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  • 2018 New York Film Academy (NYFA) Summer Camps Were An “Incredible Experience”

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    Another school year beginning means another summer must come to an end, but for many young students, it was a summer they’ll never forget. These students spent their summer break at New York Film Academy’s various camp programs, getting to meet new people from around the globe and studying fun, artistic skills that may lead them (eventually, no rush!) to exciting, prosperous careers!

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) offers summer camps to both kids and teenagers in a variety of fields. Teen camps are located around the world, including New York City, Miami, Harvard University, Paris, Australia, and Florence, Italy. Los Angeles Summer Camps 2018

    Each teen camp is built around a challenging and intensive curriculum that combines in-class instruction with faculty-supervised workshops using the same state-of-the-art equipment professionals and NYFA’s adult students use. In between these rigorous but fun exercises, students bond over exciting, supervised activities.

    This year, at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus, located in the heart of Hollywood, over 600 students attended the kids and teens camps offered. Students arrived from all over the world, many of them returning for their second, third, and even fourth summers running! Camps that ran included Filmmaking, Acting for Film, Screenwriting, 3D Animation, Music Video, Photography, Documentary, and Game Design.

    One of the perks of NYFA’s Los Angeles campus includes unique access to the Backlot of Universal Studios, where campers could shoot and act in their film projects. The backlot includes famous sets of Mexico, Western, Colonial St, Elm St., Log Cabin, Europe, Courthouse Square — featured in blockbuster movies like Back to the Future and Nightmare on Elm Street.Los Angeles Summer Camps 2018

    At the end of each camp, which ranged from one to eight weeks, students screened or presented their work at NYFA’s main school building, along with popcorn and a red carpet step-and-repeat photo session.

    “Teaching with the summer program is the best!” remarked instructor Jason Crossman. 

    Fellow camp instructor Bruce MacWilliams agreed, adding “I really enjoyed teaching the kids and teens this summer! It was a lot of work, but very rewarding!”

    Students that stayed overnight during the camps stayed at Toluca Hills, where NYFA faculty, counselors, and RAs supervised pool parties and game nights. Other activities the students participated in between workshop classes included going to theme parks like Universal Studios, Six Flags, and Disneyland. 

    Campers also visited Santa Monica, The Grove, The Americana, and Universal CityWalk. Other activities included laser tag, bowling, mini golf, video arcades, karaoke, dance classes, and tie-dye sessions.

    Los Angeles Summer Camps 2018

    Photography Campers Exhibit Their Work

    New York Film Academy, famous for its guest speakers and Q&As with industry leaders and professionals, had two such events specifically for the teen campers. The award-winning documentary High School 9-1-1 was screened, followed by a Q&A with director Tim Warren and producer Kelli Joan Bennett. And John Altschuler, co-creator of the HBO hit comedy Silicon Valley, spoke with students as well.

    Many students couldn’t hold back their gratitude for their summer to remember. “Thank you so much for everything,” said camper Gemma Penglase, continuing, “the camp has been the most incredible experience, and I loved every moment of it and I will definitely be back.”

    Jade Klacko, another camper, shared a similar sentiment, adding, “On a personal note, I wanted to express my gratitude to you and to everyone responsible at NYFA for making my time so memorable.” Klacko went on, “I wanted to say that it was one of the best experiences of my life and I was so sad to leave to go back to Florida and say goodbye. You run such an amazing program and I am so thankful that I got to experience this three-week summer program at NYFA.”

    Interested in attending New York Film Academy’s kids & teen camps next summer? You can check out more information here!

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    September 20, 2018 • Community Highlights, Summer Camps • Views: 779

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Game Design Camp Students Hold Demo Night

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    Game Design Demo Night Summer 2018
    On July 27, the six graduates of the 1-Week Game Design Camp celebrated a week of hard work and education with their very own Demo Night, showing off the different video games they had worked on putting together. The event was held at the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus.

    The five-day course the campers completed is intensive, especially for students as young as these, and covers every step of the process to design and build an original video game. “During this week,” stated Game Design Instructor Jeb Havens, “we worked on prototyping, coding, creating a story behind the game… and they came up with the games you see here.”

    Along the way, the students learned how the video games they grew up playing really work, and gained an appreciation for both the craft and the art of game design. The course taught them how to use the software Unity so they could each construct their own game.

    The students’ parents and relatives were invited to attend the Demo Night, along with counselors and campers from other courses, including Filmmaking, Photography, and Acting. Six computer stations were set up, each with one of the students’ games. Everyone invited had a chance to play the games.

