October 5, 2015

The New York Film Academy College of Visual and Performing Arts (NYFA) was proud to be the principal partner and sponsor of this year’s TEDxFulbright 2015, presented by the Fulbright Association and the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Fulbright Association.

This year’s TEDxFulbright was held on September 26th at The Broad Stage at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center and featured TEDTalks from 18 original and diverse speakers with the spirit of “fighting prejudice, ignorance, and intolerance.” The overall theme of the event was “Fights Worth Fighting.”

As the main partner, one of NYFA’s essential roles in the Santa Monica event was to provide a Hollywood experience to the overall night. NYFA’s Director of Fulbright Initiatives, Miguel Cruz, directed the production of the event. As a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Fulbright Association as well as a successful TV production background in Spain, Fulbright gave Cruz the lead on all of the production aspects of the evening. With Cruz on board, NYFA was thrilled to partner as well, providing all of the state of the art technical equipment and technicians from the school. The entire day was shot and edited live, with four cameras and streamed in real-time. A large crew of NYFA filmmaking students provided support, which gave the students the wonderful opportunity to experience being part of a professional production of this magnitude.

“With the technical set up provided by NYFA, I was able to create, design and direct a nine hour professional level, live show in a packed 500 seat theatre,” said Miguel Cruz. “The show contained a flow of videos and visual designs projected onto the screen that served as the storyline of the event.”

Of the eighteen notable guest speakers, including actor and filmmaker Dolph Lundgren, was NYFA’s Chair of Contemporary Photography, Ralph Gibson. Mr. Gibson’s talk was both emotional an inspirational as he shared with the audience his incredible background, causing many of them to reflect on the existence and importance of their own “visual identity” in this digital age.

Dolph Lundgren’s open and honest personal story of his abuse as a child, his background as a Fulbright scholar at MIT, and the reality of his life as a star in Hollywood was both moving and hard-hitting. It was his self-growth that led him to his currently active commitment to prevent human trafficking around the globe.

Many Fulbright students currently studying at NYFA were in attendance—as were a cohort of exceptional NYFA MFA students—and all were very appreciative of the opportunity to be at this well organized and inspirational evening. To date, NYFA has hosted more than 30 Fulbright student-scholars from 18 countries, and has been privileged to have former Fulbrighters as faculty.

“I hope this is the first of many collaborations,” added Cruz. “There is the possibility of collaborating again in a TEDxFulbright NY next year, as well as offers to bring the program to several locations around the world.”

As one speaker, Cristina Trenas, said in her talk, “filmmakers are the best ambassadors to spread and communicate the Fulbright mission.” Given the sentiment, this initiative undoubtedly makes NYFA a natural partner.