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  • NYFA Chair Bill Einreinhofer’s Episode of ‘Century Masters’ Screening at 2021 Beijing Documentary Week

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    Mei Lanfang, the subject of an episode of Century Masters, will have his legacy showcased in a screening at the 2021 Beijing Documentary Week. The program, Century Masters is a 15-part cultural history TV program that focuses on a different historical subject each airing. This particular episode was written and hosted by NYFA’s very own Chair of Broadcast Journalism, Bill Einreinhofer. 

    The Beijing Documentary Week is a film festival that attracts leading documentary producers and production companies from across China. This year’s circuit was held between August 14th and August 21st, 2021. 

    Einreinhofer’s Century Masters episode featuring the subject Mei Lanfang follows the story of his upbringing, influence, and global recognition as a great master of Chinese Peking Opera. Mei Lanfang’s untraditional adaptation to historic stories reinvented them for new audiences and modern times. Fun fact, it would take you a calendar year to watch every Chinese Peking Opera if you watched one per day. That’s how many productions the theatre group created over its 100-year history. You can watch the full episode of Century Masters featuring Mei Lanfang, written and hosted by Bill Einreinhofer here

    Bill Einreinhofer with the camera team of Century Masters filming in ChinaMei Lanfang’s story begins as a young child, growing up in a tumultuous, war-torn China in the early 1900s. Born into a family of privilege and Opera talent, Mei Lanfang’s grandfather is one of the originators of Peking Opera theatre. His father and uncle, both top performers and musicians of the Opera, had high expectations for their son and nephew. Unfortunately for Mei Lanfang, his youth and happy personality were a deterrent for teachers of the art. 

    Considered lazy and untalented, Mei Lanfang’s family extinguished their hopes the child could continue their family trade. After experiencing financial hardship, Mei Lanfang received help and support from a family friend. Very grateful even until his last day, he paid this generosity forward by treating his family’s Opera troupe with dignity and flexibility during economic hardships. 

    Mei Lanfang became an apprentice to this family friend and his talent blossomed into the internationally recognized art we know him for today. 

    Peking Opera, now a popular subject for study in many Chinese theatre schools, has four subjects for which its young student population, between the ages of 11 and 12, must master. These subjects include singing, monologues, acting, and martial arts. For young students, training for Peking Opera is a six-year-long endeavor. 

    Bill Einreinhofer being filmed for the Mei Lanfang episode of Century Masters

    Mei Lanfang is most famous for his adaptation of the popular Opera, Spring of the Jade Hall, the story of a prostitute falsely accused and charged with murder. His performance on Broadway in 1930s New York won him acclaim across the United States. Now recognized on an international stage as a great writer and performer, Mei Lanfang earned an Honorary Doctorate in literature from the University of Southern California. 

    His success while in the United States was of great national pride for China and contributed to his long-lasting legacy. 

    This episode of Century Masters aired in China during the Lunar New Year celebration (also known as the Chinese New Year), where the country witnessed its highest TV viewings. 

    Bill Einreinhofer in the studio filming his episode of Century Masters

    The episode also aired throughout the Middle East. With time, influential figures like Mei Lanfang will have their legacies broadcasted around the globe. Their influence and impact continue to live on, thanks to filmmakers and documentary journalists like Bill Einreinhofer. 

    New York Film Academy congratulates Faculty Chair, Bill Einreinhofer for his well-deserved recognition. 

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    September 17, 2021 • China, Faculty Highlights • Views: 118

  • Filmmaking Instructor at NYFA Tackles Queerness in Shakespeare Adaptation ‘HAMLET/HORATIO’

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    Paul Warner, Director and Filmmaking Instructor with NYFA, released feature-length film, HAMLET/HORATIO, available on Amazon Prime. A collaborative effort with writer David Vando, the film is a contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic “Hamlet.” 

    HAMLET/HORATIO centers around the grieving producer and main character, Hamlet (played by NYFA Alum Andrew Burdette), who is now head of a film production company following the death of his father. His right-hand man and director, Horatio (played by NYFA Alum Themo Melikidze) captures his close friend’s pain in an enduring promise to tell Hamlet’s story through the production of a film. 

    While the work includes all major themes from the original play, Warner takes a unique approach in explaining the relationship between the close companions. An exploration of their relationship with undertones of gender-fluidity and sexuality, HAMLET/HORATIO captures the essence of the characters’ closeness as a series of dream-like scenes with soft-focused camera work and a series of fourth-wall breaks. 

