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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism Update

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    When last we encountered New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism grad Bryanna “Red Carpet” Reynolds, she was quitting a paying job in Australia to follow her dream to Los Angeles. And while she has only been there a matter of months, she seems to have settled in very well! But her big break came on a “black carpet.”

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    🎬RED CARPET REPORTING IN HOLLYWOOD! Dreams come true 😍 So happy to be reporting for @redcarpetreport I spoke to the stars of American Horror Story @ahsfx at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on the ‘black carpet’ celebration of AHS celebrating their 💯th episode ✔️ Still can’t believe this happened 😍 A year ago I was dressed up as a bird/pumpkin being boiled in a cauldron on a Kids’ show and this year I am interviewing on red carpets in Hollywood 🤣 Believe in yourself and chase your dreams! Thank you so much to @redcarpetreport for believing in me 👏 and allowing me this opportunity 🤩 Content will be available online soon! Stay tuned for more next week 💕 Thank you to my family, friends and colleagues who also believed in me and got me this far! I couldn’t have done it without you all 💕 . . . . #producer #believe #reporter #tv #dream #achieve #broadcast #aspire #journalist #goals #la #aimhigh #media #bryannareynolds #lovemylife #hollywood #losangeles #freespirit #positivevibes #aussiesinla #beyou #australian #australiansinfilm #americanhorrorstory #fx #redcarpet #ahs #hollywoodforevercemetry

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    Another alum who is doing well, this time in New York, is Nicole Abebe. Nicole is back from Lagos, and getting some NYC media experience. She writes, “I’m a commerce reporter at the Daily Mail. So I write articles on fashion, beauty and lifestyle products.”

    International students who complete the 1-Year Broadcast Journalism conservatory are eligible to remain and work in the United States for one year, in order to receive Optional Practical Training (OPT).

    Sometimes it takes a while for news to make its way from Tokyo to New York. So I just learned about a NYFA alumni event that took place in Japan a little while ago. Ryo Matsuo was there to represent the Broadcast Journalism department. (That’s him on the right, in the picture below.) Ryo is a busy multimedia journalist in Tokyo, putting into practice the skills he learned at NYFA.

    Ryo Matsuo Broadcast Journalism Update

    And speaking of graduates, congratulations to the September 2019 4-Week Broadcast Journalism students. Here they are on Graduation Day. I will leave it up to you to pick out the two faculty members in the picture. Here’s a hint…Daniel Hernandez and Fabiola Torres.


    Finally, I am not a NYFA grad. I have been at the school for 6+ years, and I still don’t have a certificate. (Obviously I am not applying myself…) However, I know enough to be heading back to Kazakhstan in early December to co-teach a 1-Week Journalism workshop sponsored by the US State Department. (I was there at a conference in April.) 

    Given that I don’t speak either Kazakh or Russian (the second national language), I am going to be relying a lot on NYFA faculty member Evgenia Vlasova. As all of our grads know, Genia’s Russian language skills are flawless!

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    November 14, 2019 • Broadcast Journalism, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1998

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Musical Theatre Alum Lisa Monde Stars in Off-Broadway Anne Frank Musical

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    Lisa Monde, an alum of the Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre at New York Film Academy (PCMT at NYFA) recently appeared in Anne Frank, The Musical, an Off-Broadway limited production that ran in September. 

    Monde plays Edith Frank, the mother of Anne Frank, the teenage girl whose posthumous diary has become one of the most read and discussed stories of the Holocaust. The production was the domestic Off-Broadway premiere of a successful French musical, and featured a dozen artists recreating the life of Anne Frank with music and lyrics written by Jean Pierre Hadida.

    Lisa Monde
    Monde hails from Russia and was one of the very first alumni of NYFA’s Musical Theatre program, having attended the 1-Year conservatory in 2009 at NYFA’s New York campus. She is an award-winning actress, singer, director and writer, who began her career in Europe and has since worked Off-Broadway in various plays and musicals. 

