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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Offers Support for the 10th Annual AAFCA Awards

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    On February 6, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) provided volunteers and a crew to film the 10th Annual AAFCA Awards at the Taglyan Center Complex in Hollywood.

    The African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) is a group of African-American film critics and was founded in 2003 by Gil L. Robertson IV and Shawn Edwards. The AAFCA body consists of a geographically diverse range of journalists who cover all genres of film and represent television, radio broadcast, digital media, and print. Each year it presents a variety of awards in addition to its Top Ten Films of the Year list.

    AAFCA Awards 2019

    “I have attended this celebration for many years and the AAFCA continues to excel far beyond the boundaries of mainstream television and film,” states Kimberly Ogletree, Chair of NYFA Industry Lab and Consulting Producer for the awards. “The recognitions they give to the underrepresented voice will be a testament to the longevity of this organization.”

    The Marvel blockbuster and cultural phenomenon Black Panther, directed by Ryan Coogler, was named by the AAFCA as Best Film of the Year, as well as being awarded Best Director (Coogler) and Best Song (“All The Stars”).

    Additional awards include Best Actor for John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman), Best Actress for Regina Hall (Support the Girls), Best Animated Film for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and Best TV Comedy for Insecure, the HBO series developed by and starring New York Film Academy alum Issa Rae.

    The AAFCA has also announced its annual Top Ten List of best films:

    1 Black Panther (Walt Disney Studios)
    2 If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna Pictures)
    3 The Hate U Give (20th Century Fox)
    4 A Star is Born (Warner Bros. Studios)
    5 Quincy (Netflix)
    6 Roma (Netflix)
    7 Blindspotting (Lionsgate)
    8 The Favourite (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
    9 Sorry to Bother You (Annapurna Pictures)
    10 Widows (20th Century Fox)

    “It’s been a breakthrough year in cinema on a number of fronts,” says AAFCA co-president Gil Robertson. “Most significantly, the tremendous success of Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians clearly demonstrates that films populated by people of color can perform well overseas.

    The New York Film Academy provided filming assistance and volunteers for the ceremony through its Industry Lab. The NYFA Industry Lab, founded in 2014, offers students real world experience through working on major productions for professional clients. A recent success of the NYFA Industry Lab was the internationally acclaimed short film, The Counter: 1960, which had seven Industry Lab members contribute to its production.

    Later this month, the AAFCA and NYFA Industry Lab will partner together to present a special discussion exploring the present, past, and future of Black creative excellence in Hollywood through the AAFCA’s inaugural learning lab, Celebrating Black Excellence in Cinema. The event promises to inspire fruitful dialogue and creative exchange and will feature Alana Mayo (Outlier Society). 

    “The collaboration of AAFCA with NYFA will forge a path for students and alumni to take advantage of the multitude of opportunities that AAFCA can bring to NYFA,” adds NYFA Industry Lab Chair Kimberly Ogletree. “By aligning ourselves with a proven organization such as AAFCA, we can benefit from their expertise and knowledge of servicing the community and the entertainment industry.”

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    February 12, 2019 • Industry Lab, Progressive & Social Causes • Views: 112

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Industry Lab Scores a Hit With ‘The Counter: 1960’

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    The New York Film Academy’s Industry Lab and African American Black Film Society (ABA) kicked off the first official screening of internationally acclaimed short film, The Counter: 1960. Seven Industry Lab members contributed to the making of the film, and were invited along with cast and crew to the screening. 

    The Counter: 1960 gives the account of three “woke” students from 2017 that find themselves seated at a lunch counter in 1960. Will they be served?  

    On February 1, 1960, four young educated African American men attending North Carolina A&T decided to make their mark in history. On that cold blistery day, the A&T Four — which they would soon to be named — walked to the local Woolworth lunch counter and sat down to be served. Keep in mind African Americans were able to shop in Woolworth’s but not eat there. This non-violent protest known as a “sit-in” became a common demonstration as a way to abolish segregation in eating establishments across the rural south.

    The Q&A was moderated by Chair of the Industry Lab and producer Kimberly Ogletree and ABA President Furaha Bayibsa; panelist and director Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd shared stories about the making of the film; actress/producer Ashley Jackson, daughter of civil rights activist Reverend Jessie Jackson offered advice regarding producing and acting; editor and NYFA Editing instructor Leander Sales crafted the creative techniques used in the editing process that assisted in delivering a strong well-rounded message; and actor Charles Malik Whitfield shared stories about the making of the film.

