• NYFA LA Doc Chair Producing “Orchestrating Change”


    New York Film Academy Los Angeles Documentary Department Chair Barbara Multer-Wellin is producing a documentary, Orchestrating Change, on an orchestra made up of musicians with mental illness who are combating the stereotypes their illness carries. We spoke with Multer-Wellin about what drew her to this project, and what she hopes people will learn after watching.

    nyfa la doc chair

    Tell us a little bit about your film.

    The documentary is being co-produced and directed by me and Margie Friedman. We’d been friends and colleagues for a long time and were looking for a project to work on together when we heard about the work of Me2/Orchestra. Ronald Braunstein, a Juilliard-trained conductor, whose spectacular career was derailed by his diagnosis with bipolar disorder, started Me2. He and his wife, a career orchestra administrator, have created two (and soon to be more) orchestras made up of musicians with mental illness and those who support them. Their mission is to combat the kind of stigma Ronald and so many other people living with mental health diagnoses have faced.

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    Barbara Multer-Wellin, Corey, and Margie Friedman

    Most independent documentaries take a long time to produce because so few projects can obtain full financing up front. We’ve been filming Me2 for about a year now and that has given us the opportunity to document the growth of the orchestras and how much the musicians have gained from participating. Me2 is working towards a performance at a major concert hall that we hope will be the finale of the film.


    I have to thank New York Film Academy for allowing me the flexibility to shoot in Boston and Burlington, Vermont on various days over the last year. I believe our students benefit because I, like so many of our Chairs and Instructors, am able to keep making work as well as teaching.

    You can learn more about Me2/Orchestra and Multer-Wellin’s documentary, Orchestrating Change, by clicking here.


    August 12, 2016 • Community Highlights, Documentary Filmmaking, Faculty Highlights • Views: 3763

  • NYFA Explores LA Neighborhoods in New Doc-Series


    The New York Film Academy has gathered an award-winning team of industry professionals to produce a mini-documentary series about the neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Three very different people tell us their story and the story of their community. Each episode, told with cinematic flair and shot with the new Sony FS7 camera, will guide the audience on a journey to discover the authenticity and soul of each neighborhood.

    Today we shot footage of the Korean musician, SeonJoo Lee. She arrived from South Korea several years ago to attend a language school in Westwood; but three years ago began to feel homesick and moved to Koreatown, a home away from home.

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    We shot at Chapman Plaza and the City Center, both on 6th Street. We had two cameras filming in order to get the coverage we needed.

    “I’m a big fan of the new Sony FS7; it was so portable and user-friendly.” The handgrip and arm design provided DP Travis Hoffman with much support to keep the handheld camerawork steady. And he easily switched frame rates from 24fps to 48fps to 60fps.

    “The FS7 worked great on so many levels and I couldn’t be more pleased with this perfect hybrid between a great run and gun build and studio-designed camera that Sony has produced. What was great with the FS7 is we didn’t have to sacrifice image quality for speed. For this I credit the camera’s non-modular design and extendable handle with built-in record speed button, adjustable zoom, and other user-customizable functions. I was also a big fan of the EVF/flip up monitor. It had some great customizable controls and easy quick buttons to see peaking, contrast adjustment, and other user functions. The built-in ND’s up to 6 stops were very user friendly and helped me control my image quickly and efficiently. It was perfect for the times we were handheld run and gun, grabbing the life of the city but also when it came time for interviews and controlled b-roll with lighting and dolly. I was also extremely impressed with Sony’s 4k Super 35mm Single-Chip Exmor CMOS sensor. First off, the new “Slog 3” gamma space was beautiful. I usually rated the camera from 1000-2000 (depending on situation), and was amazed with the 13-14 stops I was pulling out of the image. Not only was the highlight gradation superb but the shadows felt rich and natural and I had no problem capturing noise-free night exteriors with all natural light.” – Cinematographer, Travis Hoffman

    Nick Sony

    The camera was also a perfect choice for Nick Sivakumaran, the project’s director.

    “I was able to view the footage whenever I wanted and the thumbnail menu was extremely easy to use. We also shot in some darker alleys of K-town and I was very pleased with the low light performance of this camera. And the 28-135mm zoom lens gave us so many options when framing our shots and truly helped us make our day.” – Director, Nick Sivakumaran

    Sony NYFA

    The speed, portability, and image quality were also a boon to the project’s producer, Ana Menendez.

