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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Online Acting for Film Alum Stars in Netflix Original Series ‘Sacred Games’

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    With New York Film Academy (NYFA) beginning to expand its offerings and conducting specialized workshops online, actors like Online Acting for Film alum, Elnaaz Norouzi, can take classes to polish their craft from renowned industry professionals anywhere in the world. Elnaaz Norouzi, who recently studied in a 4-Week Acting for Film Workshop, also stars in the Netflix original series Sacred Games.

    Norouzi was born in Tehran, Iran, and later moved to Germany, where she also learned English, German, and French in addition to her native language of Farsi. When she moved to India years later, Norouzi also learned Hindi, Urdu, and Punjabi, allowing her to speak a grand total of seven languages.

    NYFA alum Elnaaz Norouzi as Zoya in ‘Sacred

    Just like learning languages opens the doors to understanding different cultures and behaviors, so does becoming an actor. “I always found it super fascinating to learn and to know what other people feel or what makes them do things the way they do them,” says Norouzi. “I feel it takes a lot for an actor to be able to put themselves in the shoes of another.”

    In addition to acting, Norouzi has also been working as an international model for over ten years with brands like Dior, Lacoste, and Le Coq Sportif, to name a few, but it is acting that Norouzi is most passionate about.

    When she began her acting career in India, Norouzi remembers taking a lot of classes in Mumbai, but it was always her dream to go to New York Film Academy. With Norouzi’s normally packed schedule winding down due to the global pandemic, she realized it was time to make that dream a reality and enrolled in NYFA’s Online Acting for Film Workshop. “I learned so much about what I’ve never done before with my scripts. My next script will be full of left-hand side notes.”

    Photo Courtesy of Elnaaz Norouzi

    While many remember their first experience in the film industry, Norouzi remembers several. Her first acting roles for films, Maan Jao Naa and Khido Khundi, were part of two separate film industries, the Pakistani (“Lollywood”) and Punjabi (“Pollywood) industries, respectively. “It’s amazing to be able to explore different film industries. Each of them work so differently,” she says. “Both of those films were only my first two films and I got to learn so much while doing them.”

    After her film acting debut, Norouzi quickly found herself involved in Netflix’s first original series in India called Sacred Games, based on Vikram Chandra’s 2006 novel of the same name. “I remember being one of the last girls to audition for Zoya and Jameela’s role. After I got the role, I discovered they were auditioning girls for over three months for my part and weren’t able to find anyone suitable. By the time I was cast, the shooting for the first season had already started.”

    NYFA alum Elnaaz Norouzi in Netflix poster for ‘Sacred Games’

    “I felt very proud bagging the role, but back then I didn’t expect much because I didn’t know much about Netflix, and no one in India had Netflix yet.” After the series was released, the show became such a success that people began subscribing to Netflix just to watch Sacred Games. “People started recognizing me and calling me Zoya [Norouzi’s character] and I realized how big the show had actually become.”

    The show currently has two seasons available on Netflix and it is likely it will be renewed for a third season. “It may take some time since the original book covered only the first two seasons, so our fabulous writers must write something new for us now.

    Aside from another season of Sacred Games, Norouzi shares she has two films coming up, including a Bollywood film that was delayed in its release due to COVID-19 and a South Indian action film in Tamil. “Lots of people have asked me if Tamil is going to be my eighth language, but that will surely not happen. It was hard enough to learn it for the film, I don’t think I can learn the entire language,” she jokes.

    New York Film Academy would like to thank actress and NYFA alum Elnaaz Norouzi for taking the time to share her experience in the global film industry and looks forward to seeing Elnaaz in her upcoming projects. Sacred Games (Seasons 1 & 2) are currently streaming now on Netflix.

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    June 29, 2020 • Acting, International Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 198

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum and Cinematographer, Arjun Ravi, on Communicating with the Director, Shooting Action Sequences, and the Malayalam Film Industry

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    In pre-production and during a shoot, Arjun Ravi has one of the toughest jobs for a film; communicating a director’s vision to the audience as a cinematographer. Like other DP’s (Director of Photography), he is tasked with giving the audience an accurate portrayal of the director’s ideas, characters, settings, and emotions, which are integral elements for any film. 

    Originally from the state of Kerala in Southern India, Ravi graduated from NYFA’s Los Angeles campus in 2017 after completing a 1-Year Conservatory Program for Cinematography. “NYFA has great exposure to many renowned lecturers and guests from the industry,” he says, “which got me interested to join the course even more.” 

    After graduating, Ravi brought the hands-on skills he learned in his cinematography course back to India with him, where he has gone on to shoot three feature films and is currently in production on another. 

    Official film poster for ‘The Kung Fu Master’

    One of Ravi’s more recent films, The Kung Fu Master (Directed by Abrid Shine) is a vengeful action film shot in Auli, India, where Ravi remembers filming for four months in negative degree temperatures with a short amount of time for shooting in daylight (8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.). The film itself was martial arts heavy, requiring an even more specialized way for Ravi to shoot since he was capturing action sequences. Ravi, who shot the action-packed film with a handheld camera, describes filming each scene for The Kung Fu Master as a “breathtaking” experience.

    “Each scene had to be captured in multiple angles in very few takes, as the actors would get extremely exhausted very quickly due to the lack of oxygen.” In addition to the meticulous detail for shooting the action sequences, Ravi also focused on capturing the environment for the film to convey the director’s tone and sense of place. “A lot of historical places were captured in the film to bring out the beauty of the state [in India] where we were filming.” 

    From the fast-paced action of The Kung Fu Master, Ravi then pivoted to his next project, Vaanku, which was “a completely different style of story compared to The Kung Fu Master.” Ravi worked alongside female director Kavya Prakash to tell a more concentrated, character-driven story about four ambitious young women in a coming-of-age drama. 

    “We shot the feature in 29 days. The lighting felt more sophisticated, yet simple at the same time, which gave the movie the look it needed.” Vaanku, which was originally slated to be released in 2020, has since pushed back its release date due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    All of Ravi’s feature films that he has shot are all considered part of the Malayalam film industry. “Malayalam, to those who may not know, is a language spoken in the southern part of India majority in Kerala, also known as “God’s own country.” Ravi shares that the Malayalam film industry is well known for its scripted films and famous actors, including Mohanlal (Manjil Virinja Pookkal, Rajavinte Makan) and Mammooty (New Delhi). Other well known films that have come from the Malayalam film industry include Kalapani (1996), Manichitrathazu (1993), Killukkum (1991), and many more. 

    As for what’s next for Ravi, he is currently in production on his latest film, Jillampeppere. He also shares that some of the best advice to becoming a great cinematographer is focusing on your lighting, framing, and, most importantly, knowing what the director needs. 

    Arjun Ravi shooting ‘The Kung Fu Master’

    “I listen to the story a few times from the director before we head out for some location scouting.” Ravi notes that there are additional discussions surrounding topics like “the color pattern we would use on the house, for the film as a whole, and the other properties involved with the film.” One of the final parts of Ravi’s process with the director includes making “the shot division [list] according to the dates of the location and the actors, while also taking into account whether there are any action scenes or any kids on the set that day; which means we will need have more time and care.” 

    New York Film Academy would like to congratulate Cinematographer Arjun Ravi on his success in the Malayalam film industry and looks forward to seeing more from the NYFA alum in the coming future.

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  • African Filmmakers and NYFA Alumni Present Feature Film, ‘Air Conditioner,’ in New We Are One Film Festival

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    When Angolan filmmakers Fradique (a.k.a. Mario Bastos) and Hugo Salvaterra, a NYFA Fulbright student, met in high school, little did they know it would be the beginning of a friendship and collaboration that would continue into adulthood, where they would both be studying at the New York Film Academy, and take them to the prestigious We Are One: A Global Film Festival.  Created by the Tribeca Film Festival as a fundraiser for organizations addressing the world’s COVID-19 crisis, We Are One includes selections from top festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, Venice, and Rotterdam.

    Air Conditioner, Fradique’s first fictional feature as writer and director, will premiere on YouTube on Saturday, June 6, 2020, at 11:45 am Eastern. It will then become available on demand for seven days afterwards. Attending the premiere is free, but donations are welcome. 

    Crickett Rumley, NYFA’s Director of Film Festivals, caught up with Fradique and Hugo right before the festival and asked them about their experiences. 

    Fradique on set of ‘Air Conditioner’ (Photo Credit: Cafuxi)


    Rumley:
    Congratulations on this amazing success. Fradique, could you tell us more about Air Conditioner and how it came to be?

    Fradique: This is actually a project that I had started writing a couple of years ago while I was developing what was supposed to be my first fiction film, The Kingdom of Casuarinas. Air Conditioner was kind of a side project that eventually ended up becoming my first fiction film, which for me was a big lesson on how in our line of work these things take many years. Sometimes the next one is not the one you thought it would be. The film was written by me and the director of photography, Ery Claver, who is a very talented filmmaker and someone that sees cinema as I do.

    Air Conditioner is a magic neo-realistic journey through downtown Luanda, Angola, where we follow Matacedo, a security guard of an old building, while he tries to retrieve his boss’s AC in a city where all the AC’s are falling. This is a film about loss, how we live together as society, and a critique of social classes in a city that is past-present-future. My biggest inspiration for this film was my own life experience growing up and living in many different buildings in downtown Luanda and also the idea that these invisible workers that are the heart and soul of our city should be main characters on the stories we watch on the big screen.

    Rumley: What was the most challenging thing about making the film?  What did you learn in the process? 

    Fradique: The film was produced and shot with a very small crew, almost guerrilla-style, so letting go and accepting what surroundings are offering you was my biggest challenge and lesson. Usually in all my projects, I try to be as meticulous as I can regarding the script, storyboard, and shooting plan, but with this film we wanted to work not only with non-actors, but also with the real location where the story takes place, the building. In the end, the film resulted from creative acts derived from a deep structure. It privileges character and location over traditional narrative. The improvisation in this project was not simply a free flow of expression, but a rigorous and disciplined act of playing from a given structure at its core. I believe that this mixture was essential to bring some raw and poetic experiences to the screen while pushing at the same time stronger performances from the cast. 

    Film poster for ‘Air Conditioner’

     

    Rumley: The film premiered at Rotterdam, which is an amazing place to launch. What was that experience like?

    Fradique: Yes, the film had its World Premiere at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in the section of ‘Bright Future Main Program’ in 2020. For me, it was an honor to have the first festival screening at IFFR. It was my second time over there and I love and stand for everything that the festival believes. A lot of filmmakers that inspire me have been at IFFR; it’s a great home for the global south cinema. The feedback after the screenings exceeded my expectations, which were very low because I was very tired after a year of working on the film. We had five screenings and they were all sold out before the festival even started. The audience in Rotterdam are very generous and authentic cinephiles.  We had great reviews at The Hollywood Reporter, The Guardian, and other local newspapers. The original soundtrack, which was composed by Aline Frazão for the film, was one of the elements that reviewers and the audiences mention a lot. She did an incredible job, and I believe the music in the film brought to the surface the soul of the main character, Matacedo, as well the city of Luanda.  

    Rumley: Fradique and Hugo, what are you each looking forward to with the film’s screening at We Are One

    Fradique: How this festival was put together still amazes me. We Are One offers a global audience easy access to great films and conversations about filmmaking. It’s free, yet it’s also open to donations to fight against Covid-19. For me as a filmmaker in the current crisis that was an important criterion to join this initiative because it has bigger concerns than defending a particular festival or film. It shows how important it is to work and act collectively. We are all still learning and trying to figure out what the future of independent cinema and festivals will be, but it’s important to try new formats and be open. I hope at the festival Air Conditioner reaches audiences that probably were not going to watch this film or simply give someone who is at home a small pleasant journey to Luanda, Angola.

    Hugo: Personally, I’m mostly proud of the company’s achievement, amazed at the scale and sheer diversity of the festival. After attending many festivals like Tribeca, LA and NY film festivals or even the Venice Biennale, this feels like the most diverse and representative curatorship I’ve seen thus far. It truly represents cinema and independent cinema as a planetary global experience. It also gives me added hope that the usually non-English, non-western filmmaking voices can also be heard on a global scale for a more democratic and inclusive future for all independent filmmakers.

    Filming ‘Air Conditioner’ (Photo Credit: Cafuxi)

    Rumley: Let’s backtrack for a minute to the beginnings of your collaboration. How did you meet and start working together? Was it attending NYFA, or back at home? 

    Fradique: I met Hugo while I was still in high school here in Angola. Afterwards we went to study abroad. He went to Europe, and I went to the US in 2004 where I did NYFA’s 1-Year Filmmaking program and also a BFA at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. Once I got back to Angola in 2010, I started a production company called Geração 80, with Jorge Cohen and Tchiloia Lara. Hugo was one of the first artists to come on board at Geração 80. Our production company will celebrate 10 years this year. 

    Hugo: I met Fradique in the cocoon of our high school here in Luanda, Angola, in our youth. If my memory doesn’t fail me, I think I formed a kinship with him when I was still in university in Lisbon making music on the side. He showed some interest in shooting a video for a small EP I had made in my bedroom, something I never expected, and it meant a lot at the time. Our connection really took off when I joined Geração 80. I did my first job for the company while I was living in London in the end of 2011 then joined in early 2012, way before NYFA. I was still an aspiring filmmaker, writing film reviews and working mostly with photography. A memorable day is when I first made it into his bedroom, shortly after arriving from London. Large sections of his DVD film collection mirrored mine. That’s when I realized that more than a friend, I had found a brother through our shared passion for film.

    Rumley: Hugo, what was your position on ‘Air Conditioner?’ 

    Hugo: I was fresh from returning to Angola post-NYFA and figuring out how to promote my film “1999” here in Luanda. In an independent production company, a lot of sacrifices have to be made in order to make things happen. So I was focused on the commercial end of the company making sure that my colleagues could enjoy the freedom and necessary focus to produce and shoot the film.

    On set of ‘Air Conditioner’ (Photo Credit: Cafuxi)

    Rumley: Your production company sounds really interesting. Can you describe it, how you work, what you do, how you started it? 

