop to Newtown teenagers at Ben’s Lighthouse, a grassroots organization founded after the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

    Ben’s Lighthouse was founded to honor 6-year-old Benjamin Wheeler, one of the victims of the 2012 massacre. The organization is based in Newtown, Connecticut. Their motto—and mission—is “helping is healing,” and the organization uses local mentoring programs and national outreach service trips as part of their cause.

    Members of Ben’s Lighthouse were headed for a service trip to Louisiana. Andrea Swift, NYFA Documentary Filmmaking Chair, helped prepare them by teaching a workshop in micro-docs, which are typically very short, effective documentaries. Swift focused on story development, which is especially important in documentaries that have a very short window to captivate and engage an audience. 

    Once they returned from the trip, the members—led by group leader Sue Vogelman—came back to NYFA to edit their footage. NYFA Documentary Filmmaking alum Braulio Jatar worked with Swift and taught the members how to edit on digital software Adobe Premiere, as well as supervising their edit.

    Micro Doc: Newtown Workshop from New York Film Academy on Vimeo.

    Jatar graduated from both the Documentary Filmmaking 6-Week Workshop and 1-Year Conservatory at NYFA’s New York campus. Since graduating, Jatar has found success with his film, Where Chaos Reigns, co-directed with NYFA Docs alum Anaïs Michel. The film recently won the Golden Gate Award for Best Short Documentary at the San Francisco International Film Festival, qualifying Jatar for an Academy Award next year.

    The micro-doc was directed by Gigi Marino and Sam Henriques and is available on Vimeo.

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    July 18, 2019 • Documentary Filmmaking, Outreach • Views: 151

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Documentary Student Drama del Rosario Awarded BAFTA-GSA Commissioning Grant

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Documentary student Drama del Rosario received some major support for his important filmmaking endeavors when he received a Commissioning Grant from BAFTA-GSA.drama del rosario bafta

    del Rosario is currently studying for his MFA in Documentary at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus. “It’s been amazing to watch Drama del Rosario grow as a documentary filmmaker over the last two years,” says Sanora Bartels, NYFA-LA Chair of Documentary Filmmaking. “He brings tremendous heart to all of his projects and is fearless in his approach to sharing the truth of his personal story.”

    I’m Okay (And Neither Are You) is del Rosario’s thesis film and is currently in post-production. del Rosario’s grant application and documentary proposal was given final approval by an elite group of BAFTA members, including veteran writer and actor Stephen Fry, and succeeded despite a great deal of competition for the grant.

    “Drama is an amazing student and filmmaker,” says NYFA instructor Mary Beth Fielder. “All the work he’s produced while at NYFA has been exceptional, beginning with his very first film In This Family, a personal voice documentary which explores the repercussions of being ‘outed’ against his will by his seventh grade teacher.”

    The $8,000 grant was awarded to del Rosario by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), in partnership with Global Student Accommodation (GSA), for his documentary I’m Okay (And Neither Are You). The BAFTA-GSA Grant was launched in 2018 to provide young filmmakers with a platform to raise awareness and encourage change in how mental wellbeing is understood amongst their peers. This year marks the first time Netflix has sponsored the BAFTA Student Film Awards.

    drama del rosario bafta

    At the awards ceremony, del Rosario gave an impassioned, emotional speech, thanking New York Film Academy, his family, and his boyfriend, and more importantly speaking publicly of his own personal mental health issues. “I have been fortunate in my life to know how to use a camera and to have people around me who don’t judge me for being in front of the camera,” del Rosario told the audience in attendance. “So when things like this happen to you in your personal life, to some degree it’s your responsibility to share with other people.”

    The BAFTA-GSA grant will certainly help del Rosario finish his film and reach his goal of sharing his important story with others. “Drama literally puts himself and his personal stories in his films,” says Crickett Rumley, NYFA Director, Film Festivals. “Given the specificity of his observations, the powerful emotions he expresses, and the reactions he provokes in his audience, it’s no surprise to me that he’s been tapped for such a prestigious award.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Documentary Filmmaking student Drama del Rosario on his BAFTA-GSA Commissioning Grant and looks forward to the completion of his thesis film, I’m Okay (And Neither Are You).

    drama del rosario bafta

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    July 18, 2019 • Documentary Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 196

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Community Earns Several Emmy Award Nominations

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) was excited once again to see the NYFA Community represented in this year’s nominations for the 71st Emmy Awards. The awards ceremony will be aired live on Sunday, September 22.

