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  • 92nd Academy Awards Nominees Includes Film Featuring New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Anouar Smaine

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) community celebrated multiple nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards Monday morning, including Best Animated Feature nominee I Lost My Body, which co-starred Filmmaking alum Anouar Smaine as the English-language voice for the Father character.

    Smaine graduated from the Filmmaking program at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus in early 2010. The Algerian-born actor, director, and playwright has numerous credits across several different disciplines, including as an actor in The Looming Tower, Westworld, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Veronica Mars, and the first Arabic-language original production from Netflix, Jinn. Fluent in French, Arabic and all kinds of Middle Eastern and North African dialects, Anouar has found success in both acting and voiceover work, with credits in some of Hollywood’s biggest productions, including John Wick, Jarhead, Charlie’s Angels, The Looming Tower, Westworld, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, and Veronica Mars.

    Anouar Smaine

    NYFA alum Anouar Smaine

    He also writes and directs in addition to acting, and made the multi-award-winning films Sharia and Battle Fields. Both films toured world festivals and earned several awards, including Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Film. 

    “Whether you’re an aspiring actor, writer, producer or a director,” says Smaine about his Filmmaking studies, “NYFA will give you a chance to go into the trenches of creativity and prove your worth based on what you’re taught, and most importantly on what you want to express as a creative. NYFA will both empower you and challenge you to go beyond being a student by embracing the filmmaker, actor, and artist in you.”

    Anouar is currently developing a feature film he plans to direct in early 2021 based on his internationally renowned short Battle Fields, in which he plays an Iraqi refugee who drives a limo in Los Angeles that comes face-to-face with an American Iraq War Veteran, played by Sean Stone, son of legendary director Oliver Stone.

    I Lost My body

    I Lost My Body is a 2019 French animated drama fantasy film directed by Jérémy Clapin that premiered at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. The Oscar-nominated feature tells the story of a dismembered hand that escapes from a dissection lab and goes on a journey through Paris to get back to its body, remembering the life with the young man it was originally attached to.

    Smaine was just one of the NYFA community members involved with this year’s Academy Award nominations, which were presented early Monday morning by NYFA Filmmaking alum Issa Rae and actor John Cho.

    NYFA Game Design alum Guillermo Quesada helped develop the technology that allowed last year’s remake of The Lion King to be filmed on a virtual reality set. The Lion King was one of the Best Visual Effects nominees named Monday morning.

    NYFA 1-Year Documentary Filmmaking alum Camille Bildsøe worked as the assistant to the director of Best Documentary Feature nominee The Cave, Feras Fayyad. Also competing in that category is The Edge of Democracy, directed by Petra Costa, who has taught master classes to NYFA Documentary Filmmaking students in the past.

    Several New York Film Academy guest speakers also received nominations, including Al Pacino, who earned a Best Supporting Actor nod alongside co-star Joe Pesci for his work in Best Picture nominee The Irishman. Pacino, whose daughter Julie Pacino is a NYFA alum, spoke with NYFA students at our Los Angeles campus in 2014.

    Adam Driver, who spoke with NYFA students at our New York campus in 2018, received an Academy Award nomination for Best Lead Actor for his work in Best Picture nominee Marriage Story.

    Best Animated Feature nominee Toy Story 4 co-starred NYFA guest speaker Tony Hale as new breakout character Forky. Hale spoke with NYFA students at our Los Angeles campus last summer, as did Nathan Kelly, who served as unit production manager on Best Picture nominee Once Upon a Time … In Hollywood. NYFA 3D Animation & VFX alum Francisco Panzieri worked on Once Upon a Time as a compositor.

