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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking Department Works With Ben’s Lighthouse

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    Last Spring, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Chair of Documentary Filmmaking Andrea Swift and NYFA Docs alum Braulio Jatar taught a micro-docs workshop to Newtown teenagers at Ben’s Lighthouse, a grassroots organization founded after the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

    Ben’s Lighthouse was founded to honor 6-year-old Benjamin Wheeler, one of the victims of the 2012 massacre. The organization is based in Newtown, Connecticut. Their motto—and mission—is “helping is healing,” and the organization uses local mentoring programs and national outreach service trips as part of their cause.

    Members of Ben’s Lighthouse were headed for a service trip to Louisiana. Andrea Swift, NYFA Documentary Filmmaking Chair, helped prepare them by teaching a workshop in micro-docs, which are typically very short, effective documentaries. Swift focused on story development, which is especially important in documentaries that have a very short window to captivate and engage an audience. 

    Once they returned from the trip, the members—led by group leader Sue Vogelman—came back to NYFA to edit their footage. NYFA Documentary Filmmaking alum Braulio Jatar worked with Swift and taught the members how to edit on digital software Adobe Premiere, as well as supervising their edit.

    Micro Doc: Newtown Workshop from New York Film Academy on Vimeo.

    Jatar graduated from both the Documentary Filmmaking 6-Week Workshop and 1-Year Conservatory at NYFA’s New York campus. Since graduating, Jatar has found success with his film, Where Chaos Reigns, co-directed with NYFA Docs alum Anaïs Michel. The film recently won the Golden Gate Award for Best Short Documentary at the San Francisco International Film Festival, qualifying Jatar for an Academy Award next year.

    The micro-doc was directed by Gigi Marino and Sam Henriques and is available on Vimeo.

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    July 18, 2019 • Documentary Filmmaking, Outreach • Views: 1388

  • New York Film Academy Documentary Film Festival Screens 5 Fantastic Student Docs

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    The New York Film Academy recently celebrated The New York Film Academy Documentary Film Festival, offering a showcase of five exceptional thesis documentaries from our conservatory students.

    Held at the NYFA Theatre at the New York City campus, the festival served not only as a thesis presentation, but also a professional launch and celebration of an exceptional group of filmmakers. The surprising, compelling stories and unique visions of the Spring ’17 Documentary Filmmaking Conservatory carried a delighted audience of fellow NYFA students, friends, faculty, and staff around the globe and through a series of remarkable worlds you’d never have known existed.

    Screened at the festival were the following films:

    "Jatar" by Braulio Jatar

    “Running Out of Freedom” Directed by Braulio Jatar

    Braulio Jatar’s father, a high-profile Venezuelan dissident, is dying in prison. But the capture order on Braulio’s head makes returning to the country extremely dangerous. His family won’t allow it. But with his father’s life in the balance, and the Resistance gathering to make one last stand, the young journalist has decided to risk his life to fight for his father and for his country.

    “Cricket Liu” Directed by Julia Cheng

    An aging master of the ancient culture of cricket fighting now uses the art to entertain an endless river of tourists, earning all he possibly can, to send in precious red envelops as gifts to the beloved little grandson he is not allowed to know.

    “Gold Flakes” Directed by Santiago Machado

    A courageous father navigates Colombian rainforests, gleaning the last flakes of El Dorado’s gold.

    But it’s drying up. The abandoned mines threaten collapse, a guerilla army is taking over the area, and the government is trying to starve out the gleaners with new taxes and tightening regulations. Still, his family will eat tonight if he can find just one good gold flake.

    “The Future is Rotten” Directed by Nancy Dionne 

    Forests of the Pacific Northwest hold a rare treasure. A secret culture of foragers spend their lives hunting it. Its coveted flavor can bring up to $1000 per kg. But the Matsutake mushroom’s true genius is as a healer of ruined landscapes, and it may offer the best hope for an American forest system run amuk.

    “Sword Swallower” Directed by Katerina Olkhovaya 

    Notorious circus artist Magnificent Jewels makes a career of death-defying performances. Even outside the limelight, the vulnerable if hardened sword swallower sacrifices all for the burlesque circus that from Berlin, to Brussels, to Paris must always go on.

    Congratulations to our Spring ’17 Documentary Filmmaking Conservatory class! It was truly a proud and triumphant night for our documentary community.

