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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Hosts Q&A with Cast & Crew of “Killer Under the Bed”

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    Killer Under the BedOn Friday, October 26, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted a screening of Lifetime’s Killer Under the Bed (2018), followed by a Q&A with director and NYFA instructor, Jeff Hare; producer, Ken Sanders; director of photography, Brad Rushing; and stars, Brec Bassinger and Madison Lawlor. The event was moderated by NYFA instructor, David Newman.

    Hare is a writer, director, and filmmaking instructor at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus, and has been working as a director of thrillers for the Lifetime channel for the last few years (A Lover Betrayed, Psycho In-Law, Nanny Killer).

    Sanders is a prolific producer for the Lifetime channel who has accumulated over 60 movie credits in the last 30 years (Accused at 17, Double Daddy, Stalked by My Doctor).

    Rushing’s career as a director of photography began with some small features in the 1990s then expanded into the music industry with music videos for Eminem, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Blink-182 and more. Rushing then moved back to film and television, and ultimately made his way to the Lifetime channel where he now works as a DP on many of its thrillers.

    Bassinger is an actress known for her roles in ABC’s The Goldbergs and Nickelodeon’s Bella and the Bulldogs and School of Rock. Lawlor is an actress known for her roles on TNT’s Franklin and Bash, Netlfix’s Dear White People, and the film, Daddy Issues (2018). The film also stars Kristy Swanson, eponymous star of the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

    Moderator David Newman opened up the Q&A by asking about the inspiration for the film. Producer Ken Sanders explained that he was approached by the film’s writer about producing a movie about a voodoo doll; Sanders knew that there would have to be more meat to the story to get executive producers interested, so he began thinking about the topic. 

    Sanders then remembered a TV movie from his childhood that “terrified a generation” called Trilogy of Terror; in this film, the protagonist struggles to escape from an evil doll she purchases at an antique shop. Sanders decided to combine the voodoo concept and the evil doll concept into one, and, in a sense, remake Trilogy of Terror for a modern audience. It was important to him, though, that this film appeal to “multiple markets” and not just a “hardcore horror audience.”

    Newman went on to ask the panel about how they handled their tight shooting schedule — the Killer Under the Bed production team only had 14 days to shoot a feature-length film, which is less than half the time that most features take to shoot. DP Brad Rushing advised, “Be prepared… Meticulously know what you’re doing… [Have] contingency plans… and good communication with the producer and the director.” Killer Under the Bed

    Rushing added that he and director Jeff Hare had worked together before, and were largely on the same page aesthetically when it came to the look of the film.

    Newman inquired about how the team made the voodoo doll come to life onscreen. “Most of the doll’s motion was actual[ly] mechanical,” said director Jeff Hare, “it’s trying to keep that aesthetic of that 70s stuff [that] scared us… we tried to keep as many effects as we could practical and we also stole the whole Jaws thing of trying to keep it hidden for as long as we possibly could.”

    “I think oftentimes what you don’t see is a lot more frightening,” added Brad Rushing, “because the audience fills it in with their own imagination and personalizes it as their own boogeyman.”

    The New York Film Academy thanks Jeff Hare, Ken Sanders, Brad Rushing, Brec Bassinger, and Madison Lawlor for sharing their insights about making an independent thriller on a tight budget and in a short timeframe!

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    November 14, 2018 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 1465

  • Packed House For New York Film Academy Gold Coast Screening

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    NYFA May 2017 Diploma of Filmmaking End of Year Screening & Graduation

    For New York Film Academy Gold Coast’s May 2017 Diploma Filmmaking students, the holidays didn’t just represent the end of 2017, but the end of a year of learning, training and artistry. On the 21st of December, the group held their graduation at Event Cinema Pacific Fair, along with the End of Year Screening of their final films.

    With a packed house of friends and family, the group of talented, passionate filmmaking students were able to share their achievements in a tangible way, by showcasing the films their vision and hard work made manifest. By having a full theatre audience and seeing their final films up on a big screen, the students got a taste of what their future careers could look like. Being inspired and surrounded by loved ones, the filmmakers were able to celebrate the holidays and their accomplishments of 2017 all at once.

