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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Filmmaking Students Visit Buzzfeed

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    Students from the New York Film Academy (NYFA) 2018 Master of Fine Arts in Filmmaking program had the opportunity to tour Buzzfeed’s LA Lexland campus on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. The MFA Filmmaking students, who study at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus, were joined by producer and on-camera talent Rie McClenny for their field trip.

    The visit included a chance to tour the studios, offices, prop room, and canteen, as well as the Buzzfeed Tasty Studio where McClenny whips up all manner of desserts for the Tasty Channel. The students enjoyed seeing the new media campus and learned a great deal about how the company operates.

    “Huge thanks to Rie and Buzzfeed for having the class!” says NYFA instructor Rebecca Louisell.

    Buzzfeed MFA

    From the left, front row: Rie McClenny (Buzzfeed), Rebecca Louisell (Instructor), Mahmoud Abul Burghul, Adilet Zhumabek, Kritika Chawla, Agnes Shinozaki, Veronica Badell, Haining “Carl” Gu, Shiran Wang. Back row: Ryan Mechling, Nick Sivakumaran (Instructor), Chin-Wei Chang, Lan-Chi Chien, Ether Tian Jin

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    September 17, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 55

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA in Producing Student Phoebe Wang Awarded Movie Magic Scholarship 

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA in Producing student Xiaoxiao (Phoebe) Wang was recently awarded the Entertainment Partners’ Movie Magic Scholarship Producer Award Certificate. At the ceremony, Wang was also presented with a check for the amount of $1,450.

    The Scholarship is provided by Entertainment Partners, a company that puts technology front and center for the entertainment industry. Movie Magic is a software program for production professionals, helping with film budgeting and software, and is an industry standard.

    Wang, who originally hails from China and is currently enrolled at the producing school in NYFA’s Burbank-based campus, demonstrated a comprehensive understanding and skillful use of the software’s features, and earned the Producer Award Certificate. Wang plans to invest the award money in her current production project, entitled The Beauty.
    Phoebe Wang Featured

    Wang isn’t the first NYFA student to pick up the prestigious scholarship; last year MFA in Filmmaking students Katherin Hussein and Robert (Bobby) Gutierrez each picked up the Movie Magic award.

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Producing student Phoebe Wang on winning the Entertainment Partners’ Movie Magic Scholarship Producer Award Certificate and looks forward to seeing the completion of The Beauty!

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    August 8, 2019 • Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 489

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Screenwriting Alum David Barbeschi Nominated to Popular Austin Revolution Film Festival

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    David Barbeschi has been racking up plenty of festival selections since earning his MFA in Screenwriting from New York Film Academy (NYFA). Most recently, his thesis pilot script Odysseus was nominated to the Austin Revolution Film Festival, an industry favorite fest that is ranked best on FilmFreeway.

    Odysseus is a television pilot developed by Barbeschi as part of the MFA in Screenwriting program at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus. The script is a sequel to the Ancient Greek poem by Homer, The Odyssey. The screenplay expands the mythology of the classic epic and follows Homer’s titular character Odysseus, now past his prime, as he sets sail for Central America to save his estranged son. He soon finds out that the gods he’d challenged in Greece are nothing compared to the ones to the west.David Barbeschi

    “The idea is to rediscover lesser known myths from other cultures,” explains Barbeschi, “through the lens of a more popular mythological character. For example, at some point, Odysseus will have to face off against the Mayan Gods.” In addition to the Austin Revolution Film Festival, Odysseus was also selected for  the Finish Line Script Competition.

    Barbeschi has also been finding success with his Feature 2 script, White Crow, which focuses on an agoraphobic woman who must guide her blind brother to a safe house through a dystopian city. To date, White Crow has been selected in several festivals, including the Nashville Film Festival Screenwriting Contest, and was just nominated at the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards.

    Both scripts are personal to Barbeschi. “Something I’ve learned at NYFA,” he says, “which I applied when writing Odysseus and White Crow, was ‘write what you like, instead of what you think others will like.’

