Craig Caton-Largent
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  • New York Film Academy at 2019 Venice Film Festival: Master Classes and Student Film Screenings

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    New York Film Academy’s (NYFA) kicked off a successful partnership with Giornate degli Autori, at the Venice Film Festival with an all-day event on September 4, 2019.

    NYFA 3D Animation & VFX Chair, Craig Caton (E.T., Ghostbusters, Jurassic Park) kicked off the day’s events with a private Master Class for the jurors of Giornate degli Autori. The 1-hour talk focused on motion capture and augmented reality was attended by all 28 jurors of the Giornate degli Autori, each of whom is a film student from a university in each European Union nation.

    “I had an amazing time learning about motion capture from one of the leading film professionals teaching at the New York Film Academy [Craig Caton] and I am very thankful I could take part in this event,” said Mladen Pechevski, the Bulgarian student ambassador.

    Craig Caton held a second Master Class open to the general public, press and festival-goers in the afternoon. The packed house participated in a live, interactive facial recognition demonstration. Following the Master Class, NYFA screened three student shorts indicative of the quality of work NYFA students produce. Two of the students, directors Gabriele Fabbro and Alex Cvetkov, were present at the screening and answered questions from the audience about their experiences at NYFA.

    “Having been selected and showcased at the Venice Film Festival is a true pleasure, and the feeling can’t be expressed properly […] Venice is a festival attended by worldwide film industry reps, they are all in one place, at the same time; this is where opportunities can happen, and I was at the right place, at the right time,” shared Cvetkov. “The more people I meet, the more people see my movie, the more your name resonates and people talk about your work. There is no better promotion than mouth to mouth, and at the end of the day this is all happening at one of the biggest film festivals in the world. Just being surrounded with the world-class filmmakers gives me the motivation to keep on chasing my stories and my creativity […] There goes big thanks to the New York Film Academy for the knowledge and for the support they provided me as a filmmaker!”

    Upon reflecting on his own experience at the event, Master Class presenter Craig Caton expressed enthusiasm for the opportunity to attend the festival and the students with whom he engaged while there.

    “Being at the Venice Film Festival was very rewarding. Sharing my experiences was met with great enthusiasm,” said Caton. “It was nice to hear several times how NYFA has internationally acclaimed instructors who really care about their students and teach with great passion! I am honored to be part of such an incredible organization!”


    New York Film Academy alumni were prominently featured at this year’s edition of the Venice Film Festival. NYFA Screenwriting alum Shahad Ameen screened her film Scales (Sayidat Al Bahr in Arabic). The film tells the story of Hayat, a young girl who lives in a poor fishing village in which every family must give one daughter to the sea creatures who inhabit the nearby waters. Ameen’s film is the first narrative Arab film to premiere in Venice.

    As part of a special Giornate degli Autori event, NYFA Filmmaking alum Stefano Cipani also screened his film, Mio Fratello Rincorre i Dinosauri. The star studded cast features stars Alessandro Gassman, Isabella Ragonese and Rossy de Palma. The film recounts the relationship between two brothers, the younger of whom has Down Syndrome.

    New York Film Academy faculty, students and alumni are honored to have partnered with Giornate degli Autori, and look forward to the opportunity to engage with attendees in years to come.

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    September 12, 2019 • Film Festivals, Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 471

  • New York Film Academy Partners with Giornate degli Autori at Venice Film Festival

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) has partnered with Giornate degli Autori at the Venice Film Festival to hold an all-day event on September 4, 2019.

    Giornata degli Autori, a parallel section of the Venice Film Festival, is modeled on “Directors’ Fortnight” at Cannes Film Festival and aims to present high quality cinema that features innovation, research, originality, and independence.

