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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Offers Support for the 10th Annual AAFCA Awards

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    On February 6, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) provided volunteers and a crew to film the 10th Annual AAFCA Awards at the Taglyan Center Complex in Hollywood.

    The African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) is a group of African-American film critics and was founded in 2003 by Gil L. Robertson IV and Shawn Edwards. The AAFCA body consists of a geographically diverse range of journalists who cover all genres of film and represent television, radio broadcast, digital media, and print. Each year it presents a variety of awards in addition to its Top Ten Films of the Year list.

    AAFCA Awards 2019

    “I have attended this celebration for many years and the AAFCA continues to excel far beyond the boundaries of mainstream television and film,” states Kimberly Ogletree, Chair of NYFA Industry Lab and Consulting Producer for the awards. “The recognitions they give to the underrepresented voice will be a testament to the longevity of this organization.”

    The Marvel blockbuster and cultural phenomenon Black Panther, directed by Ryan Coogler, was named by the AAFCA as Best Film of the Year, as well as being awarded Best Director (Coogler) and Best Song (“All The Stars”).

    Additional awards include Best Actor for John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman), Best Actress for Regina Hall (Support the Girls), Best Animated Film for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and Best TV Comedy for Insecure, the HBO series developed by and starring New York Film Academy alum Issa Rae.

    The AAFCA has also announced its annual Top Ten List of best films:

    1 Black Panther (Walt Disney Studios)
    2 If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna Pictures)
    3 The Hate U Give (20th Century Fox)
    4 A Star is Born (Warner Bros. Studios)
    5 Quincy (Netflix)
    6 Roma (Netflix)
    7 Blindspotting (Lionsgate)
    8 The Favourite (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
    9 Sorry to Bother You (Annapurna Pictures)
    10 Widows (20th Century Fox)

    “It’s been a breakthrough year in cinema on a number of fronts,” says AAFCA co-president Gil Robertson. “Most significantly, the tremendous success of Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians clearly demonstrates that films populated by people of color can perform well overseas.

    The New York Film Academy provided filming assistance and volunteers for the ceremony through its Industry Lab. The NYFA Industry Lab, founded in 2014, offers students real world experience through working on major productions for professional clients. A recent success of the NYFA Industry Lab was the internationally acclaimed short film, The Counter: 1960, which had seven Industry Lab members contribute to its production.

    Later this month, the AAFCA and NYFA Industry Lab will partner together to present a special discussion exploring the present, past, and future of Black creative excellence in Hollywood through the AAFCA’s inaugural learning lab, Celebrating Black Excellence in Cinema. The event promises to inspire fruitful dialogue and creative exchange and will feature Alana Mayo (Outlier Society). 

    “The collaboration of AAFCA with NYFA will forge a path for students and alumni to take advantage of the multitude of opportunities that AAFCA can bring to NYFA,” adds NYFA Industry Lab Chair Kimberly Ogletree. “By aligning ourselves with a proven organization such as AAFCA, we can benefit from their expertise and knowledge of servicing the community and the entertainment industry.”

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    February 12, 2019 • Industry Lab, Progressive & Social Causes • Views: 880

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Industry Lab Scores a Hit With ‘The Counter: 1960’

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    The New York Film Academy’s Industry Lab and African American Black Film Society (ABA) kicked off the first official screening of internationally acclaimed short film, The Counter: 1960. Seven Industry Lab members contributed to the making of the film, and were invited along with cast and crew to the screening. 

    The Counter: 1960 gives the account of three “woke” students from 2017 that find themselves seated at a lunch counter in 1960. Will they be served?  

    On February 1, 1960, four young educated African American men attending North Carolina A&T decided to make their mark in history. On that cold blistery day, the A&T Four — which they would soon to be named — walked to the local Woolworth lunch counter and sat down to be served. Keep in mind African Americans were able to shop in Woolworth’s but not eat there. This non-violent protest known as a “sit-in” became a common demonstration as a way to abolish segregation in eating establishments across the rural south.

    The Q&A was moderated by Chair of the Industry Lab and producer Kimberly Ogletree and ABA President Furaha Bayibsa; panelist and director Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd shared stories about the making of the film; actress/producer Ashley Jackson, daughter of civil rights activist Reverend Jessie Jackson offered advice regarding producing and acting; editor and NYFA Editing instructor Leander Sales crafted the creative techniques used in the editing process that assisted in delivering a strong well-rounded message; and actor Charles Malik Whitfield shared stories about the making of the film.

    The film has been an Official Selection in numerous film festivals, including the Jaipur International Film Festival. The US Premiere was held during the Pan African Film Festival.  Lights and cameras flashed as the producers, director, and cast walked the red carpet and spoke with media promoting the film. Producer Kimberly Ogletree said, “I’ve always supported this festival and by this being my 3rd film in PAFF this is a great night. Just being surrounded by filmmakers from the black diaspora is a humbling experience. It’s important in our history that we as African Americans control and document the true narrative of our stories for the generations to come.”

    The Bentonville Film Festival was the next stop on the festival circuit. The screening was well attended and the audience became emotional during the screening. The film was in competition with other amazing short films. Although we didn’t bring back a win, the film was part of the top five shorts in the festival. Since then, the filmmakers have been asked to submit The Counter: 1960 into the Bentonville Film Festival archives, which is paramount for the film and the New York Film Academy Industry Lab.

