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  • Student Perspective: NewFilmmakers LA Latinx and Hispanic Cinema Event 

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    Andres Vergara is a Spring 2018 MFA Screenwriting student at New York Film Academy (NYFA). On September 8, he and over two dozen other students from NYFA’s Los Angeles campus attended the NewFilmmakers LA Latinx and Hispanic Cinema Event. Vergara found time between his classes and writing his screenplays to recount the event in his own words:

    Diversity took over at the NewFilmmakers LA Latinx and Hispanic Cinema Event this eighth of September. Hundreds of guests got together at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater as proof that opportunities are opening up for filmmakers from different backgrounds to share their points of view with an audience always hungry for unique stories that showcase different cultures. It began with a wonderful reception where delegations from many different film schools got a chance to mingle and take photos on the red carpet. The New York Film Academy group was strong as students from different ethnicities joined their Latinx and Hispanic peeps to celebrate diversity.

    Once everyone got a seat in the theater, the first panel was announced and five amazing people from the industry walked onstage to share stories, points of view, and advice. The panel included: Nicole Levy, writerNewFilmmakers LA Latinx Event for Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger; Frank Gonzales, Executive in Charge of Diversity at the DGA; Richard Ray Perez, from Sundance; Hebe Tabachnik, Programmer at the Seattle and Palms Springs International Film Festivals; and Catherine Hardwicke; Director of Twilight and the acclaimed Thirteen. This very diverse group (not only in their background, but in their jobs) gave guests insight into how the Hollywood Industry is changing. Even though it is getting more and more competitive, it is uplifting to know there are also more and more people willing to make a bet on new, different voices.

    The second panel comes up. Five amazing Latinas who are taking a stand, not only for their origin, but for their gender, take the stage. Even from a male point of view, it is inspirational to know that the industry is making room for women who are quickly rising to the top: Paula Sabbaga, writer for CW’s Dynasty; Roxanne Pompa, VP for International Formats at CBS; Greta Talia Fuentes, Creative Executive at MACRO; Edith Mendoza, SVP for Comedy Development at CBS; and Alejandra Reyes Rocha, Television Literary at UTA. These great role models for women and Hispanics alike talked about how they got where they are, discussing the many options that exist for diversity and showing their support for upcoming filmmakers. They encouraged us to have a sense of community in which we help each other out as fellow Latinx.

    NewFilmmakers LA Latinx EventAfter an enriching Q&A, we were invited back to the lobby to have great Mexican food, accompanied by Latin music to keep up the mood. And after another chance for networking, even with some of the guest speakers, the showcase finally began. Filmmakers from countries like Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Guatemala, Spain, the United States, Mexico, and my native Colombia—among others—screened amazing short films that showed unique stories and points of view that all cinephiles can love. From romance to sci-fi and a compelling documentary about a Peruvian farmer, the productions made the audience applaud the talent of emerging Hispanic filmmakers.

    NewFilmmakers LA is very much committed to creating a platform for new talent, and whether you are a director, a writer, a cinematographer, or even if you are more into TV than film, they make sure that their events are a well-rounded and fulfilling experience in which guests can enjoy different pieces and hear from those who are making their way through the industry. Not to mention, it is a perfect opportunity for meeting colleagues. My ethnicity encouraged me to attend one of their events for the first time, but my love for films and my admiration for their initiative will have their monthly events in my schedule from now on.

    Written by Andres Vergara

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    October 4, 2018 • Community Highlights, Diversity, Filmmaking • Views: 549

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) to Host National Bullying Prevention Month Screening of “Thirsty”

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    October is National Bullying Prevention Month and to bring awareness to the cause, the Filmmaking school at New York Film Academy (NYFA) is hosting a screening of Thirsty with its filmmakers. Described by as a “post-queer musical biopic,” Thirsty follows bullied girly-boy Scott Townsend as he grows into revered drag queen Thirsty Burlington, fighting obstacles along the way only to discover what he really wants is self-acceptance.

