Creative thinking empowers you to believe in yourself and succeed. The psychology of learning film. Click here!
NYFA in Paris, je t’aime!
Jean-Baptiste Gueniffey is a Parisian storyteller who made his way to New York City in search of the truth. We asked, “What truth?” He simply replied, “The truth.” By the end of the interview, this aspiring screenwriter impressed us with his calm and collected demeanor and his matter-of-fact approach to life. Inspired by his childhood love of films and literature, Jean decided to take the plunge into screenwriting because he felt it was the most viable platform to impact the most minds of any audience. “What artist doesn’t want to challenge people and push their boundaries?”
Studying as a film editor in France, he reached out to French screenwriters working in America and they had suggested an education where one “writes and learns to correct what they write.” A personal friend also recommended the New York Film Academy after completing an eight-week intensive program. In search of a flexible program calendar where he could enroll in January, Jean felt our school was the perfect fit. He felt the screenwriting program helps one understand the structure of the story and how elements of motive and conflict are represented on the screen. He sees NYFA as the final step in entering the industry. Currently, Jean is developing a screenplay about an “unusual love” in New Orleans soon after the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Storytelling is, as Jean describes it, about “struggle” and the reality of conflict. “There’s no easy way out. Truth is, we live in an obscenely violent world.”
Jean points to the works of Frank Capra. “His films forces you to ask yourself, ‘What makes an individual matter in this world?’ That’s what inspires my work. I’m in search of what’s real. Genuine. Tangible.” When asked of his plans after NYFA, Jean admits he doesn’t think of the future too much. As he says, “Good things have to mature.” Live in the present moment. Take the plunge. Don’t fuss. Spoken like a true Zen master.
A London Filmmaker in New York City
Lucy Reevely began writing when she was 9 years old. She never told anyone. Not a soul. One day, however, a friend found one of her stories on her laptop and encouraged her to nurture her talent. Lucy’s journey as a filmmaker began recently as she realized her storytelling was visual by nature. Her imagination functions cinematically, and over the years, Lucy gradually decided to expand her repertoire. “Only I can capture the magic in my head, and I don’t want to depend on anyone else for my success.”
When she visited schools in New York City, Lucy found other institutions artistically restrictive and the curriculum far too regimented. She finds the New York Film Academy to have the perfect balance of freedom and direction. As she says, “No judgment. Just guidance.” Lucy praises her teachers like Michael Sandoval for knowing her voice and talent, their ability to get inside a student’s mind and guiding one’s vision, and never discouraging a pupil from an idea—no matter how farfetched it may seem at first. She simply characterized the student body as diverse. “What you create as an artist is what you experience. Working with people from all over the world, it’s definitely broadened my views on the world and my ability to adapt to another’s perspective.”
Lucy finds NYC the perfect place to hone her skills. Los Angeles seemed too studio-driven and wanted an environment where exploration was mandatory—no boundaries, no limits. To her London compatriots, she urges them to go abroad. “When you’re far from home, it forces you to grow. London’s industry is filled with soaps. If you want to work on features and original screenplays, come to New York.”
About two years ago, I was invited to create an innovative training program for musical theatre and film at the New York Film Academy and insisted that it must be a holistic approach to fabulous acting training for both stage and screen. I also felt that with the success of behemoths like Moulin Rouge, Chicago, and Glee that we were seeing a wonderful new interest in the musical film genre. Why not develop a program where we would create an original movie musical in an experimental lab specifically tailored to our talented international group of up-and-coming actors?
It became very clear when Andrew Gerle, winner of four Richard Rogers Awards and a Jonathan Larson Award, decided to collaborate on this project that we were far from any typical academic scenario, but rather in the realm of an independent musical short film. With extraordinary resources provided by NYFA, we focused our time on musical storytelling that meant to challenge and entertain. Our motto for everything was “perfect is boring” and so we explored urban themes that were truly relevant to actual twenty-somethings living and surviving in New York City. Ask any writer of a stage musical how crazy you have to be to take on the collaborative task of creating a new musical—and you can quadruple it for an original musical film. As a filmmaker and artist, I can’t imagine a better experiment in love.
Students in the LA campus were at a production workshop in order to learn the best in filmmaking. Here’s a snippet! Click here to learn more about our filmmaking program.
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.”
Acting allows you to live other people’s lives without having to pay the price. - Robert De Niro.
#NYFA Twitter Party: Win a 1-Week Filmmaking Workshop!
Does Nigeria love #NYFA? Does India love #NYFA?
Do YOU love #NYFA?
Our admissions team is currently in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We’ve been celebrating this with Brazilian trivia giveaways and by spotlighting past and current students from the South American nation. Our team travels across the globe to showcase what our programs offer. Over 78 countries were represented on our campuses since our school’s inception and that number continues to grow. We want you to help us decide where our team should go next. Should it be Egypt? The Netherlands? Russia?
During the Open House at the Hotel Astoria Copacabana, we want to bring our international students—past, present, future— together in order to see who loves #NYFA most. We want to know what film project you’re working on. How is your portfolio coming along? Know one of our alumni who’s getting a rad movie made? Which is your favorite movie in global cinema? We’ll collect the best tweets and spotlight you on our blog. But most importantly, we’ll randomly select one tweeter to receive a scholarship certificate for one of our 1-Week Filmmaking Workshops. Yes, you might attend the New York Film Academy for free!
When: Sunday, March 18. Time: 14:00 to 18:00 EST (NEW YORK)
Psst… Follow us on Twitter.