As everyone reading this email already knows, this is a challenging time to be a journalist, especially here in the United States. In fact, some have gone so far as to to term the current style of political discussion here as nothing short of “toxic” to democracy. Marketwatchposted a fascinating story last week on one of the unexpected results of the battle over “fake news”: Journalism schools in the United States have seen a noticeable increase in the number of students attending. This growth in enrollment seems to be driven by a sense of duty, as well as a belief that there are a growing number of career opportunities for those studying journalism.
Journalism.co.uk is always a good read. Last week they posted an article on how 45 newspaper writers and editors in Slovakia, in response to their paper being taken over by a local oligarch, started their own “paper” … only this publication is primarily digital, but it still has a physical presence. And instead of outsourcing news coverage — as many sites do — they outsourced the business-side of the enterprise. That way they could devote their time to what they know best — journalism. Fascinating story…
A big thank you to CNBC correspondent Leslie Picker, who was kind enough to take time out her busy schedule to meet with some of the NYFA Broadcast Journalism students. Her detailed description of her own personal career arc taught our students that the process is never easy, but is full of potential. She also told them “the story behind the story” of an award-winning investigation she reported for CNBC. She’s a great role model, and a fabulous communicator. Thanks, Leslie!
CNBC Correspondent Leslie Picker visits the New York Film Academy.
NYFA Broadcast Journalism graduate Nicole Cross admitted mixed feelings last Wednesday, when police in Austin, Texas, apprehended the suspect in a series of bombings. The suspect chose to blow himself up, rather than be captured. Nicole reports for KVUE in Austin, and has been following the story (along with her colleagues) from the start. And while the bombings now appear the be over, the story certainly isn’t…
Former NYFA student Daniella Gemignani reported a complex story last week on how agriculture represents one-third of Brazil’s GDP. (I know that thanks to Google translate.) It’s the kind of story that isn’t easy to visualize. It also involves figuring out complicated economic, business and technological concepts. And then there are the cows … another great job, Daniella!
Abiola Jinadu traveled a long way, from Nigeria to New York City, so she could study at NYFA. Smart, inquisitive, hardworking, and personable, she has a lot going for her. She writes, via LinkedIn:
The Broadcast Journalism Update will be on hiatus of the next two weeks. It is Spring Break at NYFA, and I am using it as an opportunity to travel to Vietnam for a feature film project I am consulting on. It is something of an irony that last week I was shoveling snow, and this week I will be looking for places to cool-off. It is the first U.S.-Vietnam-China co-production I have ever participated in, and it promises to be challenging. Any project involving three languages is, by definition, challenging…
While many young artists flock to New York City from all around the world, few realize just how difficult it can be to break into the competitive world of “show business.” This personal and relatable struggle was the inspiration behind director Rodrigo Baumgartner Ayres’ film “Felices Acá En New York” (“Happy Here in New York”), which stars NYFA alumna Caroline Rosalino. Both Ayres and Rosalino met during their studies at the New York Film Academy and collaborated on the project soon after.
The film has been well received, having screened at eight film festivals and having been recognized with a “Best Actress Award Nomination” at the Queens World Film Festival. The film won a “Best Audience Award” at Indie Works and a “Best Actress Platinum” at NYC Indie Fest.
NYFA caught up with the two alumni to discuss more about the film and their blossoming careers since graduating.
Congrats on the success of your film! Can you tell us where you’re from, and what brought you to NYFA?
CR: I’m from Brazil, but I also lived in Argentina for five years where I did my BFA in Acting, as well as working in their “off-Broadway theater circle.” I came to the US for the first time for a three month work intership, and I walked past NYFA the very first day I was in New York City. I even have a picture of myself in front of NYFA saying, “Mom, I don’t think I am coming back,” and the funny thing is, it became true. I started researching about NYFA and I found it was exactly what I was missing in my work — since at that point my focus was mainly theatre and soap opera acting.
