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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) 3D Animation & VFX Alum Alexandra LoRusso Works on ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘Gemini Man’, and ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’

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    If you’ve been to the movies recently to see a blockbuster comic book movie, or were one of the 19.3 million viewers who watched the series finale to Game of Thrones, then you’ve likely seen the work of New York Film Academy (NYFA) 3D Animation & VFX alum Alexandra LoRusso.

    Alex LoRusso Alexandra LoRussoLoRusso, originally from Seoul, South Korea, attended the 1-year 3D Animation & VFX conservatory at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus in 2014. She was originally inspired to work in animation and the film industry after seeing the Disney animated classic, Dumbo.

    Since graduating NYFA, LoRusso has worked as an assistant editor for numerous television shows, including The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Her primary work has been in visual effects, though. LoRusso worked as effects technical director on Suicide Squad, Alien: Covenant, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. 

    Additionally, she has worked as effects artist for Scanline VFX on several blockbuster films, including Justice League, The Meg, Aquaman, and Dark Phoenix, as well as the final two episodes of HBO’s epic fantasy series, Game of Thrones.

    After the finale of Game of Thrones, NYFA caught up with Alex LoRusso to talk about her work on the show and what other projects she’s been working on:

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): What type of work have you done on Game of Thrones?

    Alexandra LoRusso (AL): Our team worked on the King’s Landing destruction in Ep805 – “The Bells.” We also did the Iron Throne melt and some of the final scenes with Dany for Ep806 – “The Iron Throne.”

    NYFA: What else have you worked on recently?

    AL: I just got done working on Gemini Man [starring Will Smith and directed by Ang Lee] and I helped out with a few shots on Spider-Man: Far from Home before I left ScanlineVFX Vancouver. 

    NYFA: What’s next for you?

    AL: I just started a new job at Mill Film in Montreal a few weeks ago, which is very exciting as well.

    New York Film Academy thanks NYFA 3D Animation & VFX alum Alexandra LoRusso for taking the time to catch up with us and looks forward to seeing what amazing visual effects she cooks up for Hollywood next!

    [UPDATE (9/18/19): The final season earned a record-tying number of Emmys this year, including a Creative Arts Emmy for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for its penultimate episode, “The Bells,” which Alexandra LoRusso created VFX for.]
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    July 3, 2019 • 3D Animation, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1647

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alumni & Faculty Pick Up Multiple MTV Movie & TV Award Wins

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) community get to add some Golden Popcorn statues to the ever-growing list of award wins this year, after winning at this year’s MTV Movie & TV Awards. The ceremony was hosted by Shazam! star Zachary Levi and aired on June 17 after being recorded two days prior in Santa Monica. 

    The trendy MTV Awards aims toward a younger audience and—unlike the more traditional Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and various other Awards season ceremonies—it especially prides itself on its unique and progressive categories, typically not differentiating between gender or media platforms. Instead, it groups broadcast, streaming, and theatrically released content together in genderless groupings.

    The top prize in television, Best Show, went to HBO’s fantasy epic Game of Thrones, which ended its eight-season run this year. NYFA 3D Animation & VFX alum Alex LoRusso worked on some visual effects for the last few episodes of Game of Thrones’ final season, including “The Last of the Starks” and controversial but explosive climactic entry “The Bells.”Lana Condor

    The other big winner of the night was Marvel Cinematic Universe record-smashing blockbuster Avengers: Endgame, which picked up awards for Best Hero (Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man), Best Villain (Josh Brolin as Thanos), and top prize Best Movie.

    Competing with Avengers for Best Movie was Netflix original To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, starring NYFA Acting for Film camp alum Lana Condor and actor Noah Centineo. The pair managed to pick up the Golden Popcorn trophy for perennial favorite popular category, Best Kiss. Additionally, Centineo won Breakthrough Performance for his role in the film. 

    Another winner of the night was Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Supreme Court Justice profiled in feature documentary RBG, who won Best Real-Life Hero. The film, shot by cinematography and NYFA Documentary Filmmaking instructor Claudia Raschke, racked up an impressive amount of MTV Award nominations, including Best Documentary, Best Fight (for Ruth Bader Ginsburg vs. Inequality), and Most Meme-able Moment (for her nickname The Notorious RBG.) 

    New York Film Academy congratulates this year’s MTV Movie & TV Award winners and is elated to see the NYFA Community continue to gain recognition for their hard work! 

    Here is the full list of MTV Movie & TV Award nominees and winners:

    BEST MOVIE
    Avengers: Endgame – WINNER
    BlacKkKlansman
    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
    To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
    Us

    BEST SHOW
    Big Mouth
    Game of Thrones – WINNER
    Riverdale
    Schitt’s Creek
    The Haunting of Hill House

    BEST PERFORMANCE IN A MOVIE
    Amandla Stenberg (Starr Carter) — The Hate U Give
    Lady Gaga (Ally) — A Star is Born – WINNER
    Lupita Nyong’o (Red) — Us
    Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury) — Bohemian Rhapsody
    Sandra Bullock (Malorie) — Bird Box

    BEST PERFORMANCE IN A SHOW
    Elisabeth Moss (June Osborne/Offred) — The Handmaid’s Tale – WINNER
    Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) — Game of Thrones
    Gina Rodriguez (Jane Villanueva) — Jane the Virgin
    Jason Mitchell (Brandon) — The Chi
    Kiernan Shipka (Sabrina Spellman) — Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

    BEST HERO
    Brie Larson (Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel) — Captain Marvel
    John David Washington (Ron Stallworth) — BlacKkKlansman
    Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) — Game of Thrones
    Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man) — Avengers: Endgame – WINNER
    Zachary Levi (Billy Batson/Shazam) — Shazam!

    BEST VILLAIN
    Jodie Comer (Villanelle) — Killing Eve
    Joseph Fiennes (Commander Fred Waterford) — The Handmaid’s Tale
    Josh Brolin (Thanos) — Avengers: Endgame – WINNER
    Lupita Nyong’o (Red) — Us
    Penn Badgley (Joe Goldberg) — You

    BEST KISS
    Camila Mendes & Charles Melton (Veronica Lodge & Reggie Mantle) — Riverdale
    Jason Momoa & Amber Heard (Aquaman & Mera) — Aquaman
    Ncuti Gatwa & Connor Swindells (Eric Effiong & Adam Groff) — Sex Education
    Noah Centineo & Lana Condor (Peter Kavinsky & Lara Jean) — To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – WINNER
    Tom Hardy & Michelle Williams (Eddie Brock/Venom & Anne Weying) — Venom

    REALITY ROYALTY
    Jersey Shore: Family Vacation
    Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta – WINNER
    The Bachelor
    The Challenge
    Vanderpump Rules

    BEST COMEDIC PERFORMANCE
    Awkwafina (Peik Lin Goh) — Crazy Rich Asians
    Dan Levy (David Rose) — Schitt’s Creek – WINNER
    John Mulaney (Andrew Glouberman) — Big Mouth
    Marsai Martin (Little Jordan Sanders) — Little
    Zachary Levi (Billy Batson/Shazam) — Shazam!

    BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE
    Awkwafina (Peik Lin Goh) — Crazy Rich Asians
    Haley Lu Richardson (Stella) — Five Feet Apart
    Mj Rodriguez (Blanca Rodriguez) — Pose
    Ncuti Gatwa (Eric Effiong) — Sex Education
    Noah Centineo (Peter Kavinsky) — To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – WINNER

    BEST FIGHT
    Avengers: Endgame — Captain America vs. Thanos
    Captain Marvel — Captain Marvel vs. Minn-Erva – WINNER
    Game of Thrones — Arya Stark vs. the White Walkers
    RBG — Ruth Bader Ginsburg vs. Inequality
    WWE Wrestlemania — Becky Lynch vs. Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte FlairRBG

    BEST REALLIFE HERO
    Alex Honnold — Free Solo
    Hannah Gadsby — Nanette
    Roman Reigns — WWE SmackDown
    Ruth Bader Ginsburg — RBG – WINNER
    Serena Williams — Being Serena

    MOST FRIGHTENED PERFORMANCE
    Alex Wolff (Peter) — Hereditary
    Linda Cardellini (Anna Tate-Garcia) — The Curse of La Llorona
    Rhian Rees (Dana Haines) — Halloween
    Sandra Bullock (Malorie) — Bird Box – WINNER
    Victoria Pedretti (Nell Crain) — The Haunting of Hill House

    BEST DOCUMENTARY
    At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal
    McQueen
    Minding the Gap
    RBG
    Surviving R. Kelly – WINNER

    BEST HOST
    Gayle King — CBS This Morning
    Nick Cannon — Wild ‘n Out – WINNER
    Nick Cannon — The Masked Singer
    RuPaul — RuPaul’s Drag Race
    Trevor Noah — The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

    MOST MEME-ABLE MOMENT
    Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club — The Lilo Dance
    Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood — Ray J’s Hat
    RBG — The Notorious RBG
    RuPaul’s Drag Race — Asia O’Hara’s butterfly finale fail
    The Bachelor — Colton Underwood jumps the fence – WINNER

    BEST MUSICAL MOMENT
    “Shallow” – A Star is Born WINNER
    Live Aid Concert – Bohemian Rhapsody
    “Just a Girl” – Captain Marvel
    “Masquerade” – Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
    “Look at that Butt” – On My Block
    “Seventeen” – Riverdale
    “Sunflower” – Into the Spider-Verse
    “I Think We’re Alone Now” – The Umbrella Academy

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  • The Simpsons Director Mike Polcino Shares Special Master Class at New York Film Academy

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) 3D Animation & VFX and Filmmaking students packed the Riverside Theater at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus for a storyboarding master class from veteran The Simpsons director, Mike Polcino.

    The Simpsons just surpassed Gunsmoke to become the longest-running scripted show in television history, and Mike Polcino has been with the Simpsons from the very beginning, directing 31 episodes in addition to episodes from the first season of Family Guy.

    Polcino started his career in animation doing all of the tedious work that goes into a massive production such as The Simpsons, such as animation timing and quality control.

    “Occasionally, we’d get the final animations back and Bart’s eyes would be looking in two different directions,” Polcino reminisced. “You’d be surprised what people miss.”

    His talent was unmistakable and, after a few short years, he moved up to become a director. Since then, Polcino has been a staple at Fox Television Animation, whose office is next door to the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus in Burbank, California.

    Polcino took the students through his process of breaking down an Emmy-winning script to put it on screen. Episode #593, Fland Canyon featured some of The Simpsons most cinematic sequences, such as great sweeping shots of the Grand Canyon. Polcino took the enraptured audience through a visualization process to find the key shots.

    “Part of the fun,” he said, “is coming up with shots that would be impossible without the animation.”

    He then melded the material for both the Animation and Filmmaking students by sharing his process for storyboarding The Simpsons and how it is more directing than animating. The students loved the class, asking for autographs and even taking selfies with the Homer Simpson drawing Polcino left on the whiteboard.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mike Polcino for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak with our students.

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