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  • “Sympathy for the Devil” at 50: New York Film Academy (NYFA) Los Angeles Chair of Cinematography Tony Richmond Presents Restored Godard Film 

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    Fifty years ago, Jean-Luc Godard filmed an intimate, groundbreaking documentary about the Rolling Stones, capturing the recording of one of their most seminal tracks: “Sympathy for the Devil.” The 1968 documentary shares the same title, though it was originally titled One Plus One before its producers controversially took final cut away from Godard. sympathy for the devil

    The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) recently held a limited theatrical release for the 50th anniversary of Sympathy for the Devil, which was kicked off with a Q&A with New York Film Academy-Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Chair of Cinematography Tony Richmond, A.S.C., B.S.C. Richmond served as Godard’s director of photography on the documentary, and supervised the color grading of the newly restored, 4K version of the film.

    The restoration was done in London by Arrow Films, working off the still-preserved original 35mm negative. “It’s just wonderful,” says Richmond of the project, adding it was “such an honor to go back to a film I shot fifty years ago and give it another life.”

    Sympathy for the Devil was one of Richmond’s earliest films as director of photography. He has mostly worked on narrative features since then, including Don’t Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Sandlot, and Legally Blonde. The London-born, BAFTA-winning cinematographer has resided as Faculty Chair of NYFA-LA’s cinematography school since 2015, where students receive hands-on training in the unique visual language of film with state-of-the-art equipment they can use on their classmates’ productions. 

    Sympathy was a landmark moment in rock and roll documentaries, preceding other films like Gimme Shelter and The Last Waltz. Along with a strong political message, the film captured the birth of one of the Rolling Stones’ most famous hits. It was also a turbulent shoot, with legendary French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard butting heads with his producers, who changed his original ending. As an infamous story goes, at a screening of the film, Godard attempted to screen his original ending outside in the parking lot, and when one of the producers intervened, he punched him in the face. 

    Additionally, some of the film was shot on the streets guerilla-style, without permits. Some shots included jumping out of Godard’s car to film his wife, Anna, spray-painting walls, roads, and vehicles, and then hopping back in the car and taking off before the police arrived.

    With an incredible story told by the film and another one around the making of it, it was no surprise that MoMA would host a limited release on its 50th anniversary. The Q&A with Tony Richmond was held after the September 13 screening, which Richmond told NYFA was “a great success. I enjoyed the Q&A, telling them how much in awe I was with Jean-Luc Godard and what an honor it was to shoot a film for him at such a young age.”

    In a recent profile by Rolling Stone magazine, Richmond went into further detail about the shoot, describing how they would pre-light for each member of the band before they would stroll into the studio after a late night of recording and maybe some hard partying: “We knew where Mick was gonna be, where Keith was gonna be, where Brian and Charlie were gonna be, and it was lit in such a way that we never had to touch anything between takes or disturb the Stones in any way…

    “And then the guys would come in, and they’d get down to work, and we would shoot. We were very quiet, and we had a very, very small crew — just a guy pushing the dolly, a focus-puller, Jean-Luc and I, and everybody else was way in the background.”

    Speaking with NYFA, Richmond added, “I wouldn’t know what we were going to shoot until [Mick Jagger] arrived on the set. I can’t tell you how exciting and frightening that was.”

    All told, the new 4K restoration and MoMA’s limited release of Sympathy for the Devil went very well, and included both the theatrical and Godard’s original ending. Richmond told Rolling Stone, “I hadn’t seen it again on a large screen until recently. And I have to say, I think it’s really fantastic… You really see how they’re putting the music together.”

    [UPDATE: November 7, 2018: Sympathy for the Devil will also be screened at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles on November 8, 2018.]

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    October 15, 2018 • Cinematography, Documentary Filmmaking, Faculty Highlights • Views: 2506

  • Music Video Students Visit Rolling Stone HQ

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    For many decades, Rolling Stone Magazine has been a leading force in music and entertainment culture. Its ability to catapult an artist’s career is quite remarkable. The same could be said for the music video and its ability to launch the careers of so many talented directors. In fact, a slew of today’s top film directors like David Fincher and Spike Jonze began their careers by making music videos. In the New York Film Academy’s Rolling Stone Music Video Workshop, we provide that very same training ground.

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    This week, our music video students had the privilege of visiting the world-famous headquarters of Rolling Stone Magazine in New York City. As part of the tour, students had an opportunity to gawk at the Hallway of Covers, which displays every Rolling Stone cover since its inception in 1967. As you can imagine, our music video students were in awe of the massive display. Our hope is that it was also inspiring for the young artists. You never know, perhaps their face could be on the cover someday.

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    January 30, 2015 • Community Highlights, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 6386

  • G.K. Reid from Bravo’s ‘Double Exposure’ Speaks to Photography Students

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    GK Reid

    Photo by NYFA alumna Veselina Tsankova

    Recently, New York Film Academy’s Co-chair of Photography Paul Sunday invited guest lecturer G.K. Reid. Reid is a celebrity stylist, editor, designer and filmmaker.

    G. K. was a co-star of the Bravo television series Double Exposure with photographers Markus Klinko and Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri. He has worked with many of the most renowned artists and celebrities of our time, including Beyonce Knowles, David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Janet Jackson, Rihanna, Kanye West, Britney Spears, Anne Hathaway and Katie Holmes. His editorial work has appeared regularly in V, Harpers Bazaar, GQ, Flaunt, Arena Homme Plus, iD, Interview, Vibe, and Rolling Stone.

    Mr. Reid’s visit was an inspiring evening of advice from an industry insider. He shared strategies for photographers interested raising the quality of their image-making. He also emphasized the importance of diligence in training your eye, following your dreams and transforming your ideas into images. He urged students to take full advantage of the opportunities that full-time study provides and also warned, “don’t save your great ideas for later, start working on them now!”

    G.K. has a remarkable eye and has consistently been ahead of the curve on trends in fashion and photography. We’d like to thank G.K. Reid for sharing his insight.

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    December 12, 2014 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Photography • Views: 6048

  • Celebrity and Portrait Photographer Robert Trachtenberg Speaks to Photo Students at NYFA Los Angeles

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    jerry larry

    The New York Film Academy‘s Photography School in Los Angeles was honored to host a guest lecture by renowned photographer, Robert Trachtenberg, last week. Robert talked students through his work, describing his shoots in detail from conception through execution. Students were encouraged to ask questions which Robert answered with humor and wit. He discussed the role of the publicist in celebrity shoots and how he works with actors from commissioned magazine shoots to off-the-cuff moments he’s captured.

    Robert also described his transition to the moving image. His response to an art director who doubted his ability to shoot a commercial – “I have to tell a story in one frame so 30 seconds is a huge luxury for me!”  Robert  is the winner of the Emmy Award for Outstanding Direction for his latest production, the American Masters film, Mel Brooks: Make a Noise.

    Robert Trachtenberg’s photographs have appeared in The New York Times MagazineEsquireVanity FairEntertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone among other publications. Advertising clients include NBCCBSABCTNTTBSDisneyMGM and HBO. The work can be viewed at www.roberttrachtenberg.com.

    -Bobbi Fabian, Chair of NYFA Photography LA
    For more information on NYFA’s Photography Programs, visit here.
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    November 28, 2013 • Guest Speakers, Photography • Views: 7338