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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Alum Ioanna Meli Stars in “Isabel”

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    Isabel, a short film starring New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum Ioanna Meli, is now available on Amazon Prime Video, allowing millions of the streaming service’s subscribers to check out the haunting drama. 

    Ioanna Meli
    Ioanna Meli

    Ioanna Meli originally hails from Greece, and studied for her Master of Fine Arts in Acting for Film from NYFA’s Los Angeles campus, where she was trained and taught by a faculty of working professionals from Hollywood, Broadway, and the independent film industry.

    NYFA’s MFA in Acting for Film program is an intense commitment — students learn two years’ worth of education in only sixteen months, and are often rehearsing and studying on weekends, in evenings, and wherever they can find those extra minutes to devote to their craft. Meli was more than up for the task however, and her work in Isabel shows off her talent and the skills she picked up while at the Academy.

    Written and directed by Alex Knudsen based on a story by Charlotte Zang, Isabel tells the story of an elderly woman named Isabel Dove at the very end of her life. However, when she seemingly passes away, she wakes up hours later as her younger self. The mystery grows deeper from there as Isabel searches for answers and reflects on the life she thought she was leaving behind. The film stars Jamie Donnelly and Lauren Elyse Buckley as old and young Isabel, respectively; Meli co-stars as Meredith. 

    About her experience filming the short, Meli tells New York Film Academy, “Working with Alex on set was a fantastic, collaborative experience. The film’s dialogue was composed to express only what was necessary to move the story forward, creating a sense of mystery that’s powerful in this film.”

    Meli continued, “The scene we did with Lauren was challenging; our energies and objectives in the story are very different and in the scene, we meet under circumstances that both of our characters are uncertain about. Working through that together was an interesting process.”

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Acting for Film alum Ioanna Meli on her stellar work in Isabel, and encourages everyone who can to check it out on Amazon Prime Video

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    December 17, 2018 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 85

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Holds Meet and Greet for Alumni

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    On Thursday, December 6, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted a TALENT MEET AND GREET at its Los Angeles Campus. NYFA invited talent agents and managers from around Hollywood to meet with Acting for Film alumni in an informal setting. 

    Agents and managers that attended the event were: Guy Kochlani (Across the Board Talent Agency), Laura Bowman (Brady, Brannon & Rick Talent), Ryan Hayden (Ideal Talent Agency), Denise Barrett (BBA Talent), Jean-Marc Carre & Vincent Carre (Central Artists), Sandy Oroumieh & Lucia Chiao (Rothman / Andrés Entertainment), Christopher Montgomery-Bender (Prodigy Talent), and Tyler Kahl (Allegory Creative Talent).  

    December 2018 NYFA Alumni Meet & Greet

    The talent agents and managers set up their own desks and booths and NYFA alumni went from table to table handing out headshots and spending a few minutes with each representative. For the aspiring actors this was a unique opportunity to meet many talent representatives — all in one evening!

    The NYFA alumni were given time to pitch themselves and ask the agents and managers advice on careers, the entertainment industry, and how to succeed. Hearing real-world critiques from a variety of industry professionals helped them better prepare for their future as they continue to network and pursue their acting careers.  

    Barbara Weintraub, Chair of Industry Outreach and Professional Development, organized the event and was thrilled with the turnout and positive feedback from both the alumni and agencies. She heard back from students the next day who were contacted by the companies.  

    Here is just some of what the alumni had to say following the meet and greet:

    This experience has been nothing short of amazing. It’s one thing to email your headshot and resume to an agent and hope to hear back, but now not only do you get to hand them a physical copy — you get to sell your personality to them.
    —Jack

    I love this. It’s a great opportunity to meet with agents and managers!
    —Belle Guillory

    It’s great to see agents in real life instead of just submitting your headshot.
    —Laura Van Yck

    This event is so great, and I am so happy that the school is doing this and giving us the opportunity to get in touch with people in the industry and to get to know new people and talk to them.
    —Anna Salles

    New York Film Academy thanks the industry representatives for their time and looks forward to having more of these events in the future!

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    December 14, 2018 • Acting, Alumni Events, Community Highlights • Views: 83

  • Q&A with Emmy Award-winning editor, actor, writer, and director, Steven Sprung

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    On Wednesday, December 5th, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted a Q&A session with Emmy Award-winning editor, actor, writer, and director, Steven Sprung, following an episode of Community which Sprung directed. Sprung is best known for his editing work on Star Trek Beyond, Entourage, and Arrested Development.

    Steven Sprung

    The Q&A began with a student who inquired about Sprung’s time at Syracuse University. Sprung shared that in college, he and his friends were very enthusiastic about filmmaking and worked together to produce numerous short films. During this time, Sprung got the chance to write, direct, edit, and act as these short films had very small production teams and needed many roles filled by very few people. He discovered that he had a special talent for editing and was nominated for an A.C.E. Eddie Award for outstanding achievement in editing while still an undergraduate at Syracuse.

    Another student asked what advice Sprung had for actors trying to perform comedic material. “Do a lot of live productions ‘cause you can get instant feedback on whether people are finding things funny,” answered Sprung, “…and… don’t try to be funny; that’s the biggest killer of all.” Sprung suggested that actors “really get invested in the drama of a scene” because a character’s investment and reactions in the moment heighten the humor.

    One student in the audience asked if Sprung felt that the entertainment industry was progressing in terms of the number of roles available for actors of color and international actors. Sprung said that, in his experience, most mainstream television shows and movies have mostly white and American production teams and actors. However, he added that there are increasing roles for actors of color and international actors because there is “so much content” available to consumers: cable TV, streaming services, web series etc.

    Steven Sprung

    Another student asked Sprung what makes actors stand out in auditions, inspiring casting directors to choose them as opposed to their peers. Sprung discussed how he cast one of the actors in the episode of Community that the students had just watched; he ultimately chose this actor because he “lit up the room” in auditions — Sprung liked his energy and his delivery. He informed students that casting is not an exact science or necessarily predictable; casting is based on a number of factors including industry relationships, whether casting directors are looking for known or unknown actors, personal opinion, etc.

    One student asked Sprung how to become a known actor. Sprung said that he believes that that type of motivation to be unsustainable in the long run. He added, “If your primary motivation is to entertain people, or to engage creatively with others… if you have a vision for your life, then you can do that no matter who’s paying you, no matter who’s validating you, or hiring you or not hiring you.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Emmy Award-winning editor, actor, writer, and director, Steven Sprung for sharing his industry experiences and wisdom with our students!


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    December 11, 2018 • Acting, Digital Editing, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 179

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism Holiday Update

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    Lots happening at New York Film Academy (NYFA) over the past couple of weeks, and away from NYFA too. The September 8-week Broadcast Journalism workshop students graduated earlier this month. There they are below, along with instructors Daniel Hernandez and Evgenia Vlasova. The graduates come from (left to right) New York, Ukraine, New Orleans, Norway via London, and Brazil. (The instructors are originally from Mexico and Russia, although I believe they are now citizens of Brooklyn.)

    The day after graduation, the 8-week and 1-year students got a behind-the-scenes tour of NBC News. Col. Jack Jacobs, an MSNBC contributor as well as Chair of NYFA’s Veterans Advancement Program, showed them how a network news operation works. In the picture below, they are on set of the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.

    Later they were on a “live” set, for an up-close and personal look at the production of AM Joy, with Joy Reid. Then they went to the control room where the program was being assembled, and sent out “live.”

    I think everyone found the tour fascinating, even though we weren’t able to visit the Saturday Night Live set. Apparently a number of the sets for that night’s show were still being built.

    Instructor Evgenia Vlasova made some news last week too. She was back home to Khabarovsk, in Russia’s Far East, to see her family for the holidays. And she was also back on the air, on the morning show that for many years she hosted and co-produced. Who says “you can never go home”? 

