Joelle Smith
Author archives

  • Chinese New Year Celebration at New York Film Academy

    On February 9, New York Film Academy’s Chinese Club hosted a celebration of the Lunar New Year. Students from club worked long hours to make stuffing for dumplings, procure ink to teach Chinese characters and get decorations. The lobby of the Riverside building of the Los Angeles campus was transformed into a kitchen and a dance floor.

    chinese club

    Two dumpling stations were set up at either side of the lobby. Classmates were encouraged to stuff their own dumplings, though frying was left to the experts. Students could also practice writing Chinese characters with traditional ink.

    We sat down and spoke with President of the Chinese Club, Peijun Zou, to ask her why she wanted to hold this event and what the holiday meant to her.

    Why did you feel it was important to host this event?

    Zou: I wanted to help everyone understand and experience the meaning of making dumplings. Dumpling is not just a traditional food it is a spiritual celebration for Chinese New Year. The shape of dumpling looks like a silver or gold ingots which were the ancient currency in China. We make them with the hope of gaining health, wealth and good fortune in the New Year.

    china club

    What was your favorite part of the event?

    Zou: My favorite part was to see everyone collaborate with each other and experience the Chinese culture.

    What do you hope students took away from this gathering?

    Zou: I hope everyone walked away knowing that Chinese dumplings represent togetherness. Dumplings make us better and stronger because, in order to make them, a group of people must work together. In other words, making dumpling requires teamwork, just like the film industry. Everyone has to know how to work in a group.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank the Chinese Club for hosting this event and the students who attended and made the event special.

    February 23, 2017 • Community Highlights • Views: 831

  • NYFA Los Angeles 2017 Winter Graduation

    On January 28th, the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles bid farewell to over 120 students as they crossed the stage in their caps and gowns. Amongst teachers, family, and friends, graduates prepared to enter the entertainment field.

    To honor their accomplishments we share here the final words of encouragement from the commencement speakers for the class of 2017 in hopes that they’ll help you on your artistic journey. Congratulations to all the graduates from the New York Film Academy.

    Tab Murphy, writer of “Gorillas in the Mist,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Tarzan,” “Atlantis: The Lost Empire,” “Brother Bear,” “Superman/ Batman: Apocalypse, and Batman: Year One,” left students inspired with his impassioned address.

    Tab Murphy

    “This is such an exciting time in Hollywood. There’s so much opportunity out there. There are so many new venues for content and so many ways to be a creator and a writer. It’s an incredibly exciting time. I encourage you to embrace it all. Be entrepreneurial, don’t have such a narrow vision of yourself as a filmmaker and while you’re doing all of that don’t be afraid to embrace life so that when that door of opportunity opens you have something to say.”
    –Tab Murphy

    Andrew Leeds has been acting since he was eight years old. He’s done everything from voice over for animation, acted for television shows including “Bones,” “Cristela,” and “NCIS: Los Angeles,” improvisation with Groundlings Theater. He is in the holiday comedy “Office Christmas Party” and is now writing and producing for television. Leeds used his life experience to provide students with practical life advice to survive in Los Angeles.

    Andrew Leeds

    “If I could leave you with one thing today it would be, believe in yourself. Bet on yourself. However hard you think you’ve worked up until now, work harder. Create, innovate, and bring things to the table no one before you has brought. Every person in here has what it takes to do it. And, if I’m smart, I’ll take my own advice and do it too. Congratulations to all of you as you embark on the next phase of your life.”
    -Andrew Leeds

    Peter Medak has been making movies for close to sixty years and is passionate about the craft now as he was when he first began. He’s directed episodes of “7th Heaven,” “Breaking Bad,” “Cold Case,” “Hannibal,” “Twilight Zone,” “The Wire,” and “Tales from the Crypt.” His films include “The Changeling,” “Species II,” and “Romeo is Bleeding.” Here our his final words to the Filmmaking graduating class of 2017.

