Jack Picone
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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism Alum Covers Kunlun Red Star

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    So what happens to student projects after New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism students graduate? In the case of Alisa Arvind, they take on a life of their own. 

    Now a published author, in 2016 Alisa posted a video about the Holi Hai Festival in New York City on YouTube. The news package was produced for one of her Broadcast Journalism classes. Since then, it’s had 100,000+ views! 

    Three years ago she wrote: “They call it ‘the happiest festival of NYC!’ Holy Hai is an Indian festival of Spring where people come to dance their hearts out and get colorful.” And colorful it is… It wouldn’t surprise me if Alisa was still getting some of that color out of her hair…

    NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Gillian Kemmerer, now based in Moscow, continues her journey through Eurasia. Most recently she was in China.

    More than 120 Under-11 players arrived at the Little Wolf Arena in Beijing last month to compete in an event run by the Kontinental Hockey League coaching staff. Gillian reports the kids were competing for the chance to head to Astana, Kazakhstan and Sochi, Russia for two tournaments this April.

    Kunlun Red Star is sending a youth team to the Gazprom Cup for the first time in franchise history. The young athletes participated in workshop activities, as well as actual games in which their skill levels were assessed.

    Broadcast Journalism Update


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    March 21, 2019 • Broadcast Journalism, China, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 136

  • Representatives From Jinling Institute of Technology (JIT) Visit New York Film Academy (NYFA)

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    Earlier this month, representatives from the Jinling Institute of Technology (JIT) visited New York Film Academy (NYFA) at its New York City campus near Battery Park in downtown Manhattan. The Jinling Institute of Technology is an officially accredited higher education institution located in Nanjing, Jiangsu.

    Jinling Institute of Technology (JIT)

    The distinguished representatives included Mr. Chen, Professor, Party Secretary, Jinling Institute of Technology; Mr. Dai, Professor, Dean, School of Animal Science and Technology; Mr. Xing, Professor, Dean, School of Art; Ms. Zhao, Deputy Head, School of Animation; and Ms. Fang, Deputy Chief, Foreign Affairs Section, Office of International Exchange & Cooperation.

    The representatives sat down with Michael Young, President of New York Film Academy, Mr. David Klein, NYFA Senior Executive Vice President, and Dr. Joy Zhu, NYFA Executive Vice President for the China Region.

    At the gathering, President Young and Dr. Zhu introduced the history of the New York Film Academy, its various disciplines, and the characteristics of each discipline. They highlighted NYFA’s commitment to an intensive, hands-on approach to education in the visual arts, as well the high employment rate of NYFA graduates, especially from the Academy’s Animation department. 

    Jinling Institute of Technology (JIT)

    Additionally, the representatives from both institutions discussed their respective student bodies. The student body of NYFA is not only talented but diverse in many ways. Not only can students from China attend NYFA workshops, but also teachers and other administrators.

    Mr. Chen noted that roughly half of the students of JIT study engineering, mathematics, art & media art, but that the school is interested in cultivating more composite talents. He also expressed his thoughts on less theory-oriented and more hands-on education for students in general.

    Jinling Institute of Technology (JIT)

    Both parties shared mutually agreeable views on co-cultivating additional students that are especially talented in their respective fields, including 3D Animation & Visual Effects, and both looked forward to further cooperation between the two educational institutions in the near future.

    The New York Film Academy thanks the representatives from the Jinling Institute of Technology for their visit and for a meaningful and intelligent discussion over several topics both schools find very important. 

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    March 21, 2019 • 3D Animation, China • Views: 154

  • Q&A with Oscar-Nominated Producer, Director, and Editor Sam Pollard

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    Legendary producer, director, and editor Sam Pollard led a spirited “Conversation with…” and Q&A session after a rousing screening of his latest documentary Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me at New York Film Academy (NYFA).  A capacity crowd at NYFA’s Theatre in New York City was captivated by the film, which traces the iconic entertainer’s life from his youth in Harlem to international stardom— from Hollywood to Broadway to Las Vegas and beyond. 

    Sam Pollard

    NYFA students were inspired by Sam Pollard’s recollection of his early career, when he gravitated towards an editing career after a Public Broadcasting internship program. He went on to cut narrative features as well as documentaries, most notably working with Spike Lee on films including Mo’ Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Clockers, and Bamboozled. In 1998, Pollard and Lee were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for 4 Little Girls.

