NYFA alum
Posts

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Aisultan Seitov Nominated For 2019 MTV VMA “Video of the Year”

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum and Partizan director Aisultan Seitov has been nominated for MTV’s VMA for Video of the Year Award for 21 Savage’s music video “a lot” featuring J. Cole. The tone and visuals of the video were influenced by The Godfather Part II and last year’s Oscar-nominated film Cold War. Seitov previously directed the music video for “Red Room,” the first single from Offset’s much-hyped solo album, which gained a lot of buzz for its striking visuals and powerful emotive tone.

    The following video contains explicit content.

    Born in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Seitov first came to New York Film Academy as a high school student in our Advanced Filmmaking Camp for Teens, a year later attending the 1-Year Filmmaking Conservatory at our New York campus before enrolling in the BFA program in Los Angeles. Along the way, Seitov gained a substantial social media following as an influencer with insight about music and international film. As Shoot Online explains, “This nomination further solidifies Seitov’s reputation as a leader among the new crowd of creators who integrate cutting-edge creativity and digital savvy with youthful authenticity.”

    Hosted by comedian and actor Sebastian Maniscalco, the 36th annual MTV VMAs will be held at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, the first VMA ceremony to be held in the Garden State. Often called the “Super Bowl for youth”, the VMA ceremony draws millions of youth each year, and awards the coveted “Moon Person” statues to winners chosen by viewers who voted on their favorite videos in each category on MTV.com

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Aisultan Seitov on his nomination for Video of the Year and looks forward to tuning in tonight for this year’s MTV VMAs at 8:00pm ET.

     

    Nominees for the 2019 MTV VMAs include:

     

    Video of the Year

    21 Savage ft. J. Cole – “a lot” – Epic Records
    Billie Eilish – “Bad Guy” – Darkroom/Interscope Records
    Ariana Grande – “thank u, next” – Republic Records
    Jonas Brothers – “Sucker” – Republic Records
    Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus – “Old Town Road (Remix)” – Columbia Records
    Taylor Swift – “You Need to Calm Down” – Republic Records – WINNER

     

    Artist of the Year

    Cardi B – Atlantic Records
    Billie Eilish – Darkroom/Interscope Records
    Ariana Grande – Republic Records – WINNER
    Halsey – Astralwerks/Capitol Records
    Jonas Brothers – Republic Records
    Shawn Mendes – Island Records

     

    Song of the Year

    Drake – “In My Feelings” – Young Money/Cash Money/Republic Records
    Ariana Grande – “thank u, next” – Republic Records
    Jonas Brothers – “Sucker” – Republic Records
    Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper – “Shallow” – Interscope Records
    Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus – “Old Town Road (Remix)” – Columbia Records – WINNER
    Taylor Swift – “You Need to Calm Down” – Republic Records

     

    Best New Artist

    Ava Max – Atlantic Records
    Billie Eilish – Darkroom/Interscope Records – WINNER
    H.E.R. – MBK/RCA Records
    Lil Nas X – Columbia Records
    Lizzo – Atlantic Records
    Rosalia – Columbia Records

     

    Best Collaboration

    Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus – “Old Town Road (Remix)” – Columbia Records
    Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper – “Shallow” – Interscope Records
    Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello – “Señorita” – Island Records – WINNER
    Taylor Swift ft. Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco – “ME!” – Republic Records
    Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber – “I Don’t Care” – Atlantic Records
    BTS ft. Halsey – “Boy With Luv” – Columbia Records

     

    Push Artist of the Year

    Bazzi – Atlantic Records
    CNCO – RCA Records
    Billie Eilish – Darkroom/Interscope Records – WINNER
    H.E.R. – MBK/RCA Records
    Lauv – LAUV/AWAL
    Lizzo – Atlantic Records

     

    Best Pop

    5 Seconds of Summer – “Easier” – Interscope Records
    Cardi B & Bruno Mars – “Please Me” – Atlantic Records
    Billie Eilish – “Bad Guy” – Darkroom/Interscope Records
    Ariana Grande – “”hank u, next” – Republic Records
    Jonas Brothers – “Sucker” – Republic Records – WINNER
    Khalid – “Talk” – Right Hand Music Group/RCA Records
    Taylor Swift – “You Need to Calm Down” – Republic Records

     

    Best Hip Hop
    2 Chainz ft. Ariana Grande – “Rule the World” – 2 Chainz Ps/Def Jam
    21 Savage ft. J. Cole – “a lot” – Epic Records
    Cardi B – “Money” – Atlantic Records – WINNER
    DJ Khaled ft. Nipsey Hussle & John Legend – “Higher” – We The Best/Epic Records
    Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus – “Old Town Road (Remix)” – Columbia Records
    Travis Scott ft. Drake – “SICKO MODE” – Epic Records/Grand Hustle/Cactus Jack

     

    Best R&B

    Anderson .Paak ft. Smokey Robinson – “Make It Better” – Aftermath Ent/12 Tone Music
    Childish Gambino – “Feels Like Summer” – RCA Records
    H.E.R. ft. Bryson Tiller – “Could’ve Been” – MBK/RCA Records
    Alicia Keys – “Raise A Man” – RCA Records
    Ella Mai – “Trip” – 10 Summers/Interscope Records
    Normani ft. 6lack – “Waves” – Keep Cool/RCA Records – WINNER

     

    Best K-Pop

    BTS ft. Halsey – “Boy With Luv” – Columbia Records – WINNER
    BLACKPINK – “Kill This Love” – YG Entertainment/Interscope Records
    Monsta X ft. French Montana – “Who Do You Love” – Epic Records
    TOMORROW X TOGETHER – “Cat & Dog” – Republic Records
    NCT 127 – “Regular” – SM Entertainment
    EXO – “Tempo” – SM Entertainment

     