RA: I am from Porto Alegre, Brazil. I decided to come to NYFA during my last year of adversing & marketing school in Brazil. I wasn’t excited about pursuing that career, I felt there was somehitng missing and it was one of my instructors Anny Baggiotto who had attended NYFA a few years earlier the recommended the school to me.
Caroline, can you tell us how you met Rodrigo?
CR: While at NYFA, I saw him working everyday at our computer lab, but we never had the opportunty to work together during school time. During my OPT time after NYFA, I invited Rodrigo to direct this film and luckily he dedicated himself entirely to the project.
Rodrigo, in your own words, can you tell us what this film is about?
RA: It’s about me, and Caroline’s, and a whole bunch of other foreigner artists’ lives. People who come to NYC with a dream to make it in show business, but soon realize that life here is harder than it looks. It’s about the idealized image that people in our home countries have of us because of the fact that we are living in New York City, supposedly the city of dreams. They don’t know what it means to be a foreigner in this country: working day jobs, struggling with money, having a constant fear of failure, which will culminate into us having no other option besides going back to our home countries with a feeling of defeat. It’s also about friendship. Sol’s character is sacrificing a long lasting friendship with Vicky in order to fulfill her dreams. And these ‘breaking apart’ situations happen no matter how hard you try to keep in touch with friends and family because your life in NYC is very intense; you can’t take a breath between working day jobs and pursing your career as an artist.
How did this film come about?
RA: This film was a nine day pre-production process: one day of shooting and over six months of editing, which I did myself. Caroline sent me a story written by Alejandro Escaño, a writer and theatre performer from Argentina, and she told me she wanted me to DP it. She thought I had a camera and equipment, which I didn’t, and she had another director lined up for the shoot. I told her I didn’t have a camera, but I might be able to put the production together. Apparently, the other director wasn’t showing much interest, so I took over and brought my friend Daniel Rey Lozano to DP and operate the camera, borrowed sound equipment from an indie company called ‘Gradient Films’, whom I worked with before, and Caroline called Andrei Costanzi Posse to operate the sound, a Brazilian actor who lives in NYC, which I had also previously met in another project.
We were only five people on set and shooting guerrilla style. Months later, in the later stages of editing, I brought in my cousin from Brazil, Saulo Baumgartner Mosna, to compose the music for us.
The biggest challenge was adapting the story that was sent to us by Alejandro, which was a great story with a lot of heart, but also not written in a standard script format. It was a story written in Word, which required a lot of changes if we wanted to have any hopes of executing it as a film. The original story involved a higher budget, at least three or four days of shooting, and more time of pre-production. So with nine days until the shooting date, Caroline and I were re-writing the story and adapting it into our ‘one day’ schedule.
One day of shooting seems like a lot to handle. Can you tell me how you were able to pull off a one day shoot?
RA: We got a crew of reliable people who are in it for the art rather than money, and that’s why we were able to shoot for some 16 hours. It was definitely exhausting, but when you have people like that, you know are going to see it through to the end. When Carolyn and I were writing the script I was careful with how I was shaping the scenes. Like I said, the original story was quite different — more places, different style — so I tried to make it logistically viable, so that we could travel quickly between locations.
What did you see in Caroline that made her a perfect fit for the role of Sol?
RA: Caroline is a great actress, seasoned, reliable and she really fit the role, because just like her character Sol, Caroline is also an immigrant who is struggling to make a living here in NYC. Except maybe for the ‘killing’ visions and day dreaming, Sol and Caroline are quite similar. But the fact was that Caroline reached me with the story first. Knowing her for her professionalism and talent, I had no doubts that we could make this project work.
Caroline, can you tell us a little bit about Sol and who she is as a character?
CR: Sol is a struggling actress that has been living in NY for three years. She wants to sustain the image of a successful life, but deep down she is not completely proud of all her choices. The truth comes to surface when her best friend from Argentina comes to visit her.
Would you two say your NYFA experience was useful in terms of being prepared for this film?
