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  • New York Film Academy Acting Alum Adrian Voo Talks Teen Comedy “Little Bitches”

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    Not many of us wish that we could go back to high school, but for New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Conservatory alumnus Adrian Voo, revisiting teen angst never looked better. This month, the world will see him co-star in Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s “Little Bitches,” a raucous, R-rated teen comedy that will release digitally Jan. 23 on iTunes, Amazon, VUDU, Xfinity, Verizon Fios, Microsoft Store, Play Station and Google Play.  

    Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Voo was bitten by the acting bug when he was a business major at San Francisco State University. Following his dream led him to NYFA Los Angeles campus for an intensive year of conservatory training before going on to snag mainstream attention in the Jason Biggs comedy “Amateur Night.” “Little Bitches” follows three former-best-friends-turned-frenemies who must find a way to make peace in their senior year of high school in what Sony Pictures describes as a “crazy, twisted, coming-of-age female-empowerment comedy.”

    The NYFA Blog had a chance to catch up with Voo to hear more about “Little Bitches,” what he loves about comedy, and what’s next.

    NYFA: First, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what brought you to the New York Film Academy (NYFA)?

    AV: My love for film has spanned my lifetime but I had never really given acting much thought until my final year of business school. I was auditioning for plays and became fascinated with the craft. After receiving my BS, I decided to explore acting and searched for an intensive film school, and that’s when I found NYFA!

    NYFA: Do you have any favorite NYFA moments from your time studying with us?

    AV: One of my earliest childhood memories was being in absolute awe while on a tram tour at Universal Studios. So the first time we had an on-camera class on New York Street was a little “magical” for me.

    NYFA: Congratulations on your role in Sony Pictures’ “Little Bitches”! How did this project come about for you?

    AV: Thank you! Long story short, I was pitched to Scott Aversano (producer). I was so excited to hear that he was assembling a teen comedy, knowing his previous success with “That Awkward Moment” and “Orange County,” among many others. We had a good meeting and he brought me in to read for Nick Kreiss (writer/director).

    NYFA: You’ve had a great streak of working in some big comedies. For our students, what do you find the most challenging about intensive comedy work? How do you prepare?

    AV: I’ve found the most challenging part to be forgetting that it’s a comedy — and not trying to be funny! I think comedy works best when you trust the script (the writers) and find the dialogue rhythm. Once you have the rhythm, you can add improv for color.

    NYFA: You recently served as an executive producer of “Dear Dictator” with Michael Caine and Katie Holmes, as well as appearing in the film. Tell us about that process, and why you felt drawn to this story?

    AV: I had worked with the writer/director’s on “Amateur Night,” which was their true life story, so I was thrilled when they invited me to be a part of “Dear Dictator.” The script is so inspired (it was featured in the Black List in 2006). It’s a satire but, ultimately, a story about a non-conventional family. There’s some familiar film moments but it’s truly a film like no other…

    It was also a full circle moment to work with Michael Caine since I studied his “Acting in Film” book at NYFA!

    NYFA: Would you say your time at NYFA was at all useful in preparing for the work you’re doing now?

    AV: Very much so! When I first walked through the doors, I had a little stage experience and almost no formal training; I dreaded speaking with fellow actors whenever I was in productions because they used jargon that I had never heard of. NYFA instilled technique and discipline, and molded my process today. I’ve also become a strong proponent for hands-on training and found it to be an essential element.

    NYFA: What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

    AV: Let’s just say, for now it’s “Little Bitches” and “Dear Dictator” in March! I hope you guys will enjoy the films as much as we had making them. Cheers to everyone at NYFA!

    The New York Film Academy would like to congratulate Adrian Voo on his work in “Little Bitches,” and looks forward to seeing “Dear Dictator” soon!

