Perhaps one of the most notorious drug lords of our time, Pablo Escobar has been an appealing character often explored in film and television over the years. In writer/director Andrea Di Stefano’s recent film, Escobar: Paradise Lost, the filmmaker sets up a young couple who fall in love in Colombia and, after discovering the young woman’s uncle is Pablo Escobar, are faced with a dramatic, life-altering turn.
One of our Editing Instructors in Los Angeles, Zack Stoff, was a research consultant to Oscar-winning actor Benicio Del Toro, who happened to play Escobar. “I became involved in research for Benicio through my editing background,” said New York Film Academy Instructor, Zack Stoff. “It gave me the ability to scan through and edit material from many different sources.”
Also starring in the film is lead actor Josh Hutcherson, who Stoff worked with as Assistant Editor on Benicio’s directorial short film Seven Days in Havana. “This was their [Del Toro and Hutcherson] first time acting together and they have a great chemistry,” said Stoff. “Benicio’s portrayal of Escobar is really captivating.”
Stoff offered some great advice to students looking to break into the industry as a research consultant or anything else for that matter. “Be ready to walk through whatever door opens for them. This business is run by need and opportunity. One person’s need is another person’s opportunity. Hold onto your skills and ambitions and know they will eventually pay off, but be patient and just do good work. Good things will happen if you prove yourself to be dependable.”
With New York Film Academy Summer Camp Programs officially happening all around the world, we thought it was time again to see what you’re all up to. And what’s the best way to stay in touch with friends around the world? Social Media!
All you have to do is tag your Instagram, Facebook and Twitter photos with #NYFASummer and we can see how much fun your learning experience is. Whether you’re in New York City, Los Angeles, Harvard, Florida, Europe or wherever, you’re all #NYFASummer students at heart!
The best photos showing your support of #NYFASummer will be posted on NYFA’s Social Media platforms and awarded a leather NYFA bag, shirts and caps. You could be hanging out on campus, on set, or in a group selfie with your new NYFA friends! The more creative, the better! After all, we’re an art school.
We will be sharing some of the contenders throughout the summer—from now until September 1st, 2015. The top winners will be announced soon after to receive their NYFA swag!
Acting Scholarship Winner Prosper Mangena (right) with Blake Babbitt and Anaïs
As an on-going effort to reach talented individuals not only in the Unites States but also abroad, the New York Film Academy has partnered with the “Be Your Dream” project in South Africa to offer two full tuition scholarships to teen musical theatre and acting students.
Founded by artist and Ambassador of Lifeline, Anaïs, the “Be Your Dream” project is an initiative to spread awareness throughout South Africa, regarding LifeLine and their free services and counseling that is provided for those in need.
After auditioning forty selected individuals from the program, our admissions team was forced with the difficult decision of awarding two of the many deserving artists with these talent-based scholarships.
Musical Theatre Scholarship Winner, Kayla de Araujo
Today, with Anaïs on hand at NYFA Battery Park, NYFA showcased our most recent student scholarship winners:
Prosper Mangena, Awarded 4-Week Acting for Film Teen Scholarship
Kayla de Araujo, Awarded 4-Week Musical Theatre Teen Scholarship
“I had the honor of awarding Prosper Mangena and Kayla de Araujo full talent-based scholarships to attend our 4-Week Teen Summer Acting for Film and Musical Theatre programs,” said Director of Performing Arts Admissions, Blake Babbitt. “I see such incredible talent come from South Africa, and it’s a pleasure to be able to join with the ‘Be Your Dream’ project to offer Kayla and Prosper this unique and life changing opportunity.”
We’re delighted to have these two gifted young performers currently enrolled at NYFA, and look forward to seeing next year’s talent!
Our MFA Cinematography students literally dive head first into the world of underwater filmmaking. Shot with a Canon 5D in Hyrdoflex housing, students were able to capture the cinematic magic below the surface of the water.
The MFA program is an accelerated, four semester graduate program that is extremely hands-on. Those interested in becoming Directors of Photography in the professional world are immersed in this intensive course under the tutelage of professional cinematographers. This unique setting helps develop both the creative vision and technical proficiency necessary for a career as a cinematographer.
