From November 28 through December 4 YouTube hosted “Russian Cinema Week.” During that period more than 200 Russian films were available in to watch in full. To launch that project Google has partnered with multiple production companies and distributors.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the list of featured movies included the Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning film “Leviathan,” Timur Bekmambetov-produced, New Year’s themed franchise “Yolki” (Christmas Trees) and one of Russia’s all-time box-office champions a Nikolai Lebedev’s hockey biopic “Legenda Nomer 17” (Legend No. 17).
NYFA is pleased to announce that the short film, “Suka” — created and produced by New York Film Academy alumni, producer Maria Rogotskaya and director Cyril Zima — was chosen to be a part of the short selection of the site. It is now the film with the most views!
“Suka” previously won Best Foreign Film Award at the Myrtle Beach International Film Festival and was renowned at many others film festivals including San Jose, BUSHO, and Sapporo Short Fest.
producer Maria Rogotskaya and director Cyril Zima
Rogotskaya and Zima are currently working on a feature noir / Sci-Fi thriller called “Charon,” which takes place in present-day Los Angeles. As a former crime journalist, Zima uses his huge investigating experience to work on the story development. Without giving away any spoilers, the film is a very deep physiological drama.
“When Maria and I came to NYFA to obtain our Master’s Degree, we already had a solid background in the field, but we had no experience working in Hollywood. NYFA was a good transition; we obtained a lot of practical experience and met a lot of collaborators who we continue to work with after graduation,” said Zima.
On Friday, October 28, 2016, New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus hosted Roskino, a Russian-based organization that works alongside the government to promote an international image of Russian cinema. With the goal of Hollywood level production, combined with Russian storytelling, Roskino is the only company of its kind in Russia.
Roskino showcased two of Russia’s strongest films; a short film titled The Boy, and a historically based feature, The Duelist. The Duelist was shot entirely in St. Petersburg. Writer/ Director, Vlad Kozlov, and actor, Petr Fedorov, were in attendance to speak with students about their work.
One student asked Fedorov what he looks for in a director. Federov replied, “They need to know what they want, and they shouldn’t be afraid of me.”
A NYFA alumnus wanted to know how much of historic St. Petersburg was actually on screen. “We had some computer graphics, but most of what you’re seeing is real,” Fedorov explained. In the film, the streets are caked in layers of mud. Dirt was brought in by the truckload and watered down once it reached set. Horses were brought in and allowed to wander the set and make it to their home.
“It’s one thing when the actor is trying to imagine. It’s another thing when it’s all there,” Fedorov continued. “Actors should respect the work that happens before they get to set. You are responsible for every frame.”
The conversation shifted to the hope for the future of Russian cinema. Kozlov said, “I hope, in the future, Russian films will be shown all over the world. It will happen soon and we will be the best.”
New York Film Academy would like to thank Petr Fedorov, Vlad Kozlov, and all the hands at Roskino who made this event possible. The Duelist will be released in select theaters on December 2, 2016. If you’d like to learn more about the films of Russia you can follow Roskino here.
Recently, the New York Film Academy held an Open House in the heart of Moscow. Close to one hundred people attended the event to learn more about NYFA programs. Prospective students had an opportunity to meet NYFA admissions representatives and alumni, who have achieved a lot of success in the professional field, including executive producer of TV channel “Success” Guram Gabunia, independent filmmaker Costa Fam, producer Andrei Kim, director Anna Lobanova, and documentary filmmaker/TV-host Leyla Agirbova.
At the beginning of the event, admissions representatives, Olga Mescheryakova and Elena Kulikova, spoke about the variety of programs NYFA has to offer in the United States, Australia and Europe, answered questions about upcoming Moscow Workshops, and went over details of admissions requirements.
We are very happy that a number of former NYFA Moscow students came to speak and share their stories with the audience. This mini reunion did indeed become the best part of the evening. Loads of warm memories were brought up, which filled the room with inspiring vibes.
Director Anna Lobanova, who finished a 4-Week Screenwriting NYFA Program in Moscow, said that it gave her a better understanding of a screenwriters’ work and she now uses that understanding to develop a better director/screenwriter relationship. At the moment, Anna Lobanova is, as a director, finishing a new series for the main Russian TV-channel and co-writing a feature script with former NYFA classmate, Ekaterina Mazo.
