“I love working with actors. That’s what the set really is, for me. It’s my time with the actors.” - Wes Anderson
Even the bad guys need direction.
Deep Freeze: Extreme Filmmaking in the Arctic North
New York Film Academy instructor Kirill Yusim recently returned from Alaska, where he worked as a camera operator for the History Channel show Ice Road Truckers. The documentary-style program follows truck drivers who operate on seasonal roads, crossing frozen lakes and rivers in remote arctic territories. Kirill filmed on Alaska’s Dalton Highway, a deserted 400-mile stretch of road that begins north of Fairbanks, and ends at Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean.
“It was my first time in Alaska,” says Kirill. “I knew it was cold. They provided us with an outer layer, boots, pants, and gloves. I picked up a few thick under layers… At the coldest, we wore 5 layers. The weather was -10°F in Fairbanks, and by the time we got to Atigun Pass [about 300 miles away], it was -50°F. There was crazy wind, and you would go through 4 or 5 different weather conditions.”
“We were following trucks pretty closely, doing interviews with drivers, and working on story lines,” he explained. “We would stop at least 8-10 times throughout the day. I was in a chase vehicle and the truck was in front of us. Sometimes we would get out and set up the tripod. Most of the time I’d be fighting through waist-high snow.”
From their home base in Fairbanks, Kirill says, “The one-way trip would take up to 18 hours. They were long days. We had days where it was like 22 hours. We would stay in funny little hotels in Prudhoe Bay. It’s a dry town with no restaurants. The places we had to stay at looked like meat lockers. Probably the coolest thing was shooting time lapses of the northern lights,” says Kirlll. “We would set the exposure and shoot a picture every 8 seconds, [also] shooting transitions from day to night, and the moon rising.”
Kirill teaches courses in cinematography, lighting, and directing at New York Film Academy at Universal Studios. He says, “The fact that I’m able to teach here and listen to students, gather information, and practice at the same time — it’s given me confidence and knowledge [on the set], to know what I’m looking at and knowing where to be.”
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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.”