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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum John Saponara Starts Portrait Series While Working to Make PPE Equipment for Healthcare Workers

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    From businesses to hospitals to schools to families, COVID-19 has forced people into a season of great change and uncertainty, causing people to adapt to new circumstances in the age of social distancing. For many, this has been a cause for reflection and doing their part to stay alert and distance themselves in public. For others, like NYFA Documentary alum John Saponara, this has been a time of giving back to the community and utilizing creativity to bring awareness and hope to others. 

    John Saponara grew up in Yonkers, New York, a suburb just outside of New York City and recalls, “from as young as I can remember I wanted to be a photographer.” His photos have since appeared on book covers both nationally and internationally, including the New York Times bestseller Eat Pray Love. He also founded the crowd-sourced project, Picture Black Friday, and his commercial clients include: Sony, Intel, HP, Oprah, and New York Magazine, just to name a few.

    A volunteer packing face shields in Bednark Studio (Photo courtesy of John Saponara)

    Saponara has been working at Bednark Studio and volunteering his time with other organizations, while also documenting workers and volunteers who continue to make the community safer by providing personal protective equipment (PPE) and additional supplies for individuals and families in the age of COVID-19. 

    Bednark Studio, a full service fabrication company in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, has been Saponara’s source of inspiration for documenting what is happening behind the scenes. “It’s there [Bednark Studio] that my portrait project formed,” he says. The portrait series follows the workers and volunteers who are working day and night to create PPE like face shields for medical workers or dividers for Uber/Lyft drivers.

    Portrait of a volunteer in Bednark Studio (Photo courtesy of John Saponara)

    “In the portraits, I’m there as a worker, so I do them when I can in my breaks or in a spare moment,” says Saponara. “In both cases, I don’t want to interfere; just be the proverbial fly on the wall.” The photographs are symbols of those who are working behind the scenes in NYC and all over the world, who are actively volunteering their time or working additional hours to provide PPE equipment or additional, essential supplies for others.

    Masks for Docs volunteer headed to deliver PPE (Photo courtesy of John Saponara)

    Another group Saponara has been volunteering with has been Masks for Docs, formed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. “They connect PPE with doctors and medical staff that need it,”  he explains. “Motorcyclists help get where it [the supplies] needs to go.” The grassroots organization is composed of volunteers from the tech, business, arts, and members of non-profit communities, who have banded together to make a difference for healthcare workers not only in New York City, but all over the world.

    A volunteer for Brooklyn Mutual Aid buying supplies (Photo courtesy of John Saponara)

    Saponara also mentions Bushwick Ayuda Mutua, who help “get food on the table of the neediest families in Brooklyn.” In just one weekend alone, Saponara mentions that he and other volunteers were able to feed 200 people in need. “We collect donations of food and money and use those collections to buy groceries that we then deliver to families.”

    Saponara says the groups that he has been able to work with and document are “a combination of the private sectors innovation and the power of people and community to get things done to bring about change effectively and efficiently.”

    New York FIlm Academy thanks alum John Saponara for his service to the community and for sharing his portrait series, and encourages anyone who is interested in learning more about each organization to click the links above for more information on how to get involved.

    To view more images from Saponara’s portrait series and his other works, click here.

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    May 29, 2020 • Alumni Events, Community Highlights, Documentary Filmmaking • Views: 199

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alumni Direct Music Videos in Collaboration with Josh Homme’s Desert Sessions

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) filmmaking alumni Gabriele Fabbro and Jonathan Samukange were given the opportunity to collaborate with Josh Homme’s super group, the Desert Sessions, to create two diverse and unique music videos for two of the tracks off the Desert Sessions’ latest album, Vols. 11 & 12.

    The Desert Sessions is a musical supergroup formed by Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, who has been hosting his “Desert Sessions” retreats since 1997. Each session involves a different group of well-known musicians mixed with unknown talent, who come together in the desert to simply play music and experiment with new techniques and melodies.

    Official photo courtesy of the Desert Sessions musical collective

    “It is a really creative project that Jonathan Samukange and I have had the pleasure to be involved in,” says Italian filmmaker and NYFA alum Gabriele Fabbro. “Matador records and Josh Homme reached out to NYFA looking for filmmakers to shoot music videos for their latest album Vols. 11 & 12. We had a great first meeting with Josh [Homme], where he explained the nature of the sessions.” After pitching their ideas for their videos, Fabbro and Samukange were selected by Homme and given a production budget to create two videos for the Desert Sessions.

