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  • New York Film Academy MFA Filmmaking Alum Jaco Dukes Premieres ‘El Guardia’ at Cannes Film Festival’s Marché du Film

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    New York Film Academy MFA Filmmaking Alum Jaco Dukes saw all of his hard work come to fruition last May when he premiered his film El Guardia at the Cannes Film Festival’s Marché du Film.

    Dukes originally hails from Chile and first attended NYFA in September 2011, enrolling in the MFA in Filmmaking program at our Los Angeles campus. “My first year at NYFA was one of the best years of my life,” says Dukes. “For the first time, I was able to think about filmmaking all day, every day of the week. It was paradise. My thesis film that I shot at NYFA opened the door for me to every project and work opportunity that came after. So I think that, if you have all the guidance, support and resources that NYFA can offer (like the amazing instructors; James, Ryan, Nick, Tim, Andrew, and many others), plus an obsession for film and filmmaking, then probably great things will come.”

    El Guardia Jaco Dukes

    The English-language poster for ‘El Guardia’

    Since graduating NYFA, he has written and directed the short films Silent and Mikey, as well worked several others as an editor and cinematographer. Dukes directed, wrote, and co-produced El Guardia, his first feature film. The script is based on the true story of the highly acclaimed businessman, life coach, and best-selling author Juan Rosado from Puerto Rico, and was inspired by Rosado’s empowering book Rags to Riches (El Guardia Que Compró Su Sueño).

    The story focuses on a frustrated security guard that starts a network marketing business as a second job with his mentor and veterinarian friend, which leads them into a life-changing journey that will affect the lives of everyone around them.

    The film made its grand debut at the Marché du Film in Cannes, France in May 2019. The distribution of the film is being managed by Adler & Associates Entertainment, who are submitting the film to festivals around the world as well as planning a theatrical premiere and distribution in cinemas in Puerto Rico, Miami, New York, and Los Angeles sometime in 2020.

    El Guardia Jaco Dukes

    NYFA MFA Filmmaking alum Jaco Dukes

    Dukes is currently working on his next screenplay, an indie film that he’s always wanted to make—he’s devoting all of his energy to producing it in 2020. Says Dukes, “[El Guardia] was the most challenging learning experience of my life as a film director, and thanks to all the obstacles, failures, and successes I had making this film, now I am a little more confident about directing my passion project, my own script, and kick ass with it.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Filmmaking alum Jaco Dukes on the Cannes Film Festival Marché du Film premiere of El Guardia and looks forward to seeing what he makes next! 

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    January 10, 2020 • Film Festivals, Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 171

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Li Cheng’s ‘Jośe’ Gets National Release After Winning Queer Lion Award at Venice Film Festival

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    It’s becoming more and more common for New York Film Academy (NYFA) alumni to win major festival prizes, so it wasn’t any surprise when news broke out that Filmmaking grad Li Cheng won the 2018 Queer Lion Award at the 75th Venice Film Festival, one of the world’s most prominent cinema competitions; his film José is now the first Central American film to do so. Following the prestigious award as well as premieres in 50 countries and 100 festival cities worldwide, José now has a national USA theatre release, starting in a dozen major markets, with Cheng personally be presenting the film and speaking with audiences during each of the first three days for both the New York and Los Angeles screenings.

    Li Cheng Jose

    NYFA alum LI Cheng on set of Jośe, Courtesy of YQstudio LLC

    In 2008, Cheng attended the 4-Week Filmmaking workshop at our New York campus. “My NYFA experience was wonderful,” Cheng tells NYFA, “and key to getting started right: hands-on, quickly, low-cost/high-value, with passionate film professionals, and meeting and working together with creative, energetic, inspiring faculty, staff, and student-cohorts from day one. I couldn’t have asked for more, or a better kickstart to my career in film.”

    Cheng used that kickstart to his full advantage. His feature film José is a nuanced look at the challenges and joys of gay life in Central America. The Spanish-language, English-subtitled film follows star José (Enrique Salanic), who lives at home with his mother (Ana Cecilia Mota), who makes ends meet by selling sandwiches at bus stops and who is not ready to let go of her youngest child. But when he meets Luis (Manolo Herrera), José is pushed to break down his own boundaries and take a leap of faith with this new relationship. 

    José was written and produced by Cheng, along with George F. Roberson, and was shot in Guatemala with a non-industry artist and academic crew, making it the first major LGBTQIA+ film to come from the nation. Outsider Pictures is the film’s North American distributor and world sales, while international festival sales are handled by Rediance (of Paris and Beijing).

    Li Cheng Jose

    The powerful film has resonated with audiences. Winning the Queer Lion is an incredible achievement; the Queer Lion Award is the trophy awarded, starting in 2007, to the “Best Movie with LGBT Themes & Queer Culture” among those presented during the Venice International Film Festival. Previous winners include Tom Ford’s A Single Man and Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl. José has also won Best Film at the Boston LGBT Film Festival and was cited for its “confident visual sense…a sensitive portrait [with a] depth of feeling” by The Hollywood Reporter.

    The film will screen at the Quad Cinema in New York City from Friday, January 31 – Sunday, February 2. Tickets are available here. Other screenings for José, including at the Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles on February 7, can be found here. Q&A sessions between the audiences and Cheng will follow screenings each of the first three days for both the New York and Los Angeles releases.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Li Cheng on winning the Venice Film Festival’s Queer Lion award and looks forward to following his career as a filmmaker!

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Celebrates 2020 Golden Globe Nominations

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    Nominations for the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards were announced this morning, with several going to projects that New York Film Academy (NYFA) alumni, faculty, and guest speakers have worked on, including HBO’s Barry, starring NYFA alum Bill Hader.

    Barry Bill Hader

    NYFA alum Bill Hader (right) in HBO’s ‘Barry’

    The awards are selected by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). This year’s nominations were announced early on December 9 by Tim Allen, Dakota Fanning, and Susan Kelechi Watson, who were joined by Golden Globe ambassadors Dylan and Paris Brosnan, HFPA President Lorenzo Soria, and Barry Adelman of Dick Clark Productions.

    Netflix dominated the list with 17 total nominations, with several going to the Martin Scorsese epic The Irishman, including Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor for co-stars Joe Pesci and previous NYFA guest speaker Al Pacino. 

    Marriage Story and Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood also earned several nominations each. NYFA guest speaker Nathan Kelly served as unit production manager on Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, which earned nods for Best Motion Picture – Comedy, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and acting nominations for stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story was nominated for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Original Score, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actress, and Best Actor, with the latter going to star and previous NYFA guest speaker Adam Driver.

    The NYFA community worked on other films nominated this year, including three nominees for  Best Motion Picture – Animated. NYFA Game Design alum Guillermo Quesada helped develop the VR technology used to film Jon Favreau’s remake of The Lion King. NYFA 3D Animation & Visual Effects instructor Kelley Williams, who has worked as a character TD, rigger, and modeler, did animation work on the Disney sequel Frozen II. NYFA guest speaker Tony Hale starred as the breakout new character Forky in the Pixar hit Toy Story 4.

    tony hale
    The Golden Globes cover television in addition to theatrical film releases; this year, TV productions Chernobyl, The Crown, and Unbelievable led the crop of nominations. HBO’s Barry, co-created by NYFA Filmmaking alum and previous guest speaker Bill Hader, picked up multiple nods, including Best TV Series – Musical or Comedy, Best Supporting Actor for NYFA guest speaker Henry Winkler, and Best Actor for Hader, who earned a nomination for the same role last year as well (as well as two Primetime Emmys.)

    New York Film Academy is delighted to see the NYFA community represented once again at the Golden Globes and congratulates all of the 2020 Golden Globe nominees. The 77th annual Golden Globe Awards will air live on NBC from 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. ET on January 5.