    The event will feature two Master Classes taught by Craig Caton (E.T., Ghostbusters, Jurassic Park), Chair of NYFA’s 3D Animation & Visual Effects department, the first of which will be exclusive to the jurors of Giornate degli Autori while the second will be open to festival-goers and the press. Craig will present the basics of motion capture technology and a real-time interactive facial recognition demonstration with volunteers from the audience. Following the second Master Class, NYFA will screen three selected student shorts: Scout by Alex Cvetkov (Slovenia, Italy), 8 by Gabriele Fabbro (United States, Italy), and Two Weeks in Laredo by Adrianne Lundy (United States).  These films by NYFA’s most recent crop of students are representative of the quality that NYFA students produce throughout the course of their studies:

    Giornate degli Autori logoOf the upcoming event New York Film Academy Florence Director Diana Santi said, “On behalf of NYFA, I can say that we are excited to present our educational method and a selection of student shorts to the audience of Giornata degli Autori at the Venice Film Festival 2019. Our mission has always been to train students to be industry-ready through our hands-on, learn-by-doing philosophy that gives students access to cutting-edge equipment and internationally acclaimed instructors such as Craig Caton. We also offer students the support to take the first steps in the industry as professionals.”

    On partnering with NYFA, Giorgio Gosetti, Giornata degli Autori Director, shared, “Inside the huge Hollywood machine, there are skills that give form to ideas that would otherwise be impossible to portray on screen. We wanted to highlight this aspect of filmmaking to reveal the authorship that goes beyond the script, and the place where inspiration and technique meet, the result being those film classics we all adore. Inviting Craig Caton means creating a space for film education, in the form of an entertaining, dynamic class on spaceships, dinosaurs and imaginary creatures turned real, with Caton as our guide.”

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    August 30, 2019 • 3D Animation, Film Festivals, Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 512

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) 1-Week Animation Workshop Concludes With Special Chinese Tea Performance

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    Twenty students from the Chinese GMFZ High School joined a 1-Week Animation Workshop from July 30th to August 3rd at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus. At the end of the course, the students prepared a special Tea Performance to show their appreciation to the New York Film Academy (NYFA).

    During the week-long animation workshop, the students learned about Paper Puppets, Stop Motion Animation, Visual Story, VFX, and Editing. In addition, they had the opportunity to film on the Universal Studios Backlot, Hollywood’s world-famous lot where movies such as American Beauty, Back to the Future, and Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds have been filmed. NYFA has a special relationship with Universal Studios, where students have the unique opportunity to spectate the importance of “studio life” to the Los Angeles area up close and first-hand, while also getting the one-of-a-kind experience of shooting on the lot themselves.

    The location shooting went very well as students were taught hands-on skills in storytelling. The GMFZ students showed satisfaction with this learning experience upon getting their certificate at the end of the week.

    The program was concluded with the Chinese GMFZ School performing a unique tea performance, a cultural exchange that was greatly appreciated by NYFA staff and faculty. The performance demonstrated the traditional Chinese art of tea tasting as a show of gratitude to NYFA for arranging their Animation Workshop. 

    During the ceremony, students explained the history and procedures involved in the art of tea-making with a recital and performance. A sample of 10 kinds of teas from various provinces in China were brought to the Chair of Animation, Craig Caton-Largent, who happened to be an ardent fan of Chinese tea.

    The New York Film Academy proudly holds a special relationship with Chinese filmmaking students. In 2017, President of NYFA Michael Young visited multiple schools in China, and the Academy has offered local workshops in Shanghai and Beijing. The New York Film Academy congratulates the Chinese GMFZ High School students on their completion of the 1-Week Animation Workshop, and warmly extends their gratitude for their exquisite Tea Ceremony!

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    August 9, 2018 • 3D Animation, International Diversity • Views: 1760

  • Celebrating Craig Caton-Largent’s 1st Anniversary as Chair of 3D Animation & VFX at New York Film Academy Los Angeles

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    Craig Caton-Largent has just marked his first anniversary as Chair of 3D Animation & VFX at the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Los Angeles Campus. Caton is renowned in the film industry for his groundbreaking VFX work on beloved blockbusters including Jurassic Park, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, Big Trouble in Little China, Edward Scissorhands,  Apollo 13, Tangled, and more.

    To celebrate Craig’s anniversary, we’re sharing some highlights from his first year as chair of the Animation School at NYFA Los Angeles. Here’s looking forward to another great year!

