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  • NYFA Alumni (& Brothers) Maan & Talha Bin Abdulrahman Are Saudi Film Trailblazers

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    Five of the nine films premiered by Saudi Arabia at Cannes this year featured the work of NYFA students and alumni, including brothers and fellow BFA Filmmaking graduates Maan Bin Abdulrahman, producer, and Talha Bin Abdulrahman, director. Together, the brothers founded Prince of Arabia Entertainment, and have helmed an impressive series of award-winning projects.


    Talha’s NYFA thesis film, The Scapegoat, screened at the 14th Dubai International Film Festival as well as the second annual Young Saudi Film Festival, Irvine International Film Festival, Orlando Film Festival, San Antonio Film Festival, and Chandler Film Festival.

    At Cannes, the brothers presented Film School Musical, which they co-directed. Winning over critics and audiences alike, the musical short won the Best Shorts Competition at the Hollywood Comedy Shorts Film Festival as well as the Jury Prize for Best Musical and Best Cinematography, garnering numerous festival award nominations along the way.

    Additional film credits include Under the Concrete (Winner: Qomrah 2), Served Cold (ShortsTV, Winner: 2014 Student Filmmaker Awards Film Festival), and Not This Way (Winner – Golden palm in Dammam Film festival).

    We’re exciting to see the next steps these brothers take in both the Saudi and international film industry.

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  • Eurasia International Film Festival (EIFF) Welcomes the New York Film Academy

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) was honored to participate in the Eurasia International Film Festival this July in Astana, Kazakhstan, as a VIP guest on the red carpet and beyond.

    Established in 1998 and accredited by the International Federation of Film Producers (FIAPF), the Eurasia International Film Festival is Central Asia’s most prestigious film forum. The event focuses on fostering and celebrating collaborations between European and Asian film industries, all while supporting Kazakhstan’s current and future filmmakers.

    As a distinguished guest, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Jim Miller represented NYFA in the prestigious event’s competitive Project Market program, as well as heading the PitchFest jury.

    To support the development of new works, Eurasia International Film Festival’s Project Market offers filmmakers, producers, distributors, and production companies an opportunity to form partnerships, shop films, and do business. This year’s Project Market was a smashing success, connecting filmmakers with diverse international institutions including Syndicado (Canada), Film Republic (Great Britain), Alpha Violet (France), Filmotor (Czech Republic), Juben Pictures (China), IRIB MEDIA TRADE (Iran), Festagent (Russia); and Kazakh film companies Kazakhfilm, Sataifilm, Nurtas Production, Bissembin Film and MG Production, for presentations, panels, master classes, and more,

    A crowning jewel of 2018’s Project Market was the PitchFest competition. Out of 31 project submissions, 10 films from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan were selected to compete for four top prizes. The most sought-after prize? Two full tuition scholarships to the New York Film Academy.

    NYFA Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Jim Miller spearheaded the PitchFest jury, working alongside premiere filmmakers, writers, directors, film critics, editors, journalists, documentarians, distribution executives, and producers. These industry experts hailed from the film industries of Kazakhstan, Russia, Singapore, Israel, and the U.S. Together, they selected four winners, with the two grand prize winners receiving scholarships to the New York Film Academy’s New York and Los Angeles campuses.

    The NYFA scholarships were awarded to Kazakh filmmaker Amir Amenov (Ystyk kun, salkyn sira/Hot Nights, Cold Beer), and Kyrgyz filmmaker Dalmira Tilepbergen (Lonely Pine).

    Celebrities from around the world, including César Award-winning actor Vincent Cassel (France) and two-time Palme d’Or-winning director Emir Kusturica (Serbia), attended the Eurasia International Film Festival’s climactic red carpet event and award ceremony, along with many special VIP guests. The award ceremony featured world-class performances for an enthusiastic audience of over 5,000.

    The New York Film Academy thanks the Eurasia International Film Festival, and its President Aiman Massakhajayeva, for the honor of participating.

