Undergraduate film and television students at New York University will soon be able to shoot their films at Kaufman Astoria Studios.
The deal is part of a partnership between the Tisch School of the Arts and the historic, Queens-based studio. The pact is the product of over a year of talks.
“It gives our students an incredible opportunity to get a feel for what it’s like to shoot on a real soundstage,” said Joe Pichirallo, chair of the Department of Undergraduate Film & Television, at NYU Tisch. “It’s going to make the whole thing feel that much more professional.”
The initiative will be open to up to 10 students in Tisch’s senior-level advanced production classes. The selected students will have access to sound stages, as well as to lighting equipment. They will have the option of renting costumes and props from the facility. Two Tisch productions could begin shooting at Kaufman as early as this summer, Pichirallo said.
Kaufman Astoria Studios CEO and President Hal Rosenbluth doesn’t see the partnership purely as philanthropy. He knows that the entertainment business depends on relationships, and he wants to get in on the ground floor.
“You’re seeding the future,” he told Variety. “They’re the future clients. We hope they’re going to remain in New York and keep populating the arts.”
Rosenbluth is right that Tisch has a history of serving as a pipeline into the creative community. Martin Scorsese (“Goodfellas”), Colin Trevorrow (“Jurassic World”) and Joel Cohen (“Fargo”) are just a few of the program’s big name alums.
Kaufman also has a long legacy in the movie and television business. It is the home of “Sesame Street” and “Orange Is the New Black.” Meanwhile, the Marx Brothers’ “Cocoanuts” and the Oscar-winning “Birdman” are among the notable films that have been produced on its stages.
“To be able to walk around and see where Groucho Marx made his first films or where W. C. Fields got started and to have the ability to walk on another set and see what’s happening on ‘Shades of Blue’ or ‘The Affair’ is just invaluable,” said Rosenbluth. “I’m so thrilled this came together.”