Acting
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  • NYFA Acting for Film Alum Anatolii Panchenko Stars in ‘Infiniti’ and ‘OnePlus Nord 2 5G: Origins’

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    Anatolii Panchenko

    Photo of Anatolii Panchenko by LA-Based Photographer, David Zaugh

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum Anatolii Panchenko (Анатолий Панченко) has been cast in a Canal+ mini-series, Infiniti, which began filming in March of this year. 

    Directed by 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-board. 

    Anatolii Panchenko

    Photo of Anatolii Panchenko by Anna Vialova (NYFA Cinematography alum)

    Now in search of the culprit, a French astronaut and Kazakh cop work together to solve the crime. Production companies Empreinte Digitale and Federation Entertainment Belgique are distributing the series on Canal+ and StudioCanal in 2022. 

    The series was filmed in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and France and shot in English, Russian, and French. The thriller will span six hour-long episodes. Panchenko will be working alongside an international cast including co-stars Céline Sallette (La Flamme, Vernon Subutex, and Marie Antoinette), Daniyar Alshinov (A Dark-Dark Man), Vlad Ivanov (The Transporter, Snowpiercer), Lex Shrapnel (Les Médicis: Masters of Florence, Harlots), Karina Arutyunyan (The Bureau), Ellora Torchia (The Cowboys, Midsommar), Laurent Capelluto (Moloch, Into The Night), Jarreth Merz (Six, Titans), and Samal Yeslyamova (Ayka, Three).

    Anatolii Panchenko

    Promotional artwork from ‘OnePlus Nord 2 5G: Origins’

    Anatolii Panchenko also starred in a recent commercial called OnePlus Nord 2 5G: Origins (also known as OnePlus Nord 2 5G: Nord of the Rings), a project by Stink Films. Directed by Keith McCarthy (The Ganzfeld Procedure) and written by Josh Erickson, the commercial merges humor and a Lord of the Rings-inspired narration to tell the origin story of the Nord 2 5G smartphone. 

    The crew uses advanced VFX, beautiful cinematography, and music to capture the different tempos for each “chapter” of the phone’s history. From fantasy to a Sci-Fi film to an action thriller, the team uses a combination of extras, makeup, and costumes to bring you out of each scene and into the next. 

    Be sure to check out behind-the-scenes footage of the film crew working their magic to bring the commercial together. 

    New York Film Academy congratulates acting alum Anatolii Panchenko on his role in Infiniti and looks forward to watching the series once it’s released next year. 

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    September 22, 2021 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 73

  • NYFA Alum Bob Ahmed’s ‘Tikkun Olam’ Tackles Homelessness with Humanity in Award-Winning Short

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    Bob Ahmed opens his interview at the 2021 SEEMA Summit with a translation from a poem written by a famous Indian poet, Mirza Ghalib: “To be human is easy, but to be humane is almost impossible.” Thus was born the inspiration for his award-winning short Tikkun Olam (2021), which tackles the subject of homelessness in Washington, D.C.

    Tikkun Olam poster

    Image Source: IMDb

    For anyone who has lived in the nation’s capital or is familiar with the city’s history of poverty, you may not be surprised by the alarming number of homeless, an issue that plagues veterans and civilians alike. Tikkun Olam is a poignant film that revolves around the love and humanity of an eight-year-old boy who encounters a homeless veteran. 

    Based on Ahmed’s own experiences while living in Washington, D.C., The Daily Times described the film as an “urgently needed story of hope in our broken world today” with “blistering performances”. Views & News describes the film as “a rare, polished gem” with “riveting performances”. Voice of America calls it “a unique film on an important topic”.

    Director and NYFA Filmmaking Alum, Bob Ahmed

    Director and NYFA Filmmaking Alum, Bob Ahmed | Photo courtesy of Arielle Lewis

    Tikkun Olam won almost universal acclaim garnering success on the festival circuit where the director’s choice to focus on his actors, putting them in a position to evoke truly intense emotional responses was rewarded. The film won ‘Best Short Film – Teens’ at the 22nd ShorTS International Film Festival in Trieste, Italy in July 2021. The short is also an official selection for the 35th Washington DC International Film Festival and the 27th Sedona International Film Festival, which is ranked amongst the “Top 10 film festivals in the world.”

    “I studied at the New York Film Academy and that is where I really got inspired to make film,says Ahmed in an interview with South Asian icon, Aroon Shivdasani, at the 2021 SEEMA Summit. 

