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  • NYFA Screens “Blank City” with Filmmakers Amos Poe and Celine Danhier

    blank city“There’s no relationship between New York now and in the 70s,” said New York Film Academy’s recent guest speaker, filmmaker Amos Poe. This became apparent for incoming New York Film Academy students who were fascinated by Celine Danhier’s documentary “Blank City,” which captured New York’s indie filmmakers of the 70s, who were inspired by the burgeoning underground art and music scene.

    The era included this cross-pollination of art, music and film. Filmmakers with hardly enough money to pay their Con-Ed bills would hit the streets to shoot guerrilla-style movies while unknowingly influencing the highly regarded No Wave movement. Danhier’s film examines the events that led to No Wave’s creation, in which the city itself, which was in decay at the time, plays a significant role. Danhier, who came to New York from Paris, interviews such filmmakers and artists as Jim Jarmusch, John Waters, Amos Poe, Thurston Moore, Debbie Harry and Lydia Lunch.

    “I didn’t know how to make movies but I had a camera,” said Poe. “I thought: I’m never going to make a movie that anyone is going to see, so why not make a film movement.”

    Danhier, who spoke to NYFA instructor Ben Maraniss and students after the screening, became interested in the lawless and desolate city streets of New York’s No Wave movement after seeing Poe’s “The Blank Generation” and Edo Bergoglio’s “Downtown 81.” In the spring of 2007, after meeting with producers, she began shooting her first movie, a documentary on the films associated with the No Wave movement and the city that set the backdrop.

    “I was charmed by her and her interest in our work,” said Poe. “Celine was dealing with a lot of difficult people and she stuck with it — even though it took four years.”

    Celine’s documentary screened at both the Tribeca Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival, where she eventually found a distributor.  

    Poe and Danhier are now working on their own project, which deals with their admiration for French New Wave cinema.

    May 26, 2017 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 160

  • NYFA LA Filmmakers and Game Designers Meet with Composers

    On Monday, May 8th New York Film Academy students from the Documentary, Game Design, and Filmmaking gathered to do a one-on-one meet and greet with composers from the Academy of Scoring Arts and the Los Angeles College of Music.

    composers

    Students went round robin style as they interviewed with the twenty different composers. They described their projects, what they hoped the music would achieve, listened to samples, and spoke about the best way to connect and communicate with composers when working on a project.

    Head of Documentary and organizer of the meet and greet, Barbara Multer-Wellin, was excited to have students explore original music for their projects. “A good score can change the way an audience feels about what their viewing,” she said. “A great score can make a picture. Cultivating these relationships early is vital for our students.”

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    One student, Juanita Alvarez described the experience as one her favorite opportunities at NYFA. “The only thing I can’t get at NYFA is a film score,” said Alvarez. “Originally, I had placed fair use music I found online over the film. But after meeting not one, but four great composers tonight and hearing what they could do for my project, I’ll be making room in my budget for an original score.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank the composers who took the time to speak with our students.

    May 26, 2017 • Community Highlights, Documentary Filmmaking • Views: 159

  • NYFA Students Showcase Films at LA Live Score Film Festival

    On Friday, May 12 five students from the New York Film Academy showcased their short films at the Los Angeles Live Score Film Festival. Held at the beautiful Barnsdall Gallery Theater in Hollywood, select filmmakers were paired with composers to create an original score. The scores were performed live as the films were projected on a screen above the players.

    la live score

    The following students represented the New York Film Academy:

    • Naimah Hawsah, “Bicycle”
    • Nani Li Yang, “The Most Beautiful Woman” 
    • Jessica Chung, “Sushi Man” 
    • Tiffany Paulsen, “The Swan”
    • Zesheng Gao, “Trio”

    The New York Film Academy is especially pleased and proud of this collaboration with the Festival, as Tiffany Paulsen’s “The Swan” won the Audience Award for Best Film, and Jessica Chung’s “Sushi Man” won the Audience Award for Best Score.

    live score nyfa

    Hawsah said, “I felt like I was inside the film,” while watching her movie “Bicycle.” Happy with the reception Hawsah said she plans to submit to many more festivals as she hopes her story of a shy young boy will influence children across the globe.

