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  • NYFA: In Celebration of International Education Week (November 14-18)

    For those of us deeply engaged in of the field of international education, last week was analogous to the film industry’s Academy Awards week. This year’s International Education Week (IEW) highlighted the international education community’s efforts to increase the number of students and scholars that cross borders worldwide and, with exuberance, showcased the scores of success stories pertaining to this global exchange of knowledge. The week was also full of discussions and musings about possible changes to the sector that may occur when the new administration begins working in Washington, DC in six weeks.

    International education holds an important place here at the New York Film Academy (NYFA), where more than 50% of the School’s enrollment is international; tens of thousands of visual and performing artists from nearly 120 countries have studied at NYFA since its founding 25 years ago, including dozens of Fulbright Foreign Students.

    For the 2nd year in a row, NYFA is proud to be ranked in the top 5 ‘SPECIAL FOCUS INSTITUTIONS’ that host international students, according to the Open Doors Report, an annual report issued by the Institute of International Education (IIE) that was released last week by IIE and the U.S. Department of State. In the 2015-2016 academic year NYFA hosted 1,492 foreign students in the College’s degree programs, and also welcomed nearly 2,000 additional international students to non-degree and short-term programs that were not counted in the Open Doors Report data.

    On the outgoing side of international education, for two decades NYFA has offered a wide range of study abroad programs at four permanent international locations (Paris, France; Florence, Italy; Gold Coast, Australia; and Sydney, Australia), as well as at many satellite locations, including Kyoto, Japan; Beijing, China; and Amsterdam, Netherlands.

    This year, NYFA made great strides in increasing study abroad opportunities by launching unique faculty led international ‘excursion’ programs, which included NYFA trips for students in the Photography and Documentary Filmmaking Departments. A total of 73 students traveled to Belize, Cyprus, and the Dominican Republic to experience unique aspects of these cultures as well as witness and develop a better awareness of important and critical events currently happening in the countries. This was part of NYFA’s commitment to the Generation Study Abroad Initiative — an undertaking to increase the number of U.S. students studying abroad.

    The New York Film Academy highlighted its study abroad opportunities and accomplishments during the national celebration of International Education Week by hosting a social media contest: NYFA students and alumni had the opportunity to submit photographic representations of what “home” means to them via Facebook or Instagram by including the hashtag #NYFAInternational and tagging @NewYorkFilmAcademy. This contest was open to all current NYFA students (nearly 8,500) from the U.S. campuses in New York, Los Angeles, and South Beach, Florida, as well as students studying at all of our locations abroad in Florence, Italy; Paris, France; and Gold Coast and Sydney, Australia. The winner was announced this past Saturday and the image can be seen here.

    Michael Young, President of NYFA, recently stated, “the power of storytelling is not owned by any one nation, it is an art form the entire world needs in times of peace and stability, and even more so during chaos and uncertainty. Thanks to the most powerful form of communication that exists, we expect our students to be the voices that will be heard through the noise.”

    Like making lemonade from lemons, visual and performing artists have the opportunity to make lovely music — i.e. films, photographs, and performances — from all of the noise now out there.

    November 23, 2016 • Community Highlights • Views: 2075

  • Northern Exposure Star Janine Turner Video Chats with NYFA Students on Acting and Activism

    On November 18th, acting students from the New York Film Academy Los Angeles were virtually visited by Northern Exposure star Janine Turner to discuss her career as an actress and activist.

    Growing up in Texas, Turner started modeling at a young age. At fifteen she moved to New York City on her own dime to become the youngest model at Wilhelmina Modeling Agency.  By seventeen she progressed to acting in Hollywood.

    janine turner

    After initial damsel in distress characters on shows like A-Team, Dallas, and Knight Rider, Turner cut her hair and studied the craft of acting at the Actor’s Studio. “I made lifelong friends with the people from acting class,” she remarked fondly.

