Community Highlights

  • Drone Presentation at NYFA Los Angeles

    On Thursday, October 13th, 2016 representatives from DJI came to the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus to talk to the producing students about the opportunities drones bring to novice filmmakers.


    The event began with a presentation exploring the different types of drones available for sale and to rent. After explaining the differences between a Mavic and a Phantom 4 it was time to explore how to use a drone in your film. Many think of the aerial helicopter shots being done for less. But, the presentation explored using a drone to replace everyday film equipment like a dolly track, steady cam, and a crane. Individually each piece of equipment could cost thousands of dollars to buy or rent.

    After the presentation, the students went to the parking lot to try their hand at flying the drones. Before the test flights began, the importance of contacting local law enforcement and air traffic controllers prior to filming was stressed to the students. Newest drone on the block, the Mavic, was the first out the gate. The stats on the Mavic are impressive: 24 high-performance computing cores, an all-new transmission system with a 4.3 mile range, a five vision sensors, and a 4K camera stabilized by a three-axis mechanical gimbal can be controlled with just a thumb.

    drone test

    Next, students flew the Phantom 4. The drone is controlled by an iPad and attached controller. It was Sherdell Turner’s, 2016 BFA Filmmaking, first time flying a drone. “I want to shoot a movie with nothing but drones. I’m putting my vision together now.” Aysha Radwan, 2014 BFA Filmmaking, said, “I would want to shoot a movie with this. I could replace a crane and a dolly for the interiors of my next film.”

    Filmmaking professor, Richard Freidman, originally conceived the idea of bringing DJI to come speak to the students after using one of their drones on his own project. “Drones are an important tool for filmmakers,” he stated. “Not enough people use it. Drones are revolutionizing how people make movies. Any film I’m shooting will have a drone on set at all times.”

    New York Film Academy would like to thank DJI for presenting their drones to our students. If you’d like to learn more about the products and services DJI provides you can find more information by clicking here.

    October 24, 2016 • Community Highlights, Filmmaking, Producing • Views: 645

  • NYFA South Beach Sponsors Miami Web Fest & Vet Fest

    juan duenas

    New York Film Academy Veteran Services Coordinator, Juan Duenas on the red carpet at the Miami Vet Fest.

    The South Beach, Miami campus of the New York Film Academy College of Visual and Performing Arts (NYFA) was a key sponsor of the 3rd Annual Miami Web Festival, and Miami VET Festival, which were simultaneously held recently in the “Magic City.”

    The Miami Web Fest is a four-day event showcasing the hottest new web series content from around the world. The festival is designed to create a work-play environment, attracting Miami’s vast and multicultural community of arts enthusiasts.

    During the Miami Web Fest, NYFA Filmmaking instructor Herschel Faber taught an exclusive Master Class for interested filmmakers. The workshop provided an overview of the importance of the screenplay, tips and tricks for making filmmaking dollars go further, shot framing, cinematography, and working with talent. The session provided a great overview of filmmaking with a concentration on utilizing storytelling in a visual and dynamic way. Professor Faber, who teaches Filmmaking at NYFA South Beach, brought a wealth of experience as he has spent the last 16 years working as a writer, director and producer of film and TV.

    The event also featured the VET Fest, which is a division of the Miami Web Fest designed to showcase films and web series with military themes or films created by military filmmakers. Bryan Thompson, a US Army Veteran and award-winning filmmaker created the VET Fest. Veteran filmmakers from across the country met at the event to showcase their films. As part of the support of the Vet Fest, NYFA’s Veteran Service Division provided a Filmmaking Program Scholarship, which was awarded to the veteran who was selected in the category of the “Best Film in the Festival.” The winner has the opportunity to use the scholarship at any of NYFAs domestic campuses.

    New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts, and the NYFA Veterans Service Division, are proud supporters of the Miami Web Fest and the VET Fest, which brought together hundreds of aspiring filmmakers including many service members.

    For more information on NYFA’s South Beach campus, please see

    October 21, 2016 • Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights • Views: 872

  • NYFA Los Angeles Fair for Clubs and Organizations

    Over the past several days at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus, clubs and organizations have been hosting a fair for new and returning students. Festivities brought out hundreds of students over the four days. Melinda Graves, who helped organize the fair, said, “I love the turnout. I’ve really enjoyed seeing all of this come together and watching students become more than just a school, they’re becoming a community.”

    nyfa clubs

    Graves continued, “I think it’s super important because it gives like-minded people a chance to be a part of something bigger.” Clubs and activities are an important part of any student’s general education. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “Indicators of successful participation in school include consistent attendance, academic achievement, and aspirations for continuing education beyond high school. Extracurricular participation was positively associated with each of these success indicators….” So, it follows that students registering to join clubs are putting themselves ahead of the curve.

