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  • Broadcast Journalism Update: Visit to Beijing

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    So, I am just back from a week in Beijing. It turned out to be very productive, from a number of different perspectives. In my role as Chair of the Broadcast Journalism department, I think it was definitely a success. As usual, I was “multitasking,” with three different projects in play…

    Broadcast Journalism Beijing Update

    It was great to be on the campus of the Beijing Film Academy again. I met with about 60 freshmen, who had just arrived the previous week. It was the first time many of them had heard about the New York Film Academy (NYFA), so I spoke in general terms about the school, its philosophy, facilities, and locations. However, I did play for them videos produced by current and former NYFA Broadcast Journalism students. (That includes Lara Gato’s Resume Reel; a recent “live shot” by Alyssia Taglia; and My NYFA Experience by Sara Quintana.)

    The students were a receptive audience, asking lots of good questions. Afterwards, about a dozen of them chatted with me and/or Christina He, of NYFA’s Beijing office. BFA also gave me the opportunity to contemplate what it might be like to win an Oscar…

    Broadcast Journalism Beijing Update

    Later I ran a workshop at the China Film Group. This audience was very different. It was made up of media professionals who wanted to improve and expand their skill set. Surprisingly, a number of them are interested in non-fiction film and video production.

    In addition to my standard PPT presentation, we had an extended Q&A session. Frankly, I think it was the high point of the afternoon. The participants had a chance to ask some very specific questions, about both video production as well as NYFA.

    Broadcast Journalism Beijing Update

    None of this would have been possible without Dr. Joy Zhu, NYFA’s Executive Vice President for the China Region, who did all of the preliminary work. And given my extremely limited Mandarin, without Christina I would have been left awkwardly smiling at the front of two very crowded rooms…

    As for my production work in Beijing, the schedule was — as usual — hectic. We shot at multiple locations around town, as well as spending a day in the studio. Fortunately I was working with friends, so everything was done amazingly fast. (And since the scene below was a waist shot, no one saw my wrinkled pants. It was one hot, humid day in Beijing…)

    Broadcast Journalism Beijing Update

    I ended my trip ended being interviewed by a reporter from China Daily. While the focus was on Century Masters, I talked about my new documentary Shanghai 1937 into the conversation as well. (There is going to be big news about that program very soon…)

    Now, all I have to do is get my body back on New York time…

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    September 12, 2018 • Academic Programs, Broadcast Journalism, China • Views: 649

  • End of August Update from the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism School

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    It is no secret that viewership of legacy media — like network TV — is down, while audiences for digital services — like Mic — are skyrocketing. The problem is that digital program producers are still searching for a way to actually make money. At the end of the day, a business has to be just that — a business.

    According to Digiday, Mic attracted a huge number of viewers with fast, short-form non-fiction videos. But they didn’t attract enough sponsorship dollars. So Mic is shifting to “long-form” (around 15 minutes) programs that incorporate both studio and field elements. (Their premiere series is called Mic Dispatch.) Sound familiar? It’s a case of “everything old is new again,” as I produced program segments like this for 20 years. Of course, the content here is a lot edgier. Now digital outlets are looking to license content produced by others (why not you?) and many of the deals they are making are for a full year.

    Mic publisher Cory Haik says a greater percentage of people are choosing to watch Mic Dispatch beyond the three-second view mark than for the type of short-form news-feed videos his platform used to crank out.

    People say that things slow down for the summer. But that doesn’t seem to be true for some NYFA Broadcast Journalism grads, or myself for that matter…

    The biggest news of the week is the graduation on Friday of the Summer 8-week workshop. An outstanding class, with people from everywhere. They are inventive, hardworking, collaborative, and talented. We will be hearing more from them…

    Broadcast Journalism August 2018

    Congratulations! 

    Friday evening saw NYFA alum Elizabeth Wilson hard at work at NBC Sports, where she works in the marketing department. And she got to spend Sunday there too! It’s a reminder that our profession isn’t a typical 9-5 job…

    Broadcast Journalism August 2018

    But, whatever the sacrifices, there are times in which we actually influence history. As regular readers of this Update know, Broadcast Journalism grad Antia Efraim works at Radio Globo in Brazil. The network is doing a series of interviews with presidential candidates, and Anita is right in the middle of it. And she’s not just behind the scenes, but on air as well. And in cyberspace too, as the program is digitally streamed. Which is how I know about it. (And yes, it isn’t summer in Brazil…)

    Broadcast Journalism August 2018

    Myself, I am back to Beijing next week. I’m the host of the international version of a CCTV cultural documentary series called Century Masters. Each program tells the story of a 20th century composer, performer, writer, or musician who transformed their field, and in doing so changed China. (This is my second season with the program, which means the first season must have been successful. They don’t bring you back if a series is a flop!) 

    While I am in Beijing, I will be making two presentations for NYFA. The first will be at the Beijing Film Academy, where NYFA has its China office. (NYFA is the only international school invited to locate on the BFA campus.) I will be speaking to potential students about NYFA, and its various programs. Including, of course, Broadcast Journalism.

    I will also be speaking at the China Film Group. It is the largest film distribution company in China, and a major player on the entertainment scene. Part of what I will be discussing is my soon-to-be-broadcast documentary Shanghai 1937: Where World War II Began, which in part mirrors the story told in the Chinese feature film The Flowers of War. (I’ll have some big news for you about my doc in the next Broadcast Journalism Update.) Also on the agenda will be a discussion of post-production in New York. or “every dream has its budget.”

    Broadcast Journalism August 2018

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    September 4, 2018 • Broadcast Journalism, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 590

  • Beijing Normal University Students Attend New York Film Academy Workshop

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    This summer, fifteen students from Beijing Normal University (BNU) completed a 2-Week Filmmaking Workshop at the New York Film Academy (NYFA) at its Los Angeles campus. Learning many of the aspects of making a movie — including directing, producing, acting, screenwriting, cinematography, and lighting — the students were prepared to edit and complete their films.Beijing Normal University Students Study at NYFA

    The students found the process to be exhausting, but fulfilling, and were wowed by NYFA’s access to the Universal Studios Backlot, the world-famous lot where movies such as Back to the Future, American Beauty, and Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds have been filmed. Universal Studios has a special relationship with NYFA. Students have the unique opportunity to spectate the importance of “studio life” to the Los Angeles area up close and first-hand, while also getting the one-of-a-kind experience of shooting on the lot themselves.

    Some of the students from BNU were surprised at how much different the Hollywood film industry is from the Chinese film industry, despite many similarities. Chinese cinema has been around nearly as long as the medium of film itself, so as it evolves into the 21st century it is introducing decades of its own styles and techniques to both the global market and cultural landscape.

    Beijing Normal University Students Study at NYFAChina’s influence and importance to the cinematic arts is exactly why the New York Film Academy (NYFA) has established a presence there, having offered local workshops in Shanghai and Beijing. This summer, NYFA is hosting two workshops in the capital city. A 4-Week Filmmaking Workshop is currently in session this July, and another 1-Week Workshop will commence later in the summer.

    By coming from China to Los Angeles, the BNU students have been afforded a unique experience and process for learning the craft of filmmaking. The Beijing Normal University is a public research educational institute in China’s capital city, and, with over 20,000 current students, is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious universities.

    The BNU students were quite complimentary of NYFA’s instructional techniques, as well as its rich and colorful aesthetic. After the two-week program, which lasted from July 9 – July 20 and included producing, marketing, and publicity classes, they had learned how to successfully make their own film from start to finish, from pre-production all the way to distribution. 

    The BNU students screened their films at the end of the workshop. NYFA instructors were impressed with their creativity and storytelling chops. After the screening, the students remarked how touched they were by the instructors’ attention and care, as well as the comprehensive education they’d received along with hands-on experience and the lifetime memories of shooting on the Universal Studios backlot. Beijing Normal University Students Study at NYFA

    If you are interested in attending New York Film Academy’s filmmaking workshops, you can find more information here!

     

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    July 30, 2018 • International Diversity • Views: 1045

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Zhuo Tan in Chinese Box Office Smash

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    Zhuo Tan, an alum of New York Film Academy’s Acting for Film Workshop, recently co-starred in the Chinese film, Dying to Survive. The comedy-drama is making headlines across China and the global filmmaking industry as one of the most successful films in the history of Chinese cinema.

