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  • “Blue World Order” Produced by NYFA Australia Instructor Timothy Maddocks

    NYFA Australia instructor Timothy Maddocks has taken the philosophy of learning by doing a step farther: teaching by example, continuing to not only remain active in his industry, expanding his impressive list of producing credits with a new feature and festival award wins. “Blue World Order,” which Maddocks produced, is causing a stir on the festival circuit, screening at the prestigious Madrid International Film Festival and sweeping awards elsewhere including:

    Winner, Best Narrative Feature; Film Invasion Los Angeles

    Winner, Audience Choice; Canberra International Film Festival

    Winner Best Feature; Mindfield Los Angeles

    Official Selection: Sci-Fi London, Madrid International (Nominated for Best Film), Burbank International, Phoenix Comic Con

    “Blue World Order” also co-stars fellow NYFA instructor Stephen Hunter, perhaps best known for his turn as Bombur in “The Hobbit” films. NYFA had a chance to catch up with Mr. Maddocks to hear some of his insights on producing high quality films for the festival circuits, and how his students can continue learning by doing out in the industry.

    NYFA: First, can you tell us a little bit about your journey and what brought you to NYFA?

    TM: My road to producing and teaching has been a long one. It started with working shooting sports and community TV, then studying a diploma of film and television at TAFE. After my studies I used sports cameras to shoot several short films with friends where we all honed our skills. Some of the films were OK, but many of them were just lessons for us. After about 10 shorts we got together and shot a low budget feature film called “Sum of Existence” that we eventually sold to the National Nine Network. I thought that having made something we would be able to get funding more easily, but in the end it still took a number of years.

    One night, while showing one of the last of the short films at an event, I was approached by another director who had a film screening there, Marc Furmie, and we went for funding on a short and got it.

    “Death’s Requiem” was the first film to have a decent budget — twice what we had for “Sum of Existence,” and it opened doors to many other places. Through networking I met people who funded our first full budget feature, “Terminus.”

    Along the way, one of the people I had met was Hunter McMahon and after he saw “Terminus” he invited me to come and speak to the students at NYFA as a one-off. The students asked a lot of questions, and as it happened, NYFA was looking for a teacher for production — so I joined the school.

    NYFA: Do you have a favorite NYFA moment from your time as an instructor with us?

    TM: My favourite moment at NYFA came when I was working on my third feature, “Out of the Shadows,” and some students came on a field trip to assist with shooting pick-ups. I know the students got a lot out of that day and it felt good to give them real hands-on experience, because NYFA is all about the experience of making things, rather than just classroom learning.

    NYFA: As a producer, what do you look for in a project?

    TM: The script is the guide. Firstly, you have to be able to read it from cover to cover without wanting to put it down. Then, you think about genre, market, and how you can get it made. As I’ve grown, so have my tastes, and while I have been known for producing horror and thrillers, “Blue World Order” was a sci-fi and a great story to start with.

    NYFA: What inspired your film “Blue World Order,” which you produced?

    TM: “Blue World Order” was written by Ché Baker, and he is also a published author as Scott Baker. I read both his script and novel ,and saw the enormous potential in the world that he had created because, like all of the best sci-fi, it is only a small stretch from the world we live in — and that is what makes it easy to relate to. Ché had met me back in the sports days and reached out to get my opinion of the script. I gave him notes and he could see how they helped with the story. From then on, we started talking about how to make the film.

    NYFA: Can you tell us a bit about your experience producing the film? Were there any surprises along the way?

    TM: Producing the film was a great experience. We had the challenges that most face: limited time, budget, and resources, however Ché had really made a great start in that he had many of the people of Canberra on his side and they welcomed us with open arms. Ché had also worked on several films in crew roles and had made some good connections in both cast and crew. I had also worked with some great people. We set up the schedule so that the first couple of days on set had Bruce Spence starring as Whippet — a very dark character. Bruce brought him to life and that really sparked our crew.

    Many of the crew were Canberra locals with little or no on-set experience. In the middle of the shoot we had Jack Thompson come and that gave everyone a fresh injection. And partly because I was still closing the deal with the Department of Immigration, and also his agent, but the last few days were with Billy Zane. Ché had met Billy in the U.S. when he was working as an on-set driver and the two had hit it off. Billy came along and helped us finish the main block of shooting. As is often the case, there were pick-ups done later, but at the end of five weeks we had the makings of a film.

    NYFA: “Blue World Order” has swept quite a few film festival awards. What advice would you offer to students interested in producing quality films and competing at renowned festivals?

    TM: “Blue World Order” has picked up several awards, and so did “Death’s Requiem, The New Life,” and it is always the same reason: Because when we get an opportunity to make a film it is our job to pour everything into it.

