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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum and Guest Speakers Earn Golden Globe Nominations

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    On December 6, nominations for the 76h Annual Golden Globes were announced live from the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The Golden Globe Awards have been given out to cast and crew of film and television productions since 1944, and are selected by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The ceremony naming the winners will be held on January 6, 2019, hosted by Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg.

    This year’s nominees include some surprises, as well past winners and past nominees. Unlike the Academy Awards, the Globes include categories in television, and divides many of its categories between drama and comedy/musical categories.

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) is pleased to see members of its community earn several nominations, and looks forward to seeing them at the ceremonial dinner in January, where we hope they come away with the prestigious Golden Globe statuette!

    NYFA alum and Saturday Night Live veteran Bill Hader is up for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy for his lead performance in the HBO hit series, Barry, which is also up for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy. Earlier this year, Hader earned five Emmy nominations for his work on the show, and came away with a win for Outstanding Lead Actor.

    His Barry co-star, veteran actor Henry Winkler, also won an Emmy this year, and is also up for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television. Winkler has been a guest speaker for New York Film Academy students in the past. 

    Other guest speakers and lecturers at New York Film Academy have also worked on several nominated films and television series this year. This includes Adam Driver, who spoke with NYFA students in New York City earlier this year, and who has a featured role in BlacKKKlansman, nominated for Best Motion Picture – Drama.

    Ralph Breaks the Internet, the highly anticipated sequel to Wreck It Ralph, is up for Best Motion Picture – Animated. Guest speaker for NYFA Los Angeles Amy Smeed served as an animator on the hit movie.

    Lin-Manuel Miranda, writer and star of Broadway hits Hamilton and In the Heights, is nominated for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for his role in Mary Poppins Returns. His agent, Andrew Finkelstein, spoke with NYFA students in a productive Q&A at our Los Angeles campus.

    Actress Thandie Newton earned a nod for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for her powerful performance in the HBO epic, Westworld. The sci-fi robot yarn with a western twist has had two NYFA alumni work on it. Francesco Panzieri, a Visual Effects artist for Spider-Man: Homecoming, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Avengers: Infinity War, worked on the series. Panzieri took 1-Year 3D Animation & VFX at NYFA in 2008.

    Eric Demeusy, who attended the 1-Year Filmmaking program at NYFA’s film school in Los Angeles, worked on Westworld’s famous and evocative title sequence. He’s previously won the Emmy for Main Title Design for his work on Netflix smash hit, Stranger Things.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates this year’s Golden Globe nominees and looks forward to seeing the ceremony next month!

    Here is a full list of the nominees for 2019 Golden Globe Awards:

    Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
    Amy Adams, Vice
    Claire Foy, First Man
    Regina king, If Beale Street Could Talk
    Emma Stone, The Favourite
    Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

    Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
    Mahershala Ali, Green Book
    Timothée Chalamet, Beautiful Boy
    Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
    Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
    Sam Rockwell, Vice

    Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
    Olivia Coleman, The Favourite
    Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns
    Charlize Theron, Tully
    Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade
    Constance Wu, Crazy Rich Asians

    Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
    Glenn Close, The Wife
    Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
    Nicole Kidman, Destroyer
    Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
    Rosamund Pike, A Private War

    Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
    Lin Manuel Miranda, Mary Poppins Returns
    Viggo Mortinson, Green Book
    Robert Redford, The Old Man and the Gun
    John C Riley, Stan And Ollie

    Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
    Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
    Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
    Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased
    Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
    John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman

    Best Director – Motion Picture
    Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
    Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
    Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
    Adam McKay, Vice
    Peter Farrelly, Green Book

    Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
    Roma
    The Favourite
    If Beale Street Could Talk
    Vice
    Green Book

    Best Original Score – Motion Picture
    A Quiet Place
    Isle of Dogs
    Black Panther
    First Man
    Mary Poppins Returns 

    Best Original Song – Motion Picture
    “All The Stars,” Black Panther 
    “Girl in the Movies,” Dumpling
    “Requiem for a Private War,” A Private War
    “Revelation,” Boy Erased
    “Shallow,” A Star is Born

    Best Foreign Language Film
    Capernaum
    Girl
    Never Look Away
    Roma
    Shoplifters

    Best Motion Picture, Animated
    Incredibles 2
    Isle of Dogs
    Mirai
    Ralph Breaks the Internet
    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
    The Favourite
    Green Book
    Vice
    Mary Poppins Returns
    Crazy Rich Asians

    Best Motion Picture, Drama
    BlacKkKlansman
    If Beale Street Could Talk
    Black Panther
    A Star Is Born
    Bohemian Rhapsody