    Representing at the festival were Athletics, LGBTQ, Student Government, African & Black American Film Club (ABA), Chinese Club, NYFA C.A.R.E.S., Glee Club, Le Femmes De Cine, Industry Lab, and Indian Club. Hosts broke down what the club activities scheduled throughout the year were, what weekly meetings are like, and what the participants are hoping to accomplish in the school year.

    nyfa students in la

    Mel Gamboa, who helps run ABA, is passionate about engaging the school’s Black student population. “We want to make opportunities for students to network.” In that spirit, they’ve organized an event to attend a film summit at the academy.

    Kira Hagi and Kaneeka Patel are hoping to save the student government this year. Participation has waned in previous years but the women feel student government is an important part of being a good student. Hagi said, “Our objective is to keep it forward. We believe they should be a voice for students.” Turnout for the event was good, said Patel, “We had a lot of people sign up. We were surprised, but we’re expecting there to be a positive turn out.”

    nyfa fairs

    They’ve already started planning small changes that will have a big impact. One of the major changes they’ve made is to get rid of a hierarchal system. There is no President, just students trying to make their school better. Another initiative is to bring the Barham and Riverside buildings together. Many acting students have never stepped foot in the Riverside building, and the same could be said of filmmakers for the Barham building. Finally, they’re hoping to get the school to go green.

    Francia Romero was representing the Latin Club. The goals of Latin Club are to share the cultures of Venezuela, Mexico, Columbia, Argentina, and, yes, Spain with one another. “We want to share these diverse cultures whether it’s through short films, plays, or music,” Romero said.

    NYFA C.A.R.E.S is a volunteer program that seeks to help the surrounding community. Paul McKenna is the Community Outreach Department and Service Leading Manager for C.A.R.E.S. He’s hoping to make the club a Circle K and has already secured sponsorship from the local Kiwanis club. One of their upcoming projects will take place over the holiday break. Burbank has a float in the Parade of Roses. C.A.R.E.S. will be donating their time to decorating the float with roses. “It’s simple stuff. We just have to learn how,” said McKenna.

    NYFA Los Angeles has many award-winning sports teams. Elise Cregg was at the fair representing the Athletics department. “Working well with others, leadership, and teamwork, you practice all those skills when you join athletics,” Cregg said. Sports teams include basketball, soccer, and baseball.

    If you’re interested in joining a club or organization, but missed the fair, there’s still time to join. Check the boards on each floor for upcoming events, or search for their pages on Facebook.

    October 14, 2016 • Community Highlights, Sports • Views: 1055

  • NYFA Instructor Joe Burke Stars in Romantic Dramedy “Dependent’s Day”

    With gender equality being ever more present in today’s modern relationships, the upcoming film, “Dependent’s Day,” tackles this theme after the leading woman claims her boyfriend as a dependent on her tax returns. Directed by Michael David Lynch, the romantic dramedy stars New York Film Academy Los Angeles Directing instructor Joe Burke, along with actress Benita Robledo. Outside of his teaching, Burke has appeared on the critically acclaimed Showtime series “Ray Donovan,” as well as the popular Disney show “Dog With A Blog.”

    depedents day

    We decided to have a little chat with the actor, filmmaker, and NYFA instructor, to find out more about his upcoming film, which recently received a glowing review in the LA Times.

    Congrats on the film! How did this role come about for you?

    The role of Cam in “Dependent’s Day” came about through a mutual friend. Writer/Director Mike Lynch was preparing to make a new short film and was looking for a lead actor who would be perfect for his project; and our mutual friend Josh Staman (also in the movie) recommended me to Mike. At the time, Mike knew me more as a filmmaker, not as an actor, but still invited me in for a table read after Josh’s recommendation. So I met with Mike, and actor Benita Robledo, and we did a table read of the short film Mike had written. We ended up improvising on top of the short film script and exploring the material a bit (which was a lot of fun). After one thing led to another, Mike quickly decided this idea was not meant to be a short film, but something bigger.

