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  • New York FIlm Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Pablo C. Vergara Wins At International Film and Metal Festival

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    Necromurder, the film by New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum Pablo C. Vergara, won the Award for Best International Fictional Film at 2019’s International Film and Metal Festival (FICIME.)

    necromurder
    The festival, which began this year in Colombia, aims to visualize and support the metal music and film industry not just in Colombia but around the world, generating a forum for artistic expression from the a genre that has influenced a search for identity for many generations, and which has been influenced by many artistic sources.

    FICIME received over 500+ submissions from across the globe. Sixty-eight audiovisual projects were selected for the fest, in eight categories, including films from Syria, Croatia, Burkina Faso, Africa, Russia, and Scandinavia.

    Necromurder is a music-oriented movie with strong visuals and design—written, directed, and starring Vergara, who was inspired by films like The Crow and The Doors. The film, based on real events, revolves around two musicians fighting for the title of King of Evil, where their own demons and lifestyles will lead them down a spiral of destruction that culminates in murder. For more details on the film its sources, check out our interview with Vergara here.

    Vergara hails from Mexico City and works as a cinematographer, actor, and filmmaker, among other roles, and enrolled in New York Film Academy’s Filmmaking program in New York in Fall 2016, before moving to Hollywood to work on completing his MFA at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus. 

    Vergara will be returning to NYFA on October 15, screening his film along with other NYFA filmmakers by invitation of Chair of Filmmaking Claude Kerven. The event will be held at NYFA’s New York campus at 7 p.m.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Pablo C. Vergara on his festival win and encourages everyone to check out the film when it screens at NYFA’s New York campus on October 15!

    necromurder

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    September 20, 2019 • Film Festivals, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 185

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Filmmaking Students Visit Buzzfeed

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    Students from the New York Film Academy (NYFA) 2018 Master of Fine Arts in Filmmaking program had the opportunity to tour Buzzfeed’s LA Lexland campus on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. The MFA Filmmaking students, who study at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus, were joined by producer and on-camera talent Rie McClenny for their field trip.

    The visit included a chance to tour the studios, offices, prop room, and canteen, as well as the Buzzfeed Tasty Studio where McClenny whips up all manner of desserts for the Tasty Channel. The students enjoyed seeing the new media campus and learned a great deal about how the company operates.

    “Huge thanks to Rie and Buzzfeed for having the class!” says NYFA instructor Rebecca Louisell.

    Buzzfeed MFA

    From the left, front row: Rie McClenny (Buzzfeed), Rebecca Louisell (Instructor), Mahmoud Abul Burghul, Adilet Zhumabek, Kritika Chawla, Agnes Shinozaki, Veronica Badell, Haining “Carl” Gu, Shiran Wang. Back row: Ryan Mechling, Nick Sivakumaran (Instructor), Chin-Wei Chang, Lan-Chi Chien, Ether Tian Jin

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    September 17, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 119

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Tracy Oliver Launches ‘First Wives Club’ Series

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    First Wives Club, the new adaptation of the hit 1996 film developed for television by New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking alum Tracy Oliver, premieres this week.

    Oliver attended the New York Film Academy 4-Week Filmmaking workshop at our Los Angeles campus in 2005. In that workshop she met fellow classmate and NYFA alum Issa Rae, forming a friendship and working relationship that continues to this day. Oliver wrote an episode of Rae’s career-launching webseries, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, as well as starring in the show as Rae’s antagonist, Nina. She has since become a wildly successful Hollywood screenwriter, with script credits including Barbershop: The Next Cut, Little, and The Sun is Also a Star.Tracy Oliver

    Additionally, Oliver co-wrote the hit comedy Girls Trip with Kenya Barris, which made over $140 million at the box office. Oliver and Barris were nominated for a 2018 Image Award for their work on the movie.