    “I started out as a producer before coming to NYFA,” he continues, “so whatever I wrote, I wrote solely because of its supposed commercial value, despite not liking the genre or the themes. Ironically, the only projects of mine that have really shown any kind of success are the ones where I took my teachers’ advice and focused on writing good and entertaining stories which I was passionate about.”
    David Barbeschi

    Barbeschi is working as a freelance screenwriter and development producer and is currently juggling over 10 different projects, including a short entitled Off-Road that he wrote and produced; the project is also gaining traction in the festival circuit. Additionally, Barbeschi is working on adapting White Crow into an animated short film.

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Screenwriting alum David Barbeschi on the festival successes of his multiple projects and looks forward to following his endeavors as he continues his filmmaking “odyssey!”

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    July 19, 2019 • Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 595

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Filmmaking Student Bruklyn Miller Wins Wolfson CinemaSlam Works in Progress Award

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) South Beach student Bruklyn Miller hasn’t completed her MFA in Filmmaking yet, but she’s already making waves in the festival circuit with her film, Celestial. The project was recently selected to receive the Wolfson CinemaSlam Works in Progress Award from the Miami Film Festival’s CinemaSlam section.

    Bruklyn MillerMiller is currently enrolled in the MFA in Filmmaking program at NYFA’s South Beach campus in Miami, Florida. As part of her studies, the young filmmaker will receive 2,000 hours of hands-on instruction and production experience on a variety of high-end digital and analog film cameras.

    Celestial is Miller’s intermediate film. The social thriller focuses on Nola Dubois, an intentionally standoffish girl gifted with the ability of touch sensitivity. As she begins to unravel mysterious secrets about her parents’ church, Dubois finds herself haunted by tragic and disturbing events. 

    “As a filmmaker, you are often put in positions of struggling to make it closer to your dreams,” says Miller. “Celestial is the reason I applied to New York Film Academy. Working with the cast and crew for Celestial allows this to feel real. Everyone is so committed to creating something that goes beyond a typical horror film. We want to create something that haunts our audience even when it isn’t making them jump; something that is hushed and character driven—the real terror goes beyond the central purpose and more so with the byproduct of a ruthlessly specific agenda and the effects it has on our main character.”Bruklyn Miller Celestial

    The film was selected to receive a $2500 Wolfson CinemaSlam Works in Progress Award. As part of the grant, the film will be enrolled at no cost in next year’s Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Family Foundation CinemaSlam Competition. The prestigious section of Miami Film Festival’s CinemaSlam aims to support Miami-area student filmmakers and help them navigate the film festival circuit, as well as encouraging students to use archival materials in film and video production, specifically material housed at the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Media Center.

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA in Filmmaking student Bruklyn Miller on her award and looks forward to the completion of Celestial and its screening at next year’s CinemaSlam Competition!

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    July 2, 2019 • Film Festivals, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 858

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Acting for Film Alum Rita Casman’s ‘Shadow Wall’ Racking Up Awards & Festivals

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    Shadow Wall, the short film written, produced by, and starring New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Acting for Film alum Rita Casman, is currently riding a huge wave of momentum as it picks up multiple awards and festival screenings.

    Casman hails from Guatemala and earned her MFA in Acting for Film, after years of nursing ambitions to be an entertainer while working in marketing and public relations.Shadow Wall

    “I’ll be very honest, I thought that coming to LA was the hardest part, and the truth is that it was the easiest,” says Casman. “I left the struggle that I had in Guatemala and I went through a lot of rejection, and that was only the beginning. It did help me persevere, but in my mind, I thought that I would adapt to the American culture fast, which I did in a way, but it has impacted me so now I have learned not to expect anything good or bad. Being far away of my family is really challenging.”

    Casman, who is smart, outgoing, and a positive example for her friends and professional colleagues, worked through her struggles and now has a successful film under her belt. She loves comedies, horror films, and psychological thrillers, and these passions come through in her short, Shadow Wall.

    Shadow Wall is based on a true story and was directed by Ariana Ledesma. It co-stars Misha Suvorov and NYFA alum Sabrina Percario, who co-produced the film with writer and star Rita Casman.

    So far, Shadow Wall has been a semifinalist in Motion for Pictures and Los Angeles CineFest, and has won multiple awards, including Best Actress at Dreamachine International Film Festival, Best Narrative Short at the Pinnacle Film Awards, Best Music at the Independent Horror Movie Awards, and Best Shorts (English Language) at the Metro Film & TV Awards.

    Additionally, the film has been an Official Selection at numerous festivals: Indie Best Films Festival, Fiction & Narrative Short Films, The American Horrors Film Festival, Genre Celebration Festival, Diabolical Horror Film Festival, Independent Horror Movie Awards, Dunedin International Film Festival, Webisode Film Festival, and the Dreamachine International Film Festival. 

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Acting for Film alum Rita Casman on the success of her film Shadow Wall and looks forward to seeing where her talents and winsome energy bring her next!

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    June 14, 2019 • Acting, Producing, Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 610

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Screenwriting Alum Inés de los Santos Wins Stephanie Rothman Fellowship

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    Earlier this month, New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Screenwriting Alum Inés de los Santos received word that she won the Stephanie Rothman Fellowship.

    The Stephanie Rothman Fellowship is a contest for female filmmakers and writers that create thriller, horror, and fantasy stories. Every year, they grant a female creator with a cash award allows the artist to produce the screenplay, or another project they would instead like to make.

    Inés de los Santos applied to the contest with her thesis project, a comedy-horror pilot about a nun-in-training who accidentally performs an exorcism on her one-night-stand, and is subsequently sent to an exorcism academy.

    Inés de los Santos
    “This story has been one of the most passionate projects I’ve ever had,” de la Santos tells NYFA. “And even though it’s based on someone that is not part of my life anymore, I was able to adjust it and make it even more personal to me—all thanks to my teachers and classmates’ notes and suggestions.”

    Inés de los Santos enrolled in Fall 2017 to earn her MFA in Screenwriting from Burbank-based New York Film Academy. NYFA congratulates Inés on the Stephanie Rothman Fellowship and looks forward to seeing her project come to life!

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    June 14, 2019 • Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 746

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Filmmaking Alum Kevin Nwankwor Films ‘Muna’

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    After finishing the film Tempting Fate, New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Filmmaking alum Kevin Nwankwor didn’t take a break—he immediately got to work on his next film, Muna. Earlier this month, the trailer for Muna was released.

    Muna is an action-drama directed by Nwankwor and written by Nwankwor, Joe Leone, and Liam Parry based on a story by award-winning author Unoma Nwankwor. The film was executive produced by Emmanuel Ojeah and Unoma Nwankwor. 

    Shot in both the US and Nigeria, Muna tells the story of an assassin who falls in love while getting tangled in the global sex trafficking crisis. The cast includes Adam Huss, Robert Miano, Massi Furlan, Mayling Ng, and stars Adesua Etomi-Wellington, wife of musician and NYFA alum Banky Wellington. 

    “Human trafficking has become a great menace in our world today—the most troublesome part is the impact it has on the victims, turning them into something they would never have dreamt of becoming,” says Nwankwor. “Listening to the stories of these victims and knowing about those who go missing is heartbreaking. This is what motivated me to make Muna.” 

    After earning his MFA in Filmmaking from Burbank-based NYFA-Los Angeles, Nwankwor became CEO of family-owned production company KevStel, based in Atlanta, Georgia with an office in Abuja, Nigeria. KevStel produced both Tempting Fate and the upcoming Muna.

    “I came into NYFA with a goal and a desire to succeed,” adds Nwankwor. “I hear people say there’s no need for film school, but after the drilling and hands-on training while acquiring my Master’s degree in Filmmaking from New York Film Academy, I was able to make my first feature, Tempting Fate, which received some nominations and awards even while I was still a NYFA student. And now in the new feature film Muna, you will see the traces of a Master’s touch.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Filmmaking alum Kevin Nwankwor on his latest film Muna and looks forward to its release! 

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    June 13, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 725

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Documentary Filmmaking Student Drama Del Rosario In Doc Edge Pride Festival

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    In This Family, the BAFTA-shortlisted documentary film by New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Documentary Filmmaking student Drama Del Rosario is now an Official Selection of the Doc Edge Pride Festival. The prestigious festival is Oscar-qualifying and one of the biggest events In This Family will screen at to date! 

    The Doc Edge Pride Festival is held in New Zealand and is celebrating its fourteenth year. Its mission is “to lead and support filmmakers to develop and make compelling documentary films and to inspire the creative, business, and wider communities to celebrate local and international documentary stories.”

    The fest will be held in Auckland, New Zealand from May 30 – June 9 and then in New Zealand’s capital city Wellington from June 13 – 23.
    drama del rosario in this family

    Drama Del Rosario is a documentary filmmaker originally from Manila, Philippines, whose film focuses on complex themes surrounding culture, religion, commercialization, and LGBTQIA+ issues. In Fall 2017, he began studying for his MFA in Documentary Filmmaking from New York Film Academy at our Los Angeles campus.

    In This Family is a 12-minute short that tells the story of one Filipino family’s reaction to finding out their son is gay, while weaving in the filmmaker’s own story to offer an eye-opening perspective into the process of coming out to and finding acceptance from a very traditional Catholic tradition. Last year, the film was shortlisted for the BAFTA Student Film Awards.

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Documentary Filmmaking student Drama Del Rosario on the latest success of his film In This Family and looks forward to seeing where his journey takes him next!

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Announces Matthew Modine Masters Scholarship Recipients

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    The first four recipients of the inaugural year of the prestigious New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) Matthew Modine Masters Scholarship have been announced. The grantees are Leeni Linna (MFA Filmmaking), Jose Miguel Perez-Alcazar (MFA Filmmaking), Nicholas Rosolino (MFA Acting), and Lucia Flores (MFA Documentary).

    The scholarship is sponsored by Golden Globe-winning actor and filmmaker Matthew Modine, who is a member of the New York Film Academy’s Board of Directors and a master class instructor at NYFA. He is instantly recognizable to fans of the Netflix global mega hit Stranger Things, which won the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble, and as Private Joker from the iconic film Full Metal Jacket. Called “one of the best, most adaptable film actors of his generation” by legendary New York Times film critic Vincent Canby. Modine has worked with many of the film industry’s most acclaimed directors, including Christopher Nolan, Stanley Kubrick, and Spike Lee.

    The scholarship provides financial assistance to outstanding candidates of the school’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs in select disciplines. To qualify, recipients must demonstrate the values set forth by NYFA to further the art of visual storytelling. Candidates are nominated by faculty or staff, and the chosen grantees receive $5,000-$10,000 per year based on criteria including an audition or portfolio submission, academic performance, professional experience, and participation in the arts. Up to ten scholarships are personally awarded each year by award-winning actor Matthew Modine, who recently announced his candidacy for the presidency of SAG-AFTRA. 

    Two of this year’s Matthew Modine Masters Scholarship awardees, Jose Miguel Perez-Alcazar and Lucia Flores, are attending the New York Film Academy as Fulbright Program grantees. The Fulbright Program is an international scholarship program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It awards approximately 8,000 grants annually to students, teachers, and professionals from over 160 countries. NYFA is proud to have welcomed over 60 Fulbright students from more than 35 countries to date. In addition, NYFA is privileged to have Fulbright Program alumni as part of its faculty, including NYFA Director of Fulbright Initiatives Miguel Cruz. Professor Cruz, Fulbright alum ‘05, also serves as the Vice President for the Fulbright Association Chapter of Los Angeles.

    Modine Scholarship

    From L to R: Matthew Modine, Lucia Flores]

    Jose Miguel Perez-Alcazar is a journalist and filmmaker from Madrid. In addition to being a Fulbright grantee, Perez-Alcazar is also the recipient of a very competitive talent-based grant award from the Ministry of Art & Culture of the Spanish Government. Perez-Alcazar was recommended for the scholarship program by the Fulbright Commission in Spain. He speaks four languages, and has studied in Mexico, Argentina, and Holland as well as Spain. 

