• 27-Hour Marvel Marathon Coming to Theaters


    marvel marathon

    You’ve got a problem. You’ve been seeing the posters and the teasers and the trailers for the upcoming superhero sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron but you can’t quite remember all the backstories of all the characters and where everybody is at this point. How can you truly enjoy Iron Man and Hulk beating each other up or Captain America and Black Widow’s charming banter if you can’t remember what they were doing in the previous Avengers films?

    Well, don’t worry, Marvel’s got you covered. They’re offering a marathon of all ten MCU films in theaters, all leading up to a theatrical screening of the eleventh film—Avengers: Age of Ultron. Marvel helped you out last time, remember? When the first Avengers was released, it followed a marathon of the first five MCU films—Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger. In the three years since, the studio has added another four films, so with Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: Winter Soldier, and Guardians of the Galaxy, that adds up to a staggering 27-hour theatrical experience.

    Regal Cinemas and AMC are offering this package in limited cities beginning April 29th. It includes an exclusive Avengers medallion to prove to your boss that you only took off work to see over a day’s worth of comic book heroes. So get ready, it’ll be great practice for that 54-hour marathon in 2019 when Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 debuts.

    Only one Hulk movie, though.


    March 9, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 5814

  • Spider-Man Joins The Marvel Cinematic Universe



    Spidey-senses are tingling everywhere: In some of the biggest news in comic-book movie history, Marvel announced this week that their signature character, Spider-Man, will appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe currently inhabited by the likes of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Pratt and Paul Rudd. The film rights to Spider-Man are owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, famously disallowing a crossover between the web-slinger and the Avengers, whose film rights are still owned by Disney and Marvel.

    Sony will allow Spider-Man to appear in Marvel (i.e. Disney’s) films for a cut of the profits, though the rest of the deal is still up in speculation. Most assume Peter Parker will first appear in the second Captain America sequel, Civil War, out next summer, where he will join Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and new-to-screens superhero Black Panther.

    In league with Sony’s Amy Pascal and Marvel producer Kevin Feige, Sony will also produce a new Spider-Man stand-alone film, probably as soon as 2017, pushing back most Marvel films set to release after that six months each. What this means for Sony’s current Amazing Spider-Man series is unclear, though there is a good chance Andrew Garfield will not continue the role in the new series, and that the character will be facing its second reboot in five years.

    While there are rumors 20th Century Fox properties the X-Men and Fantastic Four will cross-over, there hasn’t been any talk about bringing those under the MCU umbrella as of yet. And, of course, there’s still no word on a new Hulk film.


    February 10, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 5685

  • Women and Film Roundup: Disney Announces Latina Princess; Soloway and DuVernay Get New Shows

    Disney princess Elena of Avalor

    Elena of Avalor

    A big day of news for women in Hollywood as two female directors who had massive 2014’s land new shows while Disney announced the roll-out of their first-ever Latina princess.

    Starting with Disney, they recently announced that they will be introducing a Latina “princess” into their world of female protagonists with the creation of Elena of Avalor. However, unlike her fellow minority princesses such as Mulan, Pocahantas, and Tiana from The Princess and the Frog, right now Princess Elena will stay confined to the small screen as she will first appear on the immensely popular series Sofia the First before receiving her own show on the Disney Junior channel.

    With Latinos still drastically underrepresented on both film and television—while they make up 16% of the US population, they only account for less than 5% of speaking characters on screen— this is certainly a step in a better direction.

    Jill Soloway

    Jill Soloway

    Meanwhile, Transparent creator Jill Soloway, who recently won a Golden Globe for the show, is reported to be developing a new feminist-themed buddy comedy starring Ashley Skidmore and Lyle Friedman as two women who seek to save womankind after being struck by lightning. Both Skidmore and Friedman will also write for and executive produce the show.

    In the case of Selma director Ava DuVernay, who also just announced plans to direct a film about Hurricane Katrina, she is also now writing, directing, and executive producing an original series for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network. The show is based on Natalie Baszile’s novel Queen Sugar about a woman who uproots her teen daughter from their posh L.A. community to an 800-acre sugar cane farm in Louisiana. Production on the show is slated to begin later this year.