    Building Community

    At Home

    This year, the NYFA Los Angeles 3D Animation School created an art wall and added a display cabinet to show off student work. The wall was a wonderful encouragement and inspiration for 3D Animation & VFX students as they worked on their showcase projects, creating a great talking point in the community and sharing their work with others. It was a great to share all their hard work with the rest of the NYFA community!

    Numbers

    It’s been a big year at the NYfA Los Angeles Animation School — this year we’ve seen a 283% increase in student enrollment in our 3D Animation & VFX programs!

    On Social

    The NYFA Los Angeles 3D Animation & VFX School also joined Instagram this year! Follow “nyfa_animation_gaming” and join the conversation!

    Alumni News & Credits

    It’s been a great year for our NYFA Los Angeles 3D Animation &VFX alumni! Here are some inspiring stories:

    • BFA grad Jessica Chung is the Winner of the LA Livescore Film Festival for Best Original Score for her animation short, Sushi Man.
    • 1-Year Conservatory grad Alex LoRusso isurrently working as an FX Artist at Scanline. Her 2017 major film credits Include Justice League, Pirates 5, & Alien Covenant. She also recently worked on Suicide Squad and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
    • 1-Year Conservatory grad Soraia Malaquias is working as a 3D Generalist at TNF Visual Effects. Her impressive list of 2017 film credits Include: American Gods and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
    • 1-Year Conservatory grad Gabriel Fernandez currently works as a Production Assistant at Eight VFX.
    • 1-Year Conservatory alum Ujala Saini is a VFX/Post Production at Electric Theatre Collective.

    Events

    There have been a lot of special events to celebrate this year!

    Monsterpalooza

    Chair Craig Caton’s new animation software Animservo was announced, and NYFA conducted the test phase. The announcement was broadcast live, then received over 20K views in the first hour.

    Siggraph

    SIGGRAPH is the world’s largest, most influential annual conference and exhibition in computer graphics and interactive techniques. Chair Craig Caton gave demonstrations during the course of the convention at the Faceware Technologies booth.

    Motion capture data from Faceware’s Analyzer and Retargeter software was output to an animatronic goblin using Caton’s new animation software, AnimServo.

    Media Lab

    This year also saw NYFA Los Angeles’ launch of the the Media Lab, to create opportunities for students and instructors to collaborate on research projects.

    The first project was testing Chair Craig Caton’s animation software Animservo. With testing successfully completed, Animservo has now be become available at animservo.com.  

    Matt Sheehan has been given directorship of the Media Lab and there is an exciting list of topics coming up … stay tuned!

    Industry Guests

    The New York Film Academy’s Guest Speaker Series saw a number of incredible animation and visual effects artists visit to share their insights with NYFA Los Angeles Animation School students.

    Amy Lawson Smeed, lead character animator of Disney’s Moana, came for a special screening and talk with Chair Craig Caton. That’s not all — NYFA alum Hanna Johansson then had a chance to meet with Amy personally to discuss her reel!

    Amy Lawson Smeed

    Byron Bashforth, character shading lead of Disney’s Coco, revealed more Disney magic in an intimate Q&A with Chair Craig Caton.

    Byron Bashforth answers questions about Disney's Coco at NYFA LA

    Byron Bashforth

    Head of Research and Development of DreamWorks Animation, Jeff Wike, was another honored guest, who treated Animation School students to a remarkable industry insider perspective on the innovation and inspiration behind much of today’s most cutting-edge animation.

    Jeff Wike atNew York Film Academy Los Angeles

    Chair Craig Caton-Largent and Jeff Wikes at NYFA Los Angeles

    Jason Liles, the Lead Actor in Netflix’s DeathNote, gave Animation School students an inside perspective of what it’s like for the actors working on the other side of motion capture technology.

    There are many exciting projects as we move into Chair Craig Caton’s second year of leadership — stay tuned for more. Congratulations, Craig, on a remarkable 1st anniversary!

     

     

     

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