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  • NYFA Instructor Joshua Belinfante on Screening “Requires Review” at Dances With Films

    NYFA Instructor and Filmmaker Joshua Belinfante

    New York Film Academy Australia Filmmaking Instructor Joshua Belinfante recently screened his short documentary “Requires Review” at the prestigious Los Angeles festival Dances With Films Festival.

    With an eye for the eccentric and surreal, Belinfante is a filmmaker and photographer who has self-produced numerous short films, crewed on feature films, TVCs, TV shows, music videos and stop motion animations in Australia, Europe, and Asia.

    “Requires Review” follows Björn Lindqvist, a “self-confessed world’s best town planner” who draws attention to urban planning issues by places placards around Stockholm that say “Granskning Erfordras” — in English, “Requires Review.” Sign bearers from around the world have begun copying Lindqvist’s strategy, even at such famous landmarks as the Eiffel Tower, Westminster, the Austrian Mountains, Canals of Amsterdam and even the Opera House, Sydney.

    We had a chance to catch up with Belinfante and hear his reflections on his recent experience at Dances With Films, and learn what inspired his film “Requires Review.”

    NYFA: First, can you tell us a little bit about your background and what drew you to become an instructor at NYFA Australia?

    JB: I’ve been making films since I was 12 years old. For me, filmmaking is more about putting a part of myself into a work rather than trying to get something out of it. Having said that, the balancing act between art and entertainment is a constant struggle of anyone in film today. I currently work in TV as a post production media manager as well as an independent film producer/director. I operate my own production companies Belinfante Photography and FineSilver Media, where I shoot, produce, edit and direct content for various clients.   

    I was drawn to becoming an instructor at NYFA because I wanted to give something back to the next generation of hungry filmmakers. Perhaps there was something I could show them that I was never told when I was in film school. I wanted to teach them the most relevant skills & know-how to help get them a foothold into the film & TV industry.

    Björn Lindqvist in “Requires Review”

    NYFA: As a filmmaker and photographer, how does your approach to your work change in different mediums?

    JB: The medium is always the message. Whether I am taking a photo of someone or making a documentary about someone, you are always trying to capture the essence of the individual. Part of that process involves communicating a value, belief or an aesthetic to an audience. If I am making a docu-fiction or a narrative drama I will still approach the story with the same eyes and the same questions. What am I making? Why am I making it? Who am I making it for? What do I want them to get out of it? Is what I am making real, or unreal?

    NYFA: What would you say is your teaching style as a film instructor?

    Björn Lindqvist

    JB: I always hone in on the needs of each individual learner. Having been trained as a teacher since 2008 I am aware of how to facilitate an environment for learning. Everyone learns differently, some through listening, some through reading, but for most people it’s getting up and doing and making mistakes.

    Unfortunately a lot of industry professionals know their craft back to front but struggle with communicating this in a way that is understandable for students from all walks of life and backgrounds.

    I encourage making mistakes and failing spectacularly so that you can get back up your feet, dust yourself off and try again. Most of the time your failures fuel you more than your successes.

    NYFA: Do you have a favorite NYFA moment?

    JB: My favourite NYFA moment would have to be when I taught a mature age student named Paul. At the start of the course Paul couldn’t use a mouse on a computer. By the end of it he was directing films on a RED camera. I gave him a lot of extracurricular work to do and he went from strength to strength. Most people wrote Paul off due to his difficult past and Paul-Hogan-Crocodile-Dundee kind of approach to life. I’m happy to report Paul has been making some great projects since finishing up at NYFA. I regularly keep in touch with our alumni too.

    NYFA: Can you tell us what inspired your film “Requires Review”?

    JB: I have always been aghast by poor town planning in global cities. What’s town planning, I hear you say? Well it’s otherwise known as urban planning, and it’s all the things that make a city keep spinning. The architecture, transport, public utilities etc. I was curious what the problems would be in a seemingly perfect city like Stockholm.

    I had a script, I just had to find a town planner to interview. Which proved quite challenging! But, rather serendipitously I eventually met a mysterious urban planner in the national library in Stockholm! We spent a few hours discussing all the horrible things we hate in cities, and the next day we made the film.