    No one gives you the opportunity. You earn it. Ché knew that and he poured everything he had into “Blue World Order,” and his passion was infectious. Our crew were drawn from film students to other people who just wanted to give it a go. A few of us had worked together before, like Production Designer Merryn Schofield who had been in the art department on “Terminus,” but being the designer was a big break for her and she had a great group of locals who are inseparable friends today.

    The thing anyone who has made a film knows, is that making it is only half the battle — getting it out there is the next part. You have to send it to festivals, research which ones are appropriate, and push, push, push. That’s the only way that industry buyers are going to notice your film, and from there, the real audience can discover it.

    NYFA: The film co-stars fellow NYFA Instructor Stephen Hunter. Can you tell us how that collaboration came about?

    TM: During his time on “The Hobbit” movies where he worked with Andrew Lesnie as his on-set colourist, Ché had made friends with Stephen Hunter, who played Bombur. Stephen read an early draft and gave Ché feedback and really brought the humour to the script. All of the best films are collaborations: Everyone brings something to the table, and the best directors and producers are the ones who know how to bring those ideas to the fore and make the film better each time. Stephen was full of ideas and willing to get in there and give things a go. It was a great opportunity for him to step into a role that had a lot more going on for his character too.

    NYFA: Would you say your time at NYFA was at all useful in preparing you for your work on “Blue World Order”?

    TM: My time at NYFA was helpful in that every time I do anything I look for the learning experience in it. As someone who had come from sports and worked into film, I hadn’t really sat down and broken down the elements of what I do as a producer until I had to teach students.

    Teaching other people gives you structure, and structure is important when managing a large project like a feature film. As a teacher I always love the enthusiasm students bring, and the attitude is one of “just do it” and I encourage that, but then impart on students some of the lessons that I have learned along the way.

    You can spend just as much time and money making a terrible film as making a good one — the difference is in the planning.

    NYFA: Can you tell us about any upcoming projects you’re working on, or what’s next for “Blue World Order”?

    TM:  Since “Blue World Order” spent a long time in post-production because of the special effects involved in sci-fi, I was able to get on and make “Out of the Shadows” while Ché, as director/producer saw “Blue World Order” home. “Out of the Shadows” is also making its way into the world.

    I’ve also started working on IMAX documentaries and helped Jen Peedom on “Mountain,” which is releasing soon.

    “Blue World Order” is going through the screenings for the AACTA awards and has screened in Melbourne on Sept. 12, Sydney on the Sept. 16, and Brisbane on Sept. 19. Any AACTA members can head along and see the film and vote for it there.

    Then later in the year there are more screenings open to the public in Australia. It is being sold by Arclight worldwide and so we’ll have to see where they get traction for the release. If you’re a student who is curious, then sign up for updates here.

    NYFA: Is there anything I missed that you’d like to speak on?

    TM: I’d really just like to reinforce how important it is to be passionate about your career in film, as no one else is going to care as much as you. Every time you get an opportunity to work on a film in whatever role it is, if you give it your all, people will notice. Several cast and crew that I have worked with on small films have come on to larger ones, and usually in greater roles. I do it myself where I have helped people out and then found myself with work. NYFA students often have that passion and some of my students are already building careers for themselves. I really enjoy working with people who seize the opportunities and then go on to create more.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Timothy Maddocks for taking the time to share his experience producing “Blue World Order” with our community.

     

  • NYFA Photography Alumnus Wins Annual Rangefinder Contest

    For aspiring photographers, few moments are as exciting as finding the right venue for their work. In the case of NYFA alumni Rutvik Katuri, finding the right home for his work has happened more than once. His series”Holi Colors,” which had previously been published on the cover and as an editorial spread in the prestigious “Imirage” magazine while Katuri was still a student at the New York Film Academy, has just gone on to further success and found a home as the winner of the Rangefinder Photography Annual Contest, winning first place along with another of Katuri’s series, “Fashion Forward.”
    Rangefinder” (Rf) is more than an exciting contest. It is also an award-winning magazine, with a global audience of 111,000, and a digital imprint. In all iterations, “Rangefinder” focuses on weddings and portraits, but their annual contest offers rising photographers exposure and exciting cash prizes, providing a unique platform to expand their audience and forge new connections within the photography industry. Contest winners also receive the boon of having their work published in both the digital and print versions of “Rangefinder.”
    In addition to cash prizes, Katuri’s winning photos will be featured in the September issue of “Rangefinder,” in ’The Senior Issue’ on page 66-67, as well as being showcased at WPPI conference & Expo as well as in the online gallery. The digital version of the magazine can be seen here.
    Katuri’s same series will be featured in gallery exhibition at WPPI Conference & Expo 2018 that takes place in Las Vegas in the month of Febuary, as well as appearing as an official selection of Photoville 2017.
  • TIFF 2017 Highlights NYFA Alumni Film Work Including “Pahuna,” “Waru,” and “Decoy”

    The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is a seminal event of the film industry’s calendar, and is in full swing this year from Sept. 7-17. Celebrities, filmmakers, producers, critics, and cinephiles travel to Toronto from around the world to screen and celebrate new films from rising names and established stars.

