New York Film Academy Cinematography faculty member and author Mark Sawicki introduced his VFX students to the concepts and step by step process of how to create a virtual set extension that combines on set lighting with virtual lighting in post. The technique was used to great effect in the box office hit “Dr Strange.”The method involves the clever integration of properly photographed stills coupled with a green screen foreground. The stills are specially processed in Photoshop and then delivered to After Effects to create a synthetic 3D space of texture maps on Polygonal surfaces that can be manipulated in space and time. Mark’s students were instructed to take exacting notes of their lighting and camera set up when they shot the green screen element, so they could take that information and do follow through virtual lighting with computer graphic light instruments and materials.Once the footage was processed the students met in post where they were introduced to the strange world of the virtual set. Sawicki gave students a hands-on experience demonstrating lighting simulations where boxes have to be checked to allow shadows to fall and spotlights can defy the inverse square law or even create a light that “darkens” a room. Even Doctor Strange would be challenged in such a world.Sawicki feels it is extremely important for the Cinematographers of today to get a grasp for lighting on set and in the computer, so that they have control over the look of their imagery every step of the way and also have a feel of when they can save time on set by enhancing or modifying lighting in post. NYFA stands out as one of the few schools on the globe that takes their students beyond the envelope to explore the strange and exciting world of virtual lighting.
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.
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.
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 Friday, April 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.
On March 4th, 2017, the New York Film Academy College of Visual and Performing Arts (NYFA) welcomed the 222nd Broadcast Operations Detachment to the College to provide hands-on instruction on voice training and filmmaking. The 222nd provides public affairs and media relations support for the U.S. Army Reserves, Regular Army, and Department of Defense.
The New York Film Academy Los Angeles has a long history of supporting the military and veteran communities by provided exclusive workshops. NYFA previously hosted the 201st and 222nd military units last year and held several exclusive training workshops for wounded warriors.
The training was held at the College’s state-of-the art campus in Burbank, CA. NYFA’s instructors, who are all industry professionals, led workshops focused on voice training to provide a refined creative approach to enhance their narrative skill sets. The soldiers were instructed to bring a narrative story that they connected with emotionally to add value to the training delivered. The workshop was followed by a compilation of film/framing compositions and advanced sound/audio instruction. By providing the experience from the Director’s point-of-view, the service members were uniquely supported in their current roles within the unit.
About the event, Kerry Wright Commander of the 222nd Broadcast Operations Detachment said, “The New York Film Academy puts together the best training an Army broadcast unit could ask for. The 222 Broadcast Operations Detachment has received valuable workshop training, covering interviews, lighting, voice overs, and camera framing and composition — all of which covers our required mission essential tasks. NYFA’s Veterans Services is committed to ensuring that our Army Public Affairs soldiers receive the best in training from highly qualified instructors. We are grateful, and look forward to seeing you at future workshops.”
The New York Film Academy, the world’s largest and most prestigious private global visual and performing arts private institution, is committed to supporting this newest generation of veterans. NYFA is proud to serve military veterans and servicemembers in their pursuit of a world-class education in filmmaking—and related disciplines—through its Veterans Advancement Program, Chaired by Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
New York Film Academy Acting for Film instructor Ken Lerner was the most recent guest on NYFA Hour. Lerner brought great advice from his acting class The Business of Acting and personal stories from his journey including shooting “Happy Days” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
The New York Film Academy Hour is a weekly podcast hosted by Joelle Smith and Pegah Rad on The Popcorn Talk Network. A prestigious alumnus or highly touted faculty member gives a mini master class each week on their cinematic specialty.
Lerner discussed comedic acting by highlighting moments from his career including playing the lawyer who is stabbed in the back in “Running Man” and the Snicker’s commercial for which he won an award.
When asked about how he prepares for his roles Lerner had this to say:
“When I was younger I did really a lot of research. I would call up hospitals if I was playing a doctor or a heroine addict. I even went to a friend who’s an obstetrician and watched. I asked cops if I could do a drive around. They said no, but I tried. I once played an army guy on Project X. I went out to the air force and watched the guys work. You pick up things. I did the research, that’s what I advise my students.”
The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Lerner for coming on The Popcorn Talk Network to discuss his career. You can watch Lerner in episodes of “This is Us,” “Legion,” and “Feud: Betty & Joan.”
Last week, the New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) hosted a special dinner for new and continuing Foreign Fulbright students who are attending graduate programs in Filmmaking, Photography, Screenwriting, Documentaries, and Film and Media Production. NYFA is proud to be hosting Foreign Fulbright Grantees from seven countries (Lithuania, Spain, Egypt, Finland, Indonesia, Angola and the Dominican Republic) currently; in recent years NYFA has welcomed more than 50 Fulbrighters to our campuses in LA and NYC. NYFA Fulbrighters have hailed from Bahrain, Angola, Indonesia, Egypt, Spain, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Finland, Uruguay, Dominican Republic, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Switzerland, Vietnamese, Ecuador, France, Sri Lanka, Russia, Paraguay, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Zambia.
The March 3 event took place at Miceli’s, a classic Hollywood venue, which was established in 1949.
In this wonderful setting with live piano music and waiters singing movie classics — as well as songs from the recent hit film “La La Land” — our Fulbrighters had the opportunity to share interesting conversations on diverse topics, with, of course, filmmaking being the shared passion.
Current NYFA Fulbrighter Pedro Peira (Spain), who had just returned from The Berlinale (The Berlin International Film Festival), shared anecdotes of the festival, as well as the implications of having one of his movies: “Soul,” selected to open one of the headline spots at the Festival.
José Siles, President of the Fulbright Alumni Association of Los Angeles, spoke with our international scholars about all of the enrichment and networking opportunities that the rich Fulbright community of LA has to offer. As a researcher at NASA, José shared with us many interesting details about the recent discovery of exoplanets orbiting the star Trappist-1, which NASA published last week.
Hugo Salvaterra (Angola), our the most recent Filmmaking Fulbrighter to join the LA cohort, recently transferred from a semester at the NYFA NYC campus and delighted to meet his LA peers, and share his first impressions with other scholars in the different fields related to filmmaking.
In a lively discussion with the scholars, Miguel Cruz, NYFA´s Director of Fulbright Initiatives, and Marcus Louis Fien, Senior Admissions Specialist & Manager of Fulbright Admissions, shared future initiatives that NYFA is planning, including a Fulbright Film Festival to be celebrated later this year.
At the special invitation of NYFA’s leadership, on Monday, March 6, the current cohort of Foreign Fulbright Students attended a special NYFA screening of the Academy Award nominated film “Hacksaw Ridge” and had the thrill of meeting acclaimed actor Mel Gibson, the film’s Director, who came to NYFA to discuss the project.
In a world of podcasting and videocasts, it was only a matter of time until the New York Film Academy got on board with its own insightful and thought provoking show, “New York Film Academy Hour,” which deals with all things filmmaking, acting, entertainment and more!
The weekly podcast, hosted by Joelle Smith and Pegah Rad, is hosted by Popcorn Talk and welcomes industry professionals from all areas of the entertainment business. Guests have included British Cinematography Rock God Tony Richmond, who has worked with legendary artists like The Rolling Stones and David Bowie, and NYFA alumnus Michael Gallagher, who has made hundreds of shorts, started the YouTube channel TotallySketch, directed the television mini-series “Interns,” “How to Survive High School” and “The Station.” He’s also produced three films: “Smiley,” “The Thinning,” and “Internet Famous.”
We talked to hosts Joelle Smith and Pegah Rad about NYFA Hour and more. See below!
How did the idea for NYFA Hour first come about, and how did you get the ball rolling?
JS: We saw an opportunity to bring the master filmmakers from NYFA to the vast audience of Popcorn Talk. Together they could help inspire the next generation of creators through YouTube. Thus the NYFA Hour was born.
How did Popcorn Talk become the host of NYFA Hour?
PR: Since Popcorn Talk is a network with an already large audience of television and movie lovers, it only seemed fitting to host the show on this network.
Which movie stands out for you as the main reason you’re so interested in “popcorn talk” and the movie business in general?
JS: The movie that made me want to get into movies was “Gangs of New York.” At thirteen, Scorsese was one of my favorite directors. But this movie didn’t hit me like his others. I understood that movies were a process and that virtually anyone could make a movie; and there is probably an equal chance that it’ll be bad or good. If Scorsese can flop and come back better than ever, then I could at least try.
PR: It’s hard to pinpoint what movie did this for me, but I guess you could say after I Christopher Nolan’s “Memento,” I fell in love with the psychological thriller genre.
Do you both also work or aspire to work in any particular field of the industry?
JS: I’m a comic book writer, television host, and film critique who does a lot of re-writes and reviews for up and coming artists. Right now I’m enjoying just being part of the conversation, but in the future I’d love to be a part of a writers room for an hour long drama. Writing as a team is so much better than writing alone.
PR: I aspire to work as a journalist or host for entertainment news. Recently, I started thinking about getting into acting as well.
Is there a moment or piece of advice from one of your guests that has stood out to the most thus far?
JS: There’s been one piece of advice that remains the same no matter who is sitting in the guests chair and that is, “Keep moving forward.” It would appear that the best thing a creator can do is keep creating. Even if you don’t have money, even if you don’t have a crew — and especially when you’re not sure what you’re supposed to be doing — if you keep creating at least you have a product.
PR: All of our guests so far have said that passion is the reason they keep on moving and staying in this industry. I think it’s important to stay passionate about your craft because that will keep you going for years.
If you could have any guest in the business on an upcoming episode…who would it be and why?
JS: I’d love to get Issa Rae on the show. “Insecure” is such a brave and impactful series. I’d love to discuss her process in moving from YouTube, to trying to launch a show on network, to finding a home on HBO. Shaq is also a NYFA alum, and I’m desperate to show the world his artistic side.
PR: I’m with Joelle in wanting Issa Rae and Shaq in as guests. I’ve seen so many sides of Shaq, but I’d like to see his artistic and creative side as well.
Which Oscar noms were your favorite this year? Who did you want to win?
JS: If it were up to me “Moonlight would win every award and we’d all go home happy such a film exists. I’m also elated I’m Not Your Negro has resonated with audiences. It’s a powerful documentary that need to be seen.
PR: “Moonlight” was hands down my favorite pick for this year and I’m so excited that they won! Also super excited that “The Salesman” from Iran won Best Foreign Film!
Which guests are coming up down the road?
JS: We’ve got a lot of really great guests coming up, but I’m most excited about Nunzio DeFilippes who is a prolific comic book writer and all around great human being. We’ve also got the head of Industry Lab, Kim Ogeltree, coming in to talk about all of the great projects being produced at the New York Film Academy.
PR: And Lamont Magee is coming up soon!
We’re looking forward to those podcasts and more! Be sure to check out NYFA Hour weekly on Popcorn Talk!
With politics at the forefront of our daily news, it’s refreshing to see New York Film Academy Acting for Film instructor Maria Gobetti’s thought-provoking political play “The Engine of Our Ruin,” which played at The Victory Theatre Center in Burbank, California.
Written by Jason Wells and directed by Gobetti, the play provides plenty of laughs but also offers some chewy nuggets of political give-and-take to savor. One wrong word or one wrong inflection can lead to crisis in our volatile modern world.
The play is an LA Times Critics Pick that has won several awards, including Gobetti’s 2016 Arts in LA Stage Award for Directing. The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle (LADCC) recently announced its nominations and special awards for excellence in Los Angeles, and The Milton Katselas Award for career or special achievement in direction went to Maria Gobetti.
Set in a luxury hotel suite somewhere in the Middle East, diplomat Charles Manning-Jourdain meets with delegates of an unfriendly nation in the hope that a simple trade agreement will bring their two countries closer together. But this routine mission quickly becomes an international incident thanks to an idealistic interpreter with an agenda of her own; a belligerent official who brings a rumor of war; and Charles’s own staffers, whose attempts to cover up an after-hours party might just topple a foreign government.
“This was one of the best directing experiences I’ve had, and I’ve directed over 80 plays — most of which have been world premieres,” said director Gobetti. “I could not have done this without experienced actors. Students should know that these actors were always prepared, always ready to work, and had great ideas. I did not have to ever ‘coach,’ only ‘direct’ actors who were already making strong choices.”
