Faculty Highlights
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  • NYFA Instructor Tim Fielder Featured by “The New York Times”

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    In a February profile pieceThe New York Times (NYT) penned a profile citing a boom in comic books and graphic novels that focus on Afrofuturism, a cultural aesthetic that describes the intersection of African diaspora culture with technology. The term was originally coined in the 1990s and for decades has been used by Black creators to envision an alternative present and future that celebrates the African diaspora.

    Among those creators is NYFA 3D Animation & VFX instructor Tim Fielder, who the NYT included in its latest article about the boom of Afrofuturism that goes beyond the popular Marvel comic Black Panther.

    Illustration by Tim Fielder for Aja Oba, an African king cursed with eternal life (Harper Collins)

    Fielder is an illustrator, concept designer, cartoonist, animator, and creator of the graphic novel series Matty’s Rocket and the critically acclaimed INFINITUM: An Afrofuturist Tale. He has worked over the years in the storyboarding, film visual development, gaming, comics, education, and animation industries. Fielder has served clients such as Marvel Comics, The Village Voice, Tri-Star Pictures, Ubisoft Entertainment, and New York University. He is an active contributor to the body of work surrounding Afrofuturism, citing Samuel R. Delany, Octavia Butler, Pedro Bell, and Overton Lloyd as his major influences.

    Fielder recently released his latest book INFINITUM in January, which melds a tale of African kings and space battles and journeys from the creation of the universe and the dawn of mankind to the rise and fall of great African kingdoms. Fielder’s new release was mentioned by The Times as a body of work that contributes to the boom of Afrofuturist titles being released this year.

    Fielder, who illustrates his work on his computer, is also the creator of Matty’s Rocket, a graphic novel series following space pilot Matty Watty. The story was inspired by Fielder’s parents and grandparents who never saw themselves represented in films or books in fantasy or sci-fi situations. “I wanted to restore parity in that area while I am blessed to still have my parents, both born in the 1930s Mississippi,” he shares on his website. “My art gives me the power to fill that void with an adventurous narrative.”

    New York Film Academy is proud of the well-deserved recognition of instructor Tim Fielder and looks forward to seeing the reception of Fielder’s latest book INFINITUM and for what’s to come from the talented author and illustrator.

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    March 5, 2021 • 3D Animation, Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights • Views: 185

  • “Invisible Love” From NYFA Chair Bill Einreinhofer Wins Big at Paris International Film Festival

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    Chair of the Broadcast Journalism department at New York Film Academy, Bill Einreinhofer has a lot to celebrate after his film Invisible Love won three major awards at the Paris International Film Festival in February.

    Bill Einreinhofer on set of “Invisible Love”

    Coming off on its premiere at the Marche du Film, associated with the Cannes International Film Festival, in 2020, Invisible Love has racked up three awards including Best Narrative Feature Film, Best International Actor (Hoang Phuong), and Best International Collaboration. 

    In addition to Einreinhofer executive producing Invisible Love, NYFA’s roots run deep in the film, with Acting for Film alum Kazy Tauginas playing one of the male leads and former NYFA staffer Nancy Hanzhang Shen serving as both a Producer and the 1st AD on a set working in three languages (Vietnamese, Mandarin, and English).

    Hoang Phuong in “Invisible Love”

    Invisible Love takes place during the 1930s during the era of French Indochina and follows the story of one woman’s search for love, and how time and again her dreams are betrayed. “The subtext of the film is the nature of colonialism, and the corrosive effect it has on both the colonizers as well as those colonized,” explained Einreinhofer. “There is plenty of melodrama in this film and enough plot for perhaps three movies. While in North America and Europe Invisible Love is considered an ‘art house’ film, in Vietnam and China it is popular entertainment.”

    Einreinhofer is no stranger to working heavily with international markets and met the film’s director, Guo Xiang, while working on Einreinhofer’s documentary Shanghai 1937: Where World War II Began. We found we had a lot in common, even though we are totally different and each doesn’t speak the other’s language,” recalled Einreinhofer. “Director Guo valued my experience in international co-production and distribution while I admired his cinematic vision and resourcefulness. He wanted to bring authenticity to this period film [Invisible Love], and my background in non-fiction video and familiarity with Asian cultures helped to ensure historic elements of the film rang true.”

