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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Musical Theatre School Produces “Kristy’s Lament: Another Awful Day with the MTA”

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    You’d be hard pressed to find a New Yorker who doesn’t experience their fair share of frustration with the MTA, the corporation that runs the city’s sprawling and crowded transit system of trains and buses. Especially these days, as commuters deal with train construction, delays, and an impending apocalypse, while fares continue to increase (the MTA announced just this week their plan for yet another fare hike of 4%). 

    And every New Yorker deals with it in their own way. Some of us mutter under our breaths, while others aren’t afraid to scream and yell at the top of their lungs. Some of us weep silently when we finally get home, while others pray to themselves that they’ll actually get home.

    But what most of us haven’t done, is sing a song about it. With Kristy’s Lament: Another Awful Day with the MTA, a new musical number performed by Broadway actress Kristy Cates, that’s no longer the case. And now that it has an accompanying music video produced by the Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre at the New York Film Academy (PCMT at NYFA), the song is easily available for everyone to share, relate with, and sing along to.

    Kristy’s Lament is very much based on a true story. “I have the worst train luck,” Cates tells NYFA, continuing, “I’m always stuck underground with no explanation, waiting for a train that never shows up, or on the car with the person about to puke. And I often share these wild stories on social media.”

    After one particularly nasty commute for Cates, where one bizarre thing followed another as she tried to make her way home from her Broadway show, she recounted the entire nightmare on Facebook. Her story quickly gained traction and gained a lot of attention on social media. Typically, the story would end there, but not for Cates.

    MTA Laments

    After seeing her commute from hell, lyricist Chris Giordano was inspired to adapt the tale into song, writing lyrics for a number that step-by-step portrayed Cates’s disastrous trip. Soon, it was put to music by composer Ryan Edward Wise, and Kristy’s Lament was born. It wasn’t long after that that a music video was produced to accompany the track.

    The video features Cates playing multiple roles — not just the tragic commuter narrating the song, but also a rude passenger carrying numerous bags, a stoner, and a homeless man, among others. It is mostly a stage production, filmed at NYFA’s 1st Floor Theatre, with gorgeous lighting direction and a minimal subway set. The video was also partially shot in an actual subway station, where the video opens and closes.

    The video was produced by the PCMT at NYFA, where Kristy Cates also serves as Creative Director. The renowned musical theatre school prides itself on giving its students real world training that prepares them to achieve success in a competitive, empowering industry, creating an educational experience few other musical theatre schools can offer.

    Aspiring performers develop their skills as triple threat performers by studying with faculty — like Kristy Cates — who have appeared in numerous Broadway and touring productions, top-rate regional theatre, opera, hit movie musicals, and television shows. NYFA’s musical theater alumni include llda Mason (On Your Feet), Pierre Marais (Aladdin), Christopher Viljoen (Les Misérables), Kylan Ross (Straight Outta Oz), and Tony Award-winner Yael Silver (Once on this Island).  

    MTA Laments

    Additionally, the PCMT at NYFA is able to use all of the resources shared by NYFA’s film school, cinematography school, and other departments. Using the Academy’s resources and state-of-the-art filmmaking equipment, its stage and its location in the heart of the New York City, and some of the Academy’s highly-talented staff — including director Jonathan Whittaker, editor Sean Robinson, Broadway veteran and choreographer Deidre Goodwin, and costume designer David Withrow — Kristy’s Lament was able to take advantage of high production values to really sell the humorous lyrics and support Cates’s powerful yet hysterical performance.

    “One thing I love about working for NYFA,” Cates says, “is their willingness to explore new projects. As a result, our ability as a program to collaborate with up-and-coming composers and lyricists.” She adds, “It was wonderful to combine the expertise of our faculty, the passion of our alumni, the ingenuity of the composer and writer, and the generosity and support of the Film Academy.”