Upon graduation, students will be proficient with many of the state-of-the-art camera systems that are used on today’s biggest sets, including 16mm, 35mm, HD and Red digital cinema cameras. In addition, students can expect to be able to confidently supervise the creation of sophisticated lighting schemes on set.
On Thursday, June 18th students, many of whom were veterans, gathered in the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles Theater and were treated to a special early preview of the documentary, Beyond Glory, followed by a Q&A with actor Stephen Lang. In early May, Lang screened the film to NYFA students at the New York City campus where he joined Colonel Jack Jacobs, Chair of NYFA’s Veterans Advancement Program, and himself a Medal of Honor recipient.
Beyond Glory is a blending of footage from Lang’s one-man show, cutting across multiple performance venues and incorporating original material shot for the film. In it, the seasoned actor interprets interviews with a number of Metal of Honor Recipients. The result is a moving journey through the experiences of those who have survived some of war’s harshest of circumstances.
“Beyond Glory allows the voices of servicemen to be heard without the filter of the conventions of drama or the prerogatives of deadline-driven journalism. Its sobriety, simplicity and lack of histrionics are the show’s signal strengths.” — Charles Isherwood, The New York Times
The discussion with Stephen Lang and Larry Brand was moderated by NYFA LA’s Veteran Outreach Coordinator, NYFA AFA Acting alumnus, and Navy Veteran Eric Brown.
As a stage actor of great recognition, Stephen Lang has shaped a formidable career on and off the various stages of the United States and abroad. Though he is arguably most well-known for his acclaimed performance in James Cameron’s Avatar (2009), Lang began his career in theater. Broadway roles include his Tony-nominated performance as Lou in The Speed of Darkness, Happy in the Dustin Hoffman revival of Death of a Salesman, Colonel Jessep in A Few Good Men, and Mike Tallman alongside Quentin Tarantino and Marisa Tomei in Wait Until Dark. The film’s director, Larry Brand, was also on stage to answer questions. NYFA LA’s Veteran Outreach Coordinator, NYFA AFA Acting alumnus, and Navy Veteran Eric Brown moderated the discussion.
The 100-seat theater was overflowing with attendees when Stephen Lang and Larry Brand took the stage to an uproar of applause. It was obvious that Lang was greatly appreciative of the warm reception. He talked with zeal about his experience performing for military and civilian crowds domestically and overseas for almost ten years now. He discussed the differences between performing with a cast of actors versus working in a solo show and jokingly said: “The good part of doing a solo show is I don’t have to rely on the other actor … but then again, the cast parties aren’t as fun!”
Stephen Lang, with director Larry Brand, discusses the acting techniques he utilized in “Beyond Glory.”
There were many acting students in attendance who were curious about techniques Stephen Lang utilized in the film. Lang admitted that he spent most of his time shaping the performances in an audition room at the Actors Studio, which he affectionately calls his “home” in New York. Stephen never relies on one technique, but rather tries something different for each project. Sometimes he’ll find that an approach consistently serves him. The more experience he’s gained, the more basic his approach to acting has become.
During the discussion, the similarities between an actor and a soldier were discussed. Both play a “role.” A soldier’s role includes his or her branch, job, rank, etc. while realizing elements of honor, integrity, and service. Through theater there is the opportunity for healing from the traumas of war, in which the soldier learns to tell his or her story instead of repressing the memory. This seems to be much of the idea behind Beyond Glory—humanizing the hero and helping us to imagine their incredible tales of selfishness and valor.
“As a former US Marine, I thought both Stephen and Larry brought so much truth to the reality of each Medal of Honor Recipient’s experiences,” said Tyler Williams, a NYFA BFA acting student and a veteran. “The Medal of Honor is the pinnacle of one’s military career or existence while at the same time a pebble or ripple in the pond that is their life.”
The New York Film Academy sincerely thanks Stephen Lang and Larry Brand for visiting the College and sharing their experience of creating this tremendous film and piece of American History with NYFA students.
Stephen Lang poses in a picture with NYFA veterans.
To learn more about Beyond Glory, please CLICK HERE.
