Student and Alumni Spotlights
Category

  • NYFA Alum Janek Ambros’ Film Produced by Barbara De Fina

    New York Film Academy alumnus Janek Ambros, known for his work on “Valley of Bones,” “10,000 Saints,” and “Imminent Threat,” is working with Marin Scorsese’s long-time producing collaborator, Barbara De Fina.

    Ambros’ film, “May 15th in Paris,” retells the story of a large protest on the streets of Paris on May 15, 1848. Ambros uses a narrator to recount this historic date and juxtaposes that story with images of current controversial populist political wins across the globe.

    Ambrose did an email interview with NYFA Correspondent Joelle Smith to talk about his experience making this film.

    15th of May Poster

    NYFA: How did you team up with Hollywood legend Barbara De Fina? 

    Ambros: Since I was a kid, Barbara De Fina and Irwin Winkler were two people I greatly admired. As a director, I dreamed I would one day have as supportive and creative producers as Martin Scorsese did. However, it wasn’t really my intention to have her produce my films. I originally wanted to see if she had any projects she needed funding for, because I dabble in film finance.

    But when I came back from Paris and showed her the footage, she had a lot of great notes on the narration, editing, and overall pacing. We ended up collaborating on it and in the end, she decided to come on board as a producer.  

    NYFA: What was it like working with such a giant in the producing field?

    Ambros: Someone who has produced for my favorite director of all time is now producing my films. It was obviously a little surreal. It truly is an honor to work with her. But when it’s all said and done, she simply made the film better and that is always the goal. It’s extremely important to listen to others who have experience and expertise greater than your own. You don’t want to be too rigid-minded in your thinking. Having a good creative producer on board is incredibly valuable.

    NYFA: Can you expand upon why you wanted to compare the incidences of 1848 with the recent U.S. presidential election and Brexit? 

    Ambros: I’m really into history. It’s really important to not just know your history, but also understand how it applies today. No situation is entirely unique. In the 1840s, those in power blatantly ignored the powerless. To me, their situation is similar to how today’s “corporate Democrats” failed a lot of the lower and middle class. People finally had enough. However, when they went to the ballot, citizens went in the wrong direction, similar to the French in the 1840s when they voted for Napoleon Bonaparte. 

    NYFA: How did all of these events affect you as a creator? 

    Ambros: Given Trump, the overall rejection of globalism by many in Western countries, and the rise of nationalism, my approach to how I create content has changed. I’ve always been into politics. I’ve done shorts on the military industrial complex, the bank bailouts, authoritarianism, etc. I’m just sticking to my original game plan.

    I see a lot of other writers pull an audible to make their work reflect what’s happening with Trump and that can be great. But, I’d be cautious against changing your entire approach. Things are always going to evolve, especially living in a world with a never-ending news cycle. So, if you keep trying to make everything “current,” it can be challenging. 

    I do think this political climate will spark a “New Wave” of more politically challenging films, which is great. Our company is trying to focus on filmmakers who are making movies that strive for greatness. We want to be like Zoetrope, who tackled challenging cinema in the ‘60s and ‘70s.  

    NYFA: What did you learn at NYFA that helped you make this film? 

    Ambros: The most important element I learned from NYFA to help make this film was to just go out and make it. So many other film schools focus on academia, where NYFA really taught me how to go out and make a film and learn from doing. Although my ultimate aspirations are writing and directing, I went to NYFA for producing. I’m glad I did. I no longer have an excuse to not make a movie.

    NYFA: What did you learn while making this film? Would you change anything about your process? 

    Ambros: I learned a lot about taking in surroundings when making a film. My previous doc was a lot of talking heads and stock footage with mostly stylized editing. This one I couldn’t have any stock footage and didn’t want to do any interviews; I wanted to approach it more as an experimental film with each segment having its own style. So, I was forced to really push myself to look for interesting imagery and create a solid composition and shot design. 