    Fradique: We will celebrate a decade next month. We started only with three people, and today we are a group of eighteen professionals working in the audiovisual industry in Angola. At the beginning the goal was to just make cinema, but soon we realized that we had to do other work to survive. In Angola there’s no film funds or initiatives, so being able to put together a production company that does not only cinema, but commercial and corporate work gave us the resources to be able to build a great team and acquire top equipment to make us more independent. Over the last ten years, we produced one feature fiction film, four feature-length documentaries, six short films and worked on a couple of international co-productions. When it comes to producing our films, we work very much like a collective. Everyone works on each other’s projects, and we only finish a film when it reaches an audience. We don’t make films to be put into drawers, we believe independent/author cinema should meet bigger audiences as well. We are tired of seeing our film theaters only with Hollywood films. We want not only more Angolan cinema in our theaters, but also African cinema. 

    Hugo: For me the real beauty of being part of this collective is also that, all of us, despite our differences, are committed to the power of movies, storytelling and all its magical elements. Our aim is to make movies, not products, which is increasingly more difficult in a time where everything is commodified either through likes or commerce. Making movies for us is not a job, it’s a way of living. We are in essence not in the movie business, but in the business of making movies. It’s our passion and desire to make films that informs the process and the how and that to me is special.

    Rumley: How do you think your education at NYFA and the work you did here prepared you for a career in filmmaking?   

    Fradique: NYFA gave me the foundation of what it means to be an independent filmmaker. Learning how to work collectively on other classmates’ projects and at the same time experience different positions on the set was fundamental for me to be able not only to fully understand the craft and the importance of every person on set, but also l to later on have the resources to open up a production company in my home country. On top of all that, I did my one year program almost entirely on film. We only did one main digital project with a MINI DV, no REDs at the time. Everything else was in 16mm, and each gave me more confidence as a director in the beginning of my career.

    Hugo: I was already in my early 30s when I made it into NYFA, so I almost missed the window to becoming a filmmaker. I’m very grateful for the two years spent there, particularly in New York, where I was able to find the confidence and tools not only to learn what filmmaking is, but also find my artistic voice. Los Angeles was different but essential in learning a more formal, business-oriented way of producing films. There, I focused more on how to write a feature within a more conventional three-act structure and developed technically on set, playing with the vocabulary of film in a way that made me a much stronger filmmaker.

    Filming ‘Air Conditioner’ (Photo Credit: Cafuxi)

    Rumley: Do you have any special shout-outs to faculty or staff who really helped or inspired you? 

    Fradique: I have great memories of teachers like Tassos Rigopoulos and Claude Kerven. Together with my fellow classmates, they represent the best first lessons I had about filmmaking. 

    Hugo: Brad Sample’s capacity to analyze, deconstruct and mentor, Ben Cohen’s humor, intellect and love of film history, Rae Shaw’s production acumen stand out. Sanora Bartels, Greg Marcks, and Robert Taylor for teaching me the science of script writing. There are others I’m sure, but those stand out.

    Rumley: What advice do you have for recent graduates making their way in to the professional world

    Fradique: As it became easier to have the resources to make films, also it seems more difficult with so many options to follow or trying to keep up with all the trends and gadgets. My advice would be don’t get stuck on the gear, to spend more time and make meaningful connections and partnerships with the people you work with. Watch a lot of films and think collectively, that’s the root of filmmaking. Surround yourself with people that are different from you but have the same passions, values towards art and don’t forget the best stories are found at home, wherever that might be.

    Hugo: Filmmaking is a mansion with many rooms and it’s very easy to get lost wandering in it, figure out what your strengths are and sink into what and who you are. By that I mean, what do you bring to a story, a set, a crew, a production company? What are you making films for? If you’re able to answer that, regardless of success or failure, you will find the nourishment you need to carry on. 

    Cast and Crew of ‘Air Conditioner’ including NYFA Alumni Fradique and Hugo Salvaterra (Photo Credit: Cafuxi)

    Rumley: These are trying times in the world today, and art matters more than ever.  Do you want to share any words about the importance of film in the lives of humans living right now?  The role of Angolan film in world cinema? 

    Fradique: The world we have today is the result of the same and single story being told for centuries. We need more diversity behind the cameras and in what see on the screen.  We need to remember that culture, art, is not mere entertainment or something to disconnect us from our daily life online.  Be aware not only of your country’s borders, but your social and society borders as well. Cinema is more than a mirror; it is art and memory with all the senses, feelings and its lapses. Let’s take care of our memories.