Author, and TV Host, Leyla Agirbova, who attended a 2012 Screenwriting Workshop with Paul Brown said, “In those two weeks I’ve got unforgettable experience. There is nothing more valuable than a human emotion and there is nothing more valuable than the energy that motivates you, stimulates you, sets the pace, and I got all of it at NYFA.”
Currently, Leyla Agirbova not only continues to successfully develop her career in film and television, but also plans to launch her own business project using her pitching skills to attract investors.
There was a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere during the evening. Our grads were able to spread around their positivity, passion for the profession and love for NYFA. One of the open house guests, an actor, Aleksey Bogdanov, said that it was very inspiring to hear stories of former students and learn about the changes that have occurred in their careers.
A pleasant surprise for all was the Skype chat with New York Film Academy Los Angeles instructors, Lydia Cedrone and Paul Brown, who will visit Moscow at the end of October with intensive weekend Screenwriting and Producing Workshops. Also, the Director of the Academy, Dan Mackler, joined the conversation and spoke with the audience in fluent Russian, which was met with a storm of applause!
“It was nice to meet instructors and Director of the Academy via Skype, to see their faces. It gave me even more motivation and hope for the future,” said Alla Volodkina, who recently got enrolled into an 8-Week Screenwriting Program in NYFA Los Angeles.
We would like to thank everyone who came to the Open House. New York Film Academy is very proud of all our graduates and look forward meeting new students. See you soon!
Moscow Weekend Workshop dates are Saturday, October 22 and Sunday, October 23, with an Orientation on Friday evening, October 21. You can apply here.
The Youth Center of the Union of Cinematographers of the Russian Federation held its eighth Pitch Fest for Debutants as part of the 38th Moscow International Film Festival on June 21-22. Over the years, more than 2,000 young filmmakers, from leading art universities and film schools, have attended the Pitch Fest and about 20 of their films have been produced.
This year 686 projects were submitted for consideration (289 – short films, 236 – features, 124 – TV series, and 37 – documentaries) and 10 from each category were chosen for the final Pitch Fest. Young filmmakers had an opportunity to present their ideas to an expert jury consisting of professionals in the field of film and television.
And we are happy to announce that a special prize from the New York Film Academy—a One Week Workshop Certificate in any subject—was awarded to professional journalist and aspiring screenwriter Alexey Khodorych for his television project, The King of Judo.
The King of Judo is a family mini-series adaptation of the eponymous story by Albert Ivanov. This is a story of growing up, which explores the theme of the manifestation of evil in man rising.
Coincidently, Alexey Khodorych had a previous encounter with the New York Film Academy. In 2008 he interviewed NYFA Instructor an award-winning writer, director and producer, Paul Brown, for a major Russian newspaper, Kommersant. At the time, Paul Brown who worked on such series as The X-Files, Quantum Leap, The New Twilight Zone, Star Trek Voyager and Enterprise, was visiting Moscow with NYFA for a hands-on workshop. Now Aleksey can come to Los Angeles to continue their old conversation while learning new crafts and gaining new skills.
We hope to see Alexey Khodorych among our students soon! And we also would like to wish the best of luck to all the Debutant Pitch Fest participants in their careers! Believe, dare, do!
Two-time champion of the Russian National Hip-Hop Dancing Championship among junior teams, Oksana Kuzychenko, has always wanted to dedicate her life to the preforming and visual arts. In her early childhood she took dancing and singing classes and lately she discovered her new passion for photography. Last summer Oksana spent 4 weeks in Los Angeles learning Acting for Film at the New York Film Academy High School Camp.
Recently, we spoke with Oksana to catch up on her life after NYFA summer camp.
Can you please share with us what you’ve been up to since graduating from our summer program?
Currently, I’m finishing my senior year of high school, teaching stretching classes, and dancing. Last December our team won junior league in the Cheer-Hip-Hop Competition at the International Forum of Contemporary Dance and Cheersport. At the same competition, my sister and I took second place among junior duos.
Also, in May, our team finished fifth at the 13th World Dance Olympiad in the “Teams Show” category among adults. For us it is a great achievement, because we moved into the adult league only last year and had to compete against teams who have danced in the adult league for more than 3-5 years.
Would you say your experience at NYFA was useful in terms of your dancing performances?
