filmmaking
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  • NYFA Grad Becomes First Female Native to Direct in Amazon

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    Film still_1

    Women have made leaps and bounds as filmmakers in recent years. In 2010, Katheryn Bigelow became the first female to win Best Director at the Academy Awards for her acclaimed film, Hurt Locker. Recently, New York Film Academy graduate, Darcyana Moreno Izel became the first female born in the Amazon to direct a film in the Amazon. Izel was born in Manaus, the capital of the Amazon state of Brazil. Her monumental achievement gained recognition and financial support from the Brazilian government. The film, Dark Amazon, will be premiering at the Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival on Tuesday, September 10th at 9:00pm.

    Shot in the some of the deepest parts of the Amazon, the story surrounds a research team searching for natural cures for cancer, who wind up encountering the legendary Anhangá. The supernatural creature, Anhangá is the name locals gave the spirits that roamed the earth after death, tormenting the living. The creature could take any form, but the most well known was of a deer with eyes of fire and a cross on its forehead. Darcyana gathers actual first hand documentary style interviews with some of the locals who claim to have seen the creature, giving the film a real authentic feel. She and her crew even had unexplained phenomena occur during the shoot. “The whistle that you will hear in the movie is not a sound effect but an actual whistle that we all kept hearing during the shoot, which is part of the legend of Anhangá,” says Darcyana. “The legend says that when the creature is around, you can hear this eerie whistle.”

    Darcyana hopes her filmmaker career will allow her the opportunity to show another side of Brazil to the world. In general, the Brazilian people have tremendous hope. “I’ve seen families in complete poverty that were so grateful for being together while having so little, because they always believe tomorrow things will be better.” It is that same hope that has given Darcyana the ability to see out her life-long dream of becoming a director – despite all odds.

    If you live in Brazil and share the same passion as Darcyana, The New York Film Academy wants to see you in Brazil from September 16th – October 1st! NYFA will be conducting auditions, open houses, and workshops. Please contact Jonathan Juarbe at jjuarbe@nyfa.edu for more details.

    Film still_2

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  • How Long Should a Short Film Be?

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    My September One-Year Filmmaking students are screening their thesis films this week and, once again, this issue of length has come up. Although we recommend that students keep their films to 10-15 minutes, many of my students have made films that are 20-25 minutes.

    The problem is that film festivals are inundated with hundreds, sometimes thousands of film submissions all competing for a place in, what is in all likelihood, a 2-hour program of shorts. Because festivals often have a cut off of 30-minutes for short films, few of these films get accepted. Film festivals want to help and support as many filmmakers as they possibly can, and accepting a 25-minute film into the festival means the five 5-minute filmmakers are going to be excluded.

    So, my advice to my students (and makers of short films, in general) is to keep the film as short as possible. Naturally, you have to do justice to your stories. You can’t squeeze a 30-minute story into a 10-minute package without ruining it. But there’s no question in my mind that with every minute you add to the length of your film, the odds of getting your film accepted decreases.

    Case in point: When my son Bret was 14, he took our summer program for high school students. In that program, he made 3 very short films. The first was 90 seconds, the second 2.5 minutes, and his last film 3 minutes. Although they were very well done for a first-time filmmaker, they were not brilliant. And yet he was able to get each of them into over 10 film festivals.

    Believe it or not, even a 90 second film will open doors for you. One of my son’s films, managed to get into the LA International, at which point, he was contacted by writers, composers and even agents. In fact, the agent who represents Renee Zellweger contacted him to see if he was interested in hiring Rene for his next film!  Now, clearly the agent did not know that he was dealing with a 14-year old. I imagine he (and the other agents) just download the names of the filmmakers from the festival website and start sending out email inquiries.

    So, although I understand that as you grow as a filmmaker it’s natural that you desire to make longer and longer films to demonstrate your ability to handle professional shoots, it is in your best interest to keep the running time short. Remember, festivals include your titles in the running time, so don’t put 5 minutes of credits at the end of the film. Many students are under the mistaken impression that the more names they can run past the screen at the end of their film, the more impressed the audience will be. The problem is that the audience has just seen your film and they’re only going to be as impressed as your film makes them. So keep your titles moving quickly. Just make sure they slow down when it gets to your name. After all, you’re the one you should be promoting.

    Food for thought.

