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  • NYFA South Beach Instructor Daniel Abrusci Wins Gold Promax Award

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    New York Film Academy is excited to share that Filmmaking instructor Daniel Abrusci has won a Gold Promax Award for outstanding achievement in sound design and mixing on the Cbeebies segment Christmas Lights for BBC Latin America. 

    The Promax Awards are the world’s premier celebration of outstanding achievement in entertainment marketing and design, honoring teams of creatives harnessing passionate fandom to drive audiences, create value, and build the biggest brands in entertainment.

    The one-minute animation Abrusci worked on in his home studio was extremely heavy in sound design. “When working with animation, sound design plays a huge role because there’s no audio to start with,” he explained. “I edited three different pieces of music into a one-minute spot in order for the music to be dynamic and help boost holiday emotions.”

    The South Beach instructor had to recreate the ambiance needed for the TV spot to feel a bit more realistic, adding in stylistic sound elements to elevate the story visually. “There’s plenty of creativity involved due to the fact that a lot of these actions might sound different in real life,” shared Abrusci. “Once we have all the different sound design, voiceover, and music elements, mixing is all about making things stand out and giving everything character and space in the frequency spectrum.” Essentially, sound mixing in itself plays an important role in fully forming a character, space, or idea.

    NYFA instructor Daniel Abrusci

    Abrusci urges anyone who is looking to hone their craft to “keep practicing” as it’s practice, trial, and error that allow you to master your skills. “The more time you put into something, the better you’ll become at it. Stay passionate and make it happen!”

    New York Film Academy congratulates Daniel Abrusci on his outstanding achievement and looks forward to what’s next from the talented South Beach faculty member. 

    To view the Christmas Lights spot, view the video below. 

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    February 25, 2021 • Entertainment News, Faculty Highlights, Filmmaking, South Beach • Views: 1315

  • NYFA South Beach Instructor, Patrice DeGraff Arenas, Lands Role on Peabody Award-Winning Drama “David Makes Man”

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    Originally reported in Deadline, NYFA’s own Patrice DeGraff Arenas has landed a recurring role on David Makes Man. The Peabody Award-winning drama series is distributed by the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) and is currently ramping up for its second season. 

    Arenas teaches Voice and Speech Acting, Scene Study, Characterization, and Advanced Acting Technique at NYFA’s South Beach campus. In the upcoming season of David Makes Man, Arenas will play Denise, an office assistant at the Edwards Firm (where the main character David works). As originally reported by Deadline, Arenas’ character Denise is someone who “keeps things moving at the office while also learning the moods and tempo of her boss.” 

    Photo courtesy of Patrice DeGraff Arenas

    David Makes Man is from Oscar-winning screenwriter Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight) and Warner Bros. and is loosely based on McCraney’s experiences, with the titular David (Akili McDowell), a 14-year-old prodigy from the South Florida projects. Arenas revealed that she began production on the project in October 2020.

    Arenas, who grew up the daughter of an arts educator, had an upbringing full of theatre, with her mom being a director in school productions. “From those early experiences, I went to college and relished watching my peers present. I gained insight about intention and action, my peers as well professors commented on my clear, direct, practical critiques,” shared Arenas.

    While Arenas has recently been involved in NYFA alum Bruklyn Miller’s award-winning film Celestial and is focused on her upcoming role in David Makes Man, Arenas revealed she is also in the development of a series with four of her former high school arts friends. In the future, Arenas hopes to be cast in a comedy and to play the role of Rose in Fences or Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing

    Photo Credit: OWN

    As for advice for students and alumni, Arenas says “life isn’t a rehearsal, so show up ready! It’s okay to be afraid but do it anyway!” The NYFA instructor also urges actors and creatives alike to “be patient with yourself” as some goals rarely look like what you want them to “but that doesn’t mean the journey isn’t worthwhile!”

