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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking & Photography Alum Paquita Hughes Works on Hulu’s ‘Little Fires Everywhere’

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    Paquita Hughes, Navy veteran and alum of New York Film Academy’s Filmmaking and Photography schools, has added Little Fires Everywhere to her growing list of Hollywood credits. 

    Little Fires Everywhere, which debuted on Hulu on March 18, stars Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, who both also served as executive producers on the dramatic miniseries. The show is adapted from the 2017 novel of the same name by Celeste Ng and tells the story of two mothers from diametric socioeconomic backgrounds in Shaker Heights, Ohio during the 1990s.

    little fires everywhere
    Hughes is a
    veteran of the United States Navy and first attended NYFA’s 1-Year Filmmaking conservatory in July 2011 at our Burbank-based campus in Los Angeles. After completing the program, she then enrolled in the 1-Year Photography conservatory. Her thesis project was a pilot for the dramedy web series Sugar, which dealt with the sex industry and included strongly written, complicated female protagonists.

    Since filming Sugar and graduating, Hughes has been very busy working in Hollywood working in various positions, including as location manager on hit productions like Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS: Los Angeles, and Marvel’s Runaways. Additionally, Hughes is working as location manager on the new period-set reboot of Perry Mason, starring NYFA Guest Speaker Matthew Rhys.

    “I had an epiphany when I was in the Navy,” Hughes says in a NYFA video spotlighting her success as an alumni, “and I thought to myself if I could succeed at serving my country during a time of war, I could succeed at following my dreams attending film school, so I decided to get out and study film.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA Filmmaking and Photography alum Paquita Hughes on her prolific work on Hollywood productions and encourages everyone to watch Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu!

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) AFA Acting for Film Alum Masali Baduza Stars in BBC’s Noughts + Crosses

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) AFA Acting for FIlm alum Masali Baduza has landed one of the lead roles in BBC’s buzzworthy new adaptation of Noughts + Crosses.

    Masali Baduza

    NYFA AFA Acting for Film alum Masali Baduza

    Baduza originally hails from South Africa and is bilingual in both English and Xhosa, and earned her Associate Degree of Fine Arts in Acting for FIlm after enrolling at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus in Los Angeles in 2015. Since earning her AFA in Acting for Film, Baduza has appeared in the productions Bhai’s Cafe, The Fighter, and Trackers, before landing her biggest role yet in BBC’s Noughts + Crosses.

    The television show is adapted from a series of young adult stories that began with the novel Noughts & Crosses, first published in 2001. The speculative fiction saga, written by Malorie Blackman, takes place in an alternate history where black Africans colonized and enslaved white Europeans, rather than the other way around. The story is told from the perspectives of two lead characters–Callum and Sephy. 

    Masali Baduza

    ‘Noughts + Crosses Stars’ Jack Rowan and NYFA AFA Acting for Film alum Masali Baduza

    Baduza stars as Sephy, opposite Jack Rowan (Peaky Blinders, Born to Kill), who plays Callum. The cast also includes Paterson Joseph (The Leftovers, Timeless), Josh Dylan (Mamma Mia 2, The End of the F***ing World), Kiké Brimah (Doctors), Luke Bailey (Ordinary Lies), Jonathan Ajayi (Wonder Woman 1984), Helen Baxendale (Dirk Gently), and British rapper Stormzy.

    New York Film Academy congratulates AFA Acting for Film alum Masali Baduza on landing the lead role in BBC’s exciting new show and encourages everyone to check out her work on Noughts + Crosses!

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    March 24, 2020 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1434

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Teaches Journalism Workshop in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) is an internationally recognized thought leader in the field of Broadcast Journalism. That status was recognized by the US State Department, which chose NYFA to conduct a week-long Journalism workshop for mid-career TV professionals in Nur-Sultan, the capital of the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan. Broadcast Journalism Chair Bill Einreinhofer, and instructor Evgeniia Vlasova made the long journey from New York City to Kazakhstan just before Christmas, a time of year when Nur-Sultan is known for its bone chilling weather and frequent snow.

    The goal was not to teach “what to report.” Rather, the workshop was about innovative “ways to report.” It also avoided the typical teacher/student paradigm and instead was structured as colleagues sharing potentially useful information with colleagues. 