    Best Latin

    Anuel AA, Karol G – “Secreto” – Universal Music Latino
    Bad Bunny ft. Drake – “MIA” – OVO Sound/Warner Bros. Records
    Benny Blanco, Tainy, Selena Gomez, J Balvin – “I Can’t Get Enough” – NEON16/Friends Keep Secrets/Interscope Records
    Daddy Yankee ft. Snow – “Con Calma” – Universal Music Latin Entertainment
    Maluma – “Mala Mía” – Sony Music US Latin
    Rosalia & J Balvin ft. El Guincho – “Con Altura” – Columbia Records – WINNER

     

    Best Art Direction

    BTS ft. Halsey – “Boy With Luv” – Columbia Records – Art Direction by JinSil Park, BoNa Kim (MU:E)
    Ariana Grande – “7 Rings” – Republic Records – Art Direction by John Richoux – WINNER
    Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus – “Old Town Road (Remix)” – Columbia Records – Art Direction by Itaru Dela Vegas
    Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello – “Señorita” – Island Records – Art Direction by Tatiana Van Sauter
    Taylor Swift – “You Need to Calm Down” – Republic Records – Art Direction by Brittany Porter
    Kanye West and Lil’ Pump ft. Adele Givens – “I Love It” – Warner Records & Def Jam Music Group – Art Direction by Tino Schaedler

     

    Best Rock

    The 1975 – “Love It If We Made It” – Dirty Hit/Interscope Records
    Fall Out Boy – “Bishops Knife Trick” – Island Records
    Imagine Dragons – “Natural” – KIDinaKORNER/Interscope Records
    Lenny Kravitz – “Low” – BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd.
    Panic! At The Disco – “High Hopes” – Elektra Music Group – WINNER
    twenty one pilots – “My Blood” – Elektra Music Group

     

    Best Dance

    The Chainsmokers ft. Bebe Rexha – “Call You Mine” – Disruptor/Columbia Records – WINNER
    Clean Bandit ft. Demi Lovato – “Solo” – Big Beat/Atlantic Records
    DJ Snake ft. Selena Gomez, Ozuna & Cardi B – “Taki Taki” – DJ Snake Music Productions Ltd/Geffen
    David Guetta, Bebe Rexha & J Balvin – “Say My Name” – Big Beat/Atlantic Records
    Marshmello & Bastille – “Happier” – Capitol Records
    Silk City & Dua Lipa – “Electricity” – Columbia Records

     

    Best Direction

    Billie Eilish – “Bad Guy” – Darkroom/Interscope Records – Directed by Dave Meyers
    FKA twigs – “Cellophane” – Young Turks – Directed by Andrew Thomas Huang
    Ariana Grande – “thank u, next” – Republic Records – Directed by Hannah Lux Davis
    Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus – “Old Town Road (Remix)” – Columbia Records – Directed by Calmatic – WINNER
    LSD ft. Labrinth, Sia, Diplo – “No New Friends” – Columbia Records – Directed by Dano Cerny
    Taylor Swift – “You Need to Calm Down” – Republic Records – Directed by Drew Kirsch & Taylor Swift

     

    Video for Good

    Halsey – “Nightmare” – Astralwerks/Capitol Records
    The Killers – “Land of the Free” – Island
    Jamie N Commons, Skylar Grey ft. Gallant – “Runaway Train” – Interscope Records
    John Legend – “Preach” – Columbia Records
    Lil Dicky – “Earth” – Dirty Burd, Inc./Commission/BMG
    Taylor Swift – “You Need to Calm Down” – Republic Records – WINNER

     

    Best Visual Effects

    Billie Eilish – “when the party’s over” – Darkroom/Interscope Records – Visual Effects by Ryan Ross, Andres Jaramillo
    FKA twigs – “Cellophane” – Young Turks – Visual Effects by Matt Chandler, Fabio Zaveti for Analog
    Ariana Grande – “God Is a Woman” – Republic Records – Visual Effects by Fabrice Lagayette, FKristina Prilukova & Rebecca Rice for Mathematic
    DJ Khaled ft. SZA – “Just Us” – We The Best/Epic Records – Visual Effects by Sergii Mashevskyi
    LSD ft. Labrinth, Sia, Diplo – “No New Friends” – Columbia Records – Visual Effects by Ethan Chancer
    Taylor Swift ft. Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco – “ME!” – Republic Records – Visual Effects by Loris Paillier & Lucas Salton for BUF VFX – WINNER

     

    Best Editing

    Anderson .Paak ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Tints” – Aftermath Ent/12 Tone Music – Editing by Elias Talbot
    Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus – “Old Town Road (Remix)” – Columbia Record – Editing by Calmatic
    Billie Eilish – “Bad Guy” – Darkroom/Interscope Records – Editing by Billie Eilish – WINNER
    Ariana Grande – “7 Rings” – Republic Records – Editing by Hannah Lux Davis & Taylor Walsh
    Solange – “Almeda” – Columbia Records – Editing by Solange Knowles, Vinnie Hobbs, Jonathon Proctor
    Taylor Swift – “You Need to Calm Down” – Republic Records – Editing by Jarrett Fijal

     

    Best Choreography

    FKA twigs – “Cellophane” – Young Turks – Choreography by Kelly Yvonne
    Rosalia & J Balvin ft. El Guincho – “Con Altura” – Columbia Records – Choreography by Charm La’Donna – WINNER
    LSD ft. Labrinth, Sia, Diplo – “No New Friends” – Columbia Records – Choreography by Ryan Heffington
    Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello – “Señorita” – Island Records – Choreography by Calvit Hodge, Sara Biv
    Solange – “Almeda” – Columbia Records – Choreography by Maya Taylor, Solange Knowles
    BTS ft. Halsey – “Boy With Luv” – Columbia Records – Choreography by Rie Hata

     

