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  • NYFA Grads’ Acclaimed Film ‘7 Boxes’ Released in North America

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    7 Boxes

    The New York Film Academy is proud of its graduates, Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schémbori, whose electrifying debut film 7 Boxes recently had its North American theatrical and VOD release.

    The film, produced by Breaking Glass Pictures and Shoreline Entertainment, had its world premiere at the International Film Festival of San Sebastian to audience and critical acclaim and broke box office records in its native Paraguay. An official selection of the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, and a favorite at the Miami, Edinburgh, and Palm Springs Film Festivals, indieWIRE hailed the Paraguayan action-thriller as “The Fast and the Furious with wheelbarrows.”

    Víctor, a 17-year-old wheelbarrow delivery boy, dreams of becoming famous and covets a fancy TV set in the infamous Mercado 4. He’s offered a chance to deliver seven boxes with unknown contents in exchange for a quick $100. With a borrowed cell phone the contractor uses to tell him the way, Víctor embarks on the journey. Crossing the eight blocks of the market seemed easy but things get complicated along the way. There is something in those boxes that starts a high-speed wheelbarrow chase in the secret and gloomy corridors of the market. Without even realizing, Víctor and his pursuers will get involved in a crime of which they know anything.

    Following its Paraguayan premiere, 7 Boxes edged out Titanic as the most successful film in Paraguay’s box-office history – an unprecedented feat given the limited audiovisual production in the country. Coming on the heels of internationally successful features such as Hamaca Paraguaya and Cuchillo de Palo, 7 Boxes could truly signify an international breakout moment for Paraguayan cinema.

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    February 10, 2014 • Diversity, Filmmaking, International Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5408

  • True Blood’s Stephen Moyer Charms NYFA Acting Students

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    moyer glynis

    Stephen Moyer with Glynis Rigsby

    Acting students and True Blood fans were treated to an exclusive event at the New York Film Academy in Union Square. Stephen Moyer, who plays Bill Compton on HBO’s True Blood, introduced and screened an episode he directed entitled, Somebody That I Used to Know. Stephen was so excited to speak to the students, he grabbed the microphone before the screening to introduce himself and the episode. Incorporated into his introduction were his charm and sense and humor.

    Stephen has recently been living in New York City as he prepares for his role of Captain Von Trapp on The Sound of Music, which will be a live 3-hour broadcast of the original 1959 Broadway production, executive produced by Neil Meron and Craig Zadan. He will star alongside Carrie Underwood, Laura Benanti, Audra McDonald and Christian Borle, which airs on NBC on December 5th.

    Stephen Moyer

    During the Q&A with NYFA Acting Chair, Glynis Rigsby, Stephen recalled his hard work and dedication to his craft that led him to his current status in the business. He even broke down scenes for the audience to get a sense of his directing style in this specific episode on season 5. Through entertaining anecdotes and insightful industry knowledge, Stephen had the entire house engaged and entertained. It’s no wonder he’s an A-class talent on the screen.

    Even after the event, Stephen took the time out to speak personally with several students, including signing autographs and taking photos with hardcore fans.

     

     

     

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    November 22, 2013 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 8215

  • NYFA Grad Becomes First Female Native to Direct in Amazon

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    Film still_1

    Women have made leaps and bounds as filmmakers in recent years. In 2010, Katheryn Bigelow became the first female to win Best Director at the Academy Awards for her acclaimed film, Hurt Locker. Recently, New York Film Academy graduate, Darcyana Moreno Izel became the first female born in the Amazon to direct a film in the Amazon. Izel was born in Manaus, the capital of the Amazon state of Brazil. Her monumental achievement gained recognition and financial support from the Brazilian government. The film, Dark Amazon, will be premiering at the Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival on Tuesday, September 10th at 9:00pm.

    Shot in the some of the deepest parts of the Amazon, the story surrounds a research team searching for natural cures for cancer, who wind up encountering the legendary Anhangá. The supernatural creature, Anhangá is the name locals gave the spirits that roamed the earth after death, tormenting the living. The creature could take any form, but the most well known was of a deer with eyes of fire and a cross on its forehead. Darcyana gathers actual first hand documentary style interviews with some of the locals who claim to have seen the creature, giving the film a real authentic feel. She and her crew even had unexplained phenomena occur during the shoot. “The whistle that you will hear in the movie is not a sound effect but an actual whistle that we all kept hearing during the shoot, which is part of the legend of Anhangá,” says Darcyana. “The legend says that when the creature is around, you can hear this eerie whistle.”

    Darcyana hopes her filmmaker career will allow her the opportunity to show another side of Brazil to the world. In general, the Brazilian people have tremendous hope. “I’ve seen families in complete poverty that were so grateful for being together while having so little, because they always believe tomorrow things will be better.” It is that same hope that has given Darcyana the ability to see out her life-long dream of becoming a director – despite all odds.

    If you live in Brazil and share the same passion as Darcyana, The New York Film Academy wants to see you in Brazil from September 16th – October 1st! NYFA will be conducting auditions, open houses, and workshops. Please contact Jonathan Juarbe at jjuarbe@nyfa.edu for more details.

