New York Film AcademyFilmmaking Instructor, Geoffray Barbier directed a short film for Oddka about the New York City band, The Virgins, which is being featured exclusively on Jay Z’s YouTube page. In the video, the band members discuss the relief of removing themselves from a major record label and focusing on their love of the music. Be sure to check it out!
New York Film Academy would like to congratulate students from Grupo NUR, a Panamanian organization promoting arts education for hearing-impaired youth. Working in cooperation with the government of Panama, New York Film Academy hosted a group of students in a 4-Week HD Filmmaking program at the school’s Los Angeles campus. In just four weeks, students learned all aspects of filmmaking, including writing, directing, production, and editing. With the skills they learned in the workshop, the students plan to return to Panama to raise funds and shoot their first feature film.
NUR (from the Arabic word meaning “light”) supports young people with various special needs. Through classes in filmmaking, dance, art, and singing, NUR is helping them break barriers. With innovative and integrated programs, New York Film Academy is proud to support the education and training of the next generation of filmmakers with unique abilities.
Perhaps you’ve heard the tale of the legendary Babe Ruth, hitting a home run for a bedridden boy during the 1926 World Series. If you haven’t, then you may want to check out I’ll Knock a Homer for You: The Timeless Story of Johnny Sylvester and Babe Ruth. The film, directed by New York Film Academy graduate Andrew Lilley, recently won the Home Grown Award for ‘Best Documentary Feature’ at the 2013 Garden State Film Festival.
Andrew took the 12-week Digital Filmmaking course in 2008. “NYFA gave me a great learning experience in making a film – it covered a lot of bases,” said Andrew. “From the technical aspects of lighting and working the camera – to the art of storytelling and editing – to film theory and philosophical questions. These are all lessons I continue to keep from my worthwhile experience at NYFA, and they were applied in I’ll Knock a Homer for You: The Timeless Story of Johnny Sylvester and Babe Ruth.”
The young boy, Johnny Sylvester, was Andrew’s father’s uncle, so, growing up he was very familiar with the tale. “The story between the Babe and Johnny is awe-inspiring. Babe Ruth promises a sick boy that he’d knock a homer for him, and then he winds up hitting three. It was the first time three homers were ever hit in a World Series game. It is on the level of the fantastic, the surreal. There is something about stories like this that trigger an emotional response within us. I hope this film will inspire the viewer to take a chance in life and do something interesting. I took the same chance when making it.”
Andrew continues to generate buzz for the film. His story was just featured on NewJersey.com. Andrew hopes to secure a distribution agreement, as he believes the film appeals to a wide audience – young and old, baseball and non-baseball fans alike.
The New York Film Academy is listed as a recommended school by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Higher Education and it’s not surprise that we currently have students from Saudi Arabia. We had a chance to speak to some of students to get their thoughts on the New York Film Academy. See what they had to say!
NYFA Cinematography Chair John Loughlin with Adam Holender
This Tuesday, the New York Film Academy in Union Square welcomed cinematographer, Adam Holender. His most notable credit is Director of Photography on the 1969 classic, Midnight Cowboy, starring Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight. Adam suggested we screen another classic from 1971, starring the then unknown Al Pacino. The Panic in Needle Park is a stark portrayal of life among a group of heroin addicts who hang out in New York City’s “Needle Park.” The film was a part of the early 1970’s cinéma-vérité. Adam’s use of hand-held cameras, real-life urban location, sounds and lack of traditional soundtrack set the tone for a new style of realism. According to Adam, the film was shot primarily on-location in forty-three days.
Living mere blocks away from the main location of the film up on 71st and Broadway, Adam and his director, Jerry Schatzberg, spent months in New York City diligently preparing for production. “Pre-production is the most important part of the process,” said Adam.
Coming up in a time when film was meant to be gritty and real, Adam admits digital filmmaking is the obvious wave of the future. “If people have something to say, it really doesn’t matter if it’s digital or film,” admitted Adam. Though, he does feel a certain loss of intimacy between the cinematographer and the actors’ performance when shooting digitally as opposed to 35mm.
When asked by a student if he typically criticizes his films or often thinks about “going back and making changes,” Adam said, “Your work is really never finished. It’s only abandoned.” Wise words from a DP with a long and successful career in the industry.
New York Film Academy 1-Year Filmmaking graduate Natalia Chinchilla will be screening her thesis film Porcellaat Cannes Short Film Corner. The film surrounds a woman, Lucia, who has kept a secret from her husband for ten years. After the husband invites their close friend Porcella to celebrate their anniversary, Lucia builds up the courage to confess her secret and finally free herself once and for all. The title, Porcella, comes from the Italian word for “porcelain.” As Natalia says, “Porcelain can be broken at anytime and that is very symbolic to the character.”
Natalia is now working on a web series with Paola Mathé, who plays the role of Porcella in her thesis film. The series, Finding Paola, revolves around the underground movement of Latin Americans in New York City. “New York makes you grow confident as a human being,” says Natalia.
While Natalia eventually intends to move back to her hometown of Colombia, she feels her training at NYFA was necessary. “I definitely recommend the hands-on training. It’s also great to shoot films with filmmakers from many different cultures.”
