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  • NYFA’s Sara Antkowiak Stars in ‘Pretty Babies’

    pretty babiesLast week was the World Premiere of the new Anthony Raymond play, Pretty Babies, which stars New York Film Academy Musical Theatre Instructor Sara Antkowiak (Tales of Hoffmann/Metropolitan Opera).

    The ensemble cast, directed by Raymond and produced by the critically acclaimed Elsinore County Theater Company, is led by Stacey Roca who had a recurring role as Rachel on the UK series The Office with Ricky Gervais.

    Pretty Babies is a story about using the taboo and forbidden as weapons in a no-holds-barred scheme of manipulation. The play revolves around Jason and his sister Randi — two lives steeped in sex, drugs, and grifting.

    Already off to a roaring start, Pretty Babies will continue its performances from now until March 21st at the newly renovated 13th St Rep Theater in New York City.

    If you’re interested in checking out this wonderful play, and supporting your fellow NYFA teacher, visit here for tickets!

    March 2, 2015 • Community Highlights, Musical Theatre • Views: 435

  • NYFA’s James Lecesne Gets Rave Review from NY Times

    james lecesne

    James Lecesne

    As was made quite clear in the Oscar Winning Best Picture Birdman, having the approval of the New York Times is one of the most crucial components of putting on a successful show. While turning the pages (okay, clicking a link) of a recent Times article, we came across a rave review, highlighting none other than one of our very own, New York Film Academy​’s Oscar-winning Documentary instructor James Lecesne.​

    The New York Times’​ respected and well known critic, Christopher Isherwood, identified Lecesne as one of “the most talented solo performers of his (or any) generation,” in his review of James’ one-man show, The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey.

    In his one-man show, Lecesne portrays various characters of a small Jersey shore town as they struggle to understand what happened to 14-year-old Leonard Pelkey. Adapted from his YA novel, Absolute Brightness, this solo show begins with the the discovery of Leonard’s disappearance, follows a criminal investigation led by detective Chuck DeSantis, and concludes with a trial that reveals the shocking truth.

    The multi-talented Lecesne has been admired for many of his artistic traits, as well as his work in philanthropy. To attest to his tremendous talent, the first film he ever wrote, Trevor, won the Oscar for best live action short! It’s truly an honor to have Mr. Lecesne as a member of the New York Film Academy.

    The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey is showing at Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie Street in Manhattan, now until March 28.

  • NYFA Documentary Adviser Editor on Oscar Winning ‘Crisis Hotline: Veteran’s Press 1′

    Crisis Hotline

    Crisis Hotline: Veteran’s Press 1 has won this years Documentary Short Subject Oscar. The film’s editor Geof Bartz, is also New York Film Academy’s Documentary Curriculum Adviser and Master Class Professor.

    Crisis Hotline: Veteran’s Press 1, which won the Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject, was edited by Geof Bartz, New York Film Academy’s Documentary Curriculum Adviser, Master Class Professor and Supervising Editor in HBO’s Documentary Department. This is Bartz’ third Oscar win from a total of 5 nominations over the years.

    Crisis Hotline is a touching 40-minute documentary, condensed from 100 hours of footage of VA’s suicide hotline call center, located in Canandaigua, New York. The documentary delves into the deep compassion, emotions and stresses call center operators endure when working daily to help and save suicidal veterans. Many of these operators are in fact veterans themselves, military family members and former service members.

    Nearly every hour, a veteran takes his or her own life. The film brings much needed attention to this issue and other challenges veterans (and their families) face when returning to civilian life.

    “We are hopeful this documentary will help raise awareness of this important issue with the American public,” VA Secretary Robert McDonald said.

    Producers Dana Perry and Ellen Goosenberg Kent went on-stage to accept their aware, with Perry dedicating the film to her son Evan who died at age 15 in 2005.