    Massakhajayeva is the National Artist of the Republic of Kazakhstan, an honorary UNESCO Artist of Peace, and the Rector of Kazakh National University of Arts (KazNUA) — with whom NYFA recently established a partnership. This fall, the NYFA Los Angeles campus will welcome six KazNUA students through this cooperative agreement.

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  • Gold Coast’s Village Roadshow Studios Hosting New Major Co-Production

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    Filming has begun on the largest Chinese-Australian co-production ever, and with the project Australia’s Gold Coast continues its importance to the film industry as a whole. Students at New York Film Academy (NYFA) Gold Coast are reaping the rewards by learning their craft in the heart of Gold Coast as more and more major movies are shot around them.

    Legend of Sun and Moon, based on a famous Chinese legend, will star Dililreba Dilmurat and Dao Xiao, and—unlike most Hollywood blockbusters—will be written and directed by a woman, Eva Jin. The film will be financed, produced, and distributed by a collaboration of Chinese and Australian companies, with assistance from the Queensland government’s film programs.

    While Hollywood may be most associated with the film industry, plenty of other cities and nations provide hundreds of films each year to audiences all around the world. The Chinese film industry in particular has been steadily growing for a long time, with many co-productions with other countries proliferating since the early 21st century successes of films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero. Chinese cinema is now one of the largest film industries in the world.

    While Australia’s film industry isn’t as large as America’s or China’s, it has played an important role in co-productions, offering a wide array of spacious landscapes and consistently pleasant weather that originally attracted film productions to similar climates like Los Angeles. Plenty of Hollywood blockbusters are shot on location or in soundstages in Australia, including in Sydney and in Queensland, such as Thor: Ragnarok, The Matrix, The Wolverine, Kong: Skull Island, and Mission: Impossible 2. 

    Many productions in Australia are supported by government organizations and programs, including Screen Queensland and the Production Attraction Strategy. This not only bolsters Australian cinema but fosters jobs and growth for the community. According to Screen Queensland CEO Tracey Vieira, “Legend of Sun and Moon will provide approximately 300 jobs and spend over $15.3 million in Queensland.” The film will shoot at Village Roadshow Studios, one of Australia’s foremost production facilities, which consists of nine sound stages. 

    NYFA Gold Coast

    Village Roadshow Studios

    The use of Village Roadshow Studios is also one of the biggest advantages to studying at NYFA Gold Coast. In addition to being amidst Hollywood productions and a working international film studio, NYFA Gold Coast students also study and can shoot their own films on a professional backlot.

    Located at Southport, the NYFA Gold Coast campus also has a two-level, state-of-the-art facility for students to use, situated in an ideal, convenient space close to light rail transport and student service amenities such as libraries, cafes, restaurants, shopping centers, and immigration services. In addition, the facility is located directly across from the Gold Coast Broadwater, with a popular waterfront promenade, large estuary, and attractive parklands that make for perfect filming locations. 

    Not too far from the campus are other diverse, incredible filming locations that students can use for their productions. Gold Coast has fifty miles of coastline and is considered a surfer’s paradise, while also home to tropical rainforests, rugged country, exciting and epic theme parks, and a modern cityscape. Additionally, the capital city of Brisbane is just a short drive away, with its museums, artistic attractions, and other cultural opportunities in students’ reach.

    NYFA Gold Coast

    NYFA Gold Coast Students

    Along with its stunning locales and modern facilities, NYFA Gold Coast offers students the experience and guidance of a talented, knowledgeable faculty. Many of the chairs and instructors have industry awards and illustrious credits including House of Flying Daggers, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Meet the Robinsons, Mako: Island of Secrets, Inspector Gadget 2, The Dark Knight Rises, Rocky Balboa, Moneyball, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, and many, many more. These faculty members work closely with NYFA’s students throughout the entirety of their courses.

    With such close proximity to a talented faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, the Hollywood grandeur of Village Roadshow Studios, and the majestic scenery of Queensland, New York Film Academy Gold Coast students are in perfect position to achieve their dreams of acting in and making movies. Legend of Sun and Moon will no doubt be followed by even more and even bigger international productions in the Gold Coast, and NYFA students will get to see it firsthand.

