Student and Alumni Spotlights

  • Award-Winning NYFA Filmmaking Alumnus Talks “Money”

    Martin Rosete came to the New York Film Academy in 2007 thanks to La Caixa Fellowship Program in Spain. “At that time I could not even dream everything what I was about to learn at NYFA and all the opportunities it would provide me in the professional world,” said Rosete.

    martin rosete

    After attending the Two Year Filmmaking Program, Rosete went on to direct the short film “Voice Over,” which won numerous awards at festivals all across the world.

    From there, Rosete went on to direct the feature film, “Money,” which continues to gain buzz on the festival circuit. The movie stars Kellan Lutz (“Twilight saga,” “The Legend of Hercules”) and Jesse Williams (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Cabin in the Woods”).

    On November 5th, the film will premiere in NYC at the Big Apple Film Festival, and on November 4th it will play in LA at the Egyptian Theater as part of the Arpa International Film Festival. Next year, the movie will be commercially distributed worldwide.

    We had the opportunity to speak with the award-winning director and NYFA alumnus before his upcoming premieres in NYC and LA.

    Congrats on all of your success! Can you tell us about your new film, “Money”?

    “Money” is an elegant thriller that talks about human greed and how money (and the lack of it) can affect different individuals from different backgrounds. We tried to do it as universal and commercial as possible, and we are really happy with the final movie.

    VOICE OVER (English subtitles) from Kamel Films on Vimeo.
    How did this film come about?

    After directing my short film, “Voice Over,” which won over 100 awards in film festivals and got a nomination for the Spanish Academy Award (Goya), I felt that I was ready to jump and direct my first feature film. I started to read a bunch of scripts that my agent (at WME at that time) sent me and, in the end, I found the script for “Money.” I felt it was perfect for my first feature. It was contained, commercial, fun, with great characters and dialogue. I fell in love with it.

    I teamed up with Atit Shah, an American producer based in NY, and we decided to produce it together. It took us a little bit of time to put all the pieces in place, and I have to say that it is been an exciting and fun process, and we are already planning to repeat the team for our next film.

    What was the most rewarding aspect of the production?

    Probably the cast we got. It was amazing to have the opportunity to work with so many talented actors such as Jesse Williams, Kellan Lutz, Jess Weixler, Jamie Bamber and Lucia Guerrero. And besides the talent they have, I will be always thankful for the professionalism and commitment they showed on set. It was a dream to work with all of them.

    on set of "Money"

    How did your NYFA education prepare you to direct “Money”?

    I am from Spain, and the time that I spent at NYFA helped me a lot in understanding the way things are in the industry, in the US; and the fact that we were literally shooting every week also helped in having the opportunity to try different things without any fear of failing. That is really important to be prepared for the real world after your studies are over, and I am really happy to have had that opportunity.

    You’ve had tremendous success at the film festivals. Can you provide any advice to students about to enter their films into festivals?

    Film Festivals are the main door to the professional world. Being in the big ones and winning awards gives you the visibility that you need to find the right producer, agent, or investor interested in your work. My work has been selected in more that 500 film festivals, winning over 100 awards. The only secret is to have something good to show out there and to have the energy to find the resources to distribute your work in order to get as much as possible out of it.


    Is there anything you can tell us about distribution for “Movie”?

    The movie was completed in April 2016 and it is doing great in film festivals. About the commercial life of the movie, it has been sold to many territories and we are negotiating a deal with a studio right now. I would love to be more specific, but unfortunately I cannot reveal more yet. All I can tell you is that in 2017 “Money” will have worldwide distribution.

    What kind of advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers and NYFA students looking to direct their first film?

    Whatever you do, do it right. Even if you are doing a small practice with no budget. Try your best. Put all the energy and passion to get the best out of it. Sometimes the result won’t be great but you may get a good lesson that you can apply in the next shooting. I always joke with my crew, even on low budget sets, telling them that we have to face the shoot as if we were doing “Ben-Hur,” because that kind of commitment from everyone makes the difference. And besides all that, for me, it is very important to do things this way to show the respect for the profession and for the professionals involved.

