The New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) is truly an international educational institution. In fact, with campuses in four countries, and programs in many more, NYFA is said to be the largest— truly global—film school in the world.
Many NYFA activities overseas involve providing free workshops and Master classes in locations not readily known or understood by the average American. NYFA staff and faculty venture to far-away nations to support promising visual and performing artists in places where aspects of filmmaking education are lacking, but that has wonderful young creative talent that the College feels compelled to nurture. Azerbaijan is just one example of where NYFA is making an impact.
Earlier this month in the lovely capital city of Azerbaijan, where the Caspian Sea glitters in the early spring warmth, Lanre Olabisi, film producer and a faculty member in the Screenwriting & Directing Department at NYFA’s New York City campus, conducted an intensive Masters class in filmmaking and screenwriting. The Azerbaijan State University of Culture and Arts (ASUCS) hosted the event, which was conceived by the university’s rector, Dr. Farah Aliyeva, during a 2015 visit to the university. More than 45 students intently took in the lessons provided by Professor Olabisi on how to develop good story ideas and then transform them into a winning screenplay.
A commentary about the event on the ASUCS website declared how important the NYFA Master class was for the filmmaking and media students at the University—not only for the pedagogical value—but also because the course provided the participants an interaction with a different cultural and professional perspective than they have likely ever experienced. The write-up states that bringing in “foreign experts” like Professor Olabisi to train students offers an international “thread” that provides the opportunity to have a new, different, and personal understanding of the world outside of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan has a long history in the cinema and is now looking to make a 21st reawakening in the media and entertainment arts industry as the country’s economic and political profile commands attention on the world’s stage.
NYFA has been proud to host more than a dozen students from Azerbaijan at the School’s New York City and Los Angeles campuses, and we hope to welcome many more especially as our graduate degree programs expands. Meanwhile, we hope that bringing a small piece of the NYFA curriculum to the heart of Azerbaijan gives visual and performing art students the ‘creative bug’ to continue to pursue their passions.