Shanghai International Film Festival
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  • 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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