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  • Acclaimed Director, Writer, and Producer Phillip Noyce Joins New York Film Academy (NYFA) Faculty as Master Class Instructor

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    Phillip Noyce, the acclaimed and award-winning director, screenwriter, and producer of film and television, has joined the New York Film Academy (NYFA) faculty and this week taught his first master class to MFA Filmmaking students at our Los Angeles campus.

    Throughout his prolific career, Noyce has worked with such celebrated luminaries performers as Harrison Ford, Nicole Kidman, Denzel Washington, Michael Caine, Meryl Streep, Val Kilmer, James Earl Jones, Rutger Hauer, Kenneth Branagh, Angelina Jolie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Bridges, Willem Dafoe, Liev Schreiber, and Renée Zellweger.

    Phillip Noyce

    Noyce began his first NYFA master class by showing behind-the-scenes footage from his award-winning film, Rabbit-Proof Fence, before going into the early beginnings of his filmmaking career. Noyce was born in New South Wales, Australia, and moved to Sydney at a young age. Before he was twenty years old, he started running the Filmmaker’s Cinema along with Jan Chapman, where for three years he screened the short films of directors who would go on to develop the Australian New Wave, such as Gillian Armstrong, Peter Weir, Bruce Beresford, Paul Cox, and George Miller.

    After working in television and directing a few feature productions, Noyce made his breakout film, Dead Calm, which launched the career of Nicole Kidman. Soon after that, he was living in Los Angeles directing major Hollywood studio films, including the Jack Ryan films Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, starring Harrison Ford. 

    Since then Noyce has written, directed, and produced numerous commercially and critically successful films like The Saint, The Bone Collector, Salt, The Giver, The Quiet American, and Rabbit-Proof Fence, as well as various TV pilots, episodes, and miniseries like Vietnam, Tru Calling, Luck, Roots (2016), and the recent Netflix original What/If.

    Noyce has been recognized for his outstanding contributions as a filmmaker, earning multiple nominations and awards for his work. These include a National Board of Review award for Best Director, a London Critics Circle Film Award for Director of the Year, several awards from film festivals like the Edinburgh International Film Festival and Bangkok International Film Festival, and numerous awards from Australian institutions including Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards for Best Film, Best Director, and a special Lifetime Achievement Award.

    Phillip Noyce

    In his new role on New York Film Academy’s faculty, Noyce instructed MFA Filmmaking students on several aspects of the craft, using scenes from his films Dead Calm and Rabbit-Proof Fence to illustrate many of his talking points, using his decades of experience as a director, writer, and producer. He described how “having a hard back and soft front” was vital for directors–a strong vision and determination that cohabitates with a willingness to listen and accept new ideas.

    On directing the right screenplays, Noyce expressed that the most important thing for a good script is that you have to love it–to have an emotional connection to it and be passionate about the story. He proved his own point by relating to the class how he passed on a huge offer to direct the next Jack Ryan movie so that he could focus on the indie film Rabbit-Proof Fence.

    Additionally, Noyce covered everything from artistic voice and vision to the practicalities of directing stunts and action scenes, such as the famous truck sequence from the Angelina Jolie vehicle, Salt. The master class even included a trust exercise where students took turns guiding other students whose eyes were shut around the room without using dialogue, forcing them to connect and place trust in one another. 

    After covering several aspects of filmmaking in detail, the master class concluded with a lecture on television, including a video of a TV series pitch that a writer had recorded for Noyce. He contrasted it with a written pitch that he distributed to the class, who then discussed which pitches they preferred and why. Phillip finished the night by taking suggestions from students for other subjects they’d next like to learn more about, promising to focus on these and more in upcoming master classes he’ll be teaching at the Academy.

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    January 22, 2020 • Faculty Highlights, Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 707

  • New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Acting for Film Alum Natalya Butkevich Creating New YouTube Channel

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    Buzz has been steadily growing for influencer and television personality Natalya Butkevich, an alum of the Acting for Film program at New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA.)

    Butkevich originally hails from Russia and in August 2009 she attended the 4-Week Acting for Film workshop at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus.

    Natalya Butkevich

    NYFA alum Natalya Butkevich

    Since graduating NYFA, Butkevich has steadily increased her star power as an actress, producer, and TV presenter, and had the foresight to use social influencing as a medium even in its earliest days. 

