We always love to hear what our alumni are up to, and this winter we were delighted to see NYFA New York City Photography Conservatory grad Jon Henry’s work featured as the cover image for Jungle magazine. His composition Untitled 27, Providence, RI was created exclusively for the magazine’s 03 limited edition.
The UK-based publication focuses on fashion and culture and releases a new issue bi-annually, so it is all the more significant for a photographer to see their work featured on the cover.
NYFA alum Jon Henry‘s photo on cover of Jungle Magazine
This time, Henry’s work has the added distinction of representing Jungle’s limited The Resilience Edition, for which he photographed the cover model, actress and artist Jemima Kirke. Kirke’s story of starting over in a new country to provide a better life for her children is resonantly captured by Henry’s photography.
Jungle features Henry’s work alongside Tove Lo, MNEK, Mark Hartman, Louise Trotter, Sally Bourke, Daniel Castro Garcia, Mark Hartman, Ben Murphy, ALMA, Joseph Special, Poppy Ajudha Blue Lab Beats and Jennifer Neiderhauser Schulp.
In their forward to the The Resilience Edition, the Jungle editors explain why Henry exemplifies their theme of resilience: “Henry’s work responds to the violence and maltreatment of African American men in the United States, and looks at the resilience of the mothers who have to stay strong despite knowing the extent of the tragedies that could hit their family.”
NYFA alum Jon Henry
Jon Henry graduated from the New York Film Academy Photography School’s 1-Year Conservatory and is a teaching assistant at the New York City campus. In his visual artwork, he focuses primarily on the black family and the community at large. He also explores the representation of athletes in fine art. His Stranger Fruit in Smack Mellon’s Hot Picks 2017 and the project was also on the short list for the Lucie Foundation grant.
Henry also appeared recently as a panelist at one of Miami’s major art festivals, Spectrum Miami.
The first Alumni Spotlight Showcase of 2018 kicked off on this January at the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Los Angeles campus. Alumni Relations Coordinator Gabriela Egito hosted an evening with NYFA alumnus Barret Bowman and his business partner Peter Castagnetti. Together, the pair are the directors and founders of OhForShow, a production company that creates soft pitch ads (otherwise known as branded content).
OhForShow’s stated mission is to “help purpose-driven people create culture through thought.” When the two men began working with Yeti Coolers, they found a prime example of a corporation willing to trust filmmakers. Yeti’s clients range from average campers to wilderness adventurers. In their first short for the company, OhForShow pitched content that would feature Yeti Cooler’s product in an emotionally impactful story. Yeti liked the story, but they didn’t actually want their cooler to be the star.
“We were shocked,” Bowan said. “Yeti just wants to interact with their base.” In the final film, the cooler appears roughly 70 times, “But we always hear people say they didn’t even notice the cooler.”
In fact, the name Yeti only appears at the end of the film. “If you didn’t know what Yeti was you would think it’s a production company,” Castagnetti said.
Of course, creating OhForShow did not happen overnight.
“When I left NYFA, I probably had a month’s worth of money,” Bowman said. “I knew I had to get a job right away.”
Through a fellow alumnus, Bowman was able to get a job as a location scout to make ends meet. After working that job for a few months another NYFA alumnus, a producing friend, hooked him up with a gig at Easton, a sports equipment manufacturer. As an intern, Bowman made technical videos about baseball bats. It could have been just another internship, but he made the most of his time there.
Two things happened at Easton. First, Bowman met Castagnetti. Second, they filmed a short that highlighted the Little League World Series. That video served as an unofficial launch for their newly forming production company. They didn’t have the name yet, but the pair felt a kinship and knew they wanted to work together.
When it comes to getting clients, the duo has to think creatively. “It’s less about convincing them [to hire us],” Castagnetti said, “… and more about convincing them to spend the money [required to produce a film].”
In this spirit, the duo has tried a lot of “outside the box” ideas to get the business started. Once, Bowman even sold himself at an auction: in exchange for a place to stay, Bowman promised to develop work for the buyer or their company. It worked! Three bidders donated a couple thousand dollars to support Bowman while he worked on their projects. During that time he slept on couches, washed dishes, and cooked meals to help pay his way. One client begot another client. Soon their business was taking off.
In addition to their commercial content, Castagnetti and Bowman also create documentaries. Their work includes “Accidental Courtesy” and the upcoming “This is Not Normal.”
