Student and Alumni Spotlights
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  • Two Animated Shorts from NYFA Alumni to Screen at NYC ACM SIGGRAPH’s MetroCAF

    NYC ACM SIGGRAPH will be presenting the fourteenth edition of its annual metropolitan-area college computer animation festival. The organization aims to foster the synthesis of art and technology while promoting and educating the computer graphics and interactive media community through the exchange of printed and electronic information and innovative ideas.

    Two New York Film Academy student animated films from this past year’s crop of animators have been selected for the MetroCAF Student Competition, with the screening held on Friday, September 23rd.

    The two films that will screen are:

    “Ravage” by Felipe Amaya

    Ravage from Felipe Amaya on Vimeo.

    Amaya says his film is all about the very plausible outcome of what will happen if we allow ourselves to continue producing and consuming en masse without environmentally friendly alternatives and practices.

    “There were two goals that I wanted to achieve with this project: I try to be a very environmentally conscious person and wanted to include a little bit of that aspect of my personality in this short film,” said Amaya. “I consider that humanity, being the dominant species of the planet, has a great responsibility to the environment as well as the obligation to change its practices in order to prevent mass pollution and global warming.

    I wanted to explore the technical aspect of rigging in more depth and in a more mechanical way, therefore the machines. My goal was to learn more about the virtual bolts and screws that hold everything in place and allows 3D objects to move.

    I combined these two goals and came up with the result you will see at MetroCAF.”

    Amaya is currently working at VRAM FX, a visual effects company based in NYC.

    “The Right Way” by Elena Zobak Alekperov & Flavia Groba Bandeira 

    The Right Way from Flavia Groba on Vimeo.

    This short story is about a mom trying to do the right thing raising her child, but sometimes things are not what they seem to be.

    “The inspiration behind this video was taken from my life,” says Zobak. “I wanted to share my experience of being a parent and trying to do the right thing with everyday life choices. And since sometimes we’re a little bit hypocritical with all this ‘right approach,’ this funny scenario just came to mind.”

    Flavia was responsible for environment design as well as the overall look.

    “I tried to fit the environment to the characters personality or, in the case of the girl, her imposed personality by the mother,” said Groba.

    “It sounds trite to ‘write what you know,’ but by doing so, this team was able to tap into the emotions—humor, frustration, love, contradiction—that make this mother-daughter relationship so relatable, and so funny,” said NYFA 3D Animation & Game Design Chair, Phoebe Elefante. “The high level of technical expertise exhibited in the production is seamless, so the audience can be completely immersed in the storytelling. That’s the kind of mastery to which we encourage all students to aspire.”

    “The Right Way” also screened at this year’s Venice Film Festival.

    September 16, 2016 • 3D Animation, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1944

  • MFA Acting Alumna Wins Best Leading Actress at United International Film Festival

    JuliaMFA Acting for Film alumna Sabrina Percario wrote and starred in the short film, “Julia,” which has performed quite well at several film festivals. Thus far the film has screened at United International Film Festival, where Percario won Best Leading Actress; Los Angeles Cine Fest, where the film was nominated for Best Short Film and Best Original Song (also composed by Percario); Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards, where the film won Jury Mention for Best Short Film; and the Glendale International Film Festival, where the film is in the running for Best Student Film.

    “Julia” is about a grieving woman, Sarah, who cannot dare to leave home and study abroad until her mom visits and encourages her to follow her life’s passion. From there, Sarah has to choose between her grief and her dreams.

    “I wanted to do a tribute to my mom, Olga ‘Julia’ Gomes Percario,” said Percario. “She always believed in me and doing this movie was my way to say how grateful I am for everything she taught me in life.”

    julia

    Sabrina Percario wins Best Actress at United International Film Festival

    Percario’s mother passed two years ago and her film provides her point of view of how she dealt with the tragedy.

    “Once I accepted that she was dead, I understood more about life and how she wanted me to pursue and live my dreams,” says Percario. “For me it was really hard to leave my family and move to another country and be in Los Angeles…alone. What I wanted to say with this movie was: it is important to grieve and to accept death, but once you do that you are free to live your life and to follow your dreams.”

    The film also provided Percario with a platform to improve her writing skills while also creating a character that best suits her acting abilities.

    “NYFA taught me different acting techniques and assisted me during the development of my thesis,” said Percario. “During my MFA at NYFA, I learned how to be present in the moment — to connect with the other actor and react in a genuine way, instead of anticipating the reaction.”

    Percario is currently working on her first feature film, which is inspired by “Julia.” The temporary title is: “Julia – My American-Brazilian Jewish Mother.” Percario and her team plan to start filming in the beginning of 2017.