    And as far as I know, Genia is the only person in the Russian Far East with a NYFA hoodie. But who knows, maybe she will recruit some potential students…

    Summer Session graduate Mariana Janjacomo has been busy as well. She writes: “Back in Brazil, I’ve been working as a freelance journalist for a lot of media companies… When I was in New York, I got to interview three Hollywood stars for the Capricho website; it is the biggest website for teenagers in Latin America. Lights and camera were already set up, but it was very challenging to interview them in English. My questions were in the final version of the video too, so I’m glad I had to a chance to practice that kind of interview at NYFA.

    Among the stars she interviewed were Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick, who are appearing in the film A Simple Favor.

    Eulogio Ortiz is a longtime friend, and a former colleague at WNET here in New York. These days he is the director of the PBS NewsHour Weekend. While it is a nationally-distributed network program, and is shot in a state-of-the-art studio, he still uses something as simple as a felt-tip pen and a spiral notebook to determine the best placement of cameras, air talent, and guests on the set. Granted, it’s analog, but there are no batteries to go dead.

    Congratulations to NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Sarah Keoghan, who was one of a small group of young journalists chosen for positions at the Sydney Morning Herald. She writes:

    “Eight of us were selected out of 900 applicants, and in the current media sphere in Australia, a full-time job is unheard of, and I am beyond stoked. I’m officially a reporter! Thanks again for all your amazing help during my time at NYFA. It is truly an experience I will never forget.”

    And speaking of graduates, last week the students in our September 12-week Evening Broadcast Journalism workshop wrapped up their time at NYFA. That’s Hands-on-Camera instructor Daniel Hernandez on the left, although he looks youthful enough to be mistaken for a student.

    NYFA alum Federica Polidoro has one of the best jobs in the world. I’m serious… She travels throughout Europe, and beyond, covering the motion picture industry. Earlier this month she was in Morocco, at the Festival International du Film de Marrakech. Legendary director Martin Scorsese was there too, to present an award to equally-legendary actor Robert DeNiro. Federica was able to interview DeNiro later…

    Brazilian graduate Daniel Fideli covers sports for media giant Globo. Last week he posted on Facebook about this story:

    “Football and motorsport. Finally I manage to get these two passions together in the same story.”

    The holidays are rapidly approaching, and that means the Broadcast Journalism Update is going on hiatus until the New Year. Later this week, I am flying to Da Nang, in Vietnam, as I am the Executive Producer of an independent feature film called Invisible Love which is shooting thereJoining me is NYFA Acting for Film graduate Kazy TauginusKazy has a major role in the film. You may have seen him in Denzel Washington’s most recent film, The Equalizer II. Kazy played a really bad guy. (Who died a really bad death.)

    All the best for the New Year!

    Broadcast Journalism Update December 2018


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  • Colonel Jack Jacobs Holds Lecture for New York Film Academy (NYFA) Los Angeles Veteran-Students

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailOn November 15, 2018 New York Film Academy Los Angeles veteran-students gathered in the NYFA Theater, for a special lecture from Medal of Honor Recipient and appointed Chair of NYFA’s Veterans Advancement Program Colonel Jack Jacobs.

    Colonel Jacobs served in the U.S. Military for more than 20 years and his gallantry in Vietnam earned him the Medal of Honor—the nation’s highest combat honor—as well as two Silver Stars, three Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts. Colonel Jacobs is a military strategist and on-air analyst for NBC and MSNBC News.

    Colonel Jacobs’ mission at NYFA is to support the Academy’s veteran-students’ transition from the military to exciting careers in media and entertainment.

    The evening began with a screening of the documentary about Colonel Jacobs that recounted the events that took place during the Vietnam War and Colonel Jacobs’ dauntless actions that later earned him the Medal of Honor.

    Honorable Col. Jack Jacobs (MoH Recipient) with NYFA veteran-students.

    During the talk, Colonel Jacobs discussed his personal experience in transitioning from the military to civilian life and offered his advice to the veterans in attendance. The Colonel’s personal experiences, his inspiration, and at times his wit, touched several pungent topics. He emphasized his belief that the military is the only place that will give an 18-year-old man or woman a large amount of responsibility and this prepares them – more than most 18-year old who have not served – for nearly any career and circumstance. “An employer who hires a veteran, gains a huge benefit due to the work ethic and skills that they learned and honed while serving our great Country” stated Jacobs. He spoke on how veterans should walk into a job interview confident that with their military background, they know both how to follow and how to lead.

    The evening concluded with Colonel Jacobs taking photos and talking with the NYFA veteran-students as well as other vets in attendance from Veterans in Media & Entertainment (VME), and the Veterans Affairs (VA).

    It was truly a great experience and very inspirational evening for everyone in attendance.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    December 6, 2018 • Community Highlights, Guest Speakers, Veterans • Views: 314

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Hosts Q&A with “The Goalkeeper” Director Rodrigo Patiño

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailOn Thursday, November 29th the New York Film Academy hosted a screening of The Goalkeeper followed by a Q&A with director, co-writer and former NYFA instructor, Rodrigo “Gory” Patiño, moderated by Marlene Dermer, co-founder and former director of the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival.

    Patiño is a Bolivian actor, writer and director. He earned an MFA in Film and Television at Chapman University in California and later returned to Bolivia where he co-wrote and directed La Entrega, a 10-episode TV series about human trafficking. This series inspired the film, The Goalkeeper, which has now been chosen to represent Bolivia at the 2019 Academy Awards. Patiño’s most recent film is Pseudo, a political thriller about a taxi driver who steals the identity of a passenger who turns out to be a mercenary.

    Dermer opened up the Q&A by inquiring about the writing process for The Goalkeeper. Patiño shared that one of his co-writers, Camila Urioste, is a novelist who had done extensive research on human trafficking in Bolivia; she helped him create and write the series, La Entrega, which ultimately led to the production of The Goalkeeper. “Eight girls disappear every day…and that’s what’s reported.” said Patiño. Patiño added that he and his team interviewed a high-profile activist in Bolivia, a mother whose daughter went missing, and she shared a multitude of stories with them that helped to shape the film.

    Patiño and his team added a layer of complexity to the issue of human trafficking by forcing the main character of the The Goalkeeper, a father, to make extreme and tragic choices in the hope of paying for his sick son’s surgery; the father ultimately decides to sell a young girl into sex slavery in order to pay for his son’s surgery and he must deal with the consequences of his decision. “We [ask] the audience, ‘How far would you go to save your son or daughter?’” said Patiño, “We wanted to provoke a dialogue.”

    Dermer went on to ask the audience if they had any questions for Patiño; one audience member wanted to know how Patiño and his writing team navigated having the main character of the film, the father, make the disturbing decision to sell the girl to human traffickers as that could quickly turn the audience against his character. “We were conscious that this [was] an anti-hero story…but, believe it or not, we had some people that said, ‘Yeah, but he had to save his son!’…We wanted that dilemma.” said Patiño.

    Another audience member asked Patiño what his advice would be for aspiring filmmakers. “Write, write and write,” said Patiño, “because people are hungry for content.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Patiño for sharing his knowledge about the epidemic of human trafficking in Bolivia and his advice for young storytellers.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    December 5, 2018 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 381

  • Recent Success For New York Film Academy (NYFA) Instructor Ben Cohen

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailNew York Film Academy (NYFA) Instructor Ben Cohen has had a productive 2018. His sitcom screenplay, The Library, recently made the 2nd Round at the 2018 Austin Film Festival. Additionally, it was a finalist in the New York Screenplay Contest.

