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  • Film “Make America Safe” by NYFA Acting Instructor Blanche Baker Enjoys Festival Run

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    Our NYFA Acting faculty aren’t only professionals in front of the camera but are working professionals in the industry constantly experimenting and making their own work while simultaneously teaching NYFA students the fundamentals of their craft.

    Blanche Baker teaches in both the Acting and Musical Theatre departments at NYFA’s New York campus. With an extensive background on the stage and on screen, Baker made her television debut in the miniseries Holocaust, for which she won an Emmy Award. Her feature films include Sixteen Candles, The Handmaid’s Tale with Robert Duvall, Raw Deal with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the Kevin Bacon HBO film Taking Chance. She was part of the Yale Repertory Theatre and Anna Sokolow’s dance troupe and her theatre roles include Steel Magnolias and Edward Albee’s Lolita with Donald Sutherland. 

    Film poster for “Make America Safe”

    In addition to writing and directing the award-winning short film Streetwrite, Baker wrote and directed her latest film Make America Safe, with award-winning cinematography Piero Basso, serving as the director of photography. The film has been garnering accolades and making its rounds on the festival circuit, recently appearing in the Global Impact Festival in Washington, D.C.

    Make America Safe is a musical short film about the 2nd Amendment and asks the question, “what if in the next few years citizens were required to carry weapons in order to ensure the safety of the public?” Using the premise of a news commentary show, the film takes a sardonic look at this possible future and examines the kind of scenarios that could arise in this world. With music composed by Andy Peterson, it sheds light on the rationales that could lead to such a future. 

    The film features a talented cast of Musical Theatre students working alongside NYFA’s professional faculty of artists as part of their Musical Theatre curriculum, which requires students to perform in original movie musicals, combining both musical theatre for the stage and for film.

    Official Selection: 
    Global Nonviolent Film Festival
    South Film and Arts Festival
    Film for Peace
    New York Short Film Festival
    Sanctuary International Film Festival

    Accolades:
    A Show For Change – Creativity Award
    Awareness Festival – Merit Award for Awareness
    X World Short Film Festival – Best International Short and Best Original Music
    Cinefest – Best Musical
    Blow Up Arthouse – Finalist

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    November 17, 2020 • Faculty Highlights, Film Festivals, Musical Theatre • Views: 141

  • NYFA Alumni Majid Al Ansari and Razanne Jammal Involved in Netflix Original Series “Paranormal”

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    Not one, but two alumni are involved in Netflix’s first series to accommodate deaf and blind viewers for Arabic Netflix. NYFA Filmmaking alum Majid Al Ansari directs three episodes of the new series, with actress and NYFA alum Razanne Jammal starring as lead character Maggie Mckillop.

    Film poster for ‘Paranormal’

    Ma Waraa al-Tabea (in Arabic) or “Paranormal” in English, premiered on November 5, 2020, and marks Egypt’s first original series in addition to being the first Arabic Netflix series to accommodate deaf and blind viewers.

    The series is based on Ahmed Khaled Tawfik’s thrilling book series about doctor Refaat Ismail, a cynical doctor whose lifelong scientific convictions are suddenly called into question. The Egyptian author’s critically acclaimed novels in Arabic have sold more than 15 million copies worldwide.

    NYFA alum Razanne Jammal in ‘Paranormal’

    Razanne Jammal attended NYFA’s 4-Week Acting for Film program in 2009 and has since built up a successful acting career, starring alongside Liam Neeson in A Walk Among the Tombstones and starring in Robert Guédiguian’s Don’t Tell Me The Boy Was Mad, which premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. She now plays Maggie Mckilop in Paranormal, Refaat’s university colleague who enters the paranormal world to protect those around her from danger.