    NYFA: How was your experience at Dances With Film? 

    JB: Dances with Films was such a beautiful experience, meeting filmmakers and like-minded people from all over the world. Being welcomed with open arms by people you’d never met before was truly touching. Every day of the festival there was an industry meetup, cocktail session or a screening to attend. It was a great boot camp and introduction to the LA filmmaking scene. And a breath of fresh air from my day to day life!

    NYFA: Would you say your time within the NYFA community was at all helpful in your experience creating this film?

    JB: One thing I will say is that when I arrived in LA, it was a happy accident that some of our acting students & teachers from Sydney were studying & working at the NYFA LA campus. It was pretty surreal that they were able to attend the screening and came out to support “Requires Review” and all the other filmmakers at the festival. The NYFA community shone through there for sure.  

    NYFA: What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

    JB: I’m currently working on some TV shows for Australian ABC and SBS TV networks. I am also in development on a TV series based on “Requires Review” as well as several other independent productions that I filmed in Bangkok and Sydney.

    NYFA: What advice would you give to your students who are seeking to find the path to screening their own films in a festival like Dances With Film?

    JB: Know what your film is, why you made it, and what you want to get out of it. Is your film going to be a calling card for you as a director? DOP? Writer? How can you best use this film as a stepping stone?

    NYFA: Is there anything we missed that you’d like to share with the NYFA community?

    JB: I always take the attitude that you are always an amateur at your profession. The second you believe you are a professional that knows everything you shut yourself off to curiosity and a desire to learn more. You also shut yourself off from learning from those around you & your own experiences. Never stop being inquisitive and learning!

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Joshua Belinfante for sharing a bit of his story with our community, and congratulate him on his recent successes!

  • NYFA Documentary Students Attend Full Frame Festival

    IMG_4316-retouched-updatedFour lucky NYFA documentary filmmaking students got to attend the renowned Full Frame Documentary Film Festival as fellows this spring.
    The festival is distinguished from most major festivals by its laid back atmosphere.  There’s a lot more hanging out and talking film, which creates a refreshing creative atmosphere.
    Even so, there were plenty of documentary bigwigs present, who made themselves very accessible to the student fellows.
    On the first day, festival Artistic Director Sadie Tillery invited them to have lunch with Steve James (“Hoop Dreams”) and discuss his new doc, “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.” Later, she invited them to join her again for a special master class with Peter Nicks focused on his new doc, “The Force.”
    Tillery also hooked the fellows up with a specially curated program of films, many of which were in such high demand students wouldn’t have gotten in on their own.

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    Tillery shared that the Fellows Program holds a special place in her heart: “It is particularly inspiring to welcome students to the festival. Through the Fellows Program, we strive to create a forum for up-and-coming artists to connect with content, filmmakers, and each other.”

  • New York Film Academy Instructors Selected for Sundance Documentary Labs

    In a world where social media has inspired millions to document their everyday lives, it becomes more and more important to recognize the exceptional craftsmanship and diligence of professional documentary filmmakers. Few accolades and distinctions have quite the power to delineate excellence as selection and participation at the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Edit and Story Labs.

    This June, the New York Film Academy is proud to celebrate the achievement of our own Documentary Editing Instructor Kristen Nutile, editor of  the film “Warrior Women,” which has been selected for this summer’s Sundance Documentary Labs. Directed by Christina King and Dr. Elizabeth A. Castle, “Warrior Women” follows Madonna Thunder Hawk and her daughter Marcella Gilbert, a civil rights-crusading Lakota team, through the grassroots protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline, also known as #NoDAPL, in Standing Rock, North Dakota.

    Warrior Women_1

    Madonna Thunder Hawk and her daughter Marcella Gilbert, of the film “Warrior Women.” Photo by John Larson.

    “Sundance is, of course the gold standard in the film world,” explains New York Film Academy Documentary Filmmaking Department Chair Andrea Swift. “They select very few films for their prestigious Labs, films they believe will be important and among the best of the best. Of course we already knew Kristen belonged in that category and are thrilled that NYFA’s Documentary Filmmakers work with her and faculty of her caliber everyday.”