    Her credits include Dali’s Dream (Coco Chanel); Arsene Lupin VS Sherlock Holmes (AJ Raffles Holmes); The Elizabeth Taylor Story (Elizabeth Taylor); Ghost Writers (Mary Shelley); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Hippolyta); Of Mice and Men (Curley’s Wife); La Cage Aux Folles (Jacqueline); Dracula. Finding of a Shadow (Mina Murray); Teach Me How to Die (Poet); True Confessions of the Straight Man (Rebecca, various); and Romeo and Juliet (Lady Capulet).

    Additionally, Monde has appeared in the web series Existentialism and Callie and Izzy and starred in the feature film The Most Dangerous Man UVX by Future Proof Productions, which is set to premiere later this year. Monde has also has produced, written (book and music), and directed eight staged musicals and seven plays.

    “I am very honored and excited to be playing the part of Edith Frank,” says Monde of her latest role. “First of all, playing Edith is a challenge, in the best possible way. I remember, how when I studied at NYFA, we did character work and learned how to prepare as actors—thorough research, lots of reading, trying out different approaches and emotions for the character. And I do the work every time and apply those skills in my career pretty much every day!

    “Since it’s a musical—it’s not just about telling the immortal story of Anne Frank and her life in the Secret Annex, but also about expressing the feelings and complex emotional states of characters through music,” continues Monde. “Which brings me to the second exciting challenge—music. The composer and author of Anne Frank, The Musical, Jean-Pierre Hadida, has created a very complex musical score, which is meant for singers with great technique and extensive vocal ranges … I really hope that thanks to the rich musical material, very important story—which we all should remember and never forget—and an interesting creative approach of the director/producer, David Serero, this musical will extend its run and find its way to Broadway!”

    Lisa Monde Anne Frank
    Monde was joined in the cast of Anne Frank, The Musical by David Serero (Otto Frank), Kristyn Vario (Anne Frank), SaraKate Coyne (Margot), Wendell Hester (Peter), Jacob Waid (Herman Van Pels), Mackenzie Tank (Augusta Van Pels), Erik Contzius (Fritz Pfeifer), Jordan Flippo (Miep), Alex Schecter (Slammer and U/S), and Emily Samuelson (Ensemble and U/S). The production was directed by David Serero and adapted into English by Dylan Hadida. Performances were held at the Center for Jewish History and ran from September 11 – 24, 2019.

    New York Film Academy congratulates PCMT at NYFA alum Lisa Monde on her latest role and wishes her success as her career, both on- and off-stage, continues to grow!

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    October 1, 2019 • Musical Theatre, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1872

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alumni Debut Feature Film ‘Cheerleader’

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking alum Irving Franco debuted his first feature film, Cheerleader, produced in collaboration with two fellow NYFA alumni, brothers Dario and Fabián Vejarano.

    Irving, who grew up in Brooklyn, graduated from NYFA’s 1-Year Filmmaking conservatory in 2008 at NYFA’s New York campus. There he met fellow 1-Year Filmmaking student Dario Vejarano, who originally hails from Spain and who shot Cheerleader as director of photography. His brother Fabián attended NYFA’s 8-Week Screenwriting workshop in July 2014.

    Irving Franco Cheerleader

    NYFA alum Irving Franco

    “My time at NYFA was really important to me,” says Franco. “That’s where I met some great friends and long-term collaborators. That’s where I had the chance to try things, experiment, mess up, and learn. Filmmaking is not easy, but it is a deeply rewarding experience. NYFA is where that started for me.”

    Franco’s hard work, networking, and experimenting paid off as he was able write and direct a feature film, Cheerleader, which has gone on to perform well on the festival circuit since its premiere. 

    The film tells the story of Mickey, a promiscuous teenager reeling from heartbreak who seeks calculated revenge on her ex-boyfriend. To date it’s been an Official Selection for a dozen film festivals across the country—including the New Orleans Film Festival, Atlanta Film Festival, and Florida Film Festival—picking up several nominations and awards along the way, including two special jury prizes and a top 40 ranking out of 7,500 Slamdance Film Festival submissions.

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA alumni Irving Franco, Dario Vejarano ,and Fabián Vejarano on the success of Cheerleader and encourages everyone to check out the film, available now on iTunes and Amazon video.