    After exploring the idea of making a web series, we landed on going out and making a feature film two months later. I personally knew Mike Lynch before “Dependent’s Day,” and was actually an extra in his student thesis film yeas ago. But I think that’s a great story, and one I always share with my students, because you never know who you might meet in film school and later collaborate with down the road. And to go from being an extra in one project to the lead in the next (10 years later), just shows how much you need to trust the process and stick with it.

    Dependent’s Day Trailer from Michael Lynch on Vimeo.
    Can you tell us a little bit about your character and his role in “Dependent’s Day”?

    I play the role of Cam in “Dependent’s Day.” He’s our hero character that we follow through the film (as flawed at times as he may seem). But he’s a dreamer. And a guy going after his dreams in Hollywood. Something I can certainly relate to…we all can. And he struggles on finding the balance of how to both go after his dream while stepping up his game in his relationship with his girlfriend, Alice (played by Benita Robledo), who is the breadwinner of the relationship. Cam is a very sweet character with a big heart, and though he doesn’t always make the best decisions at times, he is certainly trying to do his best in life and figure it out. It’s a really hilarious and heartfelt role, and I had a blast playing it.


    behind the scenes of “Dependent’s Day”


    You seem to have such a camaraderie with Benita in front of the camera? What’s the secret?

    Working with Benita Robledo was great. We hit it off early on at the table read and found a great rhythm for these two characters. I think the key to developing a great chemistry with your co-stars is to really allow yourself to dive deep into the world of the character. To really feel like you’re in the characters shoes and to be grounded in all your decisions. Even for a comedy like “Dependent’s Day,” we always wanted to play it ‘real and honest.’ And another big key factor is to truly listen. The art of ‘listening’ as an actor is super important. It keeps you on your toes and allows you to react naturally in the moment to what’s going on. I always say keep it authentic. Mike, Benita, and I had a really fun time bringing these characters to life.

    Do you consider yourself primarily a filmmaker or actor? Or both?

    I definitely consider myself both a filmmaker and an actor. I have been doing both since I was a young kid. I did focus a bit more on filmmaking in college, but I truly enjoy both so much that I wouldn’t be able to do just one. And on “Dependent’s Day,” I was still in a position to bring my filmmaker side to the project, collaborating closely with director Mike Lynch. I am co-producer on the film, and also had fun helping develop the story and edit the movie.

    HOUSE SITTING from Joe Burke on Vimeo.
    I write and direct a lot of my own films as well, and most recently I wrote/directed a new short film titled “House Sitting,” which I also starred in. So working behind the lens and in front of it at the same time was really an exciting challenge and something I look forward to doing a lot more of — as well as looking forward to more awesome opportunities to play great characters and collaborate with other talented filmmakers on their projects.

    Do you believe it’s important for young filmmakers to understand and perhaps get some hands-on experience as an actor?

    I think it’s so important for a young filmmaker to understand the process of acting. I think the more you understand acting, and have some experience being an actor, the better director you will be. Also, having directing experience will make you a stronger actor. It all goes hand-in-hand. But I think getting strong performances is the most important part of making a movie… and in order to really achieve that, you have to have a really strong grasp and understanding on what the process of acting is all about. You have to really know how to communicate well with your actors. I would encourage every young filmmaker to take a couple of acting classes and learn that side of it. It’s very valuable and will make you a much better director.

    So when can we see it?

    We put a lot of time and energy into making “Dependent’s Day” and we can’t wait for everyone to see it as soon as it releases on VOD October 18th.

    October 13, 2016 • Acting, Faculty Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 941

  • NYFA Presents Screening Series with Jonathan Demme

    stranger than fiction

    New York Film Academy is pleased to present Academy Award winner, Jonathan Demme, with a retrospective of his documentary films in the special Fall season of Thom Powers’ “Stranger Than Fiction” screening series every Tuesday night through Nov. 1 at 7:00pm at IFC Center. Just last night Demme screened The Agronomist.

    Famous for block-buster movies like his Oscar-winner, “Silence of the Lambs,” Demme then essentially left Hollywood for New York, and for documentaries (though he has directed a couple of fiction films since).

    Esteemed Toronto Film Festival and DOC NYC programmer, Thom Powers, and Raphaela Neihausen programmed this exclusive Stranger Than Fiction retrospective series.  Here they present a short season of extremely rare screenings of some of the rock docs and social protest films that helped form decades of American counter-culture.  Simultaneously fun and powerful, every single film programmed is a must see.

