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  • NYFA Welcomes Diversity Chair Dr. Nancy Kwang Johnson

    The Los Angeles campus of the New York Film Academy (NYFA) has a new Chair of Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion, Dr. Nancy Kwang Johnson. Nancy is responsible for formulating NYFA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policy and its Diversity Strategic Plan, creating multicultural programming, and spearheading strategic partnerships for faculty, students, and staff.

    nancy kwang

    Nancy brings two decades of experience as an educator, higher education administrator, and consultant to the role of Chair of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Most notably, Nancy was invited to the first Korean American Briefing at the White House (2012). She received the “President’s Excellence in Diversity” award at Western Illinois University. Nancy attended Vassar, and has an MPA, MA, and PhD (in Government) from Cornell.

    As a multiracial female (her mother is Korean, her father is African-American, and her paternal great grandmother is full-blooded Cherokee), Nancy is no stranger to diversity, equity, and inclusion. As a polyglot, Nancy speaks Korean and English (her mother tongues), basic Albanian and Wolof, and has taught International Relations in French.

    With expertise in Race, Ethnicity, and Diaspora Studies, Nancy has lived in South Korea, France, Senegal, Canada, Albania, and Serbia. In North America, Nancy has taught at the New School, Texas Tech, Temple, Colgate, Washington University, Yale, Western Illinois University, Georgetown, University of Windsor, and the University of Ottawa.

    The Dean of the College organized a series of “meet and greets” in Barham and Riverside so that NYFA students could become acquainted with NYFA’s incoming Chief Diversity Officer. At Barham, Nancy engaged in a listening tour comprised of thirty-five students and provided a silhouette of her strategic vision for diversity, equity and inclusion. The students expressed their enthusiasm for the inclusive and diaspora-informed nature of upcoming events such as “A Conversation with NBC’s Diversity Initiatives Team,” and news of the partnership Nancy recently forged with East West Players Theatre.

    nyfa diversity

    At Riverside, NYFA students Amjad Tkroni and Hanan Higgi (active in clubs and organizations) were eager to recruit their fellow students. When asked how they felt about Nancy the girls broke into giggles, “She’s so cute. She’s able to say exactly what her vision for the future is in one sentence. Plus she has so many great events coming up.” The girls were particularly excited for the Second Line Festival (May 5th) – an International Dance Festival showcasing hip hop, West African, Indian, and Russian choreography of the NYFA Dance Troupe.

    For her part, Nancy had this to say about meeting her new students:

    “I was so humbled by the fact that the Dean of the College wanted to have a ‘meet and greet’ in my honor. On this end, I was truly inspired by my town hall-like dialogue with the students, and definitely learned a lot about their innate desire to have truly diverse, equitable and inclusive events across campus. In this regard, I am forever indebted to President Michael Young and NYFA leadership for accepting my pitch to re-brand the Department to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Our new brand, I believe, reflects the world we live in today. We are NYFA.”

    The New York Film Academy is proud to count Dr. Johnson amongst their ranks and looks forward to the NYFA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policy, the NYFA Diversity Strategic Plan, multicultural programming and Strategic Diversity Initiatives to be formulated and implemented to create a sense of belongingness and community for NYFA faculty, students, and staff. Be sure not to miss out on these amazing opportunities coming soon.

    LIST OF UPCOMING EVENTS

    April 10th (7:30-9:00 p.m.) — NYFA Burbank’s 1st Open Mic Night.

    Our hostess for the evening will be Aida Rodriguez (recently featured in Robert De Niro’s latest film, “The Comedian”). Aida was also a finalist in NBC’s Last Comic Standing, and will be appearing as the first Latina in Shaq’s All Star Comedy Jam.

    April 24th       Inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Speaker Series (TBA)

    May 2nd         “A Conversation with NBC’s Diversity Initiatives Team”

    May 5th          Second Line Festival: An International Celebration of Diversity

    April 19, 2017 • Community Highlights • Views: 1172

  • 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: 1308

  • Environmental Biology’s Field Trip to LA Natural History Museum

    The New York Film Academy prides itself in its “learn by doing” approach to curriculum instruction; students are not just lectured on concepts but are able to get their hands on equipment and physically learn the tools and techniques they will need in their trade. This concept was extended this week in the Sciences here at NYFA as Environmental Biology instructors took every one of their 120 students to the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. They visited five exhibits in particular that reinforced class curricula; students observed specialized adaptations of today’s mammals in the North American Mammal Hall and the African Mammal Hall, they witnessed the evolution of the modern human in the Age of Mammals exhibit (where famous Lucy is housed!), colossal dinosaur fossils awed in the Age of Dinosaurs exhibit, and species of native plants and animals were identified in the museum’s serene Nature Gardens.

    environmental biology

    Learning a concept from a PowerPoint in class can’t compare with seeing it unfold in front of your eyes. It is one thing to be lectured on natural selection in a classroom, for example, and another to observe the changes in mammal skeletons over thousands of years as they became what they are today, and speculate as to the reasons why. Pig-sized horses just couldn’t run away fast enough from predators of the era, so they developed longer and longer legs until they could! Those with short legs died before they could reproduce and pass on their short-legged genes. The result is the modern day, long-legged horse. This concept was reinforced in the Age of Dinosaurs exhibit, where students were asked to come up with what types of adaptations a modern dinosaur might have in order to live on today’s planet.

    Students were also able to put their ecology chops to the test, as they had to organize living plants and animals in the Nature Gardens into the food web of California’s native ecosystem. They discovered that when you take a moment to document all the life around you, you realize that, even in Los Angeles, we are surrounded! The idea here was that an appreciation of nature and the life around us not only reinforces concepts of biodiversity learned in class, but also hopefully instills more application of conservation in student’s lives.

    Instructors were thrilled at the profusion of “wows” and wide eyes. Such engagement in a subject so outside of their core film school curriculum is impressive and inspiring!

    April 13, 2017 • Community Highlights • Views: 1433

  • NYFA’s Leadership Meets with Major Hollywood Studios to Increase Opportunities for Student Veterans

    Founded in 1992, the New York Film Academy College of Visual and Performing Arts (NYFA) has a long history of supporting the military and veteran communities. The College has been privileged to enroll more than 1250 veteran students at our campuses in New York City, Los Angeles, CA and South Beach, FL., since 2009.

    In order to increase the support services to student veterans, in 2014, NYFA appointed the honorable Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient and on-air military strategist for NBC/MSNBC as the Chair of NYFA Veterans Advancement Program.

    nyfa veterans

    Recently, Colonel Jacobs and NYFA’s senior leadership met with several major studios including SONY Pictures, NBCUniversal, DreamWorks, and Voltage Pictures to increase support in helping NYFA student veterans obtain internships and employment opportunities.

    The entertainment and media industry leaders that the NYFA delegation met all spoke very highly of the veterans that they have employed in their companies, and expressed keen interest in partnering with NYFA as an obvious pathway to hire additional well-trained veterans that have been educated in the fields related to filmmaking.

    “Veterans are some of the most creative people in the visual and performing arts,” states Colonel Jacobs empathically. “They are strong leaders and their life experiences will be an asset to any company that hires them.”

    NYFA’s Veterans Advancement Program continues to bring unique opportunities to its veteran students. As an example, NYFA provided veteran students the opportunity to work on the production of the New York City Veterans’ Day Parade in collaboration with the United War Veterans Council (UWVC).

    On another occasion, veteran students worked with LA Mayor Garcetti on his 10,000 Strong Hiring Initiative by filming the major event and interviewing the Mayor and other VIP participants. This activity was held in celebration of Mayor Garcetti’s one-year anniversary of the launch of the 10,000 Strong Hiring Initiative. The New York Film Academy received a Certificate of Appreciation from Mayor Garcetti on behalf of the city of Los Angeles and its residents for delivering impactful media services.

    Veterans also had the good fortune to produce a video for the California Department of Veterans Affairs for service members transitioning out of the military. Other projects have included directing, producing and filming public service announcements—on a pro-bono basis— for veteran non-profit organizations. All of these opportunities provided many of the veteran students with their first chance to work on professional productions.