    The film has been an Official Selection in numerous film festivals, including the Jaipur International Film Festival. The US Premiere was held during the Pan African Film Festival.  Lights and cameras flashed as the producers, director, and cast walked the red carpet and spoke with media promoting the film. Producer Kimberly Ogletree said, “I’ve always supported this festival and by this being my 3rd film in PAFF this is a great night. Just being surrounded by filmmakers from the black diaspora is a humbling experience. It’s important in our history that we as African Americans control and document the true narrative of our stories for the generations to come.”

    The Bentonville Film Festival was the next stop on the festival circuit. The screening was well attended and the audience became emotional during the screening. The film was in competition with other amazing short films. Although we didn’t bring back a win, the film was part of the top five shorts in the festival. Since then, the filmmakers have been asked to submit The Counter: 1960 into the Bentonville Film Festival archives, which is paramount for the film and the New York Film Academy Industry Lab.

    The Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival awarded Best Actorin a Short Film toBuddy Lewisfor the role ofJoseph and NYC Indie Awards winner. The Counter: 1960 also won the Gold Award in the LA Shorts Awards. 

    The Official Selections continued with Garifuna Film Festival in Los Angeles and the British Urban Film Festival in London. The night was filled with British filmmakers and celebrities. The winners will be announced later in the year and will be celebrated in June 2019. 

    However, it wasn’t until the Diversity in Cannes Film Showcase that the film won for Best Cinematography and the Audience Award.  The film was placed in the Women In Formation category, which focused on strong social and political messages from a female perspective. Out of 260 official selections from 25 countries with an acceptance rate of 10%, The Counter: 1960 became an Official Selection in the 2018 showcase. Yolonda Brinkley, Creator of the Short Film Showcase, commented, “I’ve created a needed platform for underrepresented filmmakers from diverse backgrounds to showcase their stories that would normally not be seen at the Festival de Cannes.”

    As quoted from the Entertainment Sun news article “JuVee Productions’ Julius Tennon And Viola Davis Support Independent Filmmaker Initiative Promoting Diversity And Inclusion At 71st Festival de Cannes”, AJUUA Entertainment and Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis and husband Julius Tennon, President, Development and Production stated: “For the last eight years, Yolonda has been focused on shining a light on films about people of color. The curtain has been lifted, and a fresh conversation can now be had about how inclusive and diverse films travel.  A global audience awaits and is ready to be served.”

    In April 2018, director Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd won Best First Time Director in the Top Shorts Online Film Festival. It felt amazing, freeing. It felt like someone else sees what’s been burning inside me for years.  My fears were unfounded and I’m thankful I took the leap,” commented Tracy.

    Additional accolades mount as our most recent Official Selections include the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival, where the film received a standing ovation and the Bronzelens Film Festival in Atlanta, Georgia; which is forthcoming.

    The Industry Lab’s number #1 goal is to strive to make award-winning productions to further our alumni and student professional work ethic and experiences in the entertainment industry.


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    December 19, 2018 • Filmmaking, Industry Lab • Views: 679

  • “Acts of Desperation” Provides New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alumni Credit & Experience Opportunity

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailActs of DesperationThe Industry Lab of New York Film Academy-Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) has announced the completion of the feature film, Acts of Desperation, starring veteran actors Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas, The Rocketeer) and Jason Gedrick (Backdraft, Dexter.) 

    The quirky thriller was sponsored by the Academy, but involved members of NYFA community as well. Faculty members Richard Friedman (director), Leslie Bates (producer), Neil Casey (director of photography), and Toi Juan Shannon (editor) were the forces behind the film, which afforded opportunities to NYFA alumni.

    Acts of Desperation starts with a woman on a bridge, desperate and considering jumping. But the real action begins when we meet Alan Grillo, a cop on the edge, obsessed over the fact that his wife is having an affair. At the same time, he is tracking a shrewd bank robber who is falling in love with the desperate and obsessed woman whose life he saved on the bridge. As if that’s not enough, the bank robber is also being blackmailed by two unhinged street criminals who will stop at nothing to get their money. Time is running out for all of them as their worlds collide in this unpredictable and compelling thriller centering on six individuals and their treacherous “acts of desperation.”Acts of Desperation

    Shot exclusively in Los Angeles, Acts of Desperation is the first feature credit for over 20 NYFA Filmmaking alumni through Industry Lab, a program designed to facilitate such opportunities. The production companies Scars of the Mind Picture Company and UnicVisions plan to produce many more films through the NYFA Industry Lab, offering even more occasions for our alumni to receive both experience and feature credits to add to their resumes. 

    A special screening will be announced later this month.

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    October 19, 2018 • Filmmaking, Industry Lab • Views: 506

  • Platino Awards and New York Film Academy Industry Lab Collaborate on Eugenio Derbez & Rob Schneider Comedy Sketch

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailThe New York Film Academy Industry Lab participated in the production of the fifth edition of the Platino Awards, which was celebrated April 29 at Riviera Maya and broadcast to more than 60 countries. The Platino Awards have quickly become the Oscars of the Spanish and Latin-American film industry.

    The New York Film Academy team shot a comedy sketch written by and starring Eugenio Derbez (Overboard, How to Be a Latin Lover, Instructions Not Included), and Rob Schneider (Saturday Night Live, Grown Ups, Don´t Mess with the Zohan).

    The premise of the sketch was built around the clichés that Latin artists face when crossing over into the American film and television industry. Based on Derbez’s recent success in hits such as Overboard and How to be a Latin Lover, this hilarious sketch focuses on Rob Schneider wanting to cross over to the Latin market and being asked to audition by Derbez for all sorts of stereotypical characters.

    The sketch was directed by Spanish comedy director Miguel Cruz (Aída, CaigaQuienCaiga). Cruz is also a senior acting instructor for sitcoms and drama at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles campus.

    The Industry Lab was proud to offer equipment and production services for this groundbreaking sketch. NYFA Cinematography alumni Mridul Sen and Filmmaking alumni Fady Elmankabady were able to work as Gaffer and AC, under the guidance of Spanish Director of Photography Jon Aguirresarobe, son of renowned cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe (ASC).  

    The Industry Lab is a production services entity of NYFA, offering equipment and crew support for professional productions. Our Industry Lab members have excelled in all aspects of production which enables them to acquire real world experiences. 

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Rob Schneider, Eugenio Derbez, the Platino Awards, and the students of Industry Lab for putting together such an incredible event and hilarious sketch.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

  • The Greensboro Four Remembered on February One with New York Film Academy Faculty Filmmakers

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail“February One” marked the 58th Anniversary of the Greensboro Four sit-in, and the producers, director, and editor of the award-winning short film, The Counter: 1960 were invited to North Carolina A&T to participate in a commemorative celebration.

    The day culminated with a screening of the film, The Counter: 1960, produced by New York Film Academy’s Chair of the Industry Lab and Producing Instructor Kimberly Ogletree, edited by NYFA’s Leander Sales; directed by Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd, and co-produced and starring Ashley Jackson, daughter of Reverend Jessie Jackson, to commemorate the protest in 1960. The story chronicles three WOKE students who are frustrated by police killings of unarmed black youth and wanting to contribute to positive change, the students experience time travel, finding themselves seated at a lunch counter in 1960 which sparked more civil rights sit-ins across the nation. This is the first award-winning short produced through the NYFA Industry Lab.

     

    In 1960, Jim Crow was the law and segregation was enforced. The flourishing five & dime store Woolworth’s sold inexpensive merchandise to the working middle class but African Americans were only allowed to shop there. Four apoplectic college students from North Carolina A&T decided that, when it came to segregation, enough was enough.

    Committed to making a change, they walked up town and sat down at the F.W. Woolworth “whites only” lunch counter and politely asked to be served. When they were refused, these brave young men remained in their seats. This event immediately sparked national attention. The action of four courageous young men added fuel to an already burning fire, with hope that this injustice would right a wrong through a nonviolent Civil Rights protest — which was only one of many that were spreading across the rural south.

    Hundreds of students, churches, civil rights organizations and members of the community joined the six-month-long protest. And on July 25th, 1960 the Woolworth department store chain ended its policy of racial segregation in its stores across the southern United States.

    New York Film Academy digital editing instructor, Leander Sales, remembers the racial tension in North Carolina: “I grew up in this and that’s what keeps me strong and focused.”

    The anniversary celebration at North Carolina A&T began with the laying of a wreath beneath the bronze statue of the Greensboro Four: Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain (Deceased), David Richmond (Deceased) and Ezell Blair. The event was well attended by the news media, students, young children from nearby elementary schools, and community residents, all present to honor the men.

    The day continued with a packed campus auditorium celebrating the civil rights movement with a panel of A&T students discussing the state of African Americans in 2018.

    After the assembly, a march from North Carolina A&T to the F.W. Woolworth museum was organized.

    As Kimberly Ogletree commented, “This is a monumental moment in my life. As I walk the same path as the Greenboro Four walked I can feel the anxiety they must have felt, because ultimately those young men had no idea if they would leave unscathed and alive because police brutality was an everyday occurrence in the rural south.”

