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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screenwriting Alum Abby Ajayi Featured in Largest Hollywood Reporter Photo Shoot Ever

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    Abby Ajayi, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screenwriting alum, was one of 63 black female writers featured in an epic photo shoot by The Hollywood Reporter late last year. In a rebuke to the industry sentiment that it’s hard to diversify writers rooms because there aren’t enough women writers and writers of color to choose from, the industry magazine gathered dozens of women from the networking group Black Women Who Brunch.

    Black Women Who Brunch (BWB) was founded in 2014 by television writers Nkechi Okoro Carroll, Erika L. Johnson, and Lena Waithe as a way to get black female TV writers a chance to meet, support, and get to know one another. Their first meeting was in March 2014 and had 12 attendees. The current membership of BWB is now around 80.

    In addition to taking photos, many of the women shared their experiences and thoughts on being black women television writers—many of whom were the only person of color on their staff. NYFA alum Abby Ajayi was one of those at the shoot interviewed. Unlike many of her peers, she wasn’t the only woman or person of color in her writers room.

    Abby Ajayi

    “On How to Get Away With Murder,” Ajayi toldThe Hollywood Reporter, “there were seven women in the room and six were women of color. It didn’t fall on one person to be the voice of all women or all black people. Having multiple women from diverse ethnic backgrounds broadened the conversation, which in turn led to richer, deeper characters.” 

    Ajayi added, “It’s also inspiring to see the women higher up the ladder prove that there is a path.”

    Ajayi originally hails from Nigeria and attended NYFA’s Screenwriting school in 2011. In addition to How to Get Away with Murder, Ajayi has worked on Eastenders, Doctors, and Hetty Feather. She is currently co-producing Hulu’s limited series adaptation of Four Weddings and a Funeral.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Screenwriting alum Abby Ajayi on her current success and encourages everyone to read The Hollywood Reporter’s piece!

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    April 16, 2019 • Diversity, Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 794

  • AAFCA and ABA Film Society Hold ‘Celebrating Black Excellence in Cinema’ Event at New York Film Academy (NYFA)

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    On Monday, February 18, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) partnered with the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) and the African Black American (ABA) Film Society to present a special discussion exploring the past, present and future of Black creative excellence in Hollywood through an inaugural learning lab, Celebrating Black Excellence in Cinema at its Los Angeles campus. The event featured Outlier Society’s Alana Mayo, and was moderated by AAFCA Founder and President Gil Robertson.

    Gil Robertson said, “AAFCA is thrilled with our partnership with NYFA as we celebrated Black excellence in the industry during BHM. Our panel with Alana was excellent. She was very generous in sharing her experiences with the students as a Creative Executive, as well as providing them with inspiration on how they can follow in her path.”

    Alana Mayo

    Alana Mayo was Vice President of Production at Paramount and Vice President and Head of Originals at Vimeo before becoming Head of Production and Development for Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Society Productions. At Paramount, Mayo helped develop the cinematic adaptation of Fences starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis.

    Mayo discussed her background, how her parents influenced her career, and navigating her trajectory as a Creative Executive for three of the top studios in the industry. 

    Three students who attended the event gave NYFA their thoughts on the experience. Folake Kehinde, recent NYFA MFA grad and ABA’s Events Chair and Interim Communications Chair, had this to say:

    My favorite things about this event were the access. Alana was welcomed by one of the ABA members who is also queer. I had no idea of this connection when I was scheduling volunteers and was so happy to be able to give Jamie the opportunity to meet and welcome Alana. Alana has greatly inspired Jamie and she was thrilled for the opportunity to meet and welcome her. 

    Alana attended the pre-reception briefly. She took pictures with the ABA and was so polite and happy to be with us. Her humbleness was so sweet and unexpected. Then during the event I appreciated her learnedness. It was so wonderful to hear from a production executive with a degree in film studies. So often production executives studied English or something slightly unrelated to filmmaking—it was nice to hear from someone with an extensive study of cinema as well as years of employment with various studios and production companies. 

    It was interesting to watch her talk so passionately about her favorite films, Polish Cinema, and the discussions she has while watching TV with [her fiancee] Lena Waithe. They’re very different in how they communicate but both have obtained vast success. 