    Peter Medak

    “It’s pure magic. Magic is what you can do with those lenses. You’ve had your training you know about the lenses. You know about lighting, which is so important.

    I had to shoot in South Africa and make it look like Sunset Boulevard but we were in Capetown. It doesn’t exist I said to the producers, ‘You’re all out of your mind. It is impossible to do that.’ But you know I saw it was quite possible. You have to be very clever about it. Choose very carefully what you show in that frame.

    You’re going on an amazing journey and I congratulate you. I want you to follow your dreams. That’s the most important thing.”
    -Peter Medak

    Congratulations to the class of 2017!

    MFA Acting For Film
    Christopher Lee Akens
    Sienna Eve Benton
    Ainur Burkutbayeva
    Maria De Los Angeles Cabrera Toledo
    Rita A Casman
    John O’brien Johnson
    Aditya Joshi
    Yu-Hsuan Lee
    Camila Mejia Duque
    Gina Simone Parris
    Demyra Ravyne Payne
    Shelby Simkin
    Jesselynn Stegall
    Nanli Wang
    Michael Wilson
    Zhe Zeng
    Alem Zewdu
    Wanyao Zhang
    Khorlan Zholzhaxynova

    BFA Acting For Film
    Morgan Aiken
    Leo D’hemery
    Michael Elston
    Alfred Gabidullin
    Reinaldo Garcia
    Kristina Karpechenkova
    Fiona Ketter
    Justin Lightfoot
    Grace Michelle Wangui Mbayah
    Thomas Oakley
    Tayla Jan Schaffner
    Milbelynn Soto
    Marcella Unate
    Anlezia Mone Venter
    Joel Wright
    Ekaterina Zaytseva

    AFA Acting For Film
    Helmer David Arango
    Jenný Arnthórsdóttir
    Montana Cypress
    Vanessa Esquivel
    Paloma Fernandez Vigil
    Andrew Forner
    Daniela Maria Gerdes
    Tomas Gudmundsson
    Christopher Holani
    Lena Annalisa Kane
    Kelsey Kummerl
    Martta Rebekka Maki-Petaja
    Badr Moussa
    Josiah Portukalian
    Nathan Rosado
    Christopher Allyn Rybka
    Ivan Sharudo
    Valita Stoke
    Pranay Unadkat

    MFA Screenwriting
    Ashley Helg
    Casey Hempel
    Efsane Karayılanoğlu
    Timothy Kirkpatrick
    Tricia Lan
    Linn Markussen
    Kayla Maurais
    Karthik Menon
    Chiedozie Orjiako
    Eduardo Faustino Rivera Jaso

    BFA Screenwriting
    Kine Brown
    Kyle Del Fierro
    Jinghui Jia
    Daria Leshchenko
    Jamaul Phillips
    Florian David Sutalo
    William Willis

    AFA Screenwriting
    Hong Bin Zhang

    MFA Game Design
    Yi Chen
    Tianyi Wu

    BFA Game Design
    Hasan Cheikhali
    Maresh Escoffery

    MA Film And Media Production
    Medardo III Abad
    Stephanie Adusei-Boateng
    Lamia Alshwwier
    Hardik Aswani
    Oscar Avila Letelier
    Elizaveta Bolshunova
    Eric Owen Bridges
    Maria Lorena Carrocci
    Sheila David
    Yanhua Gao
    Yunhong Guo
    Albandari Tariq Hakeem
    Naimah Hawsah
    Kiyanoush Jahaandideh
    Adebowale Johnson
    Ajay Marri
    Manikandan Mathivanan
    Kyaw Kyaw Min
    Sadedin Piralievich Nuraliev
    Olzhas Nurbayev
    Daniel Peres Morel
    Tianyu Ren
    Andrea Rodriguez Sanchez
    Nataliya Tsvetkova
    Gudiveti Venkata Raghavendra Reddy
    Chuwei Wang
    Xiao Wang
    Yanping Wang
    Sarai Waters
    Shengsheng Wu
    Fei Xie

