Filmmaking

The Best International Film Festivals for Study Abroad Students to Watch

Ah, the joys of studying abroad: new food, new friends, new experiences, and of course- who could forget?- new films! If you’re a study abroad student, definitely take advantage of these international film festivals that are sure to knock your socks off.

Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale)

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This prestigious film festival was founded in 1951 in West Berlin, Germany. With over 300,000 tickets sold and a whopping half a million admissions, it is considered the largest publicly attended film festival in the world. Over 400 films are screened during the festival. It typically coincides with the European Film Market, which is the largest European film industry meeting. Together, the Berlinale and European Film Market attract roughly 20,000 industry professionals, as well as almost 5,000 journalists. For the newest, latest, and greatest, don’t miss out on the Berlinale.

International Film Festival of India (IFFI)

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Held in Goa — one of India’s most popular and colorful tourist destinations — this is one of the most significant film festivals in Asia. The film festival takes its inspiration from the phrase “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” which means coexistence and peaceful tolerance. Founded in 1952 as a non-competitive exhibition, the IFFI now awards prizes to the best films screened. The eleven-day festival also coincides with the feast of Basque saint Francis Xavier, so it’s sure to be a carnival of movies and parades.

Montreal World Film Festival (MWFF)

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The Montreal World is the only competitive film festival in North America recognized by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations. Started in 1977, it’s the oldest film festival in Canada and the most diverse; while the Toronto International Film Festival mostly shows films from North America and Canada, the Montreal World focuses on including films from all over the world. It’s held in late August, which conveniently avoids the biting cold of Montreal in winter. If you’re looking for a buffet of international cinema, this is your best bet if you’re studying abroad in Canada.  

Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF)

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Held over a three-week period in July and August, this film festival is one of the oldest in the world- and certainly the most notable one Down Under. You might not think of Melbourne as a significant film history site, but it was the location for the shooting of “The Story of the Kelly Gang” (1906), the first full-length feature film. The most prestigious award given is the Grand Prix for Best Short Film, a $10,000 prize that is recognized worldwide in the short film category. There are also a host of other awards for feature films and documentaries.

Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF)

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This film festival is one of Hong Kong’s largest cultural events. 250 titles are screened every year from over 55 countries, making it one of the world’s biggest film festivals. Since 1972, HKIFF has helped open Asian cinema to the world and introduced the culture of Hong Kong to foreign tourists flocking to the festival.

Interested in learning about filmmaking at one of the New York Film Academy’s international locations? Check out our worldwide locations.

How to Break Into Local News as a Broadcast Journalist

If you want to break into journalism, you better prepare yourself for it first. Unlike traditional disciplines where you can enroll yourself in a course, study and take exams, get a degree and then comfortably land a job, journalism doesn’t work like that. Of course, signing up for a degree course always helps, but remember it is your real life awareness and practical skills that will ultimately help you to have a flourishing career. Broadcast journalism, which includes radio, television and the internet, in particular requires you to be skilled in a number of areas, and we tell you how.

1. You Need To Have These Basic Skills

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A lot of people tend to be under the impression that superior writing skills is your ticket to a journalism job, but that’s not true. Journalistic writing is different from creative and academic writing and writing great reports comes with practice. As a broadcast journalist, you also need top-notch speaking skills and the ability to think on your feet. You need to be able to present information no matter how provocative in a diplomatic and pleasing manner. If you have performance anxiety, take up a classes in public speaking or body language and presentation skills or join the local debate and drama clubs.

2. Apply For Internships and Get Work Experience

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You won’t get a job if you have stellar grades and amazing references, unless you have work experience. So take up a part time job that gives you the real life experience of being a journalist- work for the college newspaper or the community radio station. When you’re on summer break, apply for an internship at a local television station. It doesn’t matter if it’s unpaid: at this stage you need the certificate, and more importantly, you need the experience and the right contacts.  And don’t just stop after one brief stint at the newsroom- keep building your CV as you learn.

3. Win Some Student Journalism Awards

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You also need to display quick and sharp critical thinking skills and an acute knowledge of current affairs.  Winning awards or even being nominated for one, helps you stand out from the rest. Take part in local, national and international competitions. Even participating in your college MUN will give you a crash course on international politics and diplomacy. Try your hand at investigative journalism and see if you can get a byline at a major newspaper or a website. Even a few published clips might go a long way in getting you a job.

4. Understand How the Style of Reporting Changes Across Media

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A report published in a newspaper is different from the one that’s broadcast over tv, and will still differ from the one posted on the internet. So try to find out what changes when you adapt a piece of news across different media. If you’re working in radio, the audio is of utmost importance and you might want to practice scriptwriting or making podcasts. Similarly, for tv and the internet, you need to know the basics of videography including shooting and photographing people or events live as well as editing. Also keep some additional skills handy like knowing shorthand or speaking in a foreign language.

5. Be Proactive

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In other words, go out there and do it yourself. Don’t wait for the college placement cell to give you a job. Take the initiative, build the right contacts and volunteer your services. Interview local celebrities or if you feel that something’s missing from the local news, cover the matter yourself and send it to a news agency. Or if you can provide a different angle to a popular news story, go and do it, instead of discussing it with friends. In short, do as you would do if you were already a broadcast journalist.

Broadcast journalism may look and sound tough, but if you can do it right, you’re in for an exciting, enjoyable and fulfilling career. Remember, the keywords are versatility, experience and being proactive. Don’t fret if you think you don’t have the right skills. If you really want a career here, make a list of your strengths and weaknesses and then make an action plan to improve your weaknesses and build on your strengths. Be passionate and keep preserving, and you won’t even notice when you’ve broken into the industry.

Middle Eastern Filmmakers You Should Know

Film industries across the globe are growing, and many Middle Eastern countries have a rich cinematic history. For example, Egypt has a film industry that dates to the silent era and Qatar is the home of the Doha Film Institute. Filmmakers in this region often have character-driven narratives that create intimate glimpses into the lives of people who live in the shadow of constant conflict. Because budgets can be very tight in these areas, there are rarely big car chases and special effects; instead, there is creative plot development and solid character development. Here are just a few of the filmmakers you should know:

Youssef Chahine was an Egyptian writer and director who is credited with launching the career of Omar Sharif. Chahine did not shy away from controversy in his films and often explored social themes such as same-sex relationships, the role of women in society, and the relationship between Egypt and Western culture. Like all great directors, Chahine is a stylist with the camera. Cinematology provides an excellent introduction to the framing technique he used throughout his career.

Elia Suleiman is a self-trained writer, actor, and director whose first feature film, “Chronicle of a Disappearance” won Best First Film at the 1996 Venice Film Festival. Suleiman’s films about the Palestinian diaspora are full of comedy and tragedy. He often appears in his feature films as a silent stone-faced character who is reminiscent of Buster Keaton, taking in the absurdity of life in exile. Visually, his films are stunning, full of juxtapositions of sweeping landscapes and closeups on characters’ faces. His dialogue is natural, yet funny and insightful. His 2009 film “The Time That Remains” is a semi-autobiographical look at his family’s life from 1948 to today.

Eran Ricklis is an Israeli writer and director whose films explore the complex relationships between Arabs and Jews in Israel. While his films often have political actions as a backdrop, the focus is on the people who must deal with consequences daily. Films like “Cup Final” (1991), “The Syrian Bride” (2004), and “A Borrowed Identity” (2015) all feature characters who must find a way to understand each other’s humanity.

Annemarie Jacir is a Palestinian-American filmmaker who explores life in exile in films like “Salt of this Sea” and “When I Saw You.” Her films feature strong female leads and challenge expected gender roles. She is also a poet and the cofounder of the Dreams of a Nation cinema project, which promotes Palestinian cinema.

Nadine Labaki is a Lebanese actress and director. She began her directing career doing commercials and music videos before making her first feature film, “Caramel” (2006). “Caramel” and Labaki’s 2010 film, “Where do We Go Now,” both explore love, social roles and traditions, sexuality, and gender roles with humor.

Babak Anvari is an Iranian writer and director, whose 2016 feature debut, “Under the Shadow,” is a psychological thriller. The film is set during the 1980s in post-revolutionary Tehran and Anvari and uses lighting, camera angles, and sound to create genuinely frightening scenes that are reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick’s work.

Want to learn more about global cinema? Thinking about studying abroad? The New York Film Academy has several international locations.

Movies to be Excited About Premiering at Cannes Film Festival 2017

It’s that time of year again! On Wednesday, May 17th in the seaside town of Cannes, France, the renowned international film festival will kick off. The festival was created in 1939 by the French Minister of National Education and Fine Arts, Jean Zay, along with other political figures. The only international film festival at the time was the Venice Mostra; however, the 1938 competition was said to have been influenced by Adolf Hitler, who put pressure on the judges to name a Nazi propaganda film as the winner. The point of the new festival by Zay was to introduce a “film festival for Europe in which art would no longer be influenced by political maneuvering.” Unfortunately, the first festival was put on hold and eventually cancelled upon news that Hitler had invaded Poland.

Despite its rocky beginnings, the Festival de Cannes (officially titled in 2002) continues to be one of the most celebrated and impressive international film festivals in the world. While the festival takes place in Europe and features many European films, many American actors and directors have been a part of it. Some include Natalie Portman (“A Tale of Love and Darkness”), Jeff Nichols (“Loving”), Tommy Lee Jones (“The Homesman”), Julianne Moore (“Maps to the Stars”), and Joel and Ethan Cohen (“Inside Llewyn Davis”).

This year’s festival promises an impressive crew of directors and actors, and they are all anxious to go home with the Palme d’Or (the Cannes’ highest award). The films are provocative and entertaining; however, it is apparent that a political message has made its way into this year’s lineup. Every year in May, the film industry suddenly zooms in on a small resort town in France: Cannes, home of what is arguably the world’s most famous film festival. This year, the celebrations will be especially extravagant as the Cannes Film Festival celebrates turning 70. Here are a few movies that will certainly make a splash this year.