    First Wives Club, Oliver’s latest project, is loosely adapted from the feature film of the same name, which starred Diane Keaton, Better Midler, Goldie Hawn, and Maggie Smith, and took audiences by storm in 1996. The original film revolved around a group of women who cope with the divorce and seek retribution against their ex-husbands. The show has been in pre-production for several years, having gone through multiple producers, casts, and studios, before Oliver was handed the reins.

    Oliver’s adaptation focuses more a story of sisterhood, and chronicles three best friends after one of them, Hazel, is caught up in an infamous cheating scandal. The three friends, who all recently came out of relationships, support each other while seeking revenge as they learn to put themselves first. The show stars Jill Scott, Michelle Buteau, and Ryan Michelle Bathe as the three friends—Hazek, Bree, and Ari. The cast also includes Mark Tallman, RonReaco Lee, and Malik Yoba. In addition to developing the show, Oliver also directed its seventh episode.

    Tracy Oliver

    First Wives Club will premiere on September 19 as a launch title for the brand new Viacom streaming service, BET+, which also goes live on September 19. Its first season, which filmed in New York City late
    last year, will air for ten episodes.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Tracy Oliver on the launch of her new series, First Wives Club, and encourages everyone to check out the show when it premieres on BET+!

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    September 17, 2019 • #WomenOfNYFA, Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 117

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Robert Nazar Arjoyan Releases I Promised Her Life

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    This week, I Promised Her Life, the award-winning short film by New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking alum Robert Nazar Arjoyan, premiered on Vimeo.

    The film is about a grieving Armenian-American mother named Elena who defies centuries-old tradition as she walks the line between death and the afterlife on the day of her daughter’s funeral. In the lead role is Anne Bedian (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Lost, The Grid). I Promised Her Life has played over 30 festivals, and has so far picked up 7 awards.

    Arjoyan attended the NYFA 4-Week Filmmaking camp at our Los Angeles campus in 2004, where he made three films. His studies and eventual career in film was fate: after randomly stopping at a slot machine while vacationing in Las Vegas and winning the jackpot, Arjoyan celebrated by using the winnings to attend the camp. “The voice in my head demanded that someone, anyone, go pull that machine,” Arjoyan tells NYFA.

    His gut feeling paid off; his mother pulled the handle on the slot, won the jackpot, and soon after Arjoyan was learning the skills needed to be a filmmaker in Hollywood. “I look back upon those weeks on the storied Backlot with tremendous fondness and gratitude,” says Arjoyan.

    “The summer I spent at NYFA as a 15 year old taught me the core fundamentals that helped me make I Promised Her Life,” adds Arjoyan, “and will continue to do so for all future projects. That was a magical and invaluable experience.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Robert Nazar Arjoyan on the release of his new film, and encourages everyone to check out I Promised Her Life on Vimeo!

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    September 13, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 349

  • New York Film Academy Filmmaking Alum Hannah Lux Davis Directs ‘Charlie’s Angels’ Music Video

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    The music video for “Don’t Call Me Angel,” the tie-in single to the latest Charlie’s Angels film performed by Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, and Lana Del Rey, and directed by New York Film Academy (NYFA) Hannah Lux Davis releases tomorrow, September 13.

    The song, released by Republic Records, is the first single off the Charlie’s Angels official soundtrack album and serves as the film’s main theme. The latest entry of the popular franchise about three crime-fighting women stars Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska, and was written and directed by Elizabeth Banks.Hannah Lux Davis

    Davis originally hails from Bellevue, Washington, and attended the 1-Year Filmmaking Conservatory at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus in 2004. Since then, she has directed music videos for such high-profile musicians as Whitney Houston, Lil Wayne, Halsey, and Drake. She has frequently collaborated with Ariana Grande, and directed the hit videos “Thank U, Next” and “7 Rings.”

    For her work, Davis has been nominated for multiple MTV Video Music Awards, and has won twice—in 2013 she won Best Hip-Hop Video for “Love Me” by Lil Wayne, and in 2014 she won Artist to Watch for “Miss Movin’ On” by Fifth Harmony.

