New York Film Academy Chair of Cinematography Tony Richmond recently hosted a special screening of his film Men of Honor for New York Film Academy students at the Los Angeles campus. Rather than a formal Q&A following the film, Richmond encouraged his students to join him in an intimate conversation.
Richmond is well known for his cinematography on beloved classics including The Sandlot, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Don’t Look Now, Legally Blond, and Alvin and the Chipmunks, yet Men of Honor has a special place in his heart because both of his sons worked on the crew with him.
Based on a true story, Men of Honor follows Navy diver Carl Brasher, the first Black man to become a U.S. Navy Master Diving Instructor. Extraordinarily, Brasher was able to passe the qualification test to become a master diving instructor with an amputated left leg. It’s an inspiring film that earned numerous award nominations.
About the film’s star, Cuba Gooding Jr., Richmond said, “He’s a wonderful actor and an even better man.”
Filming underwater presented a lot of fun cinematography challenges for Richmond. Some of the behind-the-scenes stories he shared with NYFA students included the creation of an eight-foot-deep pool to accommodate Richmond’s photography, and rigging Cuba Gooding Jr.’s diving helmet with lights.
Students were curious to hear how Richmond was able film underwater with such clarity. Richmond explained that finding a good lighting balance was the most important element.
“There’s a very fine line when filming underwater,” he said. “There were times during the filming process that I felt there just wasn’t enough silt in the water.”
In order to give the tank a realistic feeling of the ocean, silt, the fine sand found in ocean water, had to be added.
“You have to be careful when adding that stuff,” Richmond warned. “If you put too much silt in the tank it takes four days to filter it out.”
One student asked about the most challenging aspect of making the movie. Richmond didn’t hesitate to answer: the film’s final courtroom scene
The location was on the seventh floor of a beautiful old building, but because of its age Richmond couldn’t set up a lighting rig inside. Instead, everything had to be lit through the windows.
After an enlightening evening, Richmond’s final advice to his Cinematography students was about working with directors:”You have to remember that this is the director’s film. Before you’re called in for an interview, he or she has already been working for months if not years on it.”
The New York Film Academy would like to thank Tony Richmond for taking the time to host Man of Honor and speak with our students.
To learn more about the Cinematography programs offered at the New York Film Academy, click here.
It’s not easy forging your own path in independent film, but New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking grad Jesse Kove has blazed a trail straight into the hearts of video game and ‘80s film fans with the upcoming adventure flick Max Reload and the Nether Blasters.
The film recently wrapped in Arizona, and Kove took the time out of his busy schedule to tell the NYFA Blog more about his work, his exciting projects, and what’s next. Check out what he has to say:
NYFA: First, can you tell us a little bit about your journey and what brought you to the New York Film Academy?
JK: My journey started as a young boy growing up in the film business around my father, (Martin Kove). I was six months old and on movies sets, and I still remember vividly today all the different film sets I’ve been on around the country, and the world that my father brought me along with — traveling with him or visiting him when he was on location was always my favorite thing. It was like going to Disneyland for me, the make-believe. It was always something different, whether [a film was set] in the future or going back in time to the West, I always loved it.
One of my favorite trips was to India. We had an unforgettable time together. They filmed in Hyderabad, where they literally have a city just for filmmaking. I would travel on my own and walk around and look at all the backdrops and different film sets and feel right at home. I would watch the filmmaking process as well, and ask lots of questions. This was the best education a young filmmaker could get and I was very fortunate to have these opportunities.
Back home I would make my own little movies with action figures and G.I. Joes. That’s how it all started. I would also copy what I saw in classic movies that my father and I would watch together, The Seventh Samurai, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, and Casablanca, all the classics! Making movies is in my blood and its been my passion since early childhood.
NYFA: Growing up in a show-business family, was there anything that you learned in your time at NYFA that surprised you?