    If you’re interested in studying at New York Film Academy Gold Coast, you can find more information here.

    NYFA Gold Coast

    NYFA Gold Coast Students

     

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    July 6, 2018 • Entertainment Australia, Entertainment News • Views: 1200

  • New York Film Academy Screenwriting Instructors Pen New Comic Miniseries Dragon Age: Deception

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    New York Film Academy Screenwriting Chair Nunzio DeFilippis and NYFA Instructor Christina Weir are returning to the Dragon Age franchise with a comic miniseries, Dragon Age: Deception, which will launch in October 2018.

    Dragon Age: Deception is a three issue comic book miniseries, set in the world of the best selling and award-winning video game series, Dragon Age. The miniseries, published by Dark Horse Comics, follows the story of a failed actress turned con artist who sets out to con the heir to a magically gifted family and gets caught up in something much larger.

    The announcement for the miniseries can be found on the Dark Horse website.

    About their experience writing for Dragon Age DeFilippis and Weir said:

    Nunzio DeFilippis: We’ve been lucky to be able to create our own story worlds in our creator-owned books, but there is a thrill we get out of working within an established universe that has its own history, characters, and fan-base.  And in the case of Dragon Age, we’re both huge fans of the franchise.  We know all the lore, and all the characters, and that was a huge plus going into the project.

    Christina Weir:  WithKnight Errant and now Deception, we’ve been able to build our own central characters, and that’s exciting.  We’re adding pieces to the Dragon Age canon.  But we also get to work with characters we’ve loved in the games.  In the last mini, we worked with Varric and Sebastian.  In this one, we’re working with… well, I’m not sure we’re supposed to spoil that just yet.  But there’s a small role for a fan-favorite in this mini.  And he was a great character to interact with in the games, so we had a real thrill giving him a few scenes.

    Nunzio DeFilippis: There’s a big piece of emerging lore that we got to put into this story – something that shapes the franchise going forward.  When we started this mini, we had a long conversation with the Dragon Age story team at Bioware, and they told us where they saw the story world going forward, and we asked how we could help advance that.  And they let us, which was awesome.  This universe is evolving, through the games, the books, the comics… and we get to help it along the way.

    Image Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics

    Nunzio DeFilippis is the Chair of Screenwriting and Dean of Faculty at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus. Christina Weir teaches TV and Comic Writing at the Los Angeles Campus, as well as Story Generation and Character Development. The two are a writing team who were writer/producers on HBO’s Arliss and wrote for the Disney Channel series Kim Possible. They have had features optioned at Hollywood Pictures, Process Media and Humble Journey Films. They developed a video game at Sony, and a TV movie (Two Step) at Oxygen. The pair has written in comics for almost two decades, and beyond Dragon Age, they have written New X-Men, Adventures of Superman and Batman Confidential. They created the comic franchises Bad Medicine (in development at Closed On Mondays with NBC), The Amy Devlin Mysteries (in development as a TV series at E!) and Frenemy of the State (co-created with Rashida Jones, optioned as a feature film by Imagine Entertainment/Universal Pictures).

    DeFilippis and Weir have worked on one previous Dragon Age miniseries in 2017, entitled Knight Errant.

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  • RBG, Shot by New York Film Academy Documentary Professor Claudia Raschke, Is Box Office Hit

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    This year’s breakout documentary, RBG, shot by Director of Photography and NYFA Documentary Department Cinematography Instructor Claudia Racshke, tells the story of Supreme Court Justice and surprise millennial icon Ruth Bader Ginsberg (aka “The Notorious RBG”), The Flatbush, Brooklyn-born Justice was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1992, becoming only the second female to serve at the highest federal court in the United States.

    When the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, we highlighted Claudia on the NYFA blog, and Filmmaker magazine also featured an interview. Sundance and American Cinematographer spotlighted her on their “Women Who Shoot” panel. MovieMaker magazine also ran an article exploring her equipment preferences.

    RBG NYFA

    RBG 

    And why not? Claudia’s previous work has already been nominated for Academy Awards four times, and has won a Peabody, a DuPont, and a National Board of Review Award, among many others. She has worked on such acclaimed documentaries as My Architect, about Louis Kahn, Mad Hot Ballroom, which focuses on a New York dance program, and Small Wonders, which documents a music teacher in East Harlem.

    On its opening weekend, RBG scored the second-highest-per-screen average at the box office, second only to Avengers Infinity War. The film has also earned a 93 percent Fresh rating from review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. It then spent the next three weeks among the Top 10 overall Box Office earners, holding its own in the company of blockbusters like Avengers: Infinity War, Ocean’s Eight, Black Panther, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Deadpool 2, and A Quiet Place.

    Claudia Raschke with Ruth Bader Ginsberg

    Claudia Raschke with Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Photo provided by Claudia Raschke.

    RBG has also already worked its way amongst the 25 highest-earning documentaries in history, and its run is far from over. NYFA would like to congratulate its Documentary instructor Claudia Racshke on her impressive work on an already important film. You can watch the official trailer below.

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  • New York Film Academy Cinematography Students See Latest Projection Technology at Dolby Cinema With Anthony Richmond, ASC, BSC

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    Graduating Cinematography students in the New York Film Academy Los Angeles MFA and 1-Year programs participated in a recent field trip to Dolby Laboratories to see the cutting-edge of theatrical projection. NYFA Los Angeles Cinematography department chair Anthony Richmond, ASC, BSC set up the visit.  

    During the trip, NYFA Cinematography students were introduced to some of the technical aspects of Dolby Vision, and had a chance to see the color correction process in Dolby’s state of the art theater. Students asked questions of the Dolby staff, and got to see some of the possibilities available to shape the look and finish their images.

    The trip gave these recent graduates a look at some of the latest innovations that they will be seeing in the industry very soon.

    Best known for their work in the audio field, Dolby has recently introduced a new system for high-dynamic-range (HDR) projection in the cinema. Dolby Vision makes it possible to project images with a dramatic 1,000,000-to-1 contrast ratio, creating a far bigger range of brightness than previous projection standards.

    Dolby simultaneously introduced a proprietary color correction system, creating a pipeline that will optimize films to take advantage of these new projectors. Recent blockbuster films including Incredibles 2, Ocean’s 8, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and Jurassic World have been early adopters of this new technology.

    Anthony Richmond recently employed Dolby’s new process in the color correction for the 4K restoration of the classic concert film The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, a film he shot for director Michael Lindsay-Hogg in December 1968. The film features performances from the Rolling Stones, The Who, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, and other iconic musicians from the British music scene of the late ‘60s.  

    Speaking about his experiences, Richmond said “I think Dolby Vision is the most exciting thing that has happened in the way we color correct films. Most of the new televisions are now Dolby Vision ready, and Netflix is already broadcasting some productions in Dolby Vision.”

    Richmond advocated for using Dolby Vision for this restoration, conducting a test to demonstrate the advantages to the producers. When Richmond showed them the results, they agreed that using the Dolby process would be an essential part of the restoration. The film will be released on September 27 for both Dolby Vision blu-ray and a limited theatrical release.

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  • iTunes, Amazon & Sydney Screen Far From Here by New York Film Academy Grad James Pillion

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    Making your first feature film is a challenge. Making your first feature film in a foreign country is an even bigger challenge. Yet rising Aussie director and New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking MFA graduate James Pillion did just that with his feature debut, Far From Here. Shot on location in Bucharest, Romania, the film screened this Feb. 5 in Sydney shortly before its digital release on iTunes and Amazon.

    Pillion’s successful debut is even more impressive when you hear the backstory. Overcoming many obstacles, including losing his visa and being refused entry to the U.S., Pillion and his writing partner/leading man Jonathan Ahmadi were able to convert a formidable crisis into a poignant work of art. The result is a lush coming-of-age story that follows a young couple navigating pressures that may sound familiar for many NYFA students — holding onto love, living in a foreign country, sacrifice, following a dream, and facing the tough decisions that define your life.