    Upcoming Screenings:

    10/18 Neil Young: Heart Of Gold

    10/25  I am Caroline Parker: The Good, The Mad and the Ugly

    October 12, 2016 • Community Highlights, Documentary Filmmaking • Views: 764

  • NYFA Doc Alumni Screen “Freya” at G2 Green Earth Film Festival

    nyfa la doc

    Photo shows from Left to right:  Ivoree Myles, Rachael Pelzer, Andrew Linga and Barbara Multer-Wellin

    Alumni from the New York Film Academy Los Angeles Documentary Film program gathered at the G2 Green Earth Film Festival for the screening of a film they made on a NYFA expedition to Belize in 2015. The Green Earth Film Festival, sponsored by G2 Gallery in Venice, CA, seeks to gather filmmakers of all experience levels—from seasoned industry professionals to students— to come together and share, screen and discuss their eco-conscious films with like-minded individuals.

    The NYFA entry, FREYA, tells the story of a subadult loggerhead sea turtle that was rescued after a shark attack left her with a partially severed front flipper. The film documents Freya’s recovery and eventual return to the open sea. Freya is the first loggerhead sea turtle tagged by satellite telemetry in Belize. One year later and she is still being tracked by Director, Rachael Pelzer, cinematographer/drone cinematographer/co-director, Andrew Linga, and co-director, Ivoree Myles were all present at the festival along with LA Documentary Chair, Barbara Multer-Wellin.

    October 6, 2016 • Community Highlights, Documentary Filmmaking • Views: 1515

  • Burbank VFW Ship 8310 Welcomes Student Veterans

    vfwOn Sunday, September 25, 2016 the Burbank VFW Ship 8310 welcomed New York Film Academy (NYFA) veterans for an afternoon of camaraderie. Veterans had the opportunity to network with each other, watch football, and share a meal, which was generously provided by the VFW.

    The event was spearheaded by NYFA MFA Acting for Film student and VFW member Paul McKenna (E-7 Sergeant First Class US Army), along with help from the New York Film Academy Veterans Services team. The purpose of the event was to welcome veterans to the Burbank military community, and promote networking among veteran students.

    VFW Ship 8310 promotes solidarity among the ranks, much like an enlisted club on any military base. Eric Brown, Veterans Coordinator stated, “What better way to cultivate a relationship between veterans of various eras, than setting the stage at this local VFW. We are a band of brothers and sisters who dedicated our lives not to just serve for this great nation, but ultimately each other”.

    Juan Guillen, Captain of the VFW Ship 8310, generously offered their location and services to the New York Film Academy veterans for any future events that they would like to hold at the club.

    The mission of the VFW is to ensure that veterans are respected for their service, always receive their earned entitlements, and are recognized for the sacrifices that they and their loved ones have made on behalf of the Nation.

    October 5, 2016 • Community Highlights • Views: 1119

  • New York Film Academy Open House in Moscow

    Recently, the New York Film Academy held an Open House in the heart of Moscow. Close to one hundred people attended the event to learn more about NYFA programs. Prospective students had an opportunity to meet NYFA admissions representatives and alumni, who have achieved a lot of success in the professional field, including executive producer of TV channel “Success” Guram Gabunia, independent filmmaker Costa Fam, producer Andrei Kim, director Anna Lobanova, and documentary filmmaker/TV-host Leyla Agirbova.

    At the beginning of the event, admissions representatives, Olga Mescheryakova and Elena Kulikova, spoke about the variety of programs NYFA has to offer in the United States, Australia and Europe, answered questions about upcoming Moscow Workshops, and went over details of admissions requirements.

    We are very happy that a number of former NYFA Moscow students came to speak and share their stories with the audience. This mini reunion did indeed become the best part of the evening. Loads of warm memories were brought up, which filled the room with inspiring vibes.

    moscow nyfa

    Director Anna Lobanova, who finished a 4-Week Screenwriting NYFA Program in Moscow, said that it gave her a better understanding of a screenwriters’ work and she now uses that understanding to develop a better director/screenwriter relationship. At the moment, Anna Lobanova is, as a director, finishing a new series for the main Russian TV-channel and co-writing a feature script with former NYFA classmate, Ekaterina Mazo.

    Author, and TV Host, Leyla Agirbova, who attended a 2012 Screenwriting Workshop with Paul Brown said, “In those two weeks I’ve got unforgettable experience. There is nothing more valuable than a human emotion and there is nothing more valuable than the energy that motivates you, stimulates you, sets the pace, and I got all of it at NYFA.”

