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  • NYFA Alumni Form Kaleidocircle Productions

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    A group of recent New York Film Academy alumni have teamed together to create a production company called Kaleidocircle Productions. Established as fifteen eager actors looking to continue their journey together, they are now a solid group of 12; Aleigha Spinks, Will Parker, Max Turner, Esther Van Zyl, Cesar Brandi, Vitoria Mattos, Laika Lalonde, Victoria Ruud, Natalia Garcez, Ana Paula Marques, Litha Bam and Jen Theophilus.

    Kaleidocircle Productions

    Kaleidocircle Productions

    The production team, a multi-cultural film ensemble, collaborates with actors, filmmakers, writers, photographers, and musicians. They are working to provide high quality entertainment on a global platform while maintaining a level of intimacy and magnitude with their audience. Kaleidocircle strives to provoke, spark, and affect every walk of life the best way possible.

    “Our team thrives on creativity and success from every corner of the globe,” said Aleigha K. Spinks, Managing Director.

    Working within the LGBTQ community is very important to the company, with many of its founding members being a part of the community. Providing opportunities for not just young creatives, but minorities, alike. No matter the level of experience, Kaleidocircle is always willing to assist in the development of creative individuals.

    Kaleidocircle Productions

    “I have managed to not only act, but, write, direct and produce original material of high quality thanks to our companies network of artists across 6 continents,” said Will Parker, Artistic Director.

    K-Circle, as they like to abbreviate sometimes, has created contemporary promotional material for the non-profit organization, Hetrick Martin Institute. They will also be producing their first professional short film in the fall — a story inspired by the true events of the gas explosions in New York City. They hope to touch their audience, evoking raw and honest emotions, while relaying a message of hope to each and every one of us.

    Be sure to check out and follow K-Circle on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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    August 2, 2016 • Acting, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5881

  • Students and Alumni Meet with Agents

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    As the clock struck 7:00 at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles Campus the lobby began to fill with acting students and alumni. Agents from Abrams Artists Agency, Central Artists, Daniel Hoff Agency, DDO Artists Agency, Howard Talent West, Ideal Talent Agency, LA Management, McKeon-Myones Management, Media Artists Group, Prodigy Talent, Debra Manners Talent Management, sat perched behind desks ready to take the student’s head shots and discuss their future.

    Frederico Mallet a recent MFA Acting graduate attended the recent looking for commercial and theatrical representation. “I think it’s fantastic that Barbara made this happen,” said Mallet. “Because she is really great. She’s one of the finest people at NYFA. She’s at it all the time. She cares so much about us and I’m really grateful that she did this.”

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    The event was organized and run by Barbara Weintraub, Chair of Industry Outreach and Professional Development. She wanted to give recent and soon to be graduates an opportunity not only to network and practice pitching themselves but hopefully to land an agent and secure work.

    Spring 2015 graduate, Katisha Seargent, “I graduated in May and I’ve been trying to get out there. I was doing a lot of self-submissions. I was so grateful to the school put together a program to help us get that foot in the door because it’s something we’ve been trying to do since we graduated.”

    “I watched the footage that they made us shoot on our very first week at NYfA and I just compare it to where I am now and the growth is just exponential. It’s ridiculous. I learned so many things. My interpersonal communication skills rose exponentially. My confidence…it just went through the roof. I’m playing roles now that I never thought that I would do, that I didn’t think I was good at. I found out I have a comedic side. I never thought I was funny. You find out so much about yourself through this process here at NYFA.”

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    Acting student Owen Rousu knew he only had two minutes to impress the agents, “I have a commercial agent already so I’m looking more for theatrical. My little spiel goes, ‘Hey, I’m Owen. This is my theatrical headshot. I’m looking for theatrical representation; either a manager or an agent. I’m SAG eligible. I think what sets me apart from other actors is I spent five years in the army. I deployed twice as a US Army Ranger. So, the roles that I would go up for are usually army, marines, cops, firefighters, or the bad guy, apparently. I get a lot of villains, which actually, I love.”