    “The more you surrender your ego and open your eyes and ears to everything around you, the stronger your chances are of ending up with a film greater than the sum of its parts,” the director wrote in Australia’s FilmLink.

    Pillion took some time during the busy week leading up to his film’s Sydney premier and digital distribution to share an exclusive peek into his process with the NYFA Blog:

    FAR FROM HERE TRAILER from Jim Pillion on Vimeo.

    NYFA: What program did you take at NYFA and when did you finish?

    JP: I graduated with honours from the New York Film Academy Los Angeles campus in 2013 after completing the two-year accelerated Masters in Filmmaking (MFA).

    NYFA: What inspired you to make Far From Here?

    JP: Far From Here follows a young couple, Grant and Sofia, struggling to keep their marriage afloat in a foreign country. When a family crisis pulls them apart, the physical and emotional distance forces the couple to take a hard honest look at their choices and to confront a decision that could alter their future forever.

    The script was conceived in the wake of a life-changing event. I’d lost my visa to the U.S. and had been forced apart from the love of my life in the process. The script was an attempt to examine my newfound circumstances and was written in a very fast four month window over Skype with my writing partner, Jonathan Ahmadi. Jonathan would also go on to play the lead role in the film.

    NYFA: What are your future plans for Far From Here and beyond?

    JP: Far From Here was shot on location in Bucharest and received a very generous distribution deal, with the film screening in 40 cinemas across Romania — an amazing feat for a $100,000 budget!

    To celebrate the Valentine’s Day release of the film on iTunes and Amazon this year, we’re holding the Australian premiere at the Ritz Cinema in Sydney this Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. 

    I’m also in pre-production on my new feature Fire Island — a psychological drama — which is due to shoot in Australia towards the end of this year.

    NYFA: What if anything have you learned from your NYFA experience that has helped you with your professional career?

    JP: My time at NYFA was invaluable. It taught me the value of failure and gave me the opportunity to explore and experiment in a way that I’d never had the confidence to do. Embracing failure is such an important part of my creative mantra — it helps me to continually sharpen my voice as a storyteller.  

    Congratulations to James Pillion and the Far From Here team! Check out more of the behind-the-scenes story of Far From Here in Pillion’s four-part series on FilmLink.

    Far From Here
    is available from the following sources:
    iTunes Australia
    iTunes USA
    Amazon USA

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  • Loveratri, Ee Nagaraniki Emaindi, Arya Babber and More From New York Film Academy Mumbai Alumni & Guest Speakers

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    Since opening its doors in May 2017, NYFA Mumbai has seen an incredible year filled with student successes, insightful guest speakers, special master classes, and powerful storytelling. If you’re a film buff, whether you’re in the capital of Bollywood or simply streaming movies from anywhere in the world, you won’t want to miss what’s been happening at NYFA Mumbai.

    Check out these alumni success stories, as well as some of the luminaries that have visited our newest campus this year as Guest Speakers to share their advice with NYFA Mumbai students.

    NYFA Mumbai Alum & Guest Speaker Sana Saeed

    TODAYYY ❤️ @newyorkfilmacademy #NYFAMumbai #letstogethermakethisyearcount

    A post shared by Sana Saeed (@sanaofficial) on

    It’s always a special occasion when a NYFA alum returns to their alma mater as a Guest Speaker, and NYFA Mumbai recently welcomed NYFA Acting for Film alum and child star Sana Saeed. Sharing a joyous evening with a packed house of students, Saeed spoke especially to the new class of NYFA Mumbai teen camp attendees in sharing her experiences as a child actor in Bollywood.

    As a child, Saeed played megastar Shah Rukh Khan’s daughter in the romantic epic Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, and was re-cast by same director Karan Johar 20 years later!