It helped me to become less shy and fearless. Now, when I perform on stage, I feel more confident. Also, when I teach stretching I use breathing exercises, which we practiced in my NYFA Voice & Movement class.
In addition, I learned at NYFA how to make short videos and now I often film different school events.
What was most memorable about your time at NYFA?
Acting in short student films on the Universal Studios backlot. Never in my life have I been so close to the real world of cinema.
Did you have any favorite instructors?
Andrew Bloch! He is very kind, cheerful and thoughtful. He cared about every single student and constantly encouraged us. My English wasn’t very good at that time and Andrew Bloch treated me with understanding and support.
In the future, do you plan on building a professional career in dancing or is it something you consider more of a hobby?
Since childhood, my dream was to become an actress—act in the theatre and movies. And of course, as an actress, it is a huge plus to be flexible and rhythmic. But if my acting dream does not come true, I will open my own dance school and will raise new champions!
Many young people who are dreaming of being able to enroll in a higher education institution in the United States often give up this idea because of high tuition costs. But for those who really want to achieve their goals, the financial barrier is not an issue.
Today we spoke with New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) graduate student, Elena Kulikova, whose story is truly fascinating and inspiring. In 2008, she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship that completely covered her two-year master’s degree tuition at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus, as well as living and traveling expenses.
Elena, how did your Fulbright Scholarship come about?
I really love studying, in general. I need constant development, constant stimulus, and training is the best motivator. Previously, I had received my degrees from Lomonosov Moscow State University and VGIK, and I then wanted to get my Masters Degree abroad.
At that time, I was working with a wonderful film producer Roman Borisevich. We attended various international festivals and film markets together and I realized that I want to study co-production — an area of filmmaking that wasn’t widely known, and taught in Russia at that time.
Visual Arts education in the United States was a natural logical solution, but I could not afford it financially, and began to look for grants options. As a result, I learned about the Fulbright program, which is on a competitive basis, providing grants for education, research, and training in any US university for citizens of Russia and many other countries.
Can you describe the competition process?
The first step required submitting translated diploma of higher education, two letters of recommendation, two motivational essay (personal statement, study objective), as well as to pass the pre-TOEFL test. Then I passed the TOEFL iBT and GRE General official exams. The final step was the interview.
Who conducts the interview and what questions should candidates be prepared for?
Every interview begins with a self-presentation. This part should be prepared in advance. Preparation will give you self-confidence, which is very important. The members of the Commission are teachers from different US universities participating in the Fulbright program. There might be representatives of Harvard, the University of Utah, professors from Texas, etc. But this does not mean that you go to those universities. Their goal is to assess your motivation to study in the chosen area, see if you have “sparkling eyes,” that your English is good and academic goals are serious.
You should keep in mind that Fulbright provides scholarship for more than 40 disciplines. And the commission chooses one or two candidates from each field. I can’t tell exactly how many applications were in my stream, but at the first stage, we were told that there are 10 candidates for one spot.
Be confident, positive, friendly and prepare a few questions to the Commission. Ask them for advice. Keep the dialogue.
Tell us about your interview experience?
This is a very funny story. A specific time of the interview was scheduled for each candidate. Of course I was very nervous, because it was the final step. When I entered into the room and saw six American teachers, my heart dropped down.
They asked me to introduce myself and talk about my education and work experience. I was prepared for this question and spoke enthusiastically about how lucky I was to study in two of the best Russian Universities, and how grateful I am to my destiny.
Suddenly, the professors started talking to each other, and then one of them interrupted me. He asked me to wait outside because of “technical issues.”
I did not understand anything, but went out obediently, thinking I had failed.
Ten minutes later, I was invited back and explained that there was confusion with my documents. Instead of my portfolio they had documents of another Elena Kulikova from Tula (also a member of the competition), who studied the biology of invertebrates.
The professors apologized and asked me to come for a new interview the next day. We laughed together, and next day I wasn’t scared anymore. The professors seemed almost like family.
How did you prepare for the TOEFL and GRE exams?
I did it on my own and most of my energy was spent for GRE preparation. This exam is more difficult. In addition to language skills it required a refresher in algebra and geometry memory. Even if it’s just a high school level, it’s been 10 years since I graduated the school. After all, my GRE result was “passing,” but with the TOEFL I “flunked” the speaking section.
I did not have enough time to formulate my thoughts. The timer counted five seconds, and I fell into a stupor. Due to the low results in this section my overall score went down. Instead of the required 100 I scored 97.
I would advise students who are planning to apply to try several times before the exam to pass the training tests (from books or online) and watch video tutorials on the passage of each section (a lot of them are on YouTube), to avoid the situation that happened to me.
Any tips for recommendation letters and motivation essays? What should you pay attention to?
Letters of recommendation have to be written by teachers (who know the academic performance of the candidate), or colleagues, including managers from work. They should really know you and your abilities very well.
Motivation letter: Try to imagine your future in three years. What would you like to achieve? Now think about how a Masters Degree from a United States university can help you realize your goals. This should be the main idea of your essay. Describe your experience up to date. What achievements have you already made? At the end, add about how you plan to apply the knowledge when you return to Russia.
Please share with us the most vivid memories of studying producing at NYFA.
At the New York Film Academy I started adding practical skills and techniques to the theory background I had and I was able to produce more than 10 projects in two years.
Most of them were short films for students from the Filmmaking Department, but still it was a major operation, which required my producer’s knowledge to count the number of shooting days and break down a budget on paper. We received official permission to shoot along with major production companies in Film LA, scouted locations, organized and conducted auditions, signed contracts with actors and crew, and organized catering. In short, with each new project I was gaining new real producing experience.
In particular, I would like to mention the Head Producer of the program – Lydia Cedrone. She is an incredibly strong woman and an excellent professional. She knows how to motivate and is always ready to work with each student who needs her advice or consultation. We have developed wonderful friendships.
Also, my favorite NYFA instructor became Brian Udovich, who led the NYFA Industry “Pitching” course. Being an extremely shy person by nature, I was shaking like a leaf. He coached us how to speak in front of an audience. But the adrenaline from his lessons, plus the practical tips and friendly atmosphere, made me free from the fear of public speaking. Now I am happy and completely free to participate in the pitches and give presentations and provide lectures.
Also, I’ve never thought that, as a producer, I can independently write a full-length screenplay. NYFA proved to me that it is possible! During training, I wrote two features and a pilot for a television series in English. My thanks goes to Sharon Hoffman for her patience, professional comments, edits, as well as the delicious brownies that she fed the exhausted students who were not sleeping night after night writing the next 20 pages of their script.
What were some of your achievements while studying in the US?
It is difficult to write about the achievements. Rather, I have received a huge number of possibilities: the ability to learn from real professionals working in Los Angeles; the ability to have trained in the production company of Mark Cuban (“Good Night, and Good Luck,” “Road,” “Jacket”); the ability to live in the heart of the film industry and attend guest speakers events with Steven Spielberg, Janusz Kaminski, Christopher Nolan, Darren Aronofsky, David Fincher, and J.J. Abrams; attend screening previews of films and join meetings with writers and directors nominated for an Oscar. Additionally, I worked as a volunteer at the AFI Festival.
How do you motivate yourself?
I just believe in my dreams. In fact, if you really want something, everything in life is possible.
What helps you make the right decision in difficult situations?
Confidence in my beliefs, colleagues support, and experience.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I prefer not to build plans for a career. I prefer harmony in my personal and professional life. Only then do I feel happy and full of energy for the realization of the boldest creative ideas. If something starts to outweigh—work or family—the problems begin. The only thing I’m sure about the future: I will keep studying and I would like to get a PhD.
In your opinion how in today’s world does the success of a creative person depend on the level of education received?
In my opinion creative success does not directly depend on the education received. And success itself is generally an ephemeral substance. Like luck. But education makes life more interesting and opens up new horizons, awakens imagination, and gives emotions and experiences that are not available to uneducated people.
There are no coincidences in life, everything happens for a reason—every action from the past affects the future. When the stars are aligned and the magic is right, it causes sparks and results in something great. Thus, after accidentally meeting the Director of New York Film Academy, Dan Mackler, at a Russian TV-channel, the writer, producer and director, Costa Fam, began a new stage of his career.
“At that time I already had a degree in theatre, decent experience in television and wrote several scripts. All I wanted was to make my own movies; even my hands were shaking from this desire. But I couldn’t afford to spend years on a new education at 39, so I was looking for an effective short workshop. After meeting Dan Mackler, I decided to go to the US for the first time, to learn more about the New York Film Academy. I was amazed by the creative, very democratic, down-to-earth atmosphere.”
