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  • NYFA Welcomes VR Software Architect Chris Bobotis

    Last week, the New York Film Academy welcomed well-known VR artist, Chris Bobotis, to speak to students in our new VR program.

    chris bobotis

    Bobotis is the Co-Founder and 360/VR Software Architect at Mettle, which introduced 360/VR plugins that have been widely adopted by leading companies world-wide, such as The New York Times, Time, CNN, HBO, Google, youtube, Discovery VR, DreamWorks TV, National Geographic, USA Today, LinkedIn, The Ellen Show, BuzzFeed, Conan 360, Framestore, Google, Jaunt VR, GreenPeace, Care, UBER, RYOT, Huffington Post, Washington Post, Apple, and Facebook. Independent filmmakers and youtubers have also widely adopted the toolset available through Mettle, shaping the content that is available through YouTube, FaceBook, Samsung, and other 360/VR viewers.

    Founded in Montreal as a production studio by Chris Bobotis and Nancy Eperjesy in 1992, the team of artists and programmers who have consistently embraced art and tech, and pushed forward the notion of empowering artists with digital tools, developing software by artists for artists.

    Chris Bobotis

    Drawing on a vast experience of production and post-production workflows, Bobotis leads the development of all Mettle software. SkyBox 360/VR plugins are the most complete set of Cinematic 360/VR production tools available for Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro, and include a VR Player for Oculus RIFT.

    Chris generously spent a couple of hours lecturing on the theory of creating successful VR experiences, as well as demonstrating very practical how-to lessons with the software, which is used in the NYFA VR classrooms.

    At the end of the event, Bobotis offered an award to the best student VR project. Stay tuned!

    March 24, 2017 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 1257

  • NYFA Acting for Film Alumna’s “Frisky” Gets Distribution from Gravitas

    friskyShot on a mere five thousand dollars, 8-Week Acting for Film alumna Claudia Pickering’s film, “Frisky,” was recently digitally released by Gravitas — which happens to be the same distribution company who distributed her former NYFA instructor, Adam Nimoy’s Spock documentary — in the US and Canada.

    The Sydney-born filmmaker began her foray into filmmaking through acting, which led to creating comedy sketches, short films and webseries’, the first of which was a music video titled “Sebring,” which included Danny Trejo, who choreographed and performed a synchronized dance for the clip.

    “Acting and directing involves a lot of switching between head spaces, and a lot of trust in your cast and crew,” says Pickering. “Having a very intimate understanding of each scene really helped the process of going between ‘acting’ and ‘directing’ modes. As an actor, I could feel when we had hit the right emotional moments in each scene, but the issue was, I couldn’t see whether we’d nailed the shot. Fortunately, I had a wonderful relationship with our cinematographer, Christiana Charalambous, and trusted her that when she said she got the shot, we were clear to move on.”

    Pickering has now written and produced two feature length films, ‘Frisky’ and ‘Winning Formula‘, of which she directed the former, and both have received international festival success including Official Selection at the Chicago Comedy Film Festival, Best Feature Film at the 10th Broad Humor Film Festival in Los Angeles, Best Comedy Feature at the Atlanta Underground Film Festival and the Director’s Choice for Best Feature Film at the Austin Revolution Film Festival. Pickering won the 2015 Tropfest Tropvine competition with a stop motion animation of a giraffe telling a dad joke, and regularly creates sketches with her comedy troupe, Frothpocalypse. She is currently developing several projects through her company, Cliff House Productions.

    Frisky

    “My experience at NYFA LA was nothing short of life-changing,” said Pickering. “With incredible teachers such as Adam Nimoy, the course not only taught great acting techniques and theory, but also gave me a solid practical and theoretical foundational understanding of filmmaking. Additionally, I met some wonderful lifelong friends, one of whom, Anna Bennett, I went on to form a comedy production company with.”

