Paying It Forward

A college-bound filmmaker gives back to the program that gave shape to his filmmaking aspirations

Jonathan Schneider, an 18-year-old graduate of Scarsdale High School is headed to Drexel University to study film and video production. He credits a week-long intensive course he took at International Film Institute of New York (IFI) in the summer of 2016 with helping him to realize that his love of film wasn’t just a hobby, but the career he wanted to pursue in college. He returned to IFI earlier this summer to volunteer as a producer’s assistant, helping students on the set of their short films for the second year in a row.

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“When I took the one week course, I learned about the bones and what goes into filmmaking and what the industry is really like. I was with some gifted teachers who showed me how in-depth such an art form can be and I got really into it. I saw that that’s what I wanted to do and that was only reinforced when I was asked to help out a week after and I was on a different film set every day,” Schneider says. “Not a single day was I unhappy or tired. I loved every second of it. I knew that it was something I wanted to do.”

IFI co-founder Misael Sanchez also got Schneider and two other IFI students positions as production assistants on Three Christs, an indie film that shot on the Sarah Lawrence College campus last year, starring Richard Gere, Peter Dinklage, Juliana Margulies and Bradley Whitford, among others.

“We basically would do whatever needed to be done. I sat for an hour watching Richard Gere’s green tea to make sure nobody got it,” Schneider recalls.

His experience on a professional film set was invaluable. “I got a feel for what it meant to be in a professional environment. It scared me a bit because I saw how stressful it was and how sometimes it’s not always a happy-go-lucky job, but I just think it was amazing. It also gave me hope because I know there’s a lot to do and there’s a lot of passion,” Schneider says. “It made it very real. Maybe in a month I went from seeing it as a hobby to seeing it as something I want to do with my life. And, I can only thank Misael and IFI for that.”

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At Drexel, Jonathan plans to double major in film and environmental studies. “What I’m really interested in is becoming an environmental documentarian or photographer of some sort because I care about the environment,” he says.

Thanks to the hands-on experience that IFI has equipped him with, he feels he has a head start. Besides his time volunteering with student productions and his PA experience on Three Christs, his connections with IFI instructors have paid dividends outside of the Sarah Lawrence campus, too.

“Last year I met IFI cinematography instructor Kate Montgomery. We worked outside of IFI for a while, I also PA’ed for her, doing gigs here and there. I met a lot of the people I know in the industry now through the IFI summer film program.”

It’s only natural that he’d want to pay it forward. Schneider says he came back to help out this summer not just for the experience, networking and connections, but the fun of seeing the lightbulb go off for budding film students.

“I love the atmosphere here,” he says. “It’s very creative. You have people who have never done film before but you also have people who do it all the time and they all get something different out of the experience. And, I love to teach so I love when somebody needs help with something and I can say, ‘I got this! I can help you out,’ it feels good and it makes me feel a lot more secure with my skills.”

At the end of the day, it’s fun.

“I wouldn’t really call this a job so much as just me doing what I like to do, helping everybody else out,” Schneider says.

 


The elements of a successful movie have remained constant since the inception of the art form. The International Film Institute of New York (IFI) was founded in 1997 to provide those with a sincere and abiding interest in filmmaking with a high-quality, low-cost education in all aspects of the filmmaking process: screenwriting, directing, producing, cinematography, and editing in a curriculum combining classroom instruction and hands-on technical workshops. http://www.nyfilmschool.com 

Filmmaker Snapshots: Kate Montgomery

Fast Facts: Kate Montgomery


IMG_8870.JPG.jpegCinematographer, Writer

Current project: CHRISTINE

Recent work: An untitled project with the late actor Martin Landau

You might have seen her: Premiering CHRISTINE at OutFest LA or WINNING Best Short Film in the Women in Film & Television Atlanta Short Film Showcase

Based in: New York

Spends summers: In Bronxville. Kate has worked as an instructor during IFI’s Five-Week Summer Filmmaking Intensive held at Sarah Lawrence College. The program is designed to completely immerse students into the filmmaking process, from screenwriting to post-production. In 2017, Kate taught IFI’s Camera Tech course.

See below for a trailer of CHRISTINE:

With the help of her best friend, Christine redefines her perception of strength and what it means to be herself.

Written and Shot by Kate Montgomery
Directed by Jessica Adler
Produced by Stephanie Serra of Triserratops Productions

 

👋 Thanks for getting to know IFI.


The elements of a successful movie have remained constant since the inception of the art form. The International Film Institute of New York (IFI) was founded in 1997 to provide those with a sincere and abiding interest in filmmaking with a high-quality, low-cost education in all aspects of the filmmaking process: screenwriting, directing, producing, cinematography, and editing in a curriculum combining classroom instruction and hands-on technical workshops. http://www.nyfilmschool.com 

 

Filmmaker Snapshots: Kloudia Sakowski

Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 11.10.05 AM.pngFast Facts: Kloudia Sakowski


Film Student

School: Sarah Lawrence College Fall ’17

You might have seen her: Working as a boom operator on Gabrielle Sidibe‘s short film THE TALE OF FOUR as part of Refinery29‘s film program.

Based in: New Jersey

How we met her: At IFI’s Five-Week Summer Filmmaking Intensive where Kloudia was a student in 2016. Held at Sarah Lawrence College, the program is designed to completely immerse students into the filmmaking process, from screenwriting to post-production. See Kloudia with her fellow filmmakers below.

Where does Kloudia see herself working in the future? Magic 8 Ball Says: Cannot predict now. She’s done sound on a few projects and some digital media work, but there’s an entire summer ahead and film school starts in the fall.

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The elements of a successful movie have remained constant since the inception of the art form. The International Film Institute of New York (IFI) was founded in 1997 to provide those with a sincere and abiding interest in filmmaking with a high-quality, low-cost education in all aspects of the filmmaking process: screenwriting, directing, producing, cinematography, and editing in a curriculum combining classroom instruction and hands-on technical workshops. http://www.nyfilmschool.com 

Directors, Producers and Screenwriters: Get to Know the IFI Summer Team

brooklyn-morgan-390A favorite time of year in New York is almost here. For many that means summer vacations and days spent by the beach or pool, but at the International Film Institute of New York, we are excited to stay put and welcome students to the beautiful campus at Sarah Lawrence College. Beginning June 25, we will be spending five weeks thinking, writing and doing all things film at the IFI Summer Filmmaking Intensive.

To help us throughout the program, we have a talented group of instructors joining us in Bronxville. Students will learn from people working as directors, producers, screenwriters and editors in the film industry.

Get to know them below:

misaelMisael Sanchez, Founder / Director / Cinematography  Misael is a New York based filmmaker whose primary work is comprised of Documentaries and Independent film projects relating to the urban city experience.  He began his career while enrolled at New York University’s Film Program where he graduated with a focus on Cinematography and Producing. Misael is the Founder and Director of the International Film Institute of New York founded in 1998 offering a five week summer intensive filmmaking workshop and one week introduction to filmmaking seminars. He joined the Columbia University Graduate Film program in 1995, where he was Director of Instruction & Cinematography program coordinator for 15 years.  As Faculty at Sarah Lawrence College, where he teaches Film Production at the undergraduate Film/New Media program, he is working closely with the department on expanding course offerings in film production. He works as a professional Director of Photography and Producer on a variety of projects ranging from television documentaries, short films, and music videos.

donellaDonella Alanwick, Managing Director  Donella is a New York-based Film and Theater actress with many years of experience as a professional. She has worked with Lee Breuer with the Mabou Mines Theater Company at the Skirball Center. She has worked on productions ranging from independent short films to feature length projects.  Her most recent work includes direction on a series of short films produced in New York and Utah. Along with her work as an actor Donella has dedicated a large part of her efforts into the development of the International Film Institute of New York. As Partner and Managing Director her responsibilities include promoting and developing partnerships with established film institutions in New York and Los Angeles.    

Jesus AlarconJesus Alarcon, Directing Instructor  Jesus entered the world of narrative at a very early age. He grew nurtured by the vast cultural riches of his country (Mexico), which developed in him a particular sensibility for storytelling in its many forms. Jesus was awarded the Americarum Universitas Scholarship to study his Bachelors Degree in Communications Science at the Universidad de las Américas–Puebla, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. He spent a year abroad studying at the University of Leeds in England, where he debuted as a director in the short-films program. Jesus has worked as a producer, director, cameraman and editor in Mexico, England, Spain, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. He completed his M.F.A. in filmmaking at the University of Columbia in New York, where he was awarded the Cinematography and FOCUS fellowships. He received the Hollywood Foreign Press Award to promising filmmakers. Jesus was selected to participate at the Cine Qua Non Lab Screenwriter’s Workshop in Michoacán Mexico, where he’d later serve as the CQNL Fellow from 2011 to 2013. Currently Jesus has just finished the short film CADENA PERPETUA, and is in development of his first feature film ESPERADORAS.

Lennon Nersesian, Editing Instructor Lennon is an American writer, film editor and producer, and the editor of the award-winning 2014 documentary, TWO: THE STORY OF ROMAN & NYRO, which was awarded the Audience Award at the Nashville Film Festival, Best Documentary at ARPA International Film Festival, and the prestigious Best of Fest honors at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. He is also the editor of the feature documentary, IN OUR BACKYARD, exposing sex trafficking in Brooklyn. The film garnered Best Feature Documentary and the Audience Award at the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival and is a Silver Spotlight Winner for the Spotlight Documentary Film Awards. Lennon is currently producing the feature documentary, CATNIP NATION, about the country’s feral cat epidemic. In addition to filmmaking, Lennon is a published author of four novels, THE GREEN DOOR, ATOM, THE PALISADES, and DIARY OF A PICKY EATER. Lennon has written several award-winning screenplays, including NATIONAL PASTIME, winner of the 2005 Expose It! Comedy Screenwriting Competition and the teleplay, ATOM, second rounder in the Sundance Episodic Story Lab Competition and finalist at the Austin Film Festival Screenplay & Teleplay Competition. Lennon is a graduate of Fordham University, where he wrote, produced, and directed three dramatic plays performed at Fordham’s Backdoor Theatre. Lennon won First Prize at the inaugural Fordham Film Festival for his short dramatic film, REPENT. Lennon teaches a film budgeting and film editing lab at Sarah Lawrence College.