    New York Film Academy congratulates the NYFA South Beach instructor Patrice DeGraff Arenas on her upcoming role, and encourages everyone to check out the second season of David Makes Man when it is available on OWN, and to catch up on season one, with all episodes now available on HBO Max.

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    December 21, 2020 • Acting, Faculty Highlights, South Beach • Views: 1957

  • NYFA South Beach Alum Michael Bradway on How His Modeling and Acting Career Go Hand-in-Hand

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    From working with globally recognized brands like Champion and U.S. Polo Assn. to working on Miami-based short films Hi8, My Dear Delilah, Watch Me, and Piece, NYFA alum Michael Bradway is booked and busy, focusing on both an acting and modeling career that he explains compliments both disciplines. 

    (Photo courtesy of Michael Bradway)

    Bradway grew up in Boca Raton, Fl with his mom and two sisters. Bradway remembers first being intrigued by modeling and entertainment when his twin sister Natalie was approached at their local mall one day by a talent manager. “Slowly, one opportunity led to another,” he shared. “However, I didn’t know I wanted to be an actor until my senior year of high school when I was in the school production of Fiddler on the Roof, it was was an incredible, new experience.” That experience led Bradway to apply for NYFA’s South Beach campus to pursue a BFA in Acting for Film not long after.

    Campaign for Polo (Photo courtesy of Michael Bradway)

    “NYFA South Beach felt like the best choice being a hands-on acting for film program, where I could also study theatre,” Bradway said. “Being at NYFA South Beach for the past three years has taught me so much about acting and filmmaking. For example, hitting your mark, being in the moment, and learning about numerous actors and playwrights. We took editing and film craft classes to get a better understanding and gain more respect for the filmmaking side of a project too. One thing I learned at NYFA, that will stick with me forever, is to always be the most prepared person in the room and there is no excuse not to be.”

    Pursuing acting and modeling has been a helpful experience for Bradway, who recommends that actors look into modeling opportunities to improve their craft. “It’s a great way to explore a different style of art and meet people in various industries,” he explained. “Agencies hold open calls online with instructions, so depending on where you’re located I suggest looking up the agencies in your area.” 

    Bradway is currently signed with SELECT Model Management and has booked multiple campaigns for famous brands like Champion, U.S. Polo Assn., Verizon, and Brightline Train. “Brightline Train was definitely one of my favorites because of all the running we had to do through the train, in a park, and they even created their own mock highway for us to run through too,” revealed Bradway.

    Champion campaign (Photo courtesy of Michael Bradway)

    When asked about whether he prefers acting or modeling, the NYFA alum explained that both creative pursuits have given him so much joy. “I’ve been so fortunate to have worked with incredible people and companies worldwide,” he shared. “I don’t necessarily have a favorite between the two. Acting has actually helps me with modeling and vice versa. Modeling can be very interactive, even without having to say any lines. You’re capturing a moment with each photo taken and most of the time the company/photographer wants those moments to look natural. Acting has definitely helped me with that skill.”

    In addition to modeling helping his acting skills and acting helping his modeling, Bradway also shared that NYFA South Beach campus’ close-knit community helped him grow in his craft and build a community of faculty and students alike. “it’s a building full of amazingly talented and genuinely wholehearted people who are currently working in the industry,” he gushed. “They are funny, hardworking and all have the same goal in mind; to tell their stories. There are so many stories to tell which is why more people should be exploring acting and filmmaking. Many hands are involved in a single film with a vast amount of different jobs, so there is something for everyone.” 

    New York Film Academy would like to thank New York Film Academy South Beach alum Michael Bradway for taking the time to share more about what he has learned from modeling and acting and how both careers have helped him grow in the industry.

     

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    November 23, 2020 • Acting, South Beach, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2146

  • NYFA Alum Jaq Walker Talks South Beach and The Round Table Collective

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    Jaq Walker is a recent graduate of the BFA Acting for Film program at NYFA’s South Beach Campus. Walker who considers Memphis, Tennessee his home town grew up an army brat decided to attend New York Film Academy while he was serving in the United States Air Force in Italy. “I had a friend at the time tell me about it (NYFA) and it sounded like I had found my life after the military. A few years later, I noticed that I was burned out and no longer passionate about my military career and that’s when I  decided to let my superiors know that I was separating. My instincts led me to believe that I could make a better life through acting and creativity.” 

