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  • Q&A with Marvel Studios Science Advisor and Quantum Physicist Dr. Spiros Michalakis

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    On January 17, Cal Tech quantum physicist Dr. Spiros Michalakis came to speak to New York Film Academy (NYFA) at our Los Angeles campus, and spoke with students about his role as science advisor on Hollywood film sets. 

    Dr. Spiros Michalakis

    The talk was organized originally for students of the brand new (and very popular) “Science and the Movies” class offered for the BFA degree program—a course focused around analyzing how science is portrayed in film—though it drew many students from outside the course and program as well. 

    Science advisors are being used more and more in film production, as audiences are demanding less fantastical and more realistic and grounded foundations for science fiction plots. 

    Dr. Spiros Michalakis

    Dr. Michalakis is known for his work on several Marvel Studios films, including Doctor Strange, the upcoming Captain Marvel, Ant Man and its more recent sequel Ant Man and the Wasp. He also worked on viral shorts that include celebrity scientists and actors alike, like Dr. Stephen Hawking, Paul Rudd, Keanu Reeves, and Zoe Saldana. 

    In short, he blew the minds of our students with his enthralling descriptions of the quantum realm—a key part of many recent science fiction films, including the aforementioned Ant Man movies—and how best to incorporate such challenging physics into a major Hollywood blockbuster. His take-home message to filmmakers: find a balance between entertainment and education, i.e., there is a brilliant but gentle way to incorporate science in your film that will entice curiosity while not ostracizing the spectator simply looking for entertainment. 

    Dr. Spiros Michalakis

    The New York Film Academy thanks Hollywood science advisor and quantum physicist Dr. Spiros Michalakis for taking the time to talk science and film with our students!

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    February 6, 2019 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 1117

  • Hayley Atwell visits New York Film Academy for Q&A

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    Hayley Atwell, star of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, recently visited New York Film Academy (NYFA) to speak about her career and experiences as part of the ongoing Guest Speaker Series.

    Known around the world as Peggy Carter, Captain America’s love interest and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Atwell is a Golden Globe and two-time Olivier Award nominee. She has appeared in multiple Marvel films, from Captain America: The First Avenger to Avengers: Endgame, as well as the franchise’s two shows, Agent Carter and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

    But Atwell shared that her career hadn’t always been easy. In her talk, moderated by NYFA New York Acting for Film Department Chair Peter Allen Stone, she stated that her very first acting job ended up on the cutting room floor. She remained undeterred, and eventually scored roles in period dramas like Mansfield Park and The Duchess. Following her huge success with Marvel, she scored the lead in ABC’s legal thriller Conviction, and stars in the Starz mini-series Howards End. She has also appeared in several live-action Disney films, including Cinderella and Christopher Robin.

    In addition to her success in film and television, Atwell has also received numerous accolades for her stage roles, including The Pride and View from the Bridge. Most recently, she returned to the London stage in Dry Powder, a sharp and witty comedy about the people shaping the economy.

    Despite her success, Atwell remains very down-to-earth. She offered a number of specific tips and insights on the nature of the acting industry, particularly on the challenges of fleshing out a fully formed character from a smaller role.

    “[You should have] a clear understanding of what you’re doing but be willing to have it steered in a completely opposite direction if the director tells you otherwise,” Atwell said. “Do not be afraid to ask questions.”

    Atwell also stated that she believed no director should ever give a line reading regardless of the size of the part, meaning that actors had the privilege and responsibility of embodying their character choices with enough understanding and conviction to bring originality to a role while remaining collaborative.

    The New York Film Academy thanks Hayley Atwell for sharing her time and expertise with our students.

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    April 20, 2018 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 388

  • Behind the Scenes of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” With NYFA Alum & Digital Compositor Francesco Panzieri

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFRAN EDITED IMAGE 2NYFA alumnus Francesco Panzieri has been busy since completing his studies at the New York Film Academy, with credits running the gamut from the realism of “Mad Men” to the visionary science fiction of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Most recently, Panzieri has turned his hand as an in-house digital compositor with Marvel Studios for “Spider Man: Homecoming,” which opens July 7.

    “Spider Man: Homecoming” is the first installment of a new Spidey trilogy created through the first-time partnership between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures.

    According to Panzieri, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” will stand apart due to its combination of great storytelling, and a focus on the superhero’s dual struggles to become an Avenger and survive high school.

    “I believe ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ balances in a very successful way two key-elements of Peter Parker’s life in this movie, which are his teenage life as a high-school student and the struggles of a superhero to become an Avenger,” explains Panzier. “I think that the high-school part makes the character extremely compelling because it gives the audience a shared point of view with Peter, since all of us have been through similar life moments.”

    Panzieri muses that films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe continue to attract audiences not only through their jaw-dropping visuals, but primarily through their great storytelling. “Write something good,” he says, “Something really good, that people can relate to, and then use visual effects to enhance your cinematic vision of that story.”

    FRAN EDITED 1

    NYFA 3D Animation alumnus Francesco Panzieri (right) pictured with actor Michael Mando (left), who plays Mac Gargan in “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”

    Along with a great story, Panzieri points to a new colorspace technology created by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences called ACES (Academy Color Encoding System) as a vital ingredient to the look of “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” Panzieri says, “It was a cool experience for me to test it for the first time in my career and I look forward to ACES being the soon-standard-to-be on features, episodic and commercials.”

    He describes an atmosphere of camaraderie and excitement on set: “Since Sony Pictures owns the film rights to Spider-Man, the whole post-production process took place on the Sony Studios lot, in Culver City, California. Each morning, I got to walk by the original ‘Ghostbusters’ Ecto-1 car on my way to work, and that was a very stimulating and inspiring environment.”

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    Panzieri pictured with the original “Ghostbusters” Ecto-1 car.

    “In the studio we had every day all the top-notch leadership team of Marvel Studios surrounding us,” Panzieri recalled. “While we were working on the visual effects for the feature film, they were focused on refining and improving editing and storytelling with the director. What surprised me in a truly unique and positive way, was seeing first-class executives such as the Marvel ones hard at work from dawn’s early lights until late at night. In those moments I realized the true strength and secret of Marvel Studios that deservedly brought them to be number one in the entertainment industry: the love and energy that they put into each and every production they make. Everyone who works at Marvel is an extremely genuine, passionate and dedicated fellow; it’s a huge, big family where there is a unique synergy between all the roles.

    Transitioning from film school to major blockbuster productions is entirely a matter of building relationships, according to Panzieri — and being prepared for high-skilled hard work.

    “My job, it’s all about networking,” Panzieri reveals. “So what happened is that a connection that I had from when I worked on ‘Star Wars’ had called me to work on Spider-Man.”

    Panzieri points to his training at the New York Film Academy as playing a valuable role in preparing him for his work: “I must say that the long hours of classes and lab at the NYFA were definitely an advantage to me on every project I worked on thus far … I can definitely say that the instantaneous hands-on environment I found myself in during my time at NYFA was a true testament to how you’ve got to be when working in Hollywood. Visual effects is art, technology and science at the same time, and as such you need to be really focused, dedicated and good at craftsmanship to keep up with its high quality demands you face in entertainment.”

    “Spider-Man: homecoming” is the first installment of a new Spider-Man trilogy created through a first-time collaboration between Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios. Box Office Pro has projected a box office opening of $135 million, which ScreenRant notes would make this the 6th largest opening out of 16 Marvel films.

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  • NYFA Australia GC Grad’s Music Video Featured on MTV

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailDamian Lang is a graduate of the New York Film Academy Australia, Gold Coast. His digital dialogue, “Diamond In The Rough,” has just come off its festival run, screening at four festivals and winning Best Student Short at the Colorado International Film Festival. Damian’s music video production for Gold Coast based DJ duo “Bombs Away” is also currently featured on MTV.

    Damian Lang

    Damian says that NYFA helped prepare him for the real world of the industry through its hands-on approach. “As a filmmaking student, we were constantly creating and learning while performing multiple roles in a film-like environment,” he explains.

    Currently working as a Locations Production Assistant on the latest Marvel feature shooting at Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast, Australia, Damian is also in post production for his latest music video produced for New Zealand rock-band “Mi-Sex,” as well as for his latest short-film entitled “The First Step.”

    damian lang

    His advice to aspiring filmmakers is that “no one gets a free ride, the choices you make will define you.”

    Check out Damian’s work on the latest music video for “Bombs Away” on MTV Australia’s website, by clicking hereFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    October 26, 2016 • Entertainment Australia, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 3765

  • NYFA’s Ben Cohen Discusses Anti-Hero Movies with Fox 5

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    Comic book fans are becoming concerned with the notion that some of their favorite comic book heroes are becoming “evil.” Given the entertainment industry’s recent trend of creating “anti-heroes” in films like Batman versus Superman and a recent Captain America comic, Mac King from FOX 5 decided to pay the New York Film Academy a visit to get some expert feedback from instructor Ben Cohen.