    “Davis has a uniquely colorful style that can be seen in her videos for Hilary Duff’s ‘Sparks’ and David Guetta’s ‘Hey Mama’ featuring Nicki Minaj,” writes Lucy Binetti in a profile on Davis for Substream Magazine.

    In the article for Substream, Davis talks about her commitment to following her own instincts and style, as well as her passion for filmmaking. “I really do think this is the only thing I’m meant to be doing,” says Davis.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Hannah Lux Davis on her successful career as a music video director, and encourages everyone to check out her latest project, “Don’t Call Me Angel” by Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, and Lana Del Rey.

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    September 12, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 183

  • New York Film Academy Australia Welcomes Academy Award Winner Ben Osmo to Gold Coast Campus

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    On Thursday, August 22, New York Film Academy Australia (NYFA-AU) hosted a master class with former NYFA-AU instructor and Academy Award winner Ben Osmo.

    Osmo, a sound recordist and mixer, is known for his work on films including Dead Calm (1989), Strictly Ballroom (1991), Alien: Covenant (2017), and Peter Rabbit (2018). His work on 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road earned him the Oscar for Best Achievement in Sound Mixing at the 88th Academy Awards, which he shared with Chris Jenkins and Gregg Rudloff.

    Ben Osmo Gold Coast

    Speaking at length with NYFA-AU students at the Gold Coast campus in an intimate setting, Osmo shared the knowledge he gained over a career of almost 30 years in the sound industry and that includes an Oscar and 13 other award wins and nine nominations.

    Osmo began the master class by sharing his journey working on Mad Max: Fury Road, telling NYFA-AU students: “To be a good filmmaker, it’s good to know all the phases of filmmaking, and sound—it’s one of the important ones. You can’t get good sound unless you get cooperation from all the film crew, we are all in it together, and to succeed we need each other.”

    Students listened intently as Osmo talked about the importance of how sound can make or break a film, and how to be flexible with film crews. He also shared some personal experiences both technical and related to the profession. 

    “The master class with Ben Osmo was insightful, inspiring, and gave an incredible perspective into the importance of sound for our students,” says Patrick Ryan, NYFA-AU Deputy Chair of Filmmaking.

    New York Film Academy Australia thanks former NYFA-AU instructor and Academy Award winner Ben Osmo for taking the time to share his expertise and experiences with our NYFA-AU students!

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    September 4, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 293

  • New York Film Academy Australia Filmmaking Alum Josh Hale Shoots Second Feature on Gold Coast

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    New York Film Academy Australia (NYFA Australia) alum Josh Hale just completed production of House of Inequity, his second feature film, on the Gold Coast, Australia.

    Australia’s Gold Coast is known for its beautiful natural scenery, so it might not be the first place you’d think of when choosing a location for a creepy horror film, but that outside-the-box thinking is part of what makes Hale such a talented filmmaker.

    Hale attended New York Film Academy Australia in 2014, taking the Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media in Filmmaking program at the Gold Coast campus, where students have the opportunity to shoot on the Village Roadshow Studios backlot. Before then, he was shooting skateboard videos, but felt inspired to do more with the medium. 

    “I tried to make my own film in 2009 and failed miserably,” Hale tells the Gold Coast Bulletin. “I was overly ambitious. I didn’t know anything except I wanted to make a film. I always loved writing so it was a natural progression.”

    Josh Hale

    After graduating, Hale wrote and directed his first feature, a comedy entitled Digital Athletes: The Road to Seat League, which won several awards at multiple festivals, including the NYC Indie Film Awards, Festigious International Film Festival, IndieFEST Film Awards, and Los Angeles Film Awards.

    “Josh utilized his hands-on training with NYFA Australia, at the Gold Coast, to go make a feature film right out of college,” NYFA Australia Director Tasha Cooper stated after the North American premiere of Digital Athletes. “He’s one of our success stories and we’re very proud of his recent achievements.