    I also loved hearing how nice Michael B. Jordan is. I was so moved by her saying that Michael will give out her email at various places around town to people who have an idea and that they’re even going to make one of the ideas a person he met on the street wrote. I love that Michael is so kind, contemporary, and cutting-edge. The fact that he cares about people and is interested in talking with them and helping them to make their work blows me away. I also love that he is starring in several projects his company is making as well as other projects outside of his company. It’s inspiring to watch his career as an actor and now producer unfold. As an actress and producer myself this helped to confirm for me that I can achieve my dreams! 

    My final favorite moment was when Jamie told Alana that she is also a queer woman and that she has been so inspired by Alana’s career and bravery to be heard and make a path in the entertainment industry. 

    After the Q&A, legendary casting director Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd (who cast Michael B. Jordan and others in the film Fruitvale Station and so many other projects) stayed and did an impromptu Q&A with actors and filmmakers. It was fantastic! She had a very frank conversation with us where she challenged us to tell our stories! She talked about being on a panel that read scripts for a Festival and how so many of the ideas were so similar. She knows that all black people didn’t grow up in ‘the hood’ and she wants creators to be unafraid to share their middle-class or wealthy upbringing. She advised actors to look their best at all times—even at the gym. She also told actors to put our pictures on our business cards, and avoid putting too much of another actor on their reels. 

    It was an extraordinary evening. I’m very grateful to New York Film Academy, Professor Kim Ogletree, and the founder of AAFCA for putting the event together.

    Alana Mayo

    Toyin Adewumi, 8-week Producing student, learned a few lessons from the event as well. The first was to take risks! A former HR professional, Adewumi loved that Mayo talked about leaving her comfortable job at a studio she had been at for years: “Having that clarity of there’s more out there. Yes I’m here… but… not being connected with the culture there.” Adewumi was impressed that Alana was brave enough to leave and find her ideal job. 

    She also loved that Alana isn’t ashamed of her personality. “Her acknowledgement that she needed to change some things. Her boldness to be humble… being willing to drop some things I (she) learned when I’ve (she) grown up. Her being humble helped lead to her breakthrough….Taking risks, knowing when to work on herself, being humble” are lessons Adewumi will treasure for a long time to come.

    Brianna Dickens (AFA Acting For Film ’18) was moved by the ABA events held during Black History Month. Dickens had a wonderful chat with Twinkie Byrd and at the ABA Careers in Television event, she was invited to visit a set for a day with some friends. She tells NYFA:

    I’m so thankful I found the ABA. I didn’t even know they existed. Luckily my class was invited to a screening event of theirs (the Q&A with Chuck Hayward). The second I arrived, the leaders of the group welcomed me and introduced themselves to me. In less than a month of being an ABA member, I’ve attended three events that have truly inspired me, opened my eyes, taught me things no one else has, and even opened the doors for me to have real on-set experience!

    Everyone in this group is focused, supportive, kind, and encouraging. They uplift each other. I think we will do great things for one another and together. I’m thankful to have them.

    The New York Film Academy and ABA Film Society thank Alana Mayo and Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd for sharing their experience and advice with our students!

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    March 12, 2019 • Diversity, Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 717

  • The Getty’s College Night Features New York Film Academy’s Wish Lantern Lounge

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailThis year, NYFA was invited to participate in the Getty Center’s annual College Night. The event attracts 2,500 college students from all over Los Angeles and is designed by college students, for college students — with a little help from Getty curators, education specialists, and faculty at participating universities.

    This year’s College Night celebrated the diverse and unique qualities that make up the city of Los Angeles. The call was to showcase Los Angeles as a city of artists, to inspire students to re-think their ideas about what art can be, and show them that art is for everyone.

    NYFA Instructor Jennifer Penton and Co-Associate Chair of Photography Naomi White formed a class dedicated to Getty College Night with 11 photography students. Together, they created and pitched interactive programming ideas.

    One of NYFA’s MFA in Photography candidates, Juan Sebastian Echeverri, was chosen to be on the prestigious Getty Advisory Board, along with students from these participating schools: 

    • University of California, Los Angeles
    • University of Southern California
    • Santa Monica College
    • California State University, Los Angeles
    • California Institute of the Arts
    • College of the Canyons
    • Loyola Marymount University
    • California State University, Long Beach
    • California Lutheran University

    Working with the local, non-profit group Welcome to Junior High, who promote the artistic pursuits of marginalized voices, NYFA students envisioned a Wish Lantern Lounge, where participants were invited to write their wishes on one side of a tag, and the part of their identity that they would like to see better represented in the world, on the other. Once their tag was made, students chose a lantern from an array of colors and hung it up. Over the course of the evening a “grove of light” was created by the hanging of hundreds of lanterns, each sending a message.

