great films to watch

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.

 

Labor Day: 10 Great Netflix Movies to Watch This Weekend

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 10.08.25 AM

For many Americans, Labor Day weekend is a time to celebrate the achievements of workers in our country … by doing the opposite of work. That includes cookouts, maybe even a small party, and plenty of relaxing. After all, the last time most of us had a three day weekend was more than a month ago during Fourth of July.

What better way to kick back and relax than with one or more great Netflix movies? Gone are the days when you had to drag yourself to the nearest Blockbuster or rental store. Now you have plenty of great flicks to choose from, right from the comfort of your own couch.

We found some perfect Labor Day weekend flicks to help you relax and enjoy the fruits of your labors. With these Netflix films, work will be the last thing on your mind. Enjoy your break, and happy Labor Day!

1. “The Big Short” (2015)

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 10.07.42 AM

If you’re in the mood for a comedy-drama starring several high-profile actors, look no further. This film is a book-to-screen adaptation of Michael Lewis’ “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine,” and features Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, and Steve Carell. How’s that for a star-studded cast? “The Big Short” is about four men who predict the housing collapse of the mid-2000s and then attempt to make big banks pay for their greed.

2. “Django Unchained” (2012)

Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, this movie is perfect if you want something with a great story and plenty of violence. “Django Unchained” tells the story of a freed slave looking to rescue his wife from a cruel plantation owner in Mississippi. This film has won several awards, including an Academy Award and Golden Globe, and is currently Tarantino’s highest-grossing theatrical release.

3. “Back to the Future” (1985)

A film that needs no introduction! The first “Back to the Future” film is a great choice if you want to watch something with plenty of humor and adventure. And if you can’t get enough of Marty Mcfly and the eccentric Doc, both “Back to the Future Part II” and “Back to the Future Part III” are also on Netflix as of this writing.

4. “The Lovely Bones” (2009)

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 10.06.49 AM

This supernatural drama was directed by Peter Jackson of “The Lord of the Rings” fame, and is an adaptation of the award-winning, best-selling novel of the same name. “The Lovely Bones” tells the story of a teenage girl named Susie who was murdered and now watches over her parents, Jack (Mark Wahlberg) and Abigail Salmon (Rachel Weisz).

5. “Love Actually” (2003)

While some count the days until Halloween and or Thanksgiving, many more can’t wait until that most wonderful time of the year. If you’re one of those jolly souls who seek out the Christmas spirit year round, we suggest watching “Love Actually.” This romantic comedy tells the story of eight unique couples as they deal with all sorts of problems just before Christmas. Notable actors include Liam Neeson, Keira Knightley, Rowan Atkinson, Laura Linney, and Alan Rickman.

6. “The Fast and the Furious” (2001)

“The Fast and the Furious” took the world by storm when it first released in 2001. This high-octane film never pretends to be anything more than an action-packed thrill, which is why it spawned a franchise that now has six successful sequels. The movie features the late Paul Walker as an undercover cop trying to stop semi-truck hijackers, outlaws led by a dangerous street racer named Dominic Toretto (Diesel).

7. “Forrest Gump” (1994)

“Forrest Gump” is one of those films you can always count on to put a smile on your face. We all know the heart-warming story of Forrest Gump and his quest to win the heart of his childhood friend, Jenny. This iconic comedy-drama stars Tom Hanks and is the winner of numerous awards, including six Academy Awards.

8. “Atonement” (2007)

Starring James McAvoy and Keira Knightley, this romantic drama tells the story of how a teenage girl derails the lives of several people with a single lie. After falsely accusing her older sister’s lover of a crime, the film shows the consequences of her actions over the course of several decades.

9. “The Princess Bride” (1987)

This cult classic is the perfect film if you want a great mix of comedy, romance, and even a little bit of action. “The Princess Bride” is a romantic fantasy adventure comedy where a farmhand named Westley (Cary Elwes) sets out to rescue the lovely Princess Buttercup from a terrible man named Prince Humperdinck. The story is presented as a book being told by a man to his ill grandson, and is adapted from the book of the same name by William Goldman.

10. “The Exorcist” (1973)

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 10.04.43 AM

Prefer something more appropriate for upcoming Halloween? If so, you can’t go wrong with one of the most infamous supernatural horror films of all time. “The Exorcist” tells the tale of a mother whose young girl has been possessed by a demonic entity. With the help of two priests, she hopes to win back her daughter — even if it means putting them all in danger.

How will you celebrate Labor Day? Watch any of these films? Let us know in the comments below!