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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screenwriting Alum Abby Ajayi Featured in Largest Hollywood Reporter Photo Shoot Ever

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    Abby Ajayi, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screenwriting alum, was one of 63 black female writers featured in an epic photo shoot by The Hollywood Reporter late last year. In a rebuke to the industry sentiment that it’s hard to diversify writers rooms because there aren’t enough women writers and writers of color to choose from, the industry magazine gathered dozens of women from the networking group Black Women Who Brunch.

    Black Women Who Brunch (BWB) was founded in 2014 by television writers Nkechi Okoro Carroll, Erika L. Johnson, and Lena Waithe as a way to get black female TV writers a chance to meet, support, and get to know one another. Their first meeting was in March 2014 and had 12 attendees. The current membership of BWB is now around 80.

    In addition to taking photos, many of the women shared their experiences and thoughts on being black women television writers—many of whom were the only person of color on their staff. NYFA alum Abby Ajayi was one of those at the shoot interviewed. Unlike many of her peers, she wasn’t the only woman or person of color in her writers room.

    Abby Ajayi

    “On How to Get Away With Murder,” Ajayi toldThe Hollywood Reporter, “there were seven women in the room and six were women of color. It didn’t fall on one person to be the voice of all women or all black people. Having multiple women from diverse ethnic backgrounds broadened the conversation, which in turn led to richer, deeper characters.” 

    Ajayi added, “It’s also inspiring to see the women higher up the ladder prove that there is a path.”

    Ajayi originally hails from Nigeria and attended NYFA’s Screenwriting school in 2011. In addition to How to Get Away with Murder, Ajayi has worked on Eastenders, Doctors, and Hetty Feather. She is currently co-producing Hulu’s limited series adaptation of Four Weddings and a Funeral.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Screenwriting alum Abby Ajayi on her current success and encourages everyone to read The Hollywood Reporter’s piece!

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    April 16, 2019 • Diversity, Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 663

  • AAFCA and ABA Film Society Hold ‘Celebrating Black Excellence in Cinema’ Event at New York Film Academy (NYFA)

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    On Monday, February 18, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) partnered with the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) and the African Black American (ABA) Film Society to present a special discussion exploring the past, present and future of Black creative excellence in Hollywood through an inaugural learning lab, Celebrating Black Excellence in Cinema at its Los Angeles campus. The event featured Outlier Society’s Alana Mayo, and was moderated by AAFCA Founder and President Gil Robertson.

    Gil Robertson said, “AAFCA is thrilled with our partnership with NYFA as we celebrated Black excellence in the industry during BHM. Our panel with Alana was excellent. She was very generous in sharing her experiences with the students as a Creative Executive, as well as providing them with inspiration on how they can follow in her path.”

    Alana Mayo

    Alana Mayo was Vice President of Production at Paramount and Vice President and Head of Originals at Vimeo before becoming Head of Production and Development for Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Society Productions. At Paramount, Mayo helped develop the cinematic adaptation of Fences starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis.

    Mayo discussed her background, how her parents influenced her career, and navigating her trajectory as a Creative Executive for three of the top studios in the industry. 

    Three students who attended the event gave NYFA their thoughts on the experience. Folake Kehinde, recent NYFA MFA grad and ABA’s Events Chair and Interim Communications Chair, had this to say:

    My favorite things about this event were the access. Alana was welcomed by one of the ABA members who is also queer. I had no idea of this connection when I was scheduling volunteers and was so happy to be able to give Jamie the opportunity to meet and welcome Alana. Alana has greatly inspired Jamie and she was thrilled for the opportunity to meet and welcome her. 

    Alana attended the pre-reception briefly. She took pictures with the ABA and was so polite and happy to be with us. Her humbleness was so sweet and unexpected. Then during the event I appreciated her learnedness. It was so wonderful to hear from a production executive with a degree in film studies. So often production executives studied English or something slightly unrelated to filmmaking—it was nice to hear from someone with an extensive study of cinema as well as years of employment with various studios and production companies. 

    It was interesting to watch her talk so passionately about her favorite films, Polish Cinema, and the discussions she has while watching TV with [her fiancee] Lena Waithe. They’re very different in how they communicate but both have obtained vast success. 

    I also loved hearing how nice Michael B. Jordan is. I was so moved by her saying that Michael will give out her email at various places around town to people who have an idea and that they’re even going to make one of the ideas a person he met on the street wrote. I love that Michael is so kind, contemporary, and cutting-edge. The fact that he cares about people and is interested in talking with them and helping them to make their work blows me away. I also love that he is starring in several projects his company is making as well as other projects outside of his company. It’s inspiring to watch his career as an actor and now producer unfold. As an actress and producer myself this helped to confirm for me that I can achieve my dreams! 

    My final favorite moment was when Jamie told Alana that she is also a queer woman and that she has been so inspired by Alana’s career and bravery to be heard and make a path in the entertainment industry. 

    After the Q&A, legendary casting director Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd (who cast Michael B. Jordan and others in the film Fruitvale Station and so many other projects) stayed and did an impromptu Q&A with actors and filmmakers. It was fantastic! She had a very frank conversation with us where she challenged us to tell our stories! She talked about being on a panel that read scripts for a Festival and how so many of the ideas were so similar. She knows that all black people didn’t grow up in ‘the hood’ and she wants creators to be unafraid to share their middle-class or wealthy upbringing. She advised actors to look their best at all times—even at the gym. She also told actors to put our pictures on our business cards, and avoid putting too much of another actor on their reels. 

    It was an extraordinary evening. I’m very grateful to New York Film Academy, Professor Kim Ogletree, and the founder of AAFCA for putting the event together.

    Alana Mayo

    Toyin Adewumi, 8-week Producing student, learned a few lessons from the event as well. The first was to take risks! A former HR professional, Adewumi loved that Mayo talked about leaving her comfortable job at a studio she had been at for years: “Having that clarity of there’s more out there. Yes I’m here… but… not being connected with the culture there.” Adewumi was impressed that Alana was brave enough to leave and find her ideal job. 

    She also loved that Alana isn’t ashamed of her personality. “Her acknowledgement that she needed to change some things. Her boldness to be humble… being willing to drop some things I (she) learned when I’ve (she) grown up. Her being humble helped lead to her breakthrough….Taking risks, knowing when to work on herself, being humble” are lessons Adewumi will treasure for a long time to come.

    Brianna Dickens (AFA Acting For Film ’18) was moved by the ABA events held during Black History Month. Dickens had a wonderful chat with Twinkie Byrd and at the ABA Careers in Television event, she was invited to visit a set for a day with some friends. She tells NYFA:

    I’m so thankful I found the ABA. I didn’t even know they existed. Luckily my class was invited to a screening event of theirs (the Q&A with Chuck Hayward). The second I arrived, the leaders of the group welcomed me and introduced themselves to me. In less than a month of being an ABA member, I’ve attended three events that have truly inspired me, opened my eyes, taught me things no one else has, and even opened the doors for me to have real on-set experience!

    Everyone in this group is focused, supportive, kind, and encouraging. They uplift each other. I think we will do great things for one another and together. I’m thankful to have them.

    The New York Film Academy and ABA Film Society thank Alana Mayo and Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd for sharing their experience and advice with our students!

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    March 12, 2019 • Diversity, Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 619

  • Student Perspective: NewFilmmakers LA Latinx and Hispanic Cinema Event 

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailAndres 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: 942

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

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailOctober 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: 1141

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

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailPhotoville, 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: 1043

  • 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

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailEarlier 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! Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    August 24, 2018 • Diversity, Photography • Views: 820

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

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailNew 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!Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailElizabeth 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.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

  • 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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