Andrea Swift
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  • “Documentary” Magazine’s Spring 2018 Issue Highlights New York Film Academy Documentary Filmmaking School

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking Department is one of only eight film schools honored in the prestigious “Documentary” Magazine, the official publication of the International Documentary Association (IDA), in an article exploring the advantages of pursuing an MFA in Documentary Filmmaking.

    In reading the article titled The MFA Considered: A Sampling of Programs that Tackle the Current Marketplace by Akiva Gottlieb, one of the ways that NYFA stands out among the other programs explored, is expressed in the sentence: “Within two weeks of the first class, students will be making films.” None of the other programs make this claim.

    NYFA also offers the unique opportunity for a bi-coastal MFA experience. Students can opt to spend their first year studying in New York City and the second year in Los Angeles, or may opt to spend both years in LA.

    As NYFA New York City Documentary Filmmaking Chair Andrea Swift notes, NYFA’s degree and conservatory programs are guided by the principal that students “learn to make documentaries by making documentaries.”

    Los Angeles Chair of Documentary Sanora Bartels concurs, noting, “The most important element of making documentaries is story. Our students are not just hands-on with equipment, they’re researching, they’re out in the community, they’re finding that story.”

    Two years of intense research and production culminate in a Master of Fine Arts in Documentary. NYFA also stands apart in offering an intensive Documentary Filmmaking Conservatory on both coasts. This allows students the alternative of finishing their studies in One-Year, should they opt to earn a certificate, and 36 transferrable hours, rather than the advanced degree.

     

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  • Gender Inequality in Film Infographic Updated in 2018

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) released its original Gender Inequality in Film infographic in 2013. Now, following the TIME’S UP™ movement and actress Frances McDormand’s impassioned call at the 90th Academy Awards for the industry to embrace Inclusion Riders, NYFA’s updated Gender Inequality in Film infographic presents research on gender in film from 2007 to 2017, from more than 40 sources and scholarly studies. 

    “With all that’s happening in the film industry, the New York Film Academy hopes to contribute what we can to the conversation with this infographic. It can be used as a reference and an educational tool to raise further awareness and inspire leaders within the entertainment industry, and beyond,” explains NYFA Chair of Documentary Andrea Swift. “It is an accessible way to interact with key information to support the movement to reach 50/50 by 2020.”

    Throughout Women’s History Month in March, NYFA will be highlighting different aspects of the data in this infographic as a four-part series. This is part one, and reveals the full, updated infographic. Stay tuned for more!

    To further support the conversation around gender inequality in film, NYFA will also host events throughout Women’s History Month, with a focus on International Women’s Day on March 8. For more information, click here.

    For additional content related to the conversation surrounding gender equality in film, check out these additional resources from the New York Film Academy:

    1. Time’s Up and #MeToo Dominate the 2018 Golden Globes
    2. Oscar-nominated Editor Kristen Nutile Screens Heroin(e) at New York Film Academy
    3. Anna Serner Speaks on Behalf of Gender Equality in Film
    4. Actress Rose McGowan Screens her Directorial Debut Dawn at NYFA
    5. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Diversifies With 774 New Members
    6. Patricia Arquette Demands Equality for Women
    7. Black Inequality in Film
    8. Sony Pictures Television Selects NYFA Alum Tiffany Paulsen for Diverse Directors Program
    9. NYFA Student Takes Part in Women of Sundance Panel
    10. Legendary Agent Boaty Boatwright Speaks at the New York Film Academy
    11. NYFA Spotlight: Gina Theresa on Women in Games and Motion Capture Acting
    12. Brandii Grace Discusses Inclusiveness in Video Games
    13. NYFA Embraces the Fearless Girl Statue Outside New York Campus
    14. Has Female Equality in Hollywood Progressed in 2014?
    15. UNESCO’s Gender Equality Heritage & Creativity 2014

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  • New York Film Academy Alum Made Head of Development at October Films

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    New York Film Academy alum Louis Mole has been promoted to Head of Development US at production company October Films, along with colleague Matt Dewar, who’s been made Head of Development UK.

    Mole enrolled in NYFA’s 1-Year Documentary Program, chaired by Andrea Swift, in September 2011 at our New York City campus. In the program, Mole learned to conceive, pitch, produce, direct, and edit various types of documentary shorts, as well as gain experience as cinematographer, sound recordist and assistant camera.

    Of his time at NYFA, Mole said in 2013: “You come out of the program with the fundamental expertise of every single aspect of making a film – which is so unique.”

    Mole put the education to good use, heading to Singapore after graduation and writing three episodes for the docuseries Asian Swindlers. He then joined October Films in 2014 within their London development team, and later came back to the Big Apple when he transferred to the New York office of October Films.

    October Films is an award-winning, fast-growing production company based in the US and UK that focuses on independent content from a variety of genres — including documentaries, dramas, and entertainment and reality programs.

    Some of their recent projects include Eight Days That Made Rome, Dangerous Borders, Annie: Out of the Ashes, Motorheads, and From Russia To Iran: Crossing The Wild Frontier. October Films also has series in production for the BBC, Investigation Discovery, Lifetime, the Science Channel, and Channel 4.

    Before his promotion to Head of Development, Mole worked on multiple projects for October Films, including Mygrations for the National Geographic Channel, Trailblazers for Discover Channel, and a seven-part series for Lifetime.

    Louis Mole has also paid it forward to newer students at the New York Film Academy, speaking with them as a guest lecturer, and offering his solid expertise.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Louis Mole on his well-earned success, and looks forward to seeing where his career heads next!

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    February 9, 2018 • Documentary Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2399

  • Sundance 2018 Will Feature Work by New York Film Academy Documentary & Filmmaking Instructors

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    The Sundance Film Festival announced their 2018 slate this week, and the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking School is once again represented among the Sundance festival selections.

    As soon as Sundance released its announcement, the New York Times published the article, Sundance Film Festival 2018: 6 Films to Know,” which spotlights the documentary RBG.” NYFA Documentary cinematography professor Claudia Raschke is the director of photography for this much-anticipated documentary on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

    Directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen, “RBG” focuses on Ginsberg’s early work and how it has impacted women’s rights, tracing her evolution as an outspoken Supreme Court Justice, now popular in internet memes as “Notorious RBG.”

    It’s no surprise to find Claudia behind the camera of one of the year’s most important docs. Her previous work has already been nominated for Academy Awards four times.  

    “That NYFA’s Documentary Filmmaking students work so closely with a cinematographer as accomplished and prominent as Claudia is a rare privilege and adds immeasurably to their educations,” says Chair of the Documentary Filmmaking Department Andrea Swift.

    Claudia also shot the 2nd Units of two more 2018 Sundance-selected films: “The Price of Everything,” directed by Nathaniel Kahn (U.S. Documentary Competition), and “The Game Changers,” by Louie Psihoyos (World Premiere).

    A still from “The Game Changers” via IMDB.

    “The Price of Everything” turns its focus to the thriving market of the contemporary art world, while “The Game Changers” follows The Ultimate Fighter winner and special forces trainer James Wilks on a nutritional investigation.

    Joining Claudia in screening work at Sundance 2018 is New York Film Academy Documentary Master Class professor Hilla Medalia, who produced Sundance selection “The Oslo Diaries.”

    “The Oslo Diaries” chronicles the 1992 illegal and clandestine meeting of Israelis and Palestinians in Oslo, which impacted the course of history in the Middle East.

    A still from “The Tale” by Jennifer Fox

    New York Film Academy instructor Debbie De Villa is also represented at Sundance 2018, in the U.S. Dramatic Competition film selection “The Tale,” for which she served as production designer. “The Tale” is written and directed by Jennifer Fox and stars Laura Dern, portraying a character who must reexamine her memories surrounding her first sexual relationship.

    Read more about the Sundance 2018 selections in Variety, Deadline, Entertainment Weekly, and Screen Daily.

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  • Fulbright Program Selects New York Film Academy to Provide Storytelling Workshops

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) was recently honored to have Andrea Swift, NYFA’s Chair of the Documentary Department, selected to run a storytelling workshop at the annual mid-year conference for Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (Fulbright FLTA). Professor Swift will provide a short course on micro documentaries for non-filmmakers entitled, “You have a doc in your pocket!”

    The Fulbright Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State, funded by an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). ECA administers the program with the assistance of binational Fulbright Commissions in 49 countries, U.S. embassies in more than 100 other countries, and cooperating partners. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and the United States also provide direct and indirect support.

    This year, more than 400 Fulbright FLTAs from 53 countries across the globe will attend the conference in Washington, D.C. from December 7-10, 2017. Fulbright FLTAs teach over 30 different languages to American students, including critical and uncommonly taught languages, at more than 180 colleges and universities throughout the United States. Languages taught by FLTAs include Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Kiswahili, Persian, Russian, Turkish, Urdu, and Yoruba. The mid-year conference aims to enhance the FLTA experience by strengthening teaching methodologies and providing supplementary classroom techniques with an emphasis on cultural exchange.

     

    NYFA is proud to have hosted more than 50 Fulbright Foreign Students from nearly 30 nations over the past 11 years, representing countries as diverse as Angola, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, France, Indonesia, Lithuania, Pakistan, Paraguay, Russia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Uruguay, Vietnam, Zambia and more. Most of the participants have enrolled in NYFA’s MFA and MA programs to pursue their artistic and educational goals.

    NYFA is committed to maintaining an active relationship with the Fulbright community, from holding special film screenings for the Fulbright Association, an independent, non-governmental organization for U.S. Fulbright alumni, to helping organize and produce the Fulbright Association’s 2015 and 2017 TEDxFulbright events in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

     

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  • NYFA Documentary Department Presents ‘Stranger Than Fiction’

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    New York Film Academy is honored to present the 2016 Winter Season of “Stranger Than Fiction.”

    Our inaugural presentation, Making a Murderer, hosted filmmakers Laura Riccardi and Moira Demos in a unique extended conversation with documentary guru, Thom Powers. The small, exclusive event was a runaway success, giving attendees an unprecedented look into the craft and creation of perhaps the biggest pop-cultural phenomenon of 2016.

    stf

    Thom Powers with Laura Riccardi

    Beyond Making a Murderer, “Stranger than Fiction” offers an iconic Tuesday night documentary series held at the IFC Center. The series functions as a key gathering spot for New York’s independent film community and a launching pad for new talent.

    Stranger Than Fiction is hosted by Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen. STF presents an eclectic mix of documentaries—sneak previews and lost classics—followed by discussions with the filmmakers and post-show receptions. Now in its eighth year, STF has fostered new talent, won loyal audiences, and provided a gathering spot for New York’s independent film community. Esteemed speakers have included Michael Moore, Ira Glass, Laurie Anderson, Jonathan Demme and Barbara Kopple.

    “Documentary filmmaking has become the field where, as the New York Times put it, ‘all the cool kids are,'” said NYFA Documentary Chair, Andrea Swift. “We believe that Toronto International Film Festival / DOC NYC programmer, Powers, has been a driving force behind that trend, and are excited to create a partnership in which our students will have the opportunity to participate closely in Powers and Raphaela Neihausen’s singular documentary series. We believe it balances perfectly our unique approach to teaching documentary filmmakers: At NYFA, students learn to make films by literally making films.

    making a murderer

    Under Power’s direction, STF’s thoughtful exploration of the form perfectly complements, NYFA’s intensive, hands-on programs, which pair rigorous instruction with mentoring in order to support students as they work on a series of their own documentaries.

    NYFA’s Documentary Filmmaking Department offers Conservatory and MFA programs, as well as equally hands-on short-term workshops. Recent graduates of NYFA’s Documentary program have garnered an Academy Award-nomination, an Emmy Award, top honors at Toronto, Sundance and other major festivals, and have excelled in creative positions with Robert Redford, VICE on HBO, Rolling Stone, VICELAND, Fusion, Wall Street Journal, and many, many others.

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    March 2, 2016 • Documentary Filmmaking • Views: 3300

  • NYFA Documentary Grad Wins Jury Prize at DOC NYC

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    soccer granniesNew York Film Academy’s Documentary Department is proud to announce that NYFA grad Lara-Ann de Wet‘s Alive and Kicking has been awarded the prestigious “SPIRITED STORYTELLING” JURY PRIZE at this year’s DOC NYC!

    As such, there will be an encore screening with all DOC NYC U award-winning films tonight at 7.30pm at the IFC Center in New York City.

    Filmed in the heart of Limpopo, South Africa, Alive and Kicking takes us on an emotional journey as the “soccer grannies” take on centuries of taboo simply by playing soccer. Through their camaraderie on the field, the grandmothers erupt into laughter and traditional song, fueling their singular struggle towards decent lives, health and a taste of joy in an otherwise harsh and desolate world.

    Director and former NYFA documentary student, Lara-Ann de Wet says she wanted to create a film that celebrates the spirit of African women, as they are often overlooked as the heroes of their society.

    Alive & Kicking Trailer from Lara-Ann de Wet on Vimeo.

    “How can you not fall in love with the ‘soccer grannies’?  In lesser hands, this could have easily become a tragic tale of harsh, nearly unthinkable lives,” said NYFA Documentary Chair, Andrea Swift. “But that would have missed the heart of the story — and of the grannies. So much joy and resilience and insistence on life. You almost forget the pain and brutality of their world. So do they, as soon as that whistle blows.”

    Limited seats still available: BUY TICKETS HERE

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    November 19, 2015 • Documentary Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 6255

  • NYFA Documentary Grads to Premiere at DOC NYC

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    doc nyc

    America’s largest documentary film festival, DOC NYC, will be held from November 12-19th in New York City. The New York Film Academy Documentary Department is proud to announce that five of its graduates will be screening at this year’s prestigious festival on Friday, November 13th at 10:30am.

    “Every NYFA film here absolutely deserves to premiere at such an important festival,” says NYFA’s Documentary Chair Andrea Swift. “At once entertaining and important, each of the five tells a surprising story in a voice all to its own.”

    The New York Film Academy films include:
    ALIVE & KICKING
    ALL IN MY HEAD:
    THE PATRICK STEIN STORY
    LEGACY
    THE HAPPIEST FAMILY
    FREYA

     

    In addition to our graduates’ films, we encourage students to check out the following screenings at DOC NYC:

    • DYING OF THE LIGHT unpacks the debated transition to digital projection, ending the reign of film after more than a century. As the technology has changed, moving obsolete film projectors into the realm of the odd collector, the skills of seasoned film projectionists are also in danger of being lost forever. (7:15 PM, Wednesday November 18 at Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas)
    • HAROLD AND LILLIAN: A HOLLYWOOD LOVE STORY chronicles a remarkable sixty-year partnership and pays tribute to the unsung talents behind a staggering number of cinema classics from storyboard artist Harold Michelson and film researcher Lillian Michelson. Though largely uncredited, they left an indelible impression on films like The Birds, The Graduate and Rosemary’s Baby. (9:30 PM, Tuesday November 17, and 2:45 PM, Wednesday November 18 at IFC Center)
    • WOMEN HE’S UNDRESSED tells the story of the Oscar-winning costume designer Orry-Kelly. Drawing upon clips from his work in Hollywood classics – Some Like It Hot, An American in Paris, Irma la Douce – Armstrong captures Kelly’s on-screen genius. (9:15 PM, Sunday November 15 at SVA Theatre)
    • CLAUDE LANZMANN: SPECTRES OF THE SHOAH reflects on French journalist Claude Lanzmann’s journey to make a documentary about the Holocaust. (7:30 PM, Thursday November 19 at SVA Theatre), and Reel in the Closet, which projects the viewer back in time through home movies, opening a fascinating window into the surprising vibrancy of unheralded LGBT lives. (2:15 PM, Saturday November 14 at IFC Center)
    • RAIDERS!: THE STORY OF THE GREATEST FAN FILM EVER MADE is the story of three Mississippi preteens set out to pay tribute to their favorite film in 1982. Committed to making their own version of Raiders of the Lost Ark, they spent seven eventful summers recreating the epic adventure, shot for shot – with the exception of one scene beyond their scope. When footage of their project surfaces decades later, becoming a sensation, it reignites their drive to finally finish their low-budget masterpiece, no matter what

    The festival is offering an eight-day series of talks, panels, masterclasses, and professional development workshops called DOC NYC Pro, which is perfect for students interested in diving deeper into the filmmaking process. We hope to see you all there!

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  • Italy’s ‘Clio Make Up’ Shoots in New York

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    Reality television has caught on all over the world and Italy is no different. One of its popular shows Clio Make Up on Discovery Italy recently finished shooting its second season. In the second series, the famous makeup artist Clio Zammateo continues her journey into the wonderful world of cosmetics. This time from New York City. In each episode, Clio shows two women how to apply makeup in a professional manner, erasing the small imperfections and creating the perfect look for a special occasion.

    This past season, New York Film Academy Documentary graduate, Marco Vitale was Media Manager of the popular Italian show. Marco wrapped production on the second season on July 2nd of this year. “It was my first TV experience and it was awesome,” said Marco. “I had the chance to work closely with the director, Angelo Vitale, who directed the first 5 seasons of Big Brother in Italy and many others TV shows.”

    While living in Italy, Marco was in search of a prominent documentary school in New York City. Though uncertain of New York Film Academy‘s Documentary program in the beginning, Marco was convinced to join the program by Documentary Chair, Andrea Swift. “I decided to apply for the One Year Documentary Program and after a year since graduating, I’m quite sure that it was the best decision of my life.”
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