The skills they’ve learned on these projects are evident in all of their work, but the men stressed fun as a fundamental component to their success. A motto they live by is, “I don’t create magic, I create an atmosphere to allow the magic to happen.” This energy allows for the talent to feel relaxed on set. The crew is small and comfortable working with one another. The results speak for themselves.
The New York Film Academy would like to thank Bowan and Castagnetti for taking the time to speak with our students. You can explore more of their work by clicking here.
Those of you who have studied in the NYFA Broadcast Journalism program know we believe that journalism is different from most other professions. Journalists have special duties, special responsibilities.
Last week, an Assistant Attorney General in the state of Michigan spoke of the role of journalists in society.
“We as a society need investigative journalists more than ever,” Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis told the judge at the sentencing hearing of Larry Nassar, the long-time doctor for the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team.
Nassar, 54, admitted sexually assaulting athletes under the guise of medical treatment when he was employed by Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians. Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced him Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison in a case involving seven victims, and he faces sentencing next week in a neighboring Michigan county where he abused girls at a gymnastics club. He already had been sentenced to 60 years in prison for child pornography.
The case began with a 2016 Indianapolis Star investigation of how USA Gymnastics handled sexual abuse allegations against coaches. That prompted former gymnast Rachael Denhollander to alert the newspaper to Nassar’s abuse. “After that article, I knew this was the time,” Denhollander told The Associated Press. “This is always what I knew had to be done … (and) I was 100 percent confident there were other victims speaking up and being silenced.”
This is why what we do is important.
It also points to the crucial role played by the Associated Press. They took a story that was reported by a regional newspaper, and distributed it to newspapers, TV stations, TV networks, cable news outlets, online platforms and radio stations across the United States as well as around the world. News agencies like the AP began in the 19th century, yet they still remain relevant today.
Last week I heard from one of our Brazilian graduates Laura Isern, who sent me an email, with an update on her career. Here is what she wrote:
Well, last year I was glad to tell you I was about to start working for Globo magazines … I’ve been through several tests and interviews, and surpassed 24 thousand other candidates. Now I’m one of the six journalism interns at Globo. In this internship program we’ll be going through all areas on audiovisual journalism and the skills you taught us will be very helpful! Thanks again for everything.
One of six individuals selected out of a total of 24,000 applicants … Now that’s impressive! Congratulations, Laura!
Staying with the Brazilian theme, I also heard from Brazilian NYFA alum Amanda Salvato. Amanda is based in New York now, and she is regularly covering New York Fashion Week events.
In my memory, though, I still see Amanda at the New York Hilton Hotel on Election Night 2016, reporting on one of the most unexpected U.S. Presidential Election victories in history for our very own “NYFA News.” Great job, Amanda!
The New York Film Academy (NYFA) in Los Angeles recently announced the second annual Young Saudi Film Festival (YSFF), which is slated for Feb. 18, 2018, at the Harmony Gold Theater on Sunset Boulevard. A showcase of recent Saudi films, YSFF is currently accepting submissions from filmmakers.
Director of NYFA Los Angeles Dan Mackler greets YSFF President Rakan Anneghaimshi.
“Last year Saudi filmmakers didn’t have any theaters where they could show their films and creative productions. With hope and consistent effort, cinema is now back again in Saudi Arabia,” said YSFF President and NYFA student Rakan Anneghaimshi (Spring 2016 BFA Acting). “Our goal since Abdulaziz Almutari (YSFF Vice President, Fall 2015 MFA Cinematography) and I started YSFF was to have a platform to link filmmakers to each other so they can exchange experiences, knowledge, and connections. It’s going to be the same case this year.”
Last year’s screening was attended by over 300 guests and presented eight short films. NYFA alum Maan bin Abdulrahman of Prince of Arabia Entertainment hosted the event and moderated a question-and-answer session with the filmmakers, which included Saudi Arabian filmmaker, Meshal Al Jaser (NYFA Fall 2016 BFA Screenwriting).
Regarding this year’s festival, Director of NYFA’s Los Angeles campus Dan Mackler said, “As an international film school and home to many Saudi Arabian alumni and students, the New York Film Academy is very happy with Saudi Arabia’s decision to reopen theaters. We share Rakan’s excitement for this second event and expect it to surpass last year’s impact on bringing talented filmmakers to light.”