    Quoted in an article by Washington Blade which touches on the theme of sexuality in the adaptation, “There’s a tremendous amount of exploration of gender fluidity in his work,” says Warner, “There’s never a label on it, but it permeates Shakespeare. There are a lot of characters who fall in love with the soul of the person, rather than the gender.”

    The film captures Hamlet’s search for fulfillment in front of a backdrop of fascism, with characters and visuals resembling a previous White House Administration. Whilst battling the corruption of his surroundings, Hamlet sacrifices his own life in the arms of his companion, Horatio, who then pledges to capture his story. 

    According to a Signal Horizon Magazine review, “The two light up near each other literally and figuratively. Beautiful lighting and soft-focused camera work highlight the friend’s interactions.”

    HAMLET/HORATIO won a Film Jury Award for Best Feature at the 2020 edition Film Festivals To Go (FFTG). The film will be available for viewing on all platforms next month. 

    Amazon Prime Film Reviews: 

    “This film has already won many awards in the film festival circuits and for obvious reasons! All of the acting performances are great and this is such a unique, modern take of a Shakespearian classic. Definitely one of the best Indie films I’ve seen. If you are a fan of classics with a twist or artistic and unique indie films, then this is definitely for you! I would love to see them make a version of A Midsummer’s Night Dream like this as well. Bravo!”

    “I love this film! The best thing is you do not have to have a Shakespeare background to understand the story. The movie is beautiful to look at with an outstanding score. I can not believe how great the production value is for this type of indy film. Do yourself a favor and rent this film!”

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA instructor Paul Warner as well as alumni Andrew Burdette and Themo Melikidze for the success of HAMLET/HORATIO, now available on Amazon Prime.

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    September 15, 2021 • Faculty Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 141

  • 6 NYFA Alumni to Support this Black-Owned Business Month

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    August is National Black Business Month, where we as a nation of consumers recognize and support black-owned businesses across the United States. According to the 2019 Annual Business Survey (covering the reference year 2018), 124, 551 businesses are owned by Black Americans, representing just over 2% of total businesses in the US. In the Arts-related sector, only a handful of businesses (relative to the number of Black-Owned businesses across all sectors) are Black-Owned – they fall within the Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation sector. 

    In support of National Black Business Month, New York Film Academy is highlighting just a handful of incredibly talented NYFA alumni who not only own a business and have earned success through their crafts but continue to build their brands in order to support other artists. 

    We encourage you to support these individuals by contributing to their business or sharing their incredible work.

    Issa Rae

    Writer, Producer, & Actress

    Chief Executive Officer of HOORAE (formerly known as Issa Rae Productions), Issa Rae oversees the multi-faceted entertainment media company to ensure a diverse set of stories and stories about the community are told. An award-winning actress and producer in her own right, Issa Rae gained critical acclaim and international attention from her hit HBO show, Insecure. The show received multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. 

    HOORAE includes HOORAE Film & TV, as well as groundbreaking companies such as ColorCreative Management and Raedio.XXX. While overseeing the company, Rae continues to perform incredible work across Netflix and HBO, including The Lovebirds and Coastal Elites.

    Rae studied filmmaking with us back in 2005. You can keep updated on the latest from Issa Rae by following her on Instagram or LinkedIn

    Leonice (Leo) Brown-Young Jr

    Partner & Co-Founder 

    Co-Founder and partner in starting MoonRift Entertainment, LLC, Brown-Young Jr inspires and innovates by re-imagining the future. MoonRift Entertainment is an entertainment company with the mission o change the game by building a foundation for success. The business curates content across a variety of forms, including video games, films, and novels. 

    Always pushing the box, MoonRift Entertainment continues to reflect the same values of its co-founder. Brown-Young Jr is co-founder of Young Dreamers United, which strives to pave the way for success for middle school students in the San Diego area in California. 

    Brown-Young Jr studied with us to earn his MFA in Game Design 2021. You can learn more about MoonRift’s latest content on Instagram, or follow Young-Brown Jr on LinkedIn

    Thandiwe Mlauli

    Founder & CEO 

    Founder & CEO of Studio Yez, Mlauli created her studio to illuminate and capture hearts at home and around the world. Studio Yezi is a development and animation studio dedicated to creating and telling stories made for people of color and the black community. Studio Yezi equalizes the playing field for black animators by creating content opportunities. Mlauli studied producing for film and TV as well as screenwriting with us back in 2015. 

