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  • NYFA South Beach Welcomes Emmy Nominated Filmmaker Carlos Sandoval

    On Monday, January 30th, the New York Film Academy South Beach welcomed award-winning and Emmy nominated director and producer, Carlos Sandoval, for a special screening of his 2009 American Experience historical documentary, “A Class Apart,” which has been optioned by Eva Longoria to be turned into a feature narrative, and is currently in development with a major studio. Joined onstage by his Associate Producer, Jordi Valdés, current NYFA South Beach faculty member, the event was moderated by Mark Mocahbee, Chair of the NYFA SB Acting for Film Program. The screening was followed by an engaging Q & A with the student body.

    carlos sandoval

    Inspired by the enthusiasm of the students, Sandoval covered a wide range of topics, including recounting his story of how he came to make his first documentary “Farmingville” (ITVS) at 49 years of age, which consequently went on to win the Special Jury Prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.

    Referring to himself as “the accidental filmmaker,” he originally came to the story in part, moved by a headline “They Wanted to Get Some Mexicans” in the local newspaper (Newsday) regarding the attempted murder of two Mexican day laborers on the Long Island town of Farmingville. Carlos originally had thought as a former lawyer, policy wonk and journalist to potentially get involved in the issue(s) from the legal perspective yet ultimately came to realize that he felt compelled to do more.

    Of Mexican-American and Puerto Rican descent and having grown up in the southwest “the echoes of segregation were around us while I was still growing up,” Sandoval recounted. “I never thought I’d see a headline like that again, in what had just become the Twenty-First Century.” It was the power of story and, in particular, the power of the ability of the film medium to, “work and get at people through their emotions; through story” that propelled him to give documentary filmmaking a try.

    In “A Class Apart,” Sandoval would once again find himself returning to issues dealing with the discrimination of Mexican-Americans, but this time in a historical context.

    carlos sandoval

    Pooling from his own documentary filmmaking experiences, Sandoval discussed the differences in approach, the process and the challenges between making a historical documentary such as “A Class Apart,” and making verité docs such as “Farmingville” and his Emmy nominated and most recent feature length film, “The State of Arizona” (PBS).

    The school would like to extend its thanks to Carlos Sandoval for taking the time to share his stories and advice with the NYFA SoBe student body.

    February 16, 2017 • Community Highlights, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 1171

  • NYFA Los Angeles 2017 Winter Graduation

    On January 28th, the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles bid farewell to over 120 students as they crossed the stage in their caps and gowns. Amongst teachers, family, and friends, graduates prepared to enter the entertainment field.

    To honor their accomplishments we share here the final words of encouragement from the commencement speakers for the class of 2017 in hopes that they’ll help you on your artistic journey. Congratulations to all the graduates from the New York Film Academy.

    Tab Murphy, writer of “Gorillas in the Mist,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Tarzan,” “Atlantis: The Lost Empire,” “Brother Bear,” “Superman/ Batman: Apocalypse, and Batman: Year One,” left students inspired with his impassioned address.

    Tab Murphy

    “This is such an exciting time in Hollywood. There’s so much opportunity out there. There are so many new venues for content and so many ways to be a creator and a writer. It’s an incredibly exciting time. I encourage you to embrace it all. Be entrepreneurial, don’t have such a narrow vision of yourself as a filmmaker and while you’re doing all of that don’t be afraid to embrace life so that when that door of opportunity opens you have something to say.”
    –Tab Murphy

    Andrew Leeds has been acting since he was eight years old. He’s done everything from voice over for animation, acted for television shows including “Bones,” “Cristela,” and “NCIS: Los Angeles,” improvisation with Groundlings Theater. He is in the holiday comedy “Office Christmas Party” and is now writing and producing for television. Leeds used his life experience to provide students with practical life advice to survive in Los Angeles.