    His instincts led him to NYFA’s South Beach campus located in the heart of Miami. “Living in Miami, which is a growing market for the film industry, allowed me to venture outside of school projects and participate in local projects such as music videos and a couple of short films. The major highlight for me was when I got a crash course lesson as a film producer and as a casting director when myself and some of my classmates produced our own movie/tv show trailer concept called Shotgun. The purpose of producing this was to pitch it to showrunners and producers when an opportunity presented itself. Shotgun was filmed in just our second semester at the  NYFA acting program. We were hungry and talented individuals who wanted more than just classroom work.”

    "Shotgun" by The Round Table Collective

    Part of NYFA’s philosophy of learning by doing has students working with faculty members, all currently working in the industry, on a semi-individualized basis. This can have a profound and lasting impact on students, and that proved to be true for Jaq as well. “Patrice Arenas (NYFA acting for film instructor). She knocked me right out of my comfort zone and unshackled me when it came to performing different characters. She also gave a lot of  life lessons which only made me grow more as a human being.”

    During his time at NYFA, Jaq and four of his classmates created their very own industry network when they founded The Round Table Collective. “Five charismatic and artistic dudes: Tim Gray, Michael Bradway, Noel Cesar, Josh Reyes, and Yours Truly! We felt that in order to be successful in this industry you have to have a network of some kind. So when one of us is connected to a big production project, that would be an opportunity to refer one of the guys in the collective and promote their talents to producers, casting directors, and talent agents.  So when it’s known that Jaq Walker is associated with RTC (Round Table Collective), people would see our reputation as a whole and hopefully would want to do business with us. When one of us wins, we all win! Even though each of us has a different approach to creativity and different paths through life, we all have one common goal and that is to be impactful and influential in this industry.” 

    In honing his acting skills Jaq developed his desire to be challenged and expand his repertoire. “I’ve been called a ‘character actor’, a ‘throwback actor’ and I’ve been called a ‘Chekhov-style actor.’ These are all true descriptions of me but I feel that I’m just a storyteller with a big and vivid imagination. Most of the roles that I play and have played are alpha-male authority figures which I’m very happy to play. But I’m wanting to step into darker roles in psychological thrillers and I would like to play roles where I could perform as the ‘down on his luck’ Joe Blow/victim of society.”

    Jaq has worked to expand his skillset and put it use by writing his own projects. “During my time at NYFA, I was able to better my writing. So naturally, I like to create and produce my own material and create my own characters. I did so recently when I wrote a concept trailer for myself  called ‘The Janitor.’ It’s based on a character I created and was inspired by the  COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve already shot  and produced the trailer so right now it’s in post-production.”

    Jaq Walker in a scene of The Red State

    Jaq Walker in a scene of “The Red State”

    Jaq recently appeared in the sci-fi series The Red State and plans to continue his career in London while he seeks out his Master’s degree. As for some parting advice to NYFA students and aspiring artists, Jaq had this to say, “Network, Network, and Network. Meet and get to know other creatives on campus and in the local area. Apply what you learn at the school into creating your own stuff while in school. Don’t let it interfere with your classroom assignments but establish yourself as an actor or filmmaker early on in your NYFA journey.” 

    New York Film Academy wishes Jaq Walker continued success in his future endeavors and can’t wait to see what comes next!

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    October 29, 2020 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1273

  • NYFA Filmmaking Alum Ismael Gomez III Starts Production House And Releases Film ‘Death of a Fool’ on Amazon

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking alum Ismael Gomez III’s latest film, Death of a Fool, is now available on Amazon Prime Video. The film is the latest project from the Cuban-American filmmaker who, after graduating from NYFA, worked as a lead editor on several motion pictures and commercials that have been screened at Cannes, Tribeca, Miami, and Starz Denver international film festivals.