 

“The Beguiled”

Sofia Coppola puts a feminist twist on the 1971 Clint Eastwood film about an injured soldier trapped in a girls’ boarding school, focusing on the bonds between women at the school instead of the male narrative. The soldier, played by Colin Farrell, becomes entwined in the affections of several women (played by Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning, and Claire Danes). It’ll be interesting to see how Coppola frames the movie around women’s friendship as opposed to the previous male viewpoint. As Coppola told Entertainment Weekly, “The main crux of the story is about the dynamics between a group of women all stuck together, and then also the power shifts between men and women.”

While not a politically-charged film, Sophia Coppola’s newest film is generating a lot of buzz at the Cannes this year. The film boasts a full cast, including Nicole Kidman (“Australia”), Colin Farrell (“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”), Kirsten Dunst (“Marie Antoinette”), and Elle Fanning (“Maleficent”). A remake of the 1971 classic starring Clint Eastwood, this creepy thriller is sure to send some chills down the spines of the Cannes’ audience.

 

“Twin Peaks”

After David Lynch’s disastrous 1992 Cannes debut of “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me,” the director chose to stay silent on his classic series for two decades. Now he’s premiering two new episodes of the show at the festival. Cannes has traditionally ignored television, but now it’s reluctantly embracing not only TV shows but virtual reality showcases and even series from Netflix. “Twin Peaks” isn’t the only TV show to premiere at Cannes; Jane Campion’s “Top of the Lake” will screen a few episodes as well. It’s a paradigm shift for the intensely traditional film festival that has long favored artistic and indie productions.

“Sea Sorrow”

Directed by Vanessa Redgrave, this documentary also deals with the European refugee crisis. The 80-year-old Oscar-winning actress was shocked by the death of three-year-old Alan Kurdi, whose lifeless body washed upon the shore became one of the most iconic photographs of the decade. Redgrave drew parallels between the refugee crisis and Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” The title of the film derives from “The Tempest” as well: “Our sea sorrow,” recites main character Prospero to his daughter Miranda, telling her of the dramatic escape they made from Milan when Miranda was only three.

Set to show during the Special Screening section, this documentary stars Ralph Fiennes (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”), Emma Thompson (“Sense and Sensibility”), and depicts the current refugee crisis in the Middle East. It is the directorial debut for actress Vanessa Redgrave (“Mrs. Dalloway” and “Letters to Juliet”). The documentary highlights the importance of filmmakers finding a story they believe in.

 

“The Killing of a Sacred Deer”

Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman pair up again for this artistic thriller-horror film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Lobster”). Farrell plays a brilliant surgeon who becomes drawn into the life of a dysfunctional teenage boy; Kidman, who stars in an incredible four Cannes-selected films, plays his wife. It’ll be fascinating to see how the dynamic between Farrell and Kidman shifts in this narrative, as they also play love interests in “The Beguiled.”

 

“Okja”

Netflix quickly made itself known in the world of film, winning the Academy Award for best documentary for “The White Helmets.” Now Netflix is taking on the Cannes Festival with their newest film “Okja.” From the mind of South Korean director Bong Joon-ho (“Snowpiercer”) and starring Tilda Swinton (“Doctor Strange”), the film depicts a young girl who will risk everything to save her animal friend from a multi-billion-dollar corporation. The film discusses animal cruelty and the things that separate – and don’t separate – man from animal. It also stirred some controversy when Cannes insisted the film premiere at the festival, while Netflix wanted to stream the film to their online customers. The short feud highlights the question of where film festivals fit in the digital age of film.

“Happy End”

Also in competition this year is the newest film by director Michael Haneke. Haneke made film industry buzz after his film “Amour” won the Palme d’Or in 2012 and the Academy Award for best foreign language film in 2013. Set in Calais, France, the film follows a family’s drama during the European refugee crisis. This film is set in Cannes itself and tells the timely tale of a middle-class family’s method of dealing with the refugee crisis in Europe. It’s directed by Michael Haneke, who previously won the prestigious Palme D’Or (the festival’s highest prize) for both “Amour” and “White Ribbon.” Film critics are interested to see if Haneke will win the prize again, which would make him the only director to win it three times. Despite the title, rumor has it this film does not have a happy ending.

 

“An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power”

With the Paris Agreement and the mainstreaming of alternative energies, it seemed like the world agreed on climate change – and was on the way to fixing it. However recent statements by President Trump have made the world concerned about the United States’ role in the fight to stop global warming. Many attribute the current focus on climate change to Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” Now, over 10 years later, and with the fate of the planet hanging in the air, Gore releases his sequel to bolster support for the end of greenhouse gas emissions. The film is set to show during the Special Screening section, but we are sure it will ruffle some feathers this year.

“120 Battements par Minute”

Set in Paris in the 1990s, this French film by director Robin Campillo (“Eastern Boys”) follows the efforts of the Parisian group Speak Out. The organization started in 1989 and works to dispel the stigma and apathy surrounding the AIDS crisis. Campillo’s film depicts the organization in a drama starring Adèle Haenel (“The Unknown Girl”) and Nahuel Pérez Biscayart (“All Yours”). While the story is fiction, former president of Speak Up, Philippe Mangeot, was a consultant for the script.

Do you picture yourself at the Cannes festival one day? Check out this interview with NYFA alumni and Cannes winner, Maul Gohel. The Cannes Film Festival will take place May 17th – 28th in Cannes, France.

What are you most excited about in this year’s Cannes? Let us know in the comments below, and learn filmmaking at New York Film Academy!

Mother’s Day 2017: Mothers in Film We Can’t Help But Love

With Mother’s Day giving us all a chance to focus on some very special people in our lives, these films prove that there’s nothing a mother won’t do for her offspring; they demonstrate the incredible willpower and love that mothers possess. With these mothers standing fiercely behind us, there’s nothing in the world that can’t be accomplished.

Warning: may contain spoilers. If you haven’t already seen these great films and series, go watch them right now!

Jessica Huang, “Fresh off the Boat”

Constance Wu plays this tough, no-nonsense mom who just wants the best for her kids. She’s focused on keeping them in touch with their Taiwanese heritage despite living in Florida. But while she’s a strict disciplinarian at home and at the family’s Western-themed steakhouse, she’ll do anything for her kids — even go to a rap concert with her hip-hop-obsessed son Eddie, the narrator of the show. Through Eddie’s eyes, Jessica is a strict but caring parent who is puzzled but yet accepting of her son’s love for African-American culture.

Leigh Ann Tuohy, “The Blind Side”

Based on a true story, this strong-willed and caring mother adopts 17-year-old Michael Oher, a homeless high school student with a drug-addicted mother and incredible football potential. Although she already has two children, Leigh Ann takes in Michael as one of her own and encourages him to pursue a career in professional football with the NFL. Michael’s future hangs precariously in the balance between a life on the streets and a college football future, but due in part to Leigh Ann’s motivation and belief in his skills, he chooses the college route at Ole Miss. Michael later went on to play in the NFL and was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2009. Sandra Bullock won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Leigh Ann Tuohy.

Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, “Modern Family”

There’s a reason “Modern Family” has won 21 Primetime Emmy Awards, 5 Writers Guild Awards, 2 SAG Awards, and 1 Golden Globe: it’s an incredibly well-executed show. Within that amazing environment, Sofia Vergara has been singled out for her own impressive list of award nominations for her portrayal of Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, a wife and mother who is passionate about her modern family. Vergara herself has won the People’s Choice Award for playing Gloria, and received a nomination for each season of her work for Best Actress in a Comedic Series at both the Golden Globes and the Emmy Awards.

M’Lynn, “Steel Magnolias”

There’s nothing this fierce Southern mom won’t do for her young — including giving her a kidney. Portrayed by Sally Field, M’Lynn is the epitome of caring; she’s a social worker who is devoted to her family, especially her daughter Shelby and Shelby’s young son Jack. Fiery, passionate, and deeply rooted in her Louisiana heritage, M’Lynn is another mother we can’t help but love.

Dr. Rainbow “Bow” Johnson, “Black-ish”

This accomplished mother wears many hats: she’s an anesthesiologist, a mom of four, and a black parent navigating the upper-middle-class world. Played with gusto by Tracee Ellis Ross, who received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, Bow must shepherd her family through complex issues facing black families. While the show doesn’t hesitate to deal with police brutality, loss of culture, and LGBT issues, it’s Bow’s love and devotion to her family that anchors “Black-ish” and cements its high standing in the world of sitcoms.

Sarah Connor, “The Terminator”

This science fiction action film stars Linda Hamilton as a woman who becomes both a mother and a warrior. Her son will one day save mankind from the onslaught of machines — that is, if she doesn’t get killed first by a time-traveling mercenary known as the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger). A muscular and toned Linda Hamilton played Connor in the franchise’s earlier movies, easily slinging around high-powered assault rifles in order to save both her son and the future of humanity. Sarah Connor shows us that mothers can totally bad-ass.

Miss Honey, “Matilda”

Let’s face it: after watching Matilda, everyone wanted Miss Honey as a mother! Played by Embeth Davidtz in the 1996 film, Miss Honey is a serene and nurturing presence who truly believes in young Matilda Wormwood’s brilliance. Meanwhile, Matilda’s biological mother is cold, uncaring, and more concerned with her hair color and her husband’s used-car scam than her daughter’s incredible abilities. Miss Honey eventually adopts Matilda in the end as the FBI raids her parents’ house and the Wormwoods prepare to flee to Guam.