    Andrew Leeds

    “If I could leave you with one thing today it would be, believe in yourself. Bet on yourself. However hard you think you’ve worked up until now, work harder. Create, innovate, and bring things to the table no one before you has brought. Every person in here has what it takes to do it. And, if I’m smart, I’ll take my own advice and do it too. Congratulations to all of you as you embark on the next phase of your life.”
    -Andrew Leeds

    Peter Medak has been making movies for close to sixty years and is passionate about the craft now as he was when he first began. He’s directed episodes of “7th Heaven,” “Breaking Bad,” “Cold Case,” “Hannibal,” “Twilight Zone,” “The Wire,” and “Tales from the Crypt.” His films include “The Changeling,” “Species II,” and “Romeo is Bleeding.” Here our his final words to the Filmmaking graduating class of 2017.

    Peter Medak

    “It’s pure magic. Magic is what you can do with those lenses. You’ve had your training you know about the lenses. You know about lighting, which is so important.

    I had to shoot in South Africa and make it look like Sunset Boulevard but we were in Capetown. It doesn’t exist I said to the producers, ‘You’re all out of your mind. It is impossible to do that.’ But you know I saw it was quite possible. You have to be very clever about it. Choose very carefully what you show in that frame.

    You’re going on an amazing journey and I congratulate you. I want you to follow your dreams. That’s the most important thing.”
    -Peter Medak

    Congratulations to the class of 2017!

    MFA Acting For Film
    Christopher Lee Akens
    Sienna Eve Benton
    Ainur Burkutbayeva
    Maria De Los Angeles Cabrera Toledo
    Rita A Casman
    John O’brien Johnson
    Aditya Joshi
    Yu-Hsuan Lee
    Camila Mejia Duque
    Gina Simone Parris
    Demyra Ravyne Payne
    Shelby Simkin
    Jesselynn Stegall
    Nanli Wang
    Michael Wilson
    Zhe Zeng
    Alem Zewdu
    Wanyao Zhang
    Khorlan Zholzhaxynova

    BFA Acting For Film
    Morgan Aiken
    Leo D’hemery
    Michael Elston
    Alfred Gabidullin
    Reinaldo Garcia
    Kristina Karpechenkova
    Fiona Ketter
    Justin Lightfoot
    Grace Michelle Wangui Mbayah
    Thomas Oakley
    Tayla Jan Schaffner
    Milbelynn Soto
    Marcella Unate
    Anlezia Mone Venter
    Joel Wright
    Ekaterina Zaytseva

    AFA Acting For Film
    Helmer David Arango
    Jenný Arnthórsdóttir
    Montana Cypress
    Vanessa Esquivel
    Paloma Fernandez Vigil
    Andrew Forner
    Daniela Maria Gerdes
    Tomas Gudmundsson
    Christopher Holani
    Lena Annalisa Kane
    Kelsey Kummerl
    Martta Rebekka Maki-Petaja
    Badr Moussa
    Josiah Portukalian
    Nathan Rosado
    Christopher Allyn Rybka
    Ivan Sharudo
    Valita Stoke
    Pranay Unadkat

    MFA Screenwriting
    Ashley Helg
    Casey Hempel
    Efsane Karayılanoğlu
    Timothy Kirkpatrick
    Tricia Lan
    Linn Markussen
    Kayla Maurais
    Karthik Menon
    Chiedozie Orjiako
    Eduardo Faustino Rivera Jaso

    BFA Screenwriting
    Kine Brown
    Kyle Del Fierro
    Jinghui Jia
    Daria Leshchenko
    Jamaul Phillips
    Florian David Sutalo
    William Willis

