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  • Feature Film By NYFA BFA Filmmaking Alumni ‘Easy Living’ Screens at Santa Barbara International Film Festival

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    Easy Living, the debut feature film by New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA Filmmaking alum Orso Miyakawa and his brother Peter—and shot by NYFA BFA Filmmaking alum Andrey Nuzhnyy, is screening at this month’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival as an Official Selection.

    The film is self-described as a melancholic, coming-of-age comedy about a fourteen-year-old boy, his older sister, and a bizarre American tennis teacher who come up with an absurd plan to help a migrant sneak across the border. It recently had its premiere at the Torino Film Festival in Turin, Italy.

    Orso Miyakawa and Andrey Nuzhnyy met during their first year together at NYFA’s New York campus. Together, Miyakawa and Nuzhnyy moved to Los Angeles a year later to complete their BFA in Filmmaking studies at NYFA’s Burbank-based location.

    easy living torso miyakawa

    NYFA BFA Filmmaking alum Orso Miyakawa

    “We always worked on each other’s projects,” says Miyakawa of his time with Nuzhnyy at NYFA, “we watched hundreds and hundreds of movies together, and most importantly, we developed a similar sense of humor—which I believe is the key to understanding why we collaborate so well with each other.”

    After graduating and working on various film sets around the world, Miyakawa and his brother Peter, who also collaborated on several NYFA projects, returned to their home country of Italy where they started a production company with their friends, family, and Nuzhnyy. Their company, Wise Pictures began producing short films and music videos before moving onto international feature films and collaborating with artists like Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name, Suspiria)

    Their film Easy Living kicked off its festival run with its premiere at Torino, one of the largest fests in Italy. The film, written and directed by the Miyakawa brothers, was inspired by their childhood home, a small seaside town on the border between France and Italy.

    easy living Andrey Nuzhnyy

    NYFA BFA Filmmaking alum Andrey Nuzhnyy

    Despite its specific, personal roots, the Miyakawa brothers have always aimed for the film to reach a universal audience. “The movie takes place around the Italian border with France,” Miyakawa tells NYFA, “but it could easily be transported to the US border with Mexico and work perfectly fine.”

    Easy Living will screen at Santa Barbara International Film Festival, one of California’s most prestigious cinema fests, on Monday, January 20 at 4:30 p.m. local time. The film will screen two more times at Santa Barbara, on Tuesday, January 21 at 2:40 p.m. and Wednesday, January 22 at 8:20 a.m.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Peter Miyakawa and New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA Filmmaking alumni Orso Miyakawa and Andrey Nuzhnyy on Easy Living and encourage everyone in the Santa Barbara area to check out the film!

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    January 28, 2020 • Film Festivals, Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 916

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screens Groundbreaking VR Film ‘Agent Emerson’ with Director and BFA Filmmaking alum Ilya Rozhkov and Filmmaking Team

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) recently hosted a screening of groundbreaking VR action film Agent Emerson, followed by a Q&A with award-winning writer, director, producer, and NYFA BFA Filmmaking alum Ilya Rozhkov; Associate Producer & VP of Development of the Rogue Initiative, Bradley Etheridge; and Line Producer and NYFA alum, Radhika Womack. The event was held on Friday, November 15 at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus, with the president of the NYFA Broadcasting Club, Derek “DJ” Johnson II, moderating.

    BFA Filmmaking alum Ilya Rozhkov has directed award-winning shorts including Wes-Andresonesque Sabre Dance, starring Olympian Greg Louganis as Salvador Dali. His films have been distributed worldwide, featured on NBC, and screened at over 50+ festivals; winning numerous awards including Best Picture and Best Director. 

    Agent Emerson Ilya Rozhkov
    As a lead development executive at Rogue Initiative, Bradley Etheridge is responsible for input for both creative and business development. Etheridge’s diverse range of duties includes working with directors, writers, and producers on film, TV, and VR projects; managing Rogue’s internal team of game developers; and interfacing with contacts in various industries for everything from investment to content distribution opportunities. 

    Radhika Womack began her career producing commercials in the Indian film industry. Since moving to the United States, she has produced a number of feature films, shorts, documentaries, and music videos. Her most recent credits include producing the feature film In This Gray Place and line-producing Agent Emerson.  

