Pride Month
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  • New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Celebrates Pride Month

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    The New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) campus had a lively Pride Month with six opportunities for engagement, including two socials, a trivia night, a film screening, a workshop, and a raffle. Many of the events were hosted by the LGBTQI+ club as well as Student Life.

    Pride Month kicked off with a lunchtime social with doughnuts, a photo booth, and a music playlist with all LGBTQI+ artists curated by the LGBTQI+ club. Students, faculty, and staff all came together to meet each other and show their pride with custom photo booth props designed by LGBTQI+ club.

    LA Pride Month 2019
    LGBTQI+ Club president Hakam Kharraz shared, “Everyone was happy and proud. I wanted people to socialize with others that they don’t know, and for them to be able to celebrate themselves with others that don’t identify as LGBTQIA+, and I think that was successful. The event promoted acceptance and safety, and was networking for people which is good for this industry.” A closing social was also held so that community members in both buildings, Riverside and Barham, can participate in Pride Month.

    LGBTQI+ club also hosted a trivia night, where students competed for prizes donated by Hamburger Mary’s. The trivia questions ranged from LGBTQI+ history, to films and pop culture. “It was educational in a fun way. Everyone said they learned a lot, whether about Queer history or Queer representation in media, said a student.

    The learning continued at the Why It Matters: Gender & Sexuality workshop led by Director of Student Life Missy Dominguez and Chair of NYFA Photo Arts Conservatory Kean O’Brien. Students, staff, and faculty came together during lunch to learn about the difference between gender and sexuality, transgender and gender non-conforming inclusion, pronouns, and all-gender restrooms. “It was one of, if not the most, informative, insightful, and organized NYFA presentations I’ve been to,” expressed NYFA faculty Terah Jackson. Due to its success and popularity, another workshop will be held August 1st in Barham.

    Pride Month ended with a screening of The Miseducation of Cameron Post, a film about a teen sent to gay conversion therapy. LGBTQI+ president Hakam Kharraz expressed, “It was very important to show a movie about such an important topic, because this topic is relevant all around the world.” After the film, students had a discussion both about the topic at hand, gay conversion therapy, and the technical filmmaking. “Cinematically it’s beautiful. The story is relevant,” expressed a student.

    LA Pride Month 2019

    At the end of the screening, the Pride Raffle winners were announced. New York Film Academy held a Pride Raffle at all campuses where $1 raffle tickets could be purchased for a chance to win a special edition NYFA Pride shirt and bag. Each dollar is matched by New York Film Academy and all proceeds donated to GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network). As a result, the Los Angeles campus will be contributing a $254 donation to support LGBTQ youth and foster safe schools.

    If you did not get to participate in Pride Month, Kharraz has a message: “If I could reach people who didn’t come, I’d say NYFA itself is a safe environment for everyone and our LGBTQI+ club is very inclusive of people both who identify as LGBT and who do not. We are all friends. We don’t judge. We’re our own community within a community.” 

    “If you are not out, you can always anonymously send a message to the club at lgbtq.clubla@nyfa.edu or request a meeting with the president. There is also Jackie (Jackie.Rabinowitz@nyfa.edu) and Kathia (Kathia.Rabelo@nyfa.edu), the therapists on campus, who have an LGBTQ support group every week to create a safe space for students to talk.”

    LGBTQI+ Club can be reached at lgbtq.clubla@nyfa.edu. Staff and faculty interested in forming an LGBTQI+ faculty and staff affinity group can contact any member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programming committee, including Susan Ashe, Christine Daniels, Missy Dominguez, Art Helterbran Jr., Prarthana Mohan, Jenni Powell, and Barbara Weintraub.

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    July 11, 2019 • Student Life • Views: 1219

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Celebrates LGBTQIA+ Community

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    Each year, LGBT Pride Month is celebrated throughout June, originally to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riots. Pride Month has since expanded to honoring the LGBTQIA+ community in countless ways, including parades and raising awareness of current social issues facing the community and their loved ones.

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) is proud to celebrate LGBT Pride Month through a series of events across all of its domestic campuses, including film screenings, workshops, trivia nights, social get-togethers, and more.

    NYFA also looks to laud the LGBTQIA+ members of its community, including students, alumni, faculty, and staff who are making their community proud through the artistic crafts they’ve honed while studying or working at the Academy. Additionally, NYFA is celebrating projects made by the NYFA community that focuses on and raises awareness of LGBTQIA+ issues.

