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  • NYFA Acting for Film Alum Natasha Thahane Stars in Netflix Film

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    NYFA Acting for Film alum Natasha Thahane is a South African actress and model known for her work in Blood & Water, The Queen and many more prominent South African shows.

    Last year, Thahane added another project to her filmography, Kedibone, now streaming on Netflix.

    Kedibone follows a Sotho girl, Kedibone Manamela, who moves to Johannesburg to study acting with the help of her boyfriend’s financial support. Shortly after making the move, Kedibone falls in with a crowd of “cool kids” and becomes Johannesburg’s new “it” girl; but things take a turn for the worse when Kedibone’s new lifestyle reaches her boyfriend’s ears.

    Thahane was nominated for best actress at the Netherland’s Septimius Awards for her work in Kedibone.

     

     

    Prior to attending NYFA’s 1-Year Acting for Film program in New York City, Thahane studied accounting with hopes of becoming a Certified Accountant. However, Thahane’s passion for acting was still present and she would even miss class sometimes to go to auditions. After getting representation and booking roles like Wendy on Blood and Water and Amogelang Maake on The Queen, Thahane decided that she wanted to invest in her craft and made the move to New York to study at the New York Film Academy.

     

     

    Since graduating, Thahane has continued to work on projects in and around South Africa and even has a partnership with Garnier Fructis and just last week, she began shooting for the third season of Blood & Water. But Thahane wants more, during an interview with MacG of Podcast & Chill she shared that she wants to be known internationally as a director and has even started her own production company Thahane Media. 

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Natasha Thahane on all of her work. We look forward to seeing her performance on Kedibone and Blood & Water!

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    May 26, 2022 • Acting • Views: 166

  • Q&A with NYFA Australia Acting Alum Prem Sagar

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    NYFA Australia Acting for Film Alum Prem Sagar is an actor, dancer of various disciplines. Sagar studied at The Temple of Fine Arts in Johor Bahru and Kuala Lumpur. There, he learned and performed a variety of traditional dance forms, including Bharata Natyam, Odissi, Zapin, and many more. After completing his studies at The Temple of Fine Arts, he moved to Kuala Lumpur, where he developed a passion for the stage and began his theater training. 

    After several years of performing as a dancer and theater actor, Sagar decided to further his education at the New York Film Academy Australia.

    While studying at NYFAA Sagar worked on Dome House Six, a film by NYFAA alum Stephen Osborne that screened at the Gold Coast Film Festival in 2022. Sagar spoke with NYFA about his passion for dancing and acting, the value of a theater background and what his studies have taught him. 

     

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): What brought you to the New York Film Academy? 

    Prem Sagar (PS): My journey has been such a weird journey. I always thought I was going to be a dancer because I was a classical Indian dancer for about 25 years. But I always felt like I was missing something. I got an opportunity back home in Malaysia to be an extra on a movie set and then I was bitten by the acting bug as they say. Everything I have done prior to that, I had trained for. I had knowledge in what I was doing but with acting I was like, I don’t know what I’m doing. It just so happened that NYFAA had an open day, I attended and then I immediately just signed on because I’ve always been a person who loves practical learning more than theoretical learning and NYFAA is very practical.

    NYFA: What are some of your artistic inspirations, your favorite actors or your favorite era in cinema history?

    PS: Malay actor Pram Lee is looked upon as one of the legends of cinema and TV back home in Malaysia. He brought a lot of change into the cinema world. Even today you can watch his films and they stand the test of time. Some other actors I loved watching when I was growing up and still do: Denzel Washington, Robert Sheehan, Michael Fassbender. 

    NYFA: What do you hope that people take with them after seeing your work in Dome House Six

    PS: I’ve always said, even when I used to play characters in stage plays and musicals, I want to be remembered as an actor that played a diverse range of characters and roles convincingly. I hope Micah makes them feel something emotionally and mentally as they are watching Dome House Six; and I hope they remember my performance in Dome House Six for many years to come. 

    NYFA: What did you like most about the script when you first read it and what stood out the most about your character? 

    PS: When I first read the script, it was so fresh and so unique. I was blown away. It’s so character driven and I don’t think I have read or watched something like it before. I was like, this is real because trying to find or do something fresh and original is difficult.There’s not so much originality left in the world. Whatever we do, it is basically something we’ve seen or heard from somewhere else but the script it was so fresh and unique for me.