    Nancy Hanzhang Shen (Left) and Bill Einreinhofer (Right)

    The Broadcast Journalism Chair even makes a cameo appearance in the film as Dr. Sawyer, the director of a Western-run hospital in DaNang, where two of the key characters work. “It [acting] helped me better appreciate the ability of the actors to do the same scene time after time, with no slip-ups in dialogue and always hitting their marks, which I find challenging,” he shared. 

    Einreinhofer also explained that he was able to rely on Tauginas while on set to give him a quick tutorial on the do’s and don’ts of film performance as well as Shen, who served as a producer and 1st AD on the film. “I was also much taken by the sheer beauty of Vietnam, and how welcoming the people there are to Americans. For my generation, Vietnam was a war, not a place.”

    For those who see the film, Einreinhofer hopes that Invisible Love will speak to the notion that, regardless of culture or societal norms, love knows no barriers and surpasses all universal emotions. 

    The film now continues on the festival circuit for the next six months, after which Einreinhofer and the crew hope to sign agreements with distributors to get into the prime markets and platforms for a larger audience to view the film.

    New York Film Academy would like to congratulate Broadcast Journalism Chair Bill Einreinhofer on his continued success with Invisible Love and looks forward to announcing when the film is available to view for the public. 

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  • NYFA Documentary Filmmaking Instructor Lizzie Gottlieb Featured by ‘Insider’ to Talk About New Film “Turn Every Page”

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    NYFA Documentary instructor Lizzie Gottlieb has been directing film and theater in New York for the past couple of decades. As a director, Gottlieb has worked with Peter Dinklage, Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, Amy Ryan, Michael Ian Black, Justin Kirk, Francie Swift, Josh Hamilton, Sara Ramirez, and more. Recently, Gottlieb got to work with another talent, notable editor, writer, and father to Gottlieb, Robert Gottlieb.

    (L-R) Robert Gottlieb and Robert Caro (Photo courtesy of Lizzie Gottlieb)

    The documentary, Turn Every Page, follows Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Caro and his 50-year argument and relationship with his editor, Robert Gottlieb (Robert), as they work towards completing a final book. The documentary from Gottlieb is an ode to the work of Caro and Robert over the last 50 years as Robert (89) awaits Caro (85) to complete his much-anticipated fifth volume of The Years of Lyndon Johnson.

    “They are not slowing down because of their age,” Gottlieb told Insider in an interview about the project. “I think they both feel the enormous weight to finish [the final LBJ] book. I very much wanted this to be a story about them finishing their life’s work, not just a retrospective of their lives and how impressive they are.”

    The documentary film will also feature interviews from Ethan Hawke, Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker editor David Remnick, and former president Bill Clinton, who will make remarks of the impact of Caro and Rober’s work over the past 50 years. Gottlieb shared that most of the filming of the documentary was completed before the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the interview featuring former president Clinton was done recently over Zoom.

    NYFA instructor Lizzie Gottlieb

    Gottlieb is also known for her documentary Today’s Man, which aired on PBS and screened at festivals and conferences all over the world. Her film Romeo, Romeo was honored with the prestigious Excellence in Documentary Award by the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association (NLGJA).  

    New York Film Academy congratulates Documentary Filmmaking instructor Lizzie Gottlieb on her latest achievement, Turn Every Page, and encourages everyone to check out her latest documentary when it becomes available later this year. 

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    March 2, 2021 • Documentary Filmmaking, Entertainment News, Faculty Highlights • Views: 305

  • NYFA South Beach Instructor Daniel Abrusci Wins Gold Promax Award

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    New York Film Academy is excited to share that Filmmaking instructor Daniel Abrusci has won a Gold Promax Award for outstanding achievement in sound design and mixing on the Cbeebies segment Christmas Lights for BBC Latin America. 

    The Promax Awards are the world’s premier celebration of outstanding achievement in entertainment marketing and design, honoring teams of creatives harnessing passionate fandom to drive audiences, create value, and build the biggest brands in entertainment.