JK: What I loved so much about NYFA that I didn’t get enough of on film sets was actually learning the basics and history of film cameras, and actually shooting on real film. This was very special, and I was so grateful for NYFA to allow us to do that.
Also just truly understanding how a digital camera works — the inner workings and technical aspects of all cameras. This is so important, these tools create great filmmakers! It is the knowledge and technology of filmmaking, and they’ve got it down!
NYFA: Do you have any favorite NYFA moments from your time studying with us?
JK: There are so many memories of when I was at NYFA. The fondest memories were the relationships and time I had with fellow students — who I am still friends with today. In the industry, relationships are everything!
NYFA: Can you tell us about Max Reload and the Nether Blasters? What drew you to this project?
JK: Max Reload and the Nether Blasters:
A small town video game store clerk must go from zero to hero after accidentally unleashing the forces of evil from a cursed Colecovision game… Max Jenkins’ gaming fantasies collide with reality when a legendary “lost” installment of the Nether Game series appears on the store counter of his workplace, Fallout Games. Unbeknownst to Max, the game bears a “Curse of The Ages”, and in playing it, he has just unlocked the Nether, an ancient malevolent force of evil from the cartridge, upon his small hometown. Along with a mysterious masked man and his two best friends, Liz and Reggie, Max must figure out how to beat the Nether at its own game before its Game Over for humanity.
This is a great project that I’m very excited about. The inception actually started two years before this film was written. Scott Conditt and Jeremy Tremp, the writers, directors, and producers, (CineForge Media) had written a short film called Show No Mercy, starring my father and me.
The idea behind the short was all ‘80s galore and nostalgia: The story follows an arcade store owner (my father) who secretly is John Kreese, his character from The Karate Kid (although never mentioned, that’s a nice Easter egg for everyone), and his young store clerk (me), who both end up getting sucked into an arcade game. They have to fight each other to escape.
It’s an extremely well done short and I highly recommend everyone go and watch it. The film premiered at the Fantasia International Film Festival in Canada as well as the Phoenix Comic Fest in Arizona. Making that film was such a fun and creative experience, we all wanted to work together again as soon as possible. Thus, Max Reload came to fruition.
I got a call from Scott asking if I’d read his new script. I instantly fell in love with it and knew it had huge potential. They had written a character (Steve) basically based on me, but I won’t say too much because you will have to go watch it!
There are some stellar actors attached to this film, both new and veteran — Greg Grunberg, who is a riot; Hassie Harrison; Lin Shay from the Insidious films; Kevin Smith, who graciously tagged along as he loves indie films, this one caught his eye and we were very lucky to get him; Joseph Reitman; Tom Plumley; Joey Morgan; and of course my father.
The film will be released around September.
NYFA: Were you a big fan of video games growing up? Do you have a favorite?
JK: Absolutely a huge fan of games! Some of my great memories were getting together with my childhood friends and playing games like Halo, 007, NFL Blitz — anything Nintedo 64 was our go-to!
NYFA: Why acting? What inspires you as a performer?
JK: Acting is such an interesting art. It’s a wonderful journey that’s always changing. I love playing characters that inspire myself and others, I love to make the audience laugh, and I love to tell stories.
Jesse Kove in Max Reload and the Nether Blasters
Making movies changes you. You aren’t the same person at the beginning as you are at the end. You’ve learned so much and walked a road that your character has walked in some way, and that connects you forever. It’s living life with these characters: I’ve cried, loved, been through war, kicked ass, been killed and hated, admired, frightened, and have saved lives, plus so much more. It is the hardest but most beautiful, fulfilling work I can ask for and I can’t get enough of it!
NYFA: What was your experience like serving as both a producer and an actor on As Night Comes?
JK: As Night Comes was a great experience. I learned a lot from making this film and I owe a lot to my producing partner, Richard Z., who directed and wrote the script for this film. Without him pushing this film up the mountain, it would not have been made. In saying that, I think it’s so important to surround yourself with others who are willing to climb that mountain with you, no matter the odds. I was willing to do that with him.
We started that movie with literally $200-300 and Subway sandwiches, and finished off by getting a limited theatrical release with our distributor, Gravitas Ventures. We were put on 20 of the 25 major VOD platforms that we have today. That film showed me that anything is possible with enough effort, drive, and belief in what you are doing. Most importantly, you have to have a great script — and we did. That brought a great team behind us.
Lastly, I love being in front of the camera and behind the camera. Either way, you are still shaping a story. Wearing both hats can be challenging, but I urge everyone to try both. It actually makes you a better actor and or a better director to have been on both sides!
NYFA: Any advice for our acting students who are looking to produce their own work?
JK: Persistence and believing. Believe in what you are doing!
Through all my experiences, believing in the project, the story, and the character will always carry you through. Making movies is incredibly difficult, and one of the hardest things you will ever have to do. But it is also the most fun you will ever have, from the idea to a year or two later watching it on a screen after post and etc. It’s a journey, and a spiritual journey as well. You are forever connected to that project, and immortalizing something you’ve created … its forever!
There’s a lot of naysayers in our business, whether it’s about money or what’s popular. Do not take no for an answer. Think outside the box, and get it done!
When As Night Comes was being made, everyone told us we couldn’t do this or we couldn’t do that. It ended up fueling our passion for getting it made. Yes, you can do that, and yes, you can make your movie, and get it released, and have the world enjoy it!
Jesse Kove in Max Reload and the Nether Blasters
Also, this art is a craft. It must be practiced and changed and molded constantly. Keep at it! I still do, and I’m not perfect!
Also be relentless and fearless. I have been on the phone with some of the biggest studios and top agents and or managers in Hollywood because I wasn’t afraid to pick up the phone and call them. You have nothing to lose.
NYFA: What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
JK: I have several projects coming out this year, one of which is Max Reload and the Nether Blasters.
Bring Me a Dream, which was shot in Atlanta, is a thriller directed by Chase Smith. I play a cop who stumbles upon a mansion in the woods and gets sucked into a supernatural wave of psychological mystery. It’s a fun take on the Sandman, played by Tyler Mane (X-Men, Rob Zombie’s HalloweenI & II), as a supernatural spirit who injects himself into your dreams and brings out your biggest fears. Very fun!
In Bare Knuckle Brawler, directed by Joe Gawalis andfilmed in New Jersey, I play a detective who goes undercover as a streetfighter to infiltrate an underground organization in which fighters are turning up dead.
Next I co-star with my father in a TV pilot called Bloodlands, whichfollows Arizona detectives who may or may not be on both sides of the law, dealing with drug and human trafficking.
Also, check out On Wings of Eagles, a World War II drama that I shot in China, starring Joseph Fiennes. It’s the unofficial sequel to Chariots of Fire and now you can watch on Amazon.
The New York Film Academy was excited to welcome Talent Manager, Producer, and Emmy Award winner Brian Medavoy to the Los Angeles campus whose TV productions include Darma and Greg, American High, and Just Shoot Me. He’s also helped craft the early careers of Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Jason Bateman, Jenna Elfman, Craig Sheffer, David Schwimmer, and Toby Maguire. The evening’s conversation was hosted by Director of Guest Lecture Series, Tova Laiter.
Hollywood born and raised, Brian grew up with a unique understanding of the movie business. His father, Mike Medavoy was a manager to big talents like Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola before Co-Founding Orion Pictures. But while that connection helped Brian to get into the mailroom at a talent agency, he had to build his own career through strategic, hard work. After working for legendary agent Ed Limato at ICM, Medavoy moved on to work as Erwin More’s assistant. Shortly after, at his young age of 23, he and More formed More/Medavoy Mgmt and went on to produce nine pilots.
At the time, Talent Management was mostly for rock stars. In 1998, there were very few managers. “I spent most of my time explaining to people what a manager does,” Medavoy said. His first client was Craig Sheffer. Hoping to help him land his first big role, Medavoy had to use his connections and some unconventional tactics.
Robert Redford was casting A River Runs Through It, and River Phoenix was supposed to play Brad Pitt’s brother in the film. “I called Redford during casting,” Medavoy began. Redford told him the protocol is to call the casting director but not wanting to wait, Medavoy drove a tape of his actor’s recent performance and brought it to Redford. After watching the tape, Redford decided to hire Sheffer for the role.
Upon learning that Medavoy had at one time wanted to be an actor, Laiter asked, “If you were an actor today what advice would you give to yourself to make it in the business? How would you distinguish yourself from the crowd?”
“If you’re not singing on the way to the audition,” Medavoy began, “you should turn around.” In other words, he encouraged actors not to think about trying to get the part but to focus on bringing a character to life. “Enjoy every aspect of the audition.”
This idea of focusing on what is happening in the moment radiated throughout Medavoy’s discussion. Helping others is a key component to success. Jealousy, he warned, can lead to destruction. “In life,” Medavoy suggested, “if you know what you’re great at and you use it to help people, that’s when you reap the benefits spiritually and financially.”
He offered additional advice about supporting your peers, “When you watch the award shows, and you see a peer of yours winning an award, the minute you’re looking at the TV and think ‘that should be me’ is the minute it won’t be you. You’ll know you’re succeeding when you want to hug that person.” Medavoy admitted the advice sounds strange but “You get when you give.”
Medavoy believes that a big part of a person’s success comes from having a passion for what you’re doing. This belief was nurtured from a young age: as a child, his mother sent him to musical theatre productions, and during performances, he would look out at the audience and see the joy on their faces. This experience instilled the desire to be an actor and evoke that same joy in audiences. However, after performing on stage he realized he was better suited to working with actors as their manager. “I was able to find unique talented individuals,” he said. “You can see it their eyes. I always say I build stars from stars.”
One student, who is currently working his way through comedy festivals, asked who he should choose if he gets offers for management. “The key is to understand the landscape of the business.” With an abundance of information readily available, he suggested that actors do their research before making a selection. Before meeting with potential clients or business partners, Medavoy often uses social media to create a picture of that person. “It’s much harder for people to hide who they are now,” Medavoy said.
One insider tip Medavoy gave students was to look for different strengths in their manager and agent. “You usually want one (of the two) first. Discover their strengths. Then find one with strengths in a different area.”
To demonstrate this, Brian asked another student a series a of questions to help reveal the student’s strengths a uniqueness. Brian then told him to “own it” to which NYFA students applauded appreciatively.
The New York Film Academy would like to thank Brian Medavoy for taking the time to speak with our students. His (motivational) blog is www.brianmedavoy.com.
NYFA President Michael J. Young addresses NYFA Australia students
In early February, New York Film Academy (NYFA) President Michael J. Young visited the Gold Coast campus at New York Film Academy Australia along with the NYFA Australia Board of Directors. Attending the meet and greet were many of NYFA Australia’s current students, including the January 2018 class just getting underway.
Far from a quiet, staid succession of speeches, the event buzzed with an energy of enthusiasm and good cheer that started with the excited student body loudly cheering and ended with an impromptu dance party.
Tasha Cooper, Director of NYFA Australia, Gold Coast, introduced President Young, who had come from the Academy’s New York City campus, where he is based. Young, who has been with the New York Film Academy since it was founded in 1992, talked about the history of the school, as well as its future. After speaking briefly, he then let students pick his brain with a myriad of questions, both thoughtful and fun, while also using the opportunity to get to better know the aspiring artists.
President Michael J. Young and NYFA Australia students
Of meeting the NYFA Australia student body, President Young said, “I was honored and delighted to meet the many aspiring filmmaking, acting, and screenwriting students studying with us at the Gold Coast campus. Their enthusiasm was awe-inspiring, and I expect we will see their talent to be equally so.”
