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  • NYFA Broadcast Journalism Grad Covers Venice Film Festival

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    federica Soon you will be seeing Hollywood stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone on NYFA News as part of a wonderful story that recent New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism alumna Federica Polidoro produced for us at the Venice Film Festival. NYFA News is a student-produced TV news magazine in which Federica also covered two previous Venice Film Festival stories where NYFA showcased five student films.

    With the Venice Film Festival behind her, we thought we’d catch up with the Italian journalist, who is now back in her hometown of Rome working with XL La Repubblica.

    Can you tell us what drew you to the field of broadcast journalism?

    I am an entertainment journalist in Italy. I used to be a reporter for film festivals for the last 10 years, interviewing celebrities — especially directors. I began to produce videos on my own, but I wanted to refine my knowledge in this particular field and try to get some chances abroad.

    What made you decide to attend the New York Film Academy?

    Everything in Italy is very theoretical, so I needed some hands-on experience. Studying in New York was my lifetime dream. I couldn’t afford the fee, so I finally applied for a European Union scholarship and I won it.

    How would you describe your experience in the NYFA Broadcast Journalism program?

    New York Film Academy is the most wonderful academic experience I’ve ever had. In Italy, I taught Editing Technics at the Fine Art Academy, so this is an opinion also as a professor. I think NYFA is a school that you could only imagine in your dreams. The building is terrific, the equipment is tremendous, professors are incredible people and the tasks are so exciting.

    With [Broadcast Journalism Chair] Bill Einreinhofer, I found the kind of mentor that you can only get in a movie. He’s a very inspiring person, quiet yet powerful. He is a great example of an educator for me, and it was a privilege to meet him on the path of my life. His generosity and sensibility, honesty and open-mindedness, his precious advice, and his guidance are a treasure for me. He let me express my creativity by pushing the bounds of my intellectual curiosity. He gave me the self-confidence to believe that I was in the right place in the right time and that I can do it. Even if it is a school and not real life, as he reminded us often, his support meant a lot to me. His name was my first reason to opt for NYFA, and it was my best decision. My satisfaction with Bill’s appreciation of my work is priceless.

    I can sum up my feelings about the New York Film Academy with one word: happiness.

    How was your experience covering the Venice Film Festival for NYFA News?

    I worked for the biggest newspapers, magazines and platforms in Italy — especially for web content — but I could not believe I had the chance to produce something for NYFA on my own.

    What have you been working on since graduating?

    I am currently working on the second phase of the scholarship with a six months internship for the biggest Italian Newspaper, La Repubblica. I will likely continue to produce and edit video for them as a freelancer, but I am submitting some projects to show to other satellite and web channels with a more dynamic approach — a place where I can create “long-lasting” content.

    So are you working primarily in Italy now?

    I’m working in Italy, but very open to working for the US from European Festivals and for Italy / Foreign Countries from the US as entertainment content creator. I am going to launch my website with a showreel and a catalog of all my previous work. Among my interviews are artists such as Alejandro Jodorowsky, Amos Gitai, Andrei Konchalovski, Andrew Niccol, Anton Corbjn, Asghar Farhadi (Oscar®), Atom Egoyan, Charlie Kaufman (Oscar®), Ethan Hawke, François Ozon, Gabriele Salvatores, Giuseppe Tornatore, Hou Hsiao Hsien, Jeremy Irons, Jerzy Skolimoski, Kim Ki Duk, Kirill Serebrennikov, Lav Diaz, Marco Bellocchio, Mike Leigh, Olga Kurilyenko, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Valeria Golino, Wash Westmoreland, William Dafoe, Wim Wenders, Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

    Is there an assignment or story that you’re most proud of?

    My last day in Venice, after 14 interviews, my last interview was with Lav Diaz. He won the Golden Lion, so XL Repubblica got the interview ready while he was receiving the award. After Venice I interviewed the Golden Palm Winner, Ken Loach, for the Italian premier of “I, Daniel Blake.” I edited part of this work for NYFA, too.