    In 2010, Butkevich owned a program on television, Kinoshanc, and has been featured in many top publications, as well as on the covers of magazines including Elle, Women’s Health, Tatler, and Cosmopolitan.

    Also a writer,  Butkevich has created a brand from her love of travel, writing blogs about her travel experiences. Her Instagram popularity is growing at a rapid pace as she provides insight into her day to day life from her fashion styles to her favorite destinations. To date, Butkevich has traveled to many destinations including Turkey, Miami, New York, Bahamas, and Dubai.

    “It is really important to understand your body from within and surround yourself with positivity,” Butkevich recently shared with The Statesman. A YouTube channel is a perfect fit for Butkevich, so it’s no surprise she is currently working on launching her own.

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA-LA Acting for Film alum Natalya Butkevich on her new YouTube channel and encourages everyone to subscribe!

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    January 7, 2020 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 984

  • Noted Film Critic Peter Rainer Discusses ‘Straight Time’ with New York Film Academy (NYFA)

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    On Thursday, December 5, New York Film Academy hosted a screening and discussion with noted film critic Peter Rainer on Straight Time, directed by Ulu Grosbard. Made in 1978, the American crime drama centers around a career criminal, Max Dembo (Dustin Hoffman), who is determined to go straight after his latest stint in prison. He takes a mindless job in a cannery, patiently endures the abuse of Earl, his pompous parole officer, and begins a romance with a sympathetic girl from the employment office. But when Earl erroneously busts Jack for drug abuse, the ex-con cracks, setting off a reckless crime spree.

    Peter Rainer Straight Time
    Peter Rainer has 30 years of professional experience as a film critic and is currently the film critic for the Christian Science Monitor and can be heard regularly on NPR’s Film Week on KPCC-FM. He was one of three finalists in 1998 for the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism and is a three-time winner of the Arts and Entertainment Journalism Award for best online film critic. He has also written and co-produced two A&E biographies—on Sidney Poitier and John Huston—as well as co-authoring the film Joyride (1977). He has served on the main juries for the Venice and Montreal film festivals.

    Rainer opened up the discussion by asking students in attendance what they thought about Straight Time in relation to Hoffman’s more popular work in more well-known hits such as The Graduate and Tootsie. One student expressed, “From what I know of Dustin Hoffman, I expected the film to be a redemption story for the protagonist trying to assimilate back into society after prison, but the film quickly took a left turn that I was not anticipating and it was a role I’ve never seen him play before.” 

    straight time peter rainer
    Rainer touched upon the fact that Straight Time was not a film that gained a lot of traction, and felt that was partly due to the fact that the role of Max Dembo was such a deviation from Hoffman’s usual beloved underdog characters. Instead, Rainer shared, the film got more attention for the events that occurred behind the scenes; citing the litigation battle between Hoffman and First Artists Production Company over the creative rights to the film after the shooting had gone 23 days over schedule and $1 million over budget.  

    Sharing his film critic expertise, Rainer advised, “A good way to look at a scene is to think about all the different ways it could have been shot, and then decipher why it is the director chose to portray it in that specific way,” specifically referring to scenes in Straight Time that contributed to the depiction of Hoffman’s character as a hardened criminal versus an individual in unfortunate circumstances. 

    Additionally, Rainer commended the film’s use of film noir techniques while also effectively humanizing the characters and removing the glitz of Los Angeles to portray a more realistic story. In turn, students in attendance were able to compare and contrast the film’s strategic use and deviation from classic film noir.       

    Peter Rainer Straight Time
    New York Film Academy thanks Peter Rainer for taking the time to share his knowledge and critical expertise with students.

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    December 12, 2019 • Acting, Film School, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 721

  • Fall Season of New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Student Directed Play Series Finishes Strong

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    The New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Acting for Film department finished off the Fall Season of their Student Directed Play series with two successful productions of Three Days of Rain, written by Richard Greenburg and directed by Alex Giarratano, BFA Acting for Film, and Private Lives, written by Noel Coward, and directed by Sara Sedran, BFA Acting for Film. The plays were mentored by full time faculty Riley Steiner and Cathy Giannone.

    Three Days of Rain is a play by Richard Greenberg that was commissioned and produced by South Coast Repertory in 1997. Three Days of Rain was nominated for the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

    “During the production of this show, one of the biggest things I learned was how to have total faith in my actors and crew to help me execute my artistic vision,” says student director Alex Giarratano of the experience. “I would say directing a play and getting so much help from my cast and crew restored my faith in humanity to some degree. I greatly look forward to tackling this process again and I just want to give you my thanks one more time for giving me this opportunity.”