    Best Actress in a Limited-Series or TV Movie
    Amy Adams, Sharp Objects
    Patricia Arquette, Escape at Dannemora
    Connie Britton, Dirty John
    Laura Dern, The Tale
    Regina King, Seven Seconds

    Best Actor in a Limited-Series or TV Movie
    Antonio Banderas, Genius: Picasso
    Daniel Bruhl, The Alienist
    Darren Criss, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
    Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Melrose
    Hugh Grant, A Very English Scandal 

    Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited-Series, or TV Movie
    Alex Bornstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Patricia Clarkson, Sharp Objects
    Penelope Cruz, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
    Thandie Newton, Westworld
    Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid’s Tale

    Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited-Series or TV Movie
    Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method
    Kieran Culkin, Succession
    Edgar Ramirez, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
    Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal
    Henry Winkler, Barry

    Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy
    Kristen Bell, The Good Place
    Candice Bergen, Murphy Brown
    Alison Brie, Glow
    Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Debra Messing, Will & Grace

    Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy
    Sasha Baron Cohen, Who Is America?
    Jim Carrey, Kidding
    Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
    Donald Glover, Atlanta
    Bill Hader, Barry

    Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama
    Caitriona Balfe, Outlander
    Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale
    Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
    Julia Roberts, Homecoming
    Keri Russell, The Americans

    Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama
    Jason Bateman, Ozark
    Stephan James, Homecoming
    Richard Madden, Bodyguard
    Billy Porter, Pose
    Matthew Rhys, The Americans

    Best TV Movie or Limited-Series
    The Alienist
    The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
    Escape at Dannemora
    Sharp Objects
    A Very English Scandal

    Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy
    The Good Place
    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    The Kominsky Method
    Kidding
    Barry

    Best TV Series, Drama
    The Americans
    Bodyguard
    Homecoming
    Killing Eve
    Pose

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    December 13, 2018 • Entertainment News, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 281

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism Holiday Update

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    Lots happening at New York Film Academy (NYFA) over the past couple of weeks, and away from NYFA too. The September 8-week Broadcast Journalism workshop students graduated earlier this month. There they are below, along with instructors Daniel Hernandez and Evgenia Vlasova. The graduates come from (left to right) New York, Ukraine, New Orleans, Norway via London, and Brazil. (The instructors are originally from Mexico and Russia, although I believe they are now citizens of Brooklyn.)

    The day after graduation, the 8-week and 1-year students got a behind-the-scenes tour of NBC News. Col. Jack Jacobs, an MSNBC contributor as well as Chair of NYFA’s Veterans Advancement Program, showed them how a network news operation works. In the picture below, they are on set of the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.

    Later they were on a “live” set, for an up-close and personal look at the production of AM Joy, with Joy Reid. Then they went to the control room where the program was being assembled, and sent out “live.”

    I think everyone found the tour fascinating, even though we weren’t able to visit the Saturday Night Live set. Apparently a number of the sets for that night’s show were still being built.

    Instructor Evgenia Vlasova made some news last week too. She was back home to Khabarovsk, in Russia’s Far East, to see her family for the holidays. And she was also back on the air, on the morning show that for many years she hosted and co-produced. Who says “you can never go home”? 

    And as far as I know, Genia is the only person in the Russian Far East with a NYFA hoodie. But who knows, maybe she will recruit some potential students…

    Summer Session graduate Mariana Janjacomo has been busy as well. She writes: “Back in Brazil, I’ve been working as a freelance journalist for a lot of media companies… When I was in New York, I got to interview three Hollywood stars for the Capricho website; it is the biggest website for teenagers in Latin America. Lights and camera were already set up, but it was very challenging to interview them in English. My questions were in the final version of the video too, so I’m glad I had to a chance to practice that kind of interview at NYFA.

    Among the stars she interviewed were Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick, who are appearing in the film A Simple Favor.

    Eulogio Ortiz is a longtime friend, and a former colleague at WNET here in New York. These days he is the director of the PBS NewsHour Weekend. While it is a nationally-distributed network program, and is shot in a state-of-the-art studio, he still uses something as simple as a felt-tip pen and a spiral notebook to determine the best placement of cameras, air talent, and guests on the set. Granted, it’s analog, but there are no batteries to go dead.

    Congratulations to NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Sarah Keoghan, who was one of a small group of young journalists chosen for positions at the Sydney Morning Herald. She writes:

    “Eight of us were selected out of 900 applicants, and in the current media sphere in Australia, a full-time job is unheard of, and I am beyond stoked. I’m officially a reporter! Thanks again for all your amazing help during my time at NYFA. It is truly an experience I will never forget.”

    And speaking of graduates, last week the students in our September 12-week Evening Broadcast Journalism workshop wrapped up their time at NYFA. That’s Hands-on-Camera instructor Daniel Hernandez on the left, although he looks youthful enough to be mistaken for a student.