While the festival focuses on the work of Saudi filmmakers, submissions from around the world will be considered, particularly those from Gulf and Arab states. A panel of NYFA faculty will select eight short films between five and 20 minutes long for the showcase. Judges include film star Miraj Grbic (“Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”), actress and comedienne Suzanne Kent (“Taxi,”The Groundlings), cinematographer Anthony Richmond, ASC, BSC (“Don’t Look Now,” “Legally Blonde”), photographer/cinematographer Bart Mastronardi (“Tales of Poe”), director James Rowe (“Blue Ridge Fall”), and novelist Crickett Rumley (“Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt and Other Things I Learned in Southern Belle Hell”).
For a complete list of rules and to submit a short film, please submit via Google form here or on the NYFA Student hub. The deadline is Jan. 28th, so hurry to submit your film!
The second annual Young Saudi Film Festival on Feb. 18 at the Harmony Gold Theater in Hollywood promises to be an inspiring event attended by both young filmmakers and Saudi esteemed officials. It is free and open to the public. In addition to the short films and a Q&A again moderated by Maan bin Abdulrahman, the event will feature a light reception and a performance by NYFA’s Improv Troupe.
YSFF President Rakan Anneghaimshi with filmmaker Meshal Al Jaser.
Reflecting on the upcoming festival, YSFF President Anneghaimshi complimented NYFA’s continued involvement, saying, “I would like to thank Dan Mackler for his endless support and caring, and I would like also to thank Tami Alexander, Crickett Rumley, and Brian Dillon.” He also had kind words for those submitting films: “I wish all the best for all filmmakers applying to the festival.”
To RSVP to attend the Young Saudi Film Festival on Sunday, Feb. 18, at 4 p.m., please RSVP here.
Being a journalist isn’t a 9-to-5 job. News happens when it happens, and we have to cover it. But President Donald Trump’s arrival in Washington, D.C. has made every administration that preceded it look tame. In fact, it has forced news gathering organizations — all of them, not just the “mainstream” variety — to change how they do business.
Awhile back, The New York Timesposted a fascinating story on how — to steal a line from a NYC radio station — “the news watch never stops.” Given the events of this past weekend, with the U.S. government partially closed by a budget impasse, and more than a million women demonstrating around the country, I thought it would be a good time to share this article. (Click on the link, if only to see the great graphic in motion!)
The start of a new year often signals big changes, and that certainly seems to be the case with NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Grace Shao, who writes:
“Happy new year friends! All the best wishes to you in 2018! Happy to tell you all I’m moving to Shanghai … to pursue a new role with CGTN, covering the worlds fastest growing economy in one of the most vibrant metropolises!”
Grace is currently spending a lot of time shuttling between Beijing (PEK) and Shanghai (PVG or SHA). I hope she is saving up all those frequent flyer miles…
And speaking of frequent flyers, NYFA alum Gillian Kemmerer is in Davos (again) this week, covering the annual World Economic Forum for Asset TV.
And on the “news watch” over at CBS News is recent NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Lara Gato. Last Monday she reported to work at CBS’ digital news operation, where she will be working as an associate producer.
And who was assigned to instruct her on CBS policies and procedures? NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Nour Idriss!
Meanwhile, back on Battery Place, NYFA was one of the co-sponsors of Shanghai Film Week New York. I was honored to be chosen to participate in an Industry Panel discussion of U.S./PRC co-productions. As part of my presentation, I spoke about the three “rules” that underlie successful co-productions. One of which is, “Everything is based on relationships.”
The New York Film Academy recently celebrated The New York Film Academy Documentary Film Festival, offering a showcase of five exceptional thesis documentaries from our conservatory students.
Held at the NYFA Theatre at the New York City campus, the festival served not only as a thesis presentation, but also a professional launch and celebration of an exceptional group of filmmakers. The surprising, compelling stories and unique visions of the Spring ’17 Documentary Filmmaking Conservatory carried a delighted audience of fellow NYFA students, friends, faculty, and staff around the globe and through a series of remarkable worlds you’d never have known existed.
Screened at the festival were the following films:
“Running Out of Freedom” Directed by Braulio Jatar
Braulio Jatar’s father, a high-profile Venezuelan dissident, is dying in prison. But the capture order on Braulio’s head makes returning to the country extremely dangerous. His family won’t allow it. But with his father’s life in the balance, and the Resistance gathering to make one last stand, the young journalist has decided to risk his life to fight for his father and for his country.
“Cricket Liu” Directed by Julia Cheng
An aging master of the ancient culture of cricket fighting now uses the art to entertain an endless river of tourists, earning all he possibly can, to send in precious red envelops as gifts to the beloved little grandson he is not allowed to know.