    Still from “If You Run” (Directed by Gabriele Fabbro)

    Fabbro’s video, “If You Run,” follows a young woman who witnesses something terrifying in the woods and tries to escape. The director’s inspiration for the video was taken from deadly attacks on European journalists. “I used to read a lot of news about murders,” says Fabbro. “I remember one [story] in particular that happened in a cornfield. That article came to mind while hearing ‘If You Run’.”

    Filmmaker and NYFA alum Gabriele Fabbro

    “I wanted to play with tension,” says Fabbro. “I wanted a video that would keep the audience at the edge of their seat.” To portray this, Fabbro made sure that every aspect of the video embodied a sense of fear and unease for the viewer “Every tool in the video, from the shakiness of the handheld shots to the distorted sound of the radio, serves to exaggerate this fear.”

    The second video created for Desert Sessions was for the song “Move Together,” directed by NYFA Filmmaking alum Jonathan Samukange, who is also known as “Director O.” His video, filmed in his home country of Zimbabwe, is a reimagining of the story of Adam and Eve. The video enlisted residents of an entire village and utilized the region’s stunning natural landscape to create “a time capsule” and hallucinatory trip through time.

    “Move Together” (Directed by Jonathan Samukange)

    Before being involved with the project, Samukange says he wasn’t planning on staying in the U.S because his vision is to “change the face of cinema in Africa and bring new opportunities.” When he initially pitched his vision for the video, he knew it could only be filmed in his home country of Zimbabwe. “It was a huge risk, but I believed in my heart that the people in Africa have a lot to offer and that’s what I was bringing to the table.”

    Filmmaker and NYFA alum Jonathan Samukange

    When asked about his vision for the video, Samukange stated, “the theme of love and working together [in the lyrics] as well as the conflict that comes with such connections took me back to the time of Adam and Eve.” He explained that their love “created conflict in their lives and they still stayed together through thick and thin.” He wanted his audience to also feel the attraction of opposites and conflict by combining two opposite elements for the video. “I immediately fell in love with the idea of fusing rock and Afro House dance moves. In my opinion, when cultures clash, new relationships and ideas form.”

     

    New York Film Academy would like to congratulate both Gabriele Fabbro and Jonathan Samukange on the release of their videos for Desert Sessions and looks forward to seeing what both alums will come out with next. NYFA also encourages everyone to check out Desert Sessions Volumes 11 & 12, out now, on Matador Records.

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    May 28, 2020 • Alumni Events, Filmmaking • Views: 80

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Welcomes Golden Glove Nominated Actress Beanie Feldstein

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    On Monday, May 11, New York Film Academy (NYFA) had the pleasure of hosting a live video Q&A with Golden Globe American actress Beanie Feldstein on the occasion of the national release of her latest film How to Build a Girl, in which she has a starring role. Tova Laiter, Director of the NYFA Q&A Series, moderated the event.

    Beanie Feldstein grew up with a love of theatre and the arts, which led her to pursue musical theatre and eventually a career in acting. “I was obsessed with musicals,” she tells Laiter. “It was all I ever wanted to do [to perform]. I did community theatre my whole upbringing.” After her senior year of college studying Sociology, Feldstein decided to begin auditioning for acting roles and eventually landed her first speaking role on Orange is the New Black in 2015 followed by Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, The Female Brain, and the HBO pilot for The Devil You Know; launching Felstein’s screen actor career.

    Tova Laiter & Beanie Feldstein discuss Feldstein’s prep for her latest film ‘How to Build a Girl’

    Feldstein’s SAG nominated performance in Greta Gerwig’s Oscar-worthy Lady Bird that Feldstein cemented her rise to prominence. That same year, she starred as Minnie Fay in the Broadway revival of Hello Dolly! alongside Feldstein’s hero and Broadway legend, Bette Midler. The musical went on to receive a Tony Award for “Best Revival of a Musical” and Feldstein received critical acclaim for her performance on the live stage.

    Feldstein was then cast in the highly anticipated film Booksmart, which served as actress Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut and Feldstein’s first role with top billing. The role earned her a Golden Globe nomination for “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy” and the film went on to win the 2020 Independent Spirit Award for “Best First Feature.”

    Beanie Feldstein as Johanna Morrigan in ‘How to Build a Girl’

    Following a screening of the film’s trailer, Laiter opened up the Q&A by commenting on how Feldstein was able to nail her British accent and asked her how she first came to be involved with the production.

    Feldstein read the script for the film while she was still performing onstage for Hello Dolly!. As she read the script, Feldstein recalls that she couldn’t help but feel that she knew this character. “She loves the world, she loves to write, she really is a giving and imaginative spirit, and I just knew her even though I grew up in Los Angeles and was born in the ‘90s. Caitlin’s writing is so deeply felt and it sparkles.” When Feldstein called her agent back, she remembers telling him, “I’ve never been more scared of anything in my life, ever, but I HAVE to try.”

    After co-starring with Kaitlyn Dever in Booksmart, Feldstein remembers being really nervous and excited all at once for landing the starring role and leading the entire cast for How to Build a Girl. “I thought, ‘What do I want the crew and the cast and Coky [Giedroyc] to remember me by?’ Then I remembered I’d rather be kind than good in a scene.”

    Saorise Ronan (left) and Beanie Feldstein (right) in Greta Gerwig’s ‘Ladybird’

    A filmmaking student then asked Feldstein how directors can better work with their actors when on set, to which Feldstein responded, “the greatest gift all of the beautiful and incredible directors that I have worked with have given me is a feeling of stability and calm.” Feldstein then recalled her time working with Olivia Wilde on Booksmart and how Wilde would say, “sets are like construction sites.”

    “Stay very calm and clued into what they [your actors] are doing and what they are feeling because there is so much beautiful chaos on a set, especially when you are in a time crunch,” Feldstein replied. “The greatest gift you can give is to just say ‘it’s you and me, I’ve got this, and I’m here for you’.”

    Feldstein on set during the filming of ‘Booksmart’ with co-star Kaitlyn Dever

    Feldstein then concluded that, overall, no matter what role you play on a film set, take advantage of as many opportunities as possible, and if you lose a job, put yourself in another person’s shoes. “You might be perfectly right for something, but if not, it’s the other girl or guy’s best day of their lives. If you don’t get something, it’s the best day of another person’s life.”

    New York Film Academy would like to thank the gracious Beanie Feldstein for sharing her time and expertise with the students and encourages everyone to watch her latest starring role in How to Build a Girlnow available to stream, and to keep an eye out for Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky in Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story: Impeachment, which has yet to start production.

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    May 18, 2020 • Guest Speakers • Views: 70

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) AFA Acting for Film Alum Hayden Szeto Featured Netflix Original Film ‘Tigertail’

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) AFA Acting for Film alum Hayden Szeto recently appeared in a supporting role in the Netflix original film Tigertail. The NYFA alum, also known for his roles in coming of age drama The Edge of Seventeen, Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare, and NBC’s hit comedy television series The Good Place, plays the supporting role of Eric in the Netflix film.

    Film poster for Netflix’s ‘Tigertail’

    The film is an authentic drama loosely based on the experiences of director, writer, and producer of the film, Alan Yang. Yang, well known as a writer and director for hit shows like Parks and Recreation and Master of None, wrote Tigertail as a personal tribute to his upbringing by his immigrant parents.

    The story follows the boyhood, young adult, and adult stages of Pin-Jui, who comes from a poor upbringing in Huwei (“tiger tail”), Taiwan. When Pin-Jui, who longs to go to America to provide a better life for his mother, is offered an opportunity to start a new life there, he takes it; even if it means marrying his boss’ daughter in a loveless marriage. The story then follows Pin-Jui and Zhenzhen’s [his now wife] in their new life in America. They raise their daughter Angela in their new home and, eventually, the film’s story flashes forward to Angela’s adulthood as she navigates her relationship with her estranged father and her boyfriend Eric, played by Szeto.

    Szeto on set filming ‘Tigertail’ for Netflix

    Tigertail loosely follows Yang’s own father’s life when he immigrated from Taiwan to New York in order to chase the “American Dream.” The film was released by Netflix on April 10, 2020, and has since received positive responses from many critics, who note the heartfelt and emotional subject matter of the film and its characters.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Hayden Szeto on his role in the Netflix drama and encourages everyone to check out Tigertail, now streaming on Netflix!

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    May 13, 2020 • Acting, Alumni Events • Views: 367

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Producing and Filmmaking Instructor Denise Carlson Produces ITS A DOG’S LIFE on Disney+

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    Not all heroes wear capes, but they do have fur. It’s a Dog’s Life, an upcoming Disney+ docu series explores the incredible role that many dogs play to make the lives of others better. New York Film Academy (NYFA) producing and filmmaking instructor Denise Carlson is one of the producers on the series that will be available on the Disney streaming platform May 15, 2020. 

    It’s a Dog’s Life is hosted by voiceover legend Bill Farmer, known for his iconic role as Disney’s Goofy, as he crosses the country to meet different dogs doing incredible jobs or extraordinary activities and explores the special bond between dogs and humans. 

    Title card for ‘It’s A Dog’s Life’

    Carlson, who had previous experience with Disney while working at Disney Channel, was a clear fit for this project given her past production experience and her enthusiasm for animal foster care and animal rescue. “Seriously, there is nothing about working with the dogs that I did not love,” Carlson tells NYFA. “But my favorite part of this project is actually the people involved. We have an amazing group of people who came together to put this show together.”

    Each episode of It’s a Dog’s Life explores a new dog that goes well beyond just fetching the stick in the backyard; dogs like Monte, the latest celebrity dog who starred in the recent live action adaptation of Lady and the Tramp. “It [the show] fits right into the Disney brand, in general, especially since there have been so many dogs in Disney shows and movies,” says Carlson. “It also crosses cultural boundaries- I mean, who doesn’t like dogs?”

    Carlson with Monte, dog turned actor featured in ‘Lady in the Tramp’

    With so many different stories featured on the show, Carlson says the one that sticks out the most is the episode dedicated to SuperCorgi Jojo, the surfing corgi. “It is incredibly touching. Jojo started surfing as therapy after a bad injury,” she says. “Jojo is the happiest little dog and you can tell he loves what he does.”

    Carlson with SuperCorgi Jojo, the surfing corgi

    New York Film Academy congratulates filmmaking and producing instructor Denise Carlson on her new series It’s A Dog’s Life and encourages everyone to celebrate man’s best friend and all the wonderful things dogs do for us by watching It’s A Dog’s Life when it comes out on May 15, 2020 on Disney+.

    Watch the trailer for It’s A Dog’s Life below:

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    May 13, 2020 • Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights • Views: 513

  • New York Film Academy’s Inaugural Virtual Industry Pitch Fest

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    The New York Film Academy’s New York campus Producing Department hosted their first ever Virtual Industry Pitch Fest on May 4, 2020. Students in the Fall 1-Year Conservatory Program in Producing presented their “final” feature film pitches to a group of esteemed producers, casting agents, and production executives, who gave feedback to the Producing students over the course of the day. 

    Film producer Chris Bongrine listens to a NYFA student, Alice Shy, give her “final pitch”

    Industry Guests included Chris Bongirne (Marshall featuring Chadwick Bosemen,, I Am Legend, featuring Will Smith) along with Dan Hank (Former executive in charge of production for Netflix/Marvel and AMC Networks), Darren Dean (The Florida Project, Tangerine) and Eve Pomerance (Son of the South, sadly Brian Dennehey’s most recent and last film).

    Industry professional Dan Hank shares feedback with NYFA Producing student, Caspian Khonigh

    Producing instructor Nick Yellen organized the event and said, “students received detailed critiques on their presentations, along with invaluable industry advice and strategies on how to further their projects toward production. More importantly, students made valuable industry contacts and found it exciting, informative and… nerve-racking!”

    NYFA Producing student Richard Payne recounted, “Monday’s Virtual Industry Pitch Fest was definitely nerve-racking at first. It was the first time my “final pitch” was done virtually. My classmates and I would have liked for it to be in person, but due to the current state of the world that clearly wasn’t going to happen. With that being said, it went really well.” He continued, “It was a great experience to practice pitching with real industry professionals. Nick Yellen does a great job in preparing his students for the “final pitch” and for pitching [stories] in the real world.”

    Producer Eve Pomerance discusses Camille Rao’s “final pitch”

    When asked about the Virtual Industry Pitch Fest, Producing Chair, Neal Weisman, said, “this is the culmination of months of students’ work, and it’s gratifying to see it all come together on this new online platform.” Weisman also concluded, “this is exactly the kind of interaction our students will encounter when moving into the industry. The Pitch Fest also serves as a terrific networking opportunity.”

    Producer Darren Dean listens as a NYFA Producing student, Christine Aberyuf, gives her “final pitch”

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) would like to thank special guests Chris Bongrine, Dan Hank, Darren Dean, and Eve Pomerance for providing their industry expertise and constructive feedback for NYFA student’s final pitches. NYFA would also like to congratulate its Producing students for presenting outstanding work as a culmination of their hard work and creativity.

    For more information on the Producing School at New York Film Academy, click here.

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    May 6, 2020 • Producing • Views: 731

  • ‘Variety’ Names New York Film Academy as a Top Film School for Fourth Year in a Row

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) was recently announced as one of Variety’s “Top Film Schools for 2020.” This is the fourth consecutive year that NYFA has been included in the annual report for Variety’s selections of academic filmmaking institutions worldwide. The report, “The Entertainment Education Impact Report: The Top Film Schools and Educators From Around the Globe,” is created to identify cutting edge film schools that lead the way for students to have “successful careers in the entertainment biz.”

    The schools included in this list are known for their excellence in filmmaking education, guiding their students with “structure and encouragement and artistic expertise.” Due to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the 2020 report also listed colleges implementing remote learning to keep students optimistic and engaged through the pandemic.

    Since March 2020, NYFA has offered online workshops available in film directing, acting, cinematography, documentary, photography, producing, screenwriting, editing, game design, broadcast journalism, and a list of musical theatre online classes. The courses are designed around remote learning and include live interactive instruction and one-on-one sessions with the instructor. Online workshops are also offered through NYFA Australia to accommodate for Asia-Pacific and Australian time zones. Throughout April to June, teens and kids after-school online workshops are also being offered. The instructors who are teaching online workshops are uncovering innovative ways to virtually bring the film industry to the student’s homes.

    “Our new online model has worked surprisingly well,” said Andrea Swift, Documentary Filmmaking Chair. “We’re making just as many films, and so far, our students have used the “limitations” of social distancing as opportunities to create some extraordinary work. Creativity loves an obstacle.”

    The Variety report continued by highlighting NYFA’s various creative disciplines that “span all forms and platforms,” beyond filmmaking. The piece also mentioned the large volume of programs at NYFA, including the fine arts degrees, graduate opportunities, conservatories, and youth programs offered year round. Variety also commended NYFA’s exceptional faculty and staff, who are all working industry professionals that are active in their respective fields. Additionally,Variety praised NYFA’s state-of-the-art facilities and equipment at campuses and locations worldwide.

    Since 2017, NYFA has been included in Variety’s Entertainment Education Impact Report, first acknowledging NYFA’s superior accelerated creative programs. Variety also called out filmmaking accomplishments of NYFA graduates, which included screenings at Venice, Toronto, Sundance, Cannes, and SXSW film festivals. Recently, NYFA alumni from the producing and cinematography programs have worked on exciting projects such as the “Tiger King” and Awkwafina’s award-winning film “The Farewell.”

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    April 27, 2020 • Academic Programs, Entertainment News, Film School • Views: 466

  • New York Film Academy Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre (PCMT) Welcomes David Yazbek and Anna K Jacobs for Musical Theatre Workshop

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    On March 3rd, the Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre (PCMT) participated in a master class with Tony Award-winner David Yazbek and New York Youth Symphony Musical Theater Songwriting Program (NYYS). The master class was hosted at New York Film Academy’s (NYFA) New York campus.

    The composers in the NYYS songwriting program vary in age from 12-22 years old.  Under the guidance of the program director, Anna K. Jacobs (2020 Jonathan Larson Grant recipient), the young songwriters chose moments from the animated Pixar film Inside Out to set to music in a verse/chorus musical form. Students from the Harlem School of the Arts, as well as students from the New York Film Academy, were assigned different songs, rehearsed with the composers, and then performed the songs in front of David Yazbek and an audience.

    David Yazbek (Left) and Anna K. Jacobs (Right) share with PCMT, NYYS, and Harlem School of the Arts students

    Yazbek offered feedback on all of the compositions to the NYYS songwriters. Siya Simanga (PCMT) sang a song called “Bing Bong Guide Song”, written by Grace Gamins, in which the character of Bing Bong (Riley’s childhood imaginary friend) offers Joy and Sadness help in getting back to headquarters.  Jordan White (PCMT) sang the final song of the night called “I Miss Minnesota”, written by Kayden Merritt and arranged by Simon Broucke, in which Riley confesses to her parents how sad she sometimes about leaving her childhood home.Jordan was joined by PCMT students Alexis Loiselle as Sadness, Jennifer Molson as Joy, Lucia Caballero as Disgust, Mario Greiner as Anger and Siya Siyamtanga as Fear.

    All of the NYFA PCMT students that participated and attended said it was very refreshing to hear the creative process talked about in a different way. Yazbek’s call to remain curious and explore multiple genres of music and types of culture was a valuable lesson for actors and composers alike and he  encouraged everyone to collaborate constantly with those around them. Several PCMT students commented later that they were struck by his kindness and humility as he offered feedback, even as his obvious expertise shone through.

    NYFA PCMT students perform their musical piece based on the Pixar film ‘Inside Out’

     

    After meeting PCMT’s music supervisor, Anna Ebbesen, at a workshop a few years ago, Anna K. Jacobs has had an affiliation with NYFA in several different ways. She composed music for an original movie musical, Kaya: Taste of Paradise, for the PCMT 2-Year program. The film was directed by NYFA’s Paul Warner, choreographed by head of dance, Michelle Potterf, with a book by Jerome Parker and music supervised and orchestrated by Ebbesen.

    Jacobs also did a reading of her show Echo as part of the NYFA “New Works Series ” with our musical theatre students. Ebbesen has also joined Jacobs at the NYYS Musical Theater Songwriting Program as music director. It’s true, having multiple “Anna’s” on email chains is confusing, but both of them are happy to have such a strong relationship with both the Harlem School of the Arts and the New York Film Academy, and they appreciated this opportunity to share new musical theatre with the next generation of performers and creatives.

    David Yazbek observes as students perform their musical pieces

    New York Film Academy thanks David Yazbek and Anna K. Jacobs for sharing an evening with NYFA PCMT students to provide constructive feedback and industry expertise. NYFA would also like to thank the New York Youth Symphony Musical Theater Songwriting Program for opening up the master class to NYFA PCMT students, and the Harlem School of the Arts for their participation and collaboration.

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    March 31, 2020 • Musical Theatre • Views: 1178

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism – March 2020 Update

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    Without a doubt, the spread of the COVID-19 virus is at the top of TV newscasts around the world. That’s not surprising. That said, it is “business as usual” for the Broadcast Journalism department. And even if we can’t meet in Manhattan, my office in cyberspace is functioning just fine.

    The Broadcasting Department connecting online

    Something else that has been transformed is the U.S. Presidential race. Big campaign rallies have been cancelled, until further note. But, before they were, NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Celina Liv Danielsen was traveling throughout the United States for Denmark’s TV2, and was able to capture when President Donald Trump arrived in New Hampshire.

    NYFA Alum Celina Liv Danielsen captures Donald Trump at his campaign rally in New Hampshire.

    As voters were getting ready for Super Tuesday and the selection of Democratic convention delegates in 11 different states, NYFA alum Karen Hua covered a Bernie Sanders rally in California for the NBC affiliate station in Bakersfield; note that she covered this event solo and posted on social media. TV news reporters are now expected to do so, as such
    postings are essential to building and maintaining audiences.

     

    Meanwhile, Brazilian Broadcast Journalism graduate Livia Fernanda had a far more pleasant assignment. She got to cover Carnival in Saō Paulo… but everything ended at midnight with the arrival of Ash Wednesday.

    NYFA Alum Livia Fernanda covers Carnival in Brazil

    Former NYFA student Suzane de Oliveira works for the French news agency AFP in Rio de Janeiro. An important part of her job is taking international AFP stories and repackaging them for the Brazilian TV market. Certainly one of the most moving stories I have seen in a long time was about a father in Syria, who found the best way to keep his young daughter calm as their town was under artillery and aerial bombardment was to make her laugh. Every time an explosion took place nearby, the two would burst into exuberant laughter.

    Of course, some of our Brazilian grads (like some of our Danish grads) find their way back to New York City. Mariana Janjacomo was reporting from in front of the New York Stock Exchange recently, explaining the confusing economic news. She works for Jovem Pan, the main Brazilian radio station based in São Paulo. It is also the largest network of radio stations in the southern hemisphere and Latin America. Like other legacy media companies, they’ve branched out into online video news.

