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  • New York Film Academy Friends & Family on ‘SNL 40’

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    Last night, NBC and Lorne Michaels managed to manifest the highest population density of celebrities, musicians and comedians into one studio. That studio was 8H, and it was for the 40th anniversary of the iconic sketch comedy show, Saturday Night Live. 

    Fans had the opportunity to see old sketches reprised, such as Dan Aykroyd’s Bassamatic, Celebrity Jeopardy, Wayne’s World and countless others. The event included appearances by a star-studded list of celebrities and former hosts like Robert De Niro, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, Tom Hanks, Alec Baldwin…the list goes on and on. To put it simply, it was like heaven on Earth for SNL fans.

    While being captivated by television history, we recognized some New York Film Academy friends and family.

    Former guest speaker, Molly Shannon, surprised fans with her socially awkward, Catholic school girl character, Mary Katherine Gallagher. Performing in front of some of the most well known and respected entertainers in the world, Mary became very nervous and began smelling her armpits…like this. Though, soon after, she proclaimed that she was still a Superstar!

    Molly Shannon

    Actress & SNL alum, Molly Shannon at a NYFA Guest Speaker Event

    You may have also noticed another former guest speaker and Master Class Filmmaking Instructor James Signorelli. The SNL 40 show paid tribute to Signorelli by giving him his own unique SNL-style graphic during the broadcast. Signorelli has been a part of the show since 1976, having been the film segment producer for more than 400 episodes. He’s considered the king of ad parodies. If you’re thinking of a popular SNL commercial parody right now, James likely produced it.

    Looking back at many of the classic comedy sketches from the early 1980s, you may recall the famous “Synchronized Swimming” sketch with Harry Shearer and Martin Short, or the classic “Assassination of Buckwheat” with Eddie Murphy. What you may or may not know is Claude Kerven, the New York Film Academy in New York City’s Chair of Filmmaking, directed these short comedy films along with many others.

    The New York Film Academy is proud to have connections to the long-standing, ground-breaking show, SNL. Here’s to another 40 years!

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  • SNL Uses Super Bowl to Share Super 40th Anniversary Lineup

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    west & mccartney snl

    Kanye West & Paul McCartney are part of SNL’s 40th Anniversary Lineup

    Saturday Night Live’s 40th birthday is fast approaching—its Anniversary Special is set to air on February 15. If the celebration is anything like it’s star-studded 25th Anniversary, expect a mix of best-of clips, new material from a mix of former & current stars, and some touching tributes to cast members who’ve since passed. Considering that three out of the four new Ghostbusters came from SNL, expect at least a couple proton pack jokes, maybe even with the two former Ghostbusters who also got their start in studio 8H.

    While some of the lineup was already public, including Eddie Murphy’s surprise announcement that he’d be returning to the show for the first time in thirty years, a more extensive list was given out during the Super Bowl’s premium ad time.

    Confirmed for the big night are Fred Armisen, Dan Aykroyd, Alec Baldwin, Jim Carrey, Dana Carvey, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Robert De Niro, Jimmy Fallon, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Zach Galifianakis, Bill Hader, Jon Hamm, Derek Jeter, Norm Macdonald, Peyton Manning, Steve Martin, Melissa McCarthy, Paul McCartney, Seth Meyers, Garrett Morris, Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Mike Myers, Laraine Newman, Jack Nicholson, Amy Poehler, Chris Rock, Paul Rudd, Maya Rudolph, Andy Samberg, Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld, Molly Shannon, Martin Short, Paul Simon, David Spade, Emma Stone, Jason Sudeikis, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Christopher Walken, Kerry Washington, Kanye West, Betty White, and Kristen Wiig. Tom Hanks will also take a break from his new project at HBO to join the festivities.

    If you’re so excited you can’t wait two weeks, you can check out VH1 Classic’s current marathon of the entire series.

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    February 3, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 2993

  • VH1 Classic Will Marathon 40 Years of SNL

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    Venerated sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live turns forty years old this October, but no doubt pop culture will be celebrating its birthday all year. VH1 Classic may be giving the earliest, biggest gift—a marathon of almost all 433 episodes of the series, aired back-to-back, starting January 28.

    Showing over four hundred episodes will last longer than your typical marathon of course, so the comedy block won’t finish until February 15. If you plan on watching every episode, you’re probably going to have to take some time off and get a lot of caffeine. Especially if you want more after the marathon is over—it’s timed to end right before NBC’s own 40th anniversary special of the show.

