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  • NYFA Celebrates the 93rd Academy Award Nominees and Winners

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    This year, NYFA celebrated instructors and alumni being among those nominated for this year’s Oscar’s shortlist. As the list dwindled down it was 1-Year Screenwriting alum Shivani Rawat’s film The Trial of The Chicago 7 that earned six nominations including Best Picture. The Aaron Sorkin film was one that Rawat produced along with Marc Platt and Stuart Besser.

    Also among the nominees was producer and NYFA guest speaker Christina Oh, who helmed the A24 Lee Isaac Chung drama Minari, which also earned six nominations including Best Picture. Oh is the first Asian American woman to receive a nomination for best picture.

    Oscar nominees (Photo Credit: Screen Rant)

    Other historic nominations this year include:

    • The first time two women are nominated for Best Director: Emerald Fennel (Promising Young Woman) and Chloé Zhao (Nomadland).
    • Netflix setting a record for distributors with 35 total nominations in 2021. The streaming giant also leads the Best Picture category with two nods, while Amazon, A24, Focus, Searchlight, and Sony Classics held one nomination each. This year, major studios were not present in this category, a notable exception given the tumultuous distribution efforts major studios faced with releasing tentpole and lower budget films across the production slate in 2020.
    • Chadwick Boseman has become the seventh actor to receive a posthumous nomination for his work on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
    • Riz Ahmed is the first Muslim actor to be nominated in the Best Actor category for his performance in The Sounds of Metal.
    • Steven Yeun, the first Asian American to receive a Best Actor nod, and Best Supporting Actress nominee Youn Uh-Jung are the first actors born in Korea to earn Oscar recognition for their performances in Minari.

    After many delays due to the pandemic, Hollywood’s biggest night is ready for a night of normalcy with the tentpole of awards shows back on the air with an in-person ceremony at the Dolby Theatre on April 25th after its original February 28th date was pushed back. 

    Here is the full list of 2021 Oscar Nominations:

    Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award – Tyler Perry

    Best Picture

    • “The Father” (David Parfitt, Jean-Louis Livi and Philippe Carcassonne, producers)
    • “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Shaka King, Charles D. King and Ryan Coogler, producers)
    • “Mank” (Ceán Chaffin, Eric Roth and Douglas Urbanski, producers)
    • “Minari” (Christina Oh, producer)
    • “Nomadland” (Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey and Chloé Zhao, producers) – WINNER
    • “Promising Young Woman” (Ben Browning, Ashley Fox, Emerald Fennell and Josey McNamara, producers)
    • “Sound of Metal” (Bert Hamelinck and Sacha Ben Harroche, producers)
    • “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Marc Platt and Stuart Besser, producers)

    Best Director

    • Thomas Vinterberg (“Another Round”)
    • David Fincher (“Mank”) 
    • Lee Isaac Chung (“Minari”) 
    • Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”)  – WINNER
    • Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”) 

    Best Actor in a Leading Role

    • Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”) 
    • Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) 
    • Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”) – WINNER
    • Gary Oldman (“Mank”) 
    • Steven Yeun (“Minari”) 

    Best Actress in a Leading Role

    • Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) 
    • Andra Day (“The United States v. Billie Holiday”) 
    • Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”) 
    • Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”) – WINNER
    • Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”) 

    Best Actor in a Supporting Role

    • Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”) 
    • Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”) – WINNER
    • Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami”) 
    • Paul Raci (“Sound of Metal”) 
    • Lakeith Stanfield (“Judas and the Black Messiah”)

    Best Actress in a Supporting Role

    • Maria Bakalova (‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”) 
    • Glenn Close (“Hillbilly Elegy”) 
    • Olivia Colman (“The Father”) 
    • Amanda Seyfried (“Mank”) 
    • Youn Yuh-jung (“Minari”) – WINNER

    Best Animated Feature Film

    • “Onward” (Pixar) 
    • “Over the Moon” (Netflix) 
    • “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon” (Netflix) 
    • “Soul” (Pixar) – WINNER
    • “Wolfwalkers” (Apple TV Plus/GKIDS) 

    Best Adapted Screenplay

    • “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Peter Baynham, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Mazer, Jena Friedman, Lee Kern; Story by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Nina Pedrad
    • “The Father,” Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller – WINNER
    • “Nomadland,” Chloé Zhao 
    • “One Night in Miami,” Kemp Powers 
    • “The White Tiger,” Ramin Bahrani 

    Best Original Screenplay

    • “Judas and the Black Messiah.” Screenplay by Will Berson, Shaka King; Story by Will Berson, Shaka King, Kenny Lucas, Keith Lucas
    • “Minari,” Lee Isaac Chung 
    • “Promising Young Woman,” Emerald Fennell – WINNER
    • “Sound of Metal.” Screenplay by Darius Marder, Abraham Marder; Story by Darius Marder, Derek Cianfrance
    • “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Aaron Sorkin 

    Best Original Song

    • “Fight for You,” (“Judas and the Black Messiah”). Music by H.E.R. and Dernst Emile II; Lyric by H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas – WINNER
    • “Hear My Voice,” (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”). Music by Daniel Pemberton; Lyric by Daniel Pemberton and Celeste Waite
    • “Húsavík,” (“Eurovision Song Contest”). Music and Lyric by Savan Kotecha, Fat Max Gsus and Rickard Göransson
    • “Io Si (Seen),” (“The Life Ahead”). Music by Diane Warren; Lyric by Diane Warren and Laura Pausini
    • “Speak Now,” (“One Night in Miami”). Music and Lyric by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth

    Best Original Score

    • “Da 5 Bloods,” Terence Blanchard 
    • “Mank,” Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross 
    • “Minari,” Emile Mosseri 
    • “News of the World,” James Newton Howard 
    • “Soul,” Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste – WINNER

    Best Sound

    • “Greyhound,” Warren Shaw, Michael Minkler, Beau Borders and David Wyman
    • “Mank,” Ren Klyce, Jeremy Molod, David Parker, Nathan Nance and Drew Kunin
    • “News of the World,” Oliver Tarney, Mike Prestwood Smith, William Miller and John Pritchett
    • “Soul,” Ren Klyce, Coya Elliott and David Parker
    • “Sound of Metal,” Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michelle Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Bladh – WINNER

    Best Costume Design

    • “Emma,” Alexandra Byrne 
    • “Mank,” Trish Summerville 
    • “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Ann Roth – WINNER
    • “Mulan,” Bina Daigeler 
    • “Pinocchio,” Massimo Cantini Parrini

    Best Animated Short Film

    • “Burrow” (Disney Plus/Pixar)
    • “Genius Loci” (Kazak Productions) 
    • “If Anything Happens I Love You” (Netflix) – WINNER
    • “Opera” (Beasts and Natives Alike) 
    • “Yes-People” (CAOZ hf. Hólamói) 

    Best Live-Action Short Film

    • “Feeling Through” 
    • “The Letter Room” 
    • “The Present” 
    • “Two Distant Strangers” – WINNER
    • “White Eye” 

    Best Cinematography

    • “Judas and the Black Messiah,” Sean Bobbitt 
    • “Mank,” Erik Messerschmidt – WINNER
    • “News of the World,” Dariusz Wolski 
    • “Nomadland,” Joshua James Richards 
    • “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Phedon Papamichael 

    Best Documentary Feature

    • “Collective,” Alexander Nanau and Bianca Oana
    • “Crip Camp,” Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht and Sara Bolder
    • “The Mole Agent,” Maite Alberdi and Marcela Santibáñez
    • “My Octopus Teacher,” Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed and Craig Foster – WINNER
    • “Time,” Garrett Bradley, Lauren Domino and Kellen Quinn

    Best Documentary Short Subject

    • “Colette,” Anthony Giacchino and Alice Doyard – WINNER
    • “A Concerto Is a Conversation,” Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers
    • “Do Not Split,” Anders Hammer and Charlotte Cook
    • “Hunger Ward,” Skye Fitzgerald and Michael Scheuerman
    • “A Love Song for Latasha,” Sophia Nahli Allison and Janice Duncan

    Best Film Editing

    • “The Father,” Yorgos Lamprinos
    • “Nomadland,” Chloé Zhao 
    • “Promising Young Woman,” Frédéric Thoraval 
    • “Sound of Metal,” Mikkel E.G. Nielsen – WINNER
    • “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Alan Baumgarten 

    Best International Feature Film

    • “Another Round” (Denmark) – WINNER
    • “Better Days” (Hong Kong)
    • “Collective” (Romania) 
    • “The Man Who Sold His Skin” (Tunisia)
    • “Quo Vadis, Aida?”(Bosnia and Herzegovina) 

    Best Makeup and Hairstyling

    • “Emma,” Marese Langan, Laura Allen, Claudia Stolze
    • “Hillbilly Elegy,” Eryn Krueger Mekash, Patricia Dehaney, Matthew Mungle 
    • “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal, Jamika Wilson – WINNER
    • “Mank,” Kimberley Spiteri, Gigi Williams, Colleen LaBaff
    • “Pinocchio,” Mark Coulier, Dalia Colli, Francesco Pegoretti