“Gold Flakes” Directed by Santiago Machado
A courageous father navigates Colombian rainforests, gleaning the last flakes of El Dorado’s gold.
But it’s drying up. The abandoned mines threaten collapse, a guerilla army is taking over the area, and the government is trying to starve out the gleaners with new taxes and tightening regulations. Still, his family will eat tonight if he can find just one good gold flake.
“The Future is Rotten” Directed by Nancy Dionne
Forests of the Pacific Northwest hold a rare treasure. A secret culture of foragers spend their lives hunting it. Its coveted flavor can bring up to $1000 per kg. But the Matsutake mushroom’s true genius is as a healer of ruined landscapes, and it may offer the best hope for an American forest system run amuk.
“Sword Swallower” Directed by Katerina Olkhovaya
Notorious circus artist Magnificent Jewels makes a career of death-defying performances. Even outside the limelight, the vulnerable if hardened sword swallower sacrifices all for the burlesque circus that from Berlin, to Brussels, to Paris must always go on.
Congratulations to our Spring ’17 Documentary Filmmaking Conservatory class! It was truly a proud and triumphant night for our documentary community.
Happy! stars acclaimed actor and New York Film Academy Guest Speaker Christopher Meloni as a degenerate ex-cop-turned-hit-man who, after flatlining in the line of duty, is brought back to life — only to discover he can now see and hear a child’s invisible friend, an animated blue unicorn named Happy. Needless to say, bizarre and thrilling antics ensue.
The surprising, gritty, and hilarious show is based on the graphic novel of the same name by Darick Robertson and Grant Morrison.
In Happy!, Lily Buchanan portrays the role of Jamie in not one, not two, but three episodes. We don’t want to give away any spoilers, so you’ll have to check out the show on Amazon Prime — just be aware that viewer discretion is advised, as the storyline of Happy! doesn’t shy away from violence or mature topics.
Happy! is one in a string of recent successes for New York City-based child actor Lily Buchanan, who has also churned out scene-stealing performances in 2018’s Real Love and The After Party.
Buchanan carved out time in her busy schedule over the last holiday season to take on the New York Film Academy’s intensive Holiday Filmmaking Camp for Kids. During her time at the Academy, she enjoyed a special opportunity to see Dominique Morisseau’s original play, PIPELINE, at the Lincoln Center Theater (LCT) — and got meet the play’s star, NYFA Instructor Jaime Lincoln Smith.
New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum Jameelah Rose del Prado Lineses knows first-hand how much hard work goes into making a film—which makes her Honorable Mention at 2017’s International Film Festival Manhattan all the more rewarding. In October, after screening her documentary “The Lifestyles of Expats in Jeddah,” Jameelah was the proud recipient of the IFFM’s Film Festival Director Louie Award Honorable Mention.
This isn’t Jameelah’s first award, either. Her previous documentaries, “Historic Jeddah” and “Our Journey to Hijaz” have also garnered significant praise from multiple festivals in the last several years.
2017’s International Film Festival Manhattan
A recurring theme in her work is the challenge women face while living in Saudi Arabia. The uphill battle women face, especially in filmmaking, has helped focus her vision and strengthen her voice.
Jameelah first attended the New York Film Academy’s 8-Week Filmmaking Workshop in June 2011, before enrolling two months later in the 1-Year Filmmaking program at the New York City campus. There, Jameelah was given hands-on training with state-of-the-art film equipment and taught the skills necessary for pre-production through post-production.
This intensive education prepared Jameelah for a career in filmmaking.“My instructors at NYFA ensured their students after graduation are already well-rounded and equipped to work in any film department,” stated Jameelah.
Even after making several documentaries and garnering numerous honors, Jameelah still applies the training she received at NYFA. “I made sure that I took down notes for every class,” said Jameelah, adding, “I still have all my notes until now, and I review it at times when I need a refresher.”
The New York Film Academy congratulates Jameelah on her Honorable Mention for “The Lifestyles of Expats in Jeddah,” and looks forward to the important stories she will tell in the future!
This week, 2017 NYFA Broadcast Journalism graduate Lara Gato began work as an Associate Producer at CBS News. To add to what is already a proud moment for her alma mater, Gato is being trained by 2015 NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Nour Idriss.
Lara Gato came to the New York Film Academy from her home in Madrid, Spain, to pursue her dream to become a journalist. Her fantastic work was recently featured on the NYFA Blog as a standout example of a professional reel.