    This year, as part of its mission of “changing the way people see the world through film,” TIFF is screening a number of groundbreaking, buzz-worthy films — and a few were created by and with NYFA alumni.

    Pahuna: The Little Visitors

    Produced by global superstar Prayanka Chopras and her mother Dr. Madhu Chopra through their production company Purple Pebble Pictures, “Pahuna: the Little Visitors” has garnered a lot of attention at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in its Special Event category screening. NYFA filmmaking alumna Pragya Rathor partnered with the film’s first-time director, Paakhi Tyrewala of Bonfire Tales production company, to work on the shoot.

    Described as a “contemporary Indian version of Hansel and Gretel,” the film grants viewers a rare glimpse of Northeast India as it weaves a fable-like story of three children who are forced to flee their Nepalese village and become separated from their parents in the forest, adapting to survive together. Through this rarely seen portrayal of a typically voiceless region of India, the film brings larger issues such as children’s rights, racism and refugee crises to the global stage.

    “Waru”

    NYFA alumna Renae Maihi’s work in feature film “Waru” has made an paradigm-shifting international debut, screening at TIFF in its Discovery section as well as opening for 2017 imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival in October, which according to Screenz is the world’s largest platform for indigenous media.

    According to Stuff, the innovative feature contains eight separate narratives written and directed by nine different Maori women. New Zealand Film Commission told the magazine, “With ‘Waru,’ there has not been a narrative feature film helmed by a Māori woman since Merata Mita’s ‘Mauri’ in 1988. Having a film made by nine wahine Māori screening in Toronto feels like a positive step toward addressing this, with the opportunities the festival can provide for these filmmakers.”

    TIFF programmer Jane Schoettle praised the “Waru,” saying it’s “like nothing anybody has seen before.”

    “Decoy”

    Another exciting NYFA-TIFF connection comes via The Hollywood Reporter’s announcement that NYFA alumnus Allan Ungar will be at TIFF this year, working with 13 Films to shop new feature project “Decoy” to buyers.

    Heavy hitters including actors Andy Garcia, Frank Grillo and Tyler Posey and producers Andrew Gunn, Michael Bien, Henry Less, Sissy Federer, Tom North, Tannaz Anisi and Greg Schenz are already attached to the action projec. Director Allan Ungar wrote “Gridlocked,” which was acquired by Netflix.

  • NYFA Filmmaking Alum Works With Prayanka Chopra, Paakhi Tyrewala on TIFF’s “Pahuna: The Little Visitors”

    Produced by global superstar Prayanka Chopras and her mother Dr. Madhu Chopra through their production company Purple Pebble Pictures, “Pahuna: the Little Visitors” has garnered a lot of attention at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in its Special Event category screening, even winning a mention in Vogue India. NYFA filmmaking alumna Pragya Rathor partnered with the film’s first-time director, Paakhi Tyrewala of Bonfire Tales production company, to work on the shoot.

    Described as a “contemporary Indian version of Hansel and Gretel,” the film grants viewers a rare glimpse of Northeast India as it weaves a fable-like story of three children who are forced to flee their Nepalese village and become separated from their parents in the forest, adapting to survive together. Through this rarely seen portrayal of a typically voiceless region of India, the film brings larger issues such as children’s rights, racism and refugee crises to the global stage.

    The film’s director, Paakhi Tyrewala, told LiveMint, “When I started looking for producers for this film — I must have gone to nine or 10 producers before I came to Priyanka — they all rejected me. Four reasons: first, I was a first-time director. Second, I was a woman director. Third, I wanted to make the film in Sikkim [Province]… and fourth, it was a children’s film. When I came to Dr Madhu Chopra, I was so tired of being told no. So I told her upfront, I have these four problems. She started laughing, and she said, ‘For those reasons, I’ll do your film.’”

    NYFA Filmmaking Alumna Pragya Rathor

    From the red carpet at TIFF, The Indian Express quoted Priyanka Chopra as echoing the theme of overcoming obstacles and raising up unheard voices that has helped to make “Pahuna” a success: “It’s not easy – when you come into entertainment being a woman. You’ve got to pull your socks up for a fight.’”

    Filmed in the remote Indian province of Sakkim using unknown local talent and the local language, the film is a remarkable step in Prayanka Chopras’ venture to bring rarely seen stories and marginalized voices from India to the forefront of cinema. So far, her Purple Pebble Pictures has produced regional films in dialects including Bhojpuri, Marathi and Punjabi, with films planned in Bengali and Konkani.

  • NYFA Faculty and Students Screen Work at Jump Into VR Fest

    For the first time in New York’s Lower East Side, the world has a chance to experience Jump Into VR Fest, a premier film festival striving to bring cutting edge VR/VX (virtal reality/extended reality) developments to light through showcases, performances, parties, workshops, product launches, demos, and panels — and the New York Film Academy is proud to congratulate two alumni and one faculty member who will be showcasing their work amongst the thought leaders and industry changes who are shaking the world through VR.