Mrs. Gump, “Forrest Gump”

While the film focuses primarily on Forrest’s lucky chances, Mrs. Gump (also played by Sally Field) is a caring figure and the foundation of Forrest’s life, telling her special-needs son that he can do anything. Although his father has abandoned the family and Mrs. Gump runs a bed and breakfast on her own, she is a fiercely independent woman who encourages her son to overcome obstacles and follow his dreams.

Happy Mother’s Day! Who are your favorite film mothers? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Cannes 2017: Best Celebrity Sightings at Cannes

Each May, the entertainment industry turns its eyes to the beautiful resort town of Cannes, France, not only eager to see the film festival’s media offerings, but to see the stars. One of the top film festivals in the world, Cannes attracts celebrities from actors to directors, from singers to producers. To help you prepare for this year’s celebrity spotting at Cannes, we’ve listed here some of the A-listers whose presence is hotly anticipated at this year’s festival:

Nicole Kidman

Kidman is involved in four official selection titles at this year’s Cannes, which will likely make her this year’s star. She is starring in two films that are in competition (“The Beguiled” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”) and two films out of competition (“How to Talk to Girls at Parties” and “Top of the Lake: China Girl”). Though they are not related to Cannes, Kidman is also starring in a popular HBO mini-series “Big Little Lies” and has a part in the upcoming “Aquaman” film. It looks like 2017 is Ms. Kidman’s year!

Colin Farrell

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Across from Kidman is her co-star in two Cannes films, both in competition: Colin Farrell. Over the past year Farrell has upped his game, starring in a Harry-Potter-universe film (“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”) and a dark science-fiction comedy by director Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Lobster”). Colin is teaming up with Lanthimos again in his newest drama, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer.” Farrell also plays the part of the Union soldier in Sophia Coppola’s new thriller at Cannes, “The Beguiled.”

Kristen Stewart

by celebrityabc on Flickr

by celebrityabc on Flickr

Stewart has come a long way since her days in vampire teen-flicks, starring in two films by French director Olivier Assayas (“Personal Shopper” and “Clouds of Sils Maria”). Now she is making her directorial debut at Cannes 2017 with her short film “Come Swim” (part of the 70th Anniversary Event section). Stewart’s previous beau and “Twilight” co-star Robert Pattinson will also be in attendance for the film “Good Time,” which is in competition for the Palme d’Or.

Alejandro González Iñárritu

As a director, producer, and screenwriter, Mexican-born Iñárritu has made his mark in the film scene. He won the Academy Award for best picture in 2015 for his film “Birdman” and directed Leonardo DiCaprio in his Oscar-winning performance in “The Revenant.” Iñárritu also won best director for both films and even won best director at Cannes for “Babel” in 2006. This year, he is screening his newest film, “Carne Y Arena,” (or “Flesh and Sand”) — which is the only film in the Virtual Reality section of the festival. Based on true accounts, this exhibit allows the viewer to experience the life of a refugee.

Tilda Swinton

by Gage Skidmore on Flickr

by Gage Skidmore on Flickr

Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton will also be in attendance for her starring role in “Okja.” The new sci-fi is directed by Bong Joon-ho, who previously directed another sci-fi with Swinton, “Snowpiercer” (2013). “Okja” will become the first Netflix film in a Cannes festival, and tells the story of a young girl who tries to protect an animal friend from a multi-billion-dollar corporation. The film also stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, and Lily Collins.

Barkhad Abdi

The Somali-American actor and director made his debut in “Captain Phillips” (2013), playing alongside Tom Hanks. His performance as the pirate leader earned him a nomination for best supporting actor in the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, and he won that category at the BAFTA Awards. Abdi stars in the newest Safdie Brothers’ film at Cannes, “Good Times.” This crime drama about a bank robber also stars Robert Pattinson and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Emma Thompson

Of all the British actors to make their way into the hearts of Americans, Emma Thompson is one of the most beloved. She has starred in multiple classics, such as “Love Actually,” “Sense and Sensibility,” “Brave,” and the “Harry Potter” films, and voiced a character in the newest adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast.” Her filmography goes on and on, and her newest addition to the list will be showcased at Cannes this year in competition: “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)” has an all-star cast, including Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, and Dustin Hoffman.

Adam Sandler

by celebrityabc on Flickr

by celebrityabc on Flickr

Speaking of Adam Sandler, some of you might think that Cannes is the last place you would see this slapstick comedian. However, critics insist that Sandler isn’t playing his normal roles in “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected).” The film follows an estranged family that comes together in New York City for an event with their artistic father. Sandler has delivered some endearing performances in films before, such as “Click” and “Reign Over Me.” Perhaps he will wow audiences at Cannes this year and establish himself as a serious actor.

Julianne Moore

Moore is not a stranger to the Cannes festival, having won the award for best actress in 2014 for David Cronenberg’s “Maps to the Stars.” Her newest film at Cannes, “Wonderstruck,” is based off an illustrated young adult novel of the same name. It is a dual story that follows two deaf children, and also stars Michelle Williams. Like the other popular streaming-service, Netflix, this will be the first time Amazon has had a film in the Cannes festival.

David Lynch

The Cannes festival has long resisted the inclusion of TV shows in their lineup; however, it looks like this year will be an exception. David Lynch has been a part of the festival before, screening his prequel film to the “Twin Peaks” series, titled “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me” (1992). The film did was not received warmly, but this has not deterred Lynch from coming back. The first two episodes of his “Twin Peaks” reboot will premiere at this year’s Cannes in the 70th Anniversary Events section. Will the show be met with acceptance or more criticism? Find out soon!

There will be plenty of other friendly faces at this year’s Cannes … who are you excited to see? Who do you hope will win? The Cannes Film Festival will take place May 17th – 28th in Cannes, France. Learn more about filmmaking at New York Film Academy.

 

Mother’s Day: 4 Different Mother Stereotypes in Film

With Mother’s Day around the corner (May 14 – don’t forget!), we find ourselves remembering some of the most famous mothers in film. Whether it is an independent film or a Hollywood blockbuster, a mother character is almost always in the picture. They are loving and kind, fierce and intelligent, but can also be strict, overbearing, even psychotic. No matter the archetype, it cannot be denied that mothers play a huge role in some of history’s biggest films.

Here are four different stereotypes of mothers in film.

Spoiler Alert — this article may contain some movie spoilers. If you haven’t seen these great films, watch them now!

1. The Best Friend

While a mother will always be a mother, her relationship with her children changes as they grow up. The Best Friend movie mother begins to lose control of her children, and must become something different for them: a friend. This doesn’t mean they do everything together and get along all the time. Quite the opposite. The mother is usually controlling and feels helpless in the face of having no authority. But she will always be there to support her daughter as a friend. For example, Sally Field in “Steel Magnolias” and Shirley McClain in “Terms of Endearment.” The image of McClain’s character and her daughter (played by Debra Winger) lying in bed together is an iconic image and shows the closeness of their relationship.

While the mothers and daughter may not always see eye to eye, they are in constant contact with each other and talk like friends. Strangely, these two films have similar tragic endings as well (grab the tissues!).

2. The Supermom

Perhaps the most popular movie mom stereotype, the Supermom is also the broadest because of how many different types of Supermoms there are. They can be everything from a housewife to a business woman, however one thing always rings true: they will fight like hell for their family. Take Molly Weasley (Julie Walters) in the “Harry Potter” films. In the clips below, she protects her daughter from the crazed Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter).

Or Etheline Tenebaum (Angelica Houston) from “The Royal Tenenbaums.” A single mother who “kept the house and raised the children, and their education was her highest priority.”

There is also Mary Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life” (played by Donna Reed), who helps save her husband when he has money problems and could go to jail.

No task is too big for whatever challenges she faces. The Supermom is always loving, strong, unyielding, and will do anything for their family.

3. The Overbearing Mother

On a different end of the movie mother spectrum is the overbearing mother. She wants what is best for her child, but that often means what she thinks is best. She will ignore her child’s wishes, dreams, or personality to force them into something they are not. The mother may have good intentions, but it will always result in a rift between them. The child will sometimes run away, resent his/her mother, or even do drastic things to exert their individuality. How the mother controls her children varies. For example, Annette Bening’s character in “American Beauty” is a powerhouse of control. She uses passive aggressive remarks and insults to show her disapproval of her daughter.

The character of Mrs. Bennet, played by Brenda Blethyn, in “Pride and Prejudice” (2005) forces her daughter Elizabeth to marry a man she doesn’t love (until her father steps in to save her).

In the world of animated film, the mother from “Brave” (2012), is a perfect example of a controlling mother. She tries to teach her headstrong and rebellious daughter Merida how to be a lady, and even tries to force her into an arranged marriage.

Luckily, this story ends more happily, with mother and daughter learning more about each other and finally coming together.

4. The Psycho

The most extreme movie mother stereotype is the psychotic mother, who takes overbearing to a whole other level. She controls her children through psychological and even physical abuse, sometimes driving the children themselves to commit terrible acts. The first example that comes to mind is, of course, Mrs. Bates from “Psycho” (1960). While we learn at the end of the film that Mrs. Bates was not the real killer, her life before she became a skeleton in the cellar is not a pretty one. She was controlling with her son Norman, abused him psychologically, and wouldn’t let him have relationships with other women because of her crazed jealousy. She even killed herself and her lover, leaving Norman all alone to fill the void she left in his life. Though we never see Mrs. Bates on screen, the scene below with her voice over shows the true psychotic nature of this mother.

Another example is the characters of actress Joan Crawford (played by Faye Dunaway) in the 1981 film “Mommie Dearest.” Based on a memoir by Crawford’s daughter Christina, the film shows the psychotic downward spiral her mother takes as she goes from star to has-been. She torments her children, locks Christina in a pool house, and physically abuses them when they do anything wrong. The famous scene below depicts Joan screaming at Christina for hanging her expensive dresses on wire hangers and then beating her with one. The line “No wire hangers!” later became a classic movie quote.