    Learn the latest news about Studio Yez and updates from Thandiwe Mlauli on Instagram and LinkedIn

    Arthur Hylton (a.k.a. Nestlè Snipes)

    Photographer & Visual Artist

    Born & Raised In East Flatbush Brooklyn, Arthur goes by the professional name, Nestlè Snipes. Snipes founded Snipes Studios in order to create imagery that models his passion and visual influences. Snipes considers himself a muse-based photographer and takes inspiration from other professionals like Helmut Newton, Yves Klein, and Daido Moriyama. 

    Snipes focuses his imagery around muses of color and processes his photos as little as possible to ensure the models are depicted as realistically as possible. Snipes prides his craft around creating art that forces audiences to see the world as it “really is” and not “as they want it to be” by creating work that showcases models of color into scenes that typically feature light-skinned models. 

    Snipes studied photography with us back in 2017. You can follow Snipes’ work by following him on Instagram or LinkedIn.

    Donald (EAD) Eferere

    Creative Director & Digital Content Creator

    Founder and Creative Director of RDCYF Brand, Eferere has a wide array of filmmaking and content creation within the entertainment industry. RDCYF Brand is an award-winning production company and agency founded in 2019. Based in NYC, the agency has produced a variety of content. Eferere brings to the agency his own film in film direction, music videos, editing, video color grading, and general content development. 

    Eferere studied filmmaking with us back in 2018. You can keep tabs on Eferere on Instagram or LinkedIn

    Nicole “Soul” Creary 

    CEO & Executive Director 

    Experienced entrepreneur and CEO of Soul2Soulz, Nicole “Soul” Creary has a professional history of working for nonprofits doing social work as well as for film and education organizations. 

    Soul2Soulz’s mission is to create connections that build positive relationships. The organization aims to develop communities where youth, families, and all people, reach their fullest potential. Creary has professional strengths in organizing grassroots initiatives and coalitions, philanthropy, and community organizing. 

    Creary studied filmmaking with us back in 2018. You can keep tabs on her work and the great work of Soul2Soulz on Instagram or LinkedIn

    Like all of the alumni we’ve noted here, there are many other NYFA alumni with no shortage of drive to share their voice through business acumen or support for the black community. Continue to raise the bar by supporting Black-owned businesses even beyond this month. 

    If you’re an NYFA alum with a story to tell, please share it with us by submitting your NYFA Alumni Success Story

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    August 19, 2021 • Alumni Events, Diversity, Progressive & Social Causes • Views: 760

  • NYFA Alum Bob Ahmed’s ‘Tikkun Olam’ Tackles Homelessness with Humanity in Award-Winning Short

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    Bob Ahmed opens his interview at the 2021 SEEMA Summit with a translation from a poem written by a famous Indian poet, Mirza Ghalib: “To be human is easy, but to be humane is almost impossible.” Thus was born the inspiration for his award-winning short Tikkun Olam (2021), which tackles the subject of homelessness in Washington, D.C.

    Tikkun Olam poster

    Image Source: IMDb

    For anyone who has lived in the nation’s capital or is familiar with the city’s history of poverty, you may not be surprised by the alarming number of homeless, an issue that plagues veterans and civilians alike. Tikkun Olam is a poignant film that revolves around the love and humanity of an eight-year-old boy who encounters a homeless veteran. 

    Based on Ahmed’s own experiences while living in Washington, D.C., The Daily Times described the film as an “urgently needed story of hope in our broken world today” with “blistering performances”. Views & News describes the film as “a rare, polished gem” with “riveting performances”. Voice of America calls it “a unique film on an important topic”.

    Director and NYFA Filmmaking Alum, Bob Ahmed

    Director and NYFA Filmmaking Alum, Bob Ahmed | Photo courtesy of Arielle Lewis

    Tikkun Olam won almost universal acclaim garnering success on the festival circuit where the director’s choice to focus on his actors, putting them in a position to evoke truly intense emotional responses was rewarded. The film won ‘Best Short Film – Teens’ at the 22nd ShorTS International Film Festival in Trieste, Italy in July 2021. The short is also an official selection for the 35th Washington DC International Film Festival and the 27th Sedona International Film Festival, which is ranked amongst the “Top 10 film festivals in the world.”

    “I studied at the New York Film Academy and that is where I really got inspired to make film,says Ahmed in an interview with South Asian icon, Aroon Shivdasani, at the 2021 SEEMA Summit. 