    Myriam Frankel, Head of Festival Department at the Los Angeles Campus, created the partnership with the Live Score Film Festival in hopes of elevating the film projects being created by students. NYFA offers degrees in nearly every aspect of filmmaking, but music composition has to be sought outside of the school. Frankel hopes that by building solid bridges with composing communities like fellow sponsors Helix Collective, Megatrax, and the Academy of Scoring Arts students will encourage students to seek original, high quality and customized music scores for their films, as well as facilitate opportunities for fruitful collaboration with composers.

    live score nyfa students

    One of the students in attendance, Furaha Bayibsa, described the experience as, “Incredible.” She was particularly taken with a cellist player who received a standing ovation when introduced at the end of the show. “She played with such passion. At one point it looked as if she was going to cry. It was wonderful.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank the composers: Jane Lin, Benjamin Hoff, Annie Rosevear, Bronson Buskett, and Wei-San Hsu for creating beautiful and lasting scores for our students. Congratulations to all of our participants on an amazing showcase.

  • Netflix Announces New Series “Tidelands” to Film in Queensland, Australia

    netflix australiaQueensland, Australia, home of the New York Film Academy Australia Gold Coast, continues to cultivate film production and acting jobs, with last year being its best year attracting production expenditure of more than $200 million. “Aquaman” is currently being filmed in south-east Queensland and the location also hosted the international and domestic productions of “Pirates of the Caribbean 5,” “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Pacific Rim 2.” The most recent announcement of Netflix’s newest Australian series, “Tidelands,” adds to the list of yet another major production in the region.

    “Tidelands will be the very first Netflix Original Series to be commissioned and made completely in Australia, with all filming to take place in south-east Queensland,” said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

    “Tidelands,” which is expected to create eighty jobs for Queensland acting talent and crew, was written and developed through Brisbane-based production house Hoodlum.” Set in the fictional Australian sea-side town of Orphelin Bay where the residents harbor deep secrets and nothing is as it seems, the series plays out with a supernatural undercurrent. Production will begin in early 2018.

    “Screen Queensland is committed to investing in innovative projects with international appeal and ‘Tidelands’ will deliver great opportunities for Queensland. The series will film ten 50-minute episodes in Queensland for its first season,” said Screen Queensland CEO Tracey Vieira.

    nyfa Australia gold coast

    NYFA Australia Gold Coast students filming on set

    “High-profile filmmakers now consider the Gold Coast as a world-class destination with excellent filming options and multi-skilled crew,” said NYFA Australia Gold Coast Director Tasha Cooper. “I don’t even bat an eyelid these days with the amount of blockbusters filming in our very own backyard. It’s become very much like living in Hollywood. It’s great for the local industry. ”

    NYFA Australia maintains exclusive premises, located at Village Roadshow Studios. NYFA Australia alumnus Damian Lang has worked on both “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Aquaman,” both of which were filmed in the Gold Coast. Between his on-set experience and filmmaking background, Lang is currently working on an idea for his first feature film.

    “It makes us proud and acknowledges what we’ve always known — our unique learning style offers students incredible training that set them up for life — whether on small scale productions or massive blockbusters,” said Cooper.

    May 25, 2017 • Entertainment Australia, Filmmaking • Views: 1043

  • NYFA Hour with Acting for Film Chair Lynda Goodfriend

    New York Film Academy Hour on Popcorn Talk recently featured New York Film Academy Los Angeles Chair of Acting for Film Lynda Goodfriend, who shared her experience working on the iconic American Television Show “Happy Days,” as well as making the shift from actress to talent manager, and what inspired her to teach.

    lynda goodfriend

    One of the best stories Goodfriend shared was how she helped Robin Williams get his start in the industry. Williams and Goodfriend were in an improv class together. “He was either great or he was terrible,” Goodfriend said of watching an early and unpolished Williams leave it all on the stage. His talent was apparent but he never stayed on script, a large faux pas in television, where the writer is king.

