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  • Former NYFA Student Publishes “Sociedad En El Diván: Una Década en Los Medios”

    Three years after the publication of his theoretical framework “Crëative Synapse: Create.your.Universe” and parallel with his full celebration of a decade in media, former New York Film Academy Acting for Film student, Dr. Ariel Orama López (AG Orloz), published his new book “Sociedad En El Diván: Una Década en Los Medios.” His contributions as a media psychologist, artist and performance coach, and professional actor have been immortalized on Telemundo, WAPA, Freemantle Media, Piccolo Universe by Ricky, TISOC Barcelona, PsicoPediaHoy Colombia, JWT Agency and Fundación Mi Sangre of the Colombian artist Juanes.

    Sociedad En El Diván: Una Década en Los Medios

    AG was selected as a finalist of the Telemundo: Actors Workshop in Miami directed by well-known Mexican actress Adriana Barraza (nominated for an Oscar for her role in “Babel”) and performed as Performance and Creative Life Coach for the reality show “Idol Kids Puerto Rico.” He will soon be returning to the screen in the experimental and artistic film “Etreum,” co-directed by the well-known distinguished actress, Idalia Pérez Garay, and the respected director, Vicente Juarbe.

    AG is an active member of the Puerto Rican Actors and Actresses Organization (Colegio de Actores de Puerto Rico), has been participated as a juror of the PEN CLUB OF PUERTO RICO, was quoted by one of his texts at the distinguished Spanish University Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and has been highlighted as an author in the collective book “Communication and Education: Strategies of Media Literacy,” at Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona. He received multiple awards for his contributions in sciences, humanities and arts.

    AG Orloz will also be acting in an upcoming web series, a new short film, and as a co-producer of a new reality web series with the finalist of Telemundo GRAN HERMANO USA, Jommart Rivera.

    As a composer, AG was one of the three winners of Festival International de la Voz y la Canción in Miami, and was selected as a jury member in the next event on November 2017.

    February 24, 2017 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 460

  • NYFA Student, Actress & Producer Daniela Lavender Takes Part in Sundance “Women in Film” Panel

    Daniela LavenderBorn in Bahia, Brazil, Daniela Lavender has been training and pursuing the arts since the age of eight years old. She began by exploring ballet, jazz, contemporary dance, and eventually stepped into acting and the performing arts. Her theatre credits include British Shakespeare company production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” playing Hippolyta and Titania and a one woman show, “A Woman Alone” written by Dario Fo. From there she went on to appear in film and TV series, including the independent film “Emotional Backgammon,” where she was awarded Best Actress at the Denver Film Festival.

    Lavender is also taking on the role of producer, and currently attends the Producing School at New York Film Academy Los Angeles. As Vice President of Lavender Pictures Productions, which she co-owns with her husband, her company has produced “A Birder’s Guide to Everything,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival 2013 and was awarded the Heineken first runner up audience award; “Learning to Drive” directed by Isabel Coxiet, which won the Audience Award at Provincetown Film festival; “An Ordinary Man” directed by Brad Silberling; and “Backstabbing for Beginners” directed by Per Fly, which will be released in 2017. Lavender Pictures is currently developing “Cousin Bazilio,” a 6 part mini-series; “TAJ,” an 8 part mini-series; and “Jutland,” a futuristic war drama.

    Recently, Lavender was invited to take part in a panel at the the Sundance Film Festival, which focused on Women in Film. We asked her about her involvement in the panel and her career.

    Can you tell us about your experience at this year’s Sundance?

    I much preferred my second visit to Sundance because I felt empowered. On my first visit I accompanied my husband on his press junket, so I only saw one aspect of Sundance; through an actor’s point of view and someone accompanying an actor.

    This time I went with a group of producers and filmmakers and Sundance was a different experience. I had been invited to participate in the ‘Women in Film’ panel and so I had a function that I was excited about.

    As I was there on my own, people didn’t know anything about me apart from the fact that I had a production company and was taking part in the panel. No one googled me — we didn’t google each other! So I felt that my first interactions with people were truly fresh; uncluttered by the projections that research and misinformation can so often bring.

    But what was most important for me, what made my stay so enjoyable and productive, was that I went empowered by knowledge. For the first time, instead of thinking of how I’m perceived or whether I’m being accepted or all these ego driven thoughts we invariably conjure up in situations like this, I was able to listen because I had knowledge; I knew why I was there and what I had to offer. That knowledge had been enhanced by my joining the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles.

    sundance panel

    How did you become involved with the “Women in Film” panel?

    I met an entertainment lawyer who had been running panels at Sundance and Cannes for the past 15 years. He was a guest speaker at NYFA and my class was fortunate to attend his talk. This was part of the producer’s department programs. After class I contacted him with a question. We talked and, as by then I had been at NYFA for three months and had acquired knowledge, our talk was interesting. He felt that his women’s panel could benefit from what I had to say, so off I went.

    What do you believe was the most important topic of the panel?

    This year Sundance happened at the time of a controversial election and it became very clear to me that the most important topic of the event was knowledge. Emotions were running high and it became evident that if you don’t have knowledge to guide your emotions, passions, even love, will hinder your goals, your effectiveness.

    The more I listened to the women around me the more I was certain that what made them succeed wasn’t that they aggressively fought or protested for their place (even though some might believe so). All the successful women I came across were successful because they were outstanding at what they did. Yes, the fight for women’s rights is important as women have been discriminated against in the past, and still have room to progress until they are treated equally in every area of society, but nowadays we all have opportunities, and the most powerful way to succeed is to be great at what you do. To be the most efficient person in the room. Period. Because great skill is irresistible. Many producers and filmmakers I saw had projects they were passionate about. ‘My passion project’ as’ we say… But then distributers turn to them and say ‘well, but it’s not mine.’ One needs more than passion.

    Do you feel there has been any progress over the last few years in terms of equality for women in film?

    Yes there has been. I still wish to see more female directors. I’m looking for one right now for our TV miniseries, but there has been. The head of the panel mentioned that in his last film 90% of his crew were women. That wouldn’t have happened in the past. I see the world as a much more competitive arena today. The standards are higher, and I believe that isn’t so much about gender or race, I believe that it’s about who is the best at what they do. Who has work ethic versus who is lazy.

    When you ‘play out there with the big guns’ we see fewer nice people and more effective people. To me real kindness is to strive to be good at what you commit yourself to do, and I’m learning that. How good and ambitious you are at your job in the film business is crucial, because the film is like a chain and if one link is weak the film will suffer.
    So the weak link has no place. The one who wants to be nice and not do the work has to go. And the generous ones, the ones who give themselves to the job, the ones who care, they will have a great chance out there if that is their destiny. So for women (as for everyone else), these are great times.

    Aside from producing. You’re also an actress. As an actress in today’s world, what would be your ideal role?

    My ideal role would be a revolutionary social worker with a military background. This woman would restructure the foster care system and children wouldn’t be left in the care of the abusers. This woman would be a strong, lean machine, intelligent and have zero tolerance for child abuse. She would also operate undercover to rescue victims of child trafficking. She would be a kick ass. Like a Navy SEAL. She wouldn’t be upbeat or nice, on the contrary, she would be moody but deeply compassionate. She would also have a dynamic romantic life; she’d like boyfriends and girlfriends alike.

    Can you tell us a little bit more about the projects you’re currently working on?

    Our company has two TV miniseries and a war film in development. I’m in talks regarding a third TV mini series, but it’s in the very early stages. I’m also shooting two films as an actress, one in March called “Nomis” and another one in April called “Intrigo” directed by Daniel Alfredson (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Trilogy).

    February 21, 2017 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 785

  • NYFA Produced Movie Musical “Streetwrite” Introduced at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

    The Musical Theatre Conservatory at the New York Film Academy (NYFA) is one of the only musical theatre programs in the world that teaches both musical theatre for the stage and film.

    Blanche Baker

    Blanche Baker

    A recent prime example is “Streetwrite,” written and directed by Blanche Baker, an Emmy Award winning actress and Senior Faculty member of the New York Film Academy, and shot by Piero Basso, an award-winning Director of Photography. The film was fully funded by NYFA, with an international cast of talented Musical Theatre students working alongside NYFA’s faculty and staff of professional artists.

    This Feb. 14, 2017, “Streetwrite” was introduced at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Bonnie Sacerdote Lecture Hall. The introduction included a screening of the trailer, followed by a 20-minute performance work by Artists Fighting Fascism: Rebecca Goyette, Brian Andrew Whiteley and Kenya (Robinson).

    Opening remarks were given by International Institute for Conservation (IIC) Council Member, Amber Kerr and introductions by Moderator, Rebecca Rushfield. IIC is an independent international organization supported by individual and institutional members. It serves as a forum for communication among professionals with responsibility for the preservation of cultural heritage. It advances knowledge, practice and standards for the conservation of historic and artistic works through its publications and conferences. It promotes professional excellence and public awareness through its awards and scholarships.

    “We were thrilled that the New York Film Academy and Blanche Baker allowed the International Institute for Conservation to open its Feb. 14, 2017 colloquium, held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with a showing of the trailer for the NYFA Musical Theater film ‘Streetwrite,’ said Rebecca Rushfield, IIC Conference Organizer. “With an explosion of sound, movement, and color, “Streetwrite” set the context for the discussion that followed, demonstrating how art is created as an expression of protest or outrage.”

    blanche at the met

    Political graffiti has a long history dating back to the walls of Ancient Rome. It represents an alternative means of expression that gives voice to the issues and concerns of the common people. This tradition of free expression forms the basis of “Streetwrite,” a movie musical that asks the question, “How can speech be free if only those who pay can speak?”

    Using street art as a focal point, the film examines the various ways people struggle to express themselves in situations where free speech is curtailed or suppressed. It also explores how certain kinds of expression can be repressive to individuals.

    “Streetwrite’ will have its public world-premiere at The Cutting Room (44 East 32nd Street, NYC 10016) on Sunday, March 12th from 2pm-4pm. It will also have its East Coast Premiere at The Queens World Film Festival on Sunday, Mar. 19 in the Zukor Theatre at Kaufman Astoria Studios. The film has also been accepted to screen at Cinémonde, a private film series at the Roger Smith Hotel in NYC.

    February 20, 2017 • Acting, Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights, Musical Theatre • Views: 1808

  • NYFA Grad’s “Like Father, Like Son” Wins Best Short at NYC Indie Film Awards

    Like Father, Like SonBorn in Manila, Philippines, Heinrik Caesar Matias flew to New York City in 2016 to study filmmaking at the New York Film Academy. Matias says he is passionate in acting, and creating realistic and immersive stories with characters that the audience can connect to. His passion and determination led him to create the award-winning film, “Like Father, Like Son,” while attending NYFA.

    His film received “Best Short Film” nominations at film festivals all over the world, including Chandler International Film Festival (USA), Los Angeles CineFest (USA), Barcelona Planet Film Festival (Spain), MedFF (Italy), and Feel The Reel International Film Festival (UK). It won the Gold Award for Best Short Film at the NYC Indie Film Awards.

    “The experience I had, and the lessons I learned from the New York Film Academy were all applied in the making of this film,” said Matias. “It had to be or there was no way this film could have been made given the conditions we faced. I never had any experience in filmmaking prior to NYFA and, I will admit, it was very difficult. We didn’t have a big budget plus there were only four crew members, including me as the director, and three cast members. We all had to work twice as hard. It was very draining and it was a very challenging time for all of us, but we all felt like this was a story that needed to be told. I was lucky that I had a very professional crew and a talented cast that were all patient with me and the film during its production.”

    The short film is a psychological drama that explores the dark natures of depression and how it can even affect the people around the person who’s depressed. After 20 years, Charles, an unemployed alcoholic, finally reunites with his absentee father. The two of them soon realize that the apple does not fall far from the tree.

    “Many people fail to see the magnitude of depression and it is very often dismissed as ‘all in your head,’ but I believe that this is a real thing, and it is a serious matter that must be dealt with,” says Matias.
    heinrik caesar matias

    According to the Word Health Organization, as of 2016, depression is the most prevalent mental illness with 350 million cases worldwide and, if left untreated, can often lead to suicide.

    While Matias also continues to focus on his acting career, he’s currently working on two different projects — a short story that he hopes to film this year and his first feature film screenplay.

    February 17, 2017 • Acting, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1417

  • NYFA Acting for Film Alumnus Stars in “Life According to Saki” at 4th Street Theatre

    life according to sakiTom Machell is an actor, writer and comedy performer originally from the UK who decided to attend the New York Film Academy’s Acting for Film program for the school’s hands-on approach. “There is no school in the UK that offers as much on screen time as NYFA,” said Machell.

    Machell is part of the award-winning comedy team zazU, a group that has had sell out runs at the Soho Theatre and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and are currently developing their work for television and radio.

    As an actor, Machell has worked in the UK, Europe and the USA and can currently be seen in feature film “Dinosaur Hunter” starring Jenny Agutter and shorts “Litterbugg” “Sticky” and “Die Agentin,” which have been screened at the BFI and the Berlin Film Festival respectively.  Tom is currently filming the BBC Television Movie “Babs.” His theatre credits include New York City’s Shakespeare in the Parking Lot playing Antipholus E in “The Comedy of Errors,” “The Love and Devotion of Ridley Smith” at the Old Red Lion Theatre, London, and three runs of Guinness World Record holding comedy show, “News Revue,” which he also writes for.

    tom machellMachell is now making his Off Broadway Debut in the award-winning play, “Life According To Saki.” The play’s life began at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival and was the winner of the Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award. It is the debut play of award-winning author Katherine Rundell and will play at The New York Theatre Workshop at the 4th Street Theatre in Manhattan until March 6th.

    “Life According to Saki” is inspired by the life and short stories of British satirist Hector Hugh Munro, nicknamed “Saki.” We meet Saki in November 1916 at the Battle of the Somme, where he and his fellow soldiers bear witness to a world turned on its head. Their only refuge is the fantastical world of the imagination — Saki’s world.

    Each actor has multiple roles in the play. Machell’s main character, Walter Spikesman, is Saki’s right-hand-man in the trenches.

    “My NYFA training really helped me in the rehearsal room, as there was a lot of devising and focus needed to make the piece,” said Machell. “During my training we had a lot of improvisation training, which hugely aided in creating the multitude of characters that I needed to create for the play. Also, by having such an international class, I was able to pick up numerous helpful accents along the way.”

    “Life According to Saki” is now playing at the 4th Street Theatre until March 5, 2017. For tickets and information, please CLICK HERE.

    February 14, 2017 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 964

  • A Look Back at The 48th NAACP Image Awards

    The 48th NAACP Image Awards — which are presented by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to honor people of color in entertainment — were held this past Saturday night, Feb. 11, 2017, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California.

    Denzel Washington won an award for best movie actor for his role in “Fences,” the adaptation of August Wilson’s play, which Washington also directed.

    “It is a privilege, an honor, a responsibility, a duty and a joy to bring his brilliance to the screen,” Washington said of the late Wilson, whom he called among America’s greatest playwrights. Last month, the New York Film Academy welcomed one of Washington’s co-stars, Russell Hornsby, who also praised the late playwright for being so influential on his career. “Wilson forced actors to bring their authentic self,” Hornsby said to a room full of NYFA students. “You bring your pain [to the role].”

    One of the big winners of the evening was “black-ish,” the TV sitcom came close to sweeping its categories, taking the award for best TV comedy and stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross getting top acting trophies. In non-televised awards given Friday, the show earned honors for co-stars Laurence Fishburne and Marsai Martin and a writing trophy for creator Kenya Barris. “The People Vs O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” also cleaned up the television comedy and drama categories with three wins, though newcomer Queen Sugar was recognized as the best drama series. Interesting note: NYFA Instructor Ken Lerner played attorney Howard Weitzman in “The People Vs O.J. Simpson” —the lawyer who is ultimately replaced by attorney Robert Kardashian, played by David Schwimmer.

    Hidden Figures

    American musical recording artist, actress, and model Janelle Monáe, left, American actress and singer Taraji P. Henson, American actor, film director, and producer Kevin Costner, and American actress Octavia Spencer arrive on the red carpet for the global celebration of the film “Hidden Figures” at the SVA Theatre, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016 in New York. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

    However, the directing award went to Donald Glover for his hit comedy series “Atlanta,” which also won a Golden Globe earlier this year. “Hidden Figures” and Taraji P. Henson were also winners, as the fact-based drama about the contributions of black female mathematicians to the U.S. space program won the award for best movie, while star Henson was honored as best actress.

    Beyoncé dominated the music categories with five wins, including Outstanding Female Artist and Outstanding Album for Lemonade.

    Back in the film world, “Moonlight” ran away with four awards including Outstanding Independent Motion Picture and two writing and directing wins for Barry Jenkins.

    “Queen Sugar,” created by filmmaker Ava DuVernay, was named best drama series, and “This Is Us” star Sterling K. Brown claimed the award for best TV drama series actor.

    Lonnie G. Bunche III received the NAACP President’s Award for his work as founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

    Last but not least, the popular wrestler turned actor, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, was named entertainer of the year in online voting. Last year, one of our Acting for Film graduates appeared in a video with Johnson, promoting his new Youtube channel.

    February 13, 2017 • Entertainment News • Views: 1079

  • NYFA Student’s Film “Dr. Elevator” Selected to 32 Film Festivals

    Born and raised in Bhopal, India, Kartikye Gupta always longed to entertain and inspire people’s lives. “I think, before going and making a film, film education is very essential, so when I finished my high school, New York Film Academy was always on the top of my list,” says Gupta, who is a BFA Filmmaking student at NYFA Los Angeles. “It’s the most hands-on film school, the student gets to write, direct and edit a short film every week, which made me get better and better. More importantly, the school provides an opportunity to interact from different professionals from all over the world and to learn more about different cultures and filmmaking styles from around world.”

    gupta

    Gupta has a firm belief that a film should be a medium of entertainment, where one creates an environment for the audience to forget all their problems and fully enjoy.

    His most recent film, “Dr. Elevator,” was officially selected in 32 film festivals for Best Short Film and screened in major cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, New Orleans, Wellington, Punjab, Queensland, Phoenix, Idyllwild and Copenhagen. The short film takes place in a trapped elevator, where a woman goes into labor, forcing an Indian mathematician with Asperger’s to rise to the occasion and deliver the baby.

    “When Cody Smart, NYFA MFA Screenwriting alumnus, narrated the story, I instantly loved the characters,” said Gupta. “It has a very simple, funny conflict with very interesting characters meeting at the same time. I trusted my actors, gave them a lot of freedom, but still told them what I needed; and they did a great job.”

    dr. elevator

    “I am honored to be a student at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles,” he says. “My lifelong dream of becoming a filmmaker is moving forward, thanks to a generous college like yours. Being a film student at New York Film Academy was a great advantage for me to produce, shoot and edit this film. I used to get notes, feedbacks from my screenwriting and directing instructors on the script, and the film when it was completed, which helped me to make it better and better.”

    Gupta hopes to get “Dr. Elevator” on Amazon in order to reach a larger audience. He’s currently editing another short film, which he directed last year, and intends on submitting it to top tier film festivals.

    February 13, 2017 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 3571

  • NYFA Student’s “Soul” Screening at Berlin International Film Festival

    pedro peiraThe Berlin International Film Festival is underway, and we’re thrilled to see New York Film Academy Los Angeles Fulbright student Pedro Peira is Executive Producer of the documentary film “Soul,” which will be screening at the festival this Sunday, Feb. 12 and Monday, Feb. 13.