    Ahmed believes his role as the director is not to evoke emotion from his actors, but rather to remove the pressure from the set and create an environment in which the actors can create someone truly special on camera. 

    This approach with his actors which encourages them to do what they believe they would do in a scene (even if slightly different from the script) reaps rewards as the short film was also selected for the 21st D.C. Asian Pacific American Film Festival and selected for the 10th D.C. South Asian Film Festival. 

     

    The director is working on a new film, Johnny & The Golden Gifts about a young boy in Washington D.C, whose life spirals out of control because of a personal tragedy. The story explores themes of forgiveness as a solution to ongoing challenges in modern American Society. 

    Considered both a Director and Screenwriter, Ahmed also wrote, Lost in DC, about a Pakistani man who visits Washington, D.C. and runs into a former high school friend. The two men spend the next several days in each other’s company, learning more about the other’s path in life following their school days. The script is currently a finalist at the 52nd Nashville Film Festival, an Academy Award Qualifying Film Festival. 

    New York Film Academy congratulates Bob Ahmed for his success and looks forward to the upcoming Johnny & The Golden Gifts.

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    August 11, 2021 • Acting, Alumni Events, Filmmaking • Views: 1273

  • Broadcast Journalism Update – July 2021 Edition

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    There are some professional moments you never forget.

    Near the top of the list is getting your first Press Card. It is recognition that you are indeed a “journalist.”

    Earlier this year NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Hannah Palmhagen received her Press Card for the Swedish Parliament (Sveriges Riksdag). Hannah took a very non-traditional route to this moment. It was a journey of self-discovery as well as professional training.

    Former student, Meiraj Haq also took a unique route to success. He came to NYFA to sharpen his producing/reporting skills and used those skills to produce an acclaimed documentary about then-candidate and now Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan. Amazingly, he became a top actor in Pakistani TV dramas! You can still see NYFA featured on Meiraj’s Facebook cover photo.

    Being nominated for an industry award is always a great honor. It is your peers going “on the record” in their praise of not just what you do, but how you do it. NYFA alum Kecia Gayle works in the challenging world of entertainment journalism. You can find her on Instagram and on Hollywood Unlocked’s own website.

    Of course, if you want to learn about fashion trends and popular culture, you just have to listen to NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Nicole Abebe on The Beat, 99.9 in Lagos. But if you want to double your knowledge, then check out (do people still say that?) the Abebe family on with the Abebes.

    Right now, we are in the middle of a typical New York City Summer. The days are hazy, hot and, humid. If you are a TV reporter, that means just one thing: visit places where people are cooling off. This is precisely what Broadcast Journalism alum Karen Hua did for News12 New York.

    Of course, even though it is Summer there are still important stories to cover (especially in the Southern Hemisphere, where it is Winter). One of the biggest stories continues to be COVID-19. Former NYFA student Fernanda Mueller has returned to Brazil, where she is working for NSC Comunicação, a Globo-affiliated company.

    “The company has a TV channel, radio station, digital and print media. I work as a multimedia reporter for digital and print. We recently made a video series about food prices. In this video, I talk about how prices of rice and beans have increased in Brazil and the state of Santa Catarina during the pandemic,” says Fernanda.

    Even the movies have a serious side, captured in all of its glory by NYFA graduate Federica Polidoro in a recent cover story in Vanity Fair Italia. Federica asked for comments from our own Broadcast Journalism Chair, Bill Einreinhofer.

    Evgenia Vlasova and Bill Einreinhofer are in the middle of producing a new Public TV documentary called Unsettled History: America, China and the Doolittle Tokyo Raid. In April 1942, the five American aviators pictured below, along with 59 of their comrades, were rescued from capture, torture, and certain death at the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army. The rescue mission was carried out by Chinese farmers, fishermen and militia members. These Americans either crash-landed or parachuted into rural China and survived thanks to the courageous actions of strangers in a foreign land.

    Producer Nancy Hanzhang Shen and Bill Einreinhofer shot the final interview last month, with Prof. Luo Shiping in Shangrao, Jiangxi province, China (centered in the picture below along with the local production team).

    The documentary will be distributed by American Public Television in April 2022, to mark the 80th anniversary of the Doolittle Tokyo Raid.

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  • NYFA Los Angeles Holds Virtual Graduation Celebration for Spring 2021 Graduates

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    On May 8th, NYFA’s Los Angeles campus saw 165 degree students graduate. A virtual  commencement ceremony was held for the graduating class of 2021 allowing students to collect their degrees and officially become NYFA alumni.