    This season I am working on Award Season with written pieces and on editing videos on the themes of “Toys in Christmas Movies,” on Rube Goldberg machines in cartoons, and on movies set in hospitals and asylums to prepare for the release of Gore Verbinski’s “A Cure for Wellness.”

    I am managing the trip to the Cannes Film Festival and sending projects to find enough sponsors, and more than one media coverage, so that it’s useful to get more interviews and a better accreditation.

    For me it is quite easy to find a job, since I am a very hard worker, but I am looking for the kind of job and creative space where I can do something unique and personal.

    What do you hope to achieve in your career as a journalist? 

    I am a storyteller, a content creator, an investigator, a talent scout, and a wacky Italian with the obsession for weird stuff. I am a dreamer, but I am also a problem solver. There is nothing impossible for me. As a journalist I would like to express my own personality, get in depth subjects with anthropological analysis and humor, telling them with ethics and poetically. I would like to show different ways to read the contemporary phenomena delivering stories with visual appeal, originality, but simple language and profound meaning. Stories useful for the soul, pleasant for the ears, spectacular for the eyes.

    I would like to get work experience in the US for a short amount of time — maybe one year — to get in touch directly with the industry. I would like to do the job I did for the last ten years, traveling around the world looking for untold stories. I would like to be myself, but better, bigger and cooler. And maybe, once in my life, cover The Golden Globes and The Oscars.

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  • Director Alexis Sweet Holds Guest Lecture at NYFA South Beach

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    An often overlooked but crucial element in pre-production is storyboarding. Recently, the New York Film Academy South Beach invited director Alexis Sweet to the college to speak on the importance of this very topic. Sweet provided several storyboard examples from his own films and music videos, which he has been working on since 1981.

    alexis sweet

    Director Alexis Sweet at NYFA South Beach

    Sweet has worked on feature films and TV commercials as 1st Assistant Director with filmmakers such as Steven Spielberg, Hugh Hudson, Joe Pytka, John Boorman, Ridley Scott, Nick Roeg, Richard Loncraine, Spike Lee, Mike Figgis, Tsui Hark and others over the years.

    From 1995 to 2003, he made a number of wildlife documentaries in Africa for national parks and projects funded by the EU.

    By 2002 he had shot over 100 TV commercials for Italy, Romania, Germany, US, England, Kenya and the Middle East.

    In 2003, upon meeting Pietro Valsecchi, he was offered to direct two seasons of “RIS Delitti imperfetti,” an Italian television series that is currently number one in Italy and France.

    Given the fact that Sweet has such a vast background in the industry, students were able to openly ask questions and get a greater insight into the job of a director.

    The New York Film Academy South Beach would like to thank director Alexis Sweet for taking time out from his duties at the Miami Independent Film Festival to come and speak with our students.

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    June 30, 2016 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 5600

  • NYFA Welcomes Award-Winning Italian Filmmaker Nanni Moretti

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    Considered one of the most original Italian filmmakers over the past several decades, it’s hard to think of a more accomplished international guest speaker than Italian director, Nanni Moretti. In 1976, Moretti released his first feature film, Io sono un autarchico, and never looked back. From that point on, Moretti became a professional filmmaker, eventually gaining international acclaim with his film, Sogni d’oro, which won the Silver Lion at the 38th Venice International Film Festival. Moretti was also awarded for La messa è finita, which won the Silver Bear – Special Jury Prize at the 36th Berlin International Film Festival and La stanza del figlio, which won the Palme d’Or at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.

    moretti panel

    In an event moderated by NYFA President Michael Young, students from the New York Film Academy in New York were treated to a screening of his 1993 film Caro diario—which awarded Moretti with Best Director at Cannes—followed by a Q&A with Moretti. Like so many of his films and similar to Woody Allen, Moretti writes, produces, directs and stars in the semi-autobiographical film. Presented in three chapters, Moretti uses the experiences of traveling on his motor scooter, cruising with his friend around a set of remote islands in search of peace to finish his new film and consulting doctor after doctor to cure his annoying rash to cast a humorous look at his life and those around him.