    Ahmed believes his role as the director is not to evoke emotion from his actors, but rather to remove the pressure from the set and create an environment in which the actors can create someone truly special on camera. 

    This approach with his actors which encourages them to do what they believe they would do in a scene (even if slightly different from the script) reaps rewards as the short film was also selected for the 21st D.C. Asian Pacific American Film Festival and selected for the 10th D.C. South Asian Film Festival. 

     

    The director is working on a new film, Johnny & The Golden Gifts about a young boy in Washington D.C, whose life spirals out of control because of a personal tragedy. The story explores themes of forgiveness as a solution to ongoing challenges in modern American Society. 

    Considered both a Director and Screenwriter, Ahmed also wrote, Lost in DC, about a Pakistani man who visits Washington, D.C. and runs into a former high school friend. The two men spend the next several days in each other’s company, learning more about the other’s path in life following their school days. The script is currently a finalist at the 52nd Nashville Film Festival, an Academy Award Qualifying Film Festival. 

    New York Film Academy congratulates Bob Ahmed for his success and looks forward to the upcoming Johnny & The Golden Gifts.

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    August 11, 2021 • Acting, Alumni Events, Filmmaking • Views: 1290

  • Q&A With NYFA Alum Abdulrahman Al Madani on Filming ‘The Monster’ and Recent Work

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    NYFA Filmmaking alum, Abdulrahman Al Madani shares his personal experience tackling challenges in the filmmaking industry with anecdotes from his own recent work, as well as advice for emerging filmmakers. Al Madani wrote and produced the successful short film, Laymoon, and closing his newest project, The Monster. 

    Al Madani is a graduate of the One-Year Filmmaking program at the NYFA Abu Dhabi campus from 2014. 

    Abdulrahman Al Madani

    Filmmaker Abdulrahman Al Madani

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): What projects have you worked on over the past several years? Have you won any awards or been showcased in any festivals or competitions?

    Abdulrahman Al Madani (AM): My work has comprised of short films, documentaries, music videos, and public awareness campaigns. 

    Since graduating from NYFA Abu Dhabi in 2014, I have written, directed, and produced two short films including Laymoon (2019), which was a recipient of Sharjah Art Foundation’s Production Grant, and The Monster (2021). 

    Laymoon was screened all over the Arabian Gulf, including other Arab countries like Lebanon, North Africa, and Europe such as France, Spain, Germany, Denmark, and Norway. The film is currently playing on Etihad Airways flights. 

    My latest short film, The Monster, has completed post-production recently and is currently being submitted to film festivals worldwide. 

    NYFA: Tell us more about your latest project & how you got involved in the project?

    AM: I started writing The Monster over a year ago. Once the pandemic hit, I pushed myself to develop the script further. By the end of the year, I was ready to go into production and wrapped filming in February 2021. The film is a drama revolving around a young mother named Hessa who escapes her abusive husband, only to find herself pressured by her estranged mother to succumb to his abuse. 

    NYFA: What did you learn at NYFA that you applied directly to this project and others?

    AM: Being in NYFA was an eye-opening experience in terms of giving me insight into various aspects of production, which allows me to be knowledgeable of everybody’s work on set. Time management, speaking to actors, and writing three-dimensional characters are some of the most important lessons I learned in NYFA which I continue to find useful to this day. In addition, NYFA helped build a filmmaking community that makes it easier to find a group of people you can trust and help one another. 

    NYFA: Are there any other upcoming projects we should know about?

    AM: I am currently focused on distributing The Monster to festivals worldwide as well as developing my first feature script. 

    NYFA: Do you have any advice for incoming NYFA students? 

    AM: Allow yourself to make mistakes and do not be afraid to experiment. Learn to take feedback with a pinch of salt; everyone will have an opinion about your work. Making films is the best film school, and you will keep learning as you go. Challenge yourself with each project because being stuck in your comfort zone is the death of creativity.

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    July 30, 2021 • Acting, Filmmaking • Views: 934

  • Alum Janek Ambros’ Feature ‘Mondo Hollywoodland’ Available on August 3

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    Janek Ambros, Filmmaker and Producer of Human Capital (2019), Ten Thousand Saints (2015), and Imminent Threat (2015), directed a new narrative film, Mondo Hollywoodland. Recently acquired by Green Apple Entertainment, the film will be released digitally on August 3, 2021, on Amazon and video-on-demand. The film will also release on Friday, July 30, 2021 in Los Angeles at select theaters, including the Arena Cinelounge. Ambros is an NYFA Producing alum, who has worked on a series of collaborative projects both while as a student as well as after graduation alongside other NYFA alum. 