    Best Production Design

    • “The Father.” Production Design: Peter Francis; Set Decoration: Cathy Featherstone
    • “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Production Design: Mark Ricker; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara and Diana Stoughton
    • “Mank.” Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Jan Pascale -WINNER
    • “News of the World.” Production Design: David Crank; Set Decoration: Elizabeth Keenan
    • “Tenet.” Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas

    Best Visual Effects

    • “Love and Monsters,” Matt Sloan, Genevieve Camilleri, Matt Everitt and Brian Cox 
    • “The Midnight Sky,” Matthew Kasmir, Christopher Lawrence, Max Solomon and David Watkins
    • “Mulan,” Sean Faden, Anders Langlands, Seth Maury and Steve Ingram
    • “The One and Only Ivan,” Nick Davis, Greg Fisher, Ben Jones and Santiago Colomo Martinez
    • “Tenet,” Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley and Scott Fisher – WINNER

     

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    April 23, 2021 • Entertainment News • Views: 1384

  • NYFA Filmmaking Alum Indranil Banerjee Creates India’s First Anthology Horror Miniseries “4 Shades of Leap”

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    From his early childhood, Indranil Banerjee remembered watching Toy Story, Jurassic Park, Satyajit Ray’s Gupi Gyan Bagha Byan, and James Cameron’s epic film Titanic. He recalled how, as a kid, crying when Jack died, imagining himself proposing several times to Rose and talking with his friends at school about why his mom had to close his eyes at the theatre in several scenes of the film. It was movies that excited Banerjee at such a young age, and that captivation for filmmaking continued as he grew up. 

    Photo courtesy of Indranil Banerjee

    “When I grew up, I understood that film was something that was very attractive to me. , I started doing photography and slowly started learning about film and camera,” shared Banerjee. “From there, I began to comb through the filmography of some of the world’s best filmmakers.” 

    The likes of James Cameron, Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, and more inspired the aspiring director. Filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino inspired Banerjee to learn storytelling through camera tactics, while Satyajit Ray taught Banerjee how characters can come to life and music can elevate each story. 

    Film poster for “The Chase”

    After attending film schools in the UK, France, and the U.S, Banerjee’s sister told Banerjee about New York Film Academy (NYFA), where Banerjee enrolled in an 8-Week Filmmaking Workshop at the New York campus. 

    The filmmaking alum has directed the short film The Chase, which was recognized at the prestigious Los Angeles Cenefest. His other shorts include The Mirage, Trinyani, One Night Stand, and Hello. Banerjee also directed Bahannoborti (52), a television film for one of the most highly recognized Bengali channels in Kolkata, India. 

    Film posters for Banerjee’s anthology series “4 Shades of Leap”

    Now, the filmmaking alum is changing the way India is consuming horror, by launching the first horror anthology miniseries. 4 Shades of Leap is a series of four shorts that are about five minutes each. “The Idea Came in my head at the end of 2019. It was winter and me and my cinematographer Tuhin Dasgupta were having coffee in my terrace and discussing the new Indian Hindi-language anthology horror film on Netflix called Ghost Stories. We then planned to do our own research on some actual horror events in Kolkata, India.” 

    For one month, Banerjee and Dasgupta talked with individuals, visited many abandoned houses, and began forming the script for four individual stories based on real-life incidents. “As a filmmaker, I wanted to make this extremely natural and as real as I could. I used various cinematic elements as a poignant part of each and every tale; the shadows in the first episode, the rain in the second, the match cuts in the third, and the faces of various animals in the last episode.”

    Banerjee behind the scenes

    Banerjee and his crew finished filming the series just before the pandemic and the series has been met with critical acclaim and such a huge response that the series will return for a second season.

    “People like to watch spooky, but there is a difference between Ghostbusters and Insidious. All I can say 4 Shades Of Leap will Just take twenty minutes from your life to make you feel the various waves and stages of horror, with all four episodes based on real incidents. So, you will definitely enjoy it, and, yes, you will remain in shock.” 

    New York Film Academy recognizes the incredible achievement of filmmaking alum Indranil Banerjee and his latest project 4 Shades of Leap. You can watch the horror anthology on Amazon and Apple TV.

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  • Producer & NYFA Alum Alex Lampsos on His Latest Film “Breaking Fast”

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    Born in Beirut and brought up in Abu Dhabi and Canada, Alex Lampsos was always drawn to film and entertainment. From his beginnings in the film festival to producing indie films and music videos for the stars of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Lampsos has also produced commercials for Marvel, Disney, Sony, and LA Models in collaboration with Sir Elton John. 

