Joelle Smith
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  • NYFA Covers Make-A-Film-Foundation’s Premiere of “The Black Ghiandola”

    This Saturday the New York Film Academy’s Red Carpet Team was invited to cover an exclusive event at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Filmmakers from every corner of the globe showed up for the premiere of “The Black Ghiandola,which was created by the Make-A-Film Foundation.

    make a film foundation

    The Make-A-Film Foundation is an organization, founded by NYFA alumna Tamika Lamison, that gives terminally ill children an opportunity to make a movie. Their goal is to make 50 shorts a year with hospitals, 60 children short films, and two red carpets a year.

    This first red carpet of the year highlighted filmmaker Anthony Conti; a sixteen-year-old who was diagnosed with stage 4 Adrenal Cortical Cancer. Conti took his diagnose and turned it into art. The “Black Ghiandola” is a love story set amongst a zombie apocalypse. With his entire family gone the only thing he wants to do is save the love of his life. Conti passed before the screening, but he was able to see a final cut and approved of how his vision turned out.

    make a film

    It is no surprise the film was a huge success. Directors included Sam Raimi, Catherine Hardwicke, and Ted Melfi. Appearances by Johnny Depp, Penelope Ann Miller, Richard Chamberlin, Laura Dern, David Lynch, and former NYFA guest speaker J.K. Simmons elevated the film.

    NYFA LA Red Carpet Correspondent and current student Amari Agee had the opportunity to interview Hardwicke and Miller on the carpet. Agee said of the evening, “I had a blast. I can’t wait to do it again.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Ms. Lamison for giving this incredible opportunity to our students. For the latest in red carpets and special events for all of NYFA’s campuses check us out on Snapchat.

    April 26, 2017 • Community Highlights • Views: 339

  • NYFA LA Welcomes Talent Manager Carol Brodie

    carol bodieThe New York Film Academy was thrilled to have Talent Manager Carol Bodie speak with the Acting for Film Department in Los Angeles this past week. Tova Laiter, Director of the Guest Speakers Series, hosted the evening along side NYFA Instructor Anne Moore.

    Bodie is responsible for helping guide the careers of many Hollywood elites including Jon Hamm, Jada Pinkett Smith, Joel Edgerton, Jim Sturgess, David Oyelowo, Kim Cattrall, Winona Ryder, Hailee Steinfeld, Rosie Perez, Calista Flockhart, and many others. Bodie has also produced “Girl Interrupted” and is working with many of Hollywood’s rising stars including Ruby Rose.

    Bodie kicked off the Q and A by welcoming all of her “future clients.” Bodie started her career when she moved to LA in her early twenties. She hadn’t expected to get in the entertainment industry, but all of her acting friends encouraged her to get work at an agency. When she finally found an agent she wanted to work with she realized she didn’t know what she was doing. “I literally answered the phone, ‘Hello.”

    Despite being told assistants do not get promoted it didn’t take long for Bodie to rise through the ranks. “I literally worked harder than anyone else,” she said. “I would get there at seven in the morning. Then I’d work all day. Stephen (her boss) would leave for a screening or event. He’d come back after and leave post-it notes all over my desk. So, I was working Saturdays and Sundays.”

    Bodie at NYFA LABodie had a lot of advice for her students. One insider tip is to find moments to surprise the casting director. “You have to remember Casting Directors are people too. We have bad days. We get bored.” Bodie suggests that if you’re given two scenes to read, read the second piece first. You’ll instantly have the director’s attention.

    “For actors the only thing to do is act. Do a play even if it is a small production,” Bodie suggests. “It’s all about relationships. Become friends with assistants and managers.” This way you’ll be the first to hear about all of the auditions.

    “Get out of your own head,” Bodie told the students. “Make it about the other person. By focusing on other people it relaxes you. Go to IMDb and look at what they’ve cast. They’re a person, too. They’ll want to tell you about their experience.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Ms. Bodie for taking the time to speak with our students.