    AFA Filmmaking
    I-Chen Chung
    Peter Farquhar
    Desmond Goldson
    Sergey Korchinskiy
    Samuel Mcknight
    Joshua Prince
    Ben Zimmerman

    MFA Cinematography
    Saleh Aldwayyan
    Abdulaziz Almutari Talaq
    Amy Lynn Brown
    Jessica Gray
    Joseph Hamilton
    Haoxun Jiang
    Sam Krishna
    Tian Liu
    Yang Liu
    Dhruv Saxena
    Carlos Suarez
    Jaan Kristjan Utno
    Jing Wang
    Haowei Wen
    Yue Xue

    MFA Producing
    Louis Brown
    Qian Dong
    Melissa Gutiérrez Clavijo
    Florian Christian Handler
    Zororo Makamba
    Ana Cindy Quijada R.
    Daniel Wayne Smith
    Funeka Sowazi
    Joshua Thomas
    Alexandre Wilson
    Hanjie Zhang
    Yanjun Zhu

    AFA Producing
    Nicole Tatlock

    MFA Photography
    Nilangana Banerjee
    Pamela Garcia-Aguirre
    Tingting Lou
    Hao Yang
    Yiwan Zhang

    BFA Photography
    Polina Krasovicka
    Xiao Xu

    BFA Animation
    Yahui Cheng

    MFA Filmmaking (Feature Track)
    Bandar Mohayl Almutairi
    Vanness Diane Hughes

    MFA Filmmaking
    Marvin Akanyi
    Mohamad Al Yamani
    Abdulelah Alqurashi
    Hua Bai
    Fanzhen Bu
    Luis Fernando Camargo
    Yang Chen
    Yucheng Geng
    Fei Guo
    Nicole Harris
    Lei Hong
    Shiman Hu
    Hanyang Huang
    Amir Kadiev
    George Leone
    Shaobo Li
    Ziwei Lu
    Pedro Ludwig Marcial
    Milton Lyons
    Haihua Ma
    John Mccain
    Obianuju Obiejesi
    Jorge Andres Ospina Sanchez
    Chanel Page
    Keyu Qu
    Olga Solodukhina
    Pavel Suslov
    Hiroshi Takano
    Diana Esperanza Trejo
    Daniel Velasco
    Rui Wu
    Wei Xiao
    Qin Yan
    Zhiyuan Yuan
    Yuqing Zhang
    Tian Zhou
    Duxiao Zhu

    BFA Filmmaking (Feature Track)
    Hamzah Ahmed F. Tarzan

    BFA Filmmaking
    Noor Matook Al Yaseen
    Paul Araujo Coronel
    Abdullah Bamajboor
    Diego Barragan
    Nikita Belomestnykh
    William Berkowitz Jr.
    Joseph Brandon
    Alexis Brown
    Charles Clark
    Nicholas Cunha
    Guojiang Deng
    Christopher Di Edwardo
    Joel Jerry Duran
    Robert Ford
    Kristen Kiertzner
    Yassein Koptane
    Andrew Kunkle
    Haochang Liu
    Luke Murphy
    Samuel Nieves
    Cindy Osegueda
    Taylor Paluso
    Mariel Quintero
    Shivalik Shankar
    Alexander Stamm
    Shammika Tomar
    Arturo Trapaga
    Hao Wang
    Joann Wong
    Shiyao Yao
    Jiasu Ye
    Yufei Zhang

    February 15, 2017 • Community Highlights, Guest Speakers • Views: 1108

  • NYFA Alumnus Matty Cardarople Showcases Latest Work in Netflix’s “Lemony Snicket”

    On Feb. 8th, New York Film Academy alumnus Matty Cardarople came back to his roots to showcase his latest work in Netflix’s “Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events.”

    Matty Cardarople

    The popular children’s book written by Lemony Snicket has had fans on the edge of their seats since the show’s premiere on Friday, Jan. 13th. The theater was packed with students eager to discuss a childhood favorite come to life.

