MFA Filmmaking
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  • On Becoming a Man Wins Best Comedic Short

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    IMG_4920

    MFA Filmmaking student Kevin Resnick’s first year film, On Becoming a Man, is currently making the rounds on the festival circuit. It already won Best Comedic Short at the IFS Film Festival, and is a finalist for Best Short Film at the Athens Jewish Film Festival. The coming-of-age comedy follows young Jacob Schneidelman in the days leading up to his Bar Mitzvah. Jacob’s overbearing mother is on a Bar Mitzvah planning warpath, involving a personalized oil-on-canvas portrait and a handcrafted chocolate Moses fountain. To top it all off, she won’t let Jacob’s gentile neighbor (and secret crush), Sally, take part in the festivities! Jacob must choose: bow down to his mother like his father does, or stand up to her and finally become a man?

    Growing up in Toronto and Los Angeles, Kevin says he always wanted to see the world. He got to do so during his 13 years on active duty with the U.S. Air Force, where he logged over 2,000 flight hours. After leaving the military, Kevin started getting acting work in New York. Though he had acted in numerous short films, he always dreamed of writing and directing his own films. He decided to earn his MFA in Filmmaking at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus. He says, “It’s been fantastic. The thing that really attracted me was that it’s so hands-on. In this business, it’s all about experience.”IMG_4539

    People in the Los Angeles area will have a chance to see On Becoming a Man when it plays the IFS Film Festival. The film plays in the Comedic Shorts Block B4 at 4:30 p.m. at the Laemmle’s Music Hall in Beverly Hills on Thursday, March 28, with an encore screening on Saturday, April 6 at 7 p.m. Check out the website for full details.

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    March 22, 2013 • Academic Programs, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 4385

  • Congratulations NYFA Grads!

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    Congratulations to New York Film Academy’s new crop of future filmmakers! Last weekend, 54 filmmaking students graduated from the school’s Los Angeles campus. Four-time Emmy Award winner, Jay Kogen, delivered a rousing commencement speech to the grads. The producer/writer/director, best known for his work on The Simpsons, Frasier, The Tracey Ullman Show, and Malcolm in the Middle, inspired the students to chase their dreams.

    Congratulations to the AFA Filmmaking graduates: Eskil André Brattgjerd, Carlos Garcia, Mohammad Lajevardi, James Neill, and Elias Smith; and to our MFA Filmmaking graduates: Yagiz Acar, Farah Fuad Alhashim, Victor Aminger, Charles Ancelle, Kirsten Eleanor Anderson, Adrian Aquino, Annique Arredondo, Raul Asensio Molina, Eduardo Augusto, Stefani Avila, Tatiana Beller, Askar Bissembin, Nataliya Bobytska, Nicolas Brouwers, Neil Casey, Pablo Chozas Zambrana, John Chuka, Filipe Ferraz Coutinho, Min Dai, Lu Feng, Seth Fuller, Jubilee Gamaniel, Rafael Garcia, Matthew Gengel, Yifei Guo, Yang He, Shirley Hon, McKinley Johnson, Prarthana Suneel Joshi, Christian Jurgensen, Geet Kandya, Dae Kyu Lee, Nancy Lee, Rishi Mehta, Jason Mohan, Adrian Morales Ramos, Roona Mukhopadhyay, Rima Naim, Sishu Peng, Juhi Roddam, Bryan Rooney, Thomas Schade, Galo Semblantes, Anna Skrypka, Keith Thompson, Aili Wang, Robert Womack II, Zi Xiang, Wen-Hsin Yu!

     

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    February 1, 2013 • Acting, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 6073

  • NYFA Alum Nominated for Latin Grammy!

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    Congratulations to New York Film Academy graduate Alexis Morante for his Latin Grammy nomination! Since his graduation in 2010, he has worked on a dozen music videos, racking up over 10 million views on Youtube. His most recent video, Licenciado Cantinas, is a 25-minute film with Spanish rock star Enrique Bunbury. It played in movie theaters and on television in 10 countries, and was nominated for Best Music Video – Long Format last week. “I’m very proud of the whole team, made up of several friends and fellows from NYFA,” says Alexis. “I hope this nomination, along with hard work and perseverance, will help me to develop a better career as filmmaker, especially in the American industry.”

