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Day 4 at TIFF19 – Zellweger Disappears, and ‘Judy’ Storms Into the Spotlight

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It was my last day at the Toronto International Film Festival (#TIFF19) and I had to get up bright and early on a Sunday morning to run off and get in the P&I line for the last film of the festival for me, and the first film of the 4th day at TIFF. 8:45am, it was at, and although I have yet to see a full-to-capacity P&I screening, I did not want to risk the chance that this one would be the one that I couldn’t get in. I did have an alternative, a 9:45am P&I screening of Tom Hanks in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” or Jennifer Lopez’s “Hustlers” at 12:15pm. So it was going to be a good day, regardless, but there I was at 8am walking up to the festival cineplex, and yes, there was already a line, and although I must have been the 50th person there (which was the longest line I had arrived at to join, albeit the closest to capacity eventually of any screening I went to), I knew that I was going to get in and see the Oscar winner, Renée Zellweger (“Chicago“) defy the odds and attempt to embody the legendary Judy Garland in screenwriter Tom Edge’s well crafted and thoughtful “Judy“.

As directed with a smart spirit by Rupert Goold (King Charles III), the film wisely narrows the approach to the final year of the great Judy Garland’s troubled life, mixing in, like some sweet vermouth, some flashbacks to give the whole cocktail some added kick. It’s a kind and focused adaptation of the stage play, End of the Rainbow, giving us a tragic Hollywood tale of what happens when a wonderfully gifted young woman is pushed and prodded quite vigorously (and cruelly) forward from a fresh and young thing (Darci Shaw) eager to please the head honcho, to the damaged woman in her 40’s (she died at only the age of 47) we see struggling before us. Powerfully jittery and charismatically engaging, the disappearing artist  Zellweger gives a performance that is purely everything it should be and so much more. She grabs the drink right out from under our noses, magically turning a good white wine spritzer into some exquisite expensive champagne that we happily want to drink down to the last drop. It’s perfect and raw, with Zellweger vanishing within, only to emerge triumphantly as the thoroughly damaged movie star trying to keep from losing everything in the last year of her short lived life.

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Renée Zellweger in “Judy“. Photo courtesy of TIFF

Zellweger barely lets us look at another, although all around her perform their roles with grace and power. Finn Wittrock (NYTW’s Othello, “The Big Short”) as the last man to marry the screen legend, the totally appealing opportunist Mickey Deans, shines and twinkles his gorgeous eyes in just the right manner, never letting us fully know his full motivation and heart; not playing the devil, but there’s also no halo hanging over his head. He’s filled with a dangerous but effervescent glee, and we revel in the way Zellweger’s Judy looks to him. The look is very different when her eyes are cast towards the father of Lorna (Bella Ramsey), her ex-husband, Sidney Luft, dynamically portrayed by the talented Rufus Sewell (Broadway’s Translations, “The Illusionist”). The toxicity of their engagement registers loud and clear, a mixing that is so full of fire that it must have been something when it worked, but deadly and hostile when it went sour.

Pushed by Sidney’s desire to take Judy’s kids away from her frantic and wobbly lifestyle and give them a steady home and schooling, Judy, now middle-aged, homeless, broke, painted as a terrible mother, embroiled in a custody battle, and uninsurable in Hollywood, reluctantly jets off to London to appear at the Talk of the Town nightclub. “London would offer you a lot of money” it seems. So off she goes, in a desperate bid to regain some control of her finances and her shattered career. But crippled by severe anxiety, insomnia, and full to the brim of self-destructive tendencies brought on by alcoholism and drug use, born out of her days as a young actress on a movie set, she implodes off and on stage, barely making it to her own opening night. That is, if it weren’t for the trusted, ever so British personal assistant, Rosalyn Wilder, lovingly played by the stunning Jessie Buckley (“Chernobyl”, “Wild Rose”) who has been assigned to her. It’s a pretty thankless part, I must say, playing second fiddle to Zellweger’s dynamic fireball, but Buckley finds a way to creep sweetly and strongly in and under our skin, just like Rosalyn does with the difficult Judy. That opening night scene, that has Rosalyn literally pulling Judy together, zipping her into a dress, and shoving her out onto the stage crackles like ice being drowned with vodka. It’s heart racing and wonderfully touching, yet once she’s out there in the spotlight, “Judy“, the singer and the movie, fully finds that “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” bleeding heart, dynamic meaning and the marvelous magic that makes Judy iconic. She sings with a trembling force, lighting up the stage, and all we can do is sit back with wonderment, forgetting about the actress playing the actress, and just take in these Judy Garland moments with glee.