CR: I was truly blessed to have a great group at NYFA. From my colleagues that had so much potential — not even mentioning the unforgettable time we had together — but also our teachers were excellent and always open to work as well. NYFA prepared me not only to shift my theatre acting experience into film format and understand the professional filmmaking process, but essentially to understand acting as a business and how the film industry works in the US.
RA: NYFA played an absolutely fundamental role in my career as a filmmaker. I had no previous background in film before — coming from advertising and marketing — so everything I learned was at NYFA. I did the One-Year Filmmaking Conservatory, which was very intense and an incredible learning experience. Kudos to my directing instructor Paul Warner; he was my main source of inspiration and I follow his teachings blindingly. I definitely learned a lot from him. NYFA cultivated my passion for the art and set me on track for a career that I can no longer live without. NYFA’s program is complete. I graduated the school feeling confident about my talent and what I could accomplish in the future.
Tell us what’s next for the two of you.
CR: I have a few jobs lined up. I might be traveling around the country for that. One of them is a virtual reality film. I can’t wait for the experience of shooting in 360. And for certain the feature of “Felices Acá en New York.”
RA: I am shooting two new short films in May – June, 2017. One is a comedy that pays tribute to NYC as a romantic and also productive environment. The other one is a drama about loss and grief that criticizes America’s support program to veterans of war. Besides that, I also work as 1st Assistant Director, so I am involved in a sci-fi short film to be shot in September, 2017. I am also constantly writing. I have six scripts in the works that are dialogue pieces primarily made for the stage and that I also intend to turn into films.
Five out of nine films selected for the Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival this year are either from NYFA students or from recent grads.
After the success of the Olympic Games in Rio, a new competition for Brazilian filmmakers is about to begin. It’s the Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival (LABRFF), in which the New York Film Academy (NYFA) is already leading the pack. The official selections of the festival were announced earlier this month, and in the category that rewards short films made by Brazilians in the US, five out of nine films selected are either from NYFA students or from recent grads.
Winners will be announced on September 20th, but for now we present the selected NYFA filmmakers and their films, which will be screened to the entertainment industry in Los Angeles from the 16th.
on set of “The Dress”
Publicist Raphael Bittencourt competes with “The Dress,” which is his first year’s project for the NYFA MFA in Filmmaking in Los Angeles. The outfit in question serves as a pivot to introduce family issues between the father and his daughters.
Despite having solid experience in cinematography and advertising in Brazil, Bittencourt came to study at NYFA to network with high caliber professionals and discover technical differences between shooting in his country and in the US. “No school can compete with NYFA in terms of equipment usage,” said Bittencourt. “In our second class, we headed out with a camera in hand, learning by practicing. In Brazil, colleges end up developing film critics, because everything is more theoretical.”
Family drama also inspires “Under Water: Dive Deep” by MFA in Filmmaking student Lucas Paz. His film portrays the redemption journey of a mother when she returns to the beach where she lost her son in the sea. There, she meets fantastical characters that share unusual experiences, shedding light into her lament.
For Paz, the face-to-face contact with movie idols, visiting NYFA as guest speakers, is one of the greatest school highlights. He also points out the possibility of students filming their own projects on film (and not only in video) as another big advantage.
Paz produced another film selected by the festival as well: “Match,” starring Brazilian actor Domingos Antonio (“Blindness,” by Fernando Meirelles) and Puerto Rican actress Laura Alemán (Crackle’s series “Cleaners“). The film deals with the apathy and emptiness of the virtual relationships through smart phone dating apps.
“Food for Thoughts”
Director Luisa Novo is also a MFA in Filmmaking student at the Los Angeles campus. Her short “Food for Thoughts” was made after she completed the One-Year Filmmaking Conservatory at the school. “I wanted to shoot a film in between my programs and I proposed the idea to my former classmate Jordan Scott, who joined the project as Director of Photography,” she recalls.