    The one-minute animation Abrusci worked on in his home studio was extremely heavy in sound design. “When working with animation, sound design plays a huge role because there’s no audio to start with,” he explained. “I edited three different pieces of music into a one-minute spot in order for the music to be dynamic and help boost holiday emotions.”

    The South Beach instructor had to recreate the ambiance needed for the TV spot to feel a bit more realistic, adding in stylistic sound elements to elevate the story visually. “There’s plenty of creativity involved due to the fact that a lot of these actions might sound different in real life,” shared Abrusci. “Once we have all the different sound design, voiceover, and music elements, mixing is all about making things stand out and giving everything character and space in the frequency spectrum.” Essentially, sound mixing in itself plays an important role in fully forming a character, space, or idea.

    NYFA instructor Daniel Abrusci

    Abrusci urges anyone who is looking to hone their craft to “keep practicing” as it’s practice, trial, and error that allow you to master your skills. “The more time you put into something, the better you’ll become at it. Stay passionate and make it happen!”

    New York Film Academy congratulates Daniel Abrusci on his outstanding achievement and looks forward to what’s next from the talented South Beach faculty member. 

    To view the Christmas Lights spot, view the video below. 

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    February 25, 2021 • Entertainment News, Faculty Highlights, Filmmaking, South Beach • Views: 463

  • NYFA Photography Alum Jon Henry Named on The “TIME 100 Next” List

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) is excited to announce that Photography alum Jon Henry has been featured in TIME Magazine’s TIME 100 Next list for 2021.

    Last year, Henry won the prestigious Arnold Newman Prize for New Directions in Photographic Portraiture­ and the Kodak Film Photo Award—for his series “Stranger Fruit.” The alum also had his photographs from the series displayed on multiple pages in the October 2020 National Geographic issue.

    Cover of the ‘TIME Magazine’ issue featuring the ‘Next 100’ (TIME Magazine)

    TIME reporter Josiah Bates, who wrote the profile on Henry for the Time 100 Next issue shared that Henry’s prolific series “Stranger Fruit” is weighted with significance: “In visual artist Jon Henry’s series ‘Stranger Fruit,’ sons pose with their mothers as if they are lifeless, re-creating scenes of mourning. The mothers stare through the camera’s lens as if holding onlookers accountable for threats their sons could one day face. In 2020—after the killing of George Floyd by police­—the series took on new poignancy.”

    The alum was featured alongside other artists who made the list including director Boots Riley, Lakeith Stanfield, Florence Pugh, and more. Henry shared his gratitude for being included in the list on his Instagram account: “Honored beyond measure to be included in #time100next. The 2021 TIME100 Next list highlights 100 emerging leaders who are shaping the future of business, entertainment, sports, politics, health, science and activism, and more. Crazy.”

    NYFA alum Jon Henry

    Henry was also featured on the cover of JRNL 4 and was also profiled by Photograph Magazine. The NYFA alum and Photography instructor’s “Stranger Fruit” series is currently on display in Portland at BlueSky Gallery through March 27, 2021, and will also be featured in Miami from March 11 – May 21 at DotFiftyOne Gallery. The series has also gone international and is currently on view at the KP Gallery in South Korea, the first international solo exhibition for the project.

    Untitled 60, St Charles, MO (2020) – Photo Credit: Jon Henry

    New York Film Academy is thrilled to congratulate one of its own for being among those selected for TIME Magazine’s TIME 100 Next list for 2021 and is proud of the recognition that Jon Henry is receiving for his body of work and the “Stranger Fruit” series.

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  • Meet NYFA Cinematography Instructor & ASC Member Tommy Maddox-Upshaw

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    At New York Film Academy, the faculty is an incredibly talented group of artists that teach the next generation of filmmakers and creators all while being active members in their industry. For NYFA Cinematography instructor Tommy Maddox-Upshaw, ASC, this is no exception. 

    Maddox-Upshaw has lensed fan-favorite shows like Empire, Snowfall, Tales, and On My Block, to name a few, and teaches 35MM, Advanced Lighting, and Stage to Screen for Actors in NYFA’s Cinematography department. 