The New York Film Academy is proud to announce our involvement in the documentary feature film, For the Love of Spock.
On June 16 and 17, staff and students of the New York Film Academy Los Angeles helped professional Director and long time directing Instructor, Adam Nimoy, produce a documentary about the character of Mr. Spock from Star Trek entitled For the Love of Spock. Adam and his father, Leonard Nimoy who played the iconic role, decided together that it was time to make a documentary about the beloved character. Unfortunately, Leonard Nimoy passed away before they could start production on the documentary. Adam has taken up the reigns with the intent of finishing the documentary and steering it not only towards an in-depth look at the famous Vulcan, but the man, his father, who made the character famous.
William Shatner with NYFA crew
New York Film Academy is lending talent and resources to ensure Adam’s documentary is a success. Earlier this week staff and students were thrilled to join Adam’s production team and help shoot a series of high profile interviews that will make up the spine of the documentary.
William Shatner (Captain Kirk), George Takei (Lt. Sulu) and Walter Koenig (Ensign Chekov) were just a few of the impressive names that our staff and students helped interview for the documentary. Zachary Quinto will be providing the narration for the film and the New York film Academy is honored to help produce it.
A hero is often born in moments of selflessness and quick-thinking in situations that require immediate action. Earlier this year in Paris, Malian-born Lassana Bathily was simply working at a stockroom in a kosher grocery store—a typical day for the young man—when two gunman burst into the store and opened fire, killing four people. Without regard for his own life, Mr. Bathily swiftly hid fifteen customers in the basement of the market, eventually sneaking them out through a back exit to freedom. Mr. Bathily’s heroic act saved those fifteen lives from inevitable doom. It’s likely that without his help, there would have been a massacre at the kosher market.
What we didn’t know was how Mr. Bathily was temporarily arrested by police immediately after freeing the fifteen hostages. Due to the confusion and chaos around the market, the Paris police had to be very cautious. Fortunately, after surveying the situation, Mr. Bathily was released after an hour and a half, having realized he was not a criminal but rather a hero.
After reading the story of this courageous young man, New York Film Academy’s founder Jerry Sherlock made a personal commitment to locate Mr. Bathily and provide him with a generous donation as well as offer him a scholarship to NYFA’s Paris Workshops.
Lassana Bathily with NYFA VP of Strategic Initiatives, Jim Miller
Earlier this month, we had the privilege of meeting Mr. Bathily at NYFA’s Battery Park campus. Mr. Bathily humbly spoke of his heroic actions on that tragic day in Paris, as well as his hopes for the future. Having received many accolades and generous donations, Mr. Bathily hopes to use his newfound “fame” to better his small hometown in Mali. While the overall attacks in Paris were devastating, it’s touching to know there can be some positives to come out this tragedy.
We wish Mr. Bathily the best of luck with his future, and hope to someday see him at our location in Paris.
Students from the New York Film Academy Los Angeles Photography BFA and One-Year Programs spent a week on the Big Island of Hawaii, engaged in a variety of tours and activities.
Monday, the students met with Chef Allen, who owns HUGGOS restaurant. Chef Allen was kind enough to let the students shoot in his restaurant from 10:00am until 2:00pm, where they shot models (from Premiere Modeling Agency) in the restaurant. The restaurant is on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The rest of the day was spent organizing the week.
Tuesday was the Circle Island/Volcano Excursion. The all day tour took them to the island’s most popular sight seeing locations. They visited Kilauea Volcano, Hilo Town (the floral center of the islands), a stop at Akatsuka Nursery and Big Island Candies (known for its chocolates). From there, the photography students went to Rainbow Falls and past sugar cane fields to Parker Ranch, which takes up approximately 250,000 acres of the island. Parker Ranch is also one of the nation’s largest cattle ranches.
Wednesday the students met and worked with the Focus Model & Talent Agency. They sent a toddler, teenager and an adult. Everyone met on the beach, and the challenge for the students was a location they had never seen before with outdoor conditions and a time restrain. While on the beach, the locals were friendly and gave out excellent advice on where to eat and shop!