    Participants could walk under the lanterns and read the wishes and identities, which ranged from “Angry Intersectional Feminist” to “Cat Lover,” and from “Tolerance for Immigrants” to “More Opportunities.” It was an emotionally moving experience to walk amongst these fervent desires, and to see the lanterns enliven the space with their joyful spring colors and flickering lights.

    “Being part of the Getty Collaboration was a rewarding experience,” said NYFA BFA Photography student Edolia Stroud. “It was so cool to collaborate with my peers, and have our installation displayed at the Getty.”

    Fellow BFA Photography student Jennifer Siemsen agreed. “I think that with the collaboration of all the attendees, we ended up creating something really beautiful.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank the Getty Center for their inspiring College Night event and for honoring us by including our students’ exhibit in it. We would also like to thank our staff and students for their incredible work in making the exhibit such a success.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

  • New York Film Academy Hosts Hip Hop Film Festival Screening Event

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailThe New York Film Academy recently hosted screenings, a Q&A, and panel presented by the Hip Hop Film Festival and 247films.tv. The event at NYFA’s Battery Park theatre was entitled “WeWatch: Femme Fatale Edition” and was presented as part of a series of Women’s History Month events hosted by NYFA. The hip-hop-focused festival is based in Harlem, and was founded in 2015. The third annual festival will take place this year from August 2-5 in Harlem.

    NYFA-HHFF-WomensHistory

    The WeWatch event began with food and drinks presented by Revive Kombucha. Attendees shifted into the theatre for the three-hour screening and Q&A portion of the event. Hip Hop Film Festival founder C R Capers introduced and moderated the event.

    After the first screening of comedy web series Shampagne, Capers sat down with series creator and lead actress Melissa Mickens to talk about her process and what served as inspiration. Mickens’ real life experiences of being pigeonholed during auditions spurned her desire to shift focus and pursue a rap career. She also discussed filming on a budget and in Harlem, where she resides.

    Next up was Australian filmmaker Bella Ann Townes’ Hip Hop & Holiness, which profiled Matthew “Mystery” Peet,  a breakdancer, rapper, and graffiti tagger who also happens to be a pastor at church. Peet discusses his relationship to both hip hop culture and religion and how he does not feel they should be mutually exclusive. Townes won Best Emerging Australian Director for the documentary short at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival in 2017.

    Seattle creative Voleak Sip’s short film Float was third in the lineup. Sip was unable to attend the event, but she recorded a video explaining how her older brother was the inspiration behind the main character, Rocky, who is a Cambodian hustler still living with his parents. The music was a key element of the film, and sound editor Jono Hill was on hand to speak to C R about his process. While the film is set in the ’90s, the music was created by present-day producers and musicians who provided a fresh take on the prominent ’90s boombap hip-hop sound.

    The event concluded with Jasmine Callis’ powerful documentary short set entirely in North Philly. Stay Black, Baby: The Mixtape is a complex portrait of Black youth rising, Black art glorified, Black voices uncovered, Black struggle acknowledged, and Black empowerment revered. Over the course of 20 compelling minutes, the film shifted seamlessly from motivational to heartbreaking and back again, covering topics from Black pride and resilience to police brutality and misogyny.

    Callis, who currently works at New York Film Academy as a video editor and producer, attended the event and discussed her inspirations, including Spike Lee and Philadelphia hip-hop legends The Roots. During the Q&A, Capers raved about Callis’ work, which she said belongs in a museum.

    Keep an eye on the Hip Hop Film Festival’s website for upcoming events and details on the 2018 iteration of the festival.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

  • Brandii Grace Discusses Inclusiveness in Video Games

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailBrandii Grace is a game designer, writer, producer, programmer, educator and general pioneer of the gaming industry. She was also the Chair of the LA chapter of the International Game Developers Association which, among its many endeavors, fights for change in the industry by identifying and speaking out on key issues.

    She joined the hosts of NYFA Games on Twitch to discuss inclusivity in video games. The discussion began by discussing a core concept: what is inclusivity?