    Once the march arrived at the Woolworth’s, the group was taken on a tour of the museum, where they were able to see the original counter where the sit-in took place in 1960. The celebration continued as The Counter: 1960 filmmakers shared their “February One” experiences and pitched their film on the campus radio station WNAA 90.1 FM, followed by the screening of the film.

    Every seat was filled in the theater and the film was very well received. The panel discussion was educational and informative. As these men were remembered, the celebration paid homage to their sacrifice to stand, sit, kneel and march on. They will forever be remembered in history as the Greensboro Four.

    The New York Film Academy’s Industry Lab in Los Angeles, California provided production services for the short film, which is currently receiving film festival accolades worldwide.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    March 12, 2018 • Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 1376

  • NYFA Industry Lab Works with Director Ina Rose Farestad on “Stand By Her”

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailThe New York Film Academy Industry Lab shot a short film with director Ina Rose Farestad entitled “Stand by Her.” The Lab members involved were Alejandro Talens, Hans Sternward (swing gang) Gary Kent( steadi cam op), Kseniya Yorsh (producer), and Ferid Hasburn (Director of Photography).

    industry lab

    Industry Lab on set of “Stand by Her”

    Farestad’s film is about Nina — a girl who feels very lonely and rejected after she finds out that her ex-boyfriend cheated on her. When the story starts, she is sitting in a coffee shop with her best friend and having a difficult time getting over him. Her friend is a very strong and opinionated person with a more sober outlook on love than Nina. She stands up for her friend and is not afraid to say things the way they are instead of sugarcoating them. Every girl can relate to both of these characters. Being the one suffering from rejection but also the one who’s been there for your best friend.

    “I wrote this because I wanted to celebrate friendship and because I wanted to defy the notion of being ‘alone’ in society, if you don’t have a romantic partner,” said Farestad. “By the end of the short, Nina realizes that just because she doesn’t have a boyfriend it doesn’t mean she’s on her own. She has other people in her life, even strangers, that look out for her.”

    The film also deals with our tendencies as people to choose not to get involved when we see something that isn’t right. What would it be like in a world where this behavior isn’t enabled and protected? What would it be like if people stepped in? That’s what the people in the coffee shop do. They have all heard the girls talking, so when the ex-boyfriend unexpectedly shows up, they all get involved.

    “Ina Rose Farestad and I met last year on the set of a short film I was producing,” said producer Kseniya Yorsh. “She was one of our actors, and we kept in touch after that film finished. Then, earlier this year, she contacted me and mentioned she was planning to write and direct her first film in the fall. Sure enough, half a year later, I received an email from Ina saying that her script is ready and that she would like me to produce it. That was very exciting because, first of all, I love it when people say what they wish or plan to do and then circumstances align in the way that allows them to fulfill it. And secondly, the script was very good. It was funny, light-hearted, but also very sincere and personal. So I was in as soon as I read it.”

    From the aesthetic viewpoint, the film is beautiful thanks to director of photography, Dhruv Lapsia, who was able to capture the mood of the story and transmit it visually in a gorgeous way.

    “We want to honor that and the hard work of the talent and crew who brought the film to life and do a festival round for the film,” said Melinda Graves, NYFA’s Diversity and Industry Lab CoordinatorFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    December 21, 2016 • Community Highlights, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 3309

  • NYFA Industry Lab Films Snoop Dogg Concert

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    This past week New York Film Academy students had a rare opportunity to film and photograph a Snoop Dogg concert. Working alongside world famous SIR studios NYFA students were on hand for the concert, which was broadcast through the newly formed DECtv.tv. Celebrities including Omar Gooding, Ray J, and Chris Brown were in attendance.

    snoop dogg nyfa

    The opportunity was available to top-performing students involved in the Industry Lab program. Students, Nora Yesshisayan (interviewer) and Alejandro Talens (camera operator) represented NYFA with pride.

    “It’s exciting to see this kind of concert take place—an intimate look at a huge star on stage doing what he loves,” said Craig Ross, Jr., who led the NYFA Industry Lab event. “It feels like we were granted access to a day in the life of Snoop as opposed to just watching a concert.”

    snoop and friends

    (Photo by @ATurnerArchives)

    New York Film Academy would like to thank DECtv.tv and Snoop Dogg for helping students get involved in such an amazing experience.

    If you’d like to learn more about NYFA’s Industry Lab program you can click here.

