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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Workshops at the Bilbao Bizkaia Design Week 

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) was honored to be included in the Bilbao Bizkaia Design Week earlier this month, held in the idyllic city of Bilbao, Spain. 

    Bilbao Bizkaia Blake Babbitt Featured
    Blake Babbitt, NYFA’s Associate Director for Recruitment, delivered a masterclass to creative Spanish students in which he outlined tools aspiring filmmakers need to have in their proverbial backpacks. The demonstration proceeded to show the delighted audience how to use these elements in their filmmaking and storytelling projects.

    The event was hosted in the magnificent Ensanche Building in the city center of Bilbao and sponsored by EIKEN – Basque Audiovisual & Digital Content and Five Lands (International Education), an official recruiting agency of NYFA.

    Bilbao Bizkaia Blake Babbitt Featured
    Babbitt’s stay in Bilbao included a visit to Ayalde School to deliver a second masterclass on visual storytelling to students coming from different educative centers in the area. The event was hosted by COAS and allowed youngsters with ages ranging from 15 to 18 to learn how to convey a story from paper to on screen.

    “Maybe there was a future storyteller in the audience,” states David Morera, CEO/President of Five Lands. “Who knows? If not, there were several students eager to enjoy a good story. At the very end, that’s one of the things that make us human.”

    Bilbao Bizkaia Blake Babbitt Featured

    (from L to R): David Morera (Five Lands), Fernando García (COAS), Blake Babbitt (NYFA) and Óscar Salazar (Five Lands)

    New York Film Academy is grateful to Five Lands International Education, COAS,a and EIKEN – Basque Audiovisual & Digital Content for hosting these events, and we look forward to returning to Bilbao in the near future!

    The live stream of NYFA’s Bilbao masterclass event is available here:

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    November 26, 2019 • Film School, International Diversity • Views: 629

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Acting for Film Alum Vicente Almuna’s ‘Sepia’ Generating Lots of Buzz

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    Sepia, a film written, directed, and starring New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Acting for Film alum Vicente Almuna, has been generating a ton of buzz since entering the festival circuit.

    Vicente Almuna

    NYFA alum Vicente Almuna

    Almuna originally hails from Chile and enrolled in the MFA in Acting for Film program at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus in 2016. While studying at NYFA-Los Angeles, Almuna learned skills not just in acting but behind the camera as well.

    He put those skills to work with Sepia, which he scripted and directed as well as starred in. The film tells the story of a man rejected from reentering his country of residence after visiting his country of origin. Due to being a former immigrant, he is prohibited from coming back to the place where he has built his life and relationships. Separated from his wife, he decides to undertake a journey by foot across the desert in order to be reunited with his love.

    Trailer Sepia from Vicente Almuna Morales on Vimeo

    “I believe we are going through very fervent times where a lot of meaningful events are occurring all over the world,” Almuna tells NYFA. “The violence and hate that humankind is experiencing nowadays, with fanatic nationalism rising in different parts of the globe; the terror of a next world war; the disputes between races and the immigration banning; or the desire of some countries to lock themselves hermetically from the rest of the world and people.

    “There is too much to be concerned about and I am not going to be just a simple witness of all that is going on around me,” he continues. “This is why I want to discuss about this, to talk about all this. To make a choice from an individual that has been living through this and has a perspective and something to say. I want to talk about my world and I want to create worlds about my world and contribute to make awareness and step by step, build a better place.”

    The film, co-directed by Luis Sánchez and produced by Sommer Saqr, has struck a nerve with festival audiences. Sepia has picked up awards for Best First-Time Director (Independent Short Awards), Best Actor (Independent Short Awards), and Best Cinematography (El Paso Film Festival), and has been nominated for Best First-Time Director (Queen Palm International Film Festival), Best Actor (Queen Palm International Film Festival), Best Dramatic Short (StoryMode Short Film Awards), Best Original Story (StoryMode Short Film Awards), Best Actor (StoryMode Short Film Awards), Audience Award (StoryMode Short Film Awards), and Best International Short (South Texas International Film Festival). Additionally, Sepia has screened at numerous other festivals.

    “NYFA taught me the primordial concepts and training to proceed on my own creative writing adventure,” Almuna describes when asked about his experiences studying at the Academy. “I understood the concept of try, fail, redo, try again. I understood the ideas of drafts, having my last script version after sixteen drafts. And I could keep on changing and modifying it eternally. I think every real and true artistic process never meets an end, it never reaches perfection. We could infinitely try to make it better.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Acting for Film alum Vicente Almuna on the success of Sepia and looks forward to following his career as it grows!