    While bouncing around from doctor to doctor, Moretti eventually discovers he has a lymphatic system tumor on his lung. Based on his actual battle with the illness, Moretti told a full house of students that he only wanted to tell of his struggle if it was delivered in the appropriate tone—dry and ironic.

    nanni moretti

    Most of Moretti’s films are very personal and yet universally relatable. Admitting there’s no calculated plan to succeed in that regard, Moretti says he writes and creates films about his life, his experiences and his neuroses, each a terrific starting-point for a screenwriter staring at a blank page.

    As a kid who began making short films on Super 8, Moretti recommends the current generation of up and coming filmmakers band together with a crew and shoot on video. And while it may be enjoyable at moments to work alone, Moretti says, “In the long run, working alone can be very tiresome and boring.”

    Be sure to check out his most recent award-winning film, Mia Madre, which stars Moretti, Margherita Buy and John Turturro.

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    April 5, 2016 • Acting, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 5456

  • NYFA Student Writes and Directs Italian Web Series

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    Vera Bes

    Even though Francesco Mazza had already been writing for popular television shows in Italy, he decided to move to New York to challenge himself and become a better artist. “My interest in New York Film Academy came from the all hands-on idea,” says Mazza. “When you are in your early 30’s, you can’t afford to lose time, and at NYFA everything happens fast.”

    During Francesco’s first year in New York, he came up with the idea for a pilot and pitched it to a couple of Italian production companies. The pilot, Vera Bes, caught the interest of Matteo Scortegagna, C.E.O. of Zodiak Active Italy. From there, Francesco wrote the pilot and soon after the project was green-lit. Francesco was not meant to direct the pilot. It was only after he showed Scortegagna his NYFA first semester film, a comedy called Man-eaters, starring his fellow NYFA acting students. After viewing the short, Scortegagna hired Francesco to direct his own pilot.

    “The web-wise record-setting of $80,000 displays how important the project is for us, who strongly believe in the upcoming development of the web market,” said Scortegagna. “As we were half way through pre-production, I came to know that not only was Francesco a talented screenwriter with prestigious credits in our country, but he was also attending a one-year course in directing and filmmaking at the New York Film Academy. Therefore, I immediately offered him the directing of the pilot, a challenge that was brilliantly accomplished by Francesco last March.”

    Vera Bes is about a girl with a special power: using the mystery of “lucid dreams” leant by her grandmother, she is capable of getting into people’s dreams. In her spare time, Vera becomes a “dream consultant”- anybody affected by a recurring nightmare can come by her studio for a consultation. After investigating both in the world of dreams of the client and in reality, she climbs down the client’s unconscious to set him free from the nightmare. But Vera has a further motivation: finding and killing the evil presence who murdered her grandmother.

    “I like to think of NYFA as a toy or a musical instrument. If you apply yourself hard, you’re willing to do sacrifices, you humble yourself no matter what you did in the past and you constantly struggle to learn. And you are going to have real fun. Before studying at NYFA, I’ve always had lots of ideas, but it’s thanks to NYFA that I finally learned how to visualize and dramatize the stories I had in my mind. I would have never been able to direct a project like Vera Bes if I hadn’t had the possibility to learn the essential rules of screenwriting with Ben Maraniss or the importance of externalizing the characters’ struggle with Michael Sandoval. Not to mention all the priceless advice my directing teacher, Amos Poe, gave me throughout the year. I also fondly remember the speech [Filmmaking Chair] Claude Kerven gave us the very first day of school about the true meaning of being a filmmaker — something I’ll never forget.”

    Vera Bes is already part of the official selection for the upcoming 2014 Marseille Web Series Festival. Francesco’s goal is to create a character driven TV drama like Breaking Bad, American Horror Story, True Detective, etc. The idea of Zodiak Active is to find international production companies willing to partner up and produce an international product to be sold worldwide.