    Here is a full list of this year’s Golden Globe nominees:

    Best Picture, Drama
    1917 – Winner
    The Irishman
    Joker
    Marriage Story
    The Two Popes

    Best Actor, Drama
    Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari
    Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
    Adam Driver, Marriage Story
    Joaquin Phoenix, Joker – Winner
    Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

    Best Actress, Drama
    Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
    Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
    Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
    Charlize Theron, Bombshell
    Renée Zellweger, Judy – Winner

    Best Picture, Musical or Comedy
    Dolemite Is My Name
    Jojo Rabbit
    Knives Out
    Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood – Winner
    Rocketman

    Best Actor, Musical or Comedy
    Daniel Craig, Knives Out
    Roman Griffin Davis, Jojo Rabbit
    Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
    Taron Egerton, Rocketman – Winner
    Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name

    Best Actress, Musical or Comedy
    Ana De Armas, Knives Out
    Awkwafina, The Farewell – Winner
    Cate Blanchett, Where’d You Go, Bernadette
    Beanie Feldstein, Booksmart
    Emma Thompson, Late Night

    Best Supporting Actor
    Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
    Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
    Al Pacino, The Irishman
    Joe Pesci, The Irishman
    Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood – Winner

    Best Supporting Actress
    Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
    Annette Bening, The Report
    Laura Dern, Marriage Story – Winner
    Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers
    Margot Robbie, Bombshell

    Best Director
    Bong Joon-ho, Parasite
    Sam Mendes, 1917 – Winner
    Todd Phillips, Joker
    Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
    Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    Best Screenplay
    Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
    Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won, Parasite
    Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes
    Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood – Winner
    Steven Zaillian, The Irishman

    Best Original Score
    Alexandre Desplat, Little Women
    Hildur Guđnadóttir, Joker – Winner
    Randy Newman, Marriage Story
    Thomas Newman, 1917
    Daniel Pemberton, Motherless Brooklyn

    Best Original Song
    “Beautiful Ghosts,” Cats
    “I’m Gonna Love Me Again,” Rocketman – Winner
    “Into the Unknown,” Frozen II
    “Spirit,” The Lion King
    “Stand Up,” Harriet

    Best Foreign Language Film
    The Farewell, U.S.A.
    Les Misérables, France
    Pain and Glory, Spain
    Parasite, South Korea – Winner
    Portrait of a Lady on Fire, France

    Best Animated Film
    Frozen II
    How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
    The Lion King
    Missing Link – Winner
    Toy Story 4

    Best TV Drama
    Big Little Lies (HBO)
    The Crown (Netflix)
    Killing Eve (BBC America)
    The Morning Show (Apple TV+)
    Succession (HBO) – Winner

    Best Actor, TV Drama
    Brian Cox, Succession – Winner
    Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
    Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
    Tobias Menzies, The Crown
    Billy Porter, Pose

    Best Actress, TV Drama
    Jennifer Aniston, The Morning Show
    Olivia Colman, The Crown – Winner
    Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
    Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
    Reese Witherspoon, The Morning Show

    Best TV Musical or Comedy
    Barry (HBO)
    Fleabag (Amazon) – Winner
    The Kominksy Method (Netflix)
    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
    The Politician (Netflix)

    Best Actor, TV Musical or Comedy
    Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
    Bill Hader, Barry 
    Ben Platt, The Politician
    Paul Rudd, Living With Yourself
    Ramy Youssef, Ramy – Winner

    Best Actress, TV Musical or Comedy
    Christina Applegate, Dead to Me
    Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Kirsten Dunst, On Becoming a God in Central Florida
    Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
    Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag – Winner

    Best TV Miniseries/Movie
    Catch-22 (Hulu)
    Chernobyl (HBO) – Winner
    Fosse/Verdon (FX)
    The Loudest Voice (Showtime)
    Unbelievable (Netflix)

    Best Actor, TV Miniseries/Movie
    Christopher Abbott, Catch-22
    Sacha Baron Cohen, The Spy
    Russell Crowe, The Loudest Voice – Winner
    Jared Harris, Chernobyl
    Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon

    Best Actress, TV Miniseries/Movie
    Kaitlyn Dever, Unbelievable
    Joey King, The Act
    Helen Mirren, Catherine the Great
    Merritt Wever, Unbelievable
    Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon – Winner

    Best Supporting Actor, TV
    Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method
    Kieran Culkin, Succession
    Andrew Scott, Fleabag
    Stellan Skarsgård, Chernobyl – Winner
    Henry Winkler, Barry

    Best Supporting Actress, TV
    Patricia Arquette, The Act – Winner
    Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown
    Toni Collette, Unbelievable
    Meryl Streep, Big Little Lies
    Emily Watson, Chernobyl

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) South Beach Celebrates Art Basel 2019

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    New York Film Academy South Beach looks forward to Art Basel Miami Beach each year, an event where the city welcomes industry veterans, visual artists, and independent filmmakers alike. Studying at the epicentre of the festival, NYFA South Beach students and faculty draw inspiration from the eccentric art, installations, and events that the fair brings with it. 