sveaSvea Vocke, Screenwriting Instructor  Sveais a freelance story doctor who works with writers to formulate and edit their narratives. Previously, she taught screenwriting at Columbia University and DeSales University and worked in development at multiple production companies. While completing her M.F.A. in Screenwriting at Columbia, Svea won the Malia Scotch-Marmo/Frank Daniels Memorial Fund Award for Excellence in Screenwriting, wrote a feature that was optioned, and wrote/directed multiple award-winning shorts. As an undergraduate, she attended Brown University and earned a B.A. in German Studies. Svea is currently working on her sixth feature script. 

kyle1Kyle Wilamowski, Directing Instructor  Kyle is writer, filmmaker, and native of both small town and suburban Michigan. After receiving his B.A from the University of Michigan in 2003, Kyle worked in Geneva, Switzerland at CERN where he documented the world’s most renowned physicists as they worked on the Large Hadron Collider in search of the “God-particle”. In 2008, he received his M.F.A. in Film Direction and Screenwriting from Columbia University where his thesis short film and thesis feature script both received honors. Since then he has directed, produced, and written various short films, music videos and documentaries, which have screened at festivals throughout the United States. Kyle is currently slated to direct his first feature film, GRASS STAINS, in the spring of 2013 and is proud to call Brooklyn, New York his home.


 

The elements of a successful movie have remained constant since the inception of the art form. The International Film Institute of New York (IFI) was founded in 1997 to provide those with a sincere and abiding interest in filmmaking with a high-quality, low-cost education in all aspects of the filmmaking process: screenwriting, directing, producing, cinematography, and editing in a curriculum combining classroom instruction and hands-on technical workshops. http://www.nyfilmschool.com 

Honorable Mention For Sabrina Mallado

We are pleased to announce that Sabrina Mallado, from San Juan, Puerto Rico, a graduate of IFI’s 2014 Summer Session, has had her work with us, “Nowhere,” acknowledged with an Honorable Mention in Film & Animation in the Regional section of the 2015 Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards.

The award is of particular note for two reasons. First, only the top 40% (out of more than
300,000 nationwide submissions) 2b23de98ba85a7cd5ce4b2e6fb7ede66receive any level of recognition. Second, the presenting organization, the Alliance for Young Writers & Artists, committed to the discovery and promotion of teenage creativity, has a long awards history (since 1923) of talented judges (among them Paul Giamatti, Robert Frost, and Judy Blume) and illustrious past winners (to name a few, Andy Warhol,  Sabrina Movie Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 2.32.18 PMTruman Capote, Richard Avedon, and Robert Redford).

IFI would like to thank Alana Benoit, Senior Manager, National Programs of the Alliance, for her complimentary announcement letter and, most sincerely, we congratulate Ms. Mallado on this much-deserved appreciation of her efforts and talents.

Seminar at New Rochelle High School

Last month, as part of our continuing series of information seminars, Misael Sanchez, our Founder and Director, held a tutorial at New Rochelle High School in Anthony Stirpe’s film class. Under the heading “Fundamentals Of Lighting,” the wide-ranging session covered the following areas: Situating Your Lights (where to put them); Appropriate Equipment (matching tools to project scale); Creativity (making the most of materials on hand); and Lighting As Story Element (incorporating lighting as a story element). IMG_6366Also touched upon was the subject of choosing the right college that led to Misael engaging in a one-on-one with a student concerning methods of researching options and making the best decision. The reaction to the seminar was, according to two attendees, highly positive. Rebecca Dubin said, “I had so much fun . . . I learned so much. Thank you, Misael,” and Megan Maria stated, “I am currently trying to figure out exactly which area of film I want to study when I get to college. This was an amazingly informative session. After talking to Misael, I have a clearer picture of the areas of film that interest me. I am more excited than ever.” An overview and the effectiveness of the seminar was offered by teacher Anthony Stirpe: “I teach film to ninth and twelfth graders in New Rochelle, New York. When looking for a group to partner with, it was clear the International Film Institute of New York was the best in town. I was amazed with the significant experience that Misael Sanchez created for my students. It was a fantastic hands-on seminar, and the students were enthralled with his exciting and dynamic presentation. I hope that this is the beginning of something great! I can’t wait to have them back again to work with my students.” Further seminars are definitely in the future. As Donella Alanwick, Managing Director commented, “It’s always great when we have the opportunity to visit schools and meet students who are looking to further their studies in film and media.”