    My character Micah is a man of many, many layers, and I love characters like that. It gives you the opportunity to build and add so much of yourself and depth to the character. For example, Micah loves routine, loves to have everything in control and those qualities are very much alive in me: I love my routine, I love being in control of my outcome and everything.

    NYFA: What was the audition process like? 

    PS: Stephen [Osborne] messaged me one day and said, ‘hey, do you want to come over for a read?’ He had written this script and he wanted to hear voices for his characters. So I said, ‘Yeah, cool, I’ll come over and help.’ And then when I got there, he said, ‘Oh, by the way, this is your audition, so no pressure.’ A week or two after that, he messaged me again and asked me to send him a self tape. I did that. A week after that, I had a chemistry read with two different actresses and then after the chemistry reading he reached out and said I got the role.

    NYFA: And what was your experience making the film with another NYFAA alum?

    PS: It was really just amazing. Stephen is a legend. I’ve known him for almost three years now and even before meeting him, I’ve only ever heard people say amazing things about him. On set, he was very thorough with his work. He gave each of us the space and time to get into character, he was very specific about what he wanted and he gently nudged us where we needed to be. It’s just been a dream to work with him. Look out for his name in the future is what I’m trying to say.

    NYFA: What has been your favorite project so far?

    PS: Definitely Dome House Six. 

    NYFA: What did you learn at NYFAA that you applied directly to this project or other projects that you’ve done?

    PS: Well, I applied basically everything that I’ve been taught at NYFAA because I came into the acting world with zero knowledge about screen acting.

    NYFA: What did NYFA help you understand about acting? 

    PS: I learned so much. It’s not just learning your lines and delivering it in front of the camera. It’s so much more. It’s building your character, building another human being with the essence of yourself. 

    NYFA: Anything else you have to say? 

    PS:I would say that if you’re doing this program, if you want to be an actor, get into theater as well because that has helped me so much. One of my teachers said, ‘it’s easier to bring down an actor that is giving too much. I find it easier to ask him to contain it a bit more; but if the actor is not giving anything at all, it’ll be more difficult to bring something out of them.’ I think theater training helps in that aspect a lot. It definitely gives you a step up one up over everyone else who doesn’t do theater.

    The New York Film Academy is proud of Prem Sagar and all of his accomplishments! We look forward to seeing more of his work.

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    May 23, 2022 • Acting, NYFA Australia • Views: 208

  • NYFA Acting Alum Adlih Torres Debuts in Final Season of This is Us

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    NYFA Acting Alum Adlih Torres Debuts in Final Season of This is Us

    May 20, 2022

    In 2015, writer Dan Fogelman began developing This is Us as an 80-page movie script for ABC Studios. In 2016, This is Us premiered as a series on NBC, focused on the lives of siblings as they combat personal struggles of body image, race, addiction and more while also dealing with the death of their father. The show and its cast have received great praise, winning multiple awards including, an Emmy award, NAACP Image Award, a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performances.

    NYFA Acting for Film alum Adlih Torres is a Puerto Rican actress who spent some time in Spain before moving to Los Angeles to pursue acting. Torres graduated in December 2021, a month later she booked her very first role on national TV, Beatriz on NBC’s This is Us. She spoke with NYFA about the work that inspires her and the pursuit of more Latinx representation.

    What brought you to the New York Film Academy?

    I wanted to study acting and go to Los Angeles. The New York Film Academy popped up as an ad while I was watching a movie on my phone. Once I looked into it, I was convinced it was destiny and I had to go to LA to NYFA.

    What made you fall in love with film and TV?

    Alot! Starting with Barney and Friends, everything on Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. As well as anything Angelina Jolie was in, anything Johnny Depp was in. They made me want to be like them and be a part of their world.

    What are some of your artistic inspirations?

    Everyday life actually. I find inspiration in everyday life, the people I’ve met around the world, the situations I’ve been in and situations my friends have been in, all of it ties together.

    What do you hope people take with them after watching your performance in This is Us?

    I want people to know that this is only the beginning and that more representation of Latinx people is on the way.

    What was the audition process like for This is Us? How did you prepare?

    I believe I had like less than 72 hours before the deadline. I got the audition while I was at work at night and I freaked out. I reached out to my coaches and we got to film the next day late at night but I didn’t get my footage until the next morning when it was submitted. I didn’t hear back until the next day at my other job and I freaked! The process itself, it was fun. I blasted Bad Bunny on my way to coaching and during the self tape, I just had fun. I brought a lot of my own personal experiences to the character.

    What did you learn at NYFA that you applied directly to your work and to your work on This is Us?

