‘India has one of the largest filmmaking industries in the world’
David Klein has been with the New York Film Academy (NYFA) for 24 years, overseeing the development its campuses in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami.
As senior executive vice president, he overseas the operations, development and delivery of the carious courses taught at NYFA, including film making, game design and cinematography.
He spoke to HT about the media and entertainment industry in India, student interest and prospects. Excerpts:
over the last few years, has there been a rise in indian students studying at NYFA.
Yes, significantly. We have hosted, since 2004 over 1,000 students from India at the New York Film Academy, but last year alone, 2017, we hosted 190 students at NYFA from India.
With respect to india, what has been NYFA’s strategy in terms of growth and expansion?
It’s a step progression for us. It all began in 2011, when we hosted our first filmmaking workshop in Mumbai. We didn’t have our own location at that time, so we secured some space, brought in our staff and equipment and taught 84 students, and it was fantastic.
The students were so eager and receptive. That was indication for us that there was a terrific market here, and that a year-round location would be welcomed and successful.
It took us a few years, but we now have that location at Urmi Estate in Lower Parel, and we’re open for shortterm workshops.
We’re currently running our four and eight-week Filmmaking Workshops and Acting For Film Workshops for adults, and in May we have added to our offerings 1-week workshops in Filmmaking, Acting For Film, and Photography for teens, ages 14-17.
Our plan is to offer our longer term, 1-year programs in May of 2019.
What is your take on the media and entertainment sector in india? What is india’s stand with respect to the global industry?
India has one of the largest filmmaking industries in the world, and the films made in India do have a global reach, for sure.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, the distribution of Indian films abroad, especially in the States, is not at extensive as it should be.
To see Indian films, myself, in the States, I have to seek them out. They’re most often not playing at my local theatre.
I think there is still much opportunity for Indian film makers to produce films that will have extensive wide appeal. The fact is that people want good stories. That’s really it, and that’s what we focus on at the Film Academy.
Are there more prospects for students? What are the kind of new media careers they can look forward to?
Opportunities in the film and media industries continue to expand, both on the technology side and the creative side.
Virtual reality is still an emerging field, we’re still exploring the technology, it’s still improving and we’re still figuring out how to use the technology in our storytelling. This is a big opportunity for students entering the market now.
Additionally, there are more avenues of distribution for visual media than every before.
Television has emerged in the last several years as a place for high quality content. Not to long ago there was a big divide between cinema and television.
The top filmmakers would not create work for the small screen (TV), it was the big screen or nothing at all.
Nowadays, nobody is turning their nose up at TV, and the shows we get to watch in the comfort of our own homes or on our mobile devices have a cinematic quality and stories to match the quality of what’s coming out of Hollywood. Speaking of mobile devices, that’s another big change for filmmakers and media artists.
Twenty years ago, the only way for a new filmmaker to get his work seen was to submit it to film festivals.
Now you can reach the entire world in a matter of minutes online.
Furthermore, more and more content is being created specifically for the Internet.
The web series is something that few of us could have imagined two decades ago.
Any plans for expansion of the india campus?
Expansion is always on our mind, because we want to bring our style of learning to anybody with a passion for the film and related arts.
For now, however, we’re focused on our campus in Mumbai. Nonetheless, part of that focus is determining where throughout India we need to offer our workshops. What I mean by that is that our location in Mumbai affords us a greater opportunity to bring our workshops to other parts of the country at various times during the year.
It’s much easier to transport our equipment and faculty from Mumbai to Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Delhi or Kochi, for example, than it is to transport our staff and all of our equipment from New York or Los Angeles.
Now that we have a home in India, you can expect to see us around.
▪ David Klein