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  • New York Film Academy Game Design (NYFA) Welcomes Insomniac Games President Ted Price

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    On Thursday, June 20, 2019, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted veteran game developer and president of Insomniac games, Ted Price.

    Price came to speak at NYFA as part of the school’s Masters of Game Design series. The Masters of Game Design is a speaker series in which distinguished members of the gaming industry visit for an informal chat with NYFA Game Design instructor Scott Rogers and NYFA students about their career in gaming.

    The event was attended by over 60 students and industry professionals who have been invited by the school. Price and Rogers talked about Price’s 23-year career, including his transition into the gaming industry after college. 

    Also discussed was Insomniac’s vast and successful catalog of games, including the Spyro the Dragon series, the Ratchet and Clank series, the Resistance series and 2018’s PS4 mega-hit Marvel’s Spider-Man. Audience attendees were then invited to ask Price questions.

    The entire event will be available for viewing on NYFA’s Twitch channel.

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    July 11, 2019 • Game Design, Guest Speakers • Views: 1120

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) 3D Animation & VFX Alum Alexandra LoRusso Works on ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘Gemini Man’, and ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’

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    If you’ve been to the movies recently to see a blockbuster comic book movie, or were one of the 19.3 million viewers who watched the series finale to Game of Thrones, then you’ve likely seen the work of New York Film Academy (NYFA) 3D Animation & VFX alum Alexandra LoRusso.

    Alex LoRusso Alexandra LoRussoLoRusso, originally from Seoul, South Korea, attended the 1-year 3D Animation & VFX conservatory at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus in 2014. She was originally inspired to work in animation and the film industry after seeing the Disney animated classic, Dumbo.

    Since graduating NYFA, LoRusso has worked as an assistant editor for numerous television shows, including The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Her primary work has been in visual effects, though. LoRusso worked as effects technical director on Suicide Squad, Alien: Covenant, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. 

    Additionally, she has worked as effects artist for Scanline VFX on several blockbuster films, including Justice League, The Meg, Aquaman, and Dark Phoenix, as well as the final two episodes of HBO’s epic fantasy series, Game of Thrones.

    After the finale of Game of Thrones, NYFA caught up with Alex LoRusso to talk about her work on the show and what other projects she’s been working on:

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): What type of work have you done on Game of Thrones?

    Alexandra LoRusso (AL): Our team worked on the King’s Landing destruction in Ep805 – “The Bells.” We also did the Iron Throne melt and some of the final scenes with Dany for Ep806 – “The Iron Throne.”

    NYFA: What else have you worked on recently?

    AL: I just got done working on Gemini Man [starring Will Smith and directed by Ang Lee] and I helped out with a few shots on Spider-Man: Far from Home before I left ScanlineVFX Vancouver. 

    NYFA: What’s next for you?

    AL: I just started a new job at Mill Film in Montreal a few weeks ago, which is very exciting as well.

    New York Film Academy thanks NYFA 3D Animation & VFX alum Alexandra LoRusso for taking the time to catch up with us and looks forward to seeing what amazing visual effects she cooks up for Hollywood next!

    [UPDATE (9/18/19): The final season earned a record-tying number of Emmys this year, including a Creative Arts Emmy for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for its penultimate episode, “The Bells,” which Alexandra LoRusso created VFX for.]
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    July 3, 2019 • 3D Animation, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1630

  • Behind the Scenes of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” With NYFA Alum & Digital Compositor Francesco Panzieri

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    FRAN EDITED IMAGE 2NYFA alumnus Francesco Panzieri has been busy since completing his studies at the New York Film Academy, with credits running the gamut from the realism of “Mad Men” to the visionary science fiction of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Most recently, Panzieri has turned his hand as an in-house digital compositor with Marvel Studios for “Spider Man: Homecoming,” which opens July 7.

    “Spider Man: Homecoming” is the first installment of a new Spidey trilogy created through the first-time partnership between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures.

    According to Panzieri, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” will stand apart due to its combination of great storytelling, and a focus on the superhero’s dual struggles to become an Avenger and survive high school.

    “I believe ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ balances in a very successful way two key-elements of Peter Parker’s life in this movie, which are his teenage life as a high-school student and the struggles of a superhero to become an Avenger,” explains Panzier. “I think that the high-school part makes the character extremely compelling because it gives the audience a shared point of view with Peter, since all of us have been through similar life moments.”

