Tag Archives: Carol Mazzoni

The 52nd New York Film Festival

Ladies and Gentlemen, are you ready?

In exactly 3 days, the city of New York is going to be taken over by film, and we couldn’t be more excited. The 52nd New York Film Festival kicks off on September 26th and it will bring the power of cinema to the city that never sleeps all the way until October 12th. With over 2 weeks of world premieres, award winners, retrospective screenings, spotlights on emerging filmmakers, panels and galas, the 52nd edition of the acclaimed film festival has everything it takes to be the greatest so far.

NYFF 52 2

Founded in 1963, as the auteur theory and European cinematic modernism were crashing upon the shores of American film culture, the New York Film Festival continues to introduce audiences to the most exciting, innovative and accomplished works of world cinema.The non-competitive festival, sometimes abbreviated as NYFF, was established by Amos Vogel and Richard Roud. The films are selected by one of the world’s most prominent film presentation organizations: the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Gone GirlBen Affleck, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit, Lisa Barnes
and David Clennon in ‘Gone Girl’ from director David Fincher

This year’s lineup will include some of this year’s major Oscar contenders, including Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher’, Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner’, David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars’ and this year’s Sundance winner Whiplash’. They join the already-announced opening film Gone Girl’ from director David Fincher, centerpiece gala selection Inherent Vice’ from Paul Thomas Anderson, and closing night gala selection Birdman’ from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu in the lineup.

Check out the festival’s trailer:

If you’re interested in learning more about the 52nd NYFF’s schedule and showtimes, click here.

by DFA Marketing & Social Media Manager Carol Mazzoni.

Student Work: 'Assigned Sex' by Shaun Dawson

Obsessed with the art of storytelling since she learned how to walk and talk, Shaun Dawson followed a very unique path before she landed in the world of filmmaking. She was a surgical technologist for 7 years in the US military, when her dream of becoming a storyteller became more concrete. The experience of providing aid to earthquake victims in Haiti, in January 2010 spurred her on. It was at that time that Shaun met a journalist who also served as a major inspiration to her to really pursue filmmaking as a career choice.

Shaun Dawson

After studying for a BS in Marketing followed by an MA in Communications, Shaun decided it was time to master the art of visual storytelling. She enrolled at Digital Film Academy and hasn’t looked back since.

Her new project, ‘Assigned Sex’, tackles a very important subject and it has been highly anticipated among the LGBT community. The documentary unveils the hurdles that gender-variant individuals face and forces society to bear more responsibility. The piece follows five transgender individuals as they break away from America’s more traditional gender roles. The project was successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter and is now about to be released to the public. Here, Shaun tells us a little bit about her campaign journey, project and future.

Assigned Sex 2

DFA Blog: Tells us the biggest secret of your successful crowdfunding campaign. What really worked?
Shaun Dawson: Defining your target audience is essential. Once I pinpointed my target audience, the rest was a breeze. I’m pretty sure I’m part of every online LGBT community now. LinkedIn was a huge resource. Over 70% of the donations were driven by LinkedIn.

DFA Blog: What was your main challenge with the campaign?
Shaun Dawson: The biggest hurdle was the courage to actually start. Kickstarter is all or nothing, which is discouraging for most people. Keeping my team motivated and staying positive throughout the entire campaign was definitely a challenge.

DFA Blog: How were you first made aware of the alarming statistics on attempted suicide among transgender individuals?
Shaun Dawson: I met a transgender individual who began his transition during my freshman year of college. We were close friends in the early stages of his transition, but, as it progressed, he began to isolate himself. His social isolation and depression eventually led to several suicide attempts. By the beginning of my sophomore year, he had completely cut me off because he felt as a cisgender individual I could never understand him. Little did he know, I actually really wanted to understand. I, then, began following transgender individuals who shared their journeys on YouTube and realized that most were severely depressed with suicidal thoughts.

DFA Blog: What else made this project a must for you?
Shaun Dawson: The current peak in transgender-based hate crimes across the country.