    Gomez was born and raised in Havana, Cuba and it was there that he fell in love with cinema. With directors like Coppola, Kurosawa, and Kubrick, Gomez was inspired to pursue filmmaking, leading him to study in the 2-Year Filmmaking Conservatory with NYFA.

    The coming-of-age fantasy film was co-written, produced, and directed by Gomez. Death of a Fool follows teenager Pablo and his dying grandfather, who begin conducting afterlife investigations in Miami after a mysterious man hires them to find the secret to immortality.

    “I remember being five years old, looking out my backyard one morning and seeing my dog, Charlie, lying motionless. He was sick for weeks and had now passed away. It was my first encounter with death and I did not know what to make of it,” shared Gomez, when asked about inspirations behind Death of a Fool. “It [the film] is built on the simple idea that if we could live forever, would we necessarily want to?”

    Film poster for ‘Death of a Fool’

    Before heading to Amazon, Gomez and his team were able to screen their film at Coral Gables Art Cinema, but it was around that time the pandemic hit. “We had to make the quick decision of moving online,” revealed Gomez. “Although I really wanted to expand theatrically, if there’s something filmmaking has taught me, it is to adapt quickly to rising obstacles, make a new plan and keep moving forward.”

    Gomez’s Death of a Fool was recently covered in The Miami Herald, which also mentioned Gomez’s Miami-based production house Rabbit Hole Pictures, that Gomez co-founded and continues to serve as the CEO.

    “Our mission at Rabbit Hole Pictures is to tell mystical stories that spark curiosity and wonder. For us the word mystical embodies a sense of mystery, awe, and fascination for the unknown,” Gomez shared with NYFA. “Fantasy always creates a striking contrast that helps us reframe and examine reality. It’s about telling stories that carry people far-far-away to look at themselves up close.”

    Still from ‘Death of a Fool

    Though the NYFA alum studied in New York when he was at The Academy, he recalled an experience that changed him forever when visiting his family in Miami in 2016. “I went to the theaters and watched Moonlight by Barry Jenkins and thought, ‘here’s a guy who has made this astonishing film completely in Miami and just won Best Picture at the Academy Awards.’ So, a fuse had been lit up inside me and begged the question: How many movies have we seen entirely produced in Miami?”

    In addition to wanting an authentic Miami represented in the film industry, Gomez also wanted Rabbit Hole Pictures to be a production house that showcases the fantasy genre. “I wanted to show a part of Miami that is rarely depicted on the big screen. Many clever producers have built sets that look like Miami, but the magic of the real thing cannot be duplicated,” shared Gomez.

    Rabbit Hole Pictures has already had a hand in several projects with a fantasy thriller currently in development. Gomez also shared that Rabbit Hole Pictures has recently announced a Movie Pitch Contest to help other creators during this time, and plans on granting a financial reward to help the winner fund their own project.

    New York Film Academy would like to congratulate Ismael Gomez III on the recent success of Death of a Fool and encourages everyone to check it out now on Amazon Prime Video.

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    September 4, 2020 • Entertainment News, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 937

  • NYFA South Beach Instructor Peter Baloff Holds Virtual Q&A with Emmy Award-Winning Producer and Director Michael Pressman

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    We’re collaborative artists. Our creative process involves working face to face and hand to hand, finding common objectives, and making it all happen. As an instructor at NYFA South Beach during this pandemic, I miss the personal connection with my students and I know my students miss the social and professional interactions with their fellow students. We all miss being there.

    Peter Baloff (Left) holds virtual Q&A with Michael Pressman (Right)

    I keep looking for silver linings in this time of pandemic. I’m upgrading my landscaping, enjoying my wife’s new-found love of baking, reading more and catching up on some pretty good movies and TV shows. But it’s been hard finding silver linings teaching my students on Zoom. But this week, at long last, a silver lining appeared on Zoom, which I’d like to share with you here.