    Pollard moved into producing and directing while working on Eyes on the Prize, still considered the seminal work on the American Civil Rights Movement.  Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me capped NYFA’s celebration of Black History Month. Made for American Master/PBS, other Sam Pollard projects made for the series include works about August Wilson and Zora Neale Hurston.

    “Filmmaking is hard work but it’s like magic when it works. Now it feels seamless, and that to me is that magic of filmmaking,” Pollard explained to the audience.

    The evening was a co-production of NYFA’s Producing, Screenwriting, and Documentary departments. Pollard told the students in attendance, “If you’re here because you love to create, be compassionate, committed, and willing. Learn the craft and be proud of what you’ve done.” 

    He added, “As aspiring filmmakers, you should be committed to making the best possible film you can make, and if you hang in there, you will be rewarded.”

    The New York Film Academy thanks Oscar-nominated producer, director, and editor Sam Pollard for sharing his experience and wisdom with our students and encourages everyone to check out Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me


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  • Artist Isabelle Adriani Donates Cinematic-Themed Artwork to New York Film Academy (NYFA)

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    Isabelle Adriani, an Italian artist, author, and actress, recently generously donated her cinematic-themed artworks to the New York Film Academy and to the Director of the NYFA Q&A Series, Tova Laiter. On Friday, February 22, Adriani came to visit NYFA’s Los Angeles campus.

    Adriani donated a total of four pieces to the New York Film Academy; The two pieces donated to the Los Angeles campus are La Dolce Vita, which features images from the 1961 Frederico Fellini film of the same name, and Charlie, which features photos of the English silent movie era actor and director giant, Charlie Chaplin.

    Isabelle Adriani

    The two pieces donated to the New York campus are Once Upon a Time in America, which features images from the 1984 Sergio Leone masterpiece film of the same name, as well as one of star actress, Marlene Dietrich. 

    The four works are collages of photographs, posters, reviews, books and original accessories that Adriani has collected throughout her life from antique shops, fairs, and auctions all over the world. The way in which the media is arranged resembles modernists like Hannah Hoch and Mimmo Rotella and the use of color, subject matter, and desire to honor Hollywood’s history and pop culture are evocative of Andy Warhol’s quadtych-panels portraits. One of the things that distinguishes Adriani’s style from her predecessors is the “glassing” technique that she uses to make her works shine like glass and to protect the media material in the collages; Adriani keeps this technique a secret.

    Isabelle Adriani

    As an actress, Adriani has acted in over 30 Italian and American productions including The American (2010) with Academy Award winner George Clooney, Twice Born (2012) with Academy Award winner Penelope Cruz, and The Young Messiah (2016) directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh (The Stoning of Soraya M.) who also directed her in The Trial (tentative title) with with Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ). 

    She also produced the documentary Open Quantum Relativity (2014), which explored the concept of time travel with scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). 

    Isabelle Adriani

    Adriani has published 14 books and writes columns about the history of movies called Once Upon a Time in the Cinema. She also recorded two music albums of her unique Whistling to accompany her recent art collection called Tribute and To Movies with Love.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Adriani for her generous donation to the arts and the art of cinema for our students to enjoy for years to come.

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    March 19, 2019 • Community Highlights • Views: 346

  • Psychiatrist and Visual Collage Artist Steven Rudin Speaks With New York Film Academy (NYFA)

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    On February 20, New York Film Academy (NYFA) welcomed Steven Rudin, a psychiatrist turned visual collage artist, for a special guest lecture and Q&A at NYFA’s New York campus as part of NYFA’s monthly photography guest speaker series. 

    Having led more than 24,000 psychotherapy sessions over the course of 20 years as a psychiatrist, Rudin now creates hand-cut paper collages that explore nostalgia and optimism, using the concept of perspective to create a unique participant-observer experience through art. He applies his extensive understanding of the human mind and mental health to his artwork, creating collages that require introspection and offer a look inside one’s struggles and triumphs.

    Steven Rudin

    Led entirely by Rudin, the special lecture entitled “Psychology of Collage” explored the aesthetics of memory and identity for which his collages are a metaphor. Rudin encouraged students to reflect on the ways in which stories emerge and are altered by the arrangement of our memories, similar to the way that films navigate through past, present, and future narratives. 

