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  • New York Film Academy Board Member Matthew Modine Opens Full Metal Diary Photo Exhibit at Axiom Contemporary

    NYFA Board member and award-winning actor Matthew Modine has opened a photography exhibit, Full Metal Diary, at Axiom Contemporary in Santa Monica.

    Fresh from a record-breaking showing at the 23rd Annual LA Art Show, Modine’s works share an extraordinary, nuanced, and intimate view into life on the set of renowned director Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket.

    Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, the film is known as a classic, and Modine’s photography offers a behind-the-scenes experience of artistic collaboration.

    In black and white images captured in 1987, Modine’s Full Metal Diary shows the scale and also the intimacy of life on set, where he collaborated as a young actor with a true cinematic master for two years.

    In fact, it was Kubrick himself who suggested that Modine keep a “diary” of his experiences portraying the iconic role of Private Joker. Now the public can enjoy Modine’s intimate access to the famously private director as well as his unique perspective on Full Metal Jacket.

    Axiom Contemporary will hold an artist reception with Matthew Modine Friday, Feb. 23 from 6-9 p.m. For further info, contact: Mark Matkevich – mark@axiomcontemporary.com.

    February 21, 2018 • Acting, Community Highlights, Entertainment News, Faculty Highlights • Views: 584

  • HOLA Partners with New York Film Academy Jaguars to Create Basketball Clinic for Kids

    This winter, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Los Angeles campus men’s basketball team, the NYFA Jaguars, embraced the idea of giving back. Forming a partnership with Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA), a non-profit organization that provides Los Angeles children free access to academic, art, and athletic-based classes, together, HOLA and the NYFA Jaguars created a basketball clinic for kids.

    The clinic was led by the NYFA Jaguar’s coach, NBA Champion Lucius Allen. The clinic consisted of basketball drills that legendary UCLA Coach, John Wooden, used to train Allen when he was in college. “Wooden’s philosophies helped define success for me both inside and outside the game of basketball.” Allen said. The goal was to help instill confidence and sportsmanship in the young basketball players.

    Reflecting on the class, HOLA Athletic Director Kristina Wheeler said, “This was a great experience for our kids. The opportunity to learn from someone like Coach Lucius Allen is rare. I believe the lessons learned today will stick with the students for the rest of their lives.”

    The NYFA Basketball team felt the experience was a special one as well. Coach Allen remarked, “The kids were great. They were receptive, respectful to each other, and very competitive.”

    That sentiment of creating positive change within the community is a cornerstone of the New York Film Academy’s Athletics Program. Through the Athletic Leadership Development Program (ALDP), NYFA students are encouraged to seek out opportunities where they can give back as a team. With that goal in mind, the basketball team will also be creating Valentine’s Day cards for children at a local hospital.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank HOLA and Coach Allen for giving our students a chance to pay it forward.

  • Celebrating A Successful Shanghai Film Week at New York Film Academy

    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) was proud and honored to host Shanghai Film Week from Jan. 9-12, created in partnership with the Shanghai Film Group, Shanghai Film Art Academy, and the Shanghai Film Distribution and Exhibition Association.

    A vivid celebration of Chinese film and culture, Shanghai Film Week coincides with the beginning of the 2018 Chinese New Year festivities. The joy of the New Year was a part of the magic behind the enthusiastic and full turnout, with many of the events of the week seeing packed audiences and full houses.

    On its opening day, Shanghai Film Week shared space with Chinese Cultural Performances at the Jewish Heritage in downtown New York. The Chinese Cultural Performances offered a wide and colorful variety of presentations from Shanghai-based cultural and educational institutions, from folk dancing and music to martial arts.

    Delighted attendees were treated to presentations by the East China Normal University, Shanghai Theatre Academy, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Shanghai Film Art Academy, and Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The performances concluded with a ceremony to acknowledge and thank the many prestigious institutions and talented individuals involved in shaping the Chinese Cultural Performances.