    Another guest speaker celebrating this year’s nominations is President of Marvel Studios and Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Kevin Feige, who spoke with NYFA students at our Burbank-based campus last October. Avengers: Endgame, the culminating film of his brainchild—the Marvel Cinematic Universe—was nominated for Best Visual Effects.

    issa rae i lost my body oscars 2020

    John Cho and NYFA alum Issa Rae presenting the 2020 Oscars nominations

    All in all, the nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards held the usual mix of snubs, sure things, and surprises. Gritty supervillain origin story Joker led the list with 11 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor, while close behind were Sam Mendes’s 1917, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood with ten nominations each, including Best Picture. The Best Picture nominee list was rounded out by Ford v Ferrari, Jojo Rabbit, Little Women, Marriage Story, and Parasite.

    The list notably lacked any women in the Best Director category, despite Greta Gerwig’s film Little Women picking up two acting nominations and a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination along with its Best Picture nod. Other notable moments from Monday morning’s announcement includes Antonio Banderas receiving his first-ever Oscar nomination, for his leading role in longtime collaborator Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain and Glory, and Scarlett Johansson becoming the 11th actor in history to be nominated for two different roles in two different films in the same year.

    Like last year, the televised Oscars ceremony will go without a host, instead relying on various bits and presenters. The Academy Awards airs live on ABC on February 9. Announced presenters include last year’s winners Mahershala Ali, Olivia Colman, Regina King, and Rami Malek. Other presenters include Zazie Beetz, Timothée Chalamet, Will Ferrell, Gal Gadot, Mindy Kaling, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anthony Ramos, Mark Ruffalo, Kelly Marie Tran, and Kristen Wiig. Additionally, Cynthia Erivo, Elton John, Idina Menzel, Chrissy Metz, Randy Newman, and Billie Eilish will perform.

    New York Film Academy congratulates this year’s nominees and looks forward to seeing who goes home with an Oscar or two (or more) next month!

    Here is a full list of the 2020 Oscars nominees:

    Best Picture
    Ford v Ferrari
    The Irishman
    Jojo Rabbit
    Joker
    Little Women
    Marriage Story
    1917
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
    Parasite – WINNER

    Lead Actor
    Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
    Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
    Adam Driver, Marriage Story
    Joaquin Phoenix, Joker – WINNER
    Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

    Lead Actress
    Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
    Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
    Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
    Charlize Theron, Bombshell
    Renee Zellweger, Judy – WINNER

    Supporting Actor
    Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
    Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
    Al Pacino, The Irishman
    Joe Pesci, The Irishman
    Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – WINNER

    Supporting Actress
    Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
    Laura Dern, Marriage Story – WINNER
    Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
    Florence Pugh, Little Women
    Margot Robbie, Bombshell

    Director
    Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
    Todd Phillips, Joker
    Sam Mendes, 1917
    Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
    Bong Joon Ho, Parasite – Winner

    Animated Feature
    How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Dean DeBlois
    I Lost My Body, Jeremy Clapin
    Klaus, Sergio Pablos
    Missing Link, Chris Butler
    Toy Story 4,  Josh Cooley – WINNER

    Animated Short
    Dcera, Daria Kashcheeva
    Hair Love, Matthew A. Cherry – WINNER
    Kitbull, Rosana Sullivan
    Memorable, Bruno Collet
    Sister, Siqi Song

    Adapted Screenplay
    The Irishman, Steven Zaillian
    Jojo Rabbit, Taika Waititi – WINNER
    Joker, Todd Phillips, Scott Silver
    Little Women, Greta Gerwig
    The Two Popes, Anthony McCarten

    Original Screenplay
    Knives Out, Rian Johnson
    Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach
    1917, Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino
    Parasite, Bong Joon-ho, Jin Won Han – WINNER

    Cinematography
    The Irishman, Rodrigo Prieto
    Joker, Lawrence Sher
    The Lighthouse, Jarin Blaschke
    1917, Roger Deakins – WINNER
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Robert Richardson

    Best Documentary Feature
    American Factory, Julia Rieichert, Steven Bognar – WINNER
    The Cave, Feras Fayyad
    The Edge of Democracy, Petra Costa
    For Sama, Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
    Honeyland, Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov

    Best Documentary Short Subject
    In the Absence, Yi Seung-Jun and Gary Byung-Seok Kam
    Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone, Carol Dysinger – WINNER
    Life Overtakes Me, Kristine Samuelson and John Haptas
    St. Louis Superman, Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan
    Walk Run Cha-Cha, Laura Nix

    Best Live Action Short Film
    Brotherhood, Meryam Joobeur
    Nefta Football Club, Yves Piat
    The Neighbors’ Window, Marshall Curry – WINNER
    Saria, Bryan Buckley
    A Sister, Delphine Girard

    Best International Feature Film
    Corpus Christi, Jan Komasa
    Honeyland, Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov
    Les Miserables, Ladj Ly
    Pain and Glory, Pedro Almodovar
    Parasite, Bong Joon Ho – WINNER

    Film Editing
    Ford v Ferrari, Michael McCusker, Andrew Buckland – WINNER
    The Irishman, Thelma Schoonmaker
    Jojo Rabbit, Tom Eagles
    Joker, Jeff Groth
    Parasite, Jinmo Yang

    Sound Editing
    Ford v Ferrari, Don Sylvester – WINNER
    Joker, Alan Robert Murray
    1917, Oliver Tarney, Rachel Tate
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Wylie Stateman
    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Matthew Wood, David Acord

    Sound Mixing
    Ad Astra
    Ford v Ferrari
    Joker
    1917 – WINNER
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Production Design
    The Irishman, Bob Shaw and Regina Graves
    Jojo Rabbit, Ra Vincent and Nora Sopkova
    1917, Dennis Gassner and Lee Sandales
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Barbara Ling and Nancy Haigh – WINNER
    Parasite, Lee Ha-Jun and Cho Won Woo, Han Ga Ram, and Cho Hee

    Original Score
    Joker, Hildur Guðnadóttir – WINNER
    Little Women, Alexandre Desplat
    Marriage Story, Randy Newman
    1917, Thomas Newman
    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, John Williams

    Original Song
    “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” Toy Story 4
    “I’m Gonna Love Me Again,” Rocketman – WINNER
    “I’m Standing With You,” Breakthrough
    “Into the Unknown,” Frozen 2
    “Stand Up,” Harriet

    Makeup and Hair
    Bombshell – WINNER
    Joker
    Judy
    Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
    1917

    Costume Design
    The Irishman, Sandy Powell, Christopher Peterson
    Jojo Rabbit, Mayes C. Rubeo
    Joker, Mark Bridges
    Little Women, Jacqueline Durran – WINNER
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Arianne Phillips

    Visual Effects
    Avengers: Endgame
    The Irishman
    1917 – WINNER
    The Lion King
    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Celebrates 2020 Golden Globe Nominations

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    Nominations for the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards were announced this morning, with several going to projects that New York Film Academy (NYFA) alumni, faculty, and guest speakers have worked on, including HBO’s Barry, starring NYFA alum Bill Hader.

    Barry Bill Hader

    NYFA alum Bill Hader (right) in HBO’s ‘Barry’

    The awards are selected by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). This year’s nominations were announced early on December 9 by Tim Allen, Dakota Fanning, and Susan Kelechi Watson, who were joined by Golden Globe ambassadors Dylan and Paris Brosnan, HFPA President Lorenzo Soria, and Barry Adelman of Dick Clark Productions.

    Netflix dominated the list with 17 total nominations, with several going to the Martin Scorsese epic The Irishman, including Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor for co-stars Joe Pesci and previous NYFA guest speaker Al Pacino. 

    Marriage Story and Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood also earned several nominations each. NYFA guest speaker Nathan Kelly served as unit production manager on Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, which earned nods for Best Motion Picture – Comedy, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and acting nominations for stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story was nominated for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Original Score, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actress, and Best Actor, with the latter going to star and previous NYFA guest speaker Adam Driver.