    Mondo Hollywoodland

    ‘Mondo Hollywoodland’ coming out on August 3, 2021

    The film follows a mushroom dealer and man from the fifth dimension as they adventure on a drug-fueled series of events throughout Hollywood, California. The film was named after the X-rated 1967 documentary, Mondo Hollywood. Ambros’ film, Mondo Hollywoodland was executive-produced by Oscar-nominated James Cromwell. 

    The film premiered at the DTLA Film Festival where it won the ‘Creative Vision Award.’ Mondo Hollywoodland made an international appearance at the Innuendo International Film Festival where Ambros won ‘Best Director.’

    Ambros is head of Assembly Line Entertainment, which has produced a series of films including Since August (2022), Legend of Tayos, Exposure 36 (2022). The NYFA alum is co-executive producer of Monica, currently in production. The film Since August competed for the Golden Goblet at the Shanghai Film Festival and will be out in 2022. 

    Janek Ambros

    Director and Producer Janek Ambros

    Ambros has a robust network across industry professionals, including other NYFA alumni, resulting in a few collaborative projects throughout his career. For example, Ambros is a co-producer of the film, Legend of Tayos, alongside fellow NYFA alum, Galo Sablantes. 

    NYFA encourages readers to follow Assembly Line Entertainment’s Instagram account (@assemblylineent), where the team promotes their upcoming films. The company is soon to launch “Sixties” on the platform, which will highlight sixty-second films from filmmakers around the world.

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    July 30, 2021 • Acting, Film School, Filmmaking, Screenwriting • Views: 559

  • NYFA Alum Rajni Mysore Chamaraj Selected For Star Collective Program

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    New York Film Academy is excited to announce that alum Rajni Mysore Chamaraj, along with her sister, Shynica Mysore Chamaraj, has been selected to participate in the novel Stars Collective program and will be supported with mentoring from Hollywood luminaries, funding, and creative resources from Starlight.

    Founded by Starlight Media CEO Peter Luo (producer of Crazy Rich Asians, Marshall, Midway). the Stars Collective program supports young emerging filmmakers and artists and heightens diversity in the global entertainment ecosystem with potential funding of up to $100 million collectively. The esteemed group of Stars Collective mentors includes director Sam Raimi, Chinese actor Xiaoming Huang, and producers Donna Gigliotti, Gianni Nunnari, Chris Lee, Sanping Han, Paula Wagner, Patrick Wachsberger, Eric Heumann, and Liming Ke.

    “As we wade through the film industry looking for a middle ground between our creative expression and the logistical roadblocks, initiatives like these give artists a launchpad and opens up the industry to a more diverse range of content and transforms the ecosystem of both the makers and the audience,” shared Chamaraj. “Collectively, I believe the media industry has just started to come of age and it’s a great time to jump on to this bandwagon of independent filmmaking.” 

    Photo courtesy of Rajni Mysore Chamaraj

    Chamaraj is a Film & Media Production MA alum from NYFA’s Los Angeles campus. Her film The Day I Met Joshua was recently named an Official Selection at the prestigious Carmarthen Bay Film Festival in the UK, which is a BAFTA qualifying festival. She currently resides in India and recently wrote, directed, and edited a short Spanish web series in LA called Finding Home, which is streaming on Amazon Prime UK and US. As of now, she is working on the set of a four-part anthology series about the lives of four urban Indian girls living in different cities of India. The NYFA alum is also working as a screenwriter for an Indo-American feature film to be shot in mid of 2022.

    New York Film Academy is proud of the well-earned success of alum Rajni Mysore Chamaraj and is excited at the prospect of more projects from the NYFA alum as a result of the wonderful achievement of being a Stars Collective participant.

    Starlight has a mission to create content that amplifies diverse voices, and a central focus of the program is helping to promote the next generation of aspiring filmmakers and creative storytellers. Starlight guides filmmakers through the development of projects including indie features, documentaries, and animation, helping them balance art and commerce, while encouraging them to form their own styles of storytelling that not only manifest personal creative visions but catch the zeitgeist of the times.

    The majority of filmmakers selected to the program are female, and represent a highly diverse mix of nationalities, ethnicities, races, and personal and professional backgrounds. The Stars Collective program integrates global resources in order to spark the production of more films of distinctive styles and genres.