    Rudin also inspired students to appreciate the way that new experiences and emotions can change perspectives on the past, drawing a comparison between the scenes his collages represent and those that are edited in the filmmaking process. Students also considered how the media affects both the accessibility of information and memory overall.

    Steven Rudin

    Through the exploration of psychological theories, neurobiology, and cognitive behavioral therapy—of which he is an expert—Rudin opened students’ minds to the direct relationship between psychology and creating art, whether that be visual collages, photography or filmmaking.

    The New York Film Academy thanks Steve Rudin for sharing his experiences and offering his unique insight into the psychological processes behind perception and creativity, and wishes him the best as he continues to explore the relationship between psychology and art, bridging the gap between these worlds and encouraging others to do the same.

    Steven Rudin
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    March 18, 2019 • Guest Speakers, Photography • Views: 118

  • Q&A with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Alexandre Kyriakidis

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Alexandre Kyriakidis grew up watching movies, and eventually, started making his own. Kyriakidis attended NYFA’s 8-week and 12-week workshops in 2001 before going on to shoot multiple short films as well as over 50 music videos across the globe.

    Kyriakidis hails from France from Greek and American parents, and has lived both in Europe and California, watching movies from his grandmother’s vast film collection nearly as early as he can remember. Those movies both inspired and influenced his own projects, which he started making at a young age and continues to make today.

    Filmmaking runs in the family — Kyriakidis’s aunt is producer, director, and Oscar-winning actress, Jodie Foster. While Kyriakidis says their artistic sensibilities differ greatly, Foster has still appeared in some of his favorite films.

    The New York Film Academy spoke with Alexandre Kyriakidis earlier this year about his background, his work, and about the four movies that had a lasting impact on his filmmaking aesthetic:

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what brought you to New York Film Academy?

    Alexandre Kyriakidis (AK): I was born in France from a Greek father and an American mother, and have been living in Europe most of my life with some extended periods in the USA, in California mostly. I started making backyard films in high school until landing an internship at 14 years old for the French visual effects company DUBOI (they don’t exist anymore), who were doing Alien: Resurrection at the time.

    What brought me to NYFA was that after graduating from high school I couldn’t find a film school that I liked; most of them would rely too much on theory and not enough on practice, and I also didn’t want to sit in classes for hours learning about the films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder for example, when I had already seen these films and built my own film education since I was a kid.

    But then I learned about New York Film Academy and it suited me perfectly; it was all about practice and hands on, where just after the first day you would already touch and use the most important tool in filmmaking — the camera. It was all about living, breathing, and dreaming films.

    NYFA: What was your time at NYFA like?

    AK: It was the best time in my life, because nothing around me was important, nothing else mattered but films, and I was surrounded by people just like me — people who loved films more than anything.

    I also met some of the most amazing people in my life, other students with whom I shared the same passion, other students with whom I can talk about movies that weren’t just blockbusters, and students from all over the world who became friends and with whom I still communicate today.

    Alexandre Kyriakidis
    Alexandre Kyriakidis

    NYFA: Why have you decided to focus on directing?

    AK: I always wanted to tell stories, to make movies, but I wanted to be the person who was in charge of the creative aspect — deciding what was going to be on the screen, basically put on the screen what is in my head — and that is why I wanted to become a director.

    I have had many influences from when I was a kid, and even today I’m influenced by many great filmmakers. But when I was a kid, four movies had a big impact on me, and three were directed by the same person.

    First was Raiders of the Lost Ark by Steven Spielberg. I think I saw that film on VHS when I was four or five years old, and I remember seeing it in Greece at my godfather’s home. Looking back at it today, it’s a harmless film, but … leaves a big impact on you as a kid.

    The other film was Robocop, that I saw on VHS at six, and when I first saw it, it felt like if I was watching something forbidden, something I wasn’t allowed to see … Then when I was eight, Total Recall was being replayed in Greece one night on a giant screen on the beach, and my dad and godfather took me to see it.

    And then when I was ten, I was in Los Angeles one summer and my grandmother showed me Basic Instinct. So as you have guessed, Paul Verhoeven had a big impact on me.

