nyfa hour

  • NYFA Instructor Heather Mathews Visits Popcorn Talk’s NYFA Hour


    NYFA_Thumbnail_2017_07_06On Thursday, July 6, New York Film Academy Instructor and Documentarian Heather Mathews sat in the hot seat on Popcorn Talk’s NYFA Hour. She spoke about her latest project, “Forbidden: Undocumented and Queer in Rural America.” The film has been making waves since screening at Outfest last July. Since then, LOGO picked up the film for a special screening.

    Director Tiffany Rhynard had been filming for two years already. Rhynard met the film’s subject, Moises Serrano, by chance when collaborating with a friend, and instantly felt a connection.

    Serrano’s harrowing story as an undocumented immigrant was one that needed to be shared with the rest of the world. The fact that Serrano was also queer and DOMA was still in effect helped bring an eye to the intersectionality many undocumented people have to face daily.

    When Mathews heard about Serrano, she instantly knew she wanted to be a part of telling his story and signed on to edit the project. Her first task was to try and figure out the best format to tell the story, but the decision to do a feature or a television show wasn’t clear immediately.”We didn’t know what it would be until I was deep into watching footage,” Mathews explained, “About two months, when I realized it would make a feature.” 

    “We picture-locked just in time for Outfest,” Mathews began. “Right before Tiffany arrived I had lunch with David Michael Barrett, a really good queer filmmaker. We were trying to remain positive and stay out of the [political] fray, but he sat me down and had a real heart-to-heart with me.”

    Mathews pitched an idea to Rhynard and the powerful intro to the film, of a recent anti-immigration, rally was born.

    To watch the NYFA Hour tune into Popcorn Talk on YouTube every Thursday at 4 p.m. PST. You can catch up on previous episodes with amazing guests like film critic Peter Rainer, who discussed the legacy of Marlon Brando. Catch “Forbidden: Undocumented and Queer in Rural America” on LOGO, August 3, 9 p.m. EST/PST.  


  • NYFA Alumnus Todd Lien Talks “You Have More Friends Than You Know” on NYFA Hour


    On Thursday, June 13, New York Film Academy alumnus Todd Lien appeared on the NYFA Hour for a special Pride month interview. The Popcorn Talk Network was proud to host the filmmaker, who in the past year has worked as a composer, writer, director, and actor.

    Lien’s latest project is a music video for Jeff Marx song “You Have More Friends Than You Know.” The song has been performed on Ryan Murphy’s Fox hit “Glee” and was created for the It Gets Better Organization.

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    When Lien first heard the song he was reminded of a good friend who lost his battle to depression. His friend was openly gay and married, but his family didn’t support him. He took his life. Lien wanted to re-write the story even it was just fictional. “What would have happened if I had reached out?” Lien asked.

    So, he announced his intentions to create a music video on Kickstarter. Marx caught wind of the campaign and donated the majority of the money to get the project made.

    Lien then took the original score and arranged it for members of the NYFA – LA Glee Club. Each voice was recorded individually and then mixed together. Lien also acted in the video, asking a fellow NYFA graduate to direct the video.

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    The music video for “You Have More Friends Than You Know” can be viewed here. To watch Todd Lien’s entire interview on Popcorn Talk’s NYFA Hour click here.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Lien for sharing his powerful story and his incredible work.


    June 20, 2017 • Academic Programs, Diversity, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2972

  • The New York Film Academy Hosts Weekly Podcast on “Popcorn Talk”


    In a world of podcasting and videocasts, it was only a matter of time until the New York Film Academy got on board with its own insightful and thought provoking show, “New York Film Academy Hour,” which deals with all things filmmaking, acting, entertainment and more!

