The New York Film Academy had a chance to speak with director Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Forrest Gump, Cast Away, etc.)
Bob Z talks about his career and his return to live action in the new Denzel Washington film, Flight. Read the entire interview on The Movie Blog!
“Take your shot. Be aggressive. As long as you believe in you, you’ll find others to believe in you.” - Amy Heckerling
”Not only does NYFA teach you how to become an expert in your field, it also shows you how to build relationships, friendships and industry collaborations. The program is intense, but I like it that way. It teaches you to work under stress and control the situation even when everything is going wrong – which is basically what happens on set in the real world.” - Luigi Benvisto
Luci in the Sky: The Evolution of an Artist
In the spring of 1993, Vittoria Chierici never thought she’d go to film school. She never even planned to become a filmmaker. She deems an “instinctual will” compelled her to visit the New York Film Academy as she sauntered through Union Square as a young painter. Vittoria saw the banner hanging on the balcony of the building, which is the same one that still hangs here today. After heading inside, she found the place strangely familiar despite the occasion being her first time meeting Jerry Sherlock and the staff. As she says, “Everyone was extremely kind. Not formal. Determined and fast.” As an Italian artist, she experienced the paradoxically focused yet frenetic energy of New York City through her experience at NYFA.
“I came from a very intellectual world. All I wanted to do was practice. I wanted to do the real thing. I wanted to learn the process and technique.”
For two years, Vittoria spent day and night editing footage and remembers how Jerry Sherlock was always by the side of the students. Today, NYFA is the largest film education institution in the world. Back in the early 90’s, however, it was a school just beginning to establish its roots. As she recalls, “It was just Jerry and a bunch of young people. All the students and teachers worked many hours for passion, pleasure, and curiosity rather than fulfilling any professional need.”
Vittoria describes herself as an artist of action. The word which categorizes her work philosophically is “instinct”. She considers herself mainly a painter but considers herself intuitive and versatile creatively. Her filmmaking gives her joy, and has sold only her paintings in order to gain commercial profit. She states, “I have never had the talent for telling stories.” Vittoria is committed to short and experimental works which eschew traditional techniques. Her work is prolific. Vittoria was invited to participate in a project called No Soul for Sale at the Tate Modern Gallery in London. Her painting and installations have been exhibited at Kunstmoderner Museum in Vienna, the Warhol Museum, the prestigious library la Vigna, and over 20 galleries and museums across the globe.She credits her success on her love for learning and understanding the process of filmmaking. Learning to utilize effectively every method of technique and challenging conventions.
As an artist who has worked in the creative field for years, Vittoria has a delightfully gracious attitude regarding the quick rise of digital impacting artistic industries today. The digital world has changed her life routine and introduced her to a new, fast, and direct method of handling tools. “I am starting to work very much out of the studio—en plein air once again—much like the old impressionists.” It’s an exciting time for Vittoria Chierici. Her last video project Luci in the Sky involves a collaboration with violinist and composer ANA Milosavljevic and filmmaker Yuko Takebe. The film is based on tiny luminous points of light moving the sky with close ups of night creatures. Luci in the Sky depicts a distant, unpredictable world as a multi-projectional presentation. It portrays a seamless world marrying sensory visualization and sonic interpretation. On May 18th, Luci in the Sky has its US premiere at The Cell for the Tribeca New Music Festival.
“As an Italian working in the US, I couldn’t have been luckier. Young people today are very passionate. They still have a spirit of discovery. A pioneering spirit.”
New York Film Academy at Universal Studios in Los Angeles proudly presents Award-winning photographer/filmmaker Lauren Greenfield. Lauren will discuss the content and development of her acclaimed documentary monographs, Fast Forward, Girl Culture, and THIN, as well as their relationship with her documentary films THIN, kids + money, and Beauty Culture. Her latest film, The Queen of Versailles, was selected as the opening night film at Sundance 2012, and won the Best Director Award in the U.S. Documentary Competition.
Warner Bros. Screening Room 5
4301 W Olive Avenue, Burbank, CA 91505
New York Film Academy’s Student Spotlight: Aldo Filiberto
MFA Filmmaking student Aldo Filiberto recently finished work on his thesis film, The Fortune Theory. Originally from Palermo, Italy, Aldo first came to NYFA in 2006 for an 8-Week Filmmaking program. He liked it so much, he decided to return in September 2009 for the masters program.
Aldo describes the film, The Fortune Theory, as a coming-of-age drama. He explains, “It’s the story of an emotionally disconnected millionaire, who drifts through a systematic routine of job interviews, searching for an understanding of life and his workaholic father.” The character, Morris, is ultimately forced to take a job writing fortunes in a fortune cookie factory, where he will have to face his own inadequacy in order to ultimately accept himself, those around him, and defy his father.
“I worked on the script for 8 months,” says Aldo. “After several table readings, the script was ready and we jumped into production. It was ambitious for the budget we had, but our excitement overcame our fears.”
Aldo cast John Terry in a supporting role in the film. The celebrated actor is best known for his roles on Lost, ER, 24, and in Full Metal Jacket. Says Aldo, “He has tons of experience and worked with Kubrick! On the set he was very nice, hard working, and loved his job. He was great.” The project will also feature a score by Goya-nominated composer Pablo Cervantes.
The film’s crew included a number of New York Film Academy students and alumni. Says Aldo, “Making a movie is a collaborative experience. You need to relate to other people to help you shape your vision, and school is a good place to create a network of people you can trust.”
He also credits NYFA staff for their help, saying, “Instructors like Adam Nimoy, Crickett Rumley, James Rowe, and Lydia Cedrone have always been helpful. The school has been supporting me. The greenlight procedure helps you set up a schedule and deadlines. They really make sure that you’re ready to do it so you don’t end up wasting your money, or even worse, someone else’s money.”
The Fortune Theory is currently in post-production. Aldo is in discussions with sales agencies and plans to hit the festival circuit in the next year. He explains, “This is the exciting part. Shooting it is just the beginning.”
Aldo guiding his crew.
Actor John Terry with Aldo.
Aldo directing a scene.
Aldo talking with his actor.
Aldo with his crew.
Life After Film School for Director Sam B. Lorn
Examiner.com - “The LBC” might best be described as “an epic for it’s size and budget.”
Produced by Forlorn Films and directed by Sam B. Lorn, the movie offers viewers a look inside the gritty dark side of Long Beach, California (aka “The LBC”).
Born and raised in Cambodia, Lorn survived the “Killing Fields” and emigrated to America where he settled in Long Beach, California with his surviving relatives.
In 1991, Lorn moved to New York City to pursue a filmmaking career. He studied acting at HB Studios and graduated from the world-renowned New York Film Academy.
He learned about all aspects of the film and distribution industry by working at Assembly Films, Screen Gems, The American Museum of Natural History, Shelter Films and several other independent production companies.
Over the years, he has worked with the best in the film industry, including such directors as Robert Deniro, Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg, Alan Rudolph, Rick Famuyiwa, Alfred Cheung, Bruce Law, and Derek Wan. He has also worked with actors such as Christopher Walken, Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicholas Cage, Matt Damon and Tom Hanks.
As a director, writer, producer and actor, Lorn’s feature film credits include: “Little Patriot,” “Moving Target,” “Young Survivor,” “Manhattan Midnight” and “Lovesick.”
“Lovesick,” was realized with backing from Angelina Jolie. The compelling film tells “a modern-day Romeo and Juliet-type-story with a Khmer-American twist. A young Khmer-American woman is forced into an arranged marriage when she falls in love with another man. She is faced with the dilemma of honoring her family and respecting tradition or following her heart.”
Completed in 2004, “Lovesick” was self-released on DVD domestically.
Recently, Lorn took time to answer a few questions about his new film “The LBC” for Examiner.com.
What inspired you to make LBC?
After living in long Beach for two years and seeing Cambodian people going through hardships, it reminded me of Cambodia.
As an independent filmmaker what challenges did you face getting this movie made?
1. This subject matter, no one would help me with finance, so I have to do it with a small business man, Randy Hor.
2. Other filmmaker did not understand my vision, so I have to work extra hard to tell a story that people can relate to.
3. Working with shoestring budget, I had to cut pre-productions and rehearsal and had to limit production to only 12 days of shooting. I was very fortunate that my cast and crew, they were able to pull it together.
Tell us about the themes of the movie… what is it about?
THEME: Carpe Diem, Karma.
LOG LINE: One man endeavors to avenge his mother’s death while being thwarted by a local drug kingpin. SYNOPSIS: Long Beach, California can change from a beautiful place to a deadly one on the turn of a dime. A gangster wannabe (Ivan Djurovic) slips deeper into the criminal underbelly seeking to avenge his mother’s death. He finds common ground with a man (Sam Lorn) searching for his brother’s murderer. When they are confronted by a ruthless drug kingpin (Larry Parrish), anarchy and betrayal reign supreme leading to a climatic bloody showdown on the streets known as “The LBC”.
How long did it take from start to finish on production?
When can moviegoers see the film on dvd?
What’s your next project?
Lovesick 2 with Jim Leung as Vinny, we hope to shoot this Christmas.
Brandon Harris Moderates Film Producer Panel at the New York Film Academy
FilmmakerMagazine.com - This weekend, as the Tribeca Film Festival rolled on just blocks away, I had the opportunity to moderate a panel for New York Film Academy producing students on the various challenges confronting film producers in a mid-recession, New Media environment. Hosted by SAG Indie and the IFP, the panelists included Cinetic Rights Management’s Matt Dentler, former CAA agent and current Hunting Lane Films partner Kevin Iwashina, and The House of the Devil producer Peter Phok. We were eventually joined by cross-platform impresario and Filmmaker Contributor Lance Weiler, who despite being held up in traffic for most of the proceedings, offered his inimitable perspectives on audience aggregation, alternative reality gaming and the impending demise of traditional forms of film authorship…read more.