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    November 22, 2016 • Community Highlights, Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 3060

  • Matthew Modine’s “Super Sex” Premieres at Tribeca

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFriend and frequent guest of the New York Film Academy, Matthew Modine premiered his short film last week at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film, Super Sex, was shot by Julio Macat and stars Kevin Nealon, Elizbeth Perkins, Efren Ramirez, Ruby Modine, and the legendary Ed Asner. Given Modine’s strong relationship and respect to the Academy and its students, he and his team crewed up with the NYFA Industry Lab—a program set up at the Los Angeles campus to provide real world experience while preparing students for life after graduation

    “It’s important to give back,” said Modine in an interview with Rafael Pi Roman from MetroFocus. “All of these experiences that we have in our life. It’s important to give people the opportunity to apprentice.”

    Several students, in fact, had the opportunity to be an apprentice to Modine and Hollywood cinematographer, Julio Macat. Evan Stulc of the Industry Lab’s camera department was brought on to be Macat’s camera assistant, giving him an amazing opportunity to work with one of the leading cinematographers in the motion picture industry. Macat has worked as cinematographer on films like Home Alone, Ace Ventura, Horrible Bosses 2, and many others.

    julio macat

    Julio Macat with NYFA Industry Lab student

    “It was a fantastic experience,” said NYFA’s Evan Stulc. “I learned so much about the craft working alongside a legend like Julio.”

    Modine and his producer, Joe Toronto, also interviewed NYFA students eager to work on the film. Toronto chose Mara Topic as an Associate Producer. Joann Wong, Alyssa Manno, Egor Povolotskiy, Aaron Pong, James Geyer, David Mori, and Nick Ramsey worked in the art, lighting, and editorial departments.

    modine nyfa

    Matthew Modine on set of “Super Sex”

    “It was wonderful working with the NYFA students,” said Toronto. “They were helpful and enthusiastic and worked hand-in-hand with experienced professionals. I feel the best way to learn a craft is by doing—and they did!”

    The film received a terrific response at the TFF, which leads us to believe we’ll be seeing Modine’s feature films in the near future.

    To watch the full interview with Matthew Modine on MetroFocus, in which he discusses his film, his upcoming projects and his work with the New York Film Academy, please click HERE.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    April 25, 2016 • Cinematography, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 19569

  • NYFA Industry Lab Creates Video for Che’Nelle’s Youtube Channel

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailChe’Nelle, a Malaysian Australian recording artist, signed with Universal Music Japan with her 2015 hit single “Fierce,” and is now giving back to the community by working with the Nashville based organization Soles4Souls. The non-profit global social enterprise is committed to fighting poverty through the collection and distribution of shoes and clothing.

    che'nelle

    Recently, the New York Film Academy’s Industry Lab filmed Che’Nelle’s charitable cause, donating from her own closet with the help of Los Angeles based celebrity stylist from NBC’s Fashion Star and Eva Longoria’s Ready for Love, Daniel Musto, a current member of E! Style Collective and the Costumer Designers Guild.

    The concept for the video was written by New York Film Academy alumnus Todd Lien and directed by alumna and Director of Les Femmes du Ciné (New York Film Academy’s Women’s Club) Mariana Thome.

    che'nelle

    Other notable crew members from New York Film Academy’s Industry Lab are alumnus producer, Davin Tjen, cinematographer Alejandro Talens, and sound mixer Steve Johnson. Along with current students, gaffer Jiaqing “Vince” Ge and sound mixer Anastasia Reinhard.

    Be on the look out for the video, which should be going live soon on Che’Nelle’s Youtube Channel.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    March 22, 2016 • Community Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 3485

  • NYFA Industry Lab Films Latrice Royale’s Music Video

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailCalifornia native, Latrice Royale, an American drag performer and reality television personality, best known for her appearances in RuPaul’s Drag Race (Season 4), RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, and RuPaul’s Drag U, filmed her latest music video, Here’s To Life in collaboration with New York Film Academy’s Industry Lab current students and alumni.

    latrice royale

    Assaad Yacoub, a recent graduate from the New York Film Academy’s MFA Filmmaking feature track, and a current industry lab member, directed the music video and is well known for working with drag performers in his short turned feature Cherry Pop.

    He is also well known for tackling social issues in his films that he made at his time at the New York Film Academy such as The Wing, which recently earned an humanitarian award for outstanding achievement from the 2015 Best Shorts Competition.

    star

    Other notable crewmembers from New York Film Academy’s Industry Lab were current students: Bogdan Yansen (DP and Editor) Vanness Hughes (1st Assistant Director), Olamide Oladimeji (Key Grip), and Joann Wong (Grip), along with alumni: Alex Lampsos (Producer), Star Li (1st Assistant Camera), Alex Tobias (Grip), and Allyson Manno (Behind-the-Scenes Photographer).Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    March 8, 2016 • Community Highlights, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 3638