Community Highlights

  • 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: 468

  • 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: 675

  • 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.”



    February 16, 2015 • Community Highlights, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 855

  • 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: 480

  • 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: 589

  • 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!
    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

  • NYFA Awards Miss Colombia with Scholarship

    miss universe

    It’s been a long time coming, 56 years to be precise, since the Miss Universe title went to Miss Colombia. Not any more! The New York Film Academy would like to congratulate 2015’s Miss Universe from Colombia, Paulina Vega.

    The 22-year-old business student from Barranquilla beat out runner-up Miss USA Nia Sanchez, along with over 80 other contestants from all around the world in front of a live telecast, which was attended by NYFA representatives.

    Following the excitement, Vega had this to say, “It felt like home. I felt like I was in Colombia with my people. I felt that support in every moment of the pageant.”

    Prior to the competition, Vega told reporters on hand, “It will be a dream come true to represent the woman of today. A woman that not only cares about being beautiful and being glamorous, but also cares about being a professional, intelligent, hard-working person.”

    Now she has made that dream come true. As the winner, the New York Film Academy presented Miss Vega with a one-year scholarship to further pursue her education and passion to succeed.

    NYFA has been the school of choice for numerous Miss Universe and Miss USA winners in the past, including Olivia Culpo who has since been seen as a co-host on Extra with Maria Menounos. Acting for Film graduate, and former Miss USA, Crystle Stewart plays the role of Leslie on Tyler Perry’s television show, For Better for Worse.

    We wish Miss Vega the best of luck following her win, and hope to see her soon on campus!

    January 27, 2015 • Acting, Community Highlights, Entertainment News • Views: 788

  • Imagine “Frank” on Your Film

    Frank NYFA

    One of the more experimental and yet successful films to come out of the independent scene in 2014 was the Lenny Abrahamson film Frank. Though the film starred Academy Award nominated actor Michael Fassbender, who has proven his ability to carry a film with his looks, charisma and acting ability, the actor played almost the entire film (aside from 5 minutes) with a cartoonish, paper mache mask on.

    The story surrounds the world of a young musician, Jon, who gets more than he can handle after joining an eccentric pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank. Not only does the film pack a powerful punch in terms of emotion, it truly captures the mindset of an aspiring musician.

    Much like the work of Wes Anderson and Richard Linklater, the film brings a sigh of relief to filmmakers aiming to break the mold and try something different.

    As a fun experiment of our own, the New York Film Academy wondered what it’d be like if some of our student films added a flavor of “Frank.” How would your film look different if you cast a “Frank”? Share your pictures with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #MyFrank.

    Paris NYFA Frank

    January 26, 2015 • Community Highlights, Entertainment News • Views: 540

  • New York Film Academy Visits Northrop Grumman and the James Webb Space Telescope

    NASA nyfa

    Faculty & Administration — Sonny Calderon, Eric Conner, Kelly Gardner, Rajiv Uttamchandani  |  Students — Sam Nieves – Jan 2014 BFA film. Tripp Townsend – Sept 2013 MFA prod, Laura Perez – Sept 2012 MFA film, Mariana Thome – Sept 2013 BFA film, Denis Kulikov – Sept 2012 AFA Film

    A group of New York Film Academy students received a rare opportunity to tour Northrop Grumman Corporation’s ( Los Angeles-based state-of-the-art facilities where some of the most vital components of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) are being constructed. The New York Film Academy has recently signed a Space Act Agreement with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which establishes a pivotal relationship between the two organizations to merge the visual arts and sciences to increase public awareness of JWST.

    The Webb Telescope is the world’s next generation space observatory and successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. It is the most powerful space telescope ever built, and will enable humankind to observe the most distant objects in the universe, provide insight on the formation of the first galaxies, and offer unprecedented accuracy in the characterization of atmospheres of planets outside of our solar system.

    During the tour, NYFA guests were in awe of the grandeur and majesty of JWST and its fantastic scientific mission. They viewed up close and personal JWST’s template Sunshield (pictured above), each layer of which is made of Kaplon and is as thin as a human hair. The Sunshield will allow the telescope to cool down to a temperature below 50 Kelvin (-370 degrees F or -223 degrees C), and is crucial to its successful observation of the most distant objects in the universe. They also viewed JWST’s mirror backplane, a structure that will house the telescope’s 18 hexagonal shaped mirror segments, and were given a virtual “tour of the universe” by Northrop Grumman astrophysicist Dr. Alberto Conti.

    After getting this ultra rare opportunity to view first-hand some of the most visually striking and complex scientific instruments in the world, the New York Film Academy’s students are hard at work producing a series of 30-second PSA’s to capture the attention of communities around the globe. “We are immensely proud that our students will help tell the story of this epic and groundbreaking mission,” says NYFA Dean of College Sonny Calderon. “This is a great opportunity for them to see first-hand the power of their storytelling on a global scale.”

    Please visit for more information on the James Webb Space Telescope.

    January 21, 2015 • Community Highlights, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1073

  • #MyBoyhood: How Would You Have Aged in ‘Boyhood’?

    Michael Keaton

    Michael Keaton

    As the groundbreaking Richard Linklater film Boyhood continues to pick up steam with its Golden Globe Award for Best Picture, Drama, we at the New York Film Academy thought it’d be fun to see what other nominees and actors would look like as a child, compared to today. Imagine having twelve years of your life documented into an award-winning film. Pretty cool, right?

    We’ve compiled several famous actors “boyhood” or “girlhood” photos and placed them beside a current photo to start off the trend.

    How do your boyhood comparisons pair up to these celebs? Post your child photo alongside of a current photo and share it with us on Twitter or Instagram with #MyBoyhood.

    Ben Affleck

    Ben Affleck

    Benedict Cumberbatch

    Benedict Cumberbatch

    Channing Tatum

    Channing Tatum

    Jake Gyllenhaal

    Jake Gyllenhaal

    jennifer aniston

    Jennifer Aniston

    Kevin Spacey

    Kevin Spacey

    Michael Keaton

    Michael Keaton

    Reese Witherspoon

    Reese Witherspoon

    Rosamund Pike

    Rosamund Pike

    Steve Carell

    Steve Carell

    You’re next! Don’t forget to tag your picture comparison with #MyBoyhood. Look forward to seeing your posts on social media!

    January 12, 2015 • Acting, Community Highlights, Entertainment News • Views: 3810