    Her most recent film, “Frisky,” involves two young women who move back to San Francisco, where they had met on exchange years earlier. However, their high career aspirations quickly become sidelined by their sexual interests. While wildly crass and charismatic in their public personas, they are in fact fundamentally at odds on many levels. Their opposing beliefs surrounding responsibility and romance, combined with their close quarters while crashing in an acquaintance’s living room, find them thrust onto a fast track to discovering what their friendship is really made of. Based on true events, “Frisky” is an honest, tongue-in-cheek look at what it is to be a woman in the limbo years between college and “the real world.”

    “The film is based on my real life experiences moving from Sydney to Los Angeles — the first and most emotionally potent time was for NYFA — then from LA to San Francisco,” says Pickering. “The emotions, the the friendships, the flings, the near-misses, and the life-long lasting love for people and places. I was living in San Francisco, waiting for another feature film, ‘Winning Formula,’ to go through post production in LA. I was working as an architect to earn some money, but was really becoming disillusioned by the whole profession as I’d sit at my desk and fantasize about stories I’d like to make into movies. One night, I was invited to attend the test screening of a film that a friend of a friend had made on virtually no budget with a six month turn-around. The film was such a joy to watch — so honest and funny — and had been shot on a DSLR camera just like one I already owned and I thought to myself, ‘I can do that.’ I checked my savings account balance that night, quit my job the next day and started writing ‘Frisky'”

    For more information about how to download or stream, “Frisky,” please visit the website at friskymovie.com.

    March 24, 2017 • Acting, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 823

  • NYFA Musical Theatre Alumna Stars in “The Little Mermaid” Musical in São Paulo

    ana luisa pretoAfter graduating from the New York Film Academy, Musical Theatre alumna Anna Luisa Preto returned to her home country of Brazil where she was cast to play the Little Mermaid in “The Little Mermaid: The Musical.” The musical’s first season was at Teatro das Artes in São Paulo, and is now playing at “Teatro Jardim Sul,” also in São Paulo.

    “I have always loved musical theatre, and when I saw the opportunity of auditioning for NYFA’s Musical Theatre program, I was immediately interested,” said Preto. “After researching about the course, the place and the professionals involved I fell completely in love! NYFA has changed the way I approach and study a song or a scene. With what I learned there, I have much more material to work on the performances.”

    Preto says the Little Mermaid was a very special character in her life as a child, especially being a redhead. “It was one of those stories that you do not think will happen to you…until it happens,” she recalls. “I didn’t know about the auditions, in fact, I lived in another city during that period. A friend that I hadn’t spoken for a long time had moved to São Paulo and sent his material to this musical and in the middle of the material was a duet that we recorded when we studied together. The production saw the material and decided to look for me! I almost did not believe it when I saw the producer’s message calling me audition for the mermaid in São Paulo. In the end, I went to do the test and, on the same day, I received the answer that changed the course of my life at that moment.” She became the Little Mermaid.

    ana luisa preto

    Since graduating, Preto has also performed as the character of Cassie with the Company Project Broadway in Highlights of Chorus Line at the “Teatro Guaíra,” in Curitiba.

    “My goal is always to overcome myself,” she says. “Learn something new with each class, or work and be able to put it into practice. I have no idea what my next character will be, but I look forward to more of this amazing world of musicals!”

    March 23, 2017 • Musical Theatre, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1326

  • NYFA Movie Musical “Streetwrite” Premieres at The Cutting Room

    On Sunday, March 12, one of the New York Film Academy’s newest movie musicals, “Streetwrite,” held a very well attended premiere screening at The Cutting Room in Manhattan. The film was 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 performers in the film consisted of an international cast of talented Musical Theatre students working alongside NYFA’s faculty and staff of professional artists.
    streetwrite

    Using street art as a focal point, Baker’s 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.

    Following The Cutting Room screening, there was an engaging panel discussion, which included David Klein, NYFA’s Senior Executive Vice President; Issues of freedom of expression in film, journalism and the world of academia were explored by J. R. Brandstrader, a veteran print and broadcast journalist; Deborah Carroll, executive producer at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs; Blaze Coyle, filmmaker, focused on women and social justice; and Christa Salamander, Syrian media specialist and Associate Professor of Anthropology at Lehman College whose current book project is on the Syrian TV drama industry.

    streetwrite team

    For those who were unable to attend The Cutting Room premiere, there are a few more festival screenings to come.