  • Patricia Arquette Demands Equality for Women

    Patricia Arquette

    In addition to the prestige and recognition that the Academy Awards provides for actors, filmmakers and artists, it’s also served as a platform for political and social outcry. Last night’s 87th Annual Academy Awards were no different than its predecessors, with Best Supporting Actress Patricia Arquette calling attention to the lack of equal pay amongst females not only in Hollywood, but throughout the job market.

    Her call for wage equality for women was received with a large ovation at the awards ceremony, particularly by 19-time Academy Award nominated actress, Meryl Streep.

    “To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,” said Arquette. “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

    Arquette’s profound words come at a time when actors’ wages have become more transparent, especially after the unfortunate Sony Pictures hack revealed Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams earned substantially less than their male co-stars for the film American Hustle.

    In 2013, the New York Film Academy tackled this issue with an in-depth infographic, highlighting gender inequality in film. One of the many issues that has stood out, was the fact that Angelina Jolie was the highest paid female actor with $33 million — almost the same amount earned by the two lowest ranked men in 2013.

    female inequality

     

    Our hope at the time was to shed light on this issue in the hopes of pushing the conversation further. With a speech at the Oscars, we think we’re on the right track.

    February 23, 2015 • Community Highlights, Entertainment News • Views: 953

  • NYFA Screenwriting Graduates Celebrate with Industry Pitch Fest

    pitch festOn January 21st, 14 graduating MFA and AFA New York Film Academy Screenwriting students attended their culminating Industry Pitch Fest Event held at the Andaz Hotel up on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. A catered event and mingling opportunity for the students, executives, and faculty alike, this capstone event celebrated the New York Film Academy’s graduating MFA and AFA Screenwriting students, offering them a professional outlet to jumpstart their careers by pitching their projects.

    These writing students, having spent their final semester in their Business of Screenwriting III class preparing and fine-tuning their pitches for their thesis film and TV projects, shined on this pinnacle evening, leaving with new professional contacts and a flurry of interest in the scripts they’d worked so hard on all year.

    Considered by the school to be their first night as professional screenwriters, this group of bright students brought their A-game, as they pitched managers and production company representatives in a relaxed, round-table environment.

    pitch fest

    Hosted by NYFA’s Business of Screenwriting curriculum kingpin David O’Leary, in conjunction with NYFA Screenwriting Chair, Nunzio DeFilippis, and NYFA’s Chair of Industry Outreach & Professional Development, Adam Finer, the event featured representatives from 14 Hollywood companies.

    Attendees included: Bright Whale Entertainment, Canana Films, Dobre Films, The Dino De Laurentiiis Company, Echo Lake Entertainment, Elevate Entertainment, FilmHaus, FR Productions, Meyer Management, No BullScript, Paul Schiff Productions, RatPac Entertainment, Unbroken Pictures, and Underground Films & Management.

    The school wishes to thank its participants, for which this evening could not have been possible without, including — Guy Jackson, Maria Brasero, Paloma Martinez, Mike Klein, Dan Ingram, Jesse Murphy, Dan Rosenfelt, Bobby Sabelhaus, Jessica Jacobs, Scott Varnado, Daniel Manus, Jay Glazer, J Stuart, Peter Meyer, Chris Armogida, Annie Manion, and Tiffany Prasifka.

    You all made this event such a success. Thank you, guys! Congratulations also to all of the Sept ’13 graduates! Onwards and upwards!

    February 19, 2015 • Community Highlights, Screenwriting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 553

  • Citywide High School Scholarship Winners

    david klein

    The New York Film Academy rewarded scholarships to our summer acting and filmmaking workshops for deserving high school students in New York City. Scholarship opportunities were open to New York City public school students who demonstrated financial need, passion for the visual and performing arts, and outstanding academic achievement. Our film school’s summer workshops for kids and teens offer an intensive, hands-on experience which gives students the opportunity to develop their creative skills to the fullest extent possible.

    Included in each student’s application was an essay, expressing his or her thoughts on the power of visual storytelling bringing a positive social change to our community. In addition, students were asked to discuss some of their favorite films, filmmakers and actors.