    NYFA: What projects do you have coming up next?

    Ambros: My next film is “Arlington West.” I’ll, once again, be working with Barbara De Fina. The movie is about two Iraq War veterans who spend the night debating war and peace along the Santa Monica pier after attending the Arlington West memorial service.

    We have other projects in development as well that include an adaptation of the widely acclaimed ”Nixon’s Nixon,” penned by Russell Lees, about the night before Nixon gets impeached; an adaption of the timeless play “An Enemy of the People,” by Henrik Ibsen; and a VR sequel to “Mondo Hollywood,” the 1967 cult classic. Lastly, we’re developing a psychedelic comedy about the re-awakening of liberalism in America entitled “Mondo Oligarchy.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to congratulate Ambros for his incredible success with “May 15th in Paris,” and thank him for taking the time to share his story.

  • Gold Coast Q&A with Advanced Diploma Acting Alumnus Will Allen 

    On Wednesday, July 19, New York Film Academy alumnus Will Allen gave a Q&A at the NYFA Gold Coast campus. Since graduating in January 2017 from the Advanced Diploma of Acting program, Will has burst onto the acting scene, having already received credits on feature films such as, “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Australia Day” and “In Like Flynn.”

    Copy of NU4A6344

    Students at the Gold Coast campus were given an invaluable insight into how Will used the opportunities and training provided to him by NYFA Australia to establish an acting career. Will explained how NYFA-run Q&A’s and master classes with industry professionals helped Copy of NU4A6298him prepare to break into the industry.

    Will was approached by Talent Manager Gael McDonald, of Williams Management, after an on-campus Q & A session about the industry. He subsequently signed with the agency and had his first audition within a matter of weeks. Will went on to get a featured extra role on “Thor: Ragnarok,” which was filmed at the Village Road Show Studio, where NYFA’s campus is located.

    As the floor opened up for questions from the students, one current acting student asked about his audition process and if he’s made any mistakes. Will responded, “There is no such thing as bad acting, there’s bad choices. Make sure your choices are on point and you’ll be fine … Everyone gets nervous. Every audition, I get nervous — but I prepare so well that when I walk into the room it’s controlled nerves so I use it to my advantage, as I would have more energy going into the room than I would if I did a self test.”

    Having graduated the from the Advanced Acting program in early 2017, Will explained the benefits of doing the second year of training at NYFA and how it’s helped him with his career: “The Advanced program is more business focused by informing you how to market yourself and how you get gigs out in the industry. In your first year you’re learning about yourself as an actor. You’re learning how to find you. In Advanced it’s business time and preparing you in how to put everything you learnt in action.”

    Copy of NU4A6320Will gave the students the following advice, “NYFA is a safe zone where you can explore and don’t feel embarrassed. Don’t pull back. Do the stuff you feel like you shouldn’t do.”

    On the feature film set of “In Like Flynn,” Will became good friends with Clive Standen, from “Vikings,” who took Will under his wing and became an ongoing mentor to him. In October 2017 Will is relocating to Canada with the aim to build and establish an acting career in American and Canada.

    July 2017 Acting Diploma student David Cook shared he appreciated this guest speaker, saying: “I liked Will’s honest approach and how he talked about always being truthful to yourself as an actor”

    May 2017 Acting Diploma student Ilia Valdez agreed, “It was wonderful to see that the lessons learned at NYFA have practical applications in the real world.”

  • NYFA Gold Coast Filmmaking Students Triumph at Final Film Screenings

    NYFA Gold Coast was pleased to celebrate with the Class of July 2016 Diploma of Screen and Media – Filmmaking students at their Final Film Screenings on the June 7-82017. The Final Film Screenings were held at Event Cinemas Pacific Fair.

    The screening was a huge success and showcased the diverse range of talent from NYFA Gold Coast’s filmmaking students.

    Congratulations to all of the graduating students for their success!

    #NYFAAUSTRALIA #NYFAJULY16SCREENING #NYFAGC

  • NYFA Gold Coast Acting Student is Finalist in the Queensland Training Awards 2017

    IMG_2681NYFAA Gold Coast May ’17 Acting Diploma student Abeer Salem was given the outstanding achievement of being one of three finalists for 2017’s Queensland Training Awards.

    Out of 800 applicants, the Queensland Training Awards selected Abeer as a South East Queensland Regional finalist, recognizing her achievement as a vocational student. Abeer accepted her certificate at the 56th Queensland Training Awards State Gala Dinner on July 21.

    Born and raised in Egypt, Abeer found her way to the sunny Gold Coast in 2012 and has been determined to further an education in business. To date, she has completed over 15 Diplomas.

    Abeer states, “The quest for knowledge is never ending. No one is ever too good to learn. Successful people live each day with a relentless desire to improve.”_H4A5891

    After years of studying and working in business, Abeer found her passion in acting. She says, “I quit my job to attend NYFA … I’m in love with acting and its craft. If I don’t become an actor I want to teach acting. It’s my new passion in life.”

    She further explains, “I love NYFA and have known about the Academy for years. The Academy has such a great history and a fantastic support system for its actors … In my short time at NYFA I’ve learnt so much and look forward to doing the Advanced Diploma.”

     

  • NYFA Veterans Division Screens “Between Iraq and a Hard Place” With Special Guest Q&A

    This month, the New York Film Academy College of Visual and Performing Arts (NYFA) hosted a special screening of the military documentary, “Between Iraq and a Hard Place,” at its Los Angeles campus.

    Following the screening, NYFA Acting Instructor Michael Bershad moderated a Q&A with the film’s producer, Rex Pratt, and current MFA acting student, technical advisor and retired Navy/Marine Corps Chaplain Ron Ringo.

    (Left to Right) Moderator Michael Bershad discusses the process of making the film withProducer Rex Pratt and current MFA student and Technical Advisor Ron Ringo.

    The film takes a deep look at the impact that war has on members of our nation’s military when they return from home, and asks the question; Are we are really doing enough to help service members with this transition?

    Packed with raw and unfiltered footage from the war and personal interviews with the men that were there, the film helps the audience gain a valuable perspective on the issues that face our returning men and women who serve our country in the military.

    Marine Corps Veteran and BFA filmmaking student David Jimenez said:

    The film hit home. It captured the stress and fear of combat and how we still manage to have a sense of humor about things, and push through it all. The fact that they mention the difference between coming home on a ship and coming home on a plane is actually astonishing since no one normally thinks of that. I came home on a plane and I was literally on the I-5 freeway going home 25 hours after a mortar attack in the Middle East. The last scene in the film when they are being mortared was powerful. I remember being that scared when it happened to me. That is something that I don’t normally talk about with people.”

    For more information on “Between Iraq and a Hard Place,” please visit the film’s website

     

    by Michael Kunselman

  • NYFA Alumni interviewed for Brazilian TV Program “Planeta Globo”

    NYFA MFA filmmaking alumnus Rafael Nani recently found a unique venue to share his student NYFA experience — Brazilian TV juggernaut Globo’s program “Planeta Globo.” The program aims to show how Brazilian nationals live outside of their homeland, highlighting success stories as well as the inevitable struggles in foreign cultures. “Planeta Globo” came to interview Nani in Los Angeles while the then-student was hard at work on the set of his NYFA thesis film, “Bloody Eyes”.

    “Planeta Globo” spoke with Nani about his previous short film projects, including “Rose Garden,” which he filmed during his first year at the New York Film Academy. Nani, who recently completed NYFA’s MFA program at the Los Angeles campus, shared his perspective on some of the finer points of filmmaking and the complexities of directing a film.

    In addition, “Planeta Globo” seized the chance to shine the spotlight on five other NYFA Los Angeles grads and students: acting for film alumnae Sabrina Percario and Carolina Inoue; filmmaking student Iylia M. Idris; film and media production student Ricardo Mata; and NYFA New York filmmaking alumna Flavia Vieira. These five were showing the true community spirit of NYFA while working with Nani on the set of “Bloody Eyes.”

    Each discussed their different roles on set.

    Percario, the project’s supervising producer, discussed the challenges and advantages of working on a multicultural set. Inoue, who is in charge of production design, spoke about the importance of getting right look down for the film. Idris is both first and second assistant camera person for the film, and she explained the different responsibilities for each role. Vieira is lending her expertise to the picture as the lead makeup artist, and discussed the ways good (or bad) make up can effect the look of a film. Finally, Mata, the resident sound technician, explained the differences and similarities between working on short and feature length films.

    You can see the whole segment here, along with more interviews of the cast and crew.

    July 18, 2017 • Acting, Film School, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1240

  • NYFA Documentary Students Attend Full Frame Festival

    IMG_4316-retouched-updatedFour lucky NYFA documentary filmmaking students got to attend the renowned Full Frame Documentary Film Festival as fellows this spring.
    The festival is distinguished from most major festivals by its laid back atmosphere.  There’s a lot more hanging out and talking film, which creates a refreshing creative atmosphere.
    Even so, there were plenty of documentary bigwigs present, who made themselves very accessible to the student fellows.
    On the first day, festival Artistic Director Sadie Tillery invited them to have lunch with Steve James (“Hoop Dreams”) and discuss his new doc, “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.” Later, she invited them to join her again for a special master class with Peter Nicks focused on his new doc, “The Force.”
    Tillery also hooked the fellows up with a specially curated program of films, many of which were in such high demand students wouldn’t have gotten in on their own.

    IMG_4310b-retouched-02
    Tillery shared that the Fellows Program holds a special place in her heart: “It is particularly inspiring to welcome students to the festival. Through the Fellows Program, we strive to create a forum for up-and-coming artists to connect with content, filmmakers, and each other.”

  • NYFA Filmmaking Alumnus Cartier Williams Hoofs With Smirnoff Sound Collective

    New York Film Academy filmmaking alumnus Cartier Williams is drumming up a revival in the world of dance on film with his unique brand of tap dance. Williams is a self-professed “hoofer,” a dancer who loves the element of tap that emphasizes stomps, stamps, syncopation, percussion and heel motion. With a recent collaboration with Smirnoff Sound Collective, Cartier is on a mission to bring tap back in film.

    NYFA: Tell me a little about your background and what brought you to NYFA.

    CW: Well, I started tap dancing when I was four years old, taught by my grandmother Audrey Williams. At the age of six, I performed a piece choreographed by Grammy-award winning singer Mya, and won Apollo Kids at the prestigious Apollo Theater, distinguished as one of The Apollo Theater’s youngest “Apollo Legends.”

    Later that year I was invited to the Kennedy Center Honors alongside Robert Downey Jr. When I was 10 years old, I toured with tap legends Buster Brown, Jimmy Slyde, and Dianne Walker on a international tour called “Footnotes.” I shared the stage with Gregory Hines, The Nicholas Brothers, and Peg Leg Bates. On that tour I performed for two U.S Presidents and co-starred in “PBS Special: In Performance at The White House” with Bill Clinton.

    I toured Japan and the U.S in the Tony Award-winning show “Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in da Funk,” co-starring Savion Glover. I performed for the AFI Awards: A Tribute To Tom Hanks. Other appearances include The State Department, CIA, FCC, New York Botanical Garden, and New York Children’s Museum of Manhattan. I performed for The Opening of the Cannes Film Festival for Moulin Rouge, appeared in Spike Lee’s Bamboozled and recently appeared in Bart Mastronardi & Alan Rowe Kelly horror film Tales of Poe.