    Are you currently working on any other projects that you’d like to share?

    Yes, as I said, Atit and I are working on a wonderful dark comedy called “Remember Me” written by Rafa Russo. The script was one of the top scripts of the year on The Black List, and it is one of the best scripts that I have read in my life. We are super excited because we know we have another winner on those pages. I cannot wait to start shooting!

    October 21, 2016 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 900

  • Photography Alumnus’ Work Published on L’Officiel India and Factice Magazine

    New York Film Academy Photography alumnus Ping Wang‘s fine art project, “The Nostalgia of the Infinite,” is a bold combination of high-end fashion and metaphysical art, or as Wang eloquently puts it: “my exploration and self meditation about time and memory.”

    His fashion editorials inspired by “The Nostalgia of the Infinite,” named “Untramelled,” have been published on L’Officiel India, and the fashion story inspired by the same fine art project named “Delusional” has been published on Factice Magazine.


    photo from L’OFFICIEL INDIA | SEPTEMBER 2016

    “I’ve loved writing since I was very young,” said Wang. “I always take photos with my cellphone and put them into my personal blog. I believe this is the starting point for my photography. However, I didn’t know how to use a professional camera when I came to NYFA. NYFA values the practical and basic learning; it gives students a lot of time to think and then achieve.”

    "Eye of the Painter" in Factice Magazine | photography by Ping Wang

    “Eye of the Painter” in Factice Magazine | photography by Ping Wang

    With Wang focusing on fashion photography since his graduation, he says he notices two trends in the space.

    1. More “motions” are catching the spotlight in the industry. Fashion film has been a big trend.

    2. Fashion photography is cyclical. I’m beginning to see some retro elements and a preference for film lighting.

    photos by Ping Wang

    “In everything that I do, I want to express myself and feel the world,” says Wang.

    For more of Ping Wang’s amazing work, visit his website at

    October 20, 2016 • Photography, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 950

  • Game Design Master’s Showcase at NYFA Los Angeles

    This past September 2016, the Game Design Department held their annual Master’s Showcase at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles campus. Students displayed games ranging from virtual reality, tabletop, side scrollers, card games, and PC games.

    game design

    The event also played host to the second Twitch stream for NYFA. Previously, NYFA hosted a Twitch stream for the Pokémon Go Event in July. Students and professors play-tested new games so fans could see the gameplay.

    I asked the team producing the Twitch TV stream, NYFA student Davin Tjen and Nicholas Cunha, about the response they were hoping for from their audience. “We’re very excited for it and we’re very excited to go live. We don’t know (what to expect). Our last stream was a hit, but that’s because it was Pokémon Go.”


    Guillermo Quesada Paez, Master of Fine Arts student, had several games at the event including Identity, Fetch Through Time, and Samurai V Skeletons.

    Paez said, “Samurai V Skeletons is a tower defense game, but we also made it so you could control the main character. You can play as your tower but you can also play as a guy and help shoot the enemy. We basically mixed two different games together: tower defense and a top down shooter.”

    The hardest part about making the game was creating path finding for the enemy. “We needed an algorithm to find the shortest paths between points,” Paez explained. “The player keeps moving around and the enemy has to keep recalculating their path to get to the player.”

    nyfa game design

    Drew Fletcher, Master of Fine Arts student and one of the developers on Fetch Through Time, told us about his game. “In Fetch Through Time, you’re a gelatin dog bouncing through the world trying to collect bones. You have to make sure you don’t run into anything otherwise you’ll pop.”

    The inspiration behind the game was simple, “…we had two ideas. One teammate had an idea for a gelatin game and another teammate had an idea for an endless bouncing ball, so we combined the two.”

    Board games were also on display. Associate of Fine Arts student Jeffery Lay told us about his game, inspired by the game Set. “I used something called the script effect. For example, here we have the word blue written in green. Your left side of the brain is trying to read the word and the right side of your brain is seeing the color. That brings a clash in your brain and it makes the game more challenging. If you do the script affect often it increases your logical brain. ”

    game design

    Lay also showcased his game Capture, a horror game without monsters. “My main focus was environmental designs. I don’t like horror games. Well … it’s not that I don’t like them. I’m scared of them. So, I thought it might be fun as a challenge to create one. I used environmental design to make it look realistic or give it that natural feeling and I wanted something that had a scary vibe without scaring the person directly. In some of the horror games something just pops up in your face. It’s not fair to the player. I try with music and sound to give players that scary feeling.”

    New York Film Academy professor Scott Rogers (History of Video Games) had this to say about the event, “I’m really proud of all our students. They managed to do some pretty amazing things in a very short period of time. I’m always impressed with the work they do.”

    game design

    Rogers then explained how the students learn to develop their games. “One of the things that we like to teach the students here is that paper prototyping is the foundation of good organized game design, whether it’s making maps for their level designs or actually creating a playable version of their game in paper form. We’re trying to teach them to work not only well, but smart. So paper prototyping is this great tool that’s been around since Dungeons & Dragons.”

    “The other side of this is you could just learn to make a board game. In fact, one of our students earlier tonight was talking to a fellow who’s a Creative Director at a board game company. The guy took the students card because he was so impressed with the game.”

    October 19, 2016 • Game Design, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 904

  • Broadcast Journalism Alumna Reporter for Sweden’s Expressen-TV

    These days, some of the most interesting TV news operations aren’t seen on conventional TV. Case in point, Expressen-TV. Expressen is one of Sweden’s most successful newspapers. But the future is digital, so the news operation has evolved into a cross-platform news service that is now challenging the dominance of traditional broadcasters. And even in Stockholm, much of the talk is about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

    Last week NYFA Broadcast Journalism students got an “insider” perspective of Expressen-TV from Emilie Olsson, a 2013 New York Film Academy graduate. After working with Swedish state broadcaster SVT and commercial outlet TV-4, Emilie is now a general assignment reporter at Expressen-TV.

    emilie olsson

    She shared with the students her career path since leaving NYFA, and described a typical day for a TV news reporter. She began her fascination for broadcast journalism as early as ten years old. On a two-day trip to New York City, Olsson stopped at NYFA to learn more about its Broadcast Journalism program. It wasn’t long until she was hooked and attending the 8-Week program.

    Emilie Olsson

    “During the 8 weeks I learned a lot about the camera, editing programs. It prepared be both technically and improving my language. It makes me feel like I can do interviews in New York. I like the motivation NYFA gives to students.”

    “If you’re from another country, NYFA will be a change for you,” added Olsson. “But don’t be worried. There are people from all different countries, and you learn from your own path. Enjoy it, and take advantage of your education as much as possible.”

    After class, she spent time talking informally with members of the class. Thanks for visiting NYFA, Emilie!

    October 18, 2016 • Broadcast Journalism, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1033

  • Producing Grad’s “Long Island Lights” Wins Best Web Series at LA International Film Fest

    New York Film Academy Producing alumnus Anthony Scordio won Best Web Series / New Media at the Los Angeles International Film Festival Awards for his pilot of the half hour comedy show, “Long Island Lights.” The pilot episode recently screened at the Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, California. The show was also a semifinalist at the Los Angeles Cinefest and has high hopes as it continues it festival run.

    long island lights 2

    Long Island Lights is a half hour comedy about a group of misfits at an amateur production company on Long Island who are hungry to become rich and famous.

    “This is a story about millennials trying to find their way in life and the real issues they deal with from romance and success to redefining who you are in this age of hyper connectivity — where you can feel small and disconnected,” said Scordio. “What they are really chasing after is validation in a world where the “LIKE” button hails king. We watch them fail over and over again, but the real success comes in the bonds that they form with one another.”

