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  • Meisner Instructor to Direct Hit Play ‘The Other Mozart’

    The Other Mozart

    As stressed in our core values, the New York Film Academy prides itself on its instructors who often have their own professional endeavors simultaneously occurring on their own free time. Starting this Sunday and running until July 12th at the HERE Arts Center in New York City, NYFA Meisner Instructor, Isaac Byrne will be directing the international hit show, The Other Mozart. The show is the true and untold story of Nannerl Mozart, the sister of Amadeus – a prodigy, keyboard virtuoso and composer, who performed throughout Europe with her brother to equal acclaim, but her work and her story faded away, lost to history.

    Critics have already given The Other Mozart raving reviews including New York Arts, which said, “One of the most remarkable theatrical presentations I saw in 2013…Brilliant and absorbing.” 

    Set in and on a sweeping 18-foot dress (designed by Magdalena Dabrowska from the National Theater of Poland), the play is based on facts, stories and lines pulled directly from the Mozart family’s humorous and heartbreaking letters. Along with music composed by her famous brother and Marianna Martines (a female composer who inspired Nannerl), original music was written for the play byNathan Davis and Phyllis Chen (of Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival and the International Contemporary Ensemble) using clavichords, music boxes, teacups, and fans.

    For tickets and information, CLICK HERE

    If you’re a NYFA student interested in attending, use the code NANNERL for $25 dollar tickets to see the International hit show directed by NYFA instructor Isaac Byrne!

    June 19, 2014 • Acting, Community Highlights • Views: 693

  • Matthew Modine Guest Lectures at First Acting for Directors Class

    Matthew Modine

    Matthew Modine

    Acclaimed, veteran actor, Matthew Modine paid a visit to the New York Film Academy’s first Acting for Directors class in Los Angeles, where he was able to elaborate on being an actor as well as a director. Modine, known for his role as “Joker” in Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece Full Metal Jacket, has directed a number of short films and is currently in pre-production on a feature called The Rocking Horseman. In addition to Kubrick, he has also worked with Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Demme, and countless others.

    “He was very approachable and casual, and discussed the importance of being prepared before going on set and how an actor has to do his work beforehand,” said NYFA LA Acting Instructor, Paz Leon. “He also told us that when he worked with Christopher Nolan, he noticed that he never looks at the monitor and always stays close to the actors. This made the actors feel safe and protected by him. So he advised the students to try that instead of being so close to the monitor.”

    Students were thrilled with the experience, one student said, “It was really great to meet an actor of his stature, yet see how down to earth he is.” While another added, “It was obvious from his energy that he’s passionate not only about acting, but also directing. I was really inspired.”

    The New York Film Academy is grateful for having such a prominent actor like Matthew Modine come in to provide insight and encouragement to our students. Once again, we’d like to thank Matthew for his time at NYFA!

    June 12, 2014 • Acting, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 593

  • ‘Justified’ Star Erica Tazel Surprises Acting Students at NYFA Battery Park

    Erica Tazel

    “Justified” actress, Erica Tazel

    This past Thursday afternoon, the New York Film Academy One-Year Acting students were surprised with a special guest, actress, Erica Tazel. Erica is best known for her role of Deputy U.S. Marshal Rachel Brooks on the hit FX television show, Justified. Moderating the event was Acting Chair, Glynis Rigsby, who was more than delighted to pick the talented young actress’ mind.

    While Erica was, for the most part, a working actress coming out of school, she reached a point while living in Los Angeles where she had to make a game changing decision in her life. She was offered a teaching job at Spelman College in Georgia, but wasn’t sure if that would be giving up on her career. After a personal one-on-one with her agent, Erica made the decision to turn down the job, even though it would bring stability to her life. As fate would have it, Erica was called in to audition for a pilot the next day. That pilot was Justified. And not only did she nail the audition, she is now a series regular on the hit show that just wrapped its 5th season.

    However, auditions were not always automatic for Erica. “I don’t even call them auditions anymore,” said Tazel. “I call them opportunities.” In a business that requires a thick skin and the ability to accept rejection gracefully, Erica developed several techniques to bring the whole process into a positive light. It was this attitude, in addition to her obvious charm, beauty, and talent, that has enabled Erica to reach her current level of success.

    Another interesting anecdote from Erica’s talk was how she told the students that she sat down and watched the entire first season of Justified during the hiatus. She carefully studied her part and the show on a whole. With that, she came up with several suggestions for the writers of the show. Low and behold, her initiative ended up creating an entire episode, devoted to her character and her ideas. Just goes to show the kind of commitment and enthusiasm that is needed to succeed in this industry.

    Aside from being a terrific actress and charismatic speaker, Erica is heavily involved with a charity called Get on the Bus. The charity reunites children in California with their mothers and fathers in prison. It is a wonderful cause and something Erica cares very deeply about. If you’re interested in donating to the charity, CLICK HERE for more information.

    April 11, 2014 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 443

  • NYFA Los Angeles Grad’s EVER to Premiere at Newport Beach Film Festival

    EVER

    New York Film Academy graduate, Josh Beck’s first feature film, EVER, will have its world premiere at the 2014 Newport Beach Film Festival. EVER is about a young woman struggling to cope with the death of her boyfriend, who winds up forming romantic feelings for her new supportive female friend.

    “I knew I wanted to make a feature film long before I started this project, but it wasn’t until sometime in 2011 when I actually realized it was possible to make one with basically no money,” said Beck. “I set out to write a script using settings and locations I knew I already had access to, and I wrote characters for friends of mine that were already talented actors.”

    Josh shot the film in 21 days, which were spread out over a few months. The entire project, from writing the script to submitting to festivals, took about two years.

    While originally starting out as an actor, attending NYFA Los Angeles’ Acting School, Josh took a liking to directing and set out to create EVER. “I think it’s important to be able to understand the actor mindset, and communication between actors and directors is so vital. One of the main things I learned at NYFA was confidence, which is so important in acting, directing, and life in general.”

    Josh intends to continue pursuing directing, admitting he’s working on a new screenplay with scientific elements.

    The premiere screening of EVER will be held at Fashion Island 7 (Regal Cinemas) in Newport Beach on Saturday, April 26th at 7:30pm. For tickets, CLICK HERE.

    EVER [official trailer] from Josh Beck on Vimeo.

    April 9, 2014 • Acting, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 610

  • NYFA Los Angeles Filmmaking Grad Launches Online Casting Website

    Talent MENA

    MFA Filmmaking graduate, Mohamed Koaik, from New York Film Academy in Los Angeles, has recently launched an online casting website Talent MENA for the Middle East & North African region (MENA). It is the first of its kind. Unlike other casting websites in the area, where filmmakers, casting directors or content creators in general can only cast for talent on those sites and use other means to find crew, specially for low budget productions, Talent MENA allows users to list his or her project for talent casting calls and also list crew jobs under the same project.

    Mohamed started the site after leaving NYFA and relocating back to Dubai in 2012. “Since the launch, we have been getting a lot of positive feedback from the industry,” says Koaik. “Back in December, we set up a booth at the Dubai International Film Festival to educate the public and promote the business module. In this short period (less than a year), we have over 1,200 subscribers and it’s growing everyday!”

    Below is a tutorial video on how to use the site.

    April 1, 2014 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 675

  • NYFA Abu Dhabi Grad’s ‘Stepping Out’ Wins 2 Awards at LA Indie Film Festival

    Natilya PadillaStepping Out, a short film directed by our former Ukrainian student Nataliya Padilla, just received two awards: Best Actress and Best Director at the LA Indie Film Festival.

    The film has also been accepted in the Short Film Corner at Cannes Film Festival.

    The film tells a story about “A young woman takes an emotional journey when she is forced to spend a day in old person skin.”

    Nataliya has studied her first year in Filmmaking at New York Film Academy Abu Dhabi, and moved to the NYFA Los Angeles campus to complete her Masters in Fine Art in Filmmaking.

    Congratulations to Nataliya and looking forward to see more awards!

    March 28, 2014 • Abu Dhabi, Acting, Filmmaking, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 609

  • 3D Animation Grads Selected to NYC SIGGRAPH Board of Directors

    Mark Reynolds and Elize Ohira, both June 2013 graduates from New York Film Academy’s one-year 3D Animation Conservatory program, were recently elected to the Board of Directors for NYC ACM SIGGRAPH, New York City’s local ACM SIGGRAPH chapter.

    ACM SIGGRAPH is an international organization of artists, filmmakers, developers, and scientists sharing a love of computer graphics and interactive technology. The New York City chapter hosts events such as screenings, lectures, BYOA (Bring Your Own Animation), and MetroCAF, an annual student film festival.

    “I’m so excited to serve as part of the Board of Directors of such a great organization!” Elize says. “Mark and I got involved with New York City’s SIGGRAPH chapter while we were students at NYFA. It helped expose us to the city’s larger CG community, and we were able to bring a bit more NYFA to NYC CG.”

    Some of Mark’s and Elize’s work, created while they were students at NYFA, can be seen here:

    Mark Reynolds

    Elize Ohira

    March 17, 2014 • Acting • Views: 382

  • Acting for Film Graduate Stars in Finnish Comedy ‘Bunny The Killer Thing’

    Roope NYFA

    Roope Olenius

    Roope Olenius, who graduated with his BFA-degree in acting for film at the Los Angeles campus last year, has just finished shooting his part for the film Bunny the Killer Thing. Olenius plays a major role in the hilarious feature film that was filmed in the Lapland of Finland. The film, which is produced by Black Lion Pictures and Jo-Jo the Dog Films, will get its premiere on the big screen by the end of 2014.

    Bunny the Killer Thing is a feature length comedy-horror in the genres of splatter and camp films. It is made for global distribution with an international cast, which makes it a rare and ambitious production in a country as small as Finland, where independent films have a small footing in the industry. The main language of the film is English.

    Olenius will join the rest of the main cast and production team to  promote the film at Cannes Marché du Film this spring. In addition, Olenius will be promoting his short film, Dia-cide, at the Cannes Court Metrage, which he produced as his thesis project at the Los Angeles campus last year and is planning to make into a feature film in the near future.

    After graduation, Olenius has increasingly gained more exposure in the Finnish film industry and opportunities to work with acclaimed directors like Joonas Makkonen, JP Siili and Samuli Valkama.

    March 17, 2014 • Acting, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 559

  • Renowned Manager/Producer Ben Press Speaks at NYFA Los Angeles

    Ben Press

    Students were thrilled to hear renowned manager and producer Ben Press speak this past Monday at New York Film Academy Los Angeles’s School for Acting. Ben’s radiant energy spread through the packed room as he entertained and enlightened students with stories from the Hollywood agency world and solid career advice to those starting out in the industry. Manager/Producer Ben Press started as assistant to legendary ICM agent Ed Limato and his roster of stars: Richard Gere, Denzel Washington, Mel Gibson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Anthony Hopkins, Steve Martin, Nicolas Cage, Dennis Quaid, Ellen Barkin, Edward Norton and Marlon Brando among others. As Paradigm Talent Department Co-Head, Ben packaged America’s Next Top Model, produced/hosted by Tyra Banks and negotiated the $1.5 million talent holding deal for William Baldwin (one of the industry’s most lucrative). Ben now manages clients Elle Macpherson, Rick Yune, Jennifer Esposito, as well as Taylor Swift’s future feature film acting career.

    Ben press never thought he’d work in entertainment. Off a whim and recommendation from a college friend, he landed an interview at ICM, one of the industry’s top agencies. The tradition in Hollywood agencies is to always start from the bottom. After nailing his interview with ICM, Ben did just that; his first job was literally working in the mailroom and pushing a cart. Being accepted into the agent trainee program at top agencies such as ICM, CAA and UTA, however, is a highly sought after position as mailroom workers are likely to be promoted within the company. Whereas the traditional route is to slowly climb the agency ladder, Ben took a different approach. Legendary ICM agent Ed Limato was who Ben wanted to work for and he didn’t want to wait in line to get that job. Ben convinced Mr. Limato’s current assistant to allow him to come into the office early and help him organize and plan for the day. This way Ben would know the ins and out of Ed Limato’s office and be prepared when his opportunity came. The way Ben Press’s opportunity did come is a twist of fate so far-fetched it’s hard to believe even within the context of Hollywood’s crazy world. Because of his determined nature, Ben had already made a name for himself at ICM in the short time he was there and landed an interview for the job of Ed Limato’s assistant when his former assistant was leaving. Ben was wary of his chances of getting the job, because he seemed to be the candidate with the least amount of experience. Soon after his interview, Ben came across a female agent trainee who had collapsed in the mailroom and wasn’t breathing. Luckily he had just learned CPR and immediately began performing it on her as he ordered the other trainee’s to call 911. Ben ended up saving the woman’s life. When Ed Limato got wind of the fact that Ben Press had saved someone’s life in the office he said, “I want THAT guy working for me!”

    Continue Reading

    March 14, 2014 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 658

  • Our Guide to the Best Apps for Aspiring Filmmakers

    Useful Apps

    With the rise of apps through smart phones and tablet devices, visual storytellers of all stripes have more tools with which to complete a project than ever before. At times, an aspiring filmmaker or photographer can get downright overwhelmed by the sheer volume of useful apps out there. In order to help our students, alumni, and other creative individuals navigate the world of visual storytelling apps, we have launched our Useful Apps resource page where we highlight and review the best and most useful applications currently available. Whether you’re looking to work on a script while on the train or have a quick reference guide for a theatre production, we’ve put together the best apps in the following categories.

    • Filmmaking Apps: As any filmmaker will tell you, there can be sometimes more to keep track of on a film shoot than one person can reasonably handle. To facilitate this, our filmmaking apps cover a wide range of the facets from filmmaking, from location scouting to film scheduling and much more.
    • Photography Apps: With more and more people using their smart phones’ or tablets’ cameras to create original pieces of art, our list of photography apps provide the tools one needs to manipulate and perfect his or her images while gaining greater control over his or her camera.
    • Editing Apps: Though most tend to think of film or photo editing as involving sitting in front of a desktop computer for hours on end, we’ve assembled a number of digital editing apps that allow you to piece together your footage or images quickly and effectively, wherever you might be.
    • Animation Apps: Animators looking for new and inexpensive tools to bring their stories to life can find a world of possibilities in our highlighted animation apps, from time-lapse apps perfect for assembling stop-motion animation to creating original animated films on your smart phone or tablet.
    • Theatre Apps: When putting on a piece of theatre or musical theatre, there are countless variables—from set design to lighting to organizing a cast—that one can now control from his or her smart phone with ease.
    • Screenwriting Apps: As any screenwriter can attest, one can never plan on when a good idea might arise. With our list of screenwriting apps, writers can now guarantee that they can always put their ideas down even if they are away from their computers while also being able to work on a screenplay from any location.
    • Acting Apps: From memorizing lines to rehearsing scenes, there are a number of useful and effective apps available for actors to make their jobs all the easier.

    Regardless of the field you are in, click here to view our list of useful apps that will help to simplify and facilitate your future creative endeavors.