Jack Picone
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  • New York FIlm Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Pablo C. Vergara Wins At International Film and Metal Festival

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    Necromurder, the film by New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum Pablo C. Vergara, won the Award for Best International Fictional Film at 2019’s International Film and Metal Festival (FICIME.)

    necromurder
    The festival, which began this year in Colombia, aims to visualize and support the metal music and film industry not just in Colombia but around the world, generating a forum for artistic expression from the a genre that has influenced a search for identity for many generations, and which has been influenced by many artistic sources.

    FICIME received over 500+ submissions from across the globe. Sixty-eight audiovisual projects were selected for the fest, in eight categories, including films from Syria, Croatia, Burkina Faso, Africa, Russia, and Scandinavia.

    Necromurder is a music-oriented movie with strong visuals and design—written, directed, and starring Vergara, who was inspired by films like The Crow and The Doors. The film, based on real events, revolves around two musicians fighting for the title of King of Evil, where their own demons and lifestyles will lead them down a spiral of destruction that culminates in murder. For more details on the film its sources, check out our interview with Vergara here.

    Vergara hails from Mexico City and works as a cinematographer, actor, and filmmaker, among other roles, and enrolled in New York Film Academy’s Filmmaking program in New York in Fall 2016, before moving to Hollywood to work on completing his MFA at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus. 

    Vergara will be returning to NYFA on October 15, screening his film along with other NYFA filmmakers by invitation of Chair of Filmmaking Claude Kerven. The event will be held at NYFA’s New York campus at 7 p.m.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Pablo C. Vergara on his festival win and encourages everyone to check out the film when it screens at NYFA’s New York campus on October 15!

    necromurder

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    September 20, 2019 • Film Festivals, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 181

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alumni Meet Up in Indonesia

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    This week, four alumni from New York Film Academy (NYFA) met up for lunch in Jakarta, Indonesia.

    Three alumni studied at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus: Khairan Aldhy Mardhi, Melarissa Sjarief, and Brigitte Lee. Devina Sofiyanti, who rounded out the group, studies in New York.

    Indonesia Alumni Dinner

    Khairan Aldhy Mardhi attended a short-term workshop this year, while Devina Sofiyanti and Brigitte Lee enrolled in conservatories in 2016 and 2012, respectively. Melarissa Sjarief earned their MFA in 2018.

    Over lunch, the alumni got to know each other and talk about what they’ve been up to since graduating. Sofiyanti shared the good news that their project was selected at Fly Film Lab Busan.

    Indonesia Alumni Dinner

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    September 19, 2019 • International Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 85

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Filmmaking Students Visit Buzzfeed

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    Students from the New York Film Academy (NYFA) 2018 Master of Fine Arts in Filmmaking program had the opportunity to tour Buzzfeed’s LA Lexland campus on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. The MFA Filmmaking students, who study at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus, were joined by producer and on-camera talent Rie McClenny for their field trip.

    The visit included a chance to tour the studios, offices, prop room, and canteen, as well as the Buzzfeed Tasty Studio where McClenny whips up all manner of desserts for the Tasty Channel. The students enjoyed seeing the new media campus and learned a great deal about how the company operates.

    “Huge thanks to Rie and Buzzfeed for having the class!” says NYFA instructor Rebecca Louisell.

    Buzzfeed MFA

    From the left, front row: Rie McClenny (Buzzfeed), Rebecca Louisell (Instructor), Mahmoud Abul Burghul, Adilet Zhumabek, Kritika Chawla, Agnes Shinozaki, Veronica Badell, Haining “Carl” Gu, Shiran Wang. Back row: Ryan Mechling, Nick Sivakumaran (Instructor), Chin-Wei Chang, Lan-Chi Chien, Ether Tian Jin

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    September 17, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 119

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Tracy Oliver Launches ‘First Wives Club’ Series

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    First Wives Club, the new adaptation of the hit 1996 film developed for television by New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking alum Tracy Oliver, premieres this week.

    Oliver attended the New York Film Academy 4-Week Filmmaking workshop at our Los Angeles campus in 2005. In that workshop she met fellow classmate and NYFA alum Issa Rae, forming a friendship and working relationship that continues to this day. Oliver wrote an episode of Rae’s career-launching webseries, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, as well as starring in the show as Rae’s antagonist, Nina. She has since become a wildly successful Hollywood screenwriter, with script credits including Barbershop: The Next Cut, Little, and The Sun is Also a Star.Tracy Oliver

    Additionally, Oliver co-wrote the hit comedy Girls Trip with Kenya Barris, which made over $140 million at the box office. Oliver and Barris were nominated for a 2018 Image Award for their work on the movie.