    After considering numerous deserving young minds, the New York Film Academy is proud to announce the winners of the summer camp scholarships:

    • Jaeden Granger
    • Tamia Ejekpokpo
    • Priscilla Gomes
    • Dwight Young
    • Yarelys Encarnacion
    summer camps

    NYC HS Scholarship Winners

    We’d like to congratulate these fine young students, and wish them the best of luck on their upcoming summer camp experience. We’re pretty sure they’re going to love it!

    If you’re interested in learning more about our summer camp programs in fillmaking, acting, music video, photography, musical theatre, 3D animation, video game design or broadcast journalism at one of the many locations around the world, CLICK HERE for more information.

    February 18, 2015 • Community Highlights, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 774

  • NYFA Students Visit Jet Propulsion Laboratory

    james webb

    New York Film Academy students had the rare opportunity to visit the renowned Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on Friday, February 13, 2015. JPL is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in Southern California.

    NYFA students, admin and faculty were given a personal tour of the facility and got to experience first hand the technology and work that is going into the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and its MIRI (Mid Infrared Instrument) component.

    As part of a collaboration with NASA, JPL, and Northrop Grumman, New York Film Academy students have had the opportunity to pitch a series of commercials, PSA’s, and promotional pieces for the development of the JWST, planned for launch in 2018. The JPL visit was part of the students’ research for their film projects.

    “It was incredible to be given the opportunity to visit the NASA/JPL facilities,” said BFA Filmmaking student, Mariana Thome. “My project will be definitely enriched with details and insights of space.”

    james webb

    On the tour, JWST and MIRI project scientist Michael Ressler and Project Manager Kalyani Sukhatme, MIRI Cooler Test Facility Lead Engineer Jason Zan, and Cryocooler Delivery Manager Konstantin Penanen, informed students on how MIRI will help make the Webb Telescope a Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST) that will offer unprecedented resolution and sensitivity in its observations. So much, in fact, that the JWST will see deeper into space than any telescope ever has.

    Students were allowed to get a hands-on look at the cold room where MIRI flight hardware is tested, as well as the sensor room where all the electronics of the MIRI component are tested and aligned under a series of extreme temperatures that the telescope will experience in flight and operation.

    In addition, students were taken to the indoor “Mars-Yard” where rovers and other vehicles are tested before being deployed to the surface of Mars. Perhaps the highlight of the whole trip was a tour of the ground floor of JPL’s Mission Control. Mission Control monitors all of JPL’s current space flight missions which include the Curiosity Rover on Mars, the Cassini-Huygens mission orbiting Saturn, the twin Mars Exploration Rovers – Spirit and Opportunity, the Dawn spacecraft observing dwarf planet Ceres, and many more.

    The trip was organized as part of NYFA’s STEAM Education Initiatives by Rajiv Uttamchandani. Mr. Uttamchandani states, “At the New York Film Academy we continually emphasize education based on actual experience, whether it be within the realms of filmmaking or the sciences.”

    nasa

     

    February 16, 2015 • Community Highlights, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 943

  • Documentary Community Film Project Screening

    nyfa documentary

    Sept ’13 MFA Documentary class in Los Angeles

    On Friday January 22nd, the Sept ’13 MFA Documentary class in Los Angeles presented its two final films as the culmination of their Community Film Project class. The semester-long project centered on selecting a non-profit organization and producing a promotional film for them.

    The two films created in the project were a 3-minute piece focusing on a participant in the Urban Possibilities twelve-week empowerment program and a 5-minute film overview of Urban Possibilities. Both films aimed to capture how UP’s multi-dimensional workshops assist homeless people on Skid Row.

    Producer Ivoree Myles and Writer-Director Abi Prieto began the screening with a Powerpoint presentation, taking the audience through the process that culminated in the creation of the two films. Urban Possibilities was represented at the screening by its founder and CEO, Eyvette Jones-Johnson.

