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New York Film Academy’s Weekly Roundup
“Oh, I’ve been in the film business for a while, but I just can’t seem to get one in the can.” - Tobias Fünke (Arrested Development)
- Arrested Development Season 4 In bulk! Finally, we’ll be able to see the Bluths in another season and it’ll be coming out in one chunk on Netflix.
- Cannes Announces 2012 Lineup Drum roll please…Moonrise Kingdom to open the festival. And did we see horror legend Dario Argento in the mix?
- Mitt Romney on SNL? Can the GOP candidate possibly have an ounce of humor in his body? We may soon find out.
- The Amazing Spider-Man A new trailer has been released for The Amazing Spider-Man. What do you think of the Lizard as the villain?
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Tarantino’s Django Unchained Quentin Tarantino unveils the poster for his upcoming film, Django Unchained. Can’t wait!
Cannes Finds Liana
New York Film Academy’s filmmaking student Jimmy Chen’s thesis film Looking for Liana was accepted to the prestigious Cannes Short Film Corner. The film follows Steven, a young composer struggling to complete a new piece of music, who wants nothing more than to escape Los Angeles to be alone with his thoughts and find inspiration. His plans are thwarted when he is kidnapped by Gary, an old man with a failing memory and a mission of his own: to scatter his wife’s ashes at the lighthouse where they first fell in love.
Jimmy attended film school in Beijing before joining the New York Film Academy at Universal Studios. Of the school, he says, “It’s amazing. The school [taught] me a lot. I’m really glad I came. There’s loads of opportunities to shoot.”
He says he came up with the concept for the film, which he wrote and directed, while facing troubles in his own life, explaining, “I was struggling with my career and emotions and went [for a drive]. I imagined myself as an old man, reviewing my life and what was important to me.” Inspiration hit him and he went home to start work on the story.
Jimmy shot the film in the summer of 2011 with help from his producer and co-writer, Paris Bauldwin, who we featured on our blog a few weeks ago. Jimmy also worked as art director on Paris’ film, Chrysalis. Both filmmakers were accepted to Cannes and will attend the festivities in May. “Paris and I are going together,” he said. “It’s my first time going to Europe!” Looking for Liana will also screen at the Long Island International Film Expo in New York in July.
New York Film Academy’s Student Spotlight: Paris Bauldwin on Cannes and Eric Roberts
MFA Filmmaking student Paris Bauldwin recently finished her thesis film, Chrysalis. The film centers on Abigail Hunter, a struggling waitress with little direction in her life, aside from drugs. Her aimless drift is disrupted when a young runaway shows up, claiming to be her daughter. The girl’s search for family and affection interrupts Abigail’s free fall, and the two decide to define family on their own terms. It features veteran actor Eric Roberts.
“He’d had issues with addiction in the past and was really honest about it. I wrote a letter and sent it to his team. He and his wife made [the process] really easy. They invited me to their home. He is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met.”
On a recent visit to New York Film Academy at Universal Studios, Roberts spoke glowingly about working with Bauldwin, saying “Paris is a real director, guys. Really.” He joked, “She is also very… kind in her manipulation.”
Paris recently published her first book, Fragments of Addiction, co-written with her father. “It’s always been something I’ve been passionate about — helping people with addiction” she says. “I grew up around addiction. I knew all the characters really well. They were my sisters and brothers.”
Paris also recently completed a short film called Looking for Liana that was accepted to the Cannes Short Film Corner. She is excited to visit Europe first time, and participate in her first major festival. She credits New York Film Academy for giving her the education she needs for her film to succeed, saying, “To have support from people who have already done it was really amazing. Ultimately, I don’t think I would be able to complete this project anywhere else.”
Paris has plans to take Chrysalis on the film festival circuit, as well as fundraising for the next feature film she is producing. Of her hectic schedule, Paris says, “Sleep is secondary. I’m on the right track.”
New York Film Academy Graduate Screens Short Film at Cannes Film Festival
John Kennedy is a graduate of New York Film Academy’s One-Year Producing Conservatory and NYFA’s Eight-Week Filmmaking Workshop. His latest short, Two Wasted Lives, just screened at Cannes Film Festival.
Tara Siegel stars as Cassie in Two Wasted Lives, directed by NYFA graduate John Kennedy
Two Wasted Lives is a dark thriller about a teenage girl’s spiral into a world of addiction and prostitution. After the destabilizing loss of her father, Cassie falls into the patriarchal arms of a pimp named Uncle Eddy, charmed into solicitation and drug use. Says Kennedy on the filmmaking process:
“I was extremely lucky to band together an amazing crew who believed in the story and were extremely professional. We enjoyed our time together and cannot wait for the next production.”
