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  • NYFA Supports the NIAAA

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    NIH Logo Vector

    The New York Film Academy whole-heartedly supports the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). NIAAA is well known as a national leader in research on harmful drinking among college students. The institute offers vital information for students and parents on such abuse. “The ultimate goal of the NIAAA’s efforts in college drinking research is to share science-based information in accessible and practical ways to give college administrators, parents, and concerned students a foundation for alcohol intervention activities.”

    NYFA encourages its students to know the consequences of alcohol consumption and the impact excess drinking may have on his or her life. We also recommend parents to visit their website in order to properly educate their child, before sending them off to one of NYFA’s city campuses. Accidents and serious health issues can be avoided with the proper knowledge. So, don’t hesitate to take the time out to discuss this important matter with your loved ones.

    For more information on issues related to alcohol abuse and binge drinking among college students, with online tools for parents, students, administrators and more, visit: http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/

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    July 11, 2013 • Community Highlights • Views: 4155

  • New York Film Academy Opens in Battery Park

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    Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 12.32.35 PM

    New York Film Academy Battery Park

    The New York Film Academy has opened the doors to its brand new campus, located at 17 Battery Place. The modern facility occupies 72,000 square feet on two full floors and offers breathtaking views of Battery Park and The Statue of Liberty. Each classroom was uniquely designed from scratch to meet the specific needs of the hands-on programs, including state-of-the-art production studios and sound stages.

    Summer Camp programs and Adult Musical Theatre programs have already begun, while Acting, Musical Theatre, Screenwriting, Producing, Photography, Journalism, and 3D Animation will kick off in the Fall. NYFA cannot be more thrilled to provide this wonderful new environment to its students, and is looking forward to meeting a whole new crop of talent!

    Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 12.37.14 PM

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  • Geoffray Barbier’s Video Featured on Jay Z’s Youtube Page

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    New York Film Academy Filmmaking Instructor, Geoffray Barbier directed a short film for Oddka about the New York City band, The Virgins, which is being featured exclusively on Jay Z’s YouTube page. In the video, the band members discuss the relief of removing themselves from a major record label and focusing on their love of the music. Be sure to check it out!

    fgqw_AfficheOddkaxTheVirgins_1

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    June 27, 2013 • Community Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 4672

  • NYFA Soccer Team!

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    New York Film Academy at Los Angeles now has its very own soccer team! Soccer, or football, as it is known outside of the States, is the world’s most popular sport, played in over 200 countries. Spearheaded by BFA Acting for Film student Adam El-Manawy, the NYFA team formed over the past couple months and practices near campus on the weekends.

    For Adam, soccer is a way of life. “I have played since I was four years old, and used to play in a club back in Belgium,” he says. “It’s like eating or sleeping for me.” But he says he had been missing out on the sport since moving to the US. He spread the word about creating a team, and 23 people responded in the first week. Proving to be as international as NYFA’s own student body, the team has players from 4 continents, many of whom had played in clubs back home, and one who had played professionally.

    The team just received NYFA jerseys, and is looking to start competing soon! For more information on how to join the team, email nyfa.soccer.team@gmail.com.

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    January 25, 2013 • Community Highlights • Views: 5839

  • Scholarship Opportunity with NCAC Film Contest

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    New York Film Academy will be providing a workshop scholarship to the winner of the National Coalition Against Censorship YFEN film contest. Post your favorite video to your Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, or other social media and tell your friends and family to vote!

    Voting is easy. Log into your Gmail, Google or YouTube account and click “Like” on your favorite video on their Film Contest homepage.

    The semifinalist video with the most “Likes” will be declared the People’s Choice winner and the creator will be awarded a Certificate of Free Expression Excellence from NCAC. The deadline for casting votes is February 15 at 5 p.m. EST.

    While audiences choose their favorite, a stellar panel of judges, including New York Film Academy’s Co-Chair of Filmmaking, Michael Sandoval, will be hard at work selecting the Grand Prize, Second place, and Third place winners, to be announced sometime in February.

    So, submit your video now. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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    January 18, 2013 • Academic Programs, Community Highlights • Views: 5458

  • The Collaborative Process of Storytelling

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    Meet Peter Allen Stone, an actor and teacher at the New York Film Academy who helped create the successful play Unnatural Acts. Receiving 3 Drama Desk Nominations including “Best Play”, it played to sold out houses at Classic Stage Company in New York City and its run was extended three times due to popular demand. Based on a true story about Harvard University in the 1920’s, five academic deans set out to eradicate the homosexual population at the school. The play exposes the inquisition of students and the struggles young men faced as sexual minorities. A native of San Joaquin Valley in California, Peter Stone decided to become an actor at age four after seeing a production of Annie. At age 18, he obtained management and had a small role in a television show called Saved by the Bell: The New Class. After taking coursework at California State University in Long Beach, his professors who were also veterans on Broadway encouraged him to pursue it fully. As he says, “[They] really taught me that acting was about ‘doing’ and not just saying lines.”

    What has been your experience working with the Plastic Theatre Company? 

    Working on Unnatural Acts has been the most fulfilling time in my life. We worked on the play for a period of time with no money or guarantees. This story is one that came from the heart. We knew this story needed to be told. There were three suicides. I feel honored to be a part of it, and blessed that the ghosts of these students are finally having their stories told. Working as a collective was interesting and challenging at times. However, the group that was assembled knew that the play was bigger than any one of us. We debated, argued, and challenged each other–but always for the sake of the play. We started with the source material from Harvard. We had over 450 pages of handwritten material written by the Deans from their interrogations of the students. As a group, we went through it all and tried to connect the dots while honoring the truth. Some of the writing was barely legible and difficult to read. I felt like an archaeologist discovering a secret world.

    Continue Reading

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    June 20, 2012 • Acting, Community Highlights • Views: 4555

  • The Art of Impact with James Lecesne

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    James Lecesne is an Academy award winning filmmaker, teacher, and philanthropist. It’s been an exciting time for James with a Tony nomination for The Best Man and soon after that receiving the role of Dick Jensen opposite James Earl Jones and Angela Lansbury. However, we especially commend James on the release of his book The Letter Q, a passion project conceived to inspire the youth of America and to raise proceeds for The Trevor Project which he had founded in 1998. We had a chance to speak with James about his inspiration for the book and his teaching at the New York Film Academy. He also shared key insights into the craft of storytelling and how the industry landscape has changed for LGBTQ artists. Don’t forget to get connected with Mr. Lecesne on Twitter and learn about his impact in the arts.

    What was the inspiration for The Letter Q? You’ve already contributed so much to LGBTQ youth, and this book seems to be a continuation of your work with the Trevor Project. 

    Two years ago Dan Savage launched the phenomenally successful It Gets Better Project as a way of spreading the word to young LGBT and Questioning young people that the Trevor Project is there for them 24/7. As the only nationwide suicide prevention and crisis intervention helpline for LGBTQ youth, our organization receives over 30,000 calls a year. Not all of them are rescue calls, but each call establishes a life-to-life connection with a young person who is asking important questions. We provide an ear to listen and the encouragement to be who you are. The idea for the The Letter Q came from Sarah Moon, my co-editor. When she was a teenager, she was lucky enough to be surrounded by adults who shared their stories and their wisdom with her – sometimes in the form of letters, and as she says, “It didn’t seem quite fair to me that I should have been the only teenager to get wonderful letters to carry around.” Soon after coming up with the idea, Sarah approached me about not only writing a letter to my younger self, but also donating a portion of the royalties from the sale of the book to the Trevor Project. Together we compiled a wish-list of authors and began to write to them, ask them, stalk them. The book seemed to fit so perfectly with my own desire around that time to provide young people with tools to help them get through their difficult years. We had been exploring ways to help young people “make it better” right now. And the minute Sarah proposed the idea for the book, I knew we were on our way.

    Has your teaching at NYFA helped inspire your work in some way? Reading the bio on your website, teaching plays a strong role in your career. What are the most important lessons you impart to your students who aspire to make it in film and theatre industries? Have students ever surprised you with their insights in the art and craft of telling stories?

    Teaching is a way to not only give back some of what I’ve learned, but also a way for me to continue learning about story. Storytelling, in any form, is hard work; it requires honesty, courage, craft and above all determination. But it can also be a mysterious and mystical experience, a means to enlarge and enlighten not only the storyteller, but the audience as well. For each of us, it happens differently, the idea comes in the form of a hunch, a worry, an inkling a fear, or sometimes as a fully formed brainstorm; but however it happens it always arises out of something that we happen to believe. We might not be able to articulate what it is exactly, but something in us knows, something in us feels for a truth that we need to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    James as featured in the New Yorker.