    It features similar romantic story lines and co-worker drama like the popular TV series “The Office,” the goofy family dysfunction of Mitch Hurwitz’s “Arrested Development,” and the dark and often raunchy humor of the hilarious “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” 

    “The series came about after I quit my job at an investment bank in my early 20’s and decided to pursue my passion in filmmaking,” says Scordio. “There were a lot of growing pains and ridiculous people I met along the way — many of whom were in the industry for the reasons of becoming rich and famous. So I thought it would be funny to highlight that pursuit in a comedic way, but have a theme of friends and family at the core.”

    The NYFA grad attended the 1-Year Producing Program at the New York Film Academy’s New York location, where he created the pilot for the series as his thesis project.

    long island lights

    “NYFA’s training was crucial in being prepared to create the pilot,” he says. “It laid the foundation of skills that were necessary in order to pull it off, especially because we had over 150 actors and 50 crew members working on the pilot. I wouldn’t have been able to manage that without the education NYFA provided. Also, several of my collaborators are people I met directly or indirectly through NYFA.”

    Scordio now runs a Long Island based production company, Scordio Productions, Inc. Scordio and his team are currently in pre-production for a Jon Bon Jovi music video that shoots at the end of October.

    October 17, 2016 • Producing, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 986

  • Musical Theatre Alumnus Roy Khoury Brings Broadway to Lebanon

    roy khouryNew York Film Academy Musical Theatre alumnus Roy Khoury came to the Academy to pursue his childhood dream of performing on Broadway. However, Khoury took it one step further by bringing Broadway to his home country of Lebanon.

    Last year, he created, starred and directed his own musical concert “One Night on Broadway” at the Casino Du Liban in Lebanon. The musical received an award of appreciation in the “Murex D’Or” 2015. Khoury also had the opportunity to showcase “One Night on Broadway” in the “Zouk Mikael International Festival.”

    The show is a collection of the most beloved Broadway musicals which are converted into a chain of tableaux that focus on the most fascinating features of the Broadway culture.

    “In our country there isn’t much of a known local musical theatre / Broadway scene,” said Khoury. “I have always dreamed of directing my own musical, as well as starring in it, so I threw the idea over to producers and they loved and invested in it. And it was a huge success!”

    one night on broadway

    Khoury and his team were able to perform the musical at international festivals, private events, and concerts.

    “The whole process of being the director and performing was a challenge for me, and I guess I nailed it,” said Khoury. “Thanks to NYFA and the awesome experience that I had in NYC. NYFA is the place where I became a musical theatre performer and director. I’ve worked a lot on myself in other schools and I’ve practiced intensively in different showcases and musicals, but it all comes back to NYFA and the most amazing teacher I met there.”

    Due to the huge success of “One Night on Broadway,” a producer from Dubai contacted Khoury to be the performing arts and stage director of the popular TV talent show, “Arab Casting.” The show hired Khoury to be an artistic director, acting coach and choreographer.

    Khoury says he’s now brainstorming for another show, as a variety of producers are interested in investing in his next big project.

    one night on broadway

    His advice to students and recent graduates: “Be patient, positive, and embrace every single word or class or project at NYFA because it gives you a lot and it’s a brilliant domain. My mentor have always talked to us about one’s discipline and attitude towards others and towards yourself in order to merge into this field. And don’t stop practicing and working on your talent and technique. Everything makes a difference. Finally, take risks and do what you love. You’ll make it if you love it.”

    October 14, 2016 • Musical Theatre, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2141

  • MFA Photography Alumnus’ Fashion Work Featured in Elléments Magazine

    michael ilobaSeptember was a triumphant month for MFA Photography alumnus Michael Iloba. If you happen to have read the fashion and beauty magazine Elléments, you would have come across Iloba’s fashion photography work, which covered New York’s Fashion Week. Additionally, he was interviewed by Voyage LA magazine, an online fashion, beauty and general interest magazine in Los Angeles, where Iloba is currently based.

    Recently, we had a chance to catch up with the photography grad to see what else he’s up to and how his love for photography came about.