    AFA Screenwriting
    Hong Bin Zhang

    MFA Game Design
    Yi Chen
    Tianyi Wu

    BFA Game Design
    Hasan Cheikhali
    Maresh Escoffery

    MA Film And Media Production
    Medardo III Abad
    Stephanie Adusei-Boateng
    Lamia Alshwwier
    Hardik Aswani
    Oscar Avila Letelier
    Elizaveta Bolshunova
    Eric Owen Bridges
    Maria Lorena Carrocci
    Sheila David
    Yanhua Gao
    Yunhong Guo
    Albandari Tariq Hakeem
    Naimah Hawsah
    Kiyanoush Jahaandideh
    Adebowale Johnson
    Ajay Marri
    Manikandan Mathivanan
    Kyaw Kyaw Min
    Sadedin Piralievich Nuraliev
    Olzhas Nurbayev
    Daniel Peres Morel
    Tianyu Ren
    Andrea Rodriguez Sanchez
    Nataliya Tsvetkova
    Gudiveti Venkata Raghavendra Reddy
    Chuwei Wang
    Xiao Wang
    Yanping Wang
    Sarai Waters
    Shengsheng Wu
    Fei Xie

    AFA Filmmaking
    I-Chen Chung
    Peter Farquhar
    Desmond Goldson
    Sergey Korchinskiy
    Samuel Mcknight
    Joshua Prince
    Ben Zimmerman

    MFA Cinematography
    Saleh Aldwayyan
    Abdulaziz Almutari Talaq
    Amy Lynn Brown
    Jessica Gray
    Joseph Hamilton
    Haoxun Jiang
    Sam Krishna
    Tian Liu
    Yang Liu
    Dhruv Saxena
    Carlos Suarez
    Jaan Kristjan Utno
    Jing Wang
    Haowei Wen
    Yue Xue

    MFA Producing
    Louis Brown
    Qian Dong
    Melissa Gutiérrez Clavijo
    Florian Christian Handler
    Zororo Makamba
    Ana Cindy Quijada R.
    Daniel Wayne Smith
    Funeka Sowazi
    Joshua Thomas
    Alexandre Wilson
    Hanjie Zhang
    Yanjun Zhu

    AFA Producing
    Nicole Tatlock

    MFA Photography
    Nilangana Banerjee
    Pamela Garcia-Aguirre
    Tingting Lou
    Hao Yang
    Yiwan Zhang

    BFA Photography
    Polina Krasovicka
    Xiao Xu

    BFA Animation
    Yahui Cheng

    MFA Filmmaking (Feature Track)
    Bandar Mohayl Almutairi
    Vanness Diane Hughes

    MFA Filmmaking
    Marvin Akanyi
    Mohamad Al Yamani
    Abdulelah Alqurashi
    Hua Bai
    Fanzhen Bu
    Luis Fernando Camargo
    Yang Chen
    Yucheng Geng
    Fei Guo
    Nicole Harris
    Lei Hong
    Shiman Hu
    Hanyang Huang
    Amir Kadiev
    George Leone
    Shaobo Li
    Ziwei Lu
    Pedro Ludwig Marcial
    Milton Lyons
    Haihua Ma
    John Mccain
    Obianuju Obiejesi
    Jorge Andres Ospina Sanchez
    Chanel Page
    Keyu Qu
    Olga Solodukhina
    Pavel Suslov
    Hiroshi Takano
    Diana Esperanza Trejo
    Daniel Velasco
    Rui Wu
    Wei Xiao
    Qin Yan
    Zhiyuan Yuan
    Yuqing Zhang
    Tian Zhou
    Duxiao Zhu

    BFA Filmmaking (Feature Track)
    Hamzah Ahmed F. Tarzan

    BFA Filmmaking
    Noor Matook Al Yaseen
    Paul Araujo Coronel
    Abdullah Bamajboor
    Diego Barragan
    Nikita Belomestnykh
    William Berkowitz Jr.
    Joseph Brandon
    Alexis Brown
    Charles Clark
    Nicholas Cunha
    Guojiang Deng
    Christopher Di Edwardo
    Joel Jerry Duran
    Robert Ford
    Kristen Kiertzner
    Yassein Koptane
    Andrew Kunkle
    Haochang Liu
    Luke Murphy
    Samuel Nieves
    Cindy Osegueda
    Taylor Paluso
    Mariel Quintero
    Shivalik Shankar
    Alexander Stamm
    Shammika Tomar
    Arturo Trapaga
    Hao Wang
    Joann Wong
    Shiyao Yao
    Jiasu Ye
    Yufei Zhang