    For the past few years I’ve wanted to invite guest artists to our South Beach campus – accomplished actors, directors, producers, casting directors, cinematographers, so many other journeymen filmmakers with whom I’ve worked over the course of thirty years writing, producing and directing in Los Angeles. 

    As it turns out, Zoom opened the door for my first guest artist invitation. For those who attended, there’s no doubt a good time was had by all – by not only our South Beach students, but all students across NYFA’s campuses. 

    Michael Pressman (Right) on set with Richard Pryor for ‘Some Kind of Hero’

    Michael Pressman directed his first feature film when he was only 26 and went on to direct quite a few big studio hits, including Dr. Detroit and Some Kind of Hero, starring Richard Pryor. He ventured into television, directing TV movies and dozens of episodes of quality TV shows, such as Law and Order, Grey’s Anatomy, The Guardian, and Sneaky Pete. As an Executive Producer, Michael became an experienced “Show Runner,” winning two Emmys for the acclaimed series, Picket Fences. His IMDB speaks for itself. 

    A natural story-teller, Michael regaled us with tales of working with famous actors, dealing with the studio system, casting, getting the most out of collaborating artists, and coping with the ever-changing filmmaking technology. He advised our students on breaking into the business and offer strategies for success. 

    I’m convinced the intimate Zoom platform, allowing Michael and I to talk to each other like old friends, was an ideal and more comfortable format for Michael – far better, I believe than a staged event before a live audience. I’m told by those who watched it, the Zoom meeting with Michael Pressman resembled a late-night talk show, as entertaining as it was informative. 

    Let’s all keep looking for those silver linings, knowing we’ll get together in person very soon.

    For more information on our NYFA South Beach programs, please contact  southbeach@nyfa.edu or check out our website here.

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    July 10, 2020 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Producing, South Beach • Views: 1427

  • New York Film Academy’s South Beach Campus Announces Winners for NYFA South Beach Made at Home Festival

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    With many festivals being cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, New York Film Academy South Beach instructor Eduardo “Eddy” Santa-Maria decided to engage South Beach students to create their own films from home and have a place to have them shares and voted on for NYFA’s first-ever Made at Home Festival, presented by NYFA South Beach. The Festival’s winners included MFA Acting for Film student Yulia Korotkova (Student Choice Award), and One Year Filmmaking Conservatory student McKenzie Mortensen (Staff & Faculty Choice Award).

    “I constantly see students stop each other in the halls and ask ‘hey how’s that film going,’ and I’ve seen those same students leave that conversation inspired and ready to make a film of their own. That infectious creativity seemed to have died down as we move to remote learning,” shared Santa-Maria. “So, in order to get that vibe back, the itch to create, I figured the Festival would give them a challenge where their creativity would be put to the test and, hopefully, inject that sense of creativity that NYFA is famous for.”

    Students who participated in the Film Festival were given one month to develop, write, shoot, and edit a 5-minute film completely shot from their own home. With the Coronavirus pandemic shutting down many areas all over the country, students were encouraged to use what they had at home, from camera equipment (mobile phones, DSLR) to casting their film with only themselves or who they lived with. 

    McKenzie Mortensen, who won the Staff & Faculty Choice Award for her short film Quarantined, was inspired to make her film due to her own personal experiences of being alone during the pandemic. The Burley, Idaho native’s short film is a horror-comedy about a girl who becomes so bored and lonely that she makes friends with an evil villain, who crawls out of her television. In addition to the full film below, Mortensen has also shared her Quarantined storyboard available here.

    “I hope the audience was able to relate to my short emotionally since my film subject was very current,” says Mortensen. “I also hope they were able to let out a laugh, chuckle or giggle.” Mortensen will graduate from the One Year Filmmaking Conservatory from NYFA’s South Beach campus in September and plans to pursue a career in film editing. In addition to her short film Quarantined and Doritos Super Bowl competition entry, Mortensen also created a short stop motion film, which can be viewed here.

