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  • NYFA Grad Documents the Power of New Brunswick Grassroots Campaign

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    Project Power NYFA“Eye-opening, overwhelming, and very humbling.” These were three adjectives given by the long time movie fanatic from Fredericton, New Brunswick to describe New York Film Academy’s Advanced 1-Year Screenwriting Program. “I came into my first class at NYFA thrilled with the idea that I could now actually be part of a world that I loved, but also with a naiveté thinking that I knew everything I needed to know about film just because I had spent all of my money growing up on popcorn and movies,” says NYFA graduate, Jon Mann. “NYFA quickly gave me confidence that my passion and hobby could be translated into a craft that I can continue to humbly learn and work on every day.”

    With the skills under his belt, Jon took to documentary filmmaking, completing his first documentary, Project Power. Jon’s film documents how the people of New Brunswick came together to oppose the attempted sale of NB Power to Hydro Quebec. Jon says the most important aspect of Project Power is the fact that ordinary people can still play a critical role in impacting economic and social policy; and that those in positions of governance, like our elected officials, need to be cognizant of that and show leadership in terms of inclusionary democracy.

    “We’re at an interesting point of human history, and the fact that a grassroots campaign like the ‘No to the Sale of NB Power’ worked in a Canadian province like New Brunswick is a huge boost to the confidence of citizens everywhere — their views, ideas, and values matter.”

    Jon recently edited a trailer for Project Power and will be pushing the documentary at this year’s film festival circuit.

    “As a documentary filmmaker, the most important goal of any documentary film you can hope for is that people will see your film, and hopefully learn from it. With Project Power, there are lessons to be learned from all aspects of life, whether it is private sector and public, government and the people it represents, race relations, language relations, etc.”

    Jon hopes to continue his career in the field of documentary filmmaking, with his next project focusing on birth order and how it affects people’s lives. His father’s wisdom — “Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.” — is what inspires him to work in a field that he feels is a privilege and not a job.

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    January 8, 2014 • Documentary Filmmaking, Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 6786

  • Sprinting Toward Hollywood: A Pro Athlete Turned Actress

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    As a child in Markham, Ontario, Charlotte Plummer was involved in countless extra-curricular activities: ballet, modern dance, piano, accordion, trombone, horseback riding, acting classes. She did well in all of them, but started aggressively pursuing sports in high school. By the end of her 9th grade year, she was already being offered scholarships for universities in the United States.

    After finishing high school, she accepted a scholarship to New Orleans’ prestigious Tulane University, receiving her BA in Psychology, with a minor in Exercise and Sports Science. She was a conference athlete for the school, an NCAA qualifier, and won at the Penn Relays. She started as a 400-meter hurdler, and ended up as a runner in the 800-meter dash, making it to the Olympic trials for Canada.

    Though she originally planned on going into sports psychology, Charlotte had worked with mentally disturbed adolescents during school, and decided to change her path. As she says, “I asked myself, ‘Do I want to work with pampered athletes, or people who really need help?’” She ended up working with individuals with brain injuries, mostly resulting from car accidents. She helped patients with rehabilitation, speech therapy, psychology, and fitness.

    A series of injuries took Charlotte away from the world of competitive sports, but through her experience in track, she became an athletic model and did a lot of commercial work for Tennis Canada, Nike, and Pfizer. A chance meeting with a New York Film Academy representative led to another scholarship, and soon Charlotte would be pursuing her MFA in Acting for Film. “Doors have opened up, and I have to step into every door that is open to me,” says Charlotte.

    She began her studies at the school’s New York City campus before finishing at the Universal Studios campus in Los Angeles. “I’m glad I did New York and L.A.,” says Charlotte. “New York is definitely more theater based. In L.A. you really get the business side. You learn a lot in production and writing.”

    Just a few weeks before graduation, Charlotte participated in the Acting for Film showcase, produced by Valorie Hubbard. Scores of agents and managers came to see the showcase, and every student received callbacks the following week. Charlotte took 3 meetings, and is currently deciding which agent to sign with. She is also in rehearsals for an upcoming short film, and going on auditions. Of her education, Charlotte says, “You don’t realize while you’re in it how much you’ve learned. Now when I go on auditions I’m surprised at how prepared I am. Because there‘s so many teachers of so many backgrounds, you get so many perspectives.”

    Charlotte looks forward to a career in film, but also hopes to continue with mentorship. “I feel like young people are so lost in this world and have no concept of dreams,” she says. “I’m pursuing my reality. I’ve lived so many dreams. I’m able to make them realities. I’m still striving.”

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