The starting point of “Food for Thoughts” is a relationship breakup with a chef, which leads Hope — played by American actress Brittany Falardeau, who attended a 4-Week Acting Workshop at NYFA — to recall her past relationships and come to a realization that will lead to a major life change.
Brazilian actresses Paula Soveral and Valeria Guimarães also shot their film after graduation. Following the completion of their One-Year Acting Conservatory, in October 2014, they decided to develop a project where they could showcase their talent in English and Portuguese. “We wanted to overcome the accent barrier, showing our full potential,” says Soveral. Thus arose the short “Red Souls,” selected for LABRFF this year. The film shows the drama experienced by women recruited in Brazil under false promises of high financial gains that end up in the US as sex slaves.
To produce their short film, Soveral and Guimaraes had the support of the Industry Lab, the NYFA department that works as a production company, intermediating real client demands for audiovisual products, which are entirely delivered by students and recent graduates.
Soveral and Guimarães wrote the screenplay and produced it, also shining on the screen. To direct, they invited another NYFA grad, Indian Aditya Patwardhan, with whom Soveral had worked with previously. “This interaction with different cultures is one of the best things about NYFA,” says the director, who got his MA in Film & Media in 2014. Patwardhan enjoyed working with Brazilians so much that this year he directed “When Red is White,” starring well-known Brazilian actress Thaila Ayala and Al Danuzio, who is currently enrolled in NYFA’s BFA in Acting.
It was an eventful week for New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism graduates. In Denmark, NYFA grad Celina Liv Danielsen has joined Nyheder TV2 as a journalist. She is working at the first 24-hour Danish news channel.
NYFA grad Celina Liv Danielsen
“Celina is one of the hardest working students I have ever met,” said NYFA Broadcast Journalism Chair, Bill Einreinhofer. “Her personal credo is to ‘do your best, nothing less.’ And she is a fabulous writer. Congratulations, Celina!”
Another of our grads, Chiara Carcano, was chosen to be one of the co-hosts of the 2016 edition of the Italian travel show Donnavventura. “Kiki” was selected from 180,000 contests, and starting on September 10th, she will be traveling the world for the next 100 days.
Recent graduate Federica Polidoro explained that the series is “Amazons for the digital age.” (No, not an online marketplace, but the female warriors of classical literature.) She will be facing challenging and extreme conditions, and reporting her experiences to TV, radio and magazine audiences. Congratulations Kiki, and don’t forget to wear your NYFA t-shirt!
By this time you have likely seen at least some of the network coverage of the Rio Olympics. But Brazilian NYFA grad Patricia Saad is taking a very different approach, exploring the local implications and legacy of the Olympic Games.
Take a look at Canal Ilumida. And that “walk and talk” she does in the introductory video… she learned how to do that at NYFA. Nice job, Patricia!
NYFA alumna, Gabby Egito, being honored with the Portuguese-Brazilian Award
NYFA alumna, Gabby Egito, was recently honored with the Portuguese-Brazilian Award, one of the most important accolades of Lusophone communities in the United States. The honorees list was handpicked by a jury committee of journalists who gathered names of the art world, entrepreneurs and notable professionals who excelled in cultural or social awareness in support of their communities in America.
Egito was recognized for her achievements as a recent Brazilian filmmaker. Her fast rise began in 2010, when she came to the U.S. to attend a NYFA 8-Week Workshop at the Los Angeles campus. In the workshop she produced a 7-minute dark comedy, Synergy, which was honored at the Awareness Film Festival, in Hollywood. This sealed her participation in the NYFA One-Year Filmmaking program under a merit-based scholarship.
During her studies at the New York Film Academy, Egito wrote and directed two other films that became festival darlings including the thriller Stuffed and the psychological drama Taken for Granted. Egito has amassed nine awards and five nominations at competitions from coast to coast: Hollywood, Las Vegas, Orlando, Atlantic City (New Jersey), Houston (Texas), Atlanta (Georgia), Cleveland (Ohio) and Muskogee (Oklahoma).
Still from “Synergy”
“It’s amazing to look back and realize how much I’ve achieved since I arrived in this country with two suitcases and a dream of becoming a filmmaker,” said Egito. “NYFA certainly played a decisive role in this journey, providing me the hands-on experience I needed to start off.”
Egito is now working on a long-form documentary about disparities between American and Brazilian dating. “I want to address the cultural differences I’ve been observing in the past six years living in Los Angeles,” commented Egito. “It’ll be very amusing, I promise you.”
The Portuguese-Brazilian Award, organized by Ricky Terezi, was held on July 12 at a 19th-century Norman-style castle overlooking the Hudson River, 30 miles from New York City.
Acting for Film graduate Mey Ferdinand, who came to NYFA from Brazil, has recently spent a week in Los Angeles to act in the Brazilian-American production called Thumbs Up, directed by NYFA alumnus Brian Visciglia. The LA based film was produced in partnership with local and international artists, and the production company Red Line Filmes.
Still from “Thumbs Up”
Thumbs Up surrounds Internet celebrity, Gabriel, a young Brazilian artist who becomes lost in his own fame. Dealing with his agent, personal problems, as well as his superficial and selfish decisions moves him into an entirely new lifestyle that is anything but “normal.”
With an international cast and crew, the movie focuses on the fact that today’s Internet stars are the new decision-makers in the entertainment world and, often times, are not prepared to handle the responsibilities. The goal of the film is to show how the Internet influences our youth not only in the US and South America, but in the entire world.
Still from “Thumbs Up”
The film is also an important lesson to all of our students, as we always encourage our graduates to work on projects with the people they hit it off with in school.
“NYFA was very important to my career,” said Ferdinand. “Not only for its acting lessons, but all of the networking I was able to do while attending.”
Upon her return to New York, Ferdinand will be acting in another short called Model Life, where she plays a fashion director of a magazine. The film will be released for cable in Manhattan.
Three years ago famous Brazilian actress Franciely Freduzeski, known from her work on O Clone, América,Zorra Total and Malhação for Globo TVas well as the Brazilian Version of Desperate Housewives for RedeTV and A Fazenda for Rede Record amongst many other credits in Film, Theatre and TV, came to Los Angeles to attend an 8-Week Acting for Film Workshop at the New York Film Academy. After that program she made a very brave decision to start a new career in the entertainment capital of the world.
In a friendly conversation with NYFA, Franciely Freduzeski shared some useful tips for newcomers to Hollywood based on her personal experience:
Learn English and take accent reduction classes! Know that language will stop you a lot. My English wasn’t good when I came here and because of that I was denied for some roles. Scene study and Monologue classes helped me a lot to improve my English. When you do scenes or monologues you are not only practicing language, you are also learning how to act in this language and how to add emotions to what you are saying.
Different country, different rules. Before jumping into the industry, study very hard, every day. Not just acting, but how Americans work here—learn about culture. There is a lot of competition here. Be prepared to miss family, friends and hear a lot of no’s.
Be sure you have the right headshots and know the general auditions rules. At the beginning I didn’t know what pictures I should submit for auditions, what the requirements were, or what the right headshot for different castings should be. Also, I never did cold readings before coming to Hollywood. We don’t have them in Brazil, so I wasn’t prepared for that. At NYFA we had special class where we practiced cold reading technique and it helped.
After all, it is Hollywood and, as they say, you have to be in the right place at the right time. So always be prepared. You never know when that “right moment” will come. In Brazil actors are usually notified about upcoming auditions at least a week in advance and are provided with lines. In Hollywood you might be called and asked to come for the audition 2 hours before the actual casting. Now I am always ready for that: I always have high heels in my bag and a makeup set, just in case.
Know that it won’t be easy. You have to really dedicate yourself. Sometimes you might feel lonely and desperate. To be honest there were moments when I was crying and wanted to give up, but, as Coco Chanel said, “Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.”
