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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking Department Works With Ben’s Lighthouse

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    Last Spring, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Chair of Documentary Filmmaking Andrea Swift and NYFA Docs alum Braulio Jatar taught a micro-docs workshop to Newtown teenagers at Ben’s Lighthouse, a grassroots organization founded after the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

    Ben’s Lighthouse was founded to honor 6-year-old Benjamin Wheeler, one of the victims of the 2012 massacre. The organization is based in Newtown, Connecticut. Their motto—and mission—is “helping is healing,” and the organization uses local mentoring programs and national outreach service trips as part of their cause.

    Members of Ben’s Lighthouse were headed for a service trip to Louisiana. Andrea Swift, NYFA Documentary Filmmaking Chair, helped prepare them by teaching a workshop in micro-docs, which are typically very short, effective documentaries. Swift focused on story development, which is especially important in documentaries that have a very short window to captivate and engage an audience. 

    Once they returned from the trip, the members—led by group leader Sue Vogelman—came back to NYFA to edit their footage. NYFA Documentary Filmmaking alum Braulio Jatar worked with Swift and taught the members how to edit on digital software Adobe Premiere, as well as supervising their edit.

    Micro Doc: Newtown Workshop from New York Film Academy on Vimeo.

    Jatar graduated from both the Documentary Filmmaking 6-Week Workshop and 1-Year Conservatory at NYFA’s New York campus. Since graduating, Jatar has found success with his film, Where Chaos Reigns, co-directed with NYFA Docs alum Anaïs Michel. The film recently won the Golden Gate Award for Best Short Documentary at the San Francisco International Film Festival, qualifying Jatar for an Academy Award next year.

    The micro-doc was directed by Gigi Marino and Sam Henriques and is available on Vimeo.

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    July 18, 2019 • Documentary Filmmaking, Outreach • Views: 543

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Celebrates Red Nose Day 2019

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    On May 7, 2019 New York Film Academy (NYFA) Community Outreach in Los Angeles partnered up with our campuses in New York and South Beach, Miami to participate in “NYFA Red Nose Day 2019” for the international campaign to raise funds to end childhood poverty around the world. 

    Red Nose Day 2019

    The students, faculty, and staff of New York Film Academy actively participated in the event across all three campuses by donating and having their photos taken with red noses to raise awareness of Red Nose Day, the national fundraising campaign to end child poverty. 

    New York Film Academy board member and award-winning actor Matthew Modine came by to support the cause and brought along his Stranger Things co-star Sean Astin. This year, in addition to Red Nose day mascot Red, we were introduced to his friends with superhero powers to help keep children in the world safe, healthy, and educated: Scarlet, Rojo, Ruby, and Rusty.

    To date, the Red Nose Day campaign to help to end child poverty has raised nearly $150 million. The fundraiser is supported by NBC, Walgreens, Mars/Wrigley, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. You can read more about the charity here.

    Red Nose Day will return to NBC on Thursday, May 23, 2019. The campaign’s iconic “Red Noses” are available at Walgreens stores around the country. Please support the fundraiser here. Together, we can make a difference in lives of children all over the globe!

    Check out all of the great photos our students, staff, and faculty took for Red Nose Day below!
    New York
    Los Angeles
    South Beach, Miami

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    May 23, 2019 • Community Highlights, Outreach, Progressive & Social Causes • Views: 928

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Wraps Another Successful Outreach Filmmaking Workshop with BAFTA-LA

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) is passionate and dedicated to share the love for storytelling with everyone. In our dedicated efforts to give back to the community, New York Film Academy-Los Angeles has been running a filmmaking workshop in partnership with the British Academy of Film and Television Los Angeles (BAFTA-LA) for youth in need since 2012.

    During a 9-week intensive film program focused on telling stories, students from Washington Prep High School learned the foundations of filmmaking and how to make their own short films, from A to Z. They got a chance to shoot their films on professional Hollywood sets at the Universal Studios backlot. 

    Outreach BAFTA HS 2019
    The program culminated with a graduation ceremony on May 11 at the NYFA Theater, attended by students, friends and family, BAFTA-LA members, and NYFA faculty. 