    Following on the energy of the performances, Shanghai Film Week continued the theme of celebration with a focus on Chinese film. The assembled crowd was treated to a Film Panel hosted by New York Film Academy President Michael J. Young.

    Shanghai Film Week’s Film Panel discussion offered rare insight, flavored with optimism, on topics from the history of cinema in China to the future of the international entertainment industry. Industry experts discussed “The Present and Future State of the U.S. and China Film Collaboration,” with panelists including award-winning author and NYU Tisch professor David Irving, Shanghai Film Art Academy President Jiang Bo, renowned film critic and NYFA instructor Peter Rainer, film director of the first screening film Sherwood Hu, NYFA Chair of Broadcast Journalism Bill Einreinhofer, and Vice President of the Shanghai Film Group Corporation Xiaojun Wang.

    After the panel, many more guests arrived for the Shanghai Film Week Opening Ceremony and first film screening. A rousing speech by Deputy Consul General Zhang Meifang from Consulate General of People’s Republic of China in New York and a ceremonial ribbon-cutting kicked off the Opening Ceremony, immediately followed by the screening of panelist and film director Sherwood Hu’s 2013 feature “Amazing.”

    The popular film features NBA superstars Scottie Pippen, Mel Chude, Dwight Howard, and Carmelo Anthony, and offered the enthusiastic audience an exciting ride through the world of a virtual reality game that takes on a life of its own.

    Shanghai Film Week also screened six additional films at the NYFA Theatre at its Battery Park campus, all of which have won numerous awards and accolades in China. These films included “The Last Tomb,” “The Monkey King,” “I Wish I Knew,” “Phurbu & Tenzin,” “Legend of the Naga Pearls,” and “Cock and Bull.”

    The New York Film Academy thanks its Shanghai Film Week supporter and partners: Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in New York; the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture, Radio, Film & TV; Foreign Affairs Office of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government; Information Office of Shanghai Municipal People’s Government; Shanghai Film Group; and Shanghai Film Art Academy.  

     

  • New York Film Academy Alum & Associate Director of Recruitment Screens Powerful Documentary “I Heart Jenny”

    "I Heart Jenny"

    “I Heart Jenny” at the New York Film Academy’s New York City Theatre

    “I Heart Jenny,” a heart-wrenching and beautiful documentary by producer and director Blake Babbitt, had a special screening this December at the New York Film Academy’s recently opened New York City Theatre. The film follows Babbitt’s close friend Jenny Rie Vanderlinden as she struggled with and eventually succumbed to a rare form of ovarian cancer. More importantly, the documentary focuses on the powerful positive spirit Jenny embodied, inspiring her friends, family, and eventually total strangers with her optimism and zestful love of life.

    In a piece written about Jenny, the Huffington Post wrote, “Jenny doesn’t seem terrified of this thing that is so far beyond us, this thing that none of us can now see… Instead, she’s investing her unconquerable energy in living the spectacular life she’s always lived—skiing, canyoneering, rafting, traveling and raising four amazing children—with a bit more urgency.”

    “I Heart Jenny” started documenting Jenny’s journey over a year after her diagnosis, and followed her right up until her untimely end, a death she refused to allow to shadow her life. Babbitt was inspired to make the documentary after seeing the “I Heart Jenny” stickers their mutual friends began posting frequently as badges of support.

    "I Heart Jenny"

    “I Heart Jenny”

    The initial idea of the documentary came to Babbitt during a pitch session that was part of his curriculum while attending the New York Film Academy’s Evening Producing workshop. From there, he started a years long journey, utilizing the skills, resources, and colleagues he met while at NYFA. “I had never made a film before,” said Babbitt, “but I was able to use the resources at NYFA to get my feet underneath me. At NYFA I was surrounded by people who really knew what they were doing. I felt supported by NYFA the entire way.”

