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  • WNYC Interviews New York Film Academy (NYFA) Chair of Screenwriting Randall Dottin

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    Fevah, the short film by award-winning filmmaker and New York Film Academy (NYFA) Chair of Screenwriting Randall Dottin, screened at the Latino Film Festival last month. Shortly before the screening, Dottin was interviewed on WNYC by cultural critic Rebecca Carroll.

    Fevah is a 12-minute-long short about a single Latinx mother named Indira, who deals with emotional and psychological angst while navigating her feelings about the two black men she loves. The film, which stars Melissa Jackson, Russell Hornsby, and LaRoyce Hawkins, was written and directed by Dottin.

    Dottin is currently the Chair of NYFA’s Screenwriting department at its New York City campus. His thesis film, A-Alike, won a Gold Medal at the Student Academy Awards for Best Narrative Film and the Director’s Guild of America Award for Best African American Student Filmmaker, as well as earning other awards and a two-year broadcast run on HBO. His feature doc The Chicago Franchise was accepted into IFP Week’s Spotlight on Documentaries.

    Dottin recently won a grant from the Sundance Institute to complete his six-part documentary series The House I Never Knew, which focuses on the struggle with and against the negative effects of housing segregation policy, including social ills like gun violence and educational failure—especially in Boston, Houston, and Chicago—as well as the personal lives affected by them.

    Randall DottinOn air with WNYC, New York’s public broadcast network, Dottin went into the making of Fevah, as well as what helped inspire the film. “I think one of the things that makes New York so special is just the fact that it’s the most diverse city in the world,” Dottin told Carroll during his interview. “It’s crowded. But it’s also so much culture. It’s also so many different kinds of people.”

    Fevah screened on August 17 at the Julia de Burgos Art Center as part of the New York Latino Film Festival (NYLFF). The fest was founded in 1999, aims to build audiences for Latinx cinema, support the film community with professional development, and foster relationships for Latino talent.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Chair of Screenwriting Randall Dottin on his NYLFF screening and encourages everyone to listen to his enlightening WNYC interview.

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    September 9, 2019 • Film Festivals, Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 254

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Screenwriting Alum David Barbeschi Nominated to Popular Austin Revolution Film Festival

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    David Barbeschi has been racking up plenty of festival selections since earning his MFA in Screenwriting from New York Film Academy (NYFA). Most recently, his thesis pilot script Odysseus was nominated to the Austin Revolution Film Festival, an industry favorite fest that is ranked best on FilmFreeway.

    Odysseus is a television pilot developed by Barbeschi as part of the MFA in Screenwriting program at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus. The script is a sequel to the Ancient Greek poem by Homer, The Odyssey. The screenplay expands the mythology of the classic epic and follows Homer’s titular character Odysseus, now past his prime, as he sets sail for Central America to save his estranged son. He soon finds out that the gods he’d challenged in Greece are nothing compared to the ones to the west.David Barbeschi

    “The idea is to rediscover lesser known myths from other cultures,” explains Barbeschi, “through the lens of a more popular mythological character. For example, at some point, Odysseus will have to face off against the Mayan Gods.” In addition to the Austin Revolution Film Festival, Odysseus was also selected for  the Finish Line Script Competition.

    Barbeschi has also been finding success with his Feature 2 script, White Crow, which focuses on an agoraphobic woman who must guide her blind brother to a safe house through a dystopian city. To date, White Crow has been selected in several festivals, including the Nashville Film Festival Screenwriting Contest, and was just nominated at the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards.

    Both scripts are personal to Barbeschi. “Something I’ve learned at NYFA,” he says, “which I applied when writing Odysseus and White Crow, was ‘write what you like, instead of what you think others will like.’

    “I started out as a producer before coming to NYFA,” he continues, “so whatever I wrote, I wrote solely because of its supposed commercial value, despite not liking the genre or the themes. Ironically, the only projects of mine that have really shown any kind of success are the ones where I took my teachers’ advice and focused on writing good and entertaining stories which I was passionate about.”
    David Barbeschi

    Barbeschi is working as a freelance screenwriter and development producer and is currently juggling over 10 different projects, including a short entitled Off-Road that he wrote and produced; the project is also gaining traction in the festival circuit. Additionally, Barbeschi is working on adapting White Crow into an animated short film.

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Screenwriting alum David Barbeschi on the festival successes of his multiple projects and looks forward to following his endeavors as he continues his filmmaking “odyssey!”

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    July 19, 2019 • Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 596

  • Q&A with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screenwriting Instructor Terah Jackson

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    Washington, DC is about as far away culturally from Hollywood as one can get in this country. However, for New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screenwriting and Liberal Arts & Sciences (LAS) instructor Terah Jackson, his hometown (DC, not Hollywood) provides a wealth of experience to draw upon. Terah Jackson

    Jackson doesn’t just write politically-minded movies, but also mixes genres such as science fiction to—as he says—“add some Hollywood flair.” A director and writer of both stage and screen, Jackson has trained at Lincoln Center and worked off-Broadway. He’s also won awards and garnered attention from the WGAW, Nicholls, Film Independent, and Sundance.

    Currently, Jackson teaches NYFA classes such as Playwriting and Great Playwrights as well as courses like Genre Studies and Writing the Feature Film. He took some time from his busy schedule to discuss Washington, DC, his career, and his civic responsibility as an artist—based on his ties to the civil rights movement. 

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): How did you discover theatre?

    Terah Jackson (TJ): You mean outside of holiday kindergarten pageants, where I was an outstanding Tree #3? 

    I’d say it began with my mother. She’s a master storyteller and as a child I’d follow her around to different storytelling gigs like Three Stories Tall, the first show on NBC4’s 1980s Saturday Morning lineup. She would ask me how she did, and I would give her my notes on her performance and story structure. In time she grew to appreciate it—I think! Those experiences shaped who I am as an artist and storyteller today.

    NYFA: How did your experiences in Washington, DC influence your writing? Do politics—local or national—inform the themes and issues you explore? 

    TJ: Growing up in Washington, DC was, for me, a tale of two cities. There’s Washington—the stuff of The West Wing—then there’s DC, which at times resembles The Wire (which is set in Baltimore). While my neighborhood had its own international gangs, I took the E2 bus line to schools that daughters of diplomats might attend. It was a good life, but confusing crisscrossing cultural and class divides. My sci-fi thrillers, political period pieces, and comedies speak to these experiences. 

    But if you mean more directly “does working in the Pentagon and youth detention centers show up on the page?” Yes, absolutely. To me, working in Hollywood is like DC, but with flair. Take what I did in the DC government, working on adult education and special needs services, dress it up with a little flair like invading aliens posing as lobbyists, and there you g—that’s my sci-fi thriller, Primrose. The customs are different, but the work, the negotiations, and the characters are strikingly similar. There has to be a demand to make a deal. 

    NYFA: Your parents were in the civil rights movement. Can you talk about that—and how that also influenced and shaped you?

    Terah Jackson Rustin

    Civil Rights Activist Bayard Rustin

    TJ: Yes, both my parents were civil rights activists at Howard University and in the city at-large. As the child of civil rights activists, it’s important to me that my work carries forward the spirit of what they fought for—even if it is sci-fi or comedic—that it carries a sense of human dignity. Their work is unfinished. The struggle continues. 

    As an artist I have a civic responsibility to amplify or envision the kind of future we all deserve. It’s an important role to reflect and shape culture as well as one’s sense of self within society. We don’t often discuss it, but Harry Belafonte, Maya Angelou, Sammy Davis Jr., Lorraine Hansberry, and Marlon Brando in their own ways and to varying degrees were influential to making events like the March on Washington what they were. When you look at their artwork they often speak to human dignity and the betterment of society.

    NYFA: Any projects of yours you’d like to highlight?

    Rustin, a feature, probably is the project that honors my parents and their generation the most. It started at AFI as my thesis and was developed further at Film Independent and with support from the WGAW. It’s about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s strategic advisor Bayard Rustin, who is pushed out of the civil rights movement because he’s gay. But when he returns, he organizes the March on Washington of 1963. It honors the work of Bayard and the civil rights movement and hopefully reminds us to keep on working for a truly inclusive and equitable society. 

    NYFA: What are you currently working on?

    TJ: Quite a few projects, but today it’s all about Displaced, a sci-fi pilot, about a lowly janitor who finds he’s receiving pranks calls from inside his bedroom wall from a phone on his own dead body—or at least someone who looks identical to him. Without giving too much away it’s a bit of a doppelganger thriller that I’ve been developing over the past year or so alongside a few other concepts for TV that I can’t talk about yet. Displaced definitely draws on my experience growing up asking those “What if” questions. 

    NYFA: What are your favorite classes to teach at NYFA and why?Terah Jackson

    TJ: My favorite class to teach at NYFA are the ones when a good mix of students from across the world—from various ages, ethnicities, classes, and those with military experience and those without—are all in the same room together investigating a deep tenet of writing or film that reflects what we are up to in life. In that moment we all learn from each other. It’s dynamic, electric, and enriches everyone.

    NYFA: What advice do you have for students looking to get into playwriting?

    Take risks that you wouldn’t in film and television. Read and see lots of plays. Act in plays. Seek to understand the mechanics of how they are structured. And write, write, write. Develop your writing routine. Connect with other playwrights. Go outside and listen to people and how they speak. Jot down moments of striking human interaction. Piece them together. Theatre often calls for you to dig deep into yourself. So take care of your relationships, spirit, and your health as you do all this. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

    New York Film Academy thanks Screenwriting and LAS instructor Terah Jackson for taking the time to speak with us and wishes him the best in all his creative endeavors.

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    June 26, 2019 • Faculty Highlights, Screenwriting • Views: 475

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screenwriting Graduates Celebrate with an Industry Pitch Fest

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    It was that time of year once more as graduating MFA and BFA New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screenwriting students recently attended their culminating Industry Pitch Fest Event.

    The Pitch Fest was held once again at the beautiful penthouse ballroom of the Andaz Hotel on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, surrounded by astounding views of Los Angeles. The location combined with how well-prepared our Screenwriting students are make this a favorite event of industry professionals.

    Industry Pitch Fest 2019

    A catered event and mingling opportunity for the students, executives, and faculty alike, this capstone evening celebrates the New York Film Academy’s graduating Screenwriting students and offers them an unique opportunity to jumpstart their professional development by pitching their Film and TV thesis projects to entertainment industry professionals.

    This year’s Pitch Fest was one of our largest events to date, including a record number of industry professionals coming out to celebrate and give invaluable input for the students to take with them as they move into the next stage of their careers.

    The students’ dedication and passionate love for their work shined as they pitched their thesis projects, which they had developed for nearly a year. Students left with new contacts, excitement about the scripts they’d worked so hard on, and a sense of what it’s like to meet with industry professionals.

    Considered by the Academy to be their first night as professional screenwriters, this group of talented and creative students’ hard work paid off as they pitched agents, managers, studios, and digital, VR, comic, TV, and film production company execs in a relaxed, roundtable environment.

    Organized and hosted by Jenni Powell, Ashley Bank, and Adam Finer, the event featured representatives from Hollywood companies, including: Monkeypaw Productions, Juvee Productions, Practical Magic, Verve, We are the Mighty, Boom! Studios, Heroes and Villains, Madison Wells Media, BURR! Productions, De Laurentiis, and Lit Entertainment Group.

    New York Film Academy wishes to thank all of the Pitch Fest participants, particularly our industry guests, without whom this evening could not have been possible. We’d also like to extend a big congratulations to all of our MFA and BFA graduates and wish them the best as they move forward in their professional journeys!

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    June 18, 2019 • Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 814

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Screenwriting Alum Inés de los Santos Wins Stephanie Rothman Fellowship

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    Earlier this month, New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Screenwriting Alum Inés de los Santos received word that she won the Stephanie Rothman Fellowship.

    The Stephanie Rothman Fellowship is a contest for female filmmakers and writers that create thriller, horror, and fantasy stories. Every year, they grant a female creator with a cash award allows the artist to produce the screenplay, or another project they would instead like to make.

    Inés de los Santos applied to the contest with her thesis project, a comedy-horror pilot about a nun-in-training who accidentally performs an exorcism on her one-night-stand, and is subsequently sent to an exorcism academy.

    Inés de los Santos
    “This story has been one of the most passionate projects I’ve ever had,” de la Santos tells NYFA. “And even though it’s based on someone that is not part of my life anymore, I was able to adjust it and make it even more personal to me—all thanks to my teachers and classmates’ notes and suggestions.”

    Inés de los Santos enrolled in Fall 2017 to earn her MFA in Screenwriting from Burbank-based New York Film Academy. NYFA congratulates Inés on the Stephanie Rothman Fellowship and looks forward to seeing her project come to life!

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    June 14, 2019 • Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 747

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Chair of Screenwriting Randall Dottin Receives Sundance Institute Grant

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    The Sundance Institute has announced it is bestowing a grant to New York Film Academy (NYFA) Chair of Screenwriting Randall Dottin for his documentary film, The House I Never Knew.

    Dottin is an award-winning writer, director, and producer as well as current Chair of New York Film Academy’s Screenwriting department at our New York campus. As Chair, he shepherds a program committed to giving students the unique opportunity to work with fellow filmmaking, acting, and producing students in developing and turning a script into a finished film as well as extensive experience with each step of the filmmaking process as it relates to screenwriting.Randall Dottin

    Dottin’s thesis film A-Alike won a Gold Medal at the Student Academy Awards for Best Narrative Film and the Director’s Guild of America Award for Best African American Student Filmmaker, as well as earning other awards and a two-year broadcast run on HBO. His feature doc The Chicago Franchise was accepted into IFP Week’s Spotlight on Documentaries.

    The House I Never Knew, Dottin’s latest project, is a six-part documentary series and focuses on the struggle with and against the negative effects of housing segregation policy, including social ills like gun violence and educational failure—especially in Boston, Houston, and Chicago—as well as the personal lives affected by them.

    While teaching screenwriting at NYFA, Dottin requested a sabbatical to focus on shooting the film. NYFA Founder Jerry Sherlock personally granted the request and, along with NYFA, supported Dottin’s important work on the project, confident in his skills as a filmmaker.

    The film is one of 25 nonfiction projects that will receive Documentary Fund and Stories of Change grants from the Sundance Institute, a nonprofit organization founded by Robert Redford committed to the growth of independent artists.

    The grants are bestowed on projects that range through all stages of development, and are aimed to help films anywhere from initial project development to building a larger audience.

    Randall Dottin The House I Never Knew
    “It was great to get the encouragement from an institution on that level,” Dottin tells NYFA. “And the type of resources that are now available to the project are immeasurable and will help us get the doc done in the best way possible!”

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA Chair of Screenwriting Randall Dottin on his Sundance Institute grant and looks forward to the completion and release of The House I Never Knew.

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    June 6, 2019 • Documentary Filmmaking, Faculty Highlights, Screenwriting • Views: 203

  • South African New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alumni Meet Up at Inaugural Events

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    This May, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted inaugural South African NYFA alumni events in Johannesburg and Cape Town. This was a fantastic opportunity for NYFA’s South African alumni to connect and expand their network. South Africa Alumni Event

    Blake Babbitt, NYFA Associate Director of Outreach, has been traveling to South Africa for that past 7 years on behalf of the school, and was very delighted to see a true community of New York Film Academy artists coming together in their home country. 

    “There is a growing entertainment industry here in South Africa,” says Babbitt. “Ultimately we want our graduates to use the techniques and knowledge gained at NYFA to influence the industry not only in America, but in their home countries as well.”

    Babbitt continues, “The power of community is essential to the entertainment industry and to artistic success. I am very pleased to see a community of New York Film Academy artists forming here in South Africa, and I’m excited to see how this budding community will expand and impact the way South African stories are told. The sky is the limit for this group!” 

    During the event, NYFA alumni exchanged contact information, formed WhatsApp groups, and tagged each other in social media posts and stories. There was even discussion to form an official alumni chapter in South Africa. 

