Student and Alumni Spotlights

  • NYFA Welcomes Acclaimed Photographer and Cinematographer Carter Smith

    On February 17, the fashion and celebrity photographer, and NYFA Alumnus, Carter Smith, provided the New York Film Academy Photography Department’s latest guest lecture at NYFA’s New York Campus at 17 Battery Place.

    carter smith

    Carter is an award-winning film director and fashion photographer who has been working in the industry for over 15 years. His fashion images have appeared in magazines all over the world, including Vogue, GQ, Elle, W, i-D, Allure, Visionaire and The New York Times Magazine. He has worked with commercial clients such as Vera Wang, Louis Vuitton, Tommy Hilfiger, Lancôme, DKNY, Lacoste, Banana Republic, and Hermes – often shooting both stills and directing commercials.

    Smith’s first short film “BUGCRUSH,” adapted from a short story by Scott Treleaven, won the Grand Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. In 2008, “BUGCRUSH” caught the attention of Steven Spielberg, who handpicked Smith to direct the feature film “The Ruins” for DreamWorks Entertainment. In addition to the film’s commercial success, “The Ruins” received critical acclaim and was chosen as one of Stephen King’s top ten movies of the year.

    smith nyfa

    Carter walked NYFA photography students through his childhood in Maine and his early interest in fashion and photography. He spoke passionately about his early career decisions, including his reasons for choosing attending NYFA over New York University and the Fashion Institute of Technology, so that he could obtain a hands-on education. He talked about the importance of learning how to instantly build a rapport with your subjects, and the need to network all the time and maintain those relationships. Students walked away with a great message from Carter; never stop working, testing, and exploring your own vision. “Show the work you love to create, and it will find a niche,” Carter told the NYFA students.

    February 19, 2016 • Filmmaking, Photography, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2060

  • NYFA Collaborates with WGA Veterans Writing Project

    The New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) had the great privilege of collaborating with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and their Veterans Writing Project to support a number of veteran students in the NYFA filmmaking and screenwriting programs.

    wga veterans

    Daniel Smith (US Army, NYFA MFA Screenwriting Alumnus, standing far right) and David Dasilma (US Army, NYFA MFA Acting Alumnus, kneeling front left) among other participants in the WGA Veterans Writing Project

    The WGA’s Veterans Writing Project held a two-day retreat loaded with opportunities to bend the ears of professionals in the screenwriting industry. On a fall weekend, the WGA welcomed 64 veterans from across all branches of the military. Veterans traveled from states as far as Florida for the chance to learn and write with seasoned TV and film writers. Through their willingness to give back to veterans, individual veterans were assigned WGA member mentors who were very forthcoming with their experience and knowledge in the craft of writing. Veterans were able to workshop ideas and engage in writing exercises that were key lessons in getting ideas on the page.

    wga veterans writers

    Mentors (far left) Michael Jann (THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON) and (far right) Saul Turteltaub (THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW) flank participant Michael Williams. Photo Credit: Glen Golightly

    Along with sessions focusing on the craft of screenwriting, the weekend also included a powerful full-cast table reading of Ken LaZebnik’s screenplay, Sterling. On Sunday, WGF President and program mentor Larry Andries moderated an industry panel, which included executive producer Brannon Braga, Gersh Agency agent Eric Garfinkel, producer Brad Kervoy and Disney Channel development executive Sheila Walcott.

    The weekend retreat was only the beginning of the yearlong program that includes a 10-week session of intensive workshops. With the minds of accomplished writers, attendees benefited from a knowledge base that comes from those who have succeeded in the business. It was a wealth of information for the NYFA students and all the veterans that attended.

  • Broadcast Journalism February 2016 Updates

    Last week WNBC-TV reporter/anchor Lynda Baquero visited NYFA to meet with the Broadcast Journalism students. An award-winning journalist, born and raised in New York, she shared her insights into what it takes to first get a job, then succeed in what is an always competitive job market. She also discussed the profound impact news stories can have. One example was an elderly women who desperately needed a portable oxygen tank, yet was denied coverage by her health insurance company. Lynda’s story about her changed everything…

    WNBC-TV reporter/anchor Lynda Baquero visited NYFA to meet with the Broadcast Journalism students

    WNBC-TV reporter/anchor Lynda Baquero visited NYFA to meet with the Broadcast Journalism students

    The upcoming U.S. Presidential race has dominated the news here in the United States for months. (And it will continue to do so until November…)

    One of the most famous books about how the media covers Presidential politics was called The Boys on the Bus. The boys in question were network news reporters, and the bus was the press bus that accompanied major candidates in 1972 as they campaigned. Elle magazine has a wonderful story about how things have changed. It’s called The Girls on the Bus, and it features the women NBC News has assigned to the current Presidential election. (Very cool .gif in the online version of the story.)

    And, speaking of Presidential campaign coverage, what do you do if you are a major media organization and your owner is considering running for Presidents? That’s the problem facing Bloomberg LP, one of the most powerful financial news and data providers in the world. How do you cover the possible U.S. Presidential run of founder, owner and self-made billionaire Michael Bloomberg? “Carefully,” I guess. When the time came for Michael Bloomberg to “leak” that he was considering entering the Presidential race, he gave the information to a rival financial news service.

    One of the things that NYFA editing instructor Ed Parada is a master of (dare I say “Jedi?) are “work arounds” that allow you to take uncooperative technology and get it to do what you want it to. Last week I came upon an online article about how to use vertical cell phone images for horizontally oriented HD video projects. The article is pretty good. But Ed has been teaching NYFA students how to do this for years! (BTW, the same technique works with old 4×3 TV images and still photos as well.)

    NYFA colleague Zack Baddorf passed along a fascinating posting from Medium about the quality of multimedia stories. The author, as a judge for a recent competition, watched 78 stories and not a single one was terrible. That, he writes, is an improvement over the past. He then goes on to list a series of on-target suggestions that every producer should memorize immediately. It’s a perceptive, and useful, posting.

    Beytullah Bayer

    NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Beytullah “Beyt” Bayer

    So NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Beytullah “Beyt” Bayer looks pretty relaxed in one of TRT’s HD production studios in Ankara. He’s getting set for his daily sports broadcast. (Is that a custom made outfit, Beyt?) The channel streams online, so I actually got to see his show recently. And to think, he used to appear on our own NYFA News program…

  • NYFA Welcomes Incoming Student Veterans

    The New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) recently welcomed many new veteran students to the Los Angeles and New York campuses. As a commitment to support veterans’ education, the NYFA Veterans Services team offered a veteran-specific “orientation” to help them acclimate to the campus and foster camaraderie within the incoming class of 2016. Often times it is the “vet to vet” interaction that helps veterans readjust to civilian life after military service.

    NYFA Veteran Coordinators, Eric Brown, Michael Kunselman, and Chris Paparis—veterans themselves—organized the orientations in LA and NY. Each of them has utilized their GI Bill by pursuing their education to obtain their degrees, and so they know firsthand how difficult it can be to start this new journey in an academic setting.


    Eric Brown, US Navy Veteran and NYFA Veterans Coordinator welcomes new veteran students to the campus.

    The orientations focused on all aspects of a veteran’s transition including an overview on the services that the NYFA Veterans Services team provides, such as: information on student life, explanations as to how GI bill benefits work, how to obtain VA healthcare benefits, institutional policies, and providing new students the opportunity to network and develop relationships with one another. The veterans in attendance had the opportunity to speak with VA healthcare representatives and sign up for VA healthcare benefits while scheduling medical visits at the local VA Hospital right on the spot.

    First year Photography student, Luis Amador, expressed that he “had been putting off seeking assistance with the VA Healthcare system for many reasons, but being able to enroll right from school was a huge benefit.”

    At the orientation event, veterans and active duty military had the opportunity to meet with local and national veteran service organizations and their representatives. The NYFA Veterans Services team invited key partners within the community to speak with the veterans to educate them on the services they provide. Representatives from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), Vet Centers, and VA Medical Centers were all in attendance.

    At our New York campus, aspiring actors, filmmakers, producers and screenwriters listened to NYFA Senior Vice President, David Klein, talk about the importance of storytelling through the medium of visual and performing arts. He spoke about how important veteran students life experiences are to our campus community.

    The veteran students found the orientation highly beneficial and enjoyed networking with fellow veterans. Many of them stayed after to speak with the NYFA Veteran Coordinators and the representatives from veterans organizations who attended.

    nyfa veterans

    Representatives from the VA and Military partner organizations speak about resources and opportunities for NYFA veteran students.

    “The orientation was very informative. It was great learning about what services are available to veterans and learning just how dedicated the NYFA veteran team is in supporting veterans. The camaraderie among the veteran students made me feel more comfortable coming to school,” stated Army veteran and New BFA Acting student, Travis Frazee.

    The New York Film Academy would like to welcome all new active duty military servicemembers, veterans, and their families to our campus community!

    On behalf of the New York Film Academy administration, thank you for your service to our country.

    -Jim Miller, Chris Paparis & Michael Kunselman

    February 12, 2016 • Community Highlights, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 802

  • Congratulations MFA, AFA, MA & BFA Graduates in Los Angeles!

    It was a bright and sunny California day on Saturday, January 30th when New York Film Academy students receiving their MFA, AFA, MA and BFA degrees in Filmmaking, Acting, Producing, Screenwriting, Photography, Game Design, Documentary, Cinematography and Feature Track studies, gathered at the Harmony Gold Preview house in West Hollywood for their degree program commencement ceremonies. Graduations at 10:00am, 2:00pm, and 6:00pm were packed with family and friends of the graduating students showing their support.

    nyfa la grad

    Commencement speakers actress Heather Hemmens (Hellcats, The Vampire Diaries, The Dukes of Hazard, etc.), writer Courtney Lilly (Black-ish, The Cleveland Show, I’m Through with White Girls, etc.) and writer/director/actress Cathryn Michon (A Dog’s Purpose, Muffintop: A Love Story, etc.) as well as NYFA department chairs and deans gave encouraging words of advice for navigating the entertainment industry and life in general.

    Congratulations to all of NYFA Los Angeles 2016 degree program graduates!

    10:00am Graduation

    MFA in Acting

    Logan Arneson
    Darrell Bernard Bailey
    Amy Burzak
    Cristina Castano Brunet
    Carla D’Errico
    Rishi Das
    Feifei Di
    Jose Antonio Gil Vigna
    Xavier Keither Hatten
    Timothy Hildebrand
    Zane Shah Kanampuram
    Tin-Yu Lien
    Israel James Lister
    Patricia Luiza Coeli Medeiros de Carvalho Peixoto Diego Medellin
    Meghan Modrovsky
    Lauren Mosley
    Anthony Mottola
    Quentin L. Murphy
    Sabrina Pecario
    Jennifer Michelle Scruggs
    S. Alicia Seecharan
    Jazmine Wilson
    Yuqing Wu
    Qiner Zhang
    Nila Zojaji

    BFA in Acting

    Joseline Angulo
    David Bradberry
    Alberto Coutinho Aguiar
    Schuyler Dalenberg
    Kaitlyn Hill
    Katie Mejia
    Joshua Moore
    Christin Muuli
    Mara Topic

    AFA in Acting

    Sigfrido Bobonis Jr.
    Avik Bose
    Raiyah Jane Brown
    Katarina Czabafy
    Shaundel Davis
    Jens Engels
    Ahmad Wais Feroogh
    Jazmin Hamilton
    Robert Hughes
    Sarah Lea
    Phoebe Munford
    Daniel L. Nordling
    Gabriella Pretto
    Grecia Salamon Rodriguez
    Kyler Charles Sawyer
    Maisie Grace
    Alvarez Seavill
    Sofia Steen
    Oliver Villeta

    MFA in Screenwriting

    Louis Cooley
    Brittany Crawley
    Korbinian Hegele
    John Leary
    Sisan McNeil
    Aleksandra Milanova
    José Abel
    Rangel Osorio
    Beatriz Irene Romero Cuellar
    Julian Santos
    Nil Simsek
    Nidheya Suresh
    Peter Szaraz
    Yue Xu

    BFA in Screenwriting

    David Castillo
    Axel Ruelas
    Shari Thakar

    MFA in Photography

    Hadeel Ali B Alahmari
    Hongbin Dai
    Zhuoqun Jiang
    Khulud Muath
    Parth Sutaria

    MFA in Game Design

    Yimeng Du
    Anand Menon
    Edward William Penn
    Yuanyuan Zhu

    MFA in Documentary

    Michelle Flores
    Raed Salagoor
    Alejandro Talens

    2:00pm Graduation

    BFA in Filmmaking

    Rakan AlJabr
    Aman Anand
    Arthur Baptista Galvão
    Maan Binabdulrahman
    Juliana Isa Biondi Gomes
    Santiago Caicedo Valencia
    Jaime Carbajal
    Lucas Diercouff
    Pedro Jose Duran Fernandez
    Tammy-Anne Fortuin
    Renato Gontijo
    Kayd Hildebrandt
    Atinuke Ilupeju
    Jeremy Jimenez
    Keline Kanoui
    Ryan Kenny
    Joshua King
    Yassein Koptane
    Chenyang Li
    Seng Jee Low
    Yulia Melnikova
    Kamila Razykova
    Ilya Rozhkov
    Ruperto Sanchez
    Nicholas Seeley
    Maria Florencia Serrao
    Medet Shayakhmetov
    Jiaojiao Wang
    Mengfei Wang
    Haifeng Wang
    Li Wei
    John Willment-Knowles
    Jarod Dean Winchester

    AFA in Filmmaking

    Matheus Ronn Leite
    Xing Li
    Shantanu Paranji
    Louis-Edouard Tete

    MFA in Producing

    María Lea Aevarsdóttir
    Apurva Agarwal
    Zainab Abdullah
    Alzori Kristel Boulos
    Yue Duan
    Abraham Dunmeyer
    Laura Gutiérrez Rozo Paul-Felix Heinisch
    Laura Hurtado Gomez
    Karina Ibragimova
    Lu Jia
    Ontonio Karam
    Matthew Daniel Koss
    Qi Liu
    Yijian Lou
    Yu Meng
    Tarilate Owei
    Sean Parker
    Katja Lucie Sophie Reventlow-Grinling Takamasa Saito
    Christina Sawyer
    Jiajun Song
    Maria Teresa Velez Pinto
    Lin Wang
    Kristopher Welcome
    Yan Yan
    Gang Yang
    Sile Zhang

    MFA in Producing – Feature Track

    Abdullah Kurashi

    BFA in Producing

    Barbara dos Santos
    Ribeiro Vitor Faria Hage

    AFA in Producing

    Guillermo Padilla
    Raza Servia
    Paige Elizabeth White

    MFA in Cinematography

    Maram Al Jaoser
    Belal Albadr
    Joseph Bornilla
    Marvin Geovanny Dubon
    Liu Han
    Giovanni Andres Hernandez
    Dhruv Jayant Lapsia
    Ernesto Pletsch
    Haozhe Zhang

    6:00pm Graduation

    MFA in Filmmaking

    Dina Abdel Aziz
    Mohamad Al Yamani
    Tariq Abdullah Almoqati
    Hiroshi Azuma
    Sonia Bajaj
    Erik Carlson
    Simon Grinde Drivdal
    Shagun Goel
    Mengxue Hu
    David Johnson
    Dennis Larkin
    Alexandra Lebona
    Dong Lei
    Bowen Li
    Xiaoxiao Li
    Xi Ling
    Qi Lu
    Xiaoyun Luo
    Hyunjung Moon
    Ibrahim Nada
    Li Niu
    Yufei Qiao
    Minghao Shen
    Ruowei Wang
    Shuhe Wang
    Xinyi Wang
    Zhengduo Wang
    Konrad Weixelbraun
    Jun Xia
    Hui Yuan
    Li Yuan
    Yi Zhang
    ZhiHua Zhong
    Yuqing Zhu

    MFA in Filmmaking – Feature Track

    Michael James Dominguez
    Yul Gatewood
    Adam Marson
    Gehan Naber
    Aloaye Omoake
    Assaad Yacoub

    MA in Film & Media Production

    Cyndell Addison
    Omoladun Adenuga
    Ruslan Baitenov
    Chelsea Blaire Charles
    Maytus Chernpipat
    Raymond Lenny Kiston Clarisse
    Anthony Charles A. Coralejo
    Sara Maria Duque Restrepo
    Sherando Ferril Cupid
    Julio García Escames
    Daniel Gomez
    Sudesh Kumar Jayaraj
    David Khodzhamiryan
    Georgy Khodzhamiryan
    Ekaterina Kostina
    Thirati Kulyingwattanavit
    Adriana Ledesma
    Xi Li
    Binyue Liu
    Jiping Liu
    Dingmaomao Ma
    Vasha Narace
    Jose Diego Nava Moreno
    Cheuk Yan Ng
    Zolbayar Odkhuu
    Mema Ojukwu
    Joana Prata Pereira de Mattos
    Grazielle Simoes
    Ronda Suder
    Kehao Sun
    Arvind Venugopal
    Zexia Wang
    Shang Wu
    Weiwei Xie
    Yue Yang
    Zichao Yang
    Uzma Zakaria

    February 9, 2016 • Community Highlights, Guest Speakers, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1183

  • Advanced Producers Pitch Fest at Andaz Hotel

    pitch fest

    The New York Film Academy’s MFA in Producing Program kicked off 2016 with the Advanced Producers Pitch Fest on Thursday, January 20 at the Andaz Hotel in West Hollywood. Annually since 2008, MFA Producers gather to pitch their slate of projects to industry guests from a variety of entertainment companies. NYFA welcomed 20 plus guests, who enjoyed an evening of pitching and viewing film teasers and television series sizzle reels from 25 plus graduating MFA in Producing students. Executives and representatives from NBCUniversal, Mar Vista Entertainment, Lifeboat Productions and Hanai Studios Los Angeles participated, along with award-winning producers, screenwriters and talent representatives.

    nyfa pitching

    Industry guests included: Michael Barlow (film and television producer and screenwriter and former executive at Paramount Classics and Orion Pictures); Blaine Chiappetta and Marguerite Henry (Mar Vista Entertainment); producers Lucas Jarach and Nicolas Veinberg (Defiant Pictures); Nicole Rivera and Angela Waldrop-Gilbert (NBCUniversal); Alex Shekarchian (talent manager and entertainment attorney); Connor Robinson (Head of Producing, Lifeboat Productions); Kelly Zhang (Hainai Studio, Los Angeles); Nanobah Becker (award-winning producer and filmmaker; David Rosenberg (Daytime Emmy-nominated screenwriter); Joe Sabatino (co-executive producer of television series ‘Necessary Roughness’ and screenwriter;) Tova Laiter (film producer and former studio executive, Warner Bros., Imagine Entertainment, Cinergi Pictures); Beverley Gordon and Sean Kohnen (film producers); Doug Cooney (screenwriter for Paramount Pictures and Sony Animation); Paige Morrow Kimball (producer and filmmaker for film and television via her Makazan Films shingle); and Henry Priest (film and television producer and Director, Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles.)

    Many thanks to our industry guests, and congratulations to our MFA in Producing students for a successful evening of pitching!

  • Producing Grads Team Up for “Lilin’s Brood”

    Nothing like cuddling up with your loved one on Valentine’s Day with a psychological thriller, chiller/horror film. Come on, you know it sounds great. Now that you’re convinced, we have the perfect recommendation for you. Lilin’s Brood, created by New York Film Academy MFA Producing graduates Artii Smith and Phil Simon, has been picked up for distribution and is now available on iTunes, and will be released on Amazon next Friday, February 12th—just in time for Valentine’s Day.

    The movie is about a “New Media” news coverage team (W.H.I.S.T.L.E.) that is stranded near a beleaguered brothel in the middle of nowhere. The footage that is recovered will reveal what happens when they encounter a group of women with a terrifying secret.

    lilins brood

    “It’s personal in a sense that we both really love the horror/thriller genre and wanted to create a story that people like us would love to see,” said Smith. “Also, the characters we created were a loose combination of people we’ve known from our past experiences.”

    The NYFA grads shot the film on a small budget over an eleven day period.

    “Coming up with a strategy far in advance on how to tackle each phase of a project should be top priority,” says Smith. “We planned every single creative detail and business strategic move meticulously.”

    The filmmaking duo also suggests young filmmakers really believe in the story they are working on. It takes so much energy to create a feature, and you don’t want to be stuck doing a project you’re not passionate about.

    Before studying at NYFA’s Producing program, Smith was only interested in producing projects. He didn’t want to write and he wasn’t entirely sure about becoming a director either. But NYFA changed his attitude.

    “I think my joy for writing was discovered and ultimately nurtured at NYFA, and my love for directing really flourished as well. Working with writing professor David O’Leary, I believe, now that I look back, was an essential experience I needed in helping me develop and write engaging feature film scripts. Working with directing professor Nick Sivakumaran really helped me discover my love for directing.”

    Smith and Simon currently have a part two to Lilin’s Brood already written up and ready to shoot. They are also have several other projects in various stages of development—from treatment to full script—that vary in different genres such as Science Fiction, Drama, Comedy, Action and Historical Biopics.

    February 5, 2016 • Filmmaking, Producing, Screenwriting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 957

  • Sanzhar Madiyev Stars in Russia’s Highly Anticipated ‘Zaschitniki’

    In 2011 “Kazakhfilm” studio sent a group of young filmmakers to the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles for a 4-week Filmmaking Workshop. Among them was an aspiring actor and director named Sanzhar Madiyev. Now, Madiyev stars in the neo-noir superhero film Zaschitniki (Guardians) directed by Sarik Andreasyan. The film was listed in the Top-20 most anticipated Russian movies in 2016.

    “I liked the enthusiasm and the atmosphere at NYFA, so in one year I decided to come back and take the 8-week Acting for Film Workshop,” said Madiyev.


    Since then, he has developed a very impressive acting career in both film and television, including Khod Konem (Armenia/Kazakhstan) directed by Gor Kirakosian, The Way Home (Kazakhstan) directed by Rashid Suleimenov, the TV series Marco Polo (USA), Hunting the Phantom (Kazakhstan) directed by Marina Kunarova, Amanat (Kazakhstan) directed by Satybaldy Narymbetov and, most recently, Married at 30 (Kazakhstan) directed New York Film Academy alum Askar Bissembin and Zaschitniki (Russia) directed by Sarik Andreasyan.

    nyfa russia

    Madiyev initially found out about the open casting from his friend and decided to submit photos and resume. For the second round he was asked to tape and send a scene. After that he was contacted by the production office and invited to Moscow for a meeting with director and producer. This personal meeting resulted in him being cast as the lead character Khan. Khan (Windman) is a member of the group of superheroes altering and augmenting the DNA in order to defend the homeland from supernatural danger during the Cold War.

    On working with Sarik Andreasyan, Sanzhar Madiyev said: “This is a case when the work becomes the pleasure and leads into a friendship. I like his directing style—he is very calm and unruffled, and it gives strength, especially during heavy scenes.“

    Sanzhar Madiyev also directs music videos and short movies when he has a break between acting projects. In the future, he would like to direct his own feature but he believes that there is the right time for everything. He is grateful for the useful advice he has received from the talented professional NYFA instructors: David M. Wexler, George Russo, George McGrath and Bruce Ducat, who he still keeps in contact with.

    The New York Film Academy is very proud of Sanzhar Madiyev, and we look forward to seeing him on the silver screen!

    February 4, 2016 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1399

  • NYFA Students Launch Web Series Tackling US-Arab Racial Conflicts

    aymenAlArabiya, the largest and most respected Middle Eastern news outlet, has given a huge boost to the social media efforts of a group of New York Film Academy students who have teamed up to create the thought-provoking web series, SargoWithin one week of airing on YouTube, the series trailer reached over 100,000 views and interest continues to grow.

    Filmmaker Aymen Khoja (May ’14 MFA Feature Track Filmmaker) has written and directed the web series about a young Saudi guy who is kidnapped by two dim but dangerous men. The audience must ponder: ‘Will he be able to find his way to freedom or arrive home in a box?’

    The series tackles relevant topics such as U.S. and Arab racial bias and racial profiling.

    Khoja, in development at NYFA for his first feature film, Shoot, has assembled a team of currently enrolled NYFA students for the series. Working both behind the scenes and in front of the camera, NYFA students are:

    • Creator, writer/director AYMEN KHOJA (May ’14 MFA Feature Track Filmmaking)
    • Producers MUHAMMAD ALAWI (Fall ’15 BFA Producing) and ALMOTAZ ALJEFRI (January ’13 BFA Filmmaking)
    • Actors MAAN BIN ABDULRAHMAN (January ’13 BFA Filmmaking) and JUSTIN LIGHTFOOT (May ’14 BFA Acting)
    • Social media TALHA BIN ABDULRAHMAN (September ’13 BFA Filmmaking)

    The AlArabiya interview can be viewed below:

    Congratulations, NYFA students on your outstanding collaborative effort!

    February 3, 2016 • Acting, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1184

  • Dimitris Tranos Becoming a ‘Rising Star’ in Filmmaking

    Former MA Film and Media Production student Dimitris Tranos decided to tackle a difficult subject in his New York Film Academy thesis film. The film, Heavy Cross, triggered by his grandfather’s irreversible illness which kept him confined to his bed for years, resulted in Tranos’ research about terminally ill people who asked their loved ones to assist them to commit suicide, due to the lack of legal alternatives. In his short film, which won a Rising Star Award at the Athens International Digital Film Festival, Tranos explores the moral and ethical dilemma that an individual faces when he or she is asked to do the same, taking into consideration that the religious and social factors have a great impact on this decision. Through this film, Tranos asks a simple question: If the right to life is indisputable, what about the right to die?

    dimitris tranos

    “I chose the main theme of my film to be ‘the right to die as a moral principle’ because I wanted to explore how family, friends and society in general react to a terminally ill person’s will to terminate his or her own life,” said Tranos. “I have witnessed my own grandfather being confined to bed for several years, losing day by day his vision and his ability to communicate with his surroundings. Even if nothing was ever said, I knew that everybody in the family was praying for him to find redemption.”

    In Heavy Cross, Sarah, a religious caretaker faces a serious moral dilemma when she meets Mike, a seriously ill and confined to bed veteran of Iraq, who wants Sarah to help him commit suicide.

    Tranos was able to collaborate with talented students and alumni from NYFA like Luciana Capela (Co-producer), Henry Li (Cinematographer), Alonso Grandio (Actor) and Leonardo Bentes (1st AD) to name a few.

    “My studies at NYFA helped me a lot,” says Tranos. “My instructors were there to assist me in the whole process.”

    Currently, Tranos is in the process of finishing the 1st draft of a feature script about unfulfilled teenage dreams and how impactful they can be in their adult life.

    February 2, 2016 • Film School, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1428