    Best Cinematography

    Anderson .Paak ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Tints” – Aftermath Ent/12 Tone Music – Cinematography by Elias Talbot
    Billie Eilish – “hostage” – Darkroom/Interscope Records – Cinematography by Pau Castejon
    Ariana Grande – “thank u, next” – Republic Records – Cinematography by Christopher Probst
    Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello – “Señorita” – Island Records – Cinematography by Scott Cunningham – WINNER
    Solange – “Almeda” – Columbia Records – Cinematography by Chayse Irvin, Ryan Marie Helfant, Justin Hamilton
    Taylor Swift ft. Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco – “ME!” – Republic Records – Cinematography by Starr Whitesides

     

    Best Group

    5 Seconds of Summer
    Backstreet Boys
    BLACKPINK
    BTS – WINNER 
    CNCO
    Jonas Brothers
    PRETTYMUCH
    Why Don’t We

     

    Best Power Anthem

    Ariana Grande – “7 Rings”
    DJ Khaled, ft. Cardi B & 21 Savage – “Wish Wish”
    Halsey – “Nightmare”
    Lizzo ft. Missy Elliott – “Tempo”
    Maren Morris – “GIRL”
    Miley Cyrus – “Mother’s Daughter”
    Taylor Swift – “You Need to Calm Down”
    Megan Thee Stallion ft. Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign – “Hot Girl Summer”

     

    Song of the Summer

    Ariana Grande & Social House – “boyfriend” – WINNER
    Billie Eilish – “bad guy”
    DaBaby – “Suge”
    Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber – “I Don’t Care”
    Jonas Brothers – “Sucker”
    Khalid – “Talk”
    Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus – “Old Town Road (Remix)”
    Lil Tecca – “Ransom”
    Lizzo – “Truth Hurts”
    Miley Cyrus – “Mother’s Daughter”
    Post Malone ft. Young Thug – “Goodbyes”
    ROSALÍA & J Balvin ft. El Guincho – “Con Altura”
    Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello – “Señorita”
    Taylor Swift – “You Need to Calm Down”
    The Chainsmokers & Bebe Rexha – “Call You Mine”
    Young Thug ft. J. Cole & Travis Scott – “The London”

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Graphic Design Graduates Reflect On Their School Year

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    The Graphic Design School at New York Film Academy (NYFA) is committed to imparting the expertise and experience necessary to develop the next generation of well-trained and successful designers. Students are prepared for an industry that has grown exponentially since the turn of the century, with more opportunities than ever for skilled graphic designers to find professional work while also expressing themselves in an artistic, creative fashion.

    Through intensive in-class instruction and hands-on education from a seasoned faculty of working graphic designers, students gain a fluency in industry-standard software and equipment that will help them compete across a variety of industries in the design field.

    Three recent graduates of the NYFA Graphic Design School have spent the past year learning and improving on these skill sets, and have built themselves impressive portfolios as they start their professional careers as designers.

    NYFA spoke with these grads—Carl Dempsey, Cheryl Lin, and Jose Taira—about their time at the NYFA Graphic Design School:

    Graphic Design Graduation 2019

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): What drew you to the New York Film Academy Graphic Design program?

    Cheryl Lin (CL): I previously attended NYFA’s 4-week photography program and really enjoyed the courses. After my last year of college, I decided to deepen my knowledge in design, as I had majored in fashion business back in college—I thought graphic design was something that always sparked my interest.

    My love for art and design really inspired me to enroll in the course. I always enjoyed beautifully designed things so I was able to collect a collection of wrappers throughout the years. I really wanted to create products and designs that people want cherish for a long time.

    Carl Dempsey (CD): I actually found the program when searching for accelerated graphic design programs. It seemed most fitting after [NYFA Chair of Graphic Design] Debra Drodvillo and I spoke on the phone and I saw it would be tailored to my needs. 

    NYFA: How has your experience been in the program?

    Jose Taira (JT): More than I expected, the teacher were great, you can see that they know about the field. 

    CD: I’ve learned an immense amount of varied skills. It has changed my entire perspective on the world. It sparked interests in me that I did not have before. 

    CL: The program is amazing! I’m very happy I was able to keep up and grasp so many design concepts and strategies in a short amount of time.

    Graphic Design Graduation 2019

    NYFA: How would you describe the NYFA Graphic Design faculty?

    CL: The teachers are fantastic! They are really helpful and give us the right amount of feedback. They always manage to leave room for our minds to be creative and explore new ideas.

    CD: Experienced industry professionals who understand what is needed to succeed in the industry. They all are really good people who want the best for you. 

    JT: It’d a small faculty, but they have all the knowledge of what you need to be successful in the graphic design field. 

    NYFA: What were some of your favorite projects in the Graphic Design program?

    CD: My favorite projects we worked on: book covers, climate week posters, and the “how to” video. 

    JT: Elaborate a magazine, animation, and branding.

    CL: One of my favorite projects has to be the editorial design project; designing a magazine from scratch and curating your own selection of images really trained my eye and taught me to pay extreme attention to detail.

    NYFA: Has the program exposed you to the larger Graphic Design industry in New York City?

    JT: Yes, we went to several companies like Lippincott, Gensler, and Penguin, and we also met Milton Glaser and Mirko Ilić, two of the greatest graphic designers in New York.

    CL: Yes, definitely. I didn’t know there were so many design firms in the city; I also was not aware that graphic design is such a broad field. It’s amazing!

    CD: I’ve been introduced to events and people I would have never been able to have met outside of the program. It’s broadened my perspective.

    Graphic Design Graduation 2019

    NYFA: Do you feel prepared to enter the Graphic Design industry?

    CD: One hundred percent. I know my capabilities and what is expected. I am excited to get the ball finally rolling. 

    JT: Yes I do, they teach us everything that’s trending in the graphic design field.