    The NYFA community worked on other films nominated this year, including three nominees for  Best Motion Picture – Animated. NYFA Game Design alum Guillermo Quesada helped develop the VR technology used to film Jon Favreau’s remake of The Lion King. NYFA 3D Animation & Visual Effects instructor Kelley Williams, who has worked as a character TD, rigger, and modeler, did animation work on the Disney sequel Frozen II. NYFA guest speaker Tony Hale starred as the breakout new character Forky in the Pixar hit Toy Story 4.

    tony hale
    The Golden Globes cover television in addition to theatrical film releases; this year, TV productions Chernobyl, The Crown, and Unbelievable led the crop of nominations. HBO’s Barry, co-created by NYFA Filmmaking alum and previous guest speaker Bill Hader, picked up multiple nods, including Best TV Series – Musical or Comedy, Best Supporting Actor for NYFA guest speaker Henry Winkler, and Best Actor for Hader, who earned a nomination for the same role last year as well (as well as two Primetime Emmys.)

    New York Film Academy is delighted to see the NYFA community represented once again at the Golden Globes and congratulates all of the 2020 Golden Globe nominees. The 77th annual Golden Globe Awards will air live on NBC from 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. ET on January 5.

    Here is a full list of this year’s Golden Globe nominees:

    Best Picture, Drama
    1917 – Winner
    The Irishman
    Joker
    Marriage Story
    The Two Popes

    Best Actor, Drama
    Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari
    Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
    Adam Driver, Marriage Story
    Joaquin Phoenix, Joker – Winner
    Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

    Best Actress, Drama
    Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
    Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
    Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
    Charlize Theron, Bombshell
    Renée Zellweger, Judy – Winner

    Best Picture, Musical or Comedy
    Dolemite Is My Name
    Jojo Rabbit
    Knives Out
    Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood – Winner
    Rocketman

    Best Actor, Musical or Comedy
    Daniel Craig, Knives Out
    Roman Griffin Davis, Jojo Rabbit
    Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
    Taron Egerton, Rocketman – Winner
    Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name

    Best Actress, Musical or Comedy
    Ana De Armas, Knives Out
    Awkwafina, The Farewell – Winner
    Cate Blanchett, Where’d You Go, Bernadette
    Beanie Feldstein, Booksmart
    Emma Thompson, Late Night

    Best Supporting Actor
    Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
    Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
    Al Pacino, The Irishman
    Joe Pesci, The Irishman
    Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood – Winner

    Best Supporting Actress
    Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
    Annette Bening, The Report
    Laura Dern, Marriage Story – Winner
    Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers
    Margot Robbie, Bombshell

    Best Director
    Bong Joon-ho, Parasite
    Sam Mendes, 1917 – Winner
    Todd Phillips, Joker
    Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
    Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    Best Screenplay
    Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
    Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won, Parasite
    Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes
    Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood – Winner
    Steven Zaillian, The Irishman

    Best Original Score
    Alexandre Desplat, Little Women
    Hildur Guđnadóttir, Joker – Winner
    Randy Newman, Marriage Story
    Thomas Newman, 1917
    Daniel Pemberton, Motherless Brooklyn

    Best Original Song
    “Beautiful Ghosts,” Cats
    “I’m Gonna Love Me Again,” Rocketman – Winner
    “Into the Unknown,” Frozen II
    “Spirit,” The Lion King
    “Stand Up,” Harriet

    Best Foreign Language Film
    The Farewell, U.S.A.
    Les Misérables, France
    Pain and Glory, Spain
    Parasite, South Korea – Winner
    Portrait of a Lady on Fire, France

    Best Animated Film
    Frozen II
    How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
    The Lion King
    Missing Link – Winner
    Toy Story 4

    Best TV Drama
    Big Little Lies (HBO)
    The Crown (Netflix)
    Killing Eve (BBC America)
    The Morning Show (Apple TV+)
    Succession (HBO) – Winner