    The RiverRun Festival, based in Winston-Salem, NC, will be holding a screening on Saturday, April 1. After the screening there will be a talkback moderated by the producer, Dale Pollack.

    Cinemonde, the private film series at the Roger Smith Hotel, will be screening the film on April 5 at 7pm.

    “Streetwrite” will then screen at the Manhattan Film Festival on FridayApril 21 at Cinema Village and at the NYC Indie Film Festival on Friday, May 5 at The Producer’s Club.

    For a look at more photos from The Cutting Room premiere, visit our Official Facebook Album.

    March 22, 2017 • Acting, Community Highlights, Musical Theatre • Views: 314

  • NYFA Grad’s “The Dawn” to Screen at Kuwait Film Festival

    The DawnKuwaiti filmmaker and New York Film Academy alumnus Yousef Al-Qenaei’s short film, “The Dawn,” was very well received at the ADASA Festival and is due to screen at the Kuwait Film Festival soon, and possibly play in local Kuwaiti movie theaters thereafter.

    His film is about a young boy, Bader, who wants to go fishing with his father. The father, unfortunately, has to cancel the trip due to a work commitment, which leads Bader and his friends on an adventure to find out what it is that the father actually does.

    Al-Qenaei had a chance to talk with us about his film and his experience as a filmmaker in Kuwait.

    What brought you to NYFA, and what led you into filmmaking in the first place?

    I’ve always had a passion for film and theatre. My childhood was spent on stage, and therefore the performing arts were always something I was fond of. After a while, I began writing plays as opposed to acting in them. I found a joy in that. Film was a new medium for me. It involved less dialogue and more to show. It was a challenge I was keen on exploring. NYFA was on the top of my list, and it being in NYC, a hub for creatives, made it all the better.

    What is the current filmmaking scene like in Kuwait?

    Kuwait has always been one of the strongest in the region when it comes to the arts. True, there was a period were things became idle and a lack of interest in the industry was prevalent. But now, the means in which a person is able to broadcast their work are a lot more accessible. Therefore, talent is being recognized and the scene is more inspiring now than ever.

    Did you shoot this film during or after NYFA?

    After my time at NYFA. I actually met with members of the Ministry of Youth Affairs of Kuwait whilst in NYC, at a conference for Kuwaiti students abroad. They asked me to submit a storyline for a short film that I had written, in the hopes that the Ministry may fund it. And they did, which was lovely.

    Would you say your NYFA experience was useful in terms of being able to create this film?

    Most definitely. I did an 8-week screenwriting course at NYFA. Before then, my comprehension of story structure and screenplays in general were terribly primitive. So much so that I had never been able to actually complete a screenplay before the course. The instructors and students also helped me with my biggest challenge whilst writing: making it more about showing the emotion than having the characters speak it.

    Kuwaiti filmmaker and New York Film Academy alumnus Yousef Al-Qenaei

    Kuwaiti filmmaker and New York Film Academy alumnus Yousef Al-Qenaei

    Have you screened this film elsewhere, or will you be in the future?

    This is the first official, public screening for the film. It is due to be screened at a few more soon, and then maybe into our local theaters here in Kuwait.

    What do you hope to achieve with this film?

    The most gratifying thing for me is when people watch films coming out of Kuwait and are proud that these are local productions. There’s definitely a stigma here, that all works of television or film are mainly social dramas that tend to highlight the negatives of society. We generally tend to sway away from the neutral let alone the uplifting. So I want this film to show that we have a diverse selection of work in the region, all representing different ideologies and mindsets. Representation is key.

    Are you currently working on another project that you’d like to tell us about?

    I am. It is in the very early stages at the moment, but it is definitely a project that will be a lot more challenging than a short film, but all the more gratifying and fulfilling. Watch this space. And thank you for your time!