    Broadcast Journalism Kazakhstan Workshop

    Einreinhofer drew upon his US network television experience, using the PBS NewsHour and NBC’s Meet the Press as models for how to explore complicated, controversial subjects in a non-partisan and engaging way. Vlasova has seven years of TV experience in her native Russia, and is also a graduate of NYFA’s 1-Year Broadcast Journalism conservatory program. She literally spoke the same language as workshop participants. (Many people in Kazakhstan speak both Kazakh and Russian.)

    The culmination of the workshop saw the participants go into a TV studio and create a “pilot program” incorporating the techniques discussed during the week. Their success can be measured in the decision of a major Kazakh TV network to develop an entirely new political talk show based on that pilot.

    Einreinhofer and Vlasova will be returning to Kazakhstan next spring to teach a second workshop there. In July they will conduct a three-week Journalism Summer School in Moscow, aimed at early career journalists. Both projects are being sponsored by the US State Department.

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    January 6, 2020 • Broadcast Journalism, International Diversity • Views: 1086

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Instructors Act on Hit Sitcoms

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    Students from New York Film Academy (NYFA) looking to see their instructors’ latest roles won’t have to look far—two instructors from the Acting for Film department at our Los Angeles campus are appearing in recurring roles on two high-profile sitcoms.

    sitcoms

    Bayo Akinfemi’s latest role is Goodwin on the CBS sitcom Bob Hearts Abishola, the latest project from sitcom megaproducer Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory.) The show stars Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly, Young Sheldon) and Folake Olowofoyeku (Transparent) and is about an American who falls in love with his Nigerian nurse.

    Akinfemi began his career as a director for stage and screen in Nigeria, has previously appeared on Agents of SHIELD, and action films Bulletproof Monk and The Tuxedo. He is a member of the Director’s Guild of Canada and has won multiple awards for his work behind the camera.

    Acting for Film instructor Ken Lerner continues his recurring role on ABC’s The Goldbergs, a period family sitcom taking place in the 1980s and starring Wendi McLendon-Covey, Jeff Garlin, and George Segal.

    Lerner’s previous credits are numerous; he has been acting professionally since the 1970s. He had recurring roles on hit series like Happy Days, Chicago Hope, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as feature film credits including Robocop 2, The Running Man, and The Fabulous Baker Boys.

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    November 22, 2019 • Acting, Faculty Highlights • Views: 1125

  • New York Film Academy Alum (NYFA) Bill Hader Wins Second Emmy for Barry

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum Bill Hader won a second Emmy for his work on the critically-acclaimed HBO series, Barry, last night at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards. The ceremony was held at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles.

    bill hader emmy 2019
    Barry
    , nominated for Best Comedy, was co-created by Hader, and has so far amassed an incredible 30 Primetime Emmy Award nominations in its first two seasons. Hader has won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series two years in a row; his co-star Henry Winkler–a previous NYFA guest speaker–won an Emmy last year for his work on the show. Hader, who attended NYFA’s Filmmaking workshop in 1996, also spoke with NYFA students last April.

    Instead of a traditional single host, this year’s ceremony employed several celebrities in comedic bits and musical numbers. The first presenter of the evening was previous NYFA guest speaker Bryan Cranston. 

    Memorable moments of the night included Billy Porter’s Emmy win for Pose, making him the first openly gay black man to Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Jharrel Jerome became the first Afro-Latino to win an acting Emmy after his star-making turn in Netflix miniseries When They See Us. Michelle Williams gave a passionate acceptance speech addressing the gender pay gap in Hollywood, expressing that equal pay allows actresses “to succeed because of her workplace environment and not in spite of it.”

    Writer, producer, and actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge had a huge night; both of her shows, Fleabag, and Killing Eve, won Emmys, including Outstanding Comedy Series for the former. Waller-Bridge also presented Outstanding Limited Series with Bill Hader in a comedic highlight of the evening.

    bill hader phoebe waller-bridge
    Other notable moments including the casts of Veep and Game of Thrones gathering on stage to thunderous applause. NYFA guest speaker Tony Hale earned huge laughs by playing off his role as Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s tortured assistant. 

    The Game of Thrones cast followed their appearance with multiple award wins, including Outstanding Drama Series. The show, which finished its final season last spring, tied its own record for most Emmys won by a series in a single season. Other wins included Supporting Actor for Peter Dinklage, as well as a litany of Creative Arts Emmys at last week’s adjacent ceremony, including Outstanding Special Visual Effects for its penultimate episode, “The Bells.” NYFA 3D Animation & VFX alum Alexandra LoRusso worked on the special visual effects team for that episode, as well as the Game of Thrones finale, “The Iron Throne.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Bill Hader and all the winners of the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards!

