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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Wraps Another Successful Outreach Filmmaking Workshop with BAFTA-LA

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) is passionate and dedicated to share the love for storytelling with everyone. In our dedicated efforts to give back to the community, New York Film Academy-Los Angeles has been running a filmmaking workshop in partnership with the British Academy of Film and Television Los Angeles (BAFTA-LA) for youth in need since 2012.

    During a 9-week intensive film program focused on telling stories, students from Washington Prep High School learned the foundations of filmmaking and how to make their own short films, from A to Z. They got a chance to shoot their films on professional Hollywood sets at the Universal Studios backlot. 

    Outreach BAFTA HS 2019
    The program culminated with a graduation ceremony on May 11 at the NYFA Theater, attended by students, friends and family, BAFTA-LA members, and NYFA faculty. 

    Sharyn Ross, Head of BAFTA Outreach Program, told NYFA after the ceremony:

    “Our Saturday graduation event was a huge success. The theater was filled with student filmmakers, and their families and guests. The films were terrific and were received with enthusiasm and lots of applause and laughter. The genres ranged from comedies to heartbreak romance, from campy horror to philosophical life lessons. After the screening, each filmmaker stepped up to the mic and shared their thoughts about their experience and how important this program is to them and the kids in their community. It was heartwarming and emotional.

    “Each of you played an intricate part in making this year successful. As each filmmaker acknowledged, it was hard work and when the semester began, they didn’t know if it was possible. With each Saturday building on the last, and with the support and patience of all of you standing by them, they learned a huge life lesson—no matter how hard something is, keep putting one foot in front of the other, don’t give up, trust your gut and those you are collaborating with, and you can depend on the grownups in the room that they won’t let go—and most importantly, that their stories and lives matter.”

    Outreach BAFTA HS 2019

    Students who attended the program also spoke about their experience over the past several weeks:

    “The BAFTA/NYFA program was a great experience that helped me harness and share what I love.”
    – Alony Shell

    “Working in the BAFTA/NYFA program was fun because I went to Universal Studios and was able to direct my own movie!”
    – Makyiaha Daniel

    “The Outreach program was a wonderful opportunity that helped me experience the wonders of filmmaking.”
    – Jermaine Plum

    “The BAFTA program has had such a positive impact on me. I’ve learned so much from writing and directing to camera and editing—it’s a great program and I hope to do it again!”
    – Dovely King

    “This program benefitted me in so many ways.”
    – Emag M.

    “I’m very grateful to be a part of this program which helped me learn new skills.”
    – David O.

    New York Film Academy expresses its gratitude for the opportunity to work with so many young talented inspiring filmmakers and thanks Washington Prep High School Film teacher Darryl McCrane, Head of BAFTA Outreach Program Sharyn Ross, and to all the other dedicated BAFTA and NYFA staff members who made this program successful. Their hard work and dedication helped the participants to not only develop their craft as young storytellers through making their own films, but also supported students’ confidence and creativity. 

    NYFA looks forward to many more years of outreach partnership with the British Academy of Film and Television!

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    May 21, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Outreach • Views: 51

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography’s FAYN #006 Has Its First Shoot

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    FAYN magazine is a the fashion and art publication created by students and faculty of the Photo Arts Conservatory at New York Film Academy (NYFA) to celebrate and explore photography each semester, culminating in a printed publication.

    FAYN #006

    For this next issue of FAYN Magazine, NYFA Photography students shot their first original content event inspired by the theme of Issue #006: “The Unseen Body.” Here is what student editor and writer Mina Khouzam says about the event:

    “A night of truth, of vulnerability, a night of acceptance, of appreciation. Welcome to the space we collectively called home. With egos checked at our open door, fellow students from NYFA Los Angeles joined us for a photoshoot that was developed in the spirit of collaborative creation. 

    “Each subject was asked two questions: What part of your body, like physically out there, makes you feel most vulnerable? Everyone’s got something that they associate with a superficial weakness, intrinsically woven in the stories that make us who we are. What part is most powerful? Yes, powerful. What part of you makes you feel strong and confident? That part of you with the most compliments, that part of you, if all else failed, still carries the brunt of the beauty you perceive to have?