    Cardarople was seen earlier this year in Mike Mill’s “20th Century Woman” and “Jurassic World.” He’s appeared on television shows “The New Girl,” “Scrubs,” “Bella and the Bulldogs,” “Comedy Bang! Bang!,” and “You’re the Worst.”

    Guest Lecture Series Chair Tova Laiter and Christopher Cass, Associate Chair of Acting for Film, hosted the evening at the Los Angeles campus. Ms. Laiter began with the question, “How did you start?” Cardarople replied:

    I chose NYFA back in 2002…BC. I’m just kidding. I was nineteen. It was a long time ago. I studied here for a year and then I came back and did my own film with (Industry Lab) ‘I worked in production as a boom operator and a PA. I was an assistant director. I was craft service. I was a camera assistant. I did everything. You guys know. You’ve all learned that stuff.

    Then, Luke and Owen Wilson put me in a film called ‘Drillbit Taylor.’ I played a 7/11 clerk because that’s what I do. I play a lot of clerks. Then it really started to take off. I had seven years of commercials here and there. It was kind of dead cause I was going through this heart surgery at young age. It was a bummer.

    Then about three years ago I thought, ‘You know, I just really need to put myself out there. I’m going to go for it.’ I started to network and meet a bunch of people. That’s what it’s really all about; meeting good people and forming good relationships.

    If you are struggling right now and thinking I’m not going to make it. Just be patient. Just work hard and be nice and you can really go far. If you’re scared right now, it’s going to be okay. Everything is going to work out. Just keep moving forward. That’s my story.

    One student asked Cardarople what projects and people he would like to work with in the future. Cardarople responded, “I’d love to work with Jim Carey. I want to make stories that inspire people.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Cardarople for taking the time to speak with our students. This year you can find Matty Cardarople in the HBO series “Crashing” and the feature film “Please Stand By” starring Dakota Fanning and Toni Collette.

    February 15, 2017 • Acting, Guest Speakers, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1043

  • NYFA BFA and MFA Photography Gallery at Famous Bergamot Station

    The New York Film Academy BFA and MFA Photography Gallery show of graduating students was held at the famous Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, CA. The four MFA students and two BFA students had a wonderful turnout of 210 people, not including family, friends or alumni.

    olive banerjee

    photo by Olive Banerjee

    The curators from the various Bergamot Station galleries themselves said that the show has a beautiful cohesiveness, and, once again, one of the guests was the retired curator of photography from the Getty Museum, Weston Naef, who stopped by to enjoy his third New York Film Academy MFA/BFA exhibition.

    Tingting Lou

    photo by Tingting Lou

    Bergamot Station was previously a railroad station from 1875 to 1953, serving the Los Angeles and Independence Railroad and later the Santa Monica Air Line. The station was named after the Wild Bergamot flower, which once grew in the area. The Bergamot Station is in line to become a Historical Landmark in the next few years and it currently houses multiple art galleries.

    Xiao Xu

    photo by Xiao Xu

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Bergamot Station for hosting our students. Congratulations to our graduating MFA and BFA photographers on this excellent showcase.

    February 14, 2017 • Photography, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 841

  • NYFA Students Attend “Doctor Strange” Screening at Disney Animation

    Last week, New York Film Academy Los Angeles students were offered 50 seats to see Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” at Disney’s theater in their animation lot. After the screening there was a Q&A with the film’s sound team: Juan Peralta, Doc Kane, Jesse Torres and Daniel Laurie. The fifty available spots filled quickly, with students eager to experience this unique opportunity

    As student’s pulled into the lot the first thing they saw was the original Burbank animation building, built by Disney in 1935. Emerging from the garage they could see the seven dwarves looking down on them from their pillars. Security escorted them through the lot, past the water tower and the neon Disney castle sign to the theater.

    Above the entrance, a “Star Wars” banner covered an eighth of the building. Once checked in popcorn and bottled water was handed to each patron before they selected seats.