    NYFA alum Federica Polidoro has one of the best jobs in the world. I’m serious… She travels throughout Europe, and beyond, covering the motion picture industry. Earlier this month she was in Morocco, at the Festival International du Film de Marrakech. Legendary director Martin Scorsese was there too, to present an award to equally-legendary actor Robert DeNiro. Federica was able to interview DeNiro later…

    Brazilian graduate Daniel Fideli covers sports for media giant Globo. Last week he posted on Facebook about this story:

    “Football and motorsport. Finally I manage to get these two passions together in the same story.”

    The holidays are rapidly approaching, and that means the Broadcast Journalism Update is going on hiatus until the New Year. Later this week, I am flying to Da Nang, in Vietnam, as I am the Executive Producer of an independent feature film called Invisible Love which is shooting thereJoining me is NYFA Acting for Film graduate Kazy TauginusKazy has a major role in the film. You may have seen him in Denzel Washington’s most recent film, The Equalizer II. Kazy played a really bad guy. (Who died a really bad death.)

    All the best for the New Year!

    Broadcast Journalism Update December 2018


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  • Q&A with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Lujein Ashi

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailLujein Ashi is a filmmaker, graphic designer, and storyteller who works for Saudi Arabia’s leading oil company, Saudi Aramco. In August, Lujein completed the 4-week Filmmaking workshop at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus after winning a scholarship with a 1-minute video. 

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) met up with Lujein to find out what her experience was like with the program, and what her plans for the future include.Lujein Ashi

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): So, how did your interest in coming here start? 

    Lujein Ashi (LA): I’ve always loved filmmaking stories since I was a child. I told stories to my sisters before we’d go to sleep, stuff I’d make up. I remember there was one moment that really stood out to me in my life. I went to watch Lord of the Rings in the cinema. I was with my friends. When we left everybody was so happy, but I felt sad. I didn’t understand it then. I understand it now. I felt like I was on the wrong side of the screen, like I was the one who was supposed to be giving people that feeling, not people giving that feeling to me. So, stories have always been a part of my life. 

    When it came time to choose what I wanted to study in college, I had to choose something that was practical. In the Gulf, we don’t have many opportunities for film, but then the New York Film Academy came to Bahrain to do a promo. I went and I just sat there and listened to [Dean of Enrollment Services] Tami Alexander do the presentation. She was really sweet. 

    I told her one day I’m going to come — hopefully, if it’s meant for me — and I signed up to their newsletter. I think it was like a month or two later, I get an email saying there was an opportunity for two scholarships for Saudi students. They want to encourage Saudi filmmakers because they’re opening cinemas in Saudi. 

    I saw the email late. I had two days to come up with my 1-minute video. I’ve never done a film before, but I knew I could write. So I wrote a script really fast and I did a very little video. I must have done something right, because she contacted me and told me I was one of the two students that got the scholarship. I was really, really happy. I cried hysterically.

    So I came here. It’s been a crazy four weeks. It’s just so amazing, the collaboration that you have with people… people that were strangers to me on Day One are like really close friends. There’s nothing like it, really. It’s everything I thought it would be, and even more.

    NYFA: Why did you choose the city of Los Angeles?

    LA: I think there’s no place better to learn filmmaking than in Los Angeles because it’s the hub of worldwide, excellent movies. It’s where the Hollywood industry is. Universal, Warner Brothers… all of these places, they’re all here. So there’s no place better to learn filmmaking.Lujein Ashi

    NYFA: What did you learn about filmmaking?

    LA: It’s all about story, that’s for sure. If your story is weak, then it doesn’t matter what you’re going to do. It’s not going to be something that touches people. Also technically the camera is your eye. You need to be one with the camera. You have to look through it, and if you don’t like what you see then you’re not going to like your movie. 

    I mean, it’s not like people can imagine what you meant, you know? So you have to be aware of the technical stuff. Which [at first] was very hard for me, because I’ve never touched a camera before, but Charlie did a really good job teaching us.

    NYFA: Is this something you want to continue doing? What’s your plan after this?

    LA: I found my heart here. I really did. It’s an amazing thing to find. People live their whole lives trying to find that thing they love. I think that’s the key to a happy life. I really feel like I found it here. I’m really going to try and do my master’s in this. Hopefully, then I could just do this for as long as I can. 

    NYFA: Do you see opportunities opening up in Saudi Arabia or Bahrain? 

    LA: Yes, for sure! Especially with the opening of cinemas, the government has been opening different entertainment entities trying to open things up to the people. I think there’s definitely going to be a demand for that. It’s going to be an exciting time for Saudi.