    First Wives Club, Oliver’s latest project, is loosely adapted from the feature film of the same name, which starred Diane Keaton, Better Midler, Goldie Hawn, and Maggie Smith, and took audiences by storm in 1996. The original film revolved around a group of women who cope with the divorce and seek retribution against their ex-husbands. The show has been in pre-production for several years, having gone through multiple producers, casts, and studios, before Oliver was handed the reins.

    Oliver’s adaptation focuses more a story of sisterhood, and chronicles three best friends after one of them, Hazel, is caught up in an infamous cheating scandal. The three friends, who all recently came out of relationships, support each other while seeking revenge as they learn to put themselves first. The show stars Jill Scott, Michelle Buteau, and Ryan Michelle Bathe as the three friends—Hazek, Bree, and Ari. The cast also includes Mark Tallman, RonReaco Lee, and Malik Yoba. In addition to developing the show, Oliver also directed its seventh episode.

    Tracy Oliver

    First Wives Club will premiere on September 19 as a launch title for the brand new Viacom streaming service, BET+, which also goes live on September 19. Its first season, which filmed in New York City late
    last year, will air for ten episodes.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Tracy Oliver on the launch of her new series, First Wives Club, and encourages everyone to check out the show when it premieres on BET+!

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    September 17, 2019 • #WomenOfNYFA, Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 117

  • New York Film Academy Instructor Bob Eisenhardt & NYFA Community Win Big At 2019 Creative Arts Emmys

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) community came away with numerous statuettes this weekend at the 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards, including NYFA Documentary Filmmaking instructor Bob Eisenhardt’s Outstanding Achievement in Editing win for his work on critically-acclaimed Free Solo.

    The Creative Arts Emmys are awarded by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), typically a week before the more well-known televised Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony, and recognize technical and other similar achievements in television programming as well as more obscure categories. This year’s Creative Arts Emmys were held at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles.

    Two big winners of the evening were the rock climbing documentary Free Solo and HBO’s juggernaut fantasy series Game of Thrones.

    NYFA Documentary instructor Bob Eisenhardt, ACE, won Outstanding Achievement in Editing (Nonfiction) for cutting Free Solo, which has won multiple awards over the last year, including the Academy Award for Best Documentary. Eisenhardt has also won several other awards for his work on the film, including the editing industry’s highest honor, the Eddie Award.

    Free Solo Creative Arts Emmys 2019

    Free Solo won an impressive six additional awards in addition to the Editing Emmy: Outstanding Directing for a Documentary/Nonfiction Program, Outstanding Music Composition for a Documentary Series or Special (Original Dramatic Underscore), Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media Within An Unscripted Program, Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Nonfiction Program, Outstanding Sound Editing for a Nonfiction Program (Single or Multi-Camera), and Outstanding Cinematography For A Nonfiction Program.

    Game of Thrones also picked up an abundance of trophies, which is no surprise considering it’s now the most Emmy-nominated television show of all time. Creative Arts Emmy Award wins included Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes and Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour), among many others.

    The series also won Outstanding Special Visual Effects for its penultimate episode, “The Bells.” NYFA 3D Animation & VFX alum Alexandra LoRusso worked on the special visual effects team for that episode, as well as the Game of Thrones finale, “The Iron Throne.”
    Free Solo Creative Arts Emmys 2019

    Emmy wins for the NYFA community continued throughout the two-day ceremony. Netflix original series Russian Doll also came away with three Creative Arts Emmys: Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Program (Half-Hour), Outstanding Contemporary Costumes, and Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (Half-Hour). NYFA Cinematography alum Rebecca Rajadnya worked on Russian Doll’s cinematography team as first assistant camera.

    HBO’s hit comedy Barry won Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour) And Animation. The show was created by and stars NYFA alum Bill Hader, who has already won Primetime Emmys for his work on the show. 

    Netflix’s nature documentary Our Planet notably picked up Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series. The docuseries became event television last spring, with an early Hollywood screening in February moderated by NYFA Acting for Film alum Lana Condor giving Our Planet some early buzz.

    RBG, the wildly popular documentary about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, won for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking. The film was shot by Documentary Filmmaking cinematography instructor Claudia Raschke.

    Rachel Bloom, creator and star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, recently spoke with NYFA students as a guest speaker. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend won Outstanding Choreography For Scripted Programming this weekend.

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA instructor Bob Eisenhardt and all of the winners at this year’s Creative Arts Emmys, and looks forward to the Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony this Sunday, September 22!

