Chris Nolan
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  • MFA Filmmakers Collaborate to Develop Klaus for PS4 and PS VITA

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    klaus

    In addition to film and television, games have become one of the most prominent platforms for artists and writers to tell their story. We’ve seen films adapted into games and games adapted into films. Either way, the multi-billion dollar gaming business continues to grow and allow filmmakers another avenue to reach their audience.

    We recently heard from MFA Filmmaking students, Victor Velasco, Aleksandar Cuk and Kshitij Bal, who are currently all studying at New York Film Academy Los Angeles. The team is in the process of developing a 2D puzzle based platformer for Playstation 4 and PSvita. The game, Klaus, which was the brainchild of game designer and creative director Victor Velasco, aims to provide an experience that is narratively innovative and extremely self aware. Klaus is an office worker who wakes in his basement with no recollection of who or where he is. Almost reminds us of the classic Chris Nolan film Memento.

    klaus

    His only clue is the word Klaus tattooed on his arm — forcing him to find his way out of the mechanical and constructivist world that he finds himself imprisoned in. It his search for these answers of where and who that lead him to the larger question, Why.

    During the course of the journey, Klaus encounters a second playable character – K1, a friendly brute who has been damaged by his prolonged imprisonment. Together the two embark on an existentially definitive journey that explores the idea of the 4th wall and a self awareness of the player playing the game. Will Klaus discover his truth? Will he find a way out? These are questions that are at the core of the narrative that the game presents.

    In terms of gameplay, Klaus is an organic and reflexive 2D platformer, with 2 playable characters, Boss fights and interactive environments. The focus of the gameplay will be on tight controls, environmental puzzles, exploration and a complex yet accessible interaction of the player with not only the characters, but also movement and rotation of objects, jump pads, platforms etc. The game is best designed for the PS4 and uses the touch pad as an integral part of the gameplay.

    “It is an extremely exciting game that allows us to bring our passions and our talents together to collaborate to create a cohesive, creative yet marketable product,” says Bal. “This is a project that is extremely close to our heart.”

    Klaus was awarded the 2012 Square Enix Excellence Prize and was recently showcased at the PS Dev Summit 2014 where it received a lot of welcome attention for its unique approach and narrative techniques. It is also the first game to be developed out of Venezuela for the PS4 and PSVita platforms and has received positive media reception from Media outlets within the country. However, it is targeted to audiences worldwide, as it has a universal feel and story.

    Bal and Klaus have already been featured on the PlayStation blog, as well as HardcoreGamer, GeekBinge, and other gaming publications.

    Klaus is set for release on the Sony Playstation 4 and Playstation Vita platforms that is releasing in August – September 2015. For more information, visit www.klausgame.com.

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    April 14, 2015 • Filmmaking, Game Design, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5039

  • September One Year Filmmakers Preparing to Screen Thesis

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    Pater Familias poster

    Rasmas Roenberg’s thesis film “Pater Familias”

    This is an exciting time of year at the New York Film Academy. All of my September 1-Year filmmakers are preparing to screen their thesis films next week. 6 screenings in 4 days! It should be action packed and exhausting, but well worth the time to watch them all. You never know if one of the hard-working directors will surface with an outstanding project that will launch his or her career. Perhaps among them is the future Chris Nolan, Ang Lee or Kathryn Bigelow?

    If you’ve never been to one of our thesis screenings, it can be quite moving to see the intense bond that has formed among the students and how proud they are of themselves for having come so far in such a short period of time. It’s often amusing to remind them of their first film projects and watch them blush with embarrassment, as they recall how naïve they were when the first arrived and how much more confident and experienced they feel now – ready to take their place in the professional world of filmmaking.