    In May 2015, Zhuo Tan attended the New York Film Academy’s 4-Week Acting for Film workshop in Los Angeles, California. Dying to Survive isn’t Tan’s first role in a prominent film — she has also starred in the well-received films Wrath of Silence and Hello! Mr. Tree. She also appeared in Spring Fever, which won awards both at the Golden Horse and Cannes Film Festivals.

    In Dying to Survive, Tan plays a single mother. The comedy-drama is based on a true story, about a leukemia patient named Lu Yong who smuggled illegal medicine into China to help over a thousand other cancer patients. The film was directed by Wen Muye, who co-wrote the screenplay with Han Jianü and Zhong Wei. It was produced by Ning Hao and the movie’s star, Xu Zheng. Also starring in Dying to Survive are Zhou Yiwei, Wang Chuanjun, and Zhang Yu.

    Dying to Survive was an immediate hit with audiences, grossing nearly $50 million on its opening day alone, including preview screenings. In its opening weekend, it nearly quadrupled its take with just shy of $200 million in receipts, the fourth biggest opening weekend in China ever. As of this writing, its box office intake is $367 million, numbers tough for any film — even in Hollywood — to amass.

    The film has also been received well critically, with one reviewer saying it “might be China’s best movie of the year,” and who also credits Dying to Survive for “tackling difficult social issues.” This latter trend is growing — and paying off — for Chinese cinema, which has been around nearly as long as the medium of film itself, but of late has been coming into its own as part of both the global market and cultural landscape.

    China’s influence and importance to the cinematic arts is exactly why the New York Film Academy (NYFA) has established a presence there, having offered local workshops in Shanghai and Beijing. This summer, NYFA is hosting two workshops in the capital city. A 4-Week Filmmaking Workshop is currently in session this July, and another 1-Week Workshop will commence later in the summer.

    The Beijing workshops not only provide state-of-the-art equipment and instruction from experienced, working filmmakers from around the world, but allow students from many diverse backgrounds to work together to craft their art. With the backdrop of the rich cultural heritage offered by Beijing, these students can learn the techniques of filmmaking in a collaborative environment, and share and gain new perspectives from one another to tell their own stories.

    The Beijing workshops can also serve as stepping stones for these students in their journey as filmmakers, including to longer, more intensive programs at New York Film Academy’s other campuses, including Los Angeles. At the Los Angeles campus, where Zhuo Tan studied acting, students receive their education in the heart of Hollywood and can even hone their craft on the world-famous Universal Studios backlot.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates alumna Zhuo Tan on her latest role and looks forward to seeing her future successes! If you are interested in attending the New York Film Academy, you can find more information here.

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    July 19, 2018 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2437

  • Summer Brings Another New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Workshop to Beijing


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    NYFA Workshop in Beijing 2018On July 8, 2018, New York Film Academy (NYFA) began its eighth hands-on-workshop in Beijing, China. The 4-Week Filmmaking Workshop runs throughout July, and finishes on August 4th.

    The classes are being held at the Beijing Film Academy, which, like other film schools in China, is collaborating with the New York Film Academy. NYFA hosts the workshop, providing instructors from both their New York and Los Angeles campuses, who fly out to China and stay for the duration of the course. In addition, a 1-Week Workshop will be offered later in the summer. The instructors include Ben Maraniss, Benjamin David, and Igor Torgeson.

    By the end of the 4-Week workshop, each student will have shot three short films. Students are able to learn the various aspects of the filmmaking process, including writing, directing, acting, editing, and lighting a set.NYFA Workshop in Beijing 2018

    The students attending the workshop have a diverse, international background, coming from several different countries across the globe. By combining such unique and distinct voices and cultural backgrounds, the students learn the art of filmmaking in a collaborative environment, sharing and gaining knowledge from each other’s perspectives. This allows them to tell fuller, richer stories.

    In addition to the cultural experiences brought from their own backgrounds, students benefit from the rich experience of learning in Beijing, China, an ancient, complex city with centuries of history. Chinese cinema has been around nearly as long as the medium itself, and has been rapidly expanding and gaining global significance as each year goes by. By learning in Beijing, students are learning in one of the centers of a major cinematic industry.