    I used what I had learned about on-set etiquette. While at NYFA, I learned how a set works, what goes on while shooting and the preparation for a take. Those things definitely helped me feel more at ease, more at home when I got to the set of This Is Us.

    NYFA Acting Alum Adlih Torres Debuts in Final Season of This is Us NYFA Acting Alum Adlih Torres Debuts in Final Season of This is Us

     

    What was your favorite part of working on This is Us?

    Meeting the rest of the cast in the scene with me, meeting the director Zetna Fuentes and the writer of the episode, Jonny Gomez. They are all amazing people and I felt right at home. 12 hours on set felt like 3 hours!

    What other projects are you working on or do you plan to work on? Do you have any projects coming up?

    As of now, I’m just auditioning and working on my craft. I’m in the pre-production stage of my short film Where The Fish Swim and we’re getting ready for filming.

    What advice would you give to students just starting out at NYFA?

    The advice I would give is, don’t worry about other people and what they’re doing. Focus on yourself and your craft. Put in double the work. Go above and beyond, don’t just do the bare minimum. Plan out the props for the wardrobe, trust me it will help! And also, a lot of people will tell you different things, including teachers. Just take it in, see what resonated with you and give it a go! And most importantly, it’s okay to fail. I have failed multiple times in life as well as academically, but I never gave up.

    The New York Film Academy is proud of all Adlih has accomplished in such a short time. We look forward to seeing her performance on This is Us on Tuesday, May 24th at 9pm on NBC.

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    May 20, 2022 • Acting • Views: 11

  • NYFA Acting Alum Anatolii Panchenko Stars in French Hit ‘Infiniti’

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    NYFA Acting Alum Anatolii Panchenko Stars in French Hit 'Infiniti'

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum Anatolii Panchenko (Анатолий Панченко) was cast in the acclaimed mini-series, Infiniti. The series premiered at the Cannes International Series Festival, an independent association that aims to highlight series from around the world. This year the Cannes International Series Festival celebrates its 5th anniversary but the festival has already climbed the ranks of note-worthy festivals with highly-anticipated premieres. Past screenings and premieres include #FreeRayshawn, Killing Eve, Call My Agent!; and in April, Infiniti, produced by French powerhouse Canal +, premiered Out of Competition alongside Halo.


    The mini-series was directed by French director Thierry Poiraud (Black Spot, Don’t Grow Up, and Goal of the Dead) and written by Stéphane Pannetier (Research Unit, Les Ombres Rouges) and Julien Vanlerenberghe (Les Ombres Rouges, Famille d’accueil), the series follows a crew aboard the International Space Station after discovering the murdered corpse of a fellow astronaut on a roof in Kazakhstan. Now in search of the culprit, a French astronaut and Kazakh cop work together to solve the crime.

    Poiraud, Vanlerenberghe and Pannetier sat with Canal + to discuss the hit series. Vanlerenberghe says that the series was born out of a shared desire between him and Pannetier to create a project about outer space but from an “earth point of view.” The duo was inspired by spaceports like Baikonur Cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan (leased to Russia) because the spaceport is in the middle of nowhere and is not often depicted in cinema or TV. Poiraud told Canal+ that the trio found it difficult to scale their ambitions for the six-hour long mini-series. Once they began filming, they faced financial and geographical complications: Kazakhstan was far-removed and production was costly. However, Vanlerenberghe insists that constraints give birth to ideas. The show evolved, day by day, until the last day of shooting.


    Infiniti is an ambitious series, the show was filmed in France, Kazakhstan and Ukraine and was filmed in three languages: Russian, French and (primarily) English. NYFA Alum Panchenko starred alongside a stellar international cast: Céline Sallette (France), Daniyar Alshinov (Kazakhstan), Vlad Ivanov (Romania), Lex Shrapnel (England), Karina Arutyunyan (Uzbekistan), Ellora Torchia (England), Laurent Capelluto (Belgium), Jarreth Merz (Switzerland), and Samal Yeslyamova (Kazakhstan). There was not a shortage of languages on set, amongst the cast and crew a total of six languages were spoken.

    The efforts of actors like Anatolii Panchenko, the creators, and production crew proved to be successful. Since its premiere at Cannes International Series Festival, the show has garnered wide acclaim for its ambitious blend of sci-fi, mystery and romance. Read more about Anatolii’s work on Infiniti as well as his feature in a OnePlus Nord 2 5G commercial.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA Acting for Film alum Anatolii Panchenko for his work on Infiniti!