    Commencement Speaker Camrus Johnson (Batwoman, The Sun is Also a Star) joined the graduation live and delivered an inspirational speech about how pursuing a career in the film industry is “risky, scary, can be frustrating, and how pursuing that dream makes a person not normal.  It makes them extraordinary.  That fighting for this goal, climbing for it, and falling down is worth it…as long as they pick themselves up and keep going.”  And how, in no time, these students will be the ones holding for and hearing an applause.

    NYFA Los Angeles also introduced its third student speaker Emma Daniels (BFA Acting), who addressed peers on this milestone achievement. Students also were shown a graduation video that was streamed during the ceremony.

    BFA in 3D Animation & Visual Effects

    Noura Alqubaisi

    Angel Gradilla

    Fangyuan Liu

    Yuping Zeng

     

    AFA in Acting for Film

    Mariana Sanjuan

     

    BFA in Acting for Film

    Kristin AlNimri

    Adlih Cristal Torres Alvarado

    Austin Lee Barksdale

    Georgia Alixandra Beam

    John “Savage” Bention

    Stephen Bennett Bleeker

    Chloe Breen

    Yu-Fang (Annie) Chang

    William Collins

    Emma Daniels

    Iunia Georgiana Dinu

    Milad El Doumani

    Jérémie Boyamba

    Alex Giarratano

    Karolina Glazunova

    Keoni Hall

    Andre Heard

    Jason Holland

    Camila Jimenez Alvarado

    Freda Yifan Jing

    Salif Bobby Kone II

    Benjamin Leder

    Natasha Lewis

    Yifangting Li

    Ronaldo Madera

    Tshepang Modise

    Fenton Chavez-Montesino

    Zach Morris

    Jordan Nolen

    Darcy Jeanette O’Toole

    Aldana Pavicich

    Kenneth Phillips

    Willie Poole

    Eduarda Fukuoka

    Joshua Sanchez

    Marie Solimena

    Angelo Valotta Patino

    Siphesihle Vilakazi

    Dashun Latrell Worthen

    Ari Zhaukhanova

     

    MFA in Acting for Film

    Frederick Scott Basnight II

    Treyvon Hinson

    Shermera Hughes

    Melisa Lopez

    Gimbals Moonier

    Asaadhya Pal

    Ya Qi

    Charles E Savage

    Rashvir Singh

     

    AFA in Filmmaking

    Jorge Abdou

     

    BFA in Filmmaking

    Qiao Ba

    Timur Badanov

    Thomas Barth

    Lord Zeth Zander Black

    Shivam Rajesh Dodhia

    Veljko Dronjak

    Rui Du

    Ian Alec Franco

    Joshua Fraser

    Alessio Giurgola

    Siyang Huang

    Arnav Kasbekar

    Bu Lu

    Armaan Lucknowala

    Robin Lyu

    Kenneth Ma

    Flaminia Mereu

    Alice Nicolini

    Junyao Ren

    Filippo Savoia

    Haoxi Tan

    Nghi Tran Nguyen Hoang

    Oliver Weinmann

     

    MA in Film and Media Production

    Ricardo Cruz

    Muhammad Saram Dogar

    Nidhi Jarmanwala

    Da Lin

    Dongyu Lu

    Sabreen Taha

    Sam Triplett

    Daniela Cruz Yomayusa

    Peiying Zhu

     

    MFA in Filmmaking

    Charles Hamilton Allen

    Fernanda Belmar

    Omar Fayek

    Viviana Garibay Canavati

    Anderson Grant

    Sharan Gupta

    Mohamed Gamil Ibraheem

    Yao Ji

    Marzin Muslim Khaidar

    Sushmita Kohli

    Chris Bixi Li

    Gary L

    Tsai-Yi Pan

    Chi-Yang Victor Shao

    Wei-Lin Shen

    Wan Yi Shih

    Justin Stapleton

    Jiasheng Wang

    Phillip Jeffrey WIlliams Jr.