Director John Kennedy
The crew included John Kennedy’s cinematographer and producing partner Markus E. Mueller, a graduate of New York Film Academy’s One-Year Cinematography program. The collaboration between Mueller and Kennedy was so strong that Kennedy is integrating himself in a partnership with Markus E. Mueller and MUCO Pictures. The team is currently raising funds for two feature film projects alongside SEDIF Productions and is optimistic about beginning principal photography in 2012.
Cinematographer Markus E. Mueller
On the experience of being accepted to Cannes Film Festival, Kennedy comments, “Cannes is an amazing place that leaves an incredible impression on you. I cannot wait to go back there one day with a feature.” Kennedy’s highlights included meeting the French Minister of Culture and Communication Frederick Mitterand, dining with French Producer Jean-Louis Livi, and networking at several private parties for the global industry crowd in attendance. As Kennedy moves forward with his career, he reflects that he thoroughly enjoyed his time at New York Film Academy and “the hands-on film experiences that NYFA offers.”
New York Film Academy Documentary Graduate Announces Short Film is Official Selection at 2011 International Panafrican Film Festival of Cannes
New York Film Academy Documentary Conservatory Graduate Franck Onoviet (‘07) just announced that short doc The Rhythm of My Life is an Official Selection of the 2011 International Panafrican Film Festival of Cannes.
Franck directed the film, which is the first film to have been fully produced in Gabon, Africa.
The Rhythm of My Life follows in an unconventional way the journey of “ISH”, a former Miami based rapper, who traveled to Africa to visit family and came across the project of his dreams. Written and Directed by Marc A. Tchicot and Franck A. Onouviet, the film captures glimpse of great encounters and musical moments between people from opposite backgrounds driven by the same passion: music.
The Rhythm of My Life belongs to the new generation of short films, which combine fiction and documentary style. Deeply grounded in the line of non formatted and guerrilla style independent projects, The Rhythm of My Life set a different direction for filmmaking in Gabon and Africa.
New York Film Academy Screenwriting Alumni Supported by Cannes and Focus Features
Nigerian screenwriter and 2010 NYFA Alum Chika Anadu
As an alum of the NYFA screenwriting course, I cannot recommend it enough. And I don’t doubt that the other courses are as thorough and useful as the screenwriting course. It could be the beginning of a genuine career in filmmaking for you.
Chika Anadu is a 2010 graduate of New York Film Academy’s Four Week Screenwriting Course in Nigeria. With the feature treatment she completed in the course, Chika applied and was accepted to the Cannes Cinefondation Residence, one of the most exclusive residential programs in the country, accepting only 12 applicants each year. Chika was also a winner of the 2010 Focus Features Africa First Program, sponsored by Focus Features, which grants five African filmmakers $10,000 towards creation of a short film. Between completing the Cannes Residence and darting to the Berlin Film Festival, the NYFA blog was lucky to get a few minutes to catch up on Chika and all of her accomplishments.
Chika, what was your experience with New York Film Academy?
I did the four week Intensive Screenwriting Course. The course was a revelation. It opened up for me in a new way, the world of storytelling in film. I would absolutely recommend this course to anyone who wants to be a screenwriter.
During the four week course, I worked on the first treatment of my first feature script, B For Baby Boy. With this treatment, I applied and got into the Cannes Cinefondation Residence, where I then finished the first draft of the script. I intend to shoot the film before the end of the year (2011).
What Cannes program did you participate in after New York Film Academy?
I just finished the Cannes Cinefondation Residence. It’s a residential program that brings six filmmakers (wrtier/directors) to Paris from all over the world, in two sessions a year, for a period of four and a half months, to work on their first or second feature scripts. You also get introduced to producers that can help you realize your film.
I applied, and was shortlisted along with seven other people. We were all invited to Paris for face-to-face interviews with a jury of people in the film industry (mostly producers), as well as Gilles Jacob, the president of the Cannes Film Festival. I was one of the six chosen.
The Cannes Film Festival is the number one film festival in the world, so it’s a brand that a lot of people want to be associated with. At the time I applied, there were about 200 other applicants. It’s very selective because being chosen is like being given a stamp of approval or support by Cannes, and you’re forever their baby, so to speak. So I would think they wouldn’t want to give that stamp of approval to just anyone.
We heard you also won an award through Focus Features?
I was one of the winners of the 2010 Focus Features Africa First Program, which grants each year five African filmmakers $10,000 to make a short film. Focus Features is a brand I admire, so to be associated with it is a real honour.
What is your ultimate goal in the entertainment industry?
I want to be able to tell interesting and relevant stories, particularly Nigerian stories, in a visually interesting way. And I want to be able to earn a living from doing that.
What advice would you give to someone considering a program at NYFA?
Just do it. As an alum of the NYFA screenwriting course, I cannot recommend it enough. And I don’t doubt that the other courses are as thorough and useful as the screenwriting course. It could be the beginning of a genuine career in filmmaking for you.