    Thanks to all of you that passed along information about the NYFA Moscow Journalism Summer School (JSS). We received more than three times as many applications and queries as we have available openings. Successful candidates will be notified later this month.
    Finally, if the Cannes Film Festival takes place this May (and right now, that is a big “if”) my independent feature film Invisible Love will be part of the Marche du Film. I must admit I was seriously surprised when I received a copy of the latest poster for the film, and discovered I got top billing! If anybody’s names should be up there, it ought to be Vietnamese actress Hoàng Phượng and NYFA Acting for Film alum Kazy Tauginas. They portray the two characters seen walking on a beach, near Da Nang in Viet Nam, in the poster.

    Poster for ‘Invisible Love’

    Stay tuned for more.
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    March 19, 2020 • Broadcast Journalism • Views: 912

  • Editor at Large for Special Projects at ‘TIME’ Paul Moakley and Magnum Photos’ Moises Saman Lead Discussion with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography Students

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    On Friday, February 7, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted, along with Magnum Photos and Mana Contemporary, Magnum Photos photographer Moises Saman and Editor at Large for Special Projects at TIME Magazine, Paul Moakley. Both presented highlights from their body of work at NYFA’s New York campus and screened TIME Magazine’s documentary short, The Capital Gazette Won’t Be Silenced 1 Year Later, which was directed and shot by Saman, and produced by Moakley.

    Moises Saman, a member of Magnum Photos, began his career at Newsday, covering the fallout of the 9/11 attacks. Throughout his career, he spent most of his time in the Middle East, shooting monumental moments of conflict like the Iraq War, the Arab Spring, and the Syrian Civil War. “As a journalist, I’m a product of the time I’m living in,” he said when asked about his professional career and motivation for visual storytelling.

    Saman opened the discussion by recounting the start of his career in the newspaper industry. “It meant working really fast,” he says, emphasizing the constant deadlines and, at times, the personal sacrifice it took to get a story out. He then went on to describe how engulfed in his work he had become as a photojournalist, being constantly on the road 12 months out of the year. That kind of dedication, however, produced his stunning photographs capturing moments in time, like an image of a boy with a hunting rifle running through a sandstorm or another image he displayed of a man taming an Arabian horse, looted from one of Saddam Hussien’s palaces in Baghdad.

    Moises Saman (Left) and Paul Moakley (Right) speak with the audience | Photo courtesy of Cecilia Collantes, Magnum Photos

    Saman also discussed developing a professional relationship with Paul Moakley. Moakley, Editor at Large for Special Projects at TIME Magazine has managed TIME’s visual coverage of breaking news, presidential elections and key franchises such as TIME’s Person of the Year and TIME 100 for the past decade. Moakley was always interested in Saman’s work, but it took both of them at least 20 years until they ended up actually working together.

    Moakley opened up to the audience about how the professional relationship between himself and Saman evolved over the years from photographer and editor to producer and director. “It is incredibly cool when we work together,” he says, “it’s not a transaction, it’s a relationship.”

    Moakley, who recently worked with climate activist Greta Thunberg for the TIME’s Person of The Year for 2020, recalled when he asked Saman to shoot the TIME Person of the Year cover for 2018. This particular assignment meant Saman having to fly 30,000 miles around the world to shoot 18 people for 4 covers. This was the year TIME profiled “The Guardians and the War on Truth,” acknowledging slain reporter Jamal Khashoggi, imprisoned reporters Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone, Rappler founder Maria Ressa, and the entire staff of the Capital Gazette.

    Saman recalls meeting each person he photographed saying, “for me, the people on these covers, especially the two women (the wives of the two imprisoned reporters), had experiences I related to. It was an intimate experience for me.”

    Moakley and Saman then screened their documentary short about The Capital Gazette reporters one year after the shooting that plagued their newsroom and took the lives of five of their colleagues. Moakley and Saman recalled that this experience, for them, required the utmost amount of trust and time to cultivate the relationship with the paper. To this day, The Capital Gazette has not let any other outlet other than TIME profile them on such a personal level.

    New York Film Academy thanks Magnum Photos, Moises Saman and Paul Moakley for taking the time to share their knowledge, expertise, and experience with students and guests of NYFA.

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    March 9, 2020 • Guest Speakers, Photography • Views: 853