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  • From the Olympics to “Vikings” with New York Film Academy Acting Alum Ragga Ragnars

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum Ragga Ragnars has quite the resume: the two-time-Olympic-swimmer-turned-actress recently snagged a role on the hit show “Vikings.” NYFA had the chance to sit down and catch up with her via email in between her busy schedule filming in Ireland and Iceland, to discuss her transition from athlete to actress.
    NYFA: First, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what brought you to the New York Film Academy?

    RR: I have been a swimmer all my life and for about 15 years I was a professional swimmer. I swam at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, and after sitting out the 2012 Olympics to have my son, I decided that it was time to pursue my other passion, acting.

    I have always loved California and, as a teenager, I swam in Mission Viejo, where I also attended high school for a while. I also swam in Ventura for a while in my 20s and always loved coming to California. It had always been like a second home to me. So when I was looking at acting schools, NYFA kept popping up.

    I had looked into NYFA a few times before and decided I would start with an 8-Week Acting for Film program to see if I liked it. I had my son and my family with me and needed to make sure it was the right choice before committing to a longer course. I, of course, loved the 8-week program and enrolled in a one-year program right away.

    NYFA: Do you have a favorite NYFA moment from your time studying with us?

    RR: I made so many great friends while attending NYFA and got to know so many amazing teachers and instructors. There are so many moments that stand out for me and it’s hard to choose just one to mention. I do remember some great Q&A sessions with people from the industry that really taught me a lot. I also loved working on the backlot and getting to experience that aspect of the courses.

    NYFA: Why acting? What inspired you to shift gears in life to pursue your acting career?

    RR: Acting has always been a passion I have had. While I was swimming, acting was always in the back of my head. I don’t think it’s something I decided. I just always knew I would be an actress. Since I can remember, I knew that it was something I had to do.

    NYFA: You came back for the 1-Year Acting for Film program after finishing a short-term program with us — what made you decide to go to our conservatory?

    RR: I had such an amazing time in the 8-week program that I knew I wanted to keep going. I wanted to see how it would work out having a family and a young son with me so far away from the rest of my family. It was easier than I expected and my son loved the California sunshine, so it was a no-brainer. I also knew I had more to learn from the great teachers and instructors at NYFA.

    NYFA: Many of our students can relate to your experience of coming to learn the arts in a foreign country. What was it like for you as an international student, coming to study at NYFA Los Angeles? Can you tell us a bit about that experience?

    RR: Because California has always been like a second home to me, I almost felt like I was not an international student and more of a local. I knew LA pretty well and while at NYFA I got to know the city better.

    The only thing that I can remember being a difficult aspect of being an international student was to make sure that all of the paperwork was correct and that I had everything in order. With great help from NYFA it wasn’t too hard, but with getting a Visa, applying for an OPT and all of that, it was definitely a challenge. It was all worth it and I am so happy I decided to give it a try.

    NYFA: You’ve competed in the Olympics as a swimmer, and now you are working as an actor on “Vikings.” As a career-changer, what would you say was the most challenging and the most surprising part of going from one intense career to another?

    RR: The most surprising thing is how similar my life is, from when I was a competitive swimmer. Working on a big production is hard work, I want to stay in good shape and get ready for a day of work similar to when I was competing. I work out, warm up before big scenes, meditate and take care of what I eat in the same way I did when I was preparing for the World Championships or competing at the Olympics. There is so much time spent in preparing for scenes, learning dialogue and text, working on a character and getting ready. I am happy that I have years of experience as a swimmer in being focused, determined and knowing that nothing comes for free.

    It takes hard work for a long time to achieve goals and you have to be willing to put in the time and effort.

    NYFA: Can you tell us about your experience working on “Vikings” — are there any surprises or challenges you’ve encountered in working internationally in Ireland and Iceland?

    RR: Ireland and Iceland are quite similar places. I feel like Irish people have a lot in common with the Icelandic — very welcoming and have a bit of a small town vibe to them, just like in Iceland. It has been difficult to be away from my son who attends school in Iceland, but I travel back and forth quite a bit and he comes to Ireland every time we can manage that. I have loved the process so far and I am looking forward to continuing working internationally and broadening my horizon even more in this field.