    “The characters that we’re going to latch onto are the one’s that are going to be largely contradictory,” said Cohen. “That’s what makes Iron Man so fun. He can be a jerk, but, generally speaking, he wants to save the world”

    We want to marvel at our favorite heroes’ super-human abilities, but we also want to know that they have a secret weakness or “Kryptonite.”

    Given this has been the decade of Superhero movies, it’s any wonder if this trend will continue or is it rather just a fad to provide a fresh look at the popular genre?

    For a look at the Fox 5 interview at NYFA’s New York campus, watch the video below:

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    May 27, 2016 • Community Highlights, Entertainment News • Views: 4688

  • “Thor,” “Kong,” and “Alien: Paradise Lost” to Film at Village Roadshow Studios in Australia

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailOne of the immediate and most obvious benefits of having a film school inside the confines of a movie studio is the unprecedented access to the movie industry and the behind-the-scenes exposure to major motion pictures. Similar to our Los Angeles campus, which offers workshops on the Universal Studios backlot, the New York Film Academy Gold Coast Australia location offers programs on the backlot of Village Roadshow Studios adjacent to Warner Bros Movie World in Queensland, Australia.

    Given its resources and state-of-the art studio space, the Queensland studio will be the filming location of three upcoming major motion pictures, including the third installment of Thor, Kong: Skill Island, and Alien: Paradise Lost.

    nyfa australia

    Village Roadshow Studios

     

    “Queensland offers an amazing and diverse backdrop for Thor: Ragnarok and we are very excited to bring this film to such an incredible locale,” said Louis D’Esposito, Co-President of Marvel Studios.

    This has become a serious location option for many studio films, with Queensland’s Village Roadshow Studios already having been the location for the Scooby Doo films, House of Wax, Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Daybreakers, and Fools Gold amongst many others. Just this past year we saw NYFA Australia Gold Coast Chair of Acting, Brad McMurray and One-Year Acting Grad, Nick Allen-Ducat in San Andreas—starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Paul Giamatti—which also filmed in Queensland.

    “As our economy diversifies, Queensland is demonstrating its strength as a lead destination for filmmakers both internationally and locally, and my government is doing what it can to ensure that Queensland remains a global hub for the screen sector,” said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

    nyfa gold coast students

    As is the goal with all of NYFA’s programs, the Gold Coast location offers a real world filmmaking experience in a truly hands-on curriculum. There are several course offerings available, including our hands-on intensive Two-Year FilmmakingOne-Year Filmmaking, Two-Year Acting for Film and One-Year Acting for Film programs as well as short-term and evening workshops.

    For more information about NYFA’s Gold Coast campus, please visit: https://www.nyfa.edu.au/locations/gold-coast.php.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

  • 27-Hour Marvel Marathon Coming to Theaters

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    You’ve got a problem. You’ve been seeing the posters and the teasers and the trailers for the upcoming superhero sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron but you can’t quite remember all the backstories of all the characters and where everybody is at this point. How can you truly enjoy Iron Man and Hulk beating each other up or Captain America and Black Widow’s charming banter if you can’t remember what they were doing in the previous Avengers films?

    Well, don’t worry, Marvel’s got you covered. They’re offering a marathon of all ten MCU films in theaters, all leading up to a theatrical screening of the eleventh film—Avengers: Age of Ultron. Marvel helped you out last time, remember? When the first Avengers was released, it followed a marathon of the first five MCU films—Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger. In the three years since, the studio has added another four films, so with Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: Winter Soldier, and Guardians of the Galaxy, that adds up to a staggering 27-hour theatrical experience.

    Regal Cinemas and AMC are offering this package in limited cities beginning April 29th. It includes an exclusive Avengers medallion to prove to your boss that you only took off work to see over a day’s worth of comic book heroes. So get ready, it’ll be great practice for that 54-hour marathon in 2019 when Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 debuts.

    Only one Hulk movie, though.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    March 9, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 4794

  • Spider-Man Joins The Marvel Cinematic Universe

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    Spidey-senses are tingling everywhere: In some of the biggest news in comic-book movie history, Marvel announced this week that their signature character, Spider-Man, will appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe currently inhabited by the likes of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Pratt and Paul Rudd. The film rights to Spider-Man are owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, famously disallowing a crossover between the web-slinger and the Avengers, whose film rights are still owned by Disney and Marvel.