    Maddox-Upshaw first got interested in the world of lensing and cinematography when his sister Kyla got him on set as a Production Assistant for a Hype Williams music video when he was 19 years old. “I saw how the Cinematographer worked with everyone and created such beautiful images and I already liked photography,” he shared. “I was like, ‘I want to do what he does’ and I set out to learn what I could even though my college didn’t have a film program and really no film studies.”

    Photo courtesy of Tommy Maddox-Upshaw

    From there, Maddox-Upshaw notes that the documentary film Visions of Light inspired him even further to pursue a career in cinematography, and the NYFA instructor began picking up work between his Boston hometown and New York City while continuing to further his education in cinematography. His work for commercial clients like Ford, Allstate, and HBO, to name a few, helped develop working relationships which led Maddox-Upshaw to eventually work alongside visionaries like Spike Lee and Matthew Libatique, ASC.

    He provided VFX additional photography on A Star Is Born, and worked on the second unit for Straight Outta Compton, both shot by Libatique, and shot additional photography on feature films Grown Ups 2, Beyond the Lights, and The Circle. Maddox-Upshaw also served as the director of photography (DP) for Kalushi: The Story of Solomon Mahlangu, Hello Beautiful: Interludes with John Legend, Fixed, and more.

    Photo courtesy of Tommy Maddox-Upshaw

    Recently, Maddox-Upshaw was recognized by the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) and was welcomed as a member of the ASC. The distinguished honor is one that names Maddox-Upshaw among the legacy of celebrated directors of photography over the last 100 years.

    “Becoming part of the ASC has been a goal of mine since the time I really started to study and read American Cinematographer Magazine and watch Visions of Light when I was about 20 years old,” revealed Maddox-Upshaw.

    For his students and aspiring cinematographers, Maddox-Upshaw encourages them to study more than what’s on the other side of the lens to become a good DP. 

    “Study the art of understanding good screenplays. understand the Black and White of the page so then you can make the correct emotional decision from what is written. Try and watch a movie a day; it makes a difference after a couple of years of doing it. You can recall so much and understand why certain things in cinema work,” Maddox-Upshaw explained. 

    No one can dream bigger for you. You have to enjoy the process of your own journey you should want to be on set and learn from other people. You can learn this on your own and don’t be afraid to make mistakes especially in a learning environment.”

    In addition to teaching at NYFA, Maddox-Upshaw recently photographed Season 6 of the Fox drama Empire. Additional credits from Maddox-Upshaw include season three of the FX drama Snowfall, season two of Netflix’s On My Block, and season one of the Netflix comedy Huge in France

    New York Film Academy congratulates Maddox-Upshaw on his recent induction into the ASC and is excited to have the opportunity for Maddox-Upshaw to continue to teach NYFA students about what it means to be a director of photography.

    To learn more about NYFA’s Cinematography programs, click here

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    February 23, 2021 • Cinematography, Community Highlights, Diversity, Faculty Highlights • Views: 737

  • Documentary Filmmaking Instructor Claudia Raschke Lenses Upcoming “FAUCI” Doc For National Geographic

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    At New York Film Academy (NYFA), our instructors are not only teaching the next wave of filmmakers and creatives alike but are out focusing on their own work and setting up the shot for the next big film. In this case, veteran cinematographer Claudia Raschke is no different, having lensed yet another prominent documentary film, FAUCI from National Geographic Documentary Films. 

    The New York-based Documentary Filmmaking instructor is known for shooting the Oscar-nominated and Emmy award-winning documentary RBG, the Oscar-nominated film God is Bigger Than Elvis, the Peabody Award-winning film Black Magic, the Oscar short-listed Mad Hot Ballroom, The Freedom to Marry, and many more. 

    Behind the scenes of “FAUCI” (National Geographic Documentary Films)

    Her latest project will see Raschke as the DP on the highly anticipated documentary FAUCI, directed by John Hoffman and Janet Tobias. The film will follow epidemiologist and famed White House COVID-19 pandemic advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, offering a glimpse into his career and life as a public servant who has advised seven U.S presidents from the start of the AIDS pandemic in the 1980s through SARS, Ebola, and now COVID-19. 

    There is no release date yet for the film as it was just announced on February 4, 2021, with special appearances listed like Bono, former President George W. Bush, Bill Gates, and more.