Franciely Freduzeski is very thankful for the great support of her son, her boyfriend and her family. With time she managed to find balance between living and working in both countries: Brazil and the United States. Her latest projects in Brazil were a television series called Mascara and a stage play, Exilados, where she played Bertha — a woman with a strong personality who comes to challenge the ideals defended by her husband.
One of our former students from Brazil, Luisa Parnes, who currently teaches screenwriting at New York Film Academy in New York, was hand picked to be highlighted on Brazil’s largest television network, TV Globo International. The satellite channel is the largest television network in Brazil and 3rd in the world, reaching over 2 million viewers across the world in 115 countries. The show, Planeta Brazil, features successful Brazilians living abroad.
“When GloboTV reached with the hopes of doing a story on me, I was terrified,” recalled Parnes. “I hate being on camera! It was all very last minute, they called me one day and we shot the next, which was better since I didn’t have too much time to fret over what could go wrong. In the end, I worried for nothing. The reporter and camera were real professional, and NYFA provided a lovely studio in which we could tape the interview. The whole experience was easy and relaxed!”
In addition to her teaching at the New York Film Academy, Parnes recently published an e-book in Portuguese called Pensando Alto, which roughly translates to “thinking out loud.”
We look forward to seeing Luisa on GloboTV this summer!
photos by Livia Wippich & Marcos Daniel Ferreira/ LABRFF
As many of us at the New York Film Academy are well aware of, Brazil is currently one of the most competitive markets in the film industry. Many of our most talented students, including the recent Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival award-winner Raquel Bordin, have come from Brazil. In fact, The Brazilian National Agency of Cinema ANCINE has just announced the investment of approximately $600 Million on new audiovisual co-productions open to foreign partnerships. “The Brasil de Todas as Telas (Brazil of All Screens) program is investing largely on Brazilian audiovisual development,”says Manoel Rangel, president of ANCINE. “It’s the most ambitious program for investment on this sector ever done in Brazil. Its various imbricate actions are being executed and new actions will be launched until the end of 2014.”
This month, the 7th Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival, at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in Hollywood, screened a fine selection of films from some of the best current co-productions between Brazil and the United States. Films ranged from some of the more successful blockbusters to promising and emerging filmmakers in the independent and student film world. LABRFF’s mission is to generate a favorable environment to creation, prioritizing content and storytelling. What better medium to promote the Brazilian culture than cinema?
The festival brought the best of Brazilian cinema to Los Angeles with a selection of more than 30 films. Some of the highlights at this year’s festival were the USA premiere of The Great Victory and the closing film Forever Nevermore, from Director Emerson Muzeli. The Opening Night Gala was on September 14th at the Academy Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood and the events concluded on September 19th.
Of the 17 selected short films, NYFA Filmmaking student, Raquel Bordin’s Tip Toe screened at the Regent Theater in Los Angeles and won the Best U.S. Short at the festival. Big congratulations to Raquel on her award-winning film!
If you’re a Brazilian actor or filmmaker interested in studying at the New York Film Academy, CLICK HERE for more information.
Source: Lucas Paz, LABRFF Media Manager, and Cris Guzzi, LABRFF Research Manager
Acclaimed model Marcelle Bittar has achieved much in the world of high fashion. She’s been featured on the cover of numerous magazines, both here in the United States as well as in her native Brazil. She could have gone anywhere in the world to learn television reporting skills. She chose to attend the New York Film Academy‘s Broadcast Journalism School.
As a student in the Evening Broadcast Journalism Workshop, she shot, wrote, reported and edited her own stories. For her final project, she created a stunning video portrait of model Maria Borges. Here is a link to that stylish, insightful story.
Now, Brazilian fashion magazine Glamurama reports Marcelle will be hosting fashion coverage for Glitz, the Time Warner-owned satellite and cable channel in Brazil. Among her assignments is reporting on the Summer 2015 fashion shows in São Paulo and Rio. It’s especially gratifying that magazine cites the New York Film Academy as the source of Marcelle’s journalism training.