    Lucia Flores is a Peruvian documentarian and activist whose work gives voice to minorities. Her latest project follows an expectant mother from the Andes, and details the indigenous people’s rituals around childbirth. Her previous work covers the relationship between the indigenous people and their land, as well as how the people of the Andean-Amazonian region adapted to climate change using traditional knowledge. For her next film project at NYFA —  while being supported by the Fulbright Program — she is teaming with fellow grantee Perez-Alcazar to tell the story of transgender women working on the Amazon River.

    Nicolas Rosolino is a seasoned stage actor with more than 15 credits to his name. His background includes leads in such major musical productions as The Pirates of Penzance, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Beauty and the Beast. The trilingual actor has trained extensively in a variety of techniques, including Stanislavski, Laban, and Grotowski. “He is not afraid to take major creative risks in his acting work,” said Charles Richter, Director of Theatre at Muhlenberg College. “He is an extraordinary talent.” 

    Leeni Linna is an Estonian filmmaker currently studying at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus, and holds both a BA and an MA in film directing from Baltic University. A recipient of the Baltic American Freedom Foundation grant, Linna has directed commercials, short films, and documentaries, and is currently working on developing her first feature film as part of her MFA experience. “I see her as being the next Kathryn Bigelow,” said NYFA Professor Miguel Cruz. “She is that talented.”

    Modine Scholarship

    From L to R: Nicholas Rosolino, Matthew Modine, Leeni Linna, Jose Miguel Perez-Alcaza

    “Filmmaking is very important for our culture and its continued development,” said Modine. “Films help us to understand each other better, often exposing us to personal fears and unpleasant superstitions toward the ‘other.’ Through a skilled storyteller’s film lens, documentaries shed light into the darkness and help make the ‘monsters’ go away. Similarly, feature films can illustrate the possible, and can open our eyes to worlds and realities beyond our own. Congratulations to all our inaugural grantees–I eagerly await the projects you will create.” 

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    May 20, 2019 • Documentary Filmmaking, Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 286

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Cinematography Alum Tian Liu Builds Impressive Portfolio

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    Since graduating from the New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA in Cinematography program, alum Tian Liu (Fall 2015) has been keeping very busy. Liu has been steadily growing her career as a filmmaker and building her portfolio with credits as a photographer, producer, and cinematographer on several professional projects.

    Tian Liu
    Liu was born in China, where she studied sports journalism. While teaching orphans math as a volunteer in Kenya, Liu felt inspired to photograph their experience. After those images were professionally published, Liu realized she wanted to become a filmmaker. “I realized that images have power,” Liu tells NYFA. “It can tell others a story, it also can help people and give people a better life. I love telling stories and I want to be a visual artist.”

    Following her dream, Liu opened a photo studio and enrolled at New York Film Academy. At NYFA, Liu earned her MFA in Cinematography while studying under Chair of Cinematography Tony Richmond, ASC, BSC (Don’t Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Sandlot, Legally Blonde).

    Tian Liu
    “Without NYFA,” Liu says, I would not have been able to become a female Chinese cinematographer and do the kind of work I find so fulfilling.”

    The Piano, Liu’s thesis film completed at NYFA, has screened at over 35 film festivals, and has picked up an impressive 28 awards for Best Cinematography. Additionally, she has worked on over 40 film projects that used 16mm and 35mm film, and has shot several films as director of photography. Recently, Liu worked on a feature film in Louisiana, as well as a camera operator for Oscar-nominated cinematographer Dean Cundey, ASC (Jurassic Park, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) on the feature documentary Motionless. Liu has also worked in New York City for the United Nations and an esteemed advertisement firm.

    Liu has also found success as a photographer publishing her work in high-profile magazines and newspapers, including China Daily. Over 40 images she’s shot have been featured in Vogue Italia.

    In addition to her work behind the camera, Liu has been a strong voice for female cinematographers, and recently gave a talk at USC about working in the industry as a female, Chinese cinematographer. While the film industry works to course correct issues of gender inequality, women still make up a distressingly small proportion of working professional cinematographers.

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA in Cinematography alum Tian Liu on her continued success in the industry and thanks her sharing her experiences with the filmmaking community.

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    May 9, 2019 • Cinematography, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 622