    “What sparked as a thought, blossomed into a photo session and a conversation about self, society, and social-awareness—that human condition we’re all going through, we’re going through it together … We are excited to share the full story with you in our upcoming issue. And invite you to ask yourself these two questions. We’re all beautiful, this reminded us.”

    The photos were shot by FAYN’s editorial power-trifecta of Maddie, Um Kalthum and Maria-Antonella, and assisted by FAYN editors Yingda Shang, Thom Myers and Cindy Chiang. Myers also photographed behind-the-scenes images of the shoot.

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    May 21, 2019 • Photography • Views: 83

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking Students Shoot Mini-Docs in Belize

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking students are off on another international expedition this spring, traveling to Belize in Central America from May 19 through May 25.

    The Documentary Filmmaking department is partnering with Adaptation Fund in collaboration with Belize Fisheries Department on the Marine Conservation and Climate Adaption Project implemented by the government of Belize (MCCAP). 

    The crew is led by NYFA Documentary Faculty Chair – Los Angeles, Sanora Bartels, and includes students Cassandra Bauer, Ayu Logan, Jackson McGuire, and Ashley Valsin, who are working alongside NYFA Documentary alum Mollie Moore.

    The crew will shoot and edit several short (90-120 second) mini-docs that will be used by Belize Fisheries Department for dissemination of information and to highlight the project’s positive effect in alleviating climate change.  

    The crew landed in Belize on May 19, and on May 20 set sea to Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve. On Turneffe, the students will interview local fishermen and beneficiaries of MCCAP’s work.  They will also capture the work of administrative and scientific leaders connected to MCCAP and the Adaptation Fund. They’re really looking forward to shooting underwater footage concentrating on Marine Protected Areas, mangroves, fishing livelihood (seaweed cultivation), and coral restoration. 

    After Turneffe, the students will return to Belize City and edit the mini-docs as well as host a screening on their final night of the expedition. Once back in the US, the NYFA Documentary Filmmaking students will join the Adaptation Fund campaign by posting their films on social media in support of climate adaptation programs. Stay tuned to check out their finished work!

    Turneffe Atoll

    Marine habitats in Turneffe Atoll
    © Eric Ramos

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    May 21, 2019 • Documentary Filmmaking • Views: 203

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Hosts Fulbright Association LA Chapter’s Annual Fulbright Film Festival

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    On May 4, 2019, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted the Fulbright Association LA Film Festival. Created by the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Fulbright Association, the unique and exciting event showcased the best recent films that were directed, produced, acted, shot, or scored by current Fulbright grantees and Fulbright alumni of the prestigious Fulbright Program—the US government’s flagship international exchange program. The Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State supported the activity.

    The 2019 Film Showcase included evocative documentary films and breathtaking narrative films from extremely talented filmmakers hailing from United States, Estonia, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Peru, Ukraine, Spain, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Armenia, Costa Rica, and Denmark.

    Fulbright Film Festival 2019
    The daylong event was held at
    NYFA’s Los Angeles campus and included film screenings as well as a panel of industry experts–Hollywood for Fulbrighters–featuring accomplished Fulbright Alums in very relevant positions in the industry.

    The President of the Fulbright Association-LA Chapter, Dr. Jose Siles, and NYFA’s Dean of Students, Dr. Susan Ashe, opened the event. In her remarks welcoming the audience, Dr. Ashe thanked the many volunteers that worked for months to put the event together, including the Festival’s panel of judges.

    Dr. Ashe gave special recognition to NYFA’s own Professor Miguel Cruz, a film and television director, Fulbright alum ’05, NYFA Director of Fulbright Initiatives, and the Vice President of the Fulbright Association-LA chapter, for his invaluable contribution to the Festival.

    “It was exciting to see so many talented storytellers,” says Dr. Ashe. “To know that NYFA is affiliated with Fulbright, and gives a platform for bright students to share their voice and vision, is truly inspiring.”

    Fulbright Film Festival 2019
    The “Hollywood for Fulbrighters” industry panel, moderated by Crickett Rumley, NYFA’s Film Festivals Advisor and faculty in the College’s Screenwriting department, offered the audience insightful information about how the inherent diversity that is associated with the Fulbright Program can be an advantage in the current Hollywood landscape. The ensuing discussion included accomplished Fulbright alums and key players in the industry: Santiago Pozo, considered one of the foremost authorities in the advertising world for marketing entertainment and film to U.S. Latino audiences; Arturo Diaz, Netflix Manager for International Originals; Mikko Alannen, showrunner for the National Geographic Channel and screenwriter of feature film
    The 33, starring Antonio Banderas; and Miguel Cruz, film and TV director and NYFA’s Professor and Director of Fulbright Initiatives.

    The lively event ended with a reception that allowed participants—including current Fulbright scholars and students, Fulbright alumni, and NYFA students—to network with representatives of foreign consulates (including Manuel Valle, Spanish Trade Commissioner) and representatives of the Fulbright community (including Ann Kerr, California’s Fulbright Enrichment Program Coordinator), as well as share their own experiences in the Fulbright program and the film industry.

    “It was extremely inspiring and touching to see how the vision of Senator Fulbright of promoting mutual understanding among people from different countries, cultures, and social backgrounds was so well-reflected and empowered by the work of our Fulbright filmmakers,” says Dr. Jose Siles, President of the Fulbright Association-LA Chapter.

    Fulbright Film Festival 2019
    Dr. Siles adds, “Organized by the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Fulbright Association, hosted by the New York Film Academy, and sponsored by the The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright Association LA Film Festival was a total success and set the basis for a yearly event that will continue sending out loud to the world the Fulbright message through the big screen.”  

    The U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright Program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. New York Film Academy is proud to have hosted more than 60 Fulbright students from over 35 countries to date.

    The Los Angeles Chapter of the Fulbright Association and NYFA congratulate the following talented filmmakers that were selected for the 2019 Fulbright Film Festival & Showcase:

    Selected Documentary Films Category
    Lucía Florez (Peru)
    Adrineh Gregorian (Armenia)
    Pedro Peira (Spain)
    Kelly Richardson (USA)

    Selected Narrative Films Category
    Laura Ávila (Costa Rica)
    Abdallah ElDaly (Egypt)
    Lasse Elkjær (Denmark)
    Ishani Jayamaha (Sri Lanka)
    Vlad Klimchunk (Ukraine)
    Madi Lääne (Estonia)
    Nataliya O’Lea (Ukraine)
    Alejandro Márquez Vela (Mexico)
    Catherine Taylor (United Kingdom)

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    May 20, 2019 • Film Festivals, Filmmaking • Views: 56

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism Update – May 17, 2019

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    Avni Mahiji is a graduate of one of the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism department’s short-term workshops. She has a great on-camera presence, which we helped her develop. And she knows that to build your career you always have to be ready when opportunities present themselves.

    Or better yet, you create your own opportunities. Recently she was doing anchor/presenter work on a small New York City-area TV station. It was a great opportunity for her to showcase her impressive skills.

    Great job, Avni!

    Broadcast Journalism May 17 2019

    I’ve heard from some incoming students who want to know a bit about the neighborhood where NYFA is located. It’s a good question… Here are some pictures for them, as well as any graduates who are feeling a bit nostalgic.

    So this is our neighborhood, downtown Manhattan.

    Broadcast Journalism May 17 2019
    This is a closer shot. NYFA is located in the building on the left.

    Broadcast Journalism May 17 2019
    We are at 17 Battery Place. Just look for the flags…

    Broadcast Journalism May 17 2019
    Now, strictly speaking, the next picture isn’t in “our neighborhood.” But each term, some students get the chance to visit NBC News for a behind-the-scenes tour. Their guide is MSNBC contributor Col. Jack Jacobs, who in and of himself is worth the trip uptown. They are on the set of the NBC Nightly News, regularly one of the most-watched network TV news programs in the country.

