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  • Industry Guests Advise NYFA Los Angeles Cinematography Students

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    Mike Williamson

    While the fourth semester MFA Cinematography students prepare to shoot their thesis films, they are also being prepared for life after film school. As part of the “Navigating the Industry” course, instructor Suki Medencevic, ASC reached out to his colleagues to find guests to speak to New York Film Academy Los Angeles students about starting their careers in the film business.

    He got a great response, bringing in major industry players including recent Academy Award nominated cinematographer Phedon Papamichael, ASC (“Nebraska“, “Pursuit of Happyness“, “Walk The Line“), producer and visual effects guru Brian Rogers (“Godzilla“, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows“, “Green Lantern“), writer and director Nick Castle (“Major Payne“, “Dennis the Menace“, “Hook“), cinematographer Jacek Laskus, ASC (“The Devil’s Arithmetic“, “The Guardian“, “Parting Glances“), assistant director Alexa Sheehan (“Saw“, “A Love Song for Bobby Long“), and many others.

    Students received valuable advice on getting into the business and asked questions about the current state of the industry. The intimate class format allowed the guests to speak freely, sharing advice and stories from the many films they’ve worked on.  The Cinematography School in Los Angeles is grateful to our guests for sharing their wisdom, we look forward to seeing our students join their ranks soon!

    Mike Williamson
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    April 7, 2014 • Cinematography • Views: 3719

  • MFA Cinematography Students Get Hands-On Lecture at Sony Studios

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    Thanks to New York Film Academy Instructor Suki Medencevic, the January 2013 MFA Cinematography students had a rare and amazing opportunity to travel to Sony Studios where they had a seminar on Sony cameras. While at Sony, they went to the Digital Motion Picture Center (D.M.P.C.). The seminar educated students on Sony’s top of the line 4K digital cameras: the F55 and F65.

    sony-lectureAt the DMPC, the two main instructors for the seminar were Curtis Clark, an A.S.C. director of photography, and Kazuo Endo, the F65 engineer who created the camera. The first part of the seminar began with a lecture from Kazuo Endo going over the capabilities and specifications of the cameras. Following Kazuo’s lecture was Curtis Clark, who introduced the students to a universal color space reference tool called the Academy Color Encoding Specification or A.C.E.S. A decade in the making, A.C.E.S. will be the new industry standard for motion pictures and television. A.C.E.S. was created by the combined efforts of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the A.S.C.

    After Curtis taught the students about A.C.E.S., they had the opportunity to shoot two different night and day shots using the F55 and F65 on set in the sound stage of Sony. Before the test shoot, Curtis introduced everyone to an application engineer/D.I.T. by the name of Steve MacMillan, who then presented the digital workflow of the F55 and F65 using A.C.E.S. as a color reference.

    The cinematography students jumped right in to shoot their two shots showing skill, resourcefulness, leadership, and creativity that they learned from their schooling at New York Film Academy, which impressed both Curtis and Kazuo. When they were finished shooting, the footage was handed off to a colorist by the name of David Burnstein. David projected the RAW footage in 4k in the DMPC Theater where they had a color grading session with David.

    When the color grading session was over, Curtis and Kazuo gave closing remarks and thanked everyone for coming to Sony. Curtis and Kazuo also gave the students a parting gift and wished them all luck with their future projects. “The students showed considerable skill and resourcefulness in the way they approached the two scenes they shot on the DMPC set,” said Curtis. “I’m sure it reflects the high quality of instruction and training they receive from NYFA. Kazuo and I very much enjoyed having them take part in our seminar and look forward to continuing working with NYFA cinematography students in 2014.”

    Needless to say, all of the students were thrilled about their wonderful learning experience at Sony.

    If you’re interested in NYFA’s MFA Cinematography program, CLICK HERE for more information.

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    December 19, 2013 • Cinematography • Views: 3733

  • NYFA Grads Film ‘Deep Water’ in Alaska

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    deep waters

    Two New York Film Academy graduates, Daniel Zagaevsky and Xiaolong Liu, teamed up and set out on a mission to film an ambitious project in Alaska. The short, Deep Water, was written and directed by Daniel Zagaevsky with Xiaolong on board as cinematographer. The film juxtaposes two completely different locations, New York City and the vast wilderness of Alaska.

    Deep Water was a big challenge; something that a lot of people thought would never happen,” said Daniel. “I had a chance to do something different for my film and I chose ‘The Last Frontier’ as a set for my story – Alaska”

    Daniel contacted Xiaolong Liu three weeks before the first day of shooting Deep Water. He felt Liu was unafraid to stretch his creativity to make this film happen and that he had the right vision. Given the small crew size, a student budget, and the frigid cold environment, the two were in for quite a challenge.

    “Xiaolong is a very talented Director of Photography – full of resources and ideas – a hard-worker. Through technique and skill, he was capable of capturing the best images for the story.”

    The crew had to shoot in close quarters with an actual grizzly bear, on a fishing boat in the middle of rough seas, and with a crane in the middle of a glacier. Not exactly your typical student film set. Nevertheless, the crew triumphed through adversity to make this film a reality.

    Xiaolong Liu was also nominated for Best Cinematography at the La Jolla Fashion Film Festival and International Fashion Film Awards for his work on Anatomy of Gravity. Check it out!

    THE ANATOMY OF GRAVITY from arthurvalverde on Vimeo.

     

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    November 26, 2013 • Cinematography, Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 7105

  • New York Film Academy Visiting Toronto

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    toronto_night_skyline

    The New York Film Academy will be visiting its neighbor to the north! That’s right, Canada, our admissions team will be in Toronto, holding auditions, portfolio reviews, and information sessions. If you’re interested in studying at the New York Film Academy and are in the area, you do not want to miss this. See details below.

    September 28th – Auditions & Portfolio Reviews

    Time: Please RSVP for a time slot

    Location: Toronto

     

    September 29th – Open House/ Information Session

    Time: 1PM – 3PM

    Location: Toronto

     

    Acting for Film or Musical Theatre Audition

    • Auditions are for partial scholarship and placement for our Musical Theatre or Acting for Film programs
    • *New York Film Academy does not offer full scholarships
    • *Scholarships are only available for long-term programs

    Portfolio Reviews

    • Portfolio reviews are for partial scholarship to our Filmmaking, Cinematography, Photography, Screenwriting, Producing, Documentary, 3D animation, Game Design, and Broadcast Journalism programs.
    • Creative portfolios consist of two pieces of creative work pertaining to your desired field of study.
    • *New York Film Academy does not offer full scholarships
    • *Scholarships are only available for long-term programs

     

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    September 6, 2013 • Academic Programs • Views: 4913

  • New York Film Academy Returns to South Africa

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    cape-town-south-africa

    Once again the New York Film Academy couldn’t resist another trip to South Africa! We are never disappointed and we’re always anxious to get back. Not to mention the overall enthusiasm South Africans have for the arts and the New York Film Academy.

    If you are interested in finding out more about NYFA or would like an audition, check below to see when we’ll be in your area.

     

    JOHANNESBURG

    Auditions for partial Talent Based Scholarship to the Acting and Musical Theatre programs

    AND

    Portfolio reviews for partial scholarship to Filmmaking, Photography, Cinematography, Documentary, Game Design, 3D Animation, Broadcast Journalism, Screenwriting, and Producing programs

    WHEN: Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

    WHERE: Johannesburg (Kempton Park)

    TIME: 13:00-15:00

    ——————-

    Open House and General Information Session for All New York Film Academy programs

    WHEN: Thursday, September 12th, 2013

    WHERE: Johannesburg (Kempton Park)

    TO RSVP: You must email southafrica@nyfa.edu 

    —————–

    CAPE TOWN

    Auditions for partial Talent Based Scholarship to the Acting and Musical Theatre programs

    AND

    New York Film Academy portfolio reviews for partial scholarship to Filmmaking, Photography, Cinematography, Documentary, Game Design, 3D Animation, Broadcast Journalism, Screenwriting, and Producing

    WHEN: Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

    WHERE: Cape Town

    TIME: 13:00-15:00
    —————–

    Open House and General Information Session for All New York Film programs

    WHEN: Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

    WHERE: Cape Town

    TO RSVP for this or any event, please email southafrica@nyfa.edu

     

