Shanghai 1937
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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism Update – July 25, 2019

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    I think I speak for all the faculty in the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism department when I say we felt a deep sense of pride when we saw the bio of Grace Shao appear on the CNBC website. A NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad, Grace worked tremendously hard to reach this point. And I have no doubt she will continue working just as hard!

    1 - Broadcast Journalism Update July 24

    We’re in the middle of summer here in New York, and the weather report seems to repeat day-after-day. It always seems to be “hazy, hot, and humid.” It is easy forget that, in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s winter! A fact that was brought home to me by a video posted by former NYFA student Livia Fernanda, who works with Somar Meteorologia in Brazil. That’s an ice crystal in the graphic behind her…

    Staying in the Southern Hemisphere, our favorite red carpet reporter—NYFA grad Bryanna Reynolds—is at it again, proving you can interview Hollywood stars thousands of miles (or kilometers) away from Hollywood. Bryanna always impresses me with her ability to communicate in “emoji.”

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    🎥 SURPRISE! Can finally REVEAL the secret! 😍 @kevinhart4real & @tiffanyhaddish got to have a chat with @grandma.daisy and I in Sydney last week 🥳 We chatted all things #secretlifeofpets2 for #9kidswb on @9gokids 👏 Two of the most amazing and down to earth people I have ever interviewed ✔️ Every day I wake up I am so grateful to be able to call this my job 😍 Thank you to everyone who gives me the strength and courage to pursue my goals and dreams 😊 Sending all the love and positivity in the world right back at you 👊💕 You can catch the interview on @9gokids tomorrow Saturday 15th June after 8am 🎬 . . . . #dreamjob #believe #tv #dream #achieve #broadcast #aspire #journo #journalist #goals #multimediajournalist #producer #editor #preditor #video #aimhigh #careergoals #media #melbourne #chasingnews #redcarpetreynolds #reynoldssisters #lovemyjob #kidstv #redcarpet #junket #kevinhart #tiffanyhaddish

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    You can find NYFA Broadcast Journalism graduates in many places. Even newspapers! Here is the latest from Lorenzo Capezzuoli Ranchi about the many, many challenges “dalla A all Z” (from A to Z) facing the Italian government.

    4- Broadcast Journalism Update July 24

    Finally, the documentary that NYFA faculty members Evgenia VlasovaDee VlachosLexi Phillips and I collaborated on—Shanghai 1937: Where World War II Began—is now available on Amazon Prime. So far, it has been broadcast on 180+ American Public TV stations. We’ve also seen more than 7,000 people click on the program website to watch an online preview. Many are teachers who used the free Teacher’s Notes we provided as the basis for high school and college classroom activities.

    5 - Broadcast Journalism Update July 24

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    July 25, 2019 • Broadcast Journalism, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1006

  • Broadcast Journalism Summer School, Wind Summer Festival, and Invisible Love From the New York Film Academy

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    Summer is well underway here in New York City, and that means the NYFA Broadcast Journalism Summer Session is in full swing too. Once again this year, we have students from seemingly everywhere: Abu Dhabi, Brazil, Connecticut, Uzbekistan, and Washington, D.C.! Below is the “Official Unofficial Class Picture.”
    On Saturday, the group was outdoors practicing their shooting technique. (Which was good, seeing as today they are shooting their first project!) Our students work with Canon C300 cameras, which are better than the equipment many TV stations actually use. Battery Park, located right across the street from NYFA, is a great location to shoot. Especially on a lovely Summer day.
    Trust me, as serious as the folks in the picture below look, the short-term workshops really are fun. (NYFA grads reading this email can back me upon this…)
    Speaking of having fun …
    NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Chiara Carcano is one of the hosts of the Wind Summer Festival, a combination performance series and singing contest seen on Canale 5 and heard on the Radio 105 network in Italy. (The skills you learn at NYFA don’t always lead to newsroom careers — they can be used in a variety of ways!) This is also an example of how English remains the linqua franca for many international cultural events.
    As most of you reading this know, I have spent my professional career creating non-fiction video. But that has changed, as I’m now part of the creative team producing an independent feature film called Invisible Love. In fact, I am an executive producer. (Nothing like starting at the top…) A China/Vietnam/U.S. co-production, I got involved thanks to the work I did in China last year for my soon-to-be-released documentary Shanghai: 1937. I have to say, it’s exciting to see my name on a movie poster.
    That poster makes it clear this is a drama. The story takes place in what was then called French Indochina, during the 1930s.
    NYFA Acting for Film grad Kazy Tauginas has been cast in a major role. He plays an American doctor haunted by his troubled past, whose involvement with a Vietnamese nurse leads to tragedy. (You can see Kazy in the new Denzel Washington film The Equalizer 2.)
    The Invisible Love team had a booth at the film market associated with the just completed Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF). We’re looking for theatrical presentation in China and Vietnam, as well as international theatrical and TV distribution.
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  • Variety’s Best Film Schools 2018, Brazil’s Agency France-Presse, & Shanghai: 1937 With the New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School

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    For those of you who live outside the United States, you may have never heard of Variety. It is the Hollywood-based, leading entertainment industry newspaper/magazine in America. And last week it named the New York Film Academy one of the best film schools in the world. When I read the review, I was amazed to see that Broadcast Journalism was one of the departments they singled out for mention. They’ve done the impossible — they’ve rendered me speechless…

    One thing I am never speechless about is the work of our graduates. Yesterday I saw, via LinkedIn, a fabulous story done by NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Suzane de Oliveira. Suzane works for Agence France-Presse (AFP) in Brazil. Here are the credits for the story:

    Entrevista exclusiva da Anitta pra AFP.
    Reportagem: Daniele Belmiro e Cecília Sorgine
    Imagens: Marie Hospital
    Edição de texto e vídeo e narração: Suzane de Oliveira
    We can’t take credit for Suzane’s wonderful writing and narration skills, but she learned how to edit video at NYFA. And this is a very well-cut story. So good, in fact, that AFP posted it online and on social media!
    Now, contrary to what some of you may believe, NYFA grad Gillian Kemmerer does not pay for the frequent mentions she gets in this newsletter — she just keeps accomplishing things! The latest is a scholarship to travel to Moscow for intense Russian language studies, then work there as a correspondent with an international news agency. That means good-bye to Asset-TV and mornings on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. However, if you need help with Russian grammar, Gillian, NYFA instructor Evgenia Vlasova will be happy to help you. (Because “once you are our student, you always are our student.”)
    On a personal note, I’d like to thank all of the current and former students and NYFA colleagues who wished me a happy birthday. (If you are adept at investigative reporting, you can figure out just how many birthdays it has been.) One of the nicest “gifts” I got was a lovely preview of my documentary Shanghai: 1937  by the China Global Television Network (CGTN). A special screening of the program is being arranged to take place in conjunction with the Shanghai International Film Festival in June. Negotiations are also underway for American and international broadcast distribution, along with home video and VOD.

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  • Real Time Social Media Coverage, Fake News, and Stockholm Radio: Updates from the New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School

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    Once again, news programs here in the United States are dominated by reports of a mass shooting. And, once again, news producers have to decide what to report, and how to report it…

