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  • Academy Award Winner Ben Osmo is Guest Speaker at New York Film Academy Australia Gold Coast

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) Australia welcomed Academy Award winner and former NYFA Australia instructor Ben Osmo to its Gold Coast campus for an exclusive event as a part of its continuing Guest Speaker Series last month.

    Osmo received the Academy Award for his work as production sound mixer on the critically acclaimed international Blockbuster hit “Max Mad: Fury Road,” a much-anticipated reimagining of the 1980s apocalyptic action thriller directed by George Miller and starring Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy.

    The veteran sound mixer and recorder also picked up a BAFFTA Nomination and ACCTA Award for his work on “Mad Max: Road Fury,” but these recent accolades are only a small part of his impressive resume. His other credits include Hollywood Blockbuster “Alien Covenant,” directed by Ridley Scott; family features “Babe” and “Happy Feet Two”; and beloved Australian films including “Strictly Ballroom” and “Dead Calm.”

    Hosted by Deputy Chair of Filmmaking Brian Vining, the Guest Speaker event commenced with a Q&A session followed by a special screening of Osmo’s documentary on the making of the sound for “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

    NYFA Gold Coast students and staff alike were thrilled at the opportunity to delve further into the realm of sound design and editing for film, an often under-appreciated yet integral component of a great movie masterpiece.

    Students described the event as “very informative,” with September Advanced Diploma acting for film student Tommie Thomas explaining, “As an actor, you don’t realize how much collaboration goes into making a film until you are able to hear it from someone of this caliber.”

    New York Film Academy Australia prides itself in offering students the opportunity to develop their own technical and creative abilities through continued mentoring and master classes with illustrious members of the film and entertainment industry.

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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: 1434

  • NYFA Welcomes WME Talent Agent Andrew Finkelstein for Q&A

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    On Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 the New York Film Academy was excited to welcome William Morris Endeavor Entertainment Talent Agent Andrew Finkelstein to its packed Los Angeles Campus. Finkelstein represents some of the biggest names in Hollywood including Denzel Washington, Richard Gere, Lin Manuel Miranda, Barry Levinson and Michelle Rodriguez as a well as a new generation of talent including Maika Monroe (“It Follows”), John David Washington (“Ballers”), Bill Skarsgard (“IT”) and Amy Seimetz (“GFE”), and the Safdie Brothers (“Good Time”).

    Tova Laiter, Director of Guest Lecture Series for NYFA, hosted the evening and asked Finkelstein about his start in the industry. After graduating from college, Finkelstein made the trek from New York to Los Angeles and wasn’t sure where he should begin his career. Time and time again he continued to receive the same advice: “You should be working in an agency.”

    Andrew Finkelstein at NYFA LA

    He realized he should start in the mailroom of an agency with the goal of working with legendary agent, Ed Limato, for whom he eventually worked for several amazing years. It took eleven interviews but eventually, he landed the mailroom job.  “It’s hustling and networking. Even if you don’t think you know anybody, you know somebody who knows somebody. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to say yes.”

    “The importance of the mailroom is that it weeds out people with mismatched expectations”. It also taught him was who was who. He would read the hard copy of Variety between shifts and during breaks and stayed curious, an important trait to have if you want to be good at your job.

    One student asked, “What would be the best business card for an actor?”

    “The best business card is really great work,” Finkelstein responded. He gave several examples of clients who had worked from nothing to directing projects with giant budgets. For example, the Safdie brothers who directed the Cannes sensation “Good Times” had been directing short films to try and get their names out there- starting with no budget and slowly increasing them. Both “Good Times” and the “Daddy Longlegs” competed at Cannes this year.

    When a student asked how best to promote their work, Finkelstein shared the story of another client, Amy Seimetz.“If the films are great you’ll find other artists will start championing you.” Seimetz was living on a friend’s couch just a few years ago. She got some money to make a film that was entered into the South by Southwest film competition, and she was awarded the best emerging female film director and Steven Soderbergh saw it. She is now show running The Girlfriend Experience, adapted from Soderbergh’s film of the same title and is one of the most sought-after young directors in Hollywood.

    Finkelstein encouraged the students to use the New York Film Academy’s resources while they were in school, collaborate with their peers, and most of all keep producing great work. The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Finkelstein for taking the time to speak with our students.