    Broadcast Journalism May 17 2019
    Finally, you’ll see much of New York through the lens of a camera like this. Believe it or not, all of our students leave NYFA capable of using this high-end HDTV camera. If you look closely, that is the soon-to-graduate Nicole Abebe hidden behind all that equipment…

    Broadcast Journalism May 17 2019

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Community Earns Ten MTV Movie & TV Award Nominations

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) community earned ten nominations for this year’s MTV Movie & TV Awards. NYFA alumni, faculty, and guest speakers, were included in the trendy award show’s various categories, including NYFA Acting for Film camp alum Lana Condor, who earned her first nomination for the award show’s signature statuette, the Golden Popcorn.

    MTV Movie Awards

    This year’s ceremony will be hosted by Shazam star Zachary Levi in Santa Monica on June 15, and will air two days later on MTV. The ceremony first launched in 1992 as just the MTV Movie Awards, before rebranding to the Movie & TV Awards to reflect the current age of streaming and peak TV.

    The popular award show prides itself on its progressive categories, using genderless groupings and typically not differentiating between media platforms, choosing instead to group broadcast, streaming, and theatrically released content together.

    The MTV Movie & TV Awards features movies, television shows, and other media content, including documentaries. Feature docs RBG and Free Solo were among this year’s nominees. Alex Honnold, the rock climber who free climbed El Capitan in Free Solo, was nominated for Best Real-Life Hero. The gripping documentary that captured his climb was edited by NYFA Documentary Filmmaking instructor and Academy Award nominee Bob Eisenhardt.

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Supreme Court Justice profiled in RBG, was also nominated for Best Real-Life Hero. The film, shot by cinematography and NYFA Documentary Filmmaking instructor Claudia Raschke, racked up an impressive amount of MTV Award nominations. These include Best Documentary, Best Fight (for Ruth Bader Ginsburg vs. Inequality), and Most Meme-able Moment (for her nickname The Notorious RBG.)

    NYFA Acting for Film camp alum Lana Condor was nominated with her To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before co-star Noah Centineo for Best Kiss. The Netflix original film is also up for Best Movie, competing with BlacKkKlansman (co-starring NYFA guest speaker Adam Driver), Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Us, and mega blockbuster Avengers: Endgame. 

    Also nominated for Best Kiss are Jason Momoa & Amber Heard for the DC crowdpleaser Aquaman. NYFA Australia 1-Year Filmmaking alum Damian Lang worked on that film, as well as several others on Gold Coast’s Village Roadshow backlot. 

    The Best Show category features Game of Thrones and Riverdale competing with Big Mouth, Schitt’s Creek, and The Haunting of Hill House. Riverdale stars previous NYFA guest speakers Ashleigh Murray and Casey Cott. NYFA 3D Animation & VFX alum Alex LoRusso worked on some visual effects for the last few episodes of Game of Thrones’ final season, including The Last of the Starks and game-changing entry The Bells.

    New York Film Academy congratulates this year’s MTV Movie & TV Award nominees and wishes the best of luck to the NYFA community members up for a Golden Popcorn statuette!

    MTV Movie Awards

    Here is the full list of MTV Movie & TV Award nominees:

    BEST MOVIE

    Avengers: Endgame

    BlacKkKlansman

    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

    Us

    BEST SHOW

    Big Mouth

    Game of Thrones

    Riverdale

    Schitt’s Creek

    The Haunting of Hill House

    BEST PERFORMANCE IN A MOVIE

    Amandla Stenberg (Starr Carter) — The Hate U Give

    Lady Gaga (Ally) — A Star is Born

    Lupita Nyong’o (Red) — Us

    Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury) — Bohemian Rhapsody

    Sandra Bullock (Malorie) — Bird Box

    BEST PERFORMANCE IN A SHOW

    Elisabeth Moss (June Osborne/Offred) — The Handmaid’s Tale

    Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) — Game of Thrones

    Gina Rodriguez (Jane Villanueva) — Jane the Virgin

    Jason Mitchell (Brandon) — The Chi

    Kiernan Shipka (Sabrina Spellman) — Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

    BEST HERO

    Brie Larson (Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel) — Captain Marvel

    John David Washington (Ron Stallworth) — BlacKkKlansman

    Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) — Game of Thrones

    Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man) — Avengers: Endgame

    Zachary Levi (Billy Batson/Shazam) — Shazam!