    Dr. Joy Zhu, New York Film Academy’s Executive Vice President for the China Region, elaborates on this point, saying, “Beijing is a very exciting and important place for storytellers not just from China or America, but from all around the globe to come and learn with the New York Film Academy.”

    NYFA Workshop in Beijing 2018New York Film Academy workshops are also a great stepping stone to longer and more intensive programs, including One Year Conservatories in Filmmaking, Acting, Producing, and several other disciplines. Many students who have attended NYFA workshops in China in the past followed up with other courses, including in NYFA’s New York and Los Angeles campuses.

    Whether as a step in a longer, worldly journey of discovery in the filmmaking arts, or as a singular lifetime experience, students studying at NYFA’s workshops in Beijing no doubt come away with memories and an adventure they will never forget.

    If you are interested in studying with the New York Film Academy in Beijing, you can find more information here.

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    July 16, 2018 • Study Abroad • Views: 1092

  • Where Are They Now: NYFA Beijing Filmmaking Alumni

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    When it comes to New York Film Academy alumni, we are always very excited to hear the answer to the eternal question: where are they now? New York Film Academy 4-Week Filmmaking Program graduates in Beijing, China, have taken our commitment to hands-on learning to new heights after leaving their four-week intensive programs. We recently had a chance to check in and see what NYFA Beijing alumni Terry Chan, Cao Yaoyao, Phoenix Liu, and Nan Zhang have been up to since completing their certificate programs.

    Terry Chan

    Terry Chan is well known for his work as a composer of the Wang Kai-Wai film, “Days of Being Wild.” The film won Best Film at the 10th Hong Kong Film Awards. He also composed the score of “He Ri Jun Zai Lai,” which was nominated for Best Original Score at the 11th Hong Kong Film Awards and the 28th Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards. Chan also scored fellow NYFA alum Phoenix Liu’s film “30 1/2,” which won for Best Original Score at the Asians On Film Festival 2013.

    Recently, Terry has been working on some new videos for absolutefitnesshk while also keeping busy producing albums and directing concerts for many well-known singers in Hong Kong and Taiwan, including Faye Wong, Sammi Cheng, Kelly Chan, Karen Mok, Joey Yung and Elva Hsiao.

    Cao Yaoyao

    Director Cao Yaoyao is well known for her work on popular Chinese television programs, especially “If You Are the One.” This adaptation of the ITV program “Take Me Out” (“Taken Out” on Network 10 in Australia) became the most popular dating reality show in China, with a staggering audience of 50,000,000 per episode.

    Phoenix Liu

    Phoenix Liu is the director of the film “30 1/2,” for which she collaborated with composer and fellow NYFA alum Terry Chan. Phoenix also directed the first Chinese Australian study abroad TV series “Wanderers.”

    Nan Zhang

    Nan Zhang recently worked as a script supervisor on the “Once Upon a Time,” a romantic and dramatic Chinese fantasy feature produced by Alibaba Pictures and directed by Zhao Xiaoding and Anthony LaMolinara. The film, based on popular fantasy novel “Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Miles Peach Blossoms” also known as “To the Sky Kingdom,” grossed CN¥175 million, or approximately $25,000,000, on its opening day. The film releases in August 2017 in North America.

    Zhang is also assistant director on the film “Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings,” slated to release in 2018.

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  • Filmmaking and Acting Workshops Held in Beijing and Shanghai

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    This summer, the New York Film Academy held Filmmaking & Acting workshops in both Beijing and Shanghai, China. The workshops have drawn a growing number of international students who want to live and learn in China, where the entertainment industry is growing exponentially.

    Students were able to learn the various aspects of the filmmaking process, including writing, directing, acting, editing, and lighting a set.

    china

    “The instructors were quite helpful and always ready to help you with your specific project,” said Enna, a student who grew up in British Guiana. “It was great to have industry standard equipment to work with and bring our projects to life.”

    china workshop

    “I will definitely choose New York Film Academy,” added another student, Steven. “I think it’s very hands on, very practical; it will help me get started.”