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    October 25, 2017 • Film School, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 4628

  • NYFA Los Angeles Welcomes Viceland’s Eddie Huang as Guest Speaker

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    This month, the New York Film Academy welcomed New York Times Bestselling author (“Fresh off the Boat”), chef, designer, and producer Eddie Huang to the Los Angeles campus. The event was hosted by Q & A Director Tova Laiter, who produced “Glory” with Denzel Washington.

    Huang showed NYFA students a segment he filmed in D.C. part of a series he is producing and stars in for Viceland called “Huang’s World.”  On his show, Huang travels the world tasting unique foods from every culture.

    Huang has an incredible resume that included being a lawyer and doing stand-up comedy. He shared that he had wanted to get into film but was told no one wanted to buy Asian American stories. He was crushed, but he did not let it stop him from being an artist.

    “Americans expect us (Asian Americans) to be good at cooking and kung-fu,” Huang said. So he started cooking, but kept his focus on Asian culture when he spoke to the media. Pretty quickly he was picked up for shows like “Munchies” and “Snack-Off.”

    Laiter asked Huang how he pitched “Huang’s World” to Viceland. Essentially, he blended his frustration with not being seen with his love of food: “I told them I wanted to explore culture through food.” That was it. The show was picked up for six episodes.

    When asked how he’s been able to accomplish so much in his short life Huang said, “It’s schedule and discipline. If I wake up and I’m not on it, I get mad.”

    That attitude has permeated every aspect of his life. He has studied everything  (“its about the science of it”) from boxing to film to the difference in how his parents cooked (“mother was more focus and her food tasted better!”).

    Huang expanded upon the unique racism he has faced. In one anecdote, he shared that once he had written an article for a local paper. They liked it so much, they asked him to come in for a job. But when they saw his face they didn’t think people would be interested in talking to him. This is one example of many.

    So, Huang began working a lot of different jobs: “I didn’t know where my entry point was.”

    Huang explained that it is impossible to know where to start a career, but by being forced to start over so many times he grew into a more knowledgeable person and a stronger candidate for every job he applied for afterward.

    His final lesson: “Whatever you’re doing, do it well.”

    Huang had a lot of advice for students, including taking advantage of the library here at NYFA. “I just happened to walk into your library and you guys have a great collection. Use it!” Huang likes to go to Cinefile and watch the entire filmography of a single director. “I like seeing how they’ve progressed from start to finish.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Eddie Huang for speaking to our students. You can watch his show “Huang’s World” on Viceland.

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  • NYFA Gold Coast Hosts Q&A With Filmmaking Alumnus RK Musgrave

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    Recently, New York Film Academy Australia filmmaking alumnus RK Musgrave returned to give a Q&A at the Gold Coast campus as a part of the Guest Speaker Series.

    RK graduated from the Diploma of Filmmaking program in 2013 and has since become a working writer and director in Queensland.

    He recently wrote, directed and produced the dark comedy theatre production “The Turn of Winston Haggle,” which ran for three nights at the Gold Coast Arts Centre Independent Season. Joining RK for the Gold Coast Q&A was one of the stars of the production, NYFA Gold Coast Acting Lecturer Dean Mayer.

    Students at the Gold Coast campus were given an insight into how RK established a creative relationship with his actors and how he utilized this during rehearsals as they collaborated to develop the characters.

    RK explained to the students, “It might be my script but it becomes everyone’s to a point. I’m leading the team, but if Dean comes to me with an idea we test it out to see if it works and if it does, great, we’ll use it … you can’t have an ego about what you’re doing.”

    As an actor, Dean Mayer explained what makes a good director: “Good communication makes me strive as an actor. They have to know what they want and know how to communicate it to actors.”

    RK also informed the students the importance of networking, as well as how it’s critical to establish long-lasting relationships with both filmmakers and actors. RK stated, “I was originally reluctant towards networking but I had to change my opinion. You’ve got to network. A lot of opportunities I’ve got is through the people I’ve gotten to know … now that I’m out in the industry, I’m meeting people and it’s important to build a team you want to constantly work and bounce ideas with … that’s what Steven Spielberg did, he works with the same people.”

    RK further spoke about how he won the 2013 Script-To-Screen longline competition while he was studying at NYFA, which granted him free script coverage. RK was also the winner of the 2016 Australian Commercial Radio Awards for Best Written Commercial.