    April 21, 2017 • Acting • Views: 1801

  • Roadside Attractions’ Eric d’Arbeloff Screens “Manchester by the Sea” at NYFA LA

    Students packed the Riverside Theater in Los Angeles to see one of last year’s most critically acclaimed films, “Manchester by the Sea,” and hear from one of the men who made the film possible, Co-Founder of Roadside Attractions, Eric d’Arbeloff. Roadside Attractions has released over 130 films including “Winter’s Bone,” “Love & Friendship,” “Southside with You,” “Mr. Holmes,” “Love & Mercy,” “The Cove,” “Margin Call,” “Arbitrage,” “Hello My Name is Doris,” The September Issue,” and “Mud.” Tova Laiter, Director of the New York Film Academy’s Guest Speakers Series, hosted the evening alongside NYFA Instructor Shaun Conan.

    Eric d’Arbeloff

    D’Arbeloff started by giving a little history on his company. “We are a small company focused on theatrical releasing. We’re kind of like a specialty boutique production company. We don’t do VOD releases or direct to video. We have a relatively small slate compared to some of our competitors. Typically, an IFC or Sony Picture Classics will do thirty or forty films a year. We’re more like ten or twelve films a year. From the get go the company was always designed for partnerships.”

    It was that spirit of partnership that brought Roadside Attraction to Amazon. Their first film together, “Chi-Raq,” opened to great critical acclaim. Thinking bigger has always been part of their DNA.

    Exhibition community is still establishing the rules with the rise of streaming services. Netflix, for example, likes to release everything on the same day. If you can watch it in theaters you can watch it on the app. But d’Arbeloff and Roadside believe that films like “Manchester by the Sea” wouldn’t exist without a theatrical release and critical discussion. Neither model is better, d’Arbeloff stressed. But he’s in the camp of traditional releasing.

    He explained the different aspects of his job, which include curating the right types of film. Prints and advertising budgets are a difficult challenge. One of the largest challenges is picking the right release date. Holidays, elections, award season and other film release dates all play a key factor in when a movie comes out. D’Arbeloff described this process as “reading the tea leaves.”

    During the Q and A portion one student, Theresa, asked, “Is there any advice to young filmmakers who get their shorts into festivals and are rewarded? How do we manage to transition to features from shorts? Should we wait for feedback or start on a new project?”

    Eric d’Arbeloff at NYFA LA

    “The great thing is there are multiple avenues to make a name for yourself,” d’Arbeloff replied. “I think it certainly helps if you’re a writer or someone who likes to read and is good at developing material. There was a time when I was a producer. I would go to Sundance and keep tabs on all the filmmakers. When I first started you really had to decide, ‘are you going to be in television or film? Are you interested in business or are you interested in creative?’ That’s not the case anymore. I really want to encourage you guys to try everything. There are no boundaries.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. d’Arbeloff for taking the time to speak with our students. Roadside’s latest picture by Whit Stillman (Metropolitan, Barcelona) entitled “Love & Friendship” starring Kate Beckinsale is currently available on Amazon.

    For more information on Roadside Attractions, you can click here.

    April 19, 2017 • Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 1636

  • NYFA Game Design Mentor Meetup with Aaron Pulkka

    This past week the New York Film Academy Game Department held a Game Mentor Meetup. The special event focused on the history and development of Virtual Reality. VR pioneer and NYFA Instructor Aaron Pulkka led the discussion.

    nyfa vr games

    Before the presentation, high school students hoping to attend NYFA, current NYFA students, and instructors from nearly every department gathered outside of the theater. Pizza, soda, and snacks were served. Through mouthfuls of hot cheese, participants buzzed over which VR headset was worth the price tag, which game best utilized its VR feature and whether the future of VR relied on lasers or motion capture and other topics.

    With full bellies and buzzing brains, the students filed into the Riverside theater. Pulkka spoke for over an hour giving first-hand knowledge of the rise of Virtual Reality. Pulkka worked on the “Aladdin’s Carpet Ride” at Walt Disney World in Florida, which first utilized VR in 1998, and many other groundbreaking projects.

    He also broke down the key factors of establishing a VR world. The gamer must move in the space, but space cannot come to the gamer or they will be too disoriented to keep playing. This is known as an explicit camera. Light and sound help establish where in space the gamer is supposed to be.

    pullka

    Pulkka then walked the students through the different kinds of headsets. The Play Station 4 has sold three times as many VR headsets as the next leading brands, but there’s an HDMI cable limiting the player’s movements. Google Cardboard costs anywhere from $2 to $30, but you have to have an expensive smartphone and the games are limited.

