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DFA Alumni Jamaal Green on his Award Winning web-series “Chronicles Of,” and his experience at Digital Film Academy



Jamaal Green, a former DFA student – completed both the first year and advance program in filmmaking. We spoke to him about what he’s working on, and how his experience at the school helped to shape his career in film. 

“We had access to equipment from day one which was huge and we also had some really good instructors. I wouldn’t have advanced, technically and skill set wise if I didn’t go to DFA and also because the people that I met there.”

How has DFA prepared you for life after grad?

“DFA helped me organize as a filmmaker. It helped me to be a self starter and to keep pushing, that was huge. Going there helped me realized that it’s not just going to happen for you and that you have to really push it. DFA really gave us a lot of tools, and how well you did there was  up to you. They gave you everything you needed. We had access to equipment from day one which was huge and we also had some really good instructors. I wouldn’t have advanced, technically and skill set wise if I didn’t go to DFA and also because the people that I met there. The networking was huge. I still keep in contact with a lot of the students that graduated around the time I was there. I’m still do productions with one of my classmates. We have a small production company called MG Cinecraft.“

What are you currently working on?

“My main focus right now is a web series, The concept started when I was still at DFA and web series was kind of a new thing. One of our assignments was to create a web series and so I created something, which back then was called “Chronicles Of A Profiler.” As of now its been revamped and it’s just called “Chronicles Of.” It’s basically an ensemble crime thriller about a bunch of different characters in different locations spread across the region between New York and Philadelphia, and how their lives intersect when total corruption takes over. Everything kicks off when a string of murders that starts happening throughout the tri-state sets of a chain reaction that starts to expose all the things that’s been going on politically and socially in the underbelly for a while.”



What has the response been like to “Chronicles Of?”

We just recently participated in the Winter International Film Awards in New York. We won best web series. It’s been long time, we actually started full production, maybe two years ago, and we’ve been in post production for the last year or so. Finally we took the first episode and entered it into the film festivals. We’ve been pleasantly surprised with how well we’ve done. We’ve also been in the New Jersey Web Fest, which we did well in, and as a result of how we performed there we got a direct selection into the Apulia Web Fest in Italy in May. We will be showing at the Garden State Film Festival on March 28th and also in the Miami Web Film Festival on May 14th. We’re still waiting to hear back from some others, and we’re just now starting to enter the other episodes as well. We’re very happy with how it came out. 

We have eight episodes that are about 15 minutes each and a finale that’s about 45 minutes. So when it’s all together is a two and a half hour long feature. I’ve written enough to do four seasons, depending on how it’s received. The ultimate goal is to flip it into television. 

Stayed tuned with Jamaal, MG CineCraft and Chronicles Of here – 

MG CineCraft:

https://www.mgcinecraft.com/

Instagram:

@_chronicles_of_

https://www.instagram.com/_chronicles_of_/

Facebook: 

https://www.facebook.com/Chroniclesofaprofiler/

Observe a class at Digital Film Academy!

First Feature Film by Digital Film Academy graduate Matthew Vincini

The Cattle Farmer. Written and Directed by award-winning filmmaker Matthew Vincini, The Cattle Farmer tells the story of a young foster boy, Konner, who soon gets adopted into a family. He learns that his life has been planned from the start.

Matt Vincini, a graduate of Digital Film Academy in New York City, began the crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo back in early 2019.

Fast forward 12 months and the former film student’s movie in its final stages of post-production.

the cattle farmer

‘The Cattle Farmer’ tells the story of a young boy named Konner in a
foster home who looks forward to the day he might be adopted into a
new family.

The film is written and directed by Digital Film Academy graduate filmmaker Matt Vincini. The elite film school offers students interested in film production an opportunity to see what their program is all about.