    Best Actor, TV Drama
    Brian Cox, Succession – Winner
    Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
    Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
    Tobias Menzies, The Crown
    Billy Porter, Pose

    Best Actress, TV Drama
    Jennifer Aniston, The Morning Show
    Olivia Colman, The Crown – Winner
    Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
    Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
    Reese Witherspoon, The Morning Show

    Best TV Musical or Comedy
    Barry (HBO)
    Fleabag (Amazon) – Winner
    The Kominksy Method (Netflix)
    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
    The Politician (Netflix)

    Best Actor, TV Musical or Comedy
    Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
    Bill Hader, Barry 
    Ben Platt, The Politician
    Paul Rudd, Living With Yourself
    Ramy Youssef, Ramy – Winner

    Best Actress, TV Musical or Comedy
    Christina Applegate, Dead to Me
    Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Kirsten Dunst, On Becoming a God in Central Florida
    Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
    Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag – Winner

    Best TV Miniseries/Movie
    Catch-22 (Hulu)
    Chernobyl (HBO) – Winner
    Fosse/Verdon (FX)
    The Loudest Voice (Showtime)
    Unbelievable (Netflix)

    Best Actor, TV Miniseries/Movie
    Christopher Abbott, Catch-22
    Sacha Baron Cohen, The Spy
    Russell Crowe, The Loudest Voice – Winner
    Jared Harris, Chernobyl
    Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon

    Best Actress, TV Miniseries/Movie
    Kaitlyn Dever, Unbelievable
    Joey King, The Act
    Helen Mirren, Catherine the Great
    Merritt Wever, Unbelievable
    Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon – Winner

    Best Supporting Actor, TV
    Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method
    Kieran Culkin, Succession
    Andrew Scott, Fleabag
    Stellan Skarsgård, Chernobyl – Winner
    Henry Winkler, Barry

    Best Supporting Actress, TV
    Patricia Arquette, The Act – Winner
    Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown
    Toni Collette, Unbelievable
    Meryl Streep, Big Little Lies
    Emily Watson, Chernobyl

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  • Al Pacino and ‘Insurgent’ Win Box-Office

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    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:

    Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 2.52.03 PM

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    March 23, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 4244

  • Julie Pacino Producing Mary Pickford Biopic

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    Mary Pickford is finally getting the Hollywood treatment from the Hollywood she helped to create. Pickford, the curly-haired ingénue considered cinema’s first “America’s Sweetheart” was a huge star in the silent era and early days of Hollywood.

    Pickford wasn’t just one of the first starlets of the silver screen—she was also a powerful force behind the camera. During her career, she co-founded two significant institutions. The first, with Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith and her husband Douglas Fairbanks, was United Artists, a studio controlled by actors and filmmakers in an attempt to wrest power from the major studios. UA continues as a major producer to this day as part of MGM.

    Pickford’s other contribution was even greater—she was one of the original 36 co-founders of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the organizations of cinema’s professionals in all fields and provider of the annual Oscars. Pickford won two Academy Awards herself, a Best Actress Oscar for 1929’s Coquette and an honorary lifetime achievement Oscar in 1976.

    It’s no surprise then that her fascinating life is being made into a film, adapted from Eileen Whitfield’s biography Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood. The movie is being scripted by Josh Fagin and directed by Jennifer DeLia. DeLia is producing the film with Julie Pacino, a New York Film Academy graduate who co-founded Poverty Row Entertainment with DeLia. The two also collaborated on Billy Bates, the haunting look at a tortured artist. Pacino, the daughter of Al Pacino, is the perfect choice to tell the story of a Hollywood legend.

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    March 12, 2015 • Entertainment News, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 8159

  • Iconic Actor Al Pacino Speaks at New York Film Academy

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    Al Pacino New York Film Academy

    New York Film Academy students received the rare opportunity to participate in an intimate Q&A with one of the greatest actors in film history Al Pacino this past Thursday, December 4th at the Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles, CA. The discussion took place after a special advanced screening of Pacino’s new film The Humbling. In this, funny, observant, erotic comedy, Pacino plays an aging actor who feels he is losing his craft and after a breakdown becomes involved with a much younger woman but soon finds that it’s difficult to keep pace with her and makes the ultimate performance. The film was highly received by the students for its content and Mr. Pacino’s amazing performance in it. Producer Tova Laiter moderated the Q&A.

