ben cohen

  • Recent Success For New York Film Academy (NYFA) Instructor Ben Cohen


    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Instructor Ben Cohen has had a productive 2018. His sitcom screenplay, The Library, recently made the 2nd Round at the 2018 Austin Film Festival. Additionally, it was a finalist in the New York Screenplay Contest.

    Cohen hails from Decatur, Georgia and is currently based in Brooklyn. He has studied at various institutions across the globe, and has honed his comedy chops at Upright Citizen Brigade, among other theaters and playhouse troupes. 

    In addition to writing and performing, he currently teaches for the Filmmaking school at New York Film Academy’s New York City campus, where he has gained a reputation for being incredibly devoted to both his students and his fellow faculty members. He is also a great role model for the aspiring film school students he teaches, as he balances his position at NYFA with a working career in the film and comedy industry, much like most of the Academy’s experienced, industry-savvy faculty members.

    It’s no surprise then that his script for The Library made it to the 2nd Round of the 2018 Austin Film Festival (AFF). The AFF was founded in 1994 and has a focus on screenwriters, and has had judges from Warner Bros., Pixar, ABC Studios, and Nickelodeon in past years.

    Ben Cohen

    Ben Cohen Hosting 2018 NYFA Emmy Party in NYC

    Cohen’s script was also a finalist for the New York Screenplay Contest, a premiere global screenwriting contest that has introduced numerous talented and unique voices to the industry. Being named as a Finalist or Winner of the contest is a coveted, distinct honor.

    Cohen has remained modest about his recent achievements, telling NYFA, “It’s nice to see my writing get some recognition, but it’s important for folks to know rejection isn’t the negative — it’s the norm.” 

    Expounding on this, he continued, “Much more of your creative life is spent being told that you’re not good enough, but you have to keep writing, and more importantly, keep sharing your writing. I’ve learned to appreciate the good days (like this one) and just keep going. It helps to care about other things. My students know I’m just as happy to talk sports or Bowie as I am to talk about writing.”

    Additionally, Cohen was recently featured in a PBS Documentary produced by NYFA alum Ashton Brooks, and he plans to continue writing and pursuing gigs in the industry. 

    The New York Film Academy congratulates filmmaking instructor Ben Cohen on his recent successes and looks forward to those still yet to come! 

  • NYFA’s Ben Cohen Discusses Anti-Hero Movies with Fox 5


    ben cohen fox 5

    Comic book fans are becoming concerned with the notion that some of their favorite comic book heroes are becoming “evil.” Given the entertainment industry’s recent trend of creating “anti-heroes” in films like Batman versus Superman and a recent Captain America comic, Mac King from FOX 5 decided to pay the New York Film Academy a visit to get some expert feedback from instructor Ben Cohen.

    “The characters that we’re going to latch onto are the one’s that are going to be largely contradictory,” said Cohen. “That’s what makes Iron Man so fun. He can be a jerk, but, generally speaking, he wants to save the world”

    We want to marvel at our favorite heroes’ super-human abilities, but we also want to know that they have a secret weakness or “Kryptonite.”

    Given this has been the decade of Superhero movies, it’s any wonder if this trend will continue or is it rather just a fad to provide a fresh look at the popular genre?

    For a look at the Fox 5 interview at NYFA’s New York campus, watch the video below:


    May 27, 2016 • Community Highlights, Entertainment News • Views: 5818

  • NYFA Moderates Talk with Sacha Baron Cohen at “The Brothers Grimsby” NY Event


    As a man who has built a career on shocking his audience, Sacha Baron Cohen continues to push the envelope with his new comedy, The Brothers Grimsby. In celebration of his new release, Sony invited New York Film Academy students to a special New York City screening, which was moderated by NYFA Instructor Ben Cohen.

    Adorned in some sort of hipster, cowboy attire, the always hilarious Sacha Baron Cohen took the time to chat and take photos with our students. Before screening the film, Sacha showed us an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at some of the production behind Bruno, which gave insight into the delicate and creative planning that goes into each bit. It’s actually more complicated and dangerous than one would think.

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    NYFA Instructor Ben Cohen with Sacha Baron Cohen

    The Brothers Grimsby, which also stars actors Mark Strong, Isla Fisher, Rebel Wilson and others, revolves around a football hooligan who winds up teaming up with his long lost brother, a top spy, in order to ultimately save the world from a deadly virus outbreak. As expected, the film delivers outrageous moments that would only fly in Cohen’s world, and one can’t help but laugh.

    Following the screening at the Regal Union Square in New York, Ben Cohen opened up a discussion with Sacha Baron Cohen that focused on the character and story development that went into the pre-production of the film. Sacha explained how he sees his rowdy, family-oriented character as a sort of “everyman” thrown into the high-tech world of a spy where the stakes are extremely high.

    sacha baron cohen nyfa hat

    Several NYFA students were given the opportunity to ask questions as Ben opened the discussion up to the sold out Regal theatre. In fact, at one point, the crowd seemed as though they were on a comedy audition of their own as the discussion included a bit of hilarity in itself.

    “I had an amazing night with other NYFA students and also got to meet one of my heroes, Sacha Baron Cohen,” said NYFA student and U.S. veteran, Corporal Michael J. Lynch.

    Sacha Baron Cohen reached a somewhat touching conclusion to the evening by stating, “I know it sounds cheesy, but I had a moment when I heard the crowd going wild and I had this realization that I’m doing this all for the fans.”

    The Brothers Grimsby is now playing in theaters.


    March 10, 2016 • Acting, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 6825

  • NYFA Union Square Hosts Emile Hirsch, Stephen Dorff, and Polsky Bros

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    Emile Hirsch and Stephen Dorff at NYFA Union Square

    On Tuesday, the New York Film Academy screened the newest film from Gabe and Alan Polsky, The Motel Life. This was The Bad Lieutenant producing brothers’ directorial debut, starring Emile Hirsch, Stephen Dorff, and Dakota Fanning. After the screening, students and alumni were treated to a panel consisting of Emile, Stephen, Gabe and Alan. Instructor Ben Cohen moderated the event, which turned out to be a full house of entertained students.

    The film, which opens in theaters and On Demand this Friday, focuses on a pair of down and out brothers who must flee their hometown of Reno after a fatal hit-and-run accident. Shot on 35mm, The Motel Life brings us back to a time in cinema when filmmakers didn’t have to rely on explosions, comic book characters or exotic locations. The characters dealt with a lot of internal conflicts, though Stephen’s character was also dealing with an obvious physical dilemma. “We wanted the film to have a timeless classic feel,” said director, Gabe Polsky.

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    Gabe and Alan Polsky

    Emile and Stephen were quite taken with the material and signed on immediately after reading. Working with the first time directors was a very pleasant experience for both actors. “They were very smart about putting all of the elements together,” said Emile Hirsch. Emile admitted to the fact that he had actually lived in motels at the age of 12, so this was something very personal to him.

    In order for Stephen to prepare for the role (his character loses his right leg), he spent time with amputees to see what it was like to live with such a disability. He told the students how moving and inspiring their stories were, and how much it helped him prepare for the part of Jerry Lee.

    The acting duo were flowing with personality and humor throughout the evening, and had the entire room engaged. Each guest even spent time shaking hands and speaking privately with several students after the Q&A.


    November 6, 2013 • Acting, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 7386