    Sharyn Ross, Head of BAFTA Outreach Program, told NYFA after the ceremony:

    “Our Saturday graduation event was a huge success. The theater was filled with student filmmakers, and their families and guests. The films were terrific and were received with enthusiasm and lots of applause and laughter. The genres ranged from comedies to heartbreak romance, from campy horror to philosophical life lessons. After the screening, each filmmaker stepped up to the mic and shared their thoughts about their experience and how important this program is to them and the kids in their community. It was heartwarming and emotional.

    “Each of you played an intricate part in making this year successful. As each filmmaker acknowledged, it was hard work and when the semester began, they didn’t know if it was possible. With each Saturday building on the last, and with the support and patience of all of you standing by them, they learned a huge life lesson—no matter how hard something is, keep putting one foot in front of the other, don’t give up, trust your gut and those you are collaborating with, and you can depend on the grownups in the room that they won’t let go—and most importantly, that their stories and lives matter.”

    Outreach BAFTA HS 2019

    Students who attended the program also spoke about their experience over the past several weeks:

    “The BAFTA/NYFA program was a great experience that helped me harness and share what I love.”
    – Alony Shell

    “Working in the BAFTA/NYFA program was fun because I went to Universal Studios and was able to direct my own movie!”
    – Makyiaha Daniel

    “The Outreach program was a wonderful opportunity that helped me experience the wonders of filmmaking.”
    – Jermaine Plum

    “The BAFTA program has had such a positive impact on me. I’ve learned so much from writing and directing to camera and editing—it’s a great program and I hope to do it again!”
    – Dovely King

    “This program benefitted me in so many ways.”
    – Emag M.

    “I’m very grateful to be a part of this program which helped me learn new skills.”
    – David O.

    New York Film Academy expresses its gratitude for the opportunity to work with so many young talented inspiring filmmakers and thanks Washington Prep High School Film teacher Darryl McCrane, Head of BAFTA Outreach Program Sharyn Ross, and to all the other dedicated BAFTA and NYFA staff members who made this program successful. Their hard work and dedication helped the participants to not only develop their craft as young storytellers through making their own films, but also supported students’ confidence and creativity. 

    NYFA looks forward to many more years of outreach partnership with the British Academy of Film and Television!

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    May 21, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Outreach • Views: 453

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) and The Actors Fund Helps Young Students “Look Ahead”

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    On Friday, April 12, New York Film Academy hosted a filmmaking workshop for students participating in “Looking Ahead,” a program under the umbrella of The Actors Fund which provides education planning, counseling services, leadership, community service and social opportunities for professional young actors. “Our program’s all about giving students the opportunity to learn about the industry in a hands-on environment—beyond acting—to see what happens behind the scenes and broaden their perspectives,” shared “Looking Ahead” youth services specialist, Vy Nguyen.

    Actors Fund Actor's Fund 2019

    NYFA’s collaboration with The Actors Fund and “Looking Ahead” is part of our community outreach program, which strives to give young adults who are not typically given opportunities to express their voices and realize their dreams the chance to do so.

    The workshop, led by NYFA Filmmaking instructor Bart Mastronardi, provided a full overview of all the technical elements of shooting a scene, from lighting to camera operation to sound to set decoration and continuity. The students were enthusiastic learners and were complimented multiple times for their respectfulness and adaptability. Mastronardi was very impressed by the group; he informed them that their focus and politeness would take them far in the entertainment industry.

    Harry White, age 13, acted as a director during the workshop; he got to call “Action!” and “Cut!” as well as help out the lighting team. “I had a lot of fun today,” he said, “I learned a lot about how the camera works and the calls and what all the stuff means.”

    Actors Fund Actor's Fund 2019

    Justin Claiborne, age 12, had one of the most technically complex jobs onset: camera operator. When asked about his experience with “Looking Ahead,” he said, “I thought it was amazing; I always wanted to be one of the [camera operators]; it was really cool to have that experience.”

    KylieRae Condon, age 14 and one of the most inquisitive students in the group, performed another technically complex role—focus puller; it was Condon’s job to make sure that the actors were always in focus during shooting. “I had a lot of fun,” she said, “and I thought it was very informative and hands-on.”

    The New York Film Academy congratulates the bright group of young students on their successful completion of our filmmaking workshop and thanks The Actors Fund and “Looking Ahead” for all their assistance in the collaboration. 

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    April 16, 2019 • Filmmaking, Outreach • Views: 712

  • Duke Youth Media Camp Class of 2019 Graduates at New York Film Academy (NYFA)

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    On Saturday, March 30, the New York Film Academy hosted the graduation of the Duke Youth Media Camp class of 2019. The Media Camp—which kicked off its collaboration with NYFA on January 26 at our Los Angeles campus—is sponsored by the Duke Media Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by Bill Duke in 2010.

    2019 Bill Duke Camp Graduation

    Bill Duke, a filmmaking instructor at NYFA, is a veteran director and actor, known for high-profile roles in several television series and films, including American Gigolo, Black Lightning, Mandy, Predator, and X-Men: The Last Stand. He’ll also set to appear in the upcoming Steven Soderbergh film, High Flying Bird. At the 1991 Cannes Film Festival, Duke was nominated for the Palme d’Or for his film, A Rage in Harlem.

    The partnership between the Duke Media Foundation and New York Film Academy began in 2016, and their joint-effort Duke Youth Media Camp seeks to train and empower teens through hands-on instruction and by teaching students the tools and skills needed in a constantly evolving media environment. The Duke Media Foundation and NYFA aim to help inner-city youth become more competitive with those who’ve typically had greater access to the education and equipment needed in a television, film, and digital media landscape.

    The 2019 graduation ceremony was the largest ever with 16 graduates instead of the usual 12. When Duke Media instructor Lee Davis spoke to the students and their proud parents, he shared that this was the most talented group of students he had ever seen in the program.

    2019 Bill Duke Camp Graduation

    Michael Sandoval, a NYFA instructor involved in the program, added, “It was a pleasure to work with this group of students,” and said that the only time the students were ever told to quiet down was when they were laughing too loudly because they were having such a good time.

    Echoing Davis and Sandoval, Media Camp co-founder Carl Gilliard said, “I am so full today.” He continued, “Build a name that commands something [but] don’t forget to give back.”

    Paul Caruso from Lost Kids of Los Angeles Inc., one of the sponsors of the program, gave some advice to the graduates: “Make sure the world is a better place tomorrow than it was today … pay it forward.” After some words of wisdom, Caruso surprised the graduates with brand new Dell laptops—a gift from DHL, one of LKLA’s partners. Caruso shared that he wanted to make sure the students had the tools to help them be as successful as possible in the internet age.

    2019 Bill Duke Camp Graduation

    The students were then asked to speak about what they learned from the camp; many spoke about how much they enjoyed trying out every aspect of filmmaking and about the friends they made. One student, Lexi Sherwood, spoke to one of the deeper aspects of the program: “If we don’t tell our stories, who will?”

    At the end of the ceremony, Bill Duke spoke to the students, saying, “I cannot tell you how proud I am of you. You’re part of our family forever.” Following one of the themes of the afternoon, he added, “Don’t forget those that didn’t have the same opportunities that you did.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to congratulate this year’s Duke Youth Media Camp graduates and thanks the Duke Media Foundation for creating this wonderful opportunity for these aspiring storytellers.

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    April 2, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Outreach, Progressive & Social Causes • Views: 1014

  • Sun Valley High School and New York Film Academy (NYFA) Give Students the Opportunity to Shoot Films on the Universal Studios Backlot

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    On March 21, Students from Sun Valley High School were able to attend a filmmaking workshop at the New York Film Academy-Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) that allowed them to produce short films at the highest level over the course of a single day.

    Sun Valley Backlot

    NYFA’s hands-on approach gave the students a chance to learn college- and professional-industry level practices on the Universal Studios Backlot, where students of NYFA’s conservatories, workshops, and degree programs also have the opportunity to shoot their films. Over the course of the day, the Sun Valley students were able to shoot, direct, and edit their very own short films.

    The students were broken up into teams and worked closely with NYFA instructor Steve Morris to make their films. The students had a great time and were able to enjoy a professional atmosphere created by the NYFA team that will prepare them should they ever enter the industry. The goal of the workshop especially is to inspire them to be creative and believe in themselves as creatives. 

    New York Film Academy has been partnering with Sun Valley High School for several years. The four-year educational institution is part of the Los Angeles Unified School District and has a goal to “shape young minds to be prepared for tomorrow’s challenges not only in film, but in life and give [their] students the ability to cognitively understand society and allow them the freedom to make choices for their own success.”

    Sun Valley Backlot

    Some of the Sun Valley students spoke about their films and their experience making them:

    Daniel: “One thing I like working on the backlot of Universal Studios is just seeing everything how it was back then and what it looks like now … Right now we’re working on a comedy film, where a guy is meeting up with his crush and he just has bad luck—he’s trying to get to her but he keeps having bad luck that stops him … They meet up and in the middle of the film she hits her face on a pole and that’s his bad luck happening to her. My favorite thing about working here is being able to have the experience and work with teens like me and just learn the everyday things and I just love it”.

    John: “We’re working on a film about a kid—so basically he’s supposed to tie his shoe but he can never tie his shoe because there’s always something distracting him … He ends up seeing the guy who robs him for his shoe and gets his shoes back and that’s basically it. I’m not gonna lie—our shot was a little rough in the beginning because we had some complications, but we worked it out and discussed it and we’re just rolling with it. It’s going pretty good now and we’re almost close to finishing it. What I like most about being on the backlot is the new experience—it’s my first time being here. I’ve never seen a backlot like this before. I always wanted to work in the film industry; personally, I want to be a screenwriter, but I wouldn’t mind acting because it’s pretty cool out here.” 

    Fernanda: “I’m the director of the short film that we’re filming here on the Universal backlot and our film is basically about a girl that falls in love with this guy and they end up getting pregnant, but the guy doesn’t want the baby so he beats her and becomes really abusive and she has a miscarriage. My favorite thing about the universal backlot is we get to location scout … We don’t have time to procrastinate so everything’s really fast and fun. My favorite scene was the beating scenes because it was so intense and getting the shots and angles for that scene especially was so cool. I feel really confident with my accomplishments.”

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    April 1, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Outreach • Views: 724

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Students Reach Out to the Community to Make a Difference

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    In Spring 2018, a select group of New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary students volunteered to create a video honoring the 65th Anniversary of Family Service Agency (FSA) in Burbank. FSA is a privately-funded mental health service provider that specializes in “treating the mental and emotional well-being of children, adults and families suffering silently through Counseling, Preventing, Educating and Advocating since 1953”. 

    The NYFA team, consisting of Drama del Rosario, Gustav Gibrand, and Asem Nurlanova, started production in April 2018 and were in active production throughout May and June. They participated in the annual 5K Carewalk (shooting and interviewing participants) and then interviewed Executive Director Laurie Bleick, Operational Director Christine Ramos, Clinical Director George Holbrook, and Director of School Based Counseling Services Ginny Goodwin. 

    Because FSA is privately funded by many community sponsors, the filmmakers were granted unique access to several local schools and locations key to the services provided by the organization. In July 2018, the students, along with NYFA alum, Eva Maria Bukovinsky, also interviewed Brian Miller, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cartoon Network to talk to him about his service on the Board of Directors for FSA. 

    Bukovinszky then got to work editing the project. The resulting film was screened at the October 5, 2018 gala celebrating FSA’s 65 years of service, and now serves to explain their services on the About page of their website.

    After the team handed over the final project for FSA, another crew gathered together in September 2018 to begin working on the annual Community Film Project with NYFA instructor Denise Hamilton. The students chose to work with David and Margaret Youth and Family Services, a non-profit that “empowers children, youth, and families through culturally diverse services that foster emotional, educational, spiritual, and identity development.” 

    The crew pitched three ideas and allowed the organization to choose what suited their needs. They chose Drama del Rosario’s concept and this helped form the crew: Drama del Rosario, producer; Lucia Flores, director & editor; Faisal Aldakheel, director of photography and Asem Nurlanova, sound. 

    “When we pitched our idea, we wanted to have a good balance of technical information and very human characters,” says del Rosario. “David and Margaret wanted to target youth who might be interested in signing up for the program, so we didn’t want some boring brochure-turned-video. We wanted something that would make them say, ‘Hey, that looks fun! That looks useful!’”

    Production, including on location B-roll and interviews in LaVerne, California, about 40 miles east of campus (in Los Angeles traffic this is tantamount to taking a “road trip”), took about a week. After that, production included further research, writing and gathering of archival footage. 

    The result was screened on January 26, 2019 in NYFA’s private screening room and the organization was thrilled!

    Documentary Margaret & David
    (from left to right). Asem Nurlanova, Chia Flores, Drama del Rosario, Faisal Aldakheel; from Margaret & David, Marissa Scholefield and Maggie Bohlman; NYFA instructor, Denise Hamilton
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    January 31, 2019 • Documentary Filmmaking, Outreach • Views: 723

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Partners with LA Animal Services for Photo Shoot

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailNew York Film Academy (NYFA) Community Outreach and NYFA’s Photography department recently collaborated with Los Angeles Animal Services to help get some of their animals adopted into homes.

    LA Animal Services provides care to found or surrendered pets by housing them in one of six city shelters located throughout the city. The organization has a fleet of volunteers that work with the animals on a daily basis to help get them adopted and into caring homes. One of the most useful tools for adoption is good photographs of the pets, so those interested in adopting can see the animals online. LA Animal Services intakes nearly 164,000 animals a year and any help they can get supporting their outreach and adoption possibilities is important.LA Animal Services 2018

    NYFA’s Photography department brought 16 Photography students to the East Valley Animal Shelter on June 20th and set up several backdrops and lights to capture adorable images of the most underlooked dogs, cats, and bunnies at the shelter. The students had the opportunity to work with the animals and their handlers and produced beautifully lit images. 

    Amanda Rowan, a member of the NYFA-LA Photography Department faculty, remarked, “As somebody who cares deeply for animals, it was wonderful planning this shoot with my Applied Photography class.” She continued, “It was a great lesson in producing a shoot and working with unpredictable clients (the animals). Learning to light and work under these conditions is a great skill to have.”

    NYFA students and everyone involved had a very positive experience working with LA Animal Services. This semester, a new group of NYFA students and alumni have signed up to donate their time to produce short Public Service Announcements (PSAs) about pet adoption and care with LA Animal Services. Mason Richards, Chair of NYFA Community Outreach, stated: “We’re excited to continue the partnership with LA Animal Services with the video PSAs, and also to continue the work of filmmaker and activist Julie ‘JD’ Disalvatore.” 

    Richards added, “It’s so exciting to see our NYFA student body, faculty, and staff sharing their talents for a greater purpose.”

    The New York Film Academy spoke in further detail with three others involved with the LA Animal Services photo shoot. Denise Carlson is a NYFA-LA Producing instructor who is also a pet owner and advocate for animal safety. She connected LA Animal Services with NYFA C.A.R.E.S. — which is part of NYFA Community Outreach. Brenda F. Barnette is the General Manager for LA Animal Services, and Ashley Rodriguez is their Public Relations Specialist:


    LA Animal Services 2018


    New York Film Academy (NYFA): What are the primary services that LA Animal Services provides? Why are these services important?

    Brenda F. Barnette (BB): We provide shelter to lost animals until we are able to reunite them with their owners and help stray pets find their new homes.  We offer free spay/neuter services to low-income LA City residents and discount coupons to any City resident for three dogs, three cats, and three bunnies per household. Additionally, the community can visit their nearest shelter location to adopt, foster, and license and microchip their pet.

    Ashley Rodriguez (AR): You can adopt your best friends at our Animal Services Centers. All of our pets are spayed/neutered, microchipped and vaccinated upon adoption. For those whose pets aren’t spayed or neutered yet, we have free or discount spay/neuter vouchers available to help you get your pet fixed. It’s healthier for them and helps reduce unwanted litters. We also have an amazing team of Animal Control Officers that work out in the field and conduct animal rescues if there is ever a cat stuck in a tree, a raccoon stuck on a roof, or a horse who has fallen into a ditch and can’t get out on its own. 

    NYFA: Denise, how did you get involved with LA Animal Services?

    Denise Carlson (DC): I have been involved in animal rescue for many years, networking animals who need homes, raising money, and doing what I can to help. I usually foster a litter of kittens every year, and two of my dogs are actually fosters. The shelters generally do a great job, but they can’t do it alone — there is so much need, and when you look at the faces of the animals there who don’t have homes it is heartbreaking. The staff and volunteers at LA Animal Services are amazing, and they really appreciate whatever you can do. It is just a very worthwhile organization and NYFA can be proud to work with them. This is a way to really make a difference in the community. 

    NYFA: Why do you think its important to volunteer?LA Animal Services 2018

    DC: In general, there are nothing but positives about volunteering.  When you volunteer you are not just giving a gift to the organization, you are also giving a gift to yourself — it is so satisfying to know you have done something worthwhile! We in the creative community can use our talents in ways that others may not be able to in order to help. Taking photos of shelter pets can help them get noticed and adopted more quickly; making videos about life at the shelter, adoption, how to bring new pets into your home, etc., can make all the difference. You are literally saving lives by helping, and there is nothing better than that!

    NYFA: What are some misconceptions that people may have about pet adoption? Why is it important to make people aware of the issues affecting animals?

    BB: A common misconception is that all shelter animals are broken — and that’s far from the truth. At our LA Animal Services Centers, we have a variety of pets in all sizes, ages, and breeds, just waiting for us to find them a new home of their own. There are life circumstances that may put a pet owner in a position where they must re-home their animal because they have no other option. That pet was raised by a kind person, lived with a family, and knows to trust people. It’s then our job to transition that pet into a new home. Another common misconception is that animal shelter staff view their duties as only a job and do not care for animals. Our staff are extremely dedicated to the animals in our care and the people that we serve. They care compassionately, advocate actively, and work tirelessly to insure the best possible environment for all animals.

    AR: A common misconception I see often is that people can’t believe that they can find a purebred or non-shedding dog at a shelter. We want to encourage all people to visit their local animal shelter before going to the pet store or looking for a breeder. We have amazing cats, dogs, bunnies, and we also have turtles, birds, snakes, guinea pigs, hamsters, roosters, and more available for adoption now! Adopting from a shelter gives the pet you take home a second chance at living a great life and provides space at the shelter for an incoming pet.

    NYFA: What can you say about Julie “JD” Disalvatore’s contribution to LA Animal Services? Why is it important to continue her tradition since her passing? 

    LA Animal Services 2018DC: I met JD through a friend who knew we were both interested in animal rescue. I was completely blown away by her. JD was a very talented filmmaker, and when I met her she was battling terminal cancer. She did not focus on herself, though, instead she devoted her remaining time on earth to helping save animals. She was at the shelters all the time taking pictures of animals who needed homes, she worked on videos for the shelter, and was always an outspoken advocate for them. She would go from chemo sessions to the shelter to help, she did not let anything stop her. JD was a force of nature, and she made a tremendous difference.  When she died it was incredibly sad, but also a real loss for the shelter pets, and I realized that her legacy had to be continued somehow, so I thought it would be a perfect match for NYFA students to be able to do something so valuable and also keep JD’s spirit alive.

    NYFA: How do you feel about the partnership between NYFA-Los Angeles Community Outreach and LA Animal Services? What are some of the benefits for the students as well as your organization?

    BB: We are very excited to be partnering with NYFA-Los Angeles Community Outreach. This is a win-win for the animals, the department, and the students. This partnership helps us artistically communicate our mission to the community while providing the students lessons and opportunities to practice their art.

    AR: We love it! It really is great to be able to partner with the NYFA-Los Angeles Community Outreach team of professors and students to highlight all the great work our staff and volunteers do every day for animals in LA. The students get the chance to work with animals, learn about our services, and help us share very important messages about animal care and welfare at the same time.

    The New York Film Academy looks forward to working with LA Animal Services every semester, using our photography skills and resources to get animals into homes! If you’re interested in adopting or fostering a pet from LA Animal Services, you can find more information here. Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    August 13, 2018 • Outreach, Photography • Views: 1195