    February 15, 2017 • Community Highlights, Guest Speakers • Views: 1108

  • NYFA Alumnus Matty Cardarople Showcases Latest Work in Netflix’s “Lemony Snicket”

    On Feb. 8th, New York Film Academy alumnus Matty Cardarople came back to his roots to showcase his latest work in Netflix’s “Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events.”

    Matty Cardarople

    The popular children’s book written by Lemony Snicket has had fans on the edge of their seats since the show’s premiere on Friday, Jan. 13th. The theater was packed with students eager to discuss a childhood favorite come to life.

    Cardarople was seen earlier this year in Mike Mill’s “20th Century Woman” and “Jurassic World.” He’s appeared on television shows “The New Girl,” “Scrubs,” “Bella and the Bulldogs,” “Comedy Bang! Bang!,” and “You’re the Worst.”

    Guest Lecture Series Chair Tova Laiter and Christopher Cass, Associate Chair of Acting for Film, hosted the evening at the Los Angeles campus. Ms. Laiter began with the question, “How did you start?” Cardarople replied:

    I chose NYFA back in 2002…BC. I’m just kidding. I was nineteen. It was a long time ago. I studied here for a year and then I came back and did my own film with (Industry Lab) ‘I worked in production as a boom operator and a PA. I was an assistant director. I was craft service. I was a camera assistant. I did everything. You guys know. You’ve all learned that stuff.

    Then, Luke and Owen Wilson put me in a film called ‘Drillbit Taylor.’ I played a 7/11 clerk because that’s what I do. I play a lot of clerks. Then it really started to take off. I had seven years of commercials here and there. It was kind of dead cause I was going through this heart surgery at young age. It was a bummer.

    Then about three years ago I thought, ‘You know, I just really need to put myself out there. I’m going to go for it.’ I started to network and meet a bunch of people. That’s what it’s really all about; meeting good people and forming good relationships.

    If you are struggling right now and thinking I’m not going to make it. Just be patient. Just work hard and be nice and you can really go far. If you’re scared right now, it’s going to be okay. Everything is going to work out. Just keep moving forward. That’s my story.

    One student asked Cardarople what projects and people he would like to work with in the future. Cardarople responded, “I’d love to work with Jim Carey. I want to make stories that inspire people.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Cardarople for taking the time to speak with our students. This year you can find Matty Cardarople in the HBO series “Crashing” and the feature film “Please Stand By” starring Dakota Fanning and Toni Collette.

    February 15, 2017 • Acting, Guest Speakers, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1043

  • “Fences” Actor Russell Hornsby Holds Workshop with Acting Students at NYFA

    Denzel Washington’s “Fences,” in which he stars and directs, was recently nominated for four Academy Awards. Based on the August Wilson play, “Fences,” tells the story of Troy Maxson, a mid-century Pittsburgh sanitation worker who once dreamed of a baseball career, but was too old when the major leagues began admitting black players. Actor Russell Hornsby, who plays the role of Lyons in both the play and the film, spoke to Acting for Film students at the New York Film Academy.

    russell hornsby

    As Hornsby put it, he essentially began his career while doing his “tour of duty in New York,” which, like most up and coming actors, began as a struggle and eventually led to being cast in leading roles in the Off Broadway productions of “To Kill a Mockingbird” (as Atticus Finch), “Joe Louis Blues,” and “Six Degrees of Separation” (as Paul).

    “I value the notion of working,” Hornsby said of his early career. “I was broke because I made a conscious decision to work.” 

    In the late 1990s, he decided to move to Los Angeles to break into film and television. He has appeared in several different television productions including appearing in recurring roles in “Haunted” as Detective Marcus Bradshaw and “Gideon’s Crossing” as Chief Resident Dr. Aaron Boise. His other television credits include “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Law & Order,” and “In Justice” among others. He also played running back Leon Taylor in ESPN’s drama series “Playmakers.” On the big screen, he has appeared in such films as “After the Sunset,” “Big Fat Liar,” “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” “Keep the Faith,” “Baby,” “Meet the Parents,” and “Stuck” among others. In 2000, Hornsby appeared in the Off-Broadway production of “Jitney” for which he won a Drama Desk Award and an Obie Award.

    Hornsby credits the late playwright August Wilson as a major influencer and mentor in his career, beginning after he saw his 1992 play, “Two Trains Running.” From that point, Hornsby would perform in several Wilson plays, including the most recent, “Fences.”

    “Wilson forced actors to bring their authentic self,” he said. “You bring your pain [to the role].”

    Wilson continued his thought, advising our acting students “to be malleable and figure out what tools you need.”

    Throughout the discussion, Hornsby was able to captivate the students while providing invaluable advice.

    “Embrace the rejection,” he said. “This is a subjective business. You’re going to get discouraged. You’re going to cry. You’re going to complain to your friends. Then move on.” 

    “You can’t lie in life and then tell the truth on stage,” added moderator and NYFA Instructor Randall Dottin, who said he first heard that advice from Hornsby.

    russell hornsby

    Hornsby recalled the one and only direction Denzel Washington gave him on set of the film. Washington left him with the words, “Take care of your brother.” It was at that point that Hornsby realized he needed to take care of his scene partner and cast, and not to just focus on himself.”

    Following his talk, Hornsby worked one-on-one with acting students to work on their own individual monologues. His sincerity and commitment to the process was incredibly valuable and greatly appreciated.

    Hornsby is currently starring in the NBC fantasy drama, “Grimm,” and will be in the upcoming Netflix series “Seven Seconds.”

    February 2, 2017 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 1158

  • Jonathan Shaw Presents “Finding Noah” to NYFA LA

    shaw and barbara

    Jonathan P. Shaw with NYFA LA Chair of Documentary Barbara Multer-Wellin

    On Wednesday, Jan. 6th, Jonathan P. Shaw presented his documentary “Finding Noah” for students at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles campus. NYFA LA Chair of Documentary Barbara Multer-Wellin hosted the evening.

    Shaw has balanced a career between documentary and narrative. He is best known as an editor. His greatest hits include “Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey”, “Blue Velvet,” “Twin Peaks,” and “Disneynature: Wings of Life.”

    His latest project, “Finding Noah,” which he produced, wrote, and directed, is an intense documentary following a scientific exploration into the whereabouts of the fabled ark.

    Shaw was raised Catholic and has been fascinated by the story of the ark for years. He traced the history throughout different religious texts and oral histories. Multer-Wellin wanted to know how Shaw towed the line between controversy, faith, and telling the story.

    Before he left, Shaw had one final piece of advice for students, “I really feel blessed to do all the projects I do. It’s not like it’s not a struggle. Going freelance there’s a risk. But I’ve been able to maintain a marriage for 37 years and send two kids to college. My advice to you is just keep on going.”

    shaw

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Shaw for taking the time to speak with our students. “Finding Noah” is now available for rent on Amazon Video.

    January 17, 2017 • Documentary Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 1206

  • NYFA Welcomes Writer & Director of Award-Winning “Shadow Boxing”

    On Monday, December 12th, Ryan Taylor Lopez gave a Q & A at the Los Angeles Campus of New York Film Academy. Lopez is the writer and director of the award-winning “Shadow Boxing.” The film was based off lead actress Sam Wiechec’s personal life experiences. She was determined to make a film about a specific person.

    ryan taylor lopez

    “I met Sam through a mutual friend and she was very adamant about wanting to make a movie about a particular subject. It took a lot of effort and it took quite a while, but she trusted me enough to open up about her personal experiences.” There was no story. The creators went over life events and pieced together a story from there.