    One crew member in the audience freely admitted he was moved to tears watching the films. Everyone who worked on the film echoed Ivoree and Abi’s sentiments that while the shooting schedule was a difficult one, the experience they gained on the project was invaluable.

    February 3, 2015 • Community Highlights, Documentary Filmmaking • Views: 552

  • Music Video Students Visit Rolling Stone HQ

    rolling stone

    For many decades, Rolling Stone Magazine has been a leading force in music and entertainment culture. Its ability to catapult an artist’s career is quite remarkable. The same could be said for the music video and its ability to launch the careers of so many talented directors. In fact, a slew of today’s top film directors like David Fincher, Spike Jonze and Brett Ratner began their careers by making music videos. In the New York Film Academy’s Rolling Stone Music Video Workshop, we provide that very same training ground.

    rolling stone

    This week, our music video students had the privilege of visiting the world famous headquarters of Rolling Stone Magazine in New York City. As part of the tour students had an opportunity to gawk at the Hallway of Covers, which displays every Rolling Stone cover since its inception in 1967. As you can imagine, our music video students were in awe of the massive display. Our hope is that it was also inspiring for the young artists. You never know, perhaps their face could be on the cover someday.

    rolling stone mag

    January 30, 2015 • Community Highlights, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 681

  • Congratulations to Degree Program Graduates at NYFA Los Angeles!

    Graduation NYFA
    New York Film Academy Los Angeles Filmmaking, Acting, Producing, Screenwriting, Photography and Cinematography students received their MFA, MA, BFA and AFA degrees this past Saturday, January 24th during Commencement Ceremonies held at the Harmony Gold Theater in Hollywood, California. Family and friends of the students attended two afternoon graduations (at 3pm for Acting, Screenwriting, Cinematography & Photography students and 6:30pm for Filmmaking & Producing students) completely filling the 400 seat theater for each. Department chairs Art Helterbran (Filmmaking), Lynda Goodfriend (Acting), Tony Schwartz (Producing), Nunzio DeFilippis (Screenwriting), Bobbi Fabian (Photography), and Michael Pessah (Cinematography), addressed their students, offering their final words of wisdom and best wishes for the future.
    graduation speech
    Commencement Speakers Randal Kleiser (film director of Grease, Blue Lagoon, White Fang and Flight of the Navigator) and Patrick Rush (casting director of Party of Five, Dawson’s Creek, Supernatural and The O.C.) gave candid and humorous advice for students navigating the Hollywood system. Afterwards students, family and friends celebrated elegantly at the Riot House Restaurant in West Hollywood’s Andaz Hotel. Congratulations to all of NYFA’s 2015 degree program graduates!
    graduates
    Congrats to all of our NYFA LA Graduates:
    MFA in Filmmaking
    Saud Al-Moghirah
    Alessandro Amante
    Ramazanova Banu
    Carlos Amaral Baptista
    Nadir Bennaceur
    Isaac Michael Blankenship
    Maria Valentina Carmona Corral
    Lilia Dalakishvili
    Yul Gatewood
    Robert James Gould
    Ritesh Jeswani
    Satoshi Kameoka
    Adrenia Shanell Kemp
    Alexander G. Tobias
    TaoHsiu Wei
    Yazhen Zhang
    Wangshu Zhao
    Mingtao Zhou
    Yanjun Zhou

    MA in Film & Media Production
    Sichen Ai
    Hanaa Saleh Alfassi
    Obisesan Allen Bobola
    Hongyi Cao
    Luciana F Capela
    Zhuo Chen
    Konstantin Frolov
    Zalikha Harun
    Meghan Mildred Hooper
    He Huang
    Jiang Jiang
    Minghang Jiang
    Srinivasa Jonnavithula
    Aditya Patwardhan
    Nadeen Salam Said
    Lisa Schulz
    Dimitrios Tranos
    Fei Fei Wang
    Xurui Wang
    Jiaduo Wu
    Yining Yan
    Liang Zhao
    Yucheng Zhao

