independent film

  • Producing Department Industry Speaker Series Welcomes ‘The Rider’ Producer and Sound Recordist


    On Monday, February 11, the Producing Department Industry Speaker Series welcomed producer Mollye Asher to the New York Film Academy (NYFA) for a “Conversation with” and Q&A session moderated by NYFA Producing Chair Neal Weisman, following a screening of Chloé Zhou’s The Rider. Also participating in the session was sound recordist on the film, Mike Wolf Snyder. Zhou is in post-production on Nomadland starring Academy Award winner Frances MacDormand, and is currently directing Marvel Cinematic Universe film Eternals, starring Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Salma Hayek, and Kit Harington.

    This is the second Chloé Zhou film produced by Mollye Asher. The Rider was shot over five weeks, with non-actors playing roles very much based on themselves. Writer-director Zhou spent close to two years researching the story and developing the film before the shoot. The story follows a young rodeo star recovering from a serious head injury suffered when thrown by a horse in the midst of the rodeo. 

    A good amount of the time Zhou spent researching the story was an investment in gaining the trust of the non-actor cast. The film was made mostly by a six-to-eight person crew, who also needed to gain the trust of the cast. Snyder, the sound recordist, does not like to use wireless, lavaliere microphones that can be hidden underneath an actor’s shirt. He uses a boom microphone for every shot. However, he says, he was very sensitive to not wanting to come off as intrusive towards the actors. 

    The Rider

    (from L to R): NYFA Producing Chair Neal Weisman, Producer Mollye Asher, Sound Recordist Mike Wolf Snyder

    The Rider premiered at the Directors Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was acquired for North American distribution by Sony Classics. At Cannes, Zhou also won the C.I.C.A.E. Award.

    The film has won numerous other awards, including Best Feature from the National Society of Film Critics Award, Best Picture at the Athens International Film Festival, and Best Feature at the Gotham Awards. It was also named one of the National Board of Review’s Top Ten Independent Films of 2018, and received multiple nominations at the Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Feature and Best Director.

    The team recently wrapped production on a 50-day shoot on a “below the radar” project to be announced very soon.

    New York Film Academy thanks producer Mollye Asher and sound recordist Mike Wolf Snyder for sitting down with students as part of the Producing Department Industry Speaker Series!


    February 13, 2019 • Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 2280

  • NYFA Documentary Department Presents ‘Stranger Than Fiction’

    FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailNew York Film Academy is honored to present the 2016 Winter Season of “Stranger Than Fiction.”

    Our inaugural presentation, Making a Murderer, hosted filmmakers Laura Riccardi and Moira Demos in a unique extended conversation with documentary guru, Thom Powers. The small, exclusive event was a runaway success, giving attendees an unprecedented look into the craft and creation of perhaps the biggest pop-cultural phenomenon of 2016.


    Thom Powers with Laura Riccardi

    Beyond Making a Murderer, “Stranger than Fiction” offers an iconic Tuesday night documentary series held at the IFC Center. The series functions as a key gathering spot for New York’s independent film community and a launching pad for new talent.

    Stranger Than Fiction is hosted by Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen. STF presents an eclectic mix of documentaries—sneak previews and lost classics—followed by discussions with the filmmakers and post-show receptions. Now in its eighth year, STF has fostered new talent, won loyal audiences, and provided a gathering spot for New York’s independent film community. Esteemed speakers have included Michael Moore, Ira Glass, Laurie Anderson, Jonathan Demme and Barbara Kopple.

    “Documentary filmmaking has become the field where, as the New York Times put it, ‘all the cool kids are,'” said NYFA Documentary Chair, Andrea Swift. “We believe that Toronto International Film Festival / DOC NYC programmer, Powers, has been a driving force behind that trend, and are excited to create a partnership in which our students will have the opportunity to participate closely in Powers and Raphaela Neihausen’s singular documentary series. We believe it balances perfectly our unique approach to teaching documentary filmmakers: At NYFA, students learn to make films by literally making films.

    making a murderer

    Under Power’s direction, STF’s thoughtful exploration of the form perfectly complements, NYFA’s intensive, hands-on programs, which pair rigorous instruction with mentoring in order to support students as they work on a series of their own documentaries.

    NYFA’s Documentary Filmmaking Department offers Conservatory and MFA programs, as well as equally hands-on short-term workshops. Recent graduates of NYFA’s Documentary program have garnered an Academy Award-nomination, an Emmy Award, top honors at Toronto, Sundance and other major festivals, and have excelled in creative positions with Robert Redford, VICE on HBO, Rolling Stone, VICELAND, Fusion, Wall Street Journal, and many, many others.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    March 2, 2016 • Documentary Filmmaking • Views: 3658

  • Kino Lorber Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Release Anthology of African-American Independent Cinema

    FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailPioneers of African-American cinema mockupAs we explored in depth last year, the history of African-American independent film is both extremely rich and often little understood. This year, a number of organizations are already making inroads to shining a brighter light on different boon periods and local scenes. For example, starting Friday the Film Society of Lincoln Center will kick off its series “Tell It Like It Is: Black Independents in New York, 1968 – 1986,” which is programmed by Michelle Mattere and Jake Perlin.

    An equally ambitious undertaking is currently under way over at esteemed film distributor Kino Lorber who are seeking crowdfunding support via Kickstarter to raise $35,000 to release a four-Bluray collection called “Pioneers of African-American Cinema” that will look at the years between 1914 and 1944. This was a period in which black independent film first arose in the guise of “race films,” films that starred a black cast and were funded, written, produced, directed, and distributed by such legendary filmmakers such as Oscar Micheaux, Spencer Williams, and Richard D. Maurice.

    In addition to the above names, the anthology will also showcase the work of Zora Neale Hurston and James and Eloyce Gist, whose films have been largely unseen by a modern audience. The silent films will also feature new soundtracks created by contemporary classical, hip-hop, and techno artists and curated by the anthology’s executive producer Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky. The set of films is scheduled to be released next February in time for Black History Month. To learn more about this ambitious campaign, please click here.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    February 4, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 3767