    MTA Laments

    Cates is no stranger to high production values and show-stopping numbers. She is a member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA and has starred in Wicked (Broadway, First National Tour, Chicago) as Elphaba, as well as playing Miss Bassett in Finding Neverland (Broadway), Grandma Josephine in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Broadway), and has had roles in a handful of off-Broadway shows and many regional productions. Additionally, she performs as a professional voiceover artist.

    The Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre at the New York Film Academy is proud to have Kristy Cates as an original and current member of its faculty, and was equally as proud to produce Kristy’s Lament: Another Awful Day with the MTA with her. Next time you’re stressed and stuck on the subway, check it out and let yourself laugh a little — if the wifi is working down there, of course.










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    December 20, 2018 • #WomenOfNYFA, Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights, Musical Theatre • Views: 168

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism Update – October 23, 2018

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailLast week, my long time friend and former colleague Grace Wong (currently of ABC News) contacted me about the New York Press Club Foundation’s Annual Conference on Journalism, asking if any New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism students would like to attend.

    Broadcast Journalism

    Well it didn’t take long to find out that a number of students did indeed want to go. So, under the leadership of faculty member Evgenia Vlasova, early on Saturday, October 13 they made their way to the NYC conference site. 

    Besides getting to meet practicing national and New York area journalists, they had an opportunity to chat with the guest speakers as well. That included Jill Colvin, who is White House correspondent for the Associated Press. You can only imagine the stories she had to tell, given that she started covering Donald Trump when he was just one of many candidates seeking to be the Republican nominee for President.

    That’s Jill, third from the right, with Genia and some of the NYFA students:

    Broadcast Journalism

    Students also met Kathryn Dill, who is an editor at CNBC Digital, where she oversees coverage of careers, the workforce, and women in business, for what is primarily a millennial audience.

    That’s Kathryn in the middle:
    Broadcast Journalism

    These days, some journalists work in the so-called “gig economy” not out of necessity, but by choice. Creating content for a wide range of outlets sometimes offers more income security than being tied to a single platform. (Just ask newspaper reporters…)

    Lisa Armstrong is an award-winning journalist with credits from The New York Times, The Daily Beast, Rolling Stone, and other publications and websites. She has reported from several counties, including Haiti from 2010-2014. She is on the left in the picture below:
    Broadcast Journalism

    This is why it is so important to study in New York. There are opportunities here you just can’t find anywhere else…Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    October 23, 2018 • Broadcast Journalism, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 361

  • A 360 Degree Look at Ribalta

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailWe’ve all heard of the some of the more popularly known diets like the Atkins Diet or a Juice Detox, but what’s become a sort of blessing to New Yorkers is the recently proclaimed Pizza Diet. That’s correct. According to Chef Pasquale Cozzolino of “Ribalta” in Manhattan’s East Village, eating a whole pie at his restaurant provided him with both a filing and relatively healthy meal at only 570 calories. So, while dieting on his delicious brick oven pizza, Cozzolino has lost a total of 100 pounds in just five months! It’s no wonder People and Good Morning America, among many other media outlets, have taken the time out to discuss the diet with the Italian chef. “It’s not only about a diet it’s about a lifestyle,” says Chef Cozzolino.

    To continue the celebration of this magnificent diet, the New York Film Academy commemorated Chef Cozzolio by filming a 360 degree / Virtual Reality video at the new dining hot-spot, Ribalta. The VR, 360 video was directed by NYFA Florence Program Director Diana Santi, shot by NYFA Florence Equipment Manager Nicola Ciccarelli, and included cast and crew made up of acting and filmmaking students and alumni.

    “This terrific video from the New York Film Academy will drive you straight in the heart of Ribalta,” said Owner, Rosario Procino. “Look around, enjoy and discover our place!”

    Having the opportunity to explore this technology for the first time has led to a bit of excitement at the Academy as well.

    VR Pizza

    photo by Shani Patel

    360 Video and/or Virtual Reality is still a nascent technology,” said Diana Santi. “Only pioneers are using it so far and we want to be part of that!”