Despite the desire to continue an education at NYFA, Costa Fam, due to family and business, couldn’t leave everything and move to America. By a happy coincidence, the New York Film Academy was holding a 13-Week Producing Workshop in Moscow, taught by Lydia Cedrone, Paul Brown and Gilbert Shilton.
During this course, Fam began working on a global historical project called Witnesses. He was nurturing this idea since his visit to the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum where he was struck by a display of thousands of shoes of the concentration camps’ victims.
“During WWII all of my relatives from my mother’s side were killed, and I always wanted to speak up on that subject.”
A trilogy, Witnesses, is the first feature film from the former Soviet Union produced in memoriam of the Holocaust victims. Each part of the project provides a whole new unique way to look at the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century.
Shoes (2012) is the opening short of the trilogy. It shows the story from the point of view of a pair of red shoes, which begins in a shop window and tragically ends in a mass grave at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
“The initial idea of this serious project was born within the walls of NYFA. Paul Brown and Lydia Cedrone advised me in its development. After graduation, I immediately went to Europe, where, during World War II, concentration camps existed and started gathering information for the film.”
Shoes was critically acclaimed and received a lot of awards from the festival circuit including:
Monaco International Film Festival, Angel Film Awards: Best Short Film, Best Director, Best Original Music, Best Producer, Best Cinematographer, Angel Peace Award
Grand Prix Video Festival Imperia (Italy)
Radiant Angel Festival (Russia), Best Live Action Short Film Award
Artkino Festival (Russia), Best Experimental Film Award
San Diego Jewish Film Festival, Best Emerging Filmmaker
The film was also an official contender for Best Short Film at the 2013 Academy Awards. This is the first film to be granted permission from “Auschwitz-Birkenau” to shoot on the museum territory, making this exception for the art project. Also, this short was added to the movie collection of Yad Vashem (Israel), along with outstanding films about the Holocaust by Spielberg, Polanski, and Benigni.
The second part of a trilogy, Brutus, starring Oksana Fandera and Filipp Yankovskiy, tells the story of the Holocaust through the eyes of a German Shepherd named Brutus, who is separated from his beloved mistress. After being separated, he becomes a watchdog at a concentration camp. Brutus is trained and psychologically manipulated at the camp, which turns him from a harmless pet into a vicious killer. The film is based on the eponymous story written by famous Czech writer Ludvik Askenazy.
Brutus is currently in post-production and is scheduled to premiere in the summer of 2016.
The world of the third short in the trilogy, Violin, based on a short story, revolves entirely around the unique instrument that has passed through all the horrors of the war. The story begins in a violin shop in Nuremberg, where at the beginning of the 20th century the violin was created as a gift to a Jewish boy. The instrument changed many owners and appeared in various places. Its story ends a hundred years after its creation with a concert at the Wailing Wall of Jerusalem.
Costa Fam shared with NYFA that the lead character in the third and final part of the trilogy will be played by German actor Lenn Kudrjawizki (The Counterfeiters, Enemy at the Gates, The Transporter Refueled).
Lenn Kudrjawizki is a real treasure for Costa Fam. In addition to his amazing acting career, Lenn is a wonderful violinist who graduated from music conservatory.
Actors from previous parts of the trilogy will be involved as well, including Oksana Fandera, Vladimir Koshevoy and Mariya Zykova. Shooting will take place in Russia, Israel, Czech Republic, Poland and Belarus.
Oksana Fandera and Mariya Zykova on set of “Brutus”
Costa, you have six children, how do you manage to achieve a balance between work and family?
On the one hand, it is impossible to achieve balance. On the other hand, I am absolutely happy in what I’m doing and I share this happiness with my children. In the end, it’s not the amount of time spent together that affects relationships, but the quality. When I’m with my children, I try to find time for everyone. Often times, I try to be a friend rather than a parent. Also, each of my kids knows that he/she is “my favorite child” and that they can count on me to support them. I think that is the most important feeling for a child to feel about his dad.
What childhood dreams have you managed to bring to life?
Most of them: I do what I love. I also really wanted to travel – just in the last year I crossed the ocean over ten times. More interesting is what dreams I failed to realize. When I was a child I naively dreamed that all people on Earth can love one another, and there will be peace throughout the world. Now I understand that this is an impossible dream, but I can take small steps towards it and, by doing my job, build a ladder to the sky.
Costa Fam with his team on set of “Brutus”
If you can call the past, what advice would you give your 20 year-old self?
I can’t say that I regret anything in my life and would like to fix it, but one piece of advice I would give is to learn languages. Particularly English, in my case.
What advice would you give to our students, aspiring filmmakers?
Shoot, shoot and shoot! Unfortunately, in the filmmaking business we can’t practice and rehearse like we could in sports and music. Fortunately, now you have an opportunity to shoot on camera or your phone and see the results instantly. Here is some practical advice: choose the scenes from your favorite films, invite aspiring actors (who also need training) and make your own remakes of those scenes. The results will surprise you a lot!
New York Film Academy is thrilled to announce that former Acting for Film student, Andrew Nazarbekian, was accepted into the “Top-51” on Season 15 (the farewell season) of one of the most popular shows in the history of American television—American Idol! It’s worth mentioning that in the history of the show he is only the second participant from Russia who has made it to the audition round.
Andrew has been singing all of his life. From early childhood, he sang in the popular Russian ensemble “Neposedi,” which gave him the opportunity to perform on the same stage with such stars as Luciano Pavarotti, Kylie Minogue, Pink, Sarah Brighton, and many others. At 17 he become a semi-finalist on the second season of the Russia version of “The Voice.” At 20 he heard a desirable “yes” from Jennifer Lopez at the American Idol audition, adding: “I think we are all going to say probably the same thing that you have this naturally beautiful voice. You obviously are a really great singer. It’ll be interesting to see what happens along the way. I’m going to say – YES!”
Now Andrew is finishing his Bachelor’s degree at Moscow State University and getting ready to move to Los Angeles. Despite his busy schedule of concerts and photo shoots, he has kindly agreed to answer a few questions for the New York Film Academy.
Please tell us about your audition for American Idol. How did it all come about?
I’m very practical, and right after I finished the 4-Week Acting for Film Workshop at NYFA last summer, I wanted to realize everything that I’ve learned in reality. And because I have some decent singing skills I’ve started looking for auditions in the field of music/acting and found out that American Idol started its castings for the final season.
But the audition in California was scheduled for September and I had planned to go back to Russia in August. The audition in Arkansas was the only one I could make, so I decided to try my luck. But luck passed me by and I did not get accepted. Shortly before that, I sent an online application, but did not have serious hopes. And suddenly, the day I was supposed to depart for Moscow, I received a call from FOX. They invited me for an individual casting in their television office, which for me, in turn, proved to be successful.
What was the most difficult part of the project?
I went through five qualifying rounds of the project, and for three of them we were shooting during one week. Therefore, we had to get up at 4:30 am and at 5:30 am had the meeting. We usually finished at midnight, so by the end of the week, during a rare break, it was normal to see the participants sleeping in piles on the floor. Perhaps this was the most difficult. After all, you also need to look good and fresh, and to sing. Fatigue primarily affects the vocal cords.
How was participation on American Idol impacted your career?
Perhaps the result is that I now have job offers not only in Russia but also in the United States. There were two offers from Las Vegas; I was invited to participate in musical stage performances. I’ve also been getting a lot of calls from modeling agencies.
In your opinion, what qualities must a person possess in order to succeed?
Have standard qualities. Be hard working. Have perseverance. But actually, I do not know yet…I’ll tell you once I succeed!
The New York Film Academy is very proud of Andrew Nazarbekian and we wish him the best success in continuing to pursue his career in entertainment.
In 2011 “Kazakhfilm” studio sent a group of young filmmakers to the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles for a 4-week Filmmaking Workshop. Among them was an aspiring actor and director named Sanzhar Madiyev. Now, Madiyev stars in the neo-noir superhero film Zaschitniki (Guardians) directed by Sarik Andreasyan. The film was listed in the Top-20 most anticipated Russian movies in 2016.
“I liked the enthusiasm and the atmosphere at NYFA, so in one year I decided to come back and take the 8-week Acting for Film Workshop,” said Madiyev.