    Hugo: At its core, film is still the only art form that explores what it means to be human. It’s not the imitation of life, it is the imagination of everything life could be. In a time when the very existence of organized human life is at stake, we have to make sure, now more than ever, that the films we’re making get to the core of that exploration. There is a war raging that isn’t new, one that is fought between commerce and the full potential of film as an art form. It’s an age-old battle, where there will always be those who will try to define films as a monolith, by creating markets and monopolies where the overarching definition and structure of a film is the same and where its success is only measured by if it won anything in a festival or how much money it made vs. the whole history of the art form, where the writers, directors and producers made a film because they wanted to birth something that was urgent, as a way of life, as means of catharsis, beyond conventions of class or structure. Filmmakers have made the history, inside big studios or the smallest of spaces, with the biggest crews and the most skeletal ones, by understanding and studying film history and the art form.  Angola is a young country and is showing potential to create both types of films, both profit-driven ones and ones that channel and respect the history of film as an art form. We champion the latter.

    Rumley: Anything else that you would like to say to the NYFA community?

    Fradique: Be safe and be informed. If you have the chance, watch Air Conditioner at We Are One: A Global Film Festival starting June 6th.

    Hugo: Please watch Air Conditioner here: https://youtu.be/cfEWfx9RMLQ and donate if you can. Every dollar counts.  

    Rumley: Congratulations! We wish you the best with your We Are One screening and in all your endeavors. Keep making art; keep telling your stories. They matter.

    New York Film Academy would like to thank Fradique and Hugo Salvaterra for taking the time to speak about their new film, Air Conditioner, and congratulates them on the premiere of their film at the We Are One Film Festival.

    UPDATE June 19, 2020: Fresh off their screening with the We Are One Global Film Festival, Fradique and members of his crew and production company, Geração 80, will join Crickett Rumley, NYFA’s Director of Film Festivals, for a discussion of their film Air Conditioner on June 25, 2020. To register, click here.

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  • African Black American Film Society Kicks Off 2020

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    On Thursday, February 13, the African Black American Film Society kicked off their first meeting of the year by setting the initiative of the club in motion as several New York Film Academy (NYFA) students as well as alumni from various departments gathered to discuss the way forward. 

    ABA Club Feb 2020

    Members showed a keen interest in organizing and hosting events that would build morale, as well as establish and solidify relations amongst individuals. During the event, new members also had the pleasure of meeting the ABA advisor, NYFA Producing instructor Kim Ogletree. 

    Ogletree spoke about the Industry Lab and how it is beneficial in assisting creatives in developing their projects. The club has a lot in store for current and potential members this year in terms of numerous networking and collaborative opportunities that will benefit students in their respective fields.

    Four days later, on February 17, the ABA hosted an African Heritage Day presentation and screening. ABA members Lethabo Mokgatle and Thembelihle Nkosi provided a presentation about South Africa and some of the things that make their home country special to them. They screened Sarafina!, the 1992 South African musical film about the 1976 Soweto uprising against apartheid that stars Whoopi Goldberg. 

    Before the screening, all the attendees got into an engaging discussion about both South African and African American history, violence, injustice, and how there are so many similarities between the two. At the end of the screening, not only were people exposed to a new movie they’d never seen before, but had learned from each other’s experiences. 

    Though the attendees came from different geographical locations around the world, this did not limit the ABA meeting as everyone was able to connect, respect, listen and engage with others’ points of view and grow our overall understanding.

    Written by ABA members Thembelihle Nkosi and Rhema Boston

     

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  • New York Film Academy Cinematography Alum Shoots Awkwafina’s Award-Winning Film ‘The Farewell’

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    The Farewell Qianying Zhou & Anna Franquesa-Solano

    NYFA Alumni Qianying Zhou & Anna Franquesa-Solano

    The Farewell, the multiple award-winning drama-comedy film starring Awkwafina, was shot by director of photography and New York Film Academy Cinematography alum Anna Franquesa-Solano, with BFA Filmmaking alum Qianying Zhou working as 1st Assistant Camera.

    Both Solano and Zhou started their journeys from outside the United States. Solano originally hails from Spain and attended the 1-Year Cinematography conservatory at NYFA’s New York campus in 2010. Zhou, who enrolled in the 1-Year Filmmaking conservatory at NYFA’s New York campus in 2010 before continuing her studies in the BFA Filmmaking program at NYFA-Los Angeles, is from China.

    I believe in order to grow, you have to step out of your comfort zone,” Franquesa-Solano tells NYFA. “My first big leap was moving to New York without even speaking English in order to study cinematography. A few years later I challenged myself again by shooting The Farewell, a demanding project that came with a lot of responsibility. These two have been so far some of the most important decisions of my career.”

    The Farewell Anna Franquesa-Solano

    NYFA Cinematography Alum Anna Franquesa-Solano

    These decisions have paid off, both for Franquesa-Solano and for the beautifully-shot film. The Farewell was a Grand Jury Prize nominee at Sundance before earning numerous nominations and awards, including nominations for Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes and BAFTA Awards and, most recently, winning top prize at the Independent Spirit Awards for Best Feature.

