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  • 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: 732

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Producing Students Get Hands-On Film Set Experience

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    One of the great things about studying Producing at New York Film Academy New York (NYFA-NY) is the variety of exciting locations available in New York City. The diverse and sometimes iconic locations lend themselves well to all sorts of projects for Producing students, from commercials to web videos to short films.
    Producing February 2020 PW
    Recently, NYFA’s 1-Year Producing conservatory students shot their “Producing Commercials” project at The Wagner, one of Manhattan’s most glamorous downtown hotels. With glorious views of the New York harbor and the Statue of Liberty, this is an incredible spot (and, conveniently, just one block away from NYFA-NY’s Battery Park campus.)
    Producing February 2020 PW
    In addition to their individual and group production projects, all NYFA 1-Year Producing conservatory students participate in a one-day Production Workshop (PW). The students assume crew positions under their instructors who act as heads of departments–director, Filmmaking and Producing instructor Brad Sample; cinematographer, camera and lighting instructor Arsenio Assin; first assistant director, Producing instructor Richard D’Angelo; production designer, Producing and Filmmaking instructor Debbie DeVilla; and sound mixer, sound instructor Jonathan Appell.
    Producing February 2020 PW

    From left to right: Joey Hindersman, Vivian Wang, Camille Rao, Christine Aberyuf, Richard Payne, Idil Canli, Alice Shy, Caspian Khonigh, Nikki Soo

    This most recent PW was written by Brad Sample, and told the story of two office workers caught in a deadly situation in their company’s storage closet during an office holiday party. Students built a claustrophobic yet effective “storage closet” set, dressed by NYFA Producing student members of the art department. The production workshop, appropriately titled Blood On Our Hands, offers students hands-on insight into how a professional set is run.

    And not a drop of fake stage blood was wasted!
    Producing February 2020 PW

    Fall 2019 1-Year Producing students Christine, Aberyug, VIvian Yang, Richard Payne, Idil Canli, Camille Rao, Nima Khonigh

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    March 19, 2020 • Producing • Views: 851

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Producing Student Aliza Jafri Uses Volunteer Work to Earn Social Media Gig at 2020 PGA Awards

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    There are countless avenues into the entertainment industry, and New York Film Academy (NYFA) students and alumni have shown the versatility and foresight to explore them all. One such alum, NYFA MFA Producing student Aliza Jafri, used volunteering to network and seek valuable opportunities for her career.

    Last year, Jafri, who is currently earning her MFA in Producing from NYFA Los Angeles, volunteered at the Produced By Conference, where she met writer/actress/producer Mandy May Cheetham. Cheetham was looking for some assistance with social media for the Produced By Conference and Aliza seized the chance, offering her help. 

    Over the course of two days, Jafri helped with social media posts including Instagram stories and Snapchat content for the conference. From there, throughout 2019, Jafri was recommended for different social media projects. When the Producers Guild of America’s needed someone to run their Instagram account for the PGA Awards earlier this year, there was no doubt: Aliza was the one to do it. 

    Aliza Jafri

    NYFA MFA Producing Student Aliza Jafri

    During the PGA Awards, she worked on three events including the pre-Awards events like the nominees’ breakfast on the morning of the awards, as well as the ceremony itself that evening.

    Among her tasks, she researched all the nominees and producers, created a fact sheet with data and pictures for each nominee and during the PGA Awards, she recorded stories, took photos, and walked the red carpet with E! Entertainment to get content and post it on Instagram.

    On her experience, Jafri says: “I think it’s a huge honor to be able to be a part of one of the biggest events for producers in the industry. As a Producing student, being in a room full of the greatest producers of all time is a huge learning opportunity in and of itself … Getting the opportunity to do social media also allows me to interact with many people that I would normally never get a chance to interact with. As a producer, these opportunities to interact and network with people from the industry are crucial.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Producing student Aliza Jafri on the cool PGA Awards gig, an encouragement to other students and alumni using volunteer work to network and make connections in their careers.

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    February 19, 2020 • Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 980

  • New York Film Academy Producing Alum Federico Guarascio Coproduces Festival Hit ‘The Fourth Kingdom’

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    The Fourth Kingdom, a documentary directed by Adán Aliaga and Alex Lora and coproduced by New York Film Academy (NYFA) Producing alum Federico Guarascio has been storming the festival circuit since its premiere earlier this year.