Trigger Warning: the following video clip depicts domestic violence against children and contains some disturbing images.

The mother from the 1976 “Carrie” is perhaps the epitome of the psychotic mother. Played by Piper Laurie, Carrie’s mother abuses her daily. She teaches a strict religious doctrine, won’t allow her daughter to date, hits her, and will even lock her up when she does something wrong. Unfortunately, the mother’s psychosis leads her to try to kill her daughter, who uses her powers to defend herself.

Does your current film project include a mother? Does she fit into one of the above movie stereotypes, or is she something brand new? Tell us about her and don’t forget to call your own mom this Mother’s Day!

The Beginner’s Guide to the Filmmaking Process

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After watching a great movie, few people ever sit back and think about how much work it took to make. They may check out how much the actors were paid or what kind of budget the film worked with, but it’s impossible to know what it truly takes to make a film until you’ve been through the process yourself.

Whether you’re an aspiring filmmaker or just want to get an idea of the movie-making process, here’s a very basic breakdown of how a film is made. Think of this as the beginner’s guide to the filmmaking process:

Step 1: The Idea

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Every movie you’ve ever seen first started with an idea in someone’s brain. Although things change as a project goes on, the story you come up with in the beginning will serve as the foundation on which everything else will be built. Start thinking about the kind of story you want your film to tell and all the important story elements involved: plot, characters, conflict, etc.

Our tip: Ideas pop into our heads unexpectedly! Be sure to always carry your phone or writing equipment to take down any cool ideas that enhance your story.

It’s also a good idea to create a folder in which you save newspaper and magazine articles, snippets of overheard dialogue, notes on characters you see on the street, and even dreams. You may not know what to do with these things now but the day will come when you do.

Step 2: The Script

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The script is where you’ll put down the story, setting, and dialogue in linear form. This important tool will be used by the rest of the team to know what’s going to happen in the film. You’ll also be using your own script as reference throughout the process as well since you may need to refresh yourself on certain actions, dialogue lines, and more.

Our tip: Don’t be afraid to make changes to the script even after you think it’s ready. More often than not, better ideas will come to you well after this stage in the filmmaking process.

And don’t be afraid to let your actors improvise, whether it’s in rehearsal or on the set. You may be surprised at what your actors are able to imagine from their character’s point of view. This is especially true for filmmakers who may not be great with writing dialogue.

Step 3: The Storyboards

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A storyboard is a sequence of drawings that represent the shots you plan to film. We highly recommend this process because it helps you visualize each scene and decide on things like camera angles, shot sizes, etc. You’ll discover your storyboard’s true value when it helps communicate what you’re trying to go for to other people on the set.

And for those of you who think, “I can’t draw,” photographing your storyboards can be a quick solution. Your camera phone works fine for this. Just take a couple of friends to your location and tell them, “You stand here, you stand there,” and take pictures. Take lots of pictures. From lots of different vantage points. Then select the ones you like best and there’s your storyboard. Doing this has the added advantage of showing you what’s really possible. Because we often draw storyboards, then discover to our disappointment, that we’d have to demolish-+ a wall to get the perspective that we’ve imagined.

Step 4: The Cast and Crew

Assembling your team can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. We recommend you take as much time as needed to find the right people for your film. For crew members, be sure to consider their past work and experience, and request showreels or any examples if available. You should also hold auditions to find the best actors and actresses for your roles.

Our tip: Don’t feel obligated to include friends and family in your project. This is your film, which means choosing the best people for the job. Hopefully your acquaintances are professional enough to accept when you don’t think they’re a fit for your project.

Step 5: The Locations

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You may need to construct sets for a setting you’d like to have. But for scenes where an actual location will do, you’ll need to do some scouting to find the best spots. Take a camera with you and do as much traveling as possible, snapping shots of places you think will serve as the perfect setting for particular scenes.

Our tip: Always consider the space required by the cast and crew. Don’t choose a cramped, narrow space where only the actors will fit well and not the cameras, lights, etc.

Step 6: The Filming

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It all comes down to this. To prepare, be sure to have a shoot script ready along with an organized schedule of what will be filmed when. Give yourself plenty of time to shoot scenes so that you’re never rushed and can accommodate for changes or problems. It’s common for a scene that will last one minute in the final cut to require more than five hours to film.

Our tip: If time permits, try filming the same scenes from new angles. This way, you’ll have more footage to work with that can keep your viewers engaged.

Step 7: The Post-Production

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If you thought filming took time, you were wrong. Post-production is when you edit all your footage to create a rough cut of the film. Once done with the rough cut, you’ll begin adding things like sound effects, music, visual effects, and color correction. This process will require the use of editing software — if you’re not confident, feel free to find/hire an experienced editor.

Our tip: Before you polish up your rough cut, show it to people whose opinions you can trust. It’s better that you find out what isn’t working now rather than when your audience is watching the final version.

Ready to become more than a beginner? Study filmmaking at the New York Film Academy.

 

Cinco de Mayo: 7 Amazing Filmmakers from Mexico

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Mexico City is the fourth largest production center in North America (after LA, New York, and Vancouver), and Mexican filmmakers have had great success with their Hollywood films — think “Gravity” and “Birdman” — at recent Academy Awards. For Cinco de Mayo, we celebrate Mexican films and filmmakers of the past and present.

Alfonso Cuarón

Cuarón was the first Latin American to win the Academy Award for Best Director for “Gravity” (2013), which he co-wrote with his son Jonás Cuarón, a filmmaker in his own right. In fact, there are three Cuaróns to watch out for in the film industry, as Carlos Cuarón, Alfonso’s brother, is also a director and screenwriter. The brothers wrote the international hit “Y Tu Mamá Tambien” (2001), a sexy road movie set against a landscape of Mexican society and politics. Cuarón also directed “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (2004).

Alejandro González Iñárritu

As one of the “Three Amigos of Cinema” along with Alfonso Cuarón and  Guillermo del Toro, Iñárritu enjoys a great reputation at home and abroad. He followed in Cuarón’s footsteps by scooping up the Academy Award for Best Director for “Birdman” (2014), which also won for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Cinematography.

Guillermo del Toro

Del Toro is famous for his dark and fantastic aesthetic involving imagery from fairytales, Catholicism, and mythology. A Guardian article about the 2008 “Hellboy” sequel quotes del Toro as saying, “I find monstrous things incredibly beautiful, in the way that the most beautiful carvings in Gothic cathedrals are the grotesque carvings. If I were a mason I would be carving gargoyles. I’m absolutely head over heels in love with all these things.” The beautiful “Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006) won three Academy Awards for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Makeup and Hairstyling.

Emilio Fernández

Fernández was a dominant figure in the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema (1936-1959). His dark and melodramatic film “María Calendaria” (1944) won the top prize at Cannes and, along with “Flor Silvestre” (1942), starred the prestigious Hollywood actor Dolores del Río and featured cinematography by internationally-acclaimed Gabriel Figueroa. Other celebrated Fernández films were “La Perla” (1945), “Enamorada” (1946), and the American-Mexican production “The Fugitive” (1947), directed with John Ford.

Luis Buñuel

 

Although this famous surrealist director is Spanish, he spent many years in Mexico, winning for it the Palm d’Or at the 1961 Cannes Festival for “Viridiana.” His Mexican period includes “Los Olvidados” (The Young and the Damned) (1950), a story about impoverished children in Mexico City that launched him back on the international film scene with a Best Director Award at Cannes after several years of disappointment, and “Él,” which did poorly at the time of its release but has since found acclaim.

Michel Franco

Franko’s bullying-themed “After Lucia” won a top prize at Cannes in 2012, where Tim Roth was one of the judges, and persuaded Franco to make “Chronic” with Roth as a male end-of-life caregiver (2015). In a Guardian review, Franco is quoted as saying, “How can we understand life without thinking about dying?”

Gerardo Naranjo

In an article at Reuters celebrating the rebelliousness of today’s young Mexican filmmakers, Naranjo is quoted as saying: “It is important to recognize the mastery of the older generation … Cuarón, Iñárritu, they found a way to protect their projects and that is the hardest thing to do in the United States. The industry finds ways to limit creativity over and over.” After gaining attention from Hollywood studios for his 2011 film “Miss Bala,” he has struck out on an independent path with his forthcoming “Viena and the Fantomes” (2017), starring Dakota Fanning.

Do you have a favorite film or filmmaker from Mexico? Let us know in the comments below, and Happy Cinco de Mayo!

What Every Die-Hard Star Wars Fan Needs to Know About Episode VIII

“The Last Jedi” is scheduled to hit theaters December 15, 2017, and that’s not nearly soon enough for die-hard “Star Wars” fans. Last month an intriguing and somewhat mystifying first teaser trailer was unveiled at Star Wars Celebration, and it certainly set the precedent for a half year of “Star Wars” excitement, speculation, and even outrage. So, here we go; a roundup of what you must know about the next installment of the “Star Wars” saga.

“It’s time for the Jedi to end.”

This fateful quote ends the first “Episode VIII” trailer, and what a teaser it is. There’s a lot of theories and no way to know if “The Last Jedi” refers to Luke himself or Rey, or if, as this CinemaBlend article reminds us, “Does the fact that Jedi is the plural of Jedi factor in?”

The case of the moving scar…

With the release of the above trailer, director Rian Johnson found himself in some Twitter awkwardness. It seems some keen-eyed fans noticed that Kylo Ren’s scar that he received from Rey at the end of “The Force Awakens” (which was directed by JJ Abrams) had moved. According to a Mashable article, Johnson at first denied the move — from across Kylo’s nose to over his eye — and then admitted it, saying, “It honestly looked goofy running straight up the bridge of his nose.” And as the article concludes, “If there’s one sin in ‘Star Wars’ world greater than a continuity error, it’s goofiness.”

The “Force Tree.”

There’s been some talk about trees entering the “Star Wars” universe, so much so that DigitalSpy dubbed the episode “Weird Trees Rising,” causing the London Natural History Museum wrap party to take on great significance!  

Princess Leia lives on.

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by jimivr on flickr

After the sudden sad death of beloved Carrie Fisher last December, seeing her on screen alive in all her General Leia Organa glory will surely be a bittersweet experience. All filming for “Episode VIII” had wrapped before her death, but according to the Hollywood Reporter, she was to play an even bigger role in Episode IX. This means the producers and directors have some difficult problems to solve. They may have to cut her scenes in Episode VIII, or attempt to create Princess Leia using CGI as they did in “Rogue One.”

The good, the bad, and the newcomers.

As for the rest of the cast, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy assured fans at “The Force Awakens” premiere that all the cast in attendance would be returning — which means that Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels and Lupita Nyong’o will be back, according to an article at DigitalSpy, as well as Mark Hamill, who will “finally get to do something as old man Luke Skywalker other than stand around looking serious.” Rumors regarding his relationship to Rey and his powers abound, including a theory that he may be able to “crash a First Order Star Destroyer” using the Force.

Joining the cast is Benicio del Toro as (maybe) a villain, definitely in black, and Laura Dern, who will be outrageously glamorous (possibly with pink hair), but as for how they fit into the epic’s genealogy, all is on a strictly need-to-know basis — Dern apparently won’t even tell her own kids…

Who and what do you hope to see in “Episode VIII”? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Big Stars Who Recently Showed Their Work at the Tribeca Film Festival

The Tribeca Film Festival is praised for giving independent filmmakers from across the globe the chance to show what they’ve been working hard on. It’s refreshing to see new faces star in movies helmed by directors who want nothing more than to demonstrate their talent for creating captivating stories on screen.

But like any film festival, part of the excitement is seeing our favorite Hollywood people appear to promote their latest projects. The following are some of the biggest stars that have taken part in a film project screened at one of the more recent Tribeca festivals.

Patrick Wilson and Jessica Biel in “A Kind of Murder”

Andy Goddard’s thriller film had its world premier at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. The film stars Patrick Wilson as an architect and novelist who starts imagining what it would be like to murder his wife, who is played by Jessica Biel. Other stars to appear in “A Kind of Murder” include Haley Bennett and Eddie Marsan.

Katie Holmes for “Eternal Princess”

Since her famous role in The WB’s “Dawson’s Creek,” Katie Holmes began landing a number of impressive Hollywood roles as an actress, including Rachel Dawes in “Batman Begins.” But at the 2015 Tribeca festival Holmes arrived to promote the world premier of her first film in the seat of director. “Eternal Princess” is a short documentary about a legendary Romanian Olympic gymnast who competed in 1976.

Jason Schwartzman in “Dreamland”

Robert Schwartzman’s “Dreamland” made its debut at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival and starred his brother Jason Schwartzman. The actor, screenwriter, and musician is famous for a number of well-received projects, including “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.”

Courteney Cox for “Just Before I Go”

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Film fans who attended the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival got a chance to see Courteney Cox’s directorial debut. “Just Before I Go” is a black comedy drama starring Seann William Scott, Elisha Cuthbert, Olivia Thirlby, Kate Walsh, and Garret Dillahunt. Unfortunately, it ended up getting panned by critics and viewers alike, earning it a Metacritic rating today of 24/100.

Alma Har’el for “Bombay Beach” and “LoveTrue”

This talented Israeli-American film director has found success twice at the Tribeca Film Festival. Her 2011 documentary “Bombay Beach” earned her the top prize in the Documentary category at that year’s festival. Five years later she screened “LoveTrue” for the first time at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. Har’el was recently included in Indiewire’s list of top 12 female filmmakers to direct a box office hit.

Jason Sudeikis & CO. in “The Book of Love”

Formally titled “The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,” this American film was first shown at the 2016 Tribeca festival and featured an impressive cast of stars, including Jason Sudeikis, Jessica Biel, Maisie Williams, Mary Steenburgen, Orlando Jones, and Paul Reiser.

Paul Giamatti in “The Phenom”

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This American sports drama film had its premier at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 17, 2016. Paul Giamatti stars as a sports psychologist who helps a talented young pitcher deal with memories of his abusive father. Giamatti is accompanied in this film by Johnny Simmons and Ethan Hawke.

What are your favorite past and present Tribeca Film Festival flicks, stars, or directors? Let us know in the comments below! And if you’re ready to learn more about filmmaking, check out our programs at New York Film Academy.

 

4 Reasons to be Excited About This Year’s Tribeca Film Festival

Despite being one of the youngest events in the industry, the Tribeca Film Festival continues to draw millions of filmmakers, artists, and enthusiastic audience members eager to take part in the celebration. Thousands of documentaries, independent films, shorts, and many other projects are submitted in hopes of taking home an award and gaining recognition.

With more than 12 days of discussions, premiers, and more to enjoy, it’s easy to see why we all look forward to this great festival each year. Tribeca Film Festival 2017 is now in full swing, which means it’s the perfect time to round up a few of the many reasons why you should be excited about this year’s gathering:

Film Shares The Spotlight

For 15 years the Tribeca Film Festival has given countless independent filmmakers a chance to show off their hard work. While this event is still very much about film, this year the decision was made to cut the number of film features by 20 percent, leaving less than 100 films to compete. This was done to make room for other types of content not normally given equal attention at other big events.

One of the areas that is being expanded is the television program. This year’s Tribeca attendees will get to see large-profile TV debuts like National Geographic’s “Genius” and Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Other Tribeca TV premiers generating buzz include indie variety show “The EyeSlicer,” and HBO’s “Chris Gethard: Career Suicide.”

Also exciting is Tribeca’s virtual reality and multimedia program. Ever since it was introduced five years ago, TFF’s VR dimension has served as a place where VR filmmakers and developers could unveil their work. This year Tribeca is featuring a number of VR projects made by both VR veterans and newcomers to the medium — including Kathryn Bigelow’s first VR film, “The Protectors.”

Premieres Galore

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A whopping 78 films are set to make their world premieres at this year’s Tribeca festival. There’s no better festival out there when it comes to the number of projects that will finally be shown to audiences for the first time. Among that list are a number of premiers that we’re especially excited to finally see.

One of the most anticipated films is “Aardvark,” starring Zachary Quinto, Jenny Slate, and Jon Hamm. The story, which is about a mentally ill man falling in love with a person who might be a hallucination, sounds perfect for fans of movies like “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”

Other film premiers that have people talking are comedy-drama “Flower,” starring Zoey Deutch and Adam Scott; biography-drama “Dabka,” starring Al Pacino and Evan Peters; and documentary “The Death And Life of Marsha P. Johnson,” by Oscar-nominated David France.

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Plenty of TV shows will also be making their world premiers. A definite must-see is Spike TV documentary series “I Am Heath Ledger,” which celebrates the late actor’s life and accomplishments by showing footage of interviews, home movies, and more.

Be sure to check out Tribeca’s film guide to see all the narratives, features, and more set to make their first viewing.

Awesome List of Speakers & Guests

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One of the best things about the Tribeca Film Festival is the people who get invited to serve as speakers, panelists, Q&A guests, and even moderators. These stars come from a wide variety of industries to celebrate film as well as other forms of art.

This year’s list of guests includes Paul Feig, Bruce Springsteen, Noah Baumbach, Lena Dunham, Barbra Streisand, Alejandro G. Inarritu, Kathryn Bigelow, Johnny Rotten, Common, Jon Favreau, and even Kobe Bryant to talk about working with animator Glen Keane on a short film. Moderators include Dustin Hoffman, Tom Hanks, Robert Rodriguez, and Scarlett Johansson.

The competition section will also feature a jury of accomplished actors and filmmakers. They include: Peter Fonda, Amy Berg, Diane Lane, Amy Heckerling, Christina Ricci, Priyanka Chopra, Barbara Kopple, Willem Dafoe and Melanie Lynskey

A Celebration of Interactive Entertainment

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There’s going to be a lot of film and TV show watching in the 12 days that the Tribeca festival spans. The last weekend, however, followers of perhaps the newest and most innovative form of storytelling get to enjoy a celebration known as the Tribeca Games Festival.

This festival-within-a-festival puts the spotlight on video games and their ability to immerse people through a combination of art, storytelling, and gameplay. Attendees will get a first look at a number of anticipated titles, including Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series.” A number of renowned game developers will be around to discuss their design process while making their hit titles.

Best of all, the games festival will conclude with keynote conversations by two of the most prolific storytellers in the industry. They include Hideo Kojima of “Metal Gear Solid” fame along with Ken Levine, the writer and director behind the atmospheric “BioSHock” series.

What are you most excited to see from this year’s TFF? Let us know in the comments below. Interested in beginning your own visual and performing arts journey? Check out our many hands-on programs at New York Film Academy.

Tribeca Film Festival’s History and Star Power

When you first dreamt of becoming a filmmaker, you probably had a few names in mind. Say, Sundance or Cannes. But what about Tribeca? The Tribeca Film Festival is a very prestigious name in the filmmaking world and, yes, another perfect setting for your arts and entertainment dreams.

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The Tribeca Film Festival isn’t just a place to showcase drama; it’s an event with a dramatic start. According to the official Tribeca website, Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff founded the festival in 2001 after the September 11 World Trade Center attacks. The whole idea was to re-inspire lower Manhattan after the tragedy. That’s why the founders chose the Tribeca neighborhood as the location for the festival. Today the festival team programs film screenings as well as interactive experiences, live performances, and arts and technology panels. Tied to the festival is the Tribeca Film Institute, which helps develop the work of emerging and student filmmakers by awarding grants. (You can watch some of the projects that have benefitted from TFI grants on Vimeo.)