     

    Please note: NYFA does not represent that these are typical or guaranteed career outcomes. The success of our graduates in any chosen professional pathway depends on multiple factors, and the achievements of NYFA alumni are the result of their hard work, perseverance, talent and circumstances.

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    May 9, 2022 • Acting • Views: 285

  • NYFA Alum Manuel Garcia Rulfo Stars in the Netflix Series The Lincoln Lawyer

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    NYFA Alum Bill Hader's Barry Season 3 Is Still Killer

    The first iteration of The Lincoln Lawyer starred Mathew McConaughey as Mickey Haller in 2011. The film was based on the first book in the series by the same name, penned by acclaimed crime fiction novelist, Michael Connelly (Bosch). The film was successful, it received positive reviews and grossed $87 million (over a projected $75 million) and most importantly, according to Connelly fans, the film was true to the book.

    But there’s a new Lincoln Lawyer in town: NYFA One-Year Acting for Film alum Manuel Garcia-Rulfo. Rulfo is Mickey Haller in the Netflix Original Series The Lincoln Lawyer.


    The movie’s novelist, Michael Connelly spoke about the new series and its leading man on a blog post and said, “Manuel is the ideal Mickey Haller, who is following in the footsteps of his attorney father with the showmanship of his Mexican movie star mother,” Connelly continued, “He brings a powerful dynamic and dimension to the role — one that aligns with the books and brings authenticity to the Latinx heritage and roots of this Los Angeles-based story.”

    The new Netflix series, set to premiere May 13th on the streaming platform, picks up where the first film left off and chronicles the second book in the series, The Brass Verdict. In the book, Mickey Haller is a criminal defense attorney who practices law out of the back of his Lincoln town car, driving throughout Los Angeles; but a new case reveals a conspiracy that goes deeper than he could have imagined. The new series is helmed by legendary producer David E. Kelley (The Undoing, Big Little Lies) known for creating captivating legal dramas. Kelley was himself an attorney before turning to show business and he is the series’ showrunner, writer and executive producer alongside Michael Connelly.

    The Lincoln Lawyer series has been years in the making, eleven years to be exact. After the successful premiere of the film in 2011, there was talk of a film franchise for the book series. However, when that fell through the focus shifted to a TV series. The series was originally set to premiere at CBS before landing at Netflix.

     

     

    Manuel Garcia Rulfo spoke with the former Chair of the Acting Department and current Creative Director of the Acting Department, Lynda Goodfriend, about the upcoming series during a Q&A. He shared with NYFA students that he prepared for the role by reading the first and the second book in the Connelly series. Rulfo shared that although the character Mickey Haller was easy for him to understand, filming the series was a challenge for him. He confessed that is was the hardest project he’s worked on, “The work it requires, the tough hours, everyday you’re shooting long dialogues … you have to go day by day and come home at 9 o’clock at night and try to learn for the next day 11,14 pages of dialogue in a language that is not yours.”

    Check out the rest of the interview below!


     

     

    Please note: NYFA does not represent that these are typical or guaranteed career outcomes. The success of our graduates in any chosen professional pathway depends on multiple factors, and the achievements of NYFA alumni are the result of their hard work, perseverance, talent and circumstances.

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    May 6, 2022 • Acting, Diversity • Views: 272

  • Q&A with NYFA Acting Alum Danny Olabi

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    Bobby Diggs, better known as the music artist “RZA,” is leading man to the hop hop music group Wu Tang Clan and had been in search of a biopic that portrays the legendary music group for almost 10 years before Hulu produced the series, Wu Tang Clan: An American Saga.

    The Emmy-nominated series follows the music group’s formation and Bobby Diggs’ original vision for Wu Tang Clan as he strove to unite a dozen young, black men torn between music and crime. Wu Tang Clan eventually rose to great heights and became one of the greatest success stories in Hip Hop history. Wu Tang Clan: An American Saga premiered to a sea of great reviews and was recently renewed for a third season. 

    New York Film Academy Acting for Film 2-Year Conservatory alum Danny Olabi played the role of Poppy in the series’ second season. 

    Olabi spoke with the NYFA about his work on the set of Wu Tang Clan: An American Saga, his newest projects and his advice on collaboration.

     

     

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): When did you know you wanted to pursue acting?