    The musical drama was released in 2016 and won Audience Choice for Best Narrative Feature at the Boston LGBT Film Festival, Best Narrative Feature at the Harlem International Film Festival, and the Jury Prize at the Portland Film Festival. It will be screened at NYFA New York’s 1st Floor Theatre on October 11th.

    Margo Pelletier directing Marilyn Matarrese and Deirdre Lovejoy

    Margo Pelletier directing Marilyn Matarrese and Deirdre Lovejoy

    The screening will be followed by a Q&A with producer Lisa Thomas, actors Jonny Beauchamp (who plays “middle” Scott Townsend), and Michael DiGioia (Uncle Gene), Choreographer Alexandra Amirov, and editor and NYFA alum Fabrizio Famá. Thomas is an industry veteran who has worked on Wonder Showzen and Ugly Americans. Beauchamp has appeared in Penny Dreadful and Stonewall. Famá has worked on many Italian feature films, documentaries, and shorts.

    The 97-minute feature film was directed by the late filmmaker Margo Pelletier, who was known for her exploration of gender and identity. She previously made the documentary Freeing Silvia Baraldini. Thirsty stars Scott Townsend as himself, lending a unique realism to its ability to tell a story based on his life. Deirdre Lovejoy (The Wire, The Blacklist) co-stars as Townsend’s addiction-addled mother Doris. Keith Leonard plays opposite her as Townsend’s absent and abusive father. Before her death, Pelletier had told Variety that a “good percentage” of the cast is LGBTQ.

    National Bullying Month began in 2006 by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. It was originally the first week in October and has since expanded to include the entire month. Studies have shown bullying causes “school avoidance, loss of self-esteem, increased anxiety, and depression.” Learn more at StopBullying.gov. If you or someone you know is struggling, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline online or at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You may anonymously report cyber bullying here and also find help and resources here.

    Prior to the Thirsty screening, NYFA will also be hosting a Wellness Day event from noon to 5pm on the 5th floor student lounge in NYC. View some statistics on bullying below:

    National Statistics

    Been Bullied
    • 28% of U.S. students in grades 6–12 experienced bullying.
    • 20% of U.S. students in grades 9–12 experienced bullying.

    Seen Bullying

    • 70.6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools.
    • 70.4% of school staff have seen bullying. 62% witnessed bullying two or more times in the last month and 41% witness bullying once a week or more.
    • When bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time

    Watch the trailer for Thirsty below:

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    September 21, 2018 • #WomenOfNYFA, Diversity, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Musical Theatre • Views: 808

  • Brooklyn’s Photoville to Exhibit Work from FAYN Magazine by New York Film Academy (NYFA)

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    Photoville, the popular photo festival at Brooklyn Bridge Park, is returning for its seventh consecutive year. The event will take place between September 13-16 & 20-23 and will again include an exhibition of art taken by 16 different New York Film Academy Photography students and alumni. This year’s container exhibit will be made up of art from FAYN, NYFA’s biannual photography magazine.

    FAYN is a collaborative photography magazine produced by the New York Film Academy Photography Department. The magazine features students, faculty, and alumni whose work explores contemporary concepts in art and culture.

    From Ziomara Ramirez’s “The Last Time”

    The alumni and student work conveys a wide range of emotions and aesthetics from love and beauty to the traumatic and political. It also serves as an example of the variety of ways NYFA students effectively convey their photographic expression — from high fashion to landscapes, or bright and vivid to dreary and nocturnal.

    Curators of the Photoville exhibit are NYFA Photography Chair David Mager and Instructor Joan Pamboukes. Faculty Advisors and Editors of FAYN magazine are Amanda Rowan, Kean O’Brien, and Naomi White. All of the photographers featured in the exhibition are included below.

    Tanne Willow’s “Matriarch”

    Alumni work includes “Coming Out Stories” by Alejandro Ibarra. Of his collection of photos, Ibarra says, “The inspiration for the series came after a friend of mine told me about how he came out to his family. My own experience was very different from his, but I somehow really related to it.” Ibarra is an MFA alumnus from NYFA’s Los Angeles photography school and a current instructor for NYFA LA.