    CL: I definitely feel excited to get out into the field and start creating … I’m one hundred percent ready to face all the obstacles ahead of me.

    NYFA: What are your goals upon completion of the NYFA Graphic Design 1-year conservatory?

    JT: Get a good job and keep learning,

    CD: Hopefully get a job in motion graphics and continue to do what I love to do. 

    CL: Getting a chance to work at MoMA or 2×4 is on my list of goals. I also really would love to create a book cover for an author of any sort, as well as partner with filmmakers to design their title sequence and movie poster.

    New York Film Academy congratulates the graduates of the NYFA Graphic Design 1-year Conservatory and wishes them the best of success as they grow and expand their careers and artistic horizons!

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    May 29, 2019 • Graphic Design, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 712

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Musical Theatre Alum Ilda Mason Cast in Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    The production of Steven Spielberg’s high-profile Hollywood remake of West Side Story has announced the casting of New York Film Academy (NYFA) Musical Theatre Alum Ilda Mason. Mason will be showcasing her dancing skills a member of the Sharks in the highly-anticipated film from Amblin Entertainment.

    Mason has previously performed in the Gloria Estefan musical On Your Feet as well as a production of Legally Blonde in China, and has been an ensemble member in the national tour of Cinderella. Additionally, she was a professional dancer for two seasons on Panama’s “Dancing with the Stars.” Ilda Mason

    The Tony Award-winning musical was first adapted into a film in 1961 and went on to win ten Academy Awards. This newest adaptation is written by Tony Kushner and stars Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Maddie Ziegler, Corey Stoll, and original West Side Story star Rita Moreno. Casting announcements are still being rolled out as the film gears for production in New York later this year.

    Ilda Mason graduated from the 2-year program at the Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre at New York Film Academy (PCMT at NYFA) in 2015. Since then, Mason has performed in two productions of West Side Story—one at Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA, and the second one at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ.

    “Ilda was an engaged, focused student and an integral member of the NYFA Musical Theatre community,” says Kristy Cates, Creative Director of PCMT at NYFA. “We are all so proud of her many successes and look forward to watching her star continue to rise.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates PCMT at NYFA alum Ilda Mason on her casting in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story and can’t wait to see her dance on the big screen!

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    May 1, 2019 • Musical Theatre, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 375

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Alum Jason Shah Interviewed by ‘The Tribune’

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Earlier this year, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum Jason Shah was interviewed in a Q&A with The Tribune, the daily English-language newspaper that has been circulated throughout India since 1881.

    Shah first attended NYFA’s Acting for Film program in September 2009 at our New York City campus, where he received a hands-on education from working, professional actors, writers, directors, and producers who are veterans of Hollywood, independent film, and television. In addition to acting, he has modeled and worked as a fitness coach.

    Jason Shah

    His credits include Indian productions such as Bigg Boss, Chandrashekhar Azaad, Inside Edge Season II, and the film Dev D. His latest role in the historical drama Jhansi Ki Rani, which co-stars Anuja Sathe, Aishwarya Raj Bhakuni, and Rajesh Shringarpure, gained Shah enough buzz for The Tribune to sit down with him for an interview.

    Shah spoke of his background—he is half English and half American—as well as his new role in Jhansi Ki Rani. The series, which premiered this year, is the story of the fierce warrior Manikarnika, who was later given the name of Rani Laxmibai, Queen of Jhansi. Shah credits his fluency in Hindi as a crucial skill for landing the part, as well as sharing a lot in common with his character, a foreigner in India.

    Acting isn’t Shah’s only passion. When asked by The Tribune where he saw himself in five years, Shah replied, “I feel after this I might want to go into direction and produce something myself. I have been working on it with a few friends, just waiting for the right time.”

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Acting for Film alum Jason Shah on his Tribune interview and his role on Jhansi Ki Rani!

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    April 24, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 821

  • Q&A with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum and Emmy Winner Bill Hader

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    On Thursday, April 18, New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum and prolific actor, writer, and director Bill Hader participated in a lively and entertaining Q&A following a screening of his hit HBO series Barry. The event was moderated by Director of the NYFA Q&A Series Tova Laiter.

    Hader is best known for his work on Saturday Night Live, for which he won an Emmy, and has acted in a number of successful films including Superbad (2007), The Skeleton Twins (2014) and Trainwreck (2015), among many others. 

    Laiter opened up the Q&A by asking Hader about his start in the industry. He shared that while he did funny impressions for his friends and family when he was growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he really loved to go to the movies. “When I watched a movie, I got really drawn in by the story, the cinematography, the look of it, the feel of it,” said Hader. 

    When Hader was a teenager, he enjoyed making short films of his own and enrolled in a Filmmaking workshop at NYFA where he made four short films and got a lot of positive feedback from his instructors. Ultimately, Hader moved to Los Angeles, where he started as a production assistant and various low level jobs in the industry.

    Bill Hader

    After working for a while as a production assistant, Hader started to feel creatively unsatisfied, so he started taking improv comedy classes at Second City Theater in Hollywood. Actress Megan Mullally saw Hader perform at Second City and noticed how talented he was and told executive producer of Saturday Night Live, Lorne Michaels, about him. “I had no manager, no agent, no anything,” said Hader, “so I met Lorne Michaels and I auditioned… I auditioned like four or five times for the show… and finally I got the job.”

    A number of students in the audience were interested in asking Hader questions. One student asked how Hader makes his acting feel authentic on shows like Barry. “You have to be truthful, instinctual, and not just go for the laughs,” said Hader. He shared that he watches others express their emotions through small idiosyncrasies and that he will occasionally mimic those mannerisms while acting.

    Another student inquired about Hader’s writing process for Barry. “We kind of have little ‘tentpole’ scenes,” said Hader, “we gotta write this to get to that… We’re constantly working on it but we never fully plan… but the fun of it is kinda seeing where the characters take it… Know that the process is messy and that you’re gonna fail a lot.” He emphasized that writing should always be “character driven” and centered on emotion.

