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New York Film Academy (NYFA)

New York, United States

Average Rating
(14) Write a review

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100 East 17th Street
New York, New York 10003
United States

Tel. +1 (212) 674-4300
Email. via the contact form

Are foreign students accepted?

Courses Offered
Diploma (1 Year), Diploma (2 Years), Under Graduate Degree (Bachelors), Graduate Degree (Masters), Short Beginner Courses, Short Professional Courses

Unknown (add info)

Camera Formats Used
MiniDV, HDV, 16mm, 35mm

Post-Production Systems Used
Final Cut Pro

Average Age of Equipment
Not Known

Reviews of New York Film Academy (NYFA)

Sissane Former Student, 29-Jun-2010
I attended the 8 week acting program!! Such a waist of money... we were supposed to get the scenes we worked on edited nothing was done, they dont answer the emails. One of the teacher called us a bunch of loosers while she was searching her name on google and saying how good of an actress she was. one advice: DONT WAIST YOUR MONEY!!!!!!!!
Holly Clarke Non-Academic Staff Member, 16-Jun-2010
My experience with NYFA is that they attract students who are serious (and whose parents are doling out serious $$$) about learning about filmmaking. My experience is that the school is set up to benefit the people at the top. No one cares about the students or staff or has ANY degree of professionalism. They hire people to be in charge who do not know what they are doing. It is ALL about the money, and nothing about delivery a quality or safe product.
MPG Former Student, 21-Dec-2008
The Los Angeles Campus: Oh. My. God. Don't waste your time. It is now INFAMOUS in this city amongst younger people who are in the know. When I dropped out of it the staff member who handles such things told me that he had run out of withdrawal forms then repeated "this is horrible" three times. Yes, it is horrible. Students-- even the most dedicated students from my class- were dropping out in massive numbers for a reason. AVOID IT. It's not worth 10 K, let alone 17 K.
Jessica Page Non-Academic Staff Member, 21-Apr-2008
The New York Film Academy is a Film School. I have worked here for almost three months. Although I am not a student I work closely with the students and they always have great things to say. The staff is beyond knowledgeable and very personable. It is a great environment to learn the art of filmmaking.
Lon Cohen Non-Academic Staff Member, 19-Apr-2008
The New York Film Academy is a great Film School. I learned that many Hollywood stars have either sent their kids here to learn or actually come here to be guest lecturers and teachers themselves. Very intensive and hands-on.
ANK Former Student, 26-Sep-2007
I attended the NYFA in Los Angeles for a one month program. The school is located in an office building near many major studios, and some administrative studios of smaller film companies. At first I was a bit concerned because of some bad reviews, but one month was all I could spare in my schedule at the time. Many of the attendees had long travels to get to the school (getting up at 5 am) so it was perfect to see that most classes would start at 10 am. But they go on 7 days a week. When I first arrived to sign-up the first day I felt slightly disappointed as the administrative staff looked like a group of high school kids. What could they possibly teach, not being old enough to know much of anything? But I soon discovered that at least the teachers were not small kids, but most of my teachers had quite a bit of experience in film. I learned a lot from the classes, especially the camera and lighting (boring but a very vital and useful class on technical details of photography) and screenplay classes. A brief class on producing had a lot of information, more than could be covered in a brief 2 hours, but it was all valuable information. My main wish had been to learn directing. I learnt the least from this particular teacher [director] although he was a nice guy. I would have preferred a more experienced director and felt my hours in his class were waisted. All teachers were nice and helpful to a certain extent but administration was often very disorganized. The most frustrating part of the class was that no details or instructions were given about the shoots that were coming up weekly, sometimes twice a week and would be thrust onto you quickly. The classes were prepared so that you would learn a particular aspect for your project the next day (at least this was great), but we did not really know this and we felt frustrated to invent stories on the spot on such a short notice for the shoots all the time. And you basically had no time or energy at all after these intense days to arrange anything to make them a bit more interesting, be it props, location approval, actors (who often would not show up and would mess up our schedule in one way or the other) and so on. The school would not really help to get approvals for locations which I felt was a downside. They should at least have handed out forms for you one week before and have you fill them in and return them by a certain date for them to arrange approvals. But you are on your own with mostly everything. I once complained about this and got the response "well, welcome to filmmaking". But in all honesty, when does a filmmaker end up being the producer, director, gaffer, administration, props department, talent scout