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  • NYFA Acting for Film Alumna’s “Frisky” Gets Distribution from Gravitas

    friskyShot on a mere five thousand dollars, 8-Week Acting for Film alumna Claudia Pickering’s film, “Frisky,” was recently digitally released by Gravitas — which happens to be the same distribution company who distributed her former NYFA instructor, Adam Nimoy’s Spock documentary — in the US and Canada.

    The Sydney-born filmmaker began her foray into filmmaking through acting, which led to creating comedy sketches, short films and webseries’, the first of which was a music video titled “Sebring,” which included Danny Trejo, who choreographed and performed a synchronized dance for the clip.

    “Acting and directing involves a lot of switching between head spaces, and a lot of trust in your cast and crew,” says Pickering. “Having a very intimate understanding of each scene really helped the process of going between ‘acting’ and ‘directing’ modes. As an actor, I could feel when we had hit the right emotional moments in each scene, but the issue was, I couldn’t see whether we’d nailed the shot. Fortunately, I had a wonderful relationship with our cinematographer, Christiana Charalambous, and trusted her that when she said she got the shot, we were clear to move on.”

    Pickering has now written and produced two feature length films, ‘Frisky’ and ‘Winning Formula‘, of which she directed the former, and both have received international festival success including Official Selection at the Chicago Comedy Film Festival, Best Feature Film at the 10th Broad Humor Film Festival in Los Angeles, Best Comedy Feature at the Atlanta Underground Film Festival and the Director’s Choice for Best Feature Film at the Austin Revolution Film Festival. Pickering won the 2015 Tropfest Tropvine competition with a stop motion animation of a giraffe telling a dad joke, and regularly creates sketches with her comedy troupe, Frothpocalypse. She is currently developing several projects through her company, Cliff House Productions.

    Frisky

    “My experience at NYFA LA was nothing short of life-changing,” said Pickering. “With incredible teachers such as Adam Nimoy, the course not only taught great acting techniques and theory, but also gave me a solid practical and theoretical foundational understanding of filmmaking. Additionally, I met some wonderful lifelong friends, one of whom, Anna Bennett, I went on to form a comedy production company with.”

    Her most recent film, “Frisky,” involves two young women who move back to San Francisco, where they had met on exchange years earlier. However, their high career aspirations quickly become sidelined by their sexual interests. While wildly crass and charismatic in their public personas, they are in fact fundamentally at odds on many levels. Their opposing beliefs surrounding responsibility and romance, combined with their close quarters while crashing in an acquaintance’s living room, find them thrust onto a fast track to discovering what their friendship is really made of. Based on true events, “Frisky” is an honest, tongue-in-cheek look at what it is to be a woman in the limbo years between college and “the real world.”

    “The film is based on my real life experiences moving from Sydney to Los Angeles — the first and most emotionally potent time was for NYFA — then from LA to San Francisco,” says Pickering. “The emotions, the the friendships, the flings, the near-misses, and the life-long lasting love for people and places. I was living in San Francisco, waiting for another feature film, ‘Winning Formula,’ to go through post production in LA. I was working as an architect to earn some money, but was really becoming disillusioned by the whole profession as I’d sit at my desk and fantasize about stories I’d like to make into movies. One night, I was invited to attend the test screening of a film that a friend of a friend had made on virtually no budget with a six month turn-around. The film was such a joy to watch — so honest and funny — and had been shot on a DSLR camera just like one I already owned and I thought to myself, ‘I can do that.’ I checked my savings account balance that night, quit my job the next day and started writing ‘Frisky'”

    For more information about how to download or stream, “Frisky,” please visit the website at friskymovie.com.

    March 24, 2017 • Acting, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 854

  • NYFA Movie Musical “Streetwrite” Premieres at The Cutting Room

    On Sunday, March 12, one of the New York Film Academy’s newest movie musicals, “Streetwrite,” held a very well attended premiere screening at The Cutting Room in Manhattan. The film was written and directed by Blanche Baker, an Emmy Award winning actress and Senior Faculty member of the New York Film Academy, and shot by Piero Basso, an award-winning Director of Photography. The performers in the film consisted of an international cast of talented Musical Theatre students working alongside NYFA’s faculty and staff of professional artists.
    streetwrite

    Using street art as a focal point, Baker’s film examines the various ways people struggle to express themselves in situations where free speech is curtailed or suppressed. It also explores how certain kinds of expression can be repressive to individuals.

    Following The Cutting Room screening, there was an engaging panel discussion, which included David Klein, NYFA’s Senior Executive Vice President; Issues of freedom of expression in film, journalism and the world of academia were explored by J. R. Brandstrader, a veteran print and broadcast journalist; Deborah Carroll, executive producer at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs; Blaze Coyle, filmmaker, focused on women and social justice; and Christa Salamander, Syrian media specialist and Associate Professor of Anthropology at Lehman College whose current book project is on the Syrian TV drama industry.

    streetwrite team

    For those who were unable to attend The Cutting Room premiere, there are a few more festival screenings to come.

    The RiverRun Festival, based in Winston-Salem, NC, will be holding a screening on Saturday, April 1. After the screening there will be a talkback moderated by the producer, Dale Pollack.

    Cinemonde, the private film series at the Roger Smith Hotel, will be screening the film on April 5 at 7pm.

    “Streetwrite” will then screen at the Manhattan Film Festival on FridayApril 21 at Cinema Village and at the NYC Indie Film Festival on Friday, May 5 at The Producer’s Club.

    For a look at more photos from The Cutting Room premiere, visit our Official Facebook Album.

    March 22, 2017 • Acting, Community Highlights, Musical Theatre • Views: 332

  • NYFA Veterans Treated to “Hacksaw Ridge” Screening with Mel Gibson

    The New York Film Academy Los Angeles welcomed Academy Award-winning director, Mel Gibson, to screen his Oscar-winning film, “Hacksaw Ridge,” to an audience of student military veterans. Associate Chair of Acting, Christopher Cass, and Veteran and MFA Acting for Film student Ron Ringo moderated the evening.

    mel gibson

    photo by Kristine Tomaro

    The Q&A began by asking how Gibson first came across the project, “Hacksaw Ridge.” “It was given to me three times by Bill Mechanic,” said Gibson. “He used to run Fox. He really has a passion. He loves film. I’ve never met a producer who was a big mucky-muck but was also willing to really get down in the trenches and get his hands dirty.”

    Gibson said working on this film was different than any other project before it. He is typically accustomed to creating original content or transforming a story from another medium to film. Desmond T. Doss’ story left a significant impression. Telling it correctly was a huge responsibility.

    “There were tears on the page,” Gibson said. “Among the Medal of Honor Recipients, Desmond was the guy. I mean, who goes into a place without a weapon? Generally, recipients do something incredibly courageous in an instant. Desmond was premeditated. He kept laying his life on the line, again and again. He’d crawl into enemy fire to get anyone. That’s just the kind of guy he was.”

    Gibson frequently uses military veterans in his films. He stated that there were Rangers in “We Were Soldiers” and vets in “Black Hawk Down.” “There’s something about marshaling a film crew and the chain of command and the difficulty — the ferocity of what it all takes to get a large number of people together that is kind of like a battle. You have this logistical way of trying to put things together. You have to have a general and a captain and Sargent. On a regular film, this is your First A. D. and the Director. They have to keep everyone’s morale up. Many people on set are veterans.”

    When it came time to for the Q and A portion of the event, one veteran stood up and asked, “When you’re preparing for a role or working with an actor do you listen to music to help set the mood?”

    Gibson responded, “I think music is very important because music transcends logic. It goes straight from your ear to your heart. I did an acting exercise when I was nineteen or something like that. You had to walk up to a person — could be a spouse, a brother, or a friend — and you’re never going to see that person ever again. And you’re saying goodbye for the last time.

    We all did this exercise, and everyone’s laughing and joking around. Then our instructor says he’s going to try out something different. He plays this soulful sort of Bram’s violin thing and we all had to do it again and everyone starts crying. I was amazed. It struck me how transcendent music can be. Music informs a lot of things. Almost everything you do filming wise is rhythmic whether it has music or not. Storytelling has a rhythm and a pace. Your heart, the sound of the ocean, it is all music. So, yes, I think it’s important.”

    mel gibson at nyfa

    photo by Kristine Tomaro

    Gibson also spoke about his first time on set as a director. The night before he was nervous, so he called up Clint Eastwood. Treating the student to an impersonation of Eastwood giving the advice, Gibson said, “Just say action and cut.”

    BFA Screenwriting student and Marine Corps veteran, Patrick Stinich had this to say about the experience, “It was an honor to watch this incredible true story brought to life in a very powerful way. You could tell that Mel Gibson really cares about what drives men that choose of their own free will to wade into the hell that a combat zone can become. I respect him very much as a storyteller, a director, and as a man for that. The 212-seat theater provided those of us who have served our country in a time of war a really intimate and rewarding experience with one of the film industries’ finest. Thank you for the opportunity to attend this event. I learned a lot.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Gibson for volunteering the time to speak with our veterans.

    “Hacksaw Ridge” is now available on VOD and DVD. Gibson will be starring in “The Professor and the Madman,” and “Daddy’s Home 2” later this year.

    March 21, 2017 • Acting, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 2363

  • NYFA Hour Chats with Acting for Film Instructor Ken Lerner

    New York Film Academy Acting for Film instructor Ken Lerner was the most recent guest on NYFA Hour. Lerner brought great advice from his acting class The Business of Acting and personal stories from his journey including shooting “Happy Days” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

    The New York Film Academy Hour is a weekly podcast hosted by Joelle Smith and Pegah Rad on The Popcorn Talk Network. A prestigious alumnus or highly touted faculty member gives a mini master class each week on their cinematic specialty.

    Lerner discussed comedic acting by highlighting moments from his career including playing the lawyer who is stabbed in the back in “Running Man” and the Snicker’s commercial for which he won an award.

    When asked about how he prepares for his roles Lerner had this to say:

    “When I was younger I did really a lot of research. I would call up hospitals if I was playing a doctor or a heroine addict. I even went to a friend who’s an obstetrician and watched. I asked cops if I could do a drive around. They said no, but I tried. I once played an army guy on Project X. I went out to the air force and watched the guys work. You pick up things. I did the research, that’s what I advise my students.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Lerner for coming on The Popcorn Talk Network to discuss his career. You can watch Lerner in episodes of “This is Us,” “Legion,” and “Feud: Betty & Joan.”

    March 17, 2017 • Acting, Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights • Views: 443

  • Stephen Dorff Screens “Wheeler” at NYFA Los Angeles

    Multi-talented actor, director, and producer Stephen Dorff brought his latest film “Wheeler” to screen for Acting and Filmmaking students at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles. Guest Speaker Series Director Tova Laiter and Associate Chair of Acting Christoher Cass hosted the evening. Dorff had visited the New York campus a few years prior with co-star Emile Hirsch and the Polsky Brothers to screen “The Motel Life.”

    Stephen Dorff at nyfa la

    Dorff has worked on such standout films as “Blade,” “World Trade Center,” “Immortals,” and “Public Enemies” alongside Johnny Depp. As well as such indie darlings as “Somewhere,” “I Shot Andy Warhol,” and “Shadowboxer.” Dorff even had a starring role in the Aerosmith music video “Cryin’.”

    Like Sacha Baron Cohen in “Borat,” Dorff’s character infiltrates the Nashville Country Music scene while most of the people involved in the film had no idea they were in the presence of an actor. Dorff performed live as the “Wheeler” character to great success. Everybody believed he was a new talent with a growing buzz that just came into town and was discovered. All he needed was a bang up job of make up transformation, which was uncomfortable but did the job…

    One of the students asked, “How did you get the idea to make this an homage to country music?”

    stephen dorff

    Dorff responded, “Well, the way it started was really weird. I had four songs that were more folk rock and melodic. My producer finally said, ‘why don’t we try country?’”

    “It made sense. My dad and brother sing country. I’m from Texas. It’s a world I know. I went into the studio to see if I could find a voice. We brought in steel guitar and slide guitar and went to work. One day I found the voice of Wheeler. Now that I’m playing live a lot I feel like my singing voice has gotten a lot better. We’re booking theaters, and then I’m standing in Johnny Cash’s dressing room. It’s weird, but it’s exciting.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Dorff for taking the time to speak with our students. You can find Dorff in “Leatherface,” “Jackals,” and “Music, War and Love” out later this year.

    March 9, 2017 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 1489

  • Former NYFA Student Publishes “Sociedad En El Diván: Una Década en Los Medios”

    Three years after the publication of his theoretical framework “Crëative Synapse: Create.your.Universe” and parallel with his full celebration of a decade in media, former New York Film Academy Acting for Film student, Dr. Ariel Orama López (AG Orloz), published his new book “Sociedad En El Diván: Una Década en Los Medios.” His contributions as a media psychologist, artist and performance coach, and professional actor have been immortalized on Telemundo, WAPA, Freemantle Media, Piccolo Universe by Ricky, TISOC Barcelona, PsicoPediaHoy Colombia, JWT Agency and Fundación Mi Sangre of the Colombian artist Juanes.

    Sociedad En El Diván: Una Década en Los Medios

    AG was selected as a finalist of the Telemundo: Actors Workshop in Miami directed by well-known Mexican actress Adriana Barraza (nominated for an Oscar for her role in “Babel”) and performed as Performance and Creative Life Coach for the reality show “Idol Kids Puerto Rico.” He will soon be returning to the screen in the experimental and artistic film “Etreum,” co-directed by the well-known distinguished actress, Idalia Pérez Garay, and the respected director, Vicente Juarbe.

    AG is an active member of the Puerto Rican Actors and Actresses Organization (Colegio de Actores de Puerto Rico), has been participated as a juror of the PEN CLUB OF PUERTO RICO, was quoted by one of his texts at the distinguished Spanish University Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and has been highlighted as an author in the collective book “Communication and Education: Strategies of Media Literacy,” at Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona. He received multiple awards for his contributions in sciences, humanities and arts.

    AG Orloz will also be acting in an upcoming web series, a new short film, and as a co-producer of a new reality web series with the finalist of Telemundo GRAN HERMANO USA, Jommart Rivera.

    As a composer, AG was one of the three winners of Festival International de la Voz y la Canción in Miami, and was selected as a jury member in the next event on November 2017.

    February 24, 2017 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1517

  • NYFA Student, Actress & Producer Daniela Lavender Takes Part in Sundance “Women in Film” Panel

    Daniela LavenderBorn in Bahia, Brazil, Daniela Lavender has been training and pursuing the arts since the age of eight years old. She began by exploring ballet, jazz, contemporary dance, and eventually stepped into acting and the performing arts. Her theatre credits include British Shakespeare company production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” playing Hippolyta and Titania and a one woman show, “A Woman Alone” written by Dario Fo. From there she went on to appear in film and TV series, including the independent film “Emotional Backgammon,” where she was awarded Best Actress at the Denver Film Festival.

    Lavender is also taking on the role of producer, and currently attends the Producing School at New York Film Academy Los Angeles. As Vice President of Lavender Pictures Productions, which she co-owns with her husband Sir Ben Kingsley, her company has produced “A Birder’s Guide to Everything,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival 2013 and was awarded the Heineken first runner up audience award; “Learning to Drive” directed by Isabel Coxiet, which won the Audience Award at Provincetown Film festival; “An Ordinary Man” directed by Brad Silberling; and “Backstabbing for Beginners” directed by Per Fly, which will be released in 2017. Lavender Pictures is currently developing “Cousin Bazilio,” a 6 part mini-series; “TAJ,” an 8 part mini-series; and “Jutland,” a futuristic war drama.

    Recently, Lavender was invited to take part in a panel at the the Sundance Film Festival, which focused on Women in Film. We asked her about her involvement in the panel and her career.

    Can you tell us about your experience at this year’s Sundance?

    I much preferred my second visit to Sundance because I felt empowered. On my first visit I accompanied my husband on his press junket, so I only saw one aspect of Sundance; through an actor’s point of view and someone accompanying an actor.

    This time I went with a group of producers and filmmakers and Sundance was a different experience. I had been invited to participate in the ‘Women in Film’ panel and so I had a function that I was excited about.

    As I was there on my own, people didn’t know anything about me apart from the fact that I had a production company and was taking part in the panel. No one googled me — we didn’t google each other! So I felt that my first interactions with people were truly fresh; uncluttered by the projections that research and misinformation can so often bring.

    But what was most important for me, what made my stay so enjoyable and productive, was that I went empowered by knowledge. For the first time, instead of thinking of how I’m perceived or whether I’m being accepted or all these ego driven thoughts we invariably conjure up in situations like this, I was able to listen because I had knowledge; I knew why I was there and what I had to offer. That knowledge had been enhanced by my joining the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles.

    sundance panel

    How did you become involved with the “Women in Film” panel?

    I met an entertainment lawyer who had been running panels at Sundance and Cannes for the past 15 years. He was a guest speaker at NYFA and my class was fortunate to attend his talk. This was part of the producer’s department programs. After class I contacted him with a question. We talked and, as by then I had been at NYFA for three months and had acquired knowledge, our talk was interesting. He felt that his women’s panel could benefit from what I had to say, so off I went.

    What do you believe was the most important topic of the panel?