    Free Solo Creative Arts Emmys 2019

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Tushar Tyagi Films ‘Saving Chintu’

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking alum Tushar Tyagi has shot Saving Chintu, a film exploring LGBTQIA+ themes in India, starring Life of Pi actor Adil Hussain.

    Tushar Tyagi Saving ChintuTyagi originally hails from India and attended the 1-Year Filmmaking conservatory at NYFA’s New York campus in 2013. He is currently based in Hollywood and has won multiple awards and nominations for his work, including at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards and the Canada International Film Festival. His previous film was the 2017 short Kaashi.

    “I thank New York Film Academy for the constant support, from where it all started,” Tyagi tells NYFA. “I’m thankful for the valuable time I spent there, developing much-needed skills required for an independent filmmaker. It’s been an absolute pleasure learning my craft at most hands-on practice academy in the world.”

    Saving Chintu was directed by Tyagi, who co-wrote the film with Sanyam Kumar and Corey Wright. The cast includes Edward Sonnenblick, Sachin Bhatt, Dipannita Sharma, Priyanka Setia, and Adil Hussain (Life of Pi, Hotel Salvation, What Will People Say.) The short was produced by Ritika Jayaswal and Tyagi.

    The film is already receiving buzz for its thoughtful exploration of LGBTQIA+ themes in the Indian and Indian American community. The story focuses on the lives of an Indian American gay couple who visit India to adopt a child suffering from HIV, examining social issues including the LGBTQIA+ communities of India, HIV/AIDS, and the child adoption system. 

    In 2018, homosexuality was decriminalized in the country by the Supreme Court of India, making it more relevant than ever for these themes to be explored by artists and filmmakers like Tyagi. 

    “I feel making this film is so important for me,” says Tyagi. “It’s like my calling, to start the conversation in my small capacity and to start a wave of change in the evolving circumstances around the globe and in the world of present Asia. It’s high time to create awareness and start a conversation on a bigger level through the medium of film and art for social issues like these.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Tushar Tyagi on Saving Chintu and wishes him success as he continues to explore complex and socially important issues through his work.

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    September 16, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 386

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Robert Nazar Arjoyan Releases I Promised Her Life

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    This week, I Promised Her Life, the award-winning short film by New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking alum Robert Nazar Arjoyan, premiered on Vimeo.

    The film is about a grieving Armenian-American mother named Elena who defies centuries-old tradition as she walks the line between death and the afterlife on the day of her daughter’s funeral. In the lead role is Anne Bedian (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Lost, The Grid). I Promised Her Life has played over 30 festivals, and has so far picked up 7 awards.

    Arjoyan attended the NYFA 4-Week Filmmaking camp at our Los Angeles campus in 2004, where he made three films. His studies and eventual career in film was fate: after randomly stopping at a slot machine while vacationing in Las Vegas and winning the jackpot, Arjoyan celebrated by using the winnings to attend the camp. “The voice in my head demanded that someone, anyone, go pull that machine,” Arjoyan tells NYFA.

    His gut feeling paid off; his mother pulled the handle on the slot, won the jackpot, and soon after Arjoyan was learning the skills needed to be a filmmaker in Hollywood. “I look back upon those weeks on the storied Backlot with tremendous fondness and gratitude,” says Arjoyan.

    “The summer I spent at NYFA as a 15 year old taught me the core fundamentals that helped me make I Promised Her Life,” adds Arjoyan, “and will continue to do so for all future projects. That was a magical and invaluable experience.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Robert Nazar Arjoyan on the release of his new film, and encourages everyone to check out I Promised Her Life on Vimeo!

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    September 13, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 341

  • New York Film Academy Photography Students Showcase Work at Photoville

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    Seventeen talented photographers from New York Film Academy (NYFA) will be showcasing their work at this year’s Photoville, the annual photo festival held at Brooklyn Bridge Park. The fest will take place from September 12 – 22.

    Photoville, produced by United Photo Industries, is currently in its eighth year, The free festival is built from over 65 re-repurposed shipping containers to create physical platforms from photographers of all kinds, providing them a unique opportunity to engage with a diverse audience in view of the city skyline and Brooklyn Bridge.

    Photography students studying at the Photo Arts Conservatory at New York Film Academy (PAC at NYFA) are immersed in the industry, and are encouraged to participate in the larger world of photography by attending showcases like Photoville. This year continues a tradition of PAC at NYFA has exhibiting work at the annual Brooklyn event.