    After working managing festival experiences and logistics at the Toronto International Film Festival for two years, Lampsos then decided it was time to dive into the technical and creative world of filmmaking itself and moved to Los Angles where he enrolled in NYFA’s 1-Year Filmmaking Conservatory. “Halfway through, I honed into my love of producing and took on as many projects that came my way, starting with thesis short films through the school network and slowly expanding into the real world,” he recalled. 

    NYFA alum Alex Lampsos

    The NYFA alum has since gone to produce music videos for Ru Paul’s Drag Race stars which have garnered millions of views and have been featured in Forbes, Entertainment Tonight, Entertainment Weekly, Billboard, Paper Magazine, Out, and more.

    He has also produced incredible projects, from Cherry Pop, a NYFA thesis project that got picked up by Netflix, to feature Breaking Fast, which is now available to rent. Collectively, both films have garnered over 30 awards and have had an impact in the queer and indie film community. 

    Film poster for “Breaking Fast”

    His latest feature film, Breaking Fast, is a romantic comedy that follows Mo, a practicing Muslim still reeling from heartbreak. When a guy named Kal offers to join him in his nightly Iftars – the traditional meal eaten by Muslims during Ramadan – meal after meal, the two start to discover they have more in common than they initially thought.

    Lampsos first got involved on the project after a serendipitous encounter with the film’s writer and director Mike Mosallam. “A friendship quickly bloomed, leading us to collaborate on the short film version of Breaking Fast – the genesis of the feature,” recalled Lampsos. “After finding much success with the short, we spent approximately three years developing the feature with a team of leading producers, finally securing the funding and entering production in 2018.”

    Alex Lampsos at premiere for “Cherry Pop”

    As for what he has taken with him since studying at NYFA, Lampsos shared that it’s all about community. “NYFA taught me the importance of building a filmmaking family that can grow and prosper collectively over time, often with fellow students that eventually become long-term collaborators,” he remarked. “It [NYFA] also gave me the framework to approach the industry with a strong sense of ambition and a self-starting mentality; the ‘it’s what you make of it’ mindset, while giving me the technical foundation to thrive.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates Alex Lampsos on his latest release Breaking Fast and looks forward to sharing new updates on what’s next from the talented alum. Click here to learn more about Breaking Fast and where to watch the film. 

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    March 8, 2021 • Diversity, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 831

  • Netflix Limited Series “Behind Her Eyes” Stars NYFA Alum Eve Hewson

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    Netflix’s binge-worthy new limited series is Behind Her Eyes and it has everyone talking about all the twists and turns. The series, which released on February 17, stars NYFA alum Eve Hewson as lead character Adele.

    Eve Hewson studied at NYFA in 2008 in the Acting for Film program and has since appeared with Sean Penn and Frances McDormand in This Must Be the Place and Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies. Hewson also appeared alongside Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx in Robin Hood. She recently appeared in the BBC adaption of Eleanor Catton’s novel The Luminaries as Anna Wetherell that premiered in the U.S on February 14, 2021, on Starz.

    Eve Hewson as Adele in “Behind Her Eyes” (Netflix)

    Hewson’s latest project, Behind Her Eyes, is a psychological thriller adapted from Sarah Pinborough’s 2017 novel of the same name. The story follows the love triangle of single mother Louise and married couple Adele (Hewson) and David. With a series of shocking twists, and a highly talked about ending, the story is nothing short of gripping, where nothing is what it seems.

    Poster for “Behind Her Eyes” (Netflix)

    Hewson’s character Adele is married to David, who is having an affair with the new resident to the town, Louise. Adele, surprisingly, is interested in forming a friendly connection with David’s new lover but sets off an entangled web of twisted circumstances and conspiracy.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Acting for Film alum Eve Hewson on the release of her latest project and encourages everyone to check out the new limited series, now streaming on Netflix.

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  • NYFA Alum Ritika Shah Shoots Fashion Editorial for ‘Harper’s Bazaar India’

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    2020 isn’t going to stop Ritika Shah from making bold moves in the fashion world. Recently, the 1-Year Photography Conservatory alum shot a full fashion editorial for the highbrow style magazine, Harper’s Bazaar India.

    The photos, which can be found in Bazaar’s November 2020 issue, featuring images that capture the “Magic of the Weave,” a concept by the magazine’s editor paying homage to clothes that have been made of traditional, handwoven Indian weave, “Brocade,” with a modern twist.

    Shot by Ritika Shah for “Harper’s Bazaar India”

    As an independent photographer, Shah revealed that her style has evolved over time to be “very minimal” which is emulated in her photos. “I had full creative freedom in terms of the location and frames used for each shot and the model’s poses,” revealed Shah. “I decided to follow my vision, but I had to make sure that the imagery aligned with the magazine’s aesthetic as well.”