    Vicente Almuna

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) President Michael Young Tours Taiwan Art Institutes

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    Michael Young, president of New York Film Academy (NYFA), and Dr. Joy Zhu, NYFA Executive Vice President for the China Region, recently visited various art institutions across Taiwan over the course of eight days. The tour included multiple cities and meetings with several important officials.

    Taiwan 2019 Michael Young

    In the capital of Taipei, the NYFA representatives met with Taiwan’s Screenwriting Association and had a Q&A section. This meeting culminated in the preparation of a 15-Week Online Screenwriting workshop.

    On October 25, the opening ceremony of the 2019 Hsinchu Chuang International Cultural Season invited to serve as VIPs. The cultural event is hosted by Hsinchu Chuang University, and includes lectures and exhibitions on international education. Michael Young and Joy Zhu also had the chance to have an extended conversation with Hsinchu Chuang University President Jian Shaoqi.

    Following their visit to Hsinchu Chuang University, the NYFA representatives visited the National Taiwan University of Arts (NTUA), celebrating its 64th anniversary. NTUA is a top national school that have many famous alumni, including Oscar-winning director Ang Lee. Young had a great, in-depth conversation with the NTUA president, where he shared stories about time he spent in Taiwan as a young child, which was well-received by an audience of over 1500. Also discussed was the potential cooperation between the two schools in the future.

    Taiwan 2019 Michael Young

    Young and Zhu then arrived in Shenzhen and met with the Governor of Guangming District and Director of Dapeng District, as well as Shenzhen University’s President and the Dean of their art school, where cooperation between the two schools was also discussed. The NYFA representatives also had the chance to speak with students and their parents and had a wonderful time hearing their input about art education.

    Finally, the visit culminated with a trip to Zhuhai, where Young and Zhu met with the Deputy Mayor of Education, Public Health, and Tourism. The meeting in Zhuhai, like the visits across the rest of Taiwan, were very positive indeed, and bodes well for NYFA’s cooperation with the art institutes around the island.

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    November 6, 2019 • China, Film School, International Diversity, Screenwriting • Views: 791

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alumni Meet Up in Indonesia

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    This week, four alumni from New York Film Academy (NYFA) met up for lunch in Jakarta, Indonesia.

    Three alumni studied at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus: Khairan Aldhy Mardhi, Melarissa Sjarief, and Brigitte Lee. Devina Sofiyanti, who rounded out the group, studies in New York.

    Indonesia Alumni Dinner

    Khairan Aldhy Mardhi attended a short-term workshop this year, while Devina Sofiyanti and Brigitte Lee enrolled in conservatories in 2016 and 2012, respectively. Melarissa Sjarief earned their MFA in 2018.

    Over lunch, the alumni got to know each other and talk about what they’ve been up to since graduating. Sofiyanti shared the good news that their project was selected at Fly Film Lab Busan.

    Indonesia Alumni Dinner

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    September 19, 2019 • International Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 552

  • Representatives from the Chinese Consulate General in New York Visits New York Film Academy (NYFA)

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    On July 31, Counsellor Jun Yang and Consul Wenhua Wang from the education section of the Chinese Consulate General in New York visited New York Film Academy (NYFA).

    Chinese Consulate General Visit

    During their visit, the esteemed officials first took a look around the New York campus of New York Film Academy, located at Battery Park with breathtaking views of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty. After their tour, Counsellor Jun Yang and Consul Wenhua Wang exchanged ideas with NYFA President, Michael Young; Executive Vice President for the China Region, Dr. Joy Zhu; and Principal and Owner, Jean Sherlock. By the end of the day, they had come away with a better understanding of NYFA. A week earlier, senior members of New York Film Academy visited the Chinese Consulate General.

    The Chinese Consulate General in New York has highly praised New York Film Academy for the achievement it has made in terms of film and TV art education, and has thanked the institution for its outstanding contribution to cultural and artistic communication between China and America.

    There was an in-depth discussion on educational communication and cooperation between China and the United States as well as development of international art education. Counsellor Jun Yang shared some advanced experience from schools on educational cooperation between China and America and made many valuable suggestions for further cooperation and international art education development for New York Film Academy.