NYFA Alumna and CBS News Associate Producer Lara Gato
“The reel doesn’t get you the job,” NYFA Chair of Broadcast Journalism Bill Einreinhoffer explained to the NYFA Blog. “The reel gets you the interview which can get you the job. It is the ticket that gets you in the door.”
Nour Idriss, who is training Gato at CBS News, moved to New York City from her home in Aleppo, Syria. It was while still completing her program at NYFA that Nour was encouraged by a NYFA guest speaker to apply for work at CBS News. She used a story she did as a NYFA student to help secure a role. She works both in the production team for “The CBS Evening News Weekend Edition” and as a freelance associate producer for video at CBS.com.
With “The CBS Evening News,” Idriss told the NYFA Blog she produces and edits VO’s, teases, and packages, overseeing headlines and assisting with gathering research and material. On the digital side at CBS.com, she During the uses a suite of software to publish web content.
The New York Film Academy congratulates Lara Gato and Nour Idriss for their success and looks forward to hearing more from them at CBS News.
Not many of us wish that we could go back to high school, but for New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Conservatory alumnus Adrian Voo, revisiting teen angst never looked better. This month, the world will see him co-star in Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s “Little Bitches,” a raucous, R-rated teen comedy that will release digitally Jan. 23 on iTunes, Amazon, VUDU, Xfinity, Verizon Fios, Microsoft Store, Play Station and Google Play.
Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Voo was bitten by the acting bug when he was a business major at San Francisco State University. Following his dream led him to NYFA Los Angeles campus for an intensive year of conservatory training before going on to snag mainstream attention in the Jason Biggs comedy “Amateur Night.” “Little Bitches” follows three former-best-friends-turned-frenemies who must find a way to make peace in their senior year of high school in what Sony Pictures describes as a “crazy, twisted, coming-of-age female-empowerment comedy.”
The NYFA Blog had a chance to catch up with Voo to hear more about “Little Bitches,” what he loves about comedy, and what’s next.
NYFA: First, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what brought you to the New York Film Academy (NYFA)?
AV: My love for film has spanned my lifetime but I had never really given acting much thought until my final year of business school. I was auditioning for plays and became fascinated with the craft. After receiving my BS, I decided to explore acting and searched for an intensive film school, and that’s when I found NYFA!
NYFA: Do you have any favorite NYFA moments from your time studying with us?
AV: One of my earliest childhood memories was being in absolute awe while on a tram tour at Universal Studios. So the first time we had an on-camera class on New York Street was a little “magical” for me.
NYFA: Congratulations on your role in Sony Pictures’ “Little Bitches”! How did this project come about for you?
AV: Thank you! Long story short, I was pitched to Scott Aversano (producer). I was so excited to hear that he was assembling a teen comedy, knowing his previous success with “That Awkward Moment” and “Orange County,” among many others. We had a good meeting and he brought me in to read for Nick Kreiss (writer/director).
NYFA: You’ve had a great streak of working in some big comedies. For our students, what do you find the most challenging about intensive comedy work? How do you prepare?
AV: I’ve found the most challenging part to be forgetting that it’s a comedy — and not trying to be funny! I think comedy works best when you trust the script (the writers) and find the dialogue rhythm. Once you have the rhythm, you can add improv for color.
NYFA: You recently served as an executive producer of “Dear Dictator” with Michael Caine and Katie Holmes, as well as appearing in the film. Tell us about that process, and why you felt drawn to this story?
AV: I had worked with the writer/director’s on “Amateur Night,” which was their true life story, so I was thrilled when they invited me to be a part of “Dear Dictator.” The script is so inspired (it was featured in the Black List in 2006). It’s a satire but, ultimately, a story about a non-conventional family. There’s some familiar film moments but it’s truly a film like no other…
It was also a full circle moment to work with Michael Caine since I studied his “Acting in Film” book at NYFA!
NYFA: Would you say your time at NYFA was at all useful in preparing for the work you’re doing now?
AV: Very much so! When I first walked through the doors, I had a little stage experience and almost no formal training; I dreaded speaking with fellow actors whenever I was in productions because they used jargon that I had never heard of. NYFA instilled technique and discipline, and molded my process today. I’ve also become a strong proponent for hands-on training and found it to be an essential element.
NYFA: What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
AV: Let’s just say, for now it’s “Little Bitches” and “Dear Dictator” in March! I hope you guys will enjoy the films as much as we had making them. Cheers to everyone at NYFA!
The New York Film Academy would like to congratulate Adrian Voo on his work in “Little Bitches,” and looks forward to seeing “Dear Dictator” soon!