    One of the biggest aspects of shooting the project was the location of the shoot, something that Shah was very confident about when taking on the project. “Luckily, I had done a recce [pre-shoot] with this location on another project before, so I had kept it in mind. When I got a call from the fashion stylist for this shoot, I immediately suggested this location, shared the images, and it got approved.”

    The location ended up being a huge focal point for the spread and Shah’s vision overall. “It had elements of traditional Indian architecture, but in a modern setting; Just like the clothes were made of traditional handwoven Indian weave, with modern silhouettes. The location played a big role in supporting the concept of the shoot.”

    Shah has been in the business for four years as an independent fashion photographer. Previously, she shot the cover for Verve Magazine and had her work featured in Contributor MagazineHomegrown Magazine, and more. “It’s been a great journey working as an independent photographer and I am always grateful for all my learnings at NYFA,” explained Shah. “NYFA taught me to question everything that I liked and I still question myself as to why I like or dislike something; it helps in getting the creative juices flowing.”

    New York Film Academy would like to congratulate NYFA Photography alum, Ritika Shah, for her stunning fashion photography portraitures featured in the November issue of Harper’s Bazaar India. For more photos from the NYFA alum, check out her Instagram here.

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    December 18, 2020 • Acting • Views: 1317

  • NYFA Filmmaking Alum Pavitra Chalam Co-Directs ‘Rooting for Roona’ – Now Streaming on Netflix

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    Now available to stream on Netflix: Filmmaking alum Pavitra Chalam co-directs the new, inspirational documentary Rooting For Roona about a child named Roona with an advanced form of hydrocephalus, a condition in which fluid builds up in the brain resulting in an enlarged head and can also cause brain damage.

    Roona quickly becomes known all over the world after images of her go viral. Not long after, Roona is admitted to one of India’s premier private hospitals in the nation in New Delhi to undergo surgery for her condition. In the documentary, Chalam and co-director Akshay Shankar chart the incredible story of Roona and her family as the young child goes through a life-altering surgery to combat her birth defect.

    Documentary film poster for ‘Rooting For Roona’ (Netflix)

    Chalam and Shankar aim to create public awareness around the issue of congenital healthcare and bring birth defects to the forefront of the public conversation. Chalam has previously directed documentary shorts Anamika: Her Glorious Past, Indelible, and Maanasi – ‘of Sound Mind.’

    NYFA Alum Pavitra Chalam with Roona

    New York Film Academy would like to congratulate Filmmaking alum Pavitra Chalam on her latest directorial achievement and encourages everyone to check out the new documentary now streaming on Netflix.

    Watch the full trailer for the new documentary below or click here.

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    October 15, 2020 • Entertainment News, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 886

  • NYFA Screenwriting Alum Miguel Ángel Parra’s Enjoys Successful Festival Run With Screenplay ‘The Pink House’

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    We hear it all the time, “write what you know.” As a journalist, Spanish native Miguel Ángel Parra was all too familiar with that phrase and went from applying it to his work as a journalist to becoming a screenwriter writing stories that reflect pockets of his own life. 

    After he lost his job in January 2019, Parra realized it was time to make his dreams come true and focus solely on screenwriting. He also credits the many “voices that have been silenced along the way throughout history” to being the driving force behind wanting to make people listen to those stories as a screenwriter. 

    Enrolling in the 8-Week Screenwriting program at NYFA finally allowed Parra to learn how to improve crafting the structure of his scripts and how to write better dialogue for his characters, crediting instructor Dennis Green as being the driving force behind learning new techniques.

    While studying at NYFA, Parra wrote his screenplay for The Pink House, which has since gone on to win screenplay contests in the Madrid International Film Festival (2020), the LGBTQ Toronto  Film Festival (2020), the All Genre Screenplay Contest (sponsored by Amazon, 2020), and become a semi-finalist in the Nashville International Film Festival (2020). 

    “It [The Pink House] is my first feature film script and I wrote it in English! When I came back to Spain, I translated it into Spanish and rewrote it several times,” shared Parra. “During the quarantine, I finished it and translated into English again in order to be able to submit to international competitions.” 

    NYFA screenwriting alum Miguel Ángel Parra

    The Pink House is a dramedy that, while humorous, is also a story about the abandonment suffered by LGBTI seniors. “The young activists who fought for the LGBT rights in the late 70s in Spain are nowadays men and women in their 70s and 8os and most of them don’t have a home to live in, as they were rejected by their families or have lost their couples,” explained Parra about his award-winning script. 