    Many of the students had the same sentiment as the event was a tremendous success, with many attendees committed to pursuing their education further at the Academy.

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    September 8, 2016 • Acting, Community Highlights, Filmmaking, Study Abroad • Views: 4755

  • Screenwriting Instructor and NYFA Alumnus Team up for “Pali Road”

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    pali roadWritten by New York Film Academy Screenwriting instructor Doc Pedrolie and directed by NYFA Beijing alumnus Jonathan Lim, the romantic thriller Pali Road opened April 29th in selected AMC, Regal and Consolidated theaters nationwide. Pedrolie has pitched and developed projects at Sony, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Universal, Fox, Fox 21, Jerry Bruckheimer, Parkes/MacDonald, Brillstein, and Gaunt Television. Before that, he worked as a story analyst for Amazon Studios for seven years. Lim has over 10 years’ experience in Film and Television in the Chinese market. He has created and produced several ongoing TV series for such international companies as the NBA, World Poker Tour and Sony Pictures Dr.Oz.

    Pali Road, a US-China co-production, stars Michelle Chen (You Are the Apple of My Eye), Jackson Rathbone (Twilight series), Sung Kang (Fast and Furious series) and Henry Ian Cusick (Lost, the 100). It was produced by Daxing Zhang, Cathy Lee, Kenneth Burke, and Jonathan Lim. Anthony Lim of Cuixing Media Group, Jon Chiew of Huace Media Group Grace Zhang and Geng Ling of Dadi Digital Cinema & China Film Assist, and Ricardo S. Galindez and Roy J. Tjioe of Island Film Group serve as executive producers.

    The story is a mysterious and thrilling journey in search for true love between two different worlds. Lily (Chen), a young doctor, wakes up from a car accident and discovers she is living a completely different life. Now married to her boyfriend’s rival, Dr. Mitch Kayne (Kang), and a mother to a 5-year-old son, she has an established life she remembers nothing about. Everyone around her denies that her boyfriend Neil (Rathbone) ever existed. As Lily begins to doubt her own sanity, memories of Neil resurface, causing her to encounter unexplainable incidents. While desperately searching for the truth of her past life, she questions her entire existence; but in the end, she discovers the meaning of true love.

    The film has already been nominated for the Grand Jury Award for Best Feature Narrative Film at the upcoming 32nd Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. Pali Road also received an Honorable mention for Best Feature Narrative at CAAMFest 2016 and was nominated for the Halekulani Award for Best Feature Narrative at last year’s Hawaii International Film Festival.

    See Pali Road is select theaters now!

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  • MFA Documentary Student’s ‘The Cost of Love’ Wins Indie Fest Award of Merit

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    kai lu

    Kai Lu at Cannes Film Festival

    New York Film Academy MFA Documentary student Kai Lu’s ‘Year One’ film, The Cost of Love, recently won the 2015 Indie Fest Award of Merit and is an official selection of the 23rd San Francisco Global Movie Festival. Lu is currently in negotiation to distribute the film through MUBI, a popular site for global film lovers.

    Lu’s film tells the story of a husband and wife who must leave their children in their village in rural China to live and work in Beijing. It is the only way they can make enough money to support their family because jobs and opportunities are very limited outside the big cities. In the past two decades, millions of Chinese have flooded into the urban centers seeking a better life — often leaving their children behind to be raised by their elderly grandparents.

    the cost of love

    photo from ‘The Cost of Love’

    For Kai Lu the issue hit home; Ai Yin, the wife of the couple he profiles in The Cost of Love is his father’s cousin. While Ai Yin and her husband Zhou work hard selling tomatoes in a Beijing marketplace, seven hundred miles away, her parents struggle to raise the couple’s three children. Her parents have health problems and their children feel resentful and abandoned. The film beautifully portrays the heartbreaking cost of love.

    Lu is currently completing his thesis film and his MFA Degree in Documentary at NYFA Los Angeles. Upon graduation in September, he hopes to get a job at the CCTV Film Channel in Beijing and devote himself to Chinese non-fiction.

    “My ultimate goal,” he says, “is to help an original Chinese film win the Academy Award.”

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    August 20, 2015 • Documentary Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 4741