    BFA in Filmmaking
    Eskil Brattgjerd
    Hang Cheng
    Noé Miguel Obregón Escobar
    Rachel Karen Gallagher
    Georgy Gorshunov
    Lu He
    Junyao Hu
    Joelle Kahn
    Oscar Benjamin Lyons
    Akshay Pradeep
    Hao Zhang
    Qihuan Zheng
    Tong Zhou
    Camila Varela Zolezzi

    AFA in Filmmaking
    Darío Navarro Anzaldúa
    Rory Butcher
    Jamie Deacon
    Christopher Dyrell Dickerson
    Matthew A Escobedo
    Shantal Lenya Freedman
    Adam Gomez
    Michael James Gros
    Bruno Paolucci
    Christian Smith

    MFA in Acting for Film
    Cody Lyle Asher
    Jovanna Avila
    Parvane Baharian
    Pamela Oma Belonwu-Ifedi
    Lixuan Geng
    Jean Hyppolite
    Keaton Kaplan
    David Grant Kuskie
    Tamara Kvashilava
    Kevin Chua Peng Liang
    Phoebe Ray McHenry
    Adam Wayne Ohl
    Laura Anna-Katariina Ollikainen
    Amir Abdul Rahim
    Cesar Ramirez
    Kathleen M. Roy
    Sally Shepard
    Leandro Manuel Vargas Simoza
    Jeremy Sykes
    Klement Tinaj
    Amanda Anne Vannucchi
    Nina Ce’Mone Wright
    Han Xing
    Xinwan Yu

    BFA in Acting for Film
    Gianlorenzo Albertini
    Diana Salazar Arias
    Adam El-Manawy
    Jonghoon Han
    Deniz Kara
    John Franklin Karbousky II
    Monique Oberholzer
    Elena Petrukhina
    Randall Julian William Stanley
    James Earl Surman Jr
    Kris Swinnen

    AFA in Acting for Film
    Morgan Elese Aiken
    Sonia Gonzalez Arrieta
    Luis Facci
    Maxine Foreman
    Amber Greene
    Molly Kelly
    Sebastian Mayer
    James Millot
    Candace Rachelle Morris
    Shaquann Nesbitt
    Nehal Patel
    Nicolas Puorro
    John Reeve
    Arkan Satrio
    Jeremy Harris Shechtman
    Milbelynn Soto
    Megan Leigh Wright

    MFA in Producing
    Cynara Aziza Cherry-Cary
    Yiling Du
    Gabriel Amora de Farias
    Faustino Felix Figueroa
    Xingyu Gao
    Alessandra Micol Ghisolfi
    Li Guannan
    Yingshan Jiang
    Omar Ahmed Tariq Murad
    Yuki Naito
    Charles J. Pass
    Mariana Patricia Pineda M.
    Lifen Ruan
    Chun Shen
    Xuewei Yang
    Leying Zhang
    Qingqing Zhang
    Tianhui Zheng

    BFA in Producing
    Mariana Mendez Alejandre
    Aida Mamezhanova
    Diego Del Rio Toca

    MFA in Screenwriting
    Eric J. Arias
    Edward E. Arnold
    Livia Azzolini
    Kevin André Easley Jr.
    Michael E Madvedoff
    Eshan Parikh
    Kalei Sue Pipczynski
    Rohan Sunil Thakkar
    LeeMar Turner
    Rebecca Verdia
    Zachary Alan Xanders
    Dongjing Yuan

    AFA in Screenwriting
    Chris Arneson
    Samira Elhidmi

    MFA in Photography
    Casey Landon Asher
    Donald Hoffman
    Li Sun
    Qiang Ye
    Lishabai Yi
    Qian Zhe

    MFA in Cinematography
    Loai Ibrahim A Khalifah
    Ora Tiffany Littlejohn
    Robert McIntosh
    Gaofei Zheng