    Here is a full list of last night’s nominees and winners:

    Outstanding Comedy Series
    Barry
    Fleabag – WINNER
    The Good Place
    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Russian Doll
    Schitt’s Creek
    Veep

    Outstanding Drama Series
    Better Call Saul
    Bodyguard
    Game of Thrones – WINNER
    Killing Eve
    Ozark
    Pose
    Succession
    This Is Us

    Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
    Mahershala Ali, True Detective
    Benicio Del Toro, Escape at Dannemora
    Hugh Grant, A Very English Scandal
    Jared Harris, Chernobyl
    Jharrel Jerome, When They See Us – WINNER
    Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon

    Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
    Amy Adams, Sharp Objects
    Patricia Arquette, Escape at Dannemora
    Aunjanue Ellis, When They See Us
    Joey King, The Act
    Niecy Nash, When They See Us
    Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon – WINNER

    Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
    Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal – WINNER
    Stellan Skarsgard, Chernobyl
    Paul Dano, Escape at Dannemora
    John Leguizamo, When They See Us
    Michael K. Williams, When They See Us
    Asante Blackk, When They See Us

    Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
    Emily Watson, Chernobyl
    Margaret Qualley, Fosse/Verdon
    Patricia Clarkson, Sharp Objects
    Patricia Arquette, The Act – WINNER
    Marsha Stephanie Blake, When They See Us
    Vera Farmiga, When They See Us

    Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
    Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
    Don Cheadle, Black Monday
    Ted Danson, The Good Place
    Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
    Bill Hader, Barry – WINNER
    Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek

    Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
    Christina Applegate, Dead To Me
    Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
    Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
    Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek
    Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag – WINNER

    Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
    Stephen Root, Barry
    Henry Winkler, Barry
    Anthony Carrigan, Barry
    Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method
    Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – WINNER
    Tony Hale, Veep

    Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
    Sarah Goldberg, Barry
    Sian Clifford, Fleabag
    Olivia Colman, Fleabag
    Betty Gilpin, GLOW
    Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
    Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – WINNER
    Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Anna Chlumsky, Veep

    Lead Actor in a Drama Series
    Jason Bateman, Ozark
    Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
    Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
    Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
    Billy Porter, Pose – WINNER
    Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us

    Lead Actress in a Drama Series
    Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
    Jodie Comer, Killing Eve – WINNER
    Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
    Laura Linney, Ozark
    Mandy Moore, This Is Us
    Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
    Robin Wright, House of Cards

    Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
    Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
    Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul
    Alfie Allen, Game of Thrones
    Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones
    Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones – WINNER
    Michael Kelly, House of Cards
    Chris Sullivan, This Is Us

    Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
    Gwendoline Christie, Game of Thrones
    Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
    Sophie Turner, Game of Thrones
    Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones
    Fiona Shaw, Killing Eve
    Julia Garner, Ozark – WINNER

    Outstanding Reality Competition Series
    Amazing Race
    American Ninja Warrior
    Nailed It
    RuPaul’s Drag Race – WINNER
    Top Chef
    The Voice

    Outstanding Variety Talk Series
    The Daily Show
    Full Frontal
    Jimmy Kimmel Live!
    Last Week Tonight With John Oliver – WINNER
    The Late Late Show With James Corden
    The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

    Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
    At Home With Amy Sedaris
    Documentary Now!
    Drunk History
    I Love You, America With Sarah Silverman
    Saturday Night Live – WINNER
    Who Is America?

    Outstanding Television Movie
    Bandersnatch – WINNER
    Brexit
    Deadwood
    King Lear
    My Dinner with Hervé

    Outstanding Limited Series
    Chernobyl – WINNER
    Escape at Dannemora
    Fosse/Verdon
    Sharp Objects
    When They See Us

    Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series
    Barry, “ronny/lily,” Alec Berg and Bill Hader
    The Good Place, “Janet(s),” Josh Siegal and Dylan Morgan
    PEN15, “Anna Ishii-Peters,” Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle
    Russian Doll, “Nothing In This World Is Easy,” Leslye Headland, Natasha Lyonne and Amy Poehler
    Russian Doll, “A Warm Body,” Allison Silverman
    Veep, “Veep,” David Mandel
    Fleabag, “Episode 1,” Phoebe Waller-Bridge – WINNER

