Student and Alumni Spotlights
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  • Broadcast Journalism Alumna Wins Rio WebFest Award

    All of us at the New York Film Academy are so proud of what Brazilian Broadcast Journalism alumna Paula Varejao has accomplished. Last week she won a prestigious Rio WebFest award. Paula is a multimedia journalist in the fullest sense of that term, and we are glad that she took the skills she learned in the Broadcast Journalism program and turned them into a new career. Bravo, Paula!

    Paula Varejao

    Her online travel series, 7 Dias no Atacama (7 Days in Atacama) is nothing short of amazing.

    While Paula has extensive experience as a TV journalist, this was her first totally MMJ project. I am deeply touched by the kind words she had for us. “Thanks a lot, Bill Einreinhofer! I’m so grateful to you! All the knowledge I acquired from NYFA was very important to finding new paths and opportunities in my career! Thanks a lot for everything.”

    Creating this series was anything but easy.

    Here is a (translated) excerpt from Paula’s Facebook posting about the award: “Maybe some people more experienced here in my timeline might think that I’m overreacting, but to me it means so much! They say that the crisis is to get us out of the comfort zone and I think it was more or less what happened to me. After working years on TV, I had to create my own opportunities. I started again, sought new ways, took a chance on something different, I performed various functions at the same time: I created, planned, wrote, produced, filmed, edited, I tabled and look there… it was worth it!”

     

    December 12, 2016 • Broadcast Journalism, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1485

  • NYFA South Beach Student Wins Best Short Film at SoFlo WebFest in Miami

    marcus wellsNew York Film Academy South Beach student Marcus Wells won Best Short Film at the South Florida Web Fest (#SOFLOWEBFEST) in Miami for his mid-thesis film, “Soiled Roots.”
    South Florida WebFest is Miami’s premier festival dedicated to web entertainment that brings non-traditional voices of cinema to the forefront. The festival takes place during Miami’s epic art fair – Art Basel.
    “The web truly provides the freedom to tell your own story, and our goal was to ensure that the diversity of South Florida was reflective in this web festival,” said SOFLOWEBFEST Executive Director, Ashlee Thomas. “From Spain, to South Africa, Mozambique, Iran, and the US – SOFLOWEBFEST has niched itself to bring colorful stories from around the world to Miami.”
    Wells’ film is about a black mother who is influenced by her own mother’s drug dealing lifestyle which leads to risking the lives of their family. His story was inspired by NFL wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. When he was 10 years old his mother and grandmother were both arrested for dealing drugs. Thomas’ mother was given the chance to either disclose information about her own mother or to not say anything. His mother decided not to speak and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

    “What I hope to achieve with this film is feedback on my creative thinking,” said Wells. “This was my most challenging film thus far and would like others to view this story from my perspective. I also wanted to address the idea of bad seeds being planted within families and passed onto the next generation.”

    south beach marcus wells

    Wells plans on submitting his award-winning short to other local, national and international film festivals.

    He is currently working on his thesis film, which he plans to shoot this coming summer and complete by late summer of 2017.

    “NYFA has definitely given me the tools to create my own vision.,” says Wells. “Every teacher wants us to succeed and offers individual attention so that we can achieve the highest quality work.”

    Located in the heart of South Beach, New York Film Academy in Miami offers a wide range of degree, conservatory, and workshop programs designed for students like Wells to achieve their creative goals through hands-on, project-based curriculum.

    December 12, 2016 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1754

  • NYFA Alumna’s Award-Winning Doc Captures Saudi Arabian Culture

    jameelahComing off of her documentary short film, “Historic Jeddah,” which screened at the International Film Festival Manhattan in 2015, One Year Filmmaking Conservatory Program and the Eight-week Filmmaking Workshop alumna Jameelah Rose Lineses directed a sequel documentary called “Our Journey to Hijaz.” The short film features never-before-seen footage depicting life in Saudi Arabia before the oil boom. It includes reenactments of how people used to live and features a Saudi traditional wedding and a sword dance.

    “My inspiration in making both films ‘Historic Jeddah’ and ‘Our Journey to Hijaz’ was my mother,” said Lineses. “She was the one who motivated me to create films about Saudi Arabia’s history and cultural heritage. There are no films showcasing Saudi Arabia’s history and cultural heritage that have been recognized in any international film festival. There are so many stories to tell relating to Saudi Arabia’s history — stories that are not yet known to the rest of the world and that only a handful of people really know.”

    Lineses’ sequel has been recognized by several film festivals thus far, including:

    Film Festival Director Award for BEST STUDENT FILM
    International Film Festival Manhattan 2013
    New York City, New York, U.S.A

    Ani Ng Dangal Presidential Awardee for Cinema
    6th ANI NG DANGAL/Harvest of Honors 2014
    National Commission for Culture and the Arts
    Manila, Philippines

    Most Popular IFFM Film Promo for “Historic Jeddah” (Saudi Arabia)
    International Film Festival Manhattan 2015
    New York City, New York, U.S.A

    Honorable Mention for “Our Journey to Hijaz” (Saudi Arabia)
    International Film Festival Manhattan 2016
    New York City, New York, U.S.A

    Lineses says that although she’s been living in Saudi Arabia for her entire life, there are still many things she doesn’t know about her country’s history and cultural heritage.

    “It was only early last year when I started to learn about it on my own by attending cultural events and tours,” said Lineses. “I also discovered that my mother’s first sponsor — when she came to Saudi Arabia — was a member of the Naseef family.”

    lineses

    Naseef is one of the most prominent families in Saudi Arabia, and their ancestral house, Bayt Naseef, is now a museum, which is highlighted in her documentary.

    “As a pioneer, I hope that I am able to contribute to Saudi Arabia’s promising future in the field of cinema,” Lineses says. “I also hope that I am able to give rise to aspiring Saudi filmmakers to do the impossible, break stereotypes, and to not shy away from adversities.”

    She also hopes her documentaries will show that it is possible to make a film about Saudi Arabia and still uphold the country’s code of conduct.

    Lineses is now working on another documentary, “Third Culture Kids of Saudi Arabia,” about the people born, raised and currently living in Saudi Arabia. “This film will tackle our everyday lives and show how we assimilate into society,” says Lineses.

    December 6, 2016 • Documentary Filmmaking, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1811

  • Award-Winning NYFA Grad’s Newest Film Tackles Native Americans’ Struggle in “Mannahatta”

    Renae Maihi is a New Zealand Film Commission Grant Recipient, who attended the New York Film Academy 8-Week Filmmaking Program on a Professional Development Award. She is currently an award-winning and critically acclaimed writer and director in theatre and film. Her film “Redemption” screened at the Berlin Film Festival and Sundance, and won Best Short Film at imagineNATIVE 2010. Her award-winning short film “Butterfly” screened at imagineNATIVE in Canada.

    mannahatta

    Last month, Maihi returned to NYFA to screen her newest film, “Mannahatta,” before it premiered at ImagineNATIVE in October. The film focuses on an immigrant man who struggles with his difficult boss as he tries to create a life for himself on the island of Manhattan. However, when he is visited by the spirit of an ancient Native American man, he realizes that his existence is intrinsically linked to a larger history of struggle that is woven into the land he now stands on.

    We caught up with Maihi after her screenings to find out more about her and her film.

    Can you tell us a little bit about your background and growing up in New Zealand?

    I’m indigenous Maori from the Ngati Whakaue and Ngapuhi tribes. My country, New Zealand, was founded based on a Treaty called “The Treaty of Waitangi,” so it is a country which is founded on a partnership between Maori and the British Crown. As filmmakers in our local box office, Maori stories account for 10 of the top 15 films which is a great indication of our importance in the New Zealand and international landscape. I’m very proud of my heritage.

    What brought you to NYFA?

    I felt the need to further develop my technical skills as a filmmaker. While on set and directing it became obvious to me that I didn’t have the depth of technical understanding to get the best out of my stories and crew. I come from an actor’s background (Bachelor of Performing Arts – Drama Major) and I’m also a playwright. My arts background served me well as a storyteller but film directing is a particular set of unusual skills: The ability to understand the craft of dramatic storytelling in screenplay, the ability to understand rhythm, tone, pace and composition of frame choices, the ability to effectively direct the performance of actors & the ability to technically understand the technologies you’re working with.

    It was the latter I felt was lacking. I was unable to set up three-point lighting and understand the reasons behind it. I was unable to edit my own material and, most importantly, I did not know my way around a camera or lens. This wasn’t good enough for me. The New Zealand Film Commission (our government body which funds us to make films) gave me a Professional Development grant as did my tribe Ngati Whakaue Education Endowment Trust and my industry colleagues in New Zealand. Soon enough, I was on a plane headed to New York to study at NYFA. Life was good.

    Did your background draw you to the topic of your film ?

    As an indigenous woman from New Zealand, my Maori people had multiple struggles with our treaty initially being ignored. Our peoples’ land was stolen and there was systematic racism. I felt an immense empathy for the Native American people whose history was far worse than ours.

    Prior to leaving NZ, I was visited in a dream briefly by a Native American chief. He did not say anything but I remember waking up with an understanding that I needed to tell his story. Once I arrived I had a deep sense of pain for what felt like “the forgotten Indian.” I couldn’t imagine what it would be like if my people here in NZ had been sent away from our ancestral lands, hidden from society, genocide, marginalized, and, from what I gathered from some conversations I had with people, hated. This hurt me deeply that the people who survived and lived on a land for 10,000 years prior to anybody else, (the first peoples of the land) were not treated with the regard and respect that they should have been.

    This film is an acknowledgement to their people that validates the importance of their pain, struggle and voice in a subtle way. Ultimately, it’s about the potential for peace through acknowledgment.

    mannahatta

    What surprised you the most in the research and development of the film?

    One thing that surprised me immensely was that my instincts in writing the screenplay about another culture were actually accurate. Once my lead actor Ginew Benton (“Ojibwe”) read the script with his Shinnecock friends, they commented on the significance of stones in their culture. There are stones all throughout the story. This was not something that was told to me, it just felt right.

    The other thing was the racism I actually faced at a pizza shop. They were initially all for me filming in their pizzeria until they found out that there were Native American themes in the story. Soon after I was met with a 180 degree switch in the way I was dealt with and told, “We’re don’t want anything to do with it.” Luckily, through a miracle, I found a pizza shop in NYC’s Lower East Side that had been shut down for a few weeks due to a gas leak. Also, another surprising moment was while filming in a park, a man passed us and started mocking my Native American lead actor, making an indian war cry sound. It was so overtly racist I couldn’t believe it.

    On a few positives, I must mention my three woman team, who was Laurence DeBourbon and Ruth Bayes, both of whom were my “ride or die chicks.” Laurence, who lives in Paris, was a superstar for me, and I really could not have made this film without her. When I make my feature films in the future, I will insist on employing her because she works hard and gets the job done. Probably not really surprising, since the French are the parents of cinema!

    What do you hope to achieve with your film?

    Recently it premiered at ImagineNATIVE in the TIFF Lightbox in Toronto, which is the largest and most prestigious indigenous film festival in the world (there are about 1.7 billion indigenous people in the world, by the way) and I was proud for it to play in that festival. I am hoping it does some of the prestigious film festivals in the world but, most of all, I hope it helps people to consider a few things when thinking about the indigenous peoples of America. I hope it helps create a little more understanding.

    Would you say your NYFA experience was useful in terms of being able to direct MANNAHATTA?

    Absolutely, it was extremely useful! I made this film while attending NYFA…despite one of my teachers mentioning, “You know you’re not making a student film, this screenplay is a pro film.” I trusted that the people who I had on my team could help me pull this off. Additionally, at one stage, my DP Alexey Korsuovo and I were the only two people on set and I was able to perform multiple crew role — something I couldn’t do prior to going to NYFA. The cherry on the top was I actually edited “Mannahatta” before it went to Annie Collins (“Lord of the Rings”) something that I definitely could not do at all before NYFA.

    My time there and the skills I learned have made me an infinitely better director. I feel much more confident. In fact, while filming another film this year, I did a ten minute 1-shot, something I would not have had the confidence to do prior to my time in the intensive program.

    I went to NYFA to prepare technically before I made a feature film, and I can truly say that upon returning to New Zealand I felt ready for that challenge.

    Where will we be able to see your film in the future?

    I’m in discussions with multiple film festivals, so hopefully in New York soon. “Mannahatta” has also been acquired by FNX, which is an SBS network Indigenous channel with 23 million viewers, so it will screen on that station once the film has completed its circuit. Hopefully it has a rich life and travels.

    Are you currently working on another project that you’d like to tell us about?

    Yes, I’m part of a feature film project called “WARU,” which is in post production. I’m one of the 8 women directors on it; all of the women are some of the top Maori filmmakers in NZ, so it was a great thing to be a part of.

    I was also selected for the Directors & Editors Guild of NZ as an incubator director, so for the next year I’m being mentored by one of our top guilds here, as well as the NZ Film Commission. I have a feature film trilogy that I am developing the screenplay for at present. Lots on the burner!

    December 1, 2016 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1405

  • NYFA Student’s “The Jackal” Earns Best Director Award at the Hollywood Boulevard Film Festival

    Aisultan SeitovFinding people who are completely dedicated to their careers can often be difficult. We had the opportunity to speak with Aisultan Seitov, a young student who is truly dedicated to his passion. His short thesis film, “The Jackal,” recently earned a Best Director Award at the Hollywood Boulevard Film Festival.

    Aisultan, why did you choose the Filmmaking program at New York Film Academy?

    I’m from Astana, Kazakhstan. At first I wanted to enter the local State University and become an engineer. And filmmaking was just my hobby until I won a state grant, which allowed me to study at NYFA.

    Everything started when my school teacher made a video about our class activities. At the end of each week we waited to watch it and got great pleasure from viewing it. In high school I took part in international film competitions and I was among the winners two years in a row. I got an e-mail from NYFA that they were coming to our city. When I learned about the competition for a state grant, I prepared my project — it was a horror film. I always dreamed of studying at NYFA and it came true!

    Tell us about the educational process. Do you have any favorite instructors? Have you had any difficulties?

    I have studied at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus for five weeks. I like all subjects and instructors. The three year BFA program at the New York Film Academy allowed me to study for my first year in New York, and the second and third years in Los Angeles.

    It was difficult for me to adapt to the local mentality. Everything was different for me. At first I missed my motherland, but I think it’s usual for a foreign student. I hardly made contacts with other students, but as time passed, it became easier for me.

    Also, in the beginning it seemed strange for me to learn about the need for permits to shoot outdoors, but now I know that it’s the part of the process.the jackal

    Aisultan, tell us about your film, “The Jackal,” which won an award at the Hollywood Boulevard Film Festival. How did the idea come about?

    I had to shoot my thesis project. At first I wanted to create a thriller in New York. Then I realized that if I did this it wouldn’t be as good as I wanted. And the quality was principal for me. I always dedicate myself to my business and try to do my best.

    When I came back to Kazakhstan and met with my friends, I was shocked, they seemed so different. They stopped following their dreams. They had lost their ambitions. And the fight against this system became the main idea of my film.

    I always try to do something new. I was lucky to get on board one of the best DP in Kazakhstan, Azamat Dulato. We shot project in the outskirts of Alma-Ata. To experiment, this time we made the whole film in one shot. Of course we had some challenges, it was a nasty day, and only half of the extras were present. We didn’t have a large budget. Almost all the money we spent was for the camera rent.

    Who or what inspires you?

    Family conflicts are always in my work, but I want to try all genres, because it would be new experiences for me. I am fond of Wes Anderson’s and David Fincher’s films. And of course my inspiration is from simple things. I started to appreciate my friends, my motherland. Different things inspire me. For example, the architecture of old buildings. As I said, my school teacher played an important role in my life as well. My good friend and musician, Max Korzh, taught me to follow my dream. Also, since childhood I have been fond of Steve Jobs, his outlook influenced my personality.

    Aisultan Seitov at NYFA

    Where would you like to work?

    It’s difficult to answer this question now. Soon I may work in Russia or the Ukraine. This summer I visited a lot of new cities and met many interesting people in the industry. I want to live in America and work on projects all over the world. It’s wonderful to travel and do what you like most of all.

    Aisultan, what advice would you give to someone who is beginning the Filmmaking program?

    It’s important to watch at least one film a day. If you want to create films you should watch them. It is necessary to work hard, with passion. It’s better to create projects that you like. I am a lazy person, but when it is all about my projects, I’ll do the impossible and do it the best way.

    New York Film Academy thanks Aisultan Seitov for his time. We wish him success in his creative career and are confident he’ll be receiving more awards for his upcoming films.

    November 30, 2016 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1164

  • NYFA Broadcast Journalism Grad Covers Venice Film Festival

    federica Soon you will be seeing Hollywood stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone on NYFA News as part of a wonderful story that recent New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism alumna Federica Polidoro produced for us at the Venice Film Festival. NYFA News is a student-produced TV news magazine in which Federica also covered two previous Venice Film Festival stories where NYFA showcased five student films.

    With the Venice Film Festival behind her, we thought we’d catch up with the Italian journalist, who is now back in her hometown of Rome working with XL La Repubblica.

    Can you tell us what drew you to the field of broadcast journalism?

    I am an entertainment journalist in Italy. I used to be a reporter for film festivals for the last 10 years, interviewing celebrities — especially directors. I began to produce videos on my own, but I wanted to refine my knowledge in this particular field and try to get some chances abroad.

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

    Everything in Italy is very theoretical, so I needed some hands-on experience. Studying in New York was my lifetime dream. I couldn’t afford the fee, so I finally applied for a European Union scholarship and I won it.

    How would you describe your experience in the NYFA Broadcast Journalism program?

    New York Film Academy is the most wonderful academic experience I’ve ever had. In Italy, I taught Editing Technics at the Fine Art Academy, so this is an opinion also as a professor. I think NYFA is a school that you could only imagine in your dreams. The building is terrific, the equipment is tremendous, professors are incredible people and the tasks are so exciting.

    With [Broadcast Journalism Chair] Bill Einreinhofer, I found the kind of mentor that you can only get in a movie. He’s a very inspiring person, quiet yet powerful. He is a great example of an educator for me, and it was a privilege to meet him on the path of my life. His generosity and sensibility, honesty and open-mindedness, his precious advice, and his guidance are a treasure for me. He let me express my creativity by pushing the bounds of my intellectual curiosity. He gave me the self-confidence to believe that I was in the right place in the right time and that I can do it. Even if it is a school and not real life, as he reminded us often, his support meant a lot to me. His name was my first reason to opt for NYFA, and it was my best decision. My satisfaction with Bill’s appreciation of my work is priceless.

    I can sum up my feelings about the New York Film Academy with one word: happiness.

    How was your experience covering the Venice Film Festival for NYFA News?

    I worked for the biggest newspapers, magazines and platforms in Italy — especially for web content — but I could not believe I had the chance to produce something for NYFA on my own.

    What have you been working on since graduating?

    I am currently working on the second phase of the scholarship with a six months internship for the biggest Italian Newspaper, La Repubblica. I will likely continue to produce and edit video for them as a freelancer, but I am submitting some projects to show to other satellite and web channels with a more dynamic approach — a place where I can create “long-lasting” content.

    So are you working primarily in Italy now?

    I’m working in Italy, but very open to working for the US from European Festivals and for Italy / Foreign Countries from the US as entertainment content creator. I am going to launch my website with a showreel and a catalog of all my previous work. Among my interviews are artists such as Alejandro Jodorowsky, Amos Gitai, Andrei Konchalovski, Andrew Niccol, Anton Corbjn, Asghar Farhadi (Oscar®), Atom Egoyan, Charlie Kaufman (Oscar®), Ethan Hawke, François Ozon, Gabriele Salvatores, Giuseppe Tornatore, Hou Hsiao Hsien, Jeremy Irons, Jerzy Skolimoski, Kim Ki Duk, Kirill Serebrennikov, Lav Diaz, Marco Bellocchio, Mike Leigh, Olga Kurilyenko, Paul Haggis (Oscar®), Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Valeria Golino, Wash Westmoreland, William Dafoe, Wim Wenders, Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

    Is there an assignment or story that you’re most proud of?

    My last day in Venice, after 14 interviews, my last interview was with Lav Diaz. He won the Golden Lion, so XL Repubblica got the interview ready while he was receiving the award. After Venice I interviewed the Golden Palm Winner, Ken Loach, for the Italian premier of “I, Daniel Blake.” I edited part of this work for NYFA, too.

    This season I am working on Award Season with written pieces and on editing videos on the themes of “Toys in Christmas Movies,” on Rube Goldberg machines in cartoons, and on movies set in hospitals and asylums to prepare for the release of Gore Verbinski’s “A Cure for Wellness.”

    I am managing the trip to the Cannes Film Festival and sending projects to find enough sponsors, and more than one media coverage, so that it’s useful to get more interviews and a better accreditation.

    For me it is quite easy to find a job, since I am a very hard worker, but I am looking for the kind of job and creative space where I can do something unique and personal.

    What do you hope to achieve in your career as a journalist? 

    I am a storyteller, a content creator, an investigator, a talent scout, and a wacky Italian with the obsession for weird stuff. I am a dreamer, but I am also a problem solver. There is nothing impossible for me. As a journalist I would like to express my own personality, get in depth subjects with anthropological analysis and humor, telling them with ethics and poetically. I would like to show different ways to read the contemporary phenomena delivering stories with visual appeal, originality, but simple language and profound meaning. Stories useful for the soul, pleasant for the ears, spectacular for the eyes.

    I would like to get work experience in the US for a short amount of time — maybe one year — to get in touch directly with the industry. I would like to do the job I did for the last ten years, traveling around the world looking for untold stories. I would like to be myself, but better, bigger and cooler. And maybe, once in my life, cover The Golden Globes and The Oscars.

    November 29, 2016 • Broadcast Journalism, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1120

  • NYFA Acting Alumna Ingrid Vollset to Appear in “You Can’t Say No” with Peter Fonda

    ingrid vollsetNew York Film Academy Acting for Film alumna Ingrid Vollset was born in Los Angeles to Norwegian parents and moved back to Norway at an early age where she spent her childhood and early adolescence. Growing up she was drawn towards storytelling — through the craft of acting, writing and directing — with the belief that film and theatre are some of the most important tools we have to change the world.

    Since graduating from NYFA’s New York location, she has been in numerous independent films, including the upcoming film, “You Can’t Say No,” which stars the legendary “Easy Rider” actor Peter Fonda. Vollset is also active on the writing, producing and directing side of things and is currently working on a script for an independent feature.

    We had a chance to catch up with Ms Vollset to find out more about the film and her career post-NYFA.

    Congrats on your upcoming film, “You Can’t Say No.” Can you tell us in your own words, what you believe this film is about?

    To me, this film is about social, moral and relationship values; integrity of character and sanctitude of bonds between human beings. It is about soul-mates and serendipity, about honesty and commitment, and about being willing to think outside-the-box and follow your dreams without losing sight of what is most important at the end of the day — taking care of yourself and the one’s you love the most.

    How did the role of Allison come about for you?

    Allison is a nomadic vagabond free-spirited young woman in the midst of her journey of life discovery. Her and Hank’s serendipitous crossing of paths turns out to be that of a very valuable friendship for the both of them — driving the story forward in a way where Hank’s value system and integrity is challenged, and he ultimately ends up earning a place in all our hearts by the end of their arc.

    What were some of the challenges of getting into your role?

    The subtle balance of naiveté and bravery. Allison is so willing to put her heart on the line — to risk being hurt — just to stay true to every present moment and living it freely. Accessing her vulnerability and her loneliness and yet letting her strength supersede it all — she is someone with an amazing capacity for forgiveness, understanding and compassion. She will willingly dry her eyes and smile at the world, no matter how many times it seemingly lets her down — she doesn’t see it that way and accepts whatever comes her way as ‘meant to be’.

    Were you able to work directly on set with Peter Fonda? 

    Unfortunately, my shooting days were not aligned with Peter Fonda’s, as our characters did not meet in the film. I heard amazing stories of the other actors and crew members of how much they learned from him and enjoyed having him on set!

    Would you say your NYFA experience was useful in terms of being prepared to perform in this film and other films/shows you’ve worked on?

    I’ve learned many valuable skills and tools at NYFA that I have been able to use in all my work as an actor. Acting for Film classes with Paul Warner taught us how to meticulously break a script down and unveil beats, actions and tactics that ultimately help reveal the physical life of your character.

    The Improv classes were extremely helpful as so much of the work on set and in rehearsal is improv based. And the Meisner work helping to get you out of your head as an actor and better trust your instincts and impulses in the moment.

    The Shakespeare classes with David Vando taught us how to let the text float as a boat on the river of the inner life that is present in the actors. And our scene study classes with Glynis Rigsby taught us to understand our characters on a deeper level, ask questions, be curious and connect with the story and the objectives in a way where you end up having real skin in the game. The wide variety of classes offered allowed us as students to find out where our strengths and weaknesses as actors lie.

    Also, the experience of acting in the directing students’ short films created amazing hands-on experience that prepared us for professional settings in the safest of circumstances.

    ingrid

    Which role are you most proud of thus far? Why?

    The role I am most proud of this far is the one of Paula in “Paula, Why?” This is a film I wrote and produced myself, and has a very autobiographical component to, so it was one of the most challenging parts I have ever had to play.

    Are you currently working on anything new and exciting that you’d like to share?

    Currently, I am co-producing and acting in the first season of a dramedy webseries where we are hoping for an early 2017 release. Two friends decide to open up an Airbnb in their apartment to cover their NYC rent and do not expect it to be a life-changing experience.

    I am in post-production for “Paula, Why?” where we are hoping for a late 2017/early 2018 release mainly geared towards the festival market. The music and boxing themed story of an immigrant brother and sister’s survival in the outskirts of NYC.

    We will be going into production before the end of the year on a short film called “Tendencies”: the story of two sisters cleaning out their mother’s house as she needs to move into a retirement home due to early onset Alzheimer’s and everything they discover over the course of that weekend.

    November 24, 2016 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 3145

  • NYFA Industry Lab Films Snoop Dogg Concert

    This past week New York Film Academy students had a rare opportunity to film and photograph a Snoop Dogg concert. Working alongside world famous SIR studios NYFA students were on hand for the concert, which was broadcast through the newly formed DECtv.tv. Celebrities including Omar Gooding, Ray J, and Chris Brown were in attendance.

    snoop dogg nyfa

    The opportunity was available to top-performing students involved in the Industry Lab program. Students, Nora Yesshisayan (interviewer) and Alejandro Talens (camera operator) represented NYFA with pride.

    “It’s exciting to see this kind of concert take place—an intimate look at a huge star on stage doing what he loves,” said Craig Ross, Jr., who led the NYFA Industry Lab event. “It feels like we were granted access to a day in the life of Snoop as opposed to just watching a concert.”

    snoop and friends

    (Photo by @ATurnerArchives)

    New York Film Academy would like to thank DECtv.tv and Snoop Dogg for helping students get involved in such an amazing experience.

    If you’d like to learn more about NYFA’s Industry Lab program you can click here.

    November 22, 2016 • Community Highlights, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1347

  • Fashion Photography from NYFA Alumnus Viktor Klimenko

    For as long as he can remember, New York Film Academy Photography alumnus, Viktor Klimenko has a fondness for the arts. His interest and pursuits began in fashion after designing his own clothing line and only grew from there when he created magazine advertisements that featured his garments.

    viktor klimento

    “Blase Affair” by Viktor Klimenko

    “I started to sketch and draw scenes that I would imagine a photographer would capture,” recalled Klimenko. “This lead to me experimenting with trying to recreate my sketches into reality.”

    After attending the New York Film Academy Photography program, Klimenko says he learned a lot from the instructors.

    Since completing the program, Klimenko has been working with fashion magazines, as well as individual projects for clients. While his current focus is on male models, he hopes to soon expand his work towards female fashion as well.

    “Now that everyone is a photographer, I feel like limits have to be pushed even more. I know many photographers that can’t get jobs, and the main reason is that while they may have quality work it could lack creativity. Today, when you look through magazines you can see why a certain photographer was chosen and why the editors used him or her to be published in their magazine. Now it’s all about that thin quality that’s hard to explain. I personally respect and value photography when I can see the effort that was put into it. It can be complex or simple and minimal, but the way the artist put it together will show the amount of creativity that went into the project.”

    Be sure to check out more of Viktor Klimenko’s fashion photography work on his website at www.viktorklimenkophotography.com.

    November 16, 2016 • Photography, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1357

  • A Talk with NYFA Alumna Bayan Yerimbet

    YerimbetNYFA alumna, Bayan Yerimbet is a well-known producer in Kazakhstan, as well as a businesswoman, wife and mother of two. She has a very creative family. She has worked on two feature projects with her husband, Askar Bissembin, who is a filmmaker and producer. Her sister, Bota Yerimbet, is a screenwriter and director; and her brother, a 19-year-old student who studies marketing, Darmukhamed Yerimbet, was recently invited to make a teaser music video for a film that will soon be released. Bayan Yerimbet found a moment to tell us about her creative family, and how she manages her time for both family and work.

    Bayan, you started out working in the banking sector. What made you decide to work in the film industry? 

    Oh, it’s a very interesting story. I have a law degree. I worked in a law field, and my last job was in the bank. I felt I had reached the highest position at bank that I could at that time, and I thought that I wanted something in my life to change. I realized that I liked both law and film. So I started my research, and then found that these two spheres are crossed in producing. I found it interesting, and we started to look for a film school to study at. We wanted to know how to create a movie, and that’s how it started.

    Your film “The Wedding for Three Persons” was very successful in Kazakhstan. What are you working on currently?

    It was my first film. The second one is “Nauryz.KZ,” and it’s in the post-production phase. It will be released in March because it is dedicated to the national holiday, Nauryz – which means Kazakh New Year. I can say that it is the story about love, spring and the awakening of nature! My husband is the director and I am a producer on this film.

    Is it easy for you to share the set with your husband?

    I realized that it is very difficult. We knew that we would work together on our first project, because we both liked the thesis film that I was developing when I was a NYFA student. But this second film was an order from investors; they found us and paid for it. Our friends sponsored our first film; you know the rule of the three F’s- only Friends, Family or Fools will sponsor your first project. It was more difficult to work with our second film. Even with my husband, we had more responsibility. There were different situations, but we made it. I can say that if you have strong relationships, you can do anything. It is hard, but possible; we passed this exam (laughs).

    Yerimbet and husband

    Can you tell us the secret of how you have time for everything? You have two children, work in the film industry with your husband, and run your production studio.

    I honestly don’t know. I have to do it. Of course it is difficult. You have to be in constant movement because, with children, everyone needs you both at home and at work. There is no secret. You must do everything and be an active person.

    From the time my daughter was three years old, she has been involved in the film industry. We took her to the US where she spent a lot of time on set and played in the movies. But, most of all, my daughter likes to write. She wrote some stories. We’re planning to publish them one day, following her desire to become an author. And maybe she will find it interesting to write screenplays when she’s older and will become a screenwriter, like her parents.

    You studied in the Producing program at NYFA, and your husband studied in the Filmmaking program. Please tell us about your favorite teachers, and what has changed in your life after graduating from NYFA?

    We were looking for a film school in Los Angeles, because this city is the heart of the film industry. We knew the New York Film Academy representative in our native city in Kazakhstan. It was easy for us to discuss our enrollment and to learn more about the school. We were surprised, but everything was arranged in the best way and we received the state grant for the school. We realized that NYFA was what we needed.

    I cannot say that some teachers are better than others; they are all good. I liked Raf Green, he taught us writing for TV. I liked his way of explaining materials. I would also like to speak, separately, about the Director, Dan Mackler. He is great. He helped me with my thesis film when I had some location problems. Dan solved this problem over night. It sounds strange, but there are no limits in America. Students may ask teachers for help, and NYFA instructors are always ready to give you time.

    Everything changed after graduation. My rhythm and lifestyle were changed. Previously, I had a job with a strict schedule, but now I live with the creative process day and night. The film industry doesn’t adhere to strict rules and regulations. It’s not the routine work I had before. Now, I have more creativity. Everything is more interesting. We have more friends and more interests. Everything has become better in our lives. We became more confident and we use this knowledge.

    Yerimbet nyfa

    What are your plans for the future?

    We will shoot films not only in Kazakhstan, but also in other countries. My husband shot four projects here; I want to expand our territory. The world is large; there are a lot of sets. I want to make a feature film in another country, maybe in Russia, the US, Canada and so on. I would like to have more experience. We need to go and try to do more.

    Also, as you already know, my sister, Bota Yerimbet, graduated from the NYFA Filmmaking Program in 2012. And we have an idea to come up with a collaborative project in the near future.

    New York Film Academy thanks Bayan Yerimbet very much for her time. We wish her success in her creative career.

    November 14, 2016 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1766