    NYFA instructor Claudia Raschke on set

    Raschke’s year is just getting started, as her feature documentary work on My Name is Pauli Murray recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and the 2021 premiere of Julia (CNN /Imagine Entertainment) on the horizon. Raschke’s new spy documentary, Codebreaker, aired this past January and is currently streaming after airdate on PBS’ American Experience.

    “Capturing the big and the small moments of the amazing world we live in feeds my passion for the art of cinematography. Equally important is that I bear witness to and document the unique stories that unfold before my eyes in a way that dismantles barriers, opens doors, and reveals the truth. I believe that filming intuitively, honestly and without inhibition is a journey that requires a compassionate heart and the ability to see and hear what lies beneath the surface.” – Claudia Raschke, DP

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA Filmmaking’s Documentary Division Cinematography instructor Claudia Raschke on all of her upcoming projects and looks forward to sharing more about the FAUCI documentary upon its release later in 2021. 

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  • Hannah Gilliland, NYFA Study Abroad Admissions Associate, Accepted into NAFSA Future Leaders Academy

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    NYFA is thrilled to announce that our colleague, Hannah Gilliland, was recently accepted into the NAFSA Academy, and was awarded a NAFSA scholarship to attend the 2021 cohort of young international education leaders of the future. 

    The NAFSA Academy is a highly cherished program of NAFSA: Association of International Educators. NAFSA “…is the world’s largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange”. Its mission is to provide a path for every student, scholar, and specialist who is seeking the benefits of international education and to have every “…higher education integrates international perspectives into its teaching, research, and service missions”.
     
    The NAFSA Academy, which informs and educates people to uphold the organization’s mission, is a competitive, yearlong, intensive training and networking course on international education. Trainees are chosen from all over the US and are from many different international education backgrounds. 

    Hannah Gilliland

    “The curriculum is rigorous and will provide Hannah with a wide-ranging array of tools for her to manage the NYFA Study Abroad Department efficiently”, stated Jim Miller, NYFA Vice President. Mr. Miller went on further to say, “we are very, very proud of Hannah — all of us at NYFA who interact and work alongside her regard her as a true gem of a colleague and we know that she has an incredible future in the field!” 

     The NAFSA Academy curriculum includes networking opportunities, an individual learning plan in which trainees arrange goals in terms of personal and institutional goals, blog assignments, attending the regional and annual NAFSA conference, and more. “What is unique is that I get to meet people all over the country and learn about all aspects of international education and while this course will benefit me, it will also benefit NYFA as a whole”, Hannah indicated upon learning of the award. 

    Hannah Gilliland at NYFA’s table at NAFSA’s 2019 annual conference

    “The NAFSA Academy will not only help with important connections but also will assist me in making the NYFA Study Abroad Department stronger and give me insight into how other Study Abroad Departments are run. I believe NYFA’s emphasis on international and globally-minded students is one of our greatest and unique strengths that sets us apart from other schools and I think that this is a great opportunity for myself and for NYFA to grow and to become more known and knowledgeable in the field of international education.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates Hannah Gilliland on her recent achievement and looks forward to what’s next from our esteemed colleague.

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    January 13, 2021 • Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights • Views: 1529

  • NYFA South Beach Instructor, Patrice DeGraff Arenas, Lands Role on Peabody Award-Winning Drama “David Makes Man”

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    Originally reported in Deadline, NYFA’s own Patrice DeGraff Arenas has landed a recurring role on David Makes Man. The Peabody Award-winning drama series is distributed by the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) and is currently ramping up for its second season. 

    Arenas teaches Voice and Speech Acting, Scene Study, Characterization, and Advanced Acting Technique at NYFA’s South Beach campus. In the upcoming season of David Makes Man, Arenas will play Denise, an office assistant at the Edwards Firm (where the main character David works). As originally reported by Deadline, Arenas’ character Denise is someone who “keeps things moving at the office while also learning the moods and tempo of her boss.” 

    Photo courtesy of Patrice DeGraff Arenas

    David Makes Man is from Oscar-winning screenwriter Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight) and Warner Bros. and is loosely based on McCraney’s experiences, with the titular David (Akili McDowell), a 14-year-old prodigy from the South Florida projects. Arenas revealed that she began production on the project in October 2020.