    NYFA 8-Week Narrative VR Workshop alumni Na “Melody” Liu and Ana Paula Loureiro Kler will both screen films made as a part of their NYFA studies at the inaugural festival (“Praying From Afar” and “The Drummer”), while NYFA VR instructor Martina Casas will also present an original film (“Hope after Devastation”).

    We had a chance to connect with NYFA alumna Ana as she prepares to screen “The Drummer.” Read on to hear her thoughts on the exponential speed of technology, what surprised her most at NYFA, and why she’s excited about Jump Into VR Fest.

    NYFA: First, can you tell us a little bit about your background and what brought you to NYFA? What drew you to VR?

    AS: I am a 36 year-old journalist, digital media content creator and now VR Filmmaker. In Brazil, where I was born, grew up and built my career, I have 12 years of background in television. In the last five years I’ve been creating website and social media content to the largest mass media group of Latin America (Globosat/Grupo Globo). I also had work experience as a reporter, producer, editor, director and screenwriter during the six years that I was an employee of the main public television in Brazil (TV Brasil). After I studied journalism, I attended a film school. After that I started to work in personal projects, such as a music video of the Brazilian singer Iara Renno (2014) and a short documentary about Burning Man (2011), both as a director.  As an editor, I worked in a short film named “Tradução” (2008).

    The exponential speed of technology has been transforming all the fields and leaving behind professionals who don’t update their careers. Journalism and cinema changed after the internet and keep changing once new technologies affect the communication between people. Since I became a journalist and filmmaker I’ve been learning how to use different tools to do my work. That’s why I decided to attend the VR program at NYFA. Now, I am totally focusing on 360/VR.

    NYFA: Can you share any detail on how your film “The Drummer,” which is screening at Jump Into VR Fest, was made as a part of your NYFA studies?

    AS: The film which was selected for the Fest was a class exercise. They asked us to go to Union Square and find a story to shoot in 360. I was the director of my team. I had two colleagues in my group: Andrew O’Leary, doing the production sound, and Carolina Sang operating the camera.

    We saw this good drummer with disability and he said yes when I asked him if I could make an interview with him. (By the way, he said many students have done the same before but he never saw anything. I think I should email him!)

    Basically, “The Drummer” is a short documentary about this street artist named Jesus. He talks about his life, why he is there, his thoughts, etc. He is always in Union Square. People pass by but have no idea about what he is going through. As a journalist and filmmaker, my goal was to go there, talk to him and transform all the information into entertainment, informing but also offering a nice way to hear from him.

    NYFA: What kind of equipment did you use?

    AS: The Samsung Gear 360, zoom recorder and ambisonic mic.

    NYFA: What surprised you the most about your narrative VR course at NYFA? Would you recommend it to others?

    AS: Definitely, the course was better than I expected! Surprised me how intense it was (many hours of class and projects). Also, the number of professionals from the market they brought to talk to us and how we had easy access to the equipment.

    The experience was really great. Location, teachers and coordinators were really nice. I wouldn’t imagine that in eight weeks I could learn and produce so many things.

    I was looking for something to change my life and my career. I think it was the perfect choice. I highly recommend.

    NYFA: Can you tell us about your experience with Jump Into VR Fest experience so far?

    AS: I am really excited about the Festival! It is a great opportunity to have a VR film that I directed and edited showcase here in New York.

    Besides “The Drummer” I made two more films. “Undone.” my final project, is more hybrid. It is an adaptation of an art performance about Muslim women. The VR experience is to be surrounded by six muslim women and hear their stories. I believe in the power of virtual reality, known as the empathy machine, to change people’s minds.

    My third VR film I made for an exhibition in a Art Gallery in Lower East Side. The idea was to give to people the experience to see the creative process of an artist: you see the painting in the gallery, you take the VR headset and when you put it on you are in his studio in upstate New York in the middle of the woods, hearing and seeing a stream, and you see the artist painting and talking about his work. The opening was great. People loved it.  

    “The Drummer” was also selected to be showcased at FoST Festival along with Ana’s final NYFA project, “Undone.” The New York Film Academy would like to thank Ana for taking the time to share about her experience with Jump Into VR Fest with the NYFA community.

  • NYFA Alumna Meghan Modrovsky is Arya in “Game of Thrones: The Musical”

    NYFA acting alumna Meghan Modrovsky is on her way to Broadway as one of the most popular characters in America: Arya Stark, the littlest assassin on HBO’s “Game of Thrones” is now a rapping, singing assassin in “Game of Thrones: The Rock Musical.”

    Modrovsky was interviewed via email by NYFA Correspondent Joelle Smith to talk about the monumental task of playing Arya and what it’s like to be a part of something with such a large fanbase.