    Baby Steps - Pic for Brochure

    Tomer Sinai’s thesis film “Baby Steps”

    No sooner do we say a fond farewell to those filmmakers than the new class of 1-Year students arrives, wide-eyed, fearful, and hungry for knowledge. How interesting it is to look out at the sea of fresh faces, wondering which among them will be next year’s standouts. There’s nothing like spending an entire year, nurturing and guiding these talented young minds, helping them evolve as visual storytellers. It’s a thrill awaiting the day, 1-year from now, when it will be their turn to screen their thesis films and stand upon the stage to accept their certificates in front of the adulation of a standing-room-only theater.

    Here we go!

    – Claude Kerven, NYFA NYC Filmmaking Chair

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    August 20, 2013 • Community Highlights, Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 5051

  • Superheroes are Taking Over Hollywood (and I Feel Fine)

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     Eric Conner is the Chair of the Screenwriting Department for New York Film Academy’s Universal Studios – Los Angeles campus. With an MFA degree from USC School of Cinema and Television and a BA from UPenn, Eric is currently developing two TV pilots, a sci-fi feature, and trying to add to his collection of ironic snapshots with Stormtroopers. Feel free to email him at eric@nyfa.edu

    I often warn my students to avoid becoming “That Guy.” You know “That Guy.” He’s the one in the theater who complains about a director “crossing the 180 line” or using the wrong lens. He’s the one who LOUDLY critiques a movie in terms of “sequences” and “denouement.” Summer’s an especially difficult time for “That Guy” since the multiplexes are filled with Hollywood’s biggest, loudest, and franchise-iest products — though to be fair, there’s a Wes Anderson gem also playing in the theaters, but it’s on a screen smaller than your car. For my $14 (or $28 if you choose the couches and food service of iPic Theaters in Pasadena), I don’t watch a movie with a notebook or penlight. I go to the theaters simply to be transported.

    Sometimes it’s to the dark emotional wilderness of Into the Wild. Other times to see Kevin Bacon singlehandedly ignite the Cold War in X-Men: First Class. Please note: I’m pretty sure the Cuban Missile Crisis did not actually play out that way, especially since my own father was on one of the ships during those tense thirteen days in 1962. But that didn’t make me enjoy the scene any less. This likely goes back to why I work in the arts in the first place. Similar to many of my peers, I grew up on the films of Allen, Scorsese, Coppola, Ashby, Polanski, and Altman, and spent most of my college days working on one play or another. However, I also spent many hours in my native Delaware reading comics, Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, and — please don’t hold it against me or my department — watching professional wrestling! Meaning that I’m equally transfixed by the damaged honesty of The Descendants as when the Hulk mops up the floor with Loki. In fact, my favorite line of dialogue this decade came out of Bruce Banner’s mouth just as he got his green on. (No spoilers here!)

    With The Avengers approaching Titanic-level grosses, we’re likely to see even more superhero films in the future. And I’m here to tell you that’s okay. Some of them will be stinkers (I’m looking at you Ghost Rider), but others will give us the same thrill that George Lucas unleashed in 1977 with one unforgettable opening shot. For every Daredevil, Elektra, or Green Lantern, there’s a Superman or Spiderman 2. I still think  Magneto’s unorthodox escape from his glass prison — featuring a poor guard with “too much iron in his blood” — is as cinematic as cinema can get. Hopefully, the screenwriters who are developing the next mega-budget superhero adaptations remember the wonder they felt as kids, flipping through the pages of The Flash. Or take a cue from Chris Nolan, who’s been treating Batman like part of the Godfather franchise.

    In fact, our writing department in Los Angeles has even begun to address this head-on by adding comic book writing and game design to our curriculum. Both of these mediums have provided some of the greatest modern writing around. As long as there’s money to be made and stories to be told, Hollywood will continue to look for new films from these existing properties. Some films will anger the aforementioned “That Guy.” But other films will sweep him up in their worlds and remind him why he came to film school in the first place. If you want to discuss this with me, I can be found at either the Ahmanson touring production of War Horse or the opening weekend of Dark Knight Rises

    Eric Connor in a tiff with Darth Vader.

    Learn more about NYFA’s screenwriting program. Click here for more info! 
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    June 14, 2012 • Academic Programs, Screenwriting • Views: 6501