    A highlight of the night was Pulkka’s demonstration of the Microsoft Hololens augmented reality headset. He created a VR program in Unity and output it to the Hololens. He then walked around the room dropping giant 3D cubes on the audience.

    A great lesson was the difference between VR and 360-degree videos. Pulkka says, “If you can’t interact with the world it’s not VR. 360 videos, like the ones you see on YouTube or Facebook, are not considered VR.”

    After the presentation, the audience spilled into the lobby to converse about all they learned and enjoy cupcakes. A group of students was overheard excitedly chattering about their VR projects. Game students are free to explore VR in any of their Game Studio semester projects. And there is one VR class currently available documentary students with more planned in the future.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank those who participated in this exciting conversation. You can join the conversation by watching the discussion here.

    April 17, 2017 • Game Design • Views: 1578

  • International Documentary Association Virtual Reality Event at NYFA LA

    This past week the New York Film Academy sponsored a special event for members of the International Documentary Association (IDA) at the NYFA’s Los Angeles Campus. Entitled, VR 101 for Documentary, the workshop was moderated by VR Director and Cinematographer Celine Tricart and featured speakers from ground-breaking VR production company The Emblematic Group, and a VR camera demo from AbelCine, a leading provider of equipment and services to the production, broadcast and new media industries.

    IDA Event

    Virtual Reality has been threatening to conquer the gaming world for decades but new cellphone technology used with inexpensive VR viewers like the Google Cardboard have allowed for first widespread distribution of Virtual Reality projects, particularly documentaries. Platforms like the New York Times, OpDocs, Jaunt VR and Frontline VR, are releasing new material often called “immersive journalism.” The goal of NYFA’s VR Workshop was to allow IDA documentarians to “look under the hood” of VR to begin to understand what it takes to direct, produce and edit in this new medium.

    In VR and all 360-degree formats virtually all the film grammar developed over one hundred years of “flatties” or 2-dimensional films do not apply. No cutting to a close-up or a wide shot, in fact not much cutting at all for fear of inducing motion sickness in the viewer. All the “tricks” filmmakers use to direct the attention of the viewer are not possible in a 360-degree universe where the viewer decides what to look at when, and to some extent for how long.

    ida nyfa la

    Using sound and light to direct the viewer’s attention, defining the difference between 360 video and VR, and creating a new cinematic language were key talking points for the speakers. Senior Producer of The Emblematic Group Cedric Gamelin and Marketing Manager Ivana Coleman expounded on the possibilities of storytelling in this new medium, showing the audience examples of the Emblematic Group’s work in both live action and animated VR documentary shorts. Nicholas Samero and Sean George of AbelCine demonstrated a number of different VR cameras, from the 2-camera Kodak 4K 360 to the 8 -camera Nokia Ozo, and the 24-camera Jaunt VR.

    The afternoon was spent in a NYFA edit room where Tricart took participants through the post –production workflow for VR that includes downloading the media from all of the cameras, stitching the images from the various cameras together, editing scenes together, and outputting the edited media. Then each participant was able to view the VR scenes they had cut together.

    nyfa ida vr

    Barbara Multer-Wellin, Chair of Documentary for the Los Angeles campus recommend checking out the Op-Docs Video Channel, Jaunt VR, and Frontline VR to begin exploring Virtual Reality Documentaries. Multer-Wellin has already begun to include elements of VR in her classes and hopes to expand the program soon.

    When asked what she learned from the presentation Multer-Wellin said, “We (filmmakers) are used to having a lot of control. In VR, you’re giving the audience the control with the ability to make cuts themselves with their eyes. This is exciting but it is also kind of scary.” Celine Tricart said she loves VR because. “It’s like the very beginning cinema. All the rules have been thrown out the window and we’re making it up as we go along.”