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  • New York Film Academy New York (NYFA-NY) Chair of Cinematography Piero Basso Shoots New Features & TV Series

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    It’s been a busy year for cinematographer Piero Basso, AIC—in addition to becoming the new Chair of Cinematography at New York Film Academy New York (NYFA-NY), Basso has recently seen the premieres of two feature films he worked on as director of photography and will soon be seeing the debut of a television series he shot.

    Basso, who originally hails from Italy and was an instructor at NYFA for years before becoming Cinematography Chair, served as director of photography for the feature film Working Man. The film received a strong welcome at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, with Basso’s cinematography especially highlighted in a positive review from The Hollywood Reporter. 

    With a solid cast and great looking photography, the film is expected to have a strong run on the festival circuit and will hopefully reach a larger and larger audience.

    Piero Basso
    Dafne
    , a feature film Basso shot in Italy last summer, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in the Panorama section and went on to win the prestigious FIPRESCI award for Best Feature Film of Panorama. 

    The film has an upcoming release in Italy and has been already sold in several countries around the world (France, Spain, and Japan, to name a few), and will also most likely have a very strong festival presence. The film has been very well received by critics, including a positive review covering the film’s award-winning premiere at Berlin.

    In addition to the two features, Basso also shot a high-profile television series for one of Italy’s major networks, RAI. The series was shot over a year ago but its upcoming premiere will coincide with the tenth anniversary of the Aquila Earthquake, which is the fictional drama’s subject. Basso served as cinematographer for all 12 episodes of the high-quality series, which will be premiering later this Spring.

    These projects haven’t distracted Basso from his new duties as Cinematography Chair, however. “Since I became the Chair of the Cinematography department last fall I have been crazy busy figuring out how to run the program and make sure the student experience is at its best as it was with my predecessor,” Basso tells NYFA. “But now it’s starting to feel like the time to work on expanding and promoting the program to make sure it will find even better and more students in the future.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA-NY Chair of Cinematography Piero Basso on the premieres of his work and looks forward to seeing his further success in both cinema and with our students right here at NYFA!

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    March 2, 2019 • Cinematography, Faculty Highlights • Views: 1794

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) to Host National Bullying Prevention Month Screening of “Thirsty”

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    October is National Bullying Prevention Month and to bring awareness to the cause, the Filmmaking school at New York Film Academy (NYFA) is hosting a screening of Thirsty with its filmmakers. Described by as a “post-queer musical biopic,” Thirsty follows bullied girly-boy Scott Townsend as he grows into revered drag queen Thirsty Burlington, fighting obstacles along the way only to discover what he really wants is self-acceptance.

    The musical drama was released in 2016 and won Audience Choice for Best Narrative Feature at the Boston LGBT Film Festival, Best Narrative Feature at the Harlem International Film Festival, and the Jury Prize at the Portland Film Festival. It will be screened at NYFA New York’s 1st Floor Theatre on October 11th.

    Margo Pelletier directing Marilyn Matarrese and Deirdre Lovejoy

    Margo Pelletier directing Marilyn Matarrese and Deirdre Lovejoy

    The screening will be followed by a Q&A with producer Lisa Thomas, actors Jonny Beauchamp (who plays “middle” Scott Townsend), and Michael DiGioia (Uncle Gene), Choreographer Alexandra Amirov, and editor and NYFA alum Fabrizio Famá. Thomas is an industry veteran who has worked on Wonder Showzen and Ugly Americans. Beauchamp has appeared in Penny Dreadful and Stonewall. Famá has worked on many Italian feature films, documentaries, and shorts.

    The 97-minute feature film was directed by the late filmmaker Margo Pelletier, who was known for her exploration of gender and identity. She previously made the documentary Freeing Silvia Baraldini. Thirsty stars Scott Townsend as himself, lending a unique realism to its ability to tell a story based on his life. Deirdre Lovejoy (The Wire, The Blacklist) co-stars as Townsend’s addiction-addled mother Doris. Keith Leonard plays opposite her as Townsend’s absent and abusive father. Before her death, Pelletier had told Variety that a “good percentage” of the cast is LGBTQ.

    National Bullying Month began in 2006 by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. It was originally the first week in October and has since expanded to include the entire month. Studies have shown bullying causes “school avoidance, loss of self-esteem, increased anxiety, and depression.” Learn more at StopBullying.gov. If you or someone you know is struggling, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline online or at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You may anonymously report cyber bullying here and also find help and resources here.