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    Utah vibes ❤️ #2019

    A post shared by McKenzie Mortensen (@mckenz_mort) on

    Winner of the Student Choice Award, Yulia Korotkova, was inspired to create her short film Waters after playing around with different shots and angles taken on her cellphone. After attempting to create a shot of someone being pulled out from under the bed, she was inspired to create a thriller about soul-collecting water that could be condensed for the Festival’s parameters. “The original script was a ten minute film and we [Korotkova and her husband] feel proud of having created this film only using an iPhone without any professional equipment,” she explains.

    Behind the scenes for ‘Waters’ (Directed by Yulia Korotkova)

    Korotkova, who was born in Russia and grew up in Venezuela, moved to Miami 11 years ago and is currently studying acting at NYFA South Beach. Waters, she explains, is her first-ever film. “I was hoping to entertain and, at the same time, show how there is no need for expensive equipment and large expensive production in order to tell a story.”

    NYFA South Beach student Yulia Korotkova

    While the film is not yet posted publicly, Korotkova has released a teaser trailer and encourages readers to check out some of the behind the scenes information for her film.

    Santa-Maria shares he hopes students can realize they don’t need huge sets, expensive cameras, or a large crew to tell a heartfelt story. “As cheesy as it sounds, I wanted our students to realize that no matter where they are in life, no one can take away their ability to tell captivating stories.”

    New York Film Academy would like to congratulate NYFA South Beach students McKenzie Mortensen and Yulia Korotkova for winning the top prizes for the South Beach Made at Home Festival and encourages everyone to watch each student’s available footage to get their own creative inspiration. 

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  • “One Night in Miami” Stars New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting Alum Kieron Anthony As Cassius Clay

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    Last October, One Night in Miami premiered as a Miami New Drama production at Miami Beach’s Colony Theatre, starring New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting Alum Kieron Anthony as legendary fighter Cassius Clay.

    The play was written by Kemp Powers and staged by Miami native Carl Cofield, associate artistic director of the Classical Theatre of Harlem. It imagines the events of February 25, 1964, after Clay had defeated Sonny Liston and won the World Heavyweight Crown. After the fight, Clay was joined at the Hampton House Motel Room by three other famous men of color — Sam Cooke, Jim Brown, and Malcolm X. 

    Kieron Anthony as Cassius Clay

    Leon Thomas III, Esau Pritchett and Jason Delane listen as Kieron Anthony’s Cassius Clay (standing on bed) recounts his victory over Sonny Liston in “One Night in Miami.” Photo by STIAN ROENNING

    While only the surviving member of the foursome, Jim Brown, knows what the men really discussed that night, One Night in Miami postulates what could have been happened when four such prominent personalities are confined in a small room after such an incredible evening. The play, which takes place during Segregation, also incorporates important themes of race and religion in the 1960s.

    Kieron Anthony plays the pivotal role of Cassius Clay, who the day after the night depicted in the play would announce his conversion to the Nation of Islam. He would change his name and be known by for the rest of his life as Muhammad Ali. Of his performance, Christine Dolen wrote in the Miami Herald that Anthony “conveys the young champ’s joyous confidence as he reenacts moments of his life-changing fight for his famous friends. He dials up the rhetoric and swagger when he goes outside to speak with the reporters who finally track him down, but with his friends he’s willing to show he’s still grappling with embracing and declaring his faith.”

    Anthony graduated from New York Film Academy South Beach’s 1-year acting conservatory in 2015. As part of an extremely diverse student body with classmates from around the world, Anthony received an educational experience unique from other acting schools in Florida, focusing on hands-on experience from faculty members currently working in the Miami acting scene.

    Yves Arispe, NYFA South Beach’s Director of Housing and Student Services, called Anthony’s performance “natural, believable, relatable as he delivered on every beat,” and that, “Kieron’s performance makes NYFA South Beach proud!”

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Acting alum Kieron Anthony on his stellar performance as Cassius Clay in One Night in Miami!

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    November 27, 2018 • Academic Programs, Acting, South Beach, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2407

  • New York Film Academy South Beach Students Attend 8th Annual Recent Cinema From Spain

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    Earlier this November, students from New York Film Academy’s South Beach campus attended the opening night of the 8th Annual Recent Cinema From Spain film series in Miami, Florida.

    Recent Cinema From Spain is produced by EGEDA US and The Olympia Theater in collaboration with the ICAA and the Centro Cultural Español in Miami (CCEMiami), and has run for the past seven years. The aim of the festival is to celebrate Spanish culture, including everything from art to music to food, and of course, film.

    This year’s Recent Cinema From Spain showcased six films, including Carmen Y Lola, Petra, Everybody Knows, and the US premiere of The Realm, a political thriller by the producers of Secret in Their Eyes.

    The opening night was Thursday, November 8 and included a red carpet event at the Olympia Theater, a landmark institution built in 1926 that has been a frequent hub of activity for the South Florida arts community. It was attended by, among others, several Spanish film celebrities as well as EFE Agency and Hola TV.

    Recent Cinema from Spain

    Dir. Santiago Segura (Sin Rodeos)

    Roughly a dozen students from New York Film Academy (NYFA) attended. This included students from NYFA South Beach’s BFA Acting for Film program, BFA Filmmaking program, and MFA Filmmaking program. NYFA’s degree programs are offered to and designed for students who wish to integrate intensive professional training with a comprehensive liberal arts education, helping them to become fully prepared for their chosen career path in the performing and visual and entertainment arts. In addition to the students who attended, a crew of three were able to conduct interviews on the red carpet. This included Steven Fares as the interviewer, Florencia Portieri as camera operator, and Ramon Burki as still photographer.

    The NYFA South Beach students who attended Recent Cinema From Spain had a wonderful time, and were greatly appreciative of the exposure to the Spanish culture offered by the festival.Recent Cinema from Spain

    Maylen Dominguez, Campus Director and Chair of Filmmaking of NYFA South Beach, reinforced this point, saying, “The Recent Cinema From Spain Festival held in Miami was a fun and inspiring opportunity for our students to get to meet actors, see a different style of filmmaking, and watch their fellow peers on the red carpet doing press in a professional manner.”

    No doubt the NYFA students who attended were inspired to get back to their studies and work on their own films that may very well be screened at the next Recent Cinema From Spain fest!

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    November 15, 2018 • Community Highlights, Film Festivals, Filmmaking, South Beach, Student Life • Views: 2235

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Sits Down with South Beach Director Maylen Dominguez to Discuss Women in Film

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) has announced that Maylen Dominguez is the new Campus Director of the South Beach location. Dominguez will also continue in her previous role as Chair of Filmmaking in South Beach.

    Maylen has spent the last three years as Chair of Filmmaking, having helped the fledgling South Beach campus establish itself as a force in the South Florida film industry. NYFA South Beach was the only Florida institution featured in Variety’s Best Film Schools of 2018 list. Additionally, the South Beach location was one of only three Florida schools featured in Hollywood Reporter’s Top 25 American Film Schools.

    NYFA South Beach Campus Director Maylen Dominguez


    Recently, NYFA had the pleasure to sit down and chat with the new NYFA South Beach Campus Director about her career, her time at NYFA so far, and her plans for the future:

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): What does it mean to you to be the new Director of NYFA South Beach?

    Maylen Dominguez (MD): I have a very special connection to Miami, this is the place where my father landed when he was 12 years old and exiled from Cuba. It’s the place where my grandfather, in his mid 50s, re-studied for his medical license and became a doctor again. They ended up moving to Puerto Rico, which is where my father met my mother, and where I was born.