    April 14, 2017 • Community Highlights, Documentary Filmmaking • Views: 1397

  • Actor Dolph Lundgren Screens “Rocky IV” at NYFA LA

    Star of “Rocky IV” and “The Expendables,” Dolph Lundgren, visited the Los Angeles campus of New York Film Academy this past week. Students from all majors filled the number twelve theater on the Warner Brothers lot. NYFA LA Admissions Director, Chris Devane hosted the evening.

    dolph lundgren

    Lundgren is well known for his roles as a karate-kicking villain in the James Bond film “A View to Kill” and He-Man in “Masters of the Universe.” Recently he’s been venturing into television. He hosted his own series “Race to the Scene.” He’s played himself in the Nickelodeon animated series “Sanjay and Craig,” and government strongman, Konstantin Kovar, in the CW’s “Arrow.”

    Devane asked a question from a student at the NYFA Australia campus. The student, Andy, asked, “What was your greatest challenge working as an actor?”

    Lundgren responded, “My greatest challenge is you want to make it fresh for yourself all the time. You have to find something fresh in the material for you to be excited about the role. I always have a secret about the character. I don’t tell anyone, not even the director. It takes something to make you excited to come to set every day.”

    One of the instructors in attendance, Aviv Rubenstein, asked, “Upon viewing this movie (“Rocky IV”) as an adult, it seems like Drago is more of a reluctant soldier. You don’t say, ‘I will break you.’ You say, ‘I must break you.’ How much of that is in the script, how much of that is in your performance, and how much of that is in the directing?”

    “You’re completely correct. Some of it was in Stallone’s script. Drago is the Frankenstein myth created by the system. Dr. Frankenstein is the bad guy and the monster is just the creation. That’s why I think this character resonates,” Lundgren said.

    lundgren at nyfa

    Lundgren also credited his dialect coach who not only helped him perfect his Russian accent but also was a Meisner trained actor. He helped Lundgren play the second level since Drago was so stoic they would have him behave embarrassed at certain lines, and these behaviors were not in the script.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Lundgren for taking the time to speak with our students. You can catch Dolph Lundgren in his upcoming films, “Nordic Light,” “Black Water,” and “Dead Trigger.” Lundgren has also recently joined Warner Bros. “Aquaman” film opposite Jason Momoa, which will be shooting at Village Roadshow Studios — where NYFA Australia Gold Coast students have the opportunity to film.

    April 13, 2017 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 1645

  • NYFA Teams up with SAG for “Make a Film a Day Workshop”

    The New York Film Academy Los Angeles campus recently teamed up with the Screen Actor’s Guild of America for a one day “Make a Film a Day Workshop” with the Actor’s Fund.

    actors fund at nyfa

    The Actors Fund is a 501© non-for-profit that supports young working actors. The idea is to socialize them beyond acting so they can be well-rounded young people outside of their profession.

    Within the Actor’s Fund is a program called Looking Ahead. The aim is to take students to colleges all over Los Angeles and New York City. When Mason Richards, Chair of Community Outreach, heard they were coming he decided to team up with Lynda Goodfriend, Chair of the Acting for Film Department and the Admissions Department, to do a little something extra for the students when they came to the New York Film Academy.

    actors fund at nyfa la

    The students spent the day learning crew roles, how to operate a camera, and how to work as a team. Acting for Film Instructor Christopher Cass led the class. Kelly Gardner, Dean of Students, spoke with the kids about finding your own personal message through storytelling. At the end of the day, we were able to view their work.

    Richards was excited about the engagement saying, “All of them were students who are working actors, but they were all interested in being on the crew. We have students who, after participating in the workshop, were signing up for school.”

    April 12, 2017 • Acting, Community Highlights • Views: 1825

  • Actress Maria Conchita Alonso Screens “The Running Man” at NYFA LA

    Maria Conchita Alonso, the Venezuelan actress with over one hundred credits to her name, brought her cult classic film “The Running Man,” co-starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, to the Los Angeles Acting for Film and Filmmaking students. Industry Q and A Director, Tova Laiter, hosted the evening.

    maria conchita alonso

    Conchita Alonso is both a very popular Latin singer and international actress. Her work on the screen includes “The House of the Spirits,” “Predator 2,” “Chicago Hope,” “Extreme Prejudice” and “Saints & Sinners.” Not content with just images, Conchita Alonso has also written lyrics and performed the vocal for a song in “Scarface.”