    Private Lives is a 1930 comedy of manners in three acts by Noël Coward. It concerns a divorced couple who, while honeymooning with their new spouses, discover that they are staying in adjacent rooms at the same hotel. Despite a perpetually stormy relationship, they realize that they still have feelings for each other.

    After touring the British provinces, the play opened the new Phoenix Theatre in London in 1930, starring Coward, Gertrude Lawrence, Adrianne Allen and Laurence Olivier. A Broadway production followed in 1931, and the play has been revived at least a half dozen times each in the West End and on Broadway. The leading roles have attracted a wide range of actors; among those who have succeeded Coward are Robert Stephens, Richard Burton, Alan Rickman, and Matthew Macfadyen, and successors to Lawrence have included Tallulah Bankhead, Elizabeth Taylor, Elaine Stritch, Maggie Smith, Kim Cattrall, Penelope Keith, and Lindsay Duncan. Directors of new productions have included John Gielgud, Howard Davies, and Richard Eyre. The play was made into a 1931 film and has been adapted several times for television and radio.

    “I’ve always wondered what a director’s job was until I decided to direct a play for the first time,” says Sara Sedran about her experience. “It’s hard—even harder than I expected it to be. In it I found happiness, excitement, disappointment, frustration and what it means to be tired, because you are dedicating 120% of yourself to something you care about. I learned what passion means and how it helped me carry on and not give up. I learned about trust. Trust for my actors and crew members, but most of all trusting myself no matter if other people don’t. I learned the power of decision making and what it takes to be determined. 

    Directing is very much like drawing on commission with a permanent marker—you start from scratch to create your art piece, you choose all your tools but you can’t erase, only adjust and on top of that you only have a limited amount of time. Even though it might not sound like it, it’s the most fulfilling experience.”

    If you are interested in directing a play at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus, we are now taking submissions for next semester’s Student Directed Play series until December 9. Please see the flyer below—we are especially seeking scripts with global impact and cultural diversity.

    Student Directed Play Fall Series 2019

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    December 5, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 815

  • New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Photography Department – Fall 2019 Newsletter

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    Amanda and PDN 

    Our full-time faculty Amanda Rowan has won the prestigious PDN Curator Award. This is a biennial award given to five photographers for exceptional fine art images. Rowan received this year’s recognition for her photo project Ritual. This series examines the intersection of seduction, mysticism, and performance within the realm of modern reproductive politics and traditional mating rituals.

    Rowan attended the opening and week-long group show in New York City this past month. Photo District News produced the event, led by Holly Hughes. The group show was curated by:

    Brent Beamon, Director of Flowers Gallery – NYC
    Coco Conry, Gallery Director of Jackson Fine Art
    Pauline Vermare, Cultural Director of Magnum Photos New York

    The images from the winning photographers was published in October’s issue of PDN, focusing on fine art photography. 

    FAYN exhibition 

    FAYN’s latest iteration The Unseen Body arrived in September. We had a great turnout celebrating the launch of Issue #006! We exhibited the work in our Photo Arts Gallery, Los Angeles, and gave free copies of the magazine to all attendees. 

    The Unseen Body was inspired by the need for diversity in the representation of the human body in mainstream media. We hope to prompt deep discussions about how, as global imagemakers, we use our medium to make images of meaning. Our bodies carry us from our first day to our last. They are the holders of our stories; every blemish, scar, and mark is a part of us. Our bodies are inherently and uniquely our own and cannot be duplicated. And yet daily we are bombarded with images that tell us otherwise.

    Magazines available for sale HERE. 

    Lane Barden – The Elevated Eye: Aerial Photography Past and Present

    Lane Barden’s current exhibition at the Forest Lawn Museum examines the history of aerial photography, from its origins in the nineteenth century to the boundary-pushing technologies of the 21st century. It assembles nearly 150 images and 14 minutes of video, as well as satellite models and drones. 