    NYFA: As Saudi opens up, is there a place there for you? Do you see yourself working there?

    Lujein AshiLA: I don’t know. I mean, sure, if there’s a place for me in Saudi to make great movies. I would love to. I mean, it’s my country. But to me, my geographic location was never something that was important. I’m very multicultural. My father is from Saudi, my mom’s from Lebanon, I lived in Baghdad, and I’m married to a Palestinian. I come from very different places, so I never felt like I belonged somewhere. Sometimes it’s a disadvantage, but sometimes it’s an advantage. Wherever you are, you feel like you can just connect with people because you’re from everywhere, basically. 

    So yeah, I mean, I could be — for example— in LA or in New York or anywhere with like-minded people, trying to do the same thing, just doing what we love; ultimately making somebody feel something. That’s why we go to the movies, right? Because we want to feel something! I could make somebody feel like Lord Of The Rings made me feel or Game of Thrones or any of these shows that have changed me so profoundly. It just amazes me how somebody could get that feeling out of you. It’s so satisfying. 

    NYFA: You mentioned two high-fantasy titles — is that kind of your thing?

    LA: I love fantasy, yeah. I mean, I love getting out of the real boring world and leaping into somebody’s imagination. That’s something out of this world! 

    NYFA: Why do you think stories are important?Lujein Ashi

    LA: I think they make people feel empathy for one another and understand each other on a level that maybe we don’t. In real life, there are a lot of issues that, when a film sheds light on them, could actually bring people closer together. You know, I think arts and filmmaking have the capacity to change people’s lives, to change societies and to open people up.

    Truthfully, it’s fundamental for our growth. It’s fundamental for us to connect and to see the point-of-view of other people. If I saw it from your perspective, which is what film lets you do, maybe I’ll be able to connect with you and understand you.

    The New York Film Academy wishes Lujein Ashi the best of success with her future endeavors, and hopes to see more of her amazing and beautiful stories in the near future!

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    December 5, 2018 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 259

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Jameelah Rose del Prado Lineses Wins Best Cinematography Award

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailJameelah Rose del Prado Lineses has won several awards for her various film projects since attending New York Film Academy (NYFA), and last October, she added another. At the 8th Annual International Film Festival Manhattan, Lineses earned the Best Cinematography Award for her music video, Atareek.Jameelah Rose Lineses

    The 2018 International Film Festival Manhattan (IFFM 2018) opened on October 17 and ran until October 21, with its awards ceremony held on October 18 at the Philippine Consulate in New York City. Lineses screened Atareek at the Producers Club Theaters, just a few blocks from Times Square. Saudi Vice Consul of the Saudi Arabian Consulate, Mazin AlMouallimi, was in attendance at the event.

    Atareek is “a journey to the colorful streets of Old Balad” that explores “the beautiful history of the city’s rich culture and heritage.” It was the only film representing Saudi Arabia at this year’s festival, and was shot, directed, edited, and produced by Lineses, who was assisted by her mother throughout the shoot.  

    Lineses picked up a lot of the skills necessary for filmmaking, from pre-production through post-production, at the New York Film Academy, which she first attended in June 2011 when she enrolled in the 8-Week Filmmaking workshop. Two months after that, she deepened her studies and attended the 1-Year Filmmaking program at NYFA’s New York City campus.

    Atareek was filmed in 2017 entirely in Jeddah during the Atareek festival and is the third production Lineses has made that features Historic Jeddah. Her previous films, Historic Jeddah and Our Journey to Hijaz, have garnered significant praise from multiple festivals in the last several years. 

    In addition to Atareek, Lineses worked on two other films that were Official Selections at IFFM 2018. She was Associate Producer on Reunion as well as Assistant Director, Editor, cast member, and one of the producers of Mindanao. 

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Jameelah Rose del Prado Lineses on her film Atareek and her latest award win!  

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    November 30, 2018 • Cinematography, Film Festivals, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 488

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Gonzalo Martin Stars in “Life is Strange 2”

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailgonzalo martinNew York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Gonzalo Martin might agree that “life is strange,” especially since he nabbed the lead role in Square Enix’s highly-anticipated video game, Life is Strange 2. Square Enix is the Japanese developer and publisher of wildly popular games Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, and Dragon Quest, among others. 

    The episodic graphic adventure video game, available on nearly all major platforms (including Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC and macOS), is the sequel to the smash hit and critically-acclaimed Life is Strange, originally released in 2015. That title has sold over 3 million copies to date.

    The newest entry released its first episode in September 2018, with the last of five episodes set to come out in 2019. Life is Strange 2 was developed by Dontnod Entertainment (Vampyr, Twin Mirror) and has already been nominated for several gaming awards and won the Special Jury Prize at the 2018 Ping Awards.