    With the belief that 360 Video / VR will be an integral part of the filmmaking and entertainment world for years to come, be on the look out for more VR content and a Virtual Reality Filmmaking Workshop at the New York Film Academy. Stay tuned!Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    February 12, 2016 • Filmmaking • Views: 3062

  • NYFA Basketball Kicks off in NYC

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    nyfa basketball

    photo by Paola Nazario

    Due to the success of our basketball team in Los Angeles, the New York Film Academy in New York City started a league of its own. The league was established to promote healthiness and well-being, as well as growing teamwork that is necessary in filmmaking, and socializing with students from other departments. We thought, why not network on the court as well!

    This past Friday night was the first intramural New York Film Academy NYC basketball game at Dwight School on Central Park West. We kicked off the season with three half-court games and one 15 minute 5-on-5 full court exhibition game.  Thus far, we have four teams from all different departments playing the league. The program is being run by NYFA faculty members, Sarah Choi and Jack Picone.

    The next game is at Dwight School this Friday at 8pm. If you’re late you won’t be guaranteed to play — so be on time!

    Any current students and faculty can sign up with their own team or request to be added to one. If we continue to have a positive response to our games, we will be setting up playoffs or a tournament after the first few weeks. Please email Sarah Choi if you’d like to join as a player or start your own team.

    The Teams and their Rosters:

    basketball game nyc

    photo by Paola Nazario

    Gucci: – Acting for Film
    Deshpyar Jasuja
    Steven Erazo
    Elijah Leighty

    October’s Very Own – Game Design & 3D Animation
    Carlos Lopez
    Tony Pommells
    Joshua Wong
    Matt Plotecher

    Cavs – Acting for Film
    Jay Cailos
    Avi Agarwal
    Marvin Scott III

    Legends – Acting for Film
    Brandon Williams
    Nate Steinburg
    Jonathan TannehillFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    November 19, 2014 • 3D Animation, Acting, Community Highlights, Filmmaking, Game Design, Sports • Views: 5476

  • 3D Animation Grads Selected to NYC SIGGRAPH Board of Directors

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailMark Reynolds and Elize Ohira, both June 2013 graduates from New York Film Academy’s one-year 3D Animation Conservatory program, were recently elected to the Board of Directors for NYC ACM SIGGRAPH, New York City’s local ACM SIGGRAPH chapter.

    ACM SIGGRAPH is an international organization of artists, filmmakers, developers, and scientists sharing a love of computer graphics and interactive technology. The New York City chapter hosts events such as screenings, lectures, BYOA (Bring Your Own Animation), and MetroCAF, an annual student film festival.

    “I’m so excited to serve as part of the Board of Directors of such a great organization!” Elize says. “Mark and I got involved with New York City’s SIGGRAPH chapter while we were students at NYFA. It helped expose us to the city’s larger CG community, and we were able to bring a bit more NYFA to NYC CG.”

    Some of Mark’s and Elize’s work, created while they were students at NYFA, can be seen here:

    Mark Reynolds

    Elize OhiraFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    March 17, 2014 • Acting • Views: 4082

  • Haiti Optimiste Benefit with Arcade Fire and Donna Karan

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    Haiti Event NYFA

    New York Film Academy students, faculty and alumni are invited to a phenomenal star-studded event called Haiti Optimiste this Thursday, February 20th at the Florence Gould Hall on 55 East 59th Street, NYC. Haiti Optimiste is an annual benefit organized by Ciné Institute and L’Alliance Francaise, celebrating new Haitian cinema with the purpose of raising funds for the film and media education of young Haitians.

    Ciné Institute provides desperately needed free college education and employment opportunities to underprivileged Haitian youth. It is the only college of its kind in Haiti, where just 1% of high school graduates can afford to attend university.

    The evening will include a screening of films from the Institute, followed by the announcement of the new Brioni film fund and a Q&A with Ciné Institute supporters, fashion designer Donna Karan, Arcade Fire video director Vincent Morisset, and actors Michael Kenneth Williams (HBO’s Boardwalk Empire) and Jamie Hector (HBO’s The Wire). Members of the Grammy Award-winning rock band Arcade Fire will also be present for the evening.