    Colonel Jacobs noted, “We hope that by developing these relationships we will be able to help more student veterans and add to the number of veterans that graduated from NYFA that are currently working and finding success in the industry.”

    -Jim Miller and John Powers

    April 12, 2017 • Community Highlights, Veterans • Views: 1752

  • 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: 1783

  • NYFA Photography Instructor Chris Knight Listed on Profoto’s “Legends of Light”

    Born in Wiesbaden, Germany, New York Film Academy Photography Instructor Chris Knight’s work has appeared in Vogue, People, MSNBC, ABC, Ocean Drive, GQ and others. Knight says photography started as a hobby for him until it became compulsive.

    “It was something that appealed to me in a lot of different ways — technically and creatively,” he says. “Once I had a few years under my belt, part-time, I figured ‘why not?’ and dove head first. I didn’t quite know what I was getting into, but somehow managed to come out okay on the other side. I consider myself very lucky that I am able to work in a field that is my passion and fulfills me creatively.”

    Chris Knight

    Chris Knight

    Knight is the recent author of the book, “The Dramatic Portrait.” The book is a photography education book that talks about the techniques and creative use of lighting, styling, retouching, and developing your own personal creativity.

    “It was something of a bucket list item for me,” said Knight. “I had always wanted to write a book and about a year ago had the opportunity to do so. It has been a labor of love for about a year, and I’m thrilled to finally be able to release it.”

    Knight also recently completed his work with RGG EDU (rggedu.com), which is a video tutorial / documentary that covers the process of him creating and photographing three different shoots. “It’s a companion piece to the book, and the images I made for it are some of my favorite I’ve ever done,” said Knight.

    Chris Knight

    photo by Chris Knight

    Given his work, book, and teaching, Knight has been named one of Profoto’s “Legends of Light,” which honors photographers’ outstanding skills and contributions to the professional American photographic community. “Just being placed on a list with people I’ve had tremendous respect and admiration for over the years is incredibly humbling,” said Knight.

    “Don’t underestimate the power of time, patience, and hard work,” Knight advises his students and aspiring photographers. “It is easy to fall into the trap of wanting everything to happen quickly, but sometimes the process is a significantly longer one. Use that time as a way to continue developing your personal voice. Once your stumble on what is uniquely you, more opportunities will present themselves and you’ll be happier with the ones that do. Go above and beyond (without being asked) and have a positive attitude about it. Being a working creative is hard. Those that are strong self-motivators are always the most successful. When you’re your own boss, you don’t have someone telling you what to do, so learn to take the initiative for yourself.”

    For more of Knight’s work, visit chrisknightphoto.com or on Instagram at @chrisknightphoto. “The Dramatic Portrait” is available for pre-order on Amazon in paperback or ebook, and the tutorial with RGG EDU will come out this summer.

    April 11, 2017 • Faculty Highlights, Photography • Views: 1269

  • Aspiring Broadcast Journalists Learn the Ropes with Colonel Jack Jacobs at MSNBC/NBC Studios

    Veterans and Active Duty military students from New York Film Academy and local New York City community colleges were hosted by Colonel Jack Jacobs, Chair of NYFA Veteran Advancement Program, at the famed 30 Rock Studios in New York City to explore career paths in television news and media outlets with a guided tour of one of the most watched news outlets in the United States — MSNBC/NBC. Colonel Jacobs is one of this nation’s most highly decorated service members; his valor in the Vietnam War led to his being a recipient of the Medal of Honor. Colonel Jacobs is currently the on-air military analyst at MSNBC/NBC.

    broadcast journalism

    NYFA students tour MSNBC/NBC studios

    Led through the historic hallways of NBC studios, students interested in careers in television were introduced to the fast-paced world of 24-hour news production by Colonel Jacobs, who offered insights to the next generation of aspiring television producers about the ins-and-outs of a dynamic and evolving business.

    Attendees received a behind the scenes look at the various newsrooms and studio sets for such iconic television shows as the “Today Show,” “NBC Nightly News,” “Morning Joe,” “AM Joy, and” “The Rachel Maddow Show”. The visit included a glimpse of the famed “Saturday Night Live” studios.