    NYFA: Do you have any advice for our current students in transitioning from our conservatory training to the real world?

    RR: My advice is to set goals with everything you do and want to do in life and enjoy the process, the good and the bad.

    Rejection from one place is not the end of the road.

    Also, there is not one way to achieve success in this business. I signed with an agent before I even finished NYFA, I had a few agents who wanted to sign me and I thought that was the only way to get ahead. Then when I realized that the partnership was not working, I decided to do it on my own and that proved to be the right way for me at the time.

    But I learned from every failed audition and self tape, from every production I worked on while on my OPT, and I always kept up a positive attitude towards my goals.

    NYFA: Would you say your time studying at NYFA was at all useful in preparing for the work you are doing today?

    RR: Absolutely. I learned so much while attending NYFA. So many things were new to me as an actor before I attended NYFA. I feel like I got a very extensive overview of techniques and tools to choose from while working. Not everything that I learned works for me and some things I learned I have kept on learning after NYFA. I keep in touch with some of my teachers in NYFA and I feel like all of them took a real interest in teaching us and even as a former student, being able to send a quick line to a former teacher and still getting help with something is amazing.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Ragga for taking the time to share a part of her journey with our community.

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  • New York Film Academy Narrative Theory Students Explore IMAX VR Centre

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    The Narrative Theory Course is a part of the New York Film Academy’s Game Design curriculum. The class focuses on storytelling methods in gaming. Virtual Reality (VR) provides an entirely new way of looking at how to tell stories. Without the control limits of a two-dimensional screen the ability to direct a player’s eye-line is no longer an option. A whole new set of rules has to be developed. This new frontier of technology brought NYFA students to the IMAX VR Centre in Hollywood, CA.

    For many students, this was their first experience with VR. “I had a really great time at the VR Center,” said student Kamen Marinov. “The moment I put those Oculus ‘goggles’ on my head I felt this strange feeling — that I was inside someone else. It was like I was seeing through another person’s eyes. It felt odd at first, but when I got used to the visuals and the game mechanics I had an amazing experience.”

    Students were able to experience a ton of games that are new to the market. The new “Justice League” game based on the Warner Brother’s film allows players to drive the Batmobile or take out Steppenwolf’s lackeys with Cyborg’s arm cannon. This is just one of the many games currently on display. Set up in an arcade style, students can could jump into several cinematic worlds including “John Wick,” “The Mummy,” “Deadwood,” and the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises.

    Some students choose to play two first-person shooters “Raw Data” and “John Wick.” Jeffery Lay found the experience both taxing and informative: “In ‘John Wick,’ I was hiding behind a bar, watching my six, as enemies come from everywhere. A big vase covering an area of my view-making forced me to me lean around it, or jump to shoot over it, even though in reality, nothing is there.” 

    “VR had a lot more movement than I expected,” said Lay. “I probably changed between standing and crouching about 50 to 100 times in a row.” 

    Nathan Hales wasn’t just having fun. He learned a lot. “The level of immersion offered by virtual reality is really something that one cannot explain but must be experienced,” said Hales. “I felt like I was living within these virtual spaces. I was cutting down robots in ‘Raw Data,’ instead of the usual extra degree of separation offered from a traditional TV or computer monitor setup. Moving forward with the knowledge I gained from experiencing the capabilities and limitations of virtual reality, I can now envision games for the medium.”

    This is important because VR is a hot commodity in the entertainment industry. Since Nonny de la Pena’s VR project in immersive journalism entitled “Hunger in Los Angeles” premiered at Sundance 2012, there’s been a lot of buzz around the future of VR, yet there were many unanswered questions about the possibilities the new technology held at the time. Facebook set a new precedent when it acquired Oculus Rift in 2014. Since then, we’ve seen the development of both VR recording technologies and creative endeavors rapidly accelerate.