    HBO leads the nominations with a jaw-dropping 137 nods, while Netflix follows not far behind with an impressive 117 total nominations. 

    Zeitgeist television epic Game of Thrones helped HBO with many of those nominations, receiving a total of 32 altogether. One of those nominations includes for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for the penultimate episode, “The Bells.” Alexandra LoRusso, an alum of NYFA’s 1-year 3D Animation & Visual Effects conservatory, worked on the visual effects for that episode and the Game of Thrones finale, “The Iron Throne.”

    Bill Hader

    Dark comedy Barry was another HBO show that made an impressive showing, with a total of 17 nominations. The series was co-created by and stars New York Film Academy alum Bill Hader, who spoke with students earlier this year. Hader was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, which he won the Emmy for last year. He also received nominations this year for
    both Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series.

    Competing in the same category with Barry for Outstanding Comedy Series is Netflix breakout hit Russian Doll, starring Natasha Lyonne. The show also picked up a nod for Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (Half-Hour). NYFA Cinematography alum Rebecca Rajadnya served as first assistant camera on the cinematography team for Russian Doll.

    Also nominated for Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (Half-Hour) was HBO comedy Insecure, starring and created by NYFA Filmmaking alum Issa Rae.

    The Documentary categories also had nods for the NYFA community. Both Free Solo and RBG were nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Documentary/Nonfiction Program. RBG was shot by NYFA Documentary Department cinematography instructor Claudia Raschke. Free Solo was edited by NYFA editing instructor Bob Eisenhardt, ACE. Eisenhardt, who won an Eddie Award for is work on the film, is also nominated for Outstanding Picture Editing for a Nonfiction Program. Additionally, Netflix’s Our Planet was nominated in the Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series category; NYFA Acting for Film alum Lana Condor moderated a preview panel for the series.

    Bob Eisenhardt Eddie Free Solo

    Two previous NYFA guest speakers were also nominated for Emmy Awards this year, both in the same category—Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. Henry Winkler was nominated for his work in Barry, while recent guest speaker Tony Hale was nominated for Veep; this is his sixth nomination for the role, and he’s won twice. The show is also nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series.

    Better Call Saul was nominated for Outstanding Drama Series; previous NYFA guest speaker Gordon Smith has written for the series. Groundbreaking animated program The Simpsons, now in its 30th season and no stranger to Emmy Awards and nominations, was unsurprisingly nominated again this year for Outstanding Animated Program. Mike Polcino, who has directed for the show, spoke with NYFA students last year.

    New York Film Academy congratulates this year’s Emmy Award nominees and looks forward to seeing who goes home with a golden statuette on September 22!

    Here is a full list of this year’s Emmy Award nominees:

    Outstanding Comedy Series
    Barry
    Fleabag
    The Good Place
    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Russian Doll
    Schitt’s Creek
    Veep

    Outstanding Drama Series
    Better Call Saul
    Bodyguard
    Game of Thrones
    Killing Eve
    Ozark
    Pose
    Succession
    This Is Us

    Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
    Mahershala Ali, True Detective
    Benicio Del Toro, Escape at Dannemora
    Hugh Grant, A Very English Scandal
    Jared Harris, Chernobyl
    Jharrel Jerome, When They See Us
    Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon

    Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
    Amy Adams, Sharp Objects
    Patricia Arquette, Escape at Dannemora
    Aunjanue Ellis, When They See us
    Joey King, The Act
    Niecy Nash, When They See Us
    Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon

    Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
    Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal
    Stellan Skarsgard, Chernobyl
    Paul Dano, Escape at Dannemora
    John Leguizamo, When They See Us
    Michael K. Williams, When They See Us
    Asante Blackk, When They See Us

    Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
    Emily Watson, Chernobyl
    Margaret Qualley, Fosse/Verdon
    Patricia Clarkson, Sharp Objects
    Patricia Arquette, The Act
    Marsha Stephanie Blake, When They See Us
    Vera Farmiga, When They See Us

    Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
    Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
    Don Cheadle, Black Monday
    Ted Danson, The Good Place
    Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
    Bill Hader, Barry
    Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek

    Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
    Christina Applegate, Dead To Me
    Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
    Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
    Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek
    Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag

    Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
    Stephen Root, Barry
    Henry Winkler, Barry
    Anthony Carrigan, Barry
    Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method
    Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Tony Hale, Veep

    Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
    Sarah Goldberg, Barry
    Sian Clifford, Fleabag
    Olivia Colman, Fleabag
    Betty Gilpin, GLOW
    Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
    Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Anna Chlumsky, Veep

    Lead Actor in a Drama Series
    Jason Bateman, Ozark
    Sterling K. Brown, This Is UsKit Harington, Game of Thrones
    Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
    Billy Porter, Pose
    Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us

    Lead Actress in a Drama Series
    Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
    Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
    Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
    Laura Linney, Ozark
    Mandy Moore, This Is Us
    Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
    Robin Wright, House of Cards

    Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
    Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
    Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call SaulAlfie Allen, Game of Thrones
    Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones
    Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
    Michael Kelly, House of Cards
    Chris Sullivan, This Is Us

    Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
    Gwendoline Christie, Game of Thrones
    Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
    Sophie Turner, Game of Thrones
    Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones
    Fiona Shaw, Killing Eve
    Julia Garner, Ozark

    Outstanding Reality Competition Series
    Amazing Race
    American Ninja Warrior
    Nailed It
    RuPaul’s Drag Race
    Top Chef
    The Voice

    Outstanding Variety Talk Series
    The Daily Show
    Full Frontal
    Jimmy Kimmel Live!
    Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
    The Late Late Show With James Corden
    The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

    Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
    At Home With Amy Sedaris
    Documentary Now!
    Drunk History
    I Love You, America With Sarah Silverman
    Saturday Night Live
    Who Is America?

    Outstanding Television Movie
    Bandersnatch
    Brexit
    Deadwood
    King Lear
    My Dinner with Hervé

    Outstanding Limited Series
    Chernobyl
    Escape at Dannemora
    Fosse/Verdon
    Sharp Objects
    When They See Us

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Students & Alumni Screen at 2019 Los Angeles Live Score Film Festival

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    This spring, four New York Film Academy (NYFA) students and alumni had the opportunity to collaborate on their films with professional composers through a partnership with the Los Angeles Live Score Film Festival. After being selected through a rigorous school competition, students Ion Legarda, Aliza Jaffri, and Jonathan Samukange, and alum Savannah Sivert were matched with professional composers who then wrote scores for their films.

    Since the dawn of the silent film era, music has played a critical role in cinematic storytelling. It accentuates emotion, sets a tone, and underscores conflict. Filmmakers work closely with their composers to create the right sound for their films. For these filmmakers just beginning their careers, the chance to have professionals score their films is a fantastic opportunity.

    On Saturday, July 20, they will have the once-in-a-lifetime experience of watching their films on the big screen at the Barnsdall Art Gallery Theater while the orchestra Helix Collective plays the new composed score live. 

    NYFA caught up with the filmmakers ahead of the Live Score Film Festival and asked them about their experiences working with their composers.

    Ion Legarda (Spring 2019 1-Year Producing) & Aliza Jafri (Spring 2019 MFA Producing)

    Title of Film: A Deep Breath
    Composer: Cali Wang
    Genre: Documentary
    Logline: After relocating to the United States, Ion Legarda uses his passion for free diving to cope with the stresses of starting a new life, taking us with him on an exploration of the magnificent world that exists underwater.

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): Tell us about your film.  

    Ion Legarda & Aliza Jafri (IL/AJ): We were building this movie around having beautiful cinematic underwater shots to take the crowd with the free diver to show the peaceful magnificent world under the surface. We had only one day on a boat with the underwater camera operator, the crew, and equipment. We prepared everything, even went to sleep on the boat.

    When the day came, Aliza, the director, together with the two co-producers and the person who was supposed to be our underwater camera operator got SEASICK. So, Isaac and Ion, the free divers, had to learn how to operate the underwater camera, and shoot all the footage by themselves. Because they weren’t exactly experienced, we had to find diving archival footage from Ion’s past. Most of the underwater footage in the movie was not shot intentionally for this film.

    NYFA: What has it been like to work with your composer?

    (IL/AJ): It was our first time. Cali is a very talented composer and made it really easy on us. After sending her a few examples and references, she knew exactly what we were looking for, and sent us revisions every week or two for us to give her corrections. Everything worked easily and smoothly.

    NYFA: What have you learned in this process?

    (IL/AJ): That communication and setting expectations in the beginning is the key to good work with a composer.

    NYFA: What are you looking forward to in the live screening?

    (IL/AJ): To hear Cali’s score being played live while our movie is on the screen.