    Life is Strange 2 tells the story of young brothers Sean and Daniel Diaz, who are on the run from the police. The game is a third-person story adventure, with dialogue trees and gaming decisions
    affecting the story and future episodes.

    Gonzalo Martin stars as lead protagonist Sean Diaz, who the player controls throughout the game. Martin is an Acting for Film alum from the New York Film Academy, having attended the AFA program in 2015, and has previously been a part of the Academy’s admissions team. At NYFA’s acting school, Martin was given both practical experience and a hands-on education to develop his skills as an actor, with training from a faculty of experienced actors currently working in the industry.

    Previous acting roles of Martin include BuzzFeed Murder Mystery Stories, and the films I’ll Be Next Door for Christmas and When It Rings.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Gonzalo Martin on landing the lead role in Square Enix’s Life is Strange 2! Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    November 28, 2018 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 317

  • “One Night in Miami” Stars New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting Alum Kieron Anthony As Cassius Clay

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailLast October, One Night in Miami premiered as a Miami New Drama production at Miami Beach’s Colony Theatre, starring New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting Alum Kieron Anthony as legendary fighter Cassius Clay.

    The play was written by Kemp Powers and staged by Miami native Carl Cofield, associate artistic director of the Classical Theatre of Harlem. It imagines the events of February 25, 1964, after Clay had defeated Sonny Liston and won the World Heavyweight Crown. After the fight, Clay was joined at the Hampton House Motel Room by three other famous men of color — Sam Cooke, Jim Brown, and Malcolm X. 

    Kieron Anthony as Cassius Clay

    Leon Thomas III, Esau Pritchett and Jason Delane listen as Kieron Anthony’s Cassius Clay (standing on bed) recounts his victory over Sonny Liston in “One Night in Miami.” Photo by STIAN ROENNING

    While only the surviving member of the foursome, Jim Brown, knows what the men really discussed that night, One Night in Miami postulates what could have been happened when four such prominent personalities are confined in a small room after such an incredible evening. The play, which takes place during Segregation, also incorporates important themes of race and religion in the 1960s.

    Kieron Anthony plays the pivotal role of Cassius Clay, who the day after the night depicted in the play would announce his conversion to the Nation of Islam. He would change his name and be known by for the rest of his life as Muhammad Ali. Of his performance, Christine Dolen wrote in the Miami Herald that Anthony “conveys the young champ’s joyous confidence as he reenacts moments of his life-changing fight for his famous friends. He dials up the rhetoric and swagger when he goes outside to speak with the reporters who finally track him down, but with his friends he’s willing to show he’s still grappling with embracing and declaring his faith.”

    Anthony graduated from New York Film Academy South Beach’s 1-year acting conservatory in 2015. As part of an extremely diverse student body with classmates from around the world, Anthony received an educational experience unique from other acting schools in Florida, focusing on hands-on experience from faculty members currently working in the Miami acting scene.

    Yves Arispe, NYFA South Beach’s Director of Housing and Student Services, called Anthony’s performance “natural, believable, relatable as he delivered on every beat,” and that, “Kieron’s performance makes NYFA South Beach proud!”

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Acting alum Kieron Anthony on his stellar performance as Cassius Clay in One Night in Miami!Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    November 27, 2018 • Academic Programs, Acting, South Beach, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 428

  • Q&A With New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Claudio Casale

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailClaudio Casale is a busy filmmaker, but recently he found the time to speak with New York Film Academy (NYFA). It was here that he attended our 8-week Filmmaking workshop in April 2017, where he quickly added an arsenal of skills to his already impressive filmmaking prowess.

    “Claudio was one of those students a teacher is so happy to have in the class,” tells his NYFA directing instructor, Thomas Barnes, continuing, “brilliant, passionate, original, and supportive of his colleagues.” 

    Claudio has been incredibly productive since finishing the Filmmaking workshop, working on all sorts of different projects—short films, feature films, narratives, documentaries. In the summer of 2018, he achieved a career highlight when his documentary My Tyson won the MigArti Best Documentary Award at the Venice International Film Festival.

    Claudio Casale

    Claudio Casale

    Claudio spoke with NYFA about that film and win, as well as filmmaking in general, working in documentary, and what lies ahead for him:

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): First, can you tell us a bit about yourself and what brought you to New York Film Academy? 

    Claudio Casale (CC): I was born and raised in Rome, Italy. I graduated in Business Management, and at 22 I took two years abroad, mainly in India and Southeast Asia, where I started filmmaking constantly. Many shorts later, NYFA was the first proper education I received on filmmaking. I was mostly self-taught and I joined the 8-week program to gain experience on set dynamics and directing actors. 