    Ziyan Zhu

     

    BFA in Game Design

    Jordan Barboza

    Mi Diaz

     

    BFA in Photography

    Sabryna “Hunny” Flores

    Abbey Friedman

    Sophia Ortega

    Carlos Alberto Pascal Zavala

    Jeremy Rich

    Xiaoyu ‘Kiko’ Yuan

     

    MFA in Photography

    Huaishu Fei

    Shaokang Ji

    Anqi Liu

    Brian Thomas Myers

     

    BFA in Producing

    Oksana Chester

    Shuotian Hu

    Zhongyu Leng

    Xue Ni

    Bocong Sun

    Jiani Zhou

     

    MA in Producing

    Adam Ferguson

    Yifei Hong

    Tuesday Lewis Harris

    Guanhui Li

    Mengmeng Lu

    Yiwen Sun

     

    MFA in Producing

    Zhaolin Chen

    Emerson Geter

    Pengyifan “Erin” Lou

    Joshua J. Mensah

    Anna Szymanska

    Anisha Thakur

    Wenxin Yang

     

    BFA in Screenwriting

    David Avila Jr.

    Babatunde Awe

    Ian Brown

    Malin Cantu

    Aaron Herrera

    Thomas J Horn

    Lorenzo Elijah Hudson

    Margot Kloster

    Taylor Nichka

    Angel Nnaemeka Ogwo

    Stefanie Webb

    Roberto Posada Panero

    Rivka Shmuel

     

    MFA in Screenwriting

    Caleb Bloomer

    André Luiz Dragoni da Costa

    Almas Haidery

    Courtney Kim

    Owen Newberry

    1. Paolucci

    Anna Pujolras

    Charlotte Glen Quarrie

    Jai Roberson

    Lucas Romero

    Federico Sanna

    Xavier A. Vazquez

    Eugene E. Williams

    Zhao, Chao

    New York Film Academy congratulates its graduates and wishes them continued success in their professional paths. We can’t wait to see what comes next!

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    May 28, 2021 • Academic Programs, Community Highlights • Views: 733

  • NYFA Musical Theatre Alum Felipe Vasquez Encamilla to Perform in BroadwayMania’s Virtual Production of “In The Heights”

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    A performer and an alum of NYFA’s 2-Year Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre (PCMT) program, Felipe Vasquez Encamilla, like many others, was devastated when the pandemic hit and productions shuttered their doors and performers could no longer perform live and in-person. 

    Now, with Broadway and other theatre institutions around the world slowly beginning to open their doors again, the performing arts world is starting to rejoice as productions are being cast and virtual performances continue, one of which is the BroadwayMania virtual production of Lin Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights, where Encamilla will perform as the Piragua Guy.

    Promotional photo of Felipe Vasquez Encamilla for “In The Heights”

    In The Heights is one of the most wonderful musicals that I have ever known,” shared Encamilla. “It has a special value for me because the musical represents the Latinx community of which I’m proudly part. It is so important to have a voice and In The Heights is giving me a huge voice. We, as a cast, are recording videos and the audio from our own homes, and then the production and editing team do the incredible magic to put the show together.”

    Encamilla came to study at NYFA in 2018, where he credited instructors like Deidre Goodwin, Michelle Potterf, Kristy Cates, James T. Lane, Kevid David Thomas, D. Michael Heath, Wysandria Woolsey, Mark Price, T. J. Mannix, Stephen Nachamie, among many others, for providing such an immersive experience in the Musical Theatre program. 

    “They are legends! I had heard about them in Chile before, so you can imagine how excited I was to know them [the instructors] in person,” said Encamilla. “ Another big reason for coming to NYFA was the possibility to make a movie musical in the second year. None of the academies or schools that I had seen had this in their curriculums and I consider it so important! Actually, the pandemic has made me use a lot of the things that I learned at NYFA about how to perform musicals in front of the camera.” 

    Encamilla as Monsieur Thénardier in “Les Misérables”

    From playing King Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar to Pirelli from Sweeney Todd, Encamilla revealed that his favorite part of performing is the relationships formed on and off stage. “For me, it’s the relationships with my colleagues and the connections that we can create on stage. Not only because the characters have to have a connection, but also because all the good energy is reflected when you are performing. People can totally see those connections. And that is so beautiful! I think if you work with love, respect and kindness your performance always will be the best.”

    As for what’s next after In The Heights, Encamilla is developing a few projects with his husband Pablo, including producing the play Llamada Entrante (“Incoming Call” written by Pablo and directed by Encamilla), which they are looking to expand after a few successful live online performances. 

    Felipe Vasquez Encamilla in “Sweeney Todd”

    “We are also are writing a musical that talks about homoparental adoption, which is a huge topic for so many people, especially in countries like Chile where it is not allowed. We think that we need more representation in the Musical Theatre world: one of my huge dreams is to write more musicals that contain more representation to the Latinx Community, gay people, immigrants, and people who came to this country to contribute with their talents but so many times they are non seen.”