    Shooting the film took two years, and was in post-production for another three—a long, laborious process that is not uncommon for documentaries, especially works of passion and as personal as “I Heart Jenny.” During this time, Babbitt not only applied the skills he learned at NYFA, but also used the connections made there to help his film see the light of day. In addition to being a distinguished alumnus, Babbitt is also currently the school’s Associate Director of Recruitment. With this notable position, he is able to guide incoming students as they look to grow as artists and filmmakers in their own right.

    Blake Babbitt

    Producer & Director Blake Babbitt

    As a result of the relationships formed at the New York Film Academy, Babbitt was able to recruit a strong, talented crew for “I Heart Jenny”—many alumni and staff from the school—including:

    Kathleen Harris – DP/Producer
    Brad Gallant – Lead Editor/Producer
    Zena Wood – Associate Producer
    Mike Diaz – Editor/Story Producer
    Chris Hayes – Editor
    Mike Walls – Camera Operator
    Shani Patel – Sound recordist/2nd Camera Operator
    Lexi Phillips – Colorist

    It was only fitting then that “I Heart Jenny” had its initial preview at the New York Film Academy. Babbitt continued, “It was an honor to be able to host my first screening in our stunning new screening room.”

    Andrea Swift, New York Film Academy’s Chair of Documentary Filmmaking, was in attendance, and was very impressed with Babbitt’s debut film. “It takes extraordinary passion, commitment, and talent to make a film like this.” She added, “This film can do real good in the world.”

    The specific cancer that took Jenny’s life was related to the BRCA gene, a sequence of DNA that has become more and more noted in recent years for its ominous relationship to many types of cancer. While making “I Heart Jenny,” Babbitt linked up with Jonathan and Mindy Gray, founders of the Basser Center for BRCA at the Abramson Cancer Center at Penn Medicine. The Basser Center is the first of its kind to focus specifically on BRCA-related cancers, and Babbitt has tied his film to their worthy cause, helping to raise donations for further research (click here if you’d like to support the Basser Center as well.)

    While it’s been a long, winding road for Babbitt and “I Heart Jenny,” their journey is far from over. Babbitt’s goal is to get the documentary into the Telluride Film Festival, based in Colorado where Babbitt is from and where he first met Jenny. According to Babbitt, “If it gets in, she wants me to bring a cardboard cutout of her—LOL!”

    In addition to submitting the film to as many festivals as possible, Babbitt is also hoping to get distribution, hoping the more people who see the film, the more they will take home its poignant message and look to support the fight against BRCA-related cancers. Babbitt continued, “We’ve had so many supporters along the way, and anytime I felt dejected or lost in the process, I would just think about our supporters and Jenny. I knew I couldn’t let her or them down.”

    Supporters of the film can follow updates on Facebook as well as on Twitter. You can also follow Babbitt’s filmmaking exploits on Instagram.

    The New York Film Academy is proud of Blake Babbitt and “I Heart Jenny,” and wishes him the best of luck as he continues the legacy of Jenny Rie Vanderlinden and her powerful story.

    I Heart Jenny Promo- Extended Version from Blake Babbitt on Vimeo.

  • New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School’s Last Weekly Update of 2017

    As this is the final Weekly Update for 2017, I wanted to tell you about what some of the NYFA Broadcast Journalism graduates have been doing recently…

    Celina Liv Danielsen is one of the hardest working people I ever met, and that hard work has apparently paid off. I heard from her last week via Facebook: “I have been working at the Danish television company TV2 for a year now, and I just found out that I’m among (together with a colleague) a nominee for the Best News Story of the Year at the award show ‘TV Prisen 2018.’ I just wanted to thank you and the school for teaching me so much…”

    Congratulations, Celina! Not bad for one year on the job…

     

     

    Meanwhile, more recent alum Melissa Aleman is now working on “Somos Texas,” a series that airs on Azteca TV. And her most recent story has a definite holiday theme: “Don’t miss out on the best location to take your selfie this Christmas! Today I’ll be showing you the place that has more than 4 million Christmas lights! Don’t miss a brand new holiday edition of #SomosTexas only on #azteca.”

    Want to find out about the plot of the next blockbuster film in the Jurassic Park series, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”? NYFA grad Daniella Gemignani interviewed director A.J Bayona for Globo TV in Brazil.

    Bryanna Reynolds recently interviewed international entertainment legend Kylie Minogue at the Melbourne premiere of the “Swinging Safari,” which Bryanna describes as “an Australian comedy.”  It’s a coming-of-age film that takes place in the 1970s.

    When Elina Mukherjee went to Times Square to report a NYFA student project earlier this year, she had no idea it would turn out to be a job interview for TV Asia USA. Someone from the New Jersey-based programming service saw her doing her stand-up, and he was so impressed he offered her a job as a freelance reporter after she graduated. Her first assignment is the Global Healthcare Summit taking place in India. Then she will be reporting stories from Long Island, which is a suburb of New York City. Congratulations, Elina!
    Finally, on a personal note, it was an amazing year. I never dreamed I’d be asked to participate in the international version of a major CCTV cultural history series … and end up as the host. The six-part documentary series is headed to the MIPTV international TV market in Cannes next April.
    Have a wonderful holiday, whatever tradition(s) you follow, and I’ll be back next year with more news about the NYFA Broadcast Journalism department.
    Until then, stay tuned!
  • “Mindhunter” Screening with Guest Speaker Happy Anderson at New York Film Academy

    David Fincher’s critically-acclaimed Netflix series “Mindhunter” has been described by Slant Magazine as “addictive and resonant,” and features the work of two New York Film Academy (NYFA) instructors.

    In the wake of David Berkowitz (aka “Son of Sam”), Charles Manson and others, a new team within the FBI was formed to psychologically analyze the minds of killers. “Mindhunters” focuses on the early days of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) as its members struggle to understand the minds of serial killers, a term which had not yet been coined. The series stars New York Film Academy Musical Theatre Master Class lecturer Jonathan Groff, while veteran actor and NYFA instructor Happy Anderson is featured in two episodes of Season 1 in the chilling role of imprisoned killer Jerry Brudos.

    Jonathan Groff and Happy Anderson in a still from “Mindhunters,” via IMDB.

    This week, Anderson will return to NYFA’s New York City campus as a special guest in the New York Film Academy’s Guest Speaker Series, to share insights with students and discuss his career — which has included roles on acclaimed shows such “The Knick,” “Boardwalk Empire,” and “The Deuce.” He will also be featured in “Bright” alongside Will Smith, which will be released December 22nd, 2017. Episode 7 of “Mindhunter,” in which Anderson guest stars, will be screened for students prior to a Q&A. NYFA Chair of Acting in New York City Peter Stone will be moderating the Q&A.

    “Mindhunter” has recently been renewed by Netflix for a second season which was announced in a tweet by the show’s official account:

    Watch the trailer for season one below:

  • Sundance 2018 Will Feature Work by New York Film Academy Documentary & Filmmaking Instructors

    The Sundance Film Festival announced their 2018 slate this week, and the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking School is once again represented among the Sundance festival selections.

    As soon as Sundance released its announcement, the New York Times published the article, Sundance Film Festival 2018: 6 Films to Know,” which spotlights the documentary RBG.” NYFA Documentary cinematography professor Claudia Raschke is the director of photography for this much-anticipated documentary on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

    Directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen, “RBG” focuses on Ginsberg’s early work and how it has impacted women’s rights, tracing her evolution as an outspoken Supreme Court Justice, now popular in internet memes as “Notorious RBG.”

    It’s no surprise to find Claudia behind the camera of one of the year’s most important docs. Her previous work has already been nominated for Academy Awards four times.  

    “That NYFA’s Documentary Filmmaking students work so closely with a cinematographer as accomplished and prominent as Claudia is a rare privilege and adds immeasurably to their educations,” says Chair of the Documentary Filmmaking Department Andrea Swift.

    Claudia also shot the 2nd Units of two more 2018 Sundance-selected films: “The Price of Everything,” directed by Nathaniel Kahn (U.S. Documentary Competition), and “The Game Changers,” by Louie Psihoyos (World Premiere).

    A still from “The Game Changers” via IMDB.

    “The Price of Everything” turns its focus to the thriving market of the contemporary art world, while “The Game Changers” follows The Ultimate Fighter winner and special forces trainer James Wilks on a nutritional investigation.

    Joining Claudia in screening work at Sundance 2018 is New York Film Academy Documentary Master Class professor Hilla Medalia, who produced Sundance selection “The Oslo Diaries.”

    “The Oslo Diaries” chronicles the 1992 illegal and clandestine meeting of Israelis and Palestinians in Oslo, which impacted the course of history in the Middle East.

    A still from “The Tale” by Jennifer Fox

    New York Film Academy instructor Debbie De Villa is also represented at Sundance 2018, in the U.S. Dramatic Competition film selection “The Tale,” for which she served as production designer. “The Tale” is written and directed by Jennifer Fox and stars Laura Dern, portraying a character who must reexamine her memories surrounding her first sexual relationship.

    Read more about the Sundance 2018 selections in Variety, Deadline, Entertainment Weekly, and Screen Daily.

  • New York Film Academy Screenwriting Instructor Paul Brown Teaches Master Class at GAFA

    On the morning of November 26, 2017, Paul Brown, a notable Hollywood writer, director, producer, as well as a screenwriting instructor at the New York Film Academy, arrived in Guangzhou, China. Just a few hours later, Brown hosted a Master Class at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts (GAFA), where students and faculty from the GAFA animation department and others packed the house.

    Brown has taught several screenwriting workshops at the New York Film Academy, and has a distinguished career in the film & television industry. Starting over twenty-five years ago, Brown has produced more than one hundred television dramas and movies, working on illustrious series as “The X-Files,” “Quantum Leap,” “Star Trek: Voyager,” and “Star Trek: Enterprise.” Brown has won the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best TV Drama, and has been nominated for three Emmy Awards and three Golden Globes.

    In the Master Class “The Secrets of Great Stories,” Brown used “Wall-E” as an example of a film that truly brings its characters come to life in an emotionally powerful way. Brown elaborated on how mystery is at the heart of all great stories, following up with a discussion about the hidden ways that makes the audience can care about and connect with memorable characters whose desires, flaws, and need for change awaken secret wishes for a transformation in our own lives.

    After the class, Brown engaged with many students in a Q&A session and gave notes on students’ scripts until the end of the session. Overall, the afternoon was very well received and the audience from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts had many words of appreciation and gratitude for Paul Brown and the Master Class.

    November 30, 2017 • Faculty Highlights, Film School, Filmmaking, Screenwriting • Views: 783

  • New York Film Academy Documentary Program Chairs Interviewed in IDA’s Documentary Magazine

    Poised as the training ground for the next generation of leaders in this field, the New York Film Academy’s Documentary School was featured in the Fall 2017 edition of Documentary magazine, the biggest international documentary magazine and a publication of the prestigious International Documentary Association (IDA).

    In a wide-ranging conversation about NYFA’s Documentary Filmmaking Conservatory, NYFA Los Angeles Chair of Documentary Sanora Bartels and NYFA New York Chair of Documentary Andrea Swift gave a wide-ranging interview to Documentary magazine’s Tom Gianakopoulos, in the Doc University section. Gianakopoulos also teaches screenwriting at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles’ youth programs.

    Sonora Bartels told Documentary readers that NYFA’s hands-on learning style sets it apart: “Students at both campuses hit the ground running, and that first semester is a doozy. Right off the bat you have camera classes; you have directing classes; you have sound and producing classes—all of the practical instruction.”