    Overall, the day was a rousing success. The New York Film Academy would like to thank IMAX VR for giving our students an opportunity to glimpse the future of gaming.

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  • New York Film Academy Photography Student Tanne Willow Lights Up Profoto

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    While most students only fantasize about having their artwork promoted by a major industry player while still in school, New York Film Academy (NYFA) 2-Year Photography Conservatory student Tanne Willow lived the dream recently with her feature on Profoto.

    Known for decades as a cutting-edge leader in crafting fine light-shaping and flash tools for professional photographers, Profoto is a Swedish company that recently won rave reviews throughout the photography community for their first on-camera flash, the A1.

    Profoto features Tanne Willow and her images in their Local News section. The article, titled “Rising Light: Tanne Willow’s Journey from Dance to Film to Digital,” discusses Tanne’s toolkit of choice, her style influences, and her time at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles campus as a 2-Year Photography Program student.

    My preferred way to work is with people in motion,” Tanne told the NYFA Blog, “Whether it’s fine arts or commercial photography.”

    According to Profoto, Tanne entered NYFA’s program after a 13-year career as a dancer and instructor with only a rudimentary understanding of studio lighting. She has since gone on to develop an editorial style that draws inspiration from the lyrical relationships and creative perspectives of dance: “Tanne sees many parallels between dance and photography, both of which combine factual elements – things that we know or believe to be true, with elements that are suggested or imagined and left to the viewer to interpret from their respective points of view.”

    Also highlighted in the article are many of Tanne’s photos — most created since beginning her studies in NYFA’s Photography School. In them, the conservatory student displays bold artificial lighting and a knack for combining flash with ambient light.

    Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden, Profoto reports that Tanne’s next dream is to see her work showcased in her hometown’s Fotografiska Museum. We look forward to seeing more exciting work from her in the future. Congratulations, Tanne!

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  • New York Film Academy Los Angeles Hosts Expert Film Festival Panel

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    Last month, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Film Festivals Advisor and Liaison Crickett Rumley brought an expert panel to the NYFA Los Angeles campus for an in-depth discussion on the process of getting a film into festivals.

    In her opening remarks, Rumley shared that while many NYFA students are interested in applying to film festivals, she found that not many had actually attended one. The panel of experts was formed to help demystify what can be an intimidating world for newcomers, and help answer their questions. “We need to start talking about film festivals,” Rumley said. “Los Angeles has a lot of festivals, so we have no excuse to not be attending and submitting.”

    Sharing their insights and experiences with NYFA students were industry experts including producer and NYFA Chair of Industry Lab Kim Ogletree, Senior Cinematography Instructor Matt Kohnen, Emmy Award nominee  Alexandra Chando, NYFA Senior Directing Instructor James Rowe, and NYFA alumnus Raphael Bittencourt. Each panelist has premiered a film at major festivals including Sundance, LA Shorts Film Fest, Shanghai Film Festival, and the Austin Film Festival.

    Kickstarting the discussion, Crickett asked the panel, “Why should you attend a film festival, even if you don’t have a film?”

    Rowe began by sharing his reasons for attending the Toronto Film Festival as a non-participant. “I went as a scholar delegate for NYFA to kind of scout things out and see what the landscape is right now for short films in particular.”

    Chando, who represents the Mammoth Film Festival’s Women in Film Initiative and is perhaps best known for her work in “As the World Turns,” pointed out the need for diversity and representation in film festivals across the board. Attendees, filmmakers, and festival organizers all play a role in supporting diversity in the film industry. “Recently, within the last year, I have seriously begun working on the other side of the camera,” she explained. “Especially now, there has been a big push for diversity and, of course, women being behind the camera.“

    Encouraging diversity in film festival representation is a part of the reason why Chando was invited to be a part of the Women in Film initiative of the Mammoth Film Festival, which was founded by a NYFA alumna. 

    Rumley spoke about her experiences with Telluride, a renowned festival she began attending even before she had started making movies. She described the education as invaluable. “I was learning so much as a writer just by watching a ton of films,” she shared, “And I was able to watch them in a festival setting. I could figure out what kind of writer I wanted to be by exploring all of these international and independent domestic films.”

    New York Film Academy panelist Alexandra Chando.

    With thousands of film festivals worldwide, these dynamic events can serve as an essential launchpad for up-and-coming filmmakers. Genre film festivals provide an especially great environment for new cinema voices to be discovered.

    “The major festival will take everything; drama, narrative, documentary,” said Kohnen, “But then, there’s this whole other subset of festivals that are just genre.”

    Choosing to submit to a genre festival can help a film find a more specific audience and make valuable connections with likeminded people in the industry. Knowing his way around the festival circuit helped spark the chain-reaction of success that Kohnen enjoyed with his 2007 film “Wasting Away,” also known as “Aaah! Zombies!” The film won the audience award for Best Film at ScreamFest, and after that its sister festivals began seeking opportunities to screen the film, too.

    New York Film Academy panelist and Chair of Industry Lab Kim Ogletree.

    For his part, Bittencourt said he used his time at film festivals as an opportunity to observe how different audiences connected with his film as well as to forge connections within the industry.

    “It gives me a sense of where I’m going,” he said. “It was part of my strategy to use two different kinds of film festivals to get more attention on my film. … It’s a huge chance to defend your film and get to know other filmmakers. You can also meet the organizers of the festival.” 

    Bittencourt encouraged students that even if they may not have been chosen to screen their film in a particular festival, they can still try to shake hands with those in charge. “[Festival organizers] tend to be really sympathetic to you if they know who you are,” he said.

    Ogletree agreed. She explained to students that film festivals provide opportunities not only for submitting work, but also for gaining direct access to creators from all walks of life. From her time behind the scenes in film festivals, she shared, “We were open to having discussions with students, with other executives, with producers and directors. At the time, folks would just bring their iPads up to speakers after the Q&A and show us their film. That was a way of getting their films out there without even being in the festival.”

    With these networking opportunities in mind, Ogletree went on to highlight the marketing opportunities students should prepare for when attending a festival. “There are certain things you need,” she said. “You need a business card. You need both a press kit and an electronic press kit. You need to have the bios of your key crew members. You need to have conversations, and that’s not something I see happening a lot anymore.”

    Ogletree suggests that when attending a festival with a family member or friend, students remember not to isolate themselves from what is going on. Instead, they should make sure to join outside conversations with members of the industry and to try and meet new people.

    To help get the conversation started at film festivals, Ogletree noted that it’s important to think early and often about where the film will show and how best to promote it once it has aired. Gimmicks also don’t hurt, according to Ogletree, who says that it’s important to find ways to make your film stand out from the crowd at a festival. Hats, pins, and t-shirts are always great and inexpensive options. Budgeting for these products and preparing for film festival conversations should be something students bear in mind even in the pre-production stage of their film.  

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Matt Kohnen, Alex Chando, Kim Ogletree, James Rowe, Raphael Bittencourt, and Crickett Rumley for participating int his in-depth discussion on film festivals.

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  • New York Film Academy Fulbright Student’s “Soul” at Berlinale, iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking Conservatory student and Spanish Fulbright scholar Pedro Peira produced the film “Soul,” completing its post-production while he studied at NYFA Los Angeles and seeing the project through to fruition in its digital premiere across North America early this December.

    Following its successful premier at the opening night of the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale), “Soul” has now found online distribution with not one, but three major streaming platforms: iTunes,  Amazon Video, and Google Play.

