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  • An Unscripted Romance Between NYFA Alumni Camille Lindelien and Niels Lindelien

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    Camille Lindelien and her husband Niels Lindelien met during the Summer of 2005 at NYFA’s Los Angeles Summer Camp Program. Niels was studying Filmmaking and directing while Camille was in the Acting for Film program. 

    I spotted Niels on a balcony staring at Cahuenga Peak and felt like there was something that set him apart from the other students who were all trying hard to fit in with the L.A. ‘scene,’ shared Camille. “He was calm, casual, and in love with the mountains as much as I was.”  

    NYFA alumni Camille Lindelien and Niels Lindelien

    After multiple encounters and helping each other study for their classes at NYFA together, the two became inseparable after that, spending our time helping each other study for our NYFA classes. “We had our first kiss on Dockweiler beach, at the NYFA end of program bonfire.  When it came time to leave camp, we thought we would never see each other again because he lived in Costa Rica, and I lived in New Jersey. Our only hope was that we might be reunited in LA again because of the passion for our crafts.”

    Both Camille and Niels ended up talking on the phone every night for five hours and dating long-distance for 2.5 years. “He even helped me complete my Acting Senior thesis by coaching me across the miles in how to use Final Cut Pro, utilizing the skills we learned at NYFA!  By the time he joined me at Chapman University, we had only seen each other in person for 23 days.  We worked on film sets together in college, just like during our last week at NYFA, and then graduated and went on to work together on professional sets in LA.”

    “Even though it seems like everything went to plan for us on paper, if there was any advice that we would give to current students it’s that life doesn’t go as planned, and fighting against the flow only causes pain. Niels needed to combine both his technical and creative brain, which led him to Steadicam and Cinematography and his current career success and fulfillment.,” shared Camille. “I pursued acting and reached so many of my goals, but after I was hit by an SUV while cycling, I spent my years of recovery re-learning to walk and creating a new business in content creation for brands. I’m happier now working for myself and taking on acting and modeling projects for clients that I choose and projects that support my greater aspirations of environmental stewardship, equality, and human kindness.”

    NYFA alum Niels Lindelien

    Niels is a Cinematographer and Camera Operator specializing in Steadicam, Trinity, underwater, and drone operating. He works on shows for Netflix, Hulu, HBO, as well as feature films, commercials and music videos, such as the 2020 VMA nominated The Weeknd video “Blinding Lights.”  He was recently nominated as Best Cinematographer at the 2020 Youtube Streamy Awards for his work on Lindsey Stirling’s music videos. 

    NYFA alum Camille Lindelien

    Camille is an actress and member of SAGAFTRA, whose career spans television, feature films commercials, and music videos. In 2016 Camille married Niels on the beach where he grew up in Costa Rica, and they went on a honeymoon around the world which helped launch their travel-centric production company Couple a Wanderers Creative. Camille is the Founder and Creative Director at Couple a Wanderers Creative, which focuses on creating content for travel and adventure brands as well as tourism boards. Their production company gives Camille and Niels the opportunity to travel and work together. Camille has created content and run campaigns for Jet Blue, United Airlines, Visit Big Bear, and Cambria Tourism Board, to name a few.  

    You can follow their adventures on Instagram and check out their recently launched brand page @CoupleaWanderersCreative or view their portfolio of brand photography and videography on their website.

    NYFA thanks alumni Camille Lindelien and Niels Lindelien for sharing their unique story about NYFA bringing them together and looks forward to see what these two creatives will get up to next in their careers.

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    February 11, 2021 • Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 766

  • It’s Been a Journey for Acting for Film Alum Elsabet Ademe, But She is Just Getting Started

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    Elsabet Ademe was born in Ethiopia, and as a teenager, she embarked on the most dangerous journey of her life – traveling the treacherous smugglers’ route toward the West, living in several countries, and working in each one to save money. Her goal was to make it to the United States to pursue a career in film. Years later, Ademe is a U.S. citizen and BFA graduate from New York Film Academy with an active career in Los Angeles.

