Greta Thunberg
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  • Editor at Large for Special Projects at ‘TIME’ Paul Moakley and Magnum Photos’ Moises Saman Lead Discussion with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography Students

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    On Friday, February 7, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted, along with Magnum Photos and Mana Contemporary, Magnum Photos photographer Moises Saman and Editor at Large for Special Projects at TIME Magazine, Paul Moakley. Both presented highlights from their body of work at NYFA’s New York campus and screened TIME Magazine’s documentary short, The Capital Gazette Won’t Be Silenced 1 Year Later, which was directed and shot by Saman, and produced by Moakley.

    Moises Saman, a member of Magnum Photos, began his career at Newsday, covering the fallout of the 9/11 attacks. Throughout his career, he spent most of his time in the Middle East, shooting monumental moments of conflict like the Iraq War, the Arab Spring, and the Syrian Civil War. “As a journalist, I’m a product of the time I’m living in,” he said when asked about his professional career and motivation for visual storytelling.

    Saman opened the discussion by recounting the start of his career in the newspaper industry. “It meant working really fast,” he says, emphasizing the constant deadlines and, at times, the personal sacrifice it took to get a story out. He then went on to describe how engulfed in his work he had become as a photojournalist, being constantly on the road 12 months out of the year. That kind of dedication, however, produced his stunning photographs capturing moments in time, like an image of a boy with a hunting rifle running through a sandstorm or another image he displayed of a man taming an Arabian horse, looted from one of Saddam Hussien’s palaces in Baghdad.

    Moises Saman (Left) and Paul Moakley (Right) speak with the audience | Photo courtesy of Cecilia Collantes, Magnum Photos

    Saman also discussed developing a professional relationship with Paul Moakley. Moakley, Editor at Large for Special Projects at TIME Magazine has managed TIME’s visual coverage of breaking news, presidential elections and key franchises such as TIME’s Person of the Year and TIME 100 for the past decade. Moakley was always interested in Saman’s work, but it took both of them at least 20 years until they ended up actually working together.

    Moakley opened up to the audience about how the professional relationship between himself and Saman evolved over the years from photographer and editor to producer and director. “It is incredibly cool when we work together,” he says, “it’s not a transaction, it’s a relationship.”

    Moakley, who recently worked with climate activist Greta Thunberg for the TIME’s Person of The Year for 2020, recalled when he asked Saman to shoot the TIME Person of the Year cover for 2018. This particular assignment meant Saman having to fly 30,000 miles around the world to shoot 18 people for 4 covers. This was the year TIME profiled “The Guardians and the War on Truth,” acknowledging slain reporter Jamal Khashoggi, imprisoned reporters Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone, Rappler founder Maria Ressa, and the entire staff of the Capital Gazette.

    Saman recalls meeting each person he photographed saying, “for me, the people on these covers, especially the two women (the wives of the two imprisoned reporters), had experiences I related to. It was an intimate experience for me.”

    Moakley and Saman then screened their documentary short about The Capital Gazette reporters one year after the shooting that plagued their newsroom and took the lives of five of their colleagues. Moakley and Saman recalled that this experience, for them, required the utmost amount of trust and time to cultivate the relationship with the paper. To this day, The Capital Gazette has not let any other outlet other than TIME profile them on such a personal level.

    New York Film Academy thanks Magnum Photos, Moises Saman and Paul Moakley for taking the time to share their knowledge, expertise, and experience with students and guests of NYFA.

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    March 9, 2020 • Guest Speakers, Photography • Views: 1771

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Alum Gary Bencheghib Joins Greta Thunberg at Davos World Economic Forum

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking alum Gary Bencheghib was invited to speak at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos in January to discuss his work and the impact of climate change.

    Bencheghib joined thousands of business leaders, economists, journalists, international political figures, and more from all over the globe to discuss key issues of global concern, including the devastating effects of climate change.

    Notable activist on the topic, Greta Thunberg, was selected to speak on the issue, along with Bencheghib, who addressed climate change head on and was able to point back to his upcoming documentary, Plastic River, as well as his entire body of work—past and present—as a case study to the destructive, man-made effects to the environment.

    Back in 2009, Bencheghib, along with his brother Sam, founded Make A Change World, an organization to raise awareness for environmental pollution and sustainable waste management. Since it was founded, the platform has distributed multiple micro-docs and other projects addressing climate issues, including Bencheghib’s miniseries and NYFA thesis film, The Reclamation.

     

    Gary Bencheghib

    NYFA Alum Gary Bencheghib Speaks at Davos World Economic Forum

    “NYFA completely changed my life in giving me the best formation imaginable on the entire filmmaking spectrum—from shooting to editing and producing,” Bencheghib said about his time at the Academy.

    Among the other notable projects the Bencheghib brothers have created since Gary graduated in 2014, includes documenting themselves paddle-boarding along two of New York City’s most polluted waterways and convincing Indonesia’s President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to clean up the country’s contaminated Citarum River.

    At Davos, Bencheghib also spoke about his latest initiative from him and his brother called Sungai Watch, a platform that maps out the details of rivers in real time, allowing people to test floating trash booms for rivers and smaller trash blocks for streams throughout Bali’s waterways. “Imagine watching the cleanup of the world’s most polluted river in real time,” says Gary. This new initiative, along with the additional conversations sparked by Bencheghib and others at Davos will, hopefully, allow attendees and others throughout the world to address the innovative and urgent solutions needed to combat man-made environmental damage.

    New York Film Academy is proud to see NYFA alumni like Gary Bencheghib bring their stories to political and business leaders around the world and is excited to see the important role documentary filmmaking is taking in global conversations about the vital issues of our time.

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    February 21, 2020 • Documentary Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1199