    Directing For A Comedy Series
    Barry, “The Audition,” Alec Berg
    Barry, “ronny/lily,” Bill Hader
    The Big Bang Theory, “The Stockholm Syndrome,” Mark Cendrowski
    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, “All Alone,” Amy Sherman-Palladino
    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, “We’re Going To The Catskills!” Daniel Palladino
    Fleabag, “Episode 1,” Harry Bradbeer – WINNER

    Directing for a Limited Series or TV Movie
    A Very English Scandal, Stephen Frears
    Chernobyl, Johan Renck – WINNER
    Escape at Dannemora, Ben Stiller
    Fosse/Verdon, Jessica Yu
    Fosse/Version, Thomas Kail
    When They See Us, Ava DuVernay

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    September 23, 2019 • Entertainment News, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1028

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Alum Alberto Frezza Lands Lead Role on ‘Station 19’

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    ABC has cast Alberto Frezza, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum, in a lead role in Station 19, a spinoff of Grey’s Anatomy. Frezza plays Seattle police officer Ryan Tanner, who has a close relationship with the show’s lead, played by Jaina Lee Ortiz.

    Before landing the role, Frezza previously made several appearances in short films and television, including Criminal Minds on CBS. Firefighting-action dramaStation 19 is the latest show from Shonda Rhimes, creator of popular medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. It takes place in the same city and cinematic universe.

    Frezza recently spoke with NYFA about the casting process for the series. “It took almost a month with four audition/callbacks, one test audition, and a chemistry read with Jaina Lee Ortiz. By far the longest audition process I have gone through for a role.”

    Born in Milan, Italy, Frezza was raised in Ethiopia. As a child, he hoped to become a soccer player, but after seeing River Phoenix’s 1986 film Stand By Me, he decided to become an actor.

    Eventually, Frezza moved to the United States and enrolled in the Acting for Film program at New York Film Academy, where Frezza trained intensively in screen acting and modern on-camera acting techniques through a hands-on, practical curriculum.

    In addition to acting, Frezza also enjoys diving and photography. He applies both hobbies to another passion: environmentalism. Frezza cites his upbringing in Ethiopia’s Lake Langano area for his interest in the conservation of animals.

    His Instagram account documents the exotic animals he comes across in his travels, and who he strives to protect through environmental endeavors. As his star power grows, Frezza’s passion for the environment reaches more and more followers. The New York Film Academy congratulates Acting for Film alum Alberto Frezza on his new role in the Shondaland television drama Station 19, which airs on the ABC network.

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    April 12, 2019 • Academic Programs, Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1751

  • Q&A with NYFA Instructor and ‘Project Blue Book’ Creator David O’Leary

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    On Tuesday, January 15, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted a screening of the pilot episode of Project Blue Book, a new original series from HISTORY (formerly The History Channel) that adapts the real-life US Air Force investigations of UFOs in the 1950s. The screening was followed by a Q&A with creator and former NYFA screenwriting and producing instructor, David O’Leary, moderated by NYFA Producing instructor, Ashley Bank.

    O’Leary is a former development executive who has worked for Bellevue Productions, Valhalla Entertainment, Kopelson Entertainment, Rogue Pictures, Warner Bros., and Industry Entertainment. He is also a producer on two features set for release this year, Parallel for Bron Studios and Eli for Netflix. Additionally, O’Leary is adapting a sci-fi book series for A+E Studios.

    Project Blue Book David O'Leary

    Bank opened up the Q&A by asking about how O’Leary became a writer. He shared that he started his career as an intern at New Line Cinema and decided he was interested in development, so he moved to Los Angeles where he worked with a friend at Village Roadshow Pictures. From there, O’Leary worked his way up from the mailroom to assistant jobs and became a development executive, himself, at the age of 28. He realized, however, that his true dream was to be a screenwriter. “I pivoted and I’m a big believer in pivoting,” said O’Leary.

    O’Leary shared that even though he knew he was passionate about becoming a professional writer, that wasn’t enough. “Honestly, I had to get good at being a writer; I was not a very good writer when I made that choice.” He continued, “I think the way that you get better at being a writer is you have to keep writing, but you can’t keep writing in a vacuum; you have to keep showing your work to people and you have to keep getting feedback… you need people you trust to tell you ‘Here’s what works, here’s what doesn’t, and here’s why.’”