    Additionally, many alumni expressed their gratitude for the training they received at New York Film Academy, and for NYFA’s concern for them after they graduated. “Once you join us at New York Film Academy, you become a part of our family for life,” Babbitt told the alumni. “We don’t forget about you the second you graduate. Seeing you succeed is incredibly important to us.”

    “Blake and Maria were the most gracious hosts,” says BFA Filmmaking alum Zack Schofield-Nel. “The people that I was blessed to have networked with were incredible; I have built connections that will last for a long time to come. This could have only have happened because I was fortunate enough to attend the New York Film Academy.”

    He adds, “It is the most supercalifragilisticexpialidocious that I could have ever imagined!”

    Attendees included the following NYFA alumni:

    • Lunathi Mampofu (2-year Acting for Film): Trailblazing South African actress. Working on multiple TV shows in South Africa.

    • Eden Classens (2-year Musical Theatre): Runner-up, Dancing with the Stars South Africa; Lead on Afrikaans series Suidooster; recently cast in Netflix’s Kissing Booth 2.

    • Rethabile Ramaphakela (8-week Screenwriting): South African production company co-owner and voiceover artist best known as the voice of the Vuzu shows V-Entertainment and 10 Over 10. Co-owner of the production company Burnt Onion Productions with her brothers Tshepo and Katleho, who created and produced the SABC1 sitcom My Perfect Family and the Vuzu mockumentary Check-Coast. Produced and created a show that is currently available on Amazon Prime. Directing her first feature film in June.

    • Zandi Zim (MFA Acting for Film): Formed her own production company. South African actress that has performed at The Grahamstown National Arts Festival and Cape Town Fringe Festival. Stage actor since the age of eight and has studied Meisner and Alexander Technique. Zandi also sings, plays jazz piano and marimbas, and speaks English and conversational Sesotho.

    • Jacqueline Rainers Setai (8-week Screenwriting, continuing into 1-year Screenwriting): Head of Mojalove Channel on DSTV; well-known and established South African writer, producer, documentarian, broadcaster.

    • Petrone van der Merwe (8-week Acting for Film): Currently in two stage productions for the ADK (Academy of Dramatic Arts)’s 80th birthday celebrations that will premiere at the UJ Artscape Theater in Johannesburg and will also be performed in Stellenbosch at the Drostdy Theater. Signed with the talent agency, Gaenor Artiste Management.

    • Audrey Mokono (1-year Acting for Film, continuing into BFA Acting for Film): Recent graduate of NYFA’s 1-year Acting for Film program and will continue her studies in NYFA’s BFA Acting for Film program.

    • Anlezia Venter (BFA Acting for Film): Opened her own fitness studio in Cape Town.

    • Zackary Nel (BFA Filmmaking): Currently finishing his BFA thesis film in Cape Town, and has hired his own local crew.

    • Paul Fulton (8-week Screenwriting): Copywriter for ad agency. Has two feature-length scripts he is working on getting sold.

    • Keyuri Naidoo (6-week Acting for Film): From Johannesburg; known for her role as Karishma in Droomdag (2017) directed by Willie Esterhuizen. During her time at NYFA-Los Angeles, Keyuri directed and acted in numerous student short films.

    • Thuto Marrengula (1-year Acting for Film): Thuto Marrengula is an actor, known for Non American Dreamers (2018) and Ask Questions Later (2016); currently developing an hour-long stand up routine.

    • Nyeleti Khoza (AFA Acting for Film):  South African actor known for The Coroner: I Speak for the Dead (2016), Black Tea (2017), and Remember Me (2017). Recently cast in Giyani – Land of Blood, a new highly-viewed telenovela on SABC2

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  • Q&A with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screenwriting Instructor Paul Salamoff, Writer/Director of ‘Encounter’

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    On Saturday, April 13, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted a screening of new sci-fi/drama Encounter, the award-winning directorial debut of industry vet and NYFA Screenwriting instructor Paul J. Salamoff. The screening was followed by a Q&A with actors Anna Hutchison, Glenn Keogh, Vincent M. Ward, Christopher Showerman, Wendy David, and Peter Holden, and co-moderated by writer/director Paul J. Salamoff and Chris Showerman. The film also stars Luke Hemsworth (Westworld, Thor: Ragnarok) and Tom Atkins (Lethal Weapon, Escape from New York).Encounter Paul Salamoff

    Salamoff has been working for almost 30 years in film, TV, video games, and commercials as a writer, producer, director, executive, comic creator, storyboard artist, and make-up FX Artist. He is the author of On the Set: The Hidden Rules of Movie Making Etiquette (now in its 4th Edition) and the graphic novels DiscordTales of Discord, Logan’s Run, and issues of Vincent Price Presents. His short stories and essays have been included in acclaimed anthologies including Midian Unmade: Tales From Clive Barker’s Nightbreed and The Cyberpunk Nexus: Exploring The Blade Runner Universe and he is a two-time Bram Stoker Award Nominee.

    He was recently named one of The Tracking Board’s Top 100 up & coming Screenwriters and has developed projects with Mosaic Media Group, Hollywood Gang, Blumhouse, Wigram Productions, Silver Pictures, Valhalla Motion Pictures, Vertigo, Unstoppable Entertainment (UK) and Eclectic Pictures.

    Encounter has already picked up several awards, including Closing Night Film at the Other Worlds Austin Film Festival, Best Director at the 44th Boston Sci-Film Festival, and the Audience Award and Best Supporting Actor (for Tom Atkins) at the Miami International Sci-Fi Film Festival.

    Salamoff began the Q&A with a discussion about the unique way each of the actors became involved with the film. Some were actors that Salamoff had known and written roles specifically for while others were ones that he had admired and wanted to work with. 

    The most notable story was from Glenn Keogh who got a call three days before filming to replace one of the actors who got stuck in the UK because of a work visa issue. Salamoff remarked how generous it was of Keogh to step in so late and how remarkable a job he did, and in hindsight he “can’t even imagine the role being played by anyone else.”

    Showerman followed up with a question about Salamoff’s mature directing style despite being a first-time director. Salamoff cited the fact that he has been a fan of movies since he was five years old and still sees “tons of movies” as well as jokingly claiming to be the reason why Moviepass failed. He went on to say that he was heavily influenced by directors such as David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan, and most recently Denis Villeneuve.

    When asked about the story itself, Salamoff discussed his desire to tell a story “where the science-fiction and fantastical aspects are important, but it’s more about the characters.” He cited films like Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris and Stalker as well as the films of Brit Marling (Another Earth, Sound of My Voice) as having influenced the screenplay.

    The big takeaway from the Q&A was that Salamoff tried to create an environment on set that was highly collaborative with his cast and crew. Wendy Davis pointed out that even though the film was on a tight schedule, “it felt very safe and free for the actors” and that Salamoff would “allow us time to play and discover things.” 

    Encounter Paul Salamoff
    Peter Holden added that “If you’re going to try to pull things off on a shoestring, then you better have people be on your side,” which prompted the cast to reminisce about how well they were taken care of especially in regards to food. 

    A number of the film’s producers owned local restaurants and supplied them, according to Anna Hutchison, “with as much crab legs, steak, and oysters as they could eat.” 

    Vincent Ward followed that by saying “they never had to worry about anything” and could just focus on their craft.

    Keogh went on to say that they’ve “all worked on projects where the camaraderie was not there,” but it was there on Encounter because Salamoff set the tone from day one. 

    Salamoff remarked that this was always the plan and “at the end of the day, I made the movie that I wanted to make,” before adding “but it’s always interesting the road it takes to get there.”

    New York Film Academy would like to thank instructor Paul Salamoff and the cast of Encounter for sharing their experiences and advice for filmmakers as well as details about the development and production of the film.

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    June 3, 2019 • Faculty Highlights, Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 441

  • Q&A with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screenwriting Alum Maria Minguez

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Screenwriting Alum Maria Minguez started out as a 2nd AD and assistant director in her home country of Spain, but her true passion was writing and storytelling. 

    Minguez decided to move to New York and attend the Screenwriting school at NYFA’s New York campus, where she learned the skills necessary to begin her new career as a writer.

    Since then, Minguez has found success back in Spain, and has written the upcoming feature film Vivir dos veces, directed by renowned Spanish filmmaker Maria Ripoll and starring Inma Cuesta, Nacho Lopez, and Argentinian star Oscar Martinez.

    maria minguez
    NYFA recently spoke with Maria Minguez about her film, her life before screenwriting, what drove her to become a storyteller:

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): First, can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you’re from, and what brought you to New York Film Academy?

    Maria Minguez Vivir dos veces

    ‘Vivir dos veces’

    Maria
    NYFA: Can you tell us about your film Vivir dos veces?

    MM: Vivir dos veces is a script I started to write at NYFA for the Feature Film workshop. So the first draft was built on the notes my teachers and my classmates gave me. When I returned to Spain I continued working on it, writing more drafts, until I sold it to a producer. It was shot in October 2019 and it comes out at the end of 2019.

    NYFA: What do you feel most comfortable writing, whether themes or elements of a screenplay? What do you feel least comfortable writing?

    MM: The genres I feel more comfortable writing are dramatic comedy, such as Little Miss Sunshine; and dramatic thriller, such as Mystic River. It doesn’t matter if it is TV or film. The genres I feel the least comfortable writing are action movies and horror movies.

    NYFA: What other projects are you working on or do you plan to work on?

    MM: I have another feature film which will probably shoot at the end of 2019. And I have also been working on a miniseries for Tele 5, a Spanish TV channel, which is going to shoot in two months.

    NYFA: What did you learn at NYFA that you applied directly to your work on Vivir dos veces, or your work in general?

    MM: During the program we worked a lot on the structure of movies (three act structure, the eight sequencing system, etc.). It has been very useful to me. It is not easy to face a one-hundred-page script, but if you know how to structure it, you at least know the way you have to follow.

    NYFA: What advice would you give to students just starting out at NYFA?

    MM: To screenwriting students I have just one piece of advice: to WRITE. 

    NYFA gives you the opportunity to have people giving you notes all the time, and that is something not that easy to find outside of school. The best way to learn how to write is writing. So write a lot, all the time, and take the material to class so teachers can read it and give you notes.

    NYFA: Anything I missed you’d like to speak on?

    MM: I would like to add that when you become a professional screenwriter, you realize that it is not just important to know how to write. You also have to know how to handle producers, contracts, etc. So I encourage the students to pay attention during the business courses of NYFA’s programs.

    New York Film Academy thanks Screenwriting alum Maria Minguez for taking the time to speak with us about her career and her film Vivir dos veces.

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    May 28, 2019 • Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 732

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA in Producing Students Give Notes to Oscar-Winning Screenwriter Tom Schulman

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    Academy Award Winner Tom Schulman, renowned for penning Best Screenplay Winner Dead Poets Society, engaged in a team discussion with New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA in Producing students over potential modifications on his new script, which is currently slated for production in the next few months.

    Over the course of more than two hours, Schulman listened with undivided attention as students dissected his script and offered detailed notes on its story, characters, and its world.

    The special opportunity for the students came as part of their Script Collaboration & Story Development class (MFA Program, 5th semester). The class is designed to teach students script analysis, and how to write and convey notes to a screenwriter professionally and effectively.

    NYFA instructor John Morrissey invited Schulman to participate not only as the recipient of the students’ notes, but also to offer our Producing students a rare opportunity to make a direct impact on the story of a professional film.

    Many times during the conversation–punctuated by laughter and meticulous detail-offering—Schulman jotted down students’ notes on a sheet of paper. When asked what he considered the best way for a producer to provide notes to a writer, he promptly responded: “The way we have been doing it here today!”

    He then shared with the students some inside stories on how studio executives give notes to screenwriters and praised the students for their genuine passion and thoughtfulness.

    New York Film Academy thanks Academy Award-winning screenwriter Tom Schulman for giving his time and advice to our MFA in Producing students.

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    May 8, 2019 • Guest Speakers, Producing, Screenwriting • Views: 689