    Live Score Film Festival

    Jonathan Samukange (Summer 2019 BFA Filmmaking)

    Title of Film: Honest
    Composer: Michael Paraskevas
    Genre: Drama
    Logline: When adolescence hits, a stubborn young man must choose to listen to his father’s wisdom or risk it all to find his own path.

    NYFA: Tell us about your film.

    Jonathan Samukange (JS):
    What’s special about this movie is that it’s crewed and cast by first-time filmmakers. Most of the people in this film had never seen a film camera before in their lives. That’s special. I traveled all the way home to Zimbabwe to film it. At first, I had two months to prepare, but my visit was cut short by unexpected events. I was left with just six days to write, cast, crew, find locations and equipment.

    I almost quit as the stress increased, but I couldn’t. You can’t quit just because it’s hard or no one believes in you. I looked like a wacko jacko making this movie. No one understood why I was driving up and down the place like a crazy man, but I did. That’s all that mattered. When no one understands you, don’t be discouraged by it. Embrace it. You’ll be surprised what you find on the other side.

    NYFA: What has it been like to work with your composer?

    JS: My composer was chosen for me, and what a fine choice Michael Paraskevas was. From the moment we met, it felt like we’ve always known each other—we just gelled. My vision for the score was simple. I asked Michael to put his heart and soul into it and to be inspired by what he sees, to follow his gut. He went for it. Freedom is at the heart of collaboration. When we give each other a chance to shine, the whole project benefits immensely.

    You must come to the screening to experience this magic with your friends and family. We would be honored to have you, and it will surely be a show to remember.

    Live Score Film Festival

    Savannah Sivert (Fall 2015 MFA Filmmaking)

    Title of Film: Siblings
    Genre: Drama
    Composer: Alex Robert Heinrich
    Logline: Three siblings must find a way to accept the death of their mother.

    NYFA: Tell us about your film.

    Savannah Sivert (SS): This film is heavy in the way that it is a personal reflection of the death of my mother, with the twist of what I wish my siblings and I would have done at her funeral reception. Two words: stink bomb. It’s drama that serves the point of view of a child amidst grief.

    NYFA: What has it been like to work with your composer?

    SS: The experience completely surpassed my expectations. Alex was so easy to work with and extremely knowledgeable. More often than not, Alex was finishing my sentences as we discussed the composition. He understood the tone of the film and truly enhanced what was important.

    NYFA: What have you learned in this process?

    I learned how refreshing post-production can be for a film. My collaboration with my composer has deepened my understanding of how to use music as a tool in storytelling.

    SS: What are you looking forward to in the live screening?

    I have absolutely never experienced a film of mine being screened while a live band plays the score. That’s a first for sure! My film has evolved into something else because of my collaboration with Alex Robert Heinrich. It will be the very first screening of what the film has developed into because of this process. I can’t wait to watch.

    Live Score Film Festival

    The New York Film Academy community is invited to attend the LA Live Score Film Festival this Saturday, July 20, 2019, from 6 – 10 p.m. at Barnsdall Art Park. To purchase tickets, please click here and use the code NYFA to get a $5 discount.

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    July 16, 2019 • Film Festivals, Filmmaking, Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 306

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Australia Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media Alum Berry Salem Is 2019 Regional Finalist of the Queensland Training Awards

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    Earlier this month, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Australia Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media alum Abeer (Berry) Salem was awarded as 2019 Regional Finalist of the Queensland Training Awards. The ceremony was held at the Gold Coast Arts Centre at the Home of the Arts (HOTA) on July 5.

    Salem originally hails from Egypt and graduated from the Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media program at New York Film Academy Australia in August 2018. She mainly works on the production side of music videos and other short-form content, and has experience in both filmmaking and acting.

    Berry Salem
    “I have joined New York Film Academy to pursue my dream,” says Salem. “I’m devoted to acting and filmmaking. It is my passion. I like to transform my dream into reality. I love to create unforgettable moments that remind others of our common humanity—to inspire, encourage, challenge—and to allow witnesses in my works to the reality, the magnificence, the pleasure and the mystery of life. I intend to produce films that are a form of art—not purely to entertain but to inflame emotion and reflection, motivate action, and have a long-lasting effect on those who experience them.”

    Salem has put action to this words by founding the Lotus Production House, which focuses on promoting independent performers, directors, actors, and producers.