    In addition to gaining vital filmmaking skills, learning by doing, and applying them to their work, the students’ time at NYFA was valuable in other ways. Filmmaking lecturer Trevor Hawkins elaborated, “What is apparent—apart from learning the art and craft of filmmaking, after spending the year working on each others’ films—the students have formed bonds and connections that will continue on into their professional filmmaking careers.”

    NYFA May 2017 Diploma of Filmmaking End of Year Screening & Graduation

    NYFA May 2017 Diploma of Filmmaking End of Year Screening & Graduation

    Indeed, forming relationships with colleagues is just as important to the collaborative art of making movies as the practical skills needed to bring them to life. While this is just the beginning of their careers, the students were already showing off their distinct talents. Each of their final films portrayed their own unique voice, and demonstrated just how much they’ve grown since starting the program in May.

    Hawkins added, “We wish them all the best and look forward to all their future projects.” The New York Film Academy congratulates the students on their films and a job well done!

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  • NYFA Gold Coast Advanced Diploma April ’17 Students Hold Graduation Showcase

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    The April ’17 Graduates with Acting Coordinator Louise Lee Mei

    On November 9th, the New York Film Academy Gold Coast campus held its Advanced April ’17 Actors End of Year Showcase and Graduation. Graduating students were joined by family and friends at Event Cinemas at Pacific Fair to celebrate their achievements and the body of work they accomplished throughout the year.

    New York Film Academy Australia delivers the nationally recognized Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media, with chosen coursework focused on the craft and business of acting for film. Students who enroll with the program commit a tremendous amount of time and effort, which paid off handsomely with a much-anticipated screening at the April ’17 graduation.

    Acting Coordinator, Louise Lee Mei, opened the event by welcoming guests and congratulating the four graduating students: Christopher Gillham, Esther Crane, Marc Johnson and Sherry Kawecki.

    “The Advanced April Actors are a group of very hard workers who we are extremely proud of,” said Mei. “We are excited to present these great actors to the industry.”

    The screening included Acting for Film scenes and the group’s pilot episode “Eternity”, concerning a jilted lover turning her hand to black magic and threatening the delicate balance between good and evil.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates our NYFA Gold Coast Advanced April ’17 Actors!

     

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    November 14, 2017 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2359

  • Filmmaking Students from NYFA Gold Coast Impress Audience

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    The audience at the New York Film Academy Gold Coast Campus Mid Year Screening got a double dose of talent on October 13, viewing projects from both its July 2017 Advanced Filmmakers and July 2017 Diploma Filmmakers.

    NYFA Gold Coast July 2017 Advanced Filmmaking and July 2017 Diploma Filmmaking Mid Year Screening

    The Advanced Filmmaking students showed off their skill in producing television commercials while the Diploma Filmmaking students showcased a diverse range of non-sync short films.

    “We are extremely proud of the work that our Advanced filmmakers have showcased tonight,” remarked Brian Vining, the Deputy Chair of Filmmaking at NYFA Gold Coast. He continued, “We are extremely proud of the work that our Advanced filmmakers have showcased tonight. Many of the television commercials have been conceived, shot and produced to a very high standard and several were indistinguishable from industry standard productions.”

    NYFA Gold Coast July 2017 Advanced Filmmaking and July 2017 Diploma Filmmaking Mid Year Screening

    NYFA Gold Coast prides itself in training our students in several diverse media, in order to better prepare them for careers in the real world workforce. But, of course, storytelling is just as important, and the Diploma Filmmaking students didn’t disappoint with their artful short films.

    Trevor Hawkins, Lecturer in Directing, Editing & Filmmaking for NYFA Gold Coast, had this to say about the July 2017 group: “There are certainly some promising young storytellers and filmmakers evident in our recent screenings of the July Advanced Filmmakers and the July Diploma Filmmakers.”

    NYFA Gold Coast July 2017 Advanced Filmmaking and July 2017 Diploma Filmmaking Mid Year Screening

    The screening was all the more successful considering it’s just the halfway point in the students’ syllabus. Hawkins added, “It’s always great to be involved in their journey as filmmakers and I certainly look forward to their future productions.”

    Congratulations to our NYFA Gold Coast July 2017 Diploma Filmmaking and Advanced Filmmaking students on such a triumphant night!

    NYFA Gold Coast July 2017 Advanced Filmmaking and July 2017 Diploma Filmmaking Mid Year Screening

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    October 17, 2017 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1746

  • NYFA Gold Coast Holds Mid-Year Screening for May ’17 Filmmakers

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    This August, the New York Film Academy Gold Coast held the May 2017 Filmmaking mid-year screening showcase for it’s May 2017 intake Filmmaking students at the new, purpose-built Southport campus theatre.

    Filmmaking Lecturer Trevor Hawkins, stated, “It’s all about storytelling and turning good ideas into good films. And that’s what our May intake of student filmmakers are showcasing with their mid-year screening of their non-sync films.”

    As a part of the New York Film Academy Australia’s commitment to hands-on education, the mid-year showcase provides students with the opportunity to screen their work from class for an invited audience of peers, friends, and family.

    Mr. Hawkins continued, “With an impressive variety of story ideas, our new and emerging filmmakers have explored numerous genres including comedy, drama, action, science fiction, gangster and social comment.

    “Each film has left a lasting impression which is a sign of good filmmaking and we congratulate all students on a job well done!  And, as we all know, filmmaking is like learning a musical instrument, it’s all about practice, practice, practice. So we all look forward to their next films.”

    Congratulations to our Filmmaking students for their successful mid-year screenings.

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  • NYFA Students Have a Blast at Jessica Chastain’s Movie Preview

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    Last week a group of New York Film Academy (NYFA) students and alumni were part of a selected audience invited to see the new movie “Miss Sloane,” starring two-time Oscar-nominated actress, Jessica Chastain, before it hit the theaters this past Friday. The verdict from our film specialists is a thumbs up!

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    “The plot is so thrilling that it kept me on my toes from beginning to end. I had a blast,” says BFA Acting student Stefan Leach. His peer Champayne Marte, also enrolled in the same program, agrees: “I’ve never enjoyed a political movie before. It was mind-blowing to learn how the game is played behind closed doors,” she pointed out.

    In “Miss Sloane,” Jessica Chastain plays a ruthless lobbyist in Washington D.C. who is notorious for winning at all costs. She’s faced with her greatest career challenge when she turns down a virtually unrefusable offer from the gun lobby and joins a boutique firm to help pass a law requiring more rigorous background checks. From there, a brisk cat-and-mouse game unfolds, directed masterfully by Oscar-nominated John Madden (“The Debt,” “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”).

    For BFA Acting students Faith Jibowu and Paola Lendof, the highlight of “Miss Sloane” was seeing a powerhouse woman on the silver screen: “Jessica Chastain is fantastic, her performance surpassed all my expectations, it was really inspiring,” said Faith. “There were definitely stellar moments of acting shared with the audience, it was just amazing,” added Paola.

    MFA Producing student Amari Agee underlined the intelligent plot: “I didn’t see the whole twist coming, which made her character really remarkable and surprisingly likable,” says Amari, who was snapping directly from the screening room as NYFA ambassador on social media.

    miss sloane screening

    Alumnus Andhika Satria (MA Film & Media ‘16) was one of the most excited before the screening, since he is a huge fan of Jessica Chastain. Little did he know, his country of origin, Indonesia, has a prominent role in the plot of “Miss Sloane,” being mentioned several times throughout the film. “She gave an Oscar-worthy performance and seeing my home country on the screen made it even more exciting,” said Andhika, who graduated in September and was program coordinator of the Los Angeles Indonesian Film Festival earlier this month.

    “Miss Sloane’s” preview held at Arclight Hollywood is a continuation of a strategic partnership between Lionsgate Promotional Group and NYFA – whose most recent event was Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge” screening. Sealed by the hands of school’s Director of Industry Lecture Series, Tova Laiter, the goal is to give the NYFA community privileged access to the best Hollywood releases. Future screening invitations will be posted on our exclusive Student Hub and social media. Stay tuned!

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    November 28, 2016 • Community Highlights • Views: 3577

  • Indie Filmmakers and New York Film Academy Instructors Present ‘The Last Survivors’

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    last survivor

    Michael McCartney, Tom Hammock and Jacob Forman

    Students gathered in New York Film Academy Los Angeles’s theater to watch a special advance screening of the new indie film The Last Survivors and participate in a Q&A with Writer/Director/NYFA instructor Tom Hammock, Writer/Producer Jacob Forman and Actor/NYFA instructor Michael McCartney. The discussion was moderated by NYFA LA’s Dean of College Sonny Calderon.

    The Last Survivors is a post-apocalyptic thriller about a teenage girl who fights to protect the last working well in a drought-stricken valley from a greedy water baron. The film is a perfect example of maximum efficiency to the utmost effect in low budget filmmaking. Director Tom Hammock and Producer Jacob Forman wrote The Last Survivors with the limited resources available to them in mind. After viewing the film, it’s mind blowing to comprehend what they were able to achieve with A-list talent, in the middle of a desert that often dropped below 30 degrees, and all the while creating a completely unique world so different from our own. Tom and Jacob are successful because they know it’s not their resources that matter but their resourcefulness. Tom has worked in the entertainment industry as a top-notch production designer for many years now. Along the way he has made strong alliances with cinematographers, editors, sound designers, title artists, etc., who work on the biggest and most prestigious Hollywood productions. He was able to convince this level of talent to join his team because of the trust he’s built with them, but also because his unique film offered opportunities for these professionals to expand their creative horizons.

    The film was shot with a skeleton crew of six or less. The director also served as 2nd AC and props master. The producer acted as 1st AD and even performed as many of the masked henchmen in the film. Michael McCartney and the other cast members would pitch in in every way, assisting with production design and moving equipment. This is a testament to how incredible these filmmakers are. They used their resources for what mattered most, and after watching the film, any knowledgeable producer would swear the film couldn’t be made for less than five times its actual budget. This type of creative economic efficiency is what’s valued most in Hollywood. These are filmmakers who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. This was a large point of discussion during the Q&A: Moving up the ladder does not mean productions will be more “comfortable” or “easy” for you as you ascend. Filmmakers must always be willing to show their collaborators that they themselves are willing to do whatever it takes to make their projects and make them great. Tom Hammock, Jacob Forman, and Michael McCartney went through hell to do the impossible and they did it smiling because they love making movies.

    hammock forman

    Tom Hammock with Jacob Forman

    Tom Hammock, the Writer and Director of The Last Survivors, is also a seasoned professional production designer with over 15 feature films under his belt, including the critically acclaimed horror film All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, The Guest, which sold to Picturehouse out of Sundance, You’re Next, which sold to Lionsgate out of the Toronto International Film Festival, reshoots on Jacob Aaron Estes’ The Details starring Tobey Maguire, Elizabeth Banks, Laura Linney and Ray Liotta, and reshoots on Taylor Hackford’s Parker starring Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez and Nick Nolte. Tom is currently designing the feature Babylon for director Sean Byrne and promoting his YALSA-nominated graphic novel An Aurora Grimeon Story: Will O’ The Wisp, for publisher Archaia. Tom has taught production design and marketing courses at New York Film Academy.

    The Last Survivors Producer and Writer Jacob Forman’s first produced feature, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, starring Amber Heard and Anson Mount, screened at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival, and had worldwide distribution. The film received its much-anticipated US theatrical release in October 2013. In 2007, MTV Films bought Jacob’s feature film spec Handsome Devil in a bidding war with several studios. Kevin Misher is producing. Jacob currently has features in development at Paramount Pictures, Davis Entertainment, and Liddell Entertainment. IM Global, the Mark Gordon Company and Film 360 are producing his latest spec. Jacob has also held television development deals with ABC Studios and CBS Television.

    mccartney

    Sonny Calderon with Michael McCartney

    Michael McCartney has appeared in The Amazing Spiderman, Dealing, Neal Cassady, Confess, Bringing Rain, Halloween: Resurrection, Conan O’Brien, Law & Order, Conviction, and The Office. Most recently, Michael completed directing, writing, producing and starring in his web pilot The Millionaires. Michael is on faculty at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles.