    Majid Al Ansari at a panel for Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX

    Director Majid Al Ansari attended NYFA’s 2-Year Filmmaking Conservatory program and went on to have his debut feature film Zinzana (“Rattle The Cage”) have its world premiere at Fantastic Fest and its European premiere at the BFI London Film Festival. Zinzana was subsequently picked up and eventually sold to Netflix as the first Arab film acquisition after the streaming giant branched out to the Middle East. He has director credits for three episodes of the Netflix thriller Paranormal.

    Still from ‘Paranormal’

    New York Film Academy would like to congratulate NYFA Alumni Razanne Jammal and Majid Al Ansari for their involvement on Paranormal and encourages everyone to check out the new series if it is available in their country and looks forward to what’s next from the NYFA graduates.

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  • TV & Film Actress Samantha Soule Expands Her Craft With New York Film Academy’s Online Workshops

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    At New York Film Academy (NYFA), we are excited to continue to offer our creative and performing arts workshops online so that everyone, from artists and industry professionals like Samantha Soule, can continue to hone their craft under the guidance of renowned instructors from anywhere in the world. Samantha Soule, who recently took an Online Film Directing Workshop and Online Cinematography with NYFA, already boasts an active acting career, with credits including Outer Banks, Godless, City on a Hill, and Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, amongst many others.

    A full time actress for many years, Soule holds numerous credits for TV and film across Netflix, Showtime, CBS, and many more. She has a number of projects in the works for the upcoming year which, unfortunately, are on hold due to the global pandemic.

    “When COVID-19 shut down the projects I had in the works, it felt like a really good time to learn and evolve,” shares Soule. “So much of my life as a performer is being the clay for another’s vision, which is a job I love, but as I move forward in life I am interested in the ways I can expand: use other parts of my brain, create stories, create opportunities to collaborate in different ways, and create opportunities for others, and not just benefit from them myself.”

    Samantha Soule as Charlotte Temple in Netflix’s ‘Godless’

    During her online courses at NYFA, Soule shares that learning more outside of acting has been an eye-opening experience, allowing her to explore different avenues of the business like film directing and cinematography. “I learn best by doing, and this course has been an incredible kick in the butt to just get out there and start trying, learn from mistakes, fail, get up and try again.”

    As Soule pursues more avenues for creating more opportunities in the future, she shows no signs of stopping in her acting career, having already gained recognition for many of her roles including the put-together high society woman, Charlotte Temple, on Netflix’s Godless, where Soule stars alongside Michelle Dockery, Jeff Daniels, Merritt Weaver, and Jack O’Connell in the streaming giant’s western mini-series.

    Samantha Soule as Anna Carrera on Netflix breakout series ‘Outer Banks’

    Soule also recently appeared in Netflix breakout series Outer Banks (also referred to as OBX), which was recently renewed for a second season that has yet to begin filming due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Soule plays Anna Carrera, the caring and concerned mother of main character Kiara (played by Madison Bailey). Soule praises the show for its themes of the trust, loyalty and love that you build with the family you are born into and the family you choose. As for whether we will see more of Soule’s character next season, Soule says: “I think there is some of that ferocity in Anna. She has her own history and has made some bold choices herself along the way, but I haven’t a clue where the story is going! We shall see!”

    Samantha Soule (Right) in Showtime’s ‘City on a Hill’

    Soule’s long standing career as an actor has brought her many roles both big and small, but she approaches them all with a student mindset with what she’s absorbed from her experiences along the way. “I have been both really lucky and active in my fight to work on a really diverse array of characters. I love leaping from one world to the next and I learn from each. Each character is a new vantage to view the world, so the wider the range of humans I get to understand the deeper the education. I think most of what I love is the extreme juxtaposition, it’s like using different muscles.”

    New York Film Academy would like to thank actress and NYFA alum Samantha Soule for taking the time to speak to us on her experience as a constant student to her craft and also encourages everyone to check out Soule in AMC’s supernatural thriller Nos4a2, which premiered this summer, and her upcoming project with Godless creator Scott Frank called Queen’s Gambit.

