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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.”
Brazil Loves the NY Film Academy, Do You?
New York Film Academy has arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We got a few special things planned.
- Facebook Trivia! Every day of this week, we will be quizzing you on your cinematic knowledge when it comes to all things Brazil. We will randomly select one participant who will win NYFA merchandise which will be shipped to you from our campus in New York City.
- Spotlighting Brazilian Students! While we’re holding auditions down in Rio, we want to make sure actual Brazilians tell you their NYFA experience. We’ll be spotlighting students from Brazil in order to hear their stories about coming to America to fulfill their cinematic dreams.
- International Twitter Contest! We will be live-tweeting during our Open House on Sunday, March 18. We want you to join us. Are you from Netherlands? Does the Netherlands love NYFA? Does South Africa love NYFA? Does France love NYFA? You’ll get to decide where our admissions team is headed next for one of our future tours. Moreover, one special person will win a 1-week workshop scholarship certificate!
Musical Theatre Student Talks About the NYFA Experience
As part of a series for the NYFA YouTube Channel, we interviewed students about their learning experiences at the New York Film Academy. Temi is a student of the New York Film Academy’s one year musical theatre program in New York City. A native of Turkey, Temi was aware that her search for a compatible musical theater conservatory would take her far. She applied to numerous musical theatre programs in London and New York and was accepted into every school to which she applied. After speaking extensively with the NYFA faculty and being awarded two scholarships, Temi selected the New York Film Academy to continue her studies of dancing, singing and acting. She took time out of her busy schedule to sit down with us at the NYFA blog and talk about the intensity of the musical theatre program, living in New York City and her plans for the future. Thanks for speaking with us, Temi!