    NYFA Mumbai Alum Arya Babbar

    Noted actor Arya Babber is currently studying at NYFA Mumbai, taking a Filmmaking course to expand his already impressive repertoire. Well known in Punjabi film industry, Babber was nominated as the Most Promising Newcomer in 2002.

    Babber has also had crossover success in Bollywood, where he is one of the best known Punjabi actors; he has acted in 25 feature films in 16 years. So far, he’s been very open on social media about how much he is loving his time at NYFA Mumbai.

    NYFA Mumbai Guest Speaker Sanjay Shetty

    #Canneslions finalist, #Promaxasia and #Goaabbey Winner, Ad film director Sanjay Shetty is coming to #NYFAMumbai for a Q&A with our students #NYFA #Acting #Filmmaking #workshop #Mumbai

    A post shared by New York Film Academy Mumbai (@nyfamumbai) on


    Founder, Director at Opticus INC, recent NYFA Mumbai Guest Speaker Sanjay Shetty has over two decades of experience as a director at Ad-Films. During his time at Ad-Films, Shetty was a finalist at the Cannes Lions Festival, one of the most prominent and coveted awards for the creative and marketing communications industry. He has been recognized for his work at Promax-Asia Advertising Awards & Goa Abbey Awards.

    NYFA Mumbai Guest Speaker Sandeep Shandilya

    Join us Wednesday, 9th May at @nyfamumbai for a Live discussion with Sandeep Shandilya. RSVP is required to attend this event. Reserve your spot at: Neha.chaudhary@nyfa.edu or call : +91 22 61280000

    A post shared by New York Film Academy Mumbai (@nyfamumbai) on


    With over 17 years of experience as a producer, from feature films to ads, for the past eight years NYFA Mumbai Guest Speaker Sandeep Shandilya has executive-produced such Bollywood hits as Love Story 2050, 1920 London, and TV series 24:India. As a producer, he has worked all over India and internationally, from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Bangkok to Dubai, Paris, Switzerland, and much more.

    NYFA Mumbai Alum Tharun Bhascker


    NYFA alum Tharun Bhascker attended NYFA’s intensive 4-week Filmmaking Program in Mumbai in 2011, even before NYFA established its permanent campus at the Urmi Estate. He’s recently directed his second feature hit, Ee Nagaraniki Emaindi, which follows the major success of his first feature, #Pellichoopulu.

    NYFA Mumbai Alum & Guest Speaker Rakesh Varre

    #Bahubali #Vedam Actor and #NYFA Alumni Rakesh Varre is coming to #NYFAMumbai for a Q&A with our Students #Acting #Filmmaking #Workshop #Mumbai @rakeshvarre

    A post shared by New York Film Academy Mumbai (@nyfamumbai) on


    NYFA Guest Speaker Rakesh Varre is an Acting for Film, Filmmaking, and Screenwriting New York Film Academy alumnus. He is best known for for Baahubali: The Beginning, and Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, where he played Setu Patti, and Vedam.

    Bahubali 2: The Conclusion was released in April 2017 and quickly became the highest-grossing film in India, grossing $82.8 million in five days.

    NYFA Mumbai Guest Speaker Seher Latif

    #Furious7 #ZeroDarkThirty Casting Director Seher Latif is coming to #NYFAMumbai for a Q & A with our students May 30th, 4pm ???

    A post shared by New York Film Academy Mumbai (@nyfamumbai) on


    Seher Latif is a Casting Director and CSA member who has had success in both the American and Indian film industries. Her credits include Zero Dark Thirty, Furious 7, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and Eat Pray Love. Her Bollywood credits include The Lunch Box, and Monsoon Shootout.

    NYFA Mumbai Alum Warina Hussain


    Warina Hussain is a model and actress of Afghani-Iraqi descent, who attended the New York Film Academy’s Mumbai campus in 2017 to study Acting for Film. She is currently filming the lead role in Salman Khan’s Loverati, in which she will star alongside Khan’s brother-in-law Aayush Sharma, in his acting debut.