    The Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival awarded Best Actorin a Short Film toBuddy Lewisfor the role ofJoseph and NYC Indie Awards winner. The Counter: 1960 also won the Gold Award in the LA Shorts Awards. 

    The Official Selections continued with Garifuna Film Festival in Los Angeles and the British Urban Film Festival in London. The night was filled with British filmmakers and celebrities. The winners will be announced later in the year and will be celebrated in June 2019. 

    However, it wasn’t until the Diversity in Cannes Film Showcase that the film won for Best Cinematography and the Audience Award.  The film was placed in the Women In Formation category, which focused on strong social and political messages from a female perspective. Out of 260 official selections from 25 countries with an acceptance rate of 10%, The Counter: 1960 became an Official Selection in the 2018 showcase. Yolonda Brinkley, Creator of the Short Film Showcase, commented, “I’ve created a needed platform for underrepresented filmmakers from diverse backgrounds to showcase their stories that would normally not be seen at the Festival de Cannes.”

    As quoted from the Entertainment Sun news article “JuVee Productions’ Julius Tennon And Viola Davis Support Independent Filmmaker Initiative Promoting Diversity And Inclusion At 71st Festival de Cannes”, AJUUA Entertainment and Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis and husband Julius Tennon, President, Development and Production stated: “For the last eight years, Yolonda has been focused on shining a light on films about people of color. The curtain has been lifted, and a fresh conversation can now be had about how inclusive and diverse films travel.  A global audience awaits and is ready to be served.”

    In April 2018, director Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd won Best First Time Director in the Top Shorts Online Film Festival. It felt amazing, freeing. It felt like someone else sees what’s been burning inside me for years.  My fears were unfounded and I’m thankful I took the leap,” commented Tracy.

    Additional accolades mount as our most recent Official Selections include the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival, where the film received a standing ovation and the Bronzelens Film Festival in Atlanta, Georgia; which is forthcoming.

    The Industry Lab’s number #1 goal is to strive to make award-winning productions to further our alumni and student professional work ethic and experiences in the entertainment industry.


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    December 19, 2018 • Filmmaking, Industry Lab • Views: 1842

  • The Greensboro Four Remembered on February One with New York Film Academy Faculty Filmmakers

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail“February One” marked the 58th Anniversary of the Greensboro Four sit-in, and the producers, director, and editor of the award-winning short film, The Counter: 1960 were invited to North Carolina A&T to participate in a commemorative celebration.

    The day culminated with a screening of the film, The Counter: 1960, produced by New York Film Academy’s Chair of the Industry Lab and Producing Instructor Kimberly Ogletree, edited by NYFA’s Leander Sales; directed by Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd, and co-produced and starring Ashley Jackson, daughter of Reverend Jessie Jackson, to commemorate the protest in 1960. The story chronicles three WOKE students who are frustrated by police killings of unarmed black youth and wanting to contribute to positive change, the students experience time travel, finding themselves seated at a lunch counter in 1960 which sparked more civil rights sit-ins across the nation. This is the first award-winning short produced through the NYFA Industry Lab.

     

    In 1960, Jim Crow was the law and segregation was enforced. The flourishing five & dime store Woolworth’s sold inexpensive merchandise to the working middle class but African Americans were only allowed to shop there. Four apoplectic college students from North Carolina A&T decided that, when it came to segregation, enough was enough.

    Committed to making a change, they walked up town and sat down at the F.W. Woolworth “whites only” lunch counter and politely asked to be served. When they were refused, these brave young men remained in their seats. This event immediately sparked national attention. The action of four courageous young men added fuel to an already burning fire, with hope that this injustice would right a wrong through a nonviolent Civil Rights protest — which was only one of many that were spreading across the rural south.

    Hundreds of students, churches, civil rights organizations and members of the community joined the six-month-long protest. And on July 25th, 1960 the Woolworth department store chain ended its policy of racial segregation in its stores across the southern United States.

    New York Film Academy digital editing instructor, Leander Sales, remembers the racial tension in North Carolina: “I grew up in this and that’s what keeps me strong and focused.”

    The anniversary celebration at North Carolina A&T began with the laying of a wreath beneath the bronze statue of the Greensboro Four: Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain (Deceased), David Richmond (Deceased) and Ezell Blair. The event was well attended by the news media, students, young children from nearby elementary schools, and community residents, all present to honor the men.

    The day continued with a packed campus auditorium celebrating the civil rights movement with a panel of A&T students discussing the state of African Americans in 2018.

    After the assembly, a march from North Carolina A&T to the F.W. Woolworth museum was organized.

    As Kimberly Ogletree commented, “This is a monumental moment in my life. As I walk the same path as the Greenboro Four walked I can feel the anxiety they must have felt, because ultimately those young men had no idea if they would leave unscathed and alive because police brutality was an everyday occurrence in the rural south.”

    Once the march arrived at the Woolworth’s, the group was taken on a tour of the museum, where they were able to see the original counter where the sit-in took place in 1960. The celebration continued as The Counter: 1960 filmmakers shared their “February One” experiences and pitched their film on the campus radio station WNAA 90.1 FM, followed by the screening of the film.

    Every seat was filled in the theater and the film was very well received. The panel discussion was educational and informative. As these men were remembered, the celebration paid homage to their sacrifice to stand, sit, kneel and march on. They will forever be remembered in history as the Greensboro Four.

    The New York Film Academy’s Industry Lab in Los Angeles, California provided production services for the short film, which is currently receiving film festival accolades worldwide.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    March 12, 2018 • Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 2295