    After that my grandmother, who owned at the time a huge film collection, started to show me everything she owned, from the films of Werner Herzog, to the classic Italian films like Last Tango in Paris, as well as the films of Akira Kurosawa, the films of Stanley Kubrick, French films, German films, Soviet films — I basically saw everything, and I mean absolutely everything.

    So my film education came from there, and it’s after seeing all these great works of art that I wanted to make films myself.

    NYFA: What drew you to making music videos?

    AK: I had always wanted to make music videos, but never really knew how to get into it. All I knew is that great directors like David Fincher, for example, started in music videos and still make some once in a while.

    In my case, there is this guy I know in England who was starting his own music company after owning an event company for whom I shot videos in nightclubs, and he asked me to make a music video for a Romanian singer.

    And I had never worked on a music video before, never learned how to make a music video, so really I didn’t know much, but I told him I would do it. A few weeks later we were shooting on the Mediterranean with a skeleton crew and a Canon 5D camera.

    And after the success of that music video, a second music video was made for the same singer; again it was a success, eventually new artists were signed up, mostly metal and hard rock, so I ended up doing more music videos.

    Eventually other music companies from all over Europe, even Russia, contacted me, and I made music videos for them. Some being hits, some doing well, others doing less well, and once in a while there is a controversial one that ends up in flaming internet debates.

    Now even after making 50 music videos, I still feel that I’m learning more every day, and each one of these 50 are like making a new short film each time. A good thing about music videos is that they allow you to experiment, to test new tools or to try things you would never dare doing in a movie.

    NYFA: What kind of music videos do you prefer working on? Is there a particular genre of music you feel lends itself better to the medium?

    AK: I have done mostly rock, metal, and gothic music videos, but I have also done a lot of pop music videos in Eastern Europe, in Southern Europe, and in Russia. My first music video was a pop one.

    My taste in music is rock with a preference for ’90s and ’80s rock. I have always been a rock fan, so I’m always enjoying making rock music videos.

    But I still feel pop music videos are the ones that are the most fitted for music videos, because the songs are often so overproduced and have so much Auto-Tune in them that they are often recorded with a music video already planned.

    Rock music is made for the stage, pop is made for the screen.

    NYFA: Can you tell us about your short films? What are they about and what inspired you to make them?

    AK: My first short film, Blues Stop was made right after NYFA, shot on Super 16mm. It’s a thriller about a Bible salesman who falls for a psychopathic, beautiful female serial killer who ends up framing him for murder. The film was never shown in its home country of France, but it was screened in festivals all over the world, including in Los Angeles.

    My second short film, C22, made many years after my previous one, is a sexual thriller with a dose of action, a dose of horror — it’s about a kidnapping gone wrong. This film once again didn’t get shown in any festivals in France, but was shown in festivals all across the world, including North America.

    And my third short film, Sfagi, is just a small-budget martial arts action movie about capturing a fugitive. Originally it was just going to be a demo reel for a group of martial artists and stuntmen, but I managed to convince them to make a short film.

    You can check out Alexandre’s film below, though speaking with NYFA, he made it clear that since it was his first film straight out of school, he finds it very hard to share with anyone these days.

    “I will always be proud of it,” he says, “on the other I have made so much progress since.”

    But even in his first film, his talent is evident and shows the potential of his craft that would come later. Alexandre also made sure to give props to his experienced crew, many of who had just come offLove Actually and Neil Jordan’s The Good Thief. The director of photography of the film was focus puller on Star Wars: A New Hope.

    NYFA: Besides Raiders and the films of Paul Verhoeven, what are some of your other favorite films or types of films?

    AK: I don’t have a type of film, I like any film — science fiction, drama, horror, action, or comedy. I can enjoy just as much a classic heavy duty drama just like I can enjoy an old ’70s exploitation film.

    But my all time favorite film, the one that is all the way up there, would be Gone with the Wind and then I would say the following: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Blade Runner (the original one), Ran, Suspiria (the original one), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Léon: The Professional, Schindler’s List, and I can go on because I have actually done a list of my 200 favorite films of all time. But as you can see in just these titles, it’s very diversified.

    NYFA: What did you learn at NYFA that you’ve applied directly to your filmmaking?