    When I was two weeks old we moved back to Miami, and then my father, who was a doctor in the navy, moved all over the US. I moved to Miami three years ago to be the Chair of the Filmmaking Department, but have been blown away by the experience of living in a place that is so culturally diverse. I love that I get to speak Spanish again. I love that a cortadito (espresso shot) gets passed around periodically in the middle of the day at the office. And I love being back near palm trees and the warm ocean. So, it is an understatement to say how proud and grateful I am that I get to mix the three things I love: Miami, film, and education. The chance to inspire students from all over the world to tell their very unique and beautiful stories is a gift.

    NYFA: Can you elaborate a bit on your background and experience in the film industry?

    MD: I spent nearly ten years in LA hustling through all sorts of jobs in the film business. It was a real eye opener that no one cared about my academic accomplishments, and when I was in the agent trainee program at Endeavor (which is now William Morris Endeavor) the other four people in the mailroom were lawyers. But it was a great learning experience, I read 40 scripts a week and learned what made a story get through the system — and it taught me humility.

    Working with Nely Galan exposed me to producing and how to develop something from the seed of an idea into a television show. Working with Minnie Driver in her production company, I got to see the process of developing a film project. It was interesting to see, not only her acting process, but why she picked the projects she picked. During this time I learned how to produce movies independently. I also got invaluable set experience working with her. I had written and directed a few short films, a documentary, written a couple of features and TV spec scripts, and from this work received a scholarship from NBC to work in TV, but I soon became pregnant and put the crazy hours and lifestyle on hold. Now that my daughter is older, I’ve been writing again and am in the process of producing a short film and feature.

    NYFA: Can you talk about being an Hispanic woman in this industry?

    MD: One of our recent graduates is Cuban and he said to me, “I feel honored that I’ll be receiving my diploma from a fellow Cuban.” It really touched me because it reminded me that everything that I do is not just as me but also as the half Puerto Rican, half Cuban me. It’s inspiring when you can see someone of a similar background in a position of influence. The same is true in film and TV. If you are a little girl and you see a complex representation of different cultural backgrounds on screen, it allows room for that possibility to exist in your life. If all you ever see are women of color in subservient and service careers, as a little girl, you begin to believe that that’s as far as you can go. Film and television are such powerful media, and we must use it to make impactful positive changes in our culture.

    NYFA: Can you speak to being a woman in the film industry during the #MeToo movement, what has changed, and what still needs to be improved upon?

    MD: The only way to make changes in a broken system is to bring the bad stuff to light, the stuff that we don’t really want to talk about. And that, to me, is what this whole movement is about, understanding that as much power as was used to control women, leading them to be ashamed and hide things away, can now be turned into power as they break silence and help this not happen to the next generation of women in the film business. It’s led to some hard, but good conversations with film colleagues. And it’s something we talk about in our classes here. Both men and women need to talk about it with depth, empathy, and understanding in order to make real changes. I’m grateful that we have a smart, creative, open student population that is listening and ready to demand change and equality in the film business.

    NYFA: What do you think are the advantages to filming and studying film in Miami?

    MD: Miami is a vibrant, artistically rich, and diverse city, so location-wise it has endless potential. And the film community is still relatively small, so once you get your foot in the door everybody helps support you. Our campus is like a true family/small production company. We help each other through personal issues as well as all of the acting and filming struggles that happen. We also have fun together; we have small get-togethers for holidays and support each other’s successes. When our students graduate, it feels like a family member is leaving, you’re so proud of them but you miss them.

    NYFA: What is your vision for the future of NYFA South Beach?

    MD: I have a very clear image of NYFA South Beach being this large vibrant campus that becomes a center point for film and acting education in the Southeast. I see us continuing to be a creative hotbed where people in the local community, as well as the film community at large, want to partner and do projects with us.

     

    The New York Film Academy would like to congratulate Maylen Dominguez on her new position and thank her for her hard work and service to the community!

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    October 10, 2018 • #WomenOfNYFA, Faculty Highlights, Filmmaking • Views: 2956