alumni
Posts

  • NYFA Grad’s Doc “ED Vs IT” Now Available on Amazon Prime

    In an age where information is readily available through everyday technology, former New York Film Academy student Atif Ali Khan’s documentary “ED Vs IT: SOS” explores the role of education in an information driven age — how we have to dissect and deploy the online IT tools to create a giant technological leap forward to educate our next generation. The documentary investigates how, if we don’t make the amends, our lives will be controlled by robots.

    attic khanKhan’s thought-provoking documentary, which is now available on Amazon Prime, has peaked our curiosity, leading us to an interview with the director to find out more about him and his film.

    Congrats on your recent documentary, “ED Vs IT”! Let’s begin by telling us where you’re from, and what brought you to NYFA?

    Originally from Pakistan, NYFA was my ticket to Hollywood. It is where you get firsthand exposure with industry professionals, who have not only “been there and done that,” but are also actively involved in various projects too. They also recommend you, if you have outstanding skills.

    In fact, for me it became a mode of networking with the top notch professionals in Hollywood. NYFA surpassed my expectations of what I had envisioned. The faculty not only gives you the hands-on skills, but they teach you the creative process of storytelling. A giant leap in confidence. Shooting at Universal Studios backlot was a dream. From the Golden Age of Cinema to the Silversceen VOD age of today, I saw it all from the Kodak Theater, where the Oscars are held, to the actual locations where top-grossing movies are made. We embraced it all during our thesis film project.

    They were shooting “Modern Family” and Sofia Vergara was right behind our shooting location on the European set. I recovered all the money I had invested at NYFA within two months of my graduation with a bunch of projects. It is that good. It is like an interneship at Paramount. The NYFA jacket is an easy pass to enter anywhere — be it press coverage or a movie set.

    New York is the TV hub of the world and doing it at the LA Campus I got exposed to film fraternity of the highest cadre in the world. Needless to say, I received a host of discounts against my NYFA student ID from B&H to Amazon and from Best Buy to Apple. I got many projects just by “name-dropping” NYFA. It is the most respected name be it Tokyo, China, Italy, Abu Dhabi and from the East to the West Coast. Ten years from now, every film project in the world will have a NYFA alumni in one form or another.

    Additionally, I became friends with Craig Fox, in New York, who is a leading stand up comedian and whom I later found is a teacher of Acting for Film at NYFA in New York. He introduced me to a range of actors, who are either studying at NYFA or are graduates. All are very active on Broadway (theater) and the improv scene in New York.

    How did this documentary “ED Vs IT” come about? What drew you to this subject?

    I saw online platforms emerging at a dynamic pace, from entertainment to mobile and from Amazon to banks.

    The production design tips, given by my teacher Jack Daniels at NYFA, really came in handy. I did all of the production from shoot to special FX and editing. Finally, the film was made on a shoe string budget with no production compromises at all. You really don’t need a studio to back your project — if you learn the NYFA guerrilla filmmaking.

    What do you hope to achieve with this documentary? What is your overall message?

    It is a wake up call. Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence is steering forward at an alarming pace. Automation is taking over human capital way faster than ever anticipated. We need to overhaul the outdated education modules with a sense of urgency. We can’t stay complacent as self-driving cars and automated businesses are quickly replacing human resources. If we don’t take active measures there will be a resource apocalypse, which might lead to a ‘Terminator sort of situation’ where robots will be used as bodyguards and there will be no checks and measures in place for their legal litigation. People will fight amongst themselves, with machines to win their livelihood.

    Do you think NYFA’s training was useful in terms of being able to create this documentary?

    Absolutely, it is like assisting a movie with Stanley Kubrick. If you follow how they instruct and “walk you through” various technical nuances, you will develop a huge conceptual framework overnight. It is like a firsthand experience because they run you through all the litmus tests of past, present and future of filmmaking. I learned from NYFA how to stage a scene, how to convert my vision into telling my story with words and visuals. Like I said earlier, NYFA is a lifestyle; it is a fraternity where recommendations are made, where your teachers and former students all interact and integrate to create a future for you in media industry. With future of video so bright with Netflix, Amazon Video, YouTube and MSM (Mainstream Media), I think I did myself the best favor of my life to enroll at NYFA. Every penny that I invested has given my 1000% returns and I am just in the second year of since graduating.

    My teacher Brendan Davis at the LA campus taught me that ‘film is a collaborative art’ and it really helped me to liaise with people whom I interviewed for the documentary. I was cultured about the artist protocols in terms of getting work done on time and drawing the best talent out of voice-over talents who narrated my project. Without NYFA I wouldn’t have been able to bring it all together.