    Sony will allow Spider-Man to appear in Marvel (i.e. Disney’s) films for a cut of the profits, though the rest of the deal is still up in speculation. Most assume Peter Parker will first appear in the second Captain America sequel, Civil War, out next summer, where he will join Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and new-to-screens superhero Black Panther.

    In league with Sony’s Amy Pascal and Marvel producer Kevin Feige, Sony will also produce a new Spider-Man stand-alone film, probably as soon as 2017, pushing back most Marvel films set to release after that six months each. What this means for Sony’s current Amazing Spider-Man series is unclear, though there is a good chance Andrew Garfield will not continue the role in the new series, and that the character will be facing its second reboot in five years.

    While there are rumors 20th Century Fox properties the X-Men and Fantastic Four will cross-over, there hasn’t been any talk about bringing those under the MCU umbrella as of yet. And, of course, there’s still no word on a new Hulk film.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    February 10, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 4659

  • It’s Clobberin’ Time – Fantastic Four Reboot Debuts First Trailer

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    It’s Flame On for the Fantastic Four reboot as 20th Century Fox has released its first trailer this week. Marvel’s reboot of its original comic book characters comes just a few years since big-budget Fantastic Four, starring Jessica Alba and future-Captain America Chris Evans, and its 2007 sequel, Rise of the Silver Surfer.

    It’s assumed Fox hit the reset button so quickly because if they don’t produce a movie quick enough, the rights to the comics revert back to Marvel, who could then incorporate the characters into their ever-expanding cinematic Avengers universe. Yet another movie iteration of the Fantastic Four was created by Roger Corman in the 1990s for the very same reason, and is now regarded as one of the worst films ever.

    Marvel has been struggling with the rights of their characters for years as several studios have controlled them before Disney gave the comic book company the capital to stand on its own. Currently, Sony still keeps Spider-Man for themselves, preventing Peter Parker from joining Iron Man and the other Avengers. 20th Century Fox owns the X-Men in addition to the Fantastic Four, so the super-team could conceivably join Hugh Jackman and the cinematic X-Men in future crossover films.

    The new, younger Fantastic Four cast includes Kate Mara as the Invisible Woman, Miles Teller as Mr. Fantastic, Michael B. Jordan as The Human Torch, Jamie Bell as The Thing and Toby Kebbell as Doctor Doom. The Avengers 2 and Ant-Man are Marvel’s other blockbusters slated for a summer release, though there could be as many as six Marvel releases in 2016. Still no word on a new Hulk movie yet, though.
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    January 28, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 3283

  • Comic Characters Get Cast

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    It’s a big day for fans of comic book adaptations, or for that matter, fans of Glee, Game of Thrones, or the recent Lifetime biopic of Aaliyah. Bryan Singer used his Twitter account this week to announce the three young stars of his latest X-Men sequel, X-Men Apocalypse. Apocalypse will be following the series reboot in Days of Future Past with a 1980s setting and starring returning cast members Jennifer Lawrence, Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy.

    However, the series will be recasting its original characters—Cyclops, Storm and Jean Grey. James Marsden, Halle Berry and Famke Janssen are out, and Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, and Sophie Turner are in. Sheridan is best known for his roles in Matthew McConaughey vehicles Mud and Joe, Shipp starred as Aalyiah in the Lifetime biopic and Sophie Turner has been winning over more and more fans as determined survivor Sansa Stark in HBO’s Game of Thrones.

    Don’t worry if you’re more of a DC than a Marvel fan—there’s news for you too. Supergirl, a new CBS series with elements of a police procedural (because it’s CBS, duh) has found its lead—Melissa Benoist. Benoist is best known for Glee, and has found a more serious audience recently with her role in Best Picture nominee Whiplash. Superman’s younger, blonder cousin should be showing up on TV sets this September.

    Finally, if that’s enough news to satiate your comic book appetite, there have been a couple of not-quite-casting stories this week. Marvel is supposedly courting 12 Years a Slave star Chiwetel Ejiofor for a “leading role” in their upcoming Avengers installment, Doctor Strange, which already has Oscar nom Benedict Cumberbatch set as the magician superhero. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Jake Gyllenhaal has taken himself out of the running to replace Tom Hardy, who recently dropped out of the leading role of DC’s Suicide Squad. The follow-up to this summer’s Batman V. Superman, Suicide Squad focuses on a team of supervillains who must save the world. While the production is struggling to find a new star, it’s now rumored that Ben Affleck’s Batman will make an appearance with Jared Leto’s Joker at some point in the film.

    And that’s all the comic book movie news there is… for the next twelve minutes.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    January 23, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 3904