Community Highlights

  • NYFA LA Welcomes Tony Richmond as New Cinematography Chair

    The New York Film Academy Los Angeles is pleased to announce Tony Richmond, A.S.C., B.S.C., as its new Faculty Chair of the Cinematography Department.

    Born and raised in London, Richmond began at the age of 16 as a messenger with Associate British Cinemas and later with Pathe-News, where he was promoted to the camera department. He next worked as Assistant Cameraman on such films as: Call Me BwanaFrom Russia with LoveDevil-Ship PiratesThe GorganA Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum; Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451 and David Leans’s Dr. Zhivago.

    richond and huston

    Tony Richmond and Anjelica Huston on the set of “Bastard Out of Carolina”

    The award-winning cinematographer went on to numerous collaborations as Director of Photography for director Nicolas Roeg, lensing five of his films: Don’t Look Now — for which Richmond won the prestigious BAFTA award; The Man Who Fell To Earth; Bad Timing; Heart Of Darkness; and Full Body Massage for Showtime. Some of Richmond’s other credits include: The Sandlot; Candyman; Stardust for Michael Apted; Playing God; Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights; Rough Riders for John Milius; Silver Bears for Ivan Passer, That’s Life and Sunset for Blake Edwards; The Eagle Has Landed for John Sturgesand The Greek Tycoon for J. Lee Thompson. He also served as DP on Tony Goldwin’s directorial debut Walk On The Moon, Sean Penn’s directorial debut Indian Runner, and Anjelica Houston’s directorial debut Bastard Out Of Carolina, and collaborated again with her on Agnes Brown and Riding The Bus With My Sister.

    Richmond was also responsible for photography on the seminal British music scene of the late 60’s. He shot the Rolling Stones classic, Sympathy For The Devil for Jean-Luc Godard, and then collaborated with Michael Lindsey Hogg on The Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus and the Beatles’ Let It Be. His other rock and roll credits include: The Who’s The Kids Are Alright, as well as the Documentary Glastonbury Fayre.

    Richmond will be taking over New York Film Academy’s Cinematography Program, which currently has a strong curriculum with a focus on hands-on, intensive learning.

    “I believe that students learn cinematography by going out and shooting movies, and both the MFA and One-Year Cinematography programs offer our students the opportunity to make many projects,” said Richmond. “They have access to the latest equipment and technology, which we teach in combination with the fundamental concepts of visual storytelling.”

    In recent years, Richmond has taught the next generation of cinematographers. He relishes mentoring aspiring filmmakers and looks forward to meeting with our students to discuss their needs on upcoming projects. Moving forward as Faculty Chair of the Department, Richmond hopes to strengthen NYFA’s connections to the professional film industry and maintain its position as one of the premier schools to study cinematography.

    “I want to share the lessons I learned in my early days working with David Lean, Nicolas Roeg, Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut, Blake Edwards, John Sturges, and pass this knowledge on to the next generation of cinematographers and filmmakers,” added Richmond. “I have worked as a cinematographer and director at the highest levels of the film business, and I understand what it takes to have a successful career in a very challenging industry. Though I started my career in a different era, I believe I can offer the students a perspective on how to do the cinematographer’s job, and how to work in a business that is constantly changing.  Personal relationships are still key to your success as a filmmaker.”


    Tony Richmond on set of Nicholas Roeg’s “Don’t Look Now”

    Richmond stressed that though there have been a number of changes in how movies are made, personal relationships and networking are still the key to making it in the film business. You need to know how to do the job, you need to have a strong eye and you need to be good at working together with the director and everyone on the crew to put a great story on the screen. He also strongly recommends that current student filmmakers and recent graduates utilize the Internet and social media as way to get their work seen. In today’s modern entertainment world, they can act as your calling card into the business.

    In closing, we’re thrilled and honored to have Tony Richmond as the new Chair of NYFA Los Angeles Cinematography Program. We believe Mr. Richmond will help guide our program to continue its development as one of the most rewarding schools for aspiring cinematographers.

    October 15, 2015 • Cinematography, Community Highlights • Views: 1038

  • Wednesday Night Comedy Café

    Something new is brewing at the New York Film Academy Café, and it’s not just the coffee. Over the past few months the café has hosted a Wednesday Night Comedy Show, which provides the opportunity for up and coming student talent to perform with some of New York City’s top comedians.