    “Feed” by Wen

    BFA alum Ziomara Ramirez’s haunting work, entitled “The Last Time,” documents the scenes of homicide victims in Los Angeles. Her photos were taken around the same time of day as the shootings, lending an eerie tone to already unsettling subject matter.

    Tanne Willow‘s “Instant Composition” and “Matriarch” are both featured in the exhibit. Transitioning from dancing to photography, the 2-Year Conservatory grad unsurprisingly said, “My preferred way to work is with people in motion. Whether it’s fine arts or commercial photography.”

    Opening night for Photoville is on Thursday, September 13th. The festival will take over Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO, Brooklyn. You can find the New York Film Academy in container #15.

    The full list of the students, faculty, and alumni exhibited:

    Rushank Agrawal
    Brenda Cantu
    Nitin Doppalapudi
    Thomas Locke Hobbs
    Alejandro Ibarra
    Mark Joseph
    Kormiyaki Lamarr
    Lorena PachÑn
    Ziomara Ramirez
    Laura Rossignol
    Monika Sedziute
    Daryl Spiegel
    Tanne Udden
    Dia Wang
    Tanne Willow
    Wen

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    September 13, 2018 • Diversity, Photography, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 674

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Sponsors Prestigious IFP Week 2018: Faculty Featured on Panels, NYFA Discounts, and More

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) is once again a proud sponsor of the famed industry gathering IFP Week 2018, in Brooklyn from September 15th through 20th. At this year’s event, NYFA faculty will be featured on two separate IFP panels. Additionally, NYFA Screenwriting Chair Randy Dottin’s work-in-progress film The Chicago Franchise was selected for a prestigious slot in IFP Week’s Spotlight on Documentaries.

    NYFA Documentary Chair Andrea Swift and Producing Chair Neal Weisman explain that IFP Week is an essential industry gathering —whether you’re a director, producer, documentary filmmaker, screenwriter, It is as important for launching and maintaining careers as Sundance, and people fly in from all over the world to attend. IFP Week is the only multiple-platform, international co-production market for projects in the United States. This year is particularly exciting as IFP is celebrating its 40th anniversary with the independent media community.

    Andrea Swift will moderate an important #MeToo panel on Saturday, September 15th at 12:30 p.m. The all-female panel will explore difficult but necessary questions and discuss how we can shape the future of the #MeToo movement on screen and through media activism. NYFA Producing Instructor Krysanne Katsoolis will moderate the Looking Abroad panel on Monday, September 17th at 2 p.m. This panel will discuss the how-to’s and why-not’s of utilizing international co-productions and tax incentives.

    IFP Week 2017 

    Additionally, NYFA Screenwriting Chair Randall Dottin’s film The Chicago Franchise was selected for a prestigious slot in IFP Week’s Spotlight on Documentaries. The documentary explores the complicated relationship between gun violence, poverty, and residential segregation in the nation’s third largest city. Learn more about the full project slate here.

    The New York Film Academy is proud to help sponsor IFP, and is very pleased to share that IFP has extended a 20% discount to our students and alumni using special code IFP20! Click the following panel titles to purchase tickets for the #MeToo and Looking Abroad.

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  • Chinese Students Thank New York Film Academy (NYFA) For Photography Workshop

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    Earlier this August, students from the Shanghai Theatre Academy attended a 1-week Photography workshop at New York Film Academy’s New York City campus. The Shanghai Theatre Academy is a public university in China dedicated to dramatic art education and was founded in 1945. Its predecessor was Shanghai Municipal Experimental Theatre School, cofounded by the famous educator Gu Yuxiu. Shanghai Theatre Academy

    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) photography school provides a unique experience not found elsewhere; with a passionate focus on the practical elements of photography, NYFA empowers students to master not only the essential basics taught by other good photography schools, but also the technical and business practices that will set them apart in their professional photography career.