    Art Basel is a for-profit, privately owned and managed international art fair staged annually in Basel, Switzerland; Miami Beach, Florida; and Hong Kong, selling the works of established and emerging artists and supporting galleries through nurturing artists. It’s known as a leading global platform that connects collectors, galleries, and artists from around the world.

    Art Basel 2019

    This year’s iteration of the annual event in Miami Beach presented artworks from across the globe through more than 250 of the world’s leading galleries, drawing over 70,000 visitors and offering an inspiring week for artists, collectors, critics, curators, and enthusiasts.

    One particular installation this year captured the attention of all–life-size sand sculptures on Miami Beach, created by Leandro Erlich in an effort to compel people to face the dangers of climate change. Titled “Order of Importance,” the latest work of the Argentine artist was designed to disrupt the landscape while also blending with it. The City of Miami Beach commissioned the installation with an allocation of $300,000, and it was the first of its public art projects with an intentionally short life.

    Art Basel 2019

    NYFA South Beach checked out the installation site, equipped with “NYFA News” filming gear to interview those visiting the sand sculptures and hear their thoughts on the inventive art and its powerful message. Additionally, NYFA South Beach Special Effects instructor and cinematographer Carlos Fueyo was commissioned to create an official promotional video on the installation.

    On campus, NYFA South Beach Dean and Director Maylen Dominguez conducted a Q&A with Carlos, touching on the art, the artist, his involvement in the project and what it’s like to be a filmmaker at Art Basel.

    Art Basel 2019

    “Art Basel exposes our students to thought provoking art, gallerists, artists and buyers form literally every corner of the world,” reflects Dominguez. “You see extraordinary work and things that are not to your taste. Art Basel is a great reminder that the important thing is to be creative and not judge yourself so much, because there’s someone out there who will buy the $120,000 duct-tape banana.”

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    December 8, 2019 • Community Highlights, Film School, Progressive & Social Causes • Views: 40

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Welcomes Top CAA Agent Chris Andrews

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    On Tuesday, December 3, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) had the pleasure to host Chris Andrews, top talent agent at the industry-leading Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Tova Laiter, Director of the NYFA Q&A Series, moderated the event.

    Chris Andrews

    Andrews is based in Los Angeles and represents many of the Hollywood’s leading actors, including Daniel Craig, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Saoirse Ronan, Nicole Kidman, Jon Hamm, Ben Kingsley, Ian McKellen, Kristin Scott Thomas, Emily Blunt, and Edgar Ramirez, among others. He has been instrumental in the development and advancement of his clients’ careers around the globe.

    Laiter opened the Q&A by asking Andrews how he became an agent and started with CAA. Andrews discussed his history in the industry, from working in the mailroom (“you meet everybody—agents and clients”) to his current work as one of the company’s top agents. Through his story and the entire session, Andrews emphasized the importance of hard work and ambition. 

    One student asked Andrews for advice on how to get an agent when first starting out in their craft. Andrews replied,  “Work brings work … if you can get one job it’ll lead to something else. Anybody you meet – write their name down, get their phone number, get their email address, remember that … keep it handy so that you have it. Don’t be like ‘Oh, I think I met her’… You should know who you’ve met along the way … you never know who you’re going to meet.”

    Chris Andrews

    Andrews left the students with some inspirational words. “Time is precious. It goes by really, really fast … Take it in … If you love film, if you love acting, if you love producing, if you love writing—read great writers, watch great directors, watch great actors. You will learn something, because it’ll teach you where the bar is higher … You have to live in that hope, still, of dreaming of ‘I can be better’ … that’s what propels me.”