    Hosted by long-time NYC comic and NYFA improv teacher Craig Fox, the New York Film Academy Comedy Café starts every Wednesday at 8pm and runs until about 10pm at the NYFA Café on East 24th and Lexington in Manhattan.

    Craig Fox

    Host Craig Fox

    NYFA students and alumni are encouraged to perform every week—whether they have comedy, poetry, monologues, or music. In recent shows, the comics have stuck around after the show to talk with the students, providing a unique networking opportunity for those looking to break into the world of comedy and performing arts. Another plus for NYFA students is that the event is filmed. Therefore, we can start providing much needed performance footage to our students who need it to create professional reels.

    Katie Haller

    Katie Haller

    If you’re not ready for that just yet or would like to just stop by and enjoy the show, we welcome you to view the show free of charge. The café offers a number of food and drink items, including specialty hot dogs, sandwiches, pastries, coffee and soda.

    Be sure to join us tomorrow night, where comedian and writer for CNN and The Daily Beast Dean Obeidallah will host a Q&A at 7:30pm before the show with interested students. In addition to his Q&A, Obeidallah will be performing with comedian Peggy O’ Leary, Laura SpaethAkaash Singh and Kase Raso.

    If you have any questions about the event, please contact the event organizer Calaine Schafer at

    The New York Film Academy Café is located at 139 E 24th St, New York, NY 10010.

    October 13, 2015 • Community Highlights, Guest Speakers, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 761

  • NYFA Veteran Students Attend USC Football Game

    Veteran students attending the New York Film Academy gathered on Saturday, September 12th to attend the USC Trojans football game at the famous “Coliseum” in Los Angeles. This event was in collaboration with the Veterans Department and the Veteran Student Association at the New York Film Academy.

    usc football

    As a school committed to its veterans, the sporting event was part of an ongoing effort to bring veterans together and develop a peer-to-peer support network within the veteran student population.

    Army veteran and acting student, Doug Prideaux, had this to say about his experience at the game: “I enjoyed meeting fellow students and appreciate the support that the New York Film Academy provides to its veterans.”

    usc football

    Additionally, BFA Acting veteran student Joel Wright was thrilled to attend his first major college football game.

    Not only was it a good day for the Trojans, putting up a whopping 59 points, it was an all around enjoyable afternoon of football and camaraderie for our fellow veteran students.

    We extend our gratitude to the USC Center for Innovation and Research (CIR) on Veterans & Military Families for providing the tickets.

    football usc

    September 25, 2015 • Community Highlights, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 979

  • NYFA Screenwriting Graduates Celebrate with Industry Pitch-Fest

    On September 17th, 2015, graduating MFA, BFA, 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.

    pitch fest

    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, BFA, and AFA Screenwriting students, offering them a professional outlet to jumpstart their careers by pitching their thesis projects to industry executives.

    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.


    screenwriting pitch

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

    Hosted by NYFA’s Business of Screenwriting curriculum head, David O’Leary, in conjunction with NYFA’s Screenwriting Chair Nunzio DeFilippis and Associate Chair Adam Finer, the event featured representatives from various Hollywood companies.


    screenwriting pitch fest

    Attendees included Hollywood literary agencies and management companies, including representatives from ICM, BenderSpink, Underground Management, and Next Level Entertainment, as well film and TV production companies, including Original Film, Marc Platt Productions, Taggart Productions, Closed on Monday / Oni Press, and Bright Whale Entertainment, amongst others.

    NYFA wishes to thank its participants, without whom this evening could not have been possible. Also, we’d like to extend a big congratulations to all of our May ’14 MFA, BFA and AFA graduates!

    Onwards and upwards!

    September 24, 2015 • Community Highlights, Screenwriting • Views: 828

  • NYFA Student Veterans Attend Padres / Dodgers Rivalry Game

    padres game

    Veteran students presented Mr. Coy with a NYFA “signature bag” as appreciation for the wonderful experience he provided them

    Over this year’s Labor Day weekend, student veterans from the New York Film Academy were invited by the San Diego Padres Military Division to attend a game free of charge against their rival Los Angeles Dodgers. The San Diego Padres are highly supportive of our military servicemembers and veterans throughout the season and the theme for Sunday’s game was an Air Force Appreciation Day.

    padresNYFA veteran students also had the opportunity to join Matt Coy, Senior Director of Game Day Presentation in the production booth for pre-game production meetings. The students were able to sit side by side with the production staff and learn how the production of the game works first hand.