    February 3, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 4156

  • ‘Jetsons’ Movie is a Go


    JetsonsJane! Green-light this crazy thing! That’s right, everyone’s favorite animated space family is coming to the big screen—again—Warner Brothers announced this week. They last hit theaters with a feature-length movie in 1990, after two rebooted seasons in the mid 1980s. The original two seasons of the hit Hanna-Barbera show about George, Jane, Judy, Elroy, Rosie and Astro first aired in 1962, after the smash success of 1960’s The Flintstones. A working-class family in the Stone Age resonated with mid-century Americans, so on the heels of President Kennedy’s moon initiative, it only made sense to write a Space Age comedy next.

    Warner Brothers previously tried to bring a live-action version of The Jetsons in 2012, but the project never gained traction. The new project is said to be animated, though the company has yet to specify whether it will be hand-drawn or computer animated. Given that even traditionally hand-drawn properties as Peanuts are getting the CG treatment, it’s a good bet to say The Jetsons will also follow suit.

    Matt Lieberman, a Disney upstart who has been making huge waves with his high-concept spec scripts, has been drafted to write the feature-length screenplay for the cosmic family. Lieberman previously scripted Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief and is currently writing the anticipated reboot of 80s hit Short Circuit. The Jetsons will probably not make it to screens until at least 2017.


    January 27, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 4227

  • Hollywood Horror Writer & NYFA Instructor Talks Screenwriting


    Dan KayOn November 25th, 2014, screenwriter and New York Film Academy writing instructor Dan Kay swung by our Business of Screenwriting class to regale his story of how he went from a kid growing up in Larchmont, NY to a rising Hollywood screenwriter, whose movie Pay the Ghost, starring Nicholas Cage, is currently in post-production.

    Kay grew up on the east coast and was always a lover of independent cinema. “Movies like Clerks, The Brothers McMullin, solid independent productions, these were the movies I looked up to and wanted to initially make,” Kay recalled. Kay studied English at the University of Pennsylvania, and upon graduation got his first movie into production, which he also directed, the indie Way Off Broadway about five recent college graduates who take a crash course in life as they explore the dynamic conflict in friendships, sex, love, and betrayal. Kay credits the movie getting made to indie producer Richard Perello, whose Cataland Films which financed the film has since gone on to produce all of the comedy troop’s Broken Lizard’s productions (Super Troopers, Beerfest, etc.).

    “Traveling with the movie, as it played the festival circuit, is still one of the most memorable times of my career,” Kay remembered. Way Off Broadway played in over 30 film festivals and won the Grand Jury and Audience Award Prizes at the Westchester, Stony Brook, and Waterfront Film Festivals. Small Planet Pictures picked up theatrical distribution and the IFC Channel picked up its TV rights.

    Kay spent his first few post-college years in New York, working production and post-production jobs at night so he could write during the day, something he adamantly recommended to our writing students. “In my opinion, you want to allow yourselves the maximum amount of time to write and crank out new material, so it’s best to get a job that allows you to have that precious block of time.” Still, it wasn’t long before Kay realized he needed to move out to Los Angeles. “The independent scene was changing and wasn’t as thriving in New York as it had been. There were fewer jobs…” Kay headed out west, where he soon found representation.

    Kay’s first writing assignment may surprise some, as it’s outside of the spectrum of what he’s now known for working on (mainly thriller, action, and horror movies). It was Disney’s Tinkerbell 2, a straight-to-DVD animated children’s title. “Even though it was outside the realm of what I would normally do, I had to find a way to get excited about it, and put myself into it, something you always need to with your writing,” Kay explained. Kay was working hard on the script and Disney was planning a whole slew of sequels, which Kay had already mapped out, but when there was a regime change at Disney Animation, they scrapped the whole endeavor, including all of Kay’s work, a lesson Kay didn’t soon forget — “Some things are beyond your control, especially Hollywood company politics, and as a writer, you have better get used to that and not take it personally. And keep writing.”

    Next up for Kay was his horror/thriller Timber Falls, his first foray into the thriller genre he’s now becoming increasingly known for, about a weekend of camping in the mountains that becomes an excursion into hell for a young couple, because of the grotesque plot hatched by the deranged locals. Kay spoke pretty frankly about the evolution of this project, “Basically the director (Tony Giglio) who came on rewrote my script. On the poster is a man with a hatchet blade threatening a scared, bloody woman – yeah, neither of those characters were in my initial screenplay,” Kay remarked, getting a few laughs. “It was in the era when ‘torture porn’ was increasingly popular due to movies like Saw and Hostel, so they transformed it into one of those,” Kay shrugged. He explained this is pretty common. “At some point, a director is going to make changes to your story – it’s inevitable. Sometimes they’re drastic alterations as was definitely the case here.”

    pay the ghost

    Nicholas Cage on set of “Pay the Ghost”

    However, since Timber Falls, Kay has had increasing levels of success in the thriller genre. In 2007, Kay set up Details at Paramount Vantage with then rising (now-uber) horror producer Jason Blum, which tells the story of a daughter who disappears after uncovering a demonic force that only she can see, and the father who stops at nothing to bring her back. And it was actually back in 2010 that Kay initially set up Pay the Ghost, originally with financier SKE (Sidney Kimmel) and director Dennis Iliadis (Last House on the Left). The script tells the story of loving couple, whose young son is mysteriously abducted Halloween night, who one year later begin to sense his presence in frightening ways.