    His sophomore effort, House of Inequity, was shot in two distinct locations on the Gold Coast—Jacobs Well and Helensvale. The independent film is being financed by an American investor; Hale also received a film grant from the Australian Government. 

    Josh Hale House of Inequity

    House of Inequity, was written in 16 days, and shot over several months across both Gold Coast locations. Filming recently wrapped on the US-Gold Coast co-production, and House of Inequity is expected to premiere later this year. And Hale isn’t slowing down—he is currently producing two other films, including a documentary.

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA Australia Filmmaking alum Josh Hale on his latest work, House of Inequity, and looks forward to seeing the completed version later this year!

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    August 16, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1118

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Roshni Bhatia Wins WINGS Grant from Zonta Club

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking alum Roshni Bhatia was recently a Guest of Honor at the Zonta Club of Burbank and was awarded their WINGS grant, allowing her to focus more on directing and shepherding her film Plasmid through the festival circuit.

    Roshni Bhatia

    (from L to R): Zonta President Gloria Salas, Roshni Bhatia, Marva Murphy

    Plasmid is a horror short about a young nurse fighting to survive after her house is invaded by an unearthly intruder. The film has been widely met with praise, and will screen next on August 27 at the Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival.

    The film was written and directed by Bhatia, who attended the 1-Year Filmmaking conservatory in 2017 at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus.

    The WINGS grant program is the signature service project of the Zonta Club of Burbank Area and helps women who have overcome adversity or a life-changing setback better their lives through education with one-time financial assistance. The next application deadline is September 30.

    “The award allows me to make more short films while studying,” remarks Bhatia. “With the award, I can continue to work with great people creating cinematic and pithy shorts with (hopefully) an interesting story to tell.”

    Bhatia was the only one considered for and awarded this year’s grant. “It was Zonta Club of Burbank’s wonderful opportunity to contribute to the education of a NYFA former student,” says Marva Murphy, Chair, WINGS Committee. “Our WINGS grant offers assistance and encouragement for a brighter future.”

    Part of what makes Bhatia worthy of the award is her perseverance and determination. “One will face endless obstacles and sometimes reasons not to do something, just because they’re waiting for the right moment or the right person to do it for them,” Bhatia says. “To go out there and not just think about it, but to just do it, is the hardest, yet most rewarding part.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Roshni Bhatia on winning the Zonta Club WINGS grant and wishes her success as she continues screening Plasmid in the festival circuit.

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    August 14, 2019 • #WomenOfNYFA, Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 709

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Dhruv Sachdev Continues Winning Awards

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    Dhruv SachdevNew York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking alum Dhruv Sachdev has been very successful since taking the 1-Week Filmmaking Workshop, winning several awards for Redrum and A Gift of Love: Sifar.

    Both films adapt classic American authors; Redrum is based on a story by Edgar Allen Poe while Sifar is based on The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry. Sachdev’s next film will be an adaptation of O. Henry’s The Last Leaf.

    Sachdev, who originally hails from New Delhi, India, attended the Filmmaking Workshop in 2016 at NYFA’s New York campus. “At NYFA we were taught a basic rule,” says Sachdev, “that every scene, every shot, or every dialogue has to strike a chord with the audience—and that can only be done by a filmmaker who understands which emotion is to be captured. Thus, we not only learned the technicalities of filmmaking, but in the process also learned to observe the complexity of emotions.”