    Chinese Consulate General Visit

    The visit of Counsellor Jun Yang and Consul Wenhua Wang has encouraged Chinese students at New York Film Academy and is an affirmation of what NYFA has done for film and TV art education.

    New York Film Academy thanks Counsellor Jun Yang and Consul Wenhua Wang from the Chinese Consulate General in New York for taking the time to see our campus and share their ideas on education.

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    August 16, 2019 • China, Film School, International Diversity • Views: 897

  • Pakistan Visiting Counselors Tour & Workshop Hosted by New York Film Academy (NYFA) 

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    For a third year in a row, New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) was delighted to welcome a group of more than 20 Pakistani high school counselors and Pakistani students for a day visit to NYFA’s New York City campus, located in the Manhattan’s historic Financial District. The guests, led by Umair Khan, Director, EdPrograms, were touring various colleges and universities, including Columbia, Harvard, MIT, NYFA, and other top accredited East Coast higher education institutions. 

    The day began with a welcome by NYFA’s Senior Executive Vice President, David Klein, who delivered a wonderful short lecture on the impact and fundamentals of storytelling.

    Pakistan Visit 2019

    Lizzie Sack, Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives, provided a tour of the campus and an information session about NYFA’s programs and locations. Underscoring that session was the announcement that NYFA was recently granted status to confer degrees at the NYFA NYC campus; previously only NYFA’s Los Angeles (Burbank) and Miami (South Beach) campuses were offering college degree programs.

    The highlight of the day was a very special filmmaking workshop: The Director & The Actor: Collaboration and Process, instructed by NYFA senior instructor, Paul Warner. Warner’s numerous credits include major film, theater, and dance works.

    Pakistan Visit 2019

    Sarah Usmani, Head of Counseling, Nixor College in Pakistan, reflected, “A morning of magic—NYFA offered a journey into the intricacies of the film world and industry. From production and direction, to the minute details of psychology of acting and storytelling, the New York Film Academy’s renowned figures in the field welcomed high school students from Pakistan with passion and warmth, alongside precise technique only available in this reputable institution in the hub of New York City.”

    New York Film Academy has been honored to be the host institution to many talented Pakistani students who have returned to Pakistan and are now part of the country’s creative industries.

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    August 5, 2019 • Film School, International Diversity • Views: 1549

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Visits Chinese Consulate General

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    On July 23, Chinese Consul General Huang Ping from the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in New York, along with his wife Zhang Aiping, met with Jean Sherlock, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Principal and Owner; Michael Young, NYFA President; Dr. Joy Zhu, NYFA Executive Vice President, China Region; Bill Einreinhofer, NYFA Chair of Broadcast Journalism; David Mager, NYFA Chair of Photography; and Sandra Schein, NYFA Dean of Students. Cultural Counselor Li Liyan and Educational Counselor Yuan Jun also attended the meeting.Consulate General

    At the gathering, Consul General Huang Ping expounded on China’s economic and social development—especially in culture, education, business, and its film industry. He spoke of his appreciation of New York Film Academy’s innovative courses, outstanding teachers, and cutting edge equipment that attracts students from all over the world. 

    Over the years, New York Film Academy has actively developed friendly relations with Chinese universities and film and art institutions by conducting cultural exchanges and practical cooperation. Consul General Huang Ping thanked NYFA for their support of and assistance to the “Happy Spring Festival,” “Global Chinese Photography” competition, “Shanghai Culture Week,” and other Chinese cultural and art activities held in New York. He hopes New York Film Academy continues to support Chinese culture in the United States.

    Consulate General

    NYFA Principal and Owner Jean Sherlock stated that he was very happy to visit the Consulate General with his team and stated that the university has cooperated with 32 Chinese universities and film institutions—co-shooting films, publishing, and co-organizing film festivals, photo exhibitions, art festivals, and more. Sherlock stated that China is an important partner for New York Film Academy as the Chinese film market expands within the global film industry. He hopes that relations between the US and China will stay stable so the two nations can continue to have cultural exchanges.

    Consulate General

    Founded by film and musical producer Jerry Sherlock in 1992, New York Film Academy (NYFA) is the largest independent film academy in the world—with campuses in New York; Los Angeles; South Beach, Miami; and Gold Coast, Australia, as well as locations in Florence, Italy and Paris, France. In 2008, NYFA opened an office in Beijing, China, and has recently taught workshops in Shanghai.