    VERA BES – Promo from Vera Bes on Vimeo.

     

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    July 30, 2014 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 4950

  • Snake Alley Film Fest Selects The Tell-Tale Heart

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    Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 12.04.32 PM

    Having been familiar with Edgar Allen Poe’s tales since his childhood in Italy, New York Film Academy Cinematography graduate, Lorenzo Artami felt The Tell-Tale Heart would be the perfect challenge for his thesis film. Now, his short film will be playing at the Snake Alley Festival of Film. Using the now rare 16mm Arri SRII provided by NYFA, Lorenzo wanted to utilize the grainy, organic look to best showcase the horror genre. A look he says was inspired by Roger Corman’s low budget horror films. “I remembered very well the feelings that the story created in me and I knew exactly what to do in order to project those feelings to the audience,” said Artami.

    Artami1After volunteering in the Italian Navy, Artami rediscovered his true passion and decided to make the big step into the film world. He came to the New York Film Academy for its hands-on accelerated curriculum. “I went there with no film experience whatsoever,” said Artami. “I never worked on any movie set, nor did I have anything to do with the industry. Yet, I found very well prepared professors who approached the students with total commitment and devotion. I loved the fact that the school provides you with the knowledge, but they leave it up to you as to how to express it during the numerous workshops and assignments outside of the classroom on the streets of New York City.”

    Lorenzo was able to collaborate on a number of student films during his time at the New York Film Academy. He was the cinematographer for Amanda Alvarez Diaz’s film, You Only Live Once, which got selected at the Memphis International Film & Music Festival this year.

     

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    May 22, 2013 • International Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 4395

  • Italian Video Competition for NYFA Florence Scholarship

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    florence-small-pixThe Italian Ministry of Education in collaboration with the New York Film Academy and Mecenate 90, announce the first edition of “La Tua Città in Primo Piano” (“Your Town Up Close”). The initiative is a video contest open to all Italian private and public high school students, in order to promote film culture, the development of new creative expressions and enhance the artistic talents of a younger generation.

    There will be two competitive sections: the first, “Nuovi registi in città” (“New Directors in the City”) addressed to individual students who will try to achieve a commercial (a video lasting a minimum of 30 seconds to a maximum of 3 minutes.) The video can be any theme, as long as it presents an important aspect of their city. The second is “Una scena per la tua città” (“A Scene For Your City”) addressed to the teachers to shoot a video with their classes. The topic of this video is an adaptation of a famous movie scene shot in Italy.

    Students can then share their videos via social media in order to get as many votes and as much exposure as possible.

    The ten videos with the most votes will be considered the finalists and a committee, consisting of representatives from NYFA and the Ministry, will select the winner. The winner will receive a scholarship for a 4 week filmmaking workshop and accommodation at the New York Film Academy in Florence. 

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    February 20, 2013 • Study Abroad • Views: 4879

  • Just To Let You Know I’m Alive

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    Italian journalist and former New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism student Emanuela Zuccalà is working on a new documentary, Just To Let You Know I’m Alive, with Italian photographer Simona Ghizzoni (recently awarded at World Press Photo.) The 25 minute documentary covers Saharawi women, both in occupied Western Sahara and refugee camps in Algeria, who have been victims of torture, illegal imprisonment, and enforced disappearances. The project has also been shortlisted at Lisbon Docs.

    We decided to focus on Saharawi women because their issue is severely under reported. Spending time with them in their houses and tents in the desert, we were astonished by a rare peculiarity of these women: being able to speak about the terrible nightmares they have lived always preserving serenity in their eyes and a sincere hope in a better future. Tearing apart any temptation of hatred or revenge.”

    In order to complete the production, Emanuela launched a crowd funding campaign on Emphasis. So far, the documentary has been covered on Italian newspapers and a Spanish magazine. The Saharawi ambassadors in Italy have publicly thanked the team for succeeding in recreating interest for their people.

    Here are links to some of these articles:

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    November 6, 2012 • Acting • Views: 6033