    “We are extremely excited to be working with the new Sony FS7 camera. It is very production friendly. The footage looks incredible and it is perfect for the concept and vision of this project.” – Producer, Ana Menendez

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    July 8, 2015 • Community Highlights, Documentary Filmmaking, Filmmaking • Views: 5865

  • NYFA Among Top 5 University Fundraisers for AIDS Walk LA


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    Last year, Team NYFA sent dozens of “walkers” to the AIDS WALK and together we raised thousands for a terrific cause. Since Hollywood loves sequels, we decided to do it again! Braving the not-so-harsh October weather, Team NYFA helped show that (once a year) people really do walk in Los Angeles.

    Since its inception in 1985, AIDS Walk Los Angeles has benefited AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), a service organization dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by HIV disease, reducing the incidence of HIV infection and advocating for fair and effective HIV–related public policy.

    After receiving early morning encouragement from Lea Thompson (Back to the Future II and III) and Nick Wechsler (Revenge), all the walkers took over miles of West Hollywood streets without fear of receiving a jaywalking ticket.

    With the help of star fundraising students like Diana Perez and Katie Clem and the of course our wonderful NYFA staff, New York Film Academy is ONCE AGAIN in the AIDS Walk’s top five fundraising Universities… and rising.

    To donate to our team please visit:
    Last day to donate to our 2014 total is Friday Novmber 7 at 5pm.
    So click on over!


    November 3, 2014 • Community Highlights • Views: 4700

  • Legendary Director Peter Medak Speaks at NYFA LA

    Peter Medak

    Peter Medak and Tova Laiter

    Last week, acclaimed director, Peter Medak visited New York Film Academy Los Angeles after a screening of his 1980 horror film The Changeling at Warner Bros. Studios theater for an in-depth Q&A with Tova Laiter and students. As a first assistant director, Peter worked with legendary British film directors Sir Carol Reed, David Lean, Fred Zinneman, and Alfred Hitchcock. As director, Peter Medak’s 1972 film, The Ruling Class, starring Peter O’Toole, was nominated for an Oscar. His other works include The Krays, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg with Alan Bates, The Hunchback of Notre Dame with Mandy Patinkin and Salma Hayek, and Romeo is Bleeding with Gary Oldman, to name a few. In television he has directed episodes of iconic series such as Breaking Bad, House, The Wire, and Hannibal.

    peter medakPeter had a rocky upbringing growing up Jewish during the Nazi invasion of Hungary and the events that followed. He spent much of his childhood years inside his family’s apartment, unable to attend school because the threat World War II and the subsequent occupation of Soviet Forces posed. He would often look through the keyhole in the apartment’s door, struggling to see what little he could of the outside world. The few films Peter was exposed to were magical to him and ignited his imagination. His aunt was a world-famous traveling opera singer who visited Peter often and gave him a camera and some film as a present. Peter was hooked on filmmaking from that moment on. Later Peter and his family fled to England as refugees. His aunt was able to help him get is first filmmaking job as a trainee in an editing room. He eventually moved up the ranks to work as an assistant director. However, Peter always had ambitions to direct. His big break ironically came when he made one of the biggest mistakes of his career. Peter had failed to call an important actor to set one day. The producer was furious and made Peter admit his mistake to the director himself. Instead of firing Peter though, the director simply coached him on how he could do better next time. The director inquired about his accent and Peter informed him that he was a Hungarian refugee. Admiring his perseverance in the face of adversity the director promoted Peter the very next day to second unit director and his directing career began.

    Peter’s 1980 film The Changeling is regarded as a masterpiece in the haunted house/thriller genre. The director admitted the script gave him chills the first time he read it. He couldn’t put the screenplay down and the material actually frightened him. Peter said that a script that can affect you so profoundly is gold and you should pursue is relentlessly. Throughout his life, Peter has always had an intimate connection to the paranormal. He believes in ghosts and confesses to having seen them. Peter’s experience with the supernatural has informed his filmmaking within the subject. It’s not the ghost that you see up close, right in front of the camera that’s frightening, because it never happens that way. It’s always a glimpse of something that you catch in the corner of your eye that makes the hair on your arms stand up. To that effect, Peter suggested that to show a ghost on film you could fog up a room and wait until only ten percent of the smoke remains. It’s not the effect that’s in your face but the subtle hint of something there that’s scary.