    “It is a story that needs to be told. In my country we lived 40 years of dictatorship, with a hard repression on these people, so I felt that I HAD to thank them for their fight somehow because, thanks to them, we have the rights we have right now.”

    Parra hopes that audiences, especially the younger generation, will be able understand that the story is about having the rights and freedoms of today “because someone fought for them.” Since Parra has submitted his script to multiple festivals and competitions, he has received incredible notoriety and shared that the positive response is overwhelming.

    “Being my first feature film script, it is quite exciting to see that people (and jurys) like it. It’s been an honor to see The Pink House selected at the Nashville Film Festival Screenwriting Competition and reaching the semifinals, or being one of the Best Unproduced Scripts at Madrid International Film Festival, or seeing my script published and sold on Amazon thanks to the All Genre Screenplay Contest. I never imagined something like this would happen. “

    As for what’s next for the newly minted screenwriter, Parra’s upcoming short film The Eternal Angels was shot in August and is expected to premiere at the Seville European Film Festival in November. Parra also revealed he recently wrote a play that he hopes will open in January a TV pilot called The Golden Boys, a renewed, gay remix of the popular TV show The Golden Girls, which has already shown interest with a production company.

    Miguel Ángel Parra on set for ‘The Eternal Angels’

    New York Film Academy would like to thank Screenwriting alum Miguel Ángel Parra for taking the time to share his journey on writing his first feature film script and the importance of telling the stories of those who have been silent for a long time. NYFA looks forward to seeing what is next from Parra and wishes him the best on his upcoming short film The Eternal Angels.

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    October 7, 2020 • Film Festivals, Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1192

  • A Conversation With NYFA Alum Jeffrey Lay on What It’s Like to Create a Video Game Funded by a Kickstarter Campaign And The Exciting World of ‘TitanReach’

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    I had the pleasure of teaching Jeffrey Lay (BFA in Game Design) in several Game Design classes at the New York Film Academy here in Los Angeles. When he graduated, I had heard he got a job as a level designer at Square Root Studios. I recently found out that Square Root Studios had a new game on Kickstarter, so I contacted Jeffrey to find out more about it.

    Scott Rogers (SR): Hey Jeffrey! Congratulations on launching TitanReach on Kickstarter! How did you join Square Root Studios?

    Jeffrey Lay (JL): Hi Scott! Thank you very much. Funny story, I was in the middle of working on my own project, which was also heavily inspired by RuneScape, however it formed into a more idle-passive (mobile) version due to my limited coding experience. After a few weeks working on it, I saw a Discord post about the game and joined these two guys from Australia, both experienced programmers, and thought the idea was perfect. Now we’re now at about five to six developers. 

    SR: What can you tell me about TitanReach?

    JL: TitanReach is an old school type MMORPG (an online role-playing video game) that focuses on skilling systems and action combat in a massive fantasy open-world with unique quests and a warm social experience! The game is heavily inspired by RuneScape, which had a very warm and calm feeling for it’s skilling system, along with great music, and was a “happy place” you could go to; which we’re combining with the nice warm environment. 

    SR: I think we all could use a “happy place” these days! What makes TitanReach different from all of those other MMORPGs that have come out in the past?

    JL: The biggest adjustment for us is that we’re using action combat, which will be the contrast to it’s skilling system.  

    SR: What are your job responsibilities at Square Root Studios?

    JL: While I’ve been part of TitanReach, I’ve focused on:

    • Level Design: Concepting out areas including the level design of Glimmermoore, the tutorial village, which is seen in the Demo.
    • Game Design: Coming up with the game world & environmental design, content design such as the Slayer Skill with all its details, skilling bosses, mini-games, along with combat design, economy and other various content coming down the line. 
    • Project Management: Throughout the earlier months, this included checking developers are doing their tasks and prioritizing what needs to be done. This also includes finding other issues that need to be addressed although we have someone else who has since filled this position, though I still do some of it.
    • Marketing: I worked a lot on creating the Kickstarter campaign, including the written part of the Kickstarter. I’m also in charge of reaching out to various blogs, websites and content creators to gain exposure.     

    SR: It sounds like they keep you pretty busy! Why should someone back the TitanReach Kickstarter?

    JL: We are being as open to the community as we can be in terms of our development. 

    We’ve released a free demo for anyone to play to see the exact stage we are in, which comes with its bugs and issues (ignore the quest). That demo is continually being patched each week for the community to see how fast we can turn around bugs and add some rough content in a week’s time for people to play around with. 

    With more time, these things can then be cleaned and polished. By backing us it will guarantee the cost of us continuing working on the project in order for us to deliver a polished, nice game. Having gotten this far with a penny, we’ll be able to focus full-time on the project. 

    The biggest benefit for backing us right now is that our Alpha/Beta is unlike most other companies (being 3-10 days) will be throughout the months of the game’s development stage (meaning months of playtime throughout those stages), although a player’s progress will be wiped at game launch, as we don’t want any unbalanced values (economic-abuse) to be transferred over to the official launch like what has happened with the dual universe beta to launch.

    SR: That sounds like a good idea. Too many games have had issues with that in the past. What are some of the issues you find in games nowadays? 

    JL: An issue we see in games nowadays is that they are overwhelmed with Microtransactions (MTX) that bring an unfair advantage to many other users, although it’s understandable why they do it. We want to remain free from MTX, which gives a player any unfair advantage such as gold/xp rates or other unfair benefits. We try to level out the field and give everyone the same chance!   

    SR: That sounds really fair! I think your players will really appreciate that. So, where can we find out more about TitanReach online?

    JL: Our Kickstarter has a lot more information along with our other social media! Feel free to join our Discord of over 12,500 Members and check out our website here!

    SR: Thanks Jeffrey and good luck with the game!

    JL: Thank you!

    New York Film Academy would like to congratulate NYFA Game Design alum Jeffrey Lay on his new game TitanReach and wishes the Jeffrey all the best on the kickstarter campaign.

    For more information on NYFA’s Game Design programs, click here. For more information about about TitanReach, you can reach out to: press@titanreach.com or support@titanreach.com; or check out their social media pages below:

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    October 5, 2020 • Game Design, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1074

  • NYFA Welcomes Filmmaking Alum and Director Antonio Campos for ‘The Q&A-List Series’

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    On September 29, 2020, New York Film Academy (NYFA) had the honor of hosting a live video Q&A with writer/director and NYFA Filmmaking alum Antonio Campos to discuss his latest hit movie on Netflix’s The Devil All The Time with NYFA students and alumni. Tova Laiter, Director of the NYFA Q&A-List Series, curated and moderated the event.

    Antonio Campos’ other notable feature directing credits include the Sundance sensations Christine, starring Rebecca Hall, and Simon Killer, starring Brady Corbet. His debut feature Afterschool premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the Caméra d’Or and Un Certain Regard awards. In television, he directed the pilot of the USA Emmy-nominated series The Sinner and served as an Executive Producer for the first season of the anthology series. He has other credits both in Film and TV as producer.

    Tova Laiter (Left) and Antonio Campos (Right) for the NYFA Q&A-List Series

    Laiter opened the discussion with the NYFA alum by asking him about how he first got into filmmaking “I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker for a long time and it really started at New York Film Academy,” remembered Campos. He shared a humorous account of how he was too young (13!) to take classes so he posed as a 16 year old so he could take a 6-Week Filmmaking course at NYFA.

    “For six weeks I was living this other reality and my parents were comfortable with me staying up late to edit,” he joked. “My first short film I did at NYFA called Puberty and I remember this moment where I was so nervous to watch the film with an audience that I stayed in the projection room, and I didn’t know how people were reacting. Afterwards, I saw my father crying because he was so proud and it was validation and support that I could feel, so it’s one of the most important moments for me as a filmmaker.”

    Antonio Campos (Left) and Rebecca Hall at ‘Christine’ screening (Photo Credit: Variety)

    Campos then rooted himself in the indie film world, solidifying himself with hits like Martha Marcy May Marlene, which he produced, along with Afterschool and Christine, which he directed. “I made Christine and, in a lot of ways, it led me to getting The Sinner. That became a success and changed the perception of me as someone who can make things work beyond the art house. That’s just patience and letting things organically happen.” To the question of what contributed the most to the success of the movie, he attributed it to the fact that he always takes his time with the script, even if everyone else is impatient. That’s why it takes him four years between movies but ultimately, they get the response he intended them to have.

    Laiter then asked Campos to share more on the making of his hit film The Devil All The Time, which Campos adapted from the original novel and co-wrote with his brother. “The characters felt familiar, but also specific in how he [the author] was rendering the characters and getting into their heads to go to these places with awful people,” revealed Campos.

    Antonio Campos shooting ‘The Devil All The Time’ (Photo Credit: Netflix)

    “It’s an interesting movie to have gotten the wide reception it has. It’s a very disruptive film emotionally. When I talk about the movie, it should feel like you are breathless for two and a half hours until you get in the car with Arvin and then you can catch your breath,” explained Campos.

