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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Students and Alumni Attend Career & Internship Fair

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    Earlier this June, students and alumni from New York Film Academy (NYFA) attended a career & internship fair, where they mingled and spoke with representatives from multiple industry and production companies currently looking for employees. Some companies needed interns and other were looking to hire. The event was held on June 7 at the Garland Hotel in North Hollywood. Career & Internship Fair June 2019

    The companies attending range across the industry from agencies to magazines to production companies, including Bunim/Murray, one of the largest reality productions in Hollywood, which produces Keeping Up with the Kardashians. 

    Other companies in attendance that met with students and alumni include:

    44 Blue Productions

    Blue Sky Films

    Bunim/Murray Productions

    Critical Content

    Dapper Bird Entertainment                                       

    Darius Films                                                   

    Flaunt Magazine

    ICM                                                                 

    International Artists PR & Talent Mngmt     

    Interloper Films                                             

    JBI Studios

    JuVee Productions  (Viola Davis’ production company)                                    

    NBC Entertainment                                       

    Osbrink Talent Agency                                   

    Red Barre Media                                           

    The Robb Company

    Touchstone Management                             

    Voltage Pictures

    Warner Records      

    One of the companies, Red Barre Media, attended the fair last year as well, and met with NYFA MFA Producing alum Gabriela Ono, who made a great impression on them and was brought in for an internship. Ono was later hired as a full-time employee.

    NYFA Filmmaking workshop alum Akila Robinson was also part of the fair, representing Warner Records. Robinson is currently Warner Records Vice President of Creative Services.

    Students and alumni found the fair both fun and useful. Here are some of their responses from after the event:

    Vivian Wu: “I absolutely loved the Career Fair! I went last Friday and I just signed with a manager! Fairs like this give us so much opportunity for us alumni! So incredibly grateful that this was put together for us!”

    Alina Averianova: “Thanks to you and the event you organized I got two internship calls – from Darius Films and Dapper Bird Entertainment – with the last one being paid. I have decided to roll with Dapper Bird as they are potentially interested in helping me with shooting my first feature (the proof-of-concept for which I am shooting this semester as my thesis project).

    “Thank you so much for the Internship fair! It was a pleasant and fun experience as well as a very helpful one. Instead of submitting depersonalized applications online, I got a chance to talk to people from production companies in person, and I believe that was the key for eventually getting the offer.”

    Hongyu: “Thanks to your arrangement I met a talent manager from Dapper Bird Entertainment. We just had a meeting last night. She will become my manager to represent me and help me manage my directing career.”

    Nicole Campbell: “I got an interview with Darius Films and I met them today. I’ve been helping out with a talk show with camerawork and I’m looking to get more experience on production. Thank you for the opportunity of attending the fair.”

    Employers who attended the fair also had great things to say, and several went out of their way to thank NYFA Director of Career Development and Industry Outreach Barbara Weintraub.  

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    June 20, 2019 • Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 479

  • Q&A with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Alum Dishani Chakraborty

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum Dishani Chakraborty is ready to make her mark on the Bollywood scene. The young actress grew up in India, first in Coimbatore and then Mumbai, before moving to Los Angeles to study acting. Dishani first took the NYFA 4-week Acting for Film workshop before moving on to the 1-year Acting for Film conservatory at our Burbank-based campus.dishani chakraborty

    Since then, Dishani has steadily been increasing her skills as an actress as well as her presence online. When she returns home, she plans to hit the ground running with a career in acting that will follow in the footsteps of her brothers and her father, noted and award-winning Bollywood star Mithun Chakraborty (Disco Dancer, Agneepath, Suraksha). Indeed, buzz around her is already growing—she recently appeared in a photo story for Times of India.

    New York Film Academy recently spoke with Dishani Chakraborty about her favorite classes at NYFA, her artistic family, and what influences and inspires her as an actress:

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): First, can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you’re from, and what brought you to New York Film Academy?

    Dishani Chakraborty (DC): I grew up in a small city in the south of India called Coimbatore. I lived there with my three older brothers and parents for about nine years until we moved to Mumbai. 

    Growing up in a household full of artists, I knew when I was really little that I wanted to be an actor. A normal day in my house consisted of my family talking about movies, both Hollywood and Bollywood. My siblings and I would watch at least one movie a day after school. I was so influenced by Western culture because of the number of movies and TV shows I watched and the music I listened to. 

    I knew that I wanted to go abroad to learn the craft of filmmaking and acting once I finished high school. And what better place to learn than Hollywood itself. That’s how New York Film Academy came in the picture. I did a short, 4-week Acting workshop back in 2016 at the Los Angeles campus and I absolutely fell in love with it. It was the best intensive course I had ever taken. I was blessed to have incredible teachers. So I decided to come back and do a 1-year Acting conservatory to gain more knowledge and experience before I started my journey in Bollywood.

    dishani chakrabortyNYFA: What attracted you to learning the craft of acting?

    DC: I think I was lucky because I had the access to learn the craft of acting from a very early age thanks to my father being an actor. I remember going on his film sets and being astonished by every little aspect. But for me, the thing that excites me the most about an actor’s job is that their learning process never ends. As an actor, you really never stop growing or learning. There’s so much you can prepare for, discover and explore. As actors, we’re lucky that we can choose to be versatile by doing one job.

    NYFA: What inspires you as an actor?

    DC: Growing up, I saw a lot of Natalie Portman’s work—I felt very much like her. Because I’m a petite person with a baby face and even though I’m over 18, I’ve looked 15 for quite a long time. Natalie Portman has been a big influence on me as an actor. Watching her versatility from doing something like Léon: The Professional to Star Wars to one of my favorite movies of her, Closer. I hope to get roles with that kind of range, whether I work in Bollywood or Hollywood.

    NYFA: Your family has a great deal of experience in the entertainment industry. How do you differentiate yourself from the work they’ve done?

    DC: I’m a firm believer in there’s no “recipe for success.” Everybody’s journey is completely different. I do feel blessed because I’ve learned a lot of things about “showbiz” from my family and it certainly gives me a boost, but my father has raised my brothers and me to be hard workers, and most of all to work our way to get things.dishani chakraborty

    And I think living in LA and working here has given me a great dose of experience and independence, and I think that will help me a lot when I start working in Bollywood. I want to achieve things through my talent and hard work.

    NYFA: What did you learn at NYFA that you find yourself using often?

    DC: My favorite class in NYFA was Technique & Scene Study. I can say hands down that my teacher, Mr. Dig Wayne was by far the most excellent teacher I’ve ever had. I was lucky enough to also have him when I did the 4-week program in 2016. When I started NYFA, I was very shy and self-conscious. He taught us the craft of method acting and I think his class helped me overcome so many of my inhibitions. 

    I still remember my first class with him and he made us do an exercise where we closed our eyes and he told us to hear our mothers calling our name. It was the biggest triggering point for me. And he told me to open my eyes and start my scene right then and there with those emotions. I felt so authentic and organic. His method was discovering as much information as possible for your character. Their backstory, their body language, even how you think they’d sound like. I think that’s been such an important take away for character build up.

    NYFA: What advice would you give to students just starting out at NYFA?

    DC: Like I mentioned before, as actors, we never really stop learning and growing. Take your time and learn. Take notes! I still to this date go back to my notebook for an audition or a shoot to read notes that I’d made while I was in school. 

    Don’t be afraid to be first in class to go up on stage. Being a shy kid, I always felt like my heart would sink into my stomach every time I thought of going first. But believe me when I say, it’s SUCH a confidence boost when you do. 

    dishani chakrabortyAnd for students starting out, I would recommend creating your own content as well. Write! I know it’s easier said than done and the first draft possibly will be trash and will suck. However, don’t be discouraged—the process of recognizing that will only make you better at it. 

    Lastly, try to be in front of the camera as much as possible. As actors, we’re born to critique ourselves. But the positive side on that is you’ll discover so much about yourself when you watch yourself. And HAVE FUN!! Because these are going to be the best days of your lives.


    New York Film Academy thanks Acting for Film alum Dishani Chakraborty for taking the time to thoughtfully answer our questions and share her experiences with the NYFA Community! 

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    June 19, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 873

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism Update – June 18, 2019

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism school gives our students a set of skills, which they can then use to build their careers. Sometimes that means getting a job. Other times it means starting a business. That’s what NYFA grad Meiraj Haq from Pakistan has done. Haq has created Kulture, a production and catering event management company. (Although we take no credit for his ability as a caterer…)

    Broadcast Journalism Update
    Haq wrote me:  “My main aim is to create content and become the biggest YouTuber in Pakistan. I’ve already worked with the Prime Minister of Pakistan, and made his official election documentary for the 2018 elections. And I have a few more big collaborations coming in the near future as well.”

    In our craft, you don’t wait for things to happen, you make them happen. Lauren Vanney (known online as Lauren O’Connell) has certainly taken that advice to heart.  She knows exactly what her subject niche is…

     

    Lauren is the only NYFA Broadcast Journalism student to demonstrate how to exfoliate your lips as part of a class project. (See Lauren, I remember!)

    ***

    Every month, we have an Open House at NYFA. (It is where I first met some of you now reading this Update…) There is a standard video we play, and I have seen it many times. So, imagine my surprise, when in the latest version I saw for the first time two of our Brazilian grads from back in their student days… Vanessa Lorenzini and Patricia Saad. That January, it was especially cold in New York City. Very different from Sao Paulo. But Vanessa and Patricia were not deterred!

    Broadcast Journalism Update
    It’s not unusual for graduates to come back and visit. What is unusual is when someone who attended one of our Summer Teen Camps stops by, especially since she lives in China… Helen Wang Zheng and her mother were in New York last week and stopped by NYFA. Based on the experience she had with us two years ago, Helen plans to pursue a major in Communications in college.

    Broadcast Journalism Update
    Finally, department faculty meetings aren’t usually the highlight of a given week. But the “meeting” we held two weeks ago was certainly memorable. It took place on Robert Ferraro‘s sailboat, out on Long Island Sound. Robert was patient with Evgenia VlasovaDaniel Hernandez, and myself as he explained some of the finer points of sailing. By the way, he is holding a can of seltzer in the picture below…

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Acting for Film Alum Rita Casman’s ‘Shadow Wall’ Racking Up Awards & Festivals

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    Shadow Wall, the short film written, produced by, and starring New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Acting for Film alum Rita Casman, is currently riding a huge wave of momentum as it picks up multiple awards and festival screenings.

    Casman hails from Guatemala and earned her MFA in Acting for Film, after years of nursing ambitions to be an entertainer while working in marketing and public relations.Shadow Wall

    “I’ll be very honest, I thought that coming to LA was the hardest part, and the truth is that it was the easiest,” says Casman. “I left the struggle that I had in Guatemala and I went through a lot of rejection, and that was only the beginning. It did help me persevere, but in my mind, I thought that I would adapt to the American culture fast, which I did in a way, but it has impacted me so now I have learned not to expect anything good or bad. Being far away of my family is really challenging.”

    Casman, who is smart, outgoing, and a positive example for her friends and professional colleagues, worked through her struggles and now has a successful film under her belt. She loves comedies, horror films, and psychological thrillers, and these passions come through in her short, Shadow Wall.

    Shadow Wall is based on a true story and was directed by Ariana Ledesma. It co-stars Misha Suvorov and NYFA alum Sabrina Percario, who co-produced the film with writer and star Rita Casman.

    So far, Shadow Wall has been a semifinalist in Motion for Pictures and Los Angeles CineFest, and has won multiple awards, including Best Actress at Dreamachine International Film Festival, Best Narrative Short at the Pinnacle Film Awards, Best Music at the Independent Horror Movie Awards, and Best Shorts (English Language) at the Metro Film & TV Awards.

    Additionally, the film has been an Official Selection at numerous festivals: Indie Best Films Festival, Fiction & Narrative Short Films, The American Horrors Film Festival, Genre Celebration Festival, Diabolical Horror Film Festival, Independent Horror Movie Awards, Dunedin International Film Festival, Webisode Film Festival, and the Dreamachine International Film Festival. 

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Acting for Film alum Rita Casman on the success of her film Shadow Wall and looks forward to seeing where her talents and winsome energy bring her next!

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    June 14, 2019 • Acting, Producing, Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 449

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Screenwriting Alum Inés de los Santos Wins Stephanie Rothman Fellowship

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    Earlier this month, New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Screenwriting Alum Inés de los Santos received word that she won the Stephanie Rothman Fellowship.

    The Stephanie Rothman Fellowship is a contest for female filmmakers and writers that create thriller, horror, and fantasy stories. Every year, they grant a female creator with a cash award allows the artist to produce the screenplay, or another project they would instead like to make.

    Inés de los Santos applied to the contest with her thesis project, a comedy-horror pilot about a nun-in-training who accidentally performs an exorcism on her one-night-stand, and is subsequently sent to an exorcism academy.

    Inés de los Santos
    “This story has been one of the most passionate projects I’ve ever had,” de la Santos tells NYFA. “And even though it’s based on someone that is not part of my life anymore, I was able to adjust it and make it even more personal to me—all thanks to my teachers and classmates’ notes and suggestions.”

    Inés de los Santos enrolled in Fall 2017 to earn her MFA in Screenwriting from Burbank-based New York Film Academy. NYFA congratulates Inés on the Stephanie Rothman Fellowship and looks forward to seeing her project come to life!

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    June 14, 2019 • Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 490

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Department Updates: A&E, HBO, PBS, VICE, IDA, MTV Award, BAFTA Nom, Premieres, Fests, Gigs & More!

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) takes a look at the latest achievements of the Documentary Filmmaking department’s alumni, faculty, and students:

    What to Watch

    Season 1 of The Employables, shot and produced by CJ Ferroni (NYC ’13) for A&E began airing last Wednesday. You can catch the first two episodes online, and watch the rest of the season Wednesdays on A&E at 10 p.m. EST or online via Hulu or A&E’s website.

    The feature documentary, Trials of Spring, shot by director of photography Muhammad Hamdy (NYC ‘08) aired on PBS as part of the Women, War and Peace series and can still be seen on their website.

    You can catch one of the many pieces Ilaria Polsonetti (NYC ’11) recently cut for HBO’s VICE New Tonight online as well.

    Hannah Currie‘s (NYC Workshop ’18) post-graduation short Lumo: Too Young to Die aired on BBC Scotland, and can still be seen on BBC iPlayer.

    The episode of The New York Times’ Secret History of Muslims, directed and produced by Maria Stanisheva (NYC ’12) is now also available on Vimeo’s list of Staff Picks.

    Human Rights Watch recently published Saudi Arabia: 10 Reasons Why Saudi Women Flee, based on three short animated films created by Maria Stanisheva and commissioned by fellow alum, Human Rights Watch producer Janna Kyllästinen (NYC ’12).

    The Bit Player, shot by NYC instructor and director of photography Claudia Racshke for director Mark Levin, is premiering at The World Science Fair in NYC. The feature documentary tells the story of the brilliant math genius Claude Shannon, father of the digital revolution.

    Drama del Rosario (’19) has two films in distribution on REVRY.TV 

    In This Family  — What is it like coming out as a gay teen in the Philippines? In a country imbued with traditional Catholic views, coming out is received with disapproval and anger, especially from one’s own family.

    The End of LifeWhat pushes a person to choose between living and dying? Science, religion, and law all converge at the end of life.

    Also, In This Family recently won the Loni Ding Award in Social Issue Documentary at CAAMFest 2019.

    Honors, Awards, Festivals, Grants

    NYFA Docsters have been racking up festivals, major grants, fellowships, and a variety of honors around the world.

    In April, Julia Cheng‘s (NYC ’18) thesis doc Cricket Liu won Best International Short Documentary at AmDocs (American Documentary Film Festival), and qualified for the Academy Award. Then, Anais Michel’s (NYC ’16) and Braulio Jatar‘s (NYC ’18) short Where Chaos Reigns won Best Short Documentary at San Francisco International Film Festival – and also qualified for the Oscar.

    We Are All Here, an earlier, shorter version of Hannah Currie‘s (NYC Workshop ’18) film Lumo: Too Young To Die, made the shortlist for the BAFTA for Best Student Documentary.

    Pedro Peira‘s (LA ’16) film Trabajadores won the K.R. Mohanan Memorial Documentary Award 2019.

    Director/Producer Maria Stanisheva (NYC ’12) and her company AnimaDocs were awarded a development grant from the French CNC – Centre National Du Cinéma Et De L’image Animée for her animated documentary series Finding Home.

    Paul Gallasch (NYC ‘11) was awarded a SA Writers Development Grant from the South Australian Film Corporation.

    Rodrigo Urriolagoitia (NYC ’12) was selected for “Film Accelerator” at La Selva. There, he will shoot a short fiction film under the supervision of director Lucrecia Martel, who’s taking over that role from Werner Herzog. Created to identify and cultivate the most promising filmmakers around the world, Film Accelerator has tapped Rodrigo as its first ever Bolivian director. Meanwhile, his first foray into short fiction, Our Price, has kicked off its festival run by winning its writer/director Rodrigo a Silver Award for Best Crime Short at the Independent Shorts Awards in Los Angeles. Additionally, Pseudo, a feature he produced in Bolivia, will premiere in September.

    Nancy Dionne‘s (NYC ’18) first semester film, All I Can See Is The Future, was picked up by KweliTV following a great launch as a nominee for Best Documentary at the 2019 Winter International Film Festival. It’s now also an Official Selection of Docs Without Borders, the Katra Sidebar series in Dumbo, Hollywood South Urban, and Bowery Social Justice Film Festival. Stay tuned for its drop date on KweliTV.

    Pretty Dead, produced by Wynona Barbera (NYC ‘16), premiered at HBO’s Women in Comedy Festival.

    Elaine Minionis‘s (NYC ’08) Uncanny: The Dolls of Mariana Monteagudo premiered at none other than Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF). It won the Audience Award at the “I’m Not Gonna Move to LA” film festival and also received the Award of Merit at the IndieFEST Film Awards. Uncanny is also an Official Selection of the Miami Independent Film Festival, Fort Myers Film Festival, Tallahassee Film Festival, and Hollywood Florida Film Festival.

    Love From Afar, from director Cristian Sanay (NYC ’14) and editor Nina Thomas (NYC ’15), has hit the festival circuit as an Official Selection of the Latino Film Festival, Corto Circuito Short Film Festival, and Latino & Iberian Film Festival at Yale. The latter included a special Q&A and talk with the filmmakers about immigration. The short has also been invited to be part of the curriculum at various universities, such as Fairfield University in Connecticut and CUNY. Next stop: Long Island International Film Festival on July 12.

    Krisztina Danka’s (NYC Workshop) doc The Stolen River continues its festival run with a new win; this time it was awarded Best Film On Nature at the L’Age D’Or International Arthouse Film Festival in Kolkata, India.

    Amy Wright (NYC ’15) returned to Tribeca Film Festival as Tech Liaison Manager, leading a team that included Anna Panova (NYC ’18), Kuldeep Gangola (NYC ’19), Maria Tamburro (NYC ’19), and Mollie Moore (NYC ’18). Once again, the team successfully screened well over 100 films and got to spend the time they weren’t on duty rubbing elbows and watching the hottest new films.

    After serving on Amy’s Tribeca Film Festival crew, Anna Panova (NYC ’18) stayed on to assist Sandy O’Hearen, CFO of Tribeca Enterprises and others, soaking up more film festival wisdom in preparation for her launch of the Shortie Film Festival in Williamsburg. It sounds pretty cool—they keep the entry fees low and even have a special award Best NYFA Documentary. Enter the fest here 

    Ida Myklebost (NYC ‘16) has jumped to the other side of the festival equation, too. Her freshman festival run with thesis film Unwelcome was quite successful. Last year, for example, she won Anchorage Film Festival. This year, she’s programming it. And their call for entries is open, so send your films!

    Ghost Villages of Himalayas, the thesis film of Kuldeep Gangola (NYC ’19), won the Collective Critics Award in Uttarakhand, India and a Jury Award from Variety International Film Festival, and has been getting love from the press all over India, including an article in The Times of India.

    Juliana Sakae (LA ’13) is Awards Competition Manager for International Documentary Association and is looking for amazing film students to be part of our pre-screening committee:

    “The students will be screening features, shorts, and podcasts in June and July to make sure we have the best in our competition. As a thank you, we offer a 1-year student membership in IDA as well as their name in our Awards Program. The feedback we get from the students is always very positive and they seem to really enjoy the experience.”

    Lucia Flores (LA ‘18) has been awarded a coveted Matthew Modine Masters Scholarship to support her thesis work at NYFA LA.

    This June, Yusaku Kanagawa (NYC ‘15), Chief Producer at Yahoo! JAPAN CREATORS Program in Tokyo, is sitting on the Jury for the 2019 Fresh Pitch competition in Shanghai, China, alongside executives from Discover and NHK. Created by Beijing-based documentary producer/director Julia Cheng (NYC ‘18), Fresh Pitch has quickly become a major hub for the Asian documentary community. Mariko Ide (NYC ‘16), JAPAN CREATORS Program Story Consultant, will be in attendance as well. And Shanghai-based producer Jenny Song (NYC ‘16) is rounding out the NYFA Docs contingent. Together, the four will also attend the Asian premiere of National Geographic’s Academy Award-winner Free Solo, edited by their NYFA mentor, Bob Eisenhardt.

    Great Gigs & Dream Jobs

    Lara Ann de Wet (NYC ’15) has temporarily relocated to Bali as editor of Gary Bencheghib‘s (NYC ’14) new short doc Plastic River, about his ongoing work on the Citarum river with the President of Indonesia.

    Kendall Ciesemier (NYC Workshop) has moved to The New York Times as a producer/reporter continuing the great documentary journalism she began at Mic.

    CJ Ferroni (NYC ’13) has landed in his dream job as a producer/cinematographer developing documentaries for TV at NBC Peacock Productions after years of successful freelancing in the documentary series world.

    Earlier this month, Annie Woods (NYC ‘07) checked in on her way out of the city as she walked away her “fancy” job as creative producer for Viacom to move to a tiny house in Ojai, minimize, and get back to her environmental and social issue documentary work. Or, as Variety would put it, “Woods ankles to go indie.”

    Fuma (Andrea) Fumagalli (NYC ‘07) is also shaking it up. He’s temporarily forsaken sports docs for journalism. After editing the documentary series First Team: Juventus for Netflix and coming in to do some additional editing on Paul George: My Journey for ESPN, Fuma’s moved his attention to reportage for Rai Italia, the channel of Italian Public TV that reaches millions of Italians that live abroad, all across the globe. He’s basically become their foreign correspondent from New York. Check out the page dedicated to his work on “Italy Run.” There will be four pieces and a short doc by the time the Run has run.

    Another foreign correspondent, Bianca Zanini (NYC ’11), continues to thrive at the international TV channel i24 and is developing a documentary series there so she can get straight-up docs back into her daily life.

    Less than two months after graduation, Mollie Moore (NYC ’18) got a gig traveling to Uganda as 2nd Camera/DIT for NYFA Docs instructor Eddie Rosenstein. She has since been sharpening her camera acumen freelancing and TAing in the Doc Department. This week, she returned from TAing the expedition to Belize, just in time to take off for Peru to shoot the MFA thesis of classmate Lucia Florez‘ (NYC ’18 / LA ’19).

    Eddie also hired Charlotte Madvig (NYC ’18) in the editing department on that same film. 

    Nika Nikanava (NYC ‘18) and Braulio Jatar (NYC ’18) got to work with NYC instructor and DP Claudia Raschke on a gig for Sesame Street. Claudia also twice booked Amy Wright (NYC ’14), Carolina Gonzales (NYC ‘15), Anisia Boronova (NYC ’15) and Braulio Jatar (NYC ’18) to shoot and record pieces for American Classical Orchestra.

    Serena Smith (NYC ’18), Kuldeep Gangola (NYC ’18), and Mollie Moore (NYC ‘18) served in various positions for NYC instructor Maxine Trump‘s new ITVS digital series Should We Kid or Not?, a spinoff on her documentary, To Kid or Not to Kid. Fellow NYC instructor Dorottya Mathe produced the series.

    Faculty News

    NYC instructor Tracie Holder won a National Endowment for the Arts grant for The Quiet Zone, a new feature doc she’s producing.

    Randy Dottin, NYFA Chair of Screenwriting, won a documentary grant from the Sundance Institute for his six-part documentary series called The House I Never Knew.

    RBG, DP’ed by NYC instructor Claudia Raschke, is up for four different MTV Movie Awards, including Best Fight (RBG vs Inequality). Free Solo, edited by fellow NYC instructor Bob Eisenhardt, is up for an MTV Movie Award as well.

    Claudia Racshke has also wrapped her celebrity-laden world tour shooting the new National Geographic series Activate, about local activism around the globe.

    NYC instructor Kristen Nutile and Master Class instructor JP Olsen made great use of their residency as MacDowell Fellows and re-emerged with their new doc, Stan, finished and ready to begin its life in the world.

    The Spirit of Discovery, story produced by NYC Documentary Chair Andrea Swift, premiered on KPBS. The feature doc was directed by once and future instructor Eliana Alvarez.

    Maxine Trump’s To Kid or Not to Kid, associate produced by Marie Vanderrusten (NYC ’15) continues to rack up festival appearances and press around the country. And from The New York Post to The Daily Mail, the film is getting love from the press on both sides of the Atlantic.

    Many thanks to distinguished alum Ilaria Polsonetti (NYC ’11), who generously returned this April to teach a Master Class with the current students in the Doc Department. As part of the Master Editors series, Ilaria’s master class was part of a line-up that also featured Academy Award nominee (with Spike Lee, 4 Little Girls) Sam Pollard, and NYFA instructor Bob Eisenhardt, editor of this year’s Oscar winner, Free Solo. Polsonetti was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Editing in News last year for a short documentary she edited for VICE on HBO. Currently a staff editor for VICE News Tonight, she has cut numerous short docs and served as editor on Raised in the System, a VICE on HBO feature documentary starring Michael K. Williams (The Wire), among others. The students got to watch some of the films she’s cut, and soak in her wisdom and insights on editing and working as an editor—especially for VICE—as well as learn about the path she’s taken to get from film school to her current position in the world.

    Personal and Community News

    Paul Gallasch (NYC ’11) checked in to let us know that he’s now a father. Welcome baby boy, Augustine! And while his new feature documentary Love in the Time of Antidepressants continues to make the festival rounds, he has moved to New Orleans to set up shop making docs with his wife and filmmaking partner—and Augustine’s mom—Madeline. If you know anybody in the business in or around New Orleans, Paul would love to meet them! (Andrea’s happy to connect you if you aren’t already.) 

    Turns out Francesca Pagani (NYC ’11) was listed as a producer and Points North Fellow at Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) alongside Paul Gallasch (NYC ’11), who got a nod in the last update. We’ll have to catch Francesca’s details in the next update as, last we heard, she was on a pirate ship in Panama shooting a new short doc.

    In other NYC ’11 reunion news, Bianca Zanini (NYC ’11) and Department Chair, Andrea Swift, got to grab a coffee in Tel Aviv, where Bianca is now based.

    It seems Marco Vitale (NYC ’11) had just spent a few days there too, en route from Iceland to Naples.

    Michael Jovic (NYC ’09) has become a father too. Welcome, Roman Jovic!

    And per Facebook, Fred Boll (NYC ’07) has one on the way!

    SEND YOUR NEWS!

    Your community wants to know what you’ve been up to! Just email or tag your Documentary Chair and we’ll take it from there!

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Cinematography Alum Olga Vazquez Puertas Keeps Busy Behind the Camera

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Cinematography alum Olga Vazquez Puertas is keeping busy behind the camera, getting steady work in the camera department and as a director of photographer on numerous projects.

    Puertas hails from Spain and graduated from the 1-year Cinematography program at NYFA’s New York campus in 2011. “Since childhood, filmmaking has been my passion,” Puertas says on her website’s bio. “Early on, I discovered that what I really love is to speak through visual storytelling. I like to solve challenges collaboratively; controlling the light, composition and frame, achieving the look, mood and tone needed for each project.”Olga Vazquez Puertas

    Recently, Puertas has worked for automaker Audi, and filmed an ad with Kevin Hart for his game, Gold Ambush. She has served in the camera department on such films as Thoreau (2018), Night and Day (2015), On Golden Years (2014), Taste of Honey (2013), and The Therapy (2013).

    Additionally, she has worked as director of photography on Hooked (2019), Vedic Nights (2018), Love and Bullets (2017), A Lonely Woman (2018), Pinsky (2017) and the upcoming projects Asking for It, Treasure Trouble, and A Cute & a Button.

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA Cinematography alum on her busy resume and looks forward to seeing what she works on next!

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    June 12, 2019 • Cinematography, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 385

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Alum Bob Nguyen Wins Cinematographer of the Year & Best Feature Film at the Australian Cinematographers Society Awards

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    Song Lang, the highly lauded Vietnamese feature film, picked up two major prizes at the Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS) Awards—Best Feature Film and 2019 Cinematographer of the Year—adding two more major awards to the growing list of accolades for New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Cinematography Alum Bob Nguyen.

    The film was shot by Nguyen, directed by Leon Le, and co-written by Le and Minh Ngoc Nguyen. It tells the story of an underground debt collector and a “reformed theatre” opera performer (known in Vietnam as cải lương) who form an unlikely bond in 1990s Saigon. 

    Nguyen enrolled at New York Film Academy’s Burbank-based campus in January 2013, where he earned his MFA and quickly networked with other students and served as director of photography on several short films. Using this network after graduation, Nguyen continued to find work around the world, including Italy, Australia, and Vietnam.

    For his work on the feature film Sut, Nguyen won the 2016 Golden Kite Award for Best Cinematography, the highest award for cinema in Vietnam, equivalent to an Academy Award.

    Bob Nguyen
    The Australian Cinematographers Society Awards are the highest honors for cinematography in Australia. The ACS was established in Sydney in 1958 to further the advancement of cinematography in all fields and to keep its members informed about new camera and lighting equipment and technology as well as provide a forum—through meetings, demos, and seminars, etc.—for its members to exchange ideas and network.

    “It is a major honor to be named Cinematographer of the Year by the Australian Cinematographers Society, and it is impressive that Bob has received this award so early in his career,” says Mike Williamson, NYFA-Los Angeles Associate Chair of Cinematography. “The ACS is a prestigious organization that counts many great cinematographers among its ranks, and it’s a significant achievement to receive this level of recognition from his peers.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Cinematography Alum Bob Nguyen on winning the Best Feature Film and 2019 Cinematographer of the Year ACS Awards and looks forward to seeing what he works on next!

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    June 10, 2019 • Cinematography, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 265

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography Showcases Graduate Work

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    May was a month of bittersweet endings as New York Film Academy (NYFA) said goodbye to both a class of BFA Photography students as well as the 1-year Conservatory class.

    Of course, it isn’t a permanent goodbye, as NYFA alumni are always welcome to events, mixers, and the exhibitions held by current students. And it’s not so much an ending, but a new beginning as these students begin the next step in their journeys as professional photographers.

    The 1-year Photography students graduated on May 16 and featured the work of graduating students Cindy Chiang, Um Kulthoom Al Nasri, Kalavathi Kandasamy, Anqi Liu, Maria Antonella Moisello, Angelica Wilberg, Clea Livingston, Ana Duran, and Brian Myers.

    The students came from around the world and showcased their final projects, which explored self-portraiture, identity, gender, color, war, grief, and fashion. NYFA is very proud of this talented group of artists and look forward to Brian Myers joining us again in the fall to continue with our MFA in Photography program.

    On May 24, NYFA Photo held its opening reception for Kaleidoscope, a group photography exhibition showcasing the images of our BFA Photography graduates. The show included a selection of works from seven students’ thesis projects. The photographers included Jennifer Siemsen, Sara Barber, Sudeen Shrestha, Cinthya Reta, Parth Gajjar, Stephanie Johnstone, and Junsong Wang. 

    The images explored concepts ranging from memories and marriage to religious symbology and the gentrification of downtown Los Angeles. The show was curated by our Photo faculty member Andre Keichian, who encouraged students to explore multimedia presentations of their projects, including handmade darkroom prints and sculptural installation.

    New York Film Academy congratulates the NYFA Photo 1-year and BFA graduates on the completion of their studies and the amazing work they’ve produced!

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    June 7, 2019 • Photography, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 393

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism Update – June 5, 2019

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    Three years ago, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism students Alisa Arvind and Urvashi Ward made history. They became fully credentialed White House reporters—not “student reporters,” but full-fledged reporters, just like the folks from ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, and NBC. 

    They were reporting for NYFA News. That’s right, the news magazine produced by students in the 1-Year Broadcast Journalism Conservatory program! Not only that, they were also the first students of any journalism school to accompany the American President on an overseas trip. Think about that for a moment.—we/they accomplished something that had never been done before, or since.

    Broadcast Journalism Update - June 6, 2019
    Broadcast Journalism Update - June 6, 2019

    What Alisa and Urvashi did speaks to the quality of the course-of-study here at NYFA. It is also an example of the type of persistence that journalism requires. It took them months of emails and phone calls to get official accreditation. Then, one morning they started to receive the President’s daily schedule in their NYFA email account. Truly amazing…

    It’s also the first anniversary of Karen Hua starting as a reporter at KGET in Bakersfield, California. Karen is a graduate of our 12-Week Evening Broadcast Journalism workshop. That’s where she learned how to report, shoot, write, and edit. (Of course, she also needed determination, but she had already walked through the door with that…)

    To mark the past year, Karen put together a video of 365 “moments,” one for each story she reported. Most are wonderful, a few cringe-worthy, and a bunch are really funny. Watching it, you can see her build a body of work, which will eventually lead her to a job in a larger city/market.

    Finally, it is just about six years since I responded to an online job posting for a new Broadcast Journalism department Chair at the New York Film Academy. Answering that ad, quite literally, changed my life. Today I get the chance to do the two things I love the most—teach and create compelling nonfiction video. So to everyone at NYFA—administration, faculty, staff, students—past and present…Thanks!

    Broadcast Journalism Update - June 6, 2019
    Stay Tuned,

    Bill

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    June 5, 2019 • Broadcast Journalism, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 259