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  • NYFA Australia Welcomes U.S. Embassy Officials on the Village Roadshow Studio Campus

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    Last week, New York Film Academy Australia (“NYFA Australia”) had the pleasure of welcoming U.S. Embassy officials Chargé d’Affaires Michael Goldman and Consul General Sharon Hudson-Dean to the NYFA Australia Production Studios Campus as part of their tour of the world-renowned Village Roadshow Studios backlot and various film industry divisions of Queensland.

    With Queensland being one of the film industry’s largest hubs for film production in Australia, this visit (which also included a stop by Pananvision and Myriad Film Studios who are also located on the backlot) was an opportunity for the U.S. officials to experience first hand the facilities, resources and talent the Gold Coast has to offer to international productions. The Screen Queensland initiative to encourage international film production to the state of QLD, has had the support of the federal and local governments for some time. Mid-2020, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morisson announced a Federal Government $400 million incentive to attract film and television productions to Australia, in addition to the existing incentives for both domestic and international productions offered by Screen Queensland and the City of Gold Coast. “Screen Queensland and the City of Gold Coast also have an incentive, which is the only council (Gold Coast) in the whole of Australia that actually has one for the film industry,” explains Lynne Benzie, President of Village Roadshow Studio.

    During their time on campus, Mr. Goldman and Ms. Hudson-Dean had a chance to see NYFA Australia students, the future talent of the film industry, on-set and in action. They also spent some time learning about NYFA Australia alum Leroy Button’s experience as a student and his successful transition into the film industry.

    Leroy graduated with a Diploma of Screen and Media in Filmmaking in 2017 and immediately landed a job at Panavision. He now works as a camera operator, 1st AC, and editor at XM2 Pursuit which has led him to working behind the scenes and as a drone camera operator on films such as Aquaman, Dora: The Lost City of Gold and more recently Fast & Furious 9, season 3 of Westworld, as well as Mission: Impossible 7.

    The industry readiness has been proven by the City of Gold Coast and Village Roadshow Studios, both being headquarters to global blockbuster productions including Aquaman, Thor: Ragnarok, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Kong: Skull Island, and Baz Luhrman’s upcoming Elvis biopic. Additionally, all of these blockbuster film productions employed various NYFA Australia students, alumni and faculty.

    “It was an honor to have Chargé d’Affaires Michael Goldman and Consul General Sharon Hudson-Dean visit NYFA Australia and our production studio campus at Village Roadshow Studios,” says NYFA Australia CEO, Elle Bailey. “The Australian Film Industry has a vibrant future with many domestic and international productions slated for the next several years. We’re thrilled to be able to offer our students the hands-on training and industry exposure needed, to support their desired transition into the industry following graduation. Leroy Button’s professional journey is a prime example of what can be achieved when you pair skills learned, with talent and perseverance.”

    NYFA Australia students learn by doing in a real-world training environment, learning from working industry professionals and accessing state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. If you are interested in becoming a NYFA Australia student, please visit: NYFA.edu.au and complete an inquiry form here.

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    March 31, 2021 • Film School, NYFA Australia • Views: 948

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum and Cinematographer, Arjun Ravi, on Communicating with the Director, Shooting Action Sequences, and the Malayalam Film Industry

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    In pre-production and during a shoot, Arjun Ravi has one of the toughest jobs for a film; communicating a director’s vision to the audience as a cinematographer. Like other DP’s (Director of Photography), he is tasked with giving the audience an accurate portrayal of the director’s ideas, characters, settings, and emotions, which are integral elements for any film. 

    Originally from the state of Kerala in Southern India, Ravi graduated from NYFA’s Los Angeles campus in 2017 after completing a 1-Year Conservatory Program for Cinematography. “NYFA has great exposure to many renowned lecturers and guests from the industry,” he says, “which got me interested to join the course even more.” 

    After graduating, Ravi brought the hands-on skills he learned in his cinematography course back to India with him, where he has gone on to shoot three feature films and is currently in production on another. 

    Official film poster for ‘The Kung Fu Master’

    One of Ravi’s more recent films, The Kung Fu Master (Directed by Abrid Shine) is a vengeful action film shot in Auli, India, where Ravi remembers filming for four months in negative degree temperatures with a short amount of time for shooting in daylight (8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.). The film itself was martial arts heavy, requiring an even more specialized way for Ravi to shoot since he was capturing action sequences. Ravi, who shot the action-packed film with a handheld camera, describes filming each scene for The Kung Fu Master as a “breathtaking” experience.