    New York Film Academy thanks CAA agent Chris Andrews for taking the time to share his experience and expertise with our students.

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    December 6, 2019 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 496

  • New York Film Academy Australia’s Unprecedented Partnership with Warner Bros. Movie World for Theme Park Hot Sets

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    Warner Bros. Movie World

    Visitors to Warner Bros. Movie World now have the chance to see filmmaking in action thanks to a first-of-its-kind partnership between the iconic Gold Coast theme park and New York Film Academy Australia.

    Through the collaboration, film production hot sets will be installed on the grounds of Warner Bros. Movie World for NYFA Australia students to sharpen their skills in the various elements of film craft using state-of-the-art, industry standard equipment under the guidance of NYFA Australia faculty and staff.

    Guests visiting the park will be able to watch the magic of movie making up close and in action, which falls in line with the movie-centric attractions of the popular vacation spot. Some guests may even be asked to participate in the hot sets, and serve as on-camera performers in the scenes filmed.

    Warner Bros. Movie World

    “In addition to offering our students the invaluable opportunity to participate on set,” says NYFA Australia Director, Tasha Cooper, “this unique partnership simultaneously offers guests to the park the premium, ‘movie magic’ experience they desire.”

    Warner Bros. Movie World is one of the most popular destinations in Queensland for both locals and visitors, and is based on the characters and properties of the Warner Bros. film studio, including the iconic roster of DC Comics superheroes like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. The park is operated by Village Roadshow Studios (VRS), which has a long-standing relationship with NYFA Australia. Throughout their studies, NYFA Australia students also have the opportunity to shoot films on the VRS backlot, where NYFA Australia houses its own production workshop studios. The VRS backlot has been home to some of the biggest movies of the decade, including Aquaman, Thor: Ragnarok, and San Andreas.

    Warner Bros. Movie World

    “Movie World and NYFA Australia share an affinity for the film industry on the Gold Coast and I am excited at the prospects of this unique partnership,” shares Michael Croaker, Head of Entertainment for Village Roadshow Theme Parks. “Excitingly, Movie World guests will have the opportunity to watch a real ‘hot set’ operating in the park with a few even getting the chance to get in on the action themselves.”

    The interactive hot sets can be found off the theme park’s Main Street, near Gotham City Hall. Various films and productions by the students will be shot there; recently, NYFA Australia alumni even had the opportunity to shoot a promo video for hit90.9’s Breakfast show. One lucky student was chosen based on their pitch to work with popular radio hosts Lise Carlaw, Sarah Wills, Dan Anstey, and Ben Hannant to create the promo. NYFA Australia students aren’t just getting exposure on the radio; the theme park hot sets were also recently featured in a story on 7NEWS Gold Coast.


    New York Film Academy Australia is thrilled to partner with Warner Bros. Movie Studios for this innovative approach to instructing students in the craft of filmmaking and preparing them for the bustling dynamics of professional, real world film sets.

    All programs and workshops are solely owned and operated by the New York Film Academy Australia and are not affiliated with Village Roadshow Studios.

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    November 27, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 672

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Workshops at the Bilbao Bizkaia Design Week 

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) was honored to be included in the Bilbao Bizkaia Design Week earlier this month, held in the idyllic city of Bilbao, Spain. 

    Bilbao Bizkaia Blake Babbitt Featured
    Blake Babbitt, NYFA’s Associate Director for Recruitment, delivered a masterclass to creative Spanish students in which he outlined tools aspiring filmmakers need to have in their proverbial backpacks. The demonstration proceeded to show the delighted audience how to use these elements in their filmmaking and storytelling projects.

    The event was hosted in the magnificent Ensanche Building in the city center of Bilbao and sponsored by EIKEN – Basque Audiovisual & Digital Content and Five Lands (International Education), an official recruiting agency of NYFA.

    Bilbao Bizkaia Blake Babbitt Featured
    Babbitt’s stay in Bilbao included a visit to Ayalde School to deliver a second masterclass on visual storytelling to students coming from different educative centers in the area. The event was hosted by COAS and allowed youngsters with ages ranging from 15 to 18 to learn how to convey a story from paper to on screen.