    NYFA: Can you talk a little about the audition process? Did you go in for Arya or were you surprised by the casting decision? 

    Modrovsky: I applied for the part of Arya via Actor’s Access in October of 2016. The audition itself was the same as any other. I had to prepare 16 bars and a scene, but there was one big exception.

    The role of Arya required the actor the rap. While I’m a fan of the genre, I had never rapped for anyone other than my cats. I prepped my song, my sides, and my 60 seconds of rap and went into the audition that day fully expecting to make an *ss out of myself.

    As I was sitting in the waiting area about to implode from anxiety, a wave of calm washed over me and I just started smiling. I’m sitting here about to rap a frickin’ Eminem song so I can hopefully play Arya Stark in a “Game of Thrones” parody musical. As soon as I accepted how ridiculous the whole situation was, I was ready to go. This was a rare audition. I felt really, really good afterward, so I was just elated when they called to offer me the part.

    NYFA: Are you a fan of the book or the show? Who is your favorite character? 

    Modrovsky: At this point in time, I prefer the books to the show. Once the show ran out of George R. R. Martin’s source material and started bending towards fan fiction, the carefully constructed character logic started getting sacrificed for sake of the plot and the show has suffered as a result. Yes, I’m that person.

    My favorite character has always been Cersei. She is vile, vindictive, power-hungry, murderous, and her blowing up the Sept is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen on television. What’s not to love?

    NYFA: Did you base your characterization off of the book, the show, a mixture of both, or just use the script you had? Why?

    Modrovsky: I stuck to the script we were given almost exclusively for Arya’s portrayal. Our show’s plot focuses on season one of “Game of Thrones,” with some well-placed spoilers, and Arya wasn’t a big player in the story yet. We are first and foremost a parody musical, so the writer decided to play with Arya’s arc and make it a running gag. I don’t want to give too much away, but in our show, you see Arya go through hilarious phases and stages of adolescence as she tries to figure out who she is.

    NYFA: What was it like performing at Comic Con? Do you have a favorite memory from this performance? 

    Modrovsky: San Diego Comic Con was an absolute madhouse in the best possible way. We had eight shows over four days and we were all sick and exhausted by the end. The audiences loved it though. My favorite memory happened after our final show.

    We went out into the lobby to take photos with people and after some time, I headed backstage to change out of my sweaty costume. As I rounded the corner to the entrance of the theatre, I heard someone shriek, “Arya!”

    It was a group of audience members from the last performance. They rattled off how much they loved the show, how much they loved what I did with Arya, how much they loved my rap sequence and a slew of other incredibly kind words. We all hugged and they went on their merry way, but man, that was a truly amazing way to end a crazy week. That alone is one of the coolest things that have ever happened to me.

    NYFA:  Is there any fan interaction with the show? What has that been like? 

    Modrovsky: There is! Not so much with famous lines, but during the transition from the opening number to scene one, we normally start singing “Peter Dinklage” to the tune of  “The Game of Thrones” theme song.  It always gets a good laugh. At Comic Con the crowds participated loudly and enthusiastically. They loved booing Joffrey and even started singing the chorus with us for “Things I Do For Love.”

    NYFA: What’s the most exciting part about taking the show to NY? 

    Modrovsky: The most exciting part is being taken to NY as an off-Broadway production. This is not the normal fate of most theatre productions, and we are very fortunate to have this opportunity. I’ve been doing theatre since I was 13 and the notion that in one short month I’ll be playing several doors down from some of the biggest names on Broadway is mind-boggling.

    NYFA: Has the cast and crew watched this season of “Game of Thrones” together?

    Modrovsky: Yes! Several cast members would regularly organize screenings and good portions of the cast would get together to watch. Sadly, I don’t know about any fun reactions. I haven’t been present for any of the viewings for two reasons. One, my fiancé would be very upset if I watched it without him. “Game of Thrones” runs deep in our relationship. Two, I am incapable of shutting the heck up during an episode. I didn’t want to inflict that on my friends.

    NYFA: What’s your favorite song to sing in the musical? 

    Modrovsky: Definitely “Stronger.” “Stronger” is our feminist power ballad where all the women of Westeros including Daenerys, Sansa, Arya, Catelyn, and Cersei come together to say, “Yes, our current circumstances suck, but we possess the strength to rise above and conquer.” The song is about empowerment and overcoming the odds of your situation. We’re a parody show, so this number is particularly special as it’s our one serious moment.

    NYFA: What did you learn at NYFA that helped you with this role? 

    Modrovsky: It wasn’t specifically something that helped me with the role; rather it helped me land the role. I learned to never make the casting director’s choice for them. I was so nervous the morning of the audition that I seriously considered canceling my time slot. I’m so glad the logical side of my brain told the emotional side to shut up.