    “Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance”– Verna Meyers 

    Brandii expertly navigated the distinctions between various forms of diversity and inclusion explaining:

    • Exclusion: Diversity is neither valued nor accepted
    • Tokenism: Diversity is valued but not accepted
    • Assimilation: Diversity is accepted but not valued
    • Inclusion: Diversity is valued and accepted

    She went on to point out that when a video game features a diverse cast of characters it will tend to be more profitable. The reason is fairly simple: if a player feels represented, identifies with one of the characters they will tend to play and spend more, and recommend it to their friends – see Bioware’s “Dragon Age” and “Mass Effect” series, or Blizzard’s “Overwatch.”

    This concept of inclusivity is applied to the workplace as well. A more diverse team of developers tend to generate games that are:

    • “70% more likely to capture a new market
    • 45% more likely to improve market share
    • 70% more likely to implement a marketable idea”

    If you’d like more information about inclusivity in the entertainment industry, be sure to check out our post on gender inequality in film.

    You can see the entire episode on Inclusiveness in Video Games here:

    Watch live video from NYFA_Games on www.twitch.tvFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    August 25, 2017 • Game Design • Views: 1754

  • NYFA Welcomes Diversity Chair Dr. Nancy Kwang Johnson

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailThe Los Angeles campus of the New York Film Academy (NYFA) has a new Chair of Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion, Dr. Nancy Kwang Johnson. Nancy is responsible for formulating NYFA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policy and its Diversity Strategic Plan, creating multicultural programming, and spearheading strategic partnerships for faculty, students, and staff.

    nancy kwang

    Nancy brings two decades of experience as an educator, higher education administrator, and consultant to the role of Chair of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Most notably, Nancy was invited to the first Korean American Briefing at the White House (2012). She received the “President’s Excellence in Diversity” award at Western Illinois University. Nancy attended Vassar, and has an MPA, MA, and PhD (in Government) from Cornell.

    As a multiracial female (her mother is Korean, her father is African-American, and her paternal great grandmother is full-blooded Cherokee), Nancy is no stranger to diversity, equity, and inclusion. As a polyglot, Nancy speaks Korean and English (her mother tongues), basic Albanian and Wolof, and has taught International Relations in French.

    With expertise in Race, Ethnicity, and Diaspora Studies, Nancy has lived in South Korea, France, Senegal, Canada, Albania, and Serbia. In North America, Nancy has taught at the New School, Texas Tech, Temple, Colgate, Washington University, Yale, Western Illinois University, Georgetown, University of Windsor, and the University of Ottawa.

    The Dean of the College organized a series of “meet and greets” in Barham and Riverside so that NYFA students could become acquainted with NYFA’s incoming Chief Diversity Officer. At Barham, Nancy engaged in a listening tour comprised of thirty-five students and provided a silhouette of her strategic vision for diversity, equity and inclusion. The students expressed their enthusiasm for the inclusive and diaspora-informed nature of upcoming events such as “A Conversation with NBC’s Diversity Initiatives Team,” and news of the partnership Nancy recently forged with East West Players Theatre.

    nyfa diversity

    At Riverside, NYFA students Amjad Tkroni and Hanan Higgi (active in clubs and organizations) were eager to recruit their fellow students. When asked how they felt about Nancy the girls broke into giggles, “She’s so cute. She’s able to say exactly what her vision for the future is in one sentence. Plus she has so many great events coming up.” The girls were particularly excited for the Second Line Festival (May 5th) – an International Dance Festival showcasing hip hop, West African, Indian, and Russian choreography of the NYFA Dance Troupe.

    For her part, Nancy had this to say about meeting her new students:

    “I was so humbled by the fact that the Dean of the College wanted to have a ‘meet and greet’ in my honor. On this end, I was truly inspired by my town hall-like dialogue with the students, and definitely learned a lot about their innate desire to have truly diverse, equitable and inclusive events across campus. In this regard, I am forever indebted to President Michael Young and NYFA leadership for accepting my pitch to re-brand the Department to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Our new brand, I believe, reflects the world we live in today. We are NYFA.”

    The New York Film Academy is proud to count Dr. Johnson amongst their ranks and looks forward to the NYFA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policy, the NYFA Diversity Strategic Plan, multicultural programming and Strategic Diversity Initiatives to be formulated and implemented to create a sense of belongingness and community for NYFA faculty, students, and staff. Be sure not to miss out on these amazing opportunities coming soon.