Since then, he has developed a very impressive acting career in both film and television, including Khod Konem (Armenia/Kazakhstan) directed by Gor Kirakosian, The Way Home (Kazakhstan) directed by Rashid Suleimenov, the TV series Marco Polo (USA), Hunting the Phantom (Kazakhstan) directed by Marina Kunarova, Amanat (Kazakhstan) directed by Satybaldy Narymbetov and, most recently, Married at 30 (Kazakhstan) directed New York Film Academy alum Askar Bissembin and Zaschitniki (Russia) directed by Sarik Andreasyan.
Madiyev initially found out about the open casting from his friend and decided to submit photos and resume. For the second round he was asked to tape and send a scene. After that he was contacted by the production office and invited to Moscow for a meeting with director and producer. This personal meeting resulted in him being cast as the lead character Khan. Khan (Windman) is a member of the group of superheroes altering and augmenting the DNA in order to defend the homeland from supernatural danger during the Cold War.
On working with Sarik Andreasyan, Sanzhar Madiyev said: “This is a case when the work becomes the pleasure and leads into a friendship. I like his directing style—he is very calm and unruffled, and it gives strength, especially during heavy scenes.“
Sanzhar Madiyev also directs music videos and short movies when he has a break between acting projects. In the future, he would like to direct his own feature but he believes that there is the right time for everything. He is grateful for the useful advice he has received from the talented professional NYFA instructors: David M. Wexler, George Russo, George McGrath and Bruce Ducat, who he still keeps in contact with.
The New York Film Academy is very proud of Sanzhar Madiyev, and we look forward to seeing him on the silver screen!
After taking a look at the list of successful projects that New York Film Academy graduate Konstantin Frolov worked on during his first year after graduating, we can confidently say that he is not only talented and organized, but also knows how to make connections. In 2015, Frolov worked as a director of photography on several projects, including:
A music video for Abdulrahman Mohammed (directed & produced by NYFA Grad Hanaa Saleh Alfassi) that already has almost 2 millions views on Youtube
A feature documentary on the Russian Special Olympics
A music video for Baby Kaely called “Smile” (directed by NYFA Grad Mykyta Samusiev and produced by former NYFA student Kelline Kanoui)
A commercial for the Suites Investment (directed by Mykyta Samusiev)
A short “YUMNA” that received an Award of Merit Film festival, an Award of California Film Festival and will be represented at Marché Du Film at Cannes in May 2016 (directed by NYFA Grad Noor Al Yaseen)
A short “Fire Water” (written and directed by NYFA grad David B. Johnson)
A music video for the Russian singer Selfieman called “For All The Broken Hearts,” which will premiere on Valentine’s Day (produced by former NYFA student Kelline Kanoui)
Despite his busy schedule he was recently able to share a few interesting stories about his career as a cinematographer.
What made you decide to study at NYFA?
I was working as a cameraman in Moscow and was thinking about getting a cinematography education abroad. I checked out options in France, England and the United States. And I guess NYFA was my destiny. On one cloudy day I was walking through the center of Moscow. I had no plans, but it was cold and I wanted to stop into some place to warm up. Then, I noticed a banner on the street saying New York Film Academy. It was exactly what I needed. So I went in. A girl with a smile told me the Master Class with American screenwriter Paul Brown was about to begin. He didn’t simply walk into the room, he was almost flying. It turned out that he was a bit late, and I was just on time—otherwise I would have missed the beginning. Paul Brown told the story of a strange flock of penguins in the Moscow Metro, which were probably going to the North Pole, so they created traffic. Then, he began to talk about movies, about the Academy, and all of it was so fascinating that I applied a week after.
David B. Johnson and Konstantin Frolov on the set of “Fire Water.”
Is there any secret how to be so productive?
The most important thing is to organize the process in the correct way. This list of my rules will explain:
Most of the meetings I arrange are on one day of the week, so the other 6 days I can work on the projects.
I don’t answer calls after 9 pm, unless we have scheduled it in advance.
Before I go to bed I spend time on creating storyboards, shot-sheets or watch movies. I believe that filmmakers have to devote at least an hour every day to watch a movie or new TV-series, even if it is not very interesting.
I also try to minimize the number of meetings that can be solved by e-mail.
I spend about an hour a day walking. The best way to do it on a regular basis is to get a dog.
One day a week I fully dedicate to myself.
What would you say are the main keys to success?
Experience is a large part of the success, and you shouldn’t fear participating in experimental and complicated projects. Be hardworking and remain humble at all times. And listen more than you talk!