    Acting for Film Alum Elsabet Ademe

    “I had a dream of becoming an actress since I was six years old, so when I got a chance to follow my dream, I decided to go to school first,” said Ademe. “I did my research about a film school, then I came across the New York Film Academy in 2014. I took the Acting for Film 1-Year Conservatory program in New York, then I did few theaters in NYC. In 2016, I moved to LA and started the NYFA’s Acting for Film BFA program.”

    After Ademe graduated in 2018, she picked up acting, casting directing, producing, and writing projects. Her first web series pilot, The Bartender, got picked up by PAN Africa Film Festival.

    Ademe recently wrote a book called Behind Sunrise, based on true events, which is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more. The book’s synopsis reads:

    The story of the bright and positive, yet ferociously determined, Sarah Belay.

    Sarah is a sixteen-year-old Ethiopian girl with big dreams. She wants to travel to Europe to pursue the arts. However, she has a huge problem – her family is dead set against it.

    When she hears the man who drives her to school talk about human smuggling, her ears perk up. She knows what she’s going to do. Weeks later, in the dead of night, she leaves her home to embark on a journey that dramatically changes her life.

    With little information from her transporters, Sarah travels the perilous off-road paths toward Sudan in the care of suspicious and increasingly cruel men. The battle for survival brings out the worst in some, and the incredibly good in others as a bond forms between some of the travelers.

    Arriving in Sudan, Sarah finds work and saves money for what she believes is the most dangerous leg of the journey – the long trek through the Sahara Desert and into Libya. The passage, however, is a nightmare far worse than anything she could have imagined. Abandoned by the smugglers in the vast barrenness of Al Kufrah, the friends escape and hire a local Libyan smuggler to get them to Tripoli.

    Instead, he takes them to the middle of the desert and into even more life-changing dangers. Will Sarah survive the journey to reach her dreams? Or will the circumstances beyond her control destroy her?

    Ademe will appear in the short film Raine on the Run, which is slated to be released later this year and will continue to expand on her acting and writing skills for the future. “I’m Ethiopian so English is my second language and I have learned a lot to develop my writing skills, while also building a network through NYFA,” shared Ademe. “I discovered myself at NYFA and through me, I can do anything.”

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    January 14, 2021 • Acting, International Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1953

  • Cinematography Instructor Mark Sawicki Featured in ‘Deadline’ and Discusses New Book “Filming the Fantastic with Virtual Technology” Bringing Movie Magic Solutions

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    As many TV and film productions are grappling with new social distancing guidelines and reassessing working with extras for crowd scenes, New York Film Academy Cinematography instructor for NYFA’s Los Angeles campus, Mark Sawicki, says VFX is here to help.

    Sawicki is a Clio-winning VFX and opticals artist, who has worked on incredible titles from The Dark Knight Rises and Bullet to the Head, to Tropic Thunder, 3:10 to Yuma and X-Men, among several others. Recently featured in Deadline, Sawicki shared how productions will increasingly begin to look to VFX to solve the challenging situations for making safer productions and creating scenes with crowds where multiple extras on set are typically needed.  

    Courtesy of Mark Sawicki

    Using examples from titles like Casanova, Dracula, Gladiator, Pan Am, the Lord of The Rings trilogy, and more, Sawicki explains different VFX and even practical effects that can make movie magic for keeping sets safer. He also elaborated that background actors are still integral to filmmaking, but safety will need to take precedent. “I think background actors are very important. You know, this is a moving target as we’re adapting.”

    Sawicki is the co-author with Juniko Moody of the recently released book Filming the Fantastic With Virtual Technology: Filmmaking on the Digital Backlot. Like his interview with Deadline explains, Sawicki and Moody outline some of the most ambitious evolutions in digital effects in filmmaking and the new and exciting developments in digital cinematography with their new book, ultimately providing solutions for how VFX can help solve many of the challenges arising as crews look to return to work on COVID-safe sets.

    To read the full article on Deadline, click here. Sawicki’s book has recently been released and is now available on Amazon and Kindle. 