    “Now is the best time to be involved in television, in media in general,” lauded the Colonel. “Content is king. There are an increasing number of distributors out there; Amazon, Hulu, Netflix and they all need content!”

    His words did not fall on deaf ears as the veteran students in attendance were eager to learn as much as they could about careers in television—embracing previously unexplored opportunities that match the skills they honed at the New York Film Academy.

    “When you dream about working in film and television and you have no idea what the first step is–sometimes all you need is just to be in the same room with the people that do it, to see it with your own eyes. This makes that dream tangible, something real that you can touch, something that you can reach out and grab. It makes it obtainable,” remarked André Morissette, NYFA BFA Acting for Film student and veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

    April 6, 2017 • Acting, Veterans • Views: 1464

  • NYFA Photography Holds Exclusive Workshop For IVY Members

    Last week, the New York Film Academy Photography Department invited members of IVY to ‘learn how to capture the perfect photo’ in an exclusive IVY Photography Workshop. The evening began with complimentary cocktails and followed with an engaging discussion with NYFA Chair of Photography for the NYC Campus, David Mager.

    ivy photography at nyfa

    Mager focused on how photographers use light to capture the desired image. Following the discussion, IVY members dove into an immersive photography workshop at two different lighting platforms with NYFA’s expert instructors on ‘how to master the key techniques of photographic lighting.’

    nyfa photography ivy

    “It’s not often as young professionals that we get to re-explore the hobbies we have put aside for our busy work and social schedules,” said Phil Chan, IVY Arts and Culture Director. “Our workshop at the New York Film Academy was a great way to learn more about photography in a short amount of time from a great team of faculty members, and inspired us to take the lessons we learned and incorporate art-making into our every day lives.”

    “We had a great first event with IVY, participants were engaged, learned a lot, and had a great time,” added David Mager.

    If you’d like to check out the gallery of photos from the event, please CLICK HERE.

    April 5, 2017 • Community Highlights, Photography • Views: 1428

  • 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: 1276

  • NYFA Australia Gold Coast Grad Works on “Thor” and “Aquaman”

    Former New York Film Academy Australia, Gold Coast student, Damian Lang, has shot three award-winning short films thus far, and has worked as a Location Assistant on major Hollywood films like “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Aquaman,” both of which were filmed in the Gold Coast. Between his on-set experience and filmmaking background, Lang says he is currently working on an idea for his first feature film.

    damian lang

    Below is Lang’s description of his three award-winning shorts:

    “Unauthorised Tears”

    “This film is about trying to re-connect with people, woman particularly. I returned from Afghanistan with the Australian Infantry a few years back and developed some mental issues, which unfortunately ended in me losing my wife and job. This sent me on a bit of a downward spiral, but I always forced myself to get out and push through. The events in the film actually happened multiple times — just not usually with a fairy-tail ending.”

    Screenings:

    Caymen, Int Film Festival
    Stage One, Int Film Festival (Won ACS Best Cinematography)
    Long Beach Indie, Int Film Festival
    Screen IT, Gold Coast Film Festival
    Austin Revolution, Film Festival

    “Diamond In The Rough”

    “This film is about understanding your own beauty and worth. I went through a faze where I was trying to build myself into another person to attract certain types of women into my life. I found out it’s not very sustainable or fair on the other person.”

    Screenings:

    Colorado, Int Film Festival (Won Best Student Short)
    Fort Worth, Indie Film Festival
    International Video and Music Awards
    Roma, Cinemadoc Film Festival

    “The First Step”

    This film is about re-connecting even if it isn’t the easiest route, and also about betrayal at the most unexpected times. The idea stems from when I was in Afghanistan and there were multiple ego driven orders that put us in unnecessary danger. Duty first is what we always did, but now we have to live with the outcomes and the question ‘why’.”

    Screenings: (This film is still on the festival scene until December 2017)

    Around Films, Int Film Festival (Won Best Short film)
    Hollywood Screenings, Film Festival (Semi-finalist)

    Lang also directed a music video for the Gold Coast based DJ duo “Bombs Away,” which was featured on MTV.