    Bill Hader

    One student asked what advice Hader would give to his younger self when he was starting his career. “I would say to myself, ‘You don’t need to figure it all out this millisecond; it takes time.’ 

    I was terrified of failing… but you have to fail; you have to learn from that and keep doing it and keep doing it… it’s all a process,” said Hader.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank actor, writer, and NYFA alum Bill Hader for sharing his writing and acting advice as well as the lessons he learned from his experience in the entertainment industry with our students.

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screenwriting Alum Abby Ajayi Featured in Largest Hollywood Reporter Photo Shoot Ever

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Abby Ajayi, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screenwriting alum, was one of 63 black female writers featured in an epic photo shoot by The Hollywood Reporter late last year. In a rebuke to the industry sentiment that it’s hard to diversify writers rooms because there aren’t enough women writers and writers of color to choose from, the industry magazine gathered dozens of women from the networking group Black Women Who Brunch.

    Black Women Who Brunch (BWB) was founded in 2014 by television writers Nkechi Okoro Carroll, Erika L. Johnson, and Lena Waithe as a way to get black female TV writers a chance to meet, support, and get to know one another. Their first meeting was in March 2014 and had 12 attendees. The current membership of BWB is now around 80.

    In addition to taking photos, many of the women shared their experiences and thoughts on being black women television writers—many of whom were the only person of color on their staff. NYFA alum Abby Ajayi was one of those at the shoot interviewed. Unlike many of her peers, she wasn’t the only woman or person of color in her writers room.

    Abby Ajayi

    “On How to Get Away With Murder,” Ajayi toldThe Hollywood Reporter, “there were seven women in the room and six were women of color. It didn’t fall on one person to be the voice of all women or all black people. Having multiple women from diverse ethnic backgrounds broadened the conversation, which in turn led to richer, deeper characters.” 

    Ajayi added, “It’s also inspiring to see the women higher up the ladder prove that there is a path.”

    Ajayi originally hails from Nigeria and attended NYFA’s Screenwriting school in 2011. In addition to How to Get Away with Murder, Ajayi has worked on Eastenders, Doctors, and Hetty Feather. She is currently co-producing Hulu’s limited series adaptation of Four Weddings and a Funeral.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Screenwriting alum Abby Ajayi on her current success and encourages everyone to read The Hollywood Reporter’s piece!

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    April 16, 2019 • Diversity, Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 932

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism Alum Federica Polidoro Builds an Impressive Portfolio of Media Interviews

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Federica Polidoro has kept busy since graduating the 4-week Broadcast Journalism workshop in July 2016, building a steady and impressive portfolio of interviews with several high-profile filmmakers and actors for multiple leading publications across the globe.

    While at NYFA, Polidoro learned to to identify and make arrangements for story and interview subjects, choose and secure locations, prepare equipment, arrange preparation and setup of the locations, and make final technical checks. One piece she shot at NYFA was about the astrologer Angel Eyedealism. “NYFA is in my heart and I have wonderful memories about the program I attended,” Polidoro says about her experience at the Academy.

    Federica Polidoro

    Polidoro currently works as a freelance journalist for several primary publishing companies in Italy, and has already conducted several high-profile interviews, particularly in the film and arts industry.

    One such Italian media company Polidoro freelances for is GEDI Gruppo Editoriale, and their national newspaper La Repubblica. This includes her work for Repubblica XL, the publication dedicated to music, comics, and entertainment, and L’Espresso, a prestigious weekly news magazine. Polidoro introduced for L’Espresso at the Cannes Film Festival last year, where they released interviews with filmmakers and actors including Sofia Coppola.

    For Rolling Stone Italy, Polidoro reviewed Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman directly from Cannes, and was able to interview Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee and NYFA Guest Speaker Adam Driver. She also interviewed veteran director Terry Gilliam about his decades-old passion project, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, as well as legendary composer Philip Glass.

    Polidoro also works with Gruppo 24 ORE’s Il Sole 24 ORE, primarily with their monthly magazine IL, where she has been able to write longer, more in-depth pieces. She earned a cover story when she interviewed filmmaker Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire; Paris, Texas), one of only a few directors to win the Palme d’Or, Golden Lion, Golden Bear, and an Academy Award.

    Polidoro has also interviewed the Coen Brothers for their Netflix and Oscar-nominated film The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and Alfonso Cuarón about his critically lauded film Roma.

    Recently, Polidoro was guest of King Mohammed VI and Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco for the Marrakech Film Festival, together with other selected members of the international press (she was the only Italian female entertainment journalist of the group.)

    At Marrakech, Polidoro interviewed Robert De Niro, Julian Schnabel, and Guillermo Del Toro, among others. Soon she will be launching video interviews for IL as well, starting with director James Gray, the Jury President of the Festival.

    Polidoro has also recently become a contributor for Cineuropa, the first European portal dedicated to cinema and audiovisual in four languages, for which she interviewed Palme d’Or winner Christian Mungiu. She also works for Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine, which published her interviews with filmmaker Errol Morris about Wormwood and filmmaker Paul Greengrass about 22 July, as well as a very intriguing interview with directors Verena Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor about their documentary Caniba.

    “There is something so exciting in talking with creators that you just become addicted and you finally just set your whole life to enjoy those rare, rarified, and immersive moments of overwhelming happiness and satisfaction,” Polidoro tells NYFA. 

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Federica Polidoro on all of her hard-earned success so far, and looks forward to following her career in the future. We encourage everyone to check out her stories and interviews!

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    March 8, 2019 • Broadcast Journalism, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1009

  • Q&A with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Pablo C. Vergara

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking alum Pablo C. Vergara has shot and is in the process of finishing the feature film metal horror, Necromurder. Vergara hails from Mexico City and works as a cinematographer, actor, and filmmaker, among other roles. 