    NYFA’s photography school offers several programs and courses, including youth camps in the summer. The young students from Shanghai Theatre Academy visited for one week, and were able to practice hands-on with state-of-the-art-equipment. 

    After the completion of their course, the Chinese students wrote NYFA a very grateful and heartwarming thank you letter:

    “Thank you, New York Film Academy!

    This summer, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in the camp organized by the New York Film Academy. The staff members from the Academy provided us with everything we needed to learn about filmmaking: knowledgeable teaching staff, filmmaking equipment, lively teaching environments, new filmmaking concepts, on-site practice, and much more! We have learned so much in so short a time. The skills we have learned and the practice we have observed will help us significantly in many ways moving forward! 

    We want to say, once again, that we truly appreciate this lifetime experience at New York Film Academy. Who knows? Someone from this camp group may become a filmmaker, all because of this first taste of filmmaking in the US, at the New York Film Academy! Thank you, the New York Film Academy!”

    The New York Film Academy congratulates the students from Shanghai Theatre Academy and congratulates them on a job well done! 

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    August 24, 2018 • Diversity, Photography • Views: 543

  • Much-Buzzed Doc Killer Bees is Lensed by New York Film Academy Instructor John Foster

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Cinematography Instructor John Foster lensed feature-length sports documentary Killer Bees, which The New York Times raves is “…engaging and humane storytelling that uses the drama of basketball to tell a deeper story about race, class, and the excitement and heartache of young lives careening toward adulthood.”

    The film traces the legacy of Bridgehampton High School’s all-star basketball team, the Killer Bees; championship winners that have united their community for decades. Yet it’s all under increasing threat, as the socio economic divide between wealthy vacationers and diverse working-class community continues to grow.

    Produced by a team that includes legendary NBA star and NYFA alum Shaquille O’Neal, the film is directed by Bridgehampton natives Ben and Orson Cummings. The directors are quoted in  The Hollywood Reporter as saying, “Having grown up in Bridgehampton, we’re honored to release a film that reveals another side of our hometown, known to most as the Hamptons. Releasing this film with Shaquille O’Neal as a producer has given an amazing boost to our mission to garner recognition for this legendary basketball program that provides meaning and hope for a community under siege from the threats of racism, gentrification and income inequality.”

    A faculty member at NYFA’s New York City campus, John Foster is credited as the cinematographer on 37 films — including 1997 Sundance Film Festival favorite Sunday. With Killer Bees, he continues to forge a career packed with hard-hitting documentaries that tackle timely social and economic issues, from the legacy of Brown v. The Board of Education to the genocide in Darfur.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates John Foster on his impeccable work!

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  • “On the Other Side of the Wall” With Elizabeth Grimaldo

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    Elizabeth Grimaldo was already a household name in her native Panama when she came to study Acting for Film at the New York Film Academy, but since then her career has truly crossed international borders. Now based in Miami, the singer/songwriter and actress recently made her U.S. television debut on Telemundo NBC ’s Al Otro Lado Del Muro, tackling an intense storyline involving immigration, human trafficking, and unbreakable family love.

    Here, Elizabeth shares a bit of her amazing story with the NYFA Blog.

    Feliz Miercoles?? ?: @mauricionovoaofficial

    A post shared by Elizabeth Grimaldo ? (@lizagrimaldo) on

    NYFA: First, can you tell us a little bit about your journey and what brought you to NYFA?

    EG: I’ve been on TV since I was 12 years old as a singer, which is also my profession. It started in a national singing contest for kids (Canta Conmigo), which opened so many doors for my career in Panama. At the age of 15, I started acting in my first soap opera as the main character, and it was an amazing experience. My next big project, at the age of 18, was Romeo and Juliet the Musical as Juliet, at the national theater of Panama City. That was a dream come true, to perform there.

    That play turned on my hunger for the performing arts, and I knew I wanted to dedicate myself to this field. One month after the play finished, I went straight to the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles.