    It’s not your place as an actor to decide if you’re right for the part. That’s the casting director’s job, and your speculation on the whys and why not’s are irrelevant and a waste of your energy. Focus on being prompt, prepared, likable, and leaving a good impression in the room.

    NYFA: Why do you think fans have flocked to the show? 

    Modrovsky: “Game of Thrones” has a ravenously devoted fanbase. People have flocked to ”Game of Thrones: The Rock Musical” for the same reasons they flocked to ”A Very Potter Musical.” They love these characters and story so much and they want to share their love of it with their fellow nerds.

    You can watch “Game of Thrones: The Rock Musical” at The Jerry Orbach Theater on 50th and Broadway in midtown Manhattan. The show runs from October 13 – 29. Click here for ticket information.

     

  • Los Angeles Photography Staff and TA’s Gallery Open to NYFA Family

    The New York Film Academy is known for bringing in renowned guests and graduating excellent artists. With so many projects in constant development, it is easy to forget to stop and appreciate the final product. The Photography Department has decided to take steps toward honoring TA’s, faculty, and staff work by mounting an exhibit of recent work.

    © Kristine Tomaro, 2013

    Displayed on the second floor in the Riverside Building at the Los Angeles campus, the photos are images from 21 members of the department. The goal of the project, according to Department Chair Kean O’Brien, was to open a dialogue to students about the working professionals around them.

    The work exhibited spans several themes and genres in photography, from portraiture, landscape, and still life to conceptually focused projects. Kristine Tomaro, the Photography Department’s senior coordinator, exhibited a piece from her BFA Thesis Show, for which she used a 4×5 film camera and hand printed in a color darkroom. The work is an environmental portrait of her grandmother’ home in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

    © Lara Rossignol 2016, Model: Keira Ward for Zuri Model & Talent

    Laura Rossignol, faculty, created a series of portraits in the likeness of Frida Khalo. The work references the brilliant and historic work of the famous painter, while showcasing Rossingnol’s professional use of studio lighting and portraiture.

    If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you’re invited to come and see the exhibit while it’s up, and support the NYFA family. See the list of participating artists below. There are links to profiles and websites. Congratulations to our many talented NYFA community members!

    List of photographers in exhibition:

    Amanda Rowan

    Aaron Giesel

    Ashley French

    David Blumenkrantz

    Raymond A. Macias

    Benjamin Simpson

    Brendan Baker

    Bridget Batch

    Katerina Stratos

    Jenny Sherman

    Greg Dyro

    Thomas Locke Hobbs  

    Steven C. De La Cruz

    Lane Barden

    Mae Koo  

    Linda Lewis

    Lara Rossignol

    Kean O’Brien

    Gui Cha

    Naomi White

    Charles Owen

  • NYFA at IFP Week: Faculty Panel, Student and Alumni Discounts, and More

    The New York Film Academy is proud to be a sponsor of upcoming top industry gathering IFP Week, in Brooklyn from Sept. 17-21. This year, NYFA faculty will be represented on an IFP panel — stay tuned for more details as they come!
    “If you can go, go!” said NYFA Documentary Filmmaking Program Chair Andrea Swift.
    NYFA Documentary Chair Andrea Swift and Producing Chair Neal Weisman explain that IFP Week is a critical industry gathering — whether you’re a producer, documentary filmmaker, screenwriter, director, or are involved in the industry in any way. It is as important for launching and maintaining careers as Sundance, and people fly in from all over the world to attend. Simply put, IFP Week is one of the most important events in the U.S. film industry.
    NYFA is proud to help sponsor it and is very pleased to share that IFP has extended a 20% discount to our alumni with special code: NYFA20.

    “IFP’s signature event, IFP Week, has expanded again this year to include numerous public screenings, talks, meet ups, and exhibitions centered on cutting-edge independent content for the big screen, small screen and Internet,” says IFP Deputy Director & Head of Programming Amy Dotson. “From our Filmmaker Magazine Talks, IFP Screen Forward Conference, Direct Access program, VR exhibitions from The Guardian, and more, our guests will have access to some of the most interesting, innovative and outspoken storytellers and leaders working today.”

    NYFA Chair of the Producing Department Neal Weisman will represent as moderator of the “Direct Access” panel: “Finding the Sales.” Neal Weisman is an award-winning film and television producer with over 20 years of international experience. Producing credits include “The Politician’s Wife” (BAFTA and International Emmy Awards for Best Drama Serial, Peabody Award), “Seeing Red” (Christopher Award), and “My Kingdom,” which starred Richard Harris in his last leading role. “Let’s Talk About Sex,” a documentary about adolescent sex in America, broadcast on TLC, digital and DVD release through New Video. Vice President, Edward Pressman Film Corporation: Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street” and “Talk Radio,” Barbet Schroeder’s “Reversal of Fortune,” Taviani Brothers’ “Good Morning Babylon,” Fred Schepisi’s “Plenty,” David Byrne’s “True Stories,” David Hare’s “Paris By Night,” Alex Cox’s “Walker,” Charles Burnett’s “To Sleep With Anger,” and Kathryn Bigelow’s “Blue Steel.”