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Renée Zellweger in “Judy“.

Standing on shaky made-for-the-stage legs before an enraptured and eager audience, microphone in hand “Judy” sizzles, especially with the sweeping magnificent cinematography by Ole Bratt Birkeland. Judy, the star triumphs, until the strain of her whirlwind marriage and erratic lifestyle starts to scratch at her skin. We feel the cracks start to appear in the rocks glass; issues of her insecure attachment taking hold of her nervous mind, and watch with fear as her desperate impulsiveness shifts into high gear. The rollercoaster ride that takes place in those few months in England that “Judy” chronicles is so powerfully sad, but also a bit of a hodgepodge of facts and phantoms tossed together casually. Without Zellweger center stage singing “The Trolly Song” with such undeniable energy and finesse, I’m not sure how tuned in we would be. But the touching friendship with the older gay couple who wait for her by the stage door every night touches our collective heart, as we, for once, get to see the caring Judy that must have lived somewhere deep inside that fragile frame from day one. The movie industry that loved her so much, did a number on her, tearing into her soul with pills and alcohol, leaving an empty scared shell of a woman that barely ate or knew how to enjoy herself. She is haunted by the fear that all may leave her; her lovers, her children, her talent, and her audience, and it is in that pain that Zellweger finds her Judy. We sit in wonder as we watch a magician disappear and reemerge as the sad troubled star we have all grown to love and care for. We are all those two older gay men, in spirit, at the stage door just hoping for a bit of her magic dust to land on our lapels. Never imaging that she might come to their home for a runny omelette and a stiff drink, and give us a heart felt hug.

For more, go to frontmezzjunkies.com

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my last...so far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

YOUNG’S 12 — (via Ultimate Classic Rock) Since he began making records in the 60’s, Neil Young has seldom let a year or two pass between albums. Even as the last LP by Buffalo Springfield was being prepped for release, the Canadian singer-songwriter was making his self-titled solo debut, which came out just a few months later.

Young has never been reluctant to follow his creative muse, even if he’s in the middle of another project. More than one time during his career he’s shelved a project just to move on to something else. Sometimes – as in the case of Homegrown and Chrome Dreams – those records would be released at a later (sometimes much later) date; in other instances, we’re still waiting.

All this productivity and activity can lead to periods of inconsistency, as you’ll see in the below list of the 12 Worst Neil Young Albums. One era in particular stands out: the ’80s (spoiler: Six successive albums during the decade make the list). But LPs from the ’60s, ’70s, ’90s and the ’00s are here, too.When you’re as prolific as Young, they can’t all be After the Gold Rush and Harvest. Even when the records didn’t reach his usual standards, most of them still found new ways to continue on the restless path he started in the mid-’60s. From synth-pop and traditional country to ’50 rock ‘n’ roll and horn-spotted soul, Young’s instincts rarely took him to expected destinations.

Are You Passionate?’ (2002)

Young’s 24th album was supposed to be another Crazy Horse collaboration, Toast, which didn’t get released until 2022. Instead, he pivoted to a record with Booker T. & the MG’s that was billed as a soul album and included Young’s response to 9/11, “Let’s Roll.” One of the shelved Crazy Horse tracks is included, and it concludes with a nine-minute jam. Scant direction and thin songs sink Are You Passionate?

‘Peace Trail’ (2016)

Young’s 36th studio LP was sandwiched between a live album with Promise of the Real and a solo archival release recorded in 1976. Both are preferable to this quickly assembled record made with drummer Jim Keltner and bassist Paul Bushnell. Its political points are similar to the ones he’d been supporting since the ’60s, but now with a technological lean (there’s even some Auto-Tune on a track). Instantly disposable.

‘Storytone’ (2014)

The second of two albums released by Young in 2014 (the first was the solo acoustic A Letter Home), Storytone featured big band and orchestral backings to songs inspired by a new romance with actress Daryl Hannah. Forgettable and uncertain – swing and classical don’t mix all that well – the album arrived during a period of prolific activity. An equally unmemorable stripped-down version of the album was released at the same time.

‘Old Ways’ (1985)

Young’s country album Old Ways was first proposed after 1983’s Trans, the synth-based LP he delivered to Geffen. The label balked and insisted on a rock album instead; they got the 1950s throwback Everybody’s Rockin’. Young returned to his country album in 1985, enlisting Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and fiddle and pedal steel musicians. Another unremarkable genre detour during Young’s most dour decade.

‘Everybody’s Rockin” (1983)

Young’s second Geffen LP was as baffling as the first. But where Trans moved forward, Everybody’s Rockin’ was a throwback to 1950s rockabilly, complete with a retro look (pompadour, face-dominating sideburns) and name (Neil and the Shocking Pinks). Four songs were covers; an original (“Wonderin'”) dated to 1970. It runs less than 25 minutes. Geffen soon sued Young for making deliberately uncommercial records.

‘Landing on Water’ (1986)

Three genre-specific albums left Young at odds with Geffen Records in the mid-’80s to the point where the label sued him for making records that didn’t sound like Neil Young records. Landing on Water was his return (albeit once again stitched together from years-old sessions) to fuss-free rock music. Good luck finding a memorable song, though. Even Young has referred to Landing on Water as a “piece of crap.”

‘Broken Arrow’ (1996)

After 1989’s career-reviving Freedom, Neil Young had an admirable run in the first half of the ’90s. Then Broken Arrow arrived. Shaken by the death of longtime producer David Briggs, Young and Crazy Horse falteringly recorded the LP over a month, often with no guidance or direction (the first three songs each run more than seven minutes and are little more than aimless jams). An unsteady new era was around the corner.

‘This Note’s for You’ (1988)

After a contentious five-album run with Geffen, Young returned to Reprise for his 16th LP. But he still wasn’t ready to discard the ’80s explorations that marked the decade. The flimsy This Note’s for You, co-credited to the Bluenotes (a horn-based group with other ties to Young’s past), dipped into jump blues music while adhering to a slim conceptual thread about commercialism. At least it contained a minor hit in the title track.

‘Life’ (1987)

Neil Young made five albums with Geffen in the ’80s, none of them particularly good. But at least most of them have some sort of identifiable tag: synth-pop, rockabilly, country. Life has nothing to single it out. Mostly recorded live with overdubs added later, the Crazy Horse collaboration ended Young’s controversial relationship with Geffen on a sour, but expected, note. Maybe the most easily dismissed LP in his entire catalog.

‘Trans’ (1982)

After more than two dozen years with Reprise Records, Neil Young jumped to the flourishing Geffen label for his 12th album. Nobody expected his first record under the new contract to be a futuristic new-wave LP made with synths and a vocoder altering Young’s voice – especially the label. Young has said he made Trans to communicate with his son, who had cerebral palsy. A year later Geffen filed a lawsuit.

‘American Stars ‘n Bars’ (1977)

Neil Young’s catalog is scattered with albums stitched together from various session sources. For his eighth LP, he collected nine songs recorded over a two-and-a-half-year period, starting in 1974. The results were mixed. The stripped-back country rock made with Crazy Horse on Side One has little connection to the plugged-in fury of “Like a Hurricane,” a mid-decade highlight, and the solo acoustic “Will to Love.” Aimless.

‘Neil Young’ (1968)

Young’s solo debut isn’t terrible, it’s just a letdown after the buzz he generated with Buffalo Springfield. Only a handful of songs (including “The Loner,” fleshed out onstage over the years) make an impression; the rest finds the still-growing singer-songwriter tentatively stepping away from his former band while occasionally tethered to their era-identified folk rock. Better things were to come.

SHORT TAKES — On Wednesday’s Today Show, Carson Daly revealed his first concert ever was Ziggy Marley. And as he and a friend took their seats, it seemed to Daly as if smoke rose from the stage. Daly’s friend said it was happy smoke

Leah McSweeney

I never heard of Leah McSweeney (another Bravo Housewife), but Tuesday she filed a lawsuit against Andy Cohen. More lurid details for sure. Is Andy this year’s Harvey? I’ll tell you, between Cohen, Puffy and the gals … it’s a huge, huge mess and heads will definitely roll at NBC/Comcast. Stay tuned … Yankee-Bernie Williams is at the Carlyle?

I haven’t heard his music, but this reminds me of Knick-Earl Monroe years back introducing his Pretty Pearl Records. I honestly don’t even remember the artists, but the project came and went pretty quick … Debbie Gibson on the 80’s Cruise with Wang Chung; Escape Club; English Beat; Soft Cell; Air Supply; Ray Parker; Animotion; and Tommy Tutone. Check it out here: https://the80scruise.com/lineup/

Richard Lewis photo by Stephen Sorokoff

So sad about Richard Lewis. He used to be a very, very frequent companion to me back in the day at Lorelei on West 58th street. He was always so funny and sweet. A true companion for the naughty 90’s. He’ll be much missed …

Kjersti Long

Zach Martin interviews 17-old wunderkind Kjersti Long on his NEW HD radio today …  Felix Cavaliere and The Rascals at the Patchogue Theater on April 26 and SONY Hall on May 17th … Happy BDay Zach Lloyd; Mitch Ryder; Roy Trakin; and Judy Libow!

Debbie Gibson

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Jacqueline Boyd; Nancy Harrison; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Jim Kerr; Debbie Gibson; Heather Moore; Roger Friedman; Mark Bego; Melinda Newman; Joe Lynch; Obi Steinman; Felix Cavaliere; Amanda Naylor; Tolouse Bean; Howard Jones; Mark Alpert; Donald Johnson Kyla Nicole; Angela Tarantino;n Barry Fisch; and SADIE!

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The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

THE NEW OUTLAWS — (Via Ultimate Classic Rock) Willie Nelson has announced the lineup and dates for his 2024 Outlaw Music Festival Tour.

In addition to headlining sets by the 90-year-old country legend and recent Rock & roll Hall of Fame inductee, this year’s Outlaw Music Festival Tour will include performances by Bob Dylan each day throughout its 25-date run.

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will also play on select dates, alternating appearances with John Mellencamp.

Nelson’s Outlaw Tour debuted in 2016 and has since featured Sheryl Crow, Van Morrison, Chris Stapleton, Neil Young and ZZ Top.

“This year’s Outlaw Music Festival Tour promises to be the biggest and best yet with this lineup of legendary artists,” Nelson said in a press statement announcing the shows. “I am thrilled to get back on the road again with my family and friends playing the music we love for the fans we love.”

Brittney Spencer, Celisse and Southern Avenue will also perform at this year’s Outlaw Music Tour Festival. Billy Strings will join the tour for one concert at Washington’s The Gorge. You can see the tour’s complete run dates and lineups below.

General public ticket sales start on March 1 at 10 a.m. local time. Citi card members have access to presale tickets starting Tuesday at 10 a.m. local time until Thursday at 10 p.m. local time. More information can be found at the tour’s website.

SHORT TAKES — Boy, that Andy Cohen news sure disappeared quickly. I guess Brandi Glanville’s lawyers were right when they said NBC/COMCAST was making too much money from Cohen, to dismiss him. Sure, Andy apologized, but that was it …

Joe Manganiello is hosting the new Deal Or No Deal Island. With one of the worst haircuts, I’ve ever seen, he was on Monday’s Today Show -3rd hour- with Jenna and Hoda assisting him. There were so many rules in the intro, I was immediately thrown. All these game shows seem to be the thing these days – cheap to produce; easy to write; and B and C actors are certainly available …

Jenny Boyd

Jenny Boyd – sister to Patti and married twice to Mick Fleetwood – has a new autobiography out, Jennifer Juniper. Here’s a great piece from Spin on it: https://www.spin.com/2024/02/60s-muse-turned-psychologist-jenny-boyd-explores-rocks-greatest-icons/

Patti Boyd-Harrison

Not to be outdone, sister Patti Boyd-Harrison has an exhibit with Christie’s in London. Take a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHBWT_HKDJ8 … Markos Papadatos has a great new interview with John Oates in Digital Journal, but strangely, nothing about his ongoing dispute with Daryl Hall. Methinks it was more of a PR-move to quickly extinguish any and all reference to it, as it just dragged their legacy (Hall & Oates) down … way down. Take a read: https://www.digitaljournal.com/entertainment/john-oates-talks-about-his-new-music-and-his-tour/article?fbclid=IwAR0T42cxA0lJtXRJZ0db1D0mNakjsjVUJYmerGNzTMXdPNotaHrmuPoPmFI … One more trailer for Kevin Costner’s epic Horizon. Pundit Roger Friedman quipped the Indians don’t look too happy in this one. To be honest, I see much of Yellowstone in the trailer. And, Danny Huston who was in the series is in the movie too. Take a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYsReoZMj1k … As of this writing, subway crime in NYC up 22% from this time last year! Reminds me of the 70’s here these days … Big, big layoffs at both Atlantic and Warner’s. The later about 600 employees. To me, they got rid of all the people who knew exactly what to do and when to do it. Sad for sure … SIGHTINGS: PR-pasha David Salidor at Brooklyn’s Table 87

Mike Scott

And, one of the greatest forgotten about bands is Mike Scott and The Waterboys. Just tremendous and timeless music. Check this article out from The Guardian:https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/jul/27/how-we-made-waterboys-the-whole-of-the-moon-mike-scott… RIP McCanna “Mac” Anthony Sinise.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Obi Steinman; Felix Cavaliere; Gene Cornish; Steve Walter; Jane Blunkell; Markos Papadatos; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Anthony Noto; Anthony Pomes; Kent & Laura Denmark; James Edstrom; Alec Baldwin; Lee Jeske; Andrew Tobin; Jewel Smithee; David and Delia Jones; and ZIGGY!

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Cabaret

The Most Beautiful Woman in the World 

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photo credit Conor Weiss

Who comes to mind when you see that phrase—Catherine Zeta-Jones, perhaps, or certainly Grace Kelly?  Most would concede the title belongs to one glorious, gracious and violet-eyed lady – Elizabeth Taylor.   

Elizabeth (ET from hereon in) was known for her films, jewelry and various husbands, but there was much more to that woman. The perfect person to let us in on the side we never saw is Ann Talman, who played her daughter in The Little Foxes on Broadway. Chosen for her uncanny resemblance to ET as a young girl, they remained close friends until ET’s death in 2011. Through song and story, Ann paints a portrait we never would have imagined—the prankster, surrogate mother, the fashion advisor funny-face maker and more. When consulting with her about what to wear to an awards gala, ET arranged for a private fashion show at Saks and then added “Do you want to borrow any of my jewelry?”.  Now that’s a friend to have! 

The evening began with Ann singing “The Shadow of your Smile” from The Sandpiper, a film that starred ET and Richard Burton against a backdrop of ET holding a sandpiper. In the film, the bird is a metaphor for broken-winged people, and Ann shyly admits that she had been a sandpiper. Ann was 22 when they met, and she explained how ET took on the surrogate mother role and gave her the support and counsel she needed. When Ann talks about pajama parties and drinking Soave Bollo, one imagines two sisters sharing secrets and giggling. (I can’t imagine ET in PJs, can you?)  Nevertheless … 

As if the offer of shared baubles was not indication enough of ET’s generous nature, Ann gave a brief history of ET’s involvement with AMFAR (American Foundation for AIDS Research) as well as her own foundation.  

This show was powerful, yet delicate, informative without being gossipy, funny while evoking a tear or two. It was lovingly put together with superb direction by Lina Koutrakos with Alex Rybeck as music director. The songs flowed so naturally that it might have been easy to not recognize the skill that went into their selection.   

Ann’s ability to mimic ET’s breathy voice as well as her sincerity, added to the charm and verisimilitude of the event. It was such a loving tribute, with little touches, like purple Mardi Gras beads, a printed program and cupcakes with lavender frosting for all in celebration ET’s birthday this week.   