    BEST VILLAIN

    Jodie Comer (Villanelle) — Killing Eve

    Joseph Fiennes (Commander Fred Waterford) — The Handmaid’s Tale

    Josh Brolin (Thanos) — Avengers: Endgame

    Lupita Nyong’o (Red) — Us

    Penn Badgley (Joe Goldberg) — You

    BEST KISS

    Camila Mendes & Charles Melton (Veronica Lodge & Reggie Mantle) — Riverdale

    Jason Momoa & Amber Heard (Aquaman & Mera) — Aquaman

    Ncuti Gatwa & Connor Swindells (Eric Effiong & Adam Groff) — Sex Education

    Noah Centineo & Lana Condor (Peter Kavinsky & Lara Jean) — To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

    Tom Hardy & Michelle Williams (Eddie Brock/Venom & Anne Weying) — Venom

    REALITY ROYALTY

    Jersey Shore: Family Vacation

    Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta

    The Bachelor

    The Challenge

    Vanderpump Rules

    BEST COMEDIC PERFORMANCE

    Awkwafina (Peik Lin Goh) — Crazy Rich Asians

    Dan Levy (David Rose) — Schitt’s Creek

    John Mulaney (Andrew Glouberman) — Big Mouth

    Marsai Martin (Little Jordan Sanders) — Little

    Zachary Levi (Billy Batson/Shazam) — Shazam!

    BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE

    Awkwafina (Peik Lin Goh) — Crazy Rich Asians

    Haley Lu Richardson (Stella) — Five Feet Apart

    Mj Rodriguez (Blanca Rodriguez) — Pose

    Ncuti Gatwa (Eric Effiong) — Sex Education

    Noah Centineo (Peter Kavinsky) — To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

    BEST FIGHT

    Avengers: Endgame — Captain America vs. Thanos

    Captain Marvel — Captain Marvel vs. Minn-Erva

    Game of Thrones — Arya Stark vs. the White Walkers

    RBG — Ruth Bader Ginsburg vs. Inequality

    WWE Wrestlemania — Becky Lynch vs. Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair

    BEST REALLIFE HERO

    Alex Honnold — Free Solo

    Hannah Gadsby — Nanette

    Roman Reigns — WWE SmackDown

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg — RBG

    Serena Williams — Being Serena

    MOST FRIGHTENED PERFORMANCE

    Alex Wolff (Peter) — Hereditary

    Linda Cardellini (Anna Tate-Garcia) — The Curse of La Llorona

    Rhian Rees (Dana Haines) — Halloween

    Sandra Bullock (Malorie) — Bird Box

    Victoria Pedretti (Nell Crain) — The Haunting of Hill House

    BEST DOCUMENTARY

    At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal

    McQueen

    Minding the Gap

    RBG

    Surviving R. Kelly

    BEST HOST

    Gayle King — CBS This Morning

    Nick Cannon — Wild ‘n Out

    Nick Cannon — The Masked Singer

    RuPaul — RuPaul’s Drag Race

    Trevor Noah — The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

    MOST MEME-ABLE MOMENT

    Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club — The Lilo Dance

    Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood — Ray J’s Hat

    RBG — The Notorious RBG

    RuPaul’s Drag Race — Asia O’Hara’s butterfly finale fail

    The Bachelor — Colton Underwood jumps the fence

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  • Hamilton’s Greg Treco Gives Master Class to New York Film Academy (NYFA) Musical Theatre Students

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    Actor, singer, and dancer Greg Treco arrived at the Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre at New York Film Academy (PCMT at NYFA) on April 9 to hold a Master Class with NYFA’s Musical Theatre students.

    Treco is originally from Nassau, Bahamas, and is currently the standby actor for Aaron Burr, George Washington, and Lafayette/Jefferson in Hamilton on Broadway. He most recently wrapped up playing Burr in the Chicago company of Hamilton: An American Musical. 

    Greg Treco

    His other credits include Taboo on Broadway, the Off-Broadway hit Zanna Don’t, Miracle Brothers at the Vineyard Theatre, Neil Berg and Robert Schenkkan’s THE 12 at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and Roar of the Greasepaint at Goodspeed Opera House. 

