Over the long weekend, the Los Angeles campus of the New York Film Academy saw two hundred students turn into graduates as they crossed the stage of the Harmony Gold Preview House to collect their degrees.
Three separate ceremonies were held to accommodate the large student body and their families. Mike Seville, Anne Moore, and Rich Thorne each presented an Address to the Graduates sending messages of pride and hope one last time to their students.
World-renowned talent came to NYFA to give the commencement speech to the graduates. The woman responsible for the “Murder House” finale of “American Horror Story,” Jessica Sharzer, gave one of the speeches. Sharzer won a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Screenplay for the episode entitled “Afterbirth.” Sharzer, a former NYFA student, spoke highly of her time with NYFA where she also taught at its Princeton, New York, and Paris locations. She encouraged students to have a value system in place. Know what’s working and what stakes are worth risking.
Joshua Bitton gave the first commencement speech of the day. A common thread throughout his speech was having the confidence to pursue one’s dream. Bitton is perhaps best known for his role as Sgt. J.P. Morgan in “The Pacific” on HBO, but many outside of the industry might be surprised to learn Bitton is also a sought after acting coach.
Bitton ended his speech by saying, “An MFA program is tough. I’ve been there. But it’s also an artist’s dream. You wake up and every day you create. You focus on furthering your expression. Out there it’s a business. You must learn how to play that game or get a team around you that can do it for you. But always remember what drew you to this — the desire to express yourself and create. It is brave and it is beautiful. It is you and you are enough.”
The final Commencement Speaker was Martha Coolidge. The pioneering director of “Valley Girl” and “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” shared her pioneering experience of breaking into the industry stating, “Although there was no working female directors in Hollywood or anywhere I could name in this country. I did have women in my classes and the world was changing. All of us filmmakers were very excited about that and felt it would be very quick. We’re still talking about what it’s like to be a woman director. So it wasn’t quite as quick as we’d hoped.”
The speed was slow but Coolidge was not content to conquer just the silver screen. She’s been dominating the television screen, as well as having directed stand out episodes of “Angie Tribeca,” “The Night Shift,” “Madam Secretary,” and “Sex and the City.” She advised students to strengthen their relationships, never be afraid to ask questions, and embrace competition. “You can’t just sit and wait. You have to be a self-starter or it will never happen.”
The New York Film Academy would like to congratulate all the graduates who crossed the stage over the weekend. As you enter the phase of your professional career we hope you come back to the place where it all began and that you share your knowledge with the next generation. Good luck in all your future endeavors.
Graduating Class of 2017
MFA in Acting
Areg Antonyan, Youn Hee Cho, Claire Xuewei Cui, Roberto Jadue, Zijing Ke, Yulia Konashevich, Kensiwe Mathebula, Paul McKenna Jr, Daniella Mendoza, Jonathan Neal, Anastasiya Serada, Alina Smolyar, Yifan Xu, Zheyu Zhang, Zandi Zim
BFA in Acting
Maria Fernandez Arras Salvoch, Christina Barron, Kiara Beltran, Kassie Bey, AnnaLuisa Capasa, Calvin Ripley Chelberg, Tiffany Alexis Clare, Daniel Colt, Kevin Dary, Chiara Sofia Ferarro Brenner, Atli Fjalarsson, Ximena García Gonzalez, Miranda Guzman, Kira Hagi, Alessandra Hajaj, Alston Huff, Pilar Irigoyen, Dominique Jeswal, Finoa Ketter, Alvin Lee, Kylar Miranda, Stefanie Morosini, Ella Mun-Gavin, Jonas Olsen, Masato Di Santo, Stephanie Quintero, Micaela Reis, Juan Felipe Restrepo Salamanca, Eric Ronn, Jose Francisco Saldaña, Bianca Schrader, Josephine Marie Siwko, Dulce Sosa, Jahnessa Vasquez, Justin Michael Vasquez, Victoria Watlington, Tyler Williams, Casey Wohlgemuth, Jazell Young, Damir Zharkimbekov,
AFA in Acting
Daniel Annerl, Mack Bates, Kate Bolshakova, Corinna Marianna Camero Gonzalez, Selma Cisneros, Camila Echeverri Duarte, Nicole Fahel, Kevin Flores, María José García, Lika Idrisova, Newton Benjamin Kitaura, Joao Pedro Lopes Paneguini, Damon McKinnis, Emily Morrison, Kyle Promisson, Cam Rafidison, Victoria Ribeiro, Nuria Roca, Marie Senghore, Qusay Sultan, Shantell Woods, Alissa Ylitalo,
MFA in Producing
Amari Agee, Batool Hassan Alarfah, Mujahed Aljumaiaah, Larissa de Rosa Beck, Xiangrong Du, Thomas Freeman, Yizhen Hou, Ah Reum Jung, Jiagyue Lin, Junhao Ma, Zoé Pelloux, Nikita Sapronov, Yoselin Solorzano, Huidi Sun, Sventlanova Natalia, Zhikun Yu, Jihan Zhang, Ziyi Zhao.
BFA in Producing
Magnea Helgadóttir, Davin Tjen, Lok Kwan Woo
MFA in Screenwriting
David Castillo, Zenana Coombs, Lindsey Hall, Anna Kriegel, Antonina Kshanovska, Tiffany Lewis, Queenian Nneka Okagu, Rachna Sukuru,
BFA in Screenwriting
Jordan Chyzowski, Elias Kofoed-Hansen, Michael Levin, Zara Lewes, Daniela Mayorca, Anastasia Mezikaeva Cermeño, Michael Sweeney, Doug Terra
AFA in Screenwriting
Audrey Cornett, Sergio Cox, Eric Obaro, Adam Zagri
MFA in Photography
Sara Al Sahaly, Ebtehal Farhat, Chun-Hsun Huang, Alejandro Ibarra, Silvia Catalina Quintero Torres, Seham Sultan,
BFA in Photography
Kivansh Choksi, Edward Vincent Rubia, Mengmeng Lu
MFA in Game Design
BFA in Game Design
MFA in Filmmaking (Feature Track)
Yesser Laham, Rafael Nani Pires
MFA in Filmmaking
Musab Omair Alamri, Gabriela Bueno, Yue Chen, Valéria Costa, Yiheng Guo,
Hu Yiduo, Hawar Karim, Kuan Wen Wei, Yu Liu, Chiyuan Ma, Joshua Tre Van, Tianze Wang, Xiao Zi Jun, Yao Yu, Yuehan Zhang, Dulat Zhumagazin
MFA in Film and Media
Joud Al-Rashid, Syed Ahsen Ali, Qiuyu Chen, Jasmine Chiswell, Carlos De Anda, Jiufang Ding, Victoria Gagieva, Ashley Hargrove, Fang He, Yanzhu Li, Christina Nijim, Farid Rasul, Sommer Saqr, Twisha Thakar, Yuheng Tong, Nataliya Tsvetkova, Cheng Yang, Yumeng Zhang
BFA in Filmmaking
Jaquece Jamaar Abraham, Edoardo Achilli, Issa Al-Zadjali, Khalid Alahmari, Fernando Amarante Ibarra, Bakyt Angsabay, Talha Bin Abdulrahman, Shu-Chieh Chu, Fady Elmankabady, Trokon Victor George, Rochel Goldsmith, Anatole Lardeyret, Brandon Lee, Matheus Ronn Leite, Xuejiao Liu, Emmanuel Maldonado, Bruno Paolucci, Chang Hyun Park, Dominic Polito, Aysha Radwan, Alejandro Seri, Tianzuo Zhang
AFA in Filmmaking
Peter Farquhar, Brooke Marshal Hagen