    READ CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU RSVP

    1. Portfolio Reviews consist of a panel review of two pieces of creative work pertaining to your desired field of study. Reviews are for partial scholarship to our *full time Filmmaking, Photography, Cinematography, Documentary, Game Design, 3D Animation, Broadcast Journalism, Screenwriting, and Producing programs.
    2. Auditions are for partial scholarship to our *full time Acting or Musical Theatre programs.
    3. MUSICAL THEATRE AUDITION: Consists of a 60-90 second monologue from a published contemporary American play or screenplay, and two contrasting musical theatre songs with music backing.
    4. ACTING AUDITION: Consists of 2 contemporary, contrasting monologues of approximately 60- 90 seconds per monologue.
    5. Information session/Open House: A detailed overview of all the programs NYFA has to offer.
    6. *Full Time = 1 Year or longer
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    August 13, 2013 • Academic Programs, Road Show • Views: 13112

  • ‘Broken City’ Director of Photography Chats at NYFA Union Square

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    benseresin

    Last week, the New York Film Academy in Union Square hosted an exclusive Guest Speaker event with Cinematographer, Ben Seresin. Ben has been a member of the British Society of Cinematographers (BSC) since 2010, and the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) since 2011. He has worked on the films Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, World War Z, Pain & Gain, and more. With over twenty years in the business, Ben has worked with many of Hollywood’s top directors. Recently, blockbuster director, Michael Bay, has chosen to work with Ben on Transformers and Pain & Gain.

    On Wednesday, NYFA screened Ben’s film, Broken City, an action thriller starring Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe. While the movie sounds like a big Hollywood film, Ben says he had to work on a bit of a low budget. He admitted having to film major scenes in the course of a day. His goal was to shoot the noir in a contemporary way and to make New York City feel more like a home, as opposed to the glorified movie set it is so often portrayed as. Ben also noted that Russell Crowe was the most technical actor he’s ever worked with. “He had a great sense of the camera.”

    benseresin2

    One of the topics of the conversation between Ben and moderator John Loughlin was overshooting a scene, or allowing oneself to get wrapped up in the mechanics of filmmaking while on set. “Having a safe option can potentially be damaging,” said Seresin. “Compromises can be made if you over cover a scene. It can then be edited in many ways.” Ben added, “There’s a mechanical element that can distract you from film making. It’s dangerous if you get caught up in the mechanics. You lose sight of what’s really important.”

    His advice in avoiding this potentially damaging aspect of film making, “Try to stay detached. Be relaxed. Do not be stressed and trust your eyes.”

    Ben hopes to diversify his upcoming projects as he loves exploring all genres of cinema. We look forward to seeing more great work from Ben!

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    August 5, 2013 • Cinematography, Guest Speakers • Views: 6497

  • NYFA Holds Cinematography Workshop with ARRI ALEXA

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    Screen shot 2013-07-08 at 12.35.19 PM

    Recently, the advanced New York Film Academy Cinematography students in Los Angeles met at Arriflex for a week long intensive workshop on the Alexa. The digital camera marks features modularity, PL mount lenses, a Super 35 sized CMOS sensor shooting up to 2880 x 2160 resolution and supports uncompressed video or proprietary raw (ARRIRAW) data. To put it simply, another monumental step forward in the world of digital filmmaking. The workshop was led by ARRI Inc.’s Vice President of Cameras, Bill Russell, and Stephan Ukas-Bradley, Manager of Technical Services.

    During the first day, Cinematography Chair, Michael Pessah’s students received training on brand new Alexa models – even before they were available to the general public!

    On second day of the workshop, NYFA students were given a tour of Alternative Rentals, a premiere camera rental house in Culver City. At Alternative Rentals, they spent some time testing various lenses by Zeiss, Canon, Angenieux and Red on the ALEXA. Students checked out and rented the Alexa from Alternative rentals for use in their NYFA projects.

    Screen shot 2013-07-08 at 12.45.08 PM

    Students filming on set of Desperate Housewive’s “Wisteria Lane”

    The third day of the workshop, students designed and photographed an extensive camera test under the supervision of Suki Medencevic, ASC. In this test, the Alexa, the RED Epic, RED Scarlet, 35mm Panavision and the 5D were compared in a travelling dolly shot. The class will grade the camera test at Fotokem, under the supervision of their senior colorist Alastor Arnold (Parker, etc) in Fotokem’s Digital Intermediate theater.

    On the fourth day of the workshop, the Cinematography students filmed a practicum with the Alexa, directed by Matt Sarnoff. The practicum was filmed on the Universal Backlot and included professional actors. “An Alexa on the Universal lot?” said Pessah. “It doesn’t get better than that!”

    After a day of rest, the Cinematography students teamed up with recent NYFA Producing students for a one-day shoot with the Alexa. They rotated crew positions and were able to DP their own project. All in all, the workshop was an exclusive and incredibly informative experience for all of our aspiring cinematographers.

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    July 8, 2013 • Acting, Cinematography • Views: 5118

  • Snake Alley Film Fest Selects The Tell-Tale Heart

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    Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 12.04.32 PM

    Having been familiar with Edgar Allen Poe’s tales since his childhood in Italy, New York Film Academy Cinematography graduate, Lorenzo Artami felt The Tell-Tale Heart would be the perfect challenge for his thesis film. Now, his short film will be playing at the Snake Alley Festival of Film. Using the now rare 16mm Arri SRII provided by NYFA, Lorenzo wanted to utilize the grainy, organic look to best showcase the horror genre. A look he says was inspired by Roger Corman’s low budget horror films. “I remembered very well the feelings that the story created in me and I knew exactly what to do in order to project those feelings to the audience,” said Artami.

    Artami1After volunteering in the Italian Navy, Artami rediscovered his true passion and decided to make the big step into the film world. He came to the New York Film Academy for its hands-on accelerated curriculum. “I went there with no film experience whatsoever,” said Artami. “I never worked on any movie set, nor did I have anything to do with the industry. Yet, I found very well prepared professors who approached the students with total commitment and devotion. I loved the fact that the school provides you with the knowledge, but they leave it up to you as to how to express it during the numerous workshops and assignments outside of the classroom on the streets of New York City.”

    Lorenzo was able to collaborate on a number of student films during his time at the New York Film Academy. He was the cinematographer for Amanda Alvarez Diaz’s film, You Only Live Once, which got selected at the Memphis International Film & Music Festival this year.

     

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    May 22, 2013 • International Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 3604

  • ‘The Good Wife’ DP Speaks at NYFA

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    the-good-wife-cast-cbs-636

    CBS’ “The Good Wife”

    This Tuesday, the New York Film Academy in Union Square welcomed long time professional cinematographer, Fred Murphy. Fred has worked on dozens of films and television shows, including: Hoosiers, Secret Window, Stir of Echoes, Fringe, and most recently, The Good Wife. Coming from a background in architecture, Fred found an interest in shooting short film pieces, which later developed into feature cinematography work. His career catapulted after his work on Heartland was recognized by the Berlin Film Festival with a Golden Berlin Bear in 1980.

    Fred shared an episode of The Good Wife and several scenes from the film, Secret Window, starring Johnny Depp. He spoke about the “classic Hollywood style” that he tends to use as a templete for The Good Wife, and described some of the tricky shots from Secret Window. Some of the major differences Fred notices between film and television, “There are hardly any surprises in TV – whereas in movies – everyday is a different day. I learned in movies, there’s really only one camera. In television you have to come up with a lighting solution that allows for multiple cameras.”

    Speaking in terms of the single camera rule, Fred recalled his work with Paul Schrader on the film, Auto Focus. Paul suggested they try going with two cameras on the shoot, but alas it just didn’t work.

    On the whole, Fred gave students over an hour of insight as to his experiences on set of both television and film. In closing, Fred left students with simple, yet wise advice, “Just keep shooting.”