    Goodfriend saw an opportunity to help the struggling actor when “Happy Days” was having trouble casting a new frazzled alien character, Mork. “We were shooting the scene on Friday. It was Wednesday and we still hadn’t cast the role.” She told the producers about Williams and his wild and hysterical performances.

    “He came in for the audition. He didn’t stay on book but what he brought to the performance was even better than what was on the page. He was booked immediately.” The role led to a spin-off series that launched Williams into superstardom, and the rest is history.

    To watch the NYFA Hour tune into Popcorn Talk on YouTube every Thursday at 4:00 PM PT. You can catch up on previous episodes with amazing guests like film critic Peter Rainer, who discussed the legacy of Marlon Brando.

    May 24, 2017 • Acting, Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights • Views: 221

  • NYFA Screenwriting Degree Graduates Celebrate with an Industry Pitch Fest

    Graduating MFA, AFA and BFA New York Film Academy Screenwriting students recently attended their culminating Industry Pitch Fest Event, held at the penthouse ballroom of the Andaz Hotel up on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood.

    The event was live-Snapchatted by Spring 16 MFA screenwriting student Lindsey Hall. NYFA can be followed on SnapChat at NYFilmAcademy.

    nyfa screenwriting

    A catered event and mingling opportunity for the students, executives, and faculty alike, this capstone evening celebrated the New York Film Academy’s graduating Screenwriting students, offering them a professional outlet to jumpstart their careers by pitching their film and TV thesis projects to industry executives.

    These writing students spent their final semester in their Business of Screenwriting classes working with Business of Screenwriting Instructors David O’Leary, Ashley Bank, and Doc Pedrolie, in conjunction with Faculty Chair Nunzio DeFilippis and Associate Chair Adam Finer, preparing and fine-tuning their pitches.

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    They shined on this pinnacle evening, leaving with new professional contacts and a wave of interest in the scripts they’d worked so hard on all year.

    Considered by the school to be their first night as professional screenwriters, this group of bright students brought their A-game, as they pitched agents, managers, studio, and TV and film production company execs in a relaxed, round-table environment.

    Organized and hosted by David O’Leary, the event featured representatives from 25 Hollywood companies, including —

    AAO Entertainment, Blumhouse, Blumhouse Tilt, Canny Lads Productions, Dino De Laurentiis, Elevate Entertainment, Imagination 9, Ineffable Pictures, International Film Trust, Intrigue Entertainment, Left Field Pictures, Link Entertainment, Macro Management, Madhouse Entertainment, Manifest Talent, NBC Universal Digital, Nightshade Entertainment, No Bull Script, Okay Goodnight, Orchard Farm Productions, Primary Wave Entertainment, Quadrant Pictures, STX Entertainment, This is Just a Test Productions, and Universal Pictures International.

    nyfa screenwriting la

    NYFA wishes to thank all of its participants, particularly our industry guests, without whom this evening could not have been possible. Also, we’d like to extend a big congratulations to all of our MFA, AFA, and BFA graduates!

    May 23, 2017 • Community Highlights, Screenwriting • Views: 1192

  • May Updates at the Broadcast Journalism School

    The big news in the New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism department was a visit by Andy Braddell, Vice President and Managing Director of Global Media Services for the Associated Press. Our students (and some instructors too) had a chance to ask questions about how one of the world’s premiere news organizations is meeting the challenge of an ever-changing media environment. Andy also spoke about his career as a front line journalist, and offered our soon-to-graduate 1-year students some practical job-hunting advice.
    broadcast journalism
    NYFA grad Bryanna Reynolds got viewers of Good Morning Melbourne — my favorite Australian morning chat show — a sneak peak of “My Fair Lady Australia,” directed by the wonderful Julie Andrews. (Apparently this is something of an annual event.) She got the inside story from the show’s stars, and seemed to have a pretty good time in the process!

    Continuing in southern hemisphere, Vanessa Lorenzini is now working as a reporter at TV Cultura in Brazil. Headquartered in Sao Paulo, the network specializes in educational and cultural programming, but also has sports and entertainment offerings as well. One of my favorite stories from when Vanessa was a NYFA student is a charming report on how to take care of the family dog during a cold New York City winter. (Little kids and animals, you can’t go wrong…) A portion of that story is included in her 2015 Resume Reel.

    Vanessa Lorenzini

    Finally, Broadcast Journalism alum Myla Kucherezhko was so inspired by what she learned at NYFA that she made a total career change. She left the world of high finance and is now focusing entirely on being a multimedia journalist. One of her recent projects is a profile of Swedish fashion icon Gudrun Sjoden. (You can see the story on aol.)

    May 23, 2017 • Broadcast Journalism, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 224

  • NYFA Broadcast Journalism Students Cover Tragic Crash in Times Square

    New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism student Ljuba-Lada Marinovic believes capturing a good story requires both diligence and a sense of urgency. When she and classmate Kyle Morris learned of a devastating auto accident in New York City’s iconic Times Square, they knew they had to leave NYFA’s downtown Manhattan campus immediately. In fact, they left so quickly the only “cameras” they had were their mobile phones. Later, Lada recalled, “I remembered how, in one of my first NYFA Broadcast Journalism classes, the instructor pulled out his cell phone and told us that ‘in an emergency, this is all you need.'”

    lads times square

    One person was dead, and 22 others injured in Times Square. Was it an act of terrorism? Or a tragic accident? In fact, it turned out to be a case of drunk driving.

    A TV news reporter in her home country of Croatia, Lada came to NYFA to become a multimedia journalist. So did former Alaska resident Kyle Morris. Fortunately Lada still had a microphone windscreen emblazoned with the letters RTL — the initials of well-known European broadcaster Radio Television Luxembourg. Lada did an on-the-scene report direct from Times Square for RTL, with Kyle shooting her stand-up on her iPhone. The story first aired in Croatia, then went viral online.

    “It was all super stressful, but super exciting! If somebody told me a few months ago that I would use my phone to report for a TV station, I probably would not have believe it. But with the knowledge NYFA gave me, it felt completely normal.”

    According to NYFA Broadcast Journalism Chair Bill Einreinhofer, “Lada and Kyle are examples of the highly motivated, truly creative students who attend the New York Film Academy. The  storytelling skills they learn prepare them for careers in a wide range of news formats. But the key to their success is the passion they bring to their work.”

    Now in its 25th year, the New York Film Academy has established itself as one of the premier visual and performing arts schools in the world. It has campuses in New York City, Los Angeles and South Beach, as well as locations in Australia, Florence and Mumbai. Information about the NYFA Broadcast Journalism program can be found at www.nyfa.edu/broadcast-journalism-school/.

  • An Evening with Chris Buck and His “Uneasy” Photos at the New York Film Academy

    The Photography Department at the New York Film Academy hosted an evening with Chris Buck, one of the most captivating voices in celebrity portraiture. NYFA Photography Chair David Mager introduced the prolific photographer to a room full of photography students and avid fans of Buck’s work. Buck has been creating a unique space within the world of celebrity portraiture for three decades. His charming, odd, and captivating photos from 1986 to 2016 have now been compiled in a cohesive collection entitled “Uneasy,” which he will be signing before and after the event. The new book features his portraits of some of today’s most famous celebrities including Jay Z, Mary Tyler Moore, President Barack Obama, Louis C.K., Mac DeMarco, Lena Dunham, Snoop Dogg, George Clooney, William Shatner, Abbi Jacobson & Ilana Glazer, and many others.