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    August 5, 2020 • Acting, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 695

  • Award-Winning Actor Alec Baldwin Holds Live Q&A on Acting Technique for NYFA Students

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    On Tuesday, July 21, 2020, New York Film Academy (NYFA) had the honor of hosting a live video Q&A with award-winning and celebrated actor Alec Baldwin to discuss the acting craft with NYFA students and alumni. Tova Laiter, Director of the NYFA Q&A Series, moderated the event.

    Alec Baldwin has received a Tony nomination for his performance in A Streetcar Named Desire, a supporting actor nomination at the Oscars for The Cooler (2004), and he has won three Emmy awards, three Golden Globes and seven consecutive Screen Actors Guild Awards for ‘Best Actor in a Comedy Series’ for his role as Jack Donaghy on NBC-TV’s 30 Rock.

    Tina Fey (Left) and Alec Baldwin (Right) pose with their SAG Awards for ‘30 Rock’

    Baldwin’s filmography also includes the critically acclaimed film The Hunt for Red October, for which NYFA’s Founder, Jerry Sherlock, was Executive Producer, as well as Glengarry Glen Ross, It’s Complicated, The Departed, Pearl Harbor, Blue Jasmine, Still Alice, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, and many more.

    More recently, Baldwin has gained critical acclaim and popularity surrounding his portrayal of President Donald Trump for Saturday Night Live, joining the cast regularly for ongoing appearances as the 45th President.

    Tova Laiter (Left) and Alec Baldwin (Right) for The NYFA Q&A Series

    Laiter began the Q&A by asking Baldwin about his successful career and finding his place in Hollywood. “In the beginning, you have a boyish gratitude [on set], similar to being a guest in someone’s house,” he began, “everyone on the set knows more than you, but that changes later on when you are on a film and someone says something to you and you go ‘no, I think it’s this,’ as you begin to understand what will make a scene work.”

    The conversation then switched to Baldwin’s successful career as not only a dramatic actor, but a comedic performer, where Laiter brought up Baldwin’s hilarious and well-timed character Jack Donaghy on NBC’s critically acclaimed TV series 30 Rock. “The show, to me, is one of the ultimate examples of me being the beneficiary of very good writing,” he shares. “The writing was the best I had ever seen in terms of comedy and it was natural to me.”

    Baldwin on set for Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Departed’

    One student asked Baldwin about how he chooses the right script as an actor. Baldwin responded: “I try to decide ‘is this movie a movie I want to make or I want to see?’ Then, I look at my character. I’ve played parts where my character wasn’t the biggest role or well-served in terms of page count, but there was an opportunity to me where I could see that character having an impact on that film.” When it comes to looking at a script, Baldwin explains that it’s about the quality of storytelling and the impact of your character that matters.

    Another student asked Baldwin about what it can be like for an actor when giving a performance in a film versus acting in television series.

    Baldwin as President Donald Trump for ‘Saturday Night Live’

    “Moviemaking is intense because you have to narrow everything down to what is worthwhile and what works,” he shares. “Television allows for more time to spread your character arc or story along. There is more complexity involved because there is more time. If not in this episode then in the next…”

    To the question of whether one should try everything or stick to the one that already works, Baldwin recommended that when you are just starting out and you are young, to try everything to become the actor you can be and want to be, Baldwin reminded students that it isn’t just about finding an agent, “making it,” or getting everything “right” after studying acting: “Join a rep company. Do as many shows as you can. Do as many roles as you can off the beaten path so you can make your mistakes under the radar before you get typecast.”

    Steve Martin (Left) and Alec Baldwin (Right) host the 82nd Academy Awards

    Baldwin also provided profound advice to students when auditioning for a role. “Remember they asked you there.” He explains that it can be easy to go into an audition with a “people pleasing attitude,” but “they want what you have; they invited you to come to audition and they need you. You are a professional and they are looking for someone to play a part, and you give everything you’ve got in the audition. Once you walk into the room and realize no one is doing anybody any favors, it’s business, and you’re a part of that business, then everything is going to change for you.”

    Baldwin closed the conversation by thanking Laiter for the conversation and the students for their time, and expressed that he hoped his words were helpful to those looking at a career in acting.

    New York Film Academy would like to thank the talented Alec Baldwin for sharing his time and acting experience with NYFA students and alumni.

    To listen to the full conversation, click the video below or check it out on our YouTube channel here.

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    July 27, 2020 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 527

  • New York Film Academy Welcomes Acclaimed ‘American Beauty’ Actress Mena Suvari for The NYFA Q&A Series

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    On Tuesday, July 14, 2020, New York Film Academy (NYFA) had the pleasure to hold a live video Q&A with critically acclaimed actress MENA SUVARI to discuss her acting career with NYFA students and alumni. Tova Laiter, Director of the NYFA Q&A Series, moderated the event.

    Mena Suvari is an award winning actress known for her roles in hits such as American Pie (1999) and the five-time Oscar-awarded American Beauty (1999). Directed by Sam Mendes, her genuine and moving performance as the character Angeles Hayes in American Beauty earned her a ‘Best Supporting Actress’ nod by BAFTA and a SAG Award for ‘Best Ensemble Cast.’ Suvari also won a Movieline Award for ‘Breakthrough Performance’ for her role.

    Following the success of American Pie, she reunited with Jason Biggs in Amy Heckerling’s romantic comedy Loser (2000) and continued to show her acting range in projects like Jonas Åkerlund’s cult-classic Spun (2002), Rob Reiner’s Rumor Has It (2005), Tony Scott’s Domino (2005), and Factory Girl (2006), amongst others.

    Tova Laiter (Left) and Mena Suvari (Right) during live Q&A

    Laiter opened the conversation by discussing Suvari’s career in the entertainment industry, which began with Suvari booking modeling and commercial jobs, which then turned into guest star roles on television. After booking her first film, Nowhere (1997), other indie film gigs soon opened up for the actress, eventually leading her to her biggest break yet, a lead role in the cult-classic, blockbuster film American Pie.

    Suvari recalls the audition for high school chorus student Heather being very relaxed and not as intense as her audition for American Beauty. After shooting American Pie, Suvari remembers going into film Sam Mendes’ heavily awarded film American Beauty, playing a more dramatic role as Angela Hayes, known for her iconic, risqué rose petal scenes throughout the film.

    “I honestly remember thinking, at the time, ‘I’m so happy to have a job’ not necessarily the big names around me and they [American Pie and American Beauty] saved me at the time during a very personally challenging moment in my life.”

    Kevin Spacey (Left) and Mena Suvari (Right) in ‘American Beauty’

    Suvari, who has experienced shooting some intimate scenes across her filmography, also touched on what it can be like for actors on set when filming a very sensual or more explicit scene.

    “It can definitely be awkward sometimes,” she laughs, “I have worked in all types of scenarios, but when you are shooting intimate scenes you want to keep the crew as small as possible and make everything feel very considerate.” For American Beauty, Suvari recalls everything being handled very professionally and carefully and remembers that Mendes was “very supportive” throughout the process.

    Mena Suvari in ‘American Pie’ (1999)

    A student then asked Suvari how she personally gets into approaching a role when reading a script. “It depends on the project,” she shared. “I am currently working on a project now, for example, where there is a tight family dynamic and I am trying to understand where the characters are coming from and their motivations.”

    Ultimately, Suvari explains, approaching a script is really about collaboration, as well. “I want to approach the writer, the director, and whoever I can to understand the genesis of the story and what it means to them, and ask as many questions as I can.”

    Mena Suvari (Left) and Alicia Silverstone (Right) in ‘American Woman’

    Suvari closed the conversation, by sharing some advice with NYFA students that has always stuck with her throughout her career while she was shooting Orpheus in 2007. “It was something that you think would be so simple, but the director [Bruce Beresford] just said ‘listen, listen listen,’ which can be tricky if you think about it, because you already know the script and what will happen because you are familiar with everything, but you need to be as present as possible in the moment.”