    Here are some updates from the NYFA LGBTQIA+ community:

    Drama del Rosario 

    MFA Documentary alum Drama del Rosario is originally from Manila, Philippines, and his BAFTA-shortlisted documentary In This Family focuses on complex themes surrounding culture, religion, commercialization, and LGBTQIA+ issues. In this Family is a 12-minute short that tells the story of one Filipino family’s reaction to finding out their son is gay. Recently, the film was an Official Selection of the Doc Edge Pride Festival, a prestigious fest that is Oscar-qualifying. The second portion of the fest will be held later this month in Wellington, New Zealand.

    LGBTQIA+ Community Drama del Rosario

    Shivin Sanjeev & Sunny Grover

    NYFA alum Shivin Sanjeev Grover and NYFA BFA student Sunny Grover recently collaborated with Maroon 5 keyboardist and rhythm guitarist Jesse Carmichael on the two minute short film Thrive, which focuses on the struggle and obstacles still faced today by the LGBTQIA+ community. The film was written and directed by Shivin and Sunny, two brothers from India, and is part of Carmichael’s 2 Minute Movies (2mm) project, which was created last year. Thrive is the first film to come from 2mm with a focus on LGBTQIA+ rights. 

    Ioanna Meli

    Life in Color, a short film starring NYFA MFA Acting for Film alum Ioanna Meli, was an Official Selection in the 2018 Cannes International Film Festival Emerging Filmmakers category. Directed by Bishal Dutta, Life in Color tells the story of an aging, closeted gay man with Alzheimer’s who struggles against his strong-willed daughter to hold on to the memory of the long lost love of his life. Along with the prestigious honor of screening at Cannes, the film has shown as part of the Silicon Beach Film Festival in Los Angeles.

    LGBTQIA+ Community Ioanna Meli

    Assaad Yacoub

    Assaad Yacoub graduated from NYFA’s 2-year Filmmaking Program in New York City before going on to complete both his BFA and MFA degrees in Filmmaking at Burbank-based NYFA-Los Angeles. He hit the ground running with his debut feature film, Cherry Pop, starring Bob the Drag Queen from RuPaul’s Drag Race, Tempest DuJour, Latrice Royale, and Lars Berge. Cherry Pop is a comedy musical that tells the story of both a nervous drag queen just starting out and a veteran finishing their career. Yacoub plans to adapt the film into a television pilot, and has also shot music videos for RuPaul’s Drag Race.

    Heather Mathews

    NYFA-LA Editing instructor Heather Mathews served as editor and producer on the documentary Forbidden: Undocumented and Queer in Rural America, which premiered at the OutFest LGBT Film Festival in 2016. Forbidden focuses on Moises Serrano, an undocumented gay man whose parents fled Mexico for the United States when he was just a baby, and whose undocumented status prevented him from receiving financial aid for school despite being a top student. Moises has shared his story to dispel myths about the undocumented community and unite the immigration and LGBTQIA+ movements, seeing them both as a struggle for human rights.

    LGBTQIA+ Community Heather Mathews

    Lizzie Gottlieb

    The prestigious Excellence in Documentary Award by the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association (NLGJA) was awarded to Romeo, Romeo, a documentary feature directed by NYFA Documentary faculty member Lizzie Gottlieb, who produced the film with Eden Wurmfeld and NYFA President Michael J. Young. NYFA Documentary alum Eliana Álvarez Martínez served as a camera operator. The film aired on PBS’s America Reframed and follows a married lesbian couple who navigate the complicated struggles of infertility. 

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  • NYFA Alumnus Todd Lien Talks “You Have More Friends Than You Know” on NYFA Hour

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    On Thursday, June 13, New York Film Academy alumnus Todd Lien appeared on the NYFA Hour for a special Pride month interview. The Popcorn Talk Network was proud to host the filmmaker, who in the past year has worked as a composer, writer, director, and actor.

    Lien’s latest project is a music video for Jeff Marx song “You Have More Friends Than You Know.” The song has been performed on Ryan Murphy’s Fox hit “Glee” and was created for the It Gets Better Organization.

    Screenshot 2017-06-20 07.30.43

    When Lien first heard the song he was reminded of a good friend who lost his battle to depression. His friend was openly gay and married, but his family didn’t support him. He took his life. Lien wanted to re-write the story even it was just fictional. “What would have happened if I had reached out?” Lien asked.

    So, he announced his intentions to create a music video on Kickstarter. Marx caught wind of the campaign and donated the majority of the money to get the project made.

    Lien then took the original score and arranged it for members of the NYFA – LA Glee Club. Each voice was recorded individually and then mixed together. Lien also acted in the video, asking a fellow NYFA graduate to direct the video.

    Screenshot 2017-06-20 07.31.04

    The music video for “You Have More Friends Than You Know” can be viewed here. To watch Todd Lien’s entire interview on Popcorn Talk’s NYFA Hour click here.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Lien for sharing his powerful story and his incredible work.

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    June 20, 2017 • Academic Programs, Diversity, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2676