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  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Awards Academy Gold Internship to New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA in Filmmaking Student Alice Nicolini

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA in Filmmaking student Alice Nicolini received some great news recently when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded her an Academy Gold Internship in Production Design. 

    Nicolini hails from Italy and is an alum of several NYFA camps, having attended the 4-week Screenwriting camp for teens, the 6-week Filmmaking camp for teens, and the 4-week Advanced Filmmaking camp for teens between 2014 and 2016. She is currently studying for her BFA in Filmmaking at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus. In the fall of 2017, Nicolini served as one of NYFA’s red carpet representatives at the Cinema Italian Style opening night gala.

    Her two-minute short, Alice’s Wonderland, helped her earn the prestigious Academy Gold Internship in Production Design. The Academy Gold Program is a multi-tiered educational and experiential initiative and internship enhancement program from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the famous Hollywood organization that annually awards the Oscars.

    “I hope this experience will give more direction and structure to my efforts,” Nicolini tells NYFA, “and, as a result, make me more confident in my craft.”

    Nicolini is currently focusing on her BFA studies and prepping hard for the internship. The industrious student has found the time and energy however to design a domestic clothing and accessories line in collaboration with a sustainability-focused company from Italy.

    “I am very proud of this kid and of NYFA for supporting talented and young artists!” exclaims Diana Santi, Director of NYFA Florence.

    Alice Nicolini
    New York Film Academy congratulates BFA student Alice Nicolini on earning the illustrious Academy Gold Internship in Production Design and looks forward to following her filmmaking endeavors. 

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    June 14, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 177

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Filmmaking Alum Kevin Nwankwor Films ‘Muna’

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    After finishing the film Tempting Fate, New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Filmmaking alum Kevin Nwankwor didn’t take a break—he immediately got to work on his next film, Muna. Earlier this month, the trailer for Muna was released.

    Muna is an action-drama directed by Nwankwor and written by Nwankwor, Joe Leone, and loam Parry based on a story by award-winning author Unoma Nwankwor. The film was executive produced by Emmanuel Ojeah and Unoma Nwankwor. 

    Shot in both the US and Nigeria, Muna tells the story of an assassin who falls in love while getting tangled in the global sex trafficking crisis. The cast includes Adam Huss, Robert Miano, Massi Furlan, Mayling Ng, and stars Adesua Etomi-Wellington, wife of musician and NYFA alum Banky Wellington. 

    “Human trafficking has become a great menace in our world today—the most troublesome part is the impact it has on the victims, turning them into something they would never have dreamt of becoming,” says Nwankwor. “Listening to the stories of these victims and knowing about those who go missing is heartbreaking. This is what motivated me to make Muna.” 

    After earning his MFA in Filmmaking from Burbank-based NYFA-Los Angeles, Nwankwor became CEO of family-owned production company KevStel, based in Atlanta, Georgia with an office in Abuja, Nigeria. KevStel produced both Tempting Fate and the upcoming Muna.

    “I came into NYFA with a goal and a desire to succeed,” adds Nwankwor. “I hear people say there’s no need for film school, but after the drilling and hands-on training while acquiring my Master’s degree in Filmmaking from New York Film Academy, I was able to make my first feature, Tempting Fate, which received some nominations and awards even while I was still a NYFA student. And now in the new feature film Muna, you will see the traces of a Master’s touch.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Filmmaking alum Kevin Nwankwor on his latest film Muna and looks forward to its release! 

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    June 13, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 211

  • South African New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alumni Meet Up at Inaugural Events

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    This May, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted inaugural South African NYFA alumni events in Johannesburg and Cape Town. This was a fantastic opportunity for NYFA’s South African alumni to connect and expand their network. South Africa Alumni Event

    Blake Babbitt, NYFA Associate Director of Outreach, has been traveling to South Africa for that past 7 years on behalf of the school, and was very delighted to see a true community of New York Film Academy artists coming together in their home country. 

    “There is a growing entertainment industry here in South Africa,” says Babbitt. “Ultimately we want our graduates to use the techniques and knowledge gained at NYFA to influence the industry not only in America, but in their home countries as well.”

    Babbitt continues, “The power of community is essential to the entertainment industry and to artistic success. I am very pleased to see a community of New York Film Academy artists forming here in South Africa, and I’m excited to see how this budding community will expand and impact the way South African stories are told. The sky is the limit for this group!” 

    During the event, NYFA alumni exchanged contact information, formed WhatsApp groups, and tagged each other in social media posts and stories. There was even discussion to form an official alumni chapter in South Africa. 

    Additionally, many alumni expressed their gratitude for the training they received at New York Film Academy, and for NYFA’s concern for them after they graduated. “Once you join us at New York Film Academy, you become a part of our family for life,” Babbitt told the alumni. “We don’t forget about you the second you graduate. Seeing you succeed is incredibly important to us.”

    “Blake and Maria were the most gracious hosts,” says BFA Filmmaking alum Zack Schofield-Nel. “The people that I was blessed to have networked with were incredible; I have built connections that will last for a long time to come. This could have only have happened because I was fortunate enough to attend the New York Film Academy.”

    He adds, “It is the most supercalifragilisticexpialidocious that I could have ever imagined!”

    Attendees included the following NYFA alumni:

    • Lunathi Mampofu (2-year Acting for Film): Trailblazing South African actress. Working on multiple TV shows in South Africa.

    • Eden Classens (2-year Musical Theatre): Runner-up, Dancing with the Stars South Africa; Lead on Afrikaans series Suidooster; recently cast in Netflix’s Kissing Booth 2.

    • Rethabile Ramaphakela (8-week Screenwriting): South African production company co-owner and voiceover artist best known as the voice of the Vuzu shows V-Entertainment and 10 Over 10. Co-owner of the production company Burnt Onion Productions with her brothers Tshepo and Katleho, who created and produced the SABC1 sitcom My Perfect Family and the Vuzu mockumentary Check-Coast. Produced and created a show that is currently available on Amazon Prime. Directing her first feature film in June.

    • Zandi Zim (MFA Acting for Film): Formed her own production company. South African actress that has performed at The Grahamstown National Arts Festival and Cape Town Fringe Festival. Stage actor since the age of eight and has studied Meisner and Alexander Technique. Zandi also sings, plays jazz piano and marimbas, and speaks English and conversational Sesotho.

    • Jacqueline Rainers Setai (8-week Screenwriting, continuing into 1-year Screenwriting): Head of Mojalove Channel on DSTV; well-known and established South African writer, producer, documentarian, broadcaster.

    • Petrone van der Merwe (8-week Acting for Film): Currently in two stage productions for the ADK (Academy of Dramatic Arts)’s 80th birthday celebrations that will premiere at the UJ Artscape Theater in Johannesburg and will also be performed in Stellenbosch at the Drostdy Theater. Signed with the talent agency, Gaenor Artiste Management.

    • Audrey Mokono (1-year Acting for Film, continuing into BFA Acting for Film): Recent graduate of NYFA’s 1-year Acting for Film program and will continue her studies in NYFA’s BFA Acting for Film program.

    • Anlezia Venter (BFA Acting for Film): Opened her own fitness studio in Cape Town.

    • Zackary Nel (BFA Filmmaking): Currently finishing his BFA thesis film in Cape Town, and has hired his own local crew.

    • Paul Fulton (8-week Screenwriting): Copywriter for ad agency. Has two feature-length scripts he is working on getting sold.

    • Keyuri Naidoo (6-week Acting for Film): From Johannesburg; known for her role as Karishma in Droomdag (2017) directed by Willie Esterhuizen. During her time at NYFA-Los Angeles, Keyuri directed and acted in numerous student short films.

    • Thuto Marrengula (1-year Acting for Film): Thuto Marrengula is an actor, known for Non American Dreamers (2018) and Ask Questions Later (2016); currently developing an hour-long stand up routine.

    • Nyeleti Khoza (AFA Acting for Film):  South African actor known for The Coroner: I Speak for the Dead (2016), Black Tea (2017), and Remember Me (2017). Recently cast in Giyani – Land of Blood, a new highly-viewed telenovela on SABC2

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Cristian Prieto Takes His Talents to Australia

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Cristian Prieto and his wife have moved to Byron Bay, a coastal town in Australia that is a hot spot home and vacation spot for many of Hollywood’s biggest names. This includes Chris Hemsworth and his wife—actress, model, and Fast and the Furious star Elsa Pataky. Pataky is the sister of Cristian Prieto, so the move to Byron Bay is bringing the Spanish-born siblings closer than ever. 

    In June 2010, Prieto graduated the 1-year Filmmaking program at NYFA-Los Angeles, where he received over a thousand hours of hands-on instruction and actual production experience in a curriculum that integrates intensive study in cinematography, directing, screenwriting, producing, and editing.Cristian Prieto

    Prieto’s thesis film was titled Bye By Baby and starred Pataky. Prieto wore multiple hats on the film—writing, directing, and producing the short. A year later, he worked on the film Prodigal, starring Kenneth Branagh.

    Shortly after that, Prieto worked on 2012’s The Avengers, which co-starred his brother-in-law as the hammer-wielding superhero Thor. It wouldn’t be the last time Hemsworth and Prieto worked together—Prieto also served on the production crew for 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok; the film was shot in Queensland partially at Village Roadshow Studios, where NYFA Gold Coast students also have the opportunity to shoot their films.

    Prieto has also acted, including a role in Giallo, starring Adrien Brody and Elsa Pataky, and also works as a photographer. He recently shot an editorial for fashion brand Spell Byron Bay, featuring his sister.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Cristian Prieto and his wife on their new home and looks forward to his future projects, whether they involve filmmaking, photography, acting, or whatever passion he chooses to follow next!

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    May 24, 2019 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 58

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) and United States Army Garrison (USAG) Host Joint Masterclass in Vicenza, Italy

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    On May 18, a joint masterclass in storytelling and photography was held at the US Army Garrison in Vicenza, Italy, hosted by New York Film Academy (NYFA) and United States Army Garrison (USAG). The students were from the garrison as well as from the local community and included filmmakers, writers, and photographers.

    Storytelling was taught by Diana Santi, NYFA Program Director – Florence, Italy, while photography was taught by NYFA Chair of Photography David Mager. 

    Vicenza Italy Garrison Joint Workshop
    Diana Santi is an award-winning director and producer of short films and commercials and has worked as 1st AD on many large-budget Italian commercials. She also founded Purple Reel Productions and directed the short film Florence in Love with the support of the Tuscan Film Commission and the City of Florence. She is currently Program Director of NYFA’s Florence location, where students learn filmmaking with the historical city as their breathtaking backdrop.

    David Mager is an award-winning photographer with over 20 years of experience in the publishing, editorial, and advertising industries. Clients have included Disney, DK, Scholastic, Der Speigel, McGraw Hill, Penguin, Time Out NY, Parents Magazine, Paper, Flair, American Baby, and Park Place Magazine, to name a few. He is the current Chair of Photography for both the New York and South Beach, Miami campuses at New York Film Academy.

    Together, the masterclass lasted four hours. Santi and Mager talked about the elements needed in storytelling for both moving image, screenwriting, and still imagery. Through examples for all genres, students were able to connect and gain insight into the necessary steps to successfully tell their stories. 

    The storytelling portion of the joint masterclass was entitled “The Secret Ingredients of Successful Stories” and asked the important questions: What is a story? Why do people tell stories? What are the elements that make a story successful? “I was honored to teach at the US Army Garrison in Vicenza and I hope that our workshop about visual storytelling can inspire new amazing stories,” says Santi. 

    The photography portion of the joint masterclass was called “Taking Creative Control of Your Camera: Demystifying the Elements of Exposure.” It focused on understanding how the camera works as well as how to use the elements of exposure to create visual decisions that transform snapshots into thoughtful, intentional images. “We had a great group of interested and engaged students,” describes Mager. “There were good conversations and some beautiful images made.”

    Vicenza Italy Garrison Joint Workshop

    Both workshops used a combination of lectures and hands-on activities. The event organizer at the Garrison, Jodi K. Giesbrecht, CYS Instructional Programs Specialist, USAG Italy – Vicenza Military Community, was thrilled with the joint masterclass and “would love to plan for more exciting and creative events provided by [NYFA].”

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    May 23, 2019 • Filmmaking, Photography, Screenwriting, Study Abroad, Veterans • Views: 352

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Hosts First Annual John Burroughs High School Film Festival

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) was proud to host the first annual John Burroughs High School Film Festival earlier this month on May 5. The festival featured four films made by the young students. Students used their own equipment—smartphones, high-quality cameras, and sound equipment—to film their movies, which ranged in length from two to 10 minutes.

    John Burroughs has a film club filled with students that have a great passion for film. The president of the film club approached NYFA in the fall of 2018 with interest in visiting the campus and starting a film festival. NYFA was very excited to help them achieve this goal. 

    John Burroughs HS Film Festival 2019
    A 1-week workshop scholarship was awarded to one of the filmmakers, chosen by the audience.   The winning film was the four minute short, Time Machine.

    The festival garnered the attention of the LA Times, where journalist Andrew J. Campa wrote about the event and interviewed John Burroughs High School Film Club President Orion Spatafora and NYFA Senior Outreach Specialist Jody Burns.

    “It was so much fun to see the students’ hard work pay off,” Burns told the LA Times. “It was so exciting for us at New York Film Academy to see the hard work they put into their films. The students also loved getting to see their work on the big screen in a theater setting.”

    John Burroughs HS Film Festival 2019

    The festival was small this year, but both NYFA and Spatafore expect more students of John Burroughs to participate in the second annual event. “We’re already planning next year’s film festival now,” Spatafora told the LA Times. “We want more students involved, and we want to get this out to the community.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates the filmmaking students on jobs well done and looks forward to next year’s John Burroughs High School Film Festival! 

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    May 23, 2019 • Film Festivals, Film School, Outreach • Views: 370

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Enrique Pedráza Botero on the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Enrique Pedráza Botero doesn’t just write and direct films—he also helps other filmmakers bring their documentaries to life through his work at the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program (DFP). While Sundance is synonymous with its prestigious film festival, its documentary film program and creative labs are working year round to bring new and unique voices to the world of nonfiction cinema.

    Botero is originally from Colombia and first enrolled at New York Film Academy’s New York campus in 2010, before finishing his studies at NYFA-Los Angeles where he earned his BFA in Filmmaking. “I miss my time at NYFA,” Botero tells the Academy. “I loved the school and their open-minded philosophy about the approach to the work … I connect to the importance of discovering your interests and voice as a filmmaker by actually shooting and seeing through the camera, not necessarily when you have it all figured out.”Sundance Enrique Botero

    Following graduation, Botero worked as Manager of Programming at Ambulante California before working with the Sundance Institute. The Documentary Film Program at Sundance was established in 2002 and comprises both the Documentary Film Fund and the creative labs where films are workshopped and filmmakers mentored to become stronger storytellers. With a rolling application process, the DFP receives countless submissions each year, and looks for passionate and emerging filmmakers, particular those with unique cultural perspectives and personal connections to ongoing social issues.

    That worldly perspective is something Botero connected to even while studying at NYFA. “I also really appreciated how global my class was, and the opportunity to see how other people thought about story in other parts of the world,” says Botero, “how people thought creatively and aesthetically, and get a chance to understand how expansive that notion of story really is, something that is so rigged in history and culture.”

    He adds, “I realized how much more compelling and complex my stories could be if I saw my ideas from a personal perspective and my place in the world.”

    The Documentary Film Fund looks to support nonfiction films at all stages in production, and gives out nearly $1-$2 million in grants to over 40 projects each year. To apply, filmmakers must submit a written proposal and line item budget, as well as visual samples of their work. If footage hasn’t already been shot for the documentary, a mood reel and/or previous work of the director should be included. According to Botero, the DFP isn’t looking for a staid summary of the project but rather a strong feel for the artist—their voice, their artistic statement, the character access and connection they have to the subject of the film.

    The DFP Creative Labs are residential workshops, where filmmakers live and breathe their projects over the course of an entire week. There is an edit and story lab, which takes place in the mountains of Utah at the Sundance Resort as well as a music and sound design lab, where directors have the opportunity to work with talented up and coming composers from around the world, and sound designers from Skywalker Ranch. Both labs take place in June and July every year. At the labs, filmmakers can expect a trusted space where they will work with mentors, often filmmakers who have gone through the labs themselves, in an exchange of knowledge, and where they can learn to look at their work and the footage they’ve shot with new perspectives. Each director-editor team is paired with a contributing editor (an emerging nonfiction editor aiming to make the jump into feature-length editing), and are pushed to be more creative and experimental with their own current takes on their project.

