Student and Alumni Spotlights
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  • NYFA Grad Rohit Gupta Releases Trailer for ‘Midnight Delight’

    midnight delightDot and Feather Entertainment dropped the first movie teaser trailer for their upcoming Midnight Delight, a comedy surrounding a set of characters who get into hilarious antics as they try to make sense of their lives through conversations with people they have never met before. The narrative throws hits us with several uncanny situations throughout the film.

    The feature film was written and directed by New York Film Academy alumnus Rohit Gupta (Life! Camera Action…Another Day Another Life) and co-produced with Saumin Mehta, who is also credited for most of its post-production. Gupta’s earlier productions have won numerous international awards and recognition from around the world including at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

    The movie stars: Alexandra Hellquist, Shaheed Woods, Michele Suttile, Dipti Mehta, Rachel Myers, John Crann, Michael Laguerre, Adit Dileep, Sofia Sivan, Bill McCrea, Maggie Alexandar, Josh Echevarria and Michael Lester.

    Initial response to the newly posted 50-second teaser has been favorable. Tantalizingly edited to offer a sneak preview that whet fans’ appetite without revealing too much, it has been described as “One of the best teasers from the independent film circuit and Indian-American filmmakers.” It features actors Rachel Myers, Shaheed Woods, Michele Suttile, John Crann and new comer Michael Laguerre.

    The movie is slated to release later this year.

    Until then get your first exclusive look here.

    Midnight Delight – Official Movie Teaser Trailer #1 [HD] from DotandFeatherfilms.com on Vimeo.

    March 12, 2015 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 467

  • MFA Filmmaking Grad Wins Best Short at Golden Pomegranate

    Jing Wen

    Jing Wen on set of “A, B,C or D?”

    Congratulations to the MFA Filmmaking graduate Jing Wen, whose film A, B, C, or D? won Best Short Film and Best Cinematographer (Xiaolong Liu) at the Golden Pomegranate International Film Festival in China. The film will also screen at Cannes in the upcoming Cannes Short Film Corner, where many of our students will have the chance to showcase their work to the public for the very first time.

    As most of know or remember, A, B, C, and D are the choices in a multiple choice test. This is precisely where Wen came up with the title for her film.

    “When we were young, there was always someone who could give you the right answer — maybe the teacher, maybe our parents,” recalls Wen. “When we grow up, A, B, C and D seem like the different choices in our life. What should we choose at every corner, or which one could lead us to success? Only you can discover the answer.”

    In Wen’s film, her main character, Gary, is a 45 year-old man — an age at which most people lose their energy to pursue lifelong dreams due to the pressures of family, work, money and responsibility. The conflict occurs after Gary is notified by his department manager that he will need to the blame for a particular mistake. This leads Gary with a very difficult decision: should he tell his boss the truth or keep silent?

    You can find out his decision at Wen’s next screening of A, B, C, or D? this May at the Cannes Short Film Corner.

    Wen is currently set to direct The Disappeared Fish, a forthcoming feature comedy film from Bai Ge Zhuang Film & Media Company.

     

    March 11, 2015 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 656

  • ‘Gotham’ Shines Light on New Cast

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    Rob Gorrie with Ben McKenzie  (photo from @RobGorrie)

    Over the past few episodes, the popular Fox series Gotham, based on DC Comics’ Batman franchise, has shined a light on the Wayne family business and its board members. It was only a matter of time before the series introduced Lucius Fox, a tech genius who, in the comics, has been Wayne’s business manager and the acting CEO of Wayne Enterprises. Fox will be played by Chris Chalk, an actor predominately known for his theater work, but who’s also appeared in HBO’s The Newsroom and Showtime’s Homeland, as well as FX’s Sons of Anarchy and Justified. He also starred in the Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave.

    This comes off the news that actress Jada Pinkett Smith and her character Fish Mooney will be leaving Gotham at the end of its first season. Though, in a recent interview on Live with Kelly and Michael, Smith hints that her character could always reappear down the line.

    The popular Fox series has also introduced the acrobatic circus family The Flying Graysons. John Grayson and Mary Loyd, who at this point in the show have just met, will eventually become the parents of Dick Grayson, who most of us know as the first Robin. What’s most exciting to us about the introduction to the family is that the role of John Grayson is being played by New York Film Academy Admissions Representative Rob Gorrie. Gorrie has appeared in a number of film and television productions, including his season stints on the popular soaps, As the World Turns and One Life to Live.

    March 10, 2015 • Acting, Entertainment News, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 538

  • Oscar Nominated Editor Discusses Cutting Best Picture Winner ‘Birdman’

    douglas crise

    Editor, Douglas Crise

    New York Film Academy students gathered in the school’s own Los Angeles theater this week for a screening of the Academy Award Winner for Best Picture Birdman followed by a Q&A with Douglas Crise, the Oscar nominated editor of the film. Crise received an Oscar nomination for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Babel in 2007. He has since cut John August’s The Nines, starring Ryan Reynolds and Melissa McCarthy; David Schimmer’s Trust, starring Clive Owen; and Nicholas Jarecki’s Arbitrage, starring Richard Gere which has received much critical acclaim. His collaboration with filmmaker Harmony Korine on Spring Breakers—which stars James Franco, Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens—has been talked about as revolutionary. Doug just received a BAFTA nomination for is work on Inarritu’s Birdman starring Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone and Zach Galifianakis. The discussion was moderated by producer Tova Laiter and NYFA LA’s Dean of Students Eric Conner.

    It is often said that the best editors make their cuts “invisible” to the audience, stitching shots together in just the right so that the audience can lose themselves in the story and not focus on the filmmaking craft. Douglas Crise achieved this in a very literal way with Birdman—the vast majority of which appears to be all one shot, but in reality is composed with many, many edits. These cuts are nearly impossible to see at all, even with the trained eyed. So how many cuts were there in Birdman? This has been a topic of hot debate, and while the number of cuts have been kept secret but the team, the special effects department had spilled the beans and said it was 100, which Douglas didn’t deny. This is compared to the 30 definite edits planned before the shooting of Birdman.

    To cut together the best film possible, Crise had to dig deep down and use every trick in the book, and even invent many himself to make the impossible possible. For instance, director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu would like Michael Keaton’s performance at the beginning of one long shot and Edward Norton’s performance at the end of it. Douglass would have to dig deep to think of solutions such as rotoscoping Michael Keaton out of the first shot and laying him onto the background where Edward Norton appears in the next shot until Keaton walked offscreen and the second shot took over completely. Douglas Crise enjoyed working with Inarritu because the demanding director always pushed him to do his best work, and to achieve levels he originally thought impossible.

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     Crise discussed his contrasting, yet equally fulfilling experience, editing Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers. Whereas Birdman required working within strict limitations, Douglas was called upon to nearly rewrite Spring Breakers in the editing room. He moved things around out of chronological order, laid dialogue and sound over scenes from the footage of other scenes, and worked from a rough outline instead of a detailed script. Harmony’s approach to Crise was more relaxed, as the two discovered the story together from the footage. Having worked so well with two iconic directors whose working styles are at different ends of the spectrum Douglas has exhibited how creatively flexible he is.

    Douglas Crise gave NYFA students a unique and important insight into the post production process. We sincerely thank Mr. Crise for taking the time to visit us and look forward to seeing his next critically acclaimed editorial work.

    March 10, 2015 • Digital Editing, Guest Speakers, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 733

  • BFA Student Shane Golden Shoots Feature Film ‘Tapestry’

    shane goldenWith the variety of programs and locations at the New York Film Academy, we provide students with the opportunity to not only explore the world, but also hone their craft in several disciplines while earning a degree. One of of our former Two Year Filmmaking students in New York, Shane Golden, took advantage of NYFA’s resources by studying in New York City while simultaneously interning for filmmaker Brett Ratner. Now, he’s finishing his studies at our Los Angeles campus, where he just finished working as Co-Director of Photography on the upcoming feature film Tapestry.

    The film, directed by Ken Kushner, stars actors Burt Young and Stephen Baldwin. The story revolves around a man (Stephen Baldwin) in the midst of a heavy personal and spiritual crisis. Aided by his father (Burt Young), and his family, he embarks on a personal journey that will forever change him.

    We recently had the chance to catch up with Golden, who has his hands full with projects both inside and outside of the school.

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    Shane Golden with actor Burt Young

    Hello, Shane, congrats on wrapping your feature film, Tapestry! Can you begin by telling us how you first became involved with this film?

    Vanja Ulepic, the Director of Photography of the film asked if I wanted to co-DP on the film with him. He and Ken Kushner, the Director of Tapestry, both really liked the successful online campaign video I had just produced for the tech company, Rocki.

    How long was the shoot?

    The shoot was in production for a little over 6 weeks.

    Would you say your training at NYFA was useful in terms of your transition to DP’ing on a feature film like Tapestry?

    Definitely. Between my time at NYFA and the times I’ve been fortunate enough to spend interning for Brett Ratner, I felt confident in my abilities as a filmmaker. I never considered myself a DP, and had no ambition to become one, but after this experience I have a new found appreciation and respect for the craft. Before we started I remember thinking, “I have no idea what the hell I’m doing as a DP,” but when I got into action and with the language and skills I developed at NYFA, I was able to effectively communicate with the cast and crew on the production.

    Was there any particular shot/scene or influence you had on Tapestry that you’re most proud of?

    There are some tracking shots we did of Stephen’s character in the office where he works that came out really great aesthetically for camera and helped to establish the tone of the film.
    There’s also a scene we shot with Burt Young in this church that came out phenomenal. The architecture was beautiful and allowed for a lot of possibilities when it came to blocking for both the actors and the camera.

    When and where can we see the film? Is there an official release date yet?

    The film is set to be released in theaters sometime next year.

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    Shane Golden with actor Stephen Baldwin

    Are you currently working on another project? If so, can you tell me a little about it.

    I have a few projects, currently. I’m actually now working on the Tapestry soundtrack as a singer/songwriter. Ken, the Director, heard my music and really
    loved it. He asked me if I would sing something for the soundtrack and I said of course. It’s being produced by Grammy winning songwriter/producer Jane’t Sewell-Ulepic and Vanja Ulepic. I’m definitely honored and humbled to be this involved with the project. Besides that, I just booked another feature for later this year, but I don’t have too many details on that project as of yet.

    What is your goal as a filmmaker and cinematographer?

    Simply put, my goal is to tell great stories. I want to make films that touch audiences and inspire my peers to wanna keep creating and producing films that entertain and influence the world.

    Is there any advice could give for current students studying cinematography?

    I would say just know there’s no right or wrong to this. Experience, technique and knowledge of the equipment obviously helps, but at the end of the day you have to use what you have and, as a DP especially, work to make an image that’s
    interesting to you and that best tells the story. Awards and accolade are nice, but I think getting better at your craft is the true gem of any artists pursuit.

    March 9, 2015 • Cinematography, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 753

  • Award Winning Journalist Kimberly Wallace to Speak at NYFA

    kimberly wallaceFriday morning Kimberly Wallace, a field reporter and in-studio anchor with ViOS 1 News, will be visiting New York Film Academy. An award-winning and Emmy nominated journalist, during a two hour Q&A session with Broadcast Journalism students she will discuss the challenges of reporting from the field, as well as the skills necessary to be a successful studio anchor.

    ViOS 1 News is an example of how content distributors (in this case, Verizon) are becoming content creators. ViOS 1 News is also the kind of production unit where being a multimedia journalist (MMJ) is an absolute necessity.

    The Q&A session will take place 9:00 am this Friday March 6, at NYFA’s 17 Battery Place campus. Current students, as well as potential Broadcast Journalism students, are invited.

  • NYFA Union Square Hosts PGA’s Meet the Networks Panel with ESPN

    ESPN Films

    Shirley Escott, John Dahl and Dan Silver

    This past Tuesday, the New York Film Academy proudly hosted the Producers Guild of America’s PGA East Documentary & Non-Fiction Committees “Meet the Networks” panel with ESPN Films. The panel, moderated by Chair of the PGA East Documentary & Non-Fiction Committee Shirley Escott, included Dan Silver, Senior Director of Development and John Dahl, Vice President and Executive Producer of ESPN Films.

    The two ESPN executives have been at the forefront of the award-winning 30 for 30 series on ESPN.

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    Silver is an Emmy Award-winning producer who manages the development of ESPN films and Exit 31’s short film series. He oversees the Peabody and Emmy winning series 30 for 30 Shorts, and the Nine for IX shorts series and is also now supervising the development and production of FiveThityEight.com’s two original short form documentary series, Signals and The Collectors, as well as the recently launched Spike Lee’s Lil’ Joints, and announced Versus (executive Produced by Eva Longoria), and Marvel and ESPN Films 1 of 1 – Genesis” and “1 of 1 – Origins.

    Dahl has overseen production on all documentaries produced by ESPN Films since its launch in 2008, including the Peabody and Sports Emmy award-winning 30 for 30 series. He has produced and supervised documentaries for over 15 years going back to ESPN’s Peabody-winning “SportsCentury” initiative. Prior to the creation of ESPN Films, Dahl created the concept and oversaw production for the Baltimore Colts/New York Giants 50th anniversary documentary, The Greatest Game Ever Played, which was nominated for a Sports Emmy. He oversaw production for ESPN Films on the Peabody-winning two-part/four hour documentary Black Magic and the Spike Lee-directed film Kobe Doin’ Work. From 2002 to 2005, Dahl was Executive Producer for ESPN Classic and the company’s 32-hour programming initiative ESPN25, responsible for overseeing production and personnel for both entities. That work garnered a total of eight Sports Emmy nominations (two winners).

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    Speaking to a full house of producers and filmmakers alike at New York Film Academy’s Union Square theater, the main focus of the evening boiled down to the all important pitch. What stood out as the most prominent piece of advice was for filmmakers to be able to pitch their idea in one sentence. Having your idea delivered in the most concise and compelling manner is the most effective way to bring your show to life.

    Considering the overall success of the evening, we look forward to hosting similar PGA events in the near future!

  • Filmmaker Chris Paine Screens ‘Revenge of the Electric Car’ at NYFA

    revenge of electric car

    In 2006, Chris Paine’s documentary Who Killed The Electric Car told the tale of the life and death of the EV1, the first mass-produced electric car that was recalled and destroyed by its maker, General Motors. The film had a very successful theatrical release and ignited much discussion about the future of electric cars.

    Just five years later, in 2011, Paine told New York Film Academy students, the tide had turned, and he felt compelled to return to the topic with his follow-up film, Revenge of the Electric Car. The sequel follows four entrepreneurs as they fight to bring electric cars back to the world market in the midst of a global recession.

    Paine discussed his creative process with the NYFA students and the difficulties of gaining access to the major automakers he profiled.

    March 3, 2015 • Documentary Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 402

  • NYFA’s Bob Eisenhardt Editor on Audience Award Winner at Sundance

    bob EisenhardtA documentary that received a lot of buzz at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, winning the Audience Award, was Meru. The story includes filmmakers Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk, who aim to tackle the steep ‘Shark’s Fin’ on Mount Meru in India. Along the journey, the friends face hope, sacrifice and obsession.

    As the film’s official editor, New York Film Academy Documentary Editing Instructor Bob Eisenhardt had the honor of piecing this journey together. Eisenhardt teaches a Thesis Editing Master Course two nights a week for the final six weeks of each One-Year class’ Thesis Edit.

    Eisenhardt is a three-time Emmy Award winner and Oscar nominee. With over 60 films to his credit, he has edited documentaries for Barbara Kopple, Maysles Films, Susan Froemke, Matt Tyrnauer, Marc Levin, David Grubin and Alex Gibney. Recent films include Wagner’s Dream, which received an Emmy nomination for editing, Valentino: The Last Emperor, Dixie Chicks: Shut Up & Sing, Living Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders and Dancing in Jaffa. He is currently editing the HBO film Everything Is Copy on the life of Nora Ephron.

    Eisenhardt’s next Master Class will be at the New York Film Academy in New York City on March 16th to discuss Barbara Kopple’s Shut Up and Sing.

  • Spielberg’s U-2 Movie Casts U2 Daughter

    eve hewsonSt. James Place, a historical spy thriller, has quite the pedigree background behind it. Steven Spielberg will be directing a screenplay by Matt Charman and the Coen Brothers. Its cast includes Alan Alda, Amy Ryan, and frequent Spielberg collaborator Tom Hanks. Also included in the cast is Eve Hewson, 23, a rising star from Ireland who also happens to be the daughter of music legend Bono.

    Hewson studied acting at the New York Film Academy in 2005 and has since found roles in music videos, thrillers and romantic comedies. She currently co-stars with Clive Owen in the Cinemax medical drama The Knick.

    Spielberg’s hotly-anticipated film takes place in 1960 and stars Hanks as real-life lawyer James Donovan. Donovan was tasked with negotiating the release of a pilot shot down in the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. Filming commenced last Fall in Hewson’s current hometown—Brooklyn, New York. Ironically, the plane shot down in both real life and in the movie was a U-2 spy plane, U-2 inspiring the name of Hewson’s father’s legendary rock band.

    Dream of co-starring with Tom Hanks in a Steven Spielberg film one day? Check out New York Film Academy’s acting school program today!

    March 2, 2015 • Acting, Entertainment News, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1274