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  • New Name, Same Great Series: New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking Co-Presents ‘Pure Nonfiction,’ Previously Known as ‘Stranger Than Fiction’

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking department is happy to announce the winter season of Pure Nonfiction at IFC Center, featuring ten documentaries playing from February 5 to March 26. 

    Pure Nonfiction

    The season opens with UNITED SKATES (Feb 5), winner of the Tribeca Audience Award, about roller skating in black communities across the United States. Two films will appear as sneak previews fresh off their Sundance premieres: Alex Gibney’s THE INVENTOR: OUT FOR BLOOD IN SILICON VALLEY (Mar 14), and THE BRINK (Mar 26, closing night of the winter season) about the former Trump strategist Steve Bannon spreading his nationalist ideas in Europe. Each screening features the filmmakers or other special guests in person. New York Film Academy students receive a discount at the door. 

    Called “a vital outpost for award-winning documentaries” by The New York Times, the beloved docs series Stranger Than Fiction is being retitled to share a name with the popular podcast Pure Nonfiction, now in its fourth year. Both were created by Thom Powers, renowned Documentary Programmer of the Toronto International Film Festival and Artistic Director of DOC NYC, and Raphaela Neihausen, Academy Award-nominated producer and NYFA graduate. “Pure Nonfiction as a screening series at IFC Center shares the same mission as the podcast to illuminate the art of documentary making, so it makes sense for them to share the same name,” says Powers.

    Andrea Swift, Chair of NYFA’s Documentary Department, says, “It is an honor for the NYFA Documentary Department to continue our sponsorship of Pure Nonfiction in its new incarnation. The series has been a crucial pillar of the documentary community for fourteen years. It provides our students with the unique opportunity to see great films curated by a legend like Thom Powers, and to hear from their creators via the insightful discussions he always elicits. Going out after to rub elbows and continue the conversation, students also get a chance to begin to know their new community.”

    Pure Nonfiction‘s winter season also includes a sneak preview of the new series THE CASE AGAINST ADNAN SYED (Feb 26) based on the case made famous by the Serial podcast. Director Amy Berg will present its first episode prior to its debut on HBO. Other sneak previews include IT’S A HARD TRUTH, AIN’T IT (Feb 12) about prisoners learning to make films; and ONE NATION UNDER STRESS (Mar 19) with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, which looks to uncover why American life expectancy is falling.

    Classic revivals are a key part of the screening series. The season includes a double bill (Feb 19) with D.A. Pennebaker’s ORIGINAL CAST ALBUM: COMPANY (1970) about a studio recording of the Stephen Sondheim musical; joined with a new parody of the film from the series DOCUMENTARY NOW! titled ORIGINAL CAST ALBUM: CO-OP. (In a happy coincidence, DOCUMENTARY NOW! features NYFA grad, Bill Hader along with Fred Armisen.) Pennebaker will present the films with other colleagues who were part of the original. 

    Other classics include the 20th anniversary of Doug Block’s HOME PAGE (Feb 21) about the emergence of a confessional culture on the internet; THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI (Mar 5) that will memorialize director Bill Siegel who passed away last December; and THAT RHYTHM…THOSE BLUES (Mar 12) in a new restoration of the 1988 film that explored rhythm and blues music in the 1940s and 1950s.

    The Pure Nonfiction winter season takes place at the IFC Center every Tuesday night at 7:30 pm for eight weeks, plus special Thursday screenings on Feb 21 and Mar 14. Each event includes a discussion with the filmmakers, followed by a gathering at a nearby bar. Season passes are now on sale for $99 for ten films, though NYFA students are offered a discount. The full season schedule appears below. For more information, visit here.

    Pure Nonfiction at IFC Center: Winter 2019 Season                    
    7:30pm Tuesdays at IFC Center, Feb 5 – Mar 26

    Each show features a Q&A with the director or other special guests:

    Feb 5: Opening Night – UNITED SKATES (2018, Q&A w/ dir. Tina Brown & subject Reggie)

    Feb 12: IT’S A HARD TRUTH, AIN’T IT (2018, Q&A w/ dir. Madeleine Sackler)

    Feb 19: Double bill: ORIGINAL CAST ALBUM: COMPANY (1970, Q&A w/ dir. D.A. Pennebaker & others) and DOCUMENTARY NOW! presents ORIGINAL CAST ALBUM CO-OP (2019)

    Feb 21: Thursday special – HOME PAGE – 20th anniv. (1999, Q&A w/ dir. Doug Block & others)

    Feb 26: THE CASE AGAINST ADNAN SYED – episode one (2019, Q&A w/ dir. Amy Berg)

    Mar 5: THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI (2014, Q&A in memory of dir. Bill Siegel w/ his colleagues)

    Mar 12: THAT RHYTHM…THOSE BLUES – newly restored (1988, Q&A w/ dir. George T. Nierenberg)

    Mar 14: Thursday Special – THE INVENTOR: OUT FOR BLOOD IN SILICON VALLEY (2019, Q&A w/ dir. Alex Gibney)

    Mar 19: ONE NATION UNDER STRESS (2019, Q&A w/ dir. Marc Levin)

    Mar 26: Closing Night – THE BRINK (2019, Q&A w/ dir. Alison Klayman)

    Tickets for Pure Nonfiction screenings are $17 for the general public and $14 for IFC Center members and NYFA students. A Season Pass covers admission to all ten evenings and provides free popcorn at all screenings. It is available for $99 ($80 for IFC members and NYFA students).

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    February 1, 2019 • Documentary Filmmaking • Views: 770

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Students Reach Out to the Community to Make a Difference

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    In Spring 2018, a select group of New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary students volunteered to create a video honoring the 65th Anniversary of Family Service Agency (FSA) in Burbank. FSA is a privately-funded mental health service provider that specializes in “treating the mental and emotional well-being of children, adults and families suffering silently through Counseling, Preventing, Educating and Advocating since 1953”. 

    The NYFA team, consisting of Drama del Rosario, Gustav Gibrand, and Asem Nurlanova, started production in April 2018 and were in active production throughout May and June. They participated in the annual 5K Carewalk (shooting and interviewing participants) and then interviewed Executive Director Laurie Bleick, Operational Director Christine Ramos, Clinical Director George Holbrook, and Director of School Based Counseling Services Ginny Goodwin. 

    Because FSA is privately funded by many community sponsors, the filmmakers were granted unique access to several local schools and locations key to the services provided by the organization. In July 2018, the students, along with NYFA alum, Eva Maria Bukovinsky, also interviewed Brian Miller, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cartoon Network to talk to him about his service on the Board of Directors for FSA. 

    Bukovinszky then got to work editing the project. The resulting film was screened at the October 5, 2018 gala celebrating FSA’s 65 years of service, and now serves to explain their services on the About page of their website.

    After the team handed over the final project for FSA, another crew gathered together in September 2018 to begin working on the annual Community Film Project with NYFA instructor Denise Hamilton. The students chose to work with David and Margaret Youth and Family Services, a non-profit that “empowers children, youth, and families through culturally diverse services that foster emotional, educational, spiritual, and identity development.” 

    The crew pitched three ideas and allowed the organization to choose what suited their needs. They chose Drama del Rosario’s concept and this helped form the crew: Drama del Rosario, producer; Lucia Flores, director & editor; Faisal Aldakheel, director of photography and Asem Nurlanova, sound. 

    “When we pitched our idea, we wanted to have a good balance of technical information and very human characters,” says del Rosario. “David and Margaret wanted to target youth who might be interested in signing up for the program, so we didn’t want some boring brochure-turned-video. We wanted something that would make them say, ‘Hey, that looks fun! That looks useful!’”

    Production, including on location B-roll and interviews in LaVerne, California, about 40 miles east of campus (in Los Angeles traffic this is tantamount to taking a “road trip”), took about a week. After that, production included further research, writing and gathering of archival footage. 

    The result was screened on January 26, 2019 in NYFA’s private screening room and the organization was thrilled!

    Documentary Margaret & David
    (from left to right). Asem Nurlanova, Chia Flores, Drama del Rosario, Faisal Aldakheel; from Margaret & David, Marissa Scholefield and Maggie Bohlman; NYFA instructor, Denise Hamilton
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    January 31, 2019 • Documentary Filmmaking, Outreach • Views: 824

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary MFA Alum Sasha-Gay Lewis Screens At Filmwochenende Würzburg

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary MFA Alum Sasha-Gay Lewis was honored when her MFA Thesis film was included on the program of the International Film Weekend, held annually in Würzburg, Germany.