    Sachdev took that lesson to heart, and his work has been recognized at multiple festivals for its strong craftsmanship. Here is a list of the awards and nominations won so far by A Gift of Love: Sifar:

    Winner – CKF International Film Festival, England – Best Feature
    Winner – Crown Wood International Film Festival – Best Indian Feature
    Winner – Cult Critic Movie Awards – Best Debut Director
    Winner – Calcutta International Film Festival – Best Debut Director
    Winner – Mahul Woods International Film Festival – Outstanding Achievement Award – Best Feature
    Winner – Mahul Woods International Film Festival – Outstanding Achievement Award – Best Debut Director
    Winner – L’Age d’Or International Arthouse Film Festival
    Winner – Virgin Spring Cinefest
    Winner – Five Continents International Film Festival, Venezuela – Best Independent Feature
    Winner – Five Continents International Film Festival, Venezuela – Best Actress in a leading role
    Winner – Five Continents International Film Festival, Venezuela – Background Score
    Winner – Gold Movie Awards – London – June 2019 – Best Producer
    Winner – Los Angeles Film Awards
    Winner – Druk International Film Festival – Best Debut Director
    Winner – Druk International Film Festival – Best Feature
    Winner – Druk International Film Festival – Best Actress
    Winner – South Film and Arts Academy Festival – Best Drama Feature
    Winner – South Film and Arts Academy Festival – Best Screenplay Honorable Mention
    Winner – South Film and Arts Academy Festival – Best Lead Actress in a Feature Film
    Winner – South Film and Arts Academy Festival – Best Actor in a Supporting Role
    Winner – South Film and Arts Academy Festival – Best Cinematography Honorable Mention
    Winner – South Film and Arts Academy Festival – Best Editing Honorable Mention
    Winner – South Film and Arts Academy Festival – Best Production
    Winner – South Film and Arts Academy Festival – Best Art Direction Honorable Mention
    Winner – Bacalar International Film Festival, Mexico
    Finalist – Oniros Film Awards (award pending)
    Semifinalist – Near Nazareth Festival – Israel
    Official Selection – Rome Independent PRISMA Awards
    Official Selection – Miami Independent Film Festival (award pending)
    Official Selection – Berlin Flash Film Festival (award pending)
    Official Selection – New York Aphrodite Film Awards (award pending)

    “Once you start understanding human emotions,” Sachdev adds, “your journey towards being a filmmaker begins.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Dhruv Sachdev on his growing list of accolades and looks forward to his upcoming projects!

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    August 13, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 627

  • New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Filmmaking Instructors Keep Busy Outside of Class

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) prides itself on its faculty of professionals working in the film and television industry, who then pass on their first-hand knowledge and experience to their students.

    Here’s a look at some of the latest projects from NYFA-Los Angeles filmmaking instructors:

    Steve Morris
    Steve Morris has been making The Cine-Files Podcast since 2016. Each week, The Cine-Files takes deep a dive into a single great film, exploring its themes, history, filmmaking, and the influence it has on us today. Its goal is to explore films from every era and every genre. 

    So far, Morris and his podcast has tackled over 100 films and explored everything from Citizen Kane and Lawrence of Arabia to The Big Lebowski, Star Wars, Fight Club and Ken Burns’ Civil War. 

    With approximately 20,000 downloads a week, The Cine-Files is a must listen for any serious film fan. The podcast is available on iTunes, YouTube, Google Play, Sticher, and Spotify.

    Mark Sawicki
    Cinematography instructor Mark Sawicki played the role of Sultan Karim in the latest Asylum film Adventures of Aladdin, directed by Emmy-winning VFX Artist Glenn Campbell. Campbell is a previous NYFA guest speaker; Sawicki held a Q&A with him and interviewed him about the Sharknado franchise.

    Sawicki also did do a project for Disney as technical director, with Sofia Carson, utilizing the latest technology in motion capture and live compositing with game engines. Sawicki is hoping this exposure will lead to new opportunities for teaching current technology and practice in VRARMR.

     

    David Martin-Porras
    David’s most recent feature (Chain of Death) opened on July 19 at the Laemmle Music Hall and will be released shortly on home release and video on demand. The cast includes NYFA alum Nicolás Montesinos; NYFA alum Pablo Gómez Castro served as 1st assistant director. The screenplay was co-written by Martin-Porras and NYFA instructor Andrés Rosende.

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    July 30, 2019 • Faculty Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 597