    Salem’s producing credits include two feature films, The Last Video Store and Home Plate. The mother of two has also produced her directorial debut, the 2018 short film Parental Responsibility, which earned several awards since its release. Salem plans to focus on more writing and directing in the future. She is currently working on Unseen Wall, which centers on women in prison.

    “My study at New York Film Academy has further strengthened my career as a filmmaker, actress, director and producer,” says Salem. “I have been able to apply my creative approach in a way that has earned me many recognitions through my films.”

    Those recognitions are numerous, and include:

    Best Indie Filmmaker – Top Short Film Festival 2018
    Best First-Time Director – Aphrodite Film Awards
    Best First-Time Director – Festigious Film Festival 2018
    Best First-Time Director – New York Film Awards 2018
    Semi-Finalist – Los Angeles Film Awards 2018
    Best Female Filmmaker – Toronto International Nollywood Film Festival 2019
    Best Short Film – Australian Inspirational Film Festival – 2019
    Official Selection – WRPN Women’s International Film Festival
    Semi-Finalist – Australian Inspirational Film Festival 2019
    Official Selection – First-Time Filmmaker Film Festival

    Salem’s passion for film came at an early age. “Throughout the day, I would envision myself as an actor in a film and life around me as the film set,” she says. “It was hard to suppress this creative realization that everything around me, everything I learned, and everything I dreamed could be a movie.

    Berry Salem

    All of her passion and hard work have paid off. Salem was one of the top three finalists for the 2019 Queensland Training Award, out of 860 applicants. The prestigious Queensland Training Awards, which celebrates its 58th year this year, recognizes individuals that strive for and have achieved success, best practice and innovation in vocational education and training across 14 categories, including for apprentices, trainees, vocational students, teachers and trainers, and more. Salem was previously a finalist for the Award in 2017.

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA Australia alum Berry Salem on her latest in a long line of achievements and wishes her continued success as she develops her career.

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    July 12, 2019 • Filmmaking, Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 479

  • New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Photography Department Launches FAYN #005

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    FAYN is a collaborative photography magazine produced by the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography Department in Los Angeles. The magazine features students, faculty and alumni whose work explores contemporary concepts in art and culture.

    FAYN is a platform for visual expression, and it’s a celebration of printed media. In this fast-moving digital era of photography, FAYN serves to slow down the experience of viewing photography and experiencing art. As you flip through the pages, we hope that you take the time to savor the experience of holding them in your hand.  

    A launch party was held for the latest issue of FAYN, #005, titled Deconstruction. In addition to an impressive array of photographic art, FAYN #005 also features an interview with and the work of renowned artist Lorna Simpson.

    Student Editor Maddie Smith says in her Editor’s Letter, also featured in the issue, that “When curating the theme of this issue, Deconstruction, we wanted to feature images that were dismantling, dissecting, and reducing preconceptions both through unique visuals and thoughtful concepts. Our mission with the theme of deconstruction is to show that texts, institutions, traditions, societies, beliefs, and even images, do not necessarily need to be defined by our preconceived notions and that they can exceed the boundaries they currently occupy.”

    Magazine Cover Concept by Maddie Smith; designed by Alumni Yingda Shang 

    Featured Faculty
    Jackie Neale
    @jackiephotogy

    Dia Yunzhi Wang
    @dia.1111y

    Ain’t I A Woman?
    Thesis Work and Writing
    by Edolia Stroud
    @edoliastroudy

    Karyna Dobrykava
    @karinadobraphotoy

    Fa(y)n
    By Tom Myers
    @thom_myers_42y

    Paper Gun
    MFA Thesis project by
    Juan Sebastian Echeverri
    @juansebastianecheverri

    Featuring “Thank you for your Bullet”
    By Mina Khouzamy
    Featured Alumni

    Lotta Lemetti
    @lottalemettiy

    Close Up
    By BFA student
    Maddie Smith
    @mharpersmith

    Featuring “Deconstruct Me, Reconstruct You”
    By Mina Khouzamy

    Google Space
    Thesis work by Medford Deforest
    @deforest.medfordInterview by Mina Khouzamy

    Marvelous Food
    By BFA Student
    Hugh Li
    @huughliy

    FUGA
    Featured Alumni
    Patricia Montrase
    @patriciamontrasey

    Artist Spotlight
    Lorna Simpson
    Interview by Maddie Smith

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    July 12, 2019 • Photography • Views: 191