    O’Leary added that working as a screenwriting instructor at NYFA required him to be extra knowledgeable about professional screenwriting. “It really forced me to practice what I was preaching,” he said. O’Leary then shared that something that helped him stay positive while he worked toward becoming a successful professional screenwriter was “celebrating small victories” because trying to be successful in the entertainment industry is a long and arduous process and one needs to have stamina to make it all the way to their end goal.

    Project Blue Book David O'Leary

    O’Leary made it clear to the audience that hard work is important but sometimes luck also plays a role in success; with Project Blue Book, “It was sort of the right idea at the right time at a network that was looking to grow and move into scripted series.” The simplest way that O’Leary could sum up the show to pitch it to producers was “X-Files meets Mad Men,” which was a concept that had not really been explored before.

    One of the members of the audience inquired about navigating a narrative based on real events. “Every week we look at a real-life case… so it has that kind of ‘based on true events’ cache,” said O’Leary. “[Lead character] Hynek was a real-life guy; we ended up recruiting both [of] his sons as consultants on the project… I really want the show to be entertaining, but I also want to educate people on this phenomenon.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank former instructor David O’Leary for sharing his experiences and advice for writers as well as details about the development and production of Project Blue Book.

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    February 12, 2019 • Faculty Highlights, Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 1867

  • Recent Success For New York Film Academy (NYFA) Instructor Ben Cohen

    FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailNew York Film Academy (NYFA) Instructor Ben Cohen has had a productive 2018. His sitcom screenplay, The Library, recently made the 2nd Round at the 2018 Austin Film Festival. Additionally, it was a finalist in the New York Screenplay Contest.

    Cohen hails from Decatur, Georgia and is currently based in Brooklyn. He has studied at various institutions across the globe, and has honed his comedy chops at Upright Citizen Brigade, among other theaters and playhouse troupes. 

    In addition to writing and performing, he currently teaches for the Filmmaking school at New York Film Academy’s New York City campus, where he has gained a reputation for being incredibly devoted to both his students and his fellow faculty members. He is also a great role model for the aspiring film school students he teaches, as he balances his position at NYFA with a working career in the film and comedy industry, much like most of the Academy’s experienced, industry-savvy faculty members.

    It’s no surprise then that his script for The Library made it to the 2nd Round of the 2018 Austin Film Festival (AFF). The AFF was founded in 1994 and has a focus on screenwriters, and has had judges from Warner Bros., Pixar, ABC Studios, and Nickelodeon in past years.

    Ben Cohen

    Ben Cohen Hosting 2018 NYFA Emmy Party in NYC

    Cohen’s script was also a finalist for the New York Screenplay Contest, a premiere global screenwriting contest that has introduced numerous talented and unique voices to the industry. Being named as a Finalist or Winner of the contest is a coveted, distinct honor.

    Cohen has remained modest about his recent achievements, telling NYFA, “It’s nice to see my writing get some recognition, but it’s important for folks to know rejection isn’t the negative — it’s the norm.” 

    Expounding on this, he continued, “Much more of your creative life is spent being told that you’re not good enough, but you have to keep writing, and more importantly, keep sharing your writing. I’ve learned to appreciate the good days (like this one) and just keep going. It helps to care about other things. My students know I’m just as happy to talk sports or Bowie as I am to talk about writing.”

    Additionally, Cohen was recently featured in a PBS Documentary produced by NYFA alum Ashton Brooks, and he plans to continue writing and pursuing gigs in the industry. 

    The New York Film Academy congratulates filmmaking instructor Ben Cohen on his recent successes and looks forward to those still yet to come! Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

  • NYFA Alum, Guest Speaker, Netflix, HBO, and Amazon Win Big at 2018 Emmy Awards

    FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailThe most competitive race in this year’s Emmy Awards wasn’t in any specific category. Rather, it was a heated contest between cable giant HBO and godfather of streaming Netflix to see which media company would win the most Emmys this year. 

    Several of HBO’s wins came from its new comedy, Barry, starring Bill Hader, a NYFA workshop alum, and Henry Winkler, who both won acting Emmys. Henry Winkler was a guest speaker at our Los Angeles campus (you can also listen to his guest speaker event on the NYFA Podcast, The Backlot).

    Other members of the NYFA community involved with this year’s Emmy Awards include Emmy-nominated alum Issa Rae (Insecure) and alum Francesco Panzieri, who has worked on Emmy-nominated Westworld. Additionally, Netflix’s critical and commercial hit Stranger Things was up for several nominations. The nostalgic horror’s cast includes alum Matty Cardarople and NYFA Board Member and Master Class Lecturer Matthew Modine, and the show’s iconic opening titles were in part designed by Emmy-winner and NYFA alum Eric Demeusy.

    HBO was the Goliath in this situation — the network has won the most Emmys each year for nearly two decades running. In July, Netflix made headlines when it broke HBO’s 17-year streak of most nominations, with 112 total, to HBO’s 108.

    In the end, it came down to the final award of the night, for Best Drama Series — HBO was poised to lose to Netflix by a single Emmy and lose its record. However, Game of Thrones proved victorious, allowing HBO to tie with Netflix, and landing both at the top with 23 Emmys each. Sharing first place is still a huge victory for Netflix, which has been on an upward trend after coming in third in 2016 and second last year. This continues the cultural dominance in longform storytelling that started when COO Ted Sarandos, who spoke with New York Film Academy (NYFA) students earlier this year, shepherded Netflix into the future of original content.

    Netflix and HBO weren’t the only big winners. Amazon Studios won its first top award when its original series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel won Best Comedy Series, the first time a streaming-only service has won the category with its own content. Last year, Hulu won the first Best Drama Series Emmy for The Handmaid’s Tale. Ironically, for all its nominations and awards, Netflix still hasn’t won either prize.

     

    All told, the real winners are television viewers, as Peak TV continues its cultural dominance. As HBO CEO Richard Plepler put it, “It’s a wonderful evening for us, but it’s an even better evening for the range of quality great work being recognized in the industry.” While many of the award-winners were white, this year’s nominations did represent a large number of people of color, as well as women in non-acting roles. A step, albeit small, forward for the industry. 

    The New York Film Academy congratulates all the nominees and winners of the night and looks forward to another year of innovative, exciting storytelling from the industry!

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    September 18, 2018 • Entertainment News, Faculty Highlights, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2078

  • Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos Speaks With New York Film Academy

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    Last Friday, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) had the honor to be invited to the Netflix Sunset-Bronson Studios for a preview screening of Netflix upcoming series The Innocents followed by an exclusive Q&A with Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos.

    Ted has led content acquisition for Netflix since 2000. Since 2013, he led the company’s transition into original streaming content with the launch of House of Cards, Arrested Development, and Orange is the New Black, among numerous other series. Ted has been recognized as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2013, and as an innovator in film acquisition and distribution. Netflix executive Matthew Thunell introduced the pilot. NYFA Director of the Q&A Series Tova Laiter hosted the afternoon.

    Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos

    Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos

    Laiter opened the conversation by asking Mr. Sarandos about his unique start in the film industry, from community college for journalism, to running movie rental stores, to where he is now. “It’s a super unlikely path,” Mr. Sarandos said, “I’m always reluctant to give my path… as it wouldn’t make any sense for anyone to try to follow.”

    The conversation moved to Netflix’s first original release, the wildly successful House of Cards. Mr. Sarandos spoke fondly of working with David Fincher, saying “He’s exacting. I love, more than anything, somebody who knows what they want, knows what’s important and what isn’t. David never had a wasted conversation or a wasted argument about anything during production.” He also talked about the initial meeting. They pitched Fincher an offer he couldn’t refuse: two seasons of a TV show, with no pilot, and no notes. The only restriction was that he would have to put his name on it. “The bet was that someone who really cared about their brand would really make it great if you gave him the freedom to do that. And that’s what we did.”

    One student asked what advice he would give his younger self, just starting out in the industry. Mr. Sarandos talked about how far Netflix and the industry as a whole has come and continue to change. “I don’t know that I ever would have seen far enough ahead to say ‘You should do this, and not that.’ The main thing is, I think, is to be incredibly nimble.”

    Tova Laiter & Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos

    Tova Laiter & Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos

    Laiter ended the Q&A by asking what quality Ted felt led the most to his success. He answered, “Probably curiosity. It’s not necessarily what you know, it’s what you’re willing to figure out… Being humble enough to ask, and not being afraid to look dumb, is how you learn.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Sarandos for inviting us to Netflix for this amazing Q&A.

    The Innocents will be streaming starting August 24th – only on Netflix.

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    July 25, 2018 • Guest Speakers • Views: 3528