The History of Our Film School

July 21, 2009

The history of film schools began less then 40 years ago. The history of our film school is much more recent and vastly different.

While film schools started popping up in the 1970’s the New York Film Academy’s President and Founder, Jerry Sherlock, was busy making an impact within the motion picture industry.

As an independent producer for Hollywood films, stage and television Sherlock developed projects for Disney, Warner Brothers, United Artists, Paramount, E.M.I. and others. Among his many credits are Executive Producer of the major motion picture and Oscar winning film, The Hunt For Red October, the Producer for Lolita, a Broadway production; and Executive Producer of the Television Production, Amal and the Night Visitors, for CBS.

Not too shabby coming from someone who dropped out of school at age 14, joined a traveling carnival and later joined the United States Air Force.

Working In Hollywood Has Its Advantages

While working in Hollywood as a Film Producer, Sherlock was involved in conversations with his fellow Hollywood peers about where to send their sons and daughters to learn filmmaking and acting. This got the self-made businessman thinking.

After a a little research, he discovered that anyone interested in a career in filmmaking or acting at the time was limited to two choices. 1) learn on their own or 2) enroll in an expensive university to study film for four years to attend lectures and study from books.

Jerry asked himself why students have to spend thousands of dollars on an advanced degree just to “study” filmmaking when all it really took to learn filmmaking was practice with on latest equipment using the latest teqhniques while receiving hands-on instruction from a proffesional.  Without much delay, Sherlock opened the New York Film Academy in 1992 within Robert DeNiro’s Tribeca Film Center in New York City.

Pioneering Hands-On Filmmaking Classes

Two years after graduating it’s first film class, the New York Film Academy had become known throughout the industry for offering “boot camp” style workshops for future filmmakers.

The curriculum offered at NYFA consisted of intensive hands-on traning from day one. The first day of classes students had a camera in their hand and by the end of the first week they where shooting thier first film.

The New York Film Academy was unlike any other film school at that time. We pioneered the teaching of hands-on learning with professional film equipment. Many critics thought we were crazy putting equipment in the “untrained” hands of students so soon. But Jerry knew better.

He knew that the best way to learn filmmaking was to make films; not in a lecture hall or watching film, but actually working on a real set creating with other students.

Competing With The “Best”

After attracing the sons and daughters of many of Hollywood’s elite such as Steven Spielberg, Kevin Kline, Susan Surandon, Pierce Brosner and many more – a number of the “top” film colleges and universities started taking notice.

Many of these schools started offering “hands-on” courses within their program and giving students the opportunity to shoot feature length films.

Film School Perfected…Almost

NYFA has since grown into its own building in historic Tammany Hall. Many of the original faculty, including Sherlock himself, are still with the Academy-and they come from some of the country’s most prestigious film programs, including NYU, USC, UCLA, AFI, Stanford and Harvard.

In 2005, the New York Film Academy became an accredited college and began offering one and two year courses for college credit, plus, a two year Master of Fine Arts program.

Just like our students, we are always learning and perfecting our craft as teachers of the art and science of filmmaking. Today, we have thousands of successful graduates working in the motion picture industry througought the world. All of whom have enjoyed our intensive, hands-on film courses that have remained the foundation of our curriculum since opening our doors in 1992.

Even though our film school was NOT found by four naked guys on the Brooklyn bridge, we feel our history is what seperates us from all other film schoools and is an excellent indicator of where we are going.