    Some of the games were quite hard to beat, a testament to the hard work and design that went into their assembling. Parents were thrilled to be challenged by their kids’ skillfully crafted games. Many players kept trying over and over to beat the trickier games. The environment was energetic and fun all throughout the night.

    “I’m very impressed with what these students created in such a short amount of time,” Havens continued. “Building a game takes months and months of work, and what [the students] did here in only five days is impressive!”

    At the end of the night, and week-long course, each student left camp with a copy of their game, so they can have other friends and family members play it back home. The brief but intensive and hands-on Game Design camp can be a stepping stone to longer, more advanced programs in game coding and design. 

    The New York Film Academy congratulates the 1-Week Game Design Camp students on their hard work and well-designed, challenging, fun, new games. 

    Interested in learning game design? Check out more information on New York Film Academy’s programs here!

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    August 1, 2018 • Community Highlights, Game Design • Views: 984

  • Summer Camp Grad Awarded at Global Film Competition in LA

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    Sara EustáquioNew York Film Academy High School Summer Camp graduate Sara Eustáquio was the recipient of the Award of Merit at the Accolade Global Film Competition in Los Angeles for her narrative fiction short film “Mirror.” The film, which stars NYFA Summer Camp actress Jamie Marchuk, was Eustáquio’s final project of the intensive 3-week HD Filmmaking program.

    In the short horror film, Marchuk looks at her mirror for answers, but what she finds may change her life.

    The young Portuguese filmmaker, 16, had already been awarded with her debut narrative fiction short film “4242,” which has received 16 international prizes and was screened in more than 30 international film festivals across the globe.

    “My time at NYFA taught me much more than I could have imagined,” says Eustáquio. “During the program, I learned about all the technical aspects of the filmmaking process in a fast-paced environment, as well as the importance of telling a story and how to tell a story. It was an amazing experience which deeply changed my perspective and encouraged me to move forward. NYFA helped me find my voice and definitely made me realize this what I want to do.”

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  • Nika Nova: From Russia with Love for the Arts

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    nika nova

    Nika Nova at NYFA Los Angeles

    With over 100,000 social media followers and close to 7 million views on her Youtube channel, the former New York Film Academy Summer Camp student Nika Khargiyanova from Moscow, Russia is better known under her singer/songwriter, model and popular video blogger pseudonym Nika Nova.

    From a very young age, Nika excelled in almost everything she participated in: ballet, modeling, singing, dancing, and acting in theatre productions. After winning several beauty pageants and talent competitions, her first major accomplishment was when she was voted the Grand Prix winner in the prestigious “Young Pearl of Europe & Asia” competition. Soon after, she was voted “Miss International” and the winner of the coveted “Miss Fashion Of The World,” where she was crowned by famous designer, Pierre Cardin. At the age of 11, Nika became fascinated with video blogging, which was beginning to become very popular with young people across Russia. Utilizing Youtube, she created and produced her own talk shows called “What’s Up, Stars?” and “What’s Up, Teens?”—a spin on American talk shows.

    As creator, producer, writer, editor and host of the show, Nika would interview famous Russian artists and actors. It didn’t take long until Russian teens found the Youtube channel, making it a major hit.

    Soon after, in the summer of 2013, Nika traveled to Los Angeles to study Filmmaking at the New York Film Academy. There she focused on creating and producing film while studying at the world-famous Universal Studios. After her training at NYFA, her newly created “What’s Up, Stars?” grew enormously popular all over the Internet. In 2014 “What’s up, Stars?!” was officially accredited by the main television channel of Russia, “First Channel,” which produces such well known shows as “The Voice” and “Voice Kids.”

    In the summer of 2015, Nika returned to NYFA to study Music Video Production and Acting for Film.

    Today, Nika works with songwriters and producers from all over the world, including Russia, USA, Australia and the UK. At the same time, fashion Moscow magazine OOPS did a spread on Nika for their October, 2014 issue.

    Nika has exploded into the music scene and there is nothing standing in her way. Recently, she took part in Grammy Award-winning composer Laura Sullivan’s project called “900 Voices.” She sings both Russian and English, and she is on a mission to be the first Russian female recording artist ever to break through the competitive Western music market. At the moment, more than 200 radio stations play her music, but her dream and major focus is to not only break into music, but television and film as well.

    nika hollywood

    Nika Nova on Hollywood Blvd.

    Despite her busy schedule, NYFA recently had the opportunity to catch up with the former summer camp student to ask her a few questions about her blossoming career.

    We know you must be very busy with your singing/songwriting, modeling and video blogging. Can you tell us a little more about the projects you are currently working on?