    Acceptance into the Sundance Documentary Labs is not only one of the independent film industry’s most prestigious honors; it is also a resource, providing filmmakers with an opportunity to continue to develop and deepen their projects during post-production in a richly exploratory and dynamic creative space at the Sundance Mountain Resort. The Sundance Institute website explains, “DFP Creative Labs are unique, artist focused residential retreats that bring together a community of world-class documentary directors, editors and producers from around the world.”

    Kristen Nutile is quick to point to the collaborative nature of this work and applaud the directors of the film: “This is a film that I’m very honored to be working on. But, it’s the directors’ film and that success is really all theirs!”

    The New York Film Academy also congratulates two of our Master Class instructors, who have also been selected as directors at the Sundance Labs: Petra Costa (“Impeachment”) and Marilyn Ness (“Charm City”).

    Stay tuned to hear more about “Warrior Women” at Sundance Labs from NYFA Instructor Kristen Nutile, coming soon.

    June 21, 2017 • Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights, Film Festivals • Views: 2190

  • NYFA Awards Brooklyn Film Festival’s Best Director

    michael young

    NYFA President Michael Young congratulates Robert Gregson

    The New York Film Academy is proud to be a Supporting Sponsor at the 18th Brooklyn Film Festival. This year, the festival received 2,331 films coming from 114 countries and selected 109 film premieres coming from 26 countries.

    “Our film competition has been incredibly successful,” said Brooklyn Film Festival Director, Marco Ursino. “The great thing is that our audience, professionals or not, truly enjoyed all of the films.”

    As part of our sponsorship, NYFA’s President Michael Young was on hand to present a tuition scholarship to the Best New Director Award-Winner, Robert Gregson, for his film The Refrigerator. The Brooklyn-based filmmakers’s film focuses on the lives of Howie and Mark, two broke friends who happen to find a refrigerator on the street. Inside the fridge, they discover the way to another dimension. Greed, drunkenness and hilarity ensue.

    We’d like to congratulate Mr. Gregson, as well as the other winners and competitors in the festival. Mr. Gregson’s scholarship entitles him to attend an 8-Week Workshop to one of our many locations around the world. For a full list of this year’s winners, visit the Brooklyn Film Festival’s official website at http://www.brooklynfilmfestival.org/winners/.

    We look forward to supporting next year’s Brooklyn Film Festival!

    June 17, 2015 • Community Highlights, Film Festivals, Filmmaking • Views: 2543

  • New York Film Academy Student Arabic Film Festival

    NYFA Arab Film Festival

    A frustrated screenwriter gets unlikely inspiration for his next “killer” screenplay. A young man is pressured by his father to leave his true love for an arranged marriage. A police detective viciously interrogates three suspects to uncover who murdered an innocent man over a parking spot.

    These stories were but three of the twelve films and music videos recently screened at New York Film Academy’s Student Arabic Film Festival. With Dean of Enrollment Tami Alexander in attendance (all the way from New York!), the festival showed how the themes and stories created by our Arabic students were truly universal.

    Recent alum Osama Alkhurayji along with current students Almotaz Aljefri and Fawaz Saleh organized the event with Dean of Students Eric Conner. After receiving submissions from several current students, a lineup was compiled which included an array of dramas, thrillers, comedy and romance.

    In a Question and Answer session after the screening, the student filmmakers described the passion (and occasional problems) that went into creating their work. What came across from the comments was how relatable the material was to an audience from all over the globe.

    At the end of the night, three projects were recognized by a judging panel that included Saudi film director Bader Alhamoud and Al Riyadh’s Film Critic Rja Almutairi.

    nyfa film fest arabic

    First Place
    NOT THIS WAY
    Producer / Director of Photography – Abdullah Alshuridah
    Producer – Mann Binabdulrahman

    Second Place
    SHARP
    Director – Omar Said

    Third Place
    JOHNNY SHADOW
    Director – Abdullah Abuljadail

    Congratulations to all the filmmakers on their work!