    Lopez took all of that information, retired to his room, and began outlining the film. He immediately likes the results and set out to put it down on paper.

    Lydia Cedrone, who hosted the evening’s events and was pitched the original script in class, asked Lopez about, “Writing the perfect scene and then changing it into the perfect scene you can shoot.”

    ryan taylor lopez

    “I didn’t know how much money I had and I didn’t know how much money I had to raise,” said Lopez. “I went into the process knowing everything in the movie had to be something I could pull off on a reasonable budget. Even things that don’t seem that unreasonable.”

    Originally, Anne, the lead character, was scripted to drive away in a bus in the final scene. But, Lopez quickly realized he could not afford a bus. So, if he wanted to get the film he had to work within his budget.

    Fundraising began around the fifth or sixth draft of the film. Most of the expensive ideas had been removed from the script, so it was time to budget the film. The initial budget was $75,000. They raised $55,000 by the first shoot date. There was a three-week period when there wasn’t enough money for post. Lopez began editing the film by himself.

    ryan lopez

    One student asked Lopez where he got his inspiration. Several low budget pictures were screened in preparation for this film, but it was “The Snowtown Murders” that had the largest impact. The film’s creators only used soft natural light. This allowed for lower costs on lighting, faster setups, and less preparation.

    The two lead actors, Wiechec and Steve Luna soon joined Lopez on stage to give their takes. Wiechec was asked how she felt when she handed control of her story to Lopez. “You know it’s the definition of a passion project and it took two years to create. It was good.” Lopez chimed in, “If we’re being honest me and Sam did butt heads. Everybody wants success for the project but everyone has a different opinion on how to get there.” Despite difficult conversations, they were both happy with how the project turned out.

    Luna spoke about the love that flowed on set between the cast and crew. Because this was a low budget film there were not trailers to escape to. So everyone hung out together between camera set ups. This closeness helped Luna get into character. “As an actor, you’re supposed to fall in love with your co-star. Whether you’re a lover or, like this instance, a father, you have to fall in love. I just love, (her) Wiechec.”

    New York Film Academy would like to thank Lopez, Luna, and Wiechec for taking the time to speak with our students. “Shadow Boxing” is making its way around the festival circuit now.

    December 15, 2016 • Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 1605

  • New York Film Academy Sits Down with Actress Kim Cattrall

    This past Friday, Dec. 9th, the New York Film Academy’s new theater at 17 Battery Place hosted Kim Cattrall for an exclusive Q&A with Acting for Film Chair Glynis Rigsby and Chair of the Department of Contemporary Photography Ralph Gibson.

    kim cattrall

    While known by an entire generation for her role as Samantha Jones in the HBO hit series, “Sex and the City” — for which she received five Emmy Award nominations and four Golden Globe Award nominations, winning the 2002 Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress — some in the audience were surprised when Cattrall admitted, “I’m not like Samantha at all, but I’d like to have some of that.”

    Cattrall has starred in many popular films such as “Porky’s,” “Police Academy,” “Big Trouble in Little China,” “Mannequin,” “Masquerade,” “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country,” and “Ice Princess.”

    Aside from her film and TV career she also starred in the 1986 original Broadway production of “Wild Honey,” as well as staged productions of “Antony and Cleopatra” at the Liverpool Playhouse, “Private Lives” on Broadway, and “Sweet Bird of Youth” at London’s Old Vic. Since 2014, she has starred in her passion project, the HBO Canada series, “Sensitive Skin,” which she is also an executive producer on.

    Cattrall eloquently elaborated on her long career in show business and gave an abundance of advice on the craft of acting. She also discussed the challenges of her new endeavor as executive producer of “Sensitive Skin,” which she says has a cadence to it that feels very British. Having been involved with the arduous process of bringing the show to life, Cattrall feels she now knows what it’s truly like to be an executive producer. “Don’t assume that everybody is on the same page,” she says. “There is a clear path to inviting people into your story.”