    RK is currently developing a TV series and pitching to production companies Teddy Browne and Can’t Country. He also has written a 30-minute TV pilot that has been shot with Australia actor, Damian Garvey from “The Kettering Incident,” and is now in post-production with a view to pitching ABC later in the year.

    May 2017 Acting Diploma student Joshua Mackenzie was enthusiastic about the Q&A event: “It was so amazing to hear about his process of rehearsal, working with actors and how to network and maintain working relationships with filmmakers. I learnt a lot.”

    March 2017 Filmmaking Diploma student, Phillip Paton stated, “In one word … inspiring.”


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  • NYFA Los Angeles Welcomes Kelly Fremon Craig of “The Edge of Seventeen” as Guest Speaker

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    This month, the Los Angeles campus of the New York Film Academy welcomed writer/director/ producer Kelly Fremon Craig to a Q & A following a screening of her award-winning directorial debut, “The Edge of Seventeen.”

    The film stars Hailee Steinfeld as angst riddled teen Nadine and Woody Harrelson as her down-to-Earth teacher. Also featured in “The Edge of Seventeen” is NYFA alumnus Hayden Szeto. Szeto plays Erwin, the love-struck classmate of Nadine.


    Introducing Craig was Associate Chair of Screenwriting Adam Finer. Finer brought his class after a student told him this was his favorite film of the last year. The theater was overflowing with students eager to hear the writer/director tell her success story. Director of the Q & A Series Tova Laiter hosted the evening.

    Laiter asked Craig about how she got her script into the right hands after only writing one script before that. Craig shared some advice she received in her early 20s: “If you write a really good script you can throw it over the side of a freeway in Hollywood and somebody will find it and produce it.”

    Through persistence and hard work, she landed an agent after her first script got attention — and that agent submitted her second script to legendary writer/producer James L. Brooks, who produced the project.

    Tova asked, “In what ways did Brooks influence your writing?” There were two pieces of advice Craig took to heart. While she focused on making the script funny, he told her: the most important thing you have to do is figure what out what you are saying about life. “It was such a gift to me.” Craig said. “Essentially he was asking, ‘What is the point?’”

    The second piece of advice was, “Always do research.” Craig heeded this advice and visited many local high schools to speak directly with students about their life experiences. She would be a fly on the wall of classrooms and group settings. “There are so many details you pick up there that you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.”

    One student asked, “How did you approach making both a flawed and empathetic character?”

    Craig responded, “That was always the biggest challenge. I wanted to allow her to be every shade. In those moments where she’s being a jerk, you can sympathize with her because you remember the moments of pain.” As a writer, Craig was aware of these moments. In the actual shooting of the film, she tried to keep that balance at the forefront of her mind. She would have Steinfeld do takes on a spectrum. Each take would be a little more or less than the last but would give her many options for nuances at the editing room.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Craig for taking the time to speak to our students. “The Edge of Seventeen” is available now on Blu-ray/DVD and VOD.

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  • NYFA Los Angeles Welcomes Casting Director Nancy Nayor as Guest Speaker

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    This month, New York Film Academy Summer program acting for film and filmmaking students were invited to a Q & A with casting directing extraordinaire, Nancy Nayor after watching “Before I Fall,” which she has cast. Director of the Q & A Series Tova Laiter hosted the evening.

    Nayor 001

    Nayor who served for 14 years of head of Universal Feature casting before striking on her own, is best known for her work with directors such as: Steven Spielberg Spike Lee, Ron Howard, Oliver Stone, John Hughes & Sam Raimi’s among many others.

    Her movies include the following: “Act of Valor,” “Ouija,” “Road Trip,” “The Whole Nine Yards,” “The Grudge,” “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” “When a Stranger Calls,” “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl,” “Darkman,” “Casper,” and Wes Craven’s “Scream 4.”

    Nayor gave the students a strong list of do’s and don’t within the casting room. One that surprised many students was: do not shake hands, especially during germ season. Casting directors can meet with over 40 people in a day. They cannot afford to get sick.

    The biggest tip of the night was not to be too nervous and to not over-rehearse before going into an audition so the emotions can shine through. Prepare, yes, but Nayor shared that actors are not necessarily required to be off book, and should not be nervous about every flub. Directors are looking for multiple things, such as how well an actor works with a group or their ability to improvise. But most importantly, they want to know that an actor can be human on camera.

    Laiter asked Nayor about the difference between casting for comedy and drama. Nayor mentioned several differences: “I think it’s different in the sense that there’s a comic timing. People who have it are born with it. You can develop it, but in the end, you’re either born with it or you’re not. In dramatic casting people have to really go for it. Actors really have to commit.”  

    Nayor 008

    Nayor also advised dramatic actors to stick to the script more so than comedic actors who may improvise. “When I worked on ‘21 and Over,’ people came into the audition room idolizing these two great writers from ‘The Hang Over.’ But the writers were so tired of their own words. They wanted the actors to improvise… ”

    One student asked, “How do you get discovered?” Nayor responded, “There’s no way you can be undiscovered, technically, because there’s this thing called YouTube. I’m a big believer in self-tapes, whether that’s actors and writers coming together or you writing for yourself. You don’t have to wait for permission to be creative. That project can be a calling card for you.”

    Laiter shared that some of the people who work with Spielberg, whether a composer or cinematographer, had said in NYFA Q&As that he had found them by watching movies on TV late at night, so you never know who is going to see it.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Nancy Nayor for taking the time to speak with our students. Naylor has done casting for 12 films scheduled for release in 2017 including “Delirium” and “Scorched Earth.”

     

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    July 27, 2017 • Acting, Film School, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 4184

  • NYFA New York Welcomes “The Magicians” Actress Jade Tailor as Guest Speaker

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    Actress Jade Tailor of Syfy’s fantasy series “The Magicians” received a warm welcome to NYFA New York City’s campus as a recent Guest Speaker. NYFA Acting for Film Chair Glynis Rigsby hosted the event, guiding the conversation through many inspiring stories from Tailor’s career. 

    “The big key is knowing your work so well that it doesn’t feel like work anymore,” Tailor told her audience of NYFA acting for film and musical theatre students. “Then you just get to play and enjoy it in the moment.”

    Screenshot 2017-07-07 10.03.23

    Tailor is perhaps best known for her starring turn as Kady Orloff-Diaz in “The Magicians,” but NYFA students were inspired to hear the multifaceted artist’s story. The actress pursued her childhood dream despite various obstacles, and continues to nurture a passion for using her work as a platform to benefit others.

    “I’ve always wanted to fight for people who were not privileged, who had a difficult time,” Tailor shared, “And I am blessed to have this platform, and I feel it’s my duty to utilize it in any way I can. I think that’s what the drive is, now that I have some semblance of being in the spotlight: I want to utilize that for good. And I want to do work that inspires me and inspires others.”

    Growing up in Los Angeles with a mother who had worked as an actress in the 1970s and a father who had served in the Israeli Army’s Mossad division, Tailor says her family background gave her a unique perspective and helped her prepare for the realities of the industry, with a deep appreciation for training and craft.

    “In a lot of ways those two aspects [of my parents] were a foundation of me working that hard,” Tailor explained. She learned to overcome nerves as a child in acting classes with actress Dee Wallace, of “E.T. the Extraterrestrial” fame. Upon deciding to pursue acting as an adult, Tailor candidly shared that there were years of “literally counting pennies to pay the rent,” a reality that encouraged many students to hear acknowledged by a working actor.

    “It was definitely a long arduous road,” Tailor said. “But I knew I would get there if I put everything into it.”

    The actress repeatedly emphasized the importance of developing confidence and making the decision to focus on the craft above all. She shared that this shift in mindset helped her enjoy the process and connect with her character during a pivotal audition for the producers of “True Blood,” where she went on to portray lead actor Stephen Moyer’s first victim.

    “I really let go in that room and went, who is this character, what is her intention here? And I connected to the work and who she was, and I got a call a couple of hours later that I got the job.”

    After booking “True Blood,” Tailor shared, “I was like ‘Yes I made it!’ and then I got no work. There are gonna be moments where you get this great gig and then there’s a lull for a long time.”

    She stressed the importance of “having a great team behind you” as an actor, as well as “being conscious of the fact that you are going to have to sustain” through slow seasons as well as busy seasons. Tailor’s hard work was rewarded in 2015 when she booked “Aquarius” with David Duchovny: “I’ve been lucky to work with amazing people,” she said. 

    Screenshot 2017-07-07 10.06.26

    It was while working on “Aquarius” that Executive Producer John McNamara approached Tailor about reading for a role in “The Magicians,” which turned out to be a surprising story as well. Tailor originally auditioned for the role of Margot, but producers decided the role of Kady was a better fit, a character very different from the roles Tailor had previously portrayed on television. 

    “I am so lucky to be on this amazing show that I love and that’s really fun with a great cast and crew,” Tailor said of “The Magicians.” Yet even in this busy season, the actress has her vision cast for the long term, and is working to develop projects through her own production company, Eyeris Entertainment.

    Tailor executive-produced “But I Love Him,” a film born through the actresses’ volunteer work as a domestic violence counselor. The piece dramatizes a woman’s experience through the cycle of abuse, and premiered at various festivals. “But I Love Him” is now used by various organizations as an education tool for raising awareness about domestic violence.

    Among the many nuggets of wisdom Tailor shared, she advised students to trust their own uniqueness, bring their own authenticity to each role, and build confidence through hard work. This is advice Tailor puts into practice herself. “The work is so important to me,” shared Tailor, “And I always want to do work that is meaningful and inspires me and inspires others. I think when you’re inspired yourself it’s going to read to other people and then other people are going to be inspired too.”

    When students asked about her acting technique, Jade jokes that she calls herself an “eclectic realist,” pointing to the uniqueness of each human being. “We have different things that will resonate, with some of us more so than others,” she explained. “Some people are more logical beings, some of us are more emotional beings. For me, I’m instinctively more emotional.”

    In imagining what’s next for her, Tailor shared she’d love to return to live performance. She has a passion for theatre, having sung at The Blue Note and performed in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” Of the stage, Jade says, “It’s my background and my heart, and to go back to Broadway at some point would be amazing … but to do good work that inspires people, that’s really the end goal.”

    Season 2 of “The Magicians” is now available on Netflix. The New York Film Academy would like to thank Jade Tailor for her visit in our Guest Speaker Series.

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    July 7, 2017 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 2167

  • Screenwriter Kurt Wimmer on His Love of Film

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    Director/writer/producer Kurt Wimmer speaking to students at New York Film Academy.

     

    “I live to see a good movie,” said director/writer/producer Kurt Wimmer. “When I sit down in a theater, I love it when the trailers come up. My heart starts pounding and I start tearing up.” As part of New York Film Academy’s ongoing guest speaker series, Wimmer spoke to an audience of students after a screening of his breakthrough hit film, Equilibrium, starring Christian Bale. He explained, “There’s things I want to say, and this movie is about that. It’s about the things I feel. I want you to feel that too.”

    Though he had already found considerable success as the co-writer of Sphere, and adapting Michael Crichton’s Thomas Crowne Affair, Equilibrium was Kurt Wimmer’s first major directing credit. As he said, “I was dreading the moment when someone would say, ‘Will you direct?’ I spent the entire shoot waiting for someone to tap me on my shoulder and say, ‘What are you doing here?’” He credited his crew for their support throughout the process, saying, “There are invisible hands that help you.”

    Wimmer was joined on stage by crew members, including stunt coordinator Mike Smith, editor William Yeh, producer Lucas Foster, and score producer Klaus Badelt who shared their experience working on the movie. Previous guest speaker Alan Siegel, Gerard Butler’s manager, was also in attendance. As Wimmer put it, “You meet people as you go along. Sometimes you have chemistry and sometimes you don’t. But you have to establish relationships and establish trust.”

    Kurt Wimmer is known for his star vehicle movies, such as The Recruit with Colin Farrell, Law Abiding Citizen with Gerard Butler, and Salt with Angelina Jolie. He announced that his next release, the remake of Total Recall, is scheduled for release next month. The film features a star-studded cast, including Colin Farrell, Jessica Biel, Kate Beckinsale, Ethan Hawke, and Bryan Cranston.

    Stunt coordinator Mike Smith, event moderator Tova Laiter, editor William Yeh, director Kurt Wimmer, producer Lucas Foster, and score producer Klaus Badelt

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    July 18, 2012 • Guest Speakers • Views: 9241