    September 15, 2016 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1668

  • Australia Gold Coast Grad’s “Ravish Blue” Screens at NBC Universal Short Film Festival

    New York Film Academy Australia, Gold Coast graduate Jakim Wong’s thesis film “Ravish Blue,” is an Official Selection at the Discordia Sydney Film Festival, IndieFlix, and Indiegogo Film Festival. The film has also screened at the NBC Universal Short Film Festival in San Francisco.

    jakim wong

    “It’s been over six months since I graduated from NYFA,” said Wong. “Simply put, I have been having fun, which is the most important thing! ‘Ravish Blue,’ my final film, has been in several film festivals nationwide and still going strong. This has pushed me to do even more. ‘Ravish’ is now getting its own soundtrack, adding a scene or two, getting polished up, re-color-graded, and mixed.”

    jakim wong

    Wong has also completed filming his new short “Rawry McDermott and the Eon Bridger,” which is scheduled to be released on the festival circuit in September 2016.

    In addition, Wong has secured a deal with Ipswich’s “Willowbank Raceway,” who are providing him with funding to bring a drag-racing feature to life. This project will be his first feature film. Currently titled “SJDR,” the feature commences principal photography later this year in the Ipswich/Willowbank area of Queensland and will involve race cars, high performance vehicles, car chases, drones and, as Wong puts it, “guaranteed fun.”

    September 14, 2016 • Entertainment Australia, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1285

  • Cinematography Grad Hired by DP Tony Richmond for “Diary of Wimpy Kid”

    It’s often a difficult and stressful process finding your first job out of college — no matter what line of work you’re in. That’s why it is essential to network and ask around to the people you know best. With one of the New York Film Academy Cinematography program’s recent graduates, Jeremy Harris, he was able to parlay his relationship with the program’s chair, Tony Richmond, into an Assistant to the Director of Photography position on a major motion picture.

    Jeremy Harris

    Jeremy Harris (on right)

    Richmond has an extensive background in cinematography, having worked on major productions like “The Sandlot,” “Legally Blonde,” “Men of Honor” and countless others. While serving as chair of the program, Richmond continues to work in the field. His upcoming Director of Photography work will be on the film “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul,” with his former student at his side.

    We caught up with Jeremy Harris to find out how he landed the role with Mr. Richmond and what his plans are while on set and in the future.

    jeremy harris

    Jeremy Harris on set of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul”

    How did this position come about?

    This position came about a month or so before graduation. Our class was with Tony on a production workshop. We were on lunch break, if I can recall, and Tony asked me if I had family in Atlanta, which I do. Then he mentioned he may be working on a film there and wondered if it went through would I want to go with him. Obviously I couldn’t refuse, especially seeing that it’s another opportunity to learn even more from one of the best, and someone who unconsciously shaped my childhood with “The Sandlot.”

    Can you tell me a little bit about the role you have with Tony and on-set?

    My position on set is Assistant to the Director of Photography. I assume it will be something similar to a Camera PA but whatever the job calls for, I am overly excited and willing to take part in this production.

    Jeremy Harris with Tony Richmond

    Jeremy Harris with Tony Richmond

    What do you expect to achieve / learn from this position?

    This will be my first feature set I’m taking part in, so I know there will be a lot of learning coming with the territory. Being with Tony every step of the way will definitely allow for some needed new knowledge and skills as an aspiring cinematographer; but I love operating and gripping as well, so I will definitely be keeping a watchful eye on those positions on set and ready with plenty of questions. I will be surrounded by nothing but experienced professionals on set, so I plan on soaking in all the information I can — especially set etiquette and procedures — because I take pride in not wasting time or money on set.

    Is your goal to be the main cinematographer on feature films? Is there any style or genre that you prefer?

    Yes, my goal is to be the main cinematographer on feature films. I started out as a news and documentary camera operator, which helped me transition into film and I still have a love and passion for operating, but cinematographer is the main objective. Outside of feature films I’ve had a growing interest in creating art installations.

    1 chance

    still from “1 Chance”

    How would you describe your overall experience in the NYFA Cinematography program?

    Honestly, I loved every minute of my time in the cinematography program. I’ve learned so much over the course of these two years that I would have never thought I could possibly retain. I think NYFA has the best group of cinematographers to not only instruct us but prepare each and every person that comes through that program for life, in general. This has been the best decision I’ve made in my life.

    Are you working on any films of your own that you’d like to share with us?

    I recently DP’d a close friend’s thesis that I would love for people to see. I think the story is amazing and very touching. The title is “1 Chance” and I think it is a great representation of the times, and really gives the audience hope in the world we live in today. Other than that, I am really focusing on learning a lot from this upcoming experience with Tony Richmond and coming back to Los Angeles — or wherever I may land — and applying my knowledge and skills to all endeavors to come.