    March 20, 2017 • Filmmaking, Screenwriting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1271

  • NYFA Australia Opens New Gold Coast Location at Southport

    New York Film Academy Australia celebrated the Grand Opening of its newest Gold Coast location at Southport on February 28, 2017. Southport is home to one of the Gold Coast’s largest shopping complexes, Australia Fair, as well as trendy cafes and restaurants, Southport Yacht Club, exclusive Marina Mirage boutiques and a buzzing nightlife. Southport is also centrally located to the Gold Coast’s world famous surf beach, Surfers Paradise, and exciting attractions and theme parks.

    nyfa au students

    NYFA-AU will retain a space at Village Roadshow Studios for production work and training. The location originally opened in Queensland, Australia in 2011 and for the past few years has operated at Village Road Show Studios – the studio location for many Hollywood films including “San Andreas,” “Unbroken,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” “The Shallows,” “Kong: Skull Island,” and “Thor: Ragnarok,” among many others.

    The new NYFA-AU Gold Coast location now includes a 22,000 sqft (approx. 2,000sqm) state-of-the-art facility at Southport Central, encompassing a 90 seat theatre, automated dialogue replacement (ADR) room, editing rooms, post production rooms, production workshop studio, acting rooms with sprung floors for voice and movement classes and a sizeable equipment room.

    The Grand Opening allowed hundreds of staff, students, special guests and dignitaries to tour the impressive, state-of-the-art facility before the official ribbon cutting ceremony.

    nyfa au
    Warner Bros Movie World’s Austin Powers and Marilyn Monroe mingled with guests including Dawn Crichlow, Gold Coast Council and NYFA-AU Board of Directors, Jean Sherlock, Elle Bailey and Larry Z. Lazar, Esq. who made the trip from our United States campuses for the special event.

    Guests were invited to view a live Production Workshop, grab some popcorn, and have their photo’s taken in the NYFA photo booth with Hollywood props.

    Tasha Cooper, Campus Director, welcomed guests into the new theatre and introduced NYFA-AU Board Members and Dignitaries. She thanked the tremendous efforts of Elle Bailey, the Gold Coast team and the contractors who all contributed to the official opening. Ms. Cooper also highlighted NYFA-AU’s outstanding relationship with Village Roadshow Studios and how fortunate students were to continue to have exclusive access to train on the Village backlot.

    nyfa au tasha cooper

    (Left to Right) Facilities Manager, Ian Maclachlan; Director of NYFA-AU, Adrian Bennett; Director, Tasha Cooper

    Jean Sherlock, NYFA CEO, spoke about the vision his father, Jerry Sherlock, Founder, had when opening NYFA and how special it was for him to have seen it expand across the globe over the past 25 years, noting that Australia is one of his favorite destinations to visit. Arthur Helterbran Jnr., Academic Dean, talked about ‘storytelling’ being the core of the creative process and how excited NYFA-AU was to be a continued part of the Gold Coast’s story.

    nyfa au

    (Left to Right) Academic Dean, Art Helterbran Jnr.; Chair of Acting for Film, Stuart Lumsden; Chair of Filmmaking, Steve Pratt; Professor Alan Bowen-James

    A special mention to Michael Young, NYFA President and a NYFA-AU Board Director who was unable to attend, but was fittingly present leading the opening of the ceremony featured in our “We are the New York Film Academy” video. Also a special mention to Michael Caputo, NYFA Director of Operations, who made a trip to Australia with Elle Bailey in November 2016 to consult on the many technical elements that go into the creation of a visual and performing arts school like NYFA.

    NYFA-AU Gold Coast Alumnus, Damian Lang, recently employed by Marvel for “Thor: Raganork,” gave an impassioned speech on how NYFA changed his life and empowered veteran students by giving them a chance to find their voice as storytellers.

    Current NYFA Australia Acting for Film student, Jackson Price said NYFA was an incredible place to learn and bond with faculty and classmates.

    Five lucky guests received WB Movie World VIP prize passes in a raffle. NYFA Australia is expected to announce partnership news with WB in the near future. Stay tuned!