    We sincerely thank Tom Hammock, Jacob Forman, and Michael McCartney for visiting the New York Film Academy and giving us an invaluable lesson on filmmaking, and we wish them the best with their film.

    The Last Survivors is in theaters now, available on VOD, available to buy on Blu-ray, and to stream through Amazon.com.

    nyfa la survivors

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    August 6, 2015 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 5046

  • “Affluenza” Screening with Director Kevin Asch and Screenwriter Antonio Macia at Warner Bros.

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    affluenza

    This week, New York Film Academy Los Angeles students had the opportunity to see a sneak peek screening of the highly anticipated indie film Affluenza at Warner Bros. Studios followed by a Q&A, moderated by Tova Laiter, with the director Kevin Asch and screenwriter Antonio Macia.

    The film follows aspiring photographer Fisher Miller (Ben Rosenfield) who in the summer of 2008 escapes for the moneyed mansions of Great Neck, while applying to college in Manhattan. Finding himself on the outside looking in at his beautiful cousin Kate’s (Nicola Peltz) circle of indulged friends, he ingratiates himself with high-quality weed and a vintage camera to document their hard-partying exploits until the financial hit, and the glamorous veneer implodes.

    Kevin Asch (Director and Producer) develops and produces projects through his Lookbook Films production company, including Asch’s feature directorial debut, Holy Rollers. The film premiered in the dramatic competition at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, was released in North America to critical acclaim and played in theaters worldwide throughout 2011. For this debut, Asch won Breakthrough Director at the 2010 Gotham Independent Film Awards and Most Promising New Director at the 2010 Deauville American Film Festival. Antonio Macia (Writer and Co-Producer) has more than 10 years of experience as an independent filmmaker. In 2003, he wrote and co-starred in his first feature, Anne B. Real. This coming-of-age drama won several prizes and was nominated for the John Cassavetes Award at the Independent Spirit Awards.

    Kevin Asch and Antonio Macia embody the spirit of true indie filmmakers. The two films they’ve collaborated on to date, Affluenza and Holy Rollers, were passion projects of theirs from the films’ first conception. They make movies for one simple reason and one alone—they LOVE it. This is an obvious fact when you hear them speak. They have a “no matter what” attitude when it comes to seeing their films brought to life and their enthusiasm for filmmaking is downright contagious.

    Kevin and Antonio offered some true words of wisdom for aspiring filmmakers. For instance, although Kevin and Antonio consider themselves equal partners, when on set Kevin is captain of the ship because he is the director. They stressed the importance of maintaining one voice of authority in front of the cast and crew. So if Antonio has a suggestion for Kevin while shooting, he will quietly pull him aside and offer the idea. They advise actors to research the filmmakers they audition for. Nothing is more of a turnoff for a director than if the actor who’s reading for them doesn’t have a clue as to who they are or what they’ve done. A little investigation in this respect can go a long way. Kevin and Antonio also recommended to students to not allow fundraising for movies to intimidate them. They raised over a million dollars for Affluenza. Instead of asking themselves whether they could raise one million dollars, which seems like an impossibility, they viewed it as raising $50,000 twenty times. After exhausting their resources and contacts (and their contacts’ contacts) they realized it wasn’t as impossible as it seemed…

    Kevin Asch and Antonio Macia are already on to their next project—a movie entitled King’s Highway for Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way Productions, which Antonio is writing and Kevin is slated to direct. Set in the 1980s, this gritty crime drama centers on a former Mossad agent living in New York. We wish them continued success with this film and future ones that their passion is sure to bring them.

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    July 8, 2014 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 5599

  • NYFA Students to Screen ‘Alumbrones’ on July 9th

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    premiere_Alumbrones

    Join us in Union Square July 9th at 7:30pm for a screening of a new documentary filmed in Cuba! The film, Alumbrones, was directed and produced by New York Film Academy student, Bruce Donnelly. Bruce teamed up with fellow students (co-producer) Paulo Adorni, (Director of Photography) Esteban Malpica, and (Second Unit Photographer) Albert Oh.

    The team has just started their festival run, having already been accepted to the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival!

    Students, alumni, and faculty are invited to a sneak preview Tuesday, July 9th!

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    July 1, 2013 • Documentary Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 3527