New York Film Academy MFA Filmmaking Student

Some call me Q, but my actual name is Quirine. I’m Dutch and an MFA Filmmaking student at the New York Film Academy, Universal Studios, and just finished shooting my Year 1 short film a few weeks ago. The great thing about New York Film Academy is that in this program, we learn everything: writing, directing, editing, producing, cinematography and every other position in a film crew.

What I love most and certainly suits my needs, is that it’s incredibly hands on. In 8 months, we shot about 9 short films, ranging anywhere from 1 min to 15 min. All written, directed and edited by myself. It’s truly great to experience so many different positions to figure out what it is you love to do and what you’re good at.
Since we’ve been on so many shoots, we are pretty seasoned by now already. NYFA teaches us how to be professional and how things go in the “real world”. I’ve heard quite a few times from actors on set that we were very professional for a student film crew. Because all of our teachers work in the industry themselves and most have been to other film schools as well, we really get great information. They also give us tips that they were never taught at school.
This program is incredibly intense, even more than I expected. For the first few weeks, we were busy 7 days a week. 5 days of classes and 2 days of shooting. It eases up a little bit at the end of the 2nd semester, but even when you have time off, you’re always preparing your shoot, writing or editing. So you really have to be committed and prepared to work hard. Then again, if this is your passion, like it is mine, you’ll get through it all and you’ll love doing it.
A perk of being at New York Film Academy Universal Studios is that we get to shoot some of our Production Workshops on the Universal Backlot. Always fun to see where big movies like Back to the FuturePsycho and Indiana Jones were shot and to actually use the same lot for your own shorts.
There’s so much more to tell about the international aspect of the school, the small classes and many other things, but I’d like to end with the fact that so far it’s been an incredible experience. I’ve learned so much, experienced so many great things, met many new friends whom I’d love to work with outside school and can say now with confidence, I’m a writer/director. I’m really looking forward to next year and can’t wait to submit my short to film festivals!
-Quirine Dongelmans

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