    Cohen hails from Decatur, Georgia and is currently based in Brooklyn. He has studied at various institutions across the globe, and has honed his comedy chops at Upright Citizen Brigade, among other theaters and playhouse troupes. 

    In addition to writing and performing, he currently teaches for the Filmmaking school at New York Film Academy’s New York City campus, where he has gained a reputation for being incredibly devoted to both his students and his fellow faculty members. He is also a great role model for the aspiring film school students he teaches, as he balances his position at NYFA with a working career in the film and comedy industry, much like most of the Academy’s experienced, industry-savvy faculty members.

    It’s no surprise then that his script for The Library made it to the 2nd Round of the 2018 Austin Film Festival (AFF). The AFF was founded in 1994 and has a focus on screenwriters, and has had judges from Warner Bros., Pixar, ABC Studios, and Nickelodeon in past years.

    Ben Cohen

    Ben Cohen Hosting 2018 NYFA Emmy Party in NYC

    Cohen’s script was also a finalist for the New York Screenplay Contest, a premiere global screenwriting contest that has introduced numerous talented and unique voices to the industry. Being named as a Finalist or Winner of the contest is a coveted, distinct honor.

    Cohen has remained modest about his recent achievements, telling NYFA, “It’s nice to see my writing get some recognition, but it’s important for folks to know rejection isn’t the negative — it’s the norm.” 

    Expounding on this, he continued, “Much more of your creative life is spent being told that you’re not good enough, but you have to keep writing, and more importantly, keep sharing your writing. I’ve learned to appreciate the good days (like this one) and just keep going. It helps to care about other things. My students know I’m just as happy to talk sports or Bowie as I am to talk about writing.”

    Additionally, Cohen was recently featured in a PBS Documentary produced by NYFA alum Ashton Brooks, and he plans to continue writing and pursuing gigs in the industry. 

    The New York Film Academy congratulates filmmaking instructor Ben Cohen on his recent successes and looks forward to those still yet to come! Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Jameelah Rose del Prado Lineses Wins Best Cinematography Award

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailJameelah Rose del Prado Lineses has won several awards for her various film projects since attending New York Film Academy (NYFA), and last October, she added another. At the 8th Annual International Film Festival Manhattan, Lineses earned the Best Cinematography Award for her music video, Atareek.Jameelah Rose Lineses

    The 2018 International Film Festival Manhattan (IFFM 2018) opened on October 17 and ran until October 21, with its awards ceremony held on October 18 at the Philippine Consulate in New York City. Lineses screened Atareek at the Producers Club Theaters, just a few blocks from Times Square. Saudi Vice Consul of the Saudi Arabian Consulate, Mazin AlMouallimi, was in attendance at the event.

    Atareek is “a journey to the colorful streets of Old Balad” that explores “the beautiful history of the city’s rich culture and heritage.” It was the only film representing Saudi Arabia at this year’s festival, and was shot, directed, edited, and produced by Lineses, who was assisted by her mother throughout the shoot.  

    Lineses picked up a lot of the skills necessary for filmmaking, from pre-production through post-production, at the New York Film Academy, which she first attended in June 2011 when she enrolled in the 8-Week Filmmaking workshop. Two months after that, she deepened her studies and attended the 1-Year Filmmaking program at NYFA’s New York City campus.

    Atareek was filmed in 2017 entirely in Jeddah during the Atareek festival and is the third production Lineses has made that features Historic Jeddah. Her previous films, Historic Jeddah and Our Journey to Hijaz, have garnered significant praise from multiple festivals in the last several years. 

    In addition to Atareek, Lineses worked on two other films that were Official Selections at IFFM 2018. She was Associate Producer on Reunion as well as Assistant Director, Editor, cast member, and one of the producers of Mindanao. 

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Jameelah Rose del Prado Lineses on her film Atareek and her latest award win!  

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    November 30, 2018 • Cinematography, Film Festivals, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 519

  • 1st Annual New York Film Academy Photo Alumni Portfolio Review

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailNew York Film Academy’s Photography school recently launched its first annual New York Film Academy Photo Alumni Portfolio Review. This year, thirteen of our Photography alumni from around the world gathered at NYFA’S Los Angeles campus for an evening of food, feedback, and networking with top photo industry professionals. 

    NYFA Photography alumni prepared printed portfolios and came ready to discuss their work and post-graduation photo goals. Our esteemed reviewers included: Photo Agent Jen Jenkins from Giant Artists; Producer and creative consultant, Mara Serdans; and Patti Silverstein from Elemental PhotoArt. 

    The evening began with an informal discussion with the review committee. Graduates asked about industry standards for portfolio presentation as well as for insight about the next steps they could take to continue their career path. The reviewers also discussed each of their photography journeys.

    After the group discussion, both the alumni and reviewers sat down to a delicious Mediterranean meal, and had fun goofing off in our NYFA Photo Booth. The vibe was informal but also productive and rewarding. The evening concluded with each student meeting with a reviewer to get feedback on their personal portfolio projects. 

    1st Annual New York Film Academy Photo Alumni Portfolio Review“To be able to hear first hand about your work from people working in the photo industry is the best way to grow and learn as an artist,” says NYFA alum Tanya Gawdi. Gawdi is also the guest alumni editor of FAYN Issue #4. “It was a wonderful networking opportunity and it’s always amazing to be back at NYFA.”

    Patti Silverstein, one of the guest reviewers, was also pleased to be there, stating: “I was so happy to have been invited to participate in the NYFA Portfolio event! It was such a fun evening meeting and reviewing the work of a very talented and passionate group of photographers.”

    Silverstein continued, “The event was really well organized and relaxed, with just the right amount of time for socializing and for reviewing.” 

    The New York Film Academy thanks the guest reviewers for their valuable input and congratulates the Photography alumni on their fantastic work!

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    November 29, 2018 • Community Highlights, Photography • Views: 477

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism Update – November 27, 2018

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailLots happening at NYFA over the past couple of weeks, and away from NYFA too. The September 8-week Broadcast Journalism workshop students graduated earlier this month. There they are below, along with instructors Daniel Hernandez and Evgenia Vlasova. The graduates come from (left to right) New York, Ukraine, New Orleans, Norway via London and Brazil. The instructors are originally from Mexico and Russia, although I believe they are now citizens of Brooklyn.

    The day after graduation, the 8-week and 1-year students got a behind the scenes tour of NBC News. Col. Jack Jacobs, an MSNBC contributor as well as Chair of NYFA’s Veteran’s Advancement Program, showed them how a network news operation works. In the picture below, they are on the set on the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.
    Later they were on a “live” set, for an up-close and personal look at the production of AM Joy, withJoy Reid. Then they went to the control room where the program was being assembled, and sent out “live.”
    I think everyone found the tour fascinating, even though we weren’t able to visit the Saturday Night Live set. Apparently a number of the sets for that night’s show were still being built.
    Evgenia Vlasova made some news last week too. She was back home to Khabarovsk, in Russia’s Far East, to see her family for the holidays. And she was also back on-the-air, on the morning show that for many years she hosted and co-produced. Who says “you can never go home.”
    And as far as I know, Genia is the only person in the Russian Far East with a NYFA hoodie. But who knows, maybe she will recruit some potential students…
    Summer Session graduate Mariana Janjacomo has been busy as well. She writes: “Back in Brazil, I’ve been working as a freelance journalist for a lot of media companies… When I was in New York, I got to interview three Hollywood stars for the Capricho website, it is the biggest website for teenagers in Latin America. Lights and camera were already set-up, but it was very challenging to interview them in English. My questions were in the final version of the video too, so I’m glad I had to a chance to practice that kind of interview at NYFA.
    Among the stars she interviewed were Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick, who are appearing in the film A Simple Favor.

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    November 28, 2018 • Broadcast Journalism • Views: 311