    I ended up at the New York Film Academy in 2009 because I wanted to rekindle the love between tap dancing and film. But I also had something else on my mind, too, that I had to settle: I’m a huge fan of horror films and I wanted to become a director because of Wes Craven and the genius movie he made called “Scream.” I felt I needed to go to the Film Academy to figure this out. So I had two goals: to fix tap dancing and film’s beautiful long relationship, and learn how to make horror films.

    NYFA: Can you tell us a bit about your latest project with Smirnoff Sound Collective?

    CW: It’s funny how the Smirnoff video came about. I was on the computer and had just set up my Facebook for my new dance company and I received a message about me dancing in the video. So immediately I talked to the director Stacey Lee, who was hired by VICE to put it altogether.

    I was excited all these great brands coming together for tap dancing! Stacey and I had a great creative talk about me and my dancers and what my creative world was like. We met up a couple times and had one glitch: all the dancers except one in my company weren’t of age to be in the video. So it ended up being only me and Yusaku Komori, who you see in the video.

    A few weeks later we then shot the music video. The process was awesome! Of course early call times, breakfast, hair and makeup … It was complete fun because both of my favorite worlds are coming together all at once. Some scenes there were lots of people on set and sometimes just me and the director because maybe someone is setting something up on the next shot somewhere else.

    The most important thing as a tap dancer is good sound, so that was the first thing I wanted to talk about when I arrived. Tap dancing is percussive and visual, and for me the percussiveness is just as important as the visual. So I must say me and the sound man were best buds! Because sound is important and that was reinforced at NYFA.

    Screenshot 2017-07-17 14.13.38

    NYFA: What did you learn at NYFA that helped you on your career journey?

    CW: When I was at NYFA I became so independent creatively. I learned so much about myself and the stories I wanted to tell. NYFA helped me become the confident director and writer I wanted to be. I ended up directing, choreographing,and producing my own shows when I left the school. My dancing became more powerful because I had stories to tell with the dance that was meaningful. I also learned how to work with people more [collaboratively], because tap dancing is a solo art form at heart and film is not. I learned how to be a team player and how to be patient.

    NYFA: What’s next for you?

    Next I am performing on July 22 at The Smithsonian Museum of American History for The March On Washington Film Festival closing ceremony. But currently I am in production for my new show called “ZIGITYBOP!” It will premiere at the Oslo Jazz Festival and in Zurich Switzerland this August. I recently started a GoFundMe page because I would love to bring the show back home to the states. I’m also currently writing a tap-horror short film that I will film this fall.

    NYFA: What is your greatest memory at NYFA?

    My greatest memory at NYFA was creating a show with my classmates Matt Denoma and Max Schiano called “Beautiful Choas.” It was a tap show that infused multimedia with electronic music. We performed the show numerous times in Long Island for the public school system. The kids loved it and it was just a blast for me, because the guys I depended on in film class was there for me when it was time to create a tap show. How fun!

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Cartier Williams for taking the time to share some of his story with our community.

    July 17, 2017 • Acting, Film School, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 572

  • NYFA Photography BFA Student Omar Alturk Featured on Al Arabiya

    Thamer_0217_0040-2New York Film Academy BFA photography student Omar Alturk has been busy creating visual stories on two continents, but the 25-year old photographer recently found the time to appear on-camera for a spotlight on Al Aribiya, to share his perspective as a Middle Eastern photographer working in the U.S. media capital of Los Angeles.

    Jackie_0916_0049 (1)

    Photo by Omar Alturk

    Still in the midst of his studies at NYFA Los Angeles, Alturk has already built a diverse portfolio as a photographer, working as a behind-the-scenes photographer on film sets as well as creating editorial and fashion stories in the U.S. and in his home country of Saudi Arabia. Recently, he created a campaign for Royal Legacy.

    He told Al Aribiya’s audience in the Middle East that he believes photographers in Saudi Arabia stand a great chance of making the crossover to the American market. “The thing that makes you different from the rest of the photographers here is to make a Middle Eastern touch on the photograph or the model or anything you have,” said Alturk. “That I think is what makes you different and creates a different opportunity for you as a photographer in the U.S.”