    Andrea Swift agreed: We are very story-focused and, as mentioned earlier, our structure comes from the guiding principle that you learn how to make films by actually making films. The beating heart of that is telling a story.”

    The Documentary interview also spotlighted NYFA’s inclusion in the Hollywood Reporter’s list of the Top 25 American film schools, as well as major alumni successes including Raphael Neihausen’s Academy Award-nominated “Joe’s Violin” and Muhammed Hamdy’s Oscar-winning “The Square.”

    The New York Film Academy Documentary programs have embraced a global worldview since their inception. “If you do documentaries because you want to learn about the world, come to NYFA,” Sanora Bartels told Documentary. “You will learn about the world around you right here in the classroom, where you will figure out how to work with other cultures very quickly.”

  • NYFA Faculty Spotlight: Leander Sales

    Leander Sales is a New York Film Academy educator and a renowned editor. He’s worked with legendary director Spike Lee as an Assistant Editor on “Do the Right Thing,” “Malcolm X” and “Crooklyn.” He’s directed two feature films: “The Life I Meant to Live” and “Don’t Let Your Meat Loaf.” We sat down with Sales to ask him about his career, his time at NYFA, and what his students probably don’t know about him.

    What’s your education or professional background?

    I attended a year of college at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in the School of Drama. I then decided to travel so I went to NYC and worked as a security guard at Macy’s for a year and a half to save money. With that money, I moved to Florence, Italy for two years which was a very educational period in my life.  Professionally, most of my work was with Spike Lee on nine of his feature films, music videos, and commercials.

    What brought you to NYFA?

    The international student body is what attracted me to the school. I have a great appreciation for different cultures.

    What are some of your career or personal milestones that the NYFA community should know about?

    I am the Chair of the Motion Picture Editors Guild African American Steering Committee and our mission is to mentor fledgling filmmakers.

    Also, when I traced my DNA to Cameroon, Africa, it was a very important milestone for me.

    What are you working on right now?

    Editing a movie: “The Counter – 1960”

    What was the most satisfying project you’ve created or worked on in your career so far?

    “Do the Right Thing” as apprentice editor, “Malcolm X” as assistant editor and “Get on the Bus” as picture editor. “The Life I Meant to Live” as director/editor.

    What is your favorite course to teach?

    The course may vary, but I like teaching hungry students. Hunger cannot be taught.

    Leander Sales | New York Film Academy Faculty

    Is there a program or department at NYFA with which you’re closely involved?

    I’m closely involved with the documentary department and the acting department.

    What is one piece of advice that you would give incoming or current graduate students?

    The piece of advice I give to my students is to network.

    What is your favorite aspect of teaching?

    I love it when students recognize how valid their own life experiences are when creating their projects.

    What is most challenging about teaching for you?

    Language barriers.

    What is the most helpful advice you’ve received?

    Sometimes I can easily fix something but I have to let the student fix what’s not working, then at the end of the process, they can have a better sense of achievement.

    Growing up, what did you want to be?

    I always wanted to be a world traveler. I’ve seen a lot of Europe and I’ve been to Africa six times. Filmmaking is another way of traveling.

    Who has influenced you the most in life?

    My uncle Ron Dortch has had a huge impact on my life.

    What creators have influenced you the most?

    The people I’ve made movies with and watched solve problems. That list is very long.

    Where are you from originally? 

    Winston-Salem, NC.

    What do you do to take a break from work and teaching?

    Travel with my kids, play basketball with my kids, hike, play the guitar badly along with Eddie Hazel and Jimi Hendrix and cook with my kids.

    What is an interesting fact about yourself that your students and fellow Faculty might not know about you?

    They may not know that I often watch tv with the sound off.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Sales for his work with the school. If you’d like to learn more about Sales and his professional career click here.

    November 14, 2017 • Digital Editing, Faculty Highlights • Views: 694