DFA Blog: What is the most moving story for you from the documentary?
Shaun Dawson: One of the cast members of the documentary is an elementary teacher here in New York City. He is very passionate about his career. He agreed to be a part of the documentary because he felt that venting would be therapeutic during his transition. His biggest fear is for parents of his students to question him as a teacher. Watching him progress over the past year and a half has been very moving.

Assigned Sex 1‘Assigned Sex’ was written, directed and shot by Shaun Dawson and edited by another DFA student, Richie Lanzillotto Jr.

The documentary will be released to the public on OCTOBER 16, 2014. Stay tuned!

Connect with ‘Assigned Sex’  on Facebook & Twitter:

by DFA Marketing & Social Media Manager Carol Mazzoni and DFA Blog Manager Sara McDermott Jain.

Countdown to the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival

We’re a little over 2 weeks away from one of the most exciting film festivals of the year: the Toronto International Film Festival. And we’re here to tell you a little bit about the mighty event and what to expect from this year’s edition.


The TIFF was founded by Bill Marshall, Henk Van der Kolk and Dusty Cohl as “The Festival of the Festivals” in 1976, and it showed a collection of the best films from film festivals around the world. In 1994, the festival’s name was officially replaced with “Toronto International Film Festival” and it started having premieres of its own – maybe “The Festival of the Festivals” was a bit too presumptuous, even for an event that great.

From that point on, the Toronto International Film Festival has premiered some of the most acclaimed films in recent history, such as American Beauty, “Ray”, “Crash”, “Slumdog Millionaire”, “Black Swan”, “The King’s Speech”, “Argo” and “Silver Linings Playbook”. In September 2010, the festival opened its new home in the Toronto Entertainment District, the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

TIFF Laurel

Here are some of the most anticipated premieres that will take place on this year’s edition:

Jason Reitman’s “Men, Women & Children”
Jean-Marc Vallee’s “Wild”
Antoine Fuqua’s “The Equalizer”
Noah Baumbach’s “While We’re Young”
Shawn Levy’s “This Is Where I Leave You”
James Franco’s “The Sound and the Fury”
Chris Rock’s “Top Five”
Jon Stewart’s directorial debut “Rosewater”

The 2014 TIFF is expecting around 400,000 attendees overall, many of them from outside Canada. The city of Toronto is about to shine bright with the amount of stars that will be showing up within the next few weeks.


The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival will take place from September 4th to 14th, 2014.

What are your bets?

by Carol Mazzoni, Digital Film Academy‘s Marketing & Social Media Manager

DFA Goes Brazilian!

When she was first considering film schools and living in Brazil, Carol Mazzoni did an internet search to discover which school might be best for her. Her main considerations were cost (number one) and location (number two).

It wasn’t long before she landed on the Digital Film Academy (homepage). Given the low cost and Times Square address, she knew she’d found a perfect fit.

Times Square, New York City - a center for film.
Times Square, New York City – a center for film.

Now, she’s also an employee at the DFA, managing the school’s Social Media and working on International Outreach. Additionally, she’s completed a variety of film projects, from short films destined for the festival circuit to web series she’s collaborating on with fellow DFA alums.

Mazzoni’s story is a common one at the DFA. The school boasts a large number of international students who’ve come to the US to pursue their dreams. For this reason, they are branching out by attending their first-ever student-based recruitment fair in Brazil in the second half of March 2014.

Salão do Estudante in Brazil
Salão do Estudante in Brazil

The Salão do Estudante, run by BMI, is one of the most active student recruitment fairs in the world, with 200,000 students coming through the fair in four days. Additionally, in days when the fair isn’t running, the DFA will meet with numerous agencies that work to partner students with the perfect program for their needs.

Patrick DiRenna at the fair.
Patrick DiRenna at the fair.

Mazzoni will be attending the fair along with DFA President Patrick DiRenna. Between agency meetings, meetings with prospective students, and the fair itself, the event will take them to several Brazilian cities over the course of two and a half weeks.

“It’ll be exciting to talk with the crowd and hear more about what international students are looking for,” Mazzoni says. “I can’t wait.”

By Digital Film Academy Blog Manager Sara McDermott Jain

Return to blog homepage.

® GI Bill® Is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill