nigeria
Posts

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

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    We’re only a few weeks into the New Year, but it already feels like months have gone by. That is the essence of digital journalism today. And with the coming of the New Year, I’ve heard from some more NYFA Broadcast Journalism graduates.

    One of the last times I saw Alyssa Cruz was when she was sitting in our Green Screen studio, getting ready to record on-camera segments for her Resume Reel.

    Following graduation, she spent time in New York, then returned to her home country, the Philippines. But then she was on the move again. She wrote recently:

    “I am currently a video editor and narrator for a media company which features food documentaries, here in Singapore.”

    Having worked in Singapore, I can tell you that it is an important hub for Asia-Pacific media production.

    Another graduate, Tommy Germain, was here at NYFA a few weeks back. And he arrived with a camera crew! Tommy is originally from Cameroon, and from there he went to Brazil. He’s had a successful acting career, but now he is working behind the camera as well. His first digital project is all about New York City. He and his team flew all the way from Nigeria, just so he could include NYFA in this program.

    Thanks, Tommy!

    Six months ago, a series of devastating earthquakes hit southern California. NYFA alum Karen Hua, as part of a series of end-of-the-year stories, went back to see how people living in the communities hit hardest by those earthquakes were coping. And the news director at her station sent her by herself…

    This is what it means to be a multimedia journalist (MMJ.) Karen brought along all of the camera, lighting, audio and editing equipment needed for the assignment, packed in the back of the station’s SUV. Karen herself described the trip:

    “Nothing like solo MMJing in the desert, popping your tire and having limited service! It’s one big adventure!”

    Working “on the road” may sound glamorous, but the truth is it often involves plastic dinner plates and lots of coffee…

    If you are one of my former students, you know that I have a tendency to launch into personal stories that I feel help “illuminate” the subjects we deal with in class. (And if you are Evgenia Vlasova, you have probably heard all of those stories at least four times…) 

    One of those oft-told stories is about me traveling on-the-road for a month, trying to record voiceover narrations in a different hotel room every night. (Rooms similar to the one pictured above.) The one way I finally was able to get good audio was to go into a hotel room closet, close the door, put a blanket over my head, and read my script by flashlight.

    For those of you who doubt successful video producers actually use such techniques, I submit the picture below of NYFA grad Wes Newfarmer. Yes, this hack actually works…

    Finally, just before Christmas, Genia and I spent a week in Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan. We were there to teach a Journalism workshop for mid-career professionals at Kazmedia, the nation’s dominant TV media company. We weren’t there to tell them what to report, but rather offer suggestions on how to report. The workshop was funded through a contract with the US State Department, one which NYFA won over other colleges and universities. And at the conclusion, one of the national channels there announced they were going to produce a new political talk show based on what we explored in the workshop. (The folks with the certificates in the picture below were some of the attendees.)

    We must have done well, seeing as we will be going back sometime in the spring to hold a second workshop. In addition, NYFA responded to another Request for Proposals from the State Department and was selected to offer a three-week Journalism Summer School for early-career journalists this coming July in Moscow.

    It’s a good thing one of us speaks Russian…

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    January 21, 2020 • Broadcast Journalism, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 349

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

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    June 13, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1428

  • Students Fighting Fake News, a Visit From CNBC Correspondent Leslie Picker, Reporting the Austin Bombing, and More From New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    As everyone reading this email already knows, this is a challenging time to be a journalist, especially here in the United States. In fact, some have gone so far as to to term the current style of political discussion here as nothing short of “toxic” to democracy. Marketwatch posted a fascinating story last week on one of the unexpected results of the battle over “fake news”: Journalism schools in the United States have seen a noticeable increase in the number of students attending. This growth in enrollment seems to be driven by a sense of duty, as well as a belief that there are a growing number of career opportunities for those studying journalism.

    Journalism.co.uk is always a good read. Last week they posted an article on how 45 newspaper writers and editors in Slovakia, in response to their paper being taken over by a local oligarch, started their own “paper” … only this publication is primarily digital, but it still has a physical presence. And instead of outsourcing news coverage — as many sites do — they outsourced the business-side of the enterprise. That way they could devote their time to what they know best — journalism. Fascinating story…

    A big thank you to CNBC correspondent Leslie Picker, who was kind enough to take time out her busy schedule to meet with some of the NYFA Broadcast Journalism students. Her detailed description of her own personal career arc taught our students that the process is never easy, but is full of potential. She also told them “the story behind the story” of an award-winning investigation she reported for CNBC. She’s a great role model, and a fabulous communicator. Thanks, Leslie!

    CNBC Correspondent Leslie Picker visits the New York Film Academy.

    NYFA Broadcast Journalism graduate Nicole Cross admitted mixed feelings last Wednesday, when police in Austin, Texas, apprehended the suspect in a series of bombings. The suspect chose to blow himself up, rather than be captured. Nicole reports for KVUE in Austin, and has been following the story (along with her colleagues) from the start. And while the bombings now appear the be over, the story certainly isn’t…

    Former NYFA student Daniella Gemignani reported a complex story last week on how agriculture represents one-third of Brazil’s GDP. (I know that thanks to Google translate.) It’s the kind of story that isn’t easy to visualize. It also involves figuring out complicated economic, business and technological concepts. And then there are the cows … another great job, Daniella!

    Abiola Jinadu traveled a long way, from Nigeria to New York City, so she could study at NYFA. Smart, inquisitive, hardworking, and personable, she has a lot going for her. She writes, via LinkedIn:

    I create and produce content for a living. Folio Communications PLC was my first client this year and I produce content for their online platform – Miss Nigeria TV. 
    Congratulations, Abiola!
    The Broadcast Journalism Update will be on hiatus of the next two weeks. It is Spring Break at NYFA, and I am using it as an opportunity to travel to Vietnam for a feature film project I am consulting on. It is something of an irony that last week I was shoveling snow, and this week I will be looking for places to cool-off. It is the first U.S.-Vietnam-China co-production I have ever participated in, and it promises to be challenging. Any project involving three languages is, by definition, challenging…
    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail
  • R&B Star Banky W. Completes NYFA Screenwriting Workshop

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Banky W

    Nigerian actor and R&B star Banky W. completed his second workshop at the New York Film Academy, adding screenwriting to his already-impressive list of artistic talents.

    Perhaps more impressive is just how busy Banky has been, and how he makes time for all his creative pursuits. In addition to finishing the 8-Week Screenwriting workshop at our New York campus, just this year he’s released a new album, “Songs About U,” starred in the feature film “The Wedding Party,” and even gotten engaged!

    But Banky isn’t finished. Since collaborating with NYFA on his music video for “Unborn Child” and completing our 8-Week Filmmaking workshop in 2014, Banky has worked behind the camera as well as in front of it, proudly showcasing his education here on his ever-expanding résumé.

    In a recent spotlight video, he explains “The name ‘The New York Film Academy’ has a certain level of stock,” remarked Banky W., “so that in and of itself is a feather in the cap… you know that I have the training behind it to pull this great idea off.”

    By learning the art and techniques of screenwriting, Banky builds on his overall filmmaking skills. This is important to him not just as an artist, but as a role model. He continued, “We have a whole generation of young filmmakers in Nigeria now, young storytellers who are passionate and talented.”

    Banky hopes that students who follow in his footsteps can combine their passion with proper training like New York Film Academy can provide. He elaborates on the importance these skills can have for young people, saying “you’ll have a whole new generation of people who really can change their country, and they can change their continent, and they can elevate the art that is coming out from these parts of the world with their own stories.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates Banky W. on his completion of the 8-Week Screenwriting workshop, and proudly supports his dream to usher in a new generation of musicians, filmmakers, and storytellers.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail
  • Banky W Premieres ‘Music Film Experience’ in Lagos

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    banky wOne of our recent 8-week Filmmaking graduates, Nigerian R&B star Banky W, showcased his most recent music video work, which he filmed in collaboration with the New York Film Academy, at one of the largest theaters in Lagos, Nigeria. The “Music Film Experience” premiere event at the Palms Mall was attended by some of the Nigeria’s top celebrities and A-listers, and was sponsored by Samsung, Diamond Bank, Ciroc vodka, Oando Plc, and Fuse.

    The night began with the screening of Mercy, which was Banky’s final film at NYFA. From there, he screened his music video, Lowkey, and ended with a viewing of Unborn Child. Following the screenings, Banky W spoke with the audience about his videos and experience working on the project. As for his overall game-plan with the videos, he plans to release his clips one at a time to give his fans a sneak peek.

    Hailing from Lagos, Nigeria, Banky enrolled in NYFA’s Union Square campus to study an 8-week Filmmaking course where he was able to develop his skills to co-produce and co-direct his largest music video to date alongside Jonathan Whittaker, Chair of Short-Term Filmmaking Program at The New York Film Academy. “Being on set with Jonathan, Til Neumann [NYFA Instructor] and the NYFA team provided me a priceless learning experience,” said Banky W. “I was fortunate enough to have Jonathan as a teacher in my cinematography class, and then again as a collaborator when we co-directed my Unborn Child video. I feel blessed to have learned so much from him, in and outside of the classroom.”

    Banky W film

    Banky W on set at NYFA

    With a NYFA crew comprised of former students, assistants and faculty, Unborn Child was shot on the Red Epic at Gary’s Loft in Midtown and just off Bruckner Boulevard in the Bronx in only two days. The video stars Banky, Lynxxx, and 8-week Acting for Film student Aminat Ayinde. “Til was absolutely phenomenal as well, and I can’t say enough about the alumni like Matthia Palombi and Philipp Pchelin, who I also worked with on the other films I shot, as well as the rest of the NYFA team. The videos I got to make wouldn’t be what they are without their invaluable help and expertise.”

    Banky W took full advantage of NYFA’s hands-on experience, diving head first into several projects. “I consider my training at NYFA to be an important foundation for the rest of the filmmaking work I intend to do. I hope to build on this by putting into practice what I learnt, but I also hope to continue to learn. I have more classes to take, more work to do, and many more films/videos/clips to write and direct.”

    banky and dorcas

    Banky W and Dorcas

    “Having already spent many successful years on the music scene in Africa, I consider this the start of something very exciting and limitless; something I will do for a very long time, and something I hope to excel in,” said Banky W. I can’t thank NYFA enough for helping me begin to make this dream a reality.”

    We’d also like to thank Banky W for his kind words and wish his much success in the world of filmmaking! Be on the lookout for Unborn Child, which is officially scheduled to be released around the beginning of January.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    December 19, 2014 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 6432

  • NYFA Teams Up with R&B Star Banky W.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    371A0433

     

    The New York Film Academy has recently collaborated with R&B sensation, Banky W, on his latest music video for the upcoming single, “Unborn Child” featuring hip hop artist, Lynxxx.

    Hailing from Lagos, Nigeria, Banky enrolled in NYFA’s Union Square campus to study an 8-week Filmmaking course where he was able to develop his skills to co-produce and co-direct his largest music video to date alongside Jonathan Whittaker, Chair of Short-Term Filmmaking Program at The New York Film Academy. With a NYFA crew comprised of former students, assistants, and faculty, “Unborn Child” was shot on the stellar Red Epic at Gary’s Loft in Midtown and just off Bruckner Boulevard in the Bronx in only 2 days. The video stars Banky, Lynxxx, and 8-week Acting for Film student Aminat Ayinde.

    Banky plays the role of an NYPD officer that finds out the unexpected news that his girlfriend, Ayinde, is now pregnant. As he departs for what he thinks will be just another day on the job, the mother of his unborn child will soon find out that Banky is injured in the line of duty and leaves Lynxxx, his fellow NYPD partner, to deliver an important letter of heartfelt words and lessons for his child to live by in this emotional song and video.

    The video is currently in post-production at the New York Film Academy and is pending information on the premiere. One thing we know for sure is that we are extremely proud to have had Banky join us as a student and collaborator on this project. Working with Banky firsthand, Jonathan Whittaker says, “For someone of Banky’s stature to trust me with their vision is a tremendous honor. There is no higher sense of accomplishment than collaborating with students who are putting into practice what they have learned in my classroom.”

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    November 14, 2014 • Acting, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5780

  • Nigerian Grad Produces First Feature ‘The Date’

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Blacreek PicturesWe recently caught up with Emem Ekpenyong, a 4-Week Producing graduate from New York Film Academy, after coming across her production company’s trailer for her upcoming feature film, The Date. Emem enrolled in NYFA back in July 2013 after producing a short film called In Iredu, which was an African adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The short film was shortlisted (Top 10) in The Afrinolly Short Film Competition.

    “The lessons [from NYFA] are too numerous to list, but my classes in Producer’s Craft, Pitching, Line Producing Essentials and Entertainment Law were particularly helpful,” says Emem.

    Through Emem’s production company, Blacreek Pictures, she initially started on The Date as a short film project but it gradually metamorphosed into the production of a fast-paced comedy where the main character experiences a series of unfortunate events within a day’s time. “I have been involved in every stage of production, including conceptualization,” said Emem. “I was a producer and was even coaxed by our director to play a role in the movie.”

    The entire cast and crew of the film are native Nigerians. Emem hopes The Date will prove to the world that quality filmmaking does exist in Nigeria. “Being Blacreek’s first feature, we want to be seen as the avant-garde breed of this generation, poised to go the extra mile in bringing forth the best in motion picture production and other related media works.”

    Blacreek is interested in international distribution for The Date, but for now their focus is on Nigeria and West Africa.

     

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail
  • Nigerian Filmmaking Grad Wins 2 African Oscars

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    The Fetus

    Filmmaking student John Chuka graduated from the New York Film Academy with the goal of revolutionizing the African film industry. Thus far, John is on the right track with his short film, The Fetus, winning Best Short Film/Trailer and Best Original Score/Soundtrack at the Nollywood and African Film Critics’ Awards (NAFCA) – otherwise known as the African Oscars. Two other NYFA alumni, Jason Mohan and Jessica Garza, who contributed to the making of the film’s theme song, were also on hand to receive the awards at the NAFCA Ceremony in Washington D.C.

    John Chuka on set of "The Fetus"

    John Chuka on set of “The Fetus”

    The Fetus is about Catalina, a religious undocumented teenage immigrant, who worked at a nursery in Arizona, but relocates to California as a result of her sexual abuse experience that left her pregnant. Now, working in a Californian sweatshop, trying to climb out of her horrible living conditions, Catalina’s destiny unfolds as she struggles with immigration laws, religious dogmas, abortion laws, and the fetus in her womb. “The film cuts across a wide range of hot topic social issues – immigration, abortion, and religion,” says John Chuka. “Being an immigrant that went through all kinds of hoops to get to where I am today, I’m hoping that somebody will watch my film and decide to do things a little bit differently in regards to how immigrants are treated around the world.”

    John is originally from Nigeria. After acquiring a business degree, he tried his hand at a few businesses, but realized that he didn’t quite have a product. While living in the United States, it dawned on him that he comes from a country with an emerging film industry. While at the time he understood business, he did not know film. It was at this point John decided to attend the New York Film Academy. “Considering the fact that I wasn’t going back to school to acquire just a degree, but a product, I chose NYFA because of its hands-on approach to teaching filmmaking. And moreover, NYFA is highly recognized as a credible film school in my country of origin, Nigeria.”

    With the success of his short film under his belt, John is working diligently to start a film production company that will generate and develop African story ideas into screenplays, transform the screenplays into films, and ultimately distribute the films to the worldwide African films enthusiasts.

     

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    September 25, 2013 • Diversity, Film School, International Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 4705

  • NYFA Graduate Directs Nigeria’s Big Christmas Release

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Changing Faces Poster

    Changing Faces is the first major Nigerian movie to be dubbed in French for commercial distribution in France and francophone countries according to the Ghana Media Group. Oh yeah, did we mention it is directed by New York Film Academy graduate Faruk Lasaki? Changes Faces began as Faruk’s NYFA thesis film, a fifteen-minute short called Six Feet Under, which he later developed into the full feature. The film is slated to be the big Christmas release in Nigeria and Ghana, opening at the Silverbird Cinemas on December 23. The 92 minute metaphysical romantic thriller explores the transference of evil spirits through sex. Faruk comments that the unusual premise of his film is driven by his desire to bring important issues to the forefront of cinema: “My basic objective is creating awareness of issues affecting Africans and ways of resolving it. I’ve realized there are lots of dark issues around us and we hold no decisions, we refuse to accept it. We know it is this but we hide under an umbrella, ‘No, no, no, don’t talk about it, don’t talk about sex.’ We hide.”

    Faruk Lasaki

    NYFA Graduate Faruk Lasaki

    Changing Faces premiered at the Pavillion les Cinema Du Sud of the 61st Cannes Film Festival. It has since screened at the 2008 Black Diaspora International Film Festival of New York, was featured in competition at the 2009 Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), was selected for the 2009 Cairo International Film Festival, and was the opening film of the 2011 Eko International Film Festival in Lagos, Nigeria. Faruk adds that his film has an international audience because the issues it presents are universally relatable: “I wanted an issue that could be seen in any part of the world. Now the issue I’ve picked, somehow, in the French culture, you find it inside. Somehow, in the American, the British, the Chinese culture, you find it inside. You see, me picking just any writer in Nigeria to give me any Nigerian story, it wouldn’t cut across. I wanted a story that somehow, whether you are African, French, British or American, there’s a trace of you inside and there’s part that you go home with. That’s what I have done.” Learn more about the film here.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    September 20, 2011 • Acting • Views: 4621

  • Alum Kemi Adetiba Makes Her Name in Music Video Production

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Kemi Adetiba’s ambition within the entertainment industry has expanded the breadth of her career from fashionista to lawyer to DJ to director and producer of music videos. Perhaps the first Nigerian woman to have successfully broken into this many branches of the industry and made a name for herself in music video production, the New York Film Academy filmmaking graduate is known for her impeccable attention to detail when conceptualizing, shooting and editing her videos. She’s attracted attention in the Nigerian entertainment industry for pushing herself to keep learning more about filmmaking techniques and technology even after becoming successful.

    Her drive to diversify her talents is how Kemi ended up studying filmmaking and production with us at the New York Film Academy. She explained her journey to NYFA in an interview last year.

    I’m a restless person, highly ambitious, and I hunger to learn more. You tend to get the ‘side-eye’ though, because you are a woman and have no formal training. Well, I couldn’t do anything to change the former, but I ‘heck-sure’ could do something to change the latter. So I picked up my junk and went back to school.

    A lot of people thought I was crazy for leaving at the supposed height of my career, but I went through it, graduated, and I’m now better for it. I’m actually gearing up to do a more concentrated course in cinematography. I want to stand anywhere, open my mouth, and know what I’m taking about – at least within my industry.

    A 2008 graduate of NYFA, she drew from her heritage when producing her thesis film, Across the Bloodied Ocean. The film tells the story of a wealthy African family living in the United States, dealing with their daughter’s refusal to return home to take part in a traditional coming of age ritual.

    Right now, Kemi splits her time between Lagos and New York City. She has recently signed with an American management agency and is frequently invited to speak at film festivals and music conferences when she isn’t producing videos.

    Above, we’ve posted her most recent video for the artist Bez. Check out more of Kemi’s work in fashion and music video directing and production on fashion blog Ladybrille.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    August 16, 2010 • Acting • Views: 4097