    An advocate for the voiceless and determined, Encamilla urges those looking to expand their craft to follow their dreams no matter the circumstances. “You have to follow your dreams and make it real. It’s hard, I know. Sometimes you feel that they never will come true. Many times nobody believes in you, including yourself. But you have to find the strength to fight and don’t give up. You deserve it. Never stop dreaming!”

    Official poster for “In The Heights”

    New York Film Academy congratulates Felipe Vasquez Encamilla on the exciting opportunity to be part of BroadwayMania’s production of In The Heights. You can see the show online, with performances streaming on May 15 at 7:00 pm ET, May 16 at 2:00 pm ET, and May 22 at 7:00 pm ET. For tickets and more information, click here.

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  • NYFA Filmmaking Instructor Braden Duemmler’s Film “What Lies Below” Lands on Netflix

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    NYFA instructor Braden Duemmler’s film What Lies Below is currently has the the #1 spot on Netflix’s Top 10 in the U.S. Today spot, a coveted ranking across all streaming services.

    Duemmler, who wrote and directed the film, is a filmmaking instructor at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus. What Lies Below is a horror-thriller film that tells the story of a teenage girl who comes back home from camp, only to realize that her mother’s attractive new boyfriend is too good to be true.

    Braden Duemmler (Left) and Ema Horvath (Right) on the set of “What Lies Below”

    The film stars Ema Horvath (who was recently cast in the upcoming Lord of The Rings series for Amazon Prime), NYFA guest speaker Mena Suvari (American Beauty, American Pie), and Trey Tucker (who was recently cast in the upcoming show Heels on Starz).

    For Duemmler, What Lies Below was a labor of love, and seeing all of the work that went into writing the film as well as seeing it cast and begin shooting was an incredible moment for the director. “It was wonderful and terrifying at the same time. I still remember the first table read with Ema, Trey, and Mena going through the lines. I had tears in my eyes at the end because I just couldn’t believe I was sitting there, with these incredibly gifted actors, listening and watching them bring the story to life!”

    Behind the scenes of filming “What Lies Below”

    “As we were making the film, it was a battle. Every day had its trials and triumphs and you just had to stay focused on the scene, the shot, the moment, every step of the way,” shared Duemmler. “Every time we wrapped a day, and I knew in my head we got what we needed, I felt the same as I did at that table read: this is happening, this is working, this is awesome!”

    Mena Suvari in “What Lies Below”

    What Lies Below has now been picked up and released by streaming giant Netflix, which has been the launching point for many directors and multiple genres of content for the past decade.

    “It’s very exciting. We’re being released the same week as a film starring Idris Elba! It makes me appreciate the platform [Netflix] and its unique ability to bring films from all genres, budgets, and styles to one place.”

    Trey Tucker in “What Lies Below”

    According to the filmmaking instructor, audiences will be able to enjoy the “intensity of the story” and the mystery that is riddled throughout the film. But most of all, he hopes audiences will argue over the ending. “It is a very polarizing finale and I’ve already seen some great fan theories on the internet. All I’ll say is the ending is not open-ended; it is very definitive and all the answers to the mystery are layered into those final two shots. I hope people enjoy picking it all apart and trying to figure it out!”

    Braden Duemmler on the set of “What Lies Below”

    For anyone out there looking to make their own film, Duemmler says it’s time to stop asking for permission. “You don’t need the studios, or Sundance, or a big-time producer. All you need is a great script and a little start-up capital that will allow you to attach a cast that is recognizable enough to get you your full budget! The cast is EVERYTHING and they care about great scripts!”

    New York Film Academy congratulates filmmaking instructor Braden Duemmler on the release of his first feature film What Lies Below, which is now available to stream on Netflix. Once audiences finish arguing over the ending of What Lies Below, it won’t be long before Duemmler releases his next film Mold, which will begin casting this summer.

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    April 7, 2021 • Entertainment News, Faculty Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 1531

  • New York Film Academy Instructors Shoot “The Sisters Karras” And Enter Post-Production

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    Two estranged half-sisters, a will reading, a valuable antique rug, and a mysterious stranger. 

    NYFA Acting for Film and Filmmaking instructor Micah Stathis’ latest film, The Sisters Karras, has deep roots within the NYFA community. With Stathis’ SK Deli Market Productions at the helm of the production, the film also includes New York campus instructors Dan Rodriguez, Dennis Green, and Andy Mendez among the film’s cast and crew.

    Poster for “The Sisters Karras”

    The film, shot last Summer in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, is an original feature written, directed, and starring Stathis. NYFA teaching assistant for Acting for Film Dan Rodriguez served as the film’s director of photography, with NYFA’s Post-Production Supervisor, Andy Mendez, serving as the main editor of the film. Joining Stathis in the cast is NYFA screenwriting instructor Dennis Green.

    Photo courtesy of Micah Stathis

    The shoot itself proved challenging for the crew as safety took precedent with the filming during the pandemic. 

    “It was very stressful shooting during the pandemic,” explained Stathis. “We were a SAG registered production, so the COVID protocols were very strict and required a lot of additional planning and precautions. Not to mention, it’s really hot shooting in New York in August…especially while having to wear masks!”

    With the production wrapped, The Sisters Karras now enters the post-production phase. Like many filmmakers know, shooting the film is half the battle, with a huge part of the filmmaking process dedicated to putting all the finishing touches on the project and getting the film out in the public eye.

    Dan Rodriguez (Left) and Micah Stathis (Right)

    “I hope that audiences enjoy the tragicomic tone and nature of the film. I hope audiences find the story of the two sisters captivating, funny, and stressful but ultimately, relatable,” shared Stathis.

    Photo courtesy of Micah Stathis

    “We are definitely aiming for a festival run with an eye towards sales and distribution. We have already been in dialogue with a few distribution companies who are waiting for the film to be ready. We do not want to rush the post-production process and want to make sure the film is, ultimately, as good as it can possibly be. That’s why we’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign specifically for post-production.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates the instructors who banded together to create a feature film safely in the middle of the pandemic. To learn more about The Sisters Karras, you can visit the film’s Kickstarter page by clicking here.

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    April 2, 2021 • Acting, Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights, Filmmaking, Screenwriting • Views: 14602

  • New York Film Academy Partners with the 2021 FOLCS – International Short Film Competition

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) is excited to announce another year of partnership with the Forum on Life, Culture and Society (FOLCS) International Short Film Competition in a five-day virtual event, culminating in an Awards Night on April 8, 2021.

    FOLCS is a non-profit organization that houses culturally relevant conversation topics, providing a unique and enriching experience for audience goers that speaks to the moment with captivating conversations from special guests across multiple industries. NYFA has been a co-host on the FOLCS series of events for the last three years. 

    The annual FOLCS – International Short Film Competition (F-ISFC) is a special event that showcases short films that explore themes of justice, human rights, and the law by emerging filmmakers from all over the world. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for the very first time, FOLCS, in partnership with NYFA, will be virtually hosting its annual short film competition, allowing viewers to screen all of the finalist entries over the course of five days starting April 5, 2021.  

    Finalist films for the FOLCS – International Short Film Competition

    This year’s official film selections include titles from Iran, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Malaysia, and the United States, giving entrants the opportunity to have their films shown to a wide audience and films viewed by distinguished professionals including renowned filmmakers, actors, writers, and journalists. Previous F-ISFC judges from NYFA include Cinematography Chair Piero Basso, Screenwriting Chair Randall Dottin, Filmmaking Chair Andrea Swift, and Filmmaking instructor Jonathan Whittaker.

    Actor William Fichtner

    All ISFC attendees will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite short, which will be counted towards the Audience Favorite Award which will be announced during Awards Night on April 8, 2021. The awards night is open to all F-ISFC ticketholders and will feature a discussion with the finalist filmmakers, NYFA’s own President Michael Young, and actor William Fichtner (Black Hawk Down, Prison Break, The Perfect Storm, The Dark Knight), who will present the award for The Best Short.

    HOW TO WATCH THE FILMS & VIRTUALLY ATTEND:

    The first 200 people to register for this year’s F-ISFC will receive tickets for the virtual film screenings free of charge, while all other registrants will be charged a $2 fee to unlock the official film selections. To view the F-ISFC slate of films selected for this year’s competition, click here. If you would like to register to attend one or all of the screenings for this year’s F-ISFC, click here to register. On April 5, 2021, you will receive an email with instructions on how to unlock and watch each film online. 

    New York Film Academy is a proud partner of this year’s FOLCS – International Short Film Competition and looks forward to being part of this special event celebrating aspiring independent filmmakers from around the globe. 

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