    With The Devil All The Time boasting a star-studded cast with the likes of Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson, Bill Skarsgård, and more, one audience member asked Campos how he selects actors for his projects. “I like actors that take big swings and make strong choices, along with actors with distinct faces,” he replied. “I ask myself, ‘how do I feel when I meet them,’ because I will be spending a lot of time with them.”

    Antonio Campos (Left) with Robert Pattinson (Right) on set for ‘The Devil All The Time’ (Photo Credit: Netflix)

    Campos also reminded the directors in the audience to “always make your actors feel seen and heard” and reminded the actors in the audience to communicate with other actors on what they need and that a good actor “likes to be around other actors and feed off that energy.”

    With a stacked cast of celebrity actors in his own film, Campos shared that, regardless of star power, his film is, ultimately, character-driven and was “calibrated between people who were more well-known with other character actors or people you may have never seen before.” When it came to casting his film, he shared that he “knew that this film was very different for how we were approaching characters,” and it required the balance of both known and unknown performers, all of whom shine in this ensemble film.

    In one of the last questions of the night, one student asked for tips on how NYFA students can make the jump from student to a seasoned professional in the industry. Campos had this to share with the audience:

    “Everyone’s career is different and times out differently. Always expect that things may take longer than you expect, but keep your network of friends and collaborators close. In my case, it was about being open to getting involved with other filmmakers and their processes to make their movies. Keep making short films before you make your feature. Always try and be working. Short films are such a safe place to make mistakes and learn. Put yourself out there and submit to every film festival and embrace the networking aspect of being a filmmaker. You can be the most talented filmmaker in the world, but if you cannot convey your film into concrete terms, people will not be able to understand your vision.”

    Antonio Campos (Left) with the cast of his film ‘Afterschool’ at NYFF (Photo Credit: Godlis)

    As for what’s next for Campos, the writer-director reveals that he is adapting a comedy piece, as well as a new drama series starring Hollywood heavyweight Harrison Ford. “It’s called The Staircase, based on the documentary on novelist Michael Peterson,” he shared. “I’ve been working on it in some capacity for ten years and it never quite worked as a feature, so now it is going to be a series and it’s set up with HBO Max.”

    Campos closed the conversation by thanking Laiter for the enjoyable discussion and wished NYFA’s next generation of filmmakers the best of luck for their future projects.

    New York Film Academy would like to thank director and NYFA alum Antonio Campos for sharing his time and filmmaking experience with NYFA students and alumni, and looks forward to his upcoming projects including The Staircase.

    To watch Campos’ recent film, The Devil All The Time, the film is available to stream here on Netflix.

    To hear the full conversation, click the video below our watch on our YouTube channel here.

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    October 1, 2020 • Acting • Views: 1205

  • New York Film Academy Producing Alum Alex Lebovici Produces ‘Bill & Ted Face The Music’

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    One of the long-anticipated films of the summer, Bill & Ted Face The Music, starring Keanu Reeves (John Wick) and Alex Winter (The Lost Boys) was released everywhere on VOD and in select cinemas on August 28, 2020, with NYFA alum Alex Lebovici as a producer.

    The free-spirited and beloved characters Bill (Winter) and Ted (Reeves) from the original films Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) and Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991), make their epic comeback in the Bill & Ted series’ biggest film yet, which has been hailed by critics and is being called a “Surprise Summer Hit.”

    Film poster for ‘Bill & Ted Face The Music’ (Produced by Alex Lebovici)

    The long-awaited film was originally shot in 2019 and was slated for a full theatrical release. Like many indie films and blockbusters alike, the film opted for VOD and limited theatrical release due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    On the weekend of its release, it was the top-rented film on FandangoNow, Apple TV, the iTunes Store, and Google Play. Fandango also announced that despite being released for only four days, the film held the most popular spot on their most rented list for the month of August.

    NYFA producing alum Alex Lebovici at a NYFA Q&A event

    Lebovici, who produced the film, posted photos from the production on his Instagram and recalled how the film was such “a blast” to make. “I can’t believe it,” he shared. “This was by far the most challenging experience of my life but I’m blessed to have an amazing family who supported me through it all.”

    Lebovici was also an executive producer on The Red Sea Diving Resort (2019), Academy Award-nominated Denzel Washington drama, Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017), Mom and Dad (2017), Who We Are Now (2017), and The Clapper (2017). Lebovici will be an executive-producer for King Fury 2 starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Fassbender, which is currently in post-production.

    New York Film Academy would like to congratulate the Producing alum on his latest success with the release of Bill & Ted Face The Music, and looks forward to hearing more about the upcoming release of King Fury 2.

    “Be excellent to each other.” 

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    September 22, 2020 • Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 712