    How did you fall into photography? Was it something you’ve always wanted to do?

    Photography, for me, began as a hobby. I began taking pictures towards the end of my undergraduate program in economics in South West Nigeria. At that time, photography wasn’t in my plan as a career choice. With time, however, my interest grew and nothing else gave me the type of satisfaction I got from practicing photography.

    What made you decide to attend the New York Film Academy?

    What sold NYFA to me was the extensive curriculum offered in the Masters in Fine Arts [MFA] in Photography program. It was very detailed and covered the very things I wanted to learn and improve on. Of all the schools in Europe and America I came across, on the net, during my search for that institution that will give me the best formal training in photography, NYFA clearly stood out. It is important to state here that before now, everything I knew prior to NYFA, I learned online — from YouTube, blogs etc. I needed to gain more technical and artistic knowledge, which NYFA provided most adequately and beyond expectation.


    photos by Michael Iloba from Elléments Magazine

    What is your most memorable moment and what is one of the best lessons/skills you have learned?

    My most memorable moment occurred in the first few weeks of school, in getting to know my colleagues and instructors. I remember we had to present our portfolios. The goal was to have each person critique it. Of course we all had good things to say about each other’s work, but not the instructors. In my journey to becoming a professional photographer, it was the first time I had received a different but professional and academic opinion on my work, and it didn’t sound good to me. I was defensive, trying to give reasons/excuses for everything wrong that was pointed out to me. It wasn’t a good day for me, even though memorable. But what I got out of it was clarity. I had to learn to detach myself from my work emotionally, come with an open and expectant mindset, to learn and understand what was being taught. That was the highlight for me and now I like my work getting critiqued.

    Other highlights of my time at NYFA were the ambience of the school for academics, the awesome professional quality of teaching and academic staff, access to a studio with cutting-edge equipment/technology, and the trip to Hawaii with my colleagues to unwind after a tough academic session.

    My overall experience was more than I had hoped for. I feel and have a sense of satisfaction. I came to NYFA with certain expectations, but I ended up with something better and more profound. I consider myself privileged to have attended NYFA and I am very grateful for the opportunity. I tell people it would have taken me way longer to know the things I now know, if I had to learn by experience only.

    photos by Michael Iloba from Elléments Magazine

    photos by Michael Iloba from Elléments Magazine

    Is there any aspect of photography that you’re most passionate about?

    In my journey as a photographer, I had tried out most of the different genres but was able, thanks to NYFA, to narrow it down to fashion and portraits, which I am very passionate about n

    Can you tell us about some of the work you’ve done in fashion and portrait photography?

    I have been freelancing, creating more work for my portfolio, and also assisting other established photographers, in order to gain more on-set/industry experience. Recently I shot an editorial titled “Sand Fire,” which was published in Elléments Magazine, an iconic New York based fashion magazine, in its September 2016, “Fashion Week” edition. It also happens to be my first international publication. I am so thankful for the opportunity to have my works viewed worldwide.

    Also, last month, September 2016, I was interviewed by Voyage LA magazine. It is a great feeling to know that many in the US and beyond are noticing / viewing my work.

What are you currently working on and what do you hope to work on in the near future?

    I am in the preproduction stage of a new editorial with some amazing creatives. I can’t wait to put it out soon. I look forward to bigger things for the future; more features in magazines and hopefully a cover photo for a renowned magazine. I can’t wait for the opportunity. As my father will always tells me, “wake up, dress up and show up.” I have since taken that to heart.

    October 11, 2016 • Photography, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1325

  • NYFA Australia Alum’s “Ice Cold” Wins Best Foreign Short at Action on Film Festival

    Jonathan G wins awardWriter, Director, Producer and Editor Jonathan Gesthuizen’s short film “Ice Cold,” which he produced while attending the New York Film Academy Australia, Gold Coast, officially won Best Foreign Short Film at the 2016 Action on Film (AOF) International Film Festival Los Angeles.

    “It was great to be recognized by the judges and our film peers,” said Gesthuizen. “The competition was fierce, and I enjoyed watching some really great films. The atmosphere was surreal, prestigious, exciting and intimidating all at the same time.”

    A glitzy red carpet formal awards evening concluded the festival last month in Hollywood, where Gesthuizen was awarded his prize.

    “I feel honored and excited about winning this award and how it will assist us in gaining the traction we need for the making of the feature, which has recently been written with help of co-writer Paul Gough,” added Gesthuizen. “Most people associate a film’s success with the budget the producer and director have to work with, but this is not always the case, as a $70,000 film won an award at the festival in the same category over another with a $20 million budget. It’s all about getting the story across and how well you can engage your audience with the characters.”

    Gesthuizen aims to have a feature version of “Ice Cold” completed and entered into next years AOF.

    He will begin casting in late October in both New Zealand and Australia. Filming will begin shortly after that with a release date set for late July 2017.

    If you would like to support this project please check out their Facebook page “Ice Cold” for further information.

    October 7, 2016 • Entertainment Australia, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1338

  • Alexender Simoes Covers New York Fashion Week


    photo by Alexender Simoes

    Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Alexender Simoes came to the New York Film Academy to not only familiarize himself with the craft of photography, but also to learn how to effectively communicate with others in the industry.

    With the New York Fashion Week being the perfect outlet for the photography student to explore his passion, Simoes hit the streets and went to many shows in order to, as he says it, “breathe in all the fashion air, studying people how they pose and why they wear.” After hustling the whole week to attend and photograph a variety of shows, he was able to cover the Taoray Wang show, which showcased the designer’s sophisticated silhouettes and luxurious fabrics.

    “Fashion photography became a passion because of its attitude of expressing oneself,” said Simoes. “I had such a hard time finding my voice as a photographer until NYFA helped me hone my calling. It’s fun, it’s fast paced, elegant, and fierce. Photography is meant to learn the rules and also break them once you know what you’re doing.”

    Simoes is currently working on his portfolio and looking to expand more of his work in the fashion industry by continuing to network with individuals and hustling day-by-day.

    “It has been a humbling opportunity to meet amazing people, and I owe it to NYFA for helping me break out from my shell,” said Simoes. “Whatever passion you have I encourage NYFA to help you get there.”

    photos by Alexender Simoes

    September 30, 2016 • Photography, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2012

  • NYFA Students & Alumni Crew Up for TIFF’s “After the Storm”

    “After the Storm,” a film from first-time writer and director Jessica Oyelowo, recently screened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Jessica’s husband, David Oyelowo, known for his betrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King in the award-winning film “Selma,” was a producer on the project.
    on set of "After the Storm"

    on set of “After the Storm”

    Shot in only four days at Oyelowo’s home in Tarzana, the production included a number of New York Film Academy students and alumni in its crew. Giulia Governo, a NYFA alumna from the Cinematography program, was the 1st AC on the shoot; David Hebrero, a NYFA alumnus from the Filmmaking program, was the gaffer; Konstantin Frolov, a NYFA alumnus from the Cinematography program, was the boom operator; Vince GE, a student from the Filmmaking program, was a Production Assistant; and Joann Wong, a student in the Filmmaking program, was in the swing department.
    after the storm

    on set of “After the Storm”

    Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“Belle,” “Beyond the Lights”), Chiké Okonkwo (“The Birth of a Nation”) and newcomer Caleb Oyelowo (Jessica’s son) star in the film about the emotional journey of an African American family in the wake of tragedy.
    after the storm

    on set of “After the Storm”

    “I became interested in what it’s like for the families of those out on the front lines,” said director, Jessica Oyelowo. “What happens to relationships when things go wrong, change doesn’t come, or loved ones are away or taken away?”

    “The movie has a bit of a surreal tone, as it deals with how tragedy can affect a family in ways they may not be fully aware of,” said NYFA Instructor Craig Ross.

    The film recently screened at the Urbanworld Film Festival in New York City. For more information, visit their Facebook page at