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Making movies and making history: NYFA over the years

Making Movies and Making History: NYFA Over the Years

July 25, 2014 Maybe it’s the gorgeous weather we’re having this summer in New York City or maybe it’s just that’s it’s a Friday, but today we found ourselves digging up an old New York Times article about the Academy from 2005. Written after the school had been open for thirteen years, the piece had us smiling not only because it reminded us of our humble beginnings, but also marveling at how many talented and incredible future filmmakers, actors, and other talented individuals have passed through the New York Film Academy over the past twenty-two years.

At the end of the day however, it’s not simply talent that has helped students at the Academy realize their dreams in the entertainment industry. As the Times article makes clear, it was drive and hard work that inspired the creation of the Academy in the first place, which is something that is emphasized with every student. After all, our president and founder, Jerry Sherlock first found his success in the garment business, but his own desire for a challenge led him into a career as a movie producer where he learned the invaluable lesson that “the producer’s job is to take an idea and make it real.”

After finding immense success with the 1991 global smash The Hunt for Red October, Sherlock got his next big idea through conversations with friends who wished to have their children visit his sets. It was then that Sherlock realized that he could create a film school where students would get to learn by spending time on set, but this time, they would be working on their own sets or those of their fellow students while spending a fraction of the cost of attending a university.

As Sherlock says, “We do very little theory; it’s all hands-on, practical experience.” And as any student who has ever taken a short-term workshop or a multiple-year degree program at the Academy can attest, students truly learn by doing—writing, shooting, directing, and editing their own original movies alongside getting extensive experience working in a variety of positions on their classmates’ productions.

Considering that the Academy was opened with the goal of continually challenging its students, it continues to grow and evolve. Even just in the nine years since that article first ran, the Academy now offers MFA, MA, BFA, BA, and AFA degree programs at its Los Angeles campus while its curriculum has grown to include other visual storytelling disciplines, including video game design, photography, and 3D animation. In addition, the Academy continues to grow, bringing its one-of-a-kind curriculum to locations all over the world.

So even as we look back on our past today, we also can’t help but look forward to the future and imagine what the next twenty-two years holds for the Academy. We do know one thing that will stay true though: we will continue to strive to make our most ambitious ideas real in order to help countless new generations of visual storytellers achieve their wildest dreams.

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