    March 17, 2017 • Community Highlights, Entertainment Australia • Views: 1934

  • NYFA MFA Documentary Student’s “The Incursion” Featured on KTLA TV

    With over ten years of experience in both the communications and production industry in Jamaica, Sasha Gay Lewis set out to pursue documentary filmmaking by enrolling in the MFA Documentary program at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles. Lewis has directed, produced, filmed, edited and written a number of documentaries and commercials in Jamaica, Belize, and California.

    sasha on ktla

    Her most recent documentary, which was highlighted on KTLA TV in Los Angeles, is called “The Incursion.” The documentary is an immersive experience that chronicles the events of that deadly day, the emotional drama and personal trauma the residents’ endured and its lingering effects on their lives today.

    On May 24, 2010, a joint police/military operation called “Operation Garden Parish” and famously known as “The Incursion” was launched in Tivoli Gardens — a Jamaican inner-city community described as the ‘mother’ of all ghettoes — to capture the notorious and untouchable drug lord, Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke. This search climaxed in a deadly clash between the security forces, residents and supporters of Coke, resulting in over 150 civilian deaths. For many of these residents, Coke was a protector and provider. He gave them jobs, created social programs for the children, and took care of the elderly.

    “I was in Jamaica working as a journalist and a producer and at the time the facts about the raid didn’t add up for me,” Lewis. “The journalist in me prompted me to investigate further and the more I researched, the more I wanted to know. It is said that as a documentarian you pursue the things that makes you upset and / or curious about and this was it for me.”
    the incursion

    Still from the documentary “The Incursion.” The Incursion examines the 2010 government raid on an inner-city community in Jamaica that resulted in the death of 150 people.

    Additionally, the victims were being told that their experience was false and that they deserved what they got. Nobody deserves to experience such acts of injustice and violence. The fact that it was carried out by those whose job it is to serve and protect is asinine and a dereliction of duty.

    In 2016, an inquest into the operations of the security forces revealed that the events of May 2010 left enduring physical, psychological and emotional scars on the residents of Tivoli Gardens and that although the operation of the security forces was justified, the manner of its execution by the security forces was “disproportionate, unjustified and unjustifiable.”

    sasha gay lewis

    Director and Producer of the documentary film “The Incursion,” Sasha-Gay Lewis on location in Tivoli Gardens, Jamaica with subjects of her film.

    “I would not have been able to create this documentary without coming to NYFA,” said Lewis. “I was always a storyteller, but through courses such as directing and writing the documentary, I was able to strengthen my storytelling, directing, and producing skills. This was a documentary seven years in the making and being able to workshop it for an entire year made all the difference.”

    “We are living in a story driven world where stories connect and in many cases provide release and healing,” she added. “I am happy that through all the support afforded to me by the Documentary Department of NYFA, I am able to make my contribution even as I pursue my passion and what I believe to be my purpose. I could spend the rest of my life doing this.”

    “The Incursion” is in the final stages of post and will be complete by the end of March 2017. The trailer will be out the first week in April 2017, and it will start its festival run shortly after.

    March 16, 2017 • Documentary Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1916

  • NYFA Alumni’s “I Am a Politician” to Air on HBO

    New York Film Academy alumni Susana Matos and Javier Colon have just finished their latest film “Yo soy un Politico” (I am a Politician). The film is about Carlos, an ex-convict looking for a job where he can make a lot of money without putting in a lot of work. After discussing it with his cellmate, they decide that the only job that fits that description is governor of Puerto Rico.

    The filmmaking duo presented their film at the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus on Saturday, March 4. The film will also screen at the Chicago Latino Film Festival and the San Diego Latino Film Festival. It will begin airing on HBO starting this September 2017.

    We had the opportunity to talk to both Matos and Colon after the screening to get more insight into how the film came about.

    Tell us about what drove you to make “I Am a Politician.”

    Susana: Javier’s first movie was titled “I am a Director.” When he produced that movie, there was an ongoing conversation about how to make a trilogy of these I am… films. The character could be a different profession every time. It could be “I am a Regueton Artist,” “I am a Doctor” so when the election year rolled around we settled on “I am a Politician.” I wrote the first 25 pages as a draft to motivate Javier into doing the film and he liked them so we finished the script… and began working on preproduction.