    She’s been honored with the Outstanding Actress in Made-for Television Movie or Mini-Series, the Pioneer Award at La Femme International Film Festival, Outstanding Performer of the Year at Nostros Golden Eagle Awards, and a Grammy nomination.

    Conchita Alonso walked onto the stage with her dog Tequila and the audience fawned appropriately. She had a lot of advice for the students. One particular piece that stands out is, “Don’t ever compare yourself with others. Just work on who you are!”

    maria conchita alonso nyfa

    At the beginning of her career she was told she could not sing, dance, act, and host. She should pick one and perfect it. By dividing her time she was weakening her shot. So, when she wanted to record Vamos A Bailar for “Scarface,” her agent suggested they submit her tape under a different name, so executives could hear her performance instead of seeing her name. It worked, of course, and an important lesson was learned: put your work forward, not your attitude. “Know you’re good, but don’t show it.”

    Vamos A Bailar eventually went to number one on the charts.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Maria Conchita Alonso for taking the time to speak with our students. You can catch Conchita Alonso in “Off the Menu,” “He Matado a Mi Marido,” and “Kill ‘Em All” out later this year.

    April 7, 2017 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 2242

  • MFA Honors Mixer at NYFA LA

    On Monday, March 13th, MFA Honors students gathered in the Riverside Building on the New York Film Academy Los Angeles campus to be recognized for their outstanding achievements. Los Angeles Director Dan Mackler and Dean of College Sonny Calderon were in attendance to speak to some of the outstanding students.

    honors mixer

    A dessert bar filled with doughnuts, cakes, and other sweets lined the walls. Students mingled around standing tables, discussing upcoming projects and doing a bit of networking. MFA student Carmen Nelson said she was delighted with the staff, stating, “It’s definitely different than my undergrad experience, and I’m so appreciative.”

    Zandi Zima, a Filmmaking student said, “We found out that we’re doing well and there’s a whole evening to celebrate us!” Her frequent collaborator, NYFA student, Roberto Jadue cut in with, “We’re spoiled.” Jadue came around saying, “No, it’s nice to know that people care about you; that your hard work is being recognized.”

    Calderon and Mackler spent the better part of the evening speaking directly with students about their expectations for upcoming assignments. When asked why he felt events such as these were important Calderon said, “I believe that what you get at NYFA as a student is more personal attention. I have seen that the people that succeed here are the ones who take advantage of these resources. Events like this help make sure that our wonderful students know they can come to us for help.”

    In his speech to the students at the end of the night, Mackler said, “You guys represent us very well. I’ve given all of you my card. E-mail me. I want to hear from you guys. I’m always dealing with little fires that have to be put out. I want to hear from great students. I want you guys to take advantage of the resources we can give you now and after graduation. I’m happy to help in any way.”

    The New York Film Academy applauds the hard work of the Honor Students enrolled in the Masters Program. We look forward to seeing their next great work.

    April 4, 2017 • Community Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 1294

  • Juanjo Gimenez Screens Palm d’Or Winning Short “Timecode” at NYFA LA

    Juanjo Gimenez brought his Oscar-nominated and Palm d’Or winning short “Timecode” to the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus. The writer and director stayed after the screening to discuss his short shoot schedule, the difference between features and shorts, and what he has planned for the future.

    Juanjo Gimenez

    Gimenez has been working in the film industry for over twenty years. Highlights of his career include “Tilt,” “Maxima Pena,” and “Esquivar y Pegar.” His experience in film isn’t limited to writing and directing. Editor, Cinematographer, Actor, Producer and Sound are all titles Gimenez has held on various sets making him a true student of cinema.

    NYFA students were thrilled to discuss the short turn around of “Timecode.” Gimenez informed the crowd that from concept to sale, to the final shoot day, was only fourteen days. Developed with a local university Gimenez instituted cost saving measures to bring the film in at cost.

    Using students as part of the crew offered an educational experience. The garage in which the film was shot was offered to them for free. Gimenez didn’t go into detail about how, but he was able to get a RED Dragon for almost nothing. The monitors through which the security guards watch one another are the same monitors on which “Timecode” was edited.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Gimenez for taking the time to speak with our students. You can learn more about Gimenez and follow his creative journey by clicking here.

    March 28, 2017 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 1261