    The Farewell tells the story of a Chinese family who decide not to tell their grandmother she is dying, scheduling a wedding to bring the family together before she dies. The film was written and directed by Lulu Wang and stars Awkwafina, the Queens-born rapper, comedian, producer, writer, and actress who has steadily risen in fame since appearing in films like Ocean’s 8 and Crazy Rich Asians. Her dramatic talent in the film earned her numerous nominations and awards as well, including a Golden Globe win for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

    New York Film Academy congratulates 1-Year Cinematography alum Anna Franquesa-Solano and BFA Filmmaking alum Qianying Zhou on the success of The Farewell and looks forward to following their blossoming careers!

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  • ‘Parasite’ Leads Record-Breaking Night at the 92nd Academy Awards

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    The 2020 Awards Season culminated with a groundbreaking Best Picture win for South Korean film Parasite at the 92nd Academy Awards on Sunday, February 9. The win for the critically-acclaimed film by Bong Joon Ho was the first time in Academy history that a foreign language film took home the top prize.

    The film also won Best International Feature Film, as well as Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for Bong, who shared the latter with Jin Won Han. The multiple wins for Bong follows years of critical acclaim for previous efforts including Snowpiercer and Okja.

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism alum Federica Polidoro was able to interview Bong Joon Ho right after last year’s Cannes Film Festival, where Parasite won the Palme d’Or. The interview was an Italian video exclusive and released on Il Sole 24 Ore.

    Parasite wasn’t the only win for diversity at the Academy Awards. With Hair Love winning Best Animated Short, producer Karen Rupert Toliver became the first black woman to win an Oscar in an animation category. Jojo Rabbit director Taika Waititi was the first indigenous person to be nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, and when he won, became the first person of Maori descent to win an Oscar.

    Other notable news from this year’s ceremony includes the announcement of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which will open its door in December of this year. Netflix also celebrated on Sunday, with Laura Dern’s Oscar win giving the streaming giant its first Academy Award in any acting category. Dern won for Netflix’s Marriage Story, co-starring previous NYFA guest speaker Adam Driver.

    At this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, the NYFA community celebrated a win as well, after seeing several alumni, faculty, and guest speakers involved with Oscar nominees across many categories. Toy Story 4, co-starring previous NYFA guest speaker Tony Hale, brought Pixar another trophy for Best Animated Feature.

    New York Film Academy congratulates all the winners at this year’s Academy Awards, and looks forward to seeing even more international diversity included in the future!

    Here is a full list of the 2020 Oscars nominees:

    Best Picture
    Ford v Ferrari
    The Irishman
    Jojo Rabbit
    Joker
    Little Women
    Marriage Story
    1917
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
    Parasite – WINNER

    Lead Actor
    Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
    Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
    Adam Driver, Marriage Story
    Joaquin Phoenix, Joker – WINNER
    Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

    Lead Actress
    Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
    Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
    Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
    Charlize Theron, Bombshell
    Renee Zellweger, Judy – WINNER

    Supporting Actor
    Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
    Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
    Al Pacino, The Irishman
    Joe Pesci, The Irishman
    Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – WINNER

    Supporting Actress
    Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
    Laura Dern, Marriage Story – WINNER
    Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
    Florence Pugh, Little Women
    Margot Robbie, Bombshell

    Director
    Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
    Todd Phillips, Joker
    Sam Mendes, 1917
    Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
    Bong Joon Ho, Parasite – Winner

    Animated Feature
    How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Dean DeBlois
    I Lost My Body, Jeremy Clapin
    Klaus, Sergio Pablos
    Missing Link, Chris Butler
    Toy Story 4,  Josh Cooley – WINNER

    Animated Short
    Dcera, Daria Kashcheeva
    Hair Love, Matthew A. Cherry – WINNER
    Kitbull, Rosana Sullivan
    Memorable, Bruno Collet
    Sister, Siqi Song

    Adapted Screenplay
    The Irishman, Steven Zaillian
    Jojo Rabbit, Taika Waititi – WINNER
    Joker, Todd Phillips, Scott Silver
    Little Women, Greta Gerwig
    The Two Popes, Anthony McCarten

    Original Screenplay
    Knives Out, Rian Johnson
    Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach
    1917, Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino
    Parasite, Bong Joon-ho, Jin Won Han – WINNER

    Cinematography
    The Irishman, Rodrigo Prieto
    Joker, Lawrence Sher
    The Lighthouse, Jarin Blaschke
    1917, Roger Deakins – WINNER
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Robert Richardson

    Best Documentary Feature
    American Factory, Julia Rieichert, Steven Bognar – WINNER
    The Cave, Feras Fayyad
    The Edge of Democracy, Petra Costa
    For Sama, Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
    Honeyland, Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov

    Best Documentary Short Subject
    In the Absence, Yi Seung-Jun and Gary Byung-Seok Kam
    Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone, Carol Dysinger – WINNER
    Life Overtakes Me, Kristine Samuelson and John Haptas
    St. Louis Superman, Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan
    Walk Run Cha-Cha, Laura Nix