    Turner persevered through career lulls because of her personal faith, passion for the industry and drive to succeed. With a broken engagement and eight dollars in her bank account, Turner was on the verge of giving up acting for good. After getting lost trying to run away from Manhattan, she returned to the city to audition for a television pilot. With that audition, she landed the role of Maggie O’Connell on the much beloved ensemble series Northern Exposure.

    She explained her acting process to students, following the sensory method. Turner went to the executive producers to learn more about Maggie. With each script she would call her acting coach, go over her scenes and make specific choices for her character. On set, she balanced maintaining her sensory emotive state for the character and remaining her friendly self with the cast and crew. When it comes to the notes from multiple directors on a season, Turner advised, “Listen and be open-minded, but stay true to the character—take what you like and leave the rest.”

    nyfa class

    Janine Turner has been in notable movies like Cliffhanger with Sylvester Stallone, Dr. T and the Women and hit shows like Friday Night Lights. Her current passion is towards activism. “Thespians are great humanitarians; it’s a wonderful way to feed the soul,” Turner notes. She launched and co-chairs the Constituting America foundation. It’s mission is to educate America’s youth about the importance of the United States Constitution, and encourages them to write and direct short films, PSA, and songs about the founding document and how it has shaped and protects our civil liberties.

    We thank Janine Turner for taking time to speak with us and wish her great success with her career and foundation.

    November 20, 2015 • Acting, Community Highlights, Guest Speakers • Views: 1892

  • Al Pacino and ‘Insurgent’ Win Box-Office

     

    pacinoInsurgent, the second entry in the Divergent series, topped last weekend’s box office, earning over $54 million in its debut release. Starring Shailene Woodley, the films are adaptations of the popular YA dystopian series, similar to The Hunger Games’ cross-media success. Earning approximately half its budget in its first weekend, Insurgent is on track to make back its money and then some, although its opening hasn’t grown much from Divergent’s initial numbers, suggesting the audience hasn’t expanded as much as its studio would like.

    Cinderella, Disney’s live-action princess epic, performed well with $34 million in its second week, surpassing its $95 million budget with a total $122 million gross. Less successful was The Gunman, a Sean Penn action vehicle many have compared to Liam Neeson’s original foray into the genre. Where Neeson found huge success and a series of sequels and similarly-styled movies, Penn’s film looks dead in the water and may be a failed experiment for the actor. Ironically, the Liam Neeson action film currently out, Run All Night, which has also been underperforming, beat out newcomer The Gunman for the third spot in the weekend’s box office charts.

    While Al Pacino’s indie film Danny Collins hasn’t made nearly as much money as the current box office champs, it has made the most per theater, the metric most independent films in limited release use as a measure of financial success. It edged out Insurgent, earning $73,000 in only five theaters, for an average of $14,640 per theater. Danny Collins is a dramedy about an aging rocker reevaluating his life and family, with an all-star cast including Christopher Plummer, Annette Bening, Jennifer Garner, Bobby Cannavale, and Melissa Benoist. Al Pacino, who recently spoke at the New York Film Academy about acting and Hollywood, stars as Collins.

    The box-office top ten is listed below:

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    March 23, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 2420

  • Vine Royalty King Bach is Going Hollywood

    king bach

    Hollywood and Vine means something a lot different now than it has to Los Angelinos. For them, it’s always been a famous L.A. cross-street. But these days, in a post-Facebook twenty-first century, it represents a new and fruitful relationship between two titans of culture.

    Since Vine’s launch in 2012, the Twitter-owned video app has been looping millions of six-second videos to a predominantly young demographic. And nobody’s six-second videos get looped more than King Bach, Vine’s most followed user. Bach, 26, has over eleven million followers and is truly the current King of Vine. He has bigger aspirations though, and is getting ready to conquer his next kingdom—Hollywood itself.