    For those who loved 2011’s “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” Peria provides a thoughtful and delicious follow-up in the documentary “Soul.” Taking viewers behind the scenes of two of the world’s most-coveted restaurants to learn from two of its greatest chefs, “Soul” draws interesting parallels between Basque and Japanese cuisine, through the work of 3-star Michelin-rated Spanish chef Eneko Atxa, and the legendary Jiro Ono, one of the last practitioners of the fine art of traditional sushi making in Japan.

    While many people may not immediately see parallels between Basque and Japanese cuisine, “Soul” makes an appetizing case that these geographically unrelated regional cuisines share something very important in common: family secrets, soul, and fresh seafood.

    As the Hollywood Reporter (THR) described the film, “Soul” is a foodie’s dream that takes viewers to Spain, Japan, and even Paris, where the head of Michelin offers insights into the world of haute cuisine. THR notes that “Soul” comes at a time where the world is seeing “certain Spanish chefs are now famous enough to open up restaurants in Japan, while Japanese chefs are seen making a pilgrimage to Spain.”

    In such an increasingly international world, the New York Film Academy congratulates our Spanish Fulbright alumnus Pedro Peira for the success of “Soul.”

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  • New York Film Academy Los Angeles Students Examine Ancient Treasures at the Getty Villa

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    This month, degree students in New York Film Academy (NYFA) Los Angeles’ Western Art History Class visited the Getty Villa in Malibu, California. They were interested in seeing how the ancient Greeks and Romans developed their depictions of humans and gods, and whether these early creators sought to mimic nature or to reflect individuals in their most ideal forms. There were a lot of surprises to be discovered in the museum.

    The Getty Villa was designed to recreate the experience of seeing art in an ancient Roman home. After looking at these art works for weeks on a screen, students were excited to see how the mass and volume of the figures affected them in person.

    Through the trip, students learned that ancient Greek art was actually very diverse. Students saw stylized early Greek burial sculptures from the Cycladic civilization, painted burial masks, numerous portraits, busts of Roman rulers and the upper class, and a special exhibition of Roman mosaics. Another highlight was the chance to get up close to a Romano-Egyptian mummy with an intact portrait from 120 CE.

    Said one participant, “[My favorite part of the trip] was seeing how there were rings with art in them. It was shocking and interesting to see the different representations of art, beyond the sculptures.”

    Each student was assigned to choose one sculpture and write a formal analysis, contextualizing the piece both historically and stylistically, which meant that students had to look at the art rather intentionally and up-close — an experience that was a little unnerving for some students.

    “It felt weird lingering to stare at the cloth on a lot of the sculptures,” said one. “How did they make it look so thin?”

    Another student was left in awe. “I’ve always been amazed by art, but every time I go to a museum, I have more and more respect and appreciation towards it.”

    Students come to NYFA from all over the world and their experiences in the classroom tend to reflect that. For several of the students in the group, this was their first time in an art museum of the Getty’s status, while one student had never seen sculpture of human bodies before.

    One student said of their experience, “There is nothing like seeing a sculpture or painting live in front of you. It was my first time being at a place where all sorts of art was right there for your eyes to see.”

    When the class discussed their experience afterward, it turned out they learned a lot. Some of the students were impressed with the accuracy of the recreation of Roman society. Comments like, “I was able to see the craftsmanship up close and now have more respect for the artists,” and “I used to just appreciate art, but now I think about who made it and why,” were common among the group of excited scholars. The day was an incredible success.

    The New York Film Academy is grateful to the Getty for continuing to curate such important art pieces for our students to experience. One student walked away stating, “I learned that art serves a bigger purpose in a society than it shows. It makes us think more critically.”

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    December 8, 2017 • Academic Programs, Community Highlights • Views: 851

  • Spotlight On: New York Film Academy Los Angeles Environmental Club

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    This academic year, a new club has joined the ranks at the Los Angeles campus of the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Los Angeles. The Environmental Club has already undertaken two incredibly important projects — a trip to the Burbank Recycling Center and planting trees with Tree People.