    Alexis is no stranger to success. His first-year thesis film, Voltereta, was an official selection at over 70 festivals worldwide, winning over 20 awards. Alexis’ second-year thesis film, Matador on the Road, has played over 50 festivals, winning over 10 awards.

    But he wasn’t always so sure about a career in the film industry. Alexis was in law school in his native Spain when he decided to make his first short film. Soon after, he decided to pursue a degree in Communications. Then he travelled to Cuba and Sweden for short-term filmmaking courses. He chose New York Film Academy to earn his MFA in Filmmaking, doing his first year at the school’s New York campus, and the second year at the Universal Studios campus. “None of this would be possible without NYFA and the students here,” he says. “I’m still working with the students on a professional level.”

    Though he is thrilled to have success working on music videos in Spain, Alexis hopes to expand to more work in the U.S. “I see myself concentrating on movies, doing advertising and music videos in between. I also love documentary and travel documentary.” He is currently developing a feature length script, and will be ready to take it to market soon.

    SHOWREEL – 2016 – Alexis Morante from Alexis Morante on Vimeo.

     

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  • Sarah Louise Wilson’s Feature to Air on PBS This Weekend!

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    Actor Steve Talley in ‘The Accidental Death of Joey by Sue’

    New York Film Academy MFA Film student Sarah Louise Wilson is riding a wave of success. Her films have played at 30 festivals worldwide. Her first short film, which premiered 3 years ago at Frameline, continues to make the rounds on the festival circuit, and is used as an educational tool in classrooms. She wrote, produced, and starred in her first feature film, Jelly, alongside Natasha Lyonne (Slums of Beverly Hills, But I’m a Cheerleader), and Ed McMahon in his last film role. Shot on 35mm, the film was sold to Sundance Independent and IFC. Her second feature length film, The Accidental Death of Joey by Sue, was bought by PBS, and will make its television premiere this weekend. Variety called it “Stylish and strange enough to mark Sarah Louise Wilson and [co-writer/producer] Neal Thibedeau as helmers to watch.”

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  • Dreaming of an Electric City

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    New York Film Academy MFA Film graduate Nick DeRuve is in pre-production on his first feature film, Electric City. As Nick describes it, “[It] is a gritty drama about a thirteen-year-old who attempts to keep his family intact when they receive an eviction notice. I spent my pre-teen years chasing my older brother and his friends around the city of Schenectady. They were teenagers, and I was trying my hardest to fit in with their crew. I experienced a lot of things kids that age don’t, such as violence, crime, and witnessing a lot of drug use.”

    “I would say around the age of thirteen is when I started having initial thoughts about making a film about two brothers stuck in an urban setting,” he explained. “When I was thirteen my family moved, not far from Schenectady, but to the suburbs, and that’s when I realized what I had experienced was different. Over the years I knew who the film would be about, but I still didn’t know what the film would be about, so I could never get the idea out on paper.”

    Nick was no novice when he began at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus. “I had been a working gaffer in NYC for four years after completing my undergrad,” says Nick. “My passion was to direct, so I spent that time on set studying everything that was happening. I decided to go back for my MFA to continue after my goal of being an indie filmmaker, and experience filmmaking in LA. No matter what my experience was prior I wanted to absorb everything my teachers had to offer. I developed good relationships with my teachers, who have great knowledge and experience.”

    After graduation, Nick developed the feature length script for Electric City, and reached out to his former advisor, NYFA instructor Brendan Davis, for feedback. Brendan raved about the script, saying, “He nailed the tone, the arcs, and the characters, and kept it real while keeping hope. He’s done a really exceptional job on it and has the chance to make an exceptional film. To me this is a… studio quality drama with award-worthy writing. The roles in this piece are something that serious actors would fight to play. But the material speaks for itself.”

    Though they have secured some funding for the film, they have also started a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Twenty-percent of the proceeds will go to support Small Can Be Big, an organization that supports victims of domestic abuse and families in need. “It’s a social issue that we have to stare in the face everyday,” says Nick. “Why not try to help people as much as we can, whenever we can, because at the end of the day, that’s the goal. Make a difference, make a change, even if it’s for just one kid who needs a reminder that even when times are hard, we can never give up on ourselves and our goals.”

    When asked about future plans, Nick said, “Right now my main focus is getting Electric City in the can, and screening at festivals by 2013. I’m not really thinking about any other projects. I have a wallet full of receipts, ticket stubs, and business cards that I use to jot notes down on. When the time comes to start developing a new story, I’ll have that as my resource. For now, all I got is this script, and a pocket full of dreams.”