The New York Film Academy expanded to Australia in 2011, and boasts a state-of-the-art facility co-located in Southport, the Gold Coast’s leading educational and creative arts precinct. Attending NYFA Australia’s programs — including camps, workshops, Diplomas, and Advanced Diplomas — affords students the opportunity to shoot and act on NYFA’s exclusive backlot facilities at Village Roadshow Studios, the location of many Hollywood films including Thor: Ragnarok and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. By working within this professional, Hollywood environment, NYFA Australia students gain a unique experience that prepares them for real-world work in the filmmaking industry.
Director, Tasha Cooper introducing President Michael J. Young
The diverse, vibrant environment of the Gold Coast suits the artistic, zestful personalities of NYFA Australia’s student body. While President Young didn’t expect his casual but informative talk with the students to erupt into a dance party, the festive, exuberant atmosphere made it clearly inevitable. A barista was even on hand, providing students with speciality coffee.
It’s hard to say who had more fun during the visit — President Young or the students. Likely, everyone equally had a great time. After the event, Tasha Cooper remarked, “As part of a global institution, NYFA Australia students were excited to partake in a tradition where NYFA President, Michael Young, learns more about their story and what they hope to achieve from our interactive and intensive programs.”
Cooper added, “It was a fantastic event that filled our school with laughter, spirit, and even some spontaneous dancing!”
New York Film Academy alum Louis Mole has been promoted to Head of Development US at production company October Films, along with colleague Matt Dewar, who’s been made Head of Development UK.
Mole enrolled in NYFA’s 1-Year Documentary Program, chaired by Andrea Swift, in September 2011 at our New York City campus. In the program, Mole learned to conceive, pitch, produce, direct, and edit various types of documentary shorts, as well as gain experience as cinematographer, sound recordist and assistant camera.
Of his time at NYFA, Mole said in 2013: “You come out of the program with the fundamental expertise of every single aspect of making a film – which is so unique.”
Mole put the education to good use, heading to Singapore after graduation and writing three episodes for the docuseries Asian Swindlers. He then joined October Films in 2014 within their London development team, and later came back to the Big Apple when he transferred to the New York office of October Films.
October Films is an award-winning, fast-growing production company based in the US and UK that focuses on independent content from a variety of genres — including documentaries, dramas, and entertainment and reality programs.
Some of their recent projects include Eight Days That Made Rome, Dangerous Borders, Annie: Out of the Ashes, Motorheads, and From Russia To Iran: Crossing The Wild Frontier. October Films also has series in production for the BBC, Investigation Discovery, Lifetime, the Science Channel, and Channel 4.
Before his promotion to Head of Development, Mole worked on multiple projects for October Films, including Mygrations for the National Geographic Channel, Trailblazers for Discover Channel, and a seven-part series for Lifetime.
Louis Mole has also paid it forward to newer students at the New York Film Academy, speaking with them as a guest lecturer, and offering his solid expertise.
The New York Film Academy congratulates Louis Mole on his well-earned success, and looks forward to seeing where his career heads next!
Whether you’re a Spongebob Squarepants fan or your tastes run more towards the vein of A-list celebrities, fast cars, and epic pop music, chances are Egyptian superstar Hamada Helal has a hit for you. Right now the internet is buzzing for Helal’s newest music video Helm El Seneen, which dropped today on Youtube, a glamorous production directed by New York Film Academy (NYFA) filmmaking alum Moe Khalil.
Singer Hamada Helal is much loved in Egypt not only for his songs and performances in hit films like Hamati Bithibbeni and Mr and Mrs Oweis, but also for his reputation as a great guy: he’s rumored to be a good Samaritan who saved a girl from an assault in Cairo, and his hit “Spongebob” endeared him to a generation of children and Spongebob Squarepants of all ages.
Helm El Seneen is no doubt his next great achievement in Egyptian popular culture. Fans can also see the full music video on Valentine’s Day, when it will be broadcast on TV in Egypt and the Middle East. In the meantime, check out these behind-the-scenes pics from the shoot.
This is not the first music video venture for NYFA alum Moe Khalil, whose rise to prominence as a music video director began with Egyptian songstress Shahinaz’s music video for Asal Asal. The beautiful video was filmed in the historic and iconic King Mohamed Ali Palace along the banks of the Nile in Shubra, near Cairo.
Congratulations, Khalil! Looking forward to our next behind-the-scenes sneak peek into movie video magic.
NYFA Veteran Students with Col. Jack Jacobs (NYFA Chair of Veteran Advancement Program)
Everybody knows by now that the Internet is filled with countless blogs, from globally famous media companies to ones covering even the tiniest of niches. But there’s at least one blog that’s doing great work serving an often overlooked yet large and vitally important demographic—the United States military community.
The blog, We Are The Mighty, is for veterans, servicemen and women, and their families, and covers everything from military news to pop culture, with both thoughtfully penned articles and silly, amusing listicles. Overall, WATM’s mission statement is “Celebrating military service with stories that inspire,” but in doing so, it’s also provided a way for the community to congregate, communicate, and share their ideas and views through its site and social media.
NYFA BFA Filmmaking and MFA Screenwriting Alum Tim Kirkpatrick
Tim Kirkpatrick is one of the writers for We Are The Mighty, and has already built an impressive portfolio of articles. Kirkpatrick is a Navy veteran, having entered as a Hospital Corpsman in 2007. In the fall of 2010, he was deployed to Afghanistan with the 3rd Battalion 5th Marines.
After coming back stateside, Kirkpatrick enrolled at the New York Film Academy and earned his AFA degree in filmmaking from our Los Angeles campus. Honing his skills even further, Kirkpatrick followed his filmmaking education with NYFA’s 8-Week Screenwriting workshop.
One of his most recent pieces is about the New York Film Academy itself, highlighting the Academy’s relationship to the Military and veteran community. As Kirkpatrick mentions in his article, “At any given time, NYFA caters to over 200 veterans in the student body and the school takes pride in putting a camera in their hands on the first day of class,” while also adding that NYFA has enrolled over 1500 veterans and dependents of veterans in total.
The Military and veteran community is an important part of the NYFA family. Kirkpatrick mentions in his article the Academy’s V.S.A., or Veteran Student Association, where vets from different branches of the armed forces come together over their shared love of film and the visual arts.
Kirkpatrick also shouts out the venerable Colonel Jack Jacobs, who in addition to being a Medal of Honor recipient and on-air military strategist for NBC/MSNBC, is the Chair of the NYFA Veterans Advancement Program.
The Military and the film industry are a more natural pairing than some may suspect. Kirkpatrick writes, “As in the Military, the film industry uses a precise chain of command for its operational purposes, so vets feel right at home on set — hierarchy and order (and yes, even paperwork) have been branded into their solid work ethic.”
You can check out Tim Kirkpatrick and the other writers at We Are The Mighty here.
New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum Jameelah Rose del Prado Lineses knows first-hand how much hard work goes into making a film—which makes her Honorable Mention at 2017’s International Film Festival Manhattan all the more rewarding. In October, after screening her documentary “The Lifestyles of Expats in Jeddah,” Jameelah was the proud recipient of the IFFM’s Film Festival Director Louie Award Honorable Mention.
This isn’t Jameelah’s first award, either. Her previous documentaries, “Historic Jeddah” and “Our Journey to Hijaz” have also garnered significant praise from multiple festivals in the last several years.
2017’s International Film Festival Manhattan
A recurring theme in her work is the challenge women face while living in Saudi Arabia. The uphill battle women face, especially in filmmaking, has helped focus her vision and strengthen her voice.
Jameelah first attended the New York Film Academy’s 8-Week Filmmaking Workshop in June 2011, before enrolling two months later in the 1-Year Filmmaking program at the New York City campus. There, Jameelah was given hands-on training with state-of-the-art film equipment and taught the skills necessary for pre-production through post-production.
This intensive education prepared Jameelah for a career in filmmaking.“My instructors at NYFA ensured their students after graduation are already well-rounded and equipped to work in any film department,” stated Jameelah.
Even after making several documentaries and garnering numerous honors, Jameelah still applies the training she received at NYFA. “I made sure that I took down notes for every class,” said Jameelah, adding, “I still have all my notes until now, and I review it at times when I need a refresher.”
The New York Film Academy congratulates Jameelah on her Honorable Mention for “The Lifestyles of Expats in Jeddah,” and looks forward to the important stories she will tell in the future!
NYFA May 2017 Diploma of Filmmaking End of Year Screening & Graduation
For New York Film Academy Gold Coast’s May 2017 Diploma Filmmaking students, the holidays didn’t just represent the end of 2017, but the end of a year of learning, training and artistry. On the 21st of December, the group held their graduation at Event Cinema Pacific Fair, along with the End of Year Screening of their final films.
With a packed house of friends and family, the group of talented, passionate filmmaking students were able to share their achievements in a tangible way, by showcasing the films their vision and hard work made manifest. By having a full theatre audience and seeing their final films up on a big screen, the students got a taste of what their future careers could look like. Being inspired and surrounded by loved ones, the filmmakers were able to celebrate the holidays and their accomplishments of 2017 all at once.
In addition to gaining vital filmmaking skills, learning by doing, and applying them to their work, the students’ time at NYFA was valuable in other ways. Filmmaking lecturer Trevor Hawkins elaborated, “What is apparent—apart from learning the art and craft of filmmaking, after spending the year working on each others’ films—the students have formed bonds and connections that will continue on into their professional filmmaking careers.”
NYFA May 2017 Diploma of Filmmaking End of Year Screening & Graduation
Indeed, forming relationships with colleagues is just as important to the collaborative art of making movies as the practical skills needed to bring them to life. While this is just the beginning of their careers, the students were already showing off their distinct talents. Each of their final films portrayed their own unique voice, and demonstrated just how much they’ve grown since starting the program in May.
Hawkins added, “We wish them all the best and look forward to all their future projects.” The New York Film Academy congratulates the students on their films and a job well done!
Oprah Winfrey at the 75th Golden Globe Awards. (Paul Drinkwater/NBC)
This year’s Golden Globe Awards was clearly different from years past, and not because it was the 75th anniversary ceremony. Nearly all women in attendance, and many of the men, wore all black in a sign of solidarity for the Time’s Up initiative — a response to the gender inequality and sexual harassment prevalent in both the film industry and society as a whole.
A very public groundswell of support for the movement started after initial reports of sexual harassment came out against megaproducer Harvey Weinstein last year. Since then, more and more women and victims of sexual assault are coming forward and being heard after decades of an institutional culture that allowed sexual assault and discrimination to flourish. In addition to accusations against numerous prominent figures in the media, politics, and elsewhere, additional gender inequalities are also being placed front and center — including a sizable gender wage gap and the disproportionately small number of women represented both in Hollywood and political positions of power.
Tarana Burke and Michelle Williams
After #MeToo made clear just how many women are affected by these injustices, Time’s Up was started to take specific actions to work towards finally reversing this trend. Along with the call for women to wear black on the Golden Globes red carpet, Time’s Up is advocating for laws that will punish businesses tolerating harassment, working to balance gender parity in the industry, and starting a legal defense fund to support lower-income women seeking justice for sexual harassment and assault in the workplace.