    Film still_2

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  • 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: 6064

  • The Brazilian Invasion

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    DeboraRodrigues&AlDanuzio2

    Over the years, the New York Film Academy has welcomed many talented actors and filmmakers from Brazil. This past year has provided much of the same. Acting for Film student, Al Danuzio, has worked as an actor in film, TV, and musical theater, working for Latin companies like Telemundo-NBC. The 24 year old actor, from Maranhão, has lived in the United States for five years now and hopes to eventually return to São Luis after he completes his studies at NYFA in 2015. “My goal is to be able to bring great productions from there (US) over here,” says Danuzio. “Bring professionals from there to here, produce things here to take there.”

    When asked about his experience at NYFA, Al says, “[NYFA] The best decision I ever made in my professional life. I feel I am being prepared by some of the top professionals in the film industry – people who are actually working. Also, I am surrounded by people who take the craft as a serious profession.”

    Al has also worked as an Assistant Producer of the New York Casting of La Voz Kids for Telemundo-NBC and El Factor X for Mundo Fox – both Spanish versions of the reality shows The Voice and The X Factor.

    This September, he plans to shoot a few more films, including How to Kill My Boyfriend, with NYFA director Alfonso Perugini, and Bom Dia with fellow NYFA Brazilian actress, Debora Rodrigues.

    Since coming over to study Acting for Film a year ago, Debora has acted in around 37 movies, booked two roles in plays, received an award for Best Short at the “Best Shorts Festival” in California, and performed at venues like Dixon Place, The Players Club, and Ripley Studios.

    “NYFA has been an amazing experience where you can make a lot of movies, meet a lot of people with the same interests, learn how to act on a movie set, and literally live your dream!” exclaims Debora. “Since starting, I have raised the bar on my overall goals. I will continue to work hard and apply everything that I’ve learned in class to the real world.”

    The two recently attended this year’s Brazilian Film Festival in New York City. The annual event honors the best and the brightest of Brazil’s innovative new cinema. It brings together Brazilian celebrities, actors, musicians, directors, producers, and, needless to say, is a terrific networking opportunity. “The quality and quantity of Brazilian productions have increased a lot in the last decade,” says Danuzio.

    Al and Debora are just two of the many talented actors, filmmakers and performers that have honed their craft at the New York Film Academy over the years. We look forward to meeting many more talents in our workshops in Rio and trips to São Paulo, as well as those who venture out to our LA and NYC locations.

     

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  • NYFA Acting Grad Produces Children’s Web Series

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    Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 11.21.25 AM

    Since living in the states, British native Danielle Kronenberg has starred in over 10 independent films and is currently producing, directing, and acting in her own children’s web series. The New York Film Academy acting graduate put together the SAG-AFTRA approved web-series, How To Make, with hardly any budget. Now, she’s in talks with a children’s show to potentially pick up the project. “I think you have to create your own work and never stop,” says Kronenberg.

    While at the New York Film Academy, Danielle performed at The Player’s Club in the ensemble play Overtoneswhich was directed by the multi-talented NYFA Producing Chair Ron Tippe. “My year at NYFA was fantastic and something I looked forward to every single day. All of the teachers are outstanding in their fields, and the international office was always there with a helping hand. [Director of Acting Admissions] Roger DelPozo is a fountain of knowledge, mentor and guiding light.

    Danielle is currently co-writing an independent film that will be shot by NYFA Instructor, Piero Basso, later this June.

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  • Louis Mole Talks About NYFA’s Documentary Program

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    Documentary graduate, Louis Mole, sits down with us to discuss his experience at the New York Film Academy.

    “It is such a hands-on intensive course, and it really drills into every single aspect of the filmmaking program from directing to producingphotography, and editing.” said Louis Mole. “You come out of the program with the fundamental expertise of every single aspect of making a film – which is so unique.”

    Immediately after graduating the New York Film Academy, Louis went to Singapore and worked on 2 series. One of which was Asian Swindlers, a six part series about Asian conmen, in which Louis wrote 3 episodes and oversaw the edit.

    After Singapore, Louis came back to New York where he currently works for the production company behind the Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winning Documentary, The House I Live In.

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    February 28, 2013 • Documentary Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5415

  • Finding Luck With ‘The Lucky One’

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    Filmmaker Bala Balakrishnan graduated from New York Film Academy in 2010. Shortly after graduation, he wrote, produced, and directed a short film called The Lucky One. It made the festival rounds in 2012, and proved to be a hit, winning 8 awards in competitions across the nation.

    Bala works as a software engineer during the day. Like many people with day jobs, he decided an Evening Filmmaking program would work best with his busy schedule. “I was always interested in film,” says Bala. “After I had my second kid, I said, ‘I don’t want to be sitting in front of a computer all the time.’ It was my childhood desire to tell stories. I said, ‘Okay, I’ll go take a class.’ I invested and it paid off.”

    He began commuting to New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus from nearby Orange County. As he puts it, “You start from the beginning, and get hands-on experience.” The Evening Filmmaking program covers writing, directing, cinematography, and editing – all the building blocks for getting started in filmmaking.