The evening ended with a reprise of the first song. Thank you, Ann, for giving us a clearer picture of the shadow behind that most alluring smile. 

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Film

Best 5 American Film Schools

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In the pulsating world of cinema, aspiring filmmakers seek education and mentorship to carve their path in an industry that thrives on creativity and innovation. Choosing the right film school is pivotal in this journey, as it can provide the necessary skills, network, and knowledge to navigate the dynamic landscape of filmmaking. In this article, we will explore five distinguished American film schools renowned for their exceptional programs, state-of-the-art facilities, and contributions to the film industry. From the bustling streets of Los Angeles to the vibrant culture of New York, each institution on this list has played a significant role in shaping the next generation of cinematic storytellers. As students embark on this transformative educational journey, seeking additional support, such as the option to buy a coursework, can provide valuable assistance in managing academic responsibilities alongside their creative pursuits.

  1. University of Southern California (USC) – School of Cinematic Arts: Located in the Heart of Hollywood

The University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts stands as an iconic institution synonymous with excellence in film education. With its prime location in the heart of Hollywood, USC offers aspiring filmmakers unparalleled access to industry professionals, studios, and the vibrant filmmaking community. The school boasts an impressive roster of alumni who have left an indelible mark on the industry, from George Lucas to Steven Spielberg. USC’s programs cover various aspects of filmmaking, including production, screenwriting, and animation. The hands-on approach, coupled with cutting-edge technology and world-class faculty, ensures students receive a comprehensive education that prepares them for the multifaceted challenges of the film industry.

  1. New York University (NYU) – Tisch School of the Arts: East Coast Hub of Creativity

Nestled in the heart of Manhattan, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts stands as a beacon for aspiring filmmakers on the East Coast. Renowned for its diverse programs in film and television, Tisch provides students with a dynamic and creative environment. The faculty comprises industry professionals and accomplished filmmakers who guide students through an immersive curriculum covering every aspect of film production. The school’s location offers students unique opportunities to engage with the vibrant arts and culture scene of New York City. NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts is not only a training ground for technical skills but also a hub that fosters creativity and encourages students to find their unique voice in the world of cinema. For those seeking guidance in the academic aspects of their film studies, you can find valuable resources here.  This site can offer valuable insights into crafting well-researched and articulate essays, complementing the practical skills gained in a creative filmmaking environment.

  1. American Film Institute (AFI) Conservatory: Crafting Masters of the Cinematic Craft

The American Film Institute Conservatory, located in Los Angeles, is renowned for its commitment to cultivating masters of the cinematic craft. AFI’s Conservatory program focuses on hands-on learning, providing students with the opportunity to work on real film sets and collaborate with industry professionals. The program’s intensity ensures that graduates emerge not only with technical proficiency but also a deep understanding of storytelling and the filmmaking process. AFI has consistently produced award-winning filmmakers, and its emphasis on crafting auteurs has earned it a distinguished place among the top film schools in the United States.

  1. UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television: Bridging Tradition and Innovation

The UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television stands as a testament to the marriage of tradition and innovation. Situated in the vibrant city of Los Angeles, the school offers comprehensive programs in film, television, and digital media. UCLA’s film school emphasizes both the art and business of filmmaking, ensuring that students are equipped with the skills necessary to thrive in a rapidly evolving industry. The faculty comprises seasoned professionals who bring a wealth of industry experience to the classroom. UCLA’s commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment further enhances the educational experience, preparing students for success in the global landscape of film and television.

  1. Columbia University School of the Arts – Film Program: Where Intellectual Rigor Meets Artistic Exploration

Columbia University’s School of the Arts Film Program distinguishes itself as a place where intellectual rigor meets artistic exploration. Situated in the cultural melting pot of New York City, the program encourages students to engage deeply with the theoretical and historical aspects of film in addition to honing their practical skills. Columbia’s approach is interdisciplinary, allowing students to draw inspiration from various artistic disciplines. The program’s emphasis on critical thinking and creative expression sets it apart, producing graduates who not only excel in their technical proficiency but also contribute thoughtfully to the intellectual discourse within the world of cinema.

Choosing the right film school is a crucial step in a filmmaker’s journey, shaping not only their technical abilities but also their creative voice and industry connections. The American film schools mentioned above stand as pillars of excellence, each offering a unique blend of resources, faculty, and opportunities. Whether on the West Coast or East Coast, these institutions provide a fertile ground for aspiring filmmakers to cultivate their skills and emerge ready to make a meaningful impact in the dynamic and competitive world of cinema.

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NYC Movie Travel Guide: Visiting Filming Locations of Famous Movies

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New York City has long been a favorite destination for movie lovers, thanks to its iconic skyline, bustling streets, and vibrant energy. If you’re a film buff looking to find more content related to the magic of the silver screen, then this NYC Movie Travel Guide is just for you. 

Take a journey to the filming locations of famous movies, walk in the footsteps of your favorite actors, and experience the city like never before. From classic blockbusters to indie gems, New York City has served as the backdrop for countless cinematic masterpieces. Get ready to explore the city’s most famous filming locations and walk in the footsteps of your favorite movie characters.

Times Square

Lights, camera, action! Start your movie adventure in the heart of Manhattan at Times Square. This iconic location has been featured in countless films, including “Spider-Man,” “The Avengers,” and “Midnight in Paris.” Take a stroll down the bustling streets and soak in the electrifying atmosphere.

Central Park

Step into the green oasis of Central Park, where many memorable movie scenes have been shot. From “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” to “When Harry Met Sally,” this sprawling park has provided the backdrop for countless romantic and adventurous moments on the big screen. Don’t forget to visit the famous Bethesda Terrace and Bow Bridge.

Empire State Building

Feel like you’re on top of the world at the Empire State Building. This iconic landmark has been featured in numerous films, including the classic “King Kong” and the romantic comedy “Sleepless in Seattle.” Take the elevator to the observation deck and enjoy breathtaking views of the city that never sleeps.

Brooklyn Bridge

Take a walk across the majestic Brooklyn Bridge, which has been featured in films like “Annie Hall” and “I Am Legend.” Marvel at the stunning views of the Manhattan skyline as you follow in the footsteps of your favorite movie characters. Don’t forget to snap a selfie with the bridge as your backdrop.

Grand Central Terminal

Step into the bustling Grand Central Terminal, a hub of transportation and a favorite filming location for many movies. From “North by Northwest” to “The Avengers,” this iconic train station has played a starring role in numerous films. Marvel at the celestial ceiling in the main concourse and imagine yourself in a movie scene.

Statue of Liberty

No visit to New York City is complete without a trip to the Statue of Liberty. This iconic symbol of freedom has been featured in films like “Ghostbusters II” and “X-Men.” Take a ferry ride to Liberty Island and get up close to Lady Liberty herself. Don’t forget to capture the moment on camera.

Coney Island

Experience the nostalgia of Coney Island, a beloved amusement park that has been featured in films like “The Warriors” and “Uptown Girls.” Take a ride on the iconic Cyclone roller coaster, indulge in Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of this iconic New York City destination.

The High Line

Take a stroll along the elevated park known as the High Line, which has become a popular filming location in recent years. From “The Amazing Spider-Man” to “The Devil Wears Prada,” this unique urban park offers stunning views of the city and a glimpse into New York City’s industrial past.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Channel your inner art enthusiast at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a cultural landmark that has been featured in films like “The Thomas Crown Affair” and “When in Rome.” Explore the vast collection of art and immerse yourself in the beauty and history of this world-renowned museum.

Washington Square Park

End your movie-inspired journey at Washington Square Park, a vibrant gathering place that has been featured in films like “When Harry Met Sally” and “August Rush.” Sit on one of the park’s iconic benches, watch the street performers, and reflect on your cinematic adventure in the city that never fails to captivate.

New York City is a treasure trove of filming locations, offering movie lovers the opportunity to step into the world of their favorite films. From Times Square to Central Park, the Empire State Building to the Statue of Liberty, each location holds a piece of cinematic history. So grab your camera, put on your walking shoes, and get ready to embark on a movie-inspired adventure through the streets of the Big Apple.



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