    Treco was also a finalist on WB’s Popstars, with other TV credits including a guest-starring role on the CBS sitcom Whoopi. He also recently created the choreography and movement for the acclaimed short Celeste, which opened the Brooklyn Beats Film Festival earlier this year. 

    PCMT students chosen to perform in Treco’s Master Class each presented a song and received one-on-one coaching from him on their selections and individual performance. Treco’s goal was to encourage the students to think outside the box and develop a deeper connection to storytelling, imagery, and text. 

    “I was impressed by the amount of tools Greg gave each performer to help them reach what they wanted,” shared PCMT student Santiago Roma. “He was able to identify what was getting in the way of each actor and find a solution to that problem.”

    Treco helped bring clarity to the many complexities of song performance and storytelling, offering constructive feedback for each student and helping them to better understand the audition process.

    PCMT student Jennifer Johansson told NYFA, “What I found most fascinating about the Master Class with Greg was how big of a difference he made with each one of the students’ performances. Whether it had to do with the physicality or the story in itself, I could see and feel the difference between their first and their last passes. It was really cool to watch it happen in such a short amount of time.”

    Broadway actress and PCMT Creative Director Kristy Cates, who worked with Greg in 2004 on a show at the Eugene O’Neill Center, was also in attendance. “I saw him go on as Aaron Burr a few months ago and he was so wonderful that I knew I had to have him come in and do a Master Class with the students,” Cates told NYFA. “He is a beautifully nuanced, yet specific, actor and is just an all around wonderful person.”

    The Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre at New York Film Academy thanks Hamilton actor Greg Treco for giving our students the opportunity to study and learn from one of the theatre world’s best!

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    May 13, 2019 • Guest Speakers, Musical Theatre • Views: 228

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Students Attend Tribeca Film Festival

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    Filmmaking and Documentary students from New York Film Academy (NYFA) recently had the opportunity to attend the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) in New York City. With over 100 titles, including world premieres of films by Jared Leto, Christoph Waltz, and Margot Robbie, the annual film bash rolled out the red carpet from April 24 through May 5 at venues all across Manhattan. 

    This year’s edition of Tribeca Film Festival was programmed from more than 9000 submissions and included not only fiction and nonfiction features, but also guest speaker Q&As, games, and virtual reality experiences. 

    As part of TFF’s annual Tribeca Talks, this year’s Director Series featured a stellar line-up, with conversations between groundbreaking filmmakers, actors, and industry professionals, including Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese and Academy Award-winning actor and TFF co-founder Robert De Niro. The legendary duo came together at the Beacon Theatre for an in-depth discussion on inspiration, music, childhood memories and behind-the-scenes moments. The two artists’ engaging conversation offered attendees an inside look into their celebrated careers and iconic film collaborations, from Mean Streets and Raging Bull to Goodfellas and Casino, to the upcoming The Irishman.

    Another particularly standout Tribeca Talk was between Questlove and Boots Riley, two notable artists who posses a deep understanding of their craft and continue to take risks as storytellers, both within the world of music and beyond—whether through publishing, producing, or filmmaking. These two revolutionary hip-hop artists sat down for a deep, wide-ranging conversation that covered their inspirations and major career breakthroughs as they navigated their success while staying true to their art. 

    Tribeca 2019

    Students from the NYFA Filmmaking and Documentary departments were selected to attend a conversation with Alexander Skarsgård, Nat Wolff, and director Dan Krauss, directly following a screening of The Kill Team. The feature film tells the story of a young soldier during the invasion of Afghanistan who witnesses civilians murdered under the direction of a vicious sergeant, and who finds himself trapped in a violent and vengeful platoon.

    This Tribeca Talk encouraged NYFA Filmmaking student Jianyu Li to rethink his idea of working on a war film feature without having a big budget, something he had been considering for quite some time.

    Tribeca 2019

    Last but not least, the NYFA community was given the opportunity to attend a conversation with director Dee Rees and Queen Latifah as they discussed the Queen Collective, a new film initiative aimed at curating, mentoring, and uplifting female filmmakers. The first two documentary shorts of the Collective, Ballet After Dark and If There Is Light, premiered at this year’s TFF, and up-and-coming directors B. Monét and Haley Elizabeth Anderson joined the conversation as their shorts were spotlighted. 