    Ruddy Cano, President of the NYFA Veterans Student Association, thanked Mr. Coy and the NYFA Veterans Support Office team for the opportunity to be behind the scenes at the San Digeo Padre’s game. Rudy stated, “It has been an outstanding experience to not only learn what it takes to produce a live major league game but how our training at NYFA actually corresponds to the real world.”

    We are grateful for the support that the San Diego Padres provide to our military and the veteran students attending the New York Film Academy.

    September 17, 2015 • Community Highlights, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 655

  • Catching Up with NYFA Athletics

    Women’s Basketball Team

    The New York Film Academy proudly recognizes our women’s basketball team, NYFA Jaguars, for making it to the finals this past weekend. Their camaraderie and teamwork paved the way for a 2nd place season end, with a final record of 8 wins and 4 losses. The team’s achievements and steadfast attitude are an inspiration to the entire school. The passion and leadership displayed by coach Kirill Yusim and team captain Talya Adams also deserve the highest praise.


    The New York Film Academy congratulates the women’s basketball team on their triumph this season. The team displayed an admirable leadership and diligence that will carry through to all sports, and there is no doubt that we will come back even stronger next year.

    Softball Team

    The New York Film Academy softball team recently made history as coach Mikki Cronkhite led her team to the championship in their first-ever season! Our team was certainly marked as the underdogs this season, but the ongoing camaraderie and determination to excel at every game propelled them to take home the title! Coach Mikki inspired the players to develop their skills and, most important, the spirit of solidarity that is crucial in any collective endeavor.


    The New York Film Academy is proud to have persistent athletes and coaches representing our school in the world of sports. Sunday, August 23rd, was a memorable day. On behalf of the Athletic Department and the New York Film Academy, we congratulate our softball team for winning the league. We are champions!

    – Adam El-Manawy

    September 9, 2015 • Community Highlights, Sports • Views: 952

  • Comedy Open Mic at NYFA Café on Lexington

    With summer winding down and many of you returning for another semester in the city, we thought perhaps you’re looking for something fun to do during the week. As such, the New York Film Academy Café at Lexington Ave. and 24th Street will be hosting an Open Mic Comedy Night, hosted by Ismael Maldonado, on Wednesday, September 9th, 2015.

    In addition to up and coming comedians, the Comedy Show will include seasoned pro’s Robyn Schall, Eman Morgan and Caitlin McKee.

    While NYFA students and alumni are strongly encouraged to participate or attend, the event is free to the general public and mics are open to all. If you’re hesitant to try our open mic, check out this one and perhaps perform at our next one! The comedy open mics will be a weekly Wednesday event that will include comedians booked by NYFA Improv instructor and comedian, Craig Fox.

    In addition, the band Lateef Beats will make a performance for all in attendance!


    Sign up for Open Mic Starts at 7PM

    Open Mic Performances start at 8PM

    September 3, 2015 • Community Highlights, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1003

  • Mark Sawicki, Chair of NYFA LA’s 3D Animation and Visual Effects

    One of the more enticing aspects of the New York Film Academy is its belief that our instructors should not only be well versed in their crafts, but also strongly established in their respective fields. As a testament to this commitment, we focus on the New York Film Academy Los Angeles 3D Animation and Visual Effects Chair, Mark Sawicki.

    After attending USC film school, Mr. Sawicki entered the film industry as a lab technician at Cinema Research Corp., where he worked on the original Superman film. He later began working as a cameraman for Roger Corman’s New World Studios on low budget sci-fi pictures such as Escape from New York. From there, he went on to shooting effects and creating award-winning animation for commercials, rock videos and 3D features including Jaws 3D and Friday the 13th Part 3.


    In 1986, he became the matte photographer for Illusion Arts, working under visual effects masters Albert Whitlock, Syd Dutton, and Bill Taylor. During this period, while working on mainstream films, Mr. Sawicki became an instructor for Kodak’s Cineon system (a landmark digital film compositing system). After a 10-year stint of compositing matte paintings at Illusion Arts, for such projects as Cape Fear, The Birdcage and Star Trek IV, he became a co-supervisor for Area 51 on Tom Hanks’ From the Earth to the Moon.

    Mr. Sawicki was later the head effects camera supervisor and digital colorist for Custom Film Effects, contributing to films such as Gangs of New York, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Tropic Thunder, and The Dark Knight Rises.