    Peter Medak went on to entertain students with stories from his legendary career and share invaluable advice he’s gained along the way. It was a privilege for all attending to be in the presence of and learn from such a master of his craft. We look forward to seeing what this brilliant mind produces next.


    May 5, 2014 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 9506

  • Final Hours of the Imagine Film Challenge

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    The Imagine Film Challenge is in full swing. Team NYFA (aka The Broken Slates) – including over two dozen actors from NYFA – are 24 Hours away from exhibiting Deliver Us, and hopefully “delivering us” a win! NYFA and the other three schools were required to film part of their projects on the Convention floor of the Cable Show.

    In a moment of life imitating art, a potential real life protest march interfered with the Broken Slates filming their own protest march. The Convention Center is right next to the Staples Center, where the Clippers play. Right before game-time, there was supposed to be a massive protest rally against the owner of the team (in light of his recent ban from the NBA due to his racist comments). NYFA had to then scramble to find a new location to film their own protest rally, which in the end turned out to be larger than the real-life demonstration.

    The team continues to film and edit as this is written, all in preparation for tomorrow’s screening at the Convention Center. Among the judges is Rutger Hauer from Blade Runner!

    “I’m very proud of NYFA‘s team for their ambition and work ethic,” says Eric Conner. “And to all of our two dozen plus actors for being part of the project.”

    The final films will be broadcast on Shorts TV.

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    May 1, 2014 • Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5601

  • NYFA Grad Julie Pacino Launches Unofficially Unlimited


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    Former New York Film Academy student, Julie Pacino, co-founder of Poverty Row Entertainment, recently teamed up with Los Angeles based producer Chidem Alie (Samsung, BMW, Emotional Branding) to create content for brands. To kick off the launch, Poverty Row threw a party this past Friday at their NYC location in Chinatown. The celebratory event turned out to be a packed house that included actress Julia Stiles, who will star in their upcoming Mary Pickford biopic, The First.

    With over a decade of producing and branding experience working with world-class artists like David LaChapelle and brands like Puma, the new venture, Unofficially Unlimited promises cutting-edge advertising solutions for brands globally.

    Unofficially Unlimited is a creative content driven boutique that specializes in newborn brands that are just entering the realm of the living, as well as oldermore established brands that are looking for a rebirth or transformation. UU is all about smart, edgy, provocative, fresh, relevant, and artful content.

    “Our expertise is channeling your essence and delivering content that expresses the specific philosophy, feeling, allure, and authentic nature of your brand.”

    The partners at UU are collectively experienced in narrative storytelling, corporate and non-corporate advertising, high-concept events, and can function as image consultants, content producers, as well as marketing and branding specialists. Content can come in all shapes and sizes, be expressed in various mediums, and show across all platforms from theaters and television, to online channels and mobile devices, to billboards and street art.

    “The role we play within your journey is all about the needs and desires of the brand combined with a strategy that suits those specific needs.”


    April 21, 2014 • Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5882

  • MFA Cinematography Students Get Hands-On Lecture at Sony Studios


    Thanks to New York Film Academy Instructor Suki Medencevic, the January 2013 MFA Cinematography students had a rare and amazing opportunity to travel to Sony Studios where they had a seminar on Sony cameras. While at Sony, they went to the Digital Motion Picture Center (D.M.P.C.). The seminar educated students on Sony’s top of the line 4K digital cameras: the F55 and F65.

    sony-lectureAt the DMPC, the two main instructors for the seminar were Curtis Clark, an A.S.C. director of photography, and Kazuo Endo, the F65 engineer who created the camera. The first part of the seminar began with a lecture from Kazuo Endo going over the capabilities and specifications of the cameras. Following Kazuo’s lecture was Curtis Clark, who introduced the students to a universal color space reference tool called the Academy Color Encoding Specification or A.C.E.S. A decade in the making, A.C.E.S. will be the new industry standard for motion pictures and television. A.C.E.S. was created by the combined efforts of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the A.S.C.