    New York Film Academy thanks Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in New York for the opportunity for NYFA’s senior executives and faculty to meet with Consul General Huang Ping.

    Consulate General

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    July 31, 2019 • China, International Diversity • Views: 1081

  • South African New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alumni Meet Up at Inaugural Events

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    This May, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted inaugural South African NYFA alumni events in Johannesburg and Cape Town. This was a fantastic opportunity for NYFA’s South African alumni to connect and expand their network. South Africa Alumni Event

    Blake Babbitt, NYFA Associate Director of Outreach, has been traveling to South Africa for that past 7 years on behalf of the school, and was very delighted to see a true community of New York Film Academy artists coming together in their home country. 

    “There is a growing entertainment industry here in South Africa,” says Babbitt. “Ultimately we want our graduates to use the techniques and knowledge gained at NYFA to influence the industry not only in America, but in their home countries as well.”

    Babbitt continues, “The power of community is essential to the entertainment industry and to artistic success. I am very pleased to see a community of New York Film Academy artists forming here in South Africa, and I’m excited to see how this budding community will expand and impact the way South African stories are told. The sky is the limit for this group!” 

    During the event, NYFA alumni exchanged contact information, formed WhatsApp groups, and tagged each other in social media posts and stories. There was even discussion to form an official alumni chapter in South Africa. 

    Additionally, many alumni expressed their gratitude for the training they received at New York Film Academy, and for NYFA’s concern for them after they graduated. “Once you join us at New York Film Academy, you become a part of our family for life,” Babbitt told the alumni. “We don’t forget about you the second you graduate. Seeing you succeed is incredibly important to us.”

    “Blake and Maria were the most gracious hosts,” says BFA Filmmaking alum Zack Schofield-Nel. “The people that I was blessed to have networked with were incredible; I have built connections that will last for a long time to come. This could have only have happened because I was fortunate enough to attend the New York Film Academy.”

    He adds, “It is the most supercalifragilisticexpialidocious that I could have ever imagined!”

    Attendees included the following NYFA alumni:

    • Lunathi Mampofu (2-year Acting for Film): Trailblazing South African actress. Working on multiple TV shows in South Africa.

    • Eden Classens (2-year Musical Theatre): Runner-up, Dancing with the Stars South Africa; Lead on Afrikaans series Suidooster; recently cast in Netflix’s Kissing Booth 2.

    • Rethabile Ramaphakela (8-week Screenwriting): South African production company co-owner and voiceover artist best known as the voice of the Vuzu shows V-Entertainment and 10 Over 10. Co-owner of the production company Burnt Onion Productions with her brothers Tshepo and Katleho, who created and produced the SABC1 sitcom My Perfect Family and the Vuzu mockumentary Check-Coast. Produced and created a show that is currently available on Amazon Prime. Directing her first feature film in June.

    • Zandi Zim (MFA Acting for Film): Formed her own production company. South African actress that has performed at The Grahamstown National Arts Festival and Cape Town Fringe Festival. Stage actor since the age of eight and has studied Meisner and Alexander Technique. Zandi also sings, plays jazz piano and marimbas, and speaks English and conversational Sesotho.

    • Jacqueline Rainers Setai (8-week Screenwriting, continuing into 1-year Screenwriting): Head of Mojalove Channel on DSTV; well-known and established South African writer, producer, documentarian, broadcaster.

    • Petrone van der Merwe (8-week Acting for Film): Currently in two stage productions for the ADK (Academy of Dramatic Arts)’s 80th birthday celebrations that will premiere at the UJ Artscape Theater in Johannesburg and will also be performed in Stellenbosch at the Drostdy Theater. Signed with the talent agency, Gaenor Artiste Management.

    • Audrey Mokono (1-year Acting for Film, continuing into BFA Acting for Film): Recent graduate of NYFA’s 1-year Acting for Film program and will continue her studies in NYFA’s BFA Acting for Film program.

    • Anlezia Venter (BFA Acting for Film): Opened her own fitness studio in Cape Town.

    • Zackary Nel (BFA Filmmaking): Currently finishing his BFA thesis film in Cape Town, and has hired his own local crew.

    • Paul Fulton (8-week Screenwriting): Copywriter for ad agency. Has two feature-length scripts he is working on getting sold.

    • Keyuri Naidoo (6-week Acting for Film): From Johannesburg; known for her role as Karishma in Droomdag (2017) directed by Willie Esterhuizen. During her time at NYFA-Los Angeles, Keyuri directed and acted in numerous student short films.