    Prior to the Thirsty screening, NYFA will also be hosting a Wellness Day event from noon to 5pm on the 5th floor student lounge in NYC. View some statistics on bullying below:

    National Statistics

    Been Bullied
    • 28% of U.S. students in grades 6–12 experienced bullying.
    • 20% of U.S. students in grades 9–12 experienced bullying.

    Seen Bullying

    • 70.6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools.
    • 70.4% of school staff have seen bullying. 62% witnessed bullying two or more times in the last month and 41% witness bullying once a week or more.
    • When bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time

    Watch the trailer for Thirsty below:

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    September 21, 2018 • #WomenOfNYFA, Diversity, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Musical Theatre • Views: 3488

  • Alum Ludovic Coutaud Brings Lunatic Clowns to the Drama Book Shop

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    New York City is a thrilling and challenging place to be an artist. For NYFA Acting for Film Conservatory alum Ludovic Coutaud, creating site-specific shows crafted to play off iconic performances spaces within the city has helped him forge a specific and entirely original path as a performer, producer, and creative director.

    Coming up this summer, Lunatic Clown And Cie, the international theatre company Coutaud founded and serves as artistic director, brings The Book Wives Club (or The Closeted Beards) to the iconic Drama Book Shop library. Here, he tells the NYFA Blog what it’s like to perform original clown shows in New York City, and why it’s important for artists to produce their own work.

    NYFA: First, can you tell us a little bit about your journey and what brought you to NYFA?

    LC: I studied Acting for Film at NYFA in 2011, and had a blast learning from this very talented faculty. I had visited the campus two months prior as a New York tourist with my parents and loved the idea of studying acting in another language among other foreigners. That is something that makes New York Film Academy such a strong, diverse school. We were 12 students in my class and only three Americans were present. I remember liking to call my class the United Nations of NYFA.

    NYFA: Why acting and directing? What draws you to storytelling through performance?

    LC: I started directing in Marseille, France where I am from, with my first acting teacher directing the end-of-year kids’ shows. It was a true leap of understanding the craft even better, and I found myself being able to communicate my directions more specifically having known what it was like to receive notes. It also taught me the importance of collaboration.

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

    LC: I loved every class for several reasons. The one I discovered entirely and had the most fun with was maybe Maggie Reed’s TV Sitcom and Soap Opera class during the second semester. These formats are very uncommon where I am from (especially the laugh tracks in the background). I learned lots of new tricks and techniques that I still use to this day.

    NYFA: Tell us a bit about your company Lunatic Clown And Cie. What inspired you to start the company, and how do you juggle your multinational and genre-bending productions?

    LC: I have written, directed and produced a dozen of shows in New York City under my name and I have developed a new style through these selections of projects. I’m now six years into the process — but I’ve been called a “clown” all my life!

    For those who know, clowning is a word that resonates out of the ordinary for certain cultures. For example, here in America clowns are often associated with birthday parties and dark serial killer stories. Well, my company, style, and the values behind every show aren’t remotely close to that. I call my clowns “tall children,” or poetic souls. Many names could be found. The style is complex.

    When I first discuss it with the actors involved in my company, I share information with them — like a chart of what to do and not do, and how to find the goal to achieve. Each clown piece is one simple, heartfelt story. I want to always find all the possible nuances and converse about the topic with all my clowns one on one.

    After 7 years juggling between the arts and other wonderful jobs, I have luckily been able to maintain my main target to why I came to New York in the first place. That’s also why it was time for me to brand all of my style under a name that would be catchy, mysterious yet personable: Lunatic Clown And Cie.

    NYFA: As a producer and performer, what challenges do you face when creating your shows, and how do you overcome those challenges?

    LC: Producing a show is hard work, yes, but if you do believe thoroughly in the project, things seem to flow a bit more. Throughout the years, struggles have shifted. My hat of producer joins creative, executive (financing), and supervising roles. Where other projects would hire three people, I found myself loving to do these three positions. My style being different, I needed to have very strong collaborators by my side who would understand me 100 percent. From show to show, I have found that person to assist me along the way on one or two projects, co-direct or even invest in the shows — and most importantly, friends who believed in my work.