    DJ Johnson II opened the Q&A by asking how the idea of Agent Emerson came about, highlighting the fact that Rozhkov conceptualized the film’s story with Womack during their time as students at NYFA.

    The VR film allows the audience to see an action movie from the 360-degree POV of its hero. The film, starring Andrew Bowen, Lyndsy Fonseca, and Tony Denison, has toured with Samsung and Verizon Media in a series of events in several states and recently had its successful red carpet premiere with high-profile guests from major Hollywood studios, Silicon Valley, the Producers Guild, the VR industry, and several Academy Award nominees.

    Agent Emerson Ilya Rozhkov

    “It was a very long planning process; about a year of it,” Rozhkov shared. “When I thought about it for the first time, I tried to figure out what would make it unique as a storytelling medium, just like people were with movies 120 years ago. So when the script was there and the concept was there, we started looking into technology and it simply did not exist, so I sat down with engineers and we had to create technology to make this possible.” 

    Johnson continued by inquiring how you set a frame that is 360 degrees. Rozhkov joked by saying, “Just like how there is no spoon in The Matrix, there is no frame in VR.” Rozhkov continued, “It’s storytelling through location and it’s a cinematic medium for sure, but it takes a lot from theater and it takes a lot from gaming. There’s no storytelling laws, especially when we started, so we had to find what works and just like any film, figure out the storytelling language.” 

    When asked about what the biggest challenge the filmmaking team faced during production, Womack expressed, “The biggest challenge was the technology. There’s so many unknowns in filmmaking already, and here you just triple that. It’s just sitting and brainstorming all the things you need even though there’s a lot of similarity with regular productions and other narratives. You have your locations, your permits, your crew, and the camera is taken care of, but again it’s a much bigger department than you would have on a regular film. The biggest challenge was to let everyone in every department know the difference: if you can see the camera, the camera can see you.” 
    Agent Emerson Ilya Rozhkov

    The Q&A then opened up for questions from the audience. A student asked the filmmaking team, “How did you combine the digital assets with the footage from your camera while maintaining the stereoscopic effect of the film?” 

    Rozhkov answered, “Everything was carefully measured, and we had a lot of sensor data from set that helped a lot. 360 degree video has a lot of limitations, especially when it comes to 3D, so we utilized game engine to bypass some of them. The film tracks in real time where you’re looking and adjusts the 3D accordingly.” 

    New York Film Academy thanks BFA Filmmaking alum Ilya Rozhkov, as well as Bradley Etheridge, and Radhika Womack for sharing their VR film and expertise with our students. Agent Emerson will be released on Oculus Rift (Go and Quest), HTC Vive, and Cosmos on November 22. 

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    November 19, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Virtual Reality • Views: 1474

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA Filmmaking Alum Alex Kahuam Profiled in VoyageLA

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA Filmmaking alum Alex Kahuam has been hard at work since completing his degree studies and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. Recently, Kahuam was profiled by Hollywood-area publication VoyageLA for his work as an independent filmmaker.

    Kahuam first attended NYFA’s Burbank-based campus in 2012, studying for his AFA in Filmmaking degree. He followed that in 2015 by enrolling in NYFA’s BFA in Filmmaking program.

    Alex Kahuam

    Alex Kahuam (courtesy of VoyageLA)

    The Mexican-born filmmaker has been making movies since a class project in the fifth grade. Years later, he made his second feature film, So, You Want To Be A Gangster?, producing it in Los Angeles with professional equipment and sets, and an experienced cast and crew. The film is now available on VOD, including Amazon Prime, Google Play, Microsoft Store, PlayStation Store, VUDU, Steam and others.

    Kahuam recently finished production on his third feature, Forgiveness, a co-production between the United States and Mexico. Additionally, he’s shot several short films and music videos.

    “It’s been 14 years of not giving up and keep moving forward,” Kahuam tells VoyageLA. “I will say it again—it’s all about the three P’s: patience, persistence, and passion.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates BFA Filmmaking alum Alex Kahuam on the well-deserved recognition he is gaining for his hard work, and looks forward to following his filmmaking career as it develops!

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    July 3, 2019 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1563