    Oscar, Emmy, and Tony winning Al Pacino took the stage to an uproar of applause and a standing ovation from students. The legendary actor, who’s entertained and inspired us with iconic performances in The Godfather, Scarface, Dog Day Afternoon, Scent of a Woman, Glengarry Glen Ross, and Heat, to name just a few, was tremendously gracious for the warm reception. Pacino was all smiles and full of life, emanating that vivacious energy we’ve come to love him for.

    In a profound statement about the actor’s process, and artistic process in general, Pacino stated, “I love the line that Michelangelo said in a poem when he was doing the Sistine Chapel, he said, ‘Lord, free me of myself that I may please you.’ Meaning, get to that place in us where we’re not censoring ourselves or trying to do it good or right but rather connect with whatever it is we’re trying to say in our work. Become. Become it, absorb it and let it come out and let the unconscious free. And I strive for that. And I rarely, rarely get it. If I do it’s for a moment or two… Sometimes I’m given a role… Then I have to look at the empty canvas and I say, ‘Wow, I don’t know anything about acting. I don’t know anything about anything. What am I gonna do?’ And you start. And the hope is that instead of figuring it out, you find it.”

    But it wasn’t all serious talk. Pacino revealed the origins of his “Hoo-ah!” line in Scent of a Woman in an amusing story: “That came because I was learning to assemble and disassemble a .45 in forty-five seconds. And that ain’t easy. And I worked literally weeks on that, months, just with this Lieutenant Col. who would say to me every once in a while when I did it well, he would just say to me (pointing) ‘Hoo-ha!’ And I finally said to him, ‘What is that?’ And he said, ‘Well, you see that’s the way I talk to the troops. If they get in line and their suits are straight and their metals are straight, I just go up and I say ‘Hoo-ha!’ And that got into the movie. That wasn’t written.”

    In closing, to the question of what the most important thing acting has taught him, Pacino answered, “It taught me to love people more. I feel more a part of the world. And that we’re all actors. Only some of us can really do it. Some of us have the ability to do it…and the desire to do it. And it taught me that desire can sometimes trump talent. Think about that. So that you may not have as much talent as you think you have, but if you have the desire, your talent will find you.”

    When the Q&A ended, Al Pacino thanked and waved goodbye to students as they all stood and cheered once again. It was a wildly entertaining and inspiring night that was a special gift to NYFA. In a cosmic coincidence, Pacino’s daughter Julie Pacino, an alumna of NYFA, showed her movie to NYFA students at our Union Square square campus the same day!

    We thank Al Pacino for sharing his time with us and look forward to the success of The Humbling (which Mr. Pacino also produced), directed by Barry Levinson. The film opens in theaters in limited release for a week on December 5th and wide release January 23rd, 2015.

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    December 8, 2014 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 13262

  • ‘The Devil’s Advocate’ Screening with Taylor Hackford

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    Taylor Hackford

    Taylor Hackford at NYFA LA

    Last Wednesday, at the Warner Bros theater in LA, New York Film Academy students were treated to a screening of the classic Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves film, The Devil’s Advocate. Following the screening, director Taylor Hackford dropped by to talk about the film and his career on a whole. Taylor, who directed such films as An Officer and a Gentleman and Dolores Claiborne, says he developed an interest in film during his time in the peace corps in Bolivia. He saw many films there and shot his own on super 8 film. After coming back from the peace corps, he went to law school for two weeks, but then quit because he decided he really wanted to work in the film industry.