    This year Sundance happened at the time of a controversial election and it became very clear to me that the most important topic of the event was knowledge. Emotions were running high and it became evident that if you don’t have knowledge to guide your emotions, passions, even love, will hinder your goals, your effectiveness.

    The more I listened to the women around me the more I was certain that what made them succeed wasn’t that they aggressively fought or protested for their place (even though some might believe so). All the successful women I came across were successful because they were outstanding at what they did. Yes, the fight for women’s rights is important as women have been discriminated against in the past, and still have room to progress until they are treated equally in every area of society, but nowadays we all have opportunities, and the most powerful way to succeed is to be great at what you do. To be the most efficient person in the room. Period. Because great skill is irresistible. Many producers and filmmakers I saw had projects they were passionate about. ‘My passion project’ as’ we say… But then distributers turn to them and say ‘well, but it’s not mine.’ One needs more than passion.

    Do you feel there has been any progress over the last few years in terms of equality for women in film?

    Yes there has been. I still wish to see more female directors. I’m looking for one right now for our TV miniseries, but there has been. The head of the panel mentioned that in his last film 90% of his crew were women. That wouldn’t have happened in the past. I see the world as a much more competitive arena today. The standards are higher, and I believe that isn’t so much about gender or race, I believe that it’s about who is the best at what they do. Who has work ethic versus who is lazy.

    When you ‘play out there with the big guns’ we see fewer nice people and more effective people. To me real kindness is to strive to be good at what you commit yourself to do, and I’m learning that. How good and ambitious you are at your job in the film business is crucial, because the film is like a chain and if one link is weak the film will suffer.
    So the weak link has no place. The one who wants to be nice and not do the work has to go. And the generous ones, the ones who give themselves to the job, the ones who care, they will have a great chance out there if that is their destiny. So for women (as for everyone else), these are great times.

    Aside from producing. You’re also an actress. As an actress in today’s world, what would be your ideal role?

    My ideal role would be a revolutionary social worker with a military background. This woman would restructure the foster care system and children wouldn’t be left in the care of the abusers. This woman would be a strong, lean machine, intelligent and have zero tolerance for child abuse. She would also operate undercover to rescue victims of child trafficking. She would be a kick ass. Like a Navy SEAL. She wouldn’t be upbeat or nice, on the contrary, she would be moody but deeply compassionate. She would also have a dynamic romantic life; she’d like boyfriends and girlfriends alike.

    Can you tell us a little bit more about the projects you’re currently working on?

    Our company has two TV miniseries and a war film in development. I’m in talks regarding a third TV mini series, but it’s in the very early stages. I’m also shooting two films as an actress, one in March called “Nomis” and another one in April called “Intrigo” directed by Daniel Alfredson (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Trilogy).

    February 21, 2017 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 995

  • NYFA Australia Gold Coast Grad Stars in ABC’s “Newton’s Law”

    Makwaya Masudi, a graduate of the Acting for Film program at the New York Film Academy, Gold Coast, has landed the opportunity of a lifetime as a series regular on the new ABC program “Newton’s Law” starring iconic Australian actor Claudia Karvan (“The Heartbreak Kid,” “Paperback Hero,” “Daybreakers”).

    Masudi, a Kenyan native who came to Australia as a refugee, plays Zareb Mulumba – an office cleaner turned legal client to Karvan’s character Josephine Newton. The stellar cast also includes Toby Schmitz (“McLeod’s Daughters,” “Home and Away,” “The Pacific”), Georgina Naidu (“Offspring,” “Winners and Losers”) and Miranda Tapsell (“The Sapphires,” “Love Child”).

    Of his student experience at the New York Film Academy, Makwaya says, “NYFA trained me on how to work under a huge amount of pressure like calm water. It also gave me so much experience and helped me find out what type of actor I am.” He also believes that “getting to study in a production set-like environment” helped him prepare for the real world of television and entertainment.

    Acting opportunities are now in abundance for Masudi as he sets his sights on the American market. Check out Makwaya as Zareb Mulumba on “Newton’s Law” Thursday nights on ABC.

    February 20, 2017 • Acting, Entertainment Australia, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1373

  • NYFA Produced Movie Musical “Streetwrite” Introduced at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

    The Musical Theatre Conservatory at the New York Film Academy (NYFA) is one of the only musical theatre programs in the world that teaches both musical theatre for the stage and film.

    Blanche Baker

    Blanche Baker

    A recent prime example is “Streetwrite,” written and directed by Blanche Baker, an Emmy Award winning actress and Senior Faculty member of the New York Film Academy, and shot by Piero Basso, an award-winning Director of Photography. The film was fully funded by NYFA, with an international cast of talented Musical Theatre students working alongside NYFA’s faculty and staff of professional artists.

    This Feb. 14, 2017, “Streetwrite” was introduced at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Bonnie Sacerdote Lecture Hall. The introduction included a screening of the trailer, followed by a 20-minute performance work by Artists Fighting Fascism: Rebecca Goyette, Brian Andrew Whiteley and Kenya (Robinson).

    Opening remarks were given by International Institute for Conservation (IIC) Council Member, Amber Kerr and introductions by Moderator, Rebecca Rushfield. IIC is an independent international organization supported by individual and institutional members. It serves as a forum for communication among professionals with responsibility for the preservation of cultural heritage. It advances knowledge, practice and standards for the conservation of historic and artistic works through its publications and conferences. It promotes professional excellence and public awareness through its awards and scholarships.

    “We were thrilled that the New York Film Academy and Blanche Baker allowed the International Institute for Conservation to open its Feb. 14, 2017 colloquium, held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with a showing of the trailer for the NYFA Musical Theater film ‘Streetwrite,’ said Rebecca Rushfield, IIC Conference Organizer. “With an explosion of sound, movement, and color, “Streetwrite” set the context for the discussion that followed, demonstrating how art is created as an expression of protest or outrage.”

    blanche at the met

    Political graffiti has a long history dating back to the walls of Ancient Rome. It represents an alternative means of expression that gives voice to the issues and concerns of the common people. This tradition of free expression forms the basis of “Streetwrite,” a movie musical that asks the question, “How can speech be free if only those who pay can speak?”

    Using street art as a focal point, the film examines the various ways people struggle to express themselves in situations where free speech is curtailed or suppressed. It also explores how certain kinds of expression can be repressive to individuals.

    “Streetwrite’ will have its public world-premiere at The Cutting Room (44 East 32nd Street, NYC 10016) on Sunday, March 12th from 2pm-4pm. It will also have its East Coast Premiere at The Queens World Film Festival on Sunday, Mar. 19 in the Zukor Theatre at Kaufman Astoria Studios. The film has also been accepted to screen at Cinémonde, a private film series at the Roger Smith Hotel in NYC.

    February 20, 2017 • Acting, Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights, Musical Theatre • Views: 2190

  • NYFA Grad’s “Like Father, Like Son” Wins Best Short at NYC Indie Film Awards

    Like Father, Like SonBorn in Manila, Philippines, Heinrik Caesar Matias flew to New York City in 2016 to study filmmaking at the New York Film Academy. Matias says he is passionate in acting, and creating realistic and immersive stories with characters that the audience can connect to. His passion and determination led him to create the award-winning film, “Like Father, Like Son,” while attending NYFA.

    His film received “Best Short Film” nominations at film festivals all over the world, including Chandler International Film Festival (USA), Los Angeles CineFest (USA), Barcelona Planet Film Festival (Spain), MedFF (Italy), and Feel The Reel International Film Festival (UK). It won the Gold Award for Best Short Film at the NYC Indie Film Awards.

    “The experience I had, and the lessons I learned from the New York Film Academy were all applied in the making of this film,” said Matias. “It had to be or there was no way this film could have been made given the conditions we faced. I never had any experience in filmmaking prior to NYFA and, I will admit, it was very difficult. We didn’t have a big budget plus there were only four crew members, including me as the director, and three cast members. We all had to work twice as hard. It was very draining and it was a very challenging time for all of us, but we all felt like this was a story that needed to be told. I was lucky that I had a very professional crew and a talented cast that were all patient with me and the film during its production.”

    The short film is a psychological drama that explores the dark natures of depression and how it can even affect the people around the person who’s depressed. After 20 years, Charles, an unemployed alcoholic, finally reunites with his absentee father. The two of them soon realize that the apple does not fall far from the tree.

    “Many people fail to see the magnitude of depression and it is very often dismissed as ‘all in your head,’ but I believe that this is a real thing, and it is a serious matter that must be dealt with,” says Matias.
    heinrik caesar matias

    According to the Word Health Organization, as of 2016, depression is the most prevalent mental illness with 350 million cases worldwide and, if left untreated, can often lead to suicide.

    While Matias also continues to focus on his acting career, he’s currently working on two different projects — a short story that he hopes to film this year and his first feature film screenplay.

    February 17, 2017 • Acting, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1788