Gobetti and Tom Ormeny, co-artistic directors of the Victory Theatre Center, are pleased to announce their next project — the first production of their season scheduled to rock the Little Victory — the world premiere of “Pie in the Sky.” Directed by Gobetti and produced by Ormeny, Katie Witkowski, and co-produced by Gail Bryson, “Pie in Sky” is set to begin previews on March 10 and is scheduled to run from March 17 through May 23.
New York Film Academy South Beach faculty teamed up to produce the short film “Scenes From Our Young Marriage,” which will premiere at the Miami Film Festival on March 11, 2017. Ronald Baez, who will soon be teaching producing at NYFA South Beach, directed the film; Kevin Ondarza, NYFA South Beach Equipment Room Manager is a producer; Eddy Moon, NYFA South Beach Editing Room Manager, is a co-writer and producer; and Kyle Fritsche, NYFA South Beach Editing Room Supervisor and Facilities Coordinator, is the editor of the film.
Founded in 1984, The Miami Film Festival is a charity that connects art with audiences, and fosters a value for cinema for future generations. Stars that have graced their red carpet through the years include Gregory Peck, Sofia Loren, Kris Kristofferson, Candice Bergen, Kevin Kline, Michael Caine, Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith, Willem Dafoe, Demi Moore, Amy Irving, and many more.
In the film, “Scenes From Our Young Marriage,” a young couple shares seemingly innocuous conversation in bed as we explore the emotional vastness of their short tenure in marriage.
“My experience of making the film and seeing it fully realized was one that was full of perseverance and personal growth,” said producer Kevin Ondarza. “The set always had a positive vibe, and the work and passion that went into it from the cast and crew comes across on the screen. The process was long and strenuous, but probably one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.”
The official Florida premiere screening will be March 11, 2017 at 3:30PM at O Cinema Miami Beach.
For tickets and more information, please CLICK HERE.
Dean of Academic Advising at the New York Film Academy, Michael Civille, screened his third feature film, “The Rachels,” at the Los Angeles campus. Civille was joined by actress, Rebecca Stone, who has over fifty credits in shorts, features, and television series. The star of the film, Caitlin Carver, was also in attendance. Carver is set to portray Nancy Kerrigan in the upcoming film, “I, Tonya.”
Finally, Michael Pesa was in attendance. He is the former Chair of NYFA’s Cinematography program in LA and has over sixty credits, including “The Rachels.”
Lydia Cedrone, Chair of Feature Track at the New York Film Academy LA, hosted the evening. She kicked off the Q and A by asking Civille to elaborate on the development of the project.
“I am married to a very beautiful woman, named Hannah,” Civille began. “She is also an Executive Producer and the mother of my children. She works as the Senior V.P. of MarVista Entertainment, and we had talked for some time about wanting to collaborate.”
“Finally, this script came up and she handed it off to me,” he continued. “We hired a writer, then she hired Rebecca to shepherd us as a producer. The production came together very quickly. We shot for fifteen days in July and August. We locked picture in about five weeks and then we spent the fall getting it done.”
Civille admitted to only taking about two months off from working full-time to complete the film. He says his secret is, “Work late and get up early.”
That work ethic was present throughout the film shoot. At one point in the evening, the cast and crew began to discuss the dreaded “bathroom day,” referring to a scene in the film that takes place in the bathroom. A tight budget and a single location meant the cast and crew would have to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.
Stone elaborated, “We were lucky that we found a location for our school that allowed us to move around as needed. Thankfully, we were able to, for example, shoot everything in the bathroom in a day. It was ambitious.”
The rest of the cast and crew quickly chimed in agreement. Civille spoke of 110-degree days and a record-breaking heat wave. Of course, “bathroom day” fell on one of those days.
Carver spoke about her thirteen-page workday, “Bathroom day was one of the most challenging days. Madison, who plays Rachel Nelson, she and I were having the worst time with that scene. I think it was just being locked in a bathroom all day with toilets behind you and there are ten of our crew dudes behind us, and Mike is in there with us… It was a very challenging day. But then, Mike looked at us, ‘Let it go. Just let it go. I don’t care about the dialogue right now. Just let it go.’ And I think it ended up being one of the best scenes in the entire film.”
From all of the stress came an incredibly successful film. “The Rachels” had its premiere on January 15th on the Lifetime Movie Network.