    Because of music rights and a few other issues, not every sketch will be shown in its entirety, with VH1 executives hinting that some episodes may be excised in full. To help make up for it though, VH1 Classic will also air classic movies starring SNL alums every Saturday night during the marathon. The network will also be scheduling special-themed blocs. For instance, if you’re a big Eddie Murphy fan, you’ll be able to watch the Eddie Murphy years most of January 11, or on January 31 you can watch six straight episodes featuring Justin Timberlake. There will also be blocs featuring SNL players who came back to host and a tribute to Chris Farley, among several other themes.

    The SNL Rewind: 2015 – 1975 Mega-Marathon gives away its most interesting gimmick right there in the title. Unlike most marathons, VH1 Classic will run the series in reverse, starting with the most recent episode and finishing the two-week long run with Saturday Night Live’s original pilot—hosted by the late, great George Carlin. It might be SNL’s birthday, but we’re getting all of the presents.

    What are some of your favorite Saturday Night Live moments? Let us know in the comments!

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    January 15, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 4175

  • Superstar Molly Shannon Visits NYFA

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    Molly Shannon

    Actress Molly Shannon visited New York Film Academy Los Angeles and talked to students after screening an episode of the TV show Enlightened (for which she was nominated for an Emmy) and a few of her legendary Saturday Night Live sketches. The Q&A was moderated by Tova Laiter. Molly was radiant and so generous to give students advice on how she navigated the daunting terrain of the entertainment industry and succeeded. Students cheered loudly when Molly ran down the theater aisle and took the stage.

    Molly reminisced about her early days in Hollywood when she would walk up and down Sunset Blvd., handing out her head shots because she didn’t know anyone in town. Oddly enough, this strategy got Molly her first agent. From there, she landed a few substantial gigs like a small, one-time roll on Twin Peaks and a commercial spot. All the while Molly continuously hustled within her career and would do odd jobs and waitress to stay afloat financially.

    It wasn’t until she hit a big dry spell of acting work and had decided to set auditioning aside for a while—to work on developing her own characters on stage with a group of friends — that she finally got her big break and was hired on Saturday Night Live. Being on SNL was like climbing a treacherous mountain, according to Molly. Because the show was live and so much was a stake, the experience was both terrifying and extremely exhilarating. She now enjoys the more subdued, intimate atmosphere of single camera television shows and feature films. Family, friends, and the love of her craft remain of central importance for Molly so she is always grounded in things that are stable. In this way she can go up and down the roller coaster of success and failure and not be effected. This is very apparent from Molly’s incredibly positive demeanor.

    At the end of the Q&A, Molly received a standing ovation from students. She stayed afterwards to take pictures with every student who asked her.

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    October 8, 2014 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 6801

  • New York Film Academy Presents ‘The Wedding Singer’

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    the wedding singer
    After our first successful staged theatrical performance of Spring Awakening at the American Theatre of Actors, it was without a doubt we’d have to follow up with another. To that extent, it’s with great pleasure the New York Film Academy Musical Theatre Department would like to announce its second full length musical production, The Wedding Singer. The musical is based on the 1998 New Line Cinema film written by Tim Herlihy. It features music by Matthew Sklar and lyrics by Chad Beguelin, with its book written by Beguelin and Herlihy. The Wedding Singer is the story of a wedding singer and cocktail waitress, both already engaged to the wrong people. A series of comedic events and fortunes hopefully lead them to find true love elsewhere.

    When: Performances are September 26th-28th, Friday & Saturday at 8PM, Saturday & Sunday at 2PM.

    Where: The Connelly Theatre located at 220 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10009

    For general admissions tickets, please CLICK HERE.

    NYFA Student/Employee/Alumni tickets are available in person, cash only, max 2 per NYFA ID for $10 each. Employees and students can pick up and drop off order forms with Jordan Dragutsky in room 415 and Kaira Karnad in 433. Please present your NYFA ID when dropping off the order request. Alumni and incoming students can email jordan@nyfa.edu to request tickets.

    Cast (in oder of appearance):
    Robbie Hart – Connor Lyons
    Sammy – Christopher Lee
    George – Alec Lee
    Julia Sullivan – Raquel Tillo
    Holly – Stephania Sanquiz Donelli
    Glen Guglia – Charles Engelsgjerd
    Rosie – Fernanda Hidalgo
    Linda – Carrie McMahon
    Angie – Beatriz Cavalieri
    Ensemble – Mauritz Badenhorst, Miguel A. Candelaria Palafox, Melissa Jennifer Gonzalez, Alexis Guarneros, Cody Arturo Hernandez (guest performer), Charlotte Hughes, Cristina Hussey, Ilda Mason, Silvia Nicoloso, Carol Nolasco, Giovana Pancera, Georgia Roe (NYFA Alum) Naomi Wong

    Production Team:
    Producers – Kristy Cates & Mark Olsen
    Associate Producer/Prod Manager – Jordan Neil Dragutsky
    Production Stage Manager – Nikki Castle
    Production Assistant Stage Manager – Momo Sugawara

    Creative Team:
    Director – Isaac Byrne
    Choreographer – Chad Austin
    Music Director/Conductor – Anna Ebbessen
    Speech & Dialect Coach – Lauren T. Mack
    Fight Director – Mark Olsen
    Fight Coordinator – Dan Renkin
    Associate Choreographer – Georgia Roe (NYFA Alum)
    Associate Music Director – Daniel Lincoln

    Book by Chad Beguelin & Tim Herlihy
    Music by Matthew Sklar
    Lyrics by Chad Beguelin

    Design Team:
    Scenic Design – Ryan Howell
    Costume Design – David Withrow
    Lighting Design – Mary Ellen Stebbins
    Sound Design – Jacob Subotnick

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    September 10, 2014 • Community Highlights, Musical Theatre • Views: 7436

  • Whatever Happened to Francis Ford Coppola?

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    Francis Ford CoppolaLast week was the 40th Anniversary of The Godfather. I don’t know if you saw it but the AMC channel aired it repeatedly during the week. Watching those films again, it made me wonder…

    Whatever happened to Francis Ford Coppola?

    The Godfather was a huge influence. I mean everyone went to see it. I remember I had a friend who was ushering at the movie theater and would sneak me in. It didn’t even matter what part of the movie you came in at, you’d just watch it from there to the end. Sometimes I’d even stay to watch the beginning of the next show. We used to refer to the film as, “the Beast.” That’s how much respect we had for it. A few years later, as a film student, Scorsese became my guy (he was the filmmaker that made me want to be a filmmaker.) The Godfather was still the benchmark and with all due respect and deference to good ol’ Marty, he never made “The Beast”.

    Coppola followed up with Apocalypse Now. The stories about making that film are legendary—the enormous amounts of money, equipment, and insanity that went on in the jungles. But whether you like the film or not, you can’t help but be impressed by the enormity of the undertaking and the execution. It is unquestionably the work of a master filmmaker. And then… What? What happened? He never again fulfilled the promise of his early films. It makes me sad. What went wrong? Where did Francis Ford Coppola jump the shark?

    It started with a film called One From the Heart. You’ve probably never seen it. Few people have. It was a musical fantasy set in Vegas, and even though it pioneered some video-editing techniques, it was a disaster with audiences. Then there were The Outsiders and Rumble Fish. It seemed to us as young directors as the work of a desperate filmmaker who lost one audience and was trying everything he could to connect with a new one. Next he tried a Godfather knockoff, The Cotton Club. An epic crime drama, it even had the same sort of violent montage at the end. A pale imitation and another box office disaster. And finally, Godfather 3, the last ditch effort to recapture past glory. I don’t even have to tell you what a disappointment that film was.

    How did such a great filmmaker lose his way? Was it the disappointing loss of Zoetrope Studios? In 1969, Coppola decided to buck the studio system, which he felt had stifled his artistic vision. He created Zoetrope to fund off-beat films by first time directors. It didn’t work. Was it the pressure of paying off the huge financial debt in which he found himself? Coppola has declared bankruptcy three times. It’s not easy holding onto a personal vision while digging yourself out of a financial hole. Or was it the tragic death of his son? Personal tragedy has a way of putting ambitions of glory in perspective. In the end, perhaps it was just the unimaginable pressure of having to equal something as great as The Godfather.

    The Godfather

    It’s hard not to reflect on the somewhat tragic trajectory of his life. Early success does have its pitfalls. Compare the careers of directors like Spielberg and Scorsese. They all started out at the same time. They were part of an avant-garde group of filmmakers that were revolutionizing Hollywood. But where Spielberg and Scorsese are viable, influential, Academy Award nominated filmmakers to this day, Francis Ford Coppola has sadly vanished from the scene. I can easily imagine him filled with deep satisfaction and appreciation of what he’s accomplished. I can also imagine him with deep regret at what could’ve been. Ultimately, I’d like to think that with age comes perspective, if not wisdom, and maybe even acceptance. What do you think? Every filmmaker has to come to grips at some point with this issue of art and commerce. How have you handled it? Or how do you envision handling it? I’d like to know.

    Click here to learn more about the filmmaking program.

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    March 16, 2012 • Filmmaking • Views: 10487