     

  • Passenger Bar Short Film Competition

    passenger bar

    We’ve stumbled across a terrific opportunity for our New York City filmmaking students, especially those who are living in Brooklyn. Starting November 10th, Passenger Bar in Williamsburg, will be running monthly movie/short film competition nights to screen short independent films and music videos created by local artists and students.

    They’re aiming to have 6-10 shorts a night to screen, per week, and the best shorts of the night can win prizes!

    The first screening night is Monday, November 10th, so students are asked to submit their films by November 8th.

    Interested student filmmakers should email a YouTube or Vimeo link of his or her short to PassengerBar@gmail.com for consideration.

    Students will then need to bring the .mov file, nothing too large, for viewing the night of the event.

    You can also view the Facebook event link here.

    October 9, 2014 • Contests, Film Festivals, Filmmaking • Views: 4215

  • International Photography Award: Emergentes dst

    emergentes photographyHere is a unique opportunity for New York Film Academy photography students and alumni to win an award for their portfolio. The International Photography Award Emergentes dst is an initiative of Domingos da Silva Teixeira group, organized by Encontros da Imagem, with a monetary prize to be granted to the best 2014 Contemporary Photography Portfolio. The Photography Prize Emergentes dst will be awarded after the Portfolio Review which gives photographers the opportunity to showcase their work to commissioners, gallery owners and expert editors, thus establishing solid foundations for the promotion of their work.

    NYFA students and alumni interested in applying to the Emergentes dst Award should follow these rules:

    1. APPLICANTS
    Every creator who uses photography as main expression may apply, regardless of nationality, gender or age.
    2. PRIZE
    The Photography Award Emergentes dst grants a prize money of 7,500 euro and an individual exhibition at the Festival Encontros da Imagem – 2015.
    3 . SELECTION WILL TAKE PLACE  IN A TWO STEP PROCESS
    3.1 PRE-SELECTION

      • At this step, each applicant must submit no more than 20 digital images (b&w or color). It must be an original and recent portfolio.
      • Deadline for the submission is August 15, 2014. The pre-application fee is 10€.
      • A pre-selection from a committee of experts will select 80 photographers who shall be invited to submit their portfolio to further review from specialists and photography and visual arts analysts.
      • Ranking shall be based on interest, originality and coherence of the projects, as well as on the conceptual quality of the work. Finalists shall be notified of the results until September 1.

    3.2 SELECTION OF ENTRANTS TO THE PORTFOLIO REVIEW
    The second step consists of the choice of 8 experts for the portfolio reading, by each of the selected candidates. Deadline for this choice is September 8. Portfolio analyses will take place during the Festival Encontros da Imagem, on September 17 and 18. The winner will be announced on September 20 in a special ceremony at Theatro Circo, Braga. Every selected candidate will have a 20 minute session with the assigned reviewer. All the finalists must pay a 140 € registration fee, which will also entitle them to the Encontros da Imagem 2014 catalogue. Every selected entrant must upload a chosen digital image (eligible photographs must be size 40×50 and 300dpi resolution) that will be exhibited at the opening session of Encontros da Imagem at September 19.
    4. PORTFOLIO REVIEW
    During the critical review of Portfolios, each expert shall elect the best portfolio and one photograph to be produced in a format chosen by the author. There will be an exhibition of the whole set of photographs selected by the judges, at the ceremony of the announcement of Emergentes dst Award. The author of the Photography Award Emergentes dst will be elected from the selected portfolios. On September 20, the prize winner of Emergentes dst shall be announced in a formal ceremony where the entitled Prize will be handed out and during which a presentation of the portfolios of the finalists shall also take place. The exhibition of the awarded photographer’s works shall be on display at the official section of Encontros da Imagem 2015.
    5. USE OF IMAGES
    The finalists agree on the reproduction of images from the portfolios that were sent
    for the contest, either to display or to promote the prize. The prize winner is to give the sponsor two pieces produced and exhibited to the venue in 2015. Any other use will be agreed between the Festival and authors.
    RULES AND MORE INFORMATION:
    Fill in the application form available online at www.encontrosdaimagem.com. You must send the receipt of the application fee along with your portfolio.
    emergentes@encontrosdaimagem.com

    July 10, 2014 • Film Festivals, Photography • Views: 3528

  • Call for Entries: All Sports LA Film Festival 2014

    Calling all sports fan filmmakers and screenwriters! The 6th edition of the All Sports Los Angeles Film Festival is scheduled to take place November 9-11 of this year. The festival is currently accepting submissions for the November event from filmmakers and screenwriters who have created a film or screenplay that deals with sports, be it basketball, badminton, or backgammon.

    While the films and screenplays can deal with sports of any type, the story of each entry should center around competition, be it mental or physical competition. Entrants can submit their screenplay or film now via the festival’s withoutabox.com account. Students receive a discount for both their submissions and attendance during the festival.

    For more information, interested filmmakers and screenwriters can visit the festival’s site where they can submit their work and learn more about past festival winners and highlights.

    July 8, 2014 • Film Festivals, Sports • Views: 4900

  • LA Asian Pacific Film Festival

    LA Asian Pacific Film FestFor our New York Film Academy Los Angeles students, be sure to look into the upcoming 30th anniversary of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) beginning May 1- 11, 2014 at the Director’s Guild of America (DGA), CGV Cinemas located in Koreatown, the Tateuchi Democracy Forum at JANM in Little Tokyo, and the historic Art Theatre of Long Beach. Visual Communications proudly celebrates their 30th year as Southern California’s largest and most prestigious film festival of its kind. The LAAPFF launches the celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month through this year’s slate of over 140 films from both Asian Pacific American and Asian international directors from over 20 countries. For three decades, the Festival has presented more than 3,600 films and shorts by Asian American and Asian international artists.

    Over the years the LAAPFF has presented many exciting titles, including: the award winning A RIVER CHANGES COURSE, directed by Kalyanee Mam; Gen Cajayon’s THE DEBUT; Justin Lin’s BETTER LUCK TOMORROW; and Lixin Fan’s LAST TRAIN HOME. Asian international artists who have graced past editions of the Film Festival include: Lino Brocka (BAYAN KO); Stanley Kwan (ROUGE); John Woo (BULLET IN THE HEAD); Park Kwang-su (TO THE STARRY ISLAND); Wong Kar-wai (CHUNGKING EXPRESS); Raymond Red (MANILA SKIES); and so many more. This year, a total of 143 films comprising 40 feature-length films and 103 shorts will be showcased throughout the 11-day fest.

    The 30th edition of the Film Festival blasts off with the Los Angeles premiere of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival hit TO BE TAKEI, directed by Jennifer Kroot, and produced by Gerry Kim and Mayuran Tiruchelvam. TO BE TAKEI chronicles actor, artist, activist and icon George Takei’s life history with wit, grace and whimsy: from his days on the popular television series STAR TREK, to his civil rights and marriage equality advocacy. TO BE TAKEI received its world premiere at the Sundance film festival, where it quickly became an audience favorite.

    “It is exciting and appropriate for our festival to open with TO BE TAKEI,” states Anderson Le, Festival Artistic Director. “For us, he’s been an iconic figure and one of 2 of the first Asian American actors to achieve mainstream stardom in Hollywood. George is not only a pioneer, but also he is also one of the most outspoken and media savvy celebrities working today. The film tells his whole story from his acting to his activism to his amazing personal life, which is now wide open for everyone to see. He is a living legend and kicking off our celebration of 30 years of Asian American filmmakers and artists with his life story will be historic.”

    April 17, 2014 • Film Festivals • Views: 3003

  • Action on Film International Film Festival

    Action on Film

    For all of our student filmmakers, especially those at our New York Film Academy Los Angeles campus, the Action on Film International Film Festival 2014 may be a great home to showcase your next film. It is the festival’s 10th anniversary and encourages filmmakers of all genres to submit their work.

    The festival takes place in the beautiful city of Monrovia, California from August 22-30 and offers its winners over $125,000 in prizes!

    If you’re interested in submitting your work to AOF Festival or would like more information, CLICK HERE.

    April 7, 2014 • Film Festivals • Views: 2970