    When all was said and done we had several students reach back to tell us about their experience.

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    The meet and greet was such a great event! I got an audition for commercial representation at Daniel Hoff! Which is an agency I’ve wanted to audition for so bad!

    So, thank you!

    Best,
    Linnea

    Thank you so much for yesterday the event was great! I was already contacted by two talent agencies!
     
    So, thank you so much! Those events must keep on going! They are of great help.
     Gonzalo
    Thanks for last night event!! I got contacted by DDO agency already for an interview next Thursday for possible representation!
    Thanks,
    Todd
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    The New York Film Academy would like to thank all the agencies that came to view our students and the current students and alumni who took advantage of this opportunity.

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    July 21, 2016 • Acting, Community Highlights, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 4008

  • Former Student to Present Photo Exhibition at Cloud Gallery in NYC

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    Stone Wong

    Stone Wong

    Born and raised in Hong Kong, the New York based photographer and former New York Film Academy Photography student Stone Wong has been featured in Gothesque Magazine and Nam Magazine.

    With a focus in fashion, beauty and portrait photography, Wong is especially strong in capturing the emotional moments of people, and he has a keen sense in presenting a blend of Chinese and Western culture in his works.

    Beginning this Thursday, July 14, 2016, Wong will be presenting a Solo Photo Exhibition “In Search of Hong Kong” at the Cloud Gallery in New York City (66 W Broadway). His exhibition will run until July 28th.

    Recently, NYFA had a chance to catch up with the busy photographer before his upcoming exhibition.

    Would you mind telling me a little bit about yourself and your background?

    My name is Huang Ka Kit. You can call me Stone. I was born and raised in Hong Kong. I grew up in a very normal family with my parents in the fashion trading industry. After I graduated from high school, I started helping them out while working as part-time photographer at the same time. It wasn’t until I turned 29 years old that I decided to chase my dream as a photographer.

    What drew you to study photography at NYFA?

    I fell in love with photography when I first owned a camera at the age of 17. When I turned 29, I realized life is not all about making money, so I decided to put a hold on my work in the fashion trading industry and pursue my dream in photography.

    When I think of photography and fashion, New York is always the first city that pops up in my mind. I always wanted to live and study in New York at least once in my life. I’ve been learning photography on my own for a few years but I’ve never received any professional training. New York Film Academy provides the most hands-on program as far as I know. That’s why I decided to come to NYFA to improve my skills.

    work by Stone Wong for Gothesque

    work by Stone Wong for Gothesque

    What was your favorite aspect of your Photography Program at NYFA?

    What I truly enjoyed the most was the close connection between our instructors and the students. It goes beyond class hours. Whenever I had any technical questions, regardless of time and distance, I could always ask for guidance and advice from my teachers during and after the class. For example, they guided me through the way of exploring and figuring out what photography means to me both as a photographer and an audience through my own efforts. Students have to rack their brains to express their feeling towards photographs and critique them in a professional way under instruction. Among all the courses, I love “Vision and Style” the most.

    I also love the way students work as a team just like in a real work environment.

    Before joining NYFA, I learned all of my technical skills from the Internet. I took photos based on whatever ideas or concepts popped into my mind. NYFA’s program helped me put my “scrapped” techniques and knowledge together in a more systematic and structured way, further improving my understanding of the art and technique as a photographer in a profound way. It also gave me a clearer direction of where I’m going to in terms of personal artistic style and career path through teaching me how to develop a concept, compose an image, use color, interact with models and eventually tell a story.

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    Wong’s work for Nam magazine

    What’s your favorite work that you have produced thus far?

    My final project “Lost in Chinatown” is my favorite work produced out of the NYFA program. In my opinion, photographic work should not only appeal to our eyes but also to our minds, which means I expect these visual images to influence people in a more meaningful way.

    As a New York based Hong Kong photographer, I’m very proud to have a Chinese identity with strong experience in culturally diverse environment, which enhanced my reflection of China. From this “Lost In Chinatown” series, I want to create a peculiar yet coherent collection that challenges people’s perceptions on Chinese beauty. By having an American stylist, a Japanese make-up artist and a Chinese model to collaborate in this project, I tried to present vivid visuals of China in its new era.

    "Lost in Chinatown" by Stone Wong

    “Lost in Chinatown” by Stone Wong

    What has been the greatest challenge you’ve faced during the production process and how did you solve it?

    It’s all about leveraging between creating a high quality photograph and dealing with the difficulties encountered all the way through pre-production to post-production: the limited time and resources to conceptualize a creative idea, setting up everything for shooting, controlling the unpredictable circumstances on set, and the necessary technical skills to polish your work and develop it into something you desired. I want my work to be perfect, so I will spare no effort to achieve what I want.

    In what ways do you think NYFA helped you to develop the business skills needed to succeed as a professional photographer?

    The program itself is very practical and inspires me a lot. The techniques and theoretical knowledge that I obtained from classes have been applied to some of my favorite photographic pieces.

    Which artist influences you most and why?

    Annie Leibovitz is one of my favorite artists. She is a great storyteller. Her photographs are just like condensed romantic films appealing to her audience emotionally. We have all the necessary recipes including lighting, scene, mood and subject — now you just need to blend everything together into a decent and delightful meal. That’s something I’ve always been looking for and working on.

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    “Deviate in Murk” by Stone Wong

    Can you tell us about your solo fashion photography exhibition coming up this July?

    Yes, I’m going to have my first ever solo photography exhibition at the Cloud Gallery in New York City. It’s called “In Search of Hong Kong Vision.” It will showcase some of my favorite pieces of work, including “Lost in Chinatown,” “Film Noir,” “The Lady,” “Fear,” “Deviate in Murk,” “The Gentlemen and Dark is Coming.” I want to present a harmonious blend of Chinese and Western culture while sharing a special view for China’s rapid development, Hong Kong and international vision, and humanity issues.

    Hong Kong is my root, but I travelled and lived in different cities in China and the U.S. in order to widen my perspectives and culture inspirations. There is no definite answer for Hong Kong Vision. By understanding through thinking and discovering through experiencing, I attempt to define this unique view of Hong Kong Vision, and present his distinctive sense of Chinese and Western culture into his fashion photography and portrait works. I love the saying that “Photography is not only about the moment of pressing the shutter, photography is nothing but eternity.”

    This exhibition will open on Thursday, July 14th, 2016 with a public reception at 7pm for the artist.

    Please find out more information from the following link.

    Where do you see yourself as a photographer in five years?

    I want to be a full-time fashion and commercial photographer without compromising. I will keep working on my “In search of Hong Kong” project. I hope a couple of years later when I look back on today’s work, the quality of my work grows simultaneously with the increase of my age and accumulation of life experiences.

    Any additional advice you would like to give to NYFA photography students?

    If you love photography and decided to devote yourself to this industry, you should get started as early as possible. Photography cultivates your life in an artistic and educational way. It teaches you to appreciate the world and the fine parts of it by concentrating it into a tiny little image. But before you choose this career path, you should be aware that it’s a road with no turning back. It’s the enthusiasm and hard work that support you at the end of the day, so just be prepared to face all the challenges and the endless efforts you should make on your road to success. If you are not quite sure about it yet, you probably should enter schools like New York Film Academy and figure out who you want to be and where you want to go.

    If you would like more information about Stone and to see his portfolio, please check out his website, Facebook & Instagram.

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  • NYFA Alumni Panel Talks Business, Networking and Movie Trivia Following Screening of “Hellion”

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    New York Film Academy had the pleasure of welcoming back alumni Tanner Beard, Steven Garcia, Ashley Eberbach, and Ryan Rottman. These former students returned after over a decade, having attended NYFA Los Angeles when it was a small group of offices running out of the Universal backlot.

    The evening started with Hellion, starring Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad and produced by Tanner Beard’s production company, Silver Sail Entertainment. They also screened a trailer of an upcoming film from Silver Sail Entertainment. Filmmaking instructor Eric Conner moderated the Q&A that followed.

    alumni nyfa tanner

    One of the first things the group focused on was the importance of being a positive person to work with, with Ryan Rottman saying, “In this town, the nicer you are, the more real you are…people appreciate that.” Rottman has acted in several TV series, including 90210, The Lying Game, and Happyland. He’ll be appearing in the upcoming film, Billionaire Boys Club.

    Steven Garcia, VP, Current Programing and Development at B17 Entertainment, added, “I’m thankful I’ve surrounded myself with good people. I’ve been a good enough teammate to have them keep me around.”

    This went along with the question they were asked about how to network. The whole panel agreed when Rottman said to “talk to other people.” Beard added that students should “surround [themselves] with people who love what you love and do what you do. Once you get out of school you’re so hungry for it, you forget it’s going to take time.”

    6 Bullets to Hell – Video Game Doc from Ashley Eberbach on Vimeo.

    They did admit how difficult the business could be, but their hope was to show that it is possible to succeed. Beard said that “it never gets easier. It was something I wanted very badly. I took the glass half full approach.”

    Rottman advised that students “not [let] it beat you down…just keep going. I know people who booked it…do your best.”

    nyfa alumni panel

    Ashley Eberbach, who works as a photographer and runs a multi-media production company in Los Angeles, chimed in, saying, “I think we all have war stories of like ‘I can’t believe that worked out.’ Make the best of it—the minute you break, that’s when you have a disaster. Making movies is supposed to be fun.”

    They reminisced fondly about their time at NYFA, and Beard said that “it is so cool…we are so happy to be here.”

    They concluded the evening with a movie trivia contest with prizes like Silver Sail Entertainment T-shirts and a signed event poster. We hope this will be the first of many visits back from these thriving, successful graduates.

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  • Former Students Return to Discuss Production of First Feature

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    New York Film Academy Producing and Screenwriting Alumni Justin Ford and Mark DeBarr spoke with current students last night about collaborations and their first feature film Lemons. Set in New York’s Lower East Side, the low budget film charts the breakup of a relationship between two Millenials.

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    NYFA alumni Justin Ford and Mike DeBarr with NYFA Producing Chair, Neil Weisman

    Written and directed by Mike DeBarr, produced by Justin Ford, and shot by fellow NYFA Producing graduate Heikki Herlin, the film is currently in post-production. Mike and Heikki also share producing credit.

    Having met at NYFA, Justin and Mike spoke about the development, financing, and production of the project, and shared their marketing and distribution plans in a conversation moderated by Producing Department Chair Neal Weisman.

    nyfa mixer event

    The team hopes to launch Lemons at a prominent film festival in early 2017. A mixer followed, encouraging current Producing and Screenwriting students to start their own NYFA collaborations.

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  • NYFA Grad Directs “Hands of Stone” with Robert De Niro

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    Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 11.34.48 AM

    Jonathan Jakubowicz

    Over the years, boxing films have provided the cinema with many dramatic elements that make for an award-winning film. Directors like Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, and David O’ Russell have showcased their remarkable behind-the-camera magic through the story of a troubled or underdog boxer that often undergoes a significant character arc. In New York Film Academy graduate Jonathan Jakubowicz’s most recent film, Hands of Stone, the Venezuelan-born director tackles the story of boxer, Roberto Duran (played by Edgar Ramirez) and his legendary trainer, Ray Arcel (played by Oscar Winning actor Robert De Niro). Coming off its impressive premiere at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, Hands of Stone will see its US wide release on August 26, 2016.

    After graduating from the Academy nearly 20 years ago, it was a pleasure to catch up with the director who has certainly come a long way since his film school days.

    Congratulations on your most recent film, Hands of Stone! Can you tell us a little bit about your film? In your own words, what is the film about?

    It’s the story of how Roberto Duran and his trainer Ray Arcel changed each other’s life. Two legends at the heart of the golden era of boxing, and what they went through to get to Duran’s battles with Sugar Ray Leonard.

    Why do you think Roberto Duran’s story is so important to tell?

    It’s an inspiring story that shows how Duran came from nothing and became a hero for his nation. The son of a US marine, Duran grows up dreaming to take revenge against the Americans who are occupying his land, and his American trainer enables him to become the best version of himself. It’s a movie about a Latin hero, and Hollywood usually only shows Latinos as drug dealers.

    How did this film come about and how did Robert De Niro become involved?

    It was a process of many years. From convincing Duran to trust us with his life rights, to writing the script and sending it to De Niro. Then working with De Niro on the script for half a year until he decided to play the part. Then raising the money outside of the system, because no studio would make a movie about a Latin boxer. And then the best part: making the movie.

     

    Would you say NYFA’s training was useful in terms of being prepared to direct films such as this and the others you’ve worked on?

    I went to the University in Venezuela and graduated with a major in journalism, but NYFA was the first exposure I got to any kind of formal education in filmmaking. It was my “ABC’s,” the first steps I took to make movies professionally. That was twenty years ago. There’s no doubt that what I learned at NYFA helped. It was very emotional for me to shoot a scene with De Niro and Ellen Barkin, two legendary New Yorkers, a few blocks from the school. It definitely felt like those two moments in my life, being a film student and directing my dream movie, were connected.

    What advice do you have for filmmakers looking to break into this industry?

    I would tell them to tell stories they are convinced they can tell better than anyone. Duran is Latino; Arcel, his trainer, is Jewish. I’m a Latin Jew. I knew both worlds. Not many filmmakers know both worlds better than me. And that allowed me to make the movie with confidence, and confidence is the only tool a filmmaker can trust. Breaking into the industry is the consequence of achieving a goal. The goal is making a good movie. Focus on that goal. Make a movie that shows you can do stuff others can’t. High quality consumer cameras and computers give you an opportunity no other generation has ever had. There are no excuses why you haven’t made your first film. If you feel you are ready, do it. And do a feature. You will learn more from a feature than from 30 shorts.

    Congratulations once again on this film and all of your success in this industry thus far. We’re looking forward to seeing Hands of Stone in theaters when it comes out this August 26, 2016.

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    June 17, 2016 • Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 4287

  • Photography Grad’s Photo Series Selected by Photo District News

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    Photography graduate Nicky Wanzi came to the New York Film Academy from Singapore, an island city-state southern Malaysia. She believed if she was going to pursue photography it should be in New York City and NYFA would provide the education and location that she was looking for.

    “From theory to the practical lessons, the training at NYFA pushed my skill set to another level — the professional level.”

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    photo by Nicky Wanzi

    One of her projects, which was for her NYFA mid-term, was selected by PDN (Photo District News), Student Annual. The PDN Photo Annual is an esteemed accolade for established photographers and a jumping-point for student and emerging photographers breaking into the field. The series of photos focused on her personal life story of coming to New York and chasing the dream of becoming a successful photographer. It documents the snippets of her daily life as an international student living in a shared apartment, and the little things that make her who she is — from the food she eats to the activities she partakes in. However, she executed the series from a different perspective and added another dimension to this otherwise ordinary documentary-style shoot.

    “The three young men in the photos represent the strong bonds I share with my good friends from back home in Singapore,” said Wanzi. “Back home we usually operated as a unit, almost like triplets hanging out all the time. Whether it’s having a meal or a game of basketball, we were almost inseparable and had each other’s backs no matter.”

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    “Transition” photo by Nicky Wanzi

    While attending NYFA, Wanzi also worked on a photo series called “Transition,” where she celebrates her newfound love for nature and explores her connectedness with it, gradually becoming more in sync with her surroundings as she captures what’s around her.

    Wanzi is currently in the middle of planning another personal project before she heads back to Singapore.

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  • Broadcast Journalism Fall 2015 Graduation

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    broadcast journalism graduates
    Without a doubt, last week’s highlight was the graduation of the Fall 2015 1-Year Broadcast Journalism students. The weather was perfect, and so was the event. It was a great way to celebrate the hard work and determination of the graduates, as well as reflect on the fun they had while at NYFA.

    Friday we screened their resume reels, along with one story from the numerous reports each student produced while here at NYFA. The goal was to pick a story that best reflected what they learned at NYFA. The graduates were then awarded their certificates. Finally, the grads, faculty and staff went off-campus to celebrate the occasion.

    Congratulations to all of our recent grads. We wish them the best of luck as they begin their careers in broadcast journalism!

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    May 30, 2016 • Broadcast Journalism, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2781

  • Acting Alumni Meet with Talent Agents & Managers at Inaugural Industry Showcase

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    nyfa alumni
    On Thursday, April 28th, New York Film Academy Los Angeles campus proudly presented their inaugural Alumni Industry Showcase at NYFA Theater. This showcase represented the very best from the AFA, BFA and MFA programs who graduated from January 2015 through January 2016. The evening was filled with short live scenes, a short film, songs and improv.

    “Our goal is to showcase our students to be competitive with all the top schools in the country. What sets NYFA apart is our focused Acting for Film training and international diversity,” said Anne Moore, director of the showcase and Associate Chair of Acting/Departmental Programming.

    “This showcase is right on par with any other showcase we’ve seen this season. We found a lot of talent here,” said a rep from ABC casting.

    Overall, the evening was a success with reps attending from ABC, NBC, and CBS casting as well as managers and agents from such agencies as UTA. Alumni have all ready been contacted from casting at CBS for meetings.

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    May 2, 2016 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 3840

  • NYFA Welcomes Acclaimed Photographer and Cinematographer Carter Smith

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    On February 17, the fashion and celebrity photographer, and NYFA Alumnus, Carter Smith, provided the New York Film Academy Photography Department’s latest guest lecture at NYFA’s New York Campus at 17 Battery Place.

    carter smith

    Carter is an award-winning film director and fashion photographer who has been working in the industry for over 15 years. His fashion images have appeared in magazines all over the world, including Vogue, GQ, Elle, W, i-D, Allure, Visionaire and The New York Times Magazine. He has worked with commercial clients such as Vera Wang, Louis Vuitton, Tommy Hilfiger, Lancôme, DKNY, Lacoste, Banana Republic, and Hermes – often shooting both stills and directing commercials.

    Smith’s first short film “BUGCRUSH,” adapted from a short story by Scott Treleaven, won the Grand Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. In 2008, “BUGCRUSH” caught the attention of Steven Spielberg, who handpicked Smith to direct the feature film “The Ruins” for DreamWorks Entertainment. In addition to the film’s commercial success, “The Ruins” received critical acclaim and was chosen as one of Stephen King’s top ten movies of the year.

    smith nyfa

    Carter walked NYFA photography students through his childhood in Maine and his early interest in fashion and photography. He spoke passionately about his early career decisions, including his reasons for choosing attending NYFA over New York University and the Fashion Institute of Technology, so that he could obtain a hands-on education. He talked about the importance of learning how to instantly build a rapport with your subjects, and the need to network all the time and maintain those relationships. Students walked away with a great message from Carter; never stop working, testing, and exploring your own vision. “Show the work you love to create, and it will find a niche,” Carter told the NYFA students.

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    February 19, 2016 • Filmmaking, Photography, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 8387