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    May 14, 2012 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5197

  • New York Film Academy’s Student Spotlight: Paris Bauldwin on Cannes and Eric Roberts

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    Paris Bauldwin and Eric Roberts

    MFA Film student Paris Bauldwin recently finished her thesis film, Chrysalis. The film centers on Abigail Hunter, a struggling waitress with little direction in her life, aside from drugs. Her aimless drift is disrupted when a young runaway shows up, claiming to be her daughter. The girl’s search for family and affection interrupts Abigail’s free fall, and the two decide to define family on their own terms. It features veteran actor Eric Roberts.

    “He’d had issues with addiction in the past and was really honest about it. I wrote a letter and sent it to his team. He and his wife made [the process] really easy. They invited me to their home. He is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met.”

    On a recent visit to New York Film Academy at Universal Studios, Roberts spoke glowingly about working with Bauldwin, saying “Paris is a real director, guys. Really.” He joked, “She is also very… kind in her manipulation.”

    Paris recently published her first book, Fragments of Addiction, co-written with her father. “It’s always been something I’ve been passionate about — helping people with addiction” she says. “I grew up around addiction. I knew all the characters really well. They were my sisters and brothers.”

    Paris also recently completed a short film called Looking for Liana that was accepted to the Cannes Short Film Corner. She is excited to visit Europe first time, and participate in her first major festival. She credits New York Film Academy for giving her the education she needs for her film to succeed, saying, “To have support from people who have already done it was really amazing. Ultimately, I don’t think I would be able to complete this project anywhere else.”

    Paris has plans to take Chrysalis on the film festival circuit, as well as fundraising for the next feature film she is producing. Of her hectic schedule, Paris says, “Sleep is secondary. I’m on the right track.”

    Eric Roberts at NYFA

    Paris Bauldwin at NYFA

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    April 3, 2012 • #WomenOfNYFA, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5440

  • New York Film Academy’s Student Spotlight: Aldo Filiberto

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    MFA Film student Aldo Filiberto recently finished work on his thesis film, The Fortune Theory. Originally from Palermo, Italy, Aldo first came to NYFA in 2006 for an 8-Week Filmmaking program. He liked it so much, he decided to return in September 2009 for the masters program.

    Aldo describes the film, The Fortune Theory, as a coming-of-age drama. He explains, “It’s the story of an emotionally disconnected millionaire, who drifts through a systematic routine of job interviews, searching for an understanding of life and his workaholic father.”
The character, Morris, is ultimately forced to take a job writing fortunes in a fortune cookie factory, where he will have to face his own inadequacy in order to ultimately accept himself, those around him, and defy his father.

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    “I worked on the script for 8 months,” says Aldo. “After several table readings, the script was ready and we jumped into production. It was ambitious for the budget we had, but our excitement overcame our fears.”

    Aldo cast John Terry in a supporting role in the film. The celebrated actor is best known for his roles on Lost, ER, 24, and in Full Metal Jacket. Says Aldo, “He has tons of experience and worked with Kubrick! On the set he was very nice, hard working, and loved his job. He was great.” The project will also feature a score by Goya-nominated composer Pablo Cervantes.

    The film’s crew included a number of New York Film Academy students and alumni. Says Aldo, “Making a movie is a collaborative experience. You need to relate to other people to help you shape your vision, and school is a good place to create a network of people you can trust.”

    He also credits NYFA staff for their help, saying, “Instructors like Adam Nimoy, Crickett Rumley, James Rowe, and Lydia Cedrone have always been helpful. The school has been supporting me. The greenlight procedure helps you set up a schedule and deadlines. They really make sure that you’re ready to do it so you don’t end up wasting your money, or even worse, someone else’s money.”

    The Fortune Theory is currently in post-production. Aldo is in discussions with sales agencies and plans to hit the festival circuit in the next year. He explains, “This is the exciting part. Shooting it is just the beginning.”

    Actor John Terry with Aldo Filiberto

    Actor John Terry with Aldo Filiberto

    Aldo Filiberto directing a scene

    Aldo Filiberto directing a scene

    Aldo Filiberto talking with an actor

    Aldo Filiberto talking with an actor

    Aldo Filiberto with his crew

    Aldo Filiberto with his crew

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    March 6, 2012 • Filmmaking, International Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5812