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    April 22, 2021 • Acting • Views: 1167

  • New York Film Academy Instructors Shoot “The Sisters Karras” And Enter Post-Production

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    Two estranged half-sisters, a will reading, a valuable antique rug, and a mysterious stranger. 

    NYFA Acting for Film and Filmmaking instructor Micah Stathis’ latest film, The Sisters Karras, has deep roots within the NYFA community. With Stathis’ SK Deli Market Productions at the helm of the production, the film also includes New York campus instructors Dan Rodriguez, Dennis Green, and Andy Mendez among the film’s cast and crew.

    Poster for “The Sisters Karras”

    The film, shot last Summer in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, is an original feature written, directed, and starring Stathis. NYFA teaching assistant for Acting for Film Dan Rodriguez served as the film’s director of photography, with NYFA’s Post-Production Supervisor, Andy Mendez, serving as the main editor of the film. Joining Stathis in the cast is NYFA screenwriting instructor Dennis Green.

    Photo courtesy of Micah Stathis

    The shoot itself proved challenging for the crew as safety took precedent with the filming during the pandemic. 

    “It was very stressful shooting during the pandemic,” explained Stathis. “We were a SAG registered production, so the COVID protocols were very strict and required a lot of additional planning and precautions. Not to mention, it’s really hot shooting in New York in August…especially while having to wear masks!”

    With the production wrapped, The Sisters Karras now enters the post-production phase. Like many filmmakers know, shooting the film is half the battle, with a huge part of the filmmaking process dedicated to putting all the finishing touches on the project and getting the film out in the public eye.

    Dan Rodriguez (Left) and Micah Stathis (Right)

    “I hope that audiences enjoy the tragicomic tone and nature of the film. I hope audiences find the story of the two sisters captivating, funny, and stressful but ultimately, relatable,” shared Stathis.

    Photo courtesy of Micah Stathis

    “We are definitely aiming for a festival run with an eye towards sales and distribution. We have already been in dialogue with a few distribution companies who are waiting for the film to be ready. We do not want to rush the post-production process and want to make sure the film is, ultimately, as good as it can possibly be. That’s why we’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign specifically for post-production.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates the instructors who banded together to create a feature film safely in the middle of the pandemic. To learn more about The Sisters Karras, you can visit the film’s Kickstarter page by clicking here.

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    April 2, 2021 • Acting, Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights, Filmmaking, Screenwriting • Views: 14616

  • New York Film Academy – 2021 Awards Season Recap

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) is proud share the outstanding achievements from the 2021 Awards Season recognizing members of the NYFA community, including alumni and guest speakers.

    Amid Hollywood’s pandemic year, the 2021 Oscars nominations shattered many records related to diversity and historic milestones that have cemented this year’s ceremony as one to watch. Read more >>

    NYFA Nominations

    Shivani Rawat (1-Year Screenwriting NYFA alum)

    Christina Oh (NYFA Guest Speaker)

    • NOMINATED – Best Picture (Minari)

    The EE BAFTAs took place on the weekend of 10 and 11 April 2021 and will be broadcast on the BBC. Read more >>

    NYFA Nominations

    Akinola Davies Jr (NYFA Filmmaking alum)

    • NOMINATED – Best British Short Film (Lizard)

    Shivani Rawat (1-Year Screenwriting NYFA alum)

    Christina Oh (NYFA Guest Speaker)

    • NOMINATED – Best Film Not in the English language (Minari)

    NYFA Nominations

    Shivani Rawat (1-Year Screenwriting NYFA alum)

    NYFA Awards

    Christina Oh (NYFA Guest Speaker

    • WINNER – Best Foreign Language Film (Minari)

    This year, with the pandemic crippling much of Hollywood’s cinema distribution and disrupting filming productions across the globe, the Golden Globes still proved that content was in no short supply for viewers in 2020. Read more >>

    NYFA Nominations

    Shivani Rawat (1-Year Screenwriting NYFA alum)

    Christina Oh (NYFA Guest Speaker)

    • NOMINATED – Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language (Minari) 

    Al Pacino (NYFA Guest Speaker)

    • NOMINATED –  Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama (Hunters)

    Carl Weathers (NYFA Guest Speaker)

    • NOMINATED –  Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama (The Mandalorian)

    Glenn Close (NYFA Guest Speaker)

    • NOMINATED –  Best Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture (Hillbilly Elegy)

    Bryan Cranston (NYFA Guest Speaker)

    • NOMINATED –  Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (Your Honor)

    The 2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards aired Thursday, April 22 at 10:00 pm ET and 7:00 pm PT. Read more >>

    NYFA Nominations

    • NOMINATED – Best Motion Picture – Best Feature (Minari)

    The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) announced its list of nominations for this year’s NAACP Image Awards, an annual awards ceremony crediting the outstanding performances in film, television, music, and literature of the past year. This year, NYFA alumni and guest speakers were among the list of distinguished nominees across multiple categories. 