     

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    April 24, 2013 • Cinematography, Guest Speakers • Views: 7198

  • New York Fashion Week Meets NEON Americana

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    NEON Americana

    New York City is often considered the matron metropolis impacting creativity and commerce throughout the globe. Many of our students do indeed pursue the career path illuminated by those glorious Hollywood lights. A peculiar breed of cinematic visionaries, however, has appeared in the arts and cultural scene seeking opportunities outside of movie studios and inside the illustrious world of New York high fashion. One student has stepped forward as arbiter of a brave artistic movement in a cultural age saturated by faux-freedom and endless hipster posturing. Steep Daniels (Cinematography ‘11) is spearheading the vision of NEON Americana.

    “NEON Americana represents a new breed of young people, a new way of living. We are freed from social constructs, breaking through into the life they’ve always dreamed of. It represents the new way of living in which its vibrant characters charge through life, never taking ‘no’ for an answer—inspired to be the biggest, best version of themselves. They envision a post-apocalyptic America. One in which a lone television set appears to be the last one left after a cataclysmic event of epic proportions. We look inside the screen to find the next wave of Mankind: the NEON generation.”

    As its name implies, NEON’s visual aesthetic is unapologetic in its brightly bold nod to the American spirit. Canadian-bred and hailing from Toronto, Steep exudes a passion which is reminiscent of the unabashed artistic ambition now seen as legend. The sort of creative character—a purity long lost—made famous by the Mudd Club kids in the late 70’s. The young Basquiat as graffiti artist SAMO. A sprightly Glenn O’Brien decades prior to his arrival at GQ magazine. Creatives fueled by youth and an earnestness, they were making their mark with a devil-may-care attitude of art trumps artist. When NYFA produces filmmakers like Daniels who conjure this golden nostalgia through a splashy collaboration with celebrity designer Stevie Boi, we want the student body to stand up and take notice. Stevie Boi’s ascent in fashion is remarkable. Backed by endorsements from pop culture icons Lady GaGa and Madonna, Boi is garnering acclaim for his ability to create drama through his designs. Therefore it is fascinating that he is becoming a character player in the vast NEON universe, a film series about artistic redemption in the heat of dystopian despair. The first subject of this series, Boi collaborated with Daniels in order to proclaim a new world order in the creative arts. “I’ve wanted to do a fashion film with a big artist for a long time and wanted to work with someone who represented a new form of fashion,” said Daniels.
    Daniels has enlisted fellow NYFA students Sandra Stakic (Documentary Filmmaking ‘12) and Markus E. Mueller (Cinematography ‘10) to assist in building the NEON brand. Stakic is working on a nonfiction film documenting the creative process of Daniels while Mueller acts as Director of Photography for the project. Stakic credits Daniels for the concept and execution of NEON. As she explained, “It’s his energy which draws people. His willingness to collaborate inspires others around him to be creative.” Becoming friends on their first day of classes at NYFA, the graduates credit the NYFA faculty for inspiring their drive to succeed. “Andrea Swift was incredible. The documentary students became a family in the end. There was healthy competition and a total respect for the filmmaking process,” says Stakic. Recounting 18-hour work days, Daniels credits department chair John Loughlin for teaching him how to “connect the dots” and to stay focused on storytelling no matter the chaos being wrought on set. He also described a creative process unhindered by the oft-cited idea called financial compensation. Everyone involved, including set designers and actors, were not paid. As Daniels explained, “We did it for the passion of being creative. Boi came to Toronto on a bus to work on this film and told me that he was inspired by our willingness to bring everything and ask for nothing.”
    Daniels is entering the New York arts scene in full force. NEON Americana will be screened during the Stevie Boi show for New York Fashion Week tomorrow on February 9th. He is also a part of SPiN New York’s annual Valentine’s Day benefit for M.A.D.A on February 14th hosted by the prince of Madagascar and actress Susan Sarandon. He designed the ping-pong table to be auctioned in order to raise proceeds for the foundation. Daniels is committed to expanding the NEON movement to include creative collaboration outside of the world of fashion. Working for passion with no promises, Steep Daniels never expected to have his art become a centerpiece for a designer deemed as the next fashion icon by Vogue Italia. He is living his vision aimed at shifting the paradigm of creativity and commerce.
    We encourage students to think outside of the box. How far can your creativity go? Will you take the necessary risks in order to create something greater than yourself?

    NEON Americana

    NEON Americana

    NEON Americana

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    February 9, 2012 • Acting • Views: 3763