    Filmwochenende Würzburg was started in 1974 with just 12 films and 1,000 visitors. This year, the 45th edition of the International Film Weekend – Würzburg was the most visited with more than 10,000 film fans visiting the traditional festival. Held from January 24 – January 27, 2019, the festival screened 82 films over four venues.

    Sasha-Gay Lewis The Incursion

    The aim of the festival is to showcase international films that have not yet found their way to distributors. Added to this is the opportunity for cinephiles to meet the makers behind the productions and to discuss their films with them. 

    Lewis is a Jamaican documentary filmmaker, producer, editor and writer, as well as a trained journalist and award-winning writer/producer for radio. She has written, produced, and directed several short narratives and docs in Jamaica, California, and Belize. She enrolled in New York Film Academy’s MFA Documentary Filmmaking program in Fall 2014.

    The Incursion, her documentary short, follows the residents of Tivoli Gardens, Jamaica as they seek justice after a government raid in 2010 that resulted in the death of over 150 residents.

    Sasha-Gay Lewis The Incursion

    In addition to Filmwochenende Würzburg, the film was named Honorable Mention at the 2017 DOC LA Film Festival, was an Official Selection at the 2017 Pembroke Taparelli Arts & Film Festival, won an Award of Recognition at the Impact DOCS Awards, and won Best Documentary Short at the LA Film and Script Film Festival.

    In its 45-year history, this year is the first year Filmwochenende Würzburg have screened a film from Jamaica. Additionally, Lewis is the second black director to be invited to the festival; the first was filmmaker Spike Lee.  The Incursion had a full house for both days of its screening. packed cinema on both days.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Documentary alum Sasha-Gay Lewis on the success of The Incursion and looks forward to following her career and future accomplishments! 


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    January 30, 2019 • Documentary Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1028

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism Update – January 28, 2019

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    There are many reasons to become a journalist. A number of them involve idealism, and the belief that journalists play an essential role in society. Still, for me, a key factor was that journalism is exciting. No, you aren’t flying off on a helicopter into the sunset every day. Yet everyday there is the possibility that you might. 

    What is guaranteed is that every day you are going to meet people with important stories to tell. Some of those stories are happy. Others are sad. But they are stories that society needs to hear. And you are the storyteller…

    BJ Update January 28 2019 1

    One of my favorite storytellers is New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism grad Bryanna Reynolds. She lives and works in Australia, and recently she reflected on her career and opportunities:

    So what do you do after covering “the red carpet”? For Bryanna, it was onto the Australian Open tennis tournament…

    BJ Update January 28 2019 3

    Our students come from everywhere—across the United States, and around the world. We’ve been fortunate to have a number of students from Brazil. One of them is Livia Fernanda. During a cold New York City winter, it’s nice to think of warmer places. But if you take a closer look at the map behind Livia, I think some of those places are a bit too hot! 34 C translates into a toasty 93 F…

    BJ Update January 28 2019 4

    Last week we were back in the studio for the 2019 season of NYFA News, our own in-house news magazine. (We use the same type of green-screen effect that Livia does. Only instead of a weather map, we insert banks of TV monitors.) 

    That’s student Nicole Abebe anchoring the show. Nicole was born in Nigeria, but came to NYFA via London. And while this was her first time as a presenter, she looked and sounded like an experienced pro.

    BJ Update January 28 2019 6
    BJ Update January 28 2019

    If you want to get an idea of just how exciting that day was, take a look at a short video NYFA instructor Evgenia Vlasova put together. I think it really captures how TV is a collaborative effort—a real “team sport.”

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    January 28, 2019 • Broadcast Journalism, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 582

  • Short Film Associate Produced by New York Film Academy (NYFA) Student Aya Hamdan Competes at Sundance

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    Dunya’s Day, a satirical short film tackling class privilege and associate produced by current New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary student Aya Hamdan, is premiering at this year’s Sundance Film Festival as part of its international shorts competition. The film is notable for its all-female, Saudi cast, who give complex, layered performances that are generating a lot of buzz.

    The film, written and directed by Raed Alsemari, tells the story of Dunya, who struggles to throw the perfect graduation party after she’s abandoned by her domestic help. The film already has the honor of being the first Saudi film to have its premiere in Saudi Arabia, with an IMAX screening at the Vox Cinema at Riyadh Park organized by the General Culture Authority, represented by the Saudi Film Council.

    Aya Hamdan Dunya's Day

    Hamdan first attended NYFA’s 1-week Filmmaking workshop before enrolling in the Academy’s Documentary Filmmaking 1-year conservatory in New York City, where she is being prepared by professional, distinguished faculty members for the practical challenges, opportunities, and realities that arise when creating documentary films.

    Hamdan is grateful for the support she has received from the Documentary school staff while working on Dunya’s Day. She tells NYFA, “I want to thank Andrea, Tracie, Joao, Claudia, and Maxine for all of their support.”

    As part of her curriculum, Hamdan is working on several documentary shorts, including a social issue film and a thesis film that she will shoot in her home country, the Kingdom of Bahrain. She also plans on working with Alsemari on his next film, possibly a feature set in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 

    “He has the creativity and drive to positively influence the perception of Arab women in the media,” Hamdan says of writer/director Raed Alsemari. She adds, “I am truly thankful and proud to be part of this journey. I love this film and what it represents not only for Saudi Arabian cinema but for cinema across the Middle East. I can’t wait for it to be shared with a wider audience; it touches on a universal topic that anyone can relate to, but through the stories of the fierce women of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.”

    Aya Hamdan Dunya's Day

    Hamdan served as associate producer on Dunya’s Day. In addition to Alsemari, the crew includes Sarah Elnawasrah as producer, Oliver Theurillat as director of photography, and Tamara Kalo as production designer, and stars Sara Balghonaim, Rahaf Bazian, and Ayah Bazian. 

    The first screening of Dunya’s Day at Sundance is Thursday, January 24, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. at Prospector Square Theater. 

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Documentary Filmmaking student Aya Hamdan on the Sundance premiere of Dunya’s Day and looks forward to following her work as she completes her studies!

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    January 23, 2019 • Documentary Filmmaking, Film Festivals, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1300

  • New York Film Academy Acting for Film Instructor Peter Allen Stone’s ‘Everygirl’ Premieres in Finland

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    On January 18, Everygirl opened at the Kallio School in Helsinki, Finland. Directed by Annemari Untamala, the play was written by actor, director, and Acting for Film instructor at the New York Film Academy (NYFA), Peter Allen Stone. The play concerns a 17-year-old girl who finds out she is dead at the beginning of the story.

    Everygirl is based on a famous morality play from the 15th century, updated by Stone with a transgender character and LGBTIQA+ themes. The original medieval play, Everyman, was used by the church to encourage people to be good, or they may end up going to hell. In 2013, after watching 16 high school plays in two days while at a theatre competition, Stone began devising a more modern version.

    Everygirl
    (Photo: Anni Ågren)

    “I thought it would be interesting to set it in a modern high school, play with current archetypes, and make the themes spiritually universal,” says Stone. “I always intended that play be performed by younger actors and for a younger audience that would hopefully receive the core message to be kind to one another.”

    The next weekend, Stone outlined his vision for the play. After three years of talking about it with colleagues and running it through his mind, he finally sat down and wrote a first draft while teaching at NYFA’s Florence location. Later that year while back in New York, Stone workshopped the play with some NYFA students.

    By the time a final draft was written, Everygirl had also included themes like minimalism and consumerism. One character, Things, appears through Facetime. Other characters include Death, Best Friend, Father, Fear, Beauty, Strength, and Knowledge. 

    Everygirl
    (Photo: Anni Ågren)

    However, it is the play’s connection to youth and the place of kindness in the modern world that serves as the story’s backbone. Explains Stone, “There is a transgender character named Kindnessin the play that represents the kind acts that we can do to one another everyday of our lives regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation if we choose to lead with love.” Additionally, there is a character named Boyfriend/Girlfriend, a fluid role that can be played by a performer of any gender.

    These themes are close to Stone’s heart. In 2012, Unnatural Acts, co-written by Stone, was nominated for a Drama Desk Award. Produced by Classic Stage Company, the play is based on true events revolving Harvard deans trying to expel the school’s homosexual population in 1920. “I spent over six years creating that play about the injustices done to the LGBTQ community with an exceptional group of artists,” says Stone. “We fought then, and I will continue to fight for equal rights for the rest of my life.” 

    Everygirl premieres January 18, where the Deputy Mayor of Education for the City of Helsinki will be in attendance. Information about the play can be found on Helsinki’s Arts and Culture website.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA instructor Peter Allen Stone for continuing to apply his talents and passion to praiseworthy projects like Everygirl both home and abroad! 

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    January 18, 2019 • Acting, Faculty Highlights • Views: 1648

  • Q&A with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Producing Alum Alex Lebovici

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    On Monday, January 7, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted a guest lecture by NYFA Producing alum, Alex Lebovici. Lebovici was executive producer on the Academy Award-nominated Denzel Washington drama, Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017), Mom and Dad (2017), Who We Are Now (2017), The Clapper (2017) as well as an unofficial short fan film based on hit video game Uncharted, starring Nathan Fillion and which garnered rave reviews and Internet buzz.

    Lebovici began the lecture by discussing his beginnings: “I started making short films [when] I was 13 with my closest friends … and I always wanted to be part of the movie business.” Lebovici moved from Canada to the United States and studied directing at New York Film Academy, where he made 12 short films during his academic career. After he graduated, Lebovici was an intern at Original Film, the company that produced the Fast and the Furious film franchise, but, unfortunately was laid off.

    After moving back to Canada, Lebovici became a door-to-door salesman, working six days a week, 12 hours a day, for six years. “I prepared myself [by] doing something very challenging … of the people that opened the door, 95% of them said no but the 5% that said yes [were] more than enough to earn a living.” Despite his success, he still ached to return to the entertainment industry.

    Lebovici was inspired one night after being denied entry to a fancy nightclub in his native Toronto. The next day, he purchased an American pay-as-you-go mobile phone, registered it to a Beverly Hills zip code and called the nightclub as his own fake assistant; he told the nightclub that he was an assistant to a producer from Los Angeles that wanted to produce a television show about “bodyguards who protect A-list celebrities when they come to Toronto.” 

    Alex Lebovici

    That phone call got Lebovici introduced to all of the nightclub owners, bodyguards, and doormen in Toronto. Word got to movie star Steven Seagal that Lebovici owned a bodyguard company; he didn’t, but he made sure Seagal and his guests were taken care of during their visit to Toronto free of charge. Seagal knew that nothing comes for free and asked Lebovici what he wanted in return; Lebovici asked if he would star in a pilot for a show about bodyguards. Seagal agreed.

    In a matter of months, Lebovici went from being a guy who couldn’t get into a nightclub to a guy that was known and welcomed by all of the nightclub owners in Toronto, with a potential television show pilot starring Steven Seagal. Lebovici called all of the production companies in Toronto, pitched his pilot to them and started a bidding war between two companies for the rights to produce the show. Lebovici was then contacted by various Hollywood actors’ representatives and the show’s cast started to grow.

    Lebovici learned from this experience how to be a producer and went on to produce a number of projects in the United States; he continued to make valuable contacts through networking with nightclub promoters and owners and he carefully gauged when it was appropriate to ask his contacts for favors, “You’ve got to build them up to it by playing a slow game,” said Lebovici, “…you don’t want to be too thirsty in this business.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Producing alum Alex Lebovici for sharing his experiences and honest advice with our students!

     

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    January 16, 2019 • Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 1252

  • New Years Update from New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism

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    It’s the start of a new year, and graduates of the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism school are right in the middle of many of the exciting things that are taking place. 

    NYFA alum George Colli — now with WTNH in New Haven, Connecticut — was back in Washington, DC to document history in the making, speaking with Representative-elect Jahana Hayes the day before she was sworn into office. Rep. Hayes is the first African American woman and first African American Democrat to represent Connecticut in Congress.

    NYFA Broadcast Journalism Alum George Colli Interviewing Rep. Jahana Hayes

    Broadcast Journalism grad Suzane de Oliveira, whoworks for Agence France-Presse (AFP) in Rio de Janeiro, put together a wonderful story about New Year fireworks over the legendary Copacabana Beach. (You can’t get more visual than fireworks!) Her story was likely distributed globally, as AFP serves news organizations around the world. 