    Currently, Leyla Agirbova not only continues to successfully develop her career in film and television, but also plans to launch her own business project using her pitching skills to attract investors.

    There was a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere during the evening. Our grads were able to spread around their positivity, passion for the profession and love for NYFA. One of the open house guests, an actor, Aleksey Bogdanov, said that it was very inspiring to hear stories of former students and learn about the changes that have occurred in their careers.

    nyfa moscow

    A pleasant surprise for all was the Skype chat with New York Film Academy Los Angeles instructors, Lydia Cedrone and Paul Brown, who will visit Moscow at the end of October with intensive weekend Screenwriting and Producing Workshops. Also, the Director of the Academy, Dan Mackler, joined the conversation and spoke with the audience in fluent Russian, which was met with a storm of applause!

    “It was nice to meet instructors and Director of the Academy via Skype, to see their faces. It gave me even more motivation and hope for the future,” said Alla Volodkina, who recently got enrolled into an 8-Week Screenwriting Program in NYFA Los Angeles.

    We would like to thank everyone who came to the Open House. New York Film Academy is very proud of all our graduates and look forward meeting new students. See you soon!

    Moscow Weekend Workshop dates are Saturday, October 22 and Sunday, October 23, with an Orientation on Friday evening, October 21. 
You can apply here.

    October 4, 2016 • Community Highlights, Road Show • Views: 1728

  • NYFA Welcomes Incoming Student Veterans

    The New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts recently welcomed its newest incoming class of military veterans and dependents to the Los Angeles, New York, and South Beach campuses.

    nyfa la vets

    In an effort to continuously support veterans, the Veterans Services team at each campus hosted a specific orientation for incoming veteran students. The orientation focused on helping veterans to acclimate to the campus community. The Vet team staff members provided an overview of the services they provide including assisting with GI bill benefits, housing, VA healthcare and also invited community partners that serve veterans to speak to the group.

    Several of community partners included the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Soldiers Project and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Each of the representatives spoke about how the organizations support veterans and the unique services that they provide. Freddie Basnight, Army Veteran and Acting student stated, “The veteran orientation was a very informative and supportive event for military veterans. It was great to meet fellow veterans and know that the College truly supports veterans.”

    veterans orientation

    A representative from the VA healthcare system briefed the group about VA healthcare benefits and veterans were able to enroll in the VA healthcare system on the spot. Many of the veterans stayed after the orientation to network amongst each other and speak with NYFA representatives and veteran community partners. We would like to welcome all of the newest military veterans and dependents to the New York Film Academy campus community.

    October 3, 2016 • Community Highlights • Views: 1344

  • NYFA Students & Alumni Crew Up for TIFF’s “After the Storm”

    “After the Storm,” a film from first-time writer and director Jessica Oyelowo, recently screened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Jessica’s husband, David Oyelowo, known for his portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King in the award-winning film “Selma,” was a producer on the project.
    on set of "After the Storm"

    on set of “After the Storm”

    Shot in only four days at Oyelowo’s home in Tarzana, the production included a number of New York Film Academy students and alumni in its crew. Giulia Governo, a NYFA alumna from the Cinematography program, was the 1st AC on the shoot; David Hebrero, a NYFA alumnus from the Filmmaking program, was the gaffer; Konstantin Frolov, a NYFA alumnus from the Cinematography program, was the boom operator; Vince GE, a student from the Filmmaking program, was a Production Assistant; and Joann Wong, a student in the Filmmaking program, was in the swing department.
    after the storm

    on set of “After the Storm”

    Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“Belle,” “Beyond the Lights”), Chiké Okonkwo (“The Birth of a Nation”) and newcomer Caleb Oyelowo (Jessica’s son) star in the film about the emotional journey of an African American family in the wake of tragedy.
    after the storm

    on set of “After the Storm”

    “I became interested in what it’s like for the families of those out on the front lines,” said director, Jessica Oyelowo. “What happens to relationships when things go wrong, change doesn’t come, or loved ones are away or taken away?”

    “The movie has a bit of a surreal tone, as it deals with how tragedy can affect a family in ways they may not be fully aware of,” said NYFA Instructor Craig Ross.

    The film recently screened at the Urbanworld Film Festival in New York City. For more information, visit their Facebook page at