    Like many of the students in the audience, Cattrall’s dream coming out of high school was to go to New York to study theater. “It was a chance to experience living in others people’s shoes,” said Cattrall, who grew up in a middle-class Canadian family. Trained in Stanislavsky, Cattrall says, “Every line I’m trying to get something from the other person. I know when I land a moment.” She did add, “What makes my job easier is a good script. That’s why I like to do Shakespeare.”

    While many artists seek perfection in their work, Cattrall admitted, “There are always going to be glitches. You can’t hold onto perfection. You will learn more from when you fail than when you succeed.”

    kim cattrall at nyfa

    When asked by Ralph Gibson how she sees the camera, Cattrall said, “The camera is always connected to the cinematographer, so I always flirt with the cinematographer. I try to make the cinematographer be somebody who I can possibly be in love with.”

    For acting students going on auditions, Cattrall remembered the advice she had been given, “Someone told me when I come into a room to audition that I should be auditioning them.”

    The entire day was filled with golden nuggets of advice for actors and storytellers. Cattrall said she knows when she puts on a good show if the audience members are leaning forward in their chairs. Well, the entire hour talk had NYFA students leaning forward to listen to her captivating words of wisdom.

    December 13, 2016 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 2001

  • NYFA Welcomes President of Entertainment at Fox Broadcasting, David Madden

    On Wednesday, November 30, David Madden, President of Entertainment at Fox Broadcasting, held a Q & A for students perusing degrees in Acting, Directing, and Filmmaking. Madden has helped bring shows like “The Americans,” “The Killing,” “Burn Notice,” “The Shield,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Pitch,” and the forthcoming “Star” from Lee Daniels to televisions in living rooms around the country.

    david madden

    Hollywood Producer, NYFA Director of Industry Lecture Series, Tova Laiter hosted the evening alongside NYFA Screenwriting Instructor, David O’Leary, whose script, “Blue Book,” was just purchased by the History Channel and will be produced by Robert Zemeckis’ ImageMovers.

    Madden’s role at Fox is multifaceted. Scripted programming, alternative entertainment and casting all fall under his jurisdiction. In the past, he worked for Paramount Pictures based Madden Company where he produced more than twenty films.

    “We have 15 hours of primetime programming every week, 52 weeks a year. Pretty much everything is original whether it’s scripted or reality,” Madden explained. “Every single program that goes on the air in prime time, I oversee. I read every script of the scripted programs. I watch every episode of the reality shows. I watch every cut of every show. I’m responsible for the development and I’m responsible for the casting. My job is simply to make the shows.”

    david madden

    When asked about the current state of network television in the age of streaming and premium cable, Madden didn’t feel that broadcast was facing any trouble. While, yes, they compete with these new service providers, economically, broadcast has to reach a wide audience in the millions. Madden doesn’t feel that means sacrificing quality. “Being populist and being good are not mutually exclusive,” he said. Also, historically, Fox has always been more subversive and positioned in between traditional networks and cable.

    One student asked, “With the number of TV shows being produced now do you believe the quality of actor being hired is less, in order to fill roles?”

    “I sure hope not,” Madden said. With most shows green-lit during pilot season in January, landing the right actor for the right role during this time can be very challenging. The upside is that new actors are afforded more opportunities than ever (as well as writers). “We are always looking for material and new talent, but they have to, legally, come to us via the right channels.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Madden for taking the time to speak with our students.

    December 5, 2016 • Guest Speakers • Views: 1438

  • NYFA Doc Students Talk with Legendary Documentary Filmmakers Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker

    On November 21, 2016, MFA documentary students from New York Film Academy Los Angeles had the opportunity to listen in on a conversation with legendary documentary filmmakers Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker, sponsored by the International Documentary Association.

    DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus

    Hegedus and Pennebaker have captured moments of history — from Senator John F. Kennedy’s run for the Democratic nomination in “Primary” to James Carville’s dictum, “It’s the economy, stupid” during Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign in “The War Room” and the first dot.com mania in “Startup.com.” They’ve portrayed musicians from Bob Dylan to Janis Joplin, Isaac Hayes, Wilson Pickett, Branford Marsalis, Emmylou Harris and many more. Pennebaker was one of the pioneers of the Direct Cinema movement of the 1960s that rejected on camera interviews in favor of the so-called “fly on the wall” approach to documentary filmmaking. Together their films have influenced the realms of documentary, music video, and reality television.

    The New York Film Academy students were treated to a riveting clip from the pair’s newest film, “Unlocking the Cage,” about animal rights attorney Steven Wise and his thirty-year fight to break down the legal walls that separate humans and animals. Wise is just the latest in a long series of subjects whose essential humanity shines through in their films.

    “A documentary filmmaker is like a playwright,” Pennebaker told the audience. “He fills a stage with people no one has ever seen before and he has to make them unforgettable.”

    December 2, 2016 • Documentary Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 1158

  • NYFA LA Welcomes Special Guest Eric Goldberg, Disney Animator: “Moana”

    On Wednesday, Nov. 16, legendary Disney animator Eric Goldberg brought an exclusive preview of Disney’s latest project, “Moana” to New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus. The chair of animation, Mark Sawicki, moderated the event.

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    Goldberg’s career is extensive. He’s worked on classic animated television shows such as “Looney Tunes” and “The Simpsons.” His work at Disney includes supervising the dance sequences in Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog” and serving as supervising animator for the Genie in “Aladdin.” His specialty is 2D animation. For “Moana,” he oversaw the animation of Mini Maui, the mobile tattoo of Dwayne Johnson’s larger-than-life Maui.

    The theater was filled with animation and game design students both eager to hear from someone with over 25 years in the business and excited to catch a sneak peak of “Moana.” Goldberg did not disappoint in either area, treating students to over an hour of behind-the-scenes footage — including messages from the cast and crew, works in progress, and clips from the film.

    Many students wanted to know how 2D animators could survive in a 3D animation world. Goldberg assured students that the fundamentals wouldn’t be disappearing from animation anytime soon. “I always encourage people to look at the principals,” he stated, “They’ve held together for 100 years.” Mock up, character design, and landscaping are still all animation jobs that are originally drawn by hand.  “It’s about creating characters people can identify with. It’s a blend of both sensibilities: theatric and artistic.”

    Walt Disney Animation Studios' artist Jin Kim showcases the look of the title character in the upcoming adventure "Moana." Says director Ron Clements, “Moana is a vibrant, tenacious 16-year-old growing up on an island where voyaging is forbidden. But Moana has been drawn to the ocean since she can remember and is desperate to find out what’s beyond the confines of her island.” Directed by Clements and John Musker and featuring the voice of Native Hawaiian newcomer Auli'i Cravalho in the title role, "Moana" opens nationwide on Nov. 23, 2016. ©2015 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

    ©2015 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

    For those hopefuls trying to get into Disney, Goldberg had some additional advice. “Disney is always looking for talent.” He suggests going to the Disney website and looking at the portfolio requirements. He also suggests a tactic that he called “observe and caricature” to up one’s game. “How can you identify a friend in a crowd from behind and 20 yards away?” Goldberg asked.  “It’s their walk. You know how they carry their weight. How they walk when they’re sad or mad.” Goldberg suggests practicing nailing those walks and gestures in order to improve basic skills.

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    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Goldberg for sharing his wealth of knowledge with humor and humility. NYFA would also like to thank Tova Laiter for bringing this presentation to the school.

    “Moana” will be in theaters near you on Nov. 23, 2016.

    November 18, 2016 • Guest Speakers • Views: 1748