    Chris Buck

    photo by Alejandra Arias

    Buck began the evening with a behind-the-scenes glimpse of his photo shoots. He joked that while the production process may look easy and glamorous in a short film, most of the time he is freaking out and obsessing on whether he will be able to get the right shots.

    He soon recalled his early childhood where he didn’t have many friends and began to cling to pop culture through movies and music. It was his increasing interest in pop culture and the fact that his father worked at Kodak that led to his passion for photography. As a young photographer Buck would follow local bands in Toronto and take photos. Initially, Buck was so “uneasy” around his subjects that he would only take photographs of their feet rather than a proper portrait.

    chris buck

    photo by Alejandra Arias

    While known for his work with high profile individuals and celebrities, Buck says he’s also interested in exploring regular people and working in advertising. “My real mission is to project my wounded ‘damage’ personality onto the photography,” said Buck.

    As Buck’s confidence and experience grew, he soon learned that being a great portrait photographer requires a focus on making an image for the audience and yourself — not the subject. As a professional with 30 years of work under his belt, Buck says its his ability not to act like “buddies” with his subject that creates an atmosphere in which the subject sees him as a serious professional. This is typically when his best work comes through.

    After elaborating on his work and wisdom through a series of videos and slides, Buck signed copies of his new book, “Uneasy,” which constructs a road map of contemporary culture, featuring a wide range of subjects, including many of the most recognizable names today: President Barack Obama, George Clooney, Joaquin Phoenix, Lena Dunham, Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, Louis C.K., Judd Apatow, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William Shatner, Aziz Ansari, Kristen Stewart, Jay Z, Cindy Sherman, Jimmy Fallon and Donald Trump.

    May 19, 2017 • Guest Speakers, Photography • Views: 1022

  • Industry Trend Series with NYFA Alumna Caitlin Cooke: Casting Associate at Donna Grossman Casting

    This week, Acting for Film Chair Glynis Rigsby welcomed back her former student Caitlin Cooke for an Industry Trends Series discussion. Aside from her acting career, Cooke is a Casting Associate at Donna Grossman Casting, a full service boutique casting company based in Manhattan. Donna Grossman Casting cast commercials, print, beauty, editorial, TV, film, theater, web series, live events and special projects.

    caitlin cooke

    photo by Alejandra Arias

    Cooke began the talk by saying, “This school to me, it kind of makes me emotional,” said Cooke. “It brought me a lot of friends and a lot of opportunities and I met a lot of people in the industry. Everything I learned here was helpful. I learned a lot of the business side. Also the access to the equipment I had here is insane. Access to the industry here was way better than other places. And the advice that Glynis [Rigsby] and other instructors offer is invaluable.”

    Facing the competitive field of actors after graduating, Cooke landed notable TV series and feature films such as Emmy-winning NBC series, “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” and the star-studded comedy blockbuster, “Grown Ups 2.” Most recently, she had the chance to guest star in an episode of “Tough Love,” a web series created by her friend Steven Bell. To further her and her friends career, she created an original series, “Rules of Cool,” which she was able to sell.

    “Creating your own work is very important,” she said. “When you get out of school you’re not sure what to do next. We decided to take control and create our own opportunities.”

    Cooke provided invaluable insight into the casting process, breaking down the process and providing tips and suggestions to improve NYFA Acting for Film students’ auditions.

    “Auditions are like a first date,” said Cooke. “Act natural, but if it doesn’t work out there’s always someone else. Always take a chance and always listen to what they have to say. Always be appropriate for what the role is. Look appropriate for what you’re doing.”

    NYFA would like to thank Ms Cooke for taking the time to speak to our students, and we wish her the best of luck on her blossoming career!

    May 18, 2017 • Acting, Guest Speakers, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1128