    “Maybe there was a future storyteller in the audience,” states David Morera, CEO/President of Five Lands. “Who knows? If not, there were several students eager to enjoy a good story. At the very end, that’s one of the things that make us human.”

    Bilbao Bizkaia Blake Babbitt Featured

    (from L to R): David Morera (Five Lands), Fernando García (COAS), Blake Babbitt (NYFA) and Óscar Salazar (Five Lands)

    New York Film Academy is grateful to Five Lands International Education, COAS,a and EIKEN – Basque Audiovisual & Digital Content for hosting these events, and we look forward to returning to Bilbao in the near future!

    The live stream of NYFA’s Bilbao masterclass event is available here:

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    November 26, 2019 • Film School, International Diversity • Views: 526

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Production Workshop Motionlapse From Start to Finish

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) instructor James H. Coburn had a brand new camera he was still playing around with, and thought it would be a cool idea to take a motionlapse video of one of his classes—and he was right, it was cool.

    The camera was a DJI Osmo Pocket, which can shoot in several modes including both time-lapse and motionlapse. Timelapse involves capturing an individual frame at set intervals, which helps show the passage of time over a much shorter time frame. Motionlapse involves the same concept, but with a pan or tilt in the camera movement.

    Coburn put the DJI Osmo Pocket to the test over the course of a production workshop, where students from the Fall MFA in Cinematography program shot a film in a garage on a very hot day in Burbank, California—home of NYFA-Los Angeles.

    Student director Derek Johnson filmed a process shot with a green screen and automobile over the course of several hours. All the students in the class had something to do on set and were busy throughout.

    The motionlapse, which slowly pans across the set in what results in just two minutes of footage, capture the day’s shoot, which lasted over three hours, showing the students’ hard work as if honeybees in a hive.

     

    Interested in working on a New York Film Academy production workshop one day? Check out the programs NYFA has to offer here.

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    November 25, 2019 • Cinematography • Views: 356

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screens Groundbreaking VR Film ‘Agent Emerson’ with Director and BFA Filmmaking alum Ilya Rozhkov and Filmmaking Team

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) recently hosted a screening of groundbreaking VR action film Agent Emerson, followed by a Q&A with award-winning writer, director, producer, and NYFA BFA Filmmaking alum Ilya Rozhkov; Associate Producer & VP of Development of the Rogue Initiative, Bradley Etheridge; and Line Producer and NYFA alum, Radhika Womack. The event was held on Friday, November 15 at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus, with the president of the NYFA Broadcasting Club, Derek “DJ” Johnson II, moderating.

    BFA Filmmaking alum Ilya Rozhkov has directed award-winning shorts including Wes-Andresonesque Sabre Dance, starring Olympian Greg Louganis as Salvador Dali. His films have been distributed worldwide, featured on NBC, and screened at over 50+ festivals; winning numerous awards including Best Picture and Best Director. 

    Agent Emerson Ilya Rozhkov
    As a lead development executive at Rogue Initiative, Bradley Etheridge is responsible for input for both creative and business development. Etheridge’s diverse range of duties includes working with directors, writers, and producers on film, TV, and VR projects; managing Rogue’s internal team of game developers; and interfacing with contacts in various industries for everything from investment to content distribution opportunities. 

    Radhika Womack began her career producing commercials in the Indian film industry. Since moving to the United States, she has produced a number of feature films, shorts, documentaries, and music videos. Her most recent credits include producing the feature film In This Gray Place and line-producing Agent Emerson.  

    DJ Johnson II opened the Q&A by asking how the idea of Agent Emerson came about, highlighting the fact that Rozhkov conceptualized the film’s story with Womack during their time as students at NYFA.

    The VR film allows the audience to see an action movie from the 360-degree POV of its hero. The film, starring Andrew Bowen, Lyndsy Fonseca, and Tony Denison, has toured with Samsung and Verizon Media in a series of events in several states and recently had its successful red carpet premiere with high-profile guests from major Hollywood studios, Silicon Valley, the Producers Guild, the VR industry, and several Academy Award nominees.

    Agent Emerson Ilya Rozhkov

    “It was a very long planning process; about a year of it,” Rozhkov shared. “When I thought about it for the first time, I tried to figure out what would make it unique as a storytelling medium, just like people were with movies 120 years ago. So when the script was there and the concept was there, we started looking into technology and it simply did not exist, so I sat down with engineers and we had to create technology to make this possible.” 

    Johnson continued by inquiring how you set a frame that is 360 degrees. Rozhkov joked by saying, “Just like how there is no spoon in The Matrix, there is no frame in VR.” Rozhkov continued, “It’s storytelling through location and it’s a cinematic medium for sure, but it takes a lot from theater and it takes a lot from gaming. There’s no storytelling laws, especially when we started, so we had to find what works and just like any film, figure out the storytelling language.” 

    When asked about what the biggest challenge the filmmaking team faced during production, Womack expressed, “The biggest challenge was the technology. There’s so many unknowns in filmmaking already, and here you just triple that. It’s just sitting and brainstorming all the things you need even though there’s a lot of similarity with regular productions and other narratives. You have your locations, your permits, your crew, and the camera is taken care of, but again it’s a much bigger department than you would have on a regular film. The biggest challenge was to let everyone in every department know the difference: if you can see the camera, the camera can see you.” 
    Agent Emerson Ilya Rozhkov

    The Q&A then opened up for questions from the audience. A student asked the filmmaking team, “How did you combine the digital assets with the footage from your camera while maintaining the stereoscopic effect of the film?” 

    Rozhkov answered, “Everything was carefully measured, and we had a lot of sensor data from set that helped a lot. 360 degree video has a lot of limitations, especially when it comes to 3D, so we utilized game engine to bypass some of them. The film tracks in real time where you’re looking and adjusts the 3D accordingly.” 

    New York Film Academy thanks BFA Filmmaking alum Ilya Rozhkov, as well as Bradley Etheridge, and Radhika Womack for sharing their VR film and expertise with our students. Agent Emerson will be released on Oculus Rift (Go and Quest), HTC Vive, and Cosmos on November 22. 

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    November 19, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Virtual Reality • Views: 715

  • New York Film Academy Australia Filmmaking Alum Leroy Button Builds Up Blockbuster Credits

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    New York Film Academy Australia alum Leroy Button has been busy since graduating the Filmmaking program in 2018, having worked on multiple blockbusters, including Aquaman and Dora and the Lost City of Gold, as well as upcoming franchise sequels Fast & Furious 9 and James Bond film No Time to Die.

    Australian publication Daily Telegraph recently covered Button’s achievements in a profile, touching on his early start as a child playing with consumer and prosumer camera equipment. Button would shoot numerous videos and short films with his friends, presaging his future career in the filmmaking industry.

     

    leroy button

    Sense, a film he made while still in high school, went on to win seven awards in the festival circuit, and led to Button creating his own freelance company, Button Media. After taking a Panavision Master Class while studying at NYFA Australia’s Gold Coast campus, Button landed a job with Panavision, where he eventually was able to work on superhero epic Aquaman, which was partially filmed at Village Roadshow Studios.

    On set, Button worked closely with stars like Jason Momoa and Nicole Kidman, but it was the state-of-the-art technical equipment that really wowed him. “I was actually more interested in having conversations with the camera boys,” Button tells Daily Telegraph Australia.

    Sure enough, that job led to another and then another, and in just a few short years Button has built up an impressive resume with credits on huge Hollywood films in the camera and electric departments, including as the drone technician on last summer’s Dora the Explorer film.

    leroy button

    Additionally, Button has been working in television, and earning cinematography credits as well. His career is clearly only just getting started.

    “Leroy displayed passion, positivity, and a strong work ethic,” says Steve Pratt, NYFA Australia Chair of Filmmaking, “and was able to utilize the unique hands-on approach to filmmaking that makes NYFA Australia’s curriculum stand out from the rest—ensuring graduates like him are industry-ready when big studios come calling. We are extremely proud of him and look forward to his continued success in the industry.”

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    November 8, 2019 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 430