    Environmental Club member Kasey Weldon and advisor Michael Zelniker spoke with NYFA Correspondent Joelle Smith about their recent experience of giving back to their community in collaboration with Tree People. Check out what they had to say about this exciting episode from NYFA Los Angeles student life.

    NYFA: On your recent excursion with Tree People, what was the goal for the day?

    Zelniker: The goal was to work with Tree People, an organization that supports students and educators to take responsibility for urban environments. Trees are one of the great hopes we have to reverse the carbonization of our atmosphere. Trees take in carbon dioxide and return oxygen to the atmosphere. Planting trees is an important step in our efforts to reverse the effects of fossil fuels on our planet.

    Weldon: On our first trip out, we were watering the baby trees that were already planted and pulling/cutting invasive weeds that could harm the tree’s growth. On the second trip out, we planted new trees in Calabasas, which was a lot of hard work but so well worth it and rewarding.

    NYFA: Los Angeles has had really hot weather lately. How did you guys prepare for the manual labor, and how did everyone fare on the day?

    Zelniker: We drank plenty of water. Everyone wore pounds of sunscreen. We had to cover up with appropriate clothing. Everyone fared very well. No problems at all.

    Weldon: Everyone did really well. We stayed hydrated, wore our hats to protect ourselves from the sun, and the SoCal breeze is always nice.

    NYFA: What was the most surprising thing about the trip?

    Zelniker: I was surprised at just how profoundly satisfying it is to simply dig a hole in the soil and put a tree in the ground knowing that the tree you’ve planted, over the course of its life, will absorb tons of CO2 and produce tons of oxygen. It’s empowering.

    Weldon: The unity really surprised me. Everyone is there with a goal in mind and a desire and passion to give back and create a better tomorrow. There were no strangers. We are all a team.

    NYFA: You guys are a new organization at the school. Was this a bonding experience for the new members?

    Weldon: Of course. We are all friends already from school, but to be able to bond over something that has such meaning and truly seeing the difference we have made at the end of the day, it just roots our friendships even deeper. Some people I met for the first time, and it’s like I’ve known them forever.

    It’s an amazing feeling to be around people who strive for the same things, work toward it with you, and, at the end of the day, you share the successes together. It’s a truly special friendship with Earth and human beings coming together as one.

    Zelniker: We’ve been a NYFA club for more than six months now. Over that time we have held several events. All of the events have served to create stronger bonds between us as we come together in our shared commitment to do whatever we can to lighten our carbon footprint, while at the same time spreading the word on how important it is to conserve energy, water, and resources in general, to our individual communities at large.

    NYFA: What other trips are you guys planning in the future?

    Zelniker: We intend to do more tree planting, hiking, a beach clean up, and another trip to Burbank Recycling Center, as well as another bake sale fundraiser. We’re also talking about the “Adopt a Highway” program.

    The New York Film Academy is proud of the success of the Environmental Club for their incredible efforts to help protect and preserve the Earth.

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    December 7, 2017 • Community Highlights, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1234

  • New York Film Academy Students Attend Cinema Italian Style

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    On Thursday, November 16, 2017, two students from the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus, Alice Nicolini and Nicolo Azzaro, were invited to attend the opening night of the 13th Annual Cinema Italian Style at the Egyptian Theater. Italy’s oldest film studio, Luce Cinecittà, and the American Cinematheque presented the night, which featured a screening of “A Ciambra,” Italy’s selection for Best Foreign Language Film at next year’s Academy Awards.

    The night also served as a celebration of the 80th anniversary of Luce Cinecittà under the auspices of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, in collaboration with the Consulate General of Italy in Los Angeles, the Italian Trade Agency and the Italian Cultural Institute. Needless to say, this was quite an extravagant affair.