    In addition to the NYFA community’s nominations, alum Paquita Hughes worked on the production team for the Hulu drama Little Fires Everywhere, starring Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon. Ten-time nominee Jingle Jangle from David E. Talbert was worked on by alum  Francesco Panzieri, who worked as the in-house compositing supervisor for the film. Read more >>

    NYFA Nominations

    Issa Rae (4-Week Filmmaking NYFA alum)

    • NOMINATED – Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series  (Insecure – “Lowkey Feelin’ Myself”)
    • NOMINATED – Outstanding Guest Performance (Saturday Night Live)
    • NOMINATED – Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture (The Photograph)

    Alfonso Ribeiro (4-Week Filmmaking NYFA alum)

    • NOMINATED – Outstanding Variety Show (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion)
    • NOMINATED – Outstanding Host in a Reality/Reality Competition (America’s Funniest Home Videos)

    Lisa Cortés (6-Week Producing NYFA alum)

    Cedric The Entertainer (NYFA Guest Speaker)

    • NOMINATED – Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series (The Neighborhood)

    NYFA Awards

    • WINNER – Outstanding Comedy Series (Insecure)
    • WINNER – Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series (Insecure)

    The Producers Guild of America Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. Read more >>

    NYFA Nominations

    Shivani Rawat (1-Year Screenwriting NYFA alum)

    Christina Oh

    • NOMINATED – Best Picture (Minari)

    The 27th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards was simulcast on TNT and TBS on Sunday, April 4, 2021. 

    NYFA guest speaker and Minari producer Christina Oh’s film received three nominations for her cast, including Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role (Yuh-Jung Youn – WON), and Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role (Steven Yeun).

    NYFA alum Shivani Rawats The Trial of The Chicago 7 received three nominations including Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role (Sacha Baron Cohen), and  Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture.

    Read more >>

    NYFA Awards

    • WINNER – Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture (The Trial of The Chicago 7)

    This year, NYFA alum Akinola Davies Jr. won the Short Film Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival for his film Lizard. Read more >>

    NYFA Awards

    • WINNER – NYFA Filmmaking alum Akinola Davies Jr.; Short Film Grand Jury Prize (Lizard).

    New York Film Academy congratulates all of this year’s nominees and winners and looks forward to seeing the incredible creative work recognized in 2022. 

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    March 25, 2021 • Acting • Views: 1059

  • NYFA Alum Priya Darshini Nominated at 2021 Grammy Awards For Best New Age Album

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    Music’s biggest night of the year will include NYFA Acting and Filmmaking alum Priya Darshini, who is nominated for Best New Age Album at the 63rd Annual Grammys for her debut album Periphery.

    Darshini studied 4-Week Acting for Film and 8-Week Filmmaking at NYFA’s New York campus. After her studies, she appeared in The Letters and went to Bollywood. She then decided to pursue her first love of music and began focusing on her recording career.

    Album cover for Priya Darshini’s “Periphery”

    “I craved to create original music,” she told the Indian Express. American musician Roy Wilfred Wooten even chose her for his famed Black Mozart Ensemble, which combined jazz with classical music, hip hop, and bluegrass. She also became the Artistic Director of Brooklyn Raga Massive and co-led Women’s Raga Massive. Darshini has been featured by Elle India and was recently named by Tatler Magazine Malaysia as one of “Six Asian Women Around The World Changing the Face of Music.”

    Her debut album Periphery is an East-West crossover that blends Darshini’s Indian classical training with influences of American folk and pop. The album was recorded in an abandoned church in Brooklyn, New York over 12 days. Darshini also worked with collaborators Nicholas Prout (Recording Engineer), Max ZT, Dave Eggar, Chuck Palmer, and Will Calhoun. 

    New York Film Academy is proud to see Priya Darshini be recognized for her outstanding achievement by The Recording Academy and wishes her the bust of luck. The 63rd Annual Grammys will be televised on Sunday, March 14 on CBS (8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT). 