    NYFA: Can you tell us about your film My Tyson? 

    CC: My Tyson is a 15-minute short doc on Alaoma Tyson, an Italian teenager born in Italy from Nigerian parents. Today, at 18 years old, Tyson is the Italian boxing champion in the youth heavyweight category. Patience, his mother, sews traditional clothes for the Nigerian community in the Roman suburb they live in.

    As Tyson trains for his next match, Patience tells him the story of their family, revealing ancient rituals, financial struggles, and a severe migration experience. 

    My Tyson premiered at the 75th Venice International Film Festival where it won the MigrArti Best Documentary Award. 

    NYFA: What inspired you to make My Tyson? 

    CC: Migration is an issue worldwide, from the US all the way to Australia. In Europe, Italy is the first port of arrival for the majority of migrants and asylum seekers from Africa and Maghreb. As many filmmakers of my generation, I felt the need to take a stand on this issue, by offering to the audience a perspective that might get lost in the news cycle. Observation and research was key, as I had to find the story – and therefore my inspiration – on the field: I spent five months with Alaoma Tyson and his family before shooting a single frame. 

    NYFA: How did you get your film involved with MigrArti? 

    CC: MigrArti is a yearly call made by the Minister of Culture in Italy (MiBAC). The production working with me on My Tyson had to submit a detailed dossier for our project. MigrArti can be very competitive, and I was honoured that our project was among the selected ones. Watching our short doc premiere during the 75th Venice International Film Festival was really emotional, and I feel grateful that the Jury awarded My Tyson as MigrArti Best Documentary. 

    NYFA: What are your plans for My Tyson after Venice? 

    CC: We are sending out My Tyson to festivals, as that’s a great way to receive professional feedback and connect with fellow filmmakers. I would be delighted to personally attend international festivals as well, so to see by myself how different audiences relate to the story.

    On the other hand, in Italy we are planning screenings solely for migrants, thanks to the cooperation of NGOs such as ARCI Solidarietà Onlus. Bringing cinema to places where it usually hasn’t belonged, like migration centres and public schools, is a duty as well as a chance to test the impact our little film may have on people we can’t reach with a traditional theatrical run. 

    Then, at the end of the festival distribution, at least in Italy we are working to have a selected theatrical distribution, likely paired with a feature documentary. 

    NYFA: What other projects are you working on or do you plan to work on? 

    CC: In September, I was in Sicily to direct a narrative short film in 35mm, Inshallah, about to enter post-production. Also, I have a feature documentary in creative and financial development, in which I will invest most of my time this year. It’s a project I am very attached to and I can’t wait to get myself on set to shoot it. 

    NYFA: What did you learn at NYFA that you applied directly to your work on My Tyson, or your work in general? 

    CC: Among the lessons I received at NYFA, two came particularly handy in this project. First, as director you have got to leave the camera to the operator! As many native-digital filmmakers, I also grew very attached to the camera body (I was my own operator on my first shorts). It wasn’t necessarily easy to delegate that, as it is an act of trust toward the operator, especially on a documentary where things happen out of script and must be captured instinctively. 

    But at NYFA, I learned to do just that: trusting the crew I work with and delegating everything that may distract me from the scene. In some projects I would still be my own operator of course, but thanks to NYFA I could recognize that My Tyson wasn’t one of those cases. 

    Second: directing actors! I find the method taught at NYFA to be extremely effective. Honestly, that module alone was worth the whole course for me. With time, I changed it a little to adapt it to documentaries, where you don’t direct actors but subjects, so the relationship is more subtle and the non-actors’ spontaneity is the first priority and must always be protected. I believe that directing actors and non-actors is what ultimately makes a director great, and that’s something hard to learn without seeing some experts at work, either by joining a school or by being on set as 1st or 2nd AD. 

    NYFA: Do you prefer working in narrative or documentary filmmaking? 

    CC: When I started shooting, I had only narrative filmmaking in mind, and frankly I still look forward to direct a feature narrative one day. Documentary happened by chance, yet for the moment I found my little niche here. 

    As for today, I certainly prefer working on documentary filmmaking for a variety of reasons: first, it’s cheaper, so development and pre-production are generally quicker compared with narrative. Second, you can easily practice rhythm and pace with a running time of 52 minutes or longer, a key area of learning for any aspiring director. Last but not least, documentary today is wide open to visual experimentation, an ideal condition for me. 

    NYFA: What differences or similarities do you find between narrative and documentary filmmaking? My Tyson

    CC: Comparing short films only, in my opinion the key advantage of documentary filmmaking is the level of experimentation it allows. I honestly find narrative short films too rigid sometime, as nowadays the pressure to deliver the highest possible production value risks to overpass the focus aspiring directors should be putting into the storytelling. 