    NYFA: Do you have a favorite NYFA moment from your time studying with us? Or did anything about your program particularly surprise and challenge you?

    EG: Many things were challenging. Acting is hard work, and not many people understand what it really takes to build a character who is nothing like you and convince an audience that it’s “real.”

    I remember one of my coaches, Michael, used to challenge me a lot — which I am grateful for, because I admire him as a person and professional. He was so passionate in every class, every detail, and most important, he wanted us to do what it takes to be great. He cared and wanted us to succeed. He told us once, “Imagine all the secrets that someone would need to know about you to play you perfectly.”

    That was the most challenging part for me, because I realized in that moment how far I was from knowing my character. I realized what it takes to do the job. It’s not acting; its life, and a lot of research.

    NYFA: Before coming to NYFA, you acted in Panama’s Summer Dreams. How has your process changed regarding performing, since your studies and other experiences in Miami?

    EG: It’s totally different. I started to act without having studied acting. Now that I have studied acting (which you never stop doing), I wish I could go back and do it again with what I know now. It’s been a satisfying and fun process.

    NYFA: For our international student community, can you offer any advice on studying in the U.S.? Can you tell us a little bit about your experience of coming from Panama to NYFA Los angeles?

    EG: It was the best decision of my life. It’s hard yes, but it’s so worth it.

    I know it’s scary to leave home and pursue a dream by yourself out there, but let me tell you something: it’s going to change your life in so many positive ways! I accept that I felt overwhelmed many times missing home and feeling lonely, but all those situations that I went through back then in Los Angeles made me the strong, independent, and passionate woman that I am today.

    NYFA made me grow as a professional and a human being. I learned so many things and I am grateful and happy for it.

    NYFA: How did your experience on Canta Conmigo come about? What was it like achieving second place?

    EG: It was amazing. It changed my life, basically. So many doors opened for me after. Since then my career in Panama has been accepted and successful, thanks Gob and to the people that has been supporting me since the beginning. I feel blessed that I have been able to represent my country in the U.S. and make them proud.

    NYFA: As a singer and musician, what most inspires your work?

    EG: I could say experiences, in every sense of word, which led me to start writing songs. It’s funny because that process started when I was at NYFA living by myself for the first time. I wrote my first songs back then.

    I use to think I couldn’t write lyrics, but I was wrong. Experiences are necessary to tell stories from the heart.

    But what inspires me the most is my mom. She is my drive, the one who encouraged me to do this and helped me in everything. She believed in me since I was three years old and sang for the first time, Cucurrucucu Paloma. Everything I do is dedicated to her.

    NYFA: Can you tell us how your work with Telemundo came about, and a bit about your character?

    EG: This February I had my debut on American television in the Telemundo NBC series Al Otro Lado Del Muro, which means “the other side of the wall.” I still don’t have words to express how happy I am for this opportunity. It was an honor to work with renowned actors such as Gabriel Porras, Litzy Martinez, Marjorie De Sousa and Adriana Barraza, the Oscar nominee for the movie Babel, who was my coach here in Miami at her school Adriana Barraza Black Box. Being able to work with Adriana on my first job was a dream come true.

    The series talks about immigrants and their different stories. My character is Raquel Aranda, a Salvadoran immigrant who arrives in the U.S., running from the human trafficking. Later, she is separated from her family and unjustly deported to Mexico. She tries to cross the border, again facing dangers in order to be with her family and her one-month old child.

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  • A Golden Age, Agence France-Presse in Brazil, WNHT in Connecticut, and More with New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School

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    Inevitably, when I am introduced as the Chair of the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism department, I’ll be asked whether broadcast journalism is in fact “relevant” anymore. There are so many digital alternatives these days that traditional “linear” television is obviously in decline. Recently, Streaming Media — a trade industry conference — posted a story attesting to current trends.
    Yet this is precisely why the NYFA Broadcast Journalism program is skills-based. We teach our students to become electronic content creators, multimedia journalists (MMJs). In fact, it was a traditional broadcast network (NBC) that approached NYFA about starting the journalism program. (The trend was obvious a decade ago.) And while many of our graduates work at local TV stations and national networks, an equal or larger number of them are at non-traditional outlets.
    The New York Times is thought of as a “newspaper.” Yet far more people subscribe to their digital edition than read the print version. And video is at the heart of their digital presence.
    There are also entirely new players, such as Now This. They started with a straightforward premise: people increasingly get their news on their smart phones, so they created a service tailored to that group. Now This traces its beginnings to The Huffington Post, a first-generation online news provider.
    When the HuffPost moved into video, they followed the example of cable news network MSNBC. It was a mistake. While MSNBC thrives on cable, HuffPost TV languished and died in the digital marketplace. (BTW, the Fall 2018 1-year Broadcast Journalism students will be visiting MSNBC in October…)
    This is, in fact, a “golden era” for broadcast journalism. The digital marketplace loves short-form, non-fiction video. NYFA Broadcast Journalism grads create short-form, non-fiction video.
    NYFA alum Suzane de Oliveira works for Agence France-Presse in Brazil, where she writes, narrates, and edits online news stories. Recently she put together a story about Marina Silva and her third attempt to be elected president of Brazil. It is a great story to watch because the field producer apparently gave Suzane little if any cover footage (b-roll) to work with. Talk about being resourceful!
    NYFA Broadcast Journalism graduate Alyssa Taglia is being seen on-air (and on-line) more and more at WNHT in Connecticut. That includes doing “live shots,” which is the ultimate test for a field reporter. You’re going “straight to air,” so there is no margin for error. I love her recent story about a group of visiting Israeli teens who, along with local teens, painted a “welcome refugees” banner big enough for drivers on an Interstate highway to see…

    Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, NYFA grad and always photogenic Bryanna Reynolds continues to shake up the Australian media scene, and seems to be having a great time doing it. (That’s her on the left, with her sister, in the picture below.)

    ? ACT I of the @helpmann_awards … A lovely evening celebrating so many wonderfully talented people ? Coming up tonight is ACT II which includes the red carpet where I will be reporting ? Plus performances from some of Australia’s ? hit musicals! ?: @larajanephotography Special thank you to ABPublicity and Bohemian Rhapsody Club and Magazine for the invite to cover this event ?


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  • Documentarian Amy Rice Presents “By The People” to New York Film Academy Students

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    This July, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Producing and Documentary Filmmaking departments presented a screening of By the People: The Election of Barack Obama followed by a Q&A with director Amy Rice. The discussion was moderated by Producing Chair Neal Weisman and Documentary Chair Andrea Swift.

    Producing Chair Neal Weisman, Director Amy Rice, and Documentary Chair Andrea Swift

    Producing Chair Neal Weisman, Director Amy Rice, and Documentary Chair Andrea Swift.

    The nearly two-hour film documents the years leading up to the election of Barack Obama. Rice gives viewers an inside look into Obama’s evolution from little-known Illinois Senator to symbol of change for a generation.

    Calling it one of her favorite documentaries, Rice was greatly influenced by Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker’s The War Room, about Bill Clinton’s campaign for president in 1992. By the People premiered in August of 2009 on HBO, and last week’s screening gave younger students a look at how the 2008 election differed from recent elections.

    Rice began her career as a cinematographer, working with her eventual co-director on By the People, Alicia Sams. The documentarian talked about the appeal of this type filmmaking, saying, “There was something very organic about documentary. Just pick up your camera and go shoot and follow the story as it’s unfolding in front of you.” 

    "By the People" director Amy Rice

    By the People director Amy Rice.

    After her other brother told her about Obama before he was well-known, Rice watched his speeches and read his book, Dreams from My Father. “I was just naturally obsessed with his story,” she says.

    Her and her team used a trip to Africa during a congressional delegation trip as a testing ground. From there, the film follows the lead-up to the 2008 election and Obama’s transition from presidential long shot to favorite. Rice discussed the difficulties that began to arise as the presidential candidate’s popularity increased. For instance, at one point the film crew was unable to use a boom mic due to secret service safety concerns. Rice pointed out another instance deep into the campaign where security tried to stop her from filming: “I looked so horrified that he was trying to stop me from getting my final shot.” 

    The filmmaker also dropped some words of wisdom on the students throughout the course of the discussion. One thing she stressed was to “always say ‘yes’ to all film opportunities.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Amy Rice for her time and the illuminating discussion with the Producing and Documentary Filmmaking departments.

    Watch the trailer below and/or purchase the film here.

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Community Outreach Partners with Actors for Autism

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    The New York Film Academy-Los Angeles recently partnered with Actors for Autism (AFA), providing “hands-on,” college-level filmmaking courses as an extension of the AFA filmmaking program where students write, shoot and edit their own films. Speaking about the collaboration, NYFA’s Chair of Community Outreach, Mason Richards, said “At NYFA we believe that diversity in the film industry goes beyond race and gender, it also includes ability among other things. And we are wholly mindful about training and creating opportunities for people on the spectrum along with other underrepresented groups. The students were amazing.”NYFA and Actors for Autism

    Actors for Autism is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement, education, and training of people on the autistic spectrum by providing new and innovative programs in the Arts, Film & Television, Animation, Visual Effects, and Video Game Industries. According to their mission statement, Actors for Autism believes that people on the autistic spectrum should live as integrated members of society. Inclusion should be a reality, not a dream. For the last 15 years, AFA has been a pioneer in developing new and innovative programs, providing media & technology training that assists their students in finding employment after they complete their education. There are a variety of companies that have partnered with AFA to provide their students internships and job opportunities. 

    The young AFA filmmakers shot scenes from their short films on NYFA-Los Angeles in-house sound stages in Burbank, and on the Universal Backlot. In addition, they also did ADR and post-production at NYFA with instructors Huch Platt and John Briscoe. Liz Fenning, Program Supervisor at Actors for Autism added, “To our students, it meant everything to them to make films with NYFA, and to have NYFA’s caring faculty and staff support them, as they got to live out their dreams working with high-quality equipment shooting on a studio lot. There is no measure for the joy it brought to them.​”

    ​Fenning continued, “Not only did we notice distinct changes in the students’ technical knowhow, but more importantly, we noticed that they were better able to trust their instincts and pursue their passions with greater confidence. Essentially, it allowed our students to take the leap from viewing themselves as students of film, to directors, screenwriters, and talent.”

    Once the students completed the semester-long filmmaking program, NYFA hosted a private screening for friends, families, and supporters of the young filmmakers at the NYFA theater. Actor and AFA supporter Jack Dylan Grazer, who recently starred as Eddie in the Stephen King adaptation It and will be appearing in the superhero film Shazam, showed his support by attending the screening, and was very impressed by the student films.

    NYFA and Actors for AutismAbout Grazer’s involvement, Fenning stated, “Jack Dylan Grazer has been an incredible supporter of our program. It meant the world to the students, that a young and accomplished cinema artist, would take his very limited time to show support and appreciation of their work. For him to be present at the ceremony at NYFA left them speechless — truly, to have a peer in the industry take the time to celebrate their work has made an indeliable mark on them.”

    Since receiving their Certificates of Completion from NYFA-Los Angeles, two of the student filmmakers so far have gained employment at local production companies, while others are interviewing and still looking for employment.

    ​“We cannot thank NYFA enough for this partnership. With this program, NYFA truly demonstrates what it means to be a leader in the Los Angeles film community. For our students, they have provided a life changing experience. We are beyond grateful for NYFA’s generosity, and are awed by its heart for this population of artists, so often overlooked by the film community at large.​”

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    July 26, 2018 • Academic Programs, Acting, Community Highlights, Diversity, Outreach • Views: 760