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  • Netflix Limited Series “Behind Her Eyes” Stars NYFA Alum Eve Hewson

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    Netflix’s binge-worthy new limited series is Behind Her Eyes and it has everyone talking about all the twists and turns. The series, which released on February 17, stars NYFA alum Eve Hewson as lead character Adele.

    Eve Hewson studied at NYFA in 2008 in the Acting for Film program and has since appeared with Sean Penn and Frances McDormand in This Must Be the Place and Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies. Hewson also appeared alongside Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx in Robin Hood. She recently appeared in the BBC adaption of Eleanor Catton’s novel The Luminaries as Anna Wetherell that premiered in the U.S on February 14, 2021, on Starz.

    Eve Hewson as Adele in “Behind Her Eyes” (Netflix)

    Hewson’s latest project, Behind Her Eyes, is a psychological thriller adapted from Sarah Pinborough’s 2017 novel of the same name. The story follows the love triangle of single mother Louise and married couple Adele (Hewson) and David. With a series of shocking twists, and a highly talked about ending, the story is nothing short of gripping, where nothing is what it seems.

    Poster for “Behind Her Eyes” (Netflix)

    Hewson’s character Adele is married to David, who is having an affair with the new resident to the town, Louise. Adele, surprisingly, is interested in forming a friendly connection with David’s new lover but sets off an entangled web of twisted circumstances and conspiracy.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Acting for Film alum Eve Hewson on the release of her latest project and encourages everyone to check out the new limited series, now streaming on Netflix.

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  • Documentary Filmmaking Alum Elaine Minionis Awarded Regional Emmy Award for “Uncanny: The Dolls of Mariana Monteagudo”

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    NYFA is excited to celebrate Documentary Filmmaking alum Elaine Minionis joining the ranks of multiple creatives who have had the distinguished honor of being awarded an Emmy. The regional Emmy, awarded in late 2020 by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Suncoast Chapter, was for Minionis’ film Uncanny: The Dolls of Mariana Monteagudo.

    The short documentary was produced by Minionis and was picked up for national broadcast by PBS. The film follows renowned Venezuelan visual artist, Mariana Monteagudo, who currently lives in Florida. The film especially captures Mariana’s creative process and her inspirations behind her intriguing, eerie doll sculptures, all made of repurposed materials. From following Mariana dumpster diving to visiting local thrift shops for useful material, Uncanny also touches on topics like immigration, consumerism, and more viewing them through the lens of contemporary art.

    Still from “Uncanny: The Dolls of Mariana Monteagudo”

    “Coming from a strong family tradition of ceramists in Venezuela, Mariana loves giving a second life to objects that are discarded by our society,” shared Minionis on her personal Instagram. “Like a waste picker, she [Marina Monteagudo] walks around neighborhoods to salvage gems from people’s bulk trashes, rescuing textiles or baseball balls, plastic bottles of orange juice, or an old unkempt teddy bear. To her, everything has potential for inspiration and hybridism, and that’s the way she lives her life: continuously seeking, always resuscitating abandoned things, permanently combining and thinking ahead of time, and placing her faith into the most unimagined creations.”

    Also a native of Venezuela, Minionis got her start in the arts by writing poetry at a very young age. Her big break came in 2005 when she was one of a handful of winners selected for a national poetry contest, receiving as a reward a text publication with one of the most important literary houses in Venezuela (CELARG). As she grew up and continued to study, her love of photography and documentary became more clear.

    NYFA alum Elaine Minionis with her Emmy and one of Mariana Monteagudo’s dolls

    In 2006, the Emmy-winner saw her still photography work featured as part of the advertising for the 20th Century Fox production of Elipsis. In 2008, Minionis came to study Documentary Filmmaking in NYFA’s 1-Year Conservatory program. Of her experience, she shared that “non-fiction visual storytelling became an artistic and intellectual space” that allowed her to explore research and visual concepts of storytelling.

    After graduating, Minionis worked at the Brooklyn-based production company Flicker Flacker Films, as an intern and then the assistant editor for a History Channel feature-length documentary The Naturalized. She eventually became an independent producer at Discovery Networks Latin America/US Hispanics in the Original Production & Development Department.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Minionis on her Emmy win and is proud to count her amongst the NYFA alum ranks. We look forward to her future projects and wish her continued success.

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    February 19, 2021 • Acting • Views: 993