    Was this a collaborative effort in terms of writing and directing? Were you both writer/directors on this film or did you have different roles?

    Javier: It was a collaborative effort. The Idea for this film was on the drawing board since I shot my first film I am a Director. I didn’t really want to do a sequel to that film but Susana began throwing ideas around for this story. One day she just sat down and wrote 20 something pages, I liked them so we finished the script together.
    Even though I have the directing credit on the film, Susana was a very big part of the directing process and decisions during the shoot. And beside being a writer, she was one of the producers of the film.
    carlos en campana
    How were you able to raise funds to produce this film?
    Susana: With Javier’s first feature film “I am a Director” he got distribution from Starz, Sundance, Canal +, and Croatia. Thanks to his reputation with the 1st film, we were able to raise funds through private investors.
    How did the meeting with HBO come about? Can you tell us a little bit about that process of selling your film
    Susana: With the first feature, Javier acquired a sales agent. He was very interested in our future projects.  In 2015 we went to Argentina for a Film Market, and we told him our idea; he loved it and signed a sales contract with us. He shopped the film around and sold it To HBO

    Talk about audience reactions to the film? Is the reaction what you expected or was it different? How? 

    Susana: We are so pleased with Saturday’s screening at the New York Film Academy. We had a full house! It was the first time we had so many people watching the film whose first language was not Spanish and we were happy to hear them laughing.

    Javier: We definitely did not expect that many people to come watch our film and laugh as much as they did.  It’s a comedy with subtitles, so we weren’t sure if English speakers would understand the humor, but based on the comments we received after the screening, seems like they really enjoyed it.

    What was the message you were trying to leave for the audience in this film?

    Javier: When we began writing this film, we knew we wanted it to have a positive message. Susana’s favorite directors are Matt Stone and Trey Parker. In the style of South Park, we wanted to create a satire with a message. The message in I am a Politician focuses on not waiting for politicians to fix our problems. We all should be part of going out there to make a change.

    carlos for independence

    What was the biggest hurdle in completing this project?

    Susana: The biggest hurdle is taking on a film with a very limited amount of money. So many people helped us because they believed in us but I would have loved to pay people well for the work they put in. Which is why we always like to take the time to thank our crew and cast for being a part of this project.

    What are you most proud of in this film?

    Javier: The HBO sale is the first thing that comes to mind, but, also, whenever we watch a screening of the film and I hear someone laugh. It amazes me that I wrote and created something that makes people laugh.

    Would you say your NYFA experience was useful in terms of being able to create this film?
    Javier: I actually took a digital course in filmmaking in 2002 in New York. At that time my plan was to be an editor, NYFA help me realize that what I truly wanted was to be a director and tell stories. Im 100% sure that if it wasn’t for that small course, first I wouldn’t be in the situation that we are right now, and most importantly, I wouldn’t have met Susana
     
    Susana: The NYFA filmmaking course helped me develop my skills as a director and for me the greatest asset was the people I met on the program. My classmates are still part of my work. 
    What’s up next for you guys? 

    We’re working on getting the funding for our next project, “Who Cares?,” a road trip dramedy with the tone of “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Slumdog Millionaire.” Our goal is to begin pre-production at the end of this year.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Susana Matos and Javier Colon for taking the time to discuss their work. You can learn more about this dynamic duo on Facebook.