    This is for a great cause and could be a great networking opportunity for young filmmakers in the New York City area. If you’re interested in $25 discounted tickets (down from $60-$300), send an email RSVP to Ihuoma Mambo at ihuoma@cineinstitute.com.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    February 18, 2014 • Community Highlights, Guest Speakers • Views: 3870

  • NYFA Abu Dhabi Acting Grads Selected into Dubai International Film Festival 2013

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    Congratulations to our two Emirati graduates, Ibrahim Al Khemeiri and Fatima Al Taei, who played the lead acting roles in three films were selected in the Dubai International Film Festival 2013.

    Ibrahim Al Khemeiri studied his first year at the New York Film Academy Abu Dhabi and moved to the L.A. campus for his second year to complete his Associate in Fine Art degree in Acting for Film. Ibrahim is playing one of two lead roles in the film, Sunset State, a film that was selected in the Dubai International Film Festival 2013.

    Sunset State explores the fantasies, dreams and memories of two men: an American novelist and an Emirati college student. The nostalgic tale reveals that people are not creatures of logic, but rather emotion.

    Fatima Al Taei graduated from the One Year Acting for Film at the New York Film Academy Abu Dhabi. She played the lead roles in two short films: Don’t Leave Me, directed by Khalid Al Mahmood, who received many awards on his films and 13:37, directed by Eisa Al Sabousi.
    thirteen__large copy

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    November 27, 2013 • Abu Dhabi, Acting, Study Abroad • Views: 4190

  • New York Film Academy Opens in Battery Park

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    Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 12.32.35 PM

    New York Film Academy Battery Park

    The New York Film Academy has opened the doors to its brand new campus, located at 17 Battery Place. The modern facility occupies 72,000 square feet on two full floors and offers breathtaking views of Battery Park and The Statue of Liberty. Each classroom was uniquely designed from scratch to meet the specific needs of the hands-on programs, including state-of-the-art production studios and sound stages.

    Summer Camp programs and Adult Musical Theatre programs have already begun, while Acting, Musical Theatre, Screenwriting, Producing, Photography, Journalism, and 3D Animation will kick off in the Fall. NYFA cannot be more thrilled to provide this wonderful new environment to its students, and is looking forward to meeting a whole new crop of talent!

    Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 12.37.14 PMFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

  • Showing The World Your Truth

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFito Pardo graduated from New York Film Academy in the late 90’s. Since then, he has gone on to direct short films and music videos, has worked as cinematographer on over 30 projects, and has found success as a photographer for publications worldwide, including Marie Claire, Vogue Japan, and National Geographic.

    Though he had loved films since his youth, Fito got little support when he expressed an interest in learning filmmaking. At his father’s insistence, he postponed his dreams of studying filmmaking. “I studied Administration for probably 6 months in one of the best universities in Mexico, and after the first 2 months I just knew it wasn’t for me,” he says. Eventually Fito started writing to film schools for information. After winning a partial scholarship to New York Film Academy, Fito was on his way to Manhattan. “I studied in NYFA between 1995 and 1997,” he says.

    “My experience was amazing. I had no idea how to use a film camera, so the workshops helped me understand what I was getting myself into…. At NYFA I learned how to write a script, how to be a cinematographer, how to be a producer, and how to understand all aspects of film. After NYFA, I worked with some Mexican production companies, opened my own production company called La Alcachofa Films, and started directing some interesting videos in Mexico. I directed some music videos… and did a couple of commercials for BBDO, Lowe & Partners, and some other agencies.”

    Fito shot his first feature film, El Fuego Inolvidable, last year. The controversial project explores the complicated state of politics in Mexico. The film has played at festivals and college campuses, with great responses from audiences. They are currently working on a distribution deal.