    Sundance Enrique Botero

    From left to right: Tabitha Jackson (Director, Documentary Film Program), Maria Clement (Manager, Creative Producing Lab & Fellowship), Kristin Feeley (Director, Labs and Creative Producing Initiative), Enrique Pedraza-Botero (Manager, Labs and Artist Support) Photo Credit: Brandon Cruz

    Botero cites the 2019 documentary Always in Season as a perfect example of a film that was successfully workshopped through the edit and story lab. Director Jacqueline Olive had been working on her footage and material for over eight years, but it was through the labs that she was finally able to see her story in a new context and truly unlock her creative side by learning to better visually communicate her themes. The documentary finally came together as a powerful story of lynching in the rural South. The film premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in the US Documentary Competition.

    In addition to the Film Fund and Creative Labs, the Sundance Institute is launching Collab, a learning platform designed for emerging filmmakers which aims to help students looking to expand their community and participate in curated masterclasses. Botero tells NYFA that anyone can open an account to receive access to both free and paid content, including a robust list of resources as well as weekly events and conversations. “It is open to artists globally, which is something we’re excited about!” adds Botero.

    More information about the Documentary Film Program and how to apply to the Film Fund and Creative Labs can be found here. The New York Film Academy thanks alum Enrique Pedráza Botero for sharing his insight into his fascinating work at the Sundance Institute, and encourages all NYFA students and alumni to seek further resources like those provided at Sundance to strengthen their creative vision and storytelling skills.

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Wraps Another Successful Outreach Filmmaking Workshop with BAFTA-LA

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) is passionate and dedicated to share the love for storytelling with everyone. In our dedicated efforts to give back to the community, New York Film Academy-Los Angeles has been running a filmmaking workshop in partnership with the British Academy of Film and Television Los Angeles (BAFTA-LA) for youth in need since 2012.

    During a 9-week intensive film program focused on telling stories, students from Washington Prep High School learned the foundations of filmmaking and how to make their own short films, from A to Z. They got a chance to shoot their films on professional Hollywood sets at the Universal Studios backlot. 

    Outreach BAFTA HS 2019
    The program culminated with a graduation ceremony on May 11 at the NYFA Theater, attended by students, friends and family, BAFTA-LA members, and NYFA faculty. 

    Sharyn Ross, Head of BAFTA Outreach Program, told NYFA after the ceremony:

    “Our Saturday graduation event was a huge success. The theater was filled with student filmmakers, and their families and guests. The films were terrific and were received with enthusiasm and lots of applause and laughter. The genres ranged from comedies to heartbreak romance, from campy horror to philosophical life lessons. After the screening, each filmmaker stepped up to the mic and shared their thoughts about their experience and how important this program is to them and the kids in their community. It was heartwarming and emotional.

    “Each of you played an intricate part in making this year successful. As each filmmaker acknowledged, it was hard work and when the semester began, they didn’t know if it was possible. With each Saturday building on the last, and with the support and patience of all of you standing by them, they learned a huge life lesson—no matter how hard something is, keep putting one foot in front of the other, don’t give up, trust your gut and those you are collaborating with, and you can depend on the grownups in the room that they won’t let go—and most importantly, that their stories and lives matter.”

    Outreach BAFTA HS 2019

    Students who attended the program also spoke about their experience over the past several weeks:

    “The BAFTA/NYFA program was a great experience that helped me harness and share what I love.”
    – Alony Shell

    “Working in the BAFTA/NYFA program was fun because I went to Universal Studios and was able to direct my own movie!”
    – Makyiaha Daniel

    “The Outreach program was a wonderful opportunity that helped me experience the wonders of filmmaking.”
    – Jermaine Plum

    “The BAFTA program has had such a positive impact on me. I’ve learned so much from writing and directing to camera and editing—it’s a great program and I hope to do it again!”
    – Dovely King

    “This program benefitted me in so many ways.”
    – Emag M.

    “I’m very grateful to be a part of this program which helped me learn new skills.”
    – David O.

    New York Film Academy expresses its gratitude for the opportunity to work with so many young talented inspiring filmmakers and thanks Washington Prep High School Film teacher Darryl McCrane, Head of BAFTA Outreach Program Sharyn Ross, and to all the other dedicated BAFTA and NYFA staff members who made this program successful. Their hard work and dedication helped the participants to not only develop their craft as young storytellers through making their own films, but also supported students’ confidence and creativity. 

    NYFA looks forward to many more years of outreach partnership with the British Academy of Film and Television!

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    May 21, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Outreach • Views: 260

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Announces Matthew Modine Masters Scholarship Recipients

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    The first four recipients of the inaugural year of the prestigious New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) Matthew Modine Masters Scholarship have been announced. The grantees are Leeni Linna (MFA Filmmaking), Jose Miguel Perez-Alcazar (MFA Filmmaking), Nicholas Rosolino (MFA Acting), and Lucia Flores (MFA Documentary).

    The scholarship is sponsored by Golden Globe-winning actor and filmmaker Matthew Modine, who is a member of the New York Film Academy’s Board of Directors and a master class instructor at NYFA. He is instantly recognizable to fans of the Netflix global mega hit Stranger Things, which won the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble, and as Private Joker from the iconic film Full Metal Jacket. Called “one of the best, most adaptable film actors of his generation” by legendary New York Times film critic Vincent Canby. Modine has worked with many of the film industry’s most acclaimed directors, including Christopher Nolan, Stanley Kubrick, and Spike Lee.

    The scholarship provides financial assistance to outstanding candidates of the school’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs in select disciplines. To qualify, recipients must demonstrate the values set forth by NYFA to further the art of visual storytelling. Candidates are nominated by faculty or staff, and the chosen grantees receive $5,000-$10,000 per year based on criteria including an audition or portfolio submission, academic performance, professional experience, and participation in the arts. Up to ten scholarships are personally awarded each year by award-winning actor Matthew Modine, who recently announced his candidacy for the presidency of SAG-AFTRA. 

    Two of this year’s Matthew Modine Masters Scholarship awardees, Jose Miguel Perez-Alcazar and Lucia Flores, are attending the New York Film Academy as Fulbright Program grantees. The Fulbright Program is an international scholarship program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It awards approximately 8,000 grants annually to students, teachers, and professionals from over 160 countries. NYFA is proud to have welcomed over 60 Fulbright students from more than 35 countries to date. In addition, NYFA is privileged to have Fulbright Program alumni as part of its faculty, including NYFA Director of Fulbright Initiatives Miguel Cruz. Professor Cruz, Fulbright alum ‘05, also serves as the Vice President for the Fulbright Association Chapter of Los Angeles.

    Modine Scholarship

    From L to R: Matthew Modine, Lucia Flores]

    Jose Miguel Perez-Alcazar is a journalist and filmmaker from Madrid. In addition to being a Fulbright grantee, Perez-Alcazar is also the recipient of a very competitive talent-based grant award from the Ministry of Art & Culture of the Spanish Government. Perez-Alcazar was recommended for the scholarship program by the Fulbright Commission in Spain. He speaks four languages, and has studied in Mexico, Argentina, and Holland as well as Spain. 

    Lucia Flores is a Peruvian documentarian and activist whose work gives voice to minorities. Her latest project follows an expectant mother from the Andes, and details the indigenous people’s rituals around childbirth. Her previous work covers the relationship between the indigenous people and their land, as well as how the people of the Andean-Amazonian region adapted to climate change using traditional knowledge. For her next film project at NYFA —  while being supported by the Fulbright Program — she is teaming with fellow grantee Perez-Alcazar to tell the story of transgender women working on the Amazon River.

    Nicolas Rosolino is a seasoned stage actor with more than 15 credits to his name. His background includes leads in such major musical productions as The Pirates of Penzance, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Beauty and the Beast. The trilingual actor has trained extensively in a variety of techniques, including Stanislavski, Laban, and Grotowski. “He is not afraid to take major creative risks in his acting work,” said Charles Richter, Director of Theatre at Muhlenberg College. “He is an extraordinary talent.” 

    Leeni Linna is an Estonian filmmaker currently studying at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus, and holds both a BA and an MA in film directing from Baltic University. A recipient of the Baltic American Freedom Foundation grant, Linna has directed commercials, short films, and documentaries, and is currently working on developing her first feature film as part of her MFA experience. “I see her as being the next Kathryn Bigelow,” said NYFA Professor Miguel Cruz. “She is that talented.”

    Modine Scholarship

    From L to R: Nicholas Rosolino, Matthew Modine, Leeni Linna, Jose Miguel Perez-Alcaza

    “Filmmaking is very important for our culture and its continued development,” said Modine. “Films help us to understand each other better, often exposing us to personal fears and unpleasant superstitions toward the ‘other.’ Through a skilled storyteller’s film lens, documentaries shed light into the darkness and help make the ‘monsters’ go away. Similarly, feature films can illustrate the possible, and can open our eyes to worlds and realities beyond our own. Congratulations to all our inaugural grantees–I eagerly await the projects you will create.” 

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    May 20, 2019 • Documentary Filmmaking, Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 74

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Students Attend Tribeca Film Festival

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    Filmmaking and Documentary students from New York Film Academy (NYFA) recently had the opportunity to attend the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) in New York City. With over 100 titles, including world premieres of films by Jared Leto, Christoph Waltz, and Margot Robbie, the annual film bash rolled out the red carpet from April 24 through May 5 at venues all across Manhattan. 

    This year’s edition of Tribeca Film Festival was programmed from more than 9000 submissions and included not only fiction and nonfiction features, but also guest speaker Q&As, games, and virtual reality experiences. 

    As part of TFF’s annual Tribeca Talks, this year’s Director Series featured a stellar line-up, with conversations between groundbreaking filmmakers, actors, and industry professionals, including Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese and Academy Award-winning actor and TFF co-founder Robert De Niro. The legendary duo came together at the Beacon Theatre for an in-depth discussion on inspiration, music, childhood memories and behind-the-scenes moments. The two artists’ engaging conversation offered attendees an inside look into their celebrated careers and iconic film collaborations, from Mean Streets and Raging Bull to Goodfellas and Casino, to the upcoming The Irishman.

    Another particularly standout Tribeca Talk was between Questlove and Boots Riley, two notable artists who posses a deep understanding of their craft and continue to take risks as storytellers, both within the world of music and beyond—whether through publishing, producing, or filmmaking. These two revolutionary hip-hop artists sat down for a deep, wide-ranging conversation that covered their inspirations and major career breakthroughs as they navigated their success while staying true to their art. 

    Tribeca 2019

    Students from the NYFA Filmmaking and Documentary departments were selected to attend a conversation with Alexander Skarsgård, Nat Wolff, and director Dan Krauss, directly following a screening of The Kill Team. The feature film tells the story of a young soldier during the invasion of Afghanistan who witnesses civilians murdered under the direction of a vicious sergeant, and who finds himself trapped in a violent and vengeful platoon.

    This Tribeca Talk encouraged NYFA Filmmaking student Jianyu Li to rethink his idea of working on a war film feature without having a big budget, something he had been considering for quite some time.

    Tribeca 2019

    Last but not least, the NYFA community was given the opportunity to attend a conversation with director Dee Rees and Queen Latifah as they discussed the Queen Collective, a new film initiative aimed at curating, mentoring, and uplifting female filmmakers. The first two documentary shorts of the Collective, Ballet After Dark and If There Is Light, premiered at this year’s TFF, and up-and-coming directors B. Monét and Haley Elizabeth Anderson joined the conversation as their shorts were spotlighted. 

    Queen Latifah offered all in attendance a lesson on how to nurture talent and creativity, remarking on the importance of having a consistent attitude to uplift. “At the end of the day, it’s about women feeling good about themselves from the inside out.”

    In reflecting on her experience attending this year’s Festival, NYFA Filmmaking student Christelle Chalupa said, “The Tribeca Film Festival experience gave me a lot more courage to fight for what I want and tell good stories.”

    Under the pledge of “Great Stories are Timeless,” the Tribeca Film Festival closed their doors until next year, leaving attendees and NYFA students with the dream of being on its stage someday with their own works.

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