    Yes, I am always working on something creative. I am interested in everything that is related to music videos, vlogs, songs, videos, and, of course, my program “What’s up, Stars?”

    We know you have a very large fan base. How do you manage your time to work, study and also stay connected with your followers?

    Since I can remember, I have always lived like this. But this year is pretty complicated for me, because I’ve been spending a lot of time preparing for college. But I can’t stop to writing songs, shooting videos and communicating with my subscribers. They are watching my work and can see how much time I spend editing my videos and writing my songs. And I’m so glad that my followers are understanding in the fact that I can’t always respond in time, even though I try. They are always with me and supporting me.

    What made you decide to study at NYFA?

    At age 11, I started to get involved in video blogging. I wrote scripts, filmed on my unprofessional camera, and I had to master the editing program Final Cut Pro. I’ve got thousands of subscribers and I really like to create my own videos, but I don’t have enough professional training. My dream was to go to NYFA. When my parents saw my passion in filmmaking, they supported me; and when I was 14 years old, they realized my dream and I went to New York Film Academy. It was hard to believe, but it happened!

    You attended a few of our programs. Did you have a favorite and why?

    After completing my first course, the quality of my projects improved greatly. I began to position myself not only as video blogger, but also as a singer. I began to try to shoot and edit my own music videos.

    Some of which won “Academia Music Awards” (LA) as a singer and as a video producer .

    So, in 2015, I went back to study Music Video Production and Acting for Film.

    It’s difficult to choose which program I like more, because I’m interested in everything. Each course has its own specifics.

    What was most memorable about your time here at NYFA?

    Of course, it was amazing to film and to be filmed at the world-famous Universal Studios! This was an amazing opportunity because you feel like you’re part of the Hollywood film industry—the world’s best!

    Students have the unique chance to shoot their projects on a studio where major blockbusters have been filmed.

    Also, I like to communicate with students from different parts of the world, and now I have a lot of friends from all over the world and we still communicate today!

    During your time here, what was one of the most valuable things you learned?

    I learned that creativity can bring people together despite differences in religion, politics or even nationality.

    How have you used your new skills to help you with the projects you are currently working on?

    Practical projects taught me a lot. During the courses, I had an amazing opportunity to experience what it’s like to be a director and an actor in castings and on set. Now I’m more confident in my videos than I had been in the past, but I would still like to learn more and more!

    Would you recommend any of your programs to others interested in attending and why?

    Yes, I’d recommend NYFA for sure! In any creative profession it is very important to practice. NYFA gives you this opportunity, and any student can realize his or her most ambitious projects!

    And most importantly, at NYFA you can learn any of the major creative professions related to film, television, digital technology and media space.

    From conception to full realization, with a modern technical base, we have the opportunity to attend master classes of the most famous (and Oscar-winning) actors and directors.

    What do you have planned for yourself in 2016?

    One of my latest projects was a music video for the Russian song “Набери,” which I produced. I shot this together with friends but took an active part in the assembly of the project, as well as generating ideas. Now I’m preparing another song, in which I wrote the music for, and I’m already thinking about a script for a new movie. I plan to work on some new projects with “What’s up, Stars?” and release my music album “With Love from Moscow.” And finally, I hope to have an opportunity to return to NYFA once again.

    Any advice you can give to teens looking to grow their career in the performing arts?

    Believe and fight for your dreams! And never ever give up.

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    January 21, 2016 • Acting, Film School, Filmmaking, Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 6503

  • Former Summer Camp Student Eve Hewson Returns to NYFA to Screen ‘The Knick’

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    There’s nothing that makes the New York Film Academy family happier than welcoming back a former student who has gone on to major success. Thus far in her young career, former summer camp student Eve Hewson has had the privilege of working with some of the finest actors and filmmakers including the late James Gandolfini, Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Sean Penn.

    glynis and eve

    Acting for Film Chair Glynis Rigsby with Eve Hewson

    This Wednesday evening, December 3rd at New York Film Academy’s Battery Park location, Hewson returned to screen The Knick, in which she plays Lucy Elkins. Directed by Stephen Soderbergh and starring Clive Owen, the Cinemax series provides us with a look at the professional and personal lives of the staff at New York’s Knickerbocker Hospital during the early part of the twentieth century. Based on Hewson’s conversation with NYFA Acting Chair Glynis Rigsby, working with Soderbergh is both challenging and awarding. Often times he will only give his cast one take, so each actor must be extremely well prepared. Unlike other episodic shows, Soderbergh directs, D.P’s and edits every show. He’s very hands-on, to say the least. At the end of the day she says, “I trust Stephen so much. I love working with him.”

    Hewson is a strong believer in jumping right into the audition process. She recalls going to auditions and bombing, even before and after her formal training at NYFA and other acting schools. “Try to do as much preparation as you can, so they’ll [casting directors] really like you. And try not to worry,” said Hewson.

    eve hewson at nyfa

    She also recommends students tape themselves, even on their iPhones. Hewson landed many of her major roles through audition tapes, but it didn’t come easily. She says she often tapes herself doing monologues or acting out scenes, then dissects each and everyone of them to look for flaws or areas of potential improvement.

    “I remember one teacher told me, when I was here at NYFA summer camp,” Hewson recalls. “She said ‘Be as rebellious as you want with your acting’. If someone tells you this is how you do it and it doesn’t work for you, say that doesn’t work for me. I don’t think that anyone has a set process. You have to find what works for you and what makes you excited because sometimes if you’re in this school—which I’ve been in and other acting schools—you can feel like if I don’t do what my teacher tells me to do, it becomes a labor. So, do the work that makes you feel confident because there are no rules.”

    And last but not least, she believes its best to go into auditions without the sides—memorize the lines!

    Thanks so much to Eve Hewson for coming back to NYFA and speaking to our acting students. As always it’s a proud moment to reconnect with our blossoming young talent.

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    December 9, 2015 • Acting, Guest Speakers, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5972

  • Broadcast Journalism Summer Camp Wraps

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    broadcast journalism

    Broadcast Journalism “Teen Camp” students in class

    Our 2015 Broadcast Journalism “Teen Camp” at New York Film Academy New York City wrapped up recently. Drawing students from as far away as Korea, the Dominican Republic and Taiwan, along with California, New York and New Jersey, the four week course gave participants the chance to be actual broadcast journalists.

    broadcast journalistDuring the program, broadcast journalism students researched, reported, shot, wrote and edited their own TV stories. They even had the opportunity to cover a Ryan Seacrest press conference outside of Fox TV, where Seacrest was promoting a new show. From there, the students were given a tour of the Fox TV studio.

    The course-of-study mirrored our adult classes, with instruction on all aspects of reporting. That included working on-camera in the field, and in the studio.

    If you’re interested in learning more about any of our Broadcast Journalism classes, please visit https://www.nyfa.edu/broadcast-journalism-school/.

     

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    August 3, 2015 • Broadcast Journalism • Views: 3126

  • High School Camp Grad’s Short Awarded ‘Short of the Week’

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    ike interviews god

    With summer approaching, we’ve been looking back at what some of our High School Summer Camp graduates are working on today. Last week, we stumbled across a “Short of the Week” from New York Film Academy Summer Camp alumnus, Eli Shapiro. His award-winning film, Ike Interviews God, tackles the potential apocalyptic doom of our society in a somewhat dark yet comedic way. As the director puts it, the initial premise of the film was quite simple: if you could have a private conversation with God, what would you ask Her?

    “I wanted to make fun of what would actually happen during a major religious event today,” said Shapiro. “How news stations would exploit it, how people would try to make money out of it, how they’d cast Ryan Gosling for the movie adaptation.”

    While Shapiro practices the Jewish faith, he wanted the film to make people laugh regardless of his or her beliefs. “I think everyone — atheists and religious people — have these cosmic questions.”

    To date, Shapiro’s short has screened at several film festivals, including the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival 2014, Screen Actor’s Guild Foundation Film Showcase 2014, DC Shorts Film Festival 2014, Montclair Film Festival 2014, and Hollyshorts Monthly Screening Series 2015.

    Have a look at his award-winning short in its entirety below.

    IKE INTERVIEWS GOD from Eli Shapiro on Vimeo.

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    June 8, 2015 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 3419

  • #NYFASummer Instagram Contest

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    #NYFASummer

    With New York Film Academy Summer Camp Programs wrapped and others in the full swing of things all around the world, we thought it was time to see what it is you’re all up to. Given the obvious popularity of Instagram amongst all of our students, we figured this would be the best place to stay in touch.

    All you have to do is tag your photos with #NYFASummer and we can see what you’re doing. Whether you’re in New York City, Los Angeles, Harvard, Florida, Europe or wherever, you’re all #NYFASummer students at heart!

    The best photos showing your support of #NYFASummer will be posted on NYFA’s official Instagram page and a select few will receive the Magic Shutter Ver. 3 App. And if you win this app, you’ll be able to show off some pretty amazing photos to your peers back at home. So, start tagging now!

    The best photos will be posted on NYFA Instagram from now until September 1st. The top winners will be announced soon after to receive the Magic Shutter Ver. 3 App.

    Here’s a glimpse at what you can win.

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    July 23, 2014 • Contests • Views: 4879

  • How Long Should a Short Film Be?

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    My September One-Year Filmmaking students are screening their thesis films this week and, once again, this issue of length has come up. Although we recommend that students keep their films to 10-15 minutes, many of my students have made films that are 20-25 minutes.

    The problem is that film festivals are inundated with hundreds, sometimes thousands of film submissions all competing for a place in, what is in all likelihood, a 2-hour program of shorts. Because festivals often have a cut off of 30-minutes for short films, few of these films get accepted. Film festivals want to help and support as many filmmakers as they possibly can, and accepting a 25-minute film into the festival means the five 5-minute filmmakers are going to be excluded.

    So, my advice to my students (and makers of short films, in general) is to keep the film as short as possible. Naturally, you have to do justice to your stories. You can’t squeeze a 30-minute story into a 10-minute package without ruining it. But there’s no question in my mind that with every minute you add to the length of your film, the odds of getting your film accepted decreases.

    Case in point: When my son Bret was 14, he took our summer program for high school students. In that program, he made 3 very short films. The first was 90 seconds, the second 2.5 minutes, and his last film 3 minutes. Although they were very well done for a first-time filmmaker, they were not brilliant. And yet he was able to get each of them into over 10 film festivals.

    Believe it or not, even a 90 second film will open doors for you. One of my son’s films, managed to get into the LA International, at which point, he was contacted by writers, composers and even agents. In fact, the agent who represents Renee Zellweger contacted him to see if he was interested in hiring Rene for his next film!  Now, clearly the agent did not know that he was dealing with a 14-year old. I imagine he (and the other agents) just download the names of the filmmakers from the festival website and start sending out email inquiries.

    So, although I understand that as you grow as a filmmaker it’s natural that you desire to make longer and longer films to demonstrate your ability to handle professional shoots, it is in your best interest to keep the running time short. Remember, festivals include your titles in the running time, so don’t put 5 minutes of credits at the end of the film. Many students are under the mistaken impression that the more names they can run past the screen at the end of their film, the more impressed the audience will be. The problem is that the audience has just seen your film and they’re only going to be as impressed as your film makes them. So keep your titles moving quickly. Just make sure they slow down when it gets to your name. After all, you’re the one you should be promoting.

    Food for thought.

    -Claude Kerven, NYFA NYC Chair of Filmmaking

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    August 26, 2013 • Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 59641

  • Art Imitates Life for Horror Film Director

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    Screenwriting Chair Eric Conner with 'Smiley' Director Michael Gallagher at New York Film Academy

    Screenwriting Chair Eric Conner with ‘Smiley’ Director Michael Gallagher

    Director Michael Gallagher attended summer camps at New York Film Academy’s Universal Studios campus 3 times as a youngster. He started making short films, music videos, and documentaries while in high school. Since then, he has started a wildly popular web series called Totally Sketch, which has over 850,000 subscribers on YouTube.

    During a recent guest speaker event at New York Film Academy, Gallagher shared his recently-released horror film, Smiley, which was released in theaters nationwide. He described how his experience with internet shorts helped prepare him for his first feature length film. “Most of the sketches I shoot are like little scenes,” he said. “It was like 110 sketches in a row.” Working with a tight budget, the indie film was shot in just 15 days, and the filmmakers were shooting as many as 8 pages of the script per day. But as Gallagher puts it, “Horror movies fit the low budget. You can do a lot more with a little.”

    Gallagher cast friends and actors with large YouTube followings to help build buzz around the film. To date, the trailer has racked up over 21 million views on YouTube. At just 23 years old, his first feature length film was about to be released in AMC theaters across the nation. Things were going well until users of the website 4Chan got wind of the film’s plot.

    Gallagher said he was going for authenticity when he decided to make 4Chan users the villains of his film. In an interview with Huffington Post, he said, “I anticipated a minor backlash of people leaving harassing comments online.” But he didn’t anticipate the website’s users posting his home address, his personal information, and leaving dozens of death threats on his cell.

    After interviews with the TODAY ShowInside EditionVarietyPaste (and the FBI), 4Chan users realized they were only giving him free publicity. Just as the movie was released in theaters nationwide, the threats disappeared.

    Much to 4Chan’s chagrin, we’re happy to report the Smiley DVD is now available for pre-order.

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    December 14, 2012 • Academic Programs, Guest Speakers, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5425