    Danny Olabi (DO): I have been interested in acting since I was a little boy. I’d watch TV and movies and think to myself, “Wow this is so cool and it looks like they’re having so much fun.” I’d come up with short film ideas and shoot them with my siblings and cousins on my iPad. As a kid I never really dwelled on the idea of actually going for it because it seemed so far-fetched. Around the time of my high school graduation, I started to think about my future. I was watching High School Musical with my mom one day and I just said, “Mom, I think I want to be an actor.” she responded, “well why aren’t you going to acting school?” and the rest is history. 

     

    NYFA: What was your first TikTok? What about the TikTok platform do you absolutely love as  an actor? 

    DO: My first TikTok was a repost of an old skit I posted on Instagram. Mostly because I didn’t know how to use TikTok yet and it was a good way to just get some content on there. You know, get myself started. What I love about Tik Tok is that it gave me an opportunity to stay creative when I had nothing else to do. As actors, it can feel like we have to wait to be hired to create. Or if we create our own stuff we need a ton of money. With Tik Tok all I needed was some ideas and my iPhone. Not only did I build an audience, I was able to generate some income and still do till this day. 

     

    NYFA: Who is your all-time favorite actor? Why?

    DO: My all-time favorite actor is none other than Will Smith. Growing up, I would watch The Fresh Prince with my brothers. And Will was one of the first people outside of my family that I looked up too and could relate to. To see a young black man who’s from the hood out here chasing and achieving his dreams was awesome! He was cool and funny! I wanted to be like him. Because of people like Will I’ll never give up. Because I never know who I’m inspiring. Just like Will inspired me.  

     

    NYFA: How was your experience on Wu-Tang:An American Saga?

    DO: Working on Wu-Tang: An American Saga was awesome. I got to meet the director the day before we shot my scene and right away I felt welcomed and comfortable. The first question he asked me was how I felt about Poppy and how I saw things unfolding in the scene. Coming into your first big acting gig is nerve racking, however the team’s openness and collaborative spirit was reassuring.

     

    NYFA: What prepares you to get into character on set or in casting calls? 

    DO: The process is different for every role. I’ve learned that for some roles, to do as little as possible. If the character resonates with me really well, I just learn my lines, soak up the circumstances, and dive in. Everything I learned in school and in the industry has helped a lot. Beats, actions, objectives, etc. But the main thing that I’ve learned on set and being in audition rooms is to craft and then let the work go and live in the moment. That’s easier said than done, but it’s something I continue to practice as much as I practice technique because it’s just as important.

     

    NYFA: So far, which project has been your favorite? 

    DO: I’ve been a part of some great sets. One that comes to mind is a short film I did called The Remixes. It was a sleep away set and the cast and crew were so fun to be around. Being away with an amazing group of people for 5 days on a beach house doing what we love. It doesn’t get much better than that. 

     

    NYFA: What is one of your fondest memories of your time studying at NYFA?

    DO: It’s so hard to choose. My time at the academy left me with priceless relationships and  memories that I will always cherish. If I had to choose one it would be the moment after  my second-year classmates and I finished our final physical theater performance. Preparing for that performance and learning that craft, although it was fun, was one of  the hardest things we ever endured as young artists and we leaned on each other for strength and support during that time. We were like our own little family. After the final performance we all huddled together in the dressing room and just had a moment of  appreciation for one another. We congratulated each other and just loved one another  for just being there. This is vulnerable work and having the right people by your side can make or break you. I’m glad I had them. 

     

    NYFA: How did completing your Acting For Film program at NYFA support your dreams?

    DO: It gave me a foundation. Although nothing is exactly like learning through actual experience, the NYFA instructors did a really good job of giving us an idea of what real set experiences are like in the classroom. So when I went out there and started auditioning and working, nothing was completely foreign. I remember my first time on a TV set. While they were setting up the shot I asked the DP what my frame was. He was so shocked as if he doesn’t usually hear that from a young actor. But based on what I learned in school I knew that the frame size could affect the way I delivered my lines.

     

    NYFA: What other projects are you working on?

    DO: Right now I have two short films set to hit festivals this year. I played a supporting role in a French New Wave film called Wet Seal Cigarettes. I also played the lead role in a Brooklyn Western film called Cowboy Killer. I’ve also written a few of my own things to exercise my creative muscles. Some monologues I plan to shoot on location soon. They are characters I could really see myself playing so I will post them on my Actors Access and social media to show casting directors what I can do. I also have a comedy sketch called Women Bring Out The Real You in post production. It was shot by NYFA’s very own Miguel Garzón Martínez. 

     

     

    Wet Seal Cigarettes draws its inspiration from the French New Wave Movement that swept through France in the late 1950’s. The movement gave us Francois Truffaut’s 400 Blows, Agnes Varda’s Cleo from 5-7, Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless, and many other iconic films. 

     

    NYFA: Is there any advice you’d like to share with current NYFA students? 

    DO: As I have mentioned before, this is vulnerable and challenging work that we do. Trust yourselves, be patient and surround yourself with driven, hardworking, good people. Former AFF chair Peter Allen Stone told me something that has always stuck with me. He said, “Some days things will feel amazing and you’ll feel like the best actor in the world. Other days not so much. You’ll feel stuck and worried about your progress and even question if you’re good enough.” That’s completely normal and every artist goes through it. Just embrace it all and charge it to the game. Positivity is key. Focus on the love for the craft we all have and the amount of work you put into it because at the end of the day that is all we can control. 

     

    The New York Film Academy is proud of Danny Olabi’s latest work and wishes him success in his future projects.

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    May 5, 2022 • Acting • Views: 292

  • NYFA DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING INSTRUCTOR CLAUDIA RASCHKE IS DP FOR CNN+ SERIES

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    NYFA Documentary Filmmaking Instructor Claudia Raschke’s career has run the course of 33 years. She started her career in 1988 and worked her way up to lead cinematographer. In 2011, she was the cinematographer for the Oscar-nominated documentary God is Bigger Than Elvis about actress Dolores Hart who renounced her successful career at the age of 24 to become a Benedictine nun, the film’s success was a precursor of what was to come for Raschke. She has since been the director of photography for multiple award-winning films: the Emmy award-winning documentary RBG about the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Peabody Award-winning film Black Magic on ESPN, and Oscar short-listed films Mad Hot Ballroom, Particle Fever, Atomic Homefront and The Freedom to Marry.

    Right before the recent purchase of Twitter by tech magnate Elon Musk for $44 billion dollars, Raschke was working behind the camera to bring to life CNN +’s Land of the Giants: Titans of Tech, a five-part documentary-series about the world’s most powerful CEO’s and how their companies reshaped our world.

    Land of the Giants: Titans of Tech examines the rise of Meta (formerly Facebook), Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google. This documentary series unearths the unabridged history of these organizations, from their meager origins to their current standing as billion-dollar entities and their impact on our society. The series uses a combination of archival footage and interviews with field experts, to give the viewers insight into the genesis of the worlds most influential companies and their polarizing founders: Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Reed Hastings, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

    Raschke has worked on many projects, of varying subjects but what ties them all together is her method and style of filmmaking: Cinéma vérité. The term itself comes from the French film movement that took off in the 1960s, wherein directors filmed people in everyday situations speaking unscripted dialogue and interacting authentically. The term is used to describe a style of filmmaking that is unimposing.

    NYFA Documentary Filmmaking Instructor Claudia Raschke behind the camera.

    Raschke has a masterful eye for the truth and her style of filming allows her to tackle nuanced and complex subjects, similar to the ones in Land of the Giants: Titans of Tech and God is Bigger than Elvis, with intimacy. During a conversation with 20/20 host Liz Hinlein, Raschke explained that the key to documentary filmmaking is ceasing the moment. She also shared with us that, at times, while filmmaking, there is a level of vulnerability shared by both the cinematographer and the subject. Raschke said “there is bonding because we experience something together: emotions, anger, resolve, struggle and when that happens they do turn to me.”

    Check out the interview below where Raschke discusses her experience filming the political legend Ruth Bader Ginsburg for the documentary film RBG, and cinéma vérité, the art of truthful documentary filmmaking.

    NYFA congratulates Claudia Raschke for her commitment to teaching and her creative success!

     

    Please note: NYFA does not represent that these are typical or guaranteed career outcomes. The success of our graduates in any chosen professional pathway depends on multiple factors, and the achievements of NYFA alumni are the result of their hard work, perseverance, talent and circumstances.

     

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    April 29, 2022 • Acting, Cinematography • Views: 209

  • Q&A with NYFA Acting Alum Amanda Azevedo

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    Headshot of actress Amanda Azevedo, a white female with long brown hair wearing a pale pink suit. NYFA Acting for Film alum and Brazilian actress Amanda Azevedo recently starred in Netflix’s Back to 15 as Luiza, a seemingly-perfect young girl struggling with her desire to please everyone around her, alongside seasoned-performer, Maisa Silva. Prior to being cast in the Netflix original, Amanda was performing in plays in a theater in Sao Paulo – Back to 15 was her first big role!

    However, although Amanda got her start in the theater, she is not new to the camera. In 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic that shut down stores and theaters alike, Amanda created a web series called Call Com Cleo or Call Cleo. After going through a breakup at the start of quarantine, Cleo, played by Amanda is tasked with adapting herself to the single life in the midst of a global pandemic. In every episode of the web series, Cleo has a video call in monologue format.

    Amanda spoke with the New York Film Academy about how she prepared for the role of Luiza, her biggest challenge since graduating from NYFA and her hopes for the future! 

    How long have you been acting?

    I’ve been acting since I was 7 years old. I started in a theater company  in Sao Paulo where I did more than 15 plays over the years. However when I went to college, I followed a different career. I was working in an advertising agency when I realized that what I really wanted was to be a professional actress. So in 2019, I left my job and went to NYC to start over and study with great teachers. 

    What prompted your interest in the Netflix series Back to 15?

    Being able to talk to the youth in a light way about deeper subjects. I really liked the journey my character takes. I felt a real need to tell her story because I identified a lot with her, especially when I was a teenager. On top of that, there is this 2000’s vibe, which gave a really nostalgic feel to the show. And it’s incredible being part of a Netflix project, and being able to reach all around the world and therefore taking a Brazilian project to several countries. 

     

     

    What did you want to bring to the role of Luiza?

    Luiza is a girl who appears to have the perfect life, but throughout the story we see that she suffers a lot trying to be this perfect girl that lives to please others, especially her mother, who puts a lot of expectations on her. I wanted to bring her dissatisfaction slowly, through details and subtleties. With one look, one breath the character becomes more vulnerable and throughout the episodes she’s getting closer and connected with the audience.

    What’s the one thing you’d like audiences to take away from your role as Luiza, and the show in general?

    I think the show talks about how we can write our own stories, no matter the expectations that others put on us. It’s important to open this topic with families so that young people can learn to understand themselves better and follow their own path.

    How do you personally like to prepare for a role?

    I like to justify everything, such as why the character has a type of behavior, create her past, her goals as well as using my own material. When creating Luiza, I recreated many situations that happened to me when I was a teenager, and talked to some girls who went through the same thing. I also studied some psychology articles to understand the relationship between Luiza, her mother and her sister. In addition to that, I watched a lot of 2000’s movies to dive into that universe. On set, during each scene, I liked to discover something new about the character.

    Amanda Azevedo on the set of Back to 15 with a blue cake in front of her.

    Amanda Azevedo on the set of Back to 15

    What are your professional aspirations or goals as an actress?

    Most importantly, I want to have a long steady career and continue to develop my craft because I know it’s a tough and competitive industry. I want to give life to different kinds of characters that contrast with Amanda’s way of living and biographic characters would also be an awesome challenge. I would love to film in many places in Brazil and in the world where I can be in touch with different cultures. Also, I aim to pursue an international career. 

    What has been the biggest challenge for you since graduating from NYFA?

    After my graduation, I continued my studies on acting and even though I felt prepared, the biggest challenge was to get this first big job. I received some no’s in the past years, but they brought me to the big yes. It’s part of the journey!

    What did you learn at NYFA that you applied directly to your recent work?

    The set experience and the familiarity with the camera. NFYA has, in addition to the theory, a hands-on learning program which is essential to the craft. This preparation was really important to me to feel comfortable during the shooting and giving my best during the scenes, as Back to 15 was my first big project on TV. 

     

     

     

    Are there any other upcoming projects we should know about?

    I’m in the process of creating a play and I’m still working on my web series Call Cleo, which I have on my Instagram and now it’s running through international festivals. And why not a second season of Back to 15? I’m hoping for it! 

    Do you have any advice for incoming Acting students?

    Study a lot, be prepared and welcome the opportunities. Be in touch with your creativity, develop your own projects, don’t wait around for things to happen. Find out what you want to communicate to the world through your art because when you do a work that’s authentic, you most certainly will shine!

    NYFA congratulates Amanda Azevedo on her work in Back to 15 and Call Cleo and all her future endeavors!

     

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    April 1, 2022 • Acting, Filmmaking • Views: 968

  • NYFA Alum Issa Rae Wins at 2022 NAACP Image Awards

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    HBO aired the last episode of the hit-show Insecure on December 26, 2021. In its wake the show left millions of sad (but proud) fans behind and took with it 10 nominations for the 2022 NAACP’s for its superb farewell season. 

    The 5-season show was hailed a critical success from the beginning and its final season did not disappoint. Down to the very last episode “everythings gonna be, ok?!”, Issa Rae kept the ball in the air. The show had been a favorite across generations and garnered Issa a huge following since its premiere in October 2016. However, last December fans had to bid adieu to the show, but last week, the NAACP handed Issa some parting gifts: several awards.

    🏆 Outstanding Comedy Series

    “Insecure” — WINNER

    🏆 Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series

    Issa Rae, “Insecure” — WINNER

    🏆 Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series

    Issa Rae – Insecure -“Everything’s Gonna Be, Okay?!”  — WINNER

    At this year’s NAACP Image Awards, Rae won Outstanding Actress In A Comedy Series for her landmark series Insecure,  which also won the Outstanding Comedy Series category, beating populars shows like Black-Ish, Harlem, Run The World, and The Upshaws

    Rae’s performance as Issa Dee won over her co-star Yvonne Orji as well as Tracee Ellis Ross for Black-Ish, Regina Hall for Black Monday, and Loretta Devine for Family Reunion. But it didn’t stop there, Rae also won the Outstanding Writing In A Comedy Series category for the Insecure series finale “everything’s gonna be, okay?!” ⁣⁣

     

     

    NYFA congratulates Issa Rae for all of her hard work and successes!

     

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    March 2, 2022 • Acting, Diversity, Screenwriting • Views: 736

  • NYFA Alum Maisa Silva Goes ‘Back to 15’ on Netflix

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    MAISA SILVA presses Control + Z IRL on Netflix’s ‘Back to 15’

    MAISA SILVA presses Control + Z IRL on Netflix’s ‘Back to 15’

    NYFA Acting for Film Teen Camp alum Maisa Silva boasts an impressive 41.2 million followers on Instagram, 11.4 million on Twitter, 14 million on Facebook and 5.79 million subscribers on Youtube. All of whom Maisa refers to as primos (cousins), not only because her last name, Silva, is the most common last name in Brazil but because they’ve watched her grow up in real-time. Maisa Silva is a prodigy; she’s been working in entertainment since she was 3 years old.

    Maisa is no stranger to the acclaim that will follow her recent deal with Netflix and today’s premiere of De Volta aos 15 (Back to 15) where she plays a 30 year-old woman who, unhappy with her life, finds a way to travel back in time to when she was 15.


    But before we go Back to 15, let’s press CTRL+ Z for one second.

    This year, Maisa turned twenty but she has already had an impressive sixteen-year career. In 2005, when she was only 3 years old, she was discovered on a talent show on Programa Raul Gil, a musical and variety TV show. Maisa impressed everyone including legendary host, Raul Gil, with her intelligence and wit. Maisa was quickly hired to work on the show as a singer and stage secretary to Gil. She looks back on this moment fondly, “I remember getting onstage and staring at the cameras, and I was like, ‘Okay, this is a little bit scary, but I’m comfortable somehow.’ I remember the crowd because they were loud and playful. And I felt somehow that this place was my home”, she told Netflix Queue.

    Soon after her time on Programa Raul Gil, she was contracted by SBT (Sistema Brasileiro de Televisão), a Brazilian Television network created by television personality and Brazilian icon Silvio Santos. Santos signed Maisa to present children’s shows for the network. Maisa was only 5 at the time. In 2008, she was an invited guest on Silvio Santos’ own show where she would answer questions improvised by him, a segment called Pregunte à Maisa (Ask Maisa). Maisa would continue to host the programs for SBT for thirteen years, during which she starred in films and telenovelas. One of which became an incredibly successful film franchise, Carrossel.

    When Maisa was 16 years old, she decided she wanted to expand her training. In 2018, Maisa made the move to New York to study at NYFA in one of our Acting for Film Teen Camps.

     

     

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    A post shared by +A (@maisa)

    The following year Maisa became the host of her very own show Programa de Maisa (2019). However, in October 2020, she tearfully said goodbye to SBT – Maisa had signed with Netflix Brazil.

    Though the details of the partnership are not known, Maisa is set to star in original productions at Netflix in the years to come. The first of which was Double Dad, where a young girl’s search for her father finds her with two dads – neither of which she is willing to lose in exchange for the truth.


    Thanks to Netflix, the world will definitely be seeing more of Maisa in the years to come.

    NYFA congratulates Maisa on all of her hard work and success!

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    February 28, 2022 • Acting • Views: 625