    I also now provide stock footage to famous Video Blocks that outsource for more than 15 leading TV channels including Discovery, MTV and History.

    How did your relationship with Amazon Prime come about?

    Documentary is the next big thing. After winning several Oscars, Oliver Stone recently made a documentary about Putin for Showtime. Every evening I see at least one documentary on Amazon or Netflix. While Netflix distribution is rather lengthy, I sent my demo to Amazon Studios and got an instant approval. Amazon Studios is an amazing platform where you can DIY everything from script to approval and release.

    Studying at NYFA I got the membership for Without a Box. Not only did I learn how the film industry in VOD age works, but I also learned how to submit my film to festivals across the globe in a tapeless format. My student film (that I wrote, directed & produced at NYFA) went on and got selected in the pro categories across the globe and got top spots in London Intl. Film Festival and various others. Building on that experience and response, I have now submitted this documentary in many Oscar qualifying film festivals. So I am keeping my fingers crossed for the next level.

    Are you currently working on any other projects?

    Yes, I am working on a psychological horror feature film, based in NY. I am using improv actors and special FX like Neon Demon to create a new wave feature project. The project named “Disowned” is starring Michael S. Benjamin and Heather Cole as the lead.

    I am also covering IIFA (International Indian Film Academy) Awards on July 16, 2017 at MetLife Stadium, New Jersey. IIFA is the equivalent to Oscar for Bollywood film industry. I also provided press coverage to their conference at Sheraton Times Square on June 1, 2017 — live streaming from Mumbai.

    Lastly, as a follow up to the script I wrote for the documentary, I have been offered a writing deal to the book covering the same theme but a step forward in terms of its criticality. “Automation vs. Autocracy.”

  • Broadcast Journalism Alumni Reporting and Working All Around the World

    New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism graduates continue to represent their alma mater while working and reporting from locations all around the world!

    We start with anchorwoman and presenter Ahlam Tabra.

    “Since I returned from NYFA to Dubai, I was promoted from being an anchorwoman on Orient News TV — which is the only news source for many Syrians — to being given a long format primetime show of my own,” said Tabra. “This achievement was in great part due to the skills that I learned attending the NYFA workshop, and I am extremely grateful to the very talented and hardworking instructors that I had the opportunity to work with.”

    NYFA alumnus George Colli was in the middle of the action when President Donald Trump announced that the United States was withdrawing from the Paris climate accords. George reported the story to Cox Media television stations across the country.
    George Colli
    On a far happier note, Broadcast Journalism alumna Federica Polidoro was back on the red carpet again, this time at the Cannes Film Festival.

    “I am a correspondent in Cannes for several Italian outlets, print and video,” said Polidoro. “I got an interview with Sofia Coppola and a bunch of other junkets, for instance the Patti Cakes movie that was a hit in Sundance too, and Takashi Miike, director of Blade of the Immortal, a cult/splatter/samurai movie with lot of choreography. I also got a tremendous interview with Eugene Jarecki, a documentarist who presented in special screenings Promised Land, an amazing road movie where Elvis’ life is a metaphor for America. I think that he’s going to be nominated for a 2018 Oscar.”

    Staying in Italy, NYFA alumna Chiara Carcano is working on a wonderful digital series called “Chef Save The Food.” Apparently she is playing a number of roles in the production, not least of which is to “clap the slate” (or sometimes simply clap) at the start of each scene. All of the action takes place in the lovely Lombardy region of Italy.

    Meanwhile, after a whole lot of emails and phone calls, Broadcast Journalism alumna Sandra Rodriguez has gotten her first job…

    “I am super excited to tell you that I got a multimedia journalist position in Yuma, Arizona! I will be reporting for Telemundo and KYMA. I wouldn’t have been able to get this job without your help. You really helped me learn a lot on how to be a great journalist. Once again thank you and thanks to all the other instructors as well!”

    Sandra, we always say at NYFA that we share our knowledge with our students, but it is their hard work and determination which leads to success. Congratulations!

    KYMA

    Down in the Southern Hemisphere (dare I say “down under”) in Australia, Georgia Hammond put together a splendid video for the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation. (45,000+ views, and counting!) It is easy to forget that there are a wide range of corporate video opportunities out there, as everyone today wants to harness the power of video to tell their story. (In fact, I did a number of video projects for Johnson & Johnson, thanks to Rob Halper.)