    Stories are the blueprints of our passions told in code, the urge of something within our selves that is itching for resolve, the reliable and readable map of our beliefs. Leif Finkel, a professor of bioengineering at UPenn, once wrote: “Our cortex makes up stories about the world and softly hums them to us to keep us from getting scared at night.” I’m no professor of bioengineering, but I heartily agree. Of course, a good story does more than that. Stories hum not only for ourselves, but for our audience as well; their song transforms the muddled and often conflicted experiences of living in this troubled world into something valuable and enduring for us all; they are the means by which we can pass our wisdom along to future generations. The results are always surprising, or at least they should be.

    What are your thoughts on representation in the media regarding the struggles that independent filmmakers face as sexual minorities? How do you see the industry landscape for LGBTQ artists? Has it changed at all since you started as a young artist compared to the present day?

    When I was a teenager, the world was a very different place. I grew up without ever hearing the word homosexual spoken, I didn’t know a single gay person, there were no role models to whom I could look for encouragement or guidance. One of the great accomplishments of the LGBTQ community is this idea that we are not just here for ourselves. We have a responsibility to pass along our history and our pride to the next generation. Young people who are struggling and coming up in the world should not have to figure this out by themselves. Of course, there is still a ways to go in terms of achieving equality. Look to places like Uganda, South Africa, Russia, and Iran. Or right here at home to see what happens to certain people when they express themselves fully. But as Kate Millet, the revolutionary feminist recently pointed out —- gays and lesbians have achieved so much in a matter of mere decades, while women have been struggling for centuries to change things. To hear the President of the United States declare that the love of gays and lesbians is equal to that of their fellow (heterosexual) citizens, is certainly proof to me that the world is changing. More change is possible — and needed.  And I believe that by encouraging people to tell their stories, teaching them how to do it in the most exciting and engaging way, it will make for a better world.

    James with Daniel Radcliffe for The Trevor Project.

    To learn more about the Documentary Filmmaking program at the New York Film Academy, click here.

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    June 11, 2012 • Community Highlights, Documentary Filmmaking • Views: 4783

  • Deciphering Stanley Kubrick at the New York Film Academy

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    Director and NYFA Editing Instructor Rodney Ascher recently returned from the Cannes Film Festival where his first feature film, Room 237, was one of only two American films in the Directors’ Fortnight. His documentary explores numerous theories about Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film, The Shining, and its hidden meanings. The film premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and received glowing reviews from the major press. Here’s a roundup.

    • New York Times examined the documentary and called it an “intriguing” look at a growing subculture of Kubrick fans which has developed over the years.
    • “One of the great movies about movies…”  – Variety.
    • The Hollywood Reporter said, “Nutty, arcane and jaw-dropping in equal measure.”
    • On his blog, New York Magazine film critic Bilge Ebiri chose Room 237 as his Sundance pick. “The film expresses, better than any movie I can think of right now, the feeling of being lost inside the world of a film, and by extension being lost inside the world of film.”
    • “A brilliant work of alternative film criticism – and critique of criticism.” – LA Weekly.

    “Kubrick was my first favorite filmmaker,” says Ascher, “and one whose work has stuck with me throughout my life – The Shining in particular. The first time I saw it, I managed to sit through about 10 minutes. The music in particular filled me with an overwhelming sense of dread and doom that was more than I could take. It soon became one of my favorites.”

    Ascher says the idea for the film came after a chance Facebook posting. “My friend, Tim Kirk, who went on to become a producer of the film, posted an analysis of [The Shining] on my Facebook page. I became interested in the phenomenon — lots of people bringing up radical ideas. I thought we could make a pretty comprehensive field guide to what was in the film. It soon became clear that we could only get the tip of the iceberg.” Room 237 shares theories about The Shining from five people, told through voice over, film clips, animations, and dramatic reenactments. Ascher describes it as “not just a demonstration about how it has captured people’s imaginations, but also how people react to movies, and literature, and the arts in general.”

    The film was chosen to screen as part of the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes alongside Michel Gondry’s The We and the I. Room 237 is being distributed by IFC in North America and Wild Bunch in France. Watch for a theatrical release later this year. “It’s very exciting,” says Ascher, “I’d been used to being sort of an outcast with short films, screening to more … select groups. It was great. The screenings were packed, we were in a gigantic theater, got great press … I’m sure anyone would be excited.”

    See yourself premiering your movie at Sundance, screening it at Cannes, and getting fawned over by critics? Then look into our school and decide if it’s the right path for you.