    “Each scene had to be captured in multiple angles in very few takes, as the actors would get extremely exhausted very quickly due to the lack of oxygen.” In addition to the meticulous detail for shooting the action sequences, Ravi also focused on capturing the environment for the film to convey the director’s tone and sense of place. “A lot of historical places were captured in the film to bring out the beauty of the state [in India] where we were filming.” 

    From the fast-paced action of The Kung Fu Master, Ravi then pivoted to his next project, Vaanku, which was “a completely different style of story compared to The Kung Fu Master.” Ravi worked alongside female director Kavya Prakash to tell a more concentrated, character-driven story about four ambitious young women in a coming-of-age drama. 

    “We shot the feature in 29 days. The lighting felt more sophisticated, yet simple at the same time, which gave the movie the look it needed.” Vaanku, which was originally slated to be released in 2020, has since pushed back its release date due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    All of Ravi’s feature films that he has shot are all considered part of the Malayalam film industry. “Malayalam, to those who may not know, is a language spoken in the southern part of India majority in Kerala, also known as “God’s own country.” Ravi shares that the Malayalam film industry is well known for its scripted films and famous actors, including Mohanlal (Manjil Virinja Pookkal, Rajavinte Makan) and Mammooty (New Delhi). Other well known films that have come from the Malayalam film industry include Kalapani (1996), Manichitrathazu (1993), Killukkum (1991), and many more. 

    As for what’s next for Ravi, he is currently in production on his latest film, Jillampeppere. He also shares that some of the best advice to becoming a great cinematographer is focusing on your lighting, framing, and, most importantly, knowing what the director needs. 

    Arjun Ravi shooting ‘The Kung Fu Master’

    “I listen to the story a few times from the director before we head out for some location scouting.” Ravi notes that there are additional discussions surrounding topics like “the color pattern we would use on the house, for the film as a whole, and the other properties involved with the film.” One of the final parts of Ravi’s process with the director includes making “the shot division [list] according to the dates of the location and the actors, while also taking into account whether there are any action scenes or any kids on the set that day; which means we will need have more time and care.” 

    New York Film Academy would like to congratulate Cinematographer Arjun Ravi on his success in the Malayalam film industry and looks forward to seeing more from the NYFA alum in the coming future.

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Hosts SAGindie Executive Director Darrien Gipson on the State of the Industry During Covid-19

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    The New York Film Academy recently hosted an Industry Speaker session with the Executive Director of SAGindie, Darrien Gipson. Students and Faculty from all NYFA campuses attended as Gipson addressed the state of the industry during Covid-19.  With all sectors of the industry focused on returning to work, it was a prescient discussion moderated by NYFA Producing Chair Neal Weisman.

    Gipson spoke of the various protocols that are being proposed once production resumes. While a certain degree of uncertainty prevails, and as the industry awaits government guidelines, a consensus around various parameters is formulating.  They include reduced crew sizes, staggered work hours, “pods” of crew alternating on set, various departments working timed shifts, longer days sanctioned by the unions, strict enforcement of social distancing, personal and set/equipment sanitizing regimes, monitoring for symptoms, and isolating actors.

    NYFA Producing Chair Weisman with SAGindie’s Darrien Gipson

    On a positive note, various “silver linings” are beginning to emerge from the current environment. Smaller productions with lower budgets, like student films and web series, are going to find it easier to handle the logistics and flexibility required to move forward. There will be a great hunger for projects as a result of the freeze on production in effect since March. 

    The smaller productions that can proceed at a quicker pace than the larger, more cumbersome projects will be better positioned for distribution. Gipson cited that a smaller number of “starry” submissions to festivals like Sundance will enhance the chances of less high profile films obtaining top-tier festival launches. Streaming platforms and other distribution entities will be seeking more product than ever. These observations connected with the NYFA audience as the conversation made it more apparent that there has rarely been a better time for emerging producers, filmmakers, writers, and actors to create content for a voracious audience. 

    The New York Film Academy has a long standing relationship with SAGindie, and thanks Executive Director Darrien Robbins for her insight and generosity. SAGindie is an invaluable resource for the NYFA community, as they not only assist in navigating the various paths forward working with the Screen Actors Guild, SAGindie will also offer guidance on a host of matters from financing to festival strategies, and more.  SAGindie welcomes NYFA students who would like to reach out and learn more. 

    For more information on SAGindie and how to contact them click here.

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    June 2, 2020 • Entertainment News, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 1596