    It’s a long time coming. Even before he joined Vine in 2013 and earned his fanbase with his quirky six-second sketches, Andrew Bachelor studied at the New York Film Academy and The Groundlings. It was as a struggling actor laboring in the audition mines that Bachelor adopted the stage name King Bach.

    Since breaking out on Vine, Bach has already scored guest roles on The Mindy Project and Wild ‘N’ Out. It was a short jump from mobiles to TV and now a shorter jump from TV to movies as Bach has five upcoming movie projects in production. He’s even playing himself in the Zac Efron vehicle We Are Your Friends.

    Bach has no plans to retire from Vine, however, appreciating the network he’s building his empire from. He likens himself to Will Smith, who gained movie superstardom from his sitcom role as the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. While the Fresh Prince can still dominate the box office, there’s a good chance he’ll be competing with a King someday very soon.

    March 16, 2015 • Acting, Entertainment News, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 24408

  • Acting Alumni Spotlight: Mia Ella Jordan Stars in ‘Basketball Girlfriend’

    Mia Ella Jordan

    Within two months of graduating from New York Film Academy’s One-Year Acting for Film Conservatory, Mia Ella Jordan was cast in the feature film, Basketball Girlfriend, which is now available to rent on RedBox. She was also in Jez Dior’s music video, Who Drank My Whiskey, which, at one point in time earlier this year, was the #1 song trending on Twitter. Aside from those two projects, she was the lead actress in the short, I-589, which premiered at the LA Indie Film Festival.

    Hailing from Santiago de Chile, Mia had originally auditioned with Basketball Girlfriend director Jean-Claude La Marre for another project and, some time later, he called her in to audition for the role of Jenny and cast her that day. This is fairly common in the industry, so don’t get too discouraged when you don’t land the initial audition. Maintain strong relationships with directors and casting directors.

    Mia had been working in theatre for quite a while and while she loved it, her heart was in film. After attending an international school fair in Santiago, she was drawn to NYFA. Mia felt the Acting for Film courses were the perfect compliment to her previous acting training in theatre.

    “The Meisner technique has been the most useful to me in terms of auditioning and being on-set,” said Mia. “I’ve heard from a lot of actors and even some agents that Meisner doesn’t help in auditions, but to me listening is everything because it sustains my being in the present and so it instills me in my truth.”

    Mia eventually hopes to reach a point in her career where she can choose specific roles that truly resonate with her. As an actress, she believes she has a wonderful responsibility with the audience and wants to honor it by creating and being a part of projects that truly inspire and make a difference.

    Recently, Mia finished acting in another music video for Jez Dior’s single, Clean Me Up. She’s also finishing up filming a short film, I Forgot You Were Here, where she plays a blind woman in a troubled relationship. “I love it because it’s not moral and I believe art never should be,” she says.

    Check out Mia Ella Jordan in Jez Dior’s Who Drank My Whiskey.

    August 13, 2014 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 4004

  • Literary Agent Says TV is Where it’s At

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    Once again, producer Tova Laiter put together an exclusive event for New York FIlm Academy students in Los Angeles. One of the toughest obstacles coming out of film or acting school is landing the right agent — or landing any agent for that matter. Given the full house at Warner Bros, Theater 4 for this event, students were anxious to get some inside information from Melinda Jason and her business partner Simon Ore. Melinda is a prominent literary agent at Conspiracy LLC – with her partner Simon Ore – a production and management company based in Los Angeles. As a former lawyer at 20th Century Fox and former Head of Literary Department at Gersh, Melinda has also established producing deals with Universal Television, Disney and Sony Pictures, and has produced five feature films. Some of the talent she is most famous for discovering are Michael J. Fox, Dean Pitchford (writer of Footloose), Ron Bass (writer of Rain Man and My Best Friend’s Wedding), and David Saperstein, whose manuscript Cocoon she sold to Fox. Melinda and Simon Ore are currently developing an animated series, several feature films, and several television pilots, including one in partnership with Producer Nick Welchsler (The Road, Requiem For A Dream, Sex, Lies & Videotape, Drugstore Cowboy).

    Melinda wasted no time in getting straight to the point, “In order to get yourself out there nowadays you have to be a great writer, get a producer, make content and create experiences!” Melinda, who has a first look deal with Fox Television, thinks television is where it’s at today. “TV is great now, it’s on a higher level intellectually, you can get your writers paid and once they are respected there they really get to show what they’ve got. These writers really think, they do research. The arch is different than in film, the characters have a lot of potential. TV is about being strategic.” Melinda clearly cares about her writers.

    Simon spoke in terms of what young writers tend to do when getting off the ground. “Sell your passion!” exclaimed Simon. “Once you are in, find the happy medium in compromising with your work.” Don’t sell out, don’t be unreasonable and inflexible.

    Melinda continued on, saying how a good writer must constantly read. “Read good stuff and bad stuff, lots of it. Go to places like www.simplyscripts.com and do the work.” Simon added that a writer needs to be patient. “Some of it is not over when you’re done. Take a break. Come back to it.”

    One thing the pair really stressed is how in today’s market, writers need to MAKE CONTENT! “Create something, put it on the internet.” However, once you get the ball rolling with credibility, it is important to know where content belongs. “Know the networks, they want different things,” said Melinda. “You have to know where content could live.”

    Her final words of advice, “You have to be really careful to never make a choice based on money. Follow your passion. You must feel strongly about it!”

    September 27, 2013 • Film School, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 4819

  • Miss Universe Olivia Culpo Hones Her Craft at NYFA

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    Miss Universe Olivia Culpo with Roger Del Pozo

    With beauty and talent under her belt, Miss Universe Olivia Culpo is determined to bring her career to the world of acting. First, she admits, she must learn how to truly master her on-camera presence. Lucky for her, part of winning the coveted Miss Universe title comes a full scholarship to the New York Film Academy. “Working with NYFA throughout my reign has been so helpful, the school has so much to offer and I am excited to further my career with the skills they taught me.” says Culpo.

    NYFA, a hands-on international school of the arts, has been a proud sponsor of the Miss Universe Organization for several years. Past contestants have continued their training at the New York Film Academy Acting for Film School, including Dayana Mendoza, Miss Universe 2008, who was on NBC’s The Apprentice, Crystle Stewart, Miss USA 2008, who became a series regular on Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse, and Stormi Henley, Miss USA 2009, who was a semi-finalist on American Idol Season 10.

    Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 4.44.15 PMThis Tuesday, the Rhode Island native and current titleholder, was part of a special one-on-one workshop with NYFA Director of Acting and Musical Theatre Admissions, Roger Del Pozo, at the school’s brand new Battery Park location. Del Pozo has maintained a career of working with actors through his professional casting and audition work in the industry. His experience and expertise in regards to “on-camera presence” for this particular NYFA workshop were very relevant due to Culpo’s recent work as a television correspondent. “It was great working with Olivia,” says Del Pozo. “She was very funny, charming and easy to work with. I think that she will make a great actress, as she is not only very beautiful, she is also extremely comfortable on camera. She was able to be herself and get her personality across, which is half the battle.”

    Like any aspiring young actress, Culpo has been bouncing around from audition to audition, hoping to land her first break through role. She says she’d really love to be a part of a romantic comedy or “chick-flick,” specifically with a comedy actor. Her plans are to head west within the next few months in order to further pursue her acting passion in Los Angeles.

    -Frank Pasquine

    September 16, 2013 • Acting • Views: 3323

  • Acting Grad on a Roll: True Blood, Grey’s & Californication

    Since landing the Lifetime film William & Kate, New York Film Academy Acting Conservatory graduate, Camilla Luddington, has been on a major roll. She starred in an entire season of Showtime’s Californication as Lizzie, joined the cast of Grey’s Anatomy as Dr. Jo Wilson, and has been on six episodes of HBO’s True Blood. Not only that, Camilla has been tapped to play Lara Croft in the newest incarnation of the Tomb Raider video game franchise.

    “I was in the first ever one year acting class at the New York Film Academy in 2003 and I am so thankful for the experience,” said Camilla.

    Camilla initially lost out on a role in ABC’s pilot, Gilded Lilys. However, while she was promoting Tomb Raider at Comic Con San Diego, she heard ABC was looking for a new doctor on Grey’s. “I was asked to come read for it with six other girls, and then heard maybe two days later the role was mine. I think meeting Shonda Rhymes [at ABC] during that pilot season helped though. I think as an actor sometimes you focus on the immediate (aka not getting that role) but you never know what opportunities can come back around, or how one role can actually lead to the casting of another. As was the case for Grey’s Anatomy.”

    [UPDATE]

    Check out our most recent interview with Camilla Luddington where she talks about her role on Grey’s Anatomy, what it was like to play Lara Croft in Tomb Raider and her upcoming film The Pact II.

     

     

    January 4, 2013 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 4209

  • The Power of Pitchfest

    Pitchfest are events at New York Film Academy are held shortly after graduation for MFA and AFA students in Screenwriting and Producing. A culmination of their studies, graduates pitch their thesis projects, usually a TV pilot or feature screenplay, to television and film professionals. It’s a great opportunity for students to start developing relationships in the industry. About 15 producing students held their event on campus in March, pitching their projects to industry professionals including guests from HBO and Network Television, and even George Gallo, writer of Midnight RunBad Boys, and The Whole Ten Yards. Twelve screenwriting students held their event at West Hollywood’s luxurious Andaz Hotel. By the end of the evening, each student had pitched to about 20 companies.

    Since the event, a number of students from both departments have gotten interest from companies. Congratulations to our recent Screenwriting and Producing graduates!

    NYFA PitchFest

    April 5, 2012 • Acting, Producing, Screenwriting • Views: 2740

  • New York Film Academy’s Alumni Spotlight: Jesse Bernal

    Jesse Bernal

    Acting for Film graduate Jesse Bernal is one of many military veterans who chose to attend New York Film Academy after leaving the military. The San Antonio native followed in the footsteps of his father and other brother who both served their country. Jesse spent 7 years in the US Air Force, working as a calibration technician and electronics specialist. His service took him to New Mexico, South Korea, and South Carolina.

    Though Jesse had started taking some acting classes while serving in the military, and booked some television roles (including Lifetime’s Army Wives, and the film The New Daughter with Kevin Costner), he decided to attend New York Film Academy at Universal Studios to further develop his talent.

    “The GI Bill paid my full tuition and living expenses. Without having to worry about [the money], I was able to put my best foot forward,” he explained. “The military gave me structure and helped me with time management. When we were doing scenes, I would think that it’s not just working, but working with my team.”

    Jesse landed a manager after participating in an actors’ showcase put on by New York Film Academy. Soon after his graduation in June 2011, he booked a role in a promo for HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher. He also joined the staff of the New York Film Academy to stay busy between auditions and performances. “Everyone on the staff believes in me and my talent,” says Jesse. He adds, “It’s amazing to see new students as they come in. I get to see their passion. It’s uplifting.” He also thanks his family for their support and inspiration.

    You can catch Jesse in a starring role in A Few Good Men at the Sky Lounge in the North Hollywood Arts District. The play was written by Aaron Sorkin, who later adapted the script for the film. The production with Rise Above Theatre Movement has just been extended and runs through April 22. In between work and evening performances, Jesse also squeezed in a modeling job for a national print advertising campaign. He is also producing a short film called The Secretary, a slapstick comedy about a couple and their infidelities. He is gearing up to direct a stage production of Reasons to be Pretty at the end of the summer.

    April 4, 2012 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 3136