    Panzieri muses that films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe continue to attract audiences not only through their jaw-dropping visuals, but primarily through their great storytelling. “Write something good,” he says, “Something really good, that people can relate to, and then use visual effects to enhance your cinematic vision of that story.”

    FRAN EDITED 1

    NYFA 3D Animation alumnus Francesco Panzieri (right) pictured with actor Michael Mando (left), who plays Mac Gargan in “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”

    Along with a great story, Panzieri points to a new colorspace technology created by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences called ACES (Academy Color Encoding System) as a vital ingredient to the look of “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” Panzieri says, “It was a cool experience for me to test it for the first time in my career and I look forward to ACES being the soon-standard-to-be on features, episodic and commercials.”

    He describes an atmosphere of camaraderie and excitement on set: “Since Sony Pictures owns the film rights to Spider-Man, the whole post-production process took place on the Sony Studios lot, in Culver City, California. Each morning, I got to walk by the original ‘Ghostbusters’ Ecto-1 car on my way to work, and that was a very stimulating and inspiring environment.”

    Screenshot 2017-07-06 08.40.30

    Panzieri pictured with the original “Ghostbusters” Ecto-1 car.

    “In the studio we had every day all the top-notch leadership team of Marvel Studios surrounding us,” Panzieri recalled. “While we were working on the visual effects for the feature film, they were focused on refining and improving editing and storytelling with the director. What surprised me in a truly unique and positive way, was seeing first-class executives such as the Marvel ones hard at work from dawn’s early lights until late at night. In those moments I realized the true strength and secret of Marvel Studios that deservedly brought them to be number one in the entertainment industry: the love and energy that they put into each and every production they make. Everyone who works at Marvel is an extremely genuine, passionate and dedicated fellow; it’s a huge, big family where there is a unique synergy between all the roles.

    Transitioning from film school to major blockbuster productions is entirely a matter of building relationships, according to Panzieri — and being prepared for high-skilled hard work.

    “My job, it’s all about networking,” Panzieri reveals. “So what happened is that a connection that I had from when I worked on ‘Star Wars’ had called me to work on Spider-Man.”

    Panzieri points to his training at the New York Film Academy as playing a valuable role in preparing him for his work: “I must say that the long hours of classes and lab at the NYFA were definitely an advantage to me on every project I worked on thus far … I can definitely say that the instantaneous hands-on environment I found myself in during my time at NYFA was a true testament to how you’ve got to be when working in Hollywood. Visual effects is art, technology and science at the same time, and as such you need to be really focused, dedicated and good at craftsmanship to keep up with its high quality demands you face in entertainment.”

    “Spider-Man: homecoming” is the first installment of a new Spider-Man trilogy created through a first-time collaboration between Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios. Box Office Pro has projected a box office opening of $135 million, which ScreenRant notes would make this the 6th largest opening out of 16 Marvel films.

     

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  • J.K. Simmons Finds a Navy SEALS Role More His Tempo

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    jk simmons

    Fresh off his Oscar win for his incredible performance in Whiplash, J.K. Simmons is filling his dance card with an upcoming slate of high-profile movies. He’s already signed on for Skull Island, the epic sequel to Peter Jackson’s King Kong starring The Avengers’ Tom Hiddleston and Birdman’s Michael Keaton, set for release in 2017.

    This week, Simmons added another role, that of a Navy SEAL commanding officer giving his troops a hard time—a part he was seemingly born to play. The film is The Lake, a thriller about the aforementioned SEALs searching for sunken treasure in Serbia.

    The Lake is being co-written and produced by prolific French filmmaker Luc Besson, director of La Femme Nikita, León, The Fifth Element and Lucy and creator of The Transporter and Taken series. Steven Quale, director of Final Destination 5 and Into the Storm and a long-time collaborator of James Cameron, will be helming The Lake. Quale is a fitting choice, considering his work with Cameron on other water-based adventures The Abyss and the 3D IMAX documentary Aliens of the Deep.

    Simmons recently spoke with New York Film Academy students about his well-lauded roles in Spider-Man, Portal 2, The Legend of Korra, The Closer, and, of course, Whiplash. There’s no doubt he will bring his trademark talent and passion to The Lake.