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    November 11, 2020 • 3D Animation, Cinematography, Entertainment News, Faculty Highlights • Views: 948

  • NYFA Los Angeles Cinematography Students Adapt to New Hybrid Model in Creative Stage Lighting Workshop

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    As the COVID-19 pandemic lingers, New York Film Academy continues to show how its adapting to delivering an applied arts education. The Cinematography department on the Los Angeles campus has taken an updated approach to the “Stage Lighting Workshop” course using practical components integrated with remote instruction.

    Production design instructor Francis Pezza created a set for a modern urban apartment to be built on Stage 5 at TBS Studios (former home of NBC), down the hall from the famous soundstage where Johnny Carson hosted The Tonight Show.

    The apartment design features a spacious floor plan that incorporates a living room, kitchen, and bedroom. The layout allows students a great degree of flexibility in designing shots and creating a variety of lighting schemes. Additionally, the set features a large window that looks out onto a 50-foot translight backing of the New York City skyline. The backing can be lit for either day or night, and allows the Cinematography students to incorporate a greater sense of depth and dimension in their photography.

    Following the set build, department chair Anthony Richmond ASC, BSC and Cinematography instructor Jacek Laskus, ASC, PSC began their workshops with the MFA and One-Year Cinematography students. Each student is instructed to choose a reference image, which will first be analyzed by the class, and then used as inspiration in creating a new shot and lighting setup.

    The instructors and the students worked remotely, relaying their instructions to a group of TA’s on set, who followed the students’ directions, placing and shaping the lights as instructed, and executing the cinematographer’s vision for the shot. The students were encouraged to incorporate camera movement into their visual design, utilizing the available space to best effect.

    Throughout the workshop, the students learned new techniques for lighting, shot design, and moving the camera. This hybrid model of remote instruction with practical elements proved successful in delivering the goals of the workshop.

    Reflecting on the class, Richmond said:

    “I was pleased with the success of this workshop. Working remotely proved very effective. I was with the students on Zoom, where we could all see each other, and the image from the Red camera as the students lit the set. We had additional cameras showing us what was happening on set, including a bird’s eye view of the entire stage. The crew worked well together, and the students were able to accomplish many unique shots.”

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  • NYFA Los Angeles Holds Virtual Graduation Celebration for Summer 2020 Graduates

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    On September 12, NYFA’s Los Angeles campus of the New York Film Academy saw 238 students turn into graduates as they held a virtual commencement ceremony for former NYFA students to collect their degrees and officially becoming alumni of NYFA.

    Director, producer and screenwriter Bill Duke recorded a special message to NYFA students encouraging them to use this unique time in history to use their gifts and work together as a community after graduation. NYFA Los Angeles also introduced its first student speaker Maya Maria Riquelme Balmaceda (MFA Filmmaking), who addressed her peers on this milestone achievement. Students also were shown a graduation video that was streamed during the ceremony.

    Graduating Class of 2020

    1-Year Acting for Film
    Ugwumsinachi Adeife Adeniran, Kimberly Campbell, Leticia Carminati, Caleb Jon Robert Cash, Giovanna de Oliveira Carvalho, Tyler Erart Ebanks, Taiga Hironaka, Neha  Jauhar, Kunyarat Karnchanasej, Melisa Lopez, Dylan Marcus Lorenzo, Luca Marcelino, Astrid Nutta Lilli Morberg, Maria Alejandra Ordonez Ramirez, Bruna G Portugal Martins, Maria Fernanda Rico Sapien, Kassandra Valenzuela, Anuschka van Lent, America Vasquez, Matthew Martin Vey, Braxton DeMarco Wells, Spencer Whitlock, Giovanna Xavier

    1-Year Photography
    Daniel John Phillips, Alejandra Andrea Sone

    1-Year Animation
    Shaela Payne

    1-Year Cinematography
    Omkar Avinash Gharat, Gaurav Hemant Jain, Jianyu Li, Piyush Thoravat

    1-Year Filmmaking
    Jason Aguirre, Mohamed Alsalman, Rodrigo Gomez, Albina Kim, Eva Zehan Liu, Joshua Long-Ellis, Chit Ho Ng, Christopher Perez, Roy Shellef – Sleptzoff, Daniel Karl Martin Sundler, Joshua Michael Wallace, Wanqi Zhang

    1-Year Producing
    Olga Beres, Sara Bothe, Fangda Du, Kexian Li, Rinati Rokach, Sai Praseedha Uppalapati

    1-Year Screenwriting
    Marika Anna Lena Folkesson, Madhav Goyal, Islambek Kaliyekov, Thomas Ralf Kirschner, William Mellon, Gabriela Ono, Mercedes Shaw, Alejandra Toledano

    AFA Acting for Film
    Shuting Li, Kalen Blaine Massengill, Padge James Mattaliano,  Ryan A. Payne, Jarren Terrell Weaver

    BFA Acting for Film
    Nellie Bislamyan, Tullia Ferraro, Megan Elizabeth Galloway, Leonid V. Formaziuk, Kayla Greyling, Tyler Hampton, Lara Heine, Marina Kofman, Xinyao Huang, Dannae Hunter, Cody Mango, Allyson Ledford, Ju Li, Ruiqi Liu, Alexandra Victoria Moreno-Banovich, Laura Pannier, Megan Perreault, Sara Sedran, Haoning Yang, Nestor Jairo Sierra, Shelby Sporl, Alexandra Stepanova, Yunxi Zhang, Alexandra Maria Roth-Rosenthal, Joshua Samuel Flashman, Farida Mohamed Abdel Meguid Mohamed Abdel Aziz, Ahsan Siddiqui,

    BFA Filmmaking
    Matthew DiGiaimo, Friedrich Frauendorf, Leandro Gualdi Farina, Shiyin Nan, Ainur Abilkaiyr, Joshua Adeyeye, Selbi Jumayeva, Ting Jiang, Anton Kristensen, Natalie Pluto, Gabriel Ramirez, Avery Stanislaw, Hyejin Sunwoo, Torey Thompson, Nicolo Azzaro,  Brett Cameron Belanger, Dexter Brown, Yili Cai, Ricardo Castillo, Shuqin Chen, Iván Colón Arroyo, Drake Dalgleish, Linyi Lan, Destinee Easley, Alexander K. Figueroa Hooper, Elisa Fowler, Carol-Lyn Garcia,  Jaquelin Garza, Maria Valentina Gomez, Brian Grobmeier, Sohail Sanjeev Grover, Praveen Gunasekaran, Sean Hale, Yuduan He, Walter Hermosa Jr., Haowen Hsu, Hei Long Hung, Jin Jia, Roujun Lu, Kristina Kim, Brendan Kimmet, Brendan Miske, Jihyeon Lee, Kaiyi Niu, Yuen Yan Leung, Jordan Lewin, Ashton Arthur Shemet, Javier Lopez, Yutong Zhu, Bin Luo, William Giminaro, Saumya Mohta, Valeriya Mashynets, Seojin Park, Dominique Pembleton, Bryce Powell, Mia Redwine, Pablo Sanchez, Wiktoria, Wozniak, Rui Yao, Zizhao Yu, Yue Yu, Changyi Yu, Yunfei Zhou

    BFA Screenwriting
    Jonathan Cribas, Andria Dawson, Sharon Lovell, Douglas Rich, Lana van Beek

    BFA Game Design
    Jason Khoury, Perry Sharp

    BFA Photography
    Onyenaturuchi Joeann Ogbonnaya

    MFA Animation
    Kaiyuan Zhou

    MFA Cinematography
    Zijian Han, Zixun  Jin, Zhuangzi Liu, Jiayi Sun, Darko Mohammed, Mayur Patankar, Nishanth Shri Shiva Prabakaran, Yaxu  Xing, Mervyn Titus, Oskar Urbaniak, Juan Valencia IV, Meng Zhang

    MA Film and Media Production
    Ruijing Chen, Harsh Bhatia, Byrrh Barry Lovon Bryant, Xinqi Guo, Joseph Deeks, Tian Lan, Siyu Song, Sneha Sunil Menon, Jingnan Yang, Imani Williams-Sparks, Jing-Hsuan Wu, Hanxiao Zhang, Siming Zhu

    MA Producing
    Muyin Tang, Noemi Durivou, Katchusca Gonzales Lopes, Xuejiao (Scorpio) Liu, Valeriia Nikulina, Ramona Pojoga, Paphitchaya Suesat, Zhirui Wang, King Wong, Yiming Zhao

    MFA Documentary Filmmaking
    Kari McGuire, Khalila Yuniarto Suprapto

    MFA Filmmaking
    Jessica Ackerson, Eric Alt, Yufan Chai, Linzhou Dai, Wanxin Ding, Nanshan Guo, Mohamed Hammad, Xiaotian Hou, Tianqi Ji, Jason Jones, Shelby Jones, Kai Shiuan Lai, Songhuan Li,  Haocheng Li, Zhengda Lyu, Yuan Ma, LaDerrian Meredith, Jenny Mochahari, Amy Nigro, Maya Maria Riquelme Balmaceda, Meng Chan Sam, Yimeng Shao, Filippos Tsapekis, Guan Chen Wang, Yinyue Wang, Yuanhua Wang, Yukun Xing, Kunqi Yang, Yi Yang, Ainamkoz Yemzharova, Hengrui Zhang, Haoxian Zhu

    MFA Screenwriting
    Arthur Boiron, Kurt Devonshire, Selena Fitzgerald, Pierre Gilson, Katherine Gregory, Damilola Ketiku, Alexandra Talavera Mendez

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    September 17, 2020 • Community Highlights, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 398

  • NYFA 2020 Summer Teen Camps for Asia Went Virtual and Stayed Interactive

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    This year, New York Film Academy’s top-ranked summer camps went virtual and campers in countries across Asia had the opportunity to make films, learn to act, and create animations under the umbrella of knowledgeable Los Angeles campus instructors who have worked in the industry for years, in interactive live classes, from the comfort of their home!

    Campers finished hands-on projects, and socialized (virtually) with their fellow campers. In addition, NYFA’s camps team had designed after-class social activities that would occur two to three times per week to allow campers to get to know one another and just have some fun!

    NYFA’s unique Filmmaking, Acting, and 3D Animation teen courses have become a dynamic new standard in visual and performing arts distance education. During the summer of 2020, more than 40 students from China, Japan, Singapore, India and so on attended the teen camps online offered from NYFA’s Los Angeles campus, located in the heart of Hollywood.

    At their home, the campers could shoot, participate, and edit in film, acting, or animation projects using their smartphones and laptops. Students screened or displayed their final works at NYFA’s virtual graduation ceremony at the end of each program, varying from one to four weeks, along with popcorn at home and a virtual gathering of friends and family members.

    NYFA Summer Camps 2019 (On Campus)

    Danny, a camper in China, share: “I wanted to say it was one of the best experiences of my life. You run such an awesome program and I am so grateful that I got to experience this summer program at home. I would like to experience NYFA’s in-person programs soon.”

    To learn more about future programs for China or Asia time zones, please click here to learn more about our summer camp programs or contact us through WeChat: nyfabeijing
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    August 19, 2020 • China, Summer Camps • Views: 741

  • NYFA Los Angeles Instructor Colette Freedman Works on Steve Aoki’s Highly Anticipated Mozart-Inspired Musical ‘Mozart²’

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    At New York Film Academy, our instructors are working industry professionals who are constantly creating and pushing the boundaries in their industries. For NYFA Los Angeles Playwright and Features instructor Colette Freedman, she is doing just that, having recently worked as the script doctor on Steve Aoki’s highly anticipated musical Mozart² and continuing her work as a writer and an actress.

    Freedman recalls jumping into her acting and writing career after experiencing an “ah-ha moment” in a theatre company while on a play reading committee. “I was reading a script and I realized ‘I can do better’.” 

    NYFA instructor Colette Freedman

    Freedman then wrote the First to the Egg, which won a slew of awards. She also wrote the play Sister Cities, which has been produced all over the world and made into a novel and a Netflix film adaption in which Freedman also acted alongside Michelle Trachtenberg and Troian Bellisario

    ‘Serial Killer Barbie’ (Written by Colette Freedman)

    Freedman’s favorite projects she’s written include her dark comedy Serial Killer Barbie with Nickella Moschetti and another recent project with Freedman’s writing partner, Brooke Purdy, called The Last Bookstore, which gained great critical acclaim and is even receiving some film interest. 

    For the highly anticipated Mozart², Freedman shares that the process was quite collaborative when working with Steve Aoki and the entire team to bring this story to the stage. We [Freedman and Tegan Summer] write the libretto and original songs alongside composer Gregory Nabours. Steve [Aoki] and his team would then select the EDM numbers that work best for the moments we define in the script, and then it comes together to green light, arrange, and orchestrate.”

    Playwrights, as Freedman, points out, are not just there at the beginning to write the story, but are involved in the life of the musical or play from beginning to end. “ [For Mozart²] We have an amazing design team for visuals and incredible choreographers in Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson with Ferly Prado,” she shares. “We steer the narrative, they steer the floor.”

    Poster for Steve Aoki’s ‘Mozart²’

    As for what she hopes audiences will get from her script and the musical overall, she hopes audiences will relate to lead character Nan and shine a light on not only her character, but “all of the women whose talent was silenced due to the patriarchy.”

    Broadway World recently announced some of the names of the talented cast, which includes: Ruby Lewis (Paramour) as Nan, Anthony Rapp (Rent, If/Then) as Salierii, and Justin Matthew Sargent (Rock of Ages, Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark) as Mozart. The musical is expected to debut in 2021 at Carnegie Hall.

    In the meantime, Freedman has this to say to students and creatives:

    “Go make art. Especially in these times. Use your voice to create. Brooke and I have a YouTube channel Midlife Mutiny, which gives inspirational tidbits and encourages you to tell your stories and share your voice. Nan Mozart didn’t have the luxury of social media to get her voice out, but you do!”

    New York Film Academy congratulates instructor, actress, and writer Colette Freedman on her recent achievement with Mozart²  and encourages everyone to stay tuned for additional information about the musical and when it will be available to the public.

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    August 17, 2020 • Faculty Highlights, Musical Theatre, Screenwriting • Views: 1610

  • NYFA Alum Screens Thesis Film ‘Loving Byron’ at New Filmmakers LA Monthly Film Event

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    A few years ago, filmmaker Deante’ Gray was staying in his mom’s  house in Houston, Texas, while recovering a torn ACL from playing football for the Houston Texans. After leaving the NFL, Deante’ took his career in a completely new direction and enrolled in the New York Film Academy’s MA in Film and Media Production program.

    This Sunday, June 28, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. PT/3:00 p.m. ET, he will be screening the results of that venture, his thesis film Loving Byron, at New Filmmakers LA’s monthly film event.

    Crickett Rumley, NYFA’s Director of Film Festivals, spoke with Deante’ as he prepared for the screening.

    Film poster for ‘Loving Byron’

    Crickett Rumley (CR)Congratulations on getting selected for New Filmmakers! Tell us about your film.

    Deante Gray (DG):  Loving Byron is about a 17-year-old boy who runs away from his problematic home with his girlfriend to live in the middle of nowhere. After finding out she’s pregnant, he has to decide how far he’s willing to go for the love of his life.

    CR: What was the inspiration?

    DG: My inspiration for making this film was my upbringing and seeing how similar a lot of me and my peers were as teenagers growing up in Houston. How a kid can be so in love, so hopeful in life, and it all being stripped away at a moment’s notice.

    Reflecting now on where I’m at in my life, it’s insane how one decision can lead people, good people, down so many different paths. I think in large part where I am in my life, is purely out of sheer luck. I wasn’t smarter than my peers, I wasn’t any more athletic, I didn’t hold a higher moral standard than any one kid growing up. I just got lucky that my collection of choices and decisions didn’t lead me to a path of potential destruction.

    Deante’ directing behind the scenes on ‘Loving Byron’

    CR: The film is beautiful, yet the circumstances very much reflect the times we live in today.  Without spoiling the story, can you talk about how Loving Byron addresses systemic racism and the Movement for Black Lives?