    The exhibition includes photographs from Forest Lawn Museum’s permanent collection that have never been displayed, as well as works from the Getty Research Institute; Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens; and the Special Collections of Los Angeles Public Library. The Elevated Eye: Aerial Photography Past and Present also features the work of David Maisel, a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow in the Creative Arts and Jenny Odell, a multi-disciplinary artist and writer. The exhibition includes more than twenty images and mesmerizing video footage by the drone pilot and photographer Chen Ming. Moving beyond the stratosphere, The Elevated Eye features historical images from NASA as well as the work of Erwan Rivault, a French geographer who uses data from European Space Agency satellites to create stunning images of natural wonders on the Earth’s surface.

    The Elevated Eye: Aerial Photography Past and Present will be open to the public from October 10, 2019 – March 8, 2020
    Forest Lawn Museum, Forest Lawn-Glendale
    1712 S. Glendale Avenue
    Glendale, California

    Photo LA

    This year the Photo Arts Conservatory will exhibiting and putting on educational programming at Photo LA. Photo LA is a collaborative platform that links the international photography community–world-class artists / photographers, galleries, dealers, and publishers. This four-day event takes place January 30 – February 2nd, 2020 at The Historic Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, CA.

    In addition to exhibiting student and faculty work, educational panels will be part of the event:

    Friday Jan. 31, 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
    Artist and Curator: Lane Barden and Getty Curator discuss Lane’s work in the Monumentaily exhibition at the Getty. The curator will also break down how the show was curated. 

    Saturday Feb. 1,  4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
    Social Media Giants: Thoughts and Advice on Instagram
    Baz Here (MFA student at PhotoArts) and Alejandro Ibarra (MFA Alumni), both who have strong Instagram followings will discuss their use of Instagram as a platform, how they got their following, and what they see the future of Instagram to be for photography. 

    Saturday Feb. 1,  5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
    Photo Reps: The Inside Scoop
    Maren Levinson (RedEye), Jen Jenkins (Giant Artists), and more will be in dialogue about the current trends in photography and the role reps are taking as things change within the industry. 

    We will be exhibiting work from students, alumni and faculty. Here are some highlights from our curation:

    Service Learning: Pet Shoot 

    On December 2, our first-semester Lighting I students will be visiting the South LA pet shelter to photograph dogs and cats animals in need of a home. As part of our service and learning engaged curriculum, we are asking the students to evaluate three areas of service learning as they participate in this photoshoot and event: 

    Perspective Taking: the ability to engage and learn from perspectives and experiences different from one’s own and to understand how one’s place in the world both informs and limits one’s knowledge. 

    Social Responsibility: the ability to recognize one’s responsibilities to society–locally, nationally, and globally–and to develop a perspective on ethical and power relations both across the globe and within individual societies.

    Cultural Diversity: the ability to recognize the origins and influences of one’s own cultural heritage along with its limitations in providing all that one needs to know in the world. The students will submit final images that they shoot and a 1.5 page reflection paper in response to their experience. 

    Darkroom Class

    The black-and-white film photography class at NYFA is headed by Andrew Hall and has the darkroom at its heart. Offering hands-on experience of the art and craft of photography, this is our orange-lit haven in today’s storm of digital and manipulated imagery. 

    Getting back to the DNA of photography, students are introduced to the liberating process of creating their own images from scratch. This begins with processing their own films, then editing from contact prints, right through to creating beautifully crafted black-and-white prints, with a rich tonal range that remain unchallenged in their immediacy. The physicality of the entire endeavor enriches the photographers’ ability to communicate with their audience, and grants them ownership of the work in a unique way, when they have brought their whole project to life by their own skill, diligence and judgment. 

    The darkroom may be a Victorian creation, but thanks to the continued commitment of NYFA students and faculty, its creative relevance continues to evolve. 

    Sony Event 

    This year NYFA was selected to be invited to Sony’s EDU Class of 2019 Immersion Event in Los Angeles September 27-29, 2019. This is an annual workshop bringing together creators from the EDU community. Students and faculty expressed their creativity while learning from experienced coaches, along with the chance to win some great prizes! After the workshop, on October 3rd, there was an exhibition where students submitted work to be shown on display.

    Sony’s EDU Team and Artisans of Imagery lead a fabulous workshop for NYFA Photo students with Nino Rakichevich – Fashion Photography, Katrin Eismann – Street Photography, and 

    Brooke Shaden – Fine Art: Your Unique Style. They also held workshops in video with Eyenamics – Telling a Story, and Jeff Berlin – FS Series on Set.

    All attendees received a swag bag and had a chance to win a Sony Alpha camera with lens.

