• New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking Students Shoot Mini-Docs in Belize


    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking students are off on another international expedition this spring, traveling to Belize in Central America from May 19 through May 25.

    The Documentary Filmmaking department is partnering with Adaptation Fund in collaboration with Belize Fisheries Department on the Marine Conservation and Climate Adaption Project implemented by the government of Belize (MCCAP). 

    The crew is led by NYFA Documentary Faculty Chair – Los Angeles, Sanora Bartels, and includes students Cassandra Bauer, Ayu Logan, Jackson McGuire, and Ashley Valsin, who are working alongside NYFA Documentary alum Mollie Moore.

    The crew will shoot and edit several short (90-120 second) mini-docs that will be used by Belize Fisheries Department for dissemination of information and to highlight the project’s positive effect in alleviating climate change.  

    The crew landed in Belize on May 19, and on May 20 set sea to Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve. On Turneffe, the students will interview local fishermen and beneficiaries of MCCAP’s work.  They will also capture the work of administrative and scientific leaders connected to MCCAP and the Adaptation Fund. They’re really looking forward to shooting underwater footage concentrating on Marine Protected Areas, mangroves, fishing livelihood (seaweed cultivation), and coral restoration. 

    After Turneffe, the students will return to Belize City and edit the mini-docs as well as host a screening on their final night of the expedition. Once back in the US, the NYFA Documentary Filmmaking students will join the Adaptation Fund campaign by posting their films on social media in support of climate adaptation programs. Stay tuned to check out their finished work!

    Turneffe Atoll

    Marine habitats in Turneffe Atoll
    © Eric Ramos

    UPDATE (9/10/19): Adaptation Fund was thrilled with the work of NYFA Documentary students, and included their videos on their YouTube channel as well as in a written story found here.

    “Thanks so much to both Belize Fisheries for hosting and facilitating the filming project, and NYFA for their interest in this project and pursuing it,” says Matt Pueschel, Adaptation Fund Communications Officer. “It really turned out great, and seemed to be a great experience for all sides. I think the resulting videos are also impactful and will help spread the word of the importance of climate change adaptation.”

    Here are the four videos filmed by NYFA-LA students while in Belize:


    May 21, 2019 • Documentary Filmmaking • Views: 1546

  • WWF Features New York Film Academy Documentary Alum Valentine Rosado in Annual Report


    With 2017 the third hottest year on record, climate change and environmental conservation have become trending topics. Yet for conservationists like biologist and New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking alum Valentine Rosado, the important work to protect the planet is an ongoing, lifelong commitment.

    After returning from his studies at NYFA New York City through a Professional Development Grant from World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program (EFN), Rosado recently launched environmental consulting firm Grassroots Belize with his wife Angie in his home country of Belize.

    Now, Rosado and his work are featured in WWF’s Russell E. Train Education for Nature Annual Report.

    “Guadalupe Valentine Rosado, a biologist from Belize, received a Professional Development Grant to attend a six-week documentary filmmaking workshop at the New York Film Academy,” the WWF Report states. “He is using the skills learned in the workshop to create impactful and educational films about environmental issues facing Belize, such as mangrove reforestation and restoration.”

    With the WWF’s annual membership reaching upwards of 5 million, it’s exciting to see that news of Rosado’s incredible conservation work for Belize has reached such a wide audience, and that what he’s learned at New York Film Academy’s Documentary School has contributed to his important work in Belize.

    “Conservation endures as a living discipline because it is inhabited by a magnificent collection of people,” WWF President & CEO Carter Roberts states on their website. “Only by working together can we create solutions to the most vexing problems we face.”

    We couldn’t agree more. Congratulations, Valentine! We look forward to seeing what’s next for Grassroots Belize. You can learn by connecting with Valentine and following Grassroots Belize on Facebook.

  • NYFA Docs’ “Freya” Selected to Screen at G2 Earth Film Festival


    New York Film Academy Documentary Department is proud to announce that Freya is an Official Selection of the G2 Green Earth Film Festival. Last November, the film premiered with four other NYFA student documentaries at the prestigious DOC NYC at the IFC Center in New York City.

    Filmed by seven students during a NYFA filmmaking expedition to Belize, Freya follows the story of an endangered loggerhead sea turtle fighting to survive a shark attack against the odds.

    The students who worked on Freya spent a week filming and helping the local volunteers. The expedition focused on the imperiled Mesoamerican Reef including coral reef conservation, endangered sea turtles and manatees.

    “Following Freya’s story has been the opportunity of a lifetime,” says director, Rachael Peltzer.

    On the expeditions, young filmmakers explore threatened ocean worlds and raise a call to activism through the power of documentary storytelling—all in collaboration with some of the top marine conservation organizations. Expedition collaborators include Mission Blue, Healthy Reefs for Healthy People, Oceanic Society, Ecomar, Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association, Sea to Shore Alliance & Coastal Zone Management of Belize, Hawksbill Hope, and the Belize Fisheries Department.

    “It’s exciting to see the expeditions spark a deep love for the oceans in young filmmakers; and a passion to tell stories that can help save them,” says Andrea Swift, Chair of the Documentary Department at NYFA.

    “The ocean is in great danger,” says producer and former student, Gary Bencheghib, who is currently working on another documentary called Recycled Mississippi. “We are hopeful that stories like Freya’s will help increase awareness of such critical environmental issues.”


    July 8, 2016 • Documentary Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 3923