    We had a chance to catch up with Alturk to hear more about his approach to photography and what has been inspiring him lately.

    NYFA: Can you tell us a little bit about your journey and what made you decide to leave Saudi Arabia to attend the New York Film Academy?

    The_Store_0417_0050-Edit-Edit (1)

    Photo by Omar Alturk

    OA: After I graduated from high school, I honestly didn’t know what I should do. I’ve studied in three colleges but I didn’t finish a semester in any of them, so I decided to work. I worked in customer service at a rent-a-car company, then after a while I got a job at the NBC Bank. All that time I wasn’t really happy with what I was doing, even though I was in a good status at the Bank. I had this feeling that this is not what I’m born for.

    So I decided to move to the U.S., but before I went I decided that I wanted to study something I love and I care about. I had photography as my number one interest on my list. After some research I found NYFA, and I found that I can get BFA in photography in Los Angeles California, where everyone wants to be!

    911Carrera_0317_0145 (1)

    Photo by Omar Alturk

    NYFA: What inspired you to become a photographer?

    OA: Since I was a kid, I was obsessed with photography.

    I think what made me crazy about it was that my mom used to take a lot of picture of me and my sisters with film camera, and whenever I had the time I used to check the prints of the film and look at it. Every time I checked the pictures, I liked the fact that I could remember everything in that moment: my age, the way I looked, what my interests were. That’s what made me become a photographer: to keep these moments of life in my hard drive and my memory.

    street_photography_1016_0059 (1)

    Photo by Omar Alturk

    NYFA: How has your experience in the photography school been?

    OA: When I started studying at NYFA my experience in photography wasn’t perfect. I knew how to use a camera, but I had never touched any lighting equipment before. So when I started, I was so happy that the school provides any equipment I could ask for.

    That helped me a lot in the learning process, and I became knowledgeable in lighting and how to use it in proper way — what lights I should use if I want some type of style in mind.

    lowkeyP_0316_0121

    Photo by Omar Alturk

    NYFA: Can you tell me about some of the campaigns and projects you’ve worked on?

    OA: There are many projects I have done through 2016 until today. I’ve worked on over 10 short films as behind-the-scenes photographer, and on one feature film as behind-the-scenes photographer, too.

    There are also many small gigs I’ve worked on that gave me a good experience in photography in Los Angeles. Lately I photographed the owners of a clothing store in Beverly Hills and their collection, which was a big thing for me.

    _J4A3275.CR2

    Photo by Omar Alturk

    NYFA: Are there any projects that particularly stand out for you, that you’re the most proud of?

    OA: For me, I am proud of all of them. But I would say the project which I enjoyed the most was the feature film I’ve worked on. The shoot was 21 days, for 12 hours a day. It was a lot of fun and a challenge at the same time, since I had school on some days of the shooting, but luckily it all worked for the good!

    NYFA: Do you plan on returning to Saudi Arabia to continue your photography career, or rather stay in the U.S.?

    OA: This is still a big decision to me since I’m still studying, but I would say that I can work on both and that what I’m aiming for. I don’t want people to know me only as a Saudi photographer, and that’s it! I’d rather be an international photographer who’s traveling all over the world for photography, and I want to be known worldwide — not only in my city or my country, or even only the U.S.

    Aymen1_0816_0043 (1)

    Photo by Omar Alturk

    NYFA: Can you tell me about your upcoming project taking place in Saudi Arabia?

    OA: The project I’m trying to do is to use my skills I gained at NYFA in photography to show different sides of the holy cities in Saudi. I’m starting at Madina, which is my hometown, then to Mecca, where the Grand Mosque is.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Omar Alturk for taking the time to share some of his story with the NYFA community.