    NYFA Students Alice Nicolini and Nicolo Azzaro attend 13th Annual Cinema Italian Style

    The director of the film, Jonas Carpignano, has a youthful and unconventional approach to his filmmaking style, which can best be described as a scripted docudrama. All of the characters in the film are real people and their real names are the same as the characters they play. Likewise, their actual home is the set, and the script is inspired by the lives they lead.

    The level of intimacy the director has built with his cast is immediately tangible. From the opening to the closing shot, the camera is an active component of the film, whipping around at an incredible pace. (Some audience members found it dizzying, but anyone familiar with music videos would recognize the cinematic language.) Carpignano’s fresh take on Gypsy culture in Southern Italy was warmly received.

     

    One of the attending NYFA students, Nicolo Azzaro, had this to say about the film: “‘A Ciambra’ is a fantastic movie that perfectly showcases the strengths of Italian cinema at its finest. It digs deep into a current reality in Southern Italy, blending the almost documentary approach with a deep and emotional coming of age story.”

    Alice Nicolini, the other New York Film Academy student invited to the event, added, “My favorite part of the evening was hands down the red carpet. It was all new to me. Walking down the carpet was kind of surreal. I mean, we also got our pictures taken and an Italian television station even interviewed us. That is definitely not an everyday thing.”

    After the screening, the students were invited to a gala dinner at Mr. C’s in Beverly Hills. Celebrity attendees included Billy Zane, Ron Pearlman, and “Alias Grace” star Sarah Gadon, who was honored with the inaugural Cinecittà Key the day prior to the event. Students mingled with the stars and creators as they overlooked the Los Angeles skyline and enjoyed a meal curated by Michelin Star Chef Leandro Luppi.

    When asked what he’d learned from the experience, Azzaro responded, “Cinema is a universal art, and no matter what language is spoken in a film, it is capable of connecting people from all around the world. Diversity is truly one of the greatest aspects of the entertainment industry.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Luce Cinecittà and the American Cinematheque for extending an invitation to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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    November 30, 2017 • Community Highlights, Film Festivals, Filmmaking • Views: 1459

  • New York Film Academy Los Angeles Takes Time to Give Thanks and Give Back

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    The holiday season is a time for sharing, caring, being with family and friends, spreading good cheer, and giving back — and that’s exactly what happened during the Thanksgiving break at the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Los Angeles this season.

    This November, the New York Film Academy’s Office of Community Outreach hosted a delicious, traditional, family-style Thanksgiving dinner for over 50 NYFA students who happened to be on campus the night before Thanksgiving, and wanted to share a hearty meal with friends both new and old.

    The event was hosted in the rotunda in the Riverside Building decorated in warm fall colors, and open to the entire student population. Therefore, RSVP’s were essential. There was lots of love in the room, with students from all parts of the world able to fellowship and partake in the warm meal.  For some students, it was the first time sharing in the American tradition of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, fresh homemade pumpkin and apple pie with all the fixings.

    The dinner was also a thank you to students who participated with NYFA C.A.R.E.S. in a volunteer orientation at LA Family Housing (LAFH) to serve food to families in need over the holiday. LAFH helps people transition out of homelessness and poverty by providing a continuum of housing enriched with supportive services.

    Over the holidays, as well as throughout the year, LAFH accept donations to “adopt a family” by providing household goods and gift cards, as well as “meal sponsorship,” providing food to over 250 adults transitioning out of homelessness.

    “Through NYFA C.A.R.E.S. its our goal to not only think about our those less fortunate over the holidays, but throughout the year,”  says Mason Richards, NYFA Community Outreach Chair. “It’s our plan to have NYFA students continue to volunteer throughout the upcoming year. We’re slated to volunteer during the month of December and beyond. It’s always a good feeling to connect with others and really feel a part of a community.”

    To learn more about volunteer opportunities through NYFA C.A.R.E.S. contact: caresla@nyfa.edu.

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    November 27, 2017 • Community Highlights • Views: 1057