    There was a slight anticipation in the air. After all, this is the theater where animators screen future classics. This is literally where the magic happens. A smattering of applause as the projector winds up and the curtain is pulled back.

    After the film, chairs are brought out and the guest speakers begin to take questions from the audience. New York Film Academy Animation student Ala Abdelbar said, “I really wanted to see a movie on the Disney Lot,” and after the Q&A, she felt she learned a great deal about the sound design that goes into the film.

    Other students remarked at what a great opportunity the Q and A was to hear from an entire sound design team instead of just a single voice. This event was also a great networking experience since film students and professionals from all over Los Angeles were in attendance.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Disney for this opportunity.

    To learn more about “Doctor Strange” click here.

    February 3, 2017 • 3D Animation, Community Highlights • Views: 280

  • MFA Game Design Showcase at NYFA LA

    On Tuesday, January 24th, the Master of Fine Arts Game Design students held a showcase of their work at the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles Campus.

    The presentation was part of a fifteen-week course taught by Professor Scott Rogers, entitled Master Thesis Showcase. The goal was to help students learn how to promote the work they’ve created in their other classes.

    game showcase

    The class consisted of both current students and alumni. Games were designed in teams of four to nine students. Both board game and P.C. games were set up for students to test out.

    Pirates Bay is a board game in which players try to conquer lands and protect their waters from other pirates. Another game, Copper Cage, is a two player PC game. Player A is a human inside a mech suit trying to out run Player B, a battle bot with a hacksaw and a hammer.

    Students, faculty, friends, and family filled the fourth-floor lobby. Chinese food was served buffet style and tournaments began as everyone sampled games. In the center of the floor, NYFA’s Twitch team covered the event live. They played games with the creators and took questions from the at home audience.

    game showcase

    Peppered throughout the crowd were gaming professionals. Everyone from agents to game designers to producers came to see the NYFA grads. They are invited by faculty and staff to experience the students’ work first hand “We want them (students) to be proud of their achievements. This is a great opportunity for job placement and growth,” Rogers said of the experience.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank the Game Design department for putting on the showcase and the recent graduates for sharing their work. If you’d like to watch the Twitch stream you can click the link here.

    February 1, 2017 • Community Highlights, Game Design • Views: 819

  • NYFA Inspires Young Storytellers

    On Thursday, January 19th, New York Film Academy Los Angeles students teamed up with The Young Storytellers and a local elementary school. The Young Storytellers is an organization that helps students of all ages create, revise, edit, and showcase a screenplay.

    young storytellers

    For the past ten weeks, mentors for the New York Film Academy have met with ten future storytellers. The children, between the ages of eight and ten, wrote stories inspired by their best friends, little brothers, favorite films, and conquering their fears. Each story ends with a lesson they think other kids need to learn.

    In the morning the kids were introduced to a dozen NYFA actors. The actors auditioned by showing off their accents, animal impersonations, and acrobatic skills. The children handed out their scripts to their selections and gave detailed descriptions of how they originally envisioned characters.


    Students entered the auditorium on a paparazzi (made up of their mentors) lined red carpet and thunderous applause from their classmates. One by one the students presented their work to the entire student body. Before the show began each mentor explained their mentees’ journey and spoke highly of the accomplishments achieved.

    young storytellers

    Lead mentor Menno said of the experience, “We really want to make the kids feel special. We don’t do this program to get students into the Golden Globes one day. We’re here to help them become more confident and better public speakers.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank The Young Storytellers for partnering with us to complete this project. To learn more about Young Storytellers, click here.

    January 30, 2017 • Community Highlights • Views: 989

  • Jonathan Shaw Presents “Finding Noah” to NYFA LA

    shaw and barbara

    Jonathan P. Shaw with NYFA LA Chair of Documentary Barbara Multer-Wellin

    On Wednesday, Jan. 6th, Jonathan P. Shaw presented his documentary “Finding Noah” for students at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles campus. NYFA LA Chair of Documentary Barbara Multer-Wellin hosted the evening.