Official Trailer

Testimonial video interview with Matt Vincini of Digital Film Academy

Benefits of New York City’s Leading Film School

Written, Directed and Edited by: Matthew Vincini
Director of Photography, Editing: Kyle Ethan Salazar
Executive Producer: Titus Peoples, Ultimate Class Entertainment
Produced by: Martial Davis, Qadr Amin,

helpful film tips

Helpful Tips For First-Time Filmmakers

When you start to learn about filmmaking, it’s best to keep things simple and stick to the fundamentals.  You might be using a video camera, a smartphone, or an advanced DSLR camera.  Before you start, make sure your video camera is ready, with a fully charged battery, and enough free space on the internal hard drive, or a few memory cards.

  1. Prepare to film many separate shots: Limit camera movement around a scene and try to not follow action. Film a series of separate shots that can be edited later in post-production.
  2. Keep the camera steady: Support the camera with a tripod, camera gimbal stabilizer, or by resting the camera on a surface, such as a table, wall, shelf, pillow, or chair.
  3. Take backup shots: It’s always smart to take multiple backup shots of different scenes
  4. Move around: Don’t film only at eye level or waist level. Move around and film shots from different places. Try from above, below, and from different positions around the subject.
  5. Don’t use zoom: It is best to stay all the way zoomed out, video camera shaking will be less apparent, and sound will generally record better and be clearer.
  6. Frame shots carefully: Stay focused on the background and edges of the shot and keep the camera level
  7. Get close to the action: Use lots of close-up shots to bring attention to important details, consider using a macro lens for close-ups.
  8. Think about lighting: Film where this is a lot of light but not much contrast, film with the light behind you.
  9. Take control of your camera: Do not only rely on autofocus and auto exposure, learn how to set exposure and focus manually.
  10. Think about sound quality and holding the shots in place: When using an internal microphone get very close to the subject being filmed, also film shots for a few seconds longer than you need. Hold the shot for about 10 seconds for a non-action shot and hold the shot 5 seconds before or after any speech or action.

Are you interested in a promising career in film? Want to learn more?

Consider observing a class at our leading film school in New York, NY.

Digital Film Academy was founded by film producer and director Patrick DiRenna on September 10, 2001 in the historic Film Center building in New York City. While making his first feature film Train of Illusion in 1991, DiRenna realized that he was at the mercy of others who did not share his same passion and drive about his project. This realization echoed throughout his career, and as technology advanced and the reliance on film lessened, DiRenna foresaw digital media as the future for independent filmmakers while other academic institutions still focused on film.

Wanting to create an all-digital media school offering tools to filmmakers not available at any other school, Digital Film Academy was born! In addition to state-of-the-art instruction in digital filmmaking, filmmakers receive a production membership to the academy’s facility upon graduation. This unique combination of instruction and access to the facility enables filmmakers to become independent and start working in the growing industry without having to invest thousands of dollars into equipment.

The demand for such a program was noted as our school grew and established an excellent reputation in the community and abroad over the years. At that time, Digital Film Academy offered a part-time, hands-on program where students would write, produce, direct, and edit their short film.

In 2008, the academy further flourished under the leadership of Elena Primost, former Vice President and Director of Academic Affairs, who expanded the academy’s curriculum to full-time beginner and advanced conservatory programs and led the academy to national accreditation in 2011.

Digital Film Academy continues to be innovative and strive to exceed the needs of filmmakers. With our program, you are provided with the skills, the tools, and the support that you need to be truly independent.

Short Film: CHECKMATE

This short film is written and directed by Digital Film Academy graduate Mr. Gleb Osatinski. Gleb studied at Digital Film Academy back in 2011 and has gone on to direct and produce a series of highly well-received short films. The film was nominated in February 2020 and just won on REEL13 by PBS.

Other Work:

Trailer – Pisces of an Unconscious Mind by Gleb Osatinski

NSFW: Production of the Series ‘Future Sex’

One of our former students was a producer on all four episodes of the anthology ‘Future Sex’. Stephan Zlotescu was featured as a producer on the hit series Future Sex by French digital-media startup Blackpills.

Featuring stand-alone dramas — incisive, exciting, futuristic stories that explore techno-sexual interactions in the future — “Future Sex” is a forward-looking anthology with stories that tap into the collective unknown about sex in the future. Each story features its own cast of unique characters exploring what’s to become of mankind’s most favorite ritual.

Film Shot

Training for a Career in the Film Industry

Some people are more interested in what goes on behind the scenes than others. In the film industry there are many careers and positions one might strive to achieve. Digital Film Academy based in Manhattan, New York knows what it takes to become a successful expert in multiple aspects of filmmaking including Editing, Cinematography, Lighting, Animation, Sound Production, Visual Effects and more. Digital Film Academy was established in 2001 by film producer and director Patrick DiRenna in the historic Film Center Building in Manhattan. Since that time, the school has turned countless graduates into independent filmmakers or actors with new prestigious careers.

From graduates who starred in blockbuster Marvel films, such as Chadwick Boseman, to several graduates who worked on films commissioned by Netflix, Digital Film Academy has numerous success stories. People interested in film or television can easily work on their production skills through courses at our school. Our institution is known as one of the leading art & design colleges in New York City with a focus on film. People searching for filmmaking classes online can experience and observe our courses in action and make sure it’s the right fit for them before making a commitment. Digital Film Academy has achieved global recognition and was also named ‘Best Film School in NYC’ by Village Voice.

One of the unique advantages of going to Digital Film Academy, is that you get a head start on your career after graduation, which includes free lifetime usage of their state-of-the-art video equipment and facilities.

The programs at Digital Film Academy do not put a strain on students in terms of tuition and the school provides many resources to boost the new careers of graduates. Courses include Film History, Screenwriting, Directing, Cinematography, Video Editing, Career and Portfolio Development, Producing, and more.

Our instructors and students use industry-leading software to train with such as Avid Media Composer, Pro Tools, Adobe Premiere Pro, Davinci Resolve, Maya 3D Animation, and Movie Magic. Anyone with an interest in photography or filmmaking can advance their skills easily using Digital Film Academy’s refined curriculum.

Students are taken through hands-on training with the critical theory and foundation that transforms beginner level film students into professional filmmakers. The One-Year Digital Filmmaking Conservatory is a popular course offered by the university. Digital Film Academy continues to be the innovative force behind new filmmaking professionals breaking out in the industry.

FOX Sports and Digital Film Academy – Video Editing a NASCAR Documentary + The Berlin Sci-Fi Film Festival

It’s great to see another success story from one of our international students! Our former film student and now graduate Kayode ’Kaykay’ Olowu was hired by Orange County Speedway in upstate New York as a Video Editor. 

Orange County Fair Speedway is a 1 km oval dirt speedway in Middletown, New York. The facility holds weekly stock car races and demolition derbies during the summer months.

Our international film student worked as editor of a 10 episode documentary series about the history of car racing at the famous location. All 10 episodes premiered on FOX Sports website and as you can see here, as part of the NASCAR on Fox series.

Ready to start your engines? Vroom vrooom! 

Check this out. You will NOT be disappointed.

Way back in 2016, Kaykay was kind enough to do a short video interview, describing his experiences at Digital Film Academy when he studied in our Advanced Year Program as an international student:

Great to now see how his career is progressing. Onwards and upwards, Kaykay!

TANNIA + BERLIN SCI-FI FILM FESTIVAL

Shout out to Digital Film Academy student Tannia Kustka for her acting prowess in “REWIND”.

The short film concerns a mother suppressing her fear of losing her daughter through combat through the help of futuristic technology. The film won best drama in this year’s Berlin Sci-fi Film Festival and Tannia was nominated for best actress. Proud of you, Tannia!

Digital Film Academy invites you for a free personalized experience in Cinematography at our NYC film school. Contact Us to Sign Up Now


Princess-Nokia

PRINCESS NOKIA: DIGITAL FILM ACADEMY NYC GRADUATE JAMAL SOLOMON

One of our graduates from Digital Film Academy class of 2013, Mr. Jamal Solomon, recently worked on an indie film starring one of the top female rappers in the USA.

The movie Angelfish tells a uniquely New York love story. It is set in the Bronx in the 90s; it follows two people from two very different backgrounds as they become emotionally entangled. Eva (played by Destiny Frasqueri / Princess Nokia) and Brendan (Jimi Stanton) are the star-crossed lovers.

For those who don’t recognize the name, Destiny Frasqueri is better known by her stage name Princess Nokia. She is an American rapper of Puerto Rican descent and a big name in the NYC hip hop community noted for her albums such as Honeysuckle, Metallic Butterfly and 1992 Deluxe.

The ‘Angelfish’ movie received reviews from Variety, Los Angeles Times and the Hollywood Reporter. We are particularly pleased to note that one of the articles singled out our film school graduate Jamal for his ‘sleepily gorgeous cinematography’, as they put it.

VIDEO: Jamal describes what it’s like to study at Digital Film Academy and see some clips of Princess Nokia in action

See our program in action, at our New York City Film School

Considering Film School? How to Choose the Best Film School?

According to Statistics and Facts About the Film Industry, the digital media industry shows healthy projections for the upcoming years. It is estimated that the film industry will increase from about $38 billion in 2016 to nearly $50 billion in 2020. From this increase in revenue, it is evident that the media industry is prospering. Those who are looking for employment within the film industry are in a good position in terms of their career choices. Before getting behind the camera and filming your soon-to-be Oscar nominated film, you must decide which film school to attend.

 

·      How does one choose the best program?

·      How much are you willing to spend?

·      Do you prefer a formal education based on theory or is hands-on training more important?

These are all great questions to ask yourself.

Here are several points to consider when choosing or considering a film school:

 

 

Who are your teachers?

 

When universities select professors and lecturers for their institution an emphasis is placed on their academic achievement. Although these faculty members are able to provide their students with theoretical knowledge, in many cases they lack real world experience. A professor can educate his/her student about film history but not how to produce a film. If a student only has access to the theoretical aspects of film, they may never get the chance to produce their own content.  A student should therefore consider investing in more practical training in digital media rather than the university option. Film training schools select their teachers and lecturers based on their industry experience. With this industry experience, teachers are able to create a curriculum that focuses more on the technical aspects of film. They are more “in-tune” with the evolution of technology, which the film industry heavily relies on.

 

Hands-on time

 

In a world filled with endless evolving cameras, physically shooting a film is not rocket science. Lights, camera, ACTION….and hit the record button, right? Although it might appear to be this simple, practice is what allows an amateur to become a professional. When shooting a film one must consider the following: lighting, camera movement, frame rate, shutter speed, and sound recording.

Professionals from the film industry know that hands-on training is essential to a good production. Allowing students to get sufficient lab time is crucial. University students can find themselves struggling to find this practice time, while students in film training schools have the advantage of being exposed to more lab time due to small class sizes.

 

Affordability

 

Unfortunately, a university education in filmmaking is usually on the pricey side. Your tuition can be as expensive as $50,000 per semester. A film training school like Digital Film Academy on the other hand, only charges students $17,995 per year, which can potentially save you from large student debt. In addition, Digital Film Academy provides its students with free access to filming tools.

 

Career Prospects

 

Although the film industry has healthy projections for the upcoming years, the film industry currently has a competitive job market. Once students have graduated from their chosen film schools, how will they find employment? Film schools like Digital Film Academy provide students with access to a job board. Instead of waiting to graduate before finding employment, these Digital Film Academy students are eligible to apply for these jobs even during their studies.

 

Choosing the right film school may be an easy or difficult decision to make. It depends on the size of your pockets, the content that is being taught, and how you will use this knowledge. If you find yourself struggling to make a decision, remember that a top quality school will provide you with:

  • Valuable courses
  • Hands-on training
  • Teachers with industry experience
  • Job opportunities

 

Digital Film Academy will provide you with all of the above.

 

Click here to find out more about DFA: Why DFA?

 

Reference:

Statistics and facts about the film industry. (2016) https://www.statista.com/topics/964/film/

Must-See Movie: Rosemary’s Baby

I saw Rosemary’s Baby as a kid and remembered being disappointed. The Satan makeup was cheesy and, overall, I declared it “not scary.” But a filmmaker friend raved about it so passionately that I decided to give it another shot, as an adult…

Quite simply, it’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.

In fact, I found it so powerful that I just sat in quietly after it ended and then spent the next couple of days reading articles about its deeper meanings.

The best horror movies are usually about “other issues.” The zombies really represent communism and so on… Rosemary’s Baby is widely thought to be about having one’s reproductive life controlled by creepy old men.

To sum up the plot, Rosemary and her husband, struggling actor Guy, move into an apartment building, the Bramford, with a shady past. Before long, a pair of annoyingly solicitous neighbors becomes an every-day part of their lives. Guy and the neighbors form a tight bond, Guy’s pathetic acting career takes a turn toward fame, and Rosemary is soon pregnant…

The film is sprinkled with little indications of what’s really going on throughout, but until the final chilling scene, nothing is ever really explained. As a screenwriter, I can tell you that a lot of the time scripts are rejected for being too subtle. Subtle doesn’t sell. Rosemary’s Baby, though, is an incredible example of a story that is SUPER SUBTLE – but which works!

We experience the movie from Rosemary’s point of view, and are kept as in the dark as she is. As she pieces things together, so do we. We completely believe her ‘conspiracy theory’ – yet, right up until the end, we also wonder if her suspicions aren’t actually the result of over-zealous pregnancy hormones.

Only in the very last scene do we learn that Rosemary is 100% correct in suspecting a conspiracy. However, the witches’ coven in the Bramford is not out to sacrifice her baby as she thought. The baby is actually Satan’s son. Guy allowed Satan to impregnate Rosemary while she was drugged, in exchange for the coven’s work in helping his career.

What struck me about this film upon second viewing – apart from the incredible suspense-building – was how sad it is. While I think there may be a few different meanings in the story, I’d have to agree about the ‘reproductive control’ theory above… which, apart from being scary, is also heartbreaking.

Rosemary wants nothing more in the world than to have a baby. She doesn’t have any goals or aspirations other than raising a safe, healthy child. But in the end, she has zero control over anything about this child – including who its father is. She gives birth to Satan’s son – and, in a final moment many-times noted for how chilling it is, gives in to her maternal instincts and becomes chained to this Satanic offspring for life on the basis that, as the mother, she must care for it. (Hmmm…. maybe this is a film about the fear of becoming a parent?) The little “Jenny or Andy” she dreamed of her whole life is forever denied her. She doesn’t even get to pick the child’s name. The title, Rosemary’s Baby, is ironic.

It’s also sad how no one cares for the increasingly isolated Rosemary (with the exception of one friend who is killed off when he uncovers the secret and tries to warn her,) not even her own husband. She truly is just a vessel, a means to an end, and this adds to the terror… while we identify with Rosemary as an actual person and can put ourselves in her shoes, we see how easy it is for a human being to be used as a commodity. It shows how something tragic can happen to anyone – a sensation that’s heightened all the more by how utterly commonplace Rosemary’s neighbors, who lead a Satanic coven, actually appear.

There is one more theory about the film that caught my attention, and which may explain why it’s so chilling to men and women alike. Rosemary is actually “America.” (Bear with me.) The film was made in the ’60s, a decade about love and peace. Rosemary, like the hopeful people of that time, is naive about what her future holds. Once it becomes inevitable that her beliefs have no place in the “real world,” she not only accepts the world as it is – she has to give up her ideals and become a part of it.

It’s chilling to note that writer/director Roman Polanksi’s pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was herself murdered in a Satanic ritual by the Manson family, shortly after the release of Rosemary’s Baby. The event, dubbed one of the most significant of the 20th Century, came right at the end of the ’60s and, for many, marked the end of the peace/love era. It’s surrounded by conspiracy theories of its own…

But that’s a post for another day.

Blog by: Sara McDermott

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