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  • NYFA Covers Young Storytellers’ Final ‘Glee’ Big Show

    glee cast

    As part of our on-going collaboration with the wonderful Young Storytellers Foundation, New York Film Academy students and alumni recently got the chance to film “THE FINAL GLEE BIG SHOW.”

    Glee cast members Mark Salling, Dot Marie Jones, Harry Shum Jr., Max Adler, and Alex Newell along with Chrissie Fit (Teen Beach Movie, Pitch Perfect 2) performed four different short screenplays written by a group of inventive middle schoolers.
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    The connection between Glee and Young Storytellers dates back to the organization’s very beginnings when Glee co-creator Brad Falchuk helped create what is now YSF. Since then, Mr Falchuk has regularly brought the cast of Glee to perform the student’s material as part of YSF’s “Big Show.” With Glee now coming to a close after six seasons, this performance truly marked the end of an era.

    NYFA was honored to be part of the experience, and congratulates the cast and crew of Glee as well as all the Young Storytellers Writers.

  • NYFA Australia Showcasing Their Talent

    It’s showcase time at New York Film Academy Australia. Both our Sydney and Gold Coast campuses, together with Acting for Film students, had been working effortlessly over the months putting together performances that showcase the students’ talents.

    Gold Coast had a busy three-day showcase schedule running throughout early March, featuring 34 of the Academy’s skilled acting students. Each and every night, the Helensvale Cultural Centre was filled with friends and family who had come along to support the graduate actors’ and actresses’ live performances and showreels. The room was filled with great energy and positive vibes as all graduates pulled-off an outstanding performance.

    Congratulations to the Gold Coast Acting for Film graduates:

    New York Film Academy Gold Coast Students

    New York Film Academy Gold Coast Students: Brandon Sherwood, Callum Whitton, Anthony Christodoulou, David Austin, Samantha Willis, Tara Wraith, Michael Stoeckert, Marie-Clare Loi Zou, Jasper Batenga, Will Wensley (instructor), Stephanie Kutty, Paris Moletti, Taryn Roberts and Christine Campbell.

    Thursday 5th March Performers

    • Caleb Saron
    • Christine Campbell
    • David Austin
    • Jim Rossngton
    • John McMahon
    • Marie-Clare Lou Zou
    • Max Gundy
    • Natalie Hunt
    • Rebecca Lyon
    • Samantha Willis
    • Villami Kama
    • Zac Bankowski

    Wednesday 11th March Performers

    • Anthony Christodoulou
    • Brody Arrowsmith
    • Callum Whitton
    • Georgia Pilling
    • Kiara Watson
    • Natalie Jones
    • Nicola Haks
    • Paris Moletti
    • Rhys Williamson
    • Sam Farell
    • Stephanie Kutty
    • Steve Budgen

    Thursday 12th March Performers

    • Ashley Dunscombe
    • Brandon Sherwood
    • Clare Brimmer
    • Jasper Batenga
    • Joshua Conboy
    • Kerri-Anne Keenan
    • Laura Scott
    • Tara Wraith
    • Taryn Roberts
    • Zoe Bankowski

     

    As we headed down the coast of Australia, on Friday 6th March, Sydney was preparing for an over-capacity performance at the Australian Theater for Young People, located above the Sydney Theatre Company and accompanied with the breathtaking backdrop of Walsh Bay.

    Over the months leading up to the showcase, acting one-year program graduates of the night, Chantelle Von Appen, Chris Strauss, Alexander Merlo, David Pound, Nicole Torode, Rafael Haddad and Andrew Murdoch were able to experience exactly why New York Film Academy programs are defined by their intensive, hands-on reputation. Graduates’ commitment and dedication truly shined on the night, with their high caliber execution of mixed scene performances and beat poetry receiving a well-deserved standing-ovation from audience members, family, friends, NYFA staff and instructors.

    With a buzz in the air, graduates continued to showcase their works to a number of agents and casting directors at the Sony Theatrette. The opportunity for students to present their showreels was nerve-wracking but again, was received positively by students, agents and casting directors, alike.

    New York Film Academy Sydney

    New York Film Academy Sydney Students on-stage showcasing their talents.

    New York Film Academy Sydney

    New York Film Academy Sydney. From left, Rafael Haddad, David Pound, Nicole Torode, Jennie Hughes (NYFA Sydney, General Manager), Alexander Merlo, Chantelle Von Appen, Chris Strauss & Andrew Murdoch.

    New York Film Academy would like to thank all students, graduates and teaching staff who worked tirelessly to produce such a successful program, making it possible to accomplish these inspiring events and performances. We congratulate all students who have now joined our NYFA Alumni family and look forward to another prosperous year working with talented, upcoming actors and actresses.

  • J.K. Simmons Finds a Navy SEALS Role More His Tempo

    jk simmons

    Fresh off his Oscar win for his incredible performance in Whiplash, J.K. Simmons is filling his dance card with an upcoming slate of high-profile movies. He’s already signed on for Skull Island, the epic sequel to Peter Jackson’s King Kong starring The Avengers’ Tom Hiddleston and Birdman’s Michael Keaton, set for release in 2017.

    This week, Simmons added another role, that of a Navy SEAL commanding officer giving his troops a hard time—a part he was seemingly born to play. The film is The Lake, a thriller about the aforementioned SEALs searching for sunken treasure in Serbia.

    The Lake is being co-written and produced by prolific French filmmaker Luc Besson, director of La Femme Nikita, León, The Fifth Element and Lucy and creator of The Transporter and Taken series. Steven Quale, director of Final Destination 5 and Into the Storm and a long-time collaborator of James Cameron, will be helming The Lake. Quale is a fitting choice, considering his work with Cameron on other water-based adventures The Abyss and the 3D IMAX documentary Aliens of the Deep.

    Simmons recently spoke with New York Film Academy students about his well-lauded roles in Spider-Man, Portal 2, The Legend of Korra, The Closer, and, of course, Whiplash. There’s no doubt he will bring his trademark talent and passion to The Lake.

    March 25, 2015 • Acting, Entertainment News, Guest Speakers • Views: 121

  • Oscar Winning Actor J.K. Simmons Visits NYFA

    jk simmons

    Academy-Award Winning Actor J.K. Simmons

    New York Film Academy students gathered in a theater at Warner Bros. Studios this past week for a special screening of Whiplash followed by a Q&A with this year’s Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actor J.K. Simmons. Jonathan Kimble (“J. K.” Simmons) is known for his roles as Dr. Emil Skoda on the NBC series Law & Order (and other Law & Order franchise series), neo-Nazi Vernon Schillinger on the HBO prison drama series Oz, Assistant Police Chief Will Pope on the TNT series The Closer, J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, and the voices of Cave Johnson in the 2011 puzzle game Portal 2 and Tenzin in The Legend of Korra. Simmons’s performance as music instructor Terence Fletcher in Whiplash (2014) received universal acclaim and earned him more than 30 accolades, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Golden Globe and BAFTA Award. Producer Tova Laiter moderated the discussion.

    To anyone who’s seen Whiplash, the memory of J.K. Simmons’ role as Fletcher, the music conservatory instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a promising young drummer’s potential, is burned into their memory. Soon after the credits finished rolling, and the man who had just captured the students’ attention so intensely on screen appeared in the flesh and took the stage, the whole theater immediately erupted into cheers and applause during a standing ovation. It was interesting to see how much of a contrast the terrifyingly sadistic Fletcher was to the real man behind the role. J.K. was upbeat, jovial, and having the students laughing in stitches with his endless stream of quips. He was as appreciative to be there as the student’s were to see him and even though the line of students waiting to ask questions stretched to the back of the theater and nearly out the door, J.K. stayed until every last question was answered.

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    Actor J.K. Simmons with Producer Tova Laiter

    J.K. talked about the incredibly fateful circumstances surrounding the Whiplash feature. Director Damien Chazelle wrote the part of the student drummer Andrew for Miles Teller not knowing at all the the actor had been a drummer since the age of 15. What’s more, when Damien first approached J.K. about playing the part of music instructor Fletcher, he assured him that there would be a music technical advisor on set and that they could use a body double for difficult orchestral scenes. As it turned out, however, Mr. Simmons studied music in college. “I thought I was going to be Leonard Bernstein when I grew up, but I took a few left turns…” J.K. jokingly said. “It was just all meant to be.”

    Elaborating more on the making of the film that changed his life forever, Mr. Simmons explained that when he first met Damien Chazelle the director was only 26 years old. However, despite Damien’s lack of experience, the two immediately clicked as J.K. saw the genius within the young director. Within 10 minutes of working together on the Whiplash short film, Simmon’s and Chazella knew they would be working together on the feature version. Simmon’s also had a comfortable, creatively exciting relationship with actor Miles Teller on set. Even though the tension between them was high on screen, the two would joke around together between takes on set. This was also due to the relaxed environment Damien created on set which allowed for experimentation from the actors. An interesting fact about the young music students from the various college bands in the film was that, aside from a few, they were composed of real student musicians, not actors. And during the filming the bands were actually creating real music!

    jk at nyfa

    While reminiscing on the long road that took him to where he is now J.K. said, “When I look back it almost seems like I had a plan. But I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, and doing what I really enjoy doing… When I was scrapping by and making ends meet, I didn’t have a wife and kids and any responsibilities… In my case, the level of success, acclaim, attention I’ve gotten more and more of in the last decade or so, if that had happened when I was 25 years old I would not have been prepared creatively, personally in any way.”

    March 23, 2015 • Acting, Guest Speakers, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 584

  • NBC Visits NYFA in Search of Diverse Talent

    nbc diversity

    NBC’s Grace Moss presenting NBC’s Diversity Initiative Programs

    This past Thursday, May 19th at the New York Film Academy in Union Square, our students, alumni and faculty were treated to an informational session on NBC’s Entertainment Diversity Programs hosted by Grace Moss.

    The goal of their initiatives is to increase diversity on the network through programs like Writers on the Verge, the Directing Fellowship Program, NBCU Short Film Festival and Scene Showcase.

    Grace was able to break down each program with her informative presentation, and answered questions from the audience. She even answered specific one on one questions for students after the presentation.

    nbc diversity

    The New York Film Academy strongly recommends its students of diversity apply to these programs, as it is an amazing opportunity to break into the industry on a serious level.

    Below are just a handful of the programs Grace highlighted in her presentation:

    DIRECTING FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM The Directing Fellowship Program is designed to take directors accomplished in their respective fields (features, commercials and/or music videos) and give them the opportunity to work alongside episodic television directors. The selected directors will foster relationships and fine-tune their art to fit the television format.

    NBCUNIVERSAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL The Short Cuts Film Festival is an initiative to discover diverse voices both in front of and behind the camera. It provides creative individuals of diverse backgrounds an opportunity to get their materials in front of key decision makers from the entire NBCUniversal family, as well as agents, managers, producers, and other industry players.

    WRITERS ON THE VERGE Writers on the Verge is a 12-week program focused on polishing writers and readying them for a staff writer position on a television series. We are looking for writers who are “almost there,” but need that final bit of preparation with their writing and personal presentation skills.

    LATE NIGHT WRITERS WORKSHOP The NBCUniversal Late Night Writers Workshop is a program focused on exposing talented joke, sketch and comedy writers to NBCUniversal’s late-night & alternative lineup and readying them for a staff writer position.

    NBC SCENE SHOWCASE A 6-8 week workshop of original scenes by diverse writers, cast with up-and-coming actors and guided by directors of diverse backgrounds presented in a one-day showcase for executives, producers, casting directors, and other industry professionals.

     

    March 20, 2015 • Acting, Filmmaking, Screenwriting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 445

  • Vine Royalty King Bach is Going Hollywood

    king bach

    Hollywood and Vine means something a lot different now than it has to Los Angelinos. For them, it’s always been a famous L.A. cross-street. But these days, in a post-Facebook twenty-first century, it represents a new and fruitful relationship between two titans of culture.

    Since Vine’s launch in 2012, the Twitter-owned video app has been looping millions of six-second videos to a predominantly young demographic. And nobody’s six-second videos get looped more than King Bach, Vine’s most followed user. Bach, 26, has over eleven million followers and is truly the current King of Vine. He has bigger aspirations though, and is getting ready to conquer his next kingdom—Hollywood itself.

    It’s a long time coming. Even before he joined Vine in 2013 and earned his fanbase with his quirky six-second sketches, Andrew Bachelor studied at the New York Film Academy and The Groundlings. It was as a struggling actor laboring in the audition mines that Bachelor adopted the stage name King Bach.

    Since breaking out on Vine, Bach has already scored guest roles on The Mindy Project and Wild ‘N’ Out. It was a short jump from mobiles to TV and now a shorter jump from TV to movies as Bach has five upcoming movie projects in production. He’s even playing himself in the Zac Efron vehicle We Are Your Friends.

    Bach has no plans to retire from Vine, however, appreciating the network he’s building his empire from. He likens himself to Will Smith, who gained movie superstardom from his sitcom role as the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. While the Fresh Prince can still dominate the box office, there’s a good chance he’ll be competing with a King someday very soon.

    March 16, 2015 • Acting, Entertainment News, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 19401

  • New York Film Academy and The Young Storytellers

    young storytellers

    “In 1997, a group of film students learned that Los Angeles public schools were cutting creative arts programs from the budget. Knowing the value arts-education held in their own lives, they created a volunteer-based creative arts program they could take directly into public schools.” (From http://www.youngstorytellers.com/)

    For close to twenty years, the Young Storytellers Foundation has continued to bring art into thousands of students’ lives. Along the way, New York Film Academy has teamed with YSF by teaching production to their high school students and helping them create their own projects on the Universal backlot.

    nyfa storytellers

    This year – with the invaluable help of YSF’s Bill Thompson & Pilar Alvarez and Valley View Elementary’s Susan Kim – New York Film Academy has become one of a select few colleges running its own Young Storyteller classroom.

    For the eight weeks, a dozen NYFA students and alumni will each mentor a fifth grader from Valley View Elementary school. Led by “head mentors” Dean of Students Eric Conner and Director of Community Outreach Kelly Gardner, the mentors will encourage their students to create and write their own five page screenplays which will be performed as a “live staged reading” by a group of NYFA Actors.

    young storytellers nyfa

    YSF’s Pilar Alvarez trained and prepared the NYFA mentors for the daunting task of keeping up with the ten-year-olds’ minds! Each weekly session will be split between a lecture on the fundamentals of screenwriting followed by and the fifth graders workshopping their own ideas. One lesson in and the budding writers from Valley View Elementary have already reviewed the basics of three-act structure and what makes us all love storytelling.

    The young writers devised an agreement detailing how the class will be run and what is expected from each of them (and their scripts). Next week’s class can’t come soon enough. Stay tuned!

    March 12, 2015 • Acting • Views: 397

  • ‘Gotham’ Shines Light on New Cast

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    Rob Gorrie with Ben McKenzie  (photo from @RobGorrie)

    Over the past few episodes, the popular Fox series Gotham, based on DC Comics’ Batman franchise, has shined a light on the Wayne family business and its board members. It was only a matter of time before the series introduced Lucius Fox, a tech genius who, in the comics, has been Wayne’s business manager and the acting CEO of Wayne Enterprises. Fox will be played by Chris Chalk, an actor predominately known for his theater work, but who’s also appeared in HBO’s The Newsroom and Showtime’s Homeland, as well as FX’s Sons of Anarchy and Justified. He also starred in the Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave.

    This comes off the news that actress Jada Pinkett Smith and her character Fish Mooney will be leaving Gotham at the end of its first season. Though, in a recent interview on Live with Kelly and Michael, Smith hints that her character could always reappear down the line.

    The popular Fox series has also introduced the acrobatic circus family The Flying Graysons. John Grayson and Mary Loyd, who at this point in the show have just met, will eventually become the parents of Dick Grayson, who most of us know as the first Robin. What’s most exciting to us about the introduction to the family is that the role of John Grayson is being played by New York Film Academy Admissions Representative Rob Gorrie. Gorrie has appeared in a number of film and television productions, including his season stints on the popular soaps, As the World Turns and One Life to Live.

    March 10, 2015 • Acting, Entertainment News, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 439

  • Spielberg’s U-2 Movie Casts U2 Daughter

    eve hewsonSt. James Place, a historical spy thriller, has quite the pedigree background behind it. Steven Spielberg will be directing a screenplay by Matt Charman and the Coen Brothers. Its cast includes Alan Alda, Amy Ryan, and frequent Spielberg collaborator Tom Hanks. Also included in the cast is Eve Hewson, 23, a rising star from Ireland who also happens to be the daughter of music legend Bono.

    Hewson studied acting at the New York Film Academy in 2005 and has since found roles in music videos, thrillers and romantic comedies. She currently co-stars with Clive Owen in the Cinemax medical drama The Knick.

    Spielberg’s hotly-anticipated film takes place in 1960 and stars Hanks as real-life lawyer James Donovan. Donovan was tasked with negotiating the release of a pilot shot down in the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. Filming commenced last Fall in Hewson’s current hometown—Brooklyn, New York. Ironically, the plane shot down in both real life and in the movie was a U-2 spy plane, U-2 inspiring the name of Hewson’s father’s legendary rock band.

    Dream of co-starring with Tom Hanks in a Steven Spielberg film one day? Check out New York Film Academy’s acting school program today!

    March 2, 2015 • Acting, Entertainment News, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1149

  • New York Film Academy Friends & Family on ‘SNL 40′

    nyfa snl

    Last night, NBC and Lorne Michaels managed to manifest the highest population density of celebrities, musicians and comedians into one studio. That studio was 8H, and it was for the 40th anniversary of the iconic sketch comedy show, Saturday Night Live. 

    Fans had the opportunity to see old sketches reprised, such as Dan Aykroyd’s Bassamatic, Celebrity Jeopardy, Wayne’s World and countless others. The event included appearances by a star-studded list of celebrities and former hosts like Robert De Niro, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, Tom Hanks, Alec Baldwin…the list goes on and on. To put it simply, it was like heaven on Earth for SNL fans.

    While being captivated by television history, we recognized some New York Film Academy friends and family.

    Former guest speaker, Molly Shannon, surprised fans with her socially awkward, Catholic school girl character, Mary Katherine Gallagher. Performing in front of some of the most well known and respected entertainers in the world, Mary became very nervous and began smelling her armpits…like this. Though, soon after, she proclaimed that she was still a Superstar!

    Molly Shannon

    Actress & SNL alum, Molly Shannon at a NYFA Guest Speaker Event

    You may have also noticed another former guest speaker and Master Class Filmmaking Instructor James Signorelli. The SNL 40 show paid tribute to Signorelli by giving him his own unique SNL-style graphic during the broadcast. Signorelli has been a part of the show since 1976, having been the film segment producer for more than 400 episodes. He’s considered the king of ad parodies. If you’re thinking of a popular SNL commercial parody right now, James likely produced it.

    Looking back at many of the classic comedy sketches from the early 1980s, you may recall the famous “Synchronized Swimming” sketch with Harry Shearer and Martin Short, or the classic “Assassination of Buckwheat” with Eddie Murphy. What you may or may not know is Claude Kerven, the New York Film Academy in New York City’s Chair of Filmmaking, directed these short comedy films along with many others.

    The New York Film Academy is proud to have connections to the long-standing, ground-breaking show, SNL. Here’s to another 40 years!