    After graduation, Bala decided to start work on a short film. Working around his day job, he wrote a story about a young boy whose parents would rather spend time on their iPhones than taking care of their child. Like many filmmakers these days, he turned to Indiegogo to fund his 18-minute short film. Bala started production in the summer of 2011, working with a number of his New York Film Academy classmates.

    Since its completion, The Lucky One has played numerous festivals across the nation, and just won its eighth award last week at the California Film Awards. Bala Balakrishnan is currently working with a screenwriter for a feature length action thriller, in addition to two other feature length scripts.

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  • Michael Staininger on Directing His First Feature

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    Imagine being in charge of a 2 million dollar feature film, written and produced by the same guy who wrote The Crow. Your only experience is from directing a student film at the New York Film Academy. That is exactly what director, Michael Staininger was going through when he was thrown in front of 150 crew members on set of The Tomb. Luckily, he had the hands-on training from NYFA to prepare him for the real world. “Diving into filmmaking from day one, being thrown into the cold water with very little previous experience, that is what prepares you for the real world; and the madness which will await when you step onto your first feature film set. The ability to make one hundred plus mini and big decisions per day, mostly based on instinct and preparation, is what will set you apart from the competition.”

    Michael was born in Vienna, Austria to an upper middle class family who expected him to pursue a career in business. But, like most creative filmmakers, he gradually began seeking adventure, searching for the unexpected, rather than pushing for the obvious. Michael used his imagination to open horizons and create new worlds through the moving image. From there, and a few viewings of Braveheart, Michael’s fascination with the magic of film was born. Directing became his path in life.

    So, how does a boy from Vienna end up directing a $2 million film in Los Angeles with producers George Furla and Randall Emmett? 

    George Furla was one of my first producer acquaintances in the first year I moved to LA. We understood each other right away and tried to put something into the pipeline. It took several efforts (4 projects didn’t happen) and a little more than a year until the first draft of the “Ligeia” script, which distributors later renamed The Tomb, went through the Emmett/Furla Films office. They started my career. The main reason I signed on to do the film was because I’m such a big fan of The Crow, which “Ligeia” screenwriter John Shirley also wrote. John Shirley really understands darkness and mysticism.

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  • Producer Chris Brigham and His Road to "Inception"

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    Chris Brigham NYFAChris Brigham isn’t your typical “Hollywood” producer, which comes as a surprise, considering he produced global blockbusters such as Inception, The Aviator, and Analyze This. He doesn’t even live in Hollywood.“New York is a great place for a producer right now, especially with the tax breaks. There are more shows here now, which means more jobs.” Aspiring filmmakers looking to develop stories, however, should still consider Los Angeles. Everyone’s path will be different. It’s up to each individual to recognize which is one’s true calling.“Not everyone will have the chops for this business.”

    As the guest speaker for our Q&A on Thursday, Chris shared with us his journey from a P.A. in New York to the Hollywood powerhouse he is today. Hustling his way to the top, there was much to be learned in terms of film production. Most importantly, he learned quite a bit about dealing with people, which is something he credits to the Teamsters.The motto? “Money talks. Bullshit walks.” New York is a ‘show me’ city where you have to back up what you’re saying. Chris realized his ability in handling people and their problems was a valuable skill in the industry. Soon he began finding steady work as a line producer.

    So what is a line producer? “It’s a critical job. You are the eyes and the ears managing the movie. Being a line producer demands entrepreneurial skills.”Highlighting some of the details of his job, one learns it’s not your typical 9 to 5. Being a freelance line producer requires a lot of travel, networking, and wisdom to find the right project. “It’s better to work on quality projects but it’s a lot of hard work.”

    His recommendation for filmmaking success? “Get your foot in the door. Make phone calls and start out as a P.A. on set.” Eventually you’ll build a reputation and, who knows, you may end up waking up one day with a call from Christopher Nolan’s team to work on Inception. Luck may play a part, however, this game is a foot-race and the last person standing is the one who makes it in this business. Whether it’s writing, directing, acting or producing, there are thousands of people trying to do the same thing you want to do. The key is not losing sight of your dreams.

    What about maintaining a family and some sort of normalcy? Chris recounted some of his struggles balancing career and family. He recalled a shoot in Montreal where he drove six hours to see his wife and kids on the weekends. Character is indispensable. It seems kindness, too, can pay off in a business with a bad reputation for its conceited personalities.

    Twitter was abuzz for Brigham’s appearance. Irrefutably, the most submitted question of the night was “Is film school worth it?” In response, Chris cited his very first film class in college learning about Fellini and Kurosawa. It sparked his passion for the craft. He encouraged our students to collaborate, build bonds, and sustain a network. In this industry, it’s crucial to meet the right people. Create a foundation for yourself. Film school is what you make of it.

    After the Q&A, Chris handled individual students with personal questions, ranging from “Can I meet Christopher Nolan?” to “How do I get my screenplay funded?” Chris stayed for a good 45 minutes afterwards, patiently handling questions and proving to us how integrity can go a long way.

    Chris Brigham Q&A at NYFA

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    March 5, 2012 • Producing • Views: 8172