    • Thuto Marrengula (1-year Acting for Film): Thuto Marrengula is an actor, known for Non American Dreamers (2018) and Ask Questions Later (2016); currently developing an hour-long stand up routine.

    • Nyeleti Khoza (AFA Acting for Film):  South African actor known for The Coroner: I Speak for the Dead (2016), Black Tea (2017), and Remember Me (2017). Recently cast in Giyani – Land of Blood, a new highly-viewed telenovela on SABC2

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Alum Sarain Fox Co-Hosts ‘Future History’

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    Future History, a doc series celebrating Indigenous knowledge reclamation, recently premiered on APTN, featuring two passionate and polar opposite Anishinaabe (Ojibway) hosts—Kris Nahrgang and New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum Sarain Fox.

    Sarain Fox

    Fox first attended NYFA’s 8-Week Acting for Film workshop at our New York campus in 2011. Together with her co-host, she ventures into their community to gain a deeper understanding of Indigenous knowledge and the movement of cultural revitalization. 

    Future History is produced by Geoff Ewart and Jennifer Podemski. Executive Producers are Janice Dawe and Kathy Avrich-Johnson of Bizable Media. The series is directed by Jennifer Podemski and made possible by the support of Canada Media Fund (CMF), Rogers Documentary Fund, and APTN.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Acting for Film alum Sarain Fox on her impressive and culturally important new role as co-host of Future History and encourages everyone to tune in!

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    January 31, 2019 • Acting, International Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 54

  • Q&A with ‘Ruth’ Director and New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum António Botelho

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum António Botelho hails from Lisbon, Portugal and has acted, produced, written, shot, and crewed on several projects both in his home country and aboard. 

    Botelho attended NYFA’s 2-year Filmmaking program in 2008 at our New York City campus, where he gained invaluable experience directing and shooting his own films as well as serving as an integral crewmember on other students’ films.

    His education and professional experience culminated this year in the release of Ruth, the Portuguese feature film directed by Botelho. Ruth is set in the early 1960s and tells the story of Eusébio, an immigrant from Mozambique and football (soccer) superstar who finds himself in a heated sports rivalry amidst political turmoil during the country’s fascist regime. 

    Ruth - António Botelho


    The New York Film Academy spoke with Botelho about his film and career earlier this year:

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): Can you talk a bit about the process involved in getting Ruth subsidized by Portugal?

    António Botelho (AB): In Portugal there are hardly any private companies (film or other) that finance their own movies. There isn’t a studio system. There are film companies who produce movies mostly by grants and state competitions with many categories (short films, first features, feature films, documentaries, documentaries short, animation, etc.). 

    It was through one of these state competitions that Ruth was subsidized. The film company in charge of the production had to present a budget and all sorts of documents boosting the film’s value and whatnot. 

    My part, in that competition entry, was to write a director’s view kind of document, with my own personal approach on how the movie would be made. It’s a matter of luck. It’s one in a billion.

    NYFA: How do you approach the filmmaking process?

    AB: I’m a very practical filmmaker. I consider myself a film buff first, then a filmmaker. Great movies are made every year, some of them share the same story, and so I know the movie that I’m making is probably not going to be a Citizen Kane… movies shouldn’t impose on themselves or their filmmakers. 

    I try to make a movie that makes sense. I put the script and the actors first, then I adapt to several circumstances… as all filmmakers do. 

    As [NYFA’s founder] Jerry Sherlock put it: “Story, story, story.”

    NYFA: How did NYFA help prepare you to be on set for your feature film debut?

    AB: NYFA helped me prepare in a sense that it taught me to having the most done — as a director — before entering the set. I prepare myself so that each day I know what I’m shooting, but also how it’s going to cut together. Having a big sense in all film areas, provided by the faculty, helps the filmmaking process and teaches you to respect your fellow colleagues. Filmmaking isn’t a solo thing. 

    Also, it taught me to act quickly in the face of adversity, because most times you’ll have to adapt.

    NYFA: Will Ruth be available online or in other countries?

    AB: Eventually it will be online in some of the screening platforms. What I can say for now is that there’s a possibility of it premiering in France in January 2019, and maybe also Germany.

    The New York Film Academy thanks António Botelho for his time and thoughtful responses and wishes him the best of luck in his promising career! 

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    December 26, 2018 • Filmmaking, International Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1087