    NYFA VR Instructor Caitlin Burns will appear on the IFP Panel “(Virtual) Reality Check: Bringing Filmmakers into the 21st Century.” As a transmedia producer for over 15 years, Ms. Burns has developed storyworlds and sustainable multiplatform strategies for franchises ranging from global blockbuster feature films, award-winning television shows, AAA console games and Virtual Reality. She also works with international brands, and organizations to use new media technologies to reach audiences and create impact. She currently serves as Vice Chair of the Producers Guild of America’s New Media Council and Lead Instructor for 360° Filmmaking and VR Gaming at the New York Film Academy.

    IFP Week in Brooklyn, NYC Sept. 17-21, Programming to include (via official website):

    Filmmaker Magazine Talks @ BRIC

    This year’s IFP Week will kick off on Sunday, September 17th with Filmmaker Magazine Talks @ BRIC. In honor of the 100th issue of the iconic publication, programming will celebrate the creative talents and industry who have filled Filmmaker Magazine’s pages for a quarter of a century. The event will feature Editor-in-Chief Scott Macaulay in talks with 2017 Academy Award-winners Barry Jenkins & Adele Romanski (“Moonlight”), Emmy-nominated director Dee Rees (“Mudbound”), The Safdie Brothers (“Good Time”), Sean Baker (“The Florida Project”) as well as past and 2017 Filmmaker Magazine “25 New Faces of Independent Film.”

    IFP Screen Forward Conference @ Made in NY Media Center by IFP

    Featuring intimate conversations with some of the most interesting, innovative and outspoken storytellers and leaders today, the program runs Monday, September 18 through Wednesday, September 20 at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Speakers include Cenk Uygur (“The Young Turks”), Julie Klausner (“Difficult People”), Mark Douglas (“The Key of Awesome!”), Anjali Sud (Vimeo CEO), Jenna Wortham (“Still Processing”) and many more!

    IFP Direct Access & Meet The Decision Makers @ Made in NY Media Center by IFP

    IFP also offers aspiring artists and entrepreneurs – as well as working professionals in the media & tech industry – direct access to top industry leaders through its Meet the Decision Makers and Direct Access tracks.

    Meet The Decision Makers

    Get face-time with some of the most exciting organizations in indie entertainment today in small group meetings with company representatives from Amazon Studios, A&E, Bleecker Street, Cinetic, First Look Media, Field of Vision, HBO, IFC, Killer Films, POV, Oscilloscope, Sony Pictures Classics, Submarine, Vimeo, and more.

    IFP Direct Access

    NEW TO IFP WEEK 2017.  Join top industry leaders for sage advice and time-saving information on how to launch your narrative feature, doc, serialized content, in intimate, small workshops with accomplished industry leaders whose expertise ranges from finding financing to digital distribution.

    NYFA students and alumni are invited to attend the prestigious independent filmmaking event. As part of our partnership, IFP is offering 20% discount to students and alumni. To purchase your ticket(s), go to the website and use the Partner Code.

     

  • NYFA Screenwriting Alumnus Jon Mann’s “Wolfville” Selected for National Screen Institute 2017’s Totally Television Program

    NYFA Screenwriting alumni and New Brunswick, Canada native Jon Mann was recently accepted along with producing partner Rob Ramsay into the National Screen Institute (NSI) 2017 Totally Television program. Mann’s selected pilot project, “Wolfville,” is set in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and follows the saga of two old friends who end up on opposing sides of the law.

    The NSI Totally Television program is an incubator that trains Canadian filmmaking teams to develop TV pilots into full series, and has been a driving force behind the success of such series as “What Would Sal Do?” (CraveTV), “Less Than Kind” (HBO Canada and Citytv), ‘“da Kink in My Hair” (Global and Showcase) and “Todd & the Book of Pure Evil” (Space, The Comedy Network). Mann was the only filmmaker accepted east of Toronto, Canada.

    We had a chance to catch up with the busy screenwriter and hear his take on Totally Television, his time at NYFA, and “Wolfville.”

    NYFA: First, can you tell us a little bit about your journey and what brought you to the New York Film Academy?

    JM: I always had an honest passion for film and television, but it wasn’t until midway through my undergraduate degree at Acadia University that I realized how big of an impact movies, TV, books — and storytelling in general — had on my life.

    When I was humbly offered a spot to study screenwriting through NYFA it was a no-brainer. NYFA gave me the opportunity to master a subject I did not realize I had been studying my entire life.

    NYFA: Do you have any favorite NYFA moments from your time as a student?