    -Claude Kerven, NYFA NYC Chair of Filmmaking

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    August 26, 2013 • Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 70841

  • ‘Sun Flower’ a Festival Favorite

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    [Director's Photo 2] Sun Flower - Taeho Kang

    New York Film Academy student, Taeho Kang’s short film, Sun Flower, has gained recognition at a number of film festivals this past year. Which festivals you ask? Here are a few where Kang has screened or will be screening at soon:

    • 2013 (4th) Cincinnati Film Festival (Cincinnati, Ohio, USA)
    • 2013 (13th) Nevada City Film Festival (Nevada City, California, USA)
    • 2013 (37th) Montreal World Film Festival (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
    • 2013 (9th) Action On Film International Film Festival (Monrovia, California, USA)
    • 2013 (6th) Interrobang Film Festival – Des Moines Arts Festival (Des Moines, Iowa, USA)
    • 2013 (6th) Treasure Coast International Film Festival (Port St Lucie, Florida, USA)

    Sun Flower - Taeho Kang credits

    The sixteen minute short revolves around, Young-Hwa Kim, a single lady in her late twenties who arrives at a sanatorium five months pregnant. She does’t have any relationships with people, even with family or friends, and she does’t want to meet any new people. Also, due to motor aphasia, she has lost her speech. To sum it up, she loses her sense of reality and faith in herself. Therefore, she lives with addictive habits, and is careless and ignorant of her pregnancy before she experiences the baby move in her belly. “Sun Flower is a kind of ‘poetic narrative film,'” says Kang. “Most of the symbolism in the story is based on The Bible.”

    Kang is an MFA student, currently studying filmmaking at the New York Film Academy, Los Angeles. He says, “The hands-on experience at New York Film Academy helped me communicate with our crew to create a specific visual concept.” His next project is called Made in Trovia, which he hopes to film soon.

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    August 22, 2013 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5914

  • September One Year Filmmakers Preparing to Screen Thesis

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    Pater Familias poster

    Rasmas Roenberg’s thesis film “Pater Familias”

    This is an exciting time of year at the New York Film Academy. All of my September 1-Year filmmakers are preparing to screen their thesis films next week. 6 screenings in 4 days! It should be action packed and exhausting, but well worth the time to watch them all. You never know if one of the hard-working directors will surface with an outstanding project that will launch his or her career. Perhaps among them is the future Chris Nolan, Ang Lee or Kathryn Bigelow?

    If you’ve never been to one of our thesis screenings, it can be quite moving to see the intense bond that has formed among the students and how proud they are of themselves for having come so far in such a short period of time. It’s often amusing to remind them of their first film projects and watch them blush with embarrassment, as they recall how naïve they were when the first arrived and how much more confident and experienced they feel now – ready to take their place in the professional world of filmmaking.

    Baby Steps - Pic for Brochure

    Tomer Sinai’s thesis film “Baby Steps”

    No sooner do we say a fond farewell to those filmmakers than the new class of 1-Year students arrives, wide-eyed, fearful, and hungry for knowledge. How interesting it is to look out at the sea of fresh faces, wondering which among them will be next year’s standouts. There’s nothing like spending an entire year, nurturing and guiding these talented young minds, helping them evolve as visual storytellers. It’s a thrill awaiting the day, 1-year from now, when it will be their turn to screen their thesis films and stand upon the stage to accept their certificates in front of the adulation of a standing-room-only theater.

    Here we go!

    – Claude Kerven, NYFA NYC Filmmaking Chair

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    August 20, 2013 • Community Highlights, Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 5616

  • New York Film Academy Returns to South Africa

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    cape-town-south-africa

    Once again the New York Film Academy couldn’t resist another trip to South Africa! We are never disappointed and we’re always anxious to get back. Not to mention the overall enthusiasm South Africans have for the arts and the New York Film Academy.

    If you are interested in finding out more about NYFA or would like an audition, check below to see when we’ll be in your area.