    Laiter then thanked Suvari for joining the conversation and giving students some excellent insight for their future productions in front of the camera or for those directing actors, while Suvari exclaimed she was so happy to be part of the conversation and to speak with the students.

    New York Film Academy would like to thank actress Mena Suvari for sharing her time and her experiences working on set from being a young actress to a seasoned performer. NYFA encourages everyone to check out Suvari’s upcoming film Grace and Grit, set to release later in 2020.

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    July 15, 2020 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 568

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) AFA Acting for Film Alum Masali Baduza Stars in BBC’s Noughts + Crosses

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) AFA Acting for FIlm alum Masali Baduza has landed one of the lead roles in BBC’s buzzworthy new adaptation of Noughts + Crosses.

    Masali Baduza

    NYFA AFA Acting for Film alum Masali Baduza

    Baduza originally hails from South Africa and is bilingual in both English and Xhosa, and earned her Associate Degree of Fine Arts in Acting for FIlm after enrolling at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus in Los Angeles in 2015. Since earning her AFA in Acting for Film, Baduza has appeared in the productions Bhai’s Cafe, The Fighter, and Trackers, before landing her biggest role yet in BBC’s Noughts + Crosses.

    The television show is adapted from a series of young adult stories that began with the novel Noughts & Crosses, first published in 2001. The speculative fiction saga, written by Malorie Blackman, takes place in an alternate history where black Africans colonized and enslaved white Europeans, rather than the other way around. The story is told from the perspectives of two lead characters–Callum and Sephy. 

    Masali Baduza

    ‘Noughts + Crosses Stars’ Jack Rowan and NYFA AFA Acting for Film alum Masali Baduza

    Baduza stars as Sephy, opposite Jack Rowan (Peaky Blinders, Born to Kill), who plays Callum. The cast also includes Paterson Joseph (The Leftovers, Timeless), Josh Dylan (Mamma Mia 2, The End of the F***ing World), Kiké Brimah (Doctors), Luke Bailey (Ordinary Lies), Jonathan Ajayi (Wonder Woman 1984), Helen Baxendale (Dirk Gently), and British rapper Stormzy.

    New York Film Academy congratulates AFA Acting for Film alum Masali Baduza on landing the lead role in BBC’s exciting new show and encourages everyone to check out her work on Noughts + Crosses!

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    March 24, 2020 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1630

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) AFA Acting for Film Alum Gonzalo Martin Nominated for BAFTA Game Award for ‘Life is Strange 2’

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) AFA Acting for Film Alum Gonzalo Martin has been nominated for a BAFTA Game Award for his voiceover work in the critically-acclaimed video game Life is Strange 2. Martin will be competing in the Best Performer in a Leading Role category, along with notable actors Logan Marshall-Green (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Prometheus) and Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead, The Boondock Saints). The winners of the prestigious awards will be announced at the 2020 British Academy Games Awards ceremony on Thursday, April 2.

    Gonzalo Martin

    NYFA AFA Acting for Film Alum Gonzalo Martin

    Gonzalo Martin stars as lead protagonist Sean Diaz, who the player controls throughout the game. Martin is an Acting for Film alum from New York Film Academy, having attended the AFA program in 2015, and has previously been a part of the Academy’s admissions team. 

    Life is Strange 2 is a graphic adventure video game, available on nearly all major platforms (including Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC and macOS), and is the sequel to the smash hit and critically-acclaimed Life is Strange, originally released in 2015. That title has sold over three million copies to date and comes from Square Enix, the Japanese developer and publisher of wildly popular games Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, and Dragon Quest, among others. 

    The game was developed by Dontnod Entertainment (Vampyr, Twin Mirror) and has already been nominated for several gaming awards and won the Special Jury Prize at the 2018 Ping Awards. The game tells the story of young brothers Sean and Daniel Diaz, who are on the run from the police. The game is a third-person story adventure, with dialogue trees and gaming decisions affecting the story and future episodes.

    “It’s an honor to be nominated for such a prestigious award in a field that I am just getting my feet in,” Martin tells NYFA. “I already feel like I have won, just because of being nominated side-to-side with all these other amazing actors, whose work I admire so much, such as Norman Reedus.”

    Martin’s previous acting roles include BuzzFeed Murder Mystery Stories, and the films I’ll Be Next Door for Christmas and When It Rings. He is currently finishing with post-production of the first feature film he’s produced and starred in, titled Back to Lyla, which features more than five other NYFA alumni on the production.

    “I am a very, very proud NYFA alum,” adds Martin. “And the most fulfilling thing about this nomination was the ability to go back to school and share this amazing news with all my teachers and mentors. They are a big part of the reason why I have made it this far.”

     

    UPDATE (4.3.20): Gonzalo Martin was awarded the BAFTA Game Award for Best Performer in a Leading Role for Life is Strange 2. The winners of the BAFTA Game Awards were announced at the 2020 British Academy Games Awards ceremony via livestream on Thursday, April 2.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Gonzalo Martin on his exciting BAFTA Game Award win for Best Performer in a Leading Role for Square Enix’s Life is Strange 2!

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    March 20, 2020 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1121

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Acting for Film Student Amir Rahim Stars in Debut Feature Film

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Acting for Film student Amir Rahim is starring in his first Malaysian feature film, Suraya, set for release in early January.

    NYFA alum Amir Rahim

    The film made its theatrical debut in the Philippines at the Mindanao Film Festival earlier in December, and tells the story of Adam and Nabila, two avid YouTubers who set across Malaysia and end up in a mysterious homestay. 

    Rahim, who hails from Malaysia, co-stars in the thriller as Adam. He attended the MFA Acting for Film program at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus from 2013 – 2015.

    This is the second project Rahim has made with Feisk Productions and director Feisal Azizuddin; the first was the film Temenggor, still in post-production. He earned the role while living in Los Angeles through an audition call he heard from a friend. “My acting coaches at NYFA always tell me to be prepared for auditions,” says Rahim, “i.e having your headshot and resume ready and up to date, have some monologues prepared (if the audition doesn’t have any sides) and most importantly, be early. That’s what I did. After completing Temenggor, the director wanted me to be in his next film, Suraya.”

    Rahim is grateful for the education that led to his casting and shares this advice for his fellow NYFA students: “Get involved in as many projects as you can while you’re there, whether it’s a film or theatre project, and don’t just look for projects at NYFA, look outside as well … The best way to learn is by doing. Use this time to experiment with the different kinds of characters you want to play and also discover the kind of actor you want to be. If you have friends from other programs like Filmmaking or Screenwriting, get together and create your own project—you don’t have to wait for people to offer you roles. Also build a showreel while you’re at it. That will come in handy when you graduate and start looking for agents and auditions. No agents, casting directors, or producers want to hire an inexperienced actor. Never stop hustling.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Acting for Film alum Amir Rahim on his Malaysian feature debut and looks forward to the release of Temenggor and whatever films Amir has in his future.

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    January 8, 2020 • Acting, Film Festivals, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1496

  • New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Acting for Film Alum Natalya Butkevich Creating New YouTube Channel

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    Buzz has been steadily growing for influencer and television personality Natalya Butkevich, an alum of the Acting for Film program at New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA.)

    Butkevich originally hails from Russia and in August 2009 she attended the 4-Week Acting for Film workshop at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus.

    Natalya Butkevich

    NYFA alum Natalya Butkevich

    Since graduating NYFA, Butkevich has steadily increased her star power as an actress, producer, and TV presenter, and had the foresight to use social influencing as a medium even in its earliest days. 

    In 2010, Butkevich owned a program on television, Kinoshanc, and has been featured in many top publications, as well as on the covers of magazines including Elle, Women’s Health, Tatler, and Cosmopolitan.

    Also a writer,  Butkevich has created a brand from her love of travel, writing blogs about her travel experiences. Her Instagram popularity is growing at a rapid pace as she provides insight into her day to day life from her fashion styles to her favorite destinations. To date, Butkevich has traveled to many destinations including Turkey, Miami, New York, Bahamas, and Dubai.

    “It is really important to understand your body from within and surround yourself with positivity,” Butkevich recently shared with The Statesman. A YouTube channel is a perfect fit for Butkevich, so it’s no surprise she is currently working on launching her own.

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA-LA Acting for Film alum Natalya Butkevich on her new YouTube channel and encourages everyone to subscribe!

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    January 7, 2020 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1367

  • Oscar-Nominated New York Film Academy Filmmaking Alum Giacun Caduff Working on New Projects

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking alum Giacun Caduff, along with NYFA Acting for Film alum Stefanie Lacher, have been working nonstop across the globe as they work on films and other projects following the massive success of La femme et le TGV, the Oscar-nominated short produced by Caduff.

    Caduff attended the 8-Week Filmmaking workshop at NYFA’s New York campus in the summer of 1999. Lacher attended NYFA’s 8-Week Acting for Film workshop at our Los Angeles campus in September 2011. The pair met several years later at a party in Switzerland, Caduff’s native country.

    Giacun Caduff and Stefanie Lacher

    NYFA Alumni Giacun Caduff and Stefanie Lacher

    In 2009, Caduff founded the Gässli Film Festival in his hometown of Basel, Switzerland, a platform for young aspiring filmmakers to present their shorts and network with industry professionals. He also runs a film camp and drive-in movie theater.

    These projects haven’t stopped Caduff from working on his true passion though—making movies. He has produced such films as Etienne! (2009), 2B or Not 2B (2005), Salad Days (2011), and directorial effort 20 Regeln für Sylvie (2014).

    His biggest success to date was the 2016 short La femme et le TGV, written and directed by NYFA Filmmaking alum Timo von Gunten, which tells a touching story of a lonely woman and a TGV train driver. Among many other awards, nominations, and festival selections, La femme et le TGV was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film. The film was executive produced by NYFA alum Jean de Meuron.

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    What a night!

    A post shared by Giacun Caduff (@jacquesabale) on

    “In a funny way, the nomination has helped more with other projects than with movies,” Caduff tells NYFA. “I learned that in the end it’s an interesting process where suddenly people introduce you as an Oscar nominee, which is nice, but at the same time, people will automatically expect that same level from you—which in the film world is another Oscar-nominated movie. With projects outside the film business it’s a bit easier, because the expectations are high too but there is no 1:1 comparison. So, I was happy to work with excited people to create the basis for the Gässli Film Festival that—maybe one day—will be Oscar-qualifying.”

    Those high expectations haven’t stopped Caduff though, who is working on multiple new films, and will possibly collaborate in the future with NYFA alum Stefanie Lacher, whom Caduff calls “a wonderful inspiration.” 

    la femme et le tgv giacun caduffGiacun Caduff

    He adds, “There are two scripts of my own that I’m finalizing and one that the director of La femme et le TGV is writing. This journey took me to the US and later to Russia, where I spent time in a lake house without internet to focus on the writing. With enough luck, I hope to shoot this year. Probably next year, but this year should be key in getting funding and cast attachment. Fingers crossed!”

    Making films and collaborating with fellow NYFA classmates stems from a passion Caduff found when he attended the Filmmaking workshop in New York. “Using 16mm film for the first time,” describes Caduff, “I re-discovered my love and passion for film. I knew right there that I was making movies for the wrong reasons so far and started to understand the importance of story, light, lenses—and I mean, being in New York City during that time of my life… amazing.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA alumni Giacun Caduff and Stefanie Lacher on their respective successes since graduating the Academy and looks forward to seeing what projects they work on next!

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    January 6, 2020 • Acting, Film Festivals, Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2001