    After Curtis taught the students about A.C.E.S., they had the opportunity to shoot two different night and day shots using the F55 and F65 on set in the sound stage of Sony. Before the test shoot, Curtis introduced everyone to an application engineer/D.I.T. by the name of Steve MacMillan, who then presented the digital workflow of the F55 and F65 using A.C.E.S. as a color reference.

    The cinematography students jumped right in to shoot their two shots showing skill, resourcefulness, leadership, and creativity that they learned from their schooling at New York Film Academy, which impressed both Curtis and Kazuo. When they were finished shooting, the footage was handed off to a colorist by the name of David Burnstein. David projected the RAW footage in 4k in the DMPC Theater where they had a color grading session with David.

    When the color grading session was over, Curtis and Kazuo gave closing remarks and thanked everyone for coming to Sony. Curtis and Kazuo also gave the students a parting gift and wished them all luck with their future projects. “The students showed considerable skill and resourcefulness in the way they approached the two scenes they shot on the DMPC set,” said Curtis. “I’m sure it reflects the high quality of instruction and training they receive from NYFA. Kazuo and I very much enjoyed having them take part in our seminar and look forward to continuing working with NYFA cinematography students in 2014.”

    Needless to say, all of the students were thrilled about their wonderful learning experience at Sony.

    If you’re interested in NYFA’s MFA Cinematography program, CLICK HERE for more information.


    December 19, 2013 • Cinematography • Views: 4987

  • On Set of ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ with NYFA’s Acting Students


    New York Film Academy Acting students recently had the rare opportunity of stepping onto one of the busiest sets in television, NCIS: Los Angeles as well as visiting their post production facilities on the Paramount Studios lot with Acting for Film Instructor, Melissa Sullivan.

    Paramount set

    Paramount set

    Our gracious host, Eric Whitmyre, Producer and head of the Editorial Department, discussed the show’s processes for each episode from production to post-production. Students got a first hand look of the editorial facilities, meeting editor Ed Sailor and the assistant editor Eric Lucas, before touring the sound stages that include a massive two-story set piece of the main headquarters in the show.

    Eric Olsen

    Eric Olsen

    Eric Christian Olsen, who plays ‘Detective Marty Deeks’ in the show, gave us a few minutes of his time and kind words about his life experiences as an actor.

    Students were also greeted whole-heartedly by LL Cool J, who plays ‘Special Agent Sam Hanna.’

    A big thanks to Eric Whitmyre and the NCIS: Los Angeles family for the visit and their time.

    -Shawn Dawes


    December 12, 2013 • Acting • Views: 10347

  • NYFA Abu Dhabi Acting Grads Selected into Dubai International Film Festival 2013


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    Congratulations to our two Emirati graduates, Ibrahim Al Khemeiri and Fatima Al Taei, who played the lead acting roles in three films were selected in the Dubai International Film Festival 2013.

    Ibrahim Al Khemeiri studied his first year at the New York Film Academy Abu Dhabi and moved to the L.A. campus for his second year to complete his Associate in Fine Art degree in Acting for Film. Ibrahim is playing one of two lead roles in the film, Sunset State, a film that was selected in the Dubai International Film Festival 2013.

    Sunset State explores the fantasies, dreams and memories of two men: an American novelist and an Emirati college student. The nostalgic tale reveals that people are not creatures of logic, but rather emotion.

    Fatima Al Taei graduated from the One Year Acting for Film at the New York Film Academy Abu Dhabi. She played the lead roles in two short films: Don’t Leave Me, directed by Khalid Al Mahmood, who received many awards on his films and 13:37, directed by Eisa Al Sabousi.
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    November 27, 2013 • Abu Dhabi, Acting, Study Abroad • Views: 6184

  • Screenwriting Workshop in LA



    On Saturday, November 16th from 9 to 12:30pm the Screenwriting Department (in L.A.) will be hosting a morning of free screenwriting workshops for any New York Film Academy student who wishes to attend. The workshop/lectures are designed to boost the story skills of students from any discipline — acting, directing, producing, etc. — and will include talks on how to build characters, story structure, log lines and pitching skills. As they say in the business, without story, you got nothing.

    We are limiting the event to 50 students, so any who wish to come must RSVP soon to reserve a seat.

    To RSVP, email:


    November 8, 2013 • Screenwriting • Views: 5510