    “I am still in pursuit of more goals,” says Fito. “When I was working for National Geographic, I knew I accomplished one of my goals, but knew that it wasn’t it. My first feature film got the award of Best Mexican Film at the 2011 Oaxaca Film Festival, but I want more. Since I was kid, I always wanted to move people…. I have a condition. I am a stutterer, and I have been watching the world with different eyes…. All my life I have been limited in expressing my mind. Sometimes people don’t get it and just can’t wait for me to talk, so they go away. I think I show the way I see the world through my eyes, without my mouth. I believe this is what moves me: To show the world what my mind sees.”

    To learn more about our filmmaking program, click here.

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  • New York Film Academy’s Alumni Spotlight: Jason Liles

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail“Before I moved to NYC I was told by many that I was too tall to be an actor,” says New York Film Academy Acting for Film graduate Jason Liles. “However, it seems my height was been the very thing that’s been getting me in the door to this point.”

    The 6’10” actor has booked a number of high-profile jobs since his graduation in May 2010. Jason explains, “The very week after graduating… [I did an] episode of stand-in work for [pro wrestler] The Big Show as he guest starred on an episode of USA’s Royal Pains. That was my first experience on a big film or TV set ever.”

    “About a month later, [I was called] in to audition for a principal role as a tall alien in Men In Black III 3D!” says Jason. “I ended up working as three aliens over several weeks with [7-time Academy Award-winning] special makeup effects artist Rick Baker and his crew. I worked on the film… with nearly the entire main cast. I got all my SAG waivers and made some great connections. It was an incredible experience. I’m very much looking forward to it’s release on May 25.”

    Jason got another lucky break when he got a second callback for a role on a commercial. He recounts, “I was ecstatic… when I found out searching on the internet that it was a PRINCIPAL role in a NATIONAL Allstate commercial… This was my first time ever auditioning in front of the director, and all for a big project like this. MIB’s audition was for a camera. It was so cool to be getting direction from the director himself at the audition and I gave it my all in that room.”

    Jason waited anxiously until he got the news that he booked the role. He explains, “Because of the waivers I got doing Men In Black III, I had to join SAG to do it so I also got my SAG card!!! Meetings with agents were being set up!!! I couldn’t believe it. I was in denial even. I started to think, ‘Okay, it’s a commercial, but it won’t be that big. It can’t be.’ It just seemed too easy and too good to be true.”

    “The shoot went amazing,” he says. “Around 300 extras were cast for the crowd, and about 15 principals including us basketball players. I got to work directly with Dean ‘Mayhem’ Winters and his 11-year stunt double, David Shumbris, all day. It was such a pleasure to work with both of them and I can’t say enough nice things about them. Also getting to work directly with acclaimed commercial director David Gray was really exciting for me. He was nominated for the prestigious DGA Commercial Director of the Year award in 2004 and I believe this was his first Allstate Mayhem commercial.”

    “I had never experienced anything like a 2,000 frames-per-second high-speed camera getting my close-up for a national commercial before,” says Jason. “When we were setting up that shot, I can’t explain the anticipation and excitement for what was about to happen. I was so amped and felt so grateful to be standing on that court surrounded by such talent. After we got my close-up I went over to the monitor and watched it with David. It looked incredible! So epic! I remember standing behind David as he’s pointing at my face on the monitor saying to the assistant director, Peter Jackson, ‘That’s great! That’s perfect right there. Great, let’s move on.’ It was such a compliment for me to come from such a great director like him.“

    The commercial is currently airing on CBS, TBS, TNT, TruTV, Comedy Central, History, Fox, ESPN, and AMC. Jason says, “Another graduate of NYFA, Nick Purdy, said my ‘shocked face is plastered all over Canadian television.’ So evidently it’s showing internationally as well.”

    “I love this business,” Jason says. “Less than a week before shooting the commercial, I knew nothing about it. Persistence is key in anything, and… especially in this industry. I feel so very blessed and so lucky to get this opportunity only a couple years into my career. I can’t thank God enough for the opportunities that have been given to me and can’t wait to see what’s next…. There’s one thing that I’ve come to learn in this business: you never know what’s right around the corner.”Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    April 18, 2012 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5596