The Red Carpet at this year’s Golden Globes (Getty)
Wearing black wasn’t a fashion statement. It quickly became apparent to everyone watching the televised Golden Globes on Jan. 7 that the conversation and tone of the night would be dominated by a cause too important to be sidelined, even in the height of Hollywood’s yearly awards season. Several individual moments stuck out from the night that revealed just how deeply both gender inequality and the urgency to correct it run in the entertainment industry’s most powerful circles. Some of these moments include:
Talk show host and this year’s emcee Seth Meyers delivered a straightforward opening monologue in support of Time’s Up and the women of Hollywood, while also acknowledging that as a straight white man, his voice wasn’t the most important in the room.
While live during an E! Network red carpet interview, “Will & Grace” star Debra Messing pointed out that E! was also guilty of a significant wage gap between men and women.
When presenting the Best Director award, Natalie Portman made sure to add in the short but poignant adjective “all-male” before listing this year’s nominees. This is especially noteworthy considering Greta Gerwig — who wasn’t nominated — directed the evening’s Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) award winner, “Lady Bird.” (Gerwig was nominated for Best Screenplay, however, and the film picked up two acting nominations and a Best Actress win for Saoirse Ronan.)
Natalie Portman and Ron Howard
Many women invited social activists as their guests to the ceremony, including #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, eschewing the typical tradition of bringing a significant other or relative — which has sparked its own controversy:
these black & brown activists being used on this red carpet as conversation starters is so jarring. why couldnt they just invite them, let them bring their families, give them the chance to speak?
In addition to wearing black, many of the attendees and presenters displayed Time’s Up pins in support of the movement.
The HBO drama “Big Little Lies” dominated the television categories with a cast of mostly women playing complex female characters with nuanced storylines — something that shouldn’t be all that rare, but sadly is.
Entertainment icon and living legend Oprah Winfrey was presented with the Cecil B. DeMille Award — the Globes’ version of a Lifetime Achievement Award — becoming the first woman of color to receive the honor. Winfrey’s acceptance speech roused the room and was a powerful moment in a night of powerful moments, sparking a flurry of trending hashtags and fan speculation about a 2020 presidential run. Winfrey was clearly aware of her platform and influence and focused many of her words on speaking truth to power, the vital importance of a free press, and the significant role diverse role models play for children growing up in a world dominated by faces that do not resemble their own. As an example, she used her own personal experience seeing Sidney Poitier win the Academy Award for “Lillies of the Field.”
These are just some specific instances of a much broader mood and drive dominating the culture right now. As an institution that prepares students for careers in Hollywood and the entertainment industry, the New York Film Academy is especially receptive to Time’s Up and the #MeToo movement. Many of the Golden Globes viewers — and even some nominees, like Issa Rae — were students, alumni, and faculty members.
In 2013, the New York Film Academy researched gender inequality in the film industry and presented its data with an infographic that plainly showed just how serious the problem is. In the intervening years since that infographic was first published, gender inequality has not improved in the film industry. In 2017, Forbes released their annual list of highest-paid actors and actresses. The top 14 were all men, with Emma Stone ranked as the highest-paid actress at #15. A 2016 study found that women — roughly half the population — comprised only 28.7% of all speaking roles in films. Additionally, only 18% of films represented a balanced cast (half the speaking characters being female).
The New York Film Academy prides itself on its diverse body of students, encouraging artists from any number of backgrounds to collaborate and bring together their distinct, personal visions in order to create even stronger, more meaningful stories. Indeed, in 2017 more than half of NYFA’s students were women — a hopeful sign of the industry’s future.
It goes without saying that there is still a lot of work to be done, and a lot of changes that need to be made to both the entertainment industry and the contemporary culture it inhabits. As Oprah Winfrey said in her acceptance speech, telling stories and speaking truth to power is one important way to help bring about these changes. The New York Film Academy encourages those who were previously afraid to use their voice to tell their stories, and to be loud as possible — the time is now.
“Big Little Lies” at the Golden Globes (Photo by @Ramona_Rosales)