• A Stop Motion Gift from China


    New York Film Academy Los Angeles animation students recently enjoyed a rare treat when visiting professor and stop motion artist Xian Wu gave a presentation of his amazing works, including clips from Professor Wu’s most recent animated feature film. In an event hosted by NYFA Chair of 3-D Animation and Visual Effects, Mark Sawicki, the first presentation displayed work involving a beautiful setting of a village and a train station. The incredible detail put into the models was magical. Models were created at many different scales, and animated with the utmost patience and care to yield a charming cinema experience. The film was shot at 12 frames per second, and took 5 years to complete.

    wu animation

    Next was a screening of the soon to be released animated feature that Professor Wu created. The characters were absolutely delightful, and had the audience cheering with pleasure. Professor Wu explained that the puppets had removable mouths attached with magnets to enable their expressions to change. The eyes had tiny holes in the middle of the pupil, allowing a small pin to be inserted to move the eyes to the proper position for each frame. The puppets were also able to stand on one foot by bolting the feet from underneath. For walking action, the little screw holes in the floor were filled in with colored clay to make the mounting trick invisible.

    The students were touched at the end of the evening when Professor Wu presented NYFA with an original stop motion puppet used in the film. This priceless animation art piece is now on display at the school for all to see. In gratitude, Mark Sawicki gave Professor Wu a signed copy of his stop motion book, “Animating with Stop Motion Pro,” published by Focal Press.
    puppet gift

    Mr. Wu’s gift to NYFA

    The event was a wonderful exchange of cultures in the field of animation that we are confident will continue in the years ahead.  Thank you so much, Professor Wu, for an unforgettable experience and your gift of an amazing piece of animation art.


    July 30, 2015 • 3D Animation, Guest Speakers • Views: 4675

  • East Meets West to Share the Magic of Animation

    weiyu wang

    Animator Weiyu Wang

    New York Film Academy was thrilled to host animator Weiyu Wang (Let’s Wait Together) at our NYFA Los Angeles campus. As an artist in residence, Mr. Wang had the opportunity to create another beautiful and painterly animation film called Another Man. Weiyu was so appreciative for being our guest that he put together an event where he shared several short animation films made in China.

    Each film was lovingly created by hand using traditional animation techniques. Mr. Wang commented on the work of each of the artists (many he knows personally) and spoke about the state of fine art animation in China. He said many of the animators work in the commercial industry or are teachers like himself who create these films outside of the studio system as a means of personal expression. At the end of the program Mr. Wang shared the film he made here during his stay at NYFA.

    weiya wang

    Another Man is an exploration of the inter relationship of a character and his reflection. The imagery was gorgeous with masterful and compelling animation. At the end of the evening Mr. Wang addressed numerous questions from the international student body who were captivated by his presentation. Mark Sawicki, the chair of animation at the Los Angeles campus, was so grateful to Mr. Wang for putting together the event that he created a clay sculpture of the main character in Mr. Wang’s film as a commemorative of the evening. They both exchanged gifts with each other days before the artist left for China.


    Mark Sawicki’s sculpture given to Mr. Wang


    We look forward to seeing you again, Mr. Wang, and are proud to have been able to have you as our guest during the making of your beautiful film.


    July 29, 2015 • 3D Animation, Guest Speakers • Views: 5220

  • MFA Filmmaking Grad Wins Best Short at Golden Pomegranate

    Jing Wen

    Jing Wen on set of “A, B,C or D?”

    Congratulations to the MFA Filmmaking graduate Jing Wen, whose film A, B, C, or D? won Best Short Film and Best Cinematographer (Xiaolong Liu) at the Golden Pomegranate International Film Festival in China. The film will also screen at Cannes in the upcoming Cannes Short Film Corner, where many of our students will have the chance to showcase their work to the public for the very first time.

    As most of know or remember, A, B, C, and D are the choices in a multiple choice test. This is precisely where Wen came up with the title for her film.

    “When we were young, there was always someone who could give you the right answer — maybe the teacher, maybe our parents,” recalls Wen. “When we grow up, A, B, C and D seem like the different choices in our life. What should we choose at every corner, or which one could lead us to success? Only you can discover the answer.”

    In Wen’s film, her main character, Gary, is a 45 year-old man — an age at which most people lose their energy to pursue lifelong dreams due to the pressures of family, work, money and responsibility. The conflict occurs after Gary is notified by his department manager that he will need to the blame for a particular mistake. This leads Gary with a very difficult decision: should he tell his boss the truth or keep silent?

    You can find out his decision at Wen’s next screening of A, B, C, or D? this May at the Cannes Short Film Corner.

    Wen is currently set to direct The Disappeared Fish, a forthcoming feature comedy film from Bai Ge Zhuang Film & Media Company.



    March 11, 2015 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 4597

  • China’s Booming Film Industry Makes History At Box Office


    Chinese Box Office

    The second largest film market in the world made history as it overtook the largest in February. For the first time ever, the Chinese box office out-earned the United States.

    The Lunar New Year celebrations certainly gave the market a boost, which is peak-season for movie-goers in the country. Due to cultural celebrations, more emphasis was placed on domestic films than foreign.

    Leading the way was The Man from Macau II, which stars Chow Yun-Fat and brought in $104 million. The runner up was Jackie Chan’s Dragon Blade, bringing in $95 million.

    As a comparison, the biggest showing for a Hollywood film was The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, which brought in $36 million.

    In total, the Chinese box office brought in a whopping $650 million. $270 million of that came during the New Year week alone.  That beats their previous record of $580 million which was set last July.

    The North American market, for which February does not typically represent a strong month, brought in a total of $710 million. But once you get rid of Canada’s numbers, that total drops to $640, falling short of China‘s earnings.

    The festive season didn’t just give China a boost, however. The markets in Hong Kong and Korea also saw an upswing.

    While the #1 position at the box office may only be temporary (for now), it is a sure sign that the movie industry in China is rapidly growing; perhaps faster than anyone had anticipated. With the amount of creative energy the country has to offer, this can only be a good thing for the movie industry as a whole.


    March 2, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 4843

  • A Film Worth ‘A Celebration’

    Tong Zhou

    Director Tong Zhou on the set of “A Celebration…”

    BFA Filmmaking student Tong Zhou just returned from Cannes, where she screened her short film, A Celebration is a Celebration is a Celebration is a Celebration. She also recently won Best Director at the Beijing College Student Film Festival for her work on it.

    Originally from Harbin, China, Tong was attending the prestigious Central Academy of Drama, but said she was becoming frustrated and wanted to find a more hands-on program. She went for a tour of New York Film Academy and was immediately sold. “I really liked it!” she says. “After two years, I quit school in China and moved to New York.” She spent her first year in New York and loved the energy in the city. She shot her thesis film, A Celebration…, in New York City and upstate New York. Beautifully-shot by fellow NYFA student Thrinnanon Samrej, the drama follows Daniel and his complicated relationships in the lead-up to his eighteenth birthday.

    Tong is finishing her degree at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus, and is developing a feature screenplay with 2 screenwriters. She plans to shoot the dramedy before the end of the year.


  • NYFA Filmmaker Nominated for Student Academy Award


    Documentary Filmmaker Nancy Hanzhang Shen is in charge of New York Film Academy’s Chinese Social Media and works as a liaison with Chinese colleges. Her latest documentary film Why Am I Still Alive was a finalist for the US Student Academy Awards®2012 and Winner of Best shorts Documentary Festival 2012. The film has screened at the Academy Theater at Lighthouse International in New York City, White Sands International Film Festival 2012, and the China International Education Fair on Cultural & Creative Industries Exhibition. The film is currently screening at New York City Independent Film Festival 2012.

    Here are just a few words of appraisal from respected industry professionals:

    • “What a beautiful, heartbreaking film. Exquisitely done, and my heart aches for the film’s subject.”— Ilene Starger, member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
    • “The film is a wonderful piece of work. It deserves to be really widely seen.” —Tom Hurwitz, ASC Four Academy Awards for Best Full-length Documentary
    • “You didn’t give up! That is what it takes to be a filmmaker. You are only one person and you can and will make a difference.” — Maryann Deleo, ACADEMY AWARD winning filmmaker (Chernobyl Heart)
    The NYC Independent Film Festival will screen the film at the Producers Club on Sunday, Oct 21st, 2012.
    The Producer’s Club is located at 358 West 44th Street New York, NY 10036 (Between 8 ave and 9 ave.)
    For tickets and more information, click here.




    October 17, 2012 • Documentary Filmmaking • Views: 3756

  • New York Film Academy’s Silu Yu Shines In China


    Silu YuActress Silu Yu (余思潞) has found success after finishing New York Film Academy’s 1-Year Acting program in New York City. She explains, “After graduating in 2009 from NYFA, I moved to Los Angeles for work. I got my talent agent after an audition and I was very lucky to been approved by the SAG union after working three months. Due to family reasons, I moved back to China in 2010 and was signed by Star Shining International Talent Agency through a friend, one of the top talent agencies in China, and started the first steps in my acting career in China.”

    Since then, Silu landed a role in the big-budget Chinese feature film Scheme With Me. She is also currently in production on 30 episodes of the television program Shanghai Forest. The young actress has a hectic schedule, going from the set, to media interviews, as well as doing promotion for her recently-completed film.

    In an interview via email, Silu explained the difficulties of working in the film industry in China. “In Hollywood, the camera speaks for you,” said the actress. “The talent agency selects the idea candidates who may match the characters then you still need to go through an official audition to get the role. In China, you not only need an audition but also need a personal network and relationships.”
    “I really enjoyed myself a lot while I studied at NYFA!” said Silu. “Due to the culture and language difference, it took time for adjusting to others. I learned during this adjustment period and the lessons taught me so much about myself. Don’t lose confidence or question your appearance and flaws. A real artist will affect the audience with her soul and spirit, not just simply her looks.”

    Silu went on to share her thoughts on acting. “People always say that a good actor must be good at lying, but I think a good liar is not really a good actor. A real professional actor is performing the truth even truer than the truth. If an actor couldn’t believe the situation himself, how could he persuade the audience?  Being actors, we need to feel it from our hearts and make an authentic performance for the audience. So, don’t think we are liars!”

    Chinese readers can keep up with Silu’s growing success on Baidu and her official fan site.


    March 14, 2012 • Acting • Views: 4487

  • New York Film Academy Celebrates Chinese New Years!


    NYFA Chinese New Year

    Around 70 Chinese students and staff from New York Film Academy Los Angeles celebrated the Year of the Dragon at Ocean Star restaurant in Monterey Park. The Los Angeles suburb is home to the largest concentration of Chinese Americans in the nation, and is well known for its authentic Chinese food.

    According to Filmmaking Program Coordinator Rick Curnutt, “It was a great event. We had a very large turnout. It seems like our Chinese students got a little piece of home for this important Chinese holiday. A lot of the Chinese students hadn’t met each other yet, so it was a good chance for the students to integrate.”

    MFA Film student Shih-Yao Huang agreed, saying, “It was a great opportunity to meet people, especially because I’m in the producing program and we don’t have a lot of time to meet people in other programs. I was able to meet people who could share information with us. It had been a long time since I’ve eaten Chinese food. I really missed it, especially for the Chinese New Year.”

    Holiday Filmmaking student Shikong Chen joined in the festivities, and commented, “I really appreciated the New Year’s dinner. I acquired several friends now. I have to say it was a good ceremony!

    MFA Producing student Heshi Wang added, “It’s really touching to have Chinese New Year in California with Chinese students. I have met many new friends. I want to say thank you to Daphne, Franky, and all the instructors at NYFA!”

    NYFA Chinese New Year

    NYFA Chinese New Year


    February 9, 2012 • Acting • Views: 4187

  • Life After NYFA: Documentary Alum Frederik Boll


    We’re glad to see NYFA 1-Year Documentary Filmmaking alum Frederik Boll keeps popping up on our radar! You may remember Frederik from his work documenting adventures in grassroots politics on the BamaBus in 2008. He and fellow Documentary Filmmaking alumnus Annie Woods took a road trip across the country generating support for the future President of the United States and filming the American experience during election season.

    Well, we got wind that Fred’s been up to some other fantastic projects. After getting in touch, Fred was kind enough to give us a little summary of his adventures since NYFA and how he ended up at the New York Film Academy in the first place.

    My Life changed after my experience as a NATO soldier in Kosovo for the Danish Royal Guard. It was a very peaceful mission where we mostly did humanitarian work. Kosovo is the poorest country in Europe, and it made a huge impression on me. I quickly found that I felt a tremendous sense of satisfaction from helping others.

    When I returned to Denmark, my good friend who works as a videographer offered me a room, which I gratefully accepted.  I started tagging along on a couple of the productions he was working on and found out that I really enjoyed it. I started contacting various production companies and found work as a production assistant. I had found my calling. I wanted to make pro social documentary films, a media where I can challenge people’s view of the world by telling a story on a creative and entertaining way.

    I knew that I would need to learn my craft. I applied to several Danish schools, but I needed one with a film department. I had a better idea: I was going to move to America. I was accepted into NYFA’s Documentary Conservatory Program and moved to New York less than a month after I had turned down school in Denmark.

    It is one of the greatest learning experience I’ve ever had. It culminated with my thesis film where I followed a group of Latino immigrants’ struggle against NYC to keep their artisan food stands in Brooklyn.

    Straight after school, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime. It was election year, and the US was brimming with excitement. A couple of my friends had decided to buy an old VW bus, stencil it with Obama’s picture and drive it through all the battleground states in hopes of engaging young people in the political debate. I was invited along to film the entire trip. We paid for the trip by selling spray painted political t-shirts that Obama supporters painted themselves. It meant a lot to me that I got to experience that election.

    When I finally returned to New york, it didn’t take long before I was called up by one of the guys I traveled with, asking me to become involved with a start-up company where he’d just begun working. The company has the same sense of social responsibility that I strive to live my life by – it’s a place where I feel I can make a difference.

    Along with his work on the BamaBus, Frederik Boll has worked with Volunteers of America, an organization that goes out to the most violent urban areas in America to help the homeless into shelters. In Camden, New Jersey, he accompanied VoA’s Hal Miller helping people out of tent cities and into save houses. Boll also filmed a video for the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, the COP15 summit in Copenhagen and, most recently, the China Digital Media Summit, amongst other projects.

    We can’t wait to hear more about your work Fred!


    July 16, 2010 • Acting • Views: 4067