This year, AT&T and Tribeca teamed up to award a whopping $1 million grant to an underrepresented filmmaker at the Tribeca Film Festival. The collaboration, which has been dubbed “AT&T Presents: Untold Stories,” is simple: AT&T will provide the funding and Tribeca will provide the mentorship.

In a press release, Tribeca co-founder Jane Rosenthal said, “As a champion of supporting underrepresented filmmakers for over a decade, Tribeca Film Festival and Tribeca Film Institute are proud to collaborate with AT&T on ‘AT&T Presents: Untold Stories,’ a significant and essential program that goes beyond the generous funding. To be able to say to a filmmaker that we are not only going to help get your important story made, but we will provide the mentoring, guidance, and guaranteed distribution so it will get seen, is an incredible feeling.”

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The Tribeca Film Festival has launched numerous film careers and premiered films that in just 16 short years are on their way to becoming classics. The first festival premiered “About a Boy,” “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood,” “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” and “The Avengers.” The festival is also a place for career-changers. This year, for instance, Kobe Bryant will be premiering a short film.

If you have the chance, go to the Tribeca Film Festival to see what’s new in independent cinema. The fun begins April 19. View the film and event schedule on the official website.

If you’re interested in learning more about filmmaking yourself, check out New York Film Academy’s film programs.

Pilot Season: It’s Pilot Season, Here Is What’s Coming Your Way

Every new season, it’s exciting to see which new actors, directors, and shows are coming to your television. For students, it’s especially inspiring to watch new talent on the screen — you never know what will inspire your imagination next. Here are a few new pilots that you absolutely can’t miss this season.

“Black Lightning”

For superhero fans, here’s a new offering from DC Comics that’ll premiere this season on the CW. “Black Lightning” stars Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce, a retired superhero who gets drawn back into the crime-fighting world by his two adventurous daughters.

Largely known as the first African-American superhero, “Black Lightning” first entered the comics world back in 1977. His suit was designed by Laura Jean Shannon of “Iron Man” and “Blade: Trinity” fame.

The pilot was picked up by the CW and will be the fifth superhero series on the network, which already premiered “The Flash,” “Supergirl,” “Arrow,” and DC’s “Legends of Tomorrow.”

“Unsolved: The Murders of Biggie and Tupac”

This USA pilot centers on — what else? — the two most famous unsolved crimes of the 1990s. It’s already notable for its talented cast of characters. LeToya Luckett (formerly of Destiny’s Child, “Ballers,” and “Rosewood”) has signed onto the project as Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight’s estranged wife. Casting recently found its Sean “Puffy” Combs in Luke James, while ‘Pac and Biggie will be played respectively by Marcc Rose and Wavyy Jones. Aisha Hinds, who currently plays Harriet Tubman on “Underground,” will play Biggie’s mother Voletta Wallace.

“Behind Enemy Lines”

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Fans of period dramas should check out this MTV-scripted Fox reboot of the 2001 WWII movie “Behind Enemy Lines.” It’s a military thriller about U.S. soldiers trapped behind enemy lines that tells the story from multiple perspectives, including that of the intelligence officers back on the ground in Washington and the soldiers stationed on a nearby aircraft carrier. Willa Fitzgerald, who stars in yet another reboot (MTV’s “Scream”), has been cast as the main female lead alongside B.J. Britt, Colm Feore, Nestor Carbonell, and Marg Helgenberger.

“Perfect Citizen”

This CBS spy drama centers around the National Security Agency, an intelligence agency so secretive and clandestine that it’s known around Washington, D.C. as No Such Agency or Never Said Anything. Noah Wyle, formerly of “ER,” will star as a whistleblowing attorney who is regarded by many as a traitor and by others as a hero. “Perfect Citizen” boasts some serious writing credentials from Craig Turk, who wrote “The Good Wife.” Paris Barclay will direct and produce the pilot, with Turk as a co-producer.

“Type-A”

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This Fox pilot, starring Eva Longoria of “Desperate Housewives” and “Telenovela,” centers around a consulting firm that does the dirty work of downsizing and layoffs. However, despite a job of delivering awful news, the consulting firm’s staff are like family to each other. Longoria is the first cast and portrays the ambitious Axler, whose brutal tactics cover up a soft and sweet personality. Lesley Wake Webster of “Life in Pieces” will serve as main writer and co-producer alongside Jason Winer.

What are you most excited to watch this pilot season! Let us know in the comments below! And if you’re ready to learn the skills you need to create your own pilot, apply now to study filmmaking and producing at New York Film Academy.

 

25 Video Games Every Game Design Student Should Play Before They Graduate

By Scott Rogers, NYFA Game Design

Developers of new games constantly reference existing games when collaborating with their teammates. There is nothing worse than seeing the team latch onto an idea inspired by an existing game, but you have no idea what they are talking about.

The following is a list of 25 video games every game design student should play before they graduate. It’s not supposed to be a list of the best games of all time, but rather a list of important works that will let you contribute in any design meeting in the industry. Pro tip: If you can’t get access to play the games in full, try watching game play videos on Youtube.

“The Stanley Parable”

Developer: Galactic Cafe

Platform: PC
Published: 2011

Why it should be played: “The Stanley Parable” was one of the first “walking simulators,” which used level and sound design to tell a story rather than cutscenes and cinematics. Its dry sense of humor and meta-theme about player choice – which results in over 20 different endings to the game – is a great example to future game designers of how branching narrative works and can be told through level design.

“Super Mario 64”

Developer: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo 64
Published: 1996

Why it should be played:  To this day, “Super Mario 64” has the best 3D camera in video games – the secret is treating it as if it were a separate character from the player. The revolutionary analog controls are a perfect complement to the camera and the level design artfully translates traditional 2D gameplay into 3D space.

Batman: “Arkham Asylum”

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Developer: Rocksteady

Platform: PS3, XBOX 360, PC, XBOX 360, PS4
Published: 2009

Why it should be played: Everything in the game is designed to make the player feel like they are Batman, from the masterful story to the reactive controls to the surprisingly deep stealth-based gameplay. This results in the first Batman game that is actually true to the license.

“Portal”

Developer: Valve Corporation
Platform: PC, XBOX 360, PS3
Published: 2007

Why it should be played: The game is a master class in how to introduce and combine mechanics using level design to create ramping challenges to the player. Another rare example of the use of humor in video games.

“Super Mario Bros.”

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Developer: Nintendo

Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System
Published: 1985

Why it should be played: A classic in 2D scrolling level design. Its first level – World 1.1 – is considered the best level ever designed.

“Bioshock”

Developer: 2K Games
Platform: PC, XBOX 360, XBOX One, PS3, PS4
Published: 2007

Why it should be played: “Bioshock” is a first person shooter game that employs intrinsic storytelling through level design, collectibles and gameplay. It is a rare example of a game with a moral point of view, and it utilizes an unreliable narrator as a storytelling device.

“Ico”

Developer: SCE Japan Studio
Platform: PS2
Published: 2001

Why it should be played: “Ico” is revolutionary in its use of a sympathetic second character to generate player empathy and create puzzle design. It is notable for having a story told without using dialogue, thereby increasing its accessibility to audiences.

“Fruit Ninja”

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Developer: Halfbrick

Platform: Mobile, XBLA, XBOX One, PS Vita, HTC Vive
Published: 2007

Why it should be played: In addition to its simple concept and satisfying player feedback, the mobile game in particular is an excellent example of how to use consistent touch screen controls in all aspects of the game.

“Tetris”

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Developer: Elorg

Platform: Too many to list
Published: 1984

Why it should be played: This historically important example of casual video games is an excellent example of abstract game design and the go-to “exhibit A” in the academic discussion of gameplay vs. story (answer: they are both important).

“Oregon Trail”

Developer: MECC

Platform: PC, XBOX 360, PS3
Published: 1971

Why it should be played: Not only the first educational game but one of the earliest games to use a parser. It also evolved into early graphic adventure game. It teaches while still being fun.

“M.U.L.E.”

Developer: Ozark Softscape

Platform: Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Atari 8-bit
Published: 1983

Why it should be played: This historically important early economic sim showed that games can more than just dexterity based, action games.

“Dragon’s Lair”

Developer: Cinematronics

Platform: Arcade
Published: 1983

Why it should be played: “Dragon’s Lair” is the first laser disc, traditionally animated arcade game with a complete story. Its gameplay is a precursor to Quick Timer Events — and it is an interesting milestone of the time when the film industry recognized games as an emerging and profitable form of entertainment.

“Myst”

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Developer: Cyan

Platform: Mac, Saturn, PS, 3DO, PC, PSP, DS, 3DS
Published: 1993

Why it should be played: This early CD-ROM game was one of the first to utilize 3D pre-rendered graphics, and inspired game developers to incorporate CG graphics and story into their games.

“Journey”

Developer: thatgamecompany

Platform: PS3, PS4
Published: 2012

Why it should be played: An example of an “art” game that delivers an emotional story despite simple, almost non-existent gameplay.

“Donkey Kong”

Developer: Nintendo

Platform: Arcade
Published: 1981

Why it should be played: The first game with story, the first platform game and a great example of making lemonade from lemons.

“Darfur is Dying”

Developer: TAKE ACTION games

Platform: Browser
Published: 2006

Why it should be played: An important example of “serious” gaming and browser-based gaming that is also quite playable.

“Uncharted 2: Among Thieves”

Developer: Naughty Dog

Platform: PS3, PS4
Published: 2009

Why it should be played: A modern classic of 3D level design, AI design, controls, camera and storytelling.

