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  • Military Veteran Student Lands Associate Producer Job at Imaginary Forces

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    Paquita Hughes, who completed the One-Year Filmmaking and Photography programs at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles, was recently hired at Imaginary Forces, a creative studio and production company that focuses on major film and TV productions.

    “I was one of 15 veterans selected to interview for 8 companies through the AICP (Association of Independent & Commercial Producers),” said Hughes. “We each had five minutes to pass our resume to the company representatives and give our 30 second commercial. I was the only veteran hired ON THE SPOT, in less than five minutes, as an Associate Producer for the company Imaginary Forces.”

    Founded in 1996, Imaginary Forces is a creative studio and full service production company specializing in creating and developing content for commercial advertising, digital and interactive platforms, feature films and film marketing, television, architectural spaces and global brands.

    Their body of award winning work includes the EMMY winning main titles for Mad Men, as well as the celebrated opening sequences for Boardwalk Empire, The Pacific and Nurse Jackie.

    The production company has created hundreds of main titles and content for films like Transformers, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, 500 Days Of Summer, Terminator Salvation, Seven, and Minority Report.

    In the commercial world, Imaginary Forces has directed and produced spots for Pepsi, Microsoft, Scion, Chrysler and Google through agencies like ATTIK, JWT, TBWA\Chiat\Day, and The Richards Group. They have also created brand identity for networks such as USA Network, Lifetime, Discovery and Hallmark Channel, and experience design for MoMA, Lincoln Center, The Oscars and Victoria’s Secret.

    Imaginary Forces is comprised of over 70 artists and creative professionals: directors, designers, writers, animators, editors, and producers. Their studios are located in both Los Angeles and New York City.

    Not only that, Paquita’s short film about sexual assault in the military (all female crew) titled Breaking The Silence, which she directed for the 48hr Film Contest last year, was selected for the GI Film Festival in Washington, DC!

    Big congrats to Paquita on her recent successes!

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    April 3, 2014 • Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5318

  • Marko Nabersnik’s Path to Success

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    Director Marko Nabersnik attended an 8-week Film Workshop at New York Film Academy in 1996. His first film, Rooster’s Breakfast, won numerous national awards and became the biggest box office hit of the year in his native Slovenia. The film won the CBS Critics Award at the Southeast European Film Festival in Los Angeles and was also the official entry from Slovenia for the Academy Awards. He recently completed his second feature film, Shanghai Gypsy, which premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Market.

    “My childhood dream was to be a filmmaker,” says Marko. “I read an article about NYFA in Cinema, the German film magazine. Two months later I flew to New York. This was [before] the internet, so the best way to get real information on the NYFA was to board a plane, cross the Atlantic, and go there to learn first-hand. After my first day, I knew already that NYFA was something special.”

    “Surrounded by the inspiration and atmosphere of New York City,” he continues, “You pick up direct knowledge of filmmaking from prominent professors and guests within the film industry. The study process was intense. There were students all over the world. In my class alone, I interacted with future filmmakers from Italy, Spain, Japan, Germany, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. We helped each other, explored the beauty of storytelling, and shared experiences about the unpredictability of shooting on original locations.”

    “When I came back to Slovenia from New York, I was determined that filmmaking would be my destiny. Whenever I found myself in the dilemma of choosing the next step for my filmmaking, I would remember a quote from Adam Stoner, our directing class professor: ‘Filmmaking is constant exploring and learning. Don’t forget the fun and passion which is hidden in that process and don’t get lost only because you have more questions than answers!’ Today I am a professional filmmaker and a professor. I teach at our national film academy, the Academy for Theater, Radio, Film and Television (AGRFT) in Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia. I still recall the time I spent at NYFA and the endless inspiration the Academy gave me. NYFA gives you knowledge and builds your self-confidence.”

    Marko at New York Film Academy in 1996

    Marko in 2012

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    June 13, 2012 • Filmmaking, International Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 4707

  • The Psychology of Learning Film

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    David Egozi was a college student visiting New York from his hometown of Miami, Florida. One weekend, he saw a magazine advertisement about a certain film school. As the son of a news broadcaster, David grew up surrounded by cameras and lighting. A chip off the block, as they say, since he visited the school and quickly transferred to the New York Film Academy. David’s transition from liberal arts to the technical training provided at NYFA seems to be a seamless one. The most important lesson he has learned here, however, is something beyond skill. “[Department Chair] Claude really pushes us. It’s persistence that matters. It’s commitment. Always giving 110% percent.”

    A remarkably thoughtful young man, David admitted to having difficulty structuring his thoughts. “My head’s always been cluttered. Filmmaking allows me to organize my ideas and my feelings and turn them into something tangible.” He pursued filmmaking after working on creating videos for bars and clubs who were trying to promote their parties. After beginning his studies, however, he understood that the making of art had more to do than marketing it to an audience. Studying narrative helped him to appreciate the internal process of thought and emotion.

    “We shot in Super 35mm. Not digital.” – Nicola Raggi

    Speaking to Nicola Raggi also reveals a filmmaking student who recounts a growing experience. Originally from Sienna University in Italy, Nicola felt his education wasn’t teaching him anything. After winning a Bernardo Bertolucci scholarship for the Cinematography program, he decided to take the plunge into New York City. “I learned more in one year [at NYFA] than I did in five years at Sienna,” he said. Learning both digital and film, Nicola feels his skillset is finally complete. Because of the hands-on nature of our curriculum, Nicola quickly realized “the harsh reality of filmmaking”. The hours of long and brutal. Tensions can run high. As he said, “You learn how to behave on set. Working with the cast and crew can be difficult without sleep or much food.”

    Nicola and David both learned to solve specific types of problems. They learned to adapt and improvise in response to unexpected situations. The ability to think creatively is highly desirable in today’s rapidly changing world. However, can we safely say that many of America’s classrooms focus on helping students develop as creative thinkers? Arts education teaches young people today to create and control. There is a fundamental difference between being consumers of the mainstream media and being producers able to share their creations in order to influence minds and shape how a society behaves. If the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement is any indication, today’s students are growing up in a socially connected world which is very different from previous generations. Modern times have increasingly deemed the exchange of information as pivotal to everyday life, however, educators now are recognizing that information is only useful when it is transformed into knowledge.

    What David learned from the technical knowledge and creative execution was the ability to develop his own ideas, test them, discover boundaries, experiment, receive input, and generate newer ideas based on the feedback he received. Students like Nicola learned to work under stress, collaboratively and creatively, for long periods of time. This is socio-emotional learning. There is evidence that social and emotional capacities are just as brain-based as mathematical and linguistic competencies. Education should have both pedagogic and systemic dimensions. It is statistically proven that the skill-set which socio-emotional education such as the arts can lead to higher standardized test scores. Schools should promote socio-emotional competencies because it is a holistic approach to comprehensively educating our young people. It provides the skill-set necessary to creatively address today’s problems. If anything, a creative curriculum empowers students to believe they’re equipped to do anything they truly believe in.

    After graduation, Nicola continued work as a cinematographer with his production company The Loading Lab. He is the Director of Photography for the commercial being produced by CenterLight Health System, which currently ranks among the nation’s leading resources for long term residential and community-based healthcare. This commercial, which is also directed by NYFA alumnus Dmytro Maliuga, will air in four different languages on local television stations. David is currently finishing up his studies and expressed confidence in his newfound ability. “My dad hired a film crew for his business recently. For casting, directing, editing… I was like, ‘Why?’ I can do it. All of it. I learned everything.”

    To learn more about our filmmaking programs, click here.

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    May 29, 2012 • Cinematography, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 11971

  • New York Film Academy Graduate Aubrey Plaza Working with Seth Rogen and Amy Poehler

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    Aubrey Plaza

    Actress Aubrey Plaza has hit it big since taking a New York Film Academy High School Hands-On Summer Workshop. In the past three months, Aubrey has been a featured guest (with hilarious interviews) on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Lopez Tonight with George Lopez. Her list of costars has grown to include Amy Poehler, Seth Rogen, Adam Sandler, Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, Jonah Hill, and Jason Schwartzman. Aubrey is currently filming Safety Not Guaranteed with Kristen Bell and has signed on to film The Hand Job with Christopher Mintz-Plasse (more commonly known as “McLovin” from Superbad) and Andy Samberg (of SNL favorite’s comedy troupe the Lonely Island).

    Aubrey Plaza stars on NBC’s Parks and Recreation with SNL star Amy Poehler 

    So what makes this NYFA graduate a star? Jarrett Wieselman of New York Post comments, “Aubrey isn’t a bubbly, gum-chewing 20-something who tacks a giggle on the end of her sentences and dots her I’s with hearts. She’s smart, dry and totally sarcastic…Aubrey is one of the most disarmingly hilarious people I’ve ever had the chance to interview.”

     

    Aubrey Plaza in Scott Pilgrim vs The World

    Aubrey Plaza stars as Julie Powers in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

    Aubrey stars as April Ludgate on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, recognized as one of the top ten TV shows in TIME, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and People Magazine. Her feature film career includes playing Seth Rogen’s love interest in Funny People and Julie Powers in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. This May, Aubrey beat actresses Christina Ricci, Ellen Page, Janeane Garofalo, Liz Lee, Zooey Deschanel, and Thora Birch in a MTV poll of who viewers would hope to be cast as Daria in a live action movie. So what comes next for Aubrey Plaza? Follow nyfa on twitter @nyfa for the latest updates.

     

     

     

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    June 3, 2011 • Acting • Views: 5661

  • Chord Overstreet: From New York Film Academy to Glee

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    Chord Overstreet is the new heartthrob of primetime TV.

    Sam Evans and Quinn Fabray

    Sam Evans (Chord Overstreet) and Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron) sing a duet on Glee

    Chord, who stars as Sam Evans on ABC’s Glee, has broken into the industry with his singing, dancing, and “trouty mouth” as Glee characters Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron) and Santana Lopez (NYFA Screenwriting alum Naya Rivera) vie for his heart.

    Photo of Chord Overstreet

    Chord Overstreet received his training in September 2008 at New York Film Academy’s Four Week Acting Workshop. He is now slated to star with Ashley Green (Twilight) in the soon to be released A Warrior’s Heart. Says Chord on his recent success and all the fans that come with Glee: “I just don’t know what to expect, you know? It’s going to be fun though.”

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    April 4, 2011 • Acting • Views: 5036