    Best Live Action Short Film
    Brotherhood, Meryam Joobeur
    Nefta Football Club, Yves Piat
    The Neighbors’ Window, Marshall Curry – WINNER
    Saria, Bryan Buckley
    A Sister, Delphine Girard

    Best International Feature Film
    Corpus Christi, Jan Komasa
    Honeyland, Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov
    Les Miserables, Ladj Ly
    Pain and Glory, Pedro Almodovar
    Parasite, Bong Joon Ho – WINNER

    Film Editing
    Ford v Ferrari, Michael McCusker, Andrew Buckland – WINNER
    The Irishman, Thelma Schoonmaker
    Jojo Rabbit, Tom Eagles
    Joker, Jeff Groth
    Parasite, Jinmo Yang

    Sound Editing
    Ford v Ferrari, Don Sylvester – WINNER
    Joker, Alan Robert Murray
    1917, Oliver Tarney, Rachel Tate
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Wylie Stateman
    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Matthew Wood, David Acord

    Sound Mixing
    Ad Astra
    Ford v Ferrari
    Joker
    1917 – WINNER
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Production Design
    The Irishman, Bob Shaw and Regina Graves
    Jojo Rabbit, Ra Vincent and Nora Sopkova
    1917, Dennis Gassner and Lee Sandales
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Barbara Ling and Nancy Haigh – WINNER
    Parasite, Lee Ha-Jun and Cho Won Woo, Han Ga Ram, and Cho Hee

    Original Score
    Joker, Hildur Guðnadóttir – WINNER
    Little Women, Alexandre Desplat
    Marriage Story, Randy Newman
    1917, Thomas Newman
    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, John Williams

    Original Song
    “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” Toy Story 4
    “I’m Gonna Love Me Again,” Rocketman – WINNER
    “I’m Standing With You,” Breakthrough
    “Into the Unknown,” Frozen 2
    “Stand Up,” Harriet

    Makeup and Hair
    Bombshell – WINNER
    Joker
    Judy
    Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
    1917

    Costume Design
    The Irishman, Sandy Powell, Christopher Peterson
    Jojo Rabbit, Mayes C. Rubeo
    Joker, Mark Bridges
    Little Women, Jacqueline Durran – WINNER
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Arianne Phillips

    Visual Effects
    Avengers: Endgame
    The Irishman
    1917 – WINNER
    The Lion King
    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    bong joon ho oscars

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    February 10, 2020 • Entertainment News, International Diversity • Views: 1272

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Hosts Chinese Lunar New Year Dinner

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    On January 28, New York Film Academy’s New York campus, located in downtown Manhattan across the street from Battery Park, hosted a dinner party to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year—the Year of the Rat—in the student lounge.

    More than fifty students from across the globe joined the dinner to taste a variety of traditional Chinese dishes and celebrate the Year of the Rat together. Additionally, several representatives from New York Film Academy recently celebrated the Lunar New Year at the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in New York.

    New York Film Academy wishes everyone a warm and happy Lunar New Year!

    Check out the photos below from our successful Chinese Lunar New Year celebration:

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    January 31, 2020 • China, Community Highlights, International Diversity, Student Life • Views: 824

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Invited to 2020 Lunar New Year Reception Celebrating Year of the Rat

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    On the evening of January 23, New York Film Academy’s Principal Jean Sherlock, President and CEO Michael Young, and Greater China Region Vice President Joy Zhu attended the 2020 Lunar New Year Reception to celebrate the Year of the Rat at the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in New York. Consul General Huang Ping and his wife Zhang Aiping hosted the event and welcomed more than 300 guests from various institutions and industries. 

    Decorated with an array of lanterns and streamers, the reception was held an atmosphere of joy, peace, and harmony. Huang Ping gave an impassioned speech, sending holiday greetings and best wishes to guests, the vast number of overseas Chinese in the eastern United States, international students, and personnel of Chinese enterprises.

    At the reception, a theatre group from the High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China put on a wonderful dance. Young artist Baicheng Wu gave performances including the singing of Auld Lang Syne, pianist Haochen Zhang performed one of Claude Debussy’s Préludes and other classical songs. Guests exchanged greetings and conversed with each other in a warm and friendly atmosphere.

    Around 8:15 p.m., the highly anticipated Lunar New Year fireworks show started. The Manhattan night sky shined with colorful, majestic fireworks. The consulate hall was full of cheers and happiness. The background music for the fireworks show included traditional Chinese songs that reflect the Silk Road spirit and Dunhuang culture. Large crowds watched the show from both sides of the Hudson River.

    New York Film Academy wishes everyone a warm and happy Lunar New Year!