    March 14, 2017 • Documentary Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1527

  • Producer Carolyn Hepburn Holds Master Class and Screening of “Weiner” at NYFA

    Producer Carolyn Hepburn from Motto Pictures, whose “Life, Animated” was nominated for an Oscar this year, screened her other huge 2016 hit, “Weiner” at the New York Film Academy’s New York theater.
    carolyn hepburn

    Hepburn joined Motto Pictures in 2010 where she currently works as a producer and production executive. Carolyn produced “3½ Minutes,” directed by Marc Silver, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and won the Special Jury Prize for Social Impact. She executive produced “Art and Craft,” which premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival and was shortlisted for the 2015 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

    In 2013, Carolyn was the line producer for two Motto films that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival: “God Loves Uganda,” shortlisted for the 2014 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, and “Gideon’s Army,” winner of the Sundance Film Festival’s Best Editing Award. Carolyn is currently co-producing Ivy Meeropol’s documentary “Indian Point,” which will premiere at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, and “The Punch directed by Andre Hörmann. She is also line producing the documentary “Life Animated,” directed by Roger Ross Williams. Prior to joining the Motto team, Carolyn produced a wide range of documentary projects for WNET, National Public Radio, and the United Nations as well as innovative experiential media for Spark Productions.

    “Weiner,” by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg, is about Anthony Weiner’s campaign for Mayor of New York City during the 2013 mayoral election. At first his campaign is going well, with many New Yorkers willing to give him a second chance, putting him near the top of a crowded field. However, the mood shifts when his online sexual activity resurface, including explicit text conversations with women that occurred well after his resignation from Congress.

    Following the screening, Hepburn followed took part in a  well-loved, intimate master class with the documentary students.

    Students from both current conservatories, and the 6-week workshop as well as several grads and faculty were privy to the private screening and conversation in NYFA’s new state of the art theater.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Carolyn Hepburn for time and wisdom.

    March 10, 2017 • Documentary Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 1483

  • The ESL School at NYFA Offers ESL and More for International Students

    For international students who would like to learn English as their second language, so that they can continue their education at the New York Film Academy’s visual and performing arts school, the ESL School at New York Film Academy provides high-quality language instruction in a unique setting that combines academic English with the creative arts. The ESL School at NYFA uses innovative teaching practices and experiential learning methods to develop students’ English language abilities. The academic goals and everyday social needs of our students are fostered through local cultural immersion.

    esl school nyfa

    Located at the NYFA campuses in Los Angeles and New York City as well as a standalone campus in San Jose, the ESL School at NYFA is a wonderful blend of the highest standard accredited language instruction and a unique elective program that includes the excitement and energy of the visual and performing arts. Established in 1977, the ESL School at NYFA has over four decades of experience offering language instruction to students from all over the world.

    Small class sizes, 6-12 students, promote individual attention and interaction. Students receive 20 hours per week of immersive instruction, plus optional classes that focus on visual and performing arts.

    Our optional elective courses enrich traditional ESL curricula, allowing students to apply their developing English Comprehension, pronunciation and reading skills as they watch films, read scripts, and act in plays. NYFA ESL students are welcome to join in our many on-campus extracurricular activities, which may include industry guest speakers, film screenings, theater performances, and clubs.

    esl at autry

    ESL students take a trip to the Autry Museum of the American West

    “Tapping into the students’ interests is an important part of creating a vibrant learning environment,” says Prima Gonzalez, Academic Coordinator LA. “Since most of the students are studying film, I try to incorporate projects like film pitches and group commercials. Grammar can easily become a yawn-fest. As 21st century instructors, I feel we have the ability to reshape the reputation of grammar.”

    While all of the classes at The ESL School at NYFA are infused with creativity, our elective classes go one step further. Each quarter we offer an elective class that directly combines the visual and performing arts with language learning. Our students participate in classes like The Art of Storytelling and Intro to Screenwriting where they have the opportunity to develop their English skills through the creative writing process. There is also a Collaborative Project elective class that introduces vocabulary and functional language in both the context of film analysis and the creative production process. Other elective classes include Pronunciation in which students learn about accent reduction and English & Songs which introduces grammar, vocabulary, and storytelling in a musical context. We are excited to offer these classes in addition to our core English classes and as our school continues to grow, we will be adding new elective choices that reflect students’ artistic backgrounds and interests.

    “Being a part of the students’ process is my favorite part,” added Gonzalez. “Sometimes grammar or reading can be difficult. Helping them find a way to understand and integrate these skills is very rewarding.”

    March 8, 2017 • ESL • Views: 522