     

    July 7, 2017 • Academic Programs, Photography, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1310

  • Behind the Scenes of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” With NYFA Alum & Digital Compositor Francesco Panzieri

    FRAN EDITED IMAGE 2NYFA alumnus Francesco Panzieri has been busy since completing his studies at the New York Film Academy, with credits running the gamut from the realism of “Mad Men” to the visionary science fiction of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Most recently, Panzieri has turned his hand as an in-house digital compositor with Marvel Studios for “Spider Man: Homecoming,” which opens July 7.

    “Spider Man: Homecoming” is the first installment of a new Spidey trilogy created through the first-time partnership between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures.

    According to Panzieri, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” will stand apart due to its combination of great storytelling, and a focus on the superhero’s dual struggles to become an Avenger and survive high school.

    “I believe ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ balances in a very successful way two key-elements of Peter Parker’s life in this movie, which are his teenage life as a high-school student and the struggles of a superhero to become an Avenger,” explains Panzier. “I think that the high-school part makes the character extremely compelling because it gives the audience a shared point of view with Peter, since all of us have been through similar life moments.”

    Panzieri muses that films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe continue to attract audiences not only through their jaw-dropping visuals, but primarily through their great storytelling. “Write something good,” he says, “Something really good, that people can relate to, and then use visual effects to enhance your cinematic vision of that story.”

    FRAN EDITED 1

    NYFA 3D Animation alumnus Francesco Panzieri (right) pictured with actor Michael Mando (left), who plays Mac Gargan in “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”

    Along with a great story, Panzieri points to a new colorspace technology created by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences called ACES (Academy Color Encoding System) as a vital ingredient to the look of “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” Panzieri says, “It was a cool experience for me to test it for the first time in my career and I look forward to ACES being the soon-standard-to-be on features, episodic and commercials.”

    He describes an atmosphere of camaraderie and excitement on set: “Since Sony Pictures owns the film rights to Spider-Man, the whole post-production process took place on the Sony Studios lot, in Culver City, California. Each morning, I got to walk by the original ‘Ghostbusters’ Ecto-1 car on my way to work, and that was a very stimulating and inspiring environment.”

    Screenshot 2017-07-06 08.40.30

    Panzieri pictured with the original “Ghostbusters” Ecto-1 car.

    “In the studio we had every day all the top-notch leadership team of Marvel Studios surrounding us,” Panzieri recalled. “While we were working on the visual effects for the feature film, they were focused on refining and improving editing and storytelling with the director. What surprised me in a truly unique and positive way, was seeing first-class executives such as the Marvel ones hard at work from dawn’s early lights until late at night. In those moments I realized the true strength and secret of Marvel Studios that deservedly brought them to be number one in the entertainment industry: the love and energy that they put into each and every production they make. Everyone who works at Marvel is an extremely genuine, passionate and dedicated fellow; it’s a huge, big family where there is a unique synergy between all the roles.

    Transitioning from film school to major blockbuster productions is entirely a matter of building relationships, according to Panzieri — and being prepared for high-skilled hard work.

    “My job, it’s all about networking,” Panzieri reveals. “So what happened is that a connection that I had from when I worked on ‘Star Wars’ had called me to work on Spider-Man.”

    Panzieri points to his training at the New York Film Academy as playing a valuable role in preparing him for his work: “I must say that the long hours of classes and lab at the NYFA were definitely an advantage to me on every project I worked on thus far … I can definitely say that the instantaneous hands-on environment I found myself in during my time at NYFA was a true testament to how you’ve got to be when working in Hollywood. Visual effects is art, technology and science at the same time, and as such you need to be really focused, dedicated and good at craftsmanship to keep up with its high quality demands you face in entertainment.”

    “Spider-Man: homecoming” is the first installment of a new Spider-Man trilogy created through a first-time collaboration between Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios. Box Office Pro has projected a box office opening of $135 million, which ScreenRant notes would make this the 6th largest opening out of 16 Marvel films.