    September 14, 2016 • Cinematography, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 3194

  • MFA Filmmaking Grad to Judge Washington West Film Festival

    Al Hallak

    Al Hallak

    MFA Filmmaking graduate Al Hallak has directed numerous award-winning film projects including his sci-fi thriller “The Paradigm,” which was his thesis film at NYFA. The film earned several honors including The Award of Excellence at Los Angeles Movie Awards.

    Since graduating, Hallak started his own film production business in Burbank, CA and received a certificate of recognition from Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy. He was also commended by The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors

    Given his status as a freelance filmmaker, currently working and residing in Washington D.C., Hallak was recently selected to be a judge at the upcoming Washington West Film Festival in Washington, D.C. The festival was founded upon the belief that story can change the world and aims to spotlight films that provoke us to dream and question what we know to be true. Films that inspire us to see the potential of what could be and that ultimately paint a unique picture of the raw human condition.

    “This is a great opportunity; it is a very important film festival sponsored by Boeing,” says Hallak. “I am always proud of NYFA, and I hope to see NYFA students and graduates at the Festival in October.”

    WWFF will run from October 19-25, 2016 in Washington D.C.

    September 13, 2016 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 6817

  • Broadcast Journalism School Updates for September ’16

    bill colli
    NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad, and Cox Media Washington correspondent, George Colli covered an important story over the past weekend. He spoke with the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Tom Frieden, about the failure of the U.S. Congress to provide funding for the ongoing fight against the Zika virus. The CDC and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases have run out of money, and it could bring mosquito control efforts and vaccine research to a halt at the end of the month.
    Chiara Carcano

    Chiara Carcano

    Karina Gaudereto

    Karina Gaudereto

    On a far lighter note, NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Chiara Carcano is off on a worldwide adventure. She is one of the participants in Donnaventura, a hybrid Italian travel/adventure television series. Good luck, Kiki!

    While the Rio Olympics are now a memory, we just found out that one of our grads was working at the Broadcast Center. Karina Gaudereto was one of the brave Brazilians who came to NYFA in the middle of a cold, wet, dark New York winter. Congratulations, Karina.
    Broadcast Journalism students at GMA
    Finally, Good Morning America — ABC’s morning chat show — recently introduced a new set and a new format for the last half-hour of the program. But before they could take the show to air, they had to block out all of the camera angles and locations. A group of NYFA faculty and students came by to help play the role of “audience” during the rehearsals. Editing instructor Ed Parada took some still images of the occasion. He even took one of me! Which means, for you incoming students, you now will recognize me on Registration Day.

    September 13, 2016 • Broadcast Journalism, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1646

  • NYFA Australia Grad Jessica Bridger Lands Camera Gig with Channel 7 News

    One of our recent One Year Filmmaking graduates, Jessica Bridger, from New York Film Academy Australia, Gold Coast, is now a Weekend Camera Operator for the local Channel 7 News, which covers Rockhampton and the Central Queensland Region.
    jessica bridger

    We recently caught up with Ms. Bridger to learn more about her and her new career.

    If someone was making a movie about your life, what genre would it be, who would play you and what would be the title?

    Comedy/drama; Emma Stone or Hailee Steinfeld; and “Adulthood: Are you sure?”

    If you had one sentence / log line that could change the world, what would it be?

    Do what you love, not what you’re told to.

    Or

    You’ll always find a way, no matter what.

    What did you enjoy most about studying at NYFA?

    Definitely working with new and interesting people and collaborating on different projects.

    How has NYFA prepared you for working in the “real world” of Film/TV/Entertainment?

    If I didn’t have the knowledge I have now, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’ve only been gone a year and already amounted to something in the industry. It’s amazing what can happen within the space of a year.

    What exciting project/s and/or plans do you have now or coming up?

    Right now I’m just taking each day as it comes. Weekend camera operating is something different everyday. I could be shooting a football game one minute and going to an accident or house fire the next. I’m interested to see where I’m headed in my career.

    September 12, 2016 • Entertainment Australia, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2548

  • Summer Camp Grad Awarded at Global Film Competition in LA

    Sara EustáquioNew York Film Academy High School Summer Camp graduate Sara Eustáquio was the recipient of the Award of Merit at the Accolade Global Film Competition in Los Angeles for her narrative fiction short film “Mirror.” The film, which stars NYFA Summer Camp actress Jamie Marchuk, was Eustáquio’s final project of the intensive 3-week HD Filmmaking program.

    In the short horror film, Marchuk looks at her mirror for answers, but what she finds may change her life.

    The young Portuguese filmmaker, 16, had already been awarded with her debut narrative fiction short film “4242,” which has received 16 international prizes and was screened in more than 30 international film festivals across the globe.

    “My time at NYFA taught me much more than I could have imagined,” says Eustáquio. “During the program, I learned about all the technical aspects of the filmmaking process in a fast-paced environment, as well as the importance of telling a story and how to tell a story. It was an amazing experience which deeply changed my perspective and encouraged me to move forward. NYFA helped me find my voice and definitely made me realize this what I want to do.”

