Nancy Dionne
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  • DOC NYC Screens Exclusive Lineup of New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking Department Shorts

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    DOC NYC, which runs from November 6 – 15, showcased the work of the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking department in an exclusive lineup of NYFA short films on Thursday, November 7.

    DOC NYC is celebrating its tenth year, after bursting onto the scene in 2010 that the Village Voice called “selective but eclectic.” With a mission statement to guide audiences toward the work of various artists—filmmakers, photographers, and more—and to help documentarians make the most of emerging technologies and the networking opportunities one can only find in New York.

    DOC NYC 2019

    The festival spans ten days at theaters across Manhattan, with an impressive multitude of special guests. Past guests have included Hillary Clinton, Emma Watson, Jim Carrey, Thandie Newton, Susan Sarandon, Martin Scorsese, Itzhak Perlman, Michael Moore, Chris Rock, Michel Gondry, Errol Morris, Oliver Stone, Jonathan Franzen, and Al Sharpton, among others. DOC NYC is overseen by Executive Director Raphaela Neihausen and Artistic Director Thom Powers.

    NYFA has collaborated with DOC NYC in the past, with the fest screening the work of several distinguished students and alumni at the precipices of their careers. This year’s DOC NYC U: NYFA lineup was held on Thursday, November 7, at 1:00 p.m. at the IFC Center in Manhattan’s West Village, running for 68 minutes.

    Here is the 2019 DOC NYC U: NYFA lineup:

    Ghost Villages of the Himalayas | Director: Kuldeep Sah Gangola
    Despite encroaching leopards and relentless isolation, 89-year-old Ammaji refuses to leave her home.
    (USA, 16 MIN)

    My Dad Vernon | Director: Serena Smith
    Vernon teaches Serena creative life-hacks while she tries to understand why he lives in his car.
    (USA, 3 MIN, excerpt)

    Mamá | Director: Lucia Florez
    Chia joins her mother to research motherhood in the Andes, where they confront their own relationship.
    (USA, 6 MIN, excerpt)

    All I See Is the Future | Director: Nancy Dionne
    A former drug dealer becomes a successful optician—until a mistake threatens his dream.
    (USA, 14 MIN)

    A Word Away | Director: Mollie Moore
    For 18 years, selective mutism has kept Cosmo silent about escaping South Sudan—until now.
    (USA, 20 MIN)

    Get It | Director: Joe Cleary
    Reem hustles to parlay street-dancing fame into a rap career.
    (USA, 3 MIN, excerpt)

    B-city | Director: Carolina Gonzales
    Bhustak creates a makeshift hip-hop studio to help neighborhood kids escape violence in Bogotá.
    (USA, 3 MIN)

    Baladna | Director: Aya Hamdan
    A Syrian baker navigates economic instability and immigration status to bring his family to Bahrain.
    (USA, 3 MIN)

    Epiales | Director: Anna Panova
    Follow a photographer into the frightening universe of sleep paralysis.
    (USA, 3 MIN, excerpt)

    Unloved | Director: Nika Nikanava
    The story of three women coming to terms with having fathers who abandoned them.
    (USA, 11 MIN)

    The Rhythms | Director: Nika Nikanava
    In memoriam to a promising and well-loved filmmaker.
    (USA, 2 MIN)

    New York Film Academy congratulates the documentary filmmakers representing NYFA at this year’s DOC NYC and is elated to see their important work being appreciated!

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    November 7, 2019 • Documentary Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 604

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking Instructor Jessica Wolfson Produces and Directs ‘The Columnists’ for WSJ. Magazine

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking Instructor Jessica Wolfson produced and directed The Columnists for WSJ. Magazine, a video series of intimate conversations with renowned figures reflecting on various themes that have guided their careers.

    The project has its roots in On Point, a coffee table book from WSJ. Magazine, a glossy news and lifestyle monthly magazine by the publishers of The Wall Street Journal. The book, released September of last year, included interviews from the publication’s renowned column The Columnists. The new series has six parts and a 20-minute short film, directed and produced by Wolfson.

    Jessica Wolfson The Columnists

    This is the second project Wolfson has made for The Wall Street Journal. Her earlier project was Drawing the Future, a video tech series. Wolfson is a photographer and documentary filmmaker who has directed shorts including Night People, Iowa Mixtape, and Play a Round with Me, as well as films Radio Unnameable and Hot Grease. Additionally, she teaches for the Documentary Filmmaking department at New York Film Academy’s New York City campus.

    Episodes of The Columnists are based on a particular theme, including Luck, Risk, Mistakes, and Willpower. Notable subjects speaking on these topics include, author Fran Lebowitz, director Lee Daniels, Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington, television star Rainn Wilson, and the late Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld.

    “What I really loved most about making this series was having conversations with the subjects about emotional and philosophical topics such as willpower, advice, envy—rather than the typical career questions they are normally asked,” Wolfson tells NYFA. “This made for a very interesting dialogue.”

    Wolfson also worked with Associate Producer and graduate of NYFA’s Documentary Filmmaking program Nancy Dionne. Dionne researched crew and shooting locations in Canada, Paris, London, and New York for the series. “It was the kind of call where you hang up and jump up and down smiling saying, ‘Yes!’” Dionne tells NYFA. She was also more than happy to work with Wolfson, who she met at NYFA. 

    “I don’t think I had ever been so excited to see her in action,” Dionne says of Wolfson. “What struck me first was how calm Jessica and her crew were, not that they were not feeling stress, but how they handled it and how they communicated with me and each other—just so professional and smart with no effort wasted.”

    Jessica Wolfson The Columnists
    Photo Credit: WSJ Magazine

    Currently, The Columnists is a limited series, but Wolfson is eager to shoot additional seasons in the future.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Documentary Filmmaking instructor Jessica Wolfson and alum Nancy Dionne on The Columnists, and thanks them for taking the time to speak to NYFA about their experience!

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  • New York Film Academy Documentary Film Festival Screens 5 Fantastic Student Docs

    FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailThe New York Film Academy recently celebrated The New York Film Academy Documentary Film Festival, offering a showcase of five exceptional thesis documentaries from our conservatory students.

    Held at the NYFA Theatre at the New York City campus, the festival served not only as a thesis presentation, but also a professional launch and celebration of an exceptional group of filmmakers. The surprising, compelling stories and unique visions of the Spring ’17 Documentary Filmmaking Conservatory carried a delighted audience of fellow NYFA students, friends, faculty, and staff around the globe and through a series of remarkable worlds you’d never have known existed.

    Screened at the festival were the following films:

    "Jatar" by Braulio Jatar

    “Running Out of Freedom” Directed by Braulio Jatar

    Braulio Jatar’s father, a high-profile Venezuelan dissident, is dying in prison. But the capture order on Braulio’s head makes returning to the country extremely dangerous. His family won’t allow it. But with his father’s life in the balance, and the Resistance gathering to make one last stand, the young journalist has decided to risk his life to fight for his father and for his country.

    “Cricket Liu” Directed by Julia Cheng

    An aging master of the ancient culture of cricket fighting now uses the art to entertain an endless river of tourists, earning all he possibly can, to send in precious red envelops as gifts to the beloved little grandson he is not allowed to know.

    “Gold Flakes” Directed by Santiago Machado

    A courageous father navigates Colombian rainforests, gleaning the last flakes of El Dorado’s gold.

    But it’s drying up. The abandoned mines threaten collapse, a guerilla army is taking over the area, and the government is trying to starve out the gleaners with new taxes and tightening regulations. Still, his family will eat tonight if he can find just one good gold flake.

    “The Future is Rotten” Directed by Nancy Dionne 

    Forests of the Pacific Northwest hold a rare treasure. A secret culture of foragers spend their lives hunting it. Its coveted flavor can bring up to $1000 per kg. But the Matsutake mushroom’s true genius is as a healer of ruined landscapes, and it may offer the best hope for an American forest system run amuk.

    “Sword Swallower” Directed by Katerina Olkhovaya 

    Notorious circus artist Magnificent Jewels makes a career of death-defying performances. Even outside the limelight, the vulnerable if hardened sword swallower sacrifices all for the burlesque circus that from Berlin, to Brussels, to Paris must always go on.

    Congratulations to our Spring ’17 Documentary Filmmaking Conservatory class! It was truly a proud and triumphant night for our documentary community.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail