NYFA Filmmaking
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  • NYFA Filmmaking Alum Kai Kaldro’s Thesis Short “Dissolved Girl” Lands on Amazon Prime

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) is excited to announce that Dissolved Girl from NYFA alum Kai Kaldro is now available to stream on Amazon Prime. Kaldro describes the short film as a “sci-fi ‘cyberpunk’ manifesto set in New York City during an era of political and cultural war between man and machine.

    The 20 year old Brooklyn, New York native knew he wanted to make movies from a very young age and since graduating from the 1-Year Filmmaking Program at NYFA’s New York campus in September of 2020, he’s hit the ground running with two short films on the festival circuit. He’s also the editor/VFX artist on for the music video of indie pop-rock singer/songwriter Pam Steebler’s single Noise which is releasing later this summer.

    Kai Kaldro with fellow NYFA Alum & “Dissolved Girl” lead Alexandra Faye Sadeghian.

    Kaldro is heavily influenced by the “cyberpunk” sub-genre and strives to create work that has alluring atmospheres, compelling action and visual effects.

    “It’s become something of a prerequisite for science fiction stories to try and predict the future or be ahead of their time, often set in a distant year that we’ll all eventually reach. When that day comes along we utter our sardonic disillusionment that there are no flying cars and robots. Dissolved Girl is not intended to be ahead of its time, it’s intended to define its time, which is why it’s set in our current year of 2021 – but of course it’s a different 2021 with a different, yet similar history proceeding it.”

    Kaldro says he was able to use the skills he learned at NYFA to create elaborate lighting set ups with minimal resources and a strict budget. He is currently working on two feature length films including the feature-length version of Dissolved Girl.

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA Filmmaking alum Kai Kaldro on his success and invites everyone to check out Dissolved Girl on Amazon Prime.

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    June 16, 2021 • Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 994

  • NYFA Alum Priya Darshini Nominated at 2021 Grammy Awards For Best New Age Album

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    Music’s biggest night of the year will include NYFA Acting and Filmmaking alum Priya Darshini, who is nominated for Best New Age Album at the 63rd Annual Grammys for her debut album Periphery.

    Darshini studied 4-Week Acting for Film and 8-Week Filmmaking at NYFA’s New York campus. After her studies, she appeared in The Letters and went to Bollywood. She then decided to pursue her first love of music and began focusing on her recording career.

    Album cover for Priya Darshini’s “Periphery”

    “I craved to create original music,” she told the Indian Express. American musician Roy Wilfred Wooten even chose her for his famed Black Mozart Ensemble, which combined jazz with classical music, hip hop, and bluegrass. She also became the Artistic Director of Brooklyn Raga Massive and co-led Women’s Raga Massive. Darshini has been featured by Elle India and was recently named by Tatler Magazine Malaysia as one of “Six Asian Women Around The World Changing the Face of Music.”

    Her debut album Periphery is an East-West crossover that blends Darshini’s Indian classical training with influences of American folk and pop. The album was recorded in an abandoned church in Brooklyn, New York over 12 days. Darshini also worked with collaborators Nicholas Prout (Recording Engineer), Max ZT, Dave Eggar, Chuck Palmer, and Will Calhoun. 

    New York Film Academy is proud to see Priya Darshini be recognized for her outstanding achievement by The Recording Academy and wishes her the bust of luck. The 63rd Annual Grammys will be televised on Sunday, March 14 on CBS (8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT). 

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  • More Than a Career Move: Filmmaking as a Medium of Truth With NYFA Documentary Alum Jia Wertz

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    Canadian native Jia Wertz exited a 20-year career in the fashion corporate world to dive into the filmmaking industry. With a background in photography and a passion for social issues and bringing a voice to the voiceless, Wertz decided it was time to answer her calling – becoming a storyteller.

    “I didn’t want to simply work at a job that was focused on making profits for a corporation without doing any good in the world for other people,” shared Wertz. With the decision to make a career shift, Wertz remembers the moment it all changed for her. “ I was at Adnan Syed’s post-conviction hearing in Baltimore and Amy Berg’s team was there filming the HBO docuseries The Case Against Adnan Syed and a light bulb just went off.”

    NYDA alum Jia Wertz

    Wertz realized that filmmaking would be something that she could do to reach a large audience and impact social change by speaking on the conflict of the institutional correction systems and the wrongfully accused.

    “I have been passionate about wrongful convictions since I was in my twenties,” revealed Wertz. “My interest in this cause began when I read Rubin Carter’s book The Sixteenth Round, and I’d wondered ever since what I could do to help people who have been unjustly imprisoned. There is something about an innocent person being silenced that really shakes me to the core. After hearing Adnan Syed’s story on the Serial podcast, I was really motivated to do something.”

    And she did. Wertz took a 6-Week Documentary Filmmaking Workshop at NYFA and went on to direct the true-crime documentary Conviction, now available to watch on Amazon Prime Video. The documentary short follows the wrongfully convicted Jeffrey Deskovic of the rape and murder of a fellow classmate at the young age of sixteen and how he fought the justice system against all odds to prove his innocence. “The film tells his story, in his own words, and sheds light not only on the shortcomings of the justice system but the physical and emotional impacts that wrongful convictions have on the lives of innocent people,” revealed Wertz.

    “I was inspired to work on this documentary because I thought it would be an effective way to spread awareness about wrongful convictions, and also because Jeff’s story is so inspirational – it’s truly a testament to the human spirit. Jeff now has a non-profit organization that helps other people who are wrongfully convicted, and by sharing his story I am able to support his organization and the work he does.”

    With a crew of NYFA students and the encouragement of NYFA instructor Kuldeep Sah Gangola, Wertz worked on the documentary during her course. “From the very first day shooting the film while I was attending NYFA, it just felt right – like I was in the right place, doing exactly what I should be doing,” shared Wertz. 

    Behind the scenes of “Conviction”

    “Every part of the process has been a learning experience and extremely enjoyable – from filming with Jeff who is such a great interviewee, to the excitement (and surprise) of being officially selected at eleven film festivals, and now to have the film streaming on Amazon Prime. I would’ve never thought that we could’ve accomplished all of this in a short year after finishing the documentary program at NYFA.”

    The documentary is a testament to Wertz’s hard work and dedication on transitioning into her true calling – being a storyteller and advocate for the unheard. “My hope is that the film spreads awareness of a cause that I think often goes unnoticed. Unless it impacts you personally, you may not even think of wrongful convictions as a major issue in our country. A very conservative estimate is that about 2-5% of people incarcerated in the US are wrongfully imprisoned. At this rate, it could mean tens or even hundreds of thousands of people – the numbers are staggering.” 

    Jeffrey Deskovic and Jia Wertz (“Conviction”)

    People are beginning to take notice of Wertz’s Conviction. From the multiple festival laurels  Wertz has received to the Emmy Award-winning show The List, people are taking note of Jeffrey’s story and Wertz’s passion to bring his voice to the forefront  – and she isn’t done yet. The NYFA alum is currently in post-production of a feature-length version of Conviction and aims to finish and distribute the film this year.

    New York Film Academy celebrates Jia Wertz’s work for her applauded first film Conviction and looks forward to seeing what story Wertz will focus on next. Conviction is now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

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    March 4, 2021 • Diversity, Documentary Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1465

  • Actress Alaina Huffman Studies Filmmaking With New York Film Academy

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    Veteran actress and producer Alaina Huffman is no stranger to the film business and has appeared on some of your favorite shows and films over the past couple of decades. From Smallville and Painkiller Jane to Amber Alert and Netflix’s The Perfection, Huffman has a long list of film and TV credits that have allowed her to see the filmmaking process from both in front of and behind the camera.

    Huffman recently decided to take the time to expand her technical skills by taking one of NYFA’s Online Filmmaking Workshops, allowing her to take classes to study the filmmaking craft more in-depth.

    “I’ve had the desire to direct for some time,” Huffman shared. “I had a short I was set to direct last April but I had to postpone due to COVID. Between working and being a single mom of four, I never really felt I could fit school into my life. With all this downtime and watching my kids do homeschool, I felt it was the perfect opportunity to take classes.

    Photo courtesy of Alaina Huffman

    With a career spanning television fan-favorite titles to her indie film background, Huffman learned a lot during that time beyond being an actor, including what it takes to produce, direct, and work alongside the crew. “Once my career started to move into television, I was working with more established crews and actors. Every day on set is an education if you pay attention. You not only learn what to do, a lot of times you learn what not to do. Now 25 years into my career, I’m still learning along the way.”

    In addition to the teachable moments presented to Huffman on set, being in front of the camera over the years has brought her so much joy in collaboration. “I have a fondness for all the characters I’ve played, they are so special to me,” she revealed. “Being a part of a series is like being part of a family. There’s a closeness and special bonds that form. I have lifelong friends from my time on Stargate Universe, Smallville, Supernatural, and The 100. For me, I like when a character creates themselves. It’s almost effortless, they just come to me like it’s meant to be.”

    Photo courtesy of Alaina Huffman

    Like Huffman shared, even professionals who have been in the industry for years are constantly absorbing information and learning along the way, which is why coming to NYFA was another resource for Huffman to explore all the aspects of the filmmaking craft.

    “My advice to incoming students [at NYFA] would be to have fun! Ultimately filmmaking is a joy. Remember why you love movies and television and enjoy learning the tools to aid your creative process. It always amazes me that we all have access to the same equipment, the same information and yet we all come up with such diverse ideas. Enjoy learning from each other as much as the professors.”

    Alaina Huffman in “Stargate Universe” (Syfy)

    What’s next for Alaina Huffman? While we wait for her upcoming horror film Deep Focus, Huffman is slated to direct. “I’m shooting [a movie] next month called The Missing Twin and I’m super lucky in that in addition to playing the lead character, they’ve offered me the opportunity to direct the second unit. Once I finish that I’ll go on to direct my short film that got delayed.”

    New York Film Academy thanks Alaina Huffman for taking the time to share more about her thoughts on continuing her education at NYFA and looks forward to sharing more about her upcoming projects in the future.

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    March 2, 2021 • Entertainment News, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 856

  • NYFA Filmmaking Alum Alessandro Marcon Debuts Short Film “Anemone” at Italy’s Prestigious Trieste Science + Fiction Festival

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    Italian native Alessandro Marcon grew up in the small town of Conegliano, just one hour away from Venice, and had big dreams of becoming a film director. After attending Graphic Design school at ISSM San Marco, Marcon got his start in filmmaking, creating comedy sketches with his schoolmates. “I was in a boarding school (because I lived far away) where we were not allowed to go out. This way we had plenty of time to kill, so we thought ‘why not making some movies?’”

    NYFA alum Alessandro Marcon

    After Graphic Design school ended, Marcon decided to make his dreams come true and become a filmmaker, enrolling at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus in Burbank in a 1-Year Filmmaking Conservatory program.

    “Since then, it’s been a roller coaster ride,” revealed Marcon. “The experience made me see the world from a different perspective. Suddenly, a ton of challenges hit me all at once, making me change and mature into who I am today.” 

    Film poster for “Anemone”

    Marcon has gone on to work on films and music videos, with his latest project being a short film he directed, wrote, produced, edited, and shares a co-cinematographer credit on called Anemone. The 16-minute sci-fi short film was shot on the white peaks of the Dolomites, located in the Eastern Alps. “We worked during winter in places with over 10 feet of snow. It was cold and very difficult to shoot in these conditions,” revealed Marcon. “Some of us literally had blood coming out of our hands or suffered in the below-zero temperatures.”

    In the end, Marcon and his team managed to pull off their short film and are premiering it on October 31, 2020, at the prestigious Trieste Science + Fiction Festival, known for being an important festival in Italy for genre films in particular. “We couldn’t be happier to be there telling what an incredible journey has been,” shared Marcon.

    Alessandro Marcon behind the scenes filming in the Dolomites

    As for what the filmmaker has learned while living out his dream of directing, Marcon shares that it’s all about communication. “I was already good at a lot of technical aspects of filmmaking (not everything, and I’ve still learned a lot), but not really good at talking with people,” revealed Marcon. “I was closed in myself and this translated also on the narratives of my stories. I’m still learning a lot in this field, but if I didn’t come here [to NYFA], all of this would not have happened.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum, Alessandro Marcon, on the premiere of his new film Anemone and looks forward to what is next from the NYFA alum. 

    Anemone will premiere in the U.S. on November 12, 2020, at the Arpa Film Festival

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    October 29, 2020 • Film Festivals, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1303

  • NYFA Filmmaking Alum Issa Rae Hosts ‘Saturday Night Live’ in Show’s 46th Season

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    “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night…with your host, Issa Rae!” In the show’s third episode of the live sketch comedy’s 46th season, NYFA Filmmaking alum Issa Rae played the iconic role of celebrity host on Saturday Night Live, performing in the comedic sketches alongside the show’s main cast and introducing this week’s musical guest, Justin Bieber.

    NYFA alum Issa Rae performs her opening monologue on ‘SNL’ (Will Heath/NBC)

    With Rae as host, shared how important the hosting gig was to her and joked that if Insecure’s fourth season was her senior year of High School, then SNL felt like the prom and the live audience were her dates. Rae also joked, “If the show goes bad tonight, just blame it on me, Mary J. Blige,” a lighthearted jab at how Black people in Hollywood often get confused for other people who look nothing like them.

    Rae’s quirky comedy enlivened many sketches throughout the evening, but her top moments seemed to shine in sketches like “First Date Exes,” where her character keeps seeing her extremely off-putting exes while on a first date, and “Canadian News Show,” in which she played an anchor always on the lookout for Canadian rapper Drake in Toronto.

    Rae recently appeared in HBO’s original film Coastal Elites and is currently in pre-production on season 5 of her critically acclaimed, Emmy-nominated series Insecure.

    New York Film Academy is proud to watch NYFA alum Issa Rae shine on stage and looks forward to what’s next from the talented writer, director, producer, and actress.

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    October 18, 2020 • Entertainment News, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 813

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

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    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.

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    September 2, 2020 • Entertainment News, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1209

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

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    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:

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    August 31, 2020 • Acting, Entertainment News, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1324

  • NYFA Filmmaking Alum Silvia Susanna to Screen Short Film “Normality” at Nòt Film Fest

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    In a year where the word “normal” seems a distant memory, filmmaker and architect Silvia Susanna examines what the idea of normalcy means in her short film Normality. The short, 3-minute film is set to screen at this year’s Nòt Film Fest.

    Silvia Susanna works in the field of Architecture and Design as a project designer, assistant curator, and independent researcher in Italy and abroad. Her practice is focusing primarily on projects that are questioning established assumptions of the built environment. Her work has been part of important architecture and design exhibitions in Venice (La Biennale di Venezia, Architettura 2016), Ljubljana (BIO50, 2014), Vienna (VDW, 2018), Oslo (Triennale, 2019), Basel (DW, 2017) and Milan (Atelier Clerici, 2014).


    This year, Susanna took NYFA’s
    8-Week Filmmaking Workshop, which resulted in her short film Normality, an examination on the meaning of what it means to feel normal or what is considered normal. The film was shot in 8 hours, a couple of days before the New York lock-down when security measures were gradually transforming daily life.

    The film will be screening at this year’s Nòt Film Fest, an independent Italian film festival with an international flair, dedicated to innovation, inclusion, and gender equality. The festival will feature 118 films, from 35 countries, for a total of two thousand minutes of screenings.

    The jury is composed of international festival founders (Peter Baxter, Sandra Lipski, Vjosa Berisha, and Fatos Berisha), emerging talents of Italian cinema (NYFA alum Stefano Cipani, Luca Severi, Anna Pennella, and Mauro Russo), and established professionals in the fields of entertainment and communication (Lavinia Guglielman, Mario Fanizzi, Roberto Naccari, and Luca Scarcella).


    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA alum, Silvia Susanna, on her achievement and looks forward to seeing what comes next from the talented alum.

    Normality (2020)
    Director: Silvia Susanna
    Writer: Silvia Susanna
    Director of Photography: Silvia Susanna
    First Camera Assistant: Simone Montacci
    Second Camera Assistant: Gabriele Camilli
    Original Music: Giuseppe Canegiallo
    Subtitles: Sara Aoun, Katia Abi Gerges, Faye Yue
    Special Thanks: Thomas Barnes, Eleonora Amianto 

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  • NYFA Filmmaking Alum Antonio Campos To Release Film ‘The Devil All The Time’ on Netflix

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) is thrilled to announce that Filmmaking alum Antonio Campos will release his upcoming film, The Devil All The Time, on Netflix this September.

    Film poster for Antonio Campos’ upcoming film ‘The Devil All The Time’

    The film, co-written and directed by Campos, boasts a star-studded cast including Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland, Riley Keough, Sebastian Stan, Jason Clarke, Bill Skarsgård, and many more. The film follows young Arvin Russell (Holland) and his family as they encounter a backwards preacher (Pattinson) and the other seemingly tainted cast of characters in this drama-thriller.

    The initial trailer for the film was released in mid August and is already receiving a lot of buzz from excited Netflix subscribers and film critics across social media.

    Campos, who studied filmmaking at NYFA in the late 90’s, is a fully fledged executive producer, director and writer. Previously, Campos has directed the critically acclaimed filmed Christine, indie film After School, many episodes of The Sinner, for which he is also an executive producer, and served as a producer for Martha Marcy May Marlene.

    NYFA alum Antonio Campos

    Following the release of The Devil All The Time, Campos has been announced to direct The First Omen, as part of The Omen horror franchise, though the project is still in development.

    New York Film Academy would like to congratulate Filmmaking alum Antonio Campos on his upcoming film The Devil All The Time and encourages everyone to check out the film when it arrives on September 16, 2020 on Netflix.

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    August 25, 2020 • Entertainment News, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1479