“Pokemon Go”

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Developer: Niantic

Platform: Mobile
Published: 2016

Why it should be played: A modern example of using Global Positioning and Augmented Reality in gaming; how the real world can be used as a game space.

“Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos”

Developer: Blizzard Entertainment

Platform: PC, Mac
Published: 2002

Why it should be played: Not only a classic of real time strategy gaming, but also contains a robust gameplay editor instrumental in the indie movement of gaming.

“Call of Duty: Ghosts”

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Developer: Infinity Ward

Platform: PC, XBOX 360, XBOX One, PS3, PS4, Wii U
Published: 2013

Why it should be played: An excellent example of the first person shooter genre that uses intrinsic storytelling and shifting perspectives as well as classic level design techniques.

“The Walking Dead: Season 1”

Developer: Telltale Games

Platform: PC, XBOX 360, PS3
Published: 2007

Why it should be played: A fine example of the postmodern adventure game genre, featuring gameplay with moral choices and multiple pathing.

“Red Dead Redemption”

Developer: Rockstar Games

Platform: XBOX 360, PS3
Published: 2010

Why it should be played: A prime example of an open-world environment gameplay, how to direct gameplay despite an open-world and how to provide gameplay that appeals to all four of Bartle’s classes of players.

“LittleBigPlanet”

Developer: Media Molecule

Platform: PS3, PSP, PS4
Published: 2008

Why it should be played: LittleBigPlanet is a top-notch platform game that also has a fantastic level editor to teach you how to make your own levels.

“CodeCombat”

Developer: CodeCombat

Platform: Browser
Published: 2014

Why it should be played: A great educational game, where players learn how to write code while fighting monsters! Also good example of how to incentivize a player through monetization

“Superman 64”

Developer: Titus Software

Platform: Nintendo 64
Published: 1999

Why it should be played: Although this suffers from horrible controls, camera, gameplay and storytelling, it is important for game developers to learn how not to make a game.

Ready to learn more about game design? Check out NYFA’s game design programs!

NYFA Community: 9 Great Alumni Films to Watch

The diverse, international NYFA community is made up not only of our hard working and hard dreaming students, but also of incredible alumni who have taken their skills and created awesome films. We are always excited and proud to see our alumni make strides in their careers. To celebrate some of the incredible work that’s been done recently, we’ve rounded up a list of great recent films made by NYFA alumni. If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out these films — and the alumni success stories that go along with them:

“Hellion” (alumnus Tanner Beard)

Since graduating from both the 8-Week Filmmaking Workshop and 4-Week Acting for Film Workshop, Tanner Beard has been busy building a lengthy list of credits. On top of directing, producing, and writing a Spaghetti Western titled “6 Bullets to Hell” through his production company Silver Sail Entertainment, Beard has produced the critically-acclaimed “Hellion,” starring Aaron Paul and Juliette Lewis. Beard also served as executive producer of three films under iconic director Terrance Malick and producer Sarah Green.

“The Thinning” (alumnus Michael Gallagher)

Since attending NYFA Filmmaking Summer Camp at age 13, Michael Gallagher has started the YouTube channel TotallySketch, directed the television mini-series “Interns,” “How to Survive High School” and “The Station,” and produced three films; “Smiley,” “The Thinning,” and “Internet Famous.”

When it comes to advertising your work across the social media highway, Gallagher suggests that “you only get so many favors. I knew that the first thing I asked, I knew it had to count. I went in with my first video. I planned it out and made this attack plan and I just carpet bombed everyone I knew asking, ‘If you ever do one thing for me promote this video.’ ”

“Yo soy un Politico” (alumni Susana Matos and Javier Colon)

New York Film Academy alumni Susana Matos and Javier Colon have just finished their latest film “Yo soy un Politico” (I am a Politician). The film follows an ex-convict who wants a job where he can make a lot of money without putting in a lot of work, so he decides to run as governor of Puerto Rico. Next, Matos and Colon are working together on getting the funding for “Who Cares?,” a road trip dramedy with the tone of “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Slumdog Millionaire.” Their goal is to begin pre-production at the end of this year.

“Hands of Stone” (alumnus Jonathan Jakubowicz)

After graduating from New York Film Academy nearly 20 years ago, Venezuelan-born director Jonathan Jakubowicz’s tackled the story of boxer Roberto Duran (played by Edgar Ramirez) and his legendary trainer, Ray Arcel (played by Oscar Winning actor Robert De Niro) in his new film “Hands of Stone.” Impressive! Jakubowicz’s advice to young filmmakers: “There are no excuses why you haven’t made your first film. If you feel you are ready, do it. And do a feature. You will learn more from a feature than from 30 shorts.”

“Money” (alumnus Martin Rosete)

After starting the 2-Year Filmmaking Program in 2007, Spanish director Martin Rosete is hot on the festival circuit with the release of his latest film “Money,” an elegant thriller that talks about human greed and how money (and the lack of it) can affect different individuals from different backgrounds.

Rosete says that his time spent at NYFA “helped me a lot in understanding the way things are in the industry, in the U.S.; and the fact that we were literally shooting every week also helped in having the opportunity to try different things without any fear of failing. That is really important to be prepared for the real world after your studies are over, and I am really happy to have had that opportunity.”

“Unsullied” (alumnus Simeon Rice)

In the 10 years since he last played in the NFL, Simeon Rice (also a New York Film Academy graduate) made tentative strides in the world of independent filmmaking. Rice says, “You can’t prepare for something like making a film. The hope is people connect with it, but that’s an abstract thing. You can be the best actor in the world, but you still might not get the part. You can make the best film in the world, but that doesn’t mean people are going to see it.”

“Billy Bates” (alumna Julie Pacino)

New York Film Academy Filmmaking graduate Julie Pacino, along with writer-director partner Jennifer DeLia, went on a cross-country tour with their feature film “Billy Bates,” a film that dives deep into the mind of an enigmatic artist and the arduous, psychological madness that goes into his creative approach. “It’s essential to know all aspects of filmmaking,” said Julie Pacino. “I learned that in the short I directed. It’s just as important to know the business side as it is to knowing your actors and crew.”

“Deadpool” (alumna Ashley Maltz)

NYFA Producing graduate Ashley Maltz is an Executive Assistant at 20th Century Fox. Moving over to Fox’s feature film division, Ashley’s first major project was working on the incredibly successful and critically acclaimed “Deadpool” as an executive producer.

“Birth of a Nation” (alumna Jane Oster)

Jane Oster has served as an executive producer on the Sundance favorite “Birth of a Nation.” Next she is producing “Brighton Beach” and “Serial Dater.”

Ready to learn more about filmmaking? There’s a program for you at NYFA’s Film School.

 

How to Get Big Production Value Out of a Little Budget

For independent filmmakers and those just starting out, managing production value can be tricky. You want your film to look and sound great, and that often takes a lot of money — but it doesn’t have to. In this previous NYFA article, we offered a zero-budget checklist for filmmakers, which included some great advice on how to spend your time and resources. Today we offer advice on getting the most production value bang for your buck.

Choose Your Set Piece Scene Wisely

In a low-budget film, one or two high-production-value scenes can really make a difference to the overall effect. It is important to choose those scenes carefully, with thought to the characters and what is vital to their trajectory in the film, as well as what is logistically possible in your circumstances.

In this guest-written article at No Film School, filmmaker Joshua Caldwell tells how he made his feature film “Layover” for just $6000: “If you know how to pull it off for no money, you can allow for a few scenes that look expensive but were actually the cheapest scenes we shot.”

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Caldwell gives a “trick” for making the set-piece scene work, and that is to not require dialogue (because dialogue requires multiple takes), and to keep the action simple. If you don’t have the money to shut a place down and hire a bunch of extras, you have to shoot the scene guerilla-style, and he gives an example: “There’s a scene in the film where our main character Simone meets up with a friend and they go to a club in Hollywood. The club is packed, it’s busy, it’s fun, colorful and dark, and our editor, Will Torbett, edited the hell out of it. Feels like we owned that club. But we didn’t. We got permission to be there with our camera and film but nothing else.” But because he only required his lead to dance and have a good time (at a pivotal moment), he got all that was required. “It became the perfect character-based set piece and it really increases the production value of the film.”

Focus Carefully

A tidbit to keep in mind when planning your shots: If you’re going to have people in the frame who aren’t your actors (as in the club scene described above), make sure they’re not focused on or you might need them to sign a release form.

Be Kind to Those Working for Free

Successful low-budget film feats are often made possible by cast and crew working for free. Spending time looking for talented students to gain experience while working on your film is one part of the production value formula, and being kind to them is another. This ProVideo Coalition article reminds you to think about your cast and crew and to not scrimp on their bodily needs and comfort. In the short film “Love and Robots” the filmmakers put a large part of their tiny budget into the costumes, because it was vital to the production value, but they were also aware that, for the actors, “home-made costumes that cover the entire body and face are hot, fatiguing, difficult and just plain claustrophobic. Breathing is a chore.”

Being empathetic to your cast and crew can make the current film the best it can be and help you to gather people for your next project. Providing craft services and a little down time makes all the difference. “Crews eat a lot during 12 hour + days. But having time to sit, eat and drink really restores body and spirit for the non-paid crew. … If you provide for your crew you get twice the work!”

Do It Yourself/Never Sleep

Markus Rothkranz does it all: producer, director, effects artist, model maker, matte painter. In an article at Creative Cow, he discusses the creative freedom that comes with wearing so many hats: “I learned that in the art of filmmaking, you usually raise a lot of money for a project and then hire many people to make the show. It’s a system that works but it’s not for me. In my world, I tend to believe that it is possible to make $100 million movies on $10 million. … “Today, I write, direct, build the sets and the models, set the lights, often act as my own DP and I find a creative freedom in this. It helps that I never sleep!”

Do you have tips for squeezing the most production value out of a lean budget? Let us know in the comments below. And check out NYFA’s filmmaking programs to get learn more about how to make your own films.

Best Scenes in the Movie “Titanic”

It’s the anniversary of the Titanic sinking, so it’s time to revisit James Cameron’s 1997 epic film “Titanic.” It’s three hours and fifteen minutes of classic acting moments that are sure to hit you right in the feels. Whether you’re laughing at Rose spitting off the balcony, or crying as the mother sings her dying children to sleep, Titanic offers plenty of memorable scenes that you’ll never get out of your head. Although if you haven’t seen this now-classic film, we should warn you: there are spoilers ahead!

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“A Real Party”

Because who doesn’t love a third-class romp below deck? The 11th scene in “Titanic” depicts young Jack Dawson taking Rose to a wild party complete with dancing and Irish jigs. Rose amazes the partygoers by performing a party trick of standing directly on her tiptoes, then dances merrily with Jack and shows the crew and passengers that a first-class girl can drink. This scene contrasts nicely with the stiff, unpleasant dinner that Rose has endured earlier as a first-class passenger; down in the hull with Jack, she can finally be gloriously free and have a fantastic time.

“I’m Flying”

The 13th and arguably most famous scene in the movie shows Jack and Rose on the bow of the ship. Jack stands on the ship’s railing and grabs Rose’s arms as she extends them out and exclaims, “I’m flying!” The couple then shares a steamy first kiss. Television station TLC conducted a survey of thousands of adult viewers, who voted it the best screen kiss of all time. The scene was so popular that many couples on cruise ships tried to recreate it; this has led ships to cordon off the bow area for safety reasons.

“The Drawing”

In this scene, Rose asks Jack to draw her wearing the Heart of the Ocean diamond — and only the diamond — the way he formerly drew naked prostitutes in Paris. “Jack, I want you to draw me like one of your French girls,” she declares, lying nude on the couch with her heart pounding. That line became an emoticon, a famous meme on the Internet, and a general staple of pop culture; it’s rare to find someone who won’t get the reference.

“Rose Climbs Back Onto the Ship”

In the middle of the chaotic sinking, Rose is invited onto a boat with her mother and Cal. Rose suddenly realizes that she can’t leave without Jack, and climbs back onto the doomed Titanic. Cal begins shooting at Jack and misses; Rose grabs Jack’s hand and they run away back into the corridors of the ship, plunging into the frigid water. It’s the moment when Rose truly shows her devotion for Jack in risking her life to be with him.

“Jack’s Death”

The most heart-wrenching scene of the movie is when Jack and Rose are unable to fit on the same floating door. Rose climbs on, but the door can’t hold both of their weights. Ever the gentleman, Jack stays patiently in the water until he succumbs to hypothermia and sinks beneath the waves. This scene has sparked a lot of controversy among fans who believe that both Jack and Rose could have fit on the door and survived together.

In honor of the real-life anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, what are your favorite “Titanic” film moments? Let us know in the comments below!

Learn more about filmmaking at New York Film Academy.

What To Expect From Coachella 2017

Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran concert goer, one cannot deny that the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is an experience like no other — and it reinvents itself every year. For NYFA’s visual and performing arts students, Coachella can serve as an inspiration, a retreat, and even a place to simply enjoy the mingling of creative people, different forms of art, and the outdoors.

Spread over six grand stages, with several musical acts performing simultaneously and featuring a plethora of art installations and sculptures, Coachella may prove to be very overwhelming if you arrive there just with a festival pass and no planning. So to make your Coachella trip more fun, memorable and easy, here’s our round-up on what to expect from this year’s line-up of performers and artists:

1. Headlining Artists Include Radiohead, Gorillaz and Kendrick Lamar

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This is your big chance to watch your favourite singer perform right next to you — and perhaps even take a selfie if you’re lucky. Radiohead is a household name for every fan of rock and roll, and for the ardent follower of the Gorillaz, amidst beautiful renditions, also expect to get a sneak preview of their latest album, “Humanz,” due to release on April 28. Meanwhile, rapper Kendrick Lamar doesn’t usually do festivals, so it may be a rare and unforgettable experience to watch him live with his band, “The Wesley Theory.”

2. There Is Enough Diversity of Genres to Please Everybody

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Yes, whether you’re a rock, pop or country person or if you sway to the beat of a different drum altogether, there is something at Coachella for everyone. Are you into film soundtracks? Then there’s Hans Zimmer, who is all set to play your favourite compositions from “The Lion King,” “Inception,” or “The Dark Knight.” Are you a jazz lover? Don’t miss out the New Orleans’ jazz veterans Preservation Hall Jazz Band performing on stage. Love electronica? Check out Aussie-based band The Avalanches. Other interesting acts include Bon Iver, Lorde, Future Islands and Pond, among others.

3. Innovative Cuisine and Pop-Up Restaurants

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No party or music festival is complete without lavish food and drink, and Coachella 2017 won’t disappoint. The menus of featured restaurants include delicacies like Peruvian burritos and Belgium Leige waffles, while the VIP section has three pop-up restaurants to satiate your taste buds. If you love the outdoors and desserts, check out Outstanding in the Field — and before you hit the mosh pit, hydrate yourself by sipping some exotic cocktails.

4. Interactive Art Is Everywhere

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Amidst the crowd, the desert heat, the raucous screams and the sweat, it’s easy to overlook one thing: that Coachella is actually very beautiful. And this is why the 2017 edition promises to be better than the last: there are to be more large-scale art installations. There’s also a growing sense of eco-consciousness that’s sure to infuse everything from the design of the stages to the placement of the installations. Don’t miss out on “Desert X,” an art biennale, which features art director Neville Wakefield and artist Phillip K Smith III. Also check out the exhibition “TRASHed- Art Of Recycling” and be inspired by innovative ideas to take home.

Coachella 2017, promises to be an audio-visual extravaganza like no other and will no doubt be the buzz of the entertainment industry for some time. With live music, all night-parties, massive art installations, delectable food and an eco-friendly atmosphere, a weekend at Coachella is something you’ll neither regret nor forget. However, to make the most of the experience, don’t forget to go through the itinerary, plan exactly what you’ll see and hear, arrive at the venue early and expect to be entertained beyond your wildest dreams.

Inspired by Coachella? Ready to turn your artistic inspiration into a new skill? Study the visual and performing arts at New York Film Academy.

National Pet Day: Our Favorite Pets in Movies

April 11 is a red letter day for all pet owners. Whether you’re a dog person or a cat lady or you prefer raising white mice, National Pet Day is the perfect day to shower your pets with love and gratitude for all the happiness they’ve given you over the years. And the entertainment industry is the perfect place to look to celebrate pets. Perhaps you can make the day even more special by watching a movie that features your favorite animal or bird that the main characters. Here are our picks.

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1. “Two Brothers” (2004)

This is a brave and heart-rending film about two tiger cubs, Kumar and Sangha, who are separated as cubs but finally reunite after a series of misadventures. Set in 1920s Cambodia during the period of French colonization, the period aesthetics are top notch and the film balances humour and heartache brilliantly.

2. “Garfield: A Tail of Two Kittens” (2006)

Following the success of its prequel, “Garfield: The Movie” (2004), this is a hilarious pet movie and features two Garfields. One Garfield is the titular cat from the comic strip most of us have grown up with who lives in the suburbs with frenemy dog Odie and his owner Jon, and the other Garfield is the heir to Carlyle Castle and lives in luxury. Due to a mishap, the two cats are switched and what follows is sheer insanity. This is sure to be a hit with kids.

3. “Marley And Me” (2008)

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A beautiful romantic comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson, “Marley and Me” covers 14 years of a dog’s life. In fact 22 different Labradors were used to play the part of Marley. Marley teaches the couple, and later their children, several important lessons and makes their lives fun, meaningful and exciting. This is the perfect pet-centric movie to watch with your family and pet dog(s).  

4. “Dunston Checks In” (1996)

An entertaining family flick, the movie follows adventures of an orangutan Dunston who befriends the sons of the hotel manager of a five star hotel and causes all manner of trouble and mischief. And here’s the secret about the adorable Dunston: he’s a very accomplished jewel thief.

5. “Babe” (1995)

Based on Dick King-Smith’s novel “The Sheep Pig,” this movie explores complex identity issues by following the story of a pig who wants to be a sheep dog. There is something intensely relatable about this film, and it has garnered critical acclaim, having been nominated for 7 Oscars, including Best Picture.

6. “War Horse” (2011)

If “Black Beauty” and “Moby Dick” were your favorite childhood classics, this Steven Spielberg movie won’t disappoint you. Starring big names such as Jeremy Irwine, David Thewlis, Emily Watson, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston, the movie is set in the backdrop of the First World War and looks at the bond between young Albert and Joey, his thoroughbred bay horse.

7. “Jungle Book” (2016)

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For many of us, Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” contained a secret world of wild nature, a orphan boy raised by wolves, a ferocious tiger and a friendly bear. The recent Disney rendition of the same captures Kipling’s rich imagination vividly and brings your favorite childhood animals to the big screen.

8. “Zootopia” (2016)

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The ultimate animation film for the animal lover, “Zootopia” is a richly realized anthropomorphic world and details the unlikely friendship that slowly develops between a rabbit police officer and a cunning red fox. Using animals as metaphors, the movie comments on several societal issues in an entertaining and thought provoking manner. The movie even won an Oscar for the Best Animated Feature Film.

So what are your favorite movies featuring animals? Did our list of movies miss out on your pet? Let us know in the comments! And if you’re ready to learn how to make your own professional animal films, study filmmaking at the New York Film Academy.