    If you want to be involved next time or have questions, please reach out to Sony directly at EDU@sony.com or (858)942-0099

    Alumni News

    Our BFA Alumni Lotta Lementti was featured in a cover story for Float Magazine for her contemporary Still Life Images. “With the series The Ordinary, I want the viewer to share my sense of wonder and joy in the ordinary objects of everyday life. I want to give the audience a moment to appreciate the things we so often take for granted and overlook.” 

    Our Current BFA student Eric James Cabral is working on a personal project documenting iconic rap and hip hop artists, including Big Boi from Outkast and Ice Cube.

    Graphic Design and Social Movements Class

    Our Graphic Design and Social Movements class covered the history of the relationship between print, design, and social justice movements. In addition to this, students were also introduced to the digital and analog skills required to develop a graphic design practice that responds to a social issue. Topics we covered included: the abolitionist press, suffragist press, early environmental and labor movement press, various printmaking collectives, anti-war media, agit-prop, street art as intervention, and aspects of social media’s potential for advocacy projects. 

    We explored a variety of US and international graphic design styles, uses, and purposes as they relate to specific moments in various struggles for social justice. We surveyed these technological and stylistic specifics and the impacts design has played in launching, growing, and spreading these transformative moments through the social fabric. At the heart of the class was the necessary intersectionality of contemporary social movements that link racial capitalism, gender oppression, ableism, homo- and transphobia, and ecological devastation with each other. 

    Through this lens we looked back at the politics and movements of the past century (and a few examples of further in the past) to examine how movement graphics, presses, and arts collectives have built an inspiring constellation of liberatory determination for designers and activists of today to draw on. Students engaged with this history and potential by planning, designing, and printing their own publications that related to an issue or concern of their choice. 

    Sneak Peek to the new FAYN, which is now a class:

    We are currently in production on our latest issue of FAYN, Gender and Sexuality.

    We are privileged to publish FAYN in LA and be within an academic environment that encourages diversity of thought and expression. Despite this, we as a society are still systematically plagued by gender-based discrimination and sexual oppression. For this next issue of FAYN we will focus on imagery and content that examines your beliefs, constraints, and ideas of gender and sexuality.

    We sought work that examines desire and the free expression of all genders and sexualities towards liberatory futures that free heteronormative patriarchal constructions that we have been conditioned to adhere to. 

    Now Casting: Actors and Models

    Photo Newsletter November 2019

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    December 2, 2019 • Faculty Highlights, Photography, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 839

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Production Workshop Motionlapse From Start to Finish

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) instructor James H. Coburn had a brand new camera he was still playing around with, and thought it would be a cool idea to take a motionlapse video of one of his classes—and he was right, it was cool.

    The camera was a DJI Osmo Pocket, which can shoot in several modes including both time-lapse and motionlapse. Timelapse involves capturing an individual frame at set intervals, which helps show the passage of time over a much shorter time frame. Motionlapse involves the same concept, but with a pan or tilt in the camera movement.

    Coburn put the DJI Osmo Pocket to the test over the course of a production workshop, where students from the Fall MFA in Cinematography program shot a film in a garage on a very hot day in Burbank, California—home of NYFA-Los Angeles.

    Student director Derek Johnson filmed a process shot with a green screen and automobile over the course of several hours. All the students in the class had something to do on set and were busy throughout.

    The motionlapse, which slowly pans across the set in what results in just two minutes of footage, capture the day’s shoot, which lasted over three hours, showing the students’ hard work as if honeybees in a hive.

     

    Interested in working on a New York Film Academy production workshop one day? Check out the programs NYFA has to offer here.

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    November 25, 2019 • Cinematography • Views: 625

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Alum Carlos Bolio Recording New Music

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum Carlos Bolio has traveled the world making music, and will soon be recording a new project in Los Angeles.

    It’s not Bolio’s first time in Hollywood—in the summer of 2013, he attended the 4-Week Acting for Film workshop at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus. There, he strengthened his skills in the craft and worked hands-on with state-of-the-art equipment, learning better techniques for interviews and producing video clips to help boost his career.

    Carlos Bolio

    Bolio originally hails from Mexico and has performed in his home country as well Spain, singing in front of thousands of people. He plays piano and guitar as well as producing and composing original music, and has worked for Warner Music Group.

    Additionally, Bolio is aspiring to act in both Hollywood and on Broadway. New York Film Academy congratulates Acting for Film alum Carlos Bolio on his success so far and looks forward to seeing where his talents take him next!

