GoAbroad Interview

Diana Santi - Florence Programs Director

Diana Santi is an award-winning documentary, commercial, and short films director and producer. She graduated in Film Studies from the Università di Bologna, Maxima cum Laude. In 2004, Diana moved to Los Angeles where she attended the New York Film Academy at Universal Studios obtaining a diploma in Filmmaking. Since 2006, she has been the Overseas Programs Director for the New York Film Academy.

What inspired you to work in film?

Those who tell the stories rule the world. I was always interested in telling stories and studying in this direction. I realized very soon that if you can combine a good story with a great image the impact of your message is stronger. I then began studying film and working in commercials to improve my ability of being a visual storyteller!

What educational experiences of your own inspired you to start working for New York Film Academy (NYFA)?

I grew up in Italy where we don’t have any kind of “hands-on” schools. Our education system is very theoretical, which is great, but not enough. Therefore after my graduation at University of Bologna I decided to go to NYFA in Los Angeles to learn more by doing!

Shooting Florence in Love with Alexa

Shooting Florence in Love with Alexa

What do you love most about your job?

I am very lucky because working every day with young people I can always stay updated with the new technologies and communication tools that they use. I also love my role of being a type of “talent scout” in a way. I see many bright students coming to our campus with no experience and at the end of their super intensive program, they blossom. Some of them decide to keep studying with us in the U.S. to improve their skills even more. Our job is to make sure that they are ready for the next adventure in the U.S. or around the world!

What is Purple Reel Productions, and what does it mean to you?

PRP is my communication and production company. In the last decade I have been specializing in Visual Storytelling strategies for social media. We develop communication plans and we produce video and photo contents for brands and/or for public figures.

Do you think international experience is important in the film industry?

Yes absolutely! Only traveling the world with an open mind, learning from the different cultures that surround you, and meeting new people can help a young person grow as an individual and as an artist. A young artist has to be curious to explore the world and be open to change in order to nurture his/her own inspiration every day.

At the Venice FF with Giorgio Pasotti

At the Venice FF with Giorgio Pasotti

What does a typical day look like for you?

My typical day is pretty busy. I dedicate most of my time to run the Florence programs with care. Each day I try to come up with new ideas and activities to make the NYFA campus in Florence a protected space for young artists, actors, and storytellers to meet and share their ideas without fear of judgement or exclusions. The rest of my time, including weekends, is dedicate to my clients and personal projects!

Why do you think New York Film Academy (NYFA) is distinct from other study-abroad film program providers?

One, the energy that you feel at our campus is amazing! Only people that work on set can understand what I described.

Two, we have a huge international crowd of students, all working together 24/7. They are challenged on many different levels, but in the end they all succeed.

With the Chinese delegation in Venice Film Festival

With the Chinese delegation in Venice Film Festival

Third, we teach filmmaking and acting for film only and at a very high level. We have a lot of up to date equipment as well as amazing teachers coming from our main campuses. It is not easy to find an institution like us in the Study Abroad field.

What is the best thing students gain from experiencing a film program abroad at New York Film Academy (NYFA)?

Most of them define the experience with us one of the best of their life. They are inspired, they learn how to work as a team, they work hard especially when they are on production. We challenge them, we consider them professionals from day one, and therefore we expect a lot from them.

How do you constantly continue to improve your program and the experience you provide to students?

Learning from our mistakes, seeing obstacles as opportunities to change and improve, learning from our students’ passion and from their suggestions, and counting on amazing colleagues that share the same passion that I have about all of our programs.