Student and Alumni Spotlights

  • Russian Student Shoots Video Spot for Nike

    Recently, one of our Russian filmmaking students, Sergei Frante, was asked to shoot a video spot for Nike in Moscow (seen above).

    “To be honest, this was one of the coolest projects I’ve ever worked on,” said Frante. “Once again, I realized how important the vibe is on set. With the right vibe, we can really produce magic.”

    Frante says getting to know the inside scoop on how Hollywood operates has been extremely helpful during his time at the New York Film Academy. “When you know how things should be done from directors’ and producers’ points of view, you can really accomplish a lot on set and be more dedicated to the creative aspects of the project.”

    Frante is currently developing a television series with his friend and collaborator Alexander Babaev. The two are hoping to launch the series in Los Angeles by the end of 2015.

    “As for my filmmaking career, I want to get on the level that Tarkovsky and Kubrick were on. I’m a big fan of old movies— without digital technology— when filmmaking was truly magical. I want to touch the hearts of the people, make them think and inspire them. Filmmaking is a form of art and has its own instruments to let the director speak, so I just want to keep on talking.”

    July 7, 2015 • Acting, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights, Study Abroad • Views: 908

  • NYFA Los Angeles Hosts 3-Week Workshop for NYFA Australian Acting Students

    australia acting students

    NYFA Australia acting students attending the Groundlings Comedy Improv show

    On Monday the 8th of June, four students from the New York Film Academy’s Gold Coast location, three students from NYFA Sydney, and acting instructor Hunter McMahon departed Australia and headed to the New York Film Academy campus in Los Angeles, California. The acting students participated in an intensive three week program which encompassed classes such as; Meisner technique, Voice and Movement, Combat, Comedy, Psychology of Performance, Audition technique and Production Workshops, which were shot on the backlot of Universal Studios.

    The students’ first week of training began on Tuesday the 9th of June with three classes a day, plus plenty of work to keep them busy outside of school hours. The first shoot on the Universal backlot took place on the “Western Set,” with scenes authored by the students. “It was a unique experience, and one that I will cherish for the rest of my life,” said NYFA Sydney Acting Instructor, Hunter McMahon.


    On Saturday afternoon, the acting students attended the Los Angeles Film Festival for a screening of Be Here Now: The Andy Whitfield Story. “It was one of the most powerful documentaries I have ever seen. When the lights came up we were all visibly moved and glad that we had shared the experience together,” said McMahon.

    On Sunday the group took some time out with a large portion of the day spent lounging at the pool of the Oakwood Apartments and enjoying the famous Los Angeles sun—after all, it is currently wintertime back in Australia.

    During the second week, the intensity of the program increased as the teachers began to demand more of the students, and as we’re accustomed to at NYFA, the students picked up the challenge.

    Friday night saw the students shuttled from NYFA to attend The Groundlings Theatre Show. “The show was hilarious, the students had a ball, and some were even lucky enough to meet the performers afterwards and have their picture taken with them,” recalled McMahon.

    Over the course of the rest of the weekend, the students spent time shopping, and exploring Disneyland. Any spare time leftover, students worked on the course material for the final week.

    The last week was spent filming the scenes, monologues and learning as much as possible about the industry in Los Angeles. During the week, students were shuttled to The Matrix theatre to watch The Australian Theatre Company’s rehearsed play reading of Ruben Guthrie. “The show was fantastic and a great networking opportunity… the play has been recently been adapted into a feature film, which opened the Sydney Film Festival this year,” said McMahon.

    matrix theatre

    On the Friday night of their final week, the students’ work was showcased in the screening room of NYFA LA’s Riverside Building. “It was a fitting end to the three-week course and we were overawed by the experience,” said McMahon.

    Monday the 29th of June marked the conclusion of the three-week excursion.

    “From this experience, my Australian acting students have grown remarkably, and will certainly cherish these memories dearly. The teachers we’ve had have been fantastic, experienced and very knowledgeable. We have made industry connections that will benefit both parties in the years to come. I’m grateful that I have been able to share this experience with the students, and the NYFA staff in LA. I have learned so much in my time here, and I can’t wait to share it all upon my return to Sydney. This journey has been invaluable, and I would like to share my gratitude and warm thanks to the New York Film Academy, its teachers and the students who journeyed with me to Los Angeles,” concluded McMahon.