    The film documents a redemption center in Brooklyn founded by a Spanish ex-missionary where cans and plastic bottles are exchanged for cash—a “Fourth Kingdom” of plastics, and a hub for immigrants and underdogs who desperately believe in the American Dream.

    Federico Guarascio

    Since its premiere last February at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, where it won the award for Best Short Film, The Fourth Kingdom has been selected in 20 film festivals—eight of them Oscars-qualifying—and has won two of them, including the Brooklyn Film Festival, which allows the short film to be considered for the Academy Awards. 

    It has additionally screened at the Rooftop Summer Series, the Americas Film Festivals, the Palm Springs International Film Festival, DOC NYC, and opened at the United Kingdom’s prestigious Sheffield Doc Fest.

    Federico Guarascio originally hails from Italy and first came to New York Film Academy through the Torno Subito program, a joint public/private sector work study initiative that supports new talent development in the Italian film and television industry and is based in Italy’s Lazio region. New York Film Academy provides the “study” element of the program, with students enrolling in short-term workshops across various NYFA disciplines. Once their program is completed, graduates return to pre-arranged film and television internships in Italy.

    Alex Lora & Federico Guarascio

    Alex Lora & Federico Guarascio

    Guarascio first attended the 4-Week Producing workshop at NYFA’s New York campus, and was so impressed that he subsequently returned to enroll in the 1-Year Conservatory in Producing. Upon graduation, Federico has remained in New York City to work on a variety of film projects, including The Fourth Kingdom.

    “[NYFA] proved to be essential during my journey with this doc,” says Guarascio, “and it would not have been possible for me to get this far without the skills I learned in your classes and, for that, I am immensely grateful.”

    Guarascio’s talent as a producer was evident early on. “As a student, Federico showed all the hallmarks of a fiercely independent producer,” recalls NYFA-NY Chair of Producing Neal Weisman. “He consistently demonstrated a great passion for the process and a curiosity which inevitably led to to interesting projects. It is no surprise that Federico has moved on to find success with films moving onto the festival circuit. We are very proud.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates Producing alum Federico Guarascio on the success of The Fourth Kingdom and encourages everyone to check out the film’s trailer, available on Vimeo. 

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    December 16, 2019 • Film Festivals, Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1568

  • BAFTA New York / New York Film Academy (NYFA) Produce Second Successful Teen Workshop

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    The 8-Week Digital Storytelling workshop presented by BAFTA New York and New York Film Academy (NYFA) culminated in a joyous graduation screening on Saturday, November 23.

    Participating students from DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx showed their recently completed short films to a capacity crowd of friends, family, and well-wishers at NYFA’s Battery Park campus. A total of eleven films—written, directed, and edited by each of the students—were screened. Romance and horror genres figured prominently, along with a good dose of comedy.

    BAFTA DeWitt Clinton High School November 2019

    Over the course of eight Saturdays, the students learned basic skills of filmmaking: directing, screenwriting, camera, lighting, producing, and editing. Under the expert guidance of various New York Film Academy instructors, the students were working hands-on with state-of-the-art equipment and shooting test sequences from their very first day. The finished films showed a high degree of proficiency, especially considering the short schedule.

    This was the second workshop sponsored by BAFTA NY, an outgrowth of the Learning and New Talent Committee, in conjunction with the New York Film Academy. DeWitt Clinton High School boasts an impressive list of alumni including such luminaries as James Baldwin and Stan Lee, as well as BAFTA winner, Committee member, and Chair of NYFA-NY Producing Neal Weisman. 

    All are looking forward to continuing this workshop program, helping to give voice and digital storytelling skills to some of New York City’s most diverse public school population.

    New York Film Academy congratulates the DeWitt Clinton High School students on their impressive work!

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    November 27, 2019 • Outreach, Producing • Views: 881

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Welcomes President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige

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    On Wednesday, October 23, New York Film Academy (NYFA) had the pleasure to host Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios and Chief Creative Officer of Marvel. He is also the producer of Marvel’s hit movies and #5 in last week’s Hollywood Reporter’s top 100 most important people in the movie business. Tova Laiter, Director of the NYFA Q&A Series, moderated the event.

    Feige has been the driving creative force behind several billion-dollar franchises and an unprecedented number of blockbuster feature films, all connected to create the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In his current role as producer and president of Marvel Studios, Feige is a hands-on producer and oversees Marvel Studios’ feature film productions, whose 23 films released have all opened #1 at the box office and collectively grossed over $21 billion worldwide. Eight of the MCU films have crossed the $1 billion threshold at the global box office. Avengers: Endgame broke records on its way to becoming the highest-grossing worldwide release of all time after just 89 days in theaters. Most recently, Feige was just announced as producer for a new Star Wars franchise. 

    Kevin Feige

    Following a compilation reel of all the Marvel films, Laiter opened up the Q&A by inquiring what it takes to create those successful Marvel movies, asking “Is there a formula, or some concept, that you would like to share with us?” 

    Feige answered, “I wish there was a formula I could divvy out to everybody, but the truth is, we came about as a studio in an interesting way. We were tasked with making two movies in 2008, and I had been with Marvel for five to six years at that point. I learned just by being around filmmakers. By the time we got to Iron Man, I got to use everything I learned—the good and the bad—and focus our vision on what we wanted.” 

    Feige shared his more of his wisdom, telling NYFA students, “You need a couple things to make a great film. You need an amazing team and you need to trust that team around you. We’ve been very lucky with the filmmakers we’ve worked with, in that they’ve all wanted to work with us and make a fun crowd-pleasing movie. It’s easy to stop when it’s hard and it’s easy to settle, but we don’t. Once we announce a movie and it’s release date, we are committed. We reshoot and edit sometimes up to the premiere and once we added a shot to Avengers the day after… Obviously we earned the trust of the studio to do that.”

    Kevin Feige

    Laiter then opened up the Q&A to students. When asked by a student what he believes was the key to the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Feige expressed, “I think the key to success was Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and dozens of writers and artists that created an amazing world in the span of 40+ years. It’s amazing. And not just them, but we also have these new artists putting their own spin on these characters. There’s too many people responsible for it.” 

    New York Film Academy would like to thank Marvel Studios President and Marvel Chief Creative Officer Kevin Feige for his time and for sharing his film expertise with our students!

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    October 25, 2019 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 1328

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Welcomes Participant Media CEO David Linde

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    David Linde, CEO of Participant Media, the leading global media company dedicated to entertainment that inspires and compels social change, recently spent a morning in conversation with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Producing Chair Neal Weisman as the latest NYFA Producing Department Industry Speaker. Linde and Participant are coming off a hot streak having produced recent Oscar winners Green Book and Roma.

    Linde spoke at NYFA’s New York campus. Attending the speaker series event were students of the NYFA Producing department, as well as students from the NYFA Documentary, Screenwriting, and Filmmaking departments.David Linde

    Linde shared his biographical highlights, starting with his first job in the paralegal department of Paramount Studios in New York City.  He discussed his move into film sales starting with Fox Lorber, and then Miramax, before becoming a partner of the seminal New York production outfit Good Machine. 

    Many of Linde’s relationships with acclaimed filmmakers were forged during this period, including directors Alfonso Cuarón, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Ang Lee, Todd Haynes, and Todd Solondz. Linde lavished high praise on one of his mentors, legendary producer Saul Zaentz; they worked together on The English Patient (winner of nine Academy Awards).

    Linde also shared his experience as Chairman of Universal Pictures, where his lengthy—and ultimately successful—campaign brought the studio full force into animation and the family market.

    Two major themes emerged from the discussion – Linde spoke extensively about melding his sales perspective with long-standing relationships with filmmakers. As Co-Head of Focus Features, he went on to distribute such notable projects like Brokeback Mountain, The Motorcycle Diaries, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 21 Grams, and Lost in Translation.

    David Linde

    Linde also shared Participant’s philosophy of backing entertaining narrative feature films and documentaries that can serve as catalysts for social change. 

    He spoke extensively of the social and political action inspired by Roma. One victory cited by Linde is that domestic workers in Mexico will now be entitled to participate in their country’s social security system. Weisman mentioned that comparable efforts are underway through Participant’s work in the US in conjunction with the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Students are encouraged to check out the social action element of the Participant website here.

    Linde also addressed the role of Netflix in the distribution of Roma and the industry-at-large. Both Participant and Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuarón are exceedingly pleased with the way Netflix rolled out the picture, as well as the large viewing figures. Weisman mentioned that Roma blazed a trail for a new kind of hybrid distribution model, about to be put to use with the release of the new Martin Scorsese film The Irishman.

    Linde then inspired the students in attendance by noting that the advent of streaming services has created great opportunities as there are “so many new buyers.”

    New York Film Academy thanks CEO of Participant Media, David Linde, for generously sharing his insight and wisdom with our students!

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    October 21, 2019 • Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 1082

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Students & Alumni Featured in VoyageLA Magazine

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    VoyageLA, the flagship publication for Voyage Group of Magazines, is a media and city guide for Los Angeles that aims to authentically represent a wide variety of artists and communities, looking for outside-the-box ways to bring together the many different small businesses, independent artists and entrepreneurs, local institutions of LA.

    It’s no surprise that many of New York Film Academy’s incredibly talented students and alumni have been featured on their pages, usually with personal and informative interviews. Here are the most recent NYFA artists who have been showcased by VoyageLA:

    Dayana Espinoza

    Recent 1-Year Acting for Film grad Dayana Espinoza has a knack for landing roles in quality films–she’s appeared in award winners Outlandish (Winner – CKF International Film Festival) and The Rosy Summer Day (Best Fantasy Film – Los Angeles Film Awards; Best Short – Top Short Film Festival; Best Women Short – Indie Short Fest; Best Director – Independent Shorts Awards; Best Director – Festigious International Film Festival) as well as Invisible Murderer, which was nominated in the Indie Short Fest for both Best Original Story and Best Film Noir Short. Espinoza, who was born and raised in Peru and has been recently interviewed by both VoyageLA and Film Daily, is currently represented by two agencies and recently worked on her first SAG-AFTRA project.

    Dayana EspinozaJoseph Ford

    Current BFA Photography Joseph Ford has been hired to shoot Instagram influencers including Blac Chyna and Brittany Renner, and has recently shot photo coverage of the Amazon float for the 2019 SF Gay Pride parade. The Marines veteran talks about his fashion photography company and the path that led him to NYFA-LA and beyond. 

    Joseph Ford VoyageLA

    Saana Laigren

    In her interview with VoyageLA, 1-Year Acting for Film alum Saana Laigren talks about how she first got into acting during her childhood, and about the internal struggles she’s faced while trying to create a career in the arts. In the end, though, her path ultimately led to her following her dream, and she’s recently won Best Foreign Actress at Chandra Khamini International Film Festival.

    Saana Laigren VoyageLA

    Alice Rehemutula

    VoyageLA calls MFA Producing alum Alice Rehemutula a “trailblazer” in an interview that charts her unconventional path from a Muslim province of China to Shanghai to Hollywood. Rehemutula found great success overseas as a performer, including appearing on China’s Got Talent, but she also has a passion for working behind the camera, earning her Master of Fine Arts in Producing from NYFA’s Los Angeles campus.

    Alice Rehemutula VoyageLA

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Producing Alum Peipei Duan Receives Cathay Bank Scholarship

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    Peipei Duan, a 2018 graduate of the New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA in Producing program, recently received the Cathay Bank Scholarship, which awards and supports Chinese students of great academic achievementPeiPei Duan

    Peipei’s determination to pursue a career in producing has been with her since she attended the Beijing Film Academy in China, before eventually enrolling in the Producing program at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus.

    While at NYFA she produced several short films—one of which, Lip Reader: Game of Detective, won the Golden Award at the 15th Guangzhou Student film festival. While at NYFA, Duan also interned at Frederic Golchan Productions as an assistant at company events and festivals.

    Duan plans to use the Cathay Bank award money to produce a new short and take it to the festival circuit.

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) congratulates MFA Producing alum Peipei Duan on her scholarship and wishes her success as she continues her promising career.

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    September 12, 2019 • Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 501