    His first job was in the mailroom at the Los Angeles TV station KCET. He began writing copy, editing, shooting and reporting for their news program. Working as a journalist really helped Taylor develop as a director–learning how to tell people’s stories and make them feel comfortable enough to open up. He also learned how to “deliver on a deadline” with the high turnover rate in news. He eventually started making documentaries for the news station and became passionate about the stories he was telling.

    taylorTaylor also has a love for music and it’s no surprise that his films are known for their great soundtracks. In An Officer and a Gentleman, Taylor knew that music was important to the working class people the movie was about. Taylor went to great lengths to find the right music and especially in convincing the producers to spend the money on the soundtrack. His persistence didn’t stop there. In order to convince the studio to shoot the opening of An Officer and a Gentleman in the Philippines (which sets up Richard Gere’s backstory), he agreed that any expenditures that went over budget for the additional shooting would be taken out of his own salary. Paramount never realized what an amazing movie they had, until it sold so well and became such a success. “Nothing is ever predictable,” Taylor told the students. “All you can do is keep your vision. That is all you have.”

    While shooting The Idol Maker, Taylor was not as experienced as a director. He came onto set with a very detailed plan as to how he wanted to shoot everything. However, his cinematographer and 1st AD had different opinions, and since they were much more experienced than him, Taylor ended up using their ideas. When he saw the dailies two days later, Taylor realized he had made a big mistake–the drama wasn’t there and the shots didn’t mean anything. After that, Taylor remained firm in following his own vision. There was a reason he was hired to direct the movie. “You have to make decisions. If you must, ‘get on with it’ and you can’t ‘take your time.’ Time is money with filmmaking. Preparation is key–you can work through most of your potential mistakes if you think it out ahead of time.”

    Taylor now directs a scene without providing blocking instructions to his actors and tells them to “do the scene.” The actors typically find a few great moments that Taylor will incorporate into the scene. This way the actor feels like he is using their ideas and he’s able to include some spontaneous moments that he hadn’t thought of. Directors have to learn how to work with an actor until they can catch them in an authentic moment. Taylor used the example of working with Keanu Reeves who is not, at first, as spontaneous as Al Pacino. He would have to do eight takes with Keanu before he would break out of his preconceived notions of how to perform. This is a tactic that he had to employ as a director, which worked for this particular scenario.

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    September 23, 2013 • Film School, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 8367

  • ‘Midnight Cowboy’ DP Screens ‘The Panic in Needle Park’

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    Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 12.17.54 PM

    NYFA Cinematography Chair John Loughlin with Adam Holender

    This Tuesday, the New York Film Academy in Union Square welcomed cinematographer, Adam Holender. His most notable credit is Director of Photography on the 1969 classic, Midnight Cowboy, starring Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight. Adam suggested we screen another classic from 1971, starring the then unknown Al Pacino. The Panic in Needle Park is a stark portrayal of life among a group of heroin addicts who hang out in New York City’s “Needle Park.” The film was a part of the early 1970’s cinéma-vérité. Adam’s use of hand-held cameras, real-life urban location, sounds and lack of traditional soundtrack set the tone for a new style of realism. According to Adam, the film was shot primarily on-location in forty-three days.

    Living mere blocks away from the main location of the film up on 71st and Broadway, Adam and his director, Jerry Schatzberg, spent months in New York City diligently preparing for production. “Pre-production is the most important part of the process,” said Adam.

    Coming up in a time when film was meant to be gritty and real, Adam admits digital filmmaking is the obvious wave of the future. “If people have something to say, it really doesn’t matter if it’s digital or film,” admitted Adam. Though, he does feel a certain loss of intimacy between the cinematographer and the actors’ performance when shooting digitally as opposed to 35mm.

    When asked by a student if he typically criticizes his films or often thinks about “going back and making changes,” Adam said, “Your work is really never finished. It’s only abandoned.” Wise words from a DP with a long and successful career in the industry.

     

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    April 10, 2013 • Guest Speakers • Views: 6948