    As to reaffirming his remarkable insight into the field of animation and visual effects, Mr. Sawicki has authored three DVD’s on the art of clay animation and a documentary entitled Twilight Camerman, which focuses on the craft of optical printing available from He is also the author of the book “Filming the Fantastic: A Guide to Visual Effects Cinematography,” published by Focal Press.

    And to top it all off, Mr. Sawicki frequently performs as an actor in independent films. Indeed, an incredible career that carries with it a lifetime of knowledge and hands-on experience that can be passed on to his students.


    “Whenever possible, I will take pictures of professional green screen set-ups and share them in the classroom,” says Mr. Sawicki. “This is extremely helpful in giving the students an up to the minute, real-world exploration of what is happening in the industry today.”

    His involvement with the school’s animation and visual effects students is not only valuable to NYFA, but also to himself. “Teaching at NYFA has been a rewarding experience for me as I am able to address an international community with different insights and attitudes. The one commonality among them all is the love of movies and the desire to work hard toward their goals. It has been a pleasure to see them blossom and grow to be artists in the field.”

    His advice to students graduating from his program, with the intention on working in the field, is to build up an impressive reel and resume that can only be created by working with a small team or as a vendor on independent films and TV commercials. Graduates should expect to work on projects that may not be particularly glamorous, but getting even the most mundane animation job will keep animators focused and allow them to build credits and move up the ladder.

    As a professional who embraces most aspects of the entertainment industry, Mr. Sawicki recently wrote a feature screenplay called Call Center, which he describes as a comedy comparable to Mike Judge’s Office Space. He also has a short film in the works that he hopes will bring interest to the script.

    One thing is for sure, Mr. Sawicki’s hard work and dedication to both his career and his students is extraordinary. There is no doubt that under the tutelage of Mr. Sawicki, NYFA’s 3D Animation and Visual Effects department will continue to grow as one of the most demanding schools for aspiring animators and visual effects experts.

    August 31, 2015 • 3D Animation, Community Highlights • Views: 1246

  • NYFA Running Team Competes at Simi Valley Arroyo Creek 10K

    running team

    The New York Film Academy Running Team joined the competitive Simi Valley Arroyo Creek 10K event, with a total of 167 participants, on Sunday, August 9th 2015. Our runners overcame the difficulties of this challenge with a vigorous, energetic and determined attitude, with memorable and remarkable results. Todd Lien, an MFA Acting student, proudly represented our Academy by finishing 5th place overall, running at a consistent pace of 6:59 minutes per mile and a total time of 43:15.4 minutes. Todd was also the winner of his age category.

    nyfa running teAM

    NYFA Running Team

    Our female runners finished strong as well. Olivia Ekelund, an AFA acting student, was the winner of her age category with an impressive solid pace of 8.16 minutes per mile and a total time of 51:24.4 minutes.

    Congratulations to our runners for their exemplary spirit and achievement!

    Overall results:

    Name Overall Age Category Total Time Pace
    Todd Lien 5th 1st 43:15.4 6.59/M
    Adam El-Manawy 6th 2nd 44.48.4 7.14/M
    Olivia Ekelund 8th 1st 51:24.4 8:17/M
    Aly Covington (Coach) 10th 4th 53:50.2 8:41/M
    Cedric Beard 19th 4th 53:06.6 8:34/M
    Nuttawuthi Nakong 23rd 5th 56:19.2 9:05/M
    Rachel Moolkum 42nd 10th 1:08:49 11:06/M
    Nawaf Al Hoshani 57th 7th 1:37:19 15:42/M
    Luis Valencia 58th 8th 1:39:01 16:15/M
    Alejandra Mur 105th 17th 1:48:33 17:30/M


    August 26, 2015 • Community Highlights, Sports • Views: 625

  • Open Mic Slam at New York Film Academy Café

    open mic

    Starting this Wednesday, August 26th, 2015 at the New York Film Academy Café on the corner of Lexington Ave. and 24th street in New York City, students, alumni and New York City performers are invited to showcase their talents at our first ever OPEN MIC SLAM!

    Performances are open to live music, poetry or stand-up comedy!

    Sign up starts at 7pm. Performances start at 8pm.

    The first 25 people to sign up are allowed up to 4 minutes on stage to perform.

    There is then a 5 slot waiting list for any extra time at the end of the show. Artists must bring their own music and props for their performances.

    If you’re ready to showcase your talent, we’ll see you there!

    If you have any questions, please email Calaine Schafer at

    August 25, 2015 • Community Highlights • Views: 646