     

    JOHANNESBURG

    Auditions for partial Talent Based Scholarship to the Acting and Musical Theatre programs

    AND

    Portfolio reviews for partial scholarship to Filmmaking, Photography, Cinematography, Documentary, Game Design, 3D Animation, Broadcast Journalism, Screenwriting, and Producing programs

    WHEN: Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

    WHERE: Johannesburg (Kempton Park)

    TIME: 13:00-15:00

    ——————-

    Open House and General Information Session for All New York Film Academy programs

    WHEN: Thursday, September 12th, 2013

    WHERE: Johannesburg (Kempton Park)

    TO RSVP: You must email southafrica@nyfa.edu 

    —————–

    CAPE TOWN

    Auditions for partial Talent Based Scholarship to the Acting and Musical Theatre programs

    AND

    New York Film Academy portfolio reviews for partial scholarship to Filmmaking, Photography, Cinematography, Documentary, Game Design, 3D Animation, Broadcast Journalism, Screenwriting, and Producing

    WHEN: Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

    WHERE: Cape Town

    TIME: 13:00-15:00
    —————–

    Open House and General Information Session for All New York Film programs

    WHEN: Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

    WHERE: Cape Town

    TO RSVP for this or any event, please email southafrica@nyfa.edu

     

    READ CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU RSVP

    1. Portfolio Reviews consist of a panel review of two pieces of creative work pertaining to your desired field of study. Reviews are for partial scholarship to our *full time Filmmaking, Photography, Cinematography, Documentary, Game Design, 3D Animation, Broadcast Journalism, Screenwriting, and Producing programs.
    2. Auditions are for partial scholarship to our *full time Acting or Musical Theatre programs.
    3. MUSICAL THEATRE AUDITION: Consists of a 60-90 second monologue from a published contemporary American play or screenplay, and two contrasting musical theatre songs with music backing.
    4. ACTING AUDITION: Consists of 2 contemporary, contrasting monologues of approximately 60- 90 seconds per monologue.
    5. Information session/Open House: A detailed overview of all the programs NYFA has to offer.
    6. *Full Time = 1 Year or longer
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    August 13, 2013 • Academic Programs, Road Show • Views: 14018

  • ‘Broken City’ Director of Photography Chats at NYFA Union Square

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    benseresin

    Last week, the New York Film Academy in Union Square hosted an exclusive Guest Speaker event with Cinematographer, Ben Seresin. Ben has been a member of the British Society of Cinematographers (BSC) since 2010, and the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) since 2011. He has worked on the films Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, World War Z, Pain & Gain, and more. With over twenty years in the business, Ben has worked with many of Hollywood’s top directors. Recently, blockbuster director, Michael Bay, has chosen to work with Ben on Transformers and Pain & Gain.

    On Wednesday, NYFA screened Ben’s film, Broken City, an action thriller starring Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe. While the movie sounds like a big Hollywood film, Ben says he had to work on a bit of a low budget. He admitted having to film major scenes in the course of a day. His goal was to shoot the noir in a contemporary way and to make New York City feel more like a home, as opposed to the glorified movie set it is so often portrayed as. Ben also noted that Russell Crowe was the most technical actor he’s ever worked with. “He had a great sense of the camera.”

    benseresin2

    One of the topics of the conversation between Ben and moderator John Loughlin was overshooting a scene, or allowing oneself to get wrapped up in the mechanics of filmmaking while on set. “Having a safe option can potentially be damaging,” said Seresin. “Compromises can be made if you over cover a scene. It can then be edited in many ways.” Ben added, “There’s a mechanical element that can distract you from film making. It’s dangerous if you get caught up in the mechanics. You lose sight of what’s really important.”

    His advice in avoiding this potentially damaging aspect of film making, “Try to stay detached. Be relaxed. Do not be stressed and trust your eyes.”

    Ben hopes to diversify his upcoming projects as he loves exploring all genres of cinema. We look forward to seeing more great work from Ben!

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    August 5, 2013 • Cinematography, Guest Speakers • Views: 7279

  • Geoffray Barbier’s Video Featured on Jay Z’s Youtube Page

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    New York Film Academy Filmmaking 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!

    fgqw_AfficheOddkaxTheVirgins_1

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    June 27, 2013 • Community Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 4676

  • Panamanian Filmmakers Breaking Barriers

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    Grupo NUR 1New 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.

     

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    June 4, 2013 • Academic Programs, Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 5194

  • NYFA Grad Knocks a Homer at Garden State Film Festival

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    Screen Shot 2013-04-26 at 11.53.50 AM

    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.

    For more information on Andrew’s projects, please visit: www.loosegravelfilms.com

     

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    April 26, 2013 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5585

  • From Saudi Arabia to Hollywood

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    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!

     

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    April 15, 2013 • Study Abroad • Views: 5426