    As current and former NYFA students have been taught, “the first report is always wrong.” In other words, initial reports are always fragmentary and usually contain a mix of fact, conjecture and misinformation. That means care must be taken in reporting, with accuracy taking precedence over speed. Now, there is a new complicating factor: As social media and cell phones become ubiquitous, it’s not unusual for “real time” information to emerge from crime scenes. Which is exactly what happened last week during the attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Students, trapped in classrooms, sent out desperate text messages and videos.
    While certainly accurate in that they reflected students’ actual experiences and fears, how much of that information should be allowed on-air? Does information like this help clarify, or just sensationalize, a story? Might it actually aid an active shoot locate potential victims? There are no easy answers. But you can be sure these questions were hotly debated in newsrooms across the country. Journalism isn’t easy. If it was, anyone could do it…
    Another reality for contemporary journalists is the amount of blatantly false information that is readily available online. The box office success of the new Disney/Marvel superhero film Black Panther has led internet trolls to claim that at some screenings white moviegoers were beaten up by black audience members. (The reports, of course, are false.) They even included images of “victims.” But few journalists believed there stories, in part because they did Google Images searches of the pictures, and discovered where they had really originated. (One was a picture of the former wife of a recently resigned White House staffer, an apparent victim of domestic abuse.)
    It’s our job to always get information from multiple, verified sources, as well as use the power of social media to investigate what appears on social media.
    Swedish NYFA Broadcast Journalism graduate Emilie Olsson has added another job title to her already impressive resume — radio news anchor. Emilie is working in Stockholm, but as I only understand six words of Swedish I can’t tell you what she is actually reporting. One thing I can report is that radio studios sure look a lot nicer today, compared to the studios I worked in back in my radio days.
    Congratulations, again, Emilie!

    On a personal note, I’m happy to announce that my U.S./China coproduction Shanghai: 1937 will be competing in this year’s Shanghai International Film Festival. It’s a great honor to even be considered, and should help our marketing efforts both at SIFF as well as MIP-TV. The two events will be taking place within days of each other in April, one in China and the other in France.

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  • NYFA Broadcast Journalism School Weekly Updates Aug. 21

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    Those of you who are especially observant — and I am sure that includes all NYFA Broadcast Journalism graduates — may have noticed that this edition of the Weekly Update arrived quite late on Monday. (Or, for those across the International Dateline, on Tuesday.) The reason was that I spent the past weekend shooting material for an upcoming documentary project called “Shanghai: 1937.”

    Earlier this year, I was in China shooting the host segments for the international version of the CCTV cultural documentary series “Masters of the Century.” While there, I lectured at the Beijing Film Academy, in my capacity as the Chair of the NYFA Broadcast Journalism program. And I also did groundwork for “Shanghai: 1937.” (Broadcast journalists invented the concept of “multitasking.”) The first week of September, I will be in China shooting original interviews and scenic footage for “Shanghai: 1937,” as well as again visiting several universities representing NYFA.
    The Battle of Shanghai took place during the late Summer and early Fall of 1937. It has been called the last battle of World War I, and the first battle of World War II. Largely unknown outside of China, it set the stage for later Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor, Singapore, Malaya, Hong Kong and the Philippines. But for four long years, China stood alone.
    This past Sunday, I interviewed a 92 year-old witness to the Battle of Shanghai. Her name is Liliane Willens, and she is the author of the amazing book “Stateless in Shanghai.” She and her family were Russian Jewish refugees, allowed to live in Shanghai but unable to leave, as they had no citizenship papers or passports.
     Monday morning, I interviewed military historian Edward Drea. He is one of the editors of “The Battle for China,” widely considered the definitive work on the Sino-Japanese War. He was formerly the head of the Research and Analysis Department at the U.S. Army Center of Military History in Washington, D.C. and taught at the U.S. Army War College.
    In Shanghai I will interview Prof. Su Zhiliang of Shanghai Normal University, an expert on the Battle of Shanghai. Prof. Su has lectured throughout China, and overseas, and is the author of numerous books, monographs and journal articles.
    I’ll also be shooting at key Shanghai locations including the Sihang Warehouse, where a company of Chinese troops — given what seemed a suicide mission — held back a Japanese army.
    In the end, however, this is a story of shattered lives and enduring dreams. The events of “Shanghai, 1937” continue to echo today and underlie many Chinese attitudes and beliefs. If you want to understand contemporary China, you must first understand its history.
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