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  • NYFA Student Showcase is a Success at DOC NYC 2017

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    The 2017 edition of DOC NYC included another fantastic New York Film Academy Documentary Department Showcase, spotlighting the work of NYFA students. NYFA faculty also had work represented at the festival, which MovieMaker Magazine has named amongst the top 5 “coolest documentary festivals in the world.”

    NYFA President Michael Young with NYFA DOC NYC Documentary Filmmakers at the NYFA Showcase, IFC Center.

    Known as one of the most prestigious documentary festivals in the U.S., DOC NYC is held annually at the IFC Center in Manhattan’s West Village. The 8-day festival provides a cutting-edge platform for documentaries and includes panels and conversations with industry leaders.

    This is the third year in a row that NYFA Documentary Filmmaking students have premiered their original work at DOC NYC. The five NYFA student films premiering at the festival were “Atomic Love” (Yusaku Kanagawa), “Home Free” (Marie-Chan Kasongo), “Little Red Lie” (Mariko Ide), “Jatar” (Braulio Jatar), and “Janguaribara” (Lucas M. Dantas). Following the special screening, students, faculty, and industry guests alike enjoyed the usual excellent day-long after party/reunion, networking with fellow filmmakers and documentary industry insiders.

    NYFA Doc NYC Showcase Poster

    “DOC NYC is one of the most important documentary film festivals in the world. It’s a huge honor to be included in their showcase for the third year in a row.  Luckily, our students are up to the challenge,” said Andrea Swift, Chair, NYFA Documentary Department. “These five films are as accomplished as they are diverse, which is representative of the majority of NYFA documentaries.”

    Three NYFA faculty members were also honored with film screenings at DOC NY: “Scotty Bowers and the Secret History of Hollywood” (featuring NYFA Digital Editing Professor Bob Eisenhardt, multiple Emmy Award-winner and Oscar nominee), “Hot Grease” (NYFA Documentary Department Producing Professor Jessica Wolfson), and “Atomic Homefront” (NYFA Documentary Department Cinematography Professor Claudia Raschke, four time Oscar nominee).

    DOC NYC Shorts Programmer Opal Bennet and NYFA Documentary Filmmaking Chair Andrea Swift with filmmakers.

     

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  • NYFA Student Documentarian Braulio Jatar Interviewed by VICE on Resistance in Venezuela

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    Photo by Braulio Jatar

    There are many ways students can spend their breaks from school, but Braulio Jatar took a leave of absence from his studies in the 1-Year Documentary Filmmaking Program at the New York Film Academy to put his training to work in the field by documenting the current, violent protests in Venezuela.

    Currently, Jatar is one of a dedicated group of documentary filmmakers, journalists and photographers  who brave daily danger to be on the scene, documenting the upheaval and protests in his native Venezuela. The young filmmaker and activist’s work has caught the attention of VICE, who have spotlighted Jatar in an in-depth interview that shares some of the filmmaker’s powerful photographs.

    Photo by Braulio Jatar

    Jatar, who hails from the Venezuela’s capital of Caracas, told VICE, “I came back to Venezuela because I felt it was a very important moment in the history of my country, and, as a documentary filmmaker, it was essential that I was here.”

    Venezuela is in turmoil, with violent clashes occurring between the government of Nicolás Maduro and citizen demonstrators, who demand the president step down from power. There have been violent clashes between the police and the protesters, some resulting in casualties.

    VICE reports that Jatar wears a bulletproof vest, anti-gas mask, helmet, and press credentials daily when he leaves his home — where his father, a prominent journalist, is on house arrest.

    Photo by Horacio Siciliano

    Jatar ventures into the streets of Caracas to document what he sees and shares his photos and videos daily to his nearly 150,000 Instagram followers, providing a chilling inside glimpse into the chaotic situation in Venezuela, as it happens.

    Of recent violence and deaths, Jatar told VICE, “We need to take into account that the majority of those killed are young people between the ages of 15 and 18. Who is not saddened to learn that the young men facing the police and the National Guard, who are adults and have guns, are dying for simply demanding a better country?”

    Jatar’s VICE interview in its entirety is available here, and there is a translation function for those not fluent in Portuguese. While there, Jatar is also shooting a set of documentaries, one of which he plans to cut as his NYFA thesis when he returns from his leave.

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