    Toyosi Phillips has never been accused of being shy… which is a good thing, especially if you want a career in the media. Now she is the host of a new digital series called “As Toyo Sees.” She is gearing the program to the large West African diaspora, as well as folks back home in Nigeria. Toyosi is also an entertainment correspondent fro Smooth 98.1FM in Lagos. Apparently, she is very busy…

    Toyosi Phillips ats

    June 6, 2017 • Broadcast Journalism, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1488

  • NYFA Alumni Team up for Short Film “Felices Acá En New York”

    While many young artists flock to New York City from all around the world, few realize just how difficult it can be to break into the competitive world of  “show business.” This personal and relatable struggle was the inspiration behind director Rodrigo Baumgartner Ayres’ film “Felices Acá En New York” (“Happy Here in New York”), which stars NYFA alumna Caroline Rosalino. Both Ayres and Rosalino met during their studies at the New York Film Academy and collaborated on the project soon after.

    caroline and rodrigoThe film has been well received, having screened at eight film festivals and having been recognized with a “Best Actress Award Nomination” at the Queens World Film Festival. The film won a “Best Audience Award” at Indie Works and a “Best Actress Platinum” at NYC Indie Fest.

    NYFA caught up with the two alumni to discuss more about the film and their blossoming careers since graduating.

    Congrats on the success of your film! Can you tell us where you’re from, and what brought you to NYFA?

    CR: I’m from Brazil, but I also lived in Argentina for five years where I did my BFA in Acting, as well as working in their “off-Broadway theater circle.” I came to the US for the first time for a three month work intership, and I walked past NYFA the very first day I was in New York City. I even have a picture of myself in front of NYFA saying, “Mom, I don’t think I am coming back,” and the funny thing is, it became true. I started researching about NYFA and I found it was exactly what I was missing in my work — since at that point my focus was mainly theatre and soap opera acting.

    RA: I am from Porto Alegre, Brazil. I decided to come to NYFA during my last year of adversing & marketing school in Brazil. I wasn’t excited about pursuing that career, I felt there was somehitng missing and it was one of my instructors Anny Baggiotto who had attended NYFA a few years earlier the recommended the school to me.

    Caroline, can you tell us how you met Rodrigo?

    CR: While at NYFA, I saw him working everyday at our computer lab, but we never had the opportunty to work together during school time. During my OPT time after NYFA, I invited Rodrigo to direct this film and luckily he dedicated himself entirely to the project.

    Rodrigo, in your own words, can you tell us what this film is about?

    RA: It’s about me, and Caroline’s, and a whole bunch of other foreigner artists’ lives. People who come to NYC with a dream to make it in show business, but soon realize that life here is harder than it looks. It’s about the idealized image that people in our home countries have of us because of the fact that we are living in New York City, supposedly the city of dreams. They don’t know what it means to be a foreigner in this country: working day jobs, struggling with money, having a constant fear of failure, which will culminate into us having no other option besides going back to our home countries with a feeling of defeat. It’s also about friendship. Sol’s character is sacrificing a long lasting friendship with Vicky in order to fulfill her dreams. And these ‘breaking apart’ situations happen no matter how hard you try to keep in touch with friends and family because your life in NYC is very intense; you can’t take a breath between working day jobs and pursing your career as an artist.

    How did this film come about?

    RA: This film was a nine day pre-production process: one day of shooting and over six months of editing, which I did myself. Caroline sent me a story written by Alejandro Escaño, a writer and theatre performer from Argentina, and she told me she wanted me to DP it. She thought I had a camera and equipment, which I didn’t, and she had another director lined up for the shoot. I told her I didn’t have a camera, but I might be able to put the production together. Apparently, the other director wasn’t showing much interest, so I took over and brought my friend Daniel Rey Lozano to DP and operate the camera, borrowed sound equipment from an indie company called ‘Gradient Films’, whom I worked with before, and Caroline called Andrei Costanzi Posse to operate the sound, a Brazilian actor who lives in NYC, which I had also previously met in another project.

    We were only five people on set and shooting guerrilla style. Months later, in the later stages of editing, I brought in my cousin from Brazil, Saulo Baumgartner Mosna, to compose the music for us.

    The biggest challenge was adapting the story that was sent to us by Alejandro, which was a great story with a lot of heart, but also not written in a standard script format. It was a story written in Word, which required a lot of changes if we wanted to have any hopes of executing it as a film. The original story involved a higher budget, at least three or four days of shooting, and more time of pre-production. So with nine days until the shooting date, Caroline and I were re-writing the story and adapting it into our ‘one day’ schedule.

    One day of shooting seems like a lot to handle. Can you tell me how you were able to pull off a one day shoot?

    RA: We got a crew of reliable people who are in it for the art rather than money, and that’s why we were able to shoot for some 16 hours. It was definitely exhausting, but when you have people like that, you know are going to see it through to the end. When Carolyn and I were writing the script I was careful with how I was shaping the scenes. Like I said, the original story was quite different — more places, different style — so I tried to make it logistically viable, so that we could travel quickly between locations.

    What did you see in Caroline that made her a perfect fit for the role of Sol?

    RA: Caroline is a great actress, seasoned, reliable and she really fit the role, because just like her character Sol, Caroline is also an immigrant who is struggling to make a living here in NYC. Except maybe for the ‘killing’ visions and day dreaming, Sol and Caroline are quite similar. But the fact was that Caroline reached me with the story first. Knowing her for her professionalism and talent, I had no doubts that we could make this project work.

    Caroline, can you tell us a little bit about Sol and who she is as a character?

    CR: Sol is a struggling actress that has been living in NY for three years. She wants to sustain the image of a successful life, but deep down she is not completely proud of all her choices. The truth comes to surface when her best friend from Argentina comes to visit her.

    Would you two say your NYFA experience was useful in terms of being prepared for this film?

    CR: I was truly blessed to have a great group at NYFA. From my colleagues that had so much potential — not even mentioning the unforgettable time we had together — but also our teachers were excellent and always open to work as well. NYFA prepared me not only to shift my theatre acting experience into film format and understand the professional filmmaking process, but essentially to understand acting as a business and how the film industry works in the US.

    RA: NYFA played an absolutely fundamental role in my career as a filmmaker. I had no previous background in film before — coming from advertising and marketing — so everything I learned was at NYFA. I did the One-Year Filmmaking Conservatory, which was very intense and an incredible learning experience. Kudos to my directing instructor Paul Warner; he was my main source of inspiration and I follow his teachings blindingly. I definitely learned a lot from him. NYFA cultivated my passion for the art and set me on track for a career that I can no longer live without. NYFA’s program is complete. I graduated the school feeling confident about my talent and what I could accomplish in the future.

    Tell us what’s next for the two of you.

    CR: I have a few jobs lined up. I might be traveling around the country for that. One of them is a virtual reality film. I can’t wait for the experience of shooting in 360. And for certain the feature of “Felices Acá en New York.”

    RA: I am shooting two new short films in May – June, 2017. One is a comedy that pays tribute to NYC as a romantic and also productive environment. The other one is a drama about loss and grief that criticizes America’s support program to veterans of war. Besides that, I also work as 1st Assistant Director, so I am involved in a sci-fi short film to be shot in September, 2017. I am also constantly writing. I have six scripts in the works that are dialogue pieces primarily made for the stage and that I also intend to turn into films.

    May 4, 2017 • Acting, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2221

  • NYFA Alumni Team Up on Short Film “Worth It?”

    worth itInspired by films like “The Jungle Book,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Gravity,” and “Inception,” among others, Edgar Vega began his career working as a Lighting/Compositing artist on a feature animated film in Guadalajara, Mexico. From there, he wanted to further his knowledge and skill in the field of cinematography and decided to leave his hometown of Mexico to study at the 1-Year Cinematography Program at the New York Film Academy.

    “After working on that feature film I needed to properly learn the origins of lighting for picture as well as how camera and light reinforces the narrative,” said Vega. “There was always an interest in narrative since I did my Bachelor’s in Animation & Digital Arts back in Guadalajara, but I never had a real approach to lighting until I worked in this film I’ve mentioned. The final look of it relied more on illustration rather than the use of cinematography tools, which is not bad, it was just the vision of the director at the time. I believe that in a film that uses 3D and CGI rendering tools that produce photorealistic images, cinematography would be the right tool for producing and achieving the desired result.”

    Vega wanted to learn and experiment with merging both worlds like “Gravity” and the other films that inspired him. He says his favorite cinematographer is Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, not only because he’s from his country, but also because while filming “Gravity,” Lubezki and the VFX Supervisor Tim Webber developed technology to merge the hybrid CGI and live action into one image. “That was the challenge there,” said Vega. “They had to determine how lights would affect character’s faces, and then match it to composite the live action and animation perfectly.” The film ended up winning the Academy Award in both fields in 2015.

    Since graduating from the Cinematography Program, Vega has had the opportunity to work as a Lighting/Compositing Artist on the Nick Jr. series called “Block Party.”

    “Chris Papa, Scott Kennell, and their team were developing a new pre-school franchise that speaks about teamwork and unity,” Vega said about the series. “I was invited onto ‘Block Party’ to develop a possible final look, which earned an internally good response. As a result, a first episode was made. Thanks to the concepts learned at NYFA, I was able to assertively respond to the necessities of both Chris and Scott.”

    He is now in postproduction on his thesis film, “Marcus,” which merges live action and CGI.

    Vega also was the DP on NYFA Filmmaking alumna Cheyenne Pasquer’s film, “Worth It?,” which screened at the London Monthly Film Festival December 2016, Miami Independent Film Festival December 2016, The Lovecraft January 2017, and the California Women’s Film Festival February 2017, where it was nominated for Best Director.

    “At the beginning we both had a lot of questions about the complexity of the film, since the script was extensive for the amount of days I could afford to shoot,” said Pasquer about her collaboration with Vega. “Most of the shoot was overnight, so I think the adaptation was a crucial skill that me and Edgar developed during the shoot of ‘Worth it?’ We were both in a difficult scenario not only because the film was physically demanding, but also because we successfully worked out with our crew and actors. As a DP he delivered beautiful shots that matched with the requirement of the story, both aesthetically and narrative wise.”

    “Worth It?” will be screening at this year’s Cannes Short Film Corner in May.

    April 28, 2017 • Cinematography, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2502

  • April 2017 Broadcast Journalism Alumni News

    Nicole CrossThe New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism Department has more exciting news regarding its alumni.

    Nicole Cross snagged four Associated Press Louisiana awards recently, including Best Daytime Newscast and Achievement. Nicole came to NYFA to begin a total career change, and she treated class time and project assignments as if they were a “job,” tackling everything with discipline, thoroughness and passion. She even made her way to Washington, DC so that she had stand-ups shot there for her Resume Reel.

    Christian Good arrived at NYFA fresh from a degree program in law enforcement. The Toronto Police Department’s loss was our gain. Upon graduation, Christian started building his freelance career as a multimedia journalist. Most recently, he has been traveling the world. He’s working with fashion designer and writer Marcia Sherrill. This past week we found out the two of them were “rolling in rupees” in New Delhi.

    Chritian Goode and Marcia Sherrill in New Dehli
    Prior to enrolling at NYFA, Akeem Holmes received a BA in Communications and Media Studies from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. (He was an outstanding basketball player there too.) Now Akeem is taking the skills he learned at NYFA and returning to his alma mater, where he is building a digital media team to cover the Randolph-Macon sports program. He is training students from the Filmmaking and Journalism programs how to make sports stories that are engaging, exciting and fun.

    That’s Akeem back in his student days, waiting to shoot a talk show segment utilizing a green screen effect to create a “virtual set.” He’s with classmates Kecia Gayle (center) and Maia Walker (left).

    NYFA News green screen

    Finally, congratulations to Spring 2017 8-Week Workshop grad Lizzie Yang, who is working as a full-time freelance Production Assistance at Lincoln Square Productions. “I bet you are familiar with it, but it’s a production company under ABC News. Even though (for now) my contract would only last until the project I’m assigned to is finished, hopefully I can jump onto other projects while I am here and continue working. I am assigned to a 2-hour long documentary production about the last 100 days of Princess Diana, since it’s the 20th anniversary of her death in 1997.”

    Congrats to all of these fine Broadcast Journalism alumni!

    April 18, 2017 • Broadcast Journalism, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1838

  • NYFA Alumna Wins Best Supporting Actress Award and More

    tasteDanielle Kronenberg is a British actress who currently lives in Los Angeles. She started her training at a very young age at a prestigious full time children’s drama school in London and made her West End debut at nine — the same year she won an award at the London Film Festival. She then went on to star in a number of commercials for the UK and the US.

    Since living in the US, and graduating from the Acting for Film program at the New York Film Academy, Kronenberg has starred in many independent films and a children’s web-series, which she produced. She’s also co-created and produced two of her own films, one of which, “Canvas,” won two awards for producing and the other, “Taste,” won three producing awards and two best supporting actress awards thus far.

    “I think going to NYFA was one of the best years of my training,” said Kronenberg. “I got to study with some great teachers, and I’ve stayed in touch with them too. Also, being part of the NYFA networking circle is pretty incredible. I can now call upon friends and say ‘Hey, I have an idea, let’s shoot something,’ and I know I’ll have a whole team to shoot with. A truly priceless experience.”

    “Taste,” which awarded her a Best Supporting Actress Award, is about a bulimic model who moves to NY to pursue her modeling career, but the secret that she’s harboring comes to the surface and cannot be contained once she meets Evan, a manipulative, successful fashion photographer who has a habit of controlling her muses.

    The writer of the film, Jay Palmieri Jr., who’s also a NYFA graduate, approached Kronenberg after starring in his film. “He said he wanted to collaborate on an LGBT film together as we’re both in that world,” recalls Kronenberg. “So we came up with a story and decided to produce it together. Jay wrote the role of ‘Evan’ for me, as he said he wanted to see me play a very dark emotional character. I’m so glad he did as it was my most challenging role. I’m not like Evan at all, so to play her was a lot of fun. I think the most challenging part was to really get into the head of Evan, and to start thinking like her. She’s totally dark and twisted. I found myself staying in character for most of the shoot, which was also fun.”

    kronenberg

    Kronenberg plays Evan, a fashion photographer in NY who has very manipulative ways. “Evan is the type of woman who doesn’t take no for an answer,” says Kronenberg. “She’s highly successful and has many models falling at her feet in the hopes of getting a big shoot.”

    “Taste” is currently in 15 festivals and counting. It’s streaming on digitalboxoffice.tv — where you can rate the film as well (5 popcorns all the way).

    Kronenberg is now working on two LGBT films and a romantic drama, each of which she will be producing and starring.

    April 4, 2017 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2290

  • Emily Seale-Jones Returns to NYFA to Talk About Creating Content

    The Acting for Film Department at the New York Film Academy has started a new Industry Trend series, which welcomes recent graduates who are at early and mid-level stages of their career. The series aims to provide current students with a glimpse of what their careers might look like in the near future.

    emily seale-jones

    Last week, as part of the Industry Trend series, Acting for Film Chair Glynis Rigsby welcomed her former student, Emily Seale-Jones, who is an actress, writer, producer, and director. Seale-Jones spoke about creating content, specifically her web series “Frankie and Emma.” The series follows the daily, comical antics of two girls in London. Seale-Jones created the show and stars in it with Nancy Wallinger, who is known for “The Play That Goes Wrong” at London’s West End.

    Seale-Jones said she created the show in order to showcase her skills as both an actress and a filmmaker. “It’s really uncomfortable to promote yourself, but you have to get used to it,” she said. “If people aren’t going to bank on you, then you need to do the work and prove you’re bankable. You have to prove yourself.”

    At the end of the day, even if Seale-Jones is unable to sell the series to a network, she believes it’s important to get the work out there for people to see. That’s the goal. “If you want to do something, you just go ahead and do it,” added Seale-Jones.

    Her first experience creating content was at NYFA in 2011 when she decided to create a play with her fellow classmates and with Glynis as her director. Seale-Jones said NYFA broke down the wall of filmmaking, allowing her to believe the entire process of creating a film from idea to completion is feasible.

    Seale-Jones also spoke about her film, “To Tokyo,” which her brother wrote and directed over a four year span in Japan. The film is about a young woman, hiding from her past, who is confronted by her stepsister in Japan and forced to face the figure that haunts her in a world where dreams meet reality.

    With all of her projects, Seale-Jones has realized one major fact: “There has to be something that’s the driving force. You can’t rely on anyone except yourself.”

    March 29, 2017 • Acting, Guest Speakers, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1772

  • NYFA Acting for Film Grad’s “Proceed with Caution” Available on Amazon

    New York Film Academy Acting for Film alumnus Kojo Boama’s newest short film, “Proceed With Caution,” has been picked up by Amazon Prime video. “Proceed with Caution,” written by NYFA alumnus Joey Colebut, is about an upcoming NYC music producer who stumbles on his way to stardom by getting his mistress pregnant. The film has been talked about by major hip-hop artists such as P.Diddy, Jadakiss, and Swizz Beatz.

    We had a chat with Boama to find out more about his new film, and about how aspiring filmmakers should never give up.

    Hi Kojo. Can you tell us where you’re from and what brought you to NYFA?

    I was born in Ghana, West Africa and raised in Harlem, NY. My mother lived in London and had me educated in England as well. She was going to have me stay and live the rest of my life there, so NYFA in NY was an alternative escape route to move back in with my father up in Harlem while seeking to further my education and study a craft.

    And the craft you studied was Acting for Film. Can you tell us about your experience in NYFA’s Acting for Film program?

    I absolutely loved the acting program. Meisner technique is an essential tool I still use today: always listening to determine the true meaning underneath a person’s statement was a technique that was very useful in the making of this film. This is because I had to multitask around the set — produce, semi-direct and clean the set while playing the lead role. So aside from memorizing my lines, actually paying attention to other actors responses helped save me from potential bad acting.

    kojo boama

    How did this short film come about? What made you want to create “Proceed with Caution”?

    This short film was written by fellow NYFA student Joey Colebut, who had originally had me act in his final showcase at NYFA. I fell in love with the process. Most of our journey can be found on our episodic youtube documentary called “Never Give Up,” which showcases the trials and tribulation it took to actually make this project a reality. “Proceed with Caution” was scheduled to be wrapped in six months, but due to setbacks it ended up taking four years. (Below is the first episode of “Never Give Up.”)

    You have some really notable hip-hop artists and celebrities talking about your film. How did that come about?

    Due to the hardships of making this project a reality, I always had to plot ahead to see how I could overcome any giving situation. Initially, I worked over at CBS and used to rush down celebrities every time they came by to get some endorsements. One endorsement from Jack Thriller, which I actually got on 125th street in Harlem, helped turn this project around. I knew that hiring my co-star, Jack Thriller, who is signed with 50 Cent, and is talked about in the streets to be the next Kevin Heart, would help open other doors to various people within the entertainment business. (Check out this episode for more details.)

    Why do you believe people should see your film?

    Aside from the fact that it’s mere entertainment, I also want to give aspiring artists hope that they could do it as well. Thus, the making of the behind the scenes episodic documentary “Never Give Up.”

    What do you hope to achieve with this film?

    I hope this film helps open doors for me to grow as a filmmaker within the industry, and for me to be able to make a few feature films.

    Are you planning to film a feature version of “Proceed with Caution”?

    I could make a feature version of this project if need be, but I have already written another feature, “Blue Grease,” which I believe would be a great challenge for me if I’m able to accomplish it. “Blue Grease” is an urban love and basketball themed movie.

    We wish you the best of luck with everything!

    If you’re interested in checking out “Proceed with Caution,” CLICK HERE.

    March 28, 2017 • Acting, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2579

  • NYFA Acting for Film Alumna’s “Frisky” Gets Distribution from Gravitas

    friskyShot on a mere five thousand dollars, 8-Week Acting for Film alumna Claudia Pickering’s film, “Frisky,” was recently digitally released by Gravitas — which happens to be the same distribution company who distributed her former NYFA instructor, Adam Nimoy’s Spock documentary — in the US and Canada.

    The Sydney-born filmmaker began her foray into filmmaking through acting, which led to creating comedy sketches, short films and webseries’, the first of which was a music video titled “Sebring,” which included Danny Trejo, who choreographed and performed a synchronized dance for the clip.

    “Acting and directing involves a lot of switching between head spaces, and a lot of trust in your cast and crew,” says Pickering. “Having a very intimate understanding of each scene really helped the process of going between ‘acting’ and ‘directing’ modes. As an actor, I could feel when we had hit the right emotional moments in each scene, but the issue was, I couldn’t see whether we’d nailed the shot. Fortunately, I had a wonderful relationship with our cinematographer, Christiana Charalambous, and trusted her that when she said she got the shot, we were clear to move on.”

    Pickering has now written and produced two feature length films, ‘Frisky’ and ‘Winning Formula‘, of which she directed the former, and both have received international festival success including Official Selection at the Chicago Comedy Film Festival, Best Feature Film at the 10th Broad Humor Film Festival in Los Angeles, Best Comedy Feature at the Atlanta Underground Film Festival and the Director’s Choice for Best Feature Film at the Austin Revolution Film Festival. Pickering won the 2015 Tropfest Tropvine competition with a stop motion animation of a giraffe telling a dad joke, and regularly creates sketches with her comedy troupe, Frothpocalypse. She is currently developing several projects through her company, Cliff House Productions.

    Frisky

    “My experience at NYFA LA was nothing short of life-changing,” said Pickering. “With incredible teachers such as Adam Nimoy, the course not only taught great acting techniques and theory, but also gave me a solid practical and theoretical foundational understanding of filmmaking. Additionally, I met some wonderful lifelong friends, one of whom, Anna Bennett, I went on to form a comedy production company with.”

    Her most recent film, “Frisky,” involves two young women who move back to San Francisco, where they had met on exchange years earlier. However, their high career aspirations quickly become sidelined by their sexual interests. While wildly crass and charismatic in their public personas, they are in fact fundamentally at odds on many levels. Their opposing beliefs surrounding responsibility and romance, combined with their close quarters while crashing in an acquaintance’s living room, find them thrust onto a fast track to discovering what their friendship is really made of. Based on true events, “Frisky” is an honest, tongue-in-cheek look at what it is to be a woman in the limbo years between college and “the real world.”

    “The film is based on my real life experiences moving from Sydney to Los Angeles — the first and most emotionally potent time was for NYFA — then from LA to San Francisco,” says Pickering. “The emotions, the the friendships, the flings, the near-misses, and the life-long lasting love for people and places. I was living in San Francisco, waiting for another feature film, ‘Winning Formula,’ to go through post production in LA. I was working as an architect to earn some money, but was really becoming disillusioned by the whole profession as I’d sit at my desk and fantasize about stories I’d like to make into movies. One night, I was invited to attend the test screening of a film that a friend of a friend had made on virtually no budget with a six month turn-around. The film was such a joy to watch — so honest and funny — and had been shot on a DSLR camera just like one I already owned and I thought to myself, ‘I can do that.’ I checked my savings account balance that night, quit my job the next day and started writing ‘Frisky'”

    For more information about how to download or stream, “Frisky,” please visit the website at friskymovie.com.

    March 24, 2017 • Acting, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1976

  • NYFA Photography Alumni Spotlight: Eunnym Cho

    Born in Seoul, South Korea with a background as a theater designer, photography has always been a passion for New York Film Academy Photography alumna, Eunnym Cho. Cho used her elaborate sets as backdrops for what were the beginnings of her exploration into photography as an art.

    looking into the lives

    “Looking into the Lives” by Eunnym Cho

    “I would always take shots of the theater sets and costumes I designed for my portfolio,” said Cho. “At one point I figured having a deeper knowledge of photography would be helpful to get the shots I wanted, so I decided to take the One Year Photography Conservatory at the New York Film Academy. I started the program just to learn more on the technical side, but the course was a lot more than just that. I discovered the huge field over the program and took it serious from there.”

    Since graduating from NYFA, Cho’s work has been recognized by several galleries, including:

    • The Art at the Center National Juried Exhibition 2017, Tomahawk Ridge Community Center, KS, 2017
    • 45th International Art Show, Brownsville Museum of Fine Art, TX, 2017
    • City Lights Spring 2017 Juried Exhibition, City Lights Art Gallery, NV, 2017
    • New York International Photography Contest, Gateway Art Center NYC, NY, 2017
    • 40th National Photography Exhibition, Larson Gallery, WA, 2017
    • Next Up, Next Gallery, CO, 2017
    • Conroe Art League 2017 Invitational Show, TX, 2017
    • LA Artcore Annual Photographic Competition, CA, 2017
    • 38th Annual Juried Art Exhibition, Monmouth Museum, NJ, 2017
    • Dreams, The Darkroom Gallery, Essex Jct. VT, 2016
    • Primary Colors, Final list, Honorable Mention, New York Center for Photographic Art, NY, 2106
    Untitled Gaze

    “Untitled Gaze 3” by Eunnym Cho

    “Untitled Gaze” is her first ongoing project and “Looking into the Lives” is the one that followed. “Looking into the Lives” is a series of street shots. The project involves two sub-projects: Part I was taken in the Dominican Republic and part II was taken in New Orleans, LA.

    “One of the most memorable parts of the NYFA Photography program was the school trip to Dominican Republic,” said Cho. “It was the most enjoyable way to learn about the topic and, as it turns out, was where one of my projects, ‘Looking into the Lives,’ began.”

    Untitled Gaze 2_Honorable Mention_NextUp_Denver

    “Untitled Gaze” by Eunnym Cho

    Her other ongoing project, “Untitled Gaze” is a series of images taken in various bars in Manhattan. “At first I was searching for unique, interesting elements of bars, but then I became more aware of the patrons, especially those who were alone,” added Cho. “So I set out to photograph, using the point of view of these individuals. Without looking at their phones, how did they fill the void? What would their eye focus on? In their inebriated state, what do they see? Focusing on singular item or area, I began to create abstractions of what they might see. Drawing inspiration from Uta Barth and Saul Leiter, I looked for things that might catch their eyes as they looked around from their barstool.”

    Cho hopes having her work at galleries across the country will provide exposure to her work, but she would love to have an exhibition in her current hometown of New York City.

    As Cho puts it, “There is no better place in the world in terms of the amount of galleries and museums that focus on photography.”

    March 6, 2017 • Photography, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1988