    To this day, gathering a group of passionate risk takers, willing to join a community of artists and be clowns, has been a challenge. From all these hats, I would say I added the one of “eager artist hunter” to amplify the panel of the performers who I had the chance to work with.

    NYFA: Your summer show The Book Wives Club (or The Closeted Beards) uses clowning to explore the theme of denial. What an interesting combo — what led you to this theme? Why this show, now?

    LC: The Book Wives Club (or The Closeted Beards) takes on the very important theme of denial indeed because it has been a subject of mine for a long time. My first short play Denial was a success, also at the Drama Book Shop, in 2016. It was a piece with words and lots of audience members came to find me afterwards and said, ”Did you write this? Thank you. I would love to see more about that theme from you in the future.”

    I remember thinking how interesting that was, so I did find the inspiration to write two new pieces: Look at Me, and now this one. This time, I decided to explore that major topic through physicality only. Again, you realize that clowning and performance art here is the same family for me.

    Timing is very interesting and the society we live in fascinates and aggravates me at the same time. I had a list of eight shows of mine waiting around and I picked this one because I got the Drama Book Shop. This the third time that I have contacted the Drama Book Shop team. Four pieces of mine have swept the stage of the Arthur Seelen Theatre already and this time I had decided to rock the library.

    That location is ideal for several reasons; it is an actor’s temple, it gathers stories waiting to be told, it is a pleasure to work with the staff and is a centered location for many involved. The show is not Rated R but for everyone. This piece is for all. I look forward to discussing this piece with the audience members.

    NYFA: What’s next for you and The Book Wives Club (or The Closeted Beards)?

    LC: The Lunatic Clown And Cie show Voyage will be next at the New York New Works Theatre Festival 2018 at Theatre Row in September.

    NYFA: Would you say that your time at NYFA was at all useful for preparing for the work you are doing now?

    LC: NYFA was indeed very helpful since I had the chance to work on several student films and learned from other departments and teachers. My curiosity and the proximity of campuses made me eager to keep learning and that hasn’t changed.

    Congratulations, Ludovic! If you’re in New York City, get your tickets for The Book Wives Club (or The Closeted Beards) here.

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  • NYFA DOCS got off to a great start in the 1st Quarter of 2018

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    We seem to be beating industry’s 50-50 in 2020 goal, and docsters are killin’ it across the board.  

    In January alone…

    An Academy Award nomination landed Documentary Filmmaking Instructor Kristen Nutile in Oscar’s limelight as Editor of the  Netflix original doc, Heroin(e).

    October Films promoted Louis Mole (’13) to Head of Development

    Sundance gave Documentary Cinematography Instructor Claudia Raschke some serious love, lauding her work as director of photography of the acclaimed, RBG, featuring her on the celebrated “Women Who Shoot panel. You’ll find Claudia-centric articles include American CinematographerFilmmakerIndiewire, etc.

    With a two-minute micro-doc, alum Gary Bencheghib (’14) moved the President of Indonesia to launch a massive cleanup of the most polluted river in the world. The initiative will employ 7,000 people for seven years, stopping millions of tons of plastics from reaching the ocean each year, and radically improving the lives of 20 million people along the river.

    And then came February…

    A Sniper’s War, the first feature doc from director Olga Schechter (‘14) premiered to rave reviews at two top festivals, Santa Barbara International Film Festival and Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.

    “Powerful and disturbing.” – Hollywood Reporter

    Superb cinematography.” – Hollywood Reporter

    “Stunning.” – Counter Punch

    “The most chillingly frightening killer imaginable. – Film Threat

    A 9 out of 10.” – Film Threat

    Schechter scored these key reviews despite the lack of a release date, a publicist, or even a production company. A good, old-fashioned bidding war immediately broke out and it looks like Journeyman Pictures has won worldwide rights with a promise of theatrical release. A Sniper’s War has since gone on to win multiple festivals including Best Foreign Documentary at the Academy Award Qualifying, Arizona Film Festival. (With the new eligibility rules, the Arizona win almost certainly qualifies the film for the Oscar race. The Academy will confirm their new list of qualifying festivals later this spring, so we’ll know for sure then.)

    In other February news, Netflix premiered doc series First Team: Juventus, edited by Andrea “Fuma” Fumagalli (‘09), which “is produced with elegance and cinematic finesse,” and “ultimately reminds us of the simple beauty of the beautiful game.” – Sports Illustrated 

    Documentary Producing Instructor Dorottya Mathe also premiered her feature, The Independents, at SBFFThe Hollywood Reporter likes it too, especially, “the way in which it subverts all the clichés of the star-is-born story,” and pronounces it, “an extremely engaging film.” Graduate Erica Wong (’14) assisted Dorottya on the production, and fellow NYFA Instructor Piero Basso served as DP. Documentary Instructor Jessica Wolfson’s feature, Hot Grease followed its Discovery premiere with VOD roll out on Discovery Go.

    March didn’t miss a beat either…

    Wynona Barbera (’16) took a walk on the fiction side and produced El Cat which became an Official Selection of the hip, HBO Women in Comedy Festival.

    Furlough, the second 2018 fiction film from NYFA Documentary Instructor Dorottya Mathe (Production Supervisor) opened in theaters. The female-driven comedy starred Academy Award winners Melissa Leo, Whoopi Goldberg and Anna Paquin.

    Back in the doc world, Invisible Killers: Ebola Virus, associate produced by Laura Snow (’13) for The Documentary Group aired on Discovery and Science Channel. (And is now available on Discovery Go.)

    Francesca Pagani produced The Italian Mafia’s Young Foot Soldiers and associate produced Inside The Two-Decade Fight to Bring Down a Confederate Monument, both for VICE.

    Weighing in for the 6-Weekers, Kendall Ciesemier (6-Week ’17), now a Mic staff producer, has created a series of pivotal social media micro-docs around the Parkland students’ anti-gun violence campaign, including Should This Responsible Gun Owner Surrender his AR-15? and Parkland Teen vs. NRA Member.

    Director/Producer Tarryn Crossman (‘12) won another SAFTA Award, this time for the hard-hitting MTV Shuga episode In Real Life. Mentions include: Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and Screen Africa.

    Mariko Ide (’16) edited her first piece for Google.

    Kristen Nutile edited Weed The People (directed by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein),  which premiered at SXSW — where Indiewire and Interview magazine both pronounced it a “must-see” film. And even People magazine gave it a write-up.

    The Stolen River, directed by Krisztina Danka (6-Week ’17), won Best Environmental Film at the Calcutta International Film Festival. That was after taking Best in Show at Cinema Verde International Environmental Film Festival, as well as awards at Independent Shorts Awards, Impact DOCS Award, LiFFT Filmotsav and others.

    Andrea “Fuma” Fumagalli (’08) premiered his first feature documentary, Amigos Del Tren, at San Diego Latino Film Festival.

    The Second quarter of 2018 is off to a great start as well. More on that shortly.

    One spoiler, though…

    Two documentaries nominated for Peabody Awards this year have NYFA Documentary School bloodlines: Heroin(e), edited by prof, Kristen Nutile and Newtown, Associate Produced/Associate Post Produced by Laura Snow (’13).

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  • Mariano Di Vaio Visits New York Film Academy Los Angeles Production Workshop & Guest Speaker Series

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    It was just another Production Workshop Thursday on the Universal Studios backlot in Los Angeles. New York Film Academy (NYFA) student crews sprawled across the European set searching for places to shoot, directors framed their shots, actors rehearsed their lines.

    Then he walked onto the backlot: Mariano Di Vaio, Italian fashion star, Forbes magazine top influencer under 30, and NYFA Acting for Film alumnus. Heads turned as he arrived to shoot a production workshop commercial with Directing Instructor Nick Sivakumaran and Cinematography Instructor Matt Kohnen.

    “It’s a dream come true to be on the backlot,” said Mariano. “I always said to myself maybe one day I could shoot something in Hollywood. And doing this student project, I feel like I’m rewinding back nine years to my student days.”

    In 2009, Mariano enrolled in an Acting for Film course at the New York Film Academy in New York. When he returned to his hometown of Perugia, Italy, he started a blog about men’s fashion that blew up on the web, netting him over 10 million followers on social media and enabling him to start his own clothing and hair product lines.

    Then he was back on a NYFA set collaborating with faculty and staff on a shoot designed to teach students and alumni how to film a commercial. It featured several of his brands: Mariano Di Vaio Limited Edition Hair Products, NOHOW clothing, and MDV Eyewear.

    Written by Nick Sivakumaran, who also directed, the commercial starts with Mariano walking past several NYFA crews shooting a variety of scenes. He notices one crew in particular — they are struggling to shoot a romantic scene between a guy and girl. The director is obviously frustrated at the lack of chemistry between them. Enter Mariano! He gestures to the director, “un moment,” takes aside the actor, and gives him a quick makeover using his hair products and sunglasses. Suddenly, the actor looks great, the actress is in love, and the director is thrilled! Mariano leaves as everyone looks at him in amazement and wonders, “Who was that guy?” 


    The fake crew consisted entirely of NYFA Acting for Film students and alumni. Ezra Ramos (Fall ’17 BFA Acting for Film), who played the actor and was styled by Mariano for the commercial, reported that “Mariano just opened up his suitcase and said ‘what’s your size’?” Then he rifled through the suitcase to hook Ezra up with MDV Collection suede loafers and a tropical white NoHow shirt festooned with tiny palm trees, pineapples, and bananas.

    Gulshan Salamli (Spring ’17 BFA Acting for Film) played the role of the unimpressed actress, and she said the shoot with Mariano was a very different experience from the usual production workshop. “Mariano is the star, obviously, and it is interesting to work with him, to play a supporting role and observe how much input a star has on set. I realized it’s okay to be in the shadows, that I can express myself yet serve the project at the same time.”

    Fake crew member Mackenzie Leslie (Summer ‘16 One Year Acting for Film) said she learned a lot on set, pointing at a huge flag on a C-stand that was blocking the bright California sun. “This production workshop has way more equipment than I’ve seen before,” she said.  “I’ve never filmed with a dolly. I’ve seen shots that were made that way, but never been in one.”

    Meanwhile, actors Elizabeth Otaola (Summer ‘16 MFA Acting for Film) and Christopher Rybka (Fall ‘15 AFA Acting for Film) discussed Mariano’s career. “He’s not a traditional actor. He’s inspired me to explore other options and ways of having an acting career,” said Elizabeth, who played the director. “Everything is going to evolve. Television and film will change in the next 20 years.  Smart people should be paying attention to that and create their own content and know about marketing.”

    Christopher concurred, saying, “It’s very unique that Mariano has used Instagram as a marketing tool to get out there rather than going to auditions and hoping someone picks him up.”

    The following night, Mariano entertained a full house of students at the NYFA Theater with humorous and informative tales about his career in a Q&A moderated by Film Festivals Advisor and Liaison Crickett Rumley. He emphasized the importance of setting small, achievable goals in pursuit of big dreams, and of approaching every task, learning opportunity, and job with passion — an outlook he attributed to his instructors at NYFA back in 2009.

    When asked what advice he had for students starting an Instagram account for the first time, Mariano replied,“I would start with videos if I had to start from scratch, because right now I think they are the key. The algorithm has changed, so it’s harder for people to just post photos.” More specifically, he “would definitely put up something about comedy because positivity, that’s what people like. Being happy is what people want to get from their phones.”

    Most importantly, Mariano encouraged students to do exactly what they had been doing when he walked onto the Universal backlot — collaborate with as many people as possible to increase social media following. “If all of you guys here start to do something together, even a small project, you already can reach how many? 10,000 people for sure.” Another reason to collaborate: “Sometimes when you talk and do something with other creative people, something better comes up, better than what you can do by yourself.”  

    Speaking of collaboration, the Mariano Di Vaio/NYFA Los Angeles commercial project will drop on social media sometime in May. Be on the lookout!

    Update – Here’s the NYFA/MDV collaboration for Hair Bello!

    And here it is !! The @hair_bello movie is here! Hope you guys love the amazing work we did at the Hollywood Studios in Los Angeles ! Comment if you liked the old hairstyle better or not!❤️?