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  • New York Film Academy Photography Alumni Partners Photograph Swedish Star Jasmine Kara

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    When you’re starting your own photography business, few things are as exciting as those first few high profile gigs. New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography alumni and teaching assistants Stephany Viera Fernandez and Neil Camposuelo recently celebrated this landmark, during a promotional shoot with Swedish singer and songwriter Jasmine Kara.

    To celebrate and share their success, Stephany and Neil have offered the NYFA blog a sneak peek behind the scenes.

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

    Steph & Neil: Coming from two different parts of the world where photography is not as broad, unlike here in New York, one of the main reasons was to be able to keep growing and to build confidence — not just as a photographer, but also as a complete artist. We attended NYFA in different school years, but we both felt this school is the best avenue to do so.

    We wanted to be surrounded with talented and motivated people who shared the same passion as us. Along with the great faculty and other amazing students, being with them daily and continually creating work opened a whole new domain of ideas and philosophies on how we view the industry that is ahead of us.

    NYFA: Why photography? What inspires you about this medium?

    Steph & Neil: What is really astounding about photography is how you can be able to create your own world, but also at the same time you can capture the world right in front of you.

    There are so many ways you can maximize the use of this medium. Also, the power of one frame and the longevity of preserving that one frame can influence not just the present but also years to come. It is like a relationship also; it builds up gradually, and requires understanding between you and the medium to obtain the peak of mastery.  

    NYFA: How did you two connect as collaborators?

    Neil: After I finished my stint as a student here in NYFA, I applied to work as a TA last year, which eventually made Steph my colleague. That was when I got to know more about Steph and her work. I saw we had the same passion and motivation to succeed, and that was when I proposed the idea to her to work as a photographer duo.

    Steph & Neil: We knew it would be a good idea because we both have different cultural backgrounds and expertise; the dynamic between us is very good. Working with two brains and bodies can get more work done, and we are able to experiment with contrasting ideas and putting everything together cohesively. We both have trust, and along the way we help each other grow as we fill in our individual differences, strengths, and weaknesses.

    NYFA: Do you have any favorite NYFA moments from your time studying (and/or working as a TA) with us?

    Steph: For me, it was when I met all the teachers here in NYFA. I was really in awe of the load of talent and knowledge that they all have. It gives me the drive every day to potentially reach the same level.

    As for working as a TA, it is like being a student all over again. I continuously go along with the classes and I also experience in real time how fast photography changes in terms of style and techniques. That helps me to always have a different outlook and an open mind whenever I approach our own work.

    Neil: Just like what Steph said, my favorite moment here in NYFA is also the opportunity to meet all the teachers, to have a conversation with them and basically to learn from them every day. It is really a blessing to have such a group of people this great, because it helps me to stay humble, work harder, and keep track of my vision — our vision as a photographer duo.

    It is also great to work as a TA here at school because it gives you a sense of responsibility. I consider it a noble profession to be a part of student development, in terms of their career and life, to be able to help them, as well as guide them to be great on what they want to pursue.

    NYFA: Can you tell us a bit about your recent shoot with Jasmine Kara? How did this collaboration come about, and any inspiration or details you can share?

    Steph & Neil: We will be doing a cover for her upcoming single that will be released into three different languages (English, Spanish, Persian) this August. We cannot really tell yet the full detail of the single, but it is about how we can carry on in life with all the negativity and problems through laughter.

    The concept we are planning to do is a mix of humor and inspirations from Greek sculptures, work from photographers like Roger Ballen and Chris Buck, and relating it to the music video of Jasmine Kara’s single. Our main idea is having our own take of humor in a contemporary art approach, as we are trying to blend in the mood of the song but still remaining grounded in the style of our work as a photographer duo.

    NYFA: When photographing a star like Kara, how do you prepare? 

    Steph & Neil: This kind of opportunity do not come every day. So, when we knew we would have the chance to do a shoot with her, we started doing our pre-production plan.

    We had at least one-and-a-half weeks and to prepare, and even though it was a short period of time, this is one of the advantages of working as a photographer duo; we’re able to accomplish more and finish on time.

    Plus, [we did] a lot of research also. It is important to get to know the subject, her personality, and her background history as a singer. We had a couple of meetings with her, talking about the ideas for the shoot and making sure everything was according to plan.

    NYFA: What is your must-have piece of photography equipment, or your must-do ritual when preparing for a shoot?

    Steph & Neil: We never forget to have a scrim-jim on our equipment list every time we shoot. It is a very versatile diffusion, and helps soften and tone the light. This is like the signature look we have on most of our work.

    And for a must-do ritual, we love to eat before and even after a shoot! We always double-check everything also from the pre-production and the equipment we are using to avoid mishaps.

    NYFA: What’s your advice to students interested in photographing on the pop and music scene?

    Steph & Neil: For us, it’s not just about photographing on the pop and music scene. In general, our advice is that students should continue to grasp anything they can learn. Continue reading books, watching movies, talking to people. In the future, this will be an accumulation of knowledge and experiences that they can apply to their work. They should not be afraid of experimenting, breaking the rules of photography, risking ideas. In this era of photography where everything has been done already, students should be able to create ways to improve these latter ideas into something new and contemporary.

    On the other hand, students must still respect and give credit to the history of photography, the art of it, and take time to understand how we got here to this point — especially in the level of creativity.

    Lastly, we would like to share this quote with everyone. This is a mantra for us working as a photographer duo: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” We both believe that we make our own luck, that we should have to work for it, and just keep creating beautiful images.

    NYFA: Would you say your time at NYFA was at all useful for the work you’re doing now?

    Steph & Neil: Absolutely, NYFA was like our training ground and a big part of the foundation of who we are now as an artists and photographers.

    Coming here to New York City and to this school with no prior professional experience, it did help bring out the best in us. The school gave us not just the tools but also the mental preparation to face the reality of this industry.

    Thank you and congratulations to Stephany and Neil!

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  • Good Morning Connecticut, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and Cannes From the New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School

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    So another week, and another item about Snapchat … No, I am not obsessed with the digital platform. But if you look at the image below, you’ll notice that a wide range of content publishers are.
    As reported by Digiday, Snap — the parent company of Snapchat — has hired veteran digital executive Sarah Gallagher to coordinate communication between Snapchat and the growing number of news and non-fiction content creators that rely on the digital distribution service. Why are major legacy media outlets anxious to distribute their content via Snapchat? Because people my age watch TV, and people your age (well, the age of the majority of people reading this) use apps.
    At NYFA, we offer a skills-based Broadcast Journalism program because there are certain key skills you need to know in a world that includes both broadcasting and narrowcasting.
    Traffic is moving in the other direction as well, with well-known broadcast outlets searching out digital content. Vice is the preeminent digital platform for edgy non-fiction. Begun as a free arts magazine in Toronto, the now USD $8+ billion production powerhouse cut a deal with Channel 4 in the UK. Channel 4 has a reputation for cutting-edge non-fiction programming, and this alliance allows them to build their brand (and their on-demand video service), without the expenses associated with original production.
    Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, is a lot of time to fill. And, as one of my former colleagues once put it, “every dream has its budget.”
    I heard from NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Alyssa Taglia on Thursday. Last year around this time, she was a student. Now, she is the morning traffic reporter, and a multimedia journalist, at WTNH in Connecticut. Plus, last week she got the chance to anchor the station’s 9 a.m. Good Morning Connecticut newscast.
    Congratulations, Alyssa!
    Meanwhile, in Georgia (“the country, not the state“), NYFA grad Liza Tsitsishvilli works at Georgia Public Broadcasting. Recently she did a story about one of the most famous singers in her country. It is evidence of just how much they value her that she was given such an important assignment!

    Broadcast Journalism alum Federica Polidora should probably get an award for the sheer number of Italian news outlets she contributes to. Recently she interviewed Philip Glass, one of the greatest composers of the 20th century.

    She was at the Cannes Film Festival, but instead of the usual red carpet shot she sent us a picture of her with two of her colleagues, and her son…
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