On Thursday, they participated in a tour that began at Kona, along the beautiful coast of Hawaii, wandered through ancient lava fields, and ended at Mauna Kea Summit — over 13,000 feet altitude and has 13 telescopes from over 11 countries. High above the cloud cover, students photographed the stunning views at sunset, then traveled down to the Mauna Kea Visitors Information Station for a Star Gazing party, learning about the night sky and constellations while being treated to home made brownies and hot chocolate.
Friday was spent going to Kole Kole beach, where a fresh water river meets a saltwater ocean. Although the water is clear and there are rocks on the bottom, they all joined in swinging off the rope from the cliff and into the water.
Students treked to Waipio Valley, childhood home of King Kamehameha, where they hiked down the lush valley with local birds and bugs (and no cell phone service) to Hillawe Falls. When hiking back up, a tropical rain soaked them all!
Saturday, there was a modeling agency workshop with the Focus Modeling Agency owner, Swan. The “new face” models were there to meet Peter Baratti, Hollywood guest photographer, and the students were invited to join and shoot with him.
Saturday night they all went back to the hotel to enjoy the local poke (fish salad) and get ready to head home.
All in all, the photography students first one-week exotic trip was a huge success! We look forward to providing the same experience to our next group of students.
NYFA President Michael Young congratulates Robert Gregson
The New York Film Academy is proud to be a Supporting Sponsor at the 18th Brooklyn Film Festival. This year, the festival received 2,331 films coming from 114 countries and selected 109 film premieres coming from 26 countries.
“Our film competition has been incredibly successful,” said Brooklyn Film Festival Director, Marco Ursino. “The great thing is that our audience, professionals or not, truly enjoyed all of the films.”
As part of our sponsorship, NYFA’s President Michael Young was on hand to present a tuition scholarship to the Best New Director Award-Winner, Robert Gregson, for his film The Refrigerator. The Brooklyn-based filmmakers’s film focuses on the lives of Howie and Mark, two broke friends who happen to find a refrigerator on the street. Inside the fridge, they discover the way to another dimension. Greed, drunkenness and hilarity ensue.
We’d like to congratulate Mr. Gregson, as well as the other winners and competitors in the festival. Mr. Gregson’s scholarship entitles him to attend an 8-Week Workshop to one of our many locations around the world. For a full list of this year’s winners, visit the Brooklyn Film Festival’s official website at http://www.brooklynfilmfestival.org/winners/.
We look forward to supporting next year’s Brooklyn Film Festival!
As a nationally accredited and degree granting college, the New York Film Academy has been privileged over the last few years to enroll hundreds of veteran students at our campuses in both New York City and Los Angeles. To further give back to our veteran and military community, the New York Film Academy in Battery Park held an event exclusive for veterans from the Wounded Warrior Project.
The mission of Wounded Warrior Project is to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured servicemembers, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs.
The daylong event began with a speech from Colonel Jack Jacobs, NYFA’s Chair of the NYFA Veterans Advancement Program. Jacobs has served as a platoon leader in the 82nd Airborne Division, executive officer of an infantry battalion in the 7th Infantry Division, and commanded the 4th Battalion 10th Infantry in Panama. A member of the faculty of the US Military Academy, Colonel Jacobs taught international relations and comparative politics for three years, and he was a member of the faculty of the National War College in Washington, DC. He was in Vietnam twice, both times as an advisor to Vietnamese infantry battalions, and he is among the most highly decorated soldiers from that era, having earned three Bronze Stars, two Silver Stars and the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest combat decoration.
Jacobs spoke in depth about the importance of veterans in Media and Film, and joined the Warriors for lunch after his inspirational speech. After that, the Warriors were given two truly hands-on workshops in both filmmaking and acting for film.
“It was an honor and privilege doing this event for the Wounded Warrior Project,” said Director of Performing Arts Enrollment, Roger Del Pozo. “They did a fantastic job in the workshop, and they were very inspiring — it was an amazing experience.”
An award-winning Top Military Friendly School, the New York Film Academy is dedicated to helping veterans achieve their educational and career goals. Many of NYFA programs are approved for the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the New York Film Academy proudly participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.