    The end of the year is also a time when production teams take group pictures. Gabriela Matte is a graduate of one of our short-term Broadcast Journalism workshop. She works for media giant Globo, on the first 24-hour news cable channel in Brazil. It’s called, not surprisingly, GloboNews. I often say that TV news is a “team sport,” and Gabriela wrote: “Yes, teamwork with a lot of passion.” 

    Here’s what she wrote when she first started at GloboNews. “One of the reasons I got the job was my experience abroad, and NYFA is part of it.” 

    Delphine Dormancy attended the 1-year Broadcast Journalism program. Right now, I think she is working in Beruit, Lebanon. But here in New York she produced a lovely story for the digital outlet Labneh&Facts“What do Hummus, refugees, New York City and a pair of Lebanese siblings have in common? Well, a passion for good, home-made food and doing good, of course!” 

    BTW, how many of you reading this have eaten lebneh? Trust me, it’s wonderful. What regular yogurt yearns to become… 

    Finally, short-term Broadcast Journalism workshop graduate Alexandra Salandy is working in the news department of FOX5 New York. She tells us, “I am a production assistant here. I help cut the teases and VOs and I also help the assignment desk, and assign reporters to editors.”


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    January 7, 2019 • Broadcast Journalism, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1018

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Recaps the 2019 Golden Globes

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    Last night, movie and TV fans around the world watched the 76th Golden Globe Awards, where award winners were announced and presented with the famed statuettes at a televised dinner ceremony hosted by Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg.

    The Golden Globe Awards are voted on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and have been given out to cast and crew of film and television productions since 1944. The awards show is typically looser and more casual than other ceremonies like the Emmys and Academy Awards, with Hollywood stars drinking and mingling in a dinner atmosphere. 

    Highlights of the evening include Jeff Bridges winning the Cecil B. DeMille Award for outstanding contributions to the entertainment industry and the subsequent, seemingly off-the-cuff speech he gave that ranged from heartfelt thanks to his family and collaborators to the invention of ship rudders called trim tabs. Among many other feelings, Bridges referred to his role in The Big Lebowski: “If I’m lucky, I’ll be associated with The Dude for the rest of my life.”

    Other memorable moments from the evening included host Sandra Oh speaking to her parents from stage and winning a Globe herself for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama for her role in Killing Eve, and a surprise appearance by Taylor Swift, who presented the awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song. The latter award went to Lady Gaga for “Shallow”, seen here being covered by New York Film Academy (NYFA) student Amanda Jerlov:

    Additionally, the second Golden Globes ceremony since the start of the #MeToo movement contained multiple nods, references, and calls to action for more diversity in the entertainment industry for women and people of color.

    The big winners of the night was an eclectic mix of expected wins for favorites, mild surprises, and upsets. The Americans won Best Television Series – Drama for its final season, while The Kominsky Method won Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy for its inaugural first season. In a year of genre-bending films, Green Book won for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy while Bohemian Rhapsody took home the prize for Best Motion Picture – Drama.

    Glenn Close - Golden Globes
    NYFA Guest Speaker Glenn Close winning the Golden Globe

    Veteran actress and previous New York Film Academy guest speaker Glenn Close also surprised many with her win for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, for which A Star is Born lead Lady Gaga was considered a favorite. Close seemed genuinely surprised and gave a powerful, tearful speech that touched on her mother and gender roles in both the industry and society as a whole. 

    After describing how her mother regretted not doing more with her life, Close told the audience, “Women — we’re nurturers — and that’s what’s expected of us… but we have to find personal fulfillment. We have to follow our dreams. We have to say, ‘I can do that’ and ‘I should be allowed to do that.’”

    Other NYFA guest speakers were at the Golden Globes too, as well as several alumni. New York Film Academy Acting for Film alum Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (Widows, The Magnificent Seven) was in attendance, as was NYFA Camp alum Lana Condor (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, X-Men: Apocalypse.)

    Former Saturday Night Live star and NYFA Workshop Alum Bill Hader was also present last night. Hader earned five Emmy nominations last year for his work on Barry, a dark comedy about a midwestern hitman who moves to Hollywood to become an actor. At that awards show, Hader picked up the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor. The Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy was the latest achievement in the comedic actor’s evolving career.

    Bill Hader Golden Globes
    NYFA Workshop Alum Bill Hader at the Golden Globes

    The show itself was nominated for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy, an impressive feat for a new series with only one season of episodes to date. Barry has received glowing reviews since its 2018 debut, with Hader’s performance being an obvious standout. 

    Hader’s Barry co-star, Henry Winkler, was also nominated for a Golden Globe, for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television. The veteran television actor has previously been a guest speaker at New York Film Academy. 

    Golden Globes - Henry Winkler
    NYFA Guest Speaker Henry Winkler at the Golden Globes

    Other guest speakers and lecturers at New York Film Academy have also worked on several Golden Globe-nominated works this year, including Adam Driver. Driver spoke with NYFA students in New York City earlier this year, and has a featured role in BlacKKKlansman, nominated for Best Motion Picture – Drama.

    Guest speaker for NYFA Los Angeles Amy Smeed served as an animator on Ralph Breaks the Internet,Golden Globe nominees for Best Motion Picture – Animated. Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose agent Andrew Finkelstein spoke with NYFA students in a productive Q&A at our Los Angeles campus, was a nomineefor Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for his role in Mary Poppins Returns.

    Manuel Garcia-Ruflo Golden Globes
    NYFA Acting for Film Alum Manuel Garcia-Rulfo at the Golden Globes

    Additionally, Francesco Panzieri, an alum of New York Film Academy’s animation school, worked on the HBO series Westworld, whose star Thandie Newton earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television. Panzieri is a Visual Effects artist whose other credits include Spider-Man: Homecoming, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Avengers: Infinity War.

    Eric Demeusy, who attended the 1-Year Filmmaking program at NYFA’s film school in Los Angeles, also worked on Westworld, having helped create its famous and evocative title sequence. Demeusy has previously won the Emmy for Main Title Design for his work on Netflix smash hit, Stranger Things.

    Bill Hader Golden Globes
    NYFA Workshop Alum Bill Hader at the Golden Globes with Patricia Clarkson

    The New York Film Academy is proud to see its alumni and other members of its community involved with such highly regarded, award-winning productions.

    Congratulations to all of this year’s winners and nominees! Here is a full list of the winners and nominees for the 2019 Golden Globe Awards:

    Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

    Green Book
    The Favourite
    Vice
    Mary Poppins Returns
    Crazy Rich Asians

    Best Motion Picture, Drama

    Bohemian Rhapsody
    BlacKkKlansman
    If Beale Street Could Talk
    Black Panther
    A Star Is Born

    Best TV Movie or Limited Series

    The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
    The Alienist
    Escape at Dannemora
    Sharp Objects
    A Very English Scandal

    Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy

    The Kominsky Method
    The Good Place
    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Kidding
    Barry

    Best TV Series, Drama

    The Americans
    Bodyguard
    Homecoming
    Killing Eve
    Pose

    Best Foreign Language Film

    Roma
    Capernaum
    Girl
    Never Look Away
    Shoplifters

    Best Motion Picture, Animated

    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
    Incredibles 2
    Isle of Dogs
    Mirai
    Ralph Breaks the Internet

    Best Director – Motion Picture

    Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
    Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
    Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
    Adam McKay, Vice
    Peter Farrelly, Green Book

    Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

    Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie; Green Book
    Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
    Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, The Favourite
    Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk
    Adam McKay, Vice

    Best Original Score – Motion Picture

    Justin Hurwitz, First Man
    Marco Beltrami, A Quiet Place
    Alexandre Desplat, Isle of Dogs
    Ludwig Goransson, Black Panther
    Marc Shaiman, Mary Poppins Returns 

    Best Original Song – Motion Picture

    “Shallow,” A Star is Born
    “All The Stars,” Black Panther 
    “Girl in the Movies,” Dumpling
    “Requiem for a Private War,” A Private War
    “Revelation,” Boy Erased

    Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

    Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
    Amy Adams, Vice
    Claire Foy, First Man
    Emma Stone, The Favourite
    Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

    Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

    Mahershala Ali, Green Book
    Timothée Chalamet, Beautiful Boy
    Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
    Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
    Sam Rockwell, Vice

    Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

    Olivia Coleman, The Favourite
    Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns
    Charlize Theron, Tully
    Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade
    Constance Wu, Crazy Rich Asians

    Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama

    Glenn Close, The Wife
    Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
    Nicole Kidman, Destroyer
    Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
    Rosamund Pike, A Private War

    Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

    Christian Bale, Vice
    Lin Manuel Miranda, Mary Poppins Returns
    Viggo Mortinson, Green Book
    Robert Redford, The Old Man and the Gun
    John C Riley, Stan And Ollie

    Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama

    Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
    Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
    Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
    Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased
    John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman

    Best Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie

    Patricia Arquette, Escape at Dannemora
    Amy Adams, Sharp Objects
    Connie Britton, Dirty John
    Laura Dern, The Tale
    Regina King, Seven Seconds

    Best Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie

    Darren Criss, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
    Antonio Banderas, Genius: Picasso
    Daniel Bruhl, The Alienist
    Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Melrose
    Hugh Grant, A Very English Scandal 

    Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited Series, or TV Movie

    Patricia Clarkson, Sharp Objects
    Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Penelope Cruz, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
    Thandie Newton, Westworld
    Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid’s Tale

    Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited Series or TV Movie

    Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal
    Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method
    Kieran Culkin, Succession
    Edgar Ramirez, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
    Henry Winkler, Barry

    Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy

    Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Kristen Bell, The Good Place
    Candice Bergen, Murphy Brown
    Alison Brie, Glow
    Debra Messing, Will & Grace

    Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy

    Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
    Sasha Baron Cohen, Who Is America?
    Jim Carrey, Kidding
    Donald Glover, Atlanta
    Bill Hader, Barry

    Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama

    Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
    Caitriona Balfe, Outlander
    Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale
    Julia Roberts, Homecoming
    Keri Russell, The Americans

    Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama

    Richard Madden, Bodyguard
    Jason Bateman, Ozark
    Stephan James, Homecoming
    Billy Porter, Pose
    Matthew Rhys, The Americans


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  • Q&A with ‘A Country Christmas Story’ Filmmakers

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    On Friday, December 14, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted a screening of A Country Christmas Story (2013) followed by a Q&A with director and NYFA instructor Eric Bross, and writer and NYFA instructor Steven Peros, moderated by NYFA student, Bakyt Zhumadilova.

    Bross is known for directing Affairs of State (2018), Traffic (2004) and Stranger Than Fiction (2000) and Peros is known for writing Footprints (2009), The Undying (2009) and The Cat’s Meow (2001).

    A Country Christmas Story

    Zhumadilova opened the Q&A by asking Peros about his inspiration for the screenplay. Peros said he started by researching the history of country music and its prevalence in the South, then adding layers of complexity to the story by making the protagonist both a child of divorce and biracial within that world. 

    Peros also wanted the film to be about the various characters’ relationships with music and the arts and added that the music teacher in the film was inspired by a teacher he had when he was a kid.

    Zhumadilova inquired about what it was like for Peros to write A Country Christmas Story star Dolly Parton’s lines knowing she was going to be playing herself in the film. “The funny thing about writing her was, I had written this thing… and suddenly I’m on set going, ‘I’m about to meet Dolly Parton!’ Is she gonna come up to me and say, ‘Well, first off, Steven, I don’t talk like that at all,’” joked Peros. “But she didn’t at all! She didn’t want to change anything… so I was somehow channeling my inner Dolly Parton.”

    “I just thought he really captured her voice,” added Bross.

    Peros shared that Parton suggested that she sing instead of just introducing the music contest at the end of the film. “She just kept giving us gifts.” said Bross.

    A Country Christmas Story

    Peros shared that one of the most notable moments of the shoot was when Parton sang in between takes to entertain extras in the audience. “She knew that all those extras who were there pretty much for free… were there for her,” he said. “She never left the stage… she sang ‘Tennessee Waltz’… and it was like a moment out of a movie; one by one, everything started to get silent.”

    The discussion then moved onto producing a film like A Country Christmas Story on a tight shoot schedule and a tight budget. Bross advised filmmakers to keep the frame focused on the actors as much as possible when working with a small budget because sometimes it’s difficult to afford full, dressed sets. This way the story would still be the center of the film.

    New York Film Academy would like to thank A Country Christmas Story filmmakers Eric Bross and Steven Peros for sharing their entertaining anecdotes from the shooting of the film, as well as their production advice for students.


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    January 4, 2019 • Faculty Highlights, Film School, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 814