Documentary graduate, Louis Mole, sits down with us to discuss his experience at the New York Film Academy.
“It is such a hands-on intensive course, and it really drills into every single aspect of the filmmaking program from directing to producing, photography, and editing.” said Louis Mole. “You come out of the program with the fundamental expertise of every single aspect of making a film – which is so unique.”
Immediately after graduating the New York Film Academy, Louis went to Singapore and worked on 2 series. One of which was Asian Swindlers, a six part series about Asian conmen, in which Louis wrote 3 episodes and oversaw the edit.
After Singapore, Louis came back to New York where he currently works for the production company behind the Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winning Documentary, The House I Live In.
With 5 years of college education and some work in television and media, Andrea Picco was looking for a school that focused on the hands-on experience and not just theory. “I first enrolled in the 4 week digital filmmaking class just to see how I would like the school and if it really was what I was looking for,” said Andrea. “The very first day we were already out shooting! Those 4 weeks were the longest of my life. I wrote, directed, casted and shot 2 short films and a short documentary. In the process, I learned everything about digital cameras, film vocabulary, menu setting, lenses, proper lighting, F-stops, etc.”
After finishing the documentary, Andrea decided to enroll in the one year documentary class. “Looking back, I know it was the right decision. New York Film Academy is a place where you can become a filmmaker within a year – if you take it seriously and work hard. It is no nonsense. The equipment they provide is great and updated. The staff is very helpful and friendly. The Head of the Documentary Department, Andrea Swift, is absolutely amazing, passionate and inspiring. We had producers, filmmakers, production companies and even Discovery Channel executives come to our classes. Our thesis editing supervisor was Bob Eisenhardt.”
While enrolled in the One Year Documentary Class, Andrea Picco knew she wanted to produce her thesis film on a story related to human trafficking. After filming a promo video for a non-profit in 2008, she met a woman who was a survivor of human trafficking. Andrea shortly became friends with the woman and was soon on her way to Ohio to film what would become her thesis film.
The Girl Next Door is a story of redemption and empowerment.”When you first hear about ‘Human Trafficking’ you usually think it only happens overseas in 3rd world countries, but we don’t usually think about American kids and teens.” The film tells the story of how Theresa survived two years of sex trafficking in the suburbs of Detroit and how she overcame her past to became an abolitionist.
Andrea’s film has been to four film festivals and has won two awards. She plans to turn her short film into a full feature. Andrea is also planning to start filming a documentary about the human trafficking business in Corona, Queens. As Andrea says, “Great stories are easy to find when you keep your heart and eyes open.”
The Italian Ministry of Education in collaboration with the New York Film Academy and Mecenate 90, announce the first edition of “La Tua Città in Primo Piano” (“Your Town Up Close”). The initiative is a video contest open to all Italian private and public high school students, in order to promote film culture, the development of new creative expressions and enhance the artistic talents of a younger generation.
There will be two competitive sections: the first, “Nuovi registi in città” (“New Directors in the City”) addressed to individual students who will try to achieve a commercial (a video lasting a minimum of 30 seconds to a maximum of 3 minutes.) The video can be any theme, as long as it presents an important aspect of their city. The second is “Una scena per la tua città” (“A Scene For Your City”) addressed to the teachers to shoot a video with their classes. The topic of this video is an adaptation of a famous movie scene shot in Italy.
Students can then share their videos via social media in order to get as many votes and as much exposure as possible.
The ten videos with the most votes will be considered the finalists and a committee, consisting of representatives from NYFA and the Ministry, will select the winner. The winner will receive a scholarship for a 4 week filmmaking workshopand accommodation at the New York Film Academy in Florence.
This Monday evening, the New York Film Academy welcomed back former 1-Year filmmaking graduate, Philip Dorling. Philip’s last visit came back in 2011 when he screened his thesis film, “Predisposed.” Since then, Philip raised funds to shoot the feature with Melissa Leo, Jesse Eisenberg, and Tracy Morgan. The film was accepted at Sundance and picked up for distruction by IFC. Along the way, the title was changed to Why Stop Now, which Philip says was the producers’ idea. Though, Eisenberg eventually came up with the wording for the title. This being one of several compromises Philip had to make in order to successfully finish his feature film. As the evening’s host, NYFA Instructor Tassos Rigopoulus puts it, “Filmmaking is all about compromises.”
Philip suggests young filmmakers take the independent route, as opposed to writing a script and trying to get it in front of a big agent or producer. “If you want to make independent films, you should try to relate to someone who can raise money,” says Philip. Ultimately, Philip was able to convince three major actors to believe in his vision and after three years of planning, the financing eventually came from BCDF Pictures. With NYFA’s intense training and busy schedule under his belt, Philip was able to pull off a twenty day shoot on a relatively small budget, especially for feature standards. And from the words of renowned film critic Roger Ebert, “Why Stop Now is a bright screwball comedy about one fraught day in the life of a piano prodigy, his crackhead mother and her drug dealers.” Not a bad critic to have on your side.
The young director is currently in the middle of raising finances for his next project, Eat My Love, which he began writing two days after Why Stop Now was completed. Not only that, Philip extended an open invitation to NYFA filmmakers and actors to be a part of his next film. He hopes to have more details in the near future.