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    January 24, 2020 • China, International Diversity • Views: 1060

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Welcomes MultiChoice Talent Factory Scholar-Filmmakers

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    New York Film Academy started off the New Year by welcoming two esteemed MultiChoice Talent Factory full scholarship winners to our hands-on, intensive 8-Week Filmmaking workshop in New York City. These winners were chosen as the top of their class at the Multichoice Talent Factory in their respective countries.

    MultiChoice Talent Factory

    Jim Miller, Mainala Silondwa, Hillary “Hillax” Lanogwa, Blake Babbitt

    The Multichoice Talent Factory is MultiChoice Africa’s flagship Corporate Social Value (CSV) initiative. It is a 12-month training program distinctly designed to train the next generation of African film and TV creatives in partnership with stakeholders across the continent and globe—including New York Film Academy. 

    The scholarship winners are Mainala Silondwa from Zambia and Hillary “Hillax” Lanogwa from Kenya. Silondwa is an emerging film director who was a production manager for the final-year MTF student film, The Painting and casting assistant, production manager and offline editor for Savannah Skies; Lanogwa is a cinematographer who was the camera operator for MTF student films Ensulo and Promises.

    “The entire New York Film Academy Filmmaking Department’s team considers it a huge honor to welcome both Mainala and Hillary,” declares NYFA instructor and Chair of Short-Term Programs, Jonathan Whittaker, “two high-caliber filmmakers who bring so much raw talent and passion into the classroom and on set, to NYFA 

    MultiChoice Talent Factory

    Blake Babbitt, Mainala Silondwa, Hillary “Hillax” Lanogwa, Jim Miller

    “These scholarships present not only the opportunity to hone Mainala’s and Hillary’s skillsets but also to positively impact their respective domestic film markets. The time-tested techniques and protocols they will learn from their Hollywood and New York experienced instructors will give them a leg up on the competition back at home. We have no doubt that after proving themselves yet again in our programs both Hillary and Mainala will go on to have enduring and successful careers in the industry.”

     written by Blake Babbitt, NYFA Associate Director of Outreach

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Li Cheng’s ‘José’ Gets National Release After Winning Queer Lion Award at Venice Film Festival

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    It’s becoming more and more common for New York Film Academy (NYFA) alumni to win major festival prizes, so it wasn’t any surprise when news broke out that Filmmaking grad Li Cheng won the 2018 Queer Lion Award at the 75th Venice Film Festival, one of the world’s most prominent cinema competitions; his film José is now the first Central American film to do so. Following the prestigious award as well as premieres in 50 countries and 100 festival cities worldwide, José now has a national USA theatre release, starting in a dozen major markets, with Cheng personally be presenting the film and speaking with audiences during each of the first three days for both the New York and Los Angeles screenings.

    Li Cheng Jose

    NYFA alum LI Cheng on set of Jośe, Courtesy of YQstudio LLC

    In 2008, Cheng attended the 4-Week Filmmaking workshop at our New York campus. “My NYFA experience was wonderful,” Cheng tells NYFA, “and key to getting started right: hands-on, quickly, low-cost/high-value, with passionate film professionals, and meeting and working together with creative, energetic, inspiring faculty, staff, and student-cohorts from day one. I couldn’t have asked for more, or a better kickstart to my career in film.”

    Cheng used that kickstart to his full advantage. His feature film José is a nuanced look at the challenges and joys of gay life in Central America. The Spanish-language, English-subtitled film follows star José (Enrique Salanic), who lives at home with his mother (Ana Cecilia Mota), who makes ends meet by selling sandwiches at bus stops and who is not ready to let go of her youngest child. But when he meets Luis (Manolo Herrera), José is pushed to break down his own boundaries and take a leap of faith with this new relationship. 

    José was written and produced by Cheng, along with George F. Roberson, and was shot in Guatemala with a non-industry artist and academic crew, making it the first major LGBTQIA+ film to come from the nation. Outsider Pictures is the film’s North American distributor and world sales, while international festival sales are handled by Rediance (of Paris and Beijing).

    Li Cheng Jose

    The powerful film has resonated with audiences. Winning the Queer Lion is an incredible achievement; the Queer Lion Award is the trophy awarded, starting in 2007, to the “Best Movie with LGBT Themes & Queer Culture” among those presented during the Venice International Film Festival. Previous winners include Tom Ford’s A Single Man and Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl. José has also won Best Film at the Boston LGBT Film Festival and was cited for its “confident visual sense…a sensitive portrait [with a] depth of feeling” by The Hollywood Reporter.

    The film will screen at the Quad Cinema in New York City from Friday, January 31 – Sunday, February 2. Tickets are available here. Other screenings for José, including at the Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles on February 7, can be found here. Q&A sessions between the audiences and Cheng will follow screenings each of the first three days for both the New York and Los Angeles releases.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Li Cheng on winning the Venice Film Festival’s Queer Lion award and looks forward to following his career as a filmmaker!

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