    The weekly podcast, hosted by Joelle Smith and Pegah Rad, is hosted by Popcorn Talk and welcomes industry professionals from all areas of the entertainment business. Guests have included British Cinematography Rock God Tony Richmond, who has worked with legendary artists like The Rolling Stones and David Bowie, and NYFA alumnus Michael Gallagher, who has made hundreds of shorts, started the YouTube channel TotallySketch, directed the television mini-series “Interns,” “How to Survive High School” and “The Station.” He’s also produced three films: “Smiley,” “The Thinning,” and “Internet Famous.”

    We talked to hosts Joelle Smith and Pegah Rad about NYFA Hour and more. See below!

    How did the idea for NYFA Hour first come about, and how did you get the ball rolling?

    JS: We saw an opportunity to bring the master filmmakers from NYFA to the vast audience of Popcorn Talk. Together they could help inspire the next generation of creators through YouTube. Thus the NYFA Hour was born.

    How did Popcorn Talk become the host of NYFA Hour?

    PR: Since Popcorn Talk is a network with an already large audience of television and movie lovers, it only seemed fitting to host the show on this network.

    Which movie stands out for you as the main reason you’re so interested in “popcorn talk” and the movie business in general?

    JS: The movie that made me want to get into movies was “Gangs of New York.” At thirteen, Scorsese was one of my favorite directors. But this movie didn’t hit me like his others. I understood that movies were a process and that virtually anyone could make a movie; and there is probably an equal chance that it’ll be bad or good. If Scorsese can flop and come back better than ever, then I could at least try.

    PR: It’s hard to pinpoint what movie did this for me, but I guess you could say after I Christopher Nolan’s “Memento,” I fell in love with the psychological thriller genre.

    Do you both also work or aspire to work in any particular field of the industry?

    JS: I’m a comic book writer, television host, and film critique who does a lot of re-writes and reviews for up and coming artists. Right now I’m enjoying just being part of the conversation, but in the future I’d love to be a part of a writers room for an hour long drama. Writing as a team is so much better than writing alone.

    PR: I aspire to work as a journalist or host for entertainment news. Recently, I started thinking about getting into acting as well.

    Is there a moment or piece of advice from one of your guests that has stood out to the most thus far?

    JS: There’s been one piece of advice that remains the same no matter who is sitting in the guests chair and that is, “Keep moving forward.” It would appear that the best thing a creator can do is keep creating. Even if you don’t have money, even if you don’t have a crew — and especially when you’re not sure what you’re supposed to be doing — if you keep creating at least you have a product.

    PR: All of our guests so far have said that passion is the reason they keep on moving and staying in this industry. I think it’s important to stay passionate about your craft because that will keep you going for years.

    If you could have any guest in the business on an upcoming episode…who would it be and why?

    JS: I’d love to get Issa Rae on the show. “Insecure” is such a brave and impactful series. I’d love to discuss her process in moving from YouTube, to trying to launch a show on network, to finding a home on HBO. Shaq is also a NYFA alum, and I’m desperate to show the world his artistic side.

    PR: I’m with Joelle in wanting Issa Rae and Shaq in as guests. I’ve seen so many sides of Shaq, but I’d like to see his artistic and creative side as well.

    Which Oscar noms were your favorite this year? Who did you want to win?

    JS: If it were up to me “Moonlight would win every award and we’d all go home happy such a film exists. I’m also elated I’m Not Your Negro has resonated with audiences. It’s a powerful documentary that need to be seen.

    PR: “Moonlight” was hands down my favorite pick for this year and I’m so excited that they won! Also super excited that “The Salesman” from Iran won Best Foreign Film!

    Which guests are coming up down the road?

    JS: We’ve got a lot of really great guests coming up, but I’m most excited about Nunzio DeFilippes who is a prolific comic book writer and all around great human being. We’ve also got the head of Industry Lab, Kim Ogeltree, coming in to talk about all of the great projects being produced at the New York Film Academy.

    PR: And Lamont Magee is coming up soon!

    We’re looking forward to those podcasts and more! Be sure to check out NYFA Hour weekly on Popcorn Talk!


    March 3, 2017 • Community Highlights • Views: 3902