    LIST OF UPCOMING EVENTS

    April 10th (7:30-9:00 p.m.) — NYFA Burbank’s 1st Open Mic Night.

    Our hostess for the evening will be Aida Rodriguez (recently featured in Robert De Niro’s latest film, “The Comedian”). Aida was also a finalist in NBC’s Last Comic Standing, and will be appearing as the first Latina in Shaq’s All Star Comedy Jam.

    April 24th       Inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Speaker Series (TBA)

    May 2nd         “A Conversation with NBC’s Diversity Initiatives Team”

    May 5th          Second Line Festival: An International Celebration of DiversityFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    April 19, 2017 • Community Highlights • Views: 3041

  • NBC Visits NYFA in Search of Diverse Talent

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    nbc diversity

    NBC’s Grace Moss presenting NBC’s Diversity Initiative Programs

    This past Thursday, March 19th at the New York Film Academy in Union Square, our students, alumni and faculty were treated to an informational session on NBC’s Entertainment Diversity Programs hosted by Grace Moss.

    The goal of their initiatives is to increase diversity on the network through programs like Writers on the Verge, the Directing Fellowship Program, NBCU Short Film Festival and Scene Showcase.

    Grace was able to break down each program with her informative presentation, and answered questions from the audience. She even answered specific one on one questions for students after the presentation.

    nbc diversity

    The New York Film Academy strongly recommends its students of diversity apply to these programs, as it is an amazing opportunity to break into the industry on a serious level.

    Below are just a handful of the programs Grace highlighted in her presentation:

    DIRECTING FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM The Directing Fellowship Program is designed to take directors accomplished in their respective fields (features, commercials and/or music videos) and give them the opportunity to work alongside episodic television directors. The selected directors will foster relationships and fine-tune their art to fit the television format.

    NBCUNIVERSAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL The Short Cuts Film Festival is an initiative to discover diverse voices both in front of and behind the camera. It provides creative individuals of diverse backgrounds an opportunity to get their materials in front of key decision makers from the entire NBCUniversal family, as well as agents, managers, producers, and other industry players.

    WRITERS ON THE VERGE Writers on the Verge is a 12-week program focused on polishing writers and readying them for a staff writer position on a television series. We are looking for writers who are “almost there,” but need that final bit of preparation with their writing and personal presentation skills.

    LATE NIGHT WRITERS WORKSHOP The NBCUniversal Late Night Writers Workshop is a program focused on exposing talented joke, sketch and comedy writers to NBCUniversal’s late-night & alternative lineup and readying them for a staff writer position.

    NBC SCENE SHOWCASE A 6-8 week workshop of original scenes by diverse writers, cast with up-and-coming actors and guided by directors of diverse backgrounds presented in a one-day showcase for executives, producers, casting directors, and other industry professionals.

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    March 20, 2015 • Acting, Filmmaking, Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5113

  • NYFA’s Paul Warner to Direct OUTMusic Awards

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    As a school that wholeheartedly embraces diversity, the New York Film Academy is honored to have of two of its faculty members, Paul Warner and Sean Robinson, as an integral part of both the 9th Annual OUTMusic Awards and the documentary For Which We Stand. Esteemed Filmmaking Instructor Paul Warner, an award-winning film and stage director, will direct the awards, which are hosted by Lea DeLaria of Orange is the New Black and recording artist Ari Gold.

    Held at The Town Hall Theater in Manhattan on January 19, 2015, the Awards will be the centerpiece of For Which WE Stand (One Queer Music Nation In The Visible) directed by award-winning Director Sean Robinson, and produced by Warner. The film spotlights the rise of LGBT music, culture & entertainment and it’s influence in mainstream culture. The January 19th OUTMusic Awards gala is the last event of the three-day city wide celebration, which also includes a Pre-OMA Benefit Concert for the Brooklyn Community Pride Center on Friday, and the OUTMusic Awards VIP Women’s Event presented by Curve Magazine and Lexus at Marquee NY on Saturday.

    Paul Warner

    Paul Warner directing Liev Schreiber with Alison Pill and David Michalek Photo Credit Mark Kornbluth

    The 9th Annual OUTMusic Awards is the biggest night in LGBT music & entertainment and celebrates the year’s best recordings, artists and industry contributions with a message of inclusion and equality.

    Tony Award Winner Billy Porter (actor, director and star of Kinky Boots) will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. Award-winning Deborah Cox will receive the Pillar Award. R&B recording artist Monifah Carter, who is nominated for two OUTMusic Awards, will be on hand to accept the Vanguard Award. Carter stars on TV One’s reality show R&B Divas Atlanta that featured the first African-American celebrity same-sex wedding to air on national television.

    Porter, Carter and Cox join a lineup of legendary honorees and nominees including celebrated artist and activist Holly Near, award-winning country rock band Antigone Rising, Grammy nominated duo Tegan & Sara and Producer of the documentary How Do I Look Wolfgang Busch.

    “I am honored to both direct the 9th Annual OUTmusic Awards and produce For Which WE Stand as I feel strongly that the LGBTQ Academy of Recording Arts’ mission is essential to the LGBTQ equality movement,” says Warner. “While experiencing considerable gains, there has also been an escalation of bullying and continued discrimination, so the pursuit of equality is far from over. Of equal importance, I am excited to collaborate with music and media artists from all disciplines whose passion for and undying dedication to their craft will shape our future cultural and political landscape.”

    The film will feature live performances from the OUTmusic Awards with behind the scenes footage, interviews with pioneers, recording artists, activists, industry executives and various creative industry professionals.

    “I am equally honored to have Sean Robinson and Paul Warner on board,” says Diedra Meredith, Chairwoman/CEO of LARA. “This film and the live production of the OUTmusic Awards is integral to the Academy’s mission to document and archive our movement and history. Our goal is to create more opportunities for LGBTQ recording artists and ensure that Queer Music Culture will continue to be included as an integral platform in music and media history.”

    The LGBT Academy of Recording Arts (LARA) was founded in 1990 to promote the advancement and appreciation of underrepresented LGBT music, culture & heritage. LARA seeks to create opportunities to support the development of young aspiring LGBT artists, increase the visibility of the LGBT music & entertainment platform, as well as honor, document and archive the contributions of underrepresented out & proud LGBT music artists into music history.

    To learn more or purchase ticket to the OUTMusic Awards, please visit www.outmusicawards.com and LARA at www.thelara.org.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    January 15, 2015 • Acting, Documentary Filmmaking • Views: 4335

  • Instuctor Deena Selenow Selected to SPARK Leadership Program

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmaildeena selenowThe New York Film Academy is pleased one of its Acting Instructors, Deena Selenow, was selected among arts leaders across the country to be one of ten participants in the SPARK Leadership Program. SPARK intends to create a more diverse theatre landscape by supporting the professional development of exceptional rising leaders of color who aim to take on executive leadership positions in artistic, management or producing roles at U.S. not-for-profit theatres. Given NYFA’s diverse student body, SPARK’s development initiatives work hand-in-hand with our philosophy.

    Building on the success of Theatre Communications Group’s Young Leaders of Color Program, this pilot program will provide ten leaders who self-identify as leaders of color with the opportunity to participate in a three-tiered curriculum:

    • Knowledge & Skills-Building: SPARK will provide the necessary practical skills for success in leading a not-for-profit theatre organization.
    • Networking & Professional Connections: SPARK will provide opportunities to develop empowering relationships with mentors, sponsors and career influencers, as well as with peers who are pursuing similar career goals.Self
    • Awareness & Inclusion Training: SPARK will provide tools and resources to empower participants and ensure they promote diversity, inclusion and equity in their work.

    “I’m thrilled to have been selected for this exciting program, focusing on both the present and future of diversity and inclusion in the performing arts, as well as my role as an agent for change in our evolving American cultural landscape.” – Deena Selenow

    Aside from her teaching at NYFA, Deena Selenow has directed opera, theater, concerts, puppetry, performance installation and site-specific happenings in Los Angeles at REDCAT, Highways Performance Space, Company of Angels, Machine Project and CalArts; and in New York at Dixon Place, NYTW’s 4th Street Theatre, CSV Cultural Center, NYU and various locations in Harlem, Midtown and Lower Manhattan.

    Deena was a recipient of the 2006 Baryshnikov Art Center Multi-Disciplinary Artist Fellowship, the 2009/2010 New York Theatre Workshop Emerging Artist of Color Directing Fellowship, and was a participant in the 2013 Walt Disney Imagineering/CalArts Educational Initiative.

    Congratulations, Deena! We’re proud to have you on our team.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    October 9, 2014 • Acting, Community Highlights • Views: 3913