    He enrolled at the New York Film Academy’s Filmmaking program in New York in Fall 2016, before moving to Hollywood to work on completing his MFA at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus. In Los Angeles, he has worked on several projects, including Adverse, starring Lou Diamond Phillips and Thomas Ian Nicholas. 

    Pablo C. Vergara Necromurder

    New York Film Academy recently spoke with Vergara about his film and how the NYFA community can support it, as well as about his passions and his ambitious plans for the future of his career and his artistic output:

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): First, can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you’re from, and what brought you to New York Film Academy?

    Pablo C. Vergara (PCV): Hi! My name is Pablo C. Vergara. I was born in Mexico City. I am a musician and a filmmaker and have travelled the world for most my adult life and lived everywhere! This quest for adventure led me to discover the New York Film Academy when in 2016, I was invited to join them in NYC after applying for their consideration. Best decision I’ve made in my entire life!  

    NYFA: Why have you decided to focus on filmmaking? 

    PCV: This is a rather personal question but to narrow it down, I became a father and was struggling in a failing music career where basically I was stuck and being ripped off left and right and was going nowhere. So I decided to make a drastic decision, and that was to change careers and move into film, another of my main passions! I shot many, many music videos and some music documentaries while being a pro musician, so it was just underlying for me. Film it is!

    Pablo C. Vergara Necromurder

    NYFA: Can you tell us about your film Necromurder?

    PCV: This film is going to be HOT real soon, because a new movie called Lords of Chaos has been released and it’s creating quite an impact. This movie is basically what I based my story upon. Some real crimes committed by some young crazy musicians back in the 90s. I used the same story and added some fiction and biographical elements into it. 

    I wrote, directed, and acted as the lead, so it was quite a challenging thing for me. And yes, I am very, very tired, but also very satisfied with the end result! 

    People can support the film in three ways: first, by buying into our Perks (which will be very rewarding at the end, as we are giving generous perks). Secondly, by sharing on their social media and with their email contacts, family and friends. And lastly, by working with us! This one’s the special one. If you’re in NYFA and want to be part of this project, we will be casting for actors and doing interviews for crew around the fall of this year (subject to change). 

    So just keep in touch, and eventually you’ll hear news about it and you just have to email me your headshot and resume and we’ll go from there! Just keep in mind it’s a heavy metal horror movie! Yes, we have zombies, too, and a scene in Limbo. In conclusion, you could support by doing all of those things, too, which wow, would definitely make you our heroes… for real!

    Pablo C. Vergara Necromurder

    NYFA: What inspired you to make Necromurder?

    PCV: Coming from the Metal music background myself and being a musician professionally for 15 years, I got as far as getting a record deal, getting management and offers for full European tours. Two of my favorite movies are The Crow and The Doors, so basically I wanted to pay tribute to these films by making a very music-oriented movie along with strong visuals and cool dialogue and character design. 

    Of course, a horror too, which is my favorite genre and I’ve written four other horror screenplays. Basically, being part of the Metal world and a musician I knew about the story that I mentioned before—The Lords of Chaos—and I wanted to make a film about it. It had been documented and in countless articles and books so I thought, why not make a film about it? 

    But that happened right when Jonas Akerlund got the rights to do the story of the book, so I had to recreate a new story, but still based on those real events. Kind of a fictional biopic of some sorts! Plus, we shot in NYC throughout all four seasons so it’s visually striking!

    NYFA: What are your plans for Necromurder after it’s completed?

    PCV: I haven’t got that far yet, but definitely move it to the festival circuit a bit to see where that takes us and definitely make it a franchise! If you invest in us and this becomes a hit, I can guarantee you we’ll have Necromurder II, III, IV and maybe a Space 3D version too! Why not?!  

    NYFA: What other projects are you working on or do you plan to work on?

    PCV: When I am through with Necromurder (and it might take a while) I will definitely want to shoot my other screenplays, real cool sci-fi and serial killer stories that I wrote. Those movies would look so cool if ever made. My plan I guess is just to consolidate as a serious filmmaker and keep bringing good quality films and stories into the world! 

    I would love to act more, too. I love acting, but it’s hard when you are on both sides of the camera, so I would welcome acting gigs more! If anyone needs an actor, hey, I’m here!!!

    NYFA: What did you learn at NYFA that you applied directly to your work?

    Pablo C. Vergara Necromurder

    PCV: I learned a lot, especially by having to multitask the way I did. I would definitely never do it that same way ever again. But that being said, it was like a “baptism by fire” and it was purely coincidental since my lead actor dropped out 12 hours prior to rolling cameras and I had to step up and take the role! A friend, trying to calm my nerves, said to me, “Just do it! You wrote it, you know the story better than anyone, and you’re a real musician! Just do it, dude!” 

    And so I did, but it was very hard. I know how I would want to do things differently when a new project arises. That, and having a solid screenplay! Luckily as part of acing the course, I had to have a screenplay approved and it got reviewed by three professionals and drafted to it’s eighth or ninth version! 

    So yes, this story kicks serious ass and it’s real solid! I also learned a lot about all that it entails to produce a film. NYFA has been pivotal in my film career and the pinnacle of it as well! 

    Pablo C. Vergara Necromurder

    NYFA: What advice would you give to students just starting out at NYFA?

    PCV: Enjoy it! As hard as it gets and as tired as you may get, don’t quit! Trust me, you will regret it in the end, and I’ve seen it happen. If you stay, you will cherish those memories for the rest of your life because we’re fortunate to be part of such a great film institution—the best! 

    NYFA: Anything I missed you’d like to speak on?

    PCV: Just to remind people that even if your budget is tight to buy perks, sharing our link is another way of also helping the project. When big movie studios check us out (and they will!), they’ll want to see numbers! This is test-proven, too… So we need all the “Likes” you can give us! 

    Help us spread the word about Necromurder and it’ll be well worth it! 

    The New York Film Academy thanks Filmmaking alum Pablo C. Vergara for taking the time to speak with us about his film and career! 

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    February 22, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 577

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum and Guest Speakers Earn Golden Globe Nominations

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    On December 6, nominations for the 76h Annual Golden Globes were announced live from the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The Golden Globe Awards have been given out to cast and crew of film and television productions since 1944, and are selected by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The ceremony naming the winners will be held on January 6, 2019, hosted by Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg.

    This year’s nominees include some surprises, as well past winners and past nominees. Unlike the Academy Awards, the Globes include categories in television, and divides many of its categories between drama and comedy/musical categories.

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) is pleased to see members of its community earn several nominations, and looks forward to seeing them at the ceremonial dinner in January, where we hope they come away with the prestigious Golden Globe statuette!

    NYFA alum and Saturday Night Live veteran Bill Hader is up for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy for his lead performance in the HBO hit series, Barry, which is also up for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy. Earlier this year, Hader earned five Emmy nominations for his work on the show, and came away with a win for Outstanding Lead Actor.

    His Barry co-star, veteran actor Henry Winkler, also won an Emmy this year, and is also up for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television. Winkler has been a guest speaker for New York Film Academy students in the past. 

    Other guest speakers and lecturers at New York Film Academy have also worked on several nominated films and television series this year. This includes Adam Driver, who spoke with NYFA students in New York City earlier this year, and who has a featured role in BlacKKKlansman, nominated for Best Motion Picture – Drama.

    Ralph Breaks the Internet, the highly anticipated sequel to Wreck It Ralph, is up for Best Motion Picture – Animated. Guest speaker for NYFA Los Angeles Amy Smeed served as an animator on the hit movie.

    Lin-Manuel Miranda, writer and star of Broadway hits Hamilton and In the Heights, is nominated for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for his role in Mary Poppins Returns. His agent, Andrew Finkelstein, spoke with NYFA students in a productive Q&A at our Los Angeles campus.

    Actress Thandie Newton earned a nod for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for her powerful performance in the HBO epic, Westworld. The sci-fi robot yarn with a western twist has had two NYFA alumni work on it. Francesco Panzieri, a Visual Effects artist for Spider-Man: Homecoming, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Avengers: Infinity War, worked on the series. Panzieri took 1-Year 3D Animation & VFX at NYFA in 2008.

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

    The New York Film Academy congratulates this year’s Golden Globe nominees and looks forward to seeing the ceremony next month!

    Here is a full list of the nominees for 2019 Golden Globe Awards:

    Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
    Amy Adams, Vice
    Claire Foy, First Man
    Regina king, If Beale Street Could Talk
    Emma Stone, The Favourite
    Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

    Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
    Mahershala Ali, Green Book
    Timothée Chalamet, Beautiful Boy
    Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
    Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
    Sam Rockwell, Vice

    Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
    Olivia Coleman, The Favourite
    Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns
    Charlize Theron, Tully
    Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade
    Constance Wu, Crazy Rich Asians

    Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
    Glenn Close, The Wife
    Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
    Nicole Kidman, Destroyer
    Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
    Rosamund Pike, A Private War

    Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
    Lin Manuel Miranda, Mary Poppins Returns
    Viggo Mortinson, Green Book
    Robert Redford, The Old Man and the Gun
    John C Riley, Stan And Ollie

    Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
    Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
    Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
    Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased
    Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
    John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman

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

    Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
    Roma
    The Favourite
    If Beale Street Could Talk
    Vice
    Green Book

    Best Original Score – Motion Picture
    A Quiet Place
    Isle of Dogs
    Black Panther
    First Man
    Mary Poppins Returns 

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

    Best Foreign Language Film
    Capernaum
    Girl
    Never Look Away
    Roma
    Shoplifters

    Best Motion Picture, Animated
    Incredibles 2
    Isle of Dogs
    Mirai
    Ralph Breaks the Internet
    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
    The Favourite
    Green Book
    Vice
    Mary Poppins Returns
    Crazy Rich Asians

    Best Motion Picture, Drama
    BlacKkKlansman
    If Beale Street Could Talk
    Black Panther
    A Star Is Born
    Bohemian Rhapsody

    Best Actress in a Limited-Series or TV Movie
    Amy Adams, Sharp Objects
    Patricia Arquette, Escape at Dannemora
    Connie Britton, Dirty John
    Laura Dern, The Tale
    Regina King, Seven Seconds

    Best Actor in a Limited-Series or TV Movie
    Antonio Banderas, Genius: Picasso
    Daniel Bruhl, The Alienist
    Darren Criss, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
    Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Melrose
    Hugh Grant, A Very English Scandal 

    Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited-Series, or TV Movie
    Alex Bornstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Patricia Clarkson, Sharp Objects
    Penelope Cruz, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
    Thandie Newton, Westworld
    Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid’s Tale

    Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited-Series or TV Movie
    Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method
    Kieran Culkin, Succession
    Edgar Ramirez, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
    Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal
    Henry Winkler, Barry

    Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy
    Kristen Bell, The Good Place
    Candice Bergen, Murphy Brown
    Alison Brie, Glow
    Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Debra Messing, Will & Grace

    Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy
    Sasha Baron Cohen, Who Is America?
    Jim Carrey, Kidding
    Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
    Donald Glover, Atlanta
    Bill Hader, Barry

    Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama
    Caitriona Balfe, Outlander
    Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale
    Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
    Julia Roberts, Homecoming
    Keri Russell, The Americans

    Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama
    Jason Bateman, Ozark
    Stephan James, Homecoming
    Richard Madden, Bodyguard
    Billy Porter, Pose
    Matthew Rhys, The Americans

    Best TV Movie or Limited-Series
    The Alienist
    The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
    Escape at Dannemora
    Sharp Objects
    A Very English Scandal

    Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy
    The Good Place
    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    The Kominsky Method
    Kidding
    Barry

    Best TV Series, Drama
    The Americans
    Bodyguard
    Homecoming
    Killing Eve
    Pose

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    December 13, 2018 • Entertainment News, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1343

  • Q&A with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Lujein Ashi

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailLujein Ashi is a filmmaker, graphic designer, and storyteller who works for Saudi Arabia’s leading oil company, Saudi Aramco. In August, Lujein completed the 4-week Filmmaking workshop at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus after winning a scholarship with a 1-minute video. 