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    November 22, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1679

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Acting for Film Alum Vicente Almuna’s ‘Sepia’ Generating Lots of Buzz

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    Sepia, a film written, directed, and starring New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Acting for Film alum Vicente Almuna, has been generating a ton of buzz since entering the festival circuit.

    Vicente Almuna

    NYFA alum Vicente Almuna

    Almuna originally hails from Chile and enrolled in the MFA in Acting for Film program at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus in 2016. While studying at NYFA-Los Angeles, Almuna learned skills not just in acting but behind the camera as well.

    He put those skills to work with Sepia, which he scripted and directed as well as starred in. The film tells the story of a man rejected from reentering his country of residence after visiting his country of origin. Due to being a former immigrant, he is prohibited from coming back to the place where he has built his life and relationships. Separated from his wife, he decides to undertake a journey by foot across the desert in order to be reunited with his love.

    Trailer Sepia from Vicente Almuna Morales on Vimeo

    “I believe we are going through very fervent times where a lot of meaningful events are occurring all over the world,” Almuna tells NYFA. “The violence and hate that humankind is experiencing nowadays, with fanatic nationalism rising in different parts of the globe; the terror of a next world war; the disputes between races and the immigration banning; or the desire of some countries to lock themselves hermetically from the rest of the world and people.

    “There is too much to be concerned about and I am not going to be just a simple witness of all that is going on around me,” he continues. “This is why I want to discuss about this, to talk about all this. To make a choice from an individual that has been living through this and has a perspective and something to say. I want to talk about my world and I want to create worlds about my world and contribute to make awareness and step by step, build a better place.”

    The film, co-directed by Luis Sánchez and produced by Sommer Saqr, has struck a nerve with festival audiences. Sepia has picked up awards for Best First-Time Director (Independent Short Awards), Best Actor (Independent Short Awards), and Best Cinematography (El Paso Film Festival), and has been nominated for Best First-Time Director (Queen Palm International Film Festival), Best Actor (Queen Palm International Film Festival), Best Dramatic Short (StoryMode Short Film Awards), Best Original Story (StoryMode Short Film Awards), Best Actor (StoryMode Short Film Awards), Audience Award (StoryMode Short Film Awards), and Best International Short (South Texas International Film Festival). Additionally, Sepia has screened at numerous other festivals.

    “NYFA taught me the primordial concepts and training to proceed on my own creative writing adventure,” Almuna describes when asked about his experiences studying at the Academy. “I understood the concept of try, fail, redo, try again. I understood the ideas of drafts, having my last script version after sixteen drafts. And I could keep on changing and modifying it eternally. I think every real and true artistic process never meets an end, it never reaches perfection. We could infinitely try to make it better.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Acting for Film alum Vicente Almuna on the success of Sepia and looks forward to following his career as it grows!

    Vicente Almuna

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screens Groundbreaking VR Film ‘Agent Emerson’ with Director and BFA Filmmaking alum Ilya Rozhkov and Filmmaking Team

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) recently hosted a screening of groundbreaking VR action film Agent Emerson, followed by a Q&A with award-winning writer, director, producer, and NYFA BFA Filmmaking alum Ilya Rozhkov; Associate Producer & VP of Development of the Rogue Initiative, Bradley Etheridge; and Line Producer and NYFA alum, Radhika Womack. The event was held on Friday, November 15 at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus, with the president of the NYFA Broadcasting Club, Derek “DJ” Johnson II, moderating.

    BFA Filmmaking alum Ilya Rozhkov has directed award-winning shorts including Wes-Andresonesque Sabre Dance, starring Olympian Greg Louganis as Salvador Dali. His films have been distributed worldwide, featured on NBC, and screened at over 50+ festivals; winning numerous awards including Best Picture and Best Director. 

    Agent Emerson Ilya Rozhkov
    As a lead development executive at Rogue Initiative, Bradley Etheridge is responsible for input for both creative and business development. Etheridge’s diverse range of duties includes working with directors, writers, and producers on film, TV, and VR projects; managing Rogue’s internal team of game developers; and interfacing with contacts in various industries for everything from investment to content distribution opportunities. 

    Radhika Womack began her career producing commercials in the Indian film industry. Since moving to the United States, she has produced a number of feature films, shorts, documentaries, and music videos. Her most recent credits include producing the feature film In This Gray Place and line-producing Agent Emerson.  

    DJ Johnson II opened the Q&A by asking how the idea of Agent Emerson came about, highlighting the fact that Rozhkov conceptualized the film’s story with Womack during their time as students at NYFA.

    The VR film allows the audience to see an action movie from the 360-degree POV of its hero. The film, starring Andrew Bowen, Lyndsy Fonseca, and Tony Denison, has toured with Samsung and Verizon Media in a series of events in several states and recently had its successful red carpet premiere with high-profile guests from major Hollywood studios, Silicon Valley, the Producers Guild, the VR industry, and several Academy Award nominees.

    Agent Emerson Ilya Rozhkov

    “It was a very long planning process; about a year of it,” Rozhkov shared. “When I thought about it for the first time, I tried to figure out what would make it unique as a storytelling medium, just like people were with movies 120 years ago. So when the script was there and the concept was there, we started looking into technology and it simply did not exist, so I sat down with engineers and we had to create technology to make this possible.” 

    Johnson continued by inquiring how you set a frame that is 360 degrees. Rozhkov joked by saying, “Just like how there is no spoon in The Matrix, there is no frame in VR.” Rozhkov continued, “It’s storytelling through location and it’s a cinematic medium for sure, but it takes a lot from theater and it takes a lot from gaming. There’s no storytelling laws, especially when we started, so we had to find what works and just like any film, figure out the storytelling language.” 

    When asked about what the biggest challenge the filmmaking team faced during production, Womack expressed, “The biggest challenge was the technology. There’s so many unknowns in filmmaking already, and here you just triple that. It’s just sitting and brainstorming all the things you need even though there’s a lot of similarity with regular productions and other narratives. You have your locations, your permits, your crew, and the camera is taken care of, but again it’s a much bigger department than you would have on a regular film. The biggest challenge was to let everyone in every department know the difference: if you can see the camera, the camera can see you.” 
    Agent Emerson Ilya Rozhkov

    The Q&A then opened up for questions from the audience. A student asked the filmmaking team, “How did you combine the digital assets with the footage from your camera while maintaining the stereoscopic effect of the film?” 

    Rozhkov answered, “Everything was carefully measured, and we had a lot of sensor data from set that helped a lot. 360 degree video has a lot of limitations, especially when it comes to 3D, so we utilized game engine to bypass some of them. The film tracks in real time where you’re looking and adjusts the 3D accordingly.” 

    New York Film Academy thanks BFA Filmmaking alum Ilya Rozhkov, as well as Bradley Etheridge, and Radhika Womack for sharing their VR film and expertise with our students. Agent Emerson will be released on Oculus Rift (Go and Quest), HTC Vive, and Cosmos on November 22. 

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    November 19, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Virtual Reality • Views: 1087

  • New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Associate Dean and Filmmaking Chair Collaborate for ‘The MisEducation of Bindu’

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Prarthana Mohan recently won the Indiana Spotlight Award for Best Director at the Heartland International Film Festival for her film The MisEducation of Bindu; NYFA Los Angeles Chair of Filmmaking Ed Timpe co-produced the film.

    The feature-length comedy tells the story of a bullied high school sophomore from India who must seek help from her classmates after forging her mother’s signature to test out of high school and discovering the test has a fee she cannot afford. The film co-stars Priyanka Bose, Megan Suri, and David Arquette (Scream, Never Been Kissed.)

    The MisEducation of Bindi was executive produced by the Duplass Brothers (Togetherness, Room 104) and was directed by Mohan, who co-wrote the screenplay with Kay Tuxford and co-produced the film with Ed Timpe. 

    The Miseducation of Bindu
    The production was shot in Indiana, where Timpe went to school, and is tied deeply to the community. “We really want to take the film back to Indiana,” Mohan tells IndyStar. “We want to take it back to Indianapolis and the communities nearby because they were so gracious and kind and welcoming.”

    The film screened at the state’s 28th annual Heartland International Film Festival, Indiana’s largest and longest-running fest. This year’s festival, which ran from October 10 – 20, featured more than 100 independent films, 200 visiting filmmakers, and 300 film screenings.

    New York Film Academy congratulates the filmmakers on the success of their film The MisEducation of Bindu and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Prarthana Mohan on her well-deserved Best Director award!

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    November 1, 2019 • Faculty Highlights, Film Festivals, Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 926