nyfa alumni
Posts

  • 2020 Nordic International Film Festival Founded by NYFA Alumni Has Covid Safe Drive-In

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Now in its 6th year, the Nordic International Film Festival (NIFF) founded by New York Film Academy alumni Linnea Larsdotter and Johan Matton required some creative problem solving to pull of this year’s festival amid the COVID-19 global pandemic. The solution came in the form of a hybrid in-person and online experience where festival goers could attend drive-in screenings at The Brooklyn Army Terminal in New York City as well as view films online.

    NIFF has always fostered lofty goals, aiming to nurture a mutual connection between the Nordic region and the international film community while also placing gender-equality and environmental sustainability at the center of their mission. The 2020 festival donated 50% of all online ticket sales to organizations supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

    The 2020 edition of the Nordic International Film Festival was held at the The Brooklyn Army Terminal Drive-In in NYC.

    Linnea Larsdotter and Johan Matton spoke about the unique challenges of this year’s festival. “We are extremely pleased to be able to pull off a safe event this year both online and with a drive-in cinema, thanks to the help from A24 and Rooftop Films. It’s been a challenging year for many and we are so impressed that so many incredible filmmakers have submitted and showcased that art and films are more important now than ever.”

    New York Film Academy renewed its partenrship with NIFF for the second year in a row awarding a four week scholarship to one of NYFA’s online programs to this year’s Aurora Borealis winner. NYFA President Michael Young expressed his congratulations to NYFA alumni Johan Matton and Linnea Larsdotter. “I’d like to congratulate our alumni Johan and Linnea on putting together another wonderful festival and working so hard to make it safe and accessible to everyone,”

    “Index” by Nicolas Kolovos garnered the director the Aurora Borealis award at this year’s festival.NIFF’s Aurora Borealis category is dedicated to up-and-coming filmmakers and Nicolas Kolovos who wrote and directed Index was selected as this yer’s winner. The short film is filmed in a single shot and tells of a family preparing to flee to Europe by boat when their young son’s finger gets stuck in the trailer of the truck transporting them. As time for the boat’s departure nears, the family has a terrifying decision to make.

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA alumni Johan Matton and Linnea Larsdotter on this year’s successful edition of NIFF as well as Aurora Borealis winner Nicolas Kolovos.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    October 30, 2020 • Film Festivals, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 293

  • 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’

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    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:

    Facebook |Reddit |YouTube
    Twitch |Twitter |Instagram

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    October 5, 2020 • Game Design, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 684

  • NYFA Alum Francesca Scorsese Stars in HBO’s ‘We Are Who We Are’

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum Francesca Scorsese breaks out in her first-ever TV series as Britney in Luca Guadagnino’s new miniseries We Are Who We Are for HBO.

    We Are Who We Are marks Guadagnino’s first TV show after directing critically acclaimed films Call Me By Your Name and Suspiria. The series is a coming-of-age story set at an army base in Italy and follows the exhilaration and pitfalls of becoming a teenager. The series premiered on September 14, 2020 on HBO and also features Jack Dylan Grazer, Chloë Sevigny, Alice Braga, and Scott Mescudi (a.k.a Kid Cudi).

    NYFA Alum Francesca Scorsese in ‘We Are Who We Are’ (Photo Credit: HBO)

    Scorsese studied at NYFA’s New York City campus from 2012-2014 in NYFA’s Filmmaking Camps for Kids and TeensWe Are Who We Are is Scorsese’s first TV project, having also starred in Wolf at The Door and landing smaller roles in projects helmed by her father, famed director Martin Scorsese, which include: Boardwalk Empire, Hugo, and The Aviator.

    Scorsese in ‘We Are Who We Are’ (Photo Credit: Alessio Bolzoni/HBO)

    NYFA would like to congratulate alum Francesca Scorsese on her breakout role as Britney in the new miniseries We Are Who We Are, now appearing on HBO and streaming on HBO Max.

    Watch the full trailer for Luca Guadagnino’s We Are Who We Are below or click here.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    September 30, 2020 • Entertainment News, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights, Summer Camps • Views: 564

  • Hans Augustave Unveils New, Powerful Short Film ‘Before I Knew’

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    “This was before I felt the need to make up for my imposing stature and hue by developing an overly gentle and inviting persona.

