On Friday, March 1, the New York Film Academy hosted a screening of First Man (2018) followed by a Q&A with Academy Award-winning editor Tom Cross, moderated by NYFA Filmmaking instructor, Paul Yates.
Cross began his editing career in 1997 as an assistant editor, contributing to a number of projects including We Own the Night (2007), Crazy Heart (2009), The Switch (2010) and the Emmy Award-winning drama series, Deadwood. He came to worldwide prominence in 2015 when he won the Independent Spirit Award, BAFTA Award, and Academy Award for Best Editing for his work on the critically acclaimed film, Whiplash (2014). Cross was also nominated for an Academy Award in 2016 for the film, La La Land.
Yates opened up the Q&A by asking Cross about how he started. Cross shared that, when he was a kid, his father took him to the public library to see a screening of the 1953 French film, Le salaire de la peur (Wages of Fear); the film fascinated Cross; he noted that he was able to follow the story and the character arcs despite not knowing the language. Cross said that, from that point on, he “loved going to the movie theater and escaping.” Once he was in high school, he was able to go to video stores and rent movies that were no longer in theaters and got the chance to expand his cinematic repertoire. “That’s kind of what led me to want to try to make my own movies,” said Cross.
Yates steered the conversation to Cross’ editing process; he asked Cross what he does if he disagrees with a director’s editing idea. Cross shared that, in that instance, he waits for the director to see that an editing idea they suggested isn’t working rather than arguing against it in the moment, “I try to trust the process,” he said.
One of the students in the audience asked how Cross approached editing First Man, a film about the first moon landing in 1969, because the audience knows going in that the protagonist is going to successfully land on the moon. Cross shared that he and the director, Damien Chazelle, wanted to focus on what most people didn’t know so that it would still be a story with drama and character development; “It was about making it more personal and intimate,” said Cross.
Another student asked Cross how he approaches editing different types of stories; Cross said that what’s most important is the characters because the audience connects with them and follows their journeys. Cross said that, in Whiplash, he sought to highlight the relationship between the protagonist and his music teacher by finding the right close-ups of each actor to create a sense of tension.
The New York Film Academy would like to thank Academy Award-winner Tom Cross for sharing his industry experience and editing techniques with our students!
The New York Film Academy followed the 89th Academy Awards ever so closely last night on social media, even through the confusion. Heading into the evening, NYFA was firmly rooting for two of its alumni, Jean de Meuron and Raphaela Neihausen, both having been involved with nominated short films. Neihausen’s short documentary film, “Joe’s Violin,” which she produced, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. Alumnus Jean de Meuron was executive producer on “La femme et le TGV,” which was up for Best Live Action Short. While the former students didn’t end up winning for their respective categories, their monumental achievement speaks for itself.
Of course the most talked about moment from last night’s awards event, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, was the “Steve Harvey-like” gaffe during the Best Picture announcement. After accidentally awarding Best Picture to the movie musical, “La La Land,” the actual winner was revealed to be “Moonlight,” which iconic actor and director, Warren Beatty, clearly rectified by pointing out the winning card that was supposed to have been read.
So while that was not exactly a shining moment for the gracious team behind “La La Land,” the film still notched a record-tying 14 nominations. “Moonlight” and “Arrival” followed with a very respectable eight wins each. It should also be worth nothing that two of our teacher’s assistants from New York Film Academy South Beach, Robert Colom and Danniel Rodriguez, had the privilege of working on set of “Moonlight” as Production Assistants.
One of the more controversial topics of last year’s awards was the fact that there were no people of color nominated for an Oscar. However, this year offered the most diverse list of nominees, with a total of seven actors of color nominated — six black and one Indian. Some of the winners included Best Supporting Actor Mahershala Ali from “Moonlight,” and Best Supporting Actress Viola Davis from “Fences.”
NYFA also recognized a few of its former guest speakers like Kenneth Lonergan, who won Best Original Screenplay for his work on “Manchester by the Sea,” and Linus Sandgren, who won Best Cinematography for his capturing of “La La Land.”
Additionally, in the world of animation, “Zootopia” won Best Animated Feature Film. Last year, before the film’s release, 3D Animation students at NYFA had an inside look from “Zootopia” animator, Darrin Butters, who broke down scenes and the development process that went into the Disney film.
Finally, on a humorous note, NYFA guest speaker Seth Rogen brought us back to the future after emerging from a DeLorean with Michael J. Fox. Mr. Rogen was at NYFA Los Angeles last year to screen his R-rated animated comedy, “Sausage Party,” which was an absolute blast for those students and alumni fortunate enough to attend.
While the snafu at the end of the evening will be talked about for days to follow, the winners will always remember when they received Hollywood’s most coveted prize.
Below is a complete list of the 89th Academy Award nominees — winners are in bold:
“Hell or High Water”
“La La Land”
“Manchester by the Sea”
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Casey Affleck in “Manchester by the Sea” (WINNER)
Andrew Garfield in “Hacksaw Ridge”
Ryan Gosling in “La La Land”
Viggo Mortensen in “Captain Fantastic”
Denzel Washington in “Fences”
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Jeff Bridges in “Hell or High Water”
Mahershala Ali in “Moonlight” (WINNER)
Lucas Hedges in “Manchester by the Sea”
Dev Patel in “Lion”
Michael Shannon in “Nocturnal Animals”
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Isabelle Huppert in “Elle”
Ruth Negga in “Loving”
Natalie Portman in “Jackie”
Emma Stone in “La La Land” (WINNER)
Meryl Streep in “Florence Foster Jenkins”
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Nicole Kidman in “Lion”
Viola Davis in “Fences”
Naomie Harris in “Moonlight”
Octavia Spencer in “Hidden Figures”
Michelle Williams in “Manchester by the Sea”
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
“Kubo and the Two Strings”
“My Life as a Zucchini”
“The Red Turtle”
“La La Land” (WINNER)
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (WINNER)
“Florence Foster Jenkins”
“La La Land”
“Arrival” – Denis Villeneuve
“Hacksaw Ridge” – Mel Gibson
“La La Land” – Damien Chazelle (WINNER)
“Manchester by the Sea” – Kenneth Lonergan
“Moonlight” – Barry Jenkins
“Fire at Sea”
“I Am Not Your Negro”
“O.J.: Made in America” (WINNER)
DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)
“Watani: My Homeland”
“The White Helmets” (WINNER)
“Hacksaw Ridge” (WINNER)
“Hell or High Water”
“La La Land”
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“Land of Mine”
“A Man Called Ove”
“The Salesman” (WINNER)
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
“A Man Called Ove”
“Star Trek Beyond”
“Suicide Squad” (WINNER)
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
“La La Land” (WINNER)
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from “La La Land”
“Can’t Stop The Feeling” from “Trolls”
“City Of Stars” from “La La Land” (WINNER)
“The Empty Chair” from “Jim: The James Foley Story”
With a record number of Academy Award nominations, “La La Land” is certainly the talk-of-the-town. Recently, GQ provided a behind the scenes with “La La Land” star Ryan Gosling at a photo shoot at the Gellért Thermal Bath in Budapest.
Two New York Film Academy Documentary alumni had their hand in the video, as both Susi Dollnig and Nina Thomas work at the post-production company House of Trim, which provided the post-production for the video. Dollnig was the Colorist and Thomas was the Assistant Editor on this specific video.
House of Trim is a boutique post-production facility located in the heart of NYC. The team consists of a collective of talented editors, motion graphics artists and color graders who specialize in feature films, commercial campaigns, documentaries and branded content. Dollnig has been working at the company for about four years as a Colorist, and Thomas joined the company in October 2015 as an Assistant Editor, and recently started taking on editing jobs as well.
Both Dollnig and Thomas often does post-production work for GQ Magazine and for the Condé Nast group.
Once again the New York Film Academy was live on social media talking Golden Globes and, this year, rooting for former student Issa Rae on her nomination for Best Actress in a TV Comedy or Musical for her performance on HBO’s “Insecure,” a show she writes, produces, and acts in. While the award went to Tracee Ellis Ross for “Blackish,” we commend Issa on her tremendous success with her hit series, which began a few years back as a web-series.
With the Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon hosting the evening, there were many familiar faces on hand not only from our favorite shows and films of the year, but from former guest speakers of NYFA, including Jonah Hill who was nominated for his part in “War Dogs.”
The big winner of the evening was the musical “La La Land,” which won all seven of its nominated categories: best picture comedy/musical, lead actor honors for Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, and awards for director, screenplay, song and score. The film received a wonderful review from our newest faculty member, film critic Peter Rainer, and is considered the heavy favorite for the Academy Awards as well.
It was also a delight to watch comic actors Steve Carrell and Kristin Wiig present the award for Best Animated Feature to “Zootopia.” Last year, NYFA hosted an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the award-winning animated film with Disney animator, Darrin Butters, who has been an animator for all of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ top hits including “Big Hero 6,” “Frozen” and “Tangled.”
Perhaps one of the most talked about moments from last night was Meryl Steep’s moving speech after receiving the Cecil B. Demille award. She spoke of the talented actors and actresses she’s worked with who come from all over the world. “Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners,” Streep said after describing the diverse backgrounds of some of her acting contemporaries.
We’re very familiar with artists from all over the world, as more than 50% of NYFA’s enrollment is international. Tens of thousands of visual and performing artists from nearly 120 countries have studied at NYFA since its founding 25 years ago, including dozens of Fulbright Foreign Students. We hope to see more of our students and alumni at upcoming award ceremonies!
Below is a list of winners and nominees from the 2017 Golden Globes.
New York Film Academy students from the Los Angeles campus were treated to an early screening of the Oscar contender musical, “La La Land.”
Written and directed by Damien Chazelle (“Whiplash” and “10 Cloverfield Lane”), the film is already racking up awards including the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Film, Best Actress for Emma Stone at the Venice Film Festival, and the Audience Award at Toronto International Film Festival, which usually aligns with the Best Picture win…
“La La Land” stars screen darlings Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. The two lovers try to establish a relationship and grow their careers at the same time. Chazelle brought his college roommate, Justin Hurwitz, along to write the music. Catchy tunes like “City of Lights” and “Here’s to the One’s Who Dream” left the audience swaying.
NYFA students lined up for the exclusive event. Sarah Holmberg exclaimed, “I’ve been watching this movie as it goes from festival to festival. I’ve wanted to see it for a long time. I’m really excited.”
After the film, after wiping away a few tears, everyone was glad they attended. Miriam Sanchez said of the experience, “I’m rushing home to tell everyone to buy a ticket. This is my favorite movie of the year.”
New York Film Academy would like to thank Lionsgate for again providing this opportunity to our students.
“La La Land” opens in select theaters today, expands December 16th, and opens everywhere on Christmas Day.