    A post shared by Mariano Di Vaio (@marianodivaio) on

    NOTE: in addition to the students quoted above, the shoot also featured Paulina Hilla (Fall ’17 BFA Acting for Film) and Amber Satcher (Fall ‘16 MFA Acting for Film).  

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  • New York Film Academy Alumni to be Featured at ArtExpo in NYC

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    Every year, thousands from the art industry attend ArtExpo New York in search of trendsetting art and artists that will be shown in galleries worldwide. Hosting more than 35,000 avid art enthusiasts annually, ArtExpo is the largest international gathering of qualified trade buyers — including gallery owners and managers, art dealers, interior designers, architects, corporate art buyers, and art and framing retailers.

    Kingi Kingibe's photography

    Kingi Kingibe’s photography

    There will be 400+ innovative exhibiting artists, galleries, and publishers from across the globe, showcasing exciting original artwork, prints, paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography, ceramics, giclee, lithographs, glass works and more — all under one roof at Pier 94.

    New York Film Academy artist/alumni featured at ArtExpo 2018 include:

    Kingi Kingibe: From Nigeria, Kingibe has explored the devastating effects of cotton; from its role in the enslavement of African American people to its damaging effects on the planet. In a recent exhibit, the artist framed cotton plants in gold and transfers stunning portraits of Black women in vintage cotton clothing onto actual raw cotton. The exhibit juxtaposes the ubiquity of cotton with its barbaric origins.

    • NYFA alum Jon Henry

      Photos by NYFA alum Jon Henry

    Jon Henry: Henry graduated from the New York Film Academy Photography School’s 1-Year Conservatory and is a teaching assistant at the New York City campus. In his visual artwork, he focuses primarily on the black family and the community at large. He also explores the representation of athletes in fine art. His Stranger Fruit in Smack Mellon’s Hot Picks 2017 and you can read about him on the NYFA blog.

    NYFA alum Ana Paula Tizzi

    NYFA alum Ana Paula Tizzi

    Ana Paula Tizzi: The work she will be showing is entitled Dear Fubá, which illustrates her father’s advice via letters from Brazil. She uses photographs and cinemagraphs (photos with certain features that are animated). The artist says, “Among these are how to achieve self- acceptance, the importance of moderation and the need for persistence in work and life.”

    Alejandro Ibarra: LGBTQ+ families are often labeled “non-traditional,” and NYFA MFA grad Ibarra photographs both straight and LGBTQ+ family portraits in his series Piece by Piece, and addresses the irrelevancy of sexual orientation as it pertains to how families are classified.

    Photography by NYFA Alum Alejandro Ibarra

    Photography by NYFA Alum Alejandro Ibarra

    Natasha Rudenko: Bodily Confessions examines “femininity, national identity, and gender politics as a Russian born, white woman living in the United States.” Rudenko comes from a conservative background in Russia so her viewpoint is a unique one. The artist says, “This project is about my journey of recognizing and interpreting my whiteness, my body, my power, my presence and place through photography.

    Natasha Rudenko photography

    Natasha Rudenko photography

     

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  • New York Film Academy Students Attend Red Sparrow World Premiere

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    From its home base at the crossroads of the world, students at the New York Film Academy’s New York City campus are often at the cutting edge of industry news and events. This week, NYFA students received an exclusive invitation from 20th Century Fox to the world premiere of one of the season’s most-anticipated films: Red Sparrow.

    NYFA students dressed in their best business attire for the opening, and had a chance to see director Francis Lawrence together with the films stars Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton, who attended the Feb. 26 premier at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.

    Based on the book by Jason Matthews, Red Sparrow is a spy thriller starring Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton. The story follows ballerina Dominika Egorova, a young woman forced by necessity to navigate a complex web of international intrigue, violence, and intelligence when she is persuaded to join Sparrow School, a training ground for elite secret agents.

    In order to survive and regain control of her life, she must learn to play the game better than anyone else. The all-star cast also includes Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker and Jeremy Irons.

    While NYFA students were treated to this VIP World Premier, audiences across the U.S. will have a chance to see Red Sparrow in theatres nationwide on March 2.

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    February 27, 2018 • Community Highlights, Entertainment News, Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 2947