    DG: I think anyone with a deep understanding of systematic racism and the affect it has historically had on the Black community will be able to immediately see the tree in which these issues stem from within the community. And if that’s not enough. There’s a scene between two characters in my film — it’s probably my favorite scene I’ve ever written — that tells you verbatim what systematic racism is.

    CR: It’s a powerful scene. What was your favorite thing about directing this film?

    DG: Definitely the character exploration I went through with my actors prior to filming and also during filming. I felt in discussing with my actors why characters made certain decisions through the movie I was indirectly in my own therapy session. There would be times where I’d realize there were things about my own upbringing that I had never even considered or talked about, and I was forced to somewhat channel those deep feelings and understand them better. Not only that, but my lead is actually my best friend that I grew up with in Houston. So our connection and us knowing everything about one another only amplified the focus and care that was needed to make this film what it is.

    CR: It sounds like the process of making this film had a healing effect. It’s so cool you got to experience that with an old friend. What were other challenges you faced in making the film?

    DG: The most challenging thing was learning how to properly navigate a workable budget. I’m still fairly new to this level of filmmaking, so I don’t know very much about the places and resources to get funding for a film like this. A lot of it was me learning as I was going.

    I learned that you truly can’t be an introvert in this business. If you really want to make a film and want money for it, you have to go out there and get it for yourself.

    Still from Deante’ Gray’s thesis film ‘Loving Byron’

    CR: Just as the film is getting out there now.  Which festivals have you been in so far?

    DG: This will be Loving Byron’s fourth festival selection. Before COVID-19 happened, it was selected for the San Diego Black Film Festival, and that was a tremendous experience. It was my first time since my NYFA screening that I got to interact with audience members after the viewing of my film. It’s moving how impactful certain people can find your film to be. The Q and A’s were amazing along with all the networking events that they had for us filmmakers.

    Loving Byron also won the Remi award at WorldFest Houston International Film Festival, which unfortunately due to COVID-19 got suspended.

    CR: And now you’re in New Filmmakers LA’s monthly screening – it’s such a great local festival. What are you looking forward to this weekend?

    DG: I’m curious to see if a virtual festival can still have that communal filmmaker vibe that typical film festivals have.  A cool thing that they are doing is after the Q and A’s, they are holding random Zoom rooms of four to five people for 30 minutes or so. So it does allow you to briefly network with other filmmakers and people in the business. You never know who you might see in there!

    Still from scene in ‘Loving Byron’

    CR: Maybe someone you collaborate with in the future! But let’s go back to the past for a minute and talk about your work at NYFA. How do you think your education prepared you for a career in filmmaking?

    DG: With NYFA, and the specific master’s program I was in, it was such a loaded fast-paced learning environment. It forced me to truly eat, breathe, and live film. It provided a concrete schedule that allowed me to really maximize and take in the wealth of knowledge and on-set experience you constantly get at NYFA. I was also in class with tremendous filmmakers who knew so much already and consistently pushed their creativity. In large part I wanted to prove to myself I belonged, and I think I did.

    CR: I know you did. Do you have any special shout-outs to faculty or staff who really helped or inspired you?

    DG: I can’t thank my directing instructor David Newman enough for his critical and straightforward approach to filmmaking. His way of teaching and his stress that a director’s responsibility is not only on the set but to an audience as well has definitely stuck with me since our very first class. I also have to thank him for introducing me to the Criterion Collection one day in the library. Changed my life, ha!

    Robert Taylor, who was a screenwriting professor at NYFA during my time there, really helped shape my writing style as well. And gave me tremendous confidence to try new things and take meaningful risks within my writing. Any conversation, no matter how long or small, I always would come away just inspired to keep writing.

    And last but not least you, Crickett! I hadn’t the slightest idea of festival strategies. And since the first day I sent you my film, you’ve been nothing but supportive and helpful to all my pressing questions on the best way to get this film out there.

    Also special s/o to the workers in the library. I’m in there so much (even as a graduate) I know they get tired of me. But they always have been super helpful and nice to me.

    Deante’ behind the scenes shooting ‘Loving Byron’

    CR: Aww, my pleasure! You’ve made a wonderful film, and I’m delighted I get to help you put it out into the world. Speaking of getting out into the world, do you have any advice for recent graduates making their way into the professional world?

    DG: I’m still trying to figure this all out. It’s been undoubtedly hard, trying to stay afloat and wondering what the best route is to get in the business. I think for me, as someone who’s currently freelancing, it’s a lot about staying hungry and hustling every chance you get, while still being inspired to be creative and make things.

    I think you definitely have to have a level of persistence as you go about emailing people, meeting people and even social media. It’s something I’m not the best at. I’m still trying to be better at it. But in the same breath, I know my work ethic, and I know the quality of work I put out. So when the time does come to showcase myself to the right people, I know I’ll be ready.

    New York Film Academy would like to thank Deante’ Gray for taking the time to speak about his film Loving Byron and congratulates him on his film screening for the new Filmmakers LA monthly film event.

    Deante’ Gray’s Loving Byron will screen on Sunday, June 28, 2020, in “Shorts Program 1: Belated Spring” at 12:00 p.m. PT, with a Q &A Following at 1:45 p.m. PT.  To reserve tickets, please visit the New Filmmakers LA website
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    June 26, 2020 • Film Festivals, Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2079

  • New York Film Academy Produces Video Highlighting 2019 Burbank Arts Beautification Program

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA), in partnership with the City of Burbank’s Cultural Arts Commission, has produced a video highlighting the 2019 Burbank Arts Beautification Program, an art installation initiative to display original artwork on utility boxes throughout the Burbank community.

    With NYFA’s own Los Angeles campus located in the Burbank area, NYFA offered its support to the Burbank Arts Beautification Program for this local community initiative as a means to provide a glimpse at what has been accomplished so far in the community through the Program. NYFA’s video highlights the Phase 3 of the Burbank Arts Beautification Program, which focused on the utility boxes located in the media district of Burbank. These boxes were painted by talented artists, who were inspired by the theme “A World of Entertainment.” 

    A Vintage Postcard for Burbank’ by Artist Monika Petroczy

    In addition to creating the video highlighting the 2019 Burbank Arts Beautification Program, NYFA also sponsored artist Monika Petroczy, who created her box, ‘A Vintage Postcard for Burbank.’ Petroczy’s box was inspired by the classic vintage postcards from the 1950’s and included famous Burbank landmarks, activities and landscapes both classic and modern.

    NYFA sponsored artist Monika Petroczy (Left)

    This week, the City of Burbank in partnership with the Parks and Recreation Department and the Public Works Department, announced a call to all artists to participate in the Burbank Arts Utility Box Beautification Project for 2020. Various utility boxes throughout the City’s Magnolia Park District will be painted with original art inspired by the theme of “Celebrate Community.” Applications are now open and will close on Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 5:00 P.M PST.

    NYFA would like to thank the City of Burbank’s Cultural Arts Commission for being part of Burbank Arts Beautification Program and encourages artists to apply to be part of the Magnolia Park District phase of the Program. 

    To learn about previous Utility Box Beautification Projects, or to apply, click here

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    June 20, 2020 • Community Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 1487

  • Congratulations to the Spring Class of 2020 at New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA)

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    The end of May was an exciting time at New York Film Academy (NYFA) for the Spring Class of 2020, where students and instructors witnessed the culmination of their hard work over multiple days of final screenings, presentations, pitches, and of course, graduation ceremonies. 

    Actor Vincent D’Oforino (Left) and Dean of Academic Advising for NYFA Los Angeles, Mike Civille (Right)

    This year, NYFA graduations, like many across the country, were held virtually with students and their families tuning in from all over the world to celebrate as NYFA graduates proudly accepted their diplomas and tossed their caps in the air.

    Guest speaker Vincent D’Onofrio joined in the commencement ceremony by delivering a speech that encouraged BFA and MFA students as they go into working more closely with the industry after graduation. He encouraged students to continue to remember what they know, but to constantly be willing to learn and grow along the way throughout their respective careers.

    New York Film Academy congratulates all of the incredible students of the class of Spring 2020 who have dedicated so much time and hard work into completing their training here. We look forward to celebrating all their wonderful achievements to come!

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