    September 9, 2016 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2523

  • BFA Filmmaking Student to Premiere “Oiled Up” at LA International Short Film Festival

    During his second year, New York Film Academy BFA Filmmaking student, Richard Selvi, developed his short film “Oiled Up” with the intent of eventually turning it into a feature.
    oiled up

    cast and crew of “Oiled Up”

    “I thought it’d be a better idea to prove we could handle such a story on both an emotional and visual standpoint by turning the premise into a stand-alone short which would showcase that and perhaps help us find funding for the larger project,” said Selvi.

    Produced by NYFA instructor Richard D’Angelo and shot by cinematographer and NYFA instructor Till Neumann, the film stars some very well known actors, including Chuck Zito, James Mcaffrey, Lou Martini Jr, Cathy Moriarty, Vincent Pastore, Larry Romano and Eric Roberts, amongst many other younger talented actors.

    “I am beyond thankful for those two instructors that have put their backs on the line more than once in order to bring the film to competition,” said Selvi. “I am honored to be able to call them mentors, but more importantly, friends. I’d also like to thank NYFA for putting absolutely all the tools in our hands, as well as a great infrastructure to make our film without ever trying to stop us.”

    “Oiled Up” (Teaser 2.0 // LA Shorts Fest) from Richard Selvi on Vimeo.
    The story is told through Mike Simms, the elder brother of three. After a robbery gone wrong, Mike sacrifices his life as a free man to save his younger sibling’s lives and better their relationship. Unfortunately, when Mike comes out of jail years later, he realizes his sacrifice did not help his younger siblings in any way; and they have parted ways since Mike’s imprisonment. Mike has to set the right example as an elder brother, once again, in order to regain his younger siblings’ trust as well as reconcile their broken relationship.

     oiled up set

    “I’ve always wanted to make a film based on the relationships I have and had with my siblings” says Selvi. “It’s been very important to me all along through making the film that I maintain a clear understanding of which of my characters represented which of my siblings. When you watch the film and if you happen to know my family, I’m sure it is very apparent. I’d consider it successful in that way, as I’ve managed to convey a chemistry and a relationship on screen which did not exist prior to that based on my life off-screen.”

    “Oiled Up” is having its official US Premiere in competition at the LA International Short Film Festival on September 6th at 5.30pm followed by a Q&A with director Selvi and a few members of the cast. The festival, which will take place at the Regal Cinemas downtown Los Angeles (1000 W. Olympic Blvd), is an Academy Award qualifier for the top 3 winners.

    September 6, 2016 • Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1190

  • Musical Theatre Alumna Ilda Mason to Tour in “Cinderella”

    After being in her high school performance of “Grease,” New York Film Academy Musical Theatre alumna Ilda Mason knew she wanted a career in musical theatre. Since graduating from NYFA, Mason has performed in two productions of “West Side Story”: one at Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA, and the second one at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ. Mason played the role of Francisca in one, Estella in the other, and understudied Rosalia in both.

    ilda mason

    “Doing ‘WSS’ was incredibly close to my heart because it’s not only a classic masterpiece in every way possible, but it also gives me a sense of pride in my Latin American culture: to speak Spanish, to let my Latin flare explode, and to dance with all the I have,” says Mason.

    She’s currently rehearsing for the “Cinderella” national tour, which she describes as ten exhilarating months of adventure across the US and Canada while telling the story of Rodger’s & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.”

    “It’s a fast paced learning experience where you have to give 100% all of the time and put a show together in two weeks,” she says. “I’m an ensemble member and love every second of it! It’s all about everyone being a company; it’s about images, formations, blending harmonies, and telling this beautiful story. It’s a special feeling to be part of a team like this.”

    ilda mason

    In addition to her performances on stage, Mason has worked as a choreographer on NYFA’s Musical Theatre performances. “I have come across many incredible and inspiring fellow students that have made me wish I could do what they do so effortlessly and vice versa,” she says. “But there is so much more to this. We all need to improve our dancing and our singing in different levels. Competing in the professional world is a delicate mix between the will power to go to those early calls everyday hoping one day they cast you; the discipline to take care of your instrument (meaning your entire body inside and out) while constantly going to classes to perfect your art; and a great deal of timing. Timing is everything because not only must you be ready for when the opportunity is presented, but you also need to have a level of maturity to build a career. Most of us will even need the time and previous experience to apply for a visa that will allow us to try to work in the U.S. I believe that when these characteristics of resilience and passion are present (and mixed with the unstoppable desire to conquer that musical theatre dream), NYFA’s students will always have what it takes.

    For more information on her upcoming tour in Rodger’s & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” please visit www.cinderellaonbroadway.com.

    September 6, 2016 • Musical Theatre, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1699