     

     

     

     

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    March 25, 2015 • Acting, Entertainment News, Guest Speakers • Views: 4114

  • Fan Creates Supercut of Batman in the Movies

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    Batman

    Just when Spider-Man thought he could hog up all the press, a fan-made supercut of Batman has managed to go viral this week. The cut focuses only on the many interpretations of Batman in cinema, from his earliest days as a superhero to present day.

    Batman debuted in Detective Comics #1, shortly after Superman first revolutionized comic-book superheroes. His first film adaptation came quickly, in 1943 with the serial Batman, featuring already iconic features like the Bat Cave. Its sequel, Batman and Robin, followed six years later. Batman didn’t return until its famously campy TV adaptation starring Adam West and Burt Ward as the Dynamic Duo, which eventually saw its own cinematic spin-off.

    In 1989, Tim Burton helped usher in the age of the modern multimedia blockbuster with Batman, a darker, edgier gothic take on the hero starring Michael Keaton. It doubled down on all those elements with Batman Returns. During the 90s, Batman also got an animated theatrical release with Mask of the Phantasm. Though hand-drawn, to this day the film still gets heaps of critical praise.

    Joel Schumacher took over the live-action franchise from Tim Burton, directing Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, increasingly campier efforts starring Val Kilmer and George Clooney, respectively. Christopher Nolan ushered in yet another darker reboot with The Dark Knight Trilogy, starring Christian Bale from 2005 to 2012.

    Of course, Bruce Wayne’s Hollywood legacy won’t end there. Ben Affleck will be starring as the Caped Crusader in Batman v. Superman next year while Will Arnett’s scene-stealing Lego Batman is likely to get his own spin-off film. The goth metal loving version of the character also makes a cameo in Jacob T. Swinney’s supercut, which includes original film scores from the Batman films. Even if you’re not a big Batman fan, the video is worth a look just for its decade-spanning look at superhero cinema.

    Still no supercut of Hulk movies though.

    The Evolution of Batman in Cinema from Jacob T. Swinney on Vimeo.

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    February 12, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 4026

  • Spider-Man Joins The Marvel Cinematic Universe

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    spidermanmovie

    Spidey-senses are tingling everywhere: In some of the biggest news in comic-book movie history, Marvel announced this week that their signature character, Spider-Man, will appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe currently inhabited by the likes of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Pratt and Paul Rudd. The film rights to Spider-Man are owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, famously disallowing a crossover between the web-slinger and the Avengers, whose film rights are still owned by Disney and Marvel.

    Sony will allow Spider-Man to appear in Marvel (i.e. Disney’s) films for a cut of the profits, though the rest of the deal is still up in speculation. Most assume Peter Parker will first appear in the second Captain America sequel, Civil War, out next summer, where he will join Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and new-to-screens superhero Black Panther.

    In league with Sony’s Amy Pascal and Marvel producer Kevin Feige, Sony will also produce a new Spider-Man stand-alone film, probably as soon as 2017, pushing back most Marvel films set to release after that six months each. What this means for Sony’s current Amazing Spider-Man series is unclear, though there is a good chance Andrew Garfield will not continue the role in the new series, and that the character will be facing its second reboot in five years.

    While there are rumors 20th Century Fox properties the X-Men and Fantastic Four will cross-over, there hasn’t been any talk about bringing those under the MCU umbrella as of yet. And, of course, there’s still no word on a new Hulk film.

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    February 10, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 4989

  • Sony Chair Amy Pascal Resigns After Sony Hack

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    amy pascal sony

    When Sony was hacked late last year, thousands of emails between studio execs and movie stars were leaked, among other confidential files. One name that started to get a lot of press, despite being virtually unknown to people outside of the entertainment industry up to that point, was Amy Pascal. The co-chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment had worked relatively quietly in Hollywood for years, developing and overseeing the production of movies like Groundhog Day, Little Women, A League of Their Own, the Spider-Man films, the Daniel Craig Bond films, The Smurfs, The Da Vinci Code and its sequel, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Zero Dark Thirty, Moneyball and The Social Network.

    Pascal’s emails became a prominent fixture in the Sony hack scandal. Some included disparaging remarks about Angelina Jolie, and a conversation about Barack Obama that has been called racist. Presumably to distance itself from the scandal and the surrounding bad press, it’s assumed by many that Sony forced Pascal to resign from her performance. However, she will remain with Sony in a different capacity, heading up a new “major production venture” for the company. Angelina Jolie will probably not be involved.

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    February 9, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 3773