    JM: Of all the things that I experienced during my time with NYFA, the moment that sticks out the most was a teaching moment I had with a member of the screenwriting faculty (who shall remain nameless!) after he reviewed a draft of the feature I was writing for my thesis. It had somehow found its way to him and he gave my advisor a message to pass onto me. It wasn’t positive, and he was completely right. He really put my writing in its place — which without knowing it, I needed to hear at the time. I’ve been a better writer ever since because of him.

    NYFA: What inspired your screenplay for “Wolfville”?

    JM: My writing/production partner Rob Ramsay and I met as students at Acadia — located in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. We weren’t writing together during our time at Acadia, but it was always an important town and community for us.

    I grew up in a small east-coast Canadian town, as did Rob, and we always loved the idea of a small, picturesque, Canadian town dealing with issues that pushed the comfort zone of the community as a whole. We wanted to take the idea of disturbing the comfortable and comforting the disturbed, within the streets of a small town; which a lot of great TV shows have done an incredible job of lately. So those conversations turned into, well, why not in Atlantic Canada?

    NYFA: Can you tell us a bit about the process of finding your way into National Screen Institute 2017 Totally Television, program? (And congrats!)

    JM: Thanks! Rob and I shot a short film a few summers ago (“Rearview”) which made its way into NSI’s Short Film Festival, and that was a huge accomplishment for us. About a year later we got an email with a call out for writer & producer teams with pilots written to be part of their Totally Television program.

    Rob and I have been writing together for years and have a tall stack of pilots, so after some conversations back and forth we decided to go with “Wolfville.” Then, honestly, we were completely humbled to be put on the short list for the program, and now to find out we have been selected and to be working with NSI as part of Totally Television is incredible.

    NYFA: Was there anything that surprised you about the Totally Television selection process?

    JM: I think everyone knows the professionalism and expertise of the National Screen Institute and this process was no different. From day one they’ve been nothing but helpful and supportive.

    NYFA: What do you most look forward to in bringing “Wolfville” to life with the National Screen Institute?

    JM: I think what I’m most looking forward to is showing the masses a corner of the world — and the characters that live there — that they have never seen before. I am a very proud maritimer and I am excited to show people why.

    NYFA: What advice would you offer fellow NYFA students who aspire to bring a series script to development?

    JM: I’m still trying to figure it all out, but if you have an idea, write it. Things become exponentially easier once you have something to show people.

    NYFA: Are you working on any other upcoming projects you’d like to share?

    JM: Constantly! I have two features that are ready for production, and I’m finishing a script for a short that Rob and I are shooting in November.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Jon Mann for taking the time to share some of his story with our community.

     

  • NYFA Documentary Filmmaking Master Class Professor Jeremy Xido’s Film Selected for Spotlight on Documentary at IFP Week

    New York Film Academy Documentary Filmmaking master class professor Jeremy Xido’s newest documentary “The Angola Project: Detroit” was selected for this year’s Spotlight on Documentary at IFP Week in September.

    “The Angola Project: Detroit” will feature alongside over 145 documentary projects at the IFP Week event in September in Brooklyn, with nonfiction media spanning formats from feature film to web and television series. As IndieWire notes, this year marks an impressive expansion in IFP Week’s programming, with additional slots for exhibitions, guest speakers, screenings, and more.

    The Angola Project: Detroit TRAILER 2017 from CABULA6 on Vimeo.

    Jeremy Xido co-wrote and directed “The Angola Project: Detroit,” which draws on his live-performance piece “The Angola Project.” The film is centered around Xido’s return to Detroit for the first time in 20 years to perform, and, as Xido states on his official website, “The film will be a collision of the mythological Detroit in my artwork and the contemporary city currently undergoing another round of radical change. Having left as not much more than a boy, I return as a young father, hoping to find personal reconciliation and a sense of home for me and my family. But I arrive to a city engaged in a fierce battle over it’s identity. The fashionable hype around Detroit’s great turn-around is tempered by the United Nations’ citation of human rights abuses for denying citizens access to water. Bold construction projects are offset by an unprecedented number of evictions. It is a city suspended between hope and fear: the profound hope for a better future and the numbing fear that rewards reaped by some will just be the next cycle of suffering for others.”

    Xido’s work on “The Angola Project” has also inspired his TEDx Talk:

    The film also features NYFA documentary graduate Amy Wright as an associate producer. Wright is an award-winning documentarian in her own right: her film “Legacy” won Best Short at the March on Washington Film Festival, which was held at the White House in Washington D.C.

    Quoted in Filmmaker Magazine of their feature film programming, IFP Executive Director Joana Vicente says, “This year’s feature film program doesn’t shy away from tackling the controversial and key issues of our time. Art often reflects the times we live in, and this slate certainly represents a multitude of points of view and perspectives on America today. Through the lens of race, religious expression, disability, female empowerment, immigration, truth, political correctness, radical inclusion and disenfranchisement, our artists pull no punches sharing their stories, demanding attention for the visions they share.”

    For more information on the IFP Week Screenings, click here.