    Photoville 2019

    The NYFA exhibit at Photoville is curated by David Mager and Joan Pamboukes, and features works from NYFA students, alumni, and faculty. On Saturday, September 14, Photoville is conducting a guided tour and visiting the NYFA container from 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

    NYFA’s container exhibit this year will be made up of art from FAYN, NYFA’s collaborative photography magazine. FAYN, produced by PAC at NYFA, is published three times per year, and features students, faculty, and alumni whose work explores contemporary concepts in art and culture.

    “It is incredibly exciting that NYFA will be represented again for the fourth year in a row at Photoville NYC,” says David Mager, NYFA Chair of Photography. “This year’s show pulls work from an amazingly diverse group of artists–spanning ideas of race, deconstruction, collage, fashion, and sexuality.”

    Among those featured at this year’s Photoville is NYFA alum EnLin Qing. Having attended NYFA’s Photography and Fashion Photography workshops, Qing is a dancer and psychologist, as well as a photographer. Qing prides himself on his creative process and his ability to draw inspiration from both his environment and through his dance and psychology studies. 

    Here is the complete list of PAC at NYFA photographers featured at this year’s Photoville festival: Kevin Abangu, Um Kulthoom Alnasri, Angel Chestnut, Juan Sebastián Echeverri, Arthur Hylton, Lotta Lemetti, Jackie Neale, Oluwasegun Oladele-Ajose, EnLin Qing, Mariangela Quiroga-Castillo, Amanda Rowan, Natasha Rudenko, Jennifer Siemsen, Maddie Smith, Katerina Stratos, Edolia Stroud, Tanne Willow

    You can check out the photographs being exhibited by PAC at NYFA here, and we encourage everyone to see them in person this September at Photoville!

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    September 12, 2019 • Photography • Views: 178

  • New York Film Academy Filmmaking Alum Hannah Lux Davis Directs ‘Charlie’s Angels’ Music Video

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    The music video for “Don’t Call Me Angel,” the tie-in single to the latest Charlie’s Angels film performed by Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, and Lana Del Rey, and directed by New York Film Academy (NYFA) Hannah Lux Davis releases tomorrow, September 13.

    The song, released by Republic Records, is the first single off the Charlie’s Angels official soundtrack album and serves as the film’s main theme. The latest entry of the popular franchise about three crime-fighting women stars Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska, and was written and directed by Elizabeth Banks.Hannah Lux Davis

    Davis originally hails from Bellevue, Washington, and attended the 1-Year Filmmaking Conservatory at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus in 2004. Since then, she has directed music videos for such high-profile musicians as Whitney Houston, Lil Wayne, Halsey, and Drake. She has frequently collaborated with Ariana Grande, and directed the hit videos “Thank U, Next” and “7 Rings.”

    For her work, Davis has been nominated for multiple MTV Video Music Awards, and has won twice—in 2013 she won Best Hip-Hop Video for “Love Me” by Lil Wayne, and in 2014 she won Artist to Watch for “Miss Movin’ On” by Fifth Harmony.

    “Davis has a uniquely colorful style that can be seen in her videos for Hilary Duff’s ‘Sparks’ and David Guetta’s ‘Hey Mama’ featuring Nicki Minaj,” writes Lucy Binetti in a profile on Davis for Substream Magazine.

    In the article for Substream, Davis talks about her commitment to following her own instincts and style, as well as her passion for filmmaking. “I really do think this is the only thing I’m meant to be doing,” says Davis.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Hannah Lux Davis on her successful career as a music video director, and encourages everyone to check out her latest project, “Don’t Call Me Angel” by Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, and Lana Del Rey.

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    September 12, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 177

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Producing Students Shoot Webseries ‘Over Coffee’

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Producing students headed across the river to Greenpoint, Brooklyn to produce two episodes of Over Coffee, a new webseries featuring women in most of its prominent roles both on- and off-camera.Over Coffee Producing

    Over Coffee, by New York-based screenwriter Nefertiti Warren, tells the story of three contemporary urban women, sharing their trials and tribulations. The production was shot by a current NYFA Cinematography student, and directed by recent NYFA Filmmaking graduate Ellinor Skeppström.

    Production was held in Greenpoint, a neighborhood of Brooklyn located on the East River, where one of New York’s largest production communities has evolved over the past decade as studios both small and large have set up shop in the area.

    The webseries is the fourth project produced by NYFA Producing students as part of their 1-Year Conservatory studies. Previously, they honed their craft producing short films, reality television sizzle reels, and commercials.

    “It was a new experience for me,” says NYFA Producing student Emilia D’Agata, “because I had never worked on a webseries. It was very nice to work all together as producers and deal with a screenwriter, director, and cast who are all women. I hope that in the future we can continue to work on this project. It was an amazing experience.”

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    September 9, 2019 • Producing • Views: 377