    AK: I learned to think and not be impulsive. By that I mean back when I was at NYFA we still shot on film, meaning that each time we pressed the camera trigger it would mean money being lost — so if you failed your shot, or if an actor messed his lines, that is money lost that you will never see again… While today with digital we can shoot all day; sure it saves a lot of money, but you end up not thinking as much anymore before shooting. While I, because I learned on film, I tend to treat digital the same way I learned to treat film.

    Also the fact that NYFA is very hands on, I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty… how many times was a prop in the way and I would just go and move it myself, instead of having the 1st AD call the Prop Master so he would come and move it? How many times have I picked up the camera myself and taken the shot myself, and little details like that?

    NYFA: What other projects are you working on or do you plan to work on?

    AK: I have been trying for years now raising enough money to make a feature film, it’s a vampire film — it’s at the same time a sexual thriller, a horror, and a romantic film. But it’s not easy.

    I’m also trying to make another short film named Femme Fatale that is a tribute to the old “film noir” movies of the ’40s and ’50s. And I’m trying to finish a script named The Lobster Shift that is a mix between After Hours by Martin Scorsese, Into the Night by John Landis, and the Japanese anime Cat’s Eyes.

    NYFA: How has your aunt, Jodie Foster, as either an actress or director, influenced your own work?

    AK: Our works are the total opposite — she’s more cerebral than me while I’m more impulsive and react more by instinct. And you can notice it in her films, her films as a director are always very character-driven, while my works are more visually driven.

    As an actress she happens to be in three of my all-time favorite 100 films — Taxi Driver of course, Silence of the Lambs obviously, and Bugsy Malone, a forgotten gem that happens to be Alan Parker’s first film.

    It’s not an influence, but each one of my works — being a music video or a short film, even my scripts — she’s always the first person to see them (even sometimes before the actual producers or bands) or the first reader, especially when it comes to scripts; her advice and opinions are very precious, and help me to make them better.

    NYFA: What advice would you give to students just starting out at NYFA?

    AK: Be ready to live films 24/7 … try not going out at nights and have fun learning about your passion, and you are all in good hands.

    The New York Film Academy thanks alum Alexandre Kyriakidis for taking the time to answer our questions and looks forward to following his continued success as a filmmaker!

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    March 11, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 318

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism Alum Federica Polidoro Builds an Impressive Portfolio of Media Interviews

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Federica Polidoro has kept busy since graduating the 4-week Broadcast Journalism workshop in July 2016, building a steady and impressive portfolio of interviews with several high-profile filmmakers and actors for multiple leading publications across the globe.

    While at NYFA, Polidoro learned to to identify and make arrangements for story and interview subjects, choose and secure locations, prepare equipment, arrange preparation and setup of the locations, and make final technical checks. One piece she shot at NYFA was about the astrologer Angel Eyedealism. “NYFA is in my heart and I have wonderful memories about the program I attended,” Polidoro says about her experience at the Academy.

    Federica Polidoro

    Polidoro currently works as a freelance journalist for several primary publishing companies in Italy, and has already conducted several high-profile interviews, particularly in the film and arts industry.

    One such Italian media company Polidoro freelances for is GEDI Gruppo Editoriale, and their national newspaper La Repubblica. This includes her work for Repubblica XL, the publication dedicated to music, comics, and entertainment, and L’Espresso, a prestigious weekly news magazine. Polidoro introduced for L’Espresso at the Cannes Film Festival last year, where they released interviews with filmmakers and actors including Sofia Coppola.

    For Rolling Stone Italy, Polidoro reviewed Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman directly from Cannes, and was able to interview Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee and NYFA Guest Speaker Adam Driver. She also interviewed veteran director Terry Gilliam about his decades-old passion project, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, as well as legendary composer Philip Glass.

    Polidoro also works with Gruppo 24 ORE’s Il Sole 24 ORE, primarily with their monthly magazine IL, where she has been able to write longer, more in-depth pieces. She earned a cover story when she interviewed filmmaker Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire; Paris, Texas), one of only a few directors to win the Palme d’Or, Golden Lion, Golden Bear, and an Academy Award.

    Polidoro has also interviewed the Coen Brothers for their Netflix and Oscar-nominated film The Ballad of Buster Scruggs andAlfonso Cuarón about his critically lauded film Roma.

    Recently, Polidoro was guest of King Mohammed VI and Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco for the Marrakech Film Festival, together with other selected members of the international press (she was the only Italian female entertainment journalist of the group.)