    Arenas, who grew up the daughter of an arts educator, had an upbringing full of theatre, with her mom being a director in school productions. “From those early experiences, I went to college and relished watching my peers present. I gained insight about intention and action, my peers as well professors commented on my clear, direct, practical critiques,” shared Arenas.

    While Arenas has recently been involved in NYFA alum Bruklyn Miller’s award-winning film Celestial and is focused on her upcoming role in David Makes Man, Arenas revealed she is also in the development of a series with four of her former high school arts friends. In the future, Arenas hopes to be cast in a comedy and to play the role of Rose in Fences or Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing

    Photo Credit: OWN

    As for advice for students and alumni, Arenas says “life isn’t a rehearsal, so show up ready! It’s okay to be afraid but do it anyway!” The NYFA instructor also urges actors and creatives alike to “be patient with yourself” as some goals rarely look like what you want them to “but that doesn’t mean the journey isn’t worthwhile!”

    New York Film Academy congratulates the NYFA South Beach instructor Patrice DeGraff Arenas on her upcoming role, and encourages everyone to check out the second season of David Makes Man when it is available on OWN, and to catch up on season one, with all episodes now available on HBO Max.

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    December 21, 2020 • Acting, Faculty Highlights, South Beach • Views: 1446

  • Live Theater Returns to NYC With NYFA PCMT’s Newest Production “NOT WORKING: A 2020 Song Cycle”

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    New York Film Academy’s (NYFA) Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre (PCMT) recently performed their original musical, NOT WORKING: A 2020 SONG CYCLE earlier this month with live, COVID-safe performances at East River Park Amphitheatre in New York City.

    The original production was conceived and directed by NYFA’s Travis Greisler (The Cher Show) with musical direction by Kevin David Thomas (A Little Night Music) and was created especially for the Musical Theatre students at NYFA.

    NYFA PCMT students rehearse before the show’s debut

    NOT WORKING: A 2020 Song Cycle is a nod to the 1970’s song cycle WORKING, and portrays the various stories and vantage points of topics ranging from the global pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, quarantine and isolation, and our immense desire to be telling stories live and in person again.

    The full length, live musical showcases NYFA’s PCMT students performing contributions from 15 different composers/lyricists from many racial backgrounds, gender identities, and sexualities. Each composer wrote about their various points of view on all things 2020 during this time where many have been missing the element of live performance for the majority of the year.

    “It is a show about all the things that are not working in our world, written in 2020, about 2020, and performed in 2020,” said Greisler. “A thing most new musicals never get to do as they usually take so long to get written and eventually produced. We had quite the opportunity on our hands and I didn’t want to waste it.”

    In addition to the performers, composers, and lyricists involved in the show, NYFA’s PCMT also collaborated across disciplines with NYFA’s Filmmaking and Cinematography departments to capture the live performance for online streaming distribution so as to reach a potentially even larger number of viewers.

    Photo from live performance of “NOT WORKING: A 2020 Song Cycle”

    “One of the things this pandemic has taught everyone in the performing arts is the necessity to find new and creative ways to bring our performances and talents to a large audience in an unconventional way,” shared Pierro Basso (AIC-IMAGO), Chair of NYFA’s Cinematography Department in New York. “What the pandemic has not done, however, is deter from the longstanding collaboration between the Filmmaking, Cinematography and Musical Theatre departments at NYFA.”

    “NYFA is so proud of all of our students for their continued excellence in the face of very difficult circumstances,” added Senior Executive Vice President and COO at NYFA David Klein. “We are so proud of our Musical Theatre Department, the Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre, and our musical theatre students and faculty who have overcome what seemed to be insurmountable obstacles to live performance to create a new musical during a global pandemic.”

    Photo from live performance of “NOT WORKING: A 2020 Song Cycle

    The show’s producer and Chair of NYFA’s Musical Theatre Department Kristy Cates (Wicked, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) also added, “I am thrilled that NYFA gave us the green light to create and produce this amazing new piece of work and I know this show has been an extremely uplifting and cathartic experience for all the performers, composers and audiences alike. We are proud we were able to share NOT WORKING with New York City.”

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