    After all, short films are the only tool we have to discover who we really are as visual storytellers. The similarities between narrative and documentary filmmaking are more than one could tend to believe: year after year, more documentaries are shot with a real cinematic language in mind. And I believe that’s one of the reason behind today’s boom of documentaries: many narrative storytellers are getting into documentary, shaping it with their own tools. 

    On the other hand, generally speaking, narrative filmmaking may allow for a wider freedom of expression, especially if you get to write and direct your own script. In conclusion, I would suggest students to be open to both forms, as for different reasons they are equally important in the early stage of a filmmaker’s career. 

    NYFA: What other advice would you give to students just starting out at NYFA? 

    CC: If you are a total newbie on filmmaking, be ready to run and absorb everything you’re told. Raise your hand and ask your classmates for help, as at the end of the day, it’s all about the teamwork. 

    While If you have some filmmaking experience already, as I did, be ready to put everything you know aside. Don’t let your previous knowledge block you from learning further. Be open and receptive, and you will take something new and essential with you every day. 

    NYFA: Anything we missed you’d like to speak on? 

    CC: No questions about the Deli down in Battery Park? I must admit, sometimes I miss that sushi! 🙂 

    The New York Film Academy thanks Claudio Casale for his time and thoughtful answers, and looks forward to seeing what inspiring films he comes out with next. We sincerely hope he comes back to New York for a visit sometime and has some sushi from the Deli downstairs! Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    November 26, 2018 • Filmmaking, International Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 411

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism Alumni Cover California Wildfires 

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailAs anyone who follows American media knows, stories about President Donald Trump and his administration have monopolized the news for months. But this week, an even bigger story dominated the headlines. Two massive California wildfires, one in the mountains of Northern California and the second in coastal Southern California, have devastated communities and resulted (as of today) in the deaths of more than 50 people. An additional 100+ people are missing.

    News coverage of these tragedies has served an important public service function. And two New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism school graduates are on the scene, documenting the fires and their aftermath.

    NYFA alum Celina Liv Danielsen, along with photographer Thomas Hass, are there working for the Danish television network DK2. Earlier this week, they visited what remained of a small Northern California town ironically called Paradise. It wasn’t an easy assignment, one which takes an emotional as well as physical toll…

    Broadcast Journalism Update Celina Liv Danielsen

    Celina Liv Danielsen

    Karen Hua is also a NYFA graduate. She is reporter with the NBC TV station in the Southern California city of Bakersfield. While not threatened by fire — at least not yet — area residents have experienced the side effects of these blazes for months. Karen wrote earlier this week:

    “The fires in Southern California are relatively close to us in Bakersfield. We’re a 2-hour drive from the Ventura/Malibu area, and we’ve been covering them extensively…

    “Ultimately I’m okay, and everyone in Bakersfield is safe — there aren’t too many trees in our city to spread flames. However, we’ve seen toxic air quality and heat as a result of the fires around the state this year. This summer was terrible with the Carr, Medicino, and Ferguson Fires. There were days when the entire city was advised to stay indoors. But we are fortunate we are all safe.”

    Broadcast Journalism Update Karen Hua

    Karen Hua

    There are many ways to cover the same story. A digital producer/editor, working at ABC News headquarters in New York, created a powerful story for the ABC late night news program Nightline. The story, distributed over multiple platforms, captured the sheer terror of what is taking place…

    Broadcast Journalism Update

    Public Television took a somewhat different approach. Friend and former colleague Miles O’Brian was in California shooting material for an upcoming episode of the popular Nova science series. While his focus was on previous wildfires, he and his team found themselves in the middle of a new “mega-fire,” an event so large that it literally creates its own weather. Miles was interviewed  on the PBS NewsHour, for which I once produced.

    Broadcast Journalism Update

    As commentator Richard Reinhold noted earlier this year in TVNewsCheck, increasingly local TV news reporters are becoming “first responders,” often arriving on the scene of major events at the same time (or even before) police, fire, and emergency medical teams. 

    That’s why it is so important that we get the story right. People will act on the information we give them. We have to make sure it is accurate.

    Broadcast Journalism UpdateFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    November 16, 2018 • Broadcast Journalism, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 618

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA Student Sungho Chun Screens Film at Cinema Italian Style

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailThis Thursday evening, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Student Sungho Chun will screen his film, Departure, at Cinema Italian Style as part of the festival’s short film competition. 

    Chun hails from Korea, and moved to the United States after serving in the South Korean military. He is currently studying for his BFA in Filmmaking at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus. The program entails a total immersion in the craft of filmmaking, including classes in directing, screenwriting, cinematography, editing, and producing. Students write, direct, shoot, and edit their own films in both film and digital formats, so it is no surprise that Chun has already put together an award-nominated movie.