    The Spanish documentary, from filmmakers José Antonio Blanco and Ángel Parra, focuses on Eneko Atxa, a three Michelin star chef who runs a restaurant complex near Bilbao in the Basque region. His exploration of the “soul” of cooking has him traveling to famous colleagues in Catalonia and Japan. Throughout the documentary, some of the most relevant personalities of international gastronomy such as Michael Ellis, manager of the Michelin guide, or Joël Robuchon, the chef with the most Michelin stars in the world, take us into the secrets and the vicissitudes of a profession based on effort, which is continually being reinvented and requires huge sacrifices.

    pedro peira
    “What I’ve mainly learned from NYFA is to be able to tell stories,” said Peira. “Of course I’ve learned about image and sound, which are also important, but being able to include some kind of drama in a story stands out above the rest. As a matter of fact, during the final editing process of ‘Soul’ I would call the director while he was editing the film and, after watching the cuts together, he applied what I was discovering at NYFA. I think is has helped the film.”

    “SOUL” Trailer from Festimania Pictures on Vimeo.

    “Even though I’ve just finished my first semester at NYFA, I’ve felt an evolution in my work,” added Peira. “When I arrived, my approach to documentary was an informational one. After screening my final project of the semester, I felt that I had started to be able to generate emotions. When people laugh or cry when watching your films, you know you have been doing something right.”

    For tickets and more information on “Soul” and its screening at the Berlin Film Festival, CLICK HERE.

    February 10, 2017 • Documentary Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2148

  • NYFA Industry Lab Films Nigerian TV Pilot

    Industry Lab partnered with Nigerian filmmaker Francis Ukpolo on the production of Ankara Nation, a series focused on the African textile industry. Francis is best known for being the face of Ankara Festival 2016, a festival created to increase the visibility of African culture through fashion, art, music, dance and food.

    nyfa industry lab

    The New York Film Academy’s Industry Lab current students and alumni filmed the pilot episode of the show which features Duain Richmond, who portrays the Nigerian hero Fela on Jay Z, Will and Jada Smith’s broadway show “Fela! on Broadway.” NYFA alumnus Olamide Oladimeji was the Director of Photography.

    Also making an appearance on Ankara Nation are Linda Omeni and Corey Harris, the founders of MIDGETgiraffe, an extremely popular e-commerce site for African fashion. Ankara Nation was written by Rolake Balogun, a Columbia College Chicago graduate who previously wrote for popular bloggers Afrobella and Luvvie Ajayi.

    nyfa nigerian

    “I wanted to give a voice to not only young entrepreneurs but creatives with a completely unique look on life,” said Rolake.

    The project is currently in post-production and will be submitted to various film festivals upon completion.

    February 9, 2017 • Community Highlights • Views: 1367

  • NYFA Holds “Directing the Scene” Master Class in London

    This past Sunday, Feb. 5, New York Film Academy conducted a Master Class in Filmmaking at the Historic ARTS Theatre in London’s West End.

    whittaker

    Jonathan Whittaker, Chair of Short-term Filmmaking at New York Film Academy

    Taught by Jonathan Whittaker, Chair of the Short-term Intensive Programs at NYFA, the event welcomed filmmakers and performing artists not just from the London area, but from all over Europe.

    With over fifteen years of experience in the film industry—having produced, directed and lensed short films, music videos, live concerts, commercials, TV shows, features, docs, virtual reality experiences and 3D specials—Whittaker’s “Directing the Scene” Master Class enlightened attendees on how to properly break down a scene and take it from the page to the screen.

    Through a lecture that included film clips and anecdotes from films such as Martin Scorsese’s iconic boxing masterpiece “Raging Bull,” and Steven Speilberg’s classic hit “Jaws,” the two-hour Master class highlighted how the filmmaker identifies the purpose of the scene and fits it into the larger whole, designates point of view and designs shots that communicate POV to the audience. Additionally, the lecture explained how the director determines the visual elements that comprise the metaphor, as well as how he or she uses pacing to create tension in the film.

    “Not only was there a great turnout, the participant engagement and thoughtful feedback made this a successful workshop,” said Whittaker.

    The Master Class was very well received by aspiring artists and perspective students. We hope to see some of the individuals again at one of our many locations around the world.

    February 9, 2017 • Community Highlights, Road Show • Views: 846