    Despite all the elements in place, however, this incarnation of Pay the Ghost never came to be and it was only when the script went into turn-around and financier Voltage Pictures and Nic Cage came aboard that it regained momentum, which happens sometimes, Kay explained. In the interim, Kay kept writing and has a host of other projects in development as well, including the tech-thriller I.T. with Pierce Brosnan attached to star and John Moore (A Good Day to Die Hard) attached to direct. Kay has also ventured into TV, something he recommended to NYFA’s students, setting up his supernatural thriller pilot Diabolic with eOne. “There’s been a seismic shift in the film and television landscape, and it definitely behooves young writers to try their hands at both,” Kay advised.

    Kay closed out with a wise piece of advice on how he comes up with his ideas. “You have to remember that a good idea can really come from anywhere. And in the idea phase, it’s a fragile thing, so don’t stymie yourself early on. Let the idea grow, as you really never know what it might become…”

    Kay is repped by APA and New Wave Entertainment. Pay the Ghost is currently in post-production and slated for next later this year. Kay lives in Los Angeles and teaches writing at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles.


    January 5, 2015 • Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 6092

  • NYFA LA Announces New 3D Animation Chairs


    3D Animation

    The New York Film Academy is pleased to announce that Juniko Moody and Mark Sawicki are now Co-Chairs of the 3D Animation Department at the Los Angeles Campus.

    Juniko Moody was a production 3D lighting/compositor for Disney Feature Animation and Sony Imageworks. She was also a 2D compositor for Kodak Cinesite and Warner Digital. Juniko transitioned into teaching through corporate 2D and 3D digital training for Dreamworks Feature Animation and other training facilities. Juniko holds a BA from USC Cinema and an MA from CSULA in Industrial Technology with an emphasis in instruction and has taught 3D animation, digital modeling, lighting, adult instructional presentations/course writng and was involved in curriculum design at CSULA, UCLA Extension, College of the Canyons, Westwood College and DeVry University.

    Mark Sawicki is a veteran visual effects cameraman with a large body of work including The Terminator, X-Men and The Dark Knight Rises. He has taught for NYFA and UCLA Extension for several years and is a contributing faculty member of the Stan Winston School of Character Arts. Mark is the author of “Animating with Stop Motion Pro” and “Filming the Fantastic” first and second edition, both published by Focal Press.

    In addition to co-chairing the 3-D Animation Department, Juniko and Mark will continue to teach animation and visual effects classes in various departments. Juniko and Mark are located at 100 East Tujunga Avenue (Brick Building).


    January 22, 2014 • 3D Animation • Views: 4933

  • Musical Theatre Students Showcase Their Talent at June Havoc Theatre

    NYFA Musical Theatre

    photo by Hugo Garcia

    So far so good! Much has happened since the last entry. On September 6th, the New York Film Academy‘s one-year Musical Theatre group performed an excellent showcase. Directed by Chad Larabee, choreographed by Michelle Potterf, and accompanied by Anna Ebbesen on piano and Dan Weiner on drums, the students rocked that showcase! Anna is our Music Supervisor and Musical Director for the show.

    Carl Danielsen

    Carl Danielsen

    It is a beautiful day in New York City. The air is crisp, the sun is bright and the views from the fourth floor capture the sailboats gliding along the Hudson. WE HAVE OFFICIALLY MOVED TO THE 4TH FLOOR! We were working on the 5th floor temporarily, but now we’re downstairs in the new Musical Theatre home and it is glorious. The second year performers are practicing choreography in the new dance room, smiling and gleefully mastering their steps. Others are in adjacent rooms, working on vocal style; and Isaac Byrne is holding a class in Meisner technique in the film acting room. The place is alive with music, fun and excellent work.

    Last night, the assistant director of Disney’s new Broadway bound musical, Aladdin, came and gave a free class for our recent alums. Eight talented alumni gathered in one of our new performance studios and Nathan Brewer ran them through a mock audition for Seussical. Nathan has worked extensively with the director Marcia Milgrom – including the New York Theatreworks production of Seussical. Happily, at the end of the workshop, he gave all of them the contact for the casting director of the Theatreworks national tour of the show and gave them permission to say he had heard them sing and was sending them.

    This is a new element of the program that I’m hoping to install in a more permanent way. Alumni workshops to help with bridging to the profession world. In addition, I am hoping to have Nathan teach a “Director’s Perspective” class for the second year final semester students. Getting up-to-date rehearsal methods and learning about the director’s craft will give our graduates a sizable advantage!

    Mark Price

    Mark Price

    Finally, it is my great pleasure to introduce you to two of our brand new faculty members: Mark Price and Carl Danielsen. Carl is a multi-talented man of the Musical Theatre world. He is a composer, a first class pianist, a song and dance man, and one of the few Americans to work at the prestigious Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, Canada. He is teaching Shakespeare for us and helping with accompaniment duties.

    Mark Price is also a real gem. He is a much appreciated and in-demand performer with nearly ten Broadway credits to his name. Chief among them are roles in Mary Poppins, Mamma Mia!, Beauty and the Beast, Chicago, Rocky Horror Show, and much much more. He has taught at AMDA, The Performing Arts Project, and Heifetz Institute. He will be teaching performance lab for us.

    We welcome Mark and Carl into the fold and look forward to the great studio training they will provide.

    Thanks for checking in with the blog.  Stay tuned for more soon.

    -Mark Olsen, Chair of Musical Theatre



    September 19, 2013 • Community Highlights, Musical Theatre • Views: 6023

  • Disney Star Sierra McCormick Speaks to NYFA High School Students



    This summer, the New York Film Academy summer camp students in Los Angeles were treated to a special guest appearance by Disney star, Sierra McCormick. We screened the most recent episode of her Disney Channel show, A.N.T. Farm, which is a huge hit with the tweens!

    Sierra became interested in acting at the age of 8 years old, when she took an acting class at her school. Her acting teacher saw something in her and got the ball rolling from there. She landed her first role on the TV show, ‘Til Death. Now, at the age of fifteen, she’s already appeared in TV and film, with genres varying from comedy to more darker, dramatic roles.

    “Working within the Disney family has been great!” said Sierra. “They treat you very well and really accommodate you.” She started with a small role in Disney’s Hannah Montana and is very fond of the character she plays on A.N.T. Farm, the super smart Olive.

    When asked by a high school student, Lulu, what her favorite film genre is, Sierra answered, “Cerebral movies: including comedies, dramas, horror, and foreign films.” Pretty diverse for a young mind. She added that she likes roles that are challenging, empathetic, different from her real self – she loves strong female characters. In regards to auditioning, she says it’s very important for her to memorize lines, so that she is not distracted, and can focus on the acting. To calm her nerves, she’s changed her attitude, realizing, “I have nothing to lose.”

    Being such a young actress, Sierra must balance her career and education. “It’s my main goal to go to a good college.” She gave example of plenty of “cool actresses” that have done so, such as Natalie Portman and Claire Danes.

    With wit and poise, Sierra shows definitive signs of maturity. Her time away from the camera is primarily composed of “doing regular things” and surrounding herself with “grounded people.” Something that is dearly needed with a girl in her position. Sierra closed with these wise words of advise, “Don’t let yourself slip away. Hold onto yourself and your beliefs.”


    August 7, 2013 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 9815

  • NYFA Instructor Shooting for Disney on the Slopes


    Award-winning cinematographer (and NYFA instructor) Suki Medencevic is currently shooting a highly-anticipated snowboarding film for Disney. Though details are quite hush-hush, we know there is some big-name talent attached to the project. Suki is teaming up with director Paul Hoen and shooting on location in Utah.

    Originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Suki Medencevic has shot numerous features, documentaries, and commercials around the world, working with talent including Tom Hanks, Billy Crystal, Lauren Bacall, and Janet Leigh. He began teaching courses in cinematography at  New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus last year. As he says, “Being a teacher means that you have to be well informed about the latest in the camera art and technology. The most exciting thing about teaching is to be able to share my own knowledge with the students and make them understand the power of the visual storytelling.”

    After wrapping the film for Disney, Suki has two features in development that are scheduled to shoot later this year, with veteran actor Ed Begley Jr. attached.