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  • New York Film Academy Alum Finished Second Place in Gov. Cuomo’s #NewYorkTough PSA Competition

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum Natalia Bougadellis’ public service announcement (PSA), “You Can Still Smile,” finished second in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s #NewYorkTough competition. Bougadellis, who attended NYFA’s Teen Filmmaking program in Los Angeles and an intensive 6-Week Filmmaking workshop in New York, worked on the PSA under her female-run production company Blue Slate Films.

    Bougadellis is a director and cinematographer, who hails from Athens, Greece. Her critically acclaimed film, The Owls, (available on Amazon), has played in eleven countries and over thirty film festivals, winning the prestigious Zoe Award at LifeArt Festival, “Best Student Film” at Miami Independent Film Festival, and “Best Student Filmmaker” at America’s Rainbow Film Festival Presented by HBO.

    Natalia Bougadellis behind the camera during filming

    Bougadellis is also the Executive Director of The Great Griffon, a non-profit organization founded to bring awareness and support to LGBTQ+ characters in mainstream entertainment. Bougadellis also co-founded her own production company, Blue Slate Films, with female filmmaker Emory Parker, in 2017 and continues to produce cutting edge projects for high-profile brands like Nike, McDonald’s, Calvin Klein, and Pepsi, to name a few.

    Her PSA, “You Can Still Smile,” finished second in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s #NewYorkTough competition, acquiring almost 48,000 votes and over 200,000 views. Though Bougadellis’ PSA did not come in first place, Gov. Cuomo announced in a briefing that New York state will still air the PSA.

    New Yorkers from the PSA “You Can Still Smile” (Courtesy of Blue Slate Films)

    Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit NYC, Blue Slate Films (Bougadellis’ production company) was gearing up to shoot their very first feature film, Whirlpool. “As a small business, we were really affected by this,” says Bougadellis.

    When Bougadellis and her production partner [Parker] saw Gov. Cuomo’s #NewYorkTough competition, they knew they had to get involved. “We saw the PSA competition as an invaluable opportunity to showcase our talents and stay creative throughout this time, while also spreading a message crucial to ending this pandemic.”

    Bougadellis explained that they [Bougadellis and Parker] wanted to use this opportunity to tell true stories about real New Yorkers. She recounted that their vision was to show raw emotion for each individual portrayed in the PSA. “Our eyes can tell amazing stories, so we focused on faces and eyes to show how powerful human connection can be.”

    For Bougadellis, the journey of filming this video around NYC and Long Island was heartfelt and sincere. “We had no script for this video,” she says. “All answers were spontaneous and came from the heart. Emory [Parker] then worked on editing the piece and bringing it all together.”

     

    Still from PSA “You Can Still Smile” (Courtesy of Blue Slate Films)

    Beyond the stories of the individuals featured in the PSA, Bougadellis hopes that those who watch the video understand that wearing a mask isn’t just about protecting oneself. “Wearing a mask means respecting your fellow New Yorkers and caring about them, as well,” she remarks. “The sooner we can all cooperate to control this situation, the sooner our city will be able to return to normal.”

    During these times of social distancing and self-quarantine, in addition to their PSA, Blue Slate Films has also launched a digital series, The Slate, featuring artists, experts, and entrepreneurs that seek to make a difference in their respective industries.

    New York Film Academy would like to congratulate Natalia Bougadellis on her inspiring achievement, which highlights a crucial global message for all, and encourages everyone to check out the PSA and to keep an eye out for Blue Slate Films’ forthcoming film Whirlpool.

    To watch the full “You Can Still Smile” PSA, click here or watch the full video above.

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  • Create a PSA for NASA

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    NASA PSA Contest

    The New York Film Academy is proud to announce a contest for students to pitch ideas that tell the story of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). JWST is poised to become one of the most groundbreaking scientific and engineering achievements of our time, designed to operate at near absolute zero, and approximately 1.5 million km away from the Earth.

    Now, the New York Film Academy‘s students will have the rare opportunity of being a part of the global dialogue and excitement that surrounds the development of the JWST. By creating powerful, engaging, and visually exciting stories featuring the Webb Telescope, students will explore humankind’s most significant scientific marvels first hand, and also have a chance to be featured in NASA’s websites.

    The initial round of the contest calls for submissions that contain strong self-application essays, reflecting upon the students’ views of JWST and why they should be picked for this highly prestigious opportunity. The second round will begin with invitations for selected students to tour Northrop Grumman and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), two facilities that house some of JWST’s vital components, and where most of the principal photography will take place.

    These tours will further motivate students for the final round of the contest, which culminates with no less than a live pitch to a committee featuring members from NASA, JPL, and Northrop Grumman!

    The New York Film Academy continues to lead the educational frontier for innovative STEAM-based education initiatives. Pay close attention as the first products of our collaboration with NASA, Northrop Grumman Corporation, JPL, and others, roll out in the beginning of 2015.

    For NYFA students: Your application must include:

    1. Cover letter outlining your interest in the JWST story.
    2. Reel or sample of your work.

    Materials may be submitted by individuals or groups. Selected students will receive a tour of JWST’s facilities and an opportunity to pitch their ideas to a committee including representatives from NASA. Winners will be given equipment and support to shoot a PSA that will be featured on NASA’s website and various other platforms.

    Contest open to all One Year, Two Year, MFA, BFA, MA and AFA Students in good standing. For more information about the James Webb Telescope, visit jwst.nasa.gov.

    For submissions and/or questions about the contest, please email nasa@nyfa.edu.   

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    September 10, 2014 • Contests, STEAM • Views: 7597