and what not for a project on a days notice? It was overwhelming since there was no time for preparations. Two things I feel would be a must for these classes are; a list and photos of locations and sets that are prearranged for approval; better props (they have a very slim selection) and the props department to be open all day (they only open two hours a day - when you have class. And if you leave class they take it off your points). Props were very basic and there was not a single backdrop or location arrangement or option arranged to select from, besides your own apartment if you had one nearby. Computers for student use were often not working and no one bothered to have them repaired when I was there - and you may need them to search info for your projects. Many of the students were from abroad and had no knowledge that you really need a car in Los Angeles since the school had not notified them, and had great difficulties getting around. After about two weeks I began getting really bored with the school and not wanting to go to class. It stopped being fun and started being a pressured bore to always invent some silly short story that had to fit the restricted instructions for a 1-3 minute shoot. They would later be evaluated and screened in front of other students. Suggestions and pointers: -- This school does teach you a lot Its a school for beginners. Past bad reviews seem to not be fully accurate as the school certainly seem to have made efforts to improve a lot. -- If you decide to take the classes there, have 3-4 stories pre-written before you even start your first class. Make them extremely simple because your practices can only contain a certain number of cuts and shots (ex. a man walks behind two people talking, stealing a valet). I found the short shoots to be very boring. Many students had difficulty coming up with something for them because it simply was uninspiring. Not only were we working on a very old camera with b/w film and poor quality footage (to learn the very basics of camera work, which was necessary), but I could not get inspired by these instant, pointless short stories over and over again. The classes will have two days (no more) of shoots on the actual backlot of Universal Studios which was the most inspiring part. You get to use only up to 3-4 hours for yours in total. You can't utilize the lot much because all classes get to use the lot at the same time, meaning you end up having another group only 15-20 feet away from you shooting their scene. So you don't get real good use of the great background drops of the set but are confined to a small corner somewhere. -- Get numbers for a string of 'actors' that go to the school for your shoots. You need backup plans because many are flaky, and some are quite amusing and already think they are great actors when they cant act for nothing! -- Another suggestion I could make is not to pay the outrageous rates for the flats they rent out. Students were paying Beverly Hills rates for a basic studio in lousy, boring Universal City! The actual going rate would be less than half what they were being charged. Rent a car and arrange cheaper accommodation nearby. The only plus point with the flats were that they were across the street from the school - but at $2000-3000 a month? No!
Joshua Miller Former Student, 19-Jul-2007
Incredibly dissatisfied. I attended a 4 week digital filmmaking class at the princeton university campus in the summer of 2006 and was increcibly dissatisfied. This camp was poorly planned, the equiptment was old and inferior, the TA's taught the first day of camp becasue the teachers weren't even there yet, and when the teachers did arrive, the were lacking in professionalism that this camp advertises. I took a few TV courses at my local community college and this camp intrigued me becasue of its advertised professionalism, but I did not recieve what was advertised. I spend 5000 dollars for something that i could have learned in 3 months at my local community college for a whopping 300 bucks...which is exactly what i did. At the end of the semester, i had a decent 20 minute film. At the end of this camp would make a 3 minute video to "music", which was just a fancy way of telling us that we're making a music video. What about the end of the first week? Well after spending 5 twelve hour days, you were expected to shoot a scene with "emotion" without sound or editing...basicly have someone smile and stick a camera in their face. Thats what this 5000 dollars will get you. Don't bother wasting your time or money, spend the 5000 bucks, buy yourself a DVX100, a tripod, and a filmmaking book...and ill gaurentee you that you'l learn alot more by yourself that you would ever learn at this camp.
Emmet Gibney Former Student, 06-Dec-2006
I went to NYFA this past fall and left after 5-6 weeks. I documented my time there briefly on my website if you're interested in reading more about my time there. I enjoyed my time there, but I didn't really feel as though I was learning anything there that I couldn't learn on my own. My plan was to return home after my program regardless, so it wasn't worth it for me to stay there if the quality of subject material learned wasn't great. Most of what you learn is all on your own, so if you're very well motivated by yourself then you don't need this school, or any school for that matter. I will admit that the one thing that NYFA offers that you can't get on your own is a network of people doing the same things as you are. Also, New York City is the best place I've ever been. I miss it a lot.
Akshay Marwah Former Student, 03-Mar-2006
Expensive, but the experience is worth it ! Learning the repoes of filmmaking in a metropolis like new york is superb
Gabe Former Student, 10-Mar-2004
I participated in the NYFA's week-long film-making class at Princeton University over the 2003-04 summer. I went into this expecting great things, and that's what I got; however it was a bumpy ride. The week long program is made up of long 9am - 10pm days. But you learn about everything: from writing scripts, filming, editing on Final Cut Pro, etc. However, the first 3 days sucked. Most of the teacher's assistants (students) didn't know squat, or at least they didn't care enough to tell us. They hardly explained anything to us, they just seemed like they did the bare minimum just to get through the day. It ticked me off, because I wanted to learn something... so I took things into my own hands and just taught myself using their equipment. When it came time to review your storyboard and script, the teacher pretty much said mine was dumb and what the heck are you talking about; and that was it. I would've appreciated some help on HOW I could change it to make it better. So I went back to my room, totally scrapped my storyboard, came up with a new one in 2 hours and it turned about to be the best one there, I didn't even get it approved. I've heard pros and cons about NYFA, for my week long experience, it was mostly cons. However, I did get some things of the class: 1) how to operate 35mm cameras 2) how to control my rage when I'm trying to learn something... As for the editing, thankfully I already knew basics to Final Cut Pro. In fact, I ended up becoming one of the teacher's assistants to help the rest of kids edit! Don't waste your money folks. I still have a passion for film, but the industry is full of weirdos and slackers. Please really look into the NYFA and get other opinions before you consider education there.
David Weaver Former Student, 26-Jun-2003
I am definitely glad that I attended NYFA. In two months, I learned many of the filmmaking basics--lighting, 16mm non-sync sound black and white cinematography, editing (using Final Cut Pro III), etc. My fellow students became wonderful friends, and my main teacher Bryan Norton--well, suffice to say, he was the No. 1 reason it was such a blast! There are, admittedly, some other people there that do come across as a bit "this job is beneath me" (most of the staff are 25-35 year old males--maybe a bit too much testosterone), but there are others who were very helpful. If you're not the type who's aggressive about learning, it might not be the place for you--but I definitely don't regret going.
Melissa Rubin Former Student, 26-Jun-2003
I attended the New York campus and I cant think of one complaint. I had a great time, yeah, it was a lot of money. but it was a lot less than normal four year school. I also thought the staff was informative and helpful (especially Bryan Norton). They are not just a bunch of wanna-be's...most of them are out doing their thing in the industry and teaching at the same time. The student to equiptment ratio is unbelievable. But the best part, aside from learning a lot in a short period of time, the students are from all over the world and it provides for a interesting experience. Overall i would recommend this school to anyone and everyone who wants to learn about film!!!
Peggy Steenvoorden Former Student, 12-Jun-2002
I'm a former student, and I will tell you that I wasn't the only one with complaints.. almost every student of my class and the other classes felt the same way!! they promise you a lot and you get nothing!! VERY old equipment, teachers who doesn't care anymore, it looks in the catalogue if the course will take place in the universal studios, but it will only take place there one day in the week, they are not interested in you and your questions, what you learn is very poor and if you have some problems.. than you have to solve this by yourself!!! so if you are also a foreigner forget it they will not help you with housing or questions about the city or how to get permits for filming..YOU STAND ALONE!!!!
Geneviève De Bauw Former Student, 20-Jan-2002
I did the NYFA 2 months course last spring in NYC, and really got what I wanted from it, ie. a good introduction to filmmaking. Yes, it's expensive (a good business for its founder...), yes, teachers are sometimes not up to the standards you would expect relative to what you pay, but for a crash course it gives you a lot in terms of eg. access to equipment, and understanding of the basic activities and processes of film-making. I enjoyed a lot using the old 16mm Arriflex cameras and editing on Steenbeck machines; I probably won't ever work anymore on these (I am currently working with the Sony PDX-10 DVCAM camera and FinalCut Pro), but it is essential training for cinematography and editing purposes. Worth it - but be prepared to pay a lot in addition to the tuition fee...

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Guide to Film School Ratings


Awesome - this school rocks!


Good - worth the effort.


Adequate - you'll learn something useful.


Poor - but beggars can't be choosers.


Dire - don't waste your time!


Unrated - the jury is still out

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