The New York Film Academy’s Africa tour, which included NYFA instructors and staff, was an exciting opportunity to further bridge our hands-on intensive pedagogy in the visual and performing arts with the film traditions and cultures of Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria.
Throughout the four-week tour, we met more than 1,000 African students.
While sitting in a meeting at the U.S. Consulate in Johannesburg, South Africa with Consul General, Christopher Rowan, and his wonderful staff of the Public Affairs Office, we were asked the question, “How did the New York Film Academy select these four countries to visit?”
NYFA took a number of factors into consideration in deciding to bring NYFA Master Class Workshops – which also included information sessions, auditions, and portfolio reviews – to Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Lagos; Abuja, Nigeria; and Accra, Ghana. We researched the potential “new frontiers” of international higher education recruitment, including reviewing the Open Doors Report that is published annually by the Institute of International Education (IIE). And, because NYFA is one of the world’s oldest private international visual and performing arts schools, we have 25 years of enrollment data, along with requests for information, which we mined. Interest among the four selected countries has been exceptionally high and NYFA wants to help support the talent and creativity of these interested young actors and filmmakers.
In Johannesburg, NYFA’s Chair of Short-term Programs, Professor Jonathan Whittaker, conducted a 6-hour Master Class titled, “The Anatomy of a Scene.” This workshop was free and open to the filmmaking community, and was hosted by The United States Consulate General, EducationUSA, and NYFA’s local partner, Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking.
We expect that these private-public international partnerships in each country will last far beyond this trip, and that it is the beginning of fruitful collaborations that will benefit many gifted African visual and performing artists.