    Departure stars Dylan Nuttall and Lara Bayer and tells the story of a man preparing to take his own life when a woman comes along and changes his fate. Chun says the film is inspired by Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers. Describing Departure to Cinema Italian Style, Chun says “In my film, The Man also rejects the truth of the world.” Expounding on this, Chun told New York Film Academy, “The reason I picked that film is that I like the way it expresses a young generation’s belief.”Sungho Chun Departure

    This connection to Bertolucci’s The Dreamers is what qualifies Chun’s film for Cinema Italian Style, a festival presented by Luce Cinecittà and The American Cinematheque that showcases the best Italian films of the year. This year is the fest’s 14th edition, and is supporting this year’s Italian entry to the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Dogman. Their student film competition highlights short films under 5 minutes in length that are inspired by or pay homage to classic Italian cinema.

    Last year, NYFA alum Sebastiano Caccetta attended Cinema Italian Style, promoting cinema and music for one of the festival’s sponsors, the Italian Trade Agency. “Today my ability to work with Cinema Italian Style, it’s because of NYFA,” he told the Academy. “I’m working promoting Italian cinema for the government thanks to NYFA. I’m so grateful.”

    Chun filmed Departure using crew and equipment came from NYFA, as well as his actors. He tells NYFA,  “I was so proud to work with them. Despite high temperatures for an outdoor shoot, nobody complained or frowned through the process. I’m especially thankful to my DP, Theresa, who held up the RED camera for the entire day because of our one-take method. No matter how heavy it got, she encouraged me to try again and again to get the film exactly how I wanted it. Only with the support of my team could I make it this far.”

    Sungho Chun’s film, Departure, will screen at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica on the evening of Thursday, November 15. The New York Film Academy encourages anyone who can to attend Cinema Italian Style and see the film, and support Chun as his filmmaking career begins to take off. For more information and to RSVP, please visit HERE.

    NYFA congratulates Chun on his well-earned success and wishes him the best of luck at this year’s Cinema Italian Style!Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    November 13, 2018 • Film Festivals, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 642

  • Forbes Interviews New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism Alum Alana Blaylock

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailNew York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Alana Blaylock has had a productive career since finishing the 8-week Broadcast Journalism workshop at NYFA’s New York City campus in the summer of 2011. It’s no surprise then that many in the indAlana Blaylockustry have taken notice of the Emmy Award winner, including Forbes Magazine, which recently published a profile on and interview with the up-and-coming producer.

    Blaylock has amassed an inspiring roster of credits since finishing her workshop at NYFA’s Broadcast Journalism school, which teaches aspiring reporters a well-rounded understanding of all aspects of the production process, including researching, writing, shooting, producing, and editing. This is important in the modern digital landscape as contemporary broadcast journalists are expected to be multimedia journalists, marrying their technical skills with their creative ones. 

    This is exactly what Blaylock has excelled at, and why she has already won an Emmy and why her career is taking off even as her path winds between both traditional roads and outside-the-box ones. Her credits include work on CNN, HBO, NBC News, National Geographic, and the ID Channel, including popular programs Deadline and United Shades of America. However, her work on newer streaming models like Amazon and YouTube is what has been generating a lot of buzz. 

    One of her latest projects is producing for Best Shot, a YouTube Originals docuseries executive produced by Lebron James and Maverick Carter for the NBA. The show follows the student basketball players of Newark Central High School as well as chronicling the life and career of their mentor, former NBA player and sports television personality Jay Williams.

    In addition to working in both traditional and digital media, Blaylock curates a strong online presence on social media, further highlighting her smart instincts in an ever-changing media landscape.

    “I love the visual storytelling that happens on Instagram,” Blaylock tells Forbes. “That’s the platform I probably use the most [in my personal life]. And I am inspired by movies, set design, museums, exhibits and artists.”

    She continues, “I try to take in as much new culture as possible and then decide what I want to do with it or how it fits into my process as a creative.”

    What lies ahead for Blaylock remains to be seen, but it’s clear whatever she does next will be insightful and successful due to the work she puts in and the philosophy that keeps her driven. When asked about keeping her own personal voice while working on other parties’ projects, Blaylock tells Forbes, “My brand evolves as I attain more world experience. I have to remain authentically Alana, and the projects that I take on are continuations of my career journey.

    “I can adapt to the demands of a project and still be the best version of myself. I remain steadfast in my goals while producing every show, documentary or collaboration. As a result of working on many projects, there’s always new information and experiences. It keeps me well-rounded.”

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Alana Blaylock on her career and looks forward to her future successes sure to come!Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail