Argentinian actor and social media star Santiago Achaga has won the coveted TVyNovelas Award for Best Young Actor. A graduate of the New York Film Academy (NYFA) 4-Week Acting for Film program and current student in the Filmmaking program, Achaga received the award for his portrayal of Claudio Meyer on Like, la Leyenda (Like, the Legend), a popular teen telenovela from Mexico. His work on the show also netted him a nomination for an Eres Award for Best Actor.
The younger brother of popular model and actress Macarena Achaga, Santiago Achaga is also a singer and musician. He composed and recorded several pieces for Like, and earned scores of fans for his emotional ballads. His first commercial single, “Solo Estamos Los Dos,” will be released at the end of May.
The actor has worked in Argentina, Mexico, and the U.S., and moved to New York City to study at NYFA’s renowned Acting for Film program. He got his start as a model and was later cast as a recurring character on Heidi Bienvenida a Casa (Heidi, Welcome Home), an Argentinian telenovela for Nickelodeon’s Latin America brand, MundoNick. He played Junior in the show, which is an adaptation of the classic children’s book by Johanna Spyri.
More recently, Achaga starred in Palau, a feature length film that tells the story of radio evangelist Luis Palau. Filmed in Argentina, the film had a two-day release across the U.S. and Latin America in early April, and continues to screen in churches and cinemas across the two continents. Achaga plays the titular religious leader as a young man on his way to becoming a missionary.
The New York Film Academy congratulates Santiago Achaga on his continued success and looks forward to his future projects!
This summer, New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Cinematography alum Jude Abadi added a very important accolade to her resume when she won the Best Student Cinematography Award at the European Cinematography Awards. The award was for her work as director of photography on the short film The End of the World.
The European Cinematography Awards are a film competition for filmmakers worldwide. According to their mission statement, the ECA supports “new and student filmmakers, who are just beginning their careers with a supportive and enthusiastic audience for their creative efforts,” as well as gives filmmakers “access to film industry professionals who can offer guidance and other forms of career assistance.”
Of the award, Abadi told NYFA that she was “ecstatic.” Abadi enrolled in the MFA program at NYFA’s cinematography school in Fall 2016, an accelerated, conservatory-based graduate program designed to instruct gifted and hardworking prospective directors of photography in a hands-on, professional environment. The cinematography school is chaired by Tony Richmond, A.S.C., B.S.C., who has shot many well-known films including Sympathy for the Devil, The Man Who Fell to Earth, and Legally Blonde.
“Jude did a great job shooting this film, and putting it together,” said Mike Williamson, a NYFA instructor and one of Abadi’s thesis advisors, who worked with her as she shot the film. He continued, “It can be difficult to maintain a consistent look when you’re shooting a long scene in a practical location, but her work over several shooting days matches very nicely. Her team made a strong film, and this award is well-deserved.”
The End of the World was filmed in Los Angeles and tells the story of a married couple taken hostage by a crazed stranger, and their attempts to defuse their captor and his inane ramblings. It was written by Nabil Chowdhary and directed by NYFA alum Joshua M.G. Thomas. The film co-stars Buffy Milner, another NYFA alum who has recently written, directed, and acted in the film Type.
The New York Film Academy congratulates Jude Abadi on her prestigious award and wishes her the best of luck as her career continues forward!
Heroin(e), a Netflix-produced documentary edited by New York Film Academy (NYFA) instructor Kristen Nutile, has been nominated for an Emmy. This adds to its rave reviews and other major award nominations, including for the Peabody and, earlier this year, for an Academy Award. Heroin(e)’s producers join NYFA alumni, guest speakers, and other NYFA community members with nominations for the Emmy this year, including Bill Hader and Issa Rae.
One of Netflix’s acclaimed original documentaries, Heroin(e) is directed by Peabody Award-winning documentarian Elaine Mcmillion (Hollow, The Lower 9). The film offers an intimate and harrowing view of the nation’s opioid epidemic through the stories of three women in Huntington, West Virginia — a city now infamous for an overdose rate 10 times the national average.
The nominations for the 39th Annual News and Documentary were announced on July 26 by The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, who also annually distribute the Daytime Emmy Award and Heartland Emmy Award, among other accolades. The News & Documentary Emmy Awards will be presented on Monday, October 1st, 2018, at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall in the Time Warner Complex at Columbus Circle in New York City. The ceremony will be attended by more than 1,000 television and news media industry executives, news and documentary producers, and journalists.
Heroin(e) is nominated for Outstanding Short Documentary, and is one of 112 nominations for streaming juggernaut Netflix, who for the first time this year leads all networks in total noms, beating out HBO (108) and NBC (78).
Heroin(e) was edited by Kristen Nutile, who teaches for the Documentary School at New York Film Academy’s New York campus, a program featured on The Independent Magazine’s list of Top 10 Academic Programs for Documentary Filmmakers. The school boasts both award-winning alumni and faculty.
Nutile is a prolific filmmaker in her own right, having edited two dozen films in addition to directing six of her own. She founded Soft Spoken Films in 2001, and is a recipient of the Albert Maysles Award for Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking.
The New York Film Academy congratulates documentary instructor Kristen Nutile and Heroin(e) on its incredible run of prestigious nominations and wishes them the best of luck at this year’s Emmy Awards!
Interested in studying documentary filmmaking with the New York Film Academy? You can find more information here!
Oprah Winfrey at the 75th Golden Globe Awards. (Paul Drinkwater/NBC)
This year’s Golden Globe Awards was clearly different from years past, and not because it was the 75th anniversary ceremony. Nearly all women in attendance, and many of the men, wore all black in a sign of solidarity for the Time’s Up initiative — a response to the gender inequality and sexual harassment prevalent in both the film industry and society as a whole.
A very public groundswell of support for the movement started after initial reports of sexual harassment came out against megaproducer Harvey Weinstein last year. Since then, more and more women and victims of sexual assault are coming forward and being heard after decades of an institutional culture that allowed sexual assault and discrimination to flourish. In addition to accusations against numerous prominent figures in the media, politics, and elsewhere, additional gender inequalities are also being placed front and center — including a sizable gender wage gap and the disproportionately small number of women represented both in Hollywood and political positions of power.
Tarana Burke and Michelle Williams
After #MeToo made clear just how many women are affected by these injustices, Time’s Up was started to take specific actions to work towards finally reversing this trend. Along with the call for women to wear black on the Golden Globes red carpet, Time’s Up is advocating for laws that will punish businesses tolerating harassment, working to balance gender parity in the industry, and starting a legal defense fund to support lower-income women seeking justice for sexual harassment and assault in the workplace.
The Red Carpet at this year’s Golden Globes (Getty)
Wearing black wasn’t a fashion statement. It quickly became apparent to everyone watching the televised Golden Globes on Jan. 7 that the conversation and tone of the night would be dominated by a cause too important to be sidelined, even in the height of Hollywood’s yearly awards season. Several individual moments stuck out from the night that revealed just how deeply both gender inequality and the urgency to correct it run in the entertainment industry’s most powerful circles. Some of these moments include:
Talk show host and this year’s emcee Seth Meyers delivered a straightforward opening monologue in support of Time’s Up and the women of Hollywood, while also acknowledging that as a straight white man, his voice wasn’t the most important in the room.
While live during an E! Network red carpet interview, “Will & Grace” star Debra Messing pointed out that E! was also guilty of a significant wage gap between men and women.
When presenting the Best Director award, Natalie Portman made sure to add in the short but poignant adjective “all-male” before listing this year’s nominees. This is especially noteworthy considering Greta Gerwig — who wasn’t nominated — directed the evening’s Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) award winner, “Lady Bird.” (Gerwig was nominated for Best Screenplay, however, and the film picked up two acting nominations and a Best Actress win for Saoirse Ronan.)
Natalie Portman and Ron Howard
Many women invited social activists as their guests to the ceremony, including #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, eschewing the typical tradition of bringing a significant other or relative — which has sparked its own controversy:
these black & brown activists being used on this red carpet as conversation starters is so jarring. why couldnt they just invite them, let them bring their families, give them the chance to speak?
In addition to wearing black, many of the attendees and presenters displayed Time’s Up pins in support of the movement.
The HBO drama “Big Little Lies” dominated the television categories with a cast of mostly women playing complex female characters with nuanced storylines — something that shouldn’t be all that rare, but sadly is.
Entertainment icon and living legend Oprah Winfrey was presented with the Cecil B. DeMille Award — the Globes’ version of a Lifetime Achievement Award — becoming the first woman of color to receive the honor. Winfrey’s acceptance speech roused the room and was a powerful moment in a night of powerful moments, sparking a flurry of trending hashtags and fan speculation about a 2020 presidential run. Winfrey was clearly aware of her platform and influence and focused many of her words on speaking truth to power, the vital importance of a free press, and the significant role diverse role models play for children growing up in a world dominated by faces that do not resemble their own. As an example, she used her own personal experience seeing Sidney Poitier win the Academy Award for “Lillies of the Field.”
These are just some specific instances of a much broader mood and drive dominating the culture right now. As an institution that prepares students for careers in Hollywood and the entertainment industry, the New York Film Academy is especially receptive to Time’s Up and the #MeToo movement. Many of the Golden Globes viewers — and even some nominees, like Issa Rae — were students, alumni, and faculty members.
In 2013, the New York Film Academy researched gender inequality in the film industry and presented its data with an infographic that plainly showed just how serious the problem is. In the intervening years since that infographic was first published, gender inequality has not improved in the film industry. In 2017, Forbes released their annual list of highest-paid actors and actresses. The top 14 were all men, with Emma Stone ranked as the highest-paid actress at #15. A 2016 study found that women — roughly half the population — comprised only 28.7% of all speaking roles in films. Additionally, only 18% of films represented a balanced cast (half the speaking characters being female).
The New York Film Academy prides itself on its diverse body of students, encouraging artists from any number of backgrounds to collaborate and bring together their distinct, personal visions in order to create even stronger, more meaningful stories. Indeed, in 2017 more than half of NYFA’s students were women — a hopeful sign of the industry’s future.
It goes without saying that there is still a lot of work to be done, and a lot of changes that need to be made to both the entertainment industry and the contemporary culture it inhabits. As Oprah Winfrey said in her acceptance speech, telling stories and speaking truth to power is one important way to help bring about these changes. The New York Film Academy encourages those who were previously afraid to use their voice to tell their stories, and to be loud as possible — the time is now.
“Big Little Lies” at the Golden Globes (Photo by @Ramona_Rosales)
Lucia Barata wanted to support the Dancing Wheels Company & School, an organization dedicated to teaching and showcasing dancers both with and without disabilities. Lucia decided to put the filmmaking skills she had learned over the years toward this goal to bring more exposure to Dancing Wheels and help them find more support and sponsors. Her efforts are paying off as her documentary, “Dancing Wheels,” is quickly collecting both awards and acclaim, including Best Film at the International Student, Newcomer, and Woman Movie Awards (ISENMA) 2017.
Since 1980, Dancing Wheels has dedicated itself to providing “a unifying expression of movement for all,” exhibiting dance as an essential illustration of the human spirit, including from people of all abilities. Since adding a school to its company in 1990, Dancing Wheels has become one of the foremost arts and disabilities organizations in the country.
By using the medium of film to showcase both the incredible dancing of the company’s members, as well as the passion and heart behind these beautiful physical movements, Lucia Barata was able to bring Dancing Wheels’s mission statement to a larger audience, including those outside the United States.
The International Student, Newcomer, and Woman Movie Awards are held in Indonesia and were founded in 2015, collaborating with the Film Festivals Alliance. Creating a platform and opportunities for both Indonesian and International filmmakers, the festival accepts narrative and documentary submissions from film students, newcomers (non-student, professional, recreational, or amateur filmmakers) and female filmmakers from around the world.
Out of a selection of 350 films, “Dancing Wheels,” was nominated for Best Film alongside three other films. Despite the competition, the documentary was an audience favorite and took home the big prize. The award ceremony was held in Bali and attended by an illustrious crowd, including Indonesian royals. Barata accepted the Best Film award from His Majesty the King of Bonea Selayar, H. Andi Mahyuddin.
While ISENMA presented “Dancing Wheels” with its first Best Film award, the documentary has already picked up several other accolades, including the Diamond Award in Short Documentary and Platinum Award for Editor of the Year at the Directors Awards, the Medal of the Year and Platinum Award for Director of the Year from the Filmmakers of the Year Film Festival, and the Royal High Achievement Award from Royal World Prize & Records.
“This film is the one I’m very proud of,” remarked Barata, adding, “there are no boundaries to dance.” Barata was born in Brazil and already had an impressive education in art and architecture before enrolling at the New York Film Academy in 2012. Taking the 1-Year Filmmaking program in New York City, Barata learned the skills necessary to telling a story—fictional or nonfictional—through a visual medium.
The New York Film Academy congratulates alumna Lucia Barata on “Dancing Wheels” and its awards, and looks forward to seeing what further accolades her career will bring!
“Newton,” a feature-length film by NYFA alumnus Amit V Masurkar, is now in the running for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film — just one in a long line of successes the Indian dark comedy-drama and its writer & director have already seen.
Co-written and directed by Amit, “Newton” stars Rajkummar Rao as Newton Kumar, a rookie government clerk who seeks to uphold democracy and conduct fair elections in Chhattisgarh’s conflict-ridden jungles. The film has received positive reviews, including from India’s Huffington Post, which called it “a touching, personal and very human film.”
Amit first premiered “Newton” at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival, where it won the CICAE Art Cinema Award. Since then, Amit has presented his film at nearly 50 festivals, including the Tribeca Film Festival in April, where it screened in the International Narrative Competition, and the Hong Kong International Film Festival, where it won the coveted Jury Prize.
An Academy Award would be the crowning achievement to go with these accolades, and the journey to attaining one is a long and tough road. Films that are produced outside of the United States and are delivered in a predominantly non-English language are eligible for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. Unlike other Oscars, the Foreign Language Film Award is unique in that the golden statue is presented not to the filmmakers, but to the nation that produced it—adding an air of patriotic pride to the category.
Each country must then select just one film per year to represent it at the Academy Awards, creating a lot of competition between movies of all genres, especially in a nation as populated and cinema-oriented as India. “Newton” was selected from a shortlist of 26 films to represent India at this year’s Oscars, and the final nominations from five different countries will be announced along with the other Academy Award noms early next year. The 90th Academy Awards will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on March 4, 2018.
Amit V Masurkar honed his screenwriting skills at New York Film Academy’s New York campus, taking the 8-Week Screenwriting workshop in 2009. After writing for numerous sketch and comedy shows, Amit’s directorial feature-length debut “Sulemani Keeda” became a surprise indie hit. “Newton” is only his second feature film, and Amit has proven to be one of India’s most exciting voices in filmmaking.
The New York Film Academy congratulates Amit V Masurkar on such a fantastic achievement, and looks forward to seeing what further accomplishments he and “Newton” will achieve!
Scarlett Johansson presents Chris Hemsworth ‘Excellence in Film’ award at G’DAY USA and AACTA International Awards 2015 (Source: Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images North America)
It’s starting to feel a lot like awards season. As the Australian 4th Annual Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards in Sydney concluded, the AACTA International Awards commenced in Los Angeles on 31 January 2015. 4th AACTA International Awards has partnered-up with G’DAY USA, joining forces for a star-studded night. The night gives much deserved recognition to Australians performing exceptionally in film and television outside the country.
AACTA President, Geoffrey Rush, shared the stage withfellow presenters including Nicole Kidman, comedian Rebel Wilson, Elizabeth Debicki, John Travolta, Jonathan LaPaglia, Rachel Griffiths and Russell Crowe.
Award winners included:
BIRDMAN for ’Best Film’, ‘Best Screenplay’, ‘Best Direction’ (Alejandro G. Iñárritu) and ‘Best Lead Actor’ (Michael Keaton)
STILL ALICE for ‘Best Lead Actress’ (Julianne Moore)
BOYHOOD for “Best Supporting Actress” (Patricia Arquette)
Chris Hemsworth was also honored with the ‘Excellence in Film’ award, presented to him by Scarlett Johansson.
Our New York Film Academy Australia students were recently invited to attend their 4th Annual AACTA Awards, with their highlights (amongst the many) including, watching Cate Blanchett host the Award Ceremony, talking to the Spierig Brothers about their film Predestination, shaking hands with AACTA President Geoffrey Rush, getting photos taken with Rose Byrne, and speaking with Bobby Canavale. NYFA Australia student Chantelle Von Appen added that the event was, “Basically getting an inside to the Industry.”
AACTA Award First Winners (Image from AACTA Facebook)
The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards 2015 are well underway, with the first group of winners being announced on Tuesday 27 January during the 4th AACTA Awards Luncheon at The Star Event Centre, Sydney.
The annual awards commemorate and celebrate Australian film and television achievements and is considered Australia’s equivalent of the Oscars and the BAFTAs.
A strong lineup saw The Broken Shore, Tender, Ukraine is Not a Brothel and Predestination all nominated five times.
Some of the current winners include:
AACTA Award for Best Direction in a Television Light Entertainment or Reality Series WINNER: The Broken Shore (Martin McGrath ACS – ABC)
AACTA Award for Best Cinematography in Television WINNER: The Code (Episode 1 Deborah Peart ASE – ABC)
AACTA Award for Best Short Animation WINNER: Grace Under Water (Anthony Lawrence)
AACTA Award for Best Short Fiction Film WINNER: Florence has Left the Building (Mirrah Foulkes and Alex White)
AACTA Award for Best Cinematography WINNER: Predestination (Ben Nott ACS)
A special congratulations to:
NYFA Australia director mentor, Samantha Lang, for her involvement in the award winning Carlotta. The production was the 2015 winner of ‘AACTA Award for Best Proudction Design in Television’ and ‘AACTA Award for Best Costume Design in Television’.
NYFA Australia lecturer Grant Thompson, for his nomination in the Best Documentary Television Program category, for Taking on the Chocolate Frog.
Students of New York Film Academy Australia have also been invited to attend this amazing event, later this week. A selected group of student were excited to have been given access to this unique opportunity, many being inspired by the works of the local nominees and winners. We are sure to see NYFA Australia students on stage in the near future accepting their own accolades. In the meantime, they will enjoy the honor to be amongst the talent and professionals of the Australian film and television industry.
You can find out more details on our New York Film Academy Acting for Film programs on our website. The program is available throughout the United States and at our Sydney and Gold Coast campuses in Australia. Contact us for more details.
They say fairytales can come true. Well, for Fi Dieter, fairytales are opening major doors for a bright future in the entertainment industry. The New York Film Academy BFA Filmmaking student, of Prince of Arabia Entertainment and Stedica Film, won the prestigious Award of Excellence from The Best Shorts Film Competition, Best Student Film at the 2015 California Women’s Film Festival, Best Student Drama at the 2014 International Family Film Festival at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, and has been an Official Selection in more than 10 festivals including the prestigious LA Shots Fest, the Playhouse West Film Festival, and the Women’s Director’s International Film Festival in New Dehli, India! The award was given for Dieter’s exciting fairytale adaptation drama short Cinder Pumpkin, which was her Intermediate Thesis Project at NYFA Los Angeles.
Cinder Pumpkin features an exceptional storyline about a bright, socially-awkward girl named Cinder Ellen James (played by Jacquelynn Camden), who believes the only thing she needs for the gorgeous, unreachable Max (played by Travis Daniel Brown) to fall in love with her is one chance. With the help of her loyal friend Tom (played by Billy McCartney), Cinder is determined to take that chance herself. She trades glasses for a pair of high heels and experiences, for the first time, a world of teenage fantasies that makes her rediscover her value as a woman.
“This award [Award of Excellence] honors not only the great amount of hard work put into our production, but also the growing voice of female directors,” says Dieter. “Cinder Pumpkin is about staying true to who you are even when the odds are against you, a fundamental lesson for all women who fight for gender equality.”
Dieter is an award-winning Austrian filmmaker, actress and editor. Fi began acting in theater and commercials from an early age, always on a quest to find truth and depth in all she does.
“Through my work, I intend to raise the voice of female filmmakers,” says Dieter. “I believe that little specific ‘somethings’ allow for a story to become universal and have the power to touch people. I aim to go beyond what is expected of young women to achieve in filmmaking. There isn’t a feeling I enjoy more than the satisfaction I get from proving there is more to me than what meets the eye.”
Fi is currently in development on a three-part feature, based on a new take on the origins of Merlin the wizard, entitled Extraordinaire. It is a fantasy comedy with two endearing, magical characters whose major flaw is their inability to work together in times when their unity might make or break a kingdom. Extraordinaire Part One will be her thesis film.
Filmmaking student John Chuka graduated from the New York Film Academy with the goal of revolutionizing the African film industry. Thus far, John is on the right track with his short film, The Fetus, winning Best Short Film/Trailer and Best Original Score/Soundtrack at the Nollywood and African Film Critics’ Awards (NAFCA) – otherwise known as the African Oscars. Two other NYFA alumni, Jason Mohan and Jessica Garza, who contributed to the making of the film’s theme song, were also on hand to receive the awards at the NAFCA Ceremony in Washington D.C.
John Chuka on set of “The Fetus”
The Fetus is about Catalina, a religious undocumented teenage immigrant, who worked at a nursery in Arizona, but relocates to California as a result of her sexual abuse experience that left her pregnant. Now, working in a Californian sweatshop, trying to climb out of her horrible living conditions, Catalina’s destiny unfolds as she struggles with immigration laws, religious dogmas, abortion laws, and the fetus in her womb. “The film cuts across a wide range of hot topic social issues – immigration, abortion, and religion,” says John Chuka. “Being an immigrant that went through all kinds of hoops to get to where I am today, I’m hoping that somebody will watch my film and decide to do things a little bit differently in regards to how immigrants are treated around the world.”
John is originally from Nigeria. After acquiring a business degree, he tried his hand at a few businesses, but realized that he didn’t quite have a product. While living in the United States, it dawned on him that he comes from a country with an emerging film industry. While at the time he understood business, he did not know film. It was at this point John decided to attend the New York Film Academy. “Considering the fact that I wasn’t going back to school to acquire just a degree, but a product, I chose NYFA because of its hands-on approach to teaching filmmaking. And moreover, NYFA is highly recognized as a credible film school in my country of origin, Nigeria.”
With the success of his short film under his belt, John is working diligently to start a film production company that will generate and develop African story ideas into screenplays, transform the screenplays into films, and ultimately distribute the films to the worldwide African films enthusiasts.