    Rodney Ascher at Cannes Film Festival.

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    June 7, 2012 • Community Highlights, Digital Editing • Views: 5519

  • New York Film Academy’s Alumni Spotlight: Jesse Bernal

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    Jesse Bernal

    Acting for Film graduate Jesse Bernal is one of many military veterans who chose to attend New York Film Academy after leaving the military. The San Antonio native followed in the footsteps of his father and other brother who both served their country. Jesse spent 7 years in the US Air Force, working as a calibration technician and electronics specialist. His service took him to New Mexico, South Korea, and South Carolina.

    Though Jesse had started taking some acting classes while serving in the military, and booked some television roles (including Lifetime’s Army Wives, and the film The New Daughter with Kevin Costner), he decided to attend New York Film Academy at Universal Studios to further develop his talent.

    “The GI Bill paid my full tuition and living expenses. Without having to worry about [the money], I was able to put my best foot forward,” he explained. “The military gave me structure and helped me with time management. When we were doing scenes, I would think that it’s not just working, but working with my team.”

    Jesse landed a manager after participating in an actors’ showcase put on by New York Film Academy. Soon after his graduation in June 2011, he booked a role in a promo for HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher. He also joined the staff of the New York Film Academy to stay busy between auditions and performances. “Everyone on the staff believes in me and my talent,” says Jesse. He adds, “It’s amazing to see new students as they come in. I get to see their passion. It’s uplifting.” He also thanks his family for their support and inspiration.

    You can catch Jesse in a starring role in A Few Good Men at the Sky Lounge in the North Hollywood Arts District. The play was written by Aaron Sorkin, who later adapted the script for the film. The production with Rise Above Theatre Movement has just been extended and runs through April 22. In between work and evening performances, Jesse also squeezed in a modeling job for a national print advertising campaign. He is also producing a short film called The Secretary, a slapstick comedy about a couple and their infidelities. He is gearing up to direct a stage production of Reasons to be Pretty at the end of the summer.

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    April 4, 2012 • Acting, Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights, Veterans • Views: 5395

  • Veterans Make Films at New York Film Academy

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    Paul Meixner

    NYFA BFA student Paul Meixner was formerly stationed in Iraq

    New York Film Academy BFA Filmmaking student Paul Meixner is one of many students who served their country before joining NYFA. Meixner, who is orginally from Madison, Wisconsin, joined the army in 2002 and completed infantry and airborne training before volunteering for his first combat tour of Iraq in 2004, later becoming an infantry squad leader and combatives instructor. He then returned for a second tour of Iraq in 2009 as a Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) at an Iraqi training facility.

    Paul Meixner Iraq

    Meixner during his time serving in Iraq

    Meixner credits his family and military experience with giving him the discipline, drive, and determination he will need to succeed in school. Says Paul, “I know that sounds cheesy, but the military, especially ranger school, definitely helped to prepare me for the film industry. The parallels between the two are uncanny, especially when it comes to leadership.” Meixner says the Veterans Affairs Department at New York Film Academy has been more helpful than at other schools he has attended in the past. “They have more answers and information and they really hard work for you.”

    Paul Meixner NYFA

    Meixner on NYFA’s Universal Studios backlot

    In addition to his hectic school schedule, Paul is working on a web series with ThunderPunk Films, which launches at the end November. Created by Meixner, the project is a collaboration with other young filmmakers, in which they share their work, as well as reviews of books on filmmaking, writing, and acting. Meixner ultimately hopes to write, direct, produce, and act in dramas and character-driven action pieces. You can find Paul’s film projects on Facebook here and the ThunderPunk Films web series here. NYFA thanks Paul, and the hundreds of other veterans at our campuses, for their service and dedication.

    New York Film Academy’s Veterans Affairs Department can help veterans make the transition to civilian and campus life. Let them help simplify educational benefits and assist with post-deployment transition issues. New York Film Academy is proud to support the GI Bill, the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and the Yellow Ribbon Program. For questions about programs and workshops at the New York campus, contact Michael Caputo by email or call (212) 674-4300. For questions about the Universal Studios campus, contact Joey Zangardi or John Powers by email or call (818) 733-2600.

    Make sure to join the NYFA veterans community on our new Veteran Affairs Facebook page! Get veteran news, information on special events, and connect with other veterans!

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    November 8, 2011 • Acting, Veterans • Views: 4209