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  • New York Film Academy Welcomes Producer Ted Field as Guest Speaker

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) Los Angeles recently had the honor of hosting prolific producer Ted Field for a Q&A, following a screening of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. NYFA Director of the Q&A Series Tova Laiter hosted the evening.

    Currently the chairman and owner of Radar Pictures, Field has seen success in both film and music. In 1984, he founded Interscope Films, which produced hits like Cocktail, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Mr. Holland’s Opus, and more. He also founded Interscope Records, an independent record label that signed emerging artists such as Dr. Dre. Eminem, Tupac, Snoop Dogg, and others. Through his current company, Field has released hits like The Last Samurai, Spring Breakers, the Riddick franchise, and The Amityville Horror.

    Field’s first film was Revenge of the Nerds, and he and Laiter fondly reminisced about the movie. Field shared some of his struggles making the film, “…[it] still took me two years to get that film made. And I almost gave up. I was like, ‘This business is just too hard’ and I nearly quit, and all of a sudden … [Fox] greenlit the film.”

    Field also talked about his previous career as a race car driver: “If you’re thinking at 240 miles an hour about characters in your movie, it’s time to switch careers.”

    Laiter asked about the difficult things a producer has to do, including getting the rights to thought-after source material. Field dove into the topic, saying, “This business is ultimately about persuasion … you have to find a way to get to that author, tell that author how passionate you are, and how you would make it, and how you would protect his vision. Break down doors. Don’t take no for an answer … You know, the word you’ll hear most in the movie business, or the television business, is no. That’s the word. And it should not matter. By the way, you don’t get any credit for having made a lot of movies. We’ve made a lot of movies, but each one is a new series of no’s before we get a yes.”

    One student asked, “How does the development process work?” Field said that the development process is different on every film, and the one thing that almost all films have in common is they’re collaborative.

    “And, to me,” he added, “A producers not really a producer if he isn’t working on development — if he isn’t reading every draft, making comments on every draft … in the end, your responsibility as a producer is to make the best film possible.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Ted Field for taking the time to speak to our students and share his wisdom from his many years in the industry.

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    June 20, 2018 • Academic Programs, Community Highlights, Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 2591

  • Gold Dust Screening and Q&A with Cinematographer Egor Povolotskiy at New York Film Academy Los Angeles

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    Following his recent write-up as one of the Rising Stars of Cinematography in American Cinematographer magazine, New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Cinematography graduate Egor Povolotskiy returned to visit NYFA Los Angeles to present a feature film that he photographed.  

    Gold Dust is a feature-length adventure film about two treasure hunters searching for gold in the desert, who accidentally uncover a smuggling operation. Egor described it as a “family movie,” referring to both the story’s theme of friendship over material wealth, as well as the process of making the movie with a tight-knit crew that came to feel like a family by the end of the shoot.  

    Egor praised writer and director David Wall for the strong script and excellent performances in the film, and for creating an atmosphere of collaboration. Wall was also present for the screening, along with many members of the cast and crew who came out to participate in the NYFA Guest Speaker Series event.  

    Following the screening, Povolotskiy took part in a Q&A session moderated by Associate Chair of Cinematography Mike Williamson. He discussed some of the challenges of making this project on a low budget, and his desire to work quickly to maximize the time available on set. Povolotskiy offered praise for his crew, many of whom he first worked with during his time as a NYFA student, noting that he could not have achieved the look of the film without their hard work.

    He offered advice to the Cinematography students in attendance, speaking about the importance of finding good crew members and trusting them to do their work without micro-management. He also discussed some of the technical challenges of the film, including his use of classic “day-for-night” techniques for the massive night exterior scenes in the desert.

    When asking questions, many of the NYFA students in attendance raised topics like how to break into the business, what films have inspired him, and how to pick the best visual approach for a project. Povolotskiy answered their questions, and reminded the students that the cinematographer must create visuals that support the actors and the story, and not merely create pretty pictures. He discussed the importance of picking good projects with strong scripts, rather than looking for projects with big budgets.

    Since graduating, Povolotskiy has photographed eight feature films, and continues to collaborate with fellow NYFA alumni — including many producers, directors, and crew members. His films have played festivals in many countries, and have won awards such as the Festival Trophy and Audience Award for Best Short Film. In addition to working as part of these successful teams, Povolotskiy himself has collected several nominations for his work as a cinematographer. He has two wins for Best Cinematography at the Hollywood International Moving Picture Film Festival and the WIND International Film festival. He has photographed major actors including Malcolm McDowell, Chris Hemsworth, Steven Bauer, and Eric Roberts.

    Povolotskiy’s next feature film stars Taye Diggs, John Cusack and George Lopez.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Egor Povolotskiy, director David Wall, and the cast and crew of Gold Dust for sharing the evening with our student community.

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  • The New York Film Academy Welcomes Photographer Nina Berman as Guest Speaker

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    This Wednesday, Dec. 13, at 5 p.m., the New York Film Academy (NYFA) will host esteemed documentary photographer Nina Berman as a special guest in the ongoing Guest Speaker Series. Students, faculty, and alumni will gather in the main studio space in the New York City campus for this exclusive event, moderated by NYFA instructor Nancy Burson.

    “Nina Berman is regarded as a highly praised documentary image maker and educator, whose work is shown and published worldwide,” explained Nancy Burson. “We’re honored that she will be presenting her images to the photography students at NYFA.”

    Known for her arresting work in documentary photography, Nina Berman is an award-winning multimedia artist who has also created extensively as a filmmaker, author and educator. An associate professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a member of NOOR photograph/film collective based in Amsterdam, Berman turns a distinct and probing lens toward investigating American politics in contexts such as militarism, trauma and resistance. Social justice and violence — and their human toll — are eloquently explored in her imagery.

    Spc. Adam Zaremba, who lost his leg in combat Iraq, photographed at Ft. Riley Kansas at the Cavalry Museum on base. 2004

    Last month, Berman was featured in the New York Times in the article “A Photographer and Her Subject Share a Journey Over the Decades,” which spotlighted her recently published book “An Autobiography of Miss Wish.” The book chronicles Berman’s 27-year relationship with Kimberly Stevens, who has survived a life of poverty, homelessness, and sexual abuse. The book explores not only the effects of violence and trauma, but how memory of these things are treated externally. On the timely release of the book amidst a season full of headlines regarding survivors, trauma, and allegations, Berman told the Times, “Women of a certain privilege are speaking out in every industry. It is tremendously important, and hopefully people will start to understand that this is endemic.”

    Muslim Day at the Texas State Capitol draws counter demonstrators who assert that Sharia law is coming to the US and condemn Muslims refusal to “assimilate”

    “An Autobiography of Miss Wish” is one of three noted monographs Berman has published, while the others are “Purple Hearts – Back from Iraq,” and “Homeland.”
    With exhibits held worldwide at more than 100 venues — including the Whitney Museum 2010 Biennial, the Brooklyn Museum, and Dublin Contemporary — Berman will provide a truly remarkable insight into the realities of today’s documentary photography industry for NYFA Photography students. 
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    December 8, 2017 • Academic Programs, Guest Speakers, Photography • Views: 1759

  • Art Imitates Life for Horror Film Director

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    Screenwriting Chair Eric Conner with 'Smiley' Director Michael Gallagher at New York Film Academy

    Screenwriting Chair Eric Conner with ‘Smiley’ Director Michael Gallagher

    Director Michael Gallagher attended summer camps at New York Film Academy’s Universal Studios campus 3 times as a youngster. He started making short films, music videos, and documentaries while in high school. Since then, he has started a wildly popular web series called Totally Sketch, which has over 850,000 subscribers on YouTube.

    During a recent guest speaker event at New York Film Academy, Gallagher shared his recently-released horror film, Smiley, which was released in theaters nationwide. He described how his experience with internet shorts helped prepare him for his first feature length film. “Most of the sketches I shoot are like little scenes,” he said. “It was like 110 sketches in a row.” Working with a tight budget, the indie film was shot in just 15 days, and the filmmakers were shooting as many as 8 pages of the script per day. But as Gallagher puts it, “Horror movies fit the low budget. You can do a lot more with a little.”

    Gallagher cast friends and actors with large YouTube followings to help build buzz around the film. To date, the trailer has racked up over 21 million views on YouTube. At just 23 years old, his first feature length film was about to be released in AMC theaters across the nation. Things were going well until users of the website 4Chan got wind of the film’s plot.

    Gallagher said he was going for authenticity when he decided to make 4Chan users the villains of his film. In an interview with Huffington Post, he said, “I anticipated a minor backlash of people leaving harassing comments online.” But he didn’t anticipate the website’s users posting his home address, his personal information, and leaving dozens of death threats on his cell.

    After interviews with the TODAY ShowInside EditionVarietyPaste (and the FBI), 4Chan users realized they were only giving him free publicity. Just as the movie was released in theaters nationwide, the threats disappeared.

    Much to 4Chan’s chagrin, we’re happy to report the Smiley DVD is now available for pre-order.

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    December 14, 2012 • Academic Programs, Guest Speakers, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 6241