    Queen Latifah offered all in attendance a lesson on how to nurture talent and creativity, remarking on the importance of having a consistent attitude to uplift. “At the end of the day, it’s about women feeling good about themselves from the inside out.”

    In reflecting on her experience attending this year’s Festival, NYFA Filmmaking student Christelle Chalupa said, “The Tribeca Film Festival experience gave me a lot more courage to fight for what I want and tell good stories.”

    Under the pledge of “Great Stories are Timeless,” the Tribeca Film Festival closed their doors until next year, leaving attendees and NYFA students with the dream of being on its stage someday with their own works.

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  • ‘Birdy’ Screening and Q&A with Actor and New York Film Academy (NYFA) Board Member Matthew Modine

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    On Monday, May 6, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted a screening of Birdy (1984), starring Nicolas Cage and Matthew Modine, followed by a Q&A with actor, director, and NYFA board member, Matthew Modine, moderated by NYFA Screenwriting instructor, Eric Conner.

    Matthew Modine Birdy

    Modine studied with Stella Adler at her Conservatory of Acting in New York City. While still a student of hers, he was cast in lead roles in film and later theatre and television. Modine has acted in a number of films including Vision Quest (1985), Full Metal Jacket (1987) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and he has worked with a number of critically-acclaimed directors including Robert Altman, Stanley Kubrick, Spike Lee, Christopher Nolan, and Oliver Stone. He has been nominated for Golden Globes, Emmy Awards, and Independent Spirit Awards. Modine is currently running for president of SAG-AFTRA.

    The NYFA Theater was packed with NYFA students, including veteran-students enrolled in various programs at NYFA. Many military servicemembers have a special fondness for the famed actor because of his numerous portrayals of the life of a soldier–including his standout roles in Birdy, Full Metal Jacket, and Memphis Belle.

    Birdy is a 1984 Vietnam War drama that follows the story of two teenage friends, Birdy (Modine) and Al (Nicolas Cage) who served in the Vietnam War and are forced to cope with the post-traumatic stress disorder from their experiences in combat. Birdy appears to completely lose touch with all reality, and Al struggles to help his friend regain his connection with the existent world. Modine gives a tremendous performance as the young, traumatized Vietnam veteran.

    Matthew Modine Birdy
    Mike Kunselman, a veteran and member of the NYFA DVS staff, expressed,  “As a veteran, and an actor myself, I was very interested in Mr. Modine’s emphasis on the importance of being proactive with one’s own career.” Kunselman continued, “I also was intrigued by his portrayal of a Vietnam War US combat serviceman, and his ability to own the sympathetic character of Birdy.”

    Conner opened the Q&A by asking Modine what he’s learned from his prolific career as an actor in Hollywood. Modine replied, “The only moment that an actor can completely control is between ‘action’ and ‘cut’… that’s your moment… Everything else is out of your control. The editing. The distribution. It’s all out of your control. I worked just as hard on the successful films I’ve made as I did on the films that weren’t successful—what’s the lesson? Simple, always do your very best … work really hard and be present and, if you’re lucky, it all comes together.”

    Modine shared a piece of advice for the producers and directors in the audience, “When you’re putting your crew together, that’s just like casting the movie with your actors; you want to cast your crew and your actors that you know and trust.”

    Matthew Modine Birdy

    One of the students in the audience asked Modine for advice for actors just starting out in the business. Modine said that actors should trust themselves and their instincts: “If you’re waiting to be directed, you’ve lost, you have to be self-prepared and have made choices about your character. Your choices are your talent!” he emphasized. 

    “Mr. Modine was very informative with the information that he shared,” said Jonathan Garza, a Navy Veteran and BFA Producing alum. His stories from being on set were very entertaining. Even as an alumnus of the Producing program, I can take the information that he shared and apply it to my craft.”

    Modine also shared that he believes the auditioning process to be very important as an actor and that, when actors are feeling discouraged, they should remember that, “Every no is a step closer to a yes.”

    New York Film Academy and the NYFA Division of Veteran Services would like to thank Matthew Modine for sharing his advice for actors and directors as well as anecdotes from his experiences in the entertainment industry.

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    May 10, 2019 • Acting, Faculty Highlights, Guest Speakers • Views: 610

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Alumni Qualify for Academy Awards with Major Festival Wins

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    Three New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking alumni qualified for the 92nd Academy Awards last month by winning major film festivals for their documentary shorts.

    Where Chaos Reigns was directed by Braulio Jatar and Anaïs Michel. Jatar enrolled in both the 6-week Documentary Filmmaking Workshop as well as the 1-year Conservatory in 2016. A year earlier, Michel also studied in both the 6-week Workshop and 1-year Conservatory. Cricket Liu was directed by Julia Cheng, who graduated in 2018 from the 1-year Documentary Filmmaking Conservatory at NYFA’s New York campus.

    Where Chaos Reigns won the Golden Gate Award for Best Short Documentary at the San Francisco International Film Festival. This continues the momentum of Jatar and Michel, who recently won Honorable Mention for the HBO Ibero-American Award at Miami Film Festival.

    The documentary showcases Venezuelan citizens as they protest their government in clashes that sometimes lead to violence, and focuses on a paramedic group called “Green Crosses” that treats protesters, and the young medical student who founded the group. 

    The San Francisco International Film Festival is the longest-running film festival in the Americas and a major cultural event in the Bay Area. According to their press release, Where Chaos Reigns was awarded the Golden Gate Award “for its audacity, its haunting images and its ability to bring us closer to the crisis in Venezuela than anything we’ve seen thus far in America … Their unflinching cameras capture singular moments of courage, fearlessness and violence that linger long after the film has ended.”

    Andrea Swift, Chair of the Documentary Filmmaking department at NYFA’s New York Campus can’t help but agree, telling NYFA, “Braulio and Anais both did great work as students … It’s not at all surprising that when they met and joined talents, they [crafted] a film as powerful and unique as Where Chaos Reigns. The combination of their talents is formidable.”

    Cheng’s film, Cricket Liu is an 18-minute short that profiles an aging cricket fighting master who uses his ancient art to earn money for a grandson he barely knows. At the American Documentary Film Festival, also known as AmDocs, the film won Best International Short Documentary. AmDocs was founded by Teddy Grouya in 2011 with a mission to promote and celebrate documentaries and, according to their own website, “independent filmmakers around the world who bring knowledge and awareness through their stories about real people and issues.”

    Cricket Liu was the thesis project for Cheng while studying at NYFA. “I was so lucky to work with the gurus in the industry,” Cheng says of her NYFA instructors. “Just to name a few here: my [Chair] Andrea Swift was my story consultant, Claudia Raschke (DP of RBG) was my cinematography teacher, and Bob Eisenhardt (editor of Free Solo) was my editing supervisor. Without them, my film wouldn’t have come this far! Before coming to NYFA, I had little idea about nonfiction storytelling and didn’t know how to shoot and edit a film at all! This 1-year intensive, hands-on study at NYFA Docs completely changed my life as a filmmaker!”

    Of Cheng’s accomplishment, Andrew Swift says, “It’s exciting to see a student create a thesis film that’s masterful enough to merit an Academy Award qualification. And Cricket Liu absolutely does. Julia is a great testament to how much a passionate student can accomplish in a 1-year Conservatory.”

    Both the Golden Gate Award for Jatar and Michel and Cheng’s win at AmDocs each qualify their films for next year’s Oscars. A shortlist of nominees will be named later this year, before the official list of final nominees for all categories is announced in early 2020. Last year, NYFA Documentary Filmmaking faculty members worked on two Oscar-nominated docs, Free Solo and RBG, with the former winning Best Documentary Feature. 

    The three NYFA alumni are now in production on feature documentaries. Jatar and Michel are currently in Colombia shooting a documentary about Venezuelan refugees, while Cheng is in the middle of production for two high-profile films in Beijing, China.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Documentary Filmmaking alumni Braulio Jatar, Anaïs Michel, and Julia Cheng on their Academy Award-qualifying festival wins and wish them continued success in their careers as well as next year’s awards season.

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