    This was before George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Philando Castille, Trayvon Martin, Alton Sterling, Tamir Rice…”

    This is before I knew I was Black.”

    These statements and more are included in Hans Augustave’s latest short film Before I Knew, a visual poem that he wrote, directed, produced, and appeared in. 

    The Haitian-American filmmaker attended NYFA’s One Year Conservatory Program in Producing and then became a digital video producer for BLUR, a tech startup with an in-house production team. There, he directed, shot, and edited dozens of ads for the digital space. He then moved to the independent film world where he currently works as an Assistant Director. 

    Also a Dj (DJ Hanzi), Augustave’s storytelling journey has taken him from the art of spoken word, to the stage with his one-man show The Lost and Found and now to the screen with his latest project Before I Knew; a visual poem depicting the subtle and not so subtle ways Black men come to the realization that they are seen as less than human. 

    While working on the film, Augustave was introduced to sound mixer Edward Morris II, who worked on Before I Knew. After having started to mix the sound, Augustave found out that Morris’ cousin was Elijah McClain, a young Black man who was killed by the police and whose story broke to the media when Before I Knew was in post-production.

    Augustave is also co-producer on a documentary feature film The Forgotten Occupation  which examines the United States’ occupation of Haiti from 1915-1934 and the  negative impacts on Haiti’s current political climate. 

    As DJ Hanzi, Augustave founded the popular and growing sober-curious dance party, Reprieve. “It’s part Funk, part House, part Pride, very Black and ALL Love,” shared Augustave. “It’s defying the misconception that no booze & no drugs = no fun.” 

    New York Film Academy would like to congratulate Hans Augustave on his powerful short film Before I Knew and encourages readers to watch and have their own discussions about the short film. 

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    September 18, 2020 • Diversity, Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 513

  • NYFA Filmmaking Alum & Vice President of Original Films at Netflix, Tendo Nagenda, Featured in ‘The Hollywood Reporter’

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum Tendo Nagenda recently spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about what viewers can expect from Netflix originals in the age of COVID-19, showing that the streaming service giant is not slowing down and ready to provide viewers with more content in the next couple of years.

    Nagenda, who studied Filmmaking at NYFA in 1999, went on to become the VP of Production at Walt Disney Studios, where he was involved with titles like Queen of Katwe, A Wrinkle in Time, and Dumbo, among others, until he was nabbed by Netflix in 2018 to be the new VP Original Films. In Nagenda’s new role, he explained to The Hollywood Reporter that Spike Lee’s critically acclaimed film Da 5 Bloods was the first film he gave the greenlight to at Netflix, followed by Spenser Confidential with Mark Wahlberg, and fan favorite The Old Guard starring Charlize Theron.

    Tendo Nagenda for ‘The Hollywood Reporter’ (Photo Credit: Phylicia J. L. Munn)

    In his conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Nagenda shared that right now, with the pandemic in mind, “there are still going to be plenty of movies that people will want to see in the theater. I just think that there is also going to be an awareness that there is a super-high-quality film available that might or might not be in theaters.”

    Enter Netflix. The streaming platform has seen tremendous growth since the pandemic hit, accumulating 10 million subscribers in the streaming service’s second quarter, growing the global user base to 193 million. Ultimately, restrictions and safety have caused more people to turn to streaming services in general to consume all the media they want.

    As a company, Nagenda revealed that Netflix has shown no signs of slowing down due to the pandemic. “We have a lot of runway, definitely through 2020 and part of 2021,” he shared. “We want to get to work and back into production just like everybody else, and we want to get through this year. We’re still in pretty good shape.”

    (L-R) Lena Waithe, Tendo Nagenda, Ava DuVernay, and David-Oyelowo (Photo Credit: Trendy Africa)

    As for what’s next from the popular streaming platform, it is still in high competition with heavy-hitter Hollywood studios that have their own intellectual properties (IPs) and catalogue of directors to choose from. “We have to concentrate our efforts on finding people of that talent level that we can work with as early as possible and then get them to make movies only for Netflix,” explained Nagenda.

    Still from Nagenda’s first film with Netflix – ‘Da 5 Bloods’ (Courtesy of Netflix

    “We’re looking at big, broad-audience, PG-level adventure films as something that we want to get into. Something along the lines of the first Star Wars, or Harry Potter 1 and 2. A lot of family live action, fantasy, spectacle movies that we think are big and can play great.”

    New York Film Academy would like to congratulate the NYFA alum and Netflix executive on his recent feature in The Hollywood Reporter and looks forward to seeing upcoming original titles like The Gray Man (Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans) spearheaded by one of NYFA’s very own.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    September 15, 2020 • Entertainment News, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 516

  • Assembly Line Entertainment Founder & NYFA Producing Alum Janek Ambros Shares Exciting Slate of Upcoming Projects and Collaborations with Fellow Producing Alum Robbie Leacock

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    After graduation, it’s straight to set for many alumni; but for others, it means a new era of innovation injected into the film industry by bringing in new, incredible stories to new audiences. MFA Producing alum Janek Ambros decided to do just that by starting up his own international production company, Assembly Line Entertainment, which has already had films appear in festivals all over the world including Sundance and Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

    “When I first arrived in Los Angeles, I took a production company course at NYFA,” recalled Ambros. “It was in that class where I created the company logo, and the type of company I’d want (heavily inspired by American Zoetrope). Seven years later, we’re on a very similar path that was outlined in class – starting with shorts and moving on to high-end festivals like Sundance and TIFF, with more development focused on projects we make from the ground up. It’s testament to NYFA’s goal of learning by doing.”

    Janek Ambros (Right) at TIFF for Assembly Line Pictures’ ‘Human Capital’

    Assembly Line Entertainment already boasts an impressive filmography, including 10,000 Saints (Ethan Hawke, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld), Human Capital (Maya Hawke, Marisa Tomei, Liev Schreiber, Alex Wolff), and documentary Imminent Threat (Dir. Janek Ambros), among others. 

    “We’re excited to be working on a new large slate of movies going into 2021 that we’re producing with our new Head of Production, Kahlilah King,” shared Ambros. “From traditional narratives to social impact docu-series, we [Assembly Line Entertainment] have many projects that are adapting to the ever-changing landscape of distribution.”

    Alex Wolff (Left) and Maya Hawke (Right) in ‘Human Capital’ (Photo Courtesy of Assembly Line Entertainment)

    Some of those upcoming projects slated for release include Mondo Hollywoodland (Dir. Janek Ambros), animated political satire First New Nation, an untitled birthing docu-series (Written by Khaliah King), and Sixties, a digital campaign on social media that features 60-second films from countries all over the world to highlight new developing directors.

    Another upcoming project is feature film Hey, Johnny, directed by Ambros and produced by fellow NYFA Producing alum Robbie Leacock, who previously also produced Imminent Threat, serves as the executive producer the Sixties project, and is writing and producing upcoming mockumentary series The Flat Tyres for Assembly Line Entertainment. 

    Robbie Leacock (Left) on set of ‘The Flat Tyres’ (Photo Courtesy of Assembly Line Entertainment)

    After graduating from NYFA, Leacock started at Potboiler Productions as a producer’s assistant before moving up to assistant producer. He later served as an associate producer on Netflix’s The Red Sea Diving Resort before returning to the U.S. to join producing partner Janek Ambros at Assembly Line Entertainment. “We were always told that the relationships you build at film school are the ones that will last throughout your career, and this proved to be so true,” revealed Leacock. “We now have our first TV series in the works (The Flat Tyres), a satirical comedy about a gang of hijackers from the townships, for which we are currently shooting on location in Cape Town, South Africa.”

    With a slate of upcoming projects and new opportunities for Ambros’ production company, 2021 is set to be the biggest year yet for Assembly Line Entertainment and the NYFA alumni, who are working to create character-driven projects for audiences that reflect modern society.

    Assembly Line Pictures Founder Janek Ambros

    New York Film Academy would like to congratulate NYFA Alumni Janek Ambros and Robbie Leacock on their upcoming projects with Assembly Line Entertainment and looks forward to hearing about new projects as they develop. 

    NYFA also encourages readers to check out Assembly Line Entertainment’s Instagram account, where their project Sixties will officially be launched. For a full list of the company’s productions, click here.

    Assembly Line Entertainment
    Founder: Janek Ambros
    Producer: Robbie Leacock

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail
  • Broadcast Journalism Update – Back to School Edition (September 2020)

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Things usually slow down over the course of the Summer. But that wasn’t the case for the NYFA Broadcast Journalism department, or many of our graduates.

    Starting in late July, Evgenia Vlasova and myself co-taught NYFA’s first Moscow Journalism Summer School (JSS). Thanks to support from the U.S. State Department, we were able to offer an intensive three-week course-of-study to early career Russian journalists along with a number of current university students.
    It was a real challenge, seeing as we had to conduct the entire workshop online with participants spread out over seven time zones. While classes started for Genia and me at 7:00 AM in New York, it was 2:00 PM for students in Moscow and 6:00 PM in Siberia. (The Siberian students regularly finished classwork after midnight!)

    The stories the workshop participants created were nothing short of spectacular, covering a wide range contemporary topics. And no two were the same. Everyone approached their topic with their own personal style.
    NYFA alum George Colli, who many of you know from the NYFA website, lent his experience and perspective as well. He spoke from the point of view of someone who knows what it takes to create compelling TV news stories under tight deadlines. (And now he has a beard! A look many of you reading this know I always find fashionable…)
    Other grads graciously agreed to “drop in” on our Zoom sessions as guest speakers. Among them was Karen Hua, who “called in” while covering an out-of-control wildfire in Southern California for KGET in Bakersfield.

    Starla Sampaco is a news anchor at KCTS, the PBS station in Seattle as well as an entrepreneur building her own digital platform.

    And Gillian Kemmerer, who has firsthand experience working in Russia covering sports, business, and the business of sports.
    Other NYFA Broadcast Journalism grads have been busy too. Isabella Faria is now a reporter at CNN Brasil. She came to New York to learn to shoot and edit, used those skills to get a job in the video department of Brazil’s largest newspaper, was hired by CNN as a producer, then  promoted to an on-air position. She wrote to me: “You know I can’t thank NYFA enough for all the incredible classes. They sure helped me to get where I am now 😊
    Congratulations, Isabella!
    And speaking of Brazil (OK… BrasilLivia Fernanda got a challenging assignment back in August. She had to explain the U.S. Presidential Election — in particular, “political conventions” — to her viewers.
    On a far more serious note, Celina Liv Danielsen covered the violent reaction to the recent shooting of an African-American man multiple times by a white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin for TV2 in Denmark.

    Georgia Hammond is working on a series of video essays about the people of Strathbogie Shire, in the Australian state of Victoria, and their efforts to combat the loneliness and isolation that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Finally, Turkish alum Esra Ozturk is an example of how, after you study how to make TV news, you might find yourself in a job in which you are interviewed on TV news. In this case, on TRT World, the global English-language service of Turkish Radio and Television.
    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    September 9, 2020 • Acting • Views: 412

  • NYFA AFA Filmmaking Alum Nick Venuti Screens Film ‘Buffalo Scientists’ at Dances With Films Festival

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    In a classic case of “write what you know,” recent alum Nick Venuti, from the Fall 2018 AFA Filmmaking class, drew from his past when developing ideas for his thesis film, Buffalo Scientists. “Thinking about what it would be like if two of my childhood friends attempted some big crazy thing and picturing how it would play out” was his inspiration. “They always had big imaginations and typically don’t think things through,” Venuti said, ”so I thought it would make an entertaining movie. From there, I just started thinking, how could I turn it up a notch? What if the clerk (main character) was our favorite high school math teacher, Mr. Hughes?” 

    The result is Buffalo Scientists, a quirky dark comedy, that had its world premiere at the Dances with Films festival in Los Angeles on August 28, 2020.  Director of NYFA’s Film Festival Department, Crickett Rumley, caught up with Nick to talk about the film right after his first screening and before his second with the well-known indie festival. 

    Crickett Rumley (CR): Congratulations on getting into Dances With Films!  Tell us a little bit more about your film. 

    Nick Venuti (NV): Buffalo Scientists is a comedy about an ex-history teacher named Bill Peterson. Bill works at a convenience store in Sacramento run by his egotistical manager, Carl. After Carl leaves for the night, 2 masked men, Jeremy and Alan, enter to rob the store. During the robbery they recognize Bill as their former high school history teacher. After reminiscing about the past, Bill decides to join the boys on an adventure into the night.  

    CR: And what a bizarre adventure it is.  It must have been so much fun to direct.  What was your favorite thing about directing it?

    NV: It was the first film that I felt like I was really the director. I had such an amazing team with me on set that for the first time ever I didn’t feel like I had to micromanage every aspect of production. I could focus solely on directing. I got to spend so much more time with the actors than I ever have. I love doing almost everything on set, but it was so cool to experience being just the director for once. 

    Film poster for ‘Buffalo Scientists’

    CR: Did you experience any challenges in making the film? 

    NV: I think the most challenging part for me, and for a lot of people is the final 5% of post-production; when the energy and excitement of being on set and seeing the first cut is over. It is hard to work in that final stretch where you have already seen the film 50+ times and you still need to watch it two or three times a day just to clean up all the small glitches and hiccups. You start to fall out of love with the film a little bit after seeing it so many times. After crossing the finish line, all the fun comes back with festivals and showing people for the first time, but the hardest part is definitely locking the film. 

    CR: I agree. I think all artists get tired of their work at some point, and that’s when you have to dig in even deeper.  What was your biggest takeaway from making the film? 

    NV: I learned how awesome it is to have a producer helping. I could not have done it to this scale if I didn’t have my producer (and NYFA Alumni) Andrew Reyna. I handled all the paperwork and logistics for my previous films, so I didn’t realize how much a great producer frees you up to focus on the creative aspects until this project. 

    CR: Let’s back up a little. How and when did you decide to go into film?  

    NV: I am from Binghamton, a city in upstate New York. I started looking into film when I had a stop motion project in high school. I loved directing and writing the project so much that I took some film courses at my local community college. My teacher saw I was really passionate about the subject, so he recruited me to drive down to the Everglades to work on a project for the school. I had to live in a tent for two weeks as we had to shoot a documentary for a local news station. At this point I still barely knew how to turn on a camera, but I loved every second of it. When I got back, I started looking for film schools. I knew I wanted to try and make a career in film, so I began looking for a school that could help me do just that. I discovered the New York Film Academy, went to New York to check it out and knew it was the place for me. I went to the New York City campus for the first year and liked it so much I decided to do my second year at the LA campus. 

    CR: Do you think your education at NYFA and the work you did here prepared you for a career in filmmaking? 

    NV: I think NYFA does an amazing job at throwing you straight into the deep end and just having you try to see what you can do. I believe just two months in we already had four films under our belts. This made it so easy to experiment and try things that I would never have done otherwise. We just constantly had to make new films and got to see what worked and what didn’t. It was tough making a new film every week but it was essential in helping me to build my own style and voice. 

    Nick Venuti on set with actors

    CR: Do you have any special shout-outs to faculty or staff who helped or inspired you? 

    NV: There were so many teachers that helped and inspired me: Lea Brandenburg, Ben Cohen, Brad Sample, Joe Burke, Crickett Rumley, and Richard D’Angelo all impacted me more than they could ever know. There are many more but those in particular stood out. 

    CR: Thanks for the shout-out!  Much appreciated.  So, this is your first film festival with Buffalo Scientists, and Dances with Films is such a great place to get started.  What has it been like to work with them? 

    NV: Dances with Films has been absolutely amazing. The festival has to be online this year due to COVID-19, but they are working as hard as they can to get it as close to the real thing as possible. They have virtual lounges and panels, and everything is live. It all helps it to still feel special even though we can’t experience being in Los Angeles and in the theater. Dances with Films has gone above and beyond with this as an online festival. 

    CR: What were you looking forward to about your screening? 

    NV: Before the virus, I was really looking forward to finally sharing the film with everyone in The Chinese Theater on the big screen and getting to meet the other amazing filmmakers in our block. Unfortunately, the whole festival went online, so that dampened the excitement a little, but it still was a pretty cool feeling knowing that lots of people from all over the world were watching. 

    CR: You moved back to New York after finishing your degree at the LA campus. What are you up to these days? 

    NV: I’ve been keeping busy since getting out of school. I have directed a few local commercials, was DP for a feature film in January, shot a couple music videos for local artists, and I have been getting consistent editing work on the side. Currently, SUNY Broome hired me to direct and shoot virtual field trips for the college and I have been working on scripts for future projects. I am also waiting to see how Buffalo Scientists does in festivals and if there is any interest in a feature version of the film. 

    CR: Back to Dances With Films, when is your next screening and where can we get tickets? 

    NV: We have another screening on Saturday September 5 at 11:15 pm PDT. You can get tickets for the Midnight Shorts block here.

    CR: Is there anything else we should know about the screening? 

    NV: Although our film is a comedy, I want to mention that we are placed in the comedy/horror section of the festival, so some of the films in our shorts block can be very dark and violent. 

    CR: Definitely one for the late night crowd!  Congratulations again, Nick.  Enjoy that next screening.

     Nick Venuti’s film, Buffalo Scientists, will screen a second time on Saturday, September 5, 2020 at 11:15 p.m. PT. For tickets and more information, click here.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    September 3, 2020 • Film Festivals, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 668

  • NYFA Filmmaking Alum Issa Rae Stars in HBO Comedy Film ‘Coastal Elites’

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking alum Issa Rae is set to star in the upcoming COVID-19 era comedy film Coastal Elites, slated to air on September 12, 2020 on HBO and HBO Max.

    In 2020, Rae has already starred in The Lovebirds, The Photograph, and her own HBO show, Insecure, which was nominated for seven Primetime Emmy Awards. It was also recently announced that Rae will work with Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions on new film Sinkhole; a film about female identity and themes of perfection, which just Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions for

    The Filmmaking alum’s latest project, Coastal Elites, is a satire film that follows the lives of five individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as they navigated their new reality. In addition to Rae, the star-studded cast includes Bette Midler, Dan Levy, Sarah Paulson, and Kaitlyn Dever.

    NYFA alum Issa Rae as Callie Josephson in HBO’s ‘Coastal Elites’

    In Coastal Elites, plays well-connected philanthropist Callie Josephson, who runs in the same circles as Ivanka Trump. When asked about her upcoming role, Rae explained that it took a lot of research to get into her role but the script was “just incredible to read and immediately resonated” with the NYFA alum.

    The series is set to premiere on HBO and HBO Max on September 12, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

    New York Film Academy looks forward to seeing talented alum Issa Rae in her upcoming role in Coastal Elites as well as hearing more about filmmaking alum’s upcoming project, Sinkhole.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    September 2, 2020 • Entertainment News, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 672

  • New York Film Academy Filmmaking Alum Paul Dano Stars as The Riddler in Matt Reeves’ Upcoming Film ‘The Batman’

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    The Caped Crusader returns in a new adaption from the Cloverfield and Dawn of The Planet of The Apes director, Matt Reeves. The film will feature a star-studded cast including: Robert Pattinson (Batman), Zoë Kravitz (Catwoman), Colin Farrell (The Penguin), and NYFA Filmmaking alum Paul Dano in his most anticipated and career-bending role yet as The Riddler.

    NYFA Filmmaking alum Paul Dano as The Riddler

    While fans of the franchise have already had a preview of Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne/Batman for many months now, the recent DC FanDome event premiered a teaser trailer for the upcoming film giving fans their first glimpse at Catwoman, Commissioner Gordon, The Penguin, and The Riddler.

    Fans are already excited for the film, with the trailer revealing the dark and unhinged world of Gotham and villains like Dano’s Riddler having a huge hand in the chaos as Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne tries to find his footing as the masked vigilante.

    A note for Batman from Paul Dano’s character The Riddler

    When asked about Dano’s character, Reeves had this to share: “Paul Dano plays a version of The Riddler that no one has ever seen before. What he’s doing is, I think, going to blow people’s minds.” Dano’s performance is already being applauded by fans from the trailer alone, with many taking to social media to share their excitement for his upcoming performance, which has similar undertones to the late Heath Ledger’s Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.

    Daniel Day Lewis (Left) and Paul Dano (Right) in ‘There Will Be Blood’

    In addition to The Batman, Dano has already had an impressive acting career at 36 years old. Dano won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Debut Performance for L.I.E. and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a cast in a Motion Picture for his role as Dwayne in Little Miss Sunshine; he was also nominated for a BAFTA Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for There Will Be Blood. His other notable credits include Prisoners, Swiss Army Man, The Emperor’s Club, and The Girl Next Door, among many others. He also made his directorial debut with Wildlife in 2018, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan.

    The Batman is expected to be released October 21, 2021 and will also feature NYFA Acting for Film Conservatory alum Alfredo Tavares, who is announced to be playing the role of a forensic expert.

    Watch the full teaser trailer for The Batman below:

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    August 31, 2020 • Acting, Entertainment News, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 792