    Shaw has balanced a career between documentary and narrative. He is best known as an editor. His greatest hits include “Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey”, “Blue Velvet,” “Twin Peaks,” and “Disneynature: Wings of Life.”

    His latest project, “Finding Noah,” which he produced, wrote, and directed, is an intense documentary following a scientific exploration into the whereabouts of the fabled ark.

    Shaw was raised Catholic and has been fascinated by the story of the ark for years. He traced the history throughout different religious texts and oral histories. Multer-Wellin wanted to know how Shaw towed the line between controversy, faith, and telling the story.

    Before he left, Shaw had one final piece of advice for students, “I really feel blessed to do all the projects I do. It’s not like it’s not a struggle. Going freelance there’s a risk. But I’ve been able to maintain a marriage for 37 years and send two kids to college. My advice to you is just keep on going.”


    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Shaw for taking the time to speak with our students. “Finding Noah” is now available for rent on Amazon Video.

    January 17, 2017 • Documentary Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 1206

  • NYFA Volunteers for Rose Bowl Parade

    On Monday, Dec. 26th, students, faculty, and staff volunteered their time to help build the city of Burbank’s float for the Rose Bowl Parade. This year’s theme is “Home Tweet Home” and features twirling birds and fun music.

    rose bowl

    New York Film Academy members brought family and friends and lined up early to register. Everyone ages six and up were welcome to come help. Jobs ranged from painting to coating portions of the float in seeds.

    Coordinator Allyson Manno said, “It’s a huge honor to help build Burbank’s float. Not only is Burbank NYFA’s home, but they also win an award almost every year. This is a long lasting tradition. I’m excited to see NYFA take part in this great legacy.”

    An hour into volunteering and NYFA had brought more people than there were jobs. In all, 120 people showed up to represent the school in the build. Organizers of the float were so impressed they invited NYFA to come back for the official judging this Saturday, Dec. 31st.

    rose bowl

    Judges from the Rose Bowl committee will come to the build site to make sure the float follows all the rules, is in proper working order, and judge the final presentation. Those in the Los Angeles area are encouraged to come by and show their support. The moving part of the float will be active and the float’s theme music will play.

    For everyone who is bummed about missing out on volunteering, there’s no need to fear. The rest of the week is still open to volunteers. Workers will be doing construction every day from 10 AM to 10 PM.

    NYFA would like to thank the Burbank Rose Bowl committee for inviting our crew to come back for judging as well as all those who gave their time to make the float a reality.

    For a look at an album of photos of our generous volunteers, CLICK HERE.

    December 29, 2016 • Community Highlights • Views: 1372

  • NYFA LA Faculty and Staff Holiday Party

    This past week the faculty and staff at the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus held their annual holiday party with the theme of “Casino Night.” The gambling may have been pretending, but the fun was real. A photo booth, crap tables, and an ugly sweater contest were the highlights of the evening.
    holiday cheer

    Copious amounts of food including cakes and fruit lined an entire wall of the Burbank Studio. A dance floor complete with DJ kept happy feet busy all evening. The photo booth even had a gif-making feature.

    gifnyfa la partynyfa la partynyfa la gif

    “It is always nice to put on your ugly sweater and get to know the people you work with outside of a working environment,” said NYFA LA Marketing staff member Ekaterina Terekhovich. “We danced, we laughed, we got to have a fun time. I met new and interesting people from departments I don’t interact with on a regular basis. I think we should get together more often!”

    The ugly sweater contest was a huge success with many members participating. The winners were:

    1st Place – Christina Tchamkertenian (Human Resources)

    2nd Place – Travis Holder (Acting)

    3rd Place – Anthony Cook (Cine Dept. Faculty and Coordinator)

    A huge thanks is owed to the Animation Department for creating gifs of party attendees. The New York Film Academy would also like to thank all faculty and staff who made this party possible, and wish a happy holiday to all.

    December 23, 2016 • Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights • Views: 1684