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) met up with Lujein to find out what her experience was like with the program, and what her plans for the future include.Lujein Ashi

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): So, how did your interest in coming here start? 

    Lujein Ashi (LA): I’ve always loved filmmaking stories since I was a child. I told stories to my sisters before we’d go to sleep, stuff I’d make up. I remember there was one moment that really stood out to me in my life. I went to watch Lord of the Rings in the cinema. I was with my friends. When we left everybody was so happy, but I felt sad. I didn’t understand it then. I understand it now. I felt like I was on the wrong side of the screen, like I was the one who was supposed to be giving people that feeling, not people giving that feeling to me. So, stories have always been a part of my life. 

    When it came time to choose what I wanted to study in college, I had to choose something that was practical. In the Gulf, we don’t have many opportunities for film, but then the New York Film Academy came to Bahrain to do a promo. I went and I just sat there and listened to [Dean of Enrollment Services] Tami Alexander do the presentation. She was really sweet. 

    I told her one day I’m going to come — hopefully, if it’s meant for me — and I signed up to their newsletter. I think it was like a month or two later, I get an email saying there was an opportunity for two scholarships for Saudi students. They want to encourage Saudi filmmakers because they’re opening cinemas in Saudi. 

    I saw the email late. I had two days to come up with my 1-minute video. I’ve never done a film before, but I knew I could write. So I wrote a script really fast and I did a very little video. I must have done something right, because she contacted me and told me I was one of the two students that got the scholarship. I was really, really happy. I cried hysterically.

    So I came here. It’s been a crazy four weeks. It’s just so amazing, the collaboration that you have with people… people that were strangers to me on Day One are like really close friends. There’s nothing like it, really. It’s everything I thought it would be, and even more.

    NYFA: Why did you choose the city of Los Angeles?

    LA: I think there’s no place better to learn filmmaking than in Los Angeles because it’s the hub of worldwide, excellent movies. It’s where the Hollywood industry is. Universal, Warner Brothers… all of these places, they’re all here. So there’s no place better to learn filmmaking.Lujein Ashi

    NYFA: What did you learn about filmmaking?

    LA: It’s all about story, that’s for sure. If your story is weak, then it doesn’t matter what you’re going to do. It’s not going to be something that touches people. Also technically the camera is your eye. You need to be one with the camera. You have to look through it, and if you don’t like what you see then you’re not going to like your movie. 

    I mean, it’s not like people can imagine what you meant, you know? So you have to be aware of the technical stuff. Which [at first] was very hard for me, because I’ve never touched a camera before, but Charlie did a really good job teaching us.

    NYFA: Is this something you want to continue doing? What’s your plan after this?

    LA: I found my heart here. I really did. It’s an amazing thing to find. People live their whole lives trying to find that thing they love. I think that’s the key to a happy life. I really feel like I found it here. I’m really going to try and do my master’s in this. Hopefully, then I could just do this for as long as I can. 

    NYFA: Do you see opportunities opening up in Saudi Arabia or Bahrain? 

    LA: Yes, for sure! Especially with the opening of cinemas, the government has been opening different entertainment entities trying to open things up to the people. I think there’s definitely going to be a demand for that. It’s going to be an exciting time for Saudi.

    NYFA: As Saudi opens up, is there a place there for you? Do you see yourself working there?

    Lujein AshiLA: I don’t know. I mean, sure, if there’s a place for me in Saudi to make great movies. I would love to. I mean, it’s my country. But to me, my geographic location was never something that was important. I’m very multicultural. My father is from Saudi, my mom’s from Lebanon, I lived in Baghdad, and I’m married to a Palestinian. I come from very different places, so I never felt like I belonged somewhere. Sometimes it’s a disadvantage, but sometimes it’s an advantage. Wherever you are, you feel like you can just connect with people because you’re from everywhere, basically. 

    So yeah, I mean, I could be — for example— in LA or in New York or anywhere with like-minded people, trying to do the same thing, just doing what we love; ultimately making somebody feel something. That’s why we go to the movies, right? Because we want to feel something! I could make somebody feel like Lord Of The Rings made me feel or Game of Thrones or any of these shows that have changed me so profoundly. It just amazes me how somebody could get that feeling out of you. It’s so satisfying. 

    NYFA: You mentioned two high-fantasy titles — is that kind of your thing?

    LA: I love fantasy, yeah. I mean, I love getting out of the real boring world and leaping into somebody’s imagination. That’s something out of this world! 

    NYFA: Why do you think stories are important?Lujein Ashi

    LA: I think they make people feel empathy for one another and understand each other on a level that maybe we don’t. In real life, there are a lot of issues that, when a film sheds light on them, could actually bring people closer together. You know, I think arts and filmmaking have the capacity to change people’s lives, to change societies and to open people up.

    Truthfully, it’s fundamental for our growth. It’s fundamental for us to connect and to see the point-of-view of other people. If I saw it from your perspective, which is what film lets you do, maybe I’ll be able to connect with you and understand you.

    The New York Film Academy wishes Lujein Ashi the best of success with her future endeavors, and hopes to see more of her amazing and beautiful stories in the near future!

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    December 5, 2018 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1005