    At Marrakech, Polidoro interviewed Robert De Niro, Julian Schnabel, and Guillermo Del Toro, among others. Soon she will be launching video interviews for IL as well, starting with director James Gray, the Jury President of the Festival.

    Polidoro has also recently become a contributor for Cineuropa, the first European portal dedicated to cinema and audiovisual in four languages, for which she interviewed Palme d’Or winner Christian Mungiu. She also works for Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine, which published her interviews with filmmaker Errol Morris about Wormwood and filmmaker Paul Greengrass about 22 July, as well as a very intriguing interview with directors Verena Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor about their documentary Caniba.

    “There is something so exciting in talking with creators that you just become addicted and you finally just set your whole life to enjoy those rare, rarified, and immersive moments of overwhelming happiness and satisfaction,” Polidoro tells NYFA. 

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Federica Polidoro on all of her hard-earned success so far, and looks forward to following her career in the future. We encourage everyone to check out her stories and interviews!

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    March 8, 2019 • Broadcast Journalism, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 343

  • PDN Magazine Cover Features New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography Alum Jon Henry

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    The work of New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography school alum Jon Henry was recently featured on the cover of PDN Magazine, along with a feature profile of Henry included in the issue. PDN (Photo District News) Magazine is a monthly publication for professional photographers and was founded in 1980 by Carl S. Pugh.

    Henry enrolled in the 1-year Conservatory at New York Film Academy’s Photography school in Fall 2010. NYFA’s esteemed Photography department has previously hosted PDN’s 30 2018: Strategies for Launching and Building a Career.

    Jon Henry Stranger Fruit

    Henry is an incredibly talented photographer who has found success since graduating NYFA. His work was previously featured on the cover of Jungle magazine.

    His project Stranger Fruit is featured in the January 2019 issue of PDN. In the piece by PDN writer Dzana Tsomondo, Henry’s photos are described in great detail along with the cultural context that shaped them. Stranger Fruit uses the iconography of the pietà—the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ—in response to the numerous murders of unarmed black men by police officers.

    The images are centered on black mothers photographed with their children. The first photo Henry created, for Stranger Fruit, Untitled #10 Flushing, NY, directly references the pietà, which was perhaps most famously captured in a sculpture by Michelangelo. “When I started the project,” Henry tells PDN in the article, “I wanted something that was as close to the original as I could, but [to] still make it mine.”

    Jon Henry Stranger Fruit
    Untitled #19 Magnificent Mile, IL by Jon Henry

    Henry was born and raised in Flushing, Queens. After Sean Bell was killed in Jamaica, Queens in 2008, Henry was inspired to make something in response, but it wasn’t until 2014 that Henry photographed Untitled #10. That year, and in the years before and since, several additional high-profile cases of unarmed black men being killed by police have shook the nation. 

    Strange Fruit was shown at BRIC House in Brooklyn, NY and New Image Gallery at James Madison University in Virginia, and this month is showing at Drury University in Missouri in March. For further detail on Henry’s work and efforts, we encourage everyone to check out his profile in PDN Magazine.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Photography alum Jon Henry on the latest showcase of his important and visually arresting work! 

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    March 8, 2019 • Photography, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 324

  • Q&A with ‘El Freeman’ Filmmakers and New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alumni Elhas Rahim and Antonio Chavez

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    On Friday, February 15, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted a screening of El Freeman, followed by a Q&A with NYFA alumni Elhas Rahim and Antonio Chavez, co-directors of the film. The event was moderated by their former instructor, James Rowe. Rahim, who also acted in the film, is from Kazakhstan and Chavez is from Mexico—their film, El Freeman, explores the immigrant experience in America.

    El Freeman

    Rowe opened up the Q&A by asking Rahim and Chavez how they personally related to the story in the film. Rahim discussed how there was a time when, in America, he lived in his car and had to navigate being homeless and an immigrant in Los Angeles. This really helped him relate to the film’s themes of desperation and feeling like an outsider. 

    Another experience that really shaped Rahim’s life—and ultimately the script for El Freemanwas when Rahim tried to save a young woman in Kazakhstan who was attempting to commit suicide by jumping into a river. Rahim almost drowned attempting to save her: “I felt like I [could] die,” he said. That experience pushed Rahim to do whatever necessary to get the script for El Freeman finished, as well as inspired the backstory for the romantic relationship in the film.

    El Freeman

    Rowe noted that in El Freeman Los Angeles is represented in a grittier, less glamorous fashion than it is in most Hollywood films. Chavez shared that the production team watched a number of films with an unrefined aesthetic to get inspiration: “You start caring more about the characters because you want to pull a bit away [from the fantasy of an idealistic Los Angeles].

    One of the members of the audience asked Rahim about why he pushed for a lot of rehearsal before shooting the film. “I knew this film would be more on the acting side of [things],” he replied. Rahim wanted to work through the emotional moments of the script before arriving on set. The other benefit of this was that the actors were more likely to get good takes faster, which helped with an extremely limited shooting schedule.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank NYFA alumni Elhas Rahim and Antonio Chavez for sharing their experiences as immigrants in the American entertainment industry and their advice for our students and independent filmmakers.


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    March 6, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 355

  • Duke Youth Media Camp Teaches Youth Filmmaking Schools at New York Film Academy (NYFA)

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    The Duke Youth Media Camp kicked off its collaboration with New York Film Academy (NYFA) on January 26 at our Los Angeles campus. The Duke Youth Media Camp is sponsored by the Duke Media Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by Bill Duke in 2010.

    Bill Duke is a veteran actor and director, known for his roles in several high-profile films and television series, including Predator, X-Men: The Last Stand, Mandy, Black Lightning, and American Gigolo. He’ll also be in the upcoming Steven Soderbergh film, High Flying Bird. At the 1991 Cannes Film Festival, Duke was nominated for the Palme d’Or for his film A Rage in Harlem. Additionally, Duke is a Filmmaking Instructor for New York Film Academy.

    Bill Duke Camp

    The Duke Youth Media Camp seeks to train and empower teens through hands-on instruction from New York Film Academy and Duke Media Foundation staff. The partnership between the institutions began in 2016. By teaching students the tools and skills needed in a constantly evolving media environment, the Duke Media Foundation and NYFA aim to help inner-city youth become more competitive with those who’ve typically had greater access to the education and equipment needed in a film, television, and digital media landscape.

    “Duke Media Foundation is grateful to New York Film Academy of Burbank for partnering with us and enabling us to present the Duke Youth Media Camp program for at-risk youth in Southern California,” says Linda Broadous-Miles, Executive Director, Duke Media Foundation. “As a result, we are creating career paths in filmmaking and digital technology for young people who would otherwise never have this opportunity.”

    Many of the alumni of the Camp have expressed a deep appreciation for the experience. One such alum, JaNarie Rhambo, says: “The Duke Youth Media Camp not only helped me mature in my career, but in my finances and personal life. My drive is amazing, my focus is sharp, and my leadership skills are toned. This was an experience I will NEVER forget because the staff who ran the program give their all to help the next generation mark their spot on the map! Mr. Duke and his program were a major catalyst in my entertainment career and I volunteer with them because of the great things they have done for me.”

    Bill Duke

    Parents of students attending the Camp are also grateful for the education their children receive. “My son and I are super excited about the Duke Youth Media Camp being held at the New York Film Academy in Burbank,” says Sharon Walker, a parent of one of the campers. “We both look forward to spending every Saturday at the camp. We appreciate all that Duke Youth Media Camp does to give our kids these great opportunities. Thank you so much Mr. Bill Duke and the New York Film Academy.”

    This year’s Spring camp is now well underway after its January start. Mason Richards, the Chair of NYFA Community Outreach, hosted the Orientation on January 26. After the event, he told NYFA, “We’re excited to welcome another cohort of young filmmaking students who represent a cross-section of the LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District).”

    Describing the event, Richards says, “The room [was] filled with lots of excitement as a cohort of 16 new students and their families shared their thoughts and aspirations about starting the program and gaining the opportunity to study the craft of filmmaking at our academy. Mr. Bill Duke shared his experiences as a director, actor, filmmaker, and writer—which was truly inspiring to everyone present, including myself. We’re looking forward seeing the projects that the students will write, edit and produce at NYFA-Los Angeles and shoot on the Universal Studios Backlot this Spring!”

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    March 4, 2019 • Acting • Views: 381