    As for the students who took part in this incredible three-week Los Angeles trip, this is what they had to say:

    “I have been deeply touched by the passion, dedication and immense desire every teacher has had to share their experience and, install in our hearts, deep respect for our craft and the industry. I am now more committed to the ingenuity, creativity, skill and professionalism that has gone before me.”

    Sharde Anne (Gold Coast Graduate)

    matrix hollywood

    NYFA Australian actors attend the Australian Theatre Company’s Evening of “Stage to Screen” at the Matrix Theatre in Hollywood

    “This has been an incredible experience. I’m so grateful I was given this opportunity to explore the LA industry that I one day intend to be a part of. We were taken to The Groundlings, which was phenomenal and hilarious. We were also taken to see the Australian Theatre Company’s reading of ‘Ruben Guthrie’ at the Matrix theatre. We filmed on the Universal backlot twice. I have learned and grown so much in the past three weeks. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of it!”

    Tiahni Wilton (Gold Coast Graduate)

    “The wisdom and experience of the industry that was shared with us from the lecturers at NYFA was invaluable; and now I’m going home to Australia more confident with my craft. Thank you to all the lecturers from NYFA across Australia and LA. You all inspire me daily.”

    Krystal Shuttleworth (Gold Coast Graduate)

    “I look forward to the future in acting. I feel my passion gets stronger as I keep learning. It’s been an amazing experience!”

    Tareesha Argus (Gold Coast Graduate)

    “Coming to Los Angeles has been a fantastic and an uplifting experience for me. I’m eternally grateful for all that I have learned at my time at NYFA.”

    Abel Kollie (Sydney Graduate)

    “We have had incredible classes and teachers, who are all so passionate about the craft. I’ve learned so much about acting and the exciting business over here. The classes have been intense, and definitely worthwhile. Experiencing the American audition process and running it with a real agent was an invaluable experience. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone.”

    Kiara Williams (Sydney Graduate)

    “The experience and knowledge I’ve gained from doing this program is without a doubt the best decision and opportunity that was given to me by NYFA. I’ve learned so much more than I could have imagined about the LA market, auditioning and character work in the past 3 weeks. Though the days were long, I wouldn’t change any of it. The teachers were fantastic; they were so knowledgeable and passionate about the industry. I am eternally grateful to NYFA Sydney for this experience and can’t wait to start my career.”

    Ismael Nunez Moreno (Sydney Graduate)

  • NYFA Awards Scholarships to “Be Your Dream” Performers

    be your dream

    Acting Scholarship Winner Prosper Mangena (right) with Blake Babbitt and Anaïs

    As an on-going effort to reach talented individuals not only in the Unites States but also abroad, the New York Film Academy has partnered with the “Be Your Dream” project in South Africa to offer two full tuition scholarships to teen musical theatre and acting students.

    Founded by artist and Ambassador of Lifeline, Anaïs, the “Be Your Dream” project is an initiative to spread awareness throughout South Africa, regarding LifeLine and their free services and counseling that is provided for those in need.

    After auditioning forty selected individuals from the program, our admissions team was forced with the difficult decision of awarding two of the many deserving artists with these talent-based scholarships.


    Musical Theatre Scholarship Winner, Kayla de Araujo

    Today, with Anaïs on hand at NYFA Battery Park, NYFA showcased our most recent student scholarship winners:

    • Prosper Mangena, Awarded 4-Week Acting for Film Teen Scholarship
    • Kayla de Araujo, Awarded 4-Week Musical Theatre Teen Scholarship

    “I had the honor of awarding Prosper Mangena and Kayla de Araujo full talent-based scholarships to attend our 4-Week Teen Summer Acting for Film and Musical Theatre programs,” said Director of Performing Arts Admissions, Blake Babbitt. “I see such incredible talent come from South Africa, and it’s a pleasure to be able to join with the ‘Be Your Dream’ project to offer Kayla and Prosper this unique and life changing opportunity.”

    We’re delighted to have these two gifted young performers currently enrolled at NYFA, and look forward to seeing next year’s talent!

    June 30, 2015 • Community Highlights, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1628

  • MFA Cinematographers Film Underwater

    Our MFA Cinematography students literally dive head first into the world of underwater filmmaking. Shot with a Canon 5D in Hyrdoflex housing, students were able to capture the cinematic magic below the surface of the water.

    The MFA program is an accelerated, four semester graduate program that is extremely hands-on. Those interested in becoming Directors of Photography in the professional world are immersed in this intensive course under the tutelage of professional cinematographers. This unique setting helps develop both the creative vision and technical proficiency necessary for a career as a cinematographer.

    Upon graduation, students will be proficient with many of the state-of-the-art camera systems that are used on today’s biggest sets, including 16mm, 35mm, HD and Red digital cinema cameras. In addition, students can expect to be able to confidently supervise the creation of sophisticated lighting schemes on set.

    For more information about the New York Film Academy’s MFA Cinematography Program, please visit

  • Adam Nimoy’s ‘For the Love of Spock’ Doc Produced in Association with NYFA

    George Takei with NYFA Instructor Adam Nimoy

    George Takei with NYFA Instructor Adam Nimoy

    The New York Film Academy is proud to announce our involvement in the documentary feature film, For the Love of Spock.

    On June 16 and 17, staff and students of the New York Film Academy Los Angeles helped professional Director and long time directing Instructor, Adam Nimoy, produce a documentary about the character of Mr. Spock from Star Trek entitled For the Love of Spock. Adam and his father, Leonard Nimoy who played the iconic role, decided together that it was time to make a documentary about the beloved character. Unfortunately, Leonard Nimoy passed away before they could start production on the documentary. Adam has taken up the reigns with the intent of finishing the documentary and steering it not only towards an in-depth look at the famous Vulcan, but the man, his father, who made the character famous.


    William Shatner with NYFA crew

    New York Film Academy is lending talent and resources to ensure Adam’s documentary is a success. Earlier this week staff and students were thrilled to join Adam’s production team and help shoot a series of high profile interviews that will make up the spine of the documentary.

    William Shatner (Captain Kirk), George Takei (Lt. Sulu) and Walter Koenig (Ensign Chekov) were just a few of the impressive names that our staff and students helped interview for the documentary. Zachary Quinto will be providing the narration for the film and the New York film Academy is honored to help produce it.

    love of spock

  • Alum and Instructor Luisa Parnes Featured on GloboTV


    Luisa Parnes being interviewed by GloboTV

    One of our former students from Brazil, Luisa Parnes, who currently teaches screenwriting at New York Film Academy in New York, was hand picked to be highlighted on Brazil’s largest television network, TV Globo International. The satellite channel is the largest television network in Brazil and 3rd in the world, reaching over 2 million viewers across the world in 115 countries. The show, Planeta Brazil, features successful Brazilians living abroad.

    “When GloboTV reached with the hopes of doing a story on me, I was terrified,” recalled Parnes. “I hate being on camera! It was all very last minute, they called me one day and we shot the next, which was better since I didn’t have too much time to fret over what could go wrong. In the end, I worried for nothing. The reporter and camera were real professional, and NYFA provided a lovely studio in which we could tape the interview. The whole experience was easy and relaxed!”

    In addition to her teaching at the New York Film Academy, Parnes recently published an e-book in Portuguese called Pensando Alto, which roughly translates to “thinking out loud.”

    We look forward to seeing Luisa on GloboTV this summer!

    June 22, 2015 • Screenwriting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1020

  • Former Student Cody Broadway Directs ‘She Rides Bulls’

    At a gala sponsored by the San Angelo Library, former New York Film Academy student Cody Broadway, director of the film She Rides Bulls, pulled back the curtains on his new dramatic short film, to a crowd of over 200 well wishers, crew members and public. The film was produced in and around San Angelo with a cast and crew from all over Texas, including seasoned professionals and amateurs all drawn to the project by its unique, thrilling story and the dynamic will power of its director.

    cody broadway

    The project began back in 2008, when the writer, Greg Mcgee, was a commercial producer at a San Angelo TV station (not coincidentally, where he met Cody Broadway).

    “I had always been a fan of the rodeo — especially the bull riding competitions,” said Mr. McGee. “I’d been looking for a script idea to sink my teeth into, and for some crazy reason I came up with the idea of a girl going toe to toe against all those macho cowboys in the PBRA. It was just outlandish enough…but not something I figured any sane woman would actually DO anytime soon. I sat down one Friday night and started writing. The words were leaping on to the page. I knew I was onto something, because the script was virtually writing itself.”

    The first person Greg showed it to was Cody. Greg was something of a mentor to Cody at the time, as this was Cody’s first industry job, and it was a “late career” job for Greg. “When I read the script, I literally BEGGED Greg to let me direct it,” said Cody. “It was such a great story. As a country boy from San Angelo, the rodeo setting and the strong family values in the story had a strong impact on me. It was something I knew I could do better than anybody else in the world, if I was given the chance.”

    “I couldn’t pass up commitment like that,” said Greg. “Of course I promised him he could direct it, with one caveat. He’d have to raise the money to get it done, because I was a writer, not a producer.” It took a few years, but Cody never forgot that promise, and never forgot the script She Rides Bulls. Flash forward to 2015. Cody was a producer at the CBS affiliate in San Antonio with all his ducks in a row to make a short promotional film for She Rides Bulls. He called in favors from cameramen and lighting professionals, make up artists, designers and props people. Everybody in San Angelo wanted go get involved, so before you knew it, Cody had a herd of bulls, some stunt cowboys and wranglers, horses, locations — everything fell into place perfectly.

    cody broadway nyfa

    “I have a fantastic amount of support from my friends and family. It was sort of like a snowball effect. First, they read the script. Then, they saw my determination in my eyes. And then, they were on board.”

    The film was shot over a long weekend in and around San Angelo, Texas. Working from a 20-page script provided by Greg McGee, based on the original screenplay, Cody used up to 4 simultaneous cameras to capture all the bull riding sequences. “We had some really talented riders from the local rodeo circuit. They were willing to do just about anything to get the shots we needed. It was really exciting to work with these guys,” said Broadway.

    Mr. Shawn Berryhill, who raises bulls and runs a bull riding school in San Angelo, furnished the bulls. “These weren’t amateur bulls,” says Mr. Berryhill. “They’re the same bulls I supply to rodeos all over Texas. They’re professionals, with over 100 years of breeding for one thing: to hate having a man on their back.

    The star of the movie is Melina Lyon, playing the role of Darlene, our bull riding diva. Melina is an accomplished horsewomen as well as a talented actress, but she’d never ridden a bull before. “This was a great role for me. Working with Cody and Michael (Lukaszewskyj, the Director of Photography) and the rest of the crew was an awesome experience. But, in real life, I think I’m going to stick to riding horses. Bulls are just too freakin’ crazy!”

    Cody was not only the director and the producer; he was also the movie’s editor. In less than 30 days, Cody had it finished and ready for the big screen. “We shot most of it on 4K video, which is a huge frame,” says Cody. “It gave me a lot of options in the editing room, such as cropping in on various parts of the picture to get the composition just right, and not sacrificing image quality. There was a lot of footage from multiple cameras, so it was a complicated editing job. It helped a lot to be the guy who shot it as well. I didn’t have to waste time figuring out where all the shots were. I already knew.”

    After a very successful first screening in San Angelo and San Antonio, Cody has entered the short movie in numerous festivals in the U.S. and Europe. “We’re hot on the trail of funding for the full feature film. There’s a lot of interest. I can’t say any more or I’d have to lock you in the stall with my favorite bull. Just kidding.”

    Announcements are forthcoming about major talent being attached to the project!

    She Rides Bulls Trailer #1 from MUSE studio + gallery on Vimeo.

    June 22, 2015 • Film School, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1707

  • Photography Students Spend a Week in Hawaii!


    Students from the New York Film Academy Los Angeles Photography BFA and One-Year Programs spent a week on the Big Island of Hawaii, engaged in a variety of tours and activities.

    Monday, the students met with Chef Allen, who owns HUGGOS restaurant. Chef Allen was kind enough to let the students shoot in his restaurant from 10:00am until 2:00pm, where they shot models (from Premiere Modeling Agency) in the restaurant. The restaurant is on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The rest of the day was spent organizing the week.


    Tuesday was the Circle Island/Volcano Excursion. The all day tour took them to the island’s most popular sight seeing locations. They visited Kilauea Volcano, Hilo Town (the floral center of the islands), a stop at Akatsuka Nursery and Big Island Candies (known for its chocolates). From there, the photography students went to Rainbow Falls and past sugar cane fields to Parker Ranch, which takes up approximately 250,000 acres of the island. Parker Ranch is also one of the nation’s largest cattle ranches.

    Wednesday the students met and worked with the Focus Model & Talent Agency. They sent a toddler, teenager and an adult. Everyone met on the beach, and the challenge for the students was a location they had never seen before with outdoor conditions and a time restrain. While on the beach, the locals were friendly and gave out excellent advice on where to eat and shop!


    On Thursday, they participated in a tour that began at Kona, along the beautiful coast of Hawaii, wandered through ancient lava fields, and ended at Mauna Kea Summit — over 13,000 feet altitude and has 13 telescopes from over 11 countries. High above the cloud cover, students photographed the stunning views at sunset, then traveled down to the Mauna Kea Visitors Information Station for a Star Gazing party, learning about the night sky and constellations while being treated to home made brownies and hot chocolate.

    Friday was spent going to Kole Kole beach, where a fresh water river meets a saltwater ocean. Although the water is clear and there are rocks on the bottom, they all joined in swinging off the rope from the cliff and into the water.

    Students treked to Waipio Valley, childhood home of King Kamehameha, where they hiked down the lush valley with local birds and bugs (and no cell phone service) to Hillawe Falls. When hiking back up, a tropical rain soaked them all!

    nyfa hawaii

    Saturday, there was a modeling agency workshop with the Focus Modeling Agency owner, Swan. The “new face” models were there to meet Peter Baratti, Hollywood guest photographer, and the students were invited to join and shoot with him.

    Saturday night they all went back to the hotel to enjoy the local poke (fish salad) and get ready to head home.

    All in all, the photography students first one-week exotic trip was a huge success! We look forward to providing the same experience to our next group of students.

  • NYFA Grad to Screen ‘On the Spot’ at Rooftop Films

    Andras TakacsThe New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism program attracts students from across the United States and around the world. NYFA grad Andras Takacs is returning to New York in early July for a film festival screening of his video On The Spot: Gaza – Chronicles of a Conflict.

    Andras, who comes from Budapest, tells me that he took the skills he learned at NYFA and used them to build a powerful first-person video series. He, along with collaborator and On The Spot co-founder Eszter Cseke, has traveled far from his native Hungary. (Currently the two are shooting in Thailand.)

    At NYFA, we train multimedia journalists. Being able to “do it all” makes our grads valuable contributors at American networks like CBS and NBC, as well as Agence France-Presse, TRT (Turkey), Ten Network (Australia) and Glitz (Brazil). It also gives them the skills necessary to embark upon bold, independent productions.

    The On The Spot series has won numerous awards, including one at the Monte Carlo Television Festival. On The Spot: Gaza – Chronicles of a Conflict will be shown as part of the Rooftop Film series in Brooklyn on Friday, July 2. (Isn’t everything in Brooklyn, these days?)

    Tickets are available online and at the door. Both Andras Takacs and Eszter Cseke will be at the screening, as will I and several current NYFA students.

June 15, 2015 • Broadcast Journalism, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1070

  • Jamaican Novelist Roger Williams Sets Sights on Film

    roger williamsAlready with a successful novel under his belt, American-based Jamaican novelist, Roger Williams, came to the New York Film Academy to expand his creative writing abilities in the field of screenwriting. Williams’ book, Turn Back Blow, made him the first Jamaican author to advocate animal rights and bring awareness to animal cruelty. The novel was inspired by a real-life event where a dog was being used as bait to lure a crocodile in a Jamaican community. Since releasing the book, its become a part of the catalogue at Yale, Princeton and England’s Oxford University.

    Now, with his sights set on the film world, Williams is working on two screenplays that he began developing at NYFA. His first full-length screenplay is an action/drama called Murder For Sale, which he intends to shop to Jamaican producers.

    “The experience with NYFA was great,” said Williams. “I learned so much — things that I wouldn’t have learned from a book about screenplays. The knowledge from NYFA will be very valuable when it’s time for me to adapt my book into a screenplay.”

    In addition to his writing, Williams took an acting course at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles. While there he wrote and acted in a short film called Redemption Irony. From there, he took his hand at directing while at a course at NYFA New York. His short was entitled Shutdown, and was well received, especially by women.

    “I never dreamed of working behind the camera, and working on Shutdown was a tremendous experience. The short has been receiving great feedback from women on Facebook and YouTube, because they can all relate to what is taking place in the scene.”

    On the whole, Williams hopes to not only entertain his audience with his work, but to educate them in the same way he did with his novel, Turn Back Blow. We look forward to seeing his adaptation, as well as his original material in the near future.

    June 11, 2015 • Acting, Screenwriting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1018