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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Student Santiago Achaga Wins TVyNovelas Award

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    Argentinian actor and social media star Santiago Achaga has won the coveted TVyNovelas Award for Best Young Actor. A graduate of the New York Film Academy (NYFA) 4-Week Acting for Film program and current student in the Filmmaking program, Achaga received the award for his portrayal of Claudio Meyer on Like, la Leyenda (Like, the Legend), a popular teen telenovela from Mexico. His work on the show also netted him a nomination for an Eres Award for Best Actor.

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    Llegó hasta acá, pero es de ustedes.

    A post shared by Santiago Achaga (@santiagoachaga) on

    The younger brother of popular model and actress Macarena Achaga, Santiago Achaga is also a singer and musician. He composed and recorded several pieces for Like, and earned scores of fans for his emotional ballads. His first commercial single, “Solo Estamos Los Dos,” will be released at the end of May.

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    SE TERMINO LA ESPERA!!! Este 24 de MAYO sale mi primer sencillo “Solo Estamos Los Dos” ♥️????????No tienen idea de la emoción y los nervios que tengo. La canción va a salir en todas las plataformas digitales acompañado de un videoclip en YouTube! Es un proyecto que le dedique tanto amor, tanto tiempo, tanto esfuerzo… se cayó mil veces y se volvió a parar. Nunca quise sacarlo a la “ligera” sabía que cuando lo fuera a sacar iba a ser con todo. Y ahora si. TODO SE DIÓ. Quiero contarles todos los detalles. Y así lo vamos a ir haciendo; junto con videos del backstage, promocionales y demás. Voy a necesitar de todo su apoyo para que esto siga creciendo como lo hicieron desde un principio. Sin ustedes este sueño (que tengo desde hace tanto tiempo que ya me había olvidado que era un sueño) no habría sido realidad. GRACIAS. VAMOS CON TODO ????????????

    A post shared by Santiago Achaga (@santiagoachaga) on

    The actor has worked in Argentina, Mexico, and the U.S., and moved to New York City to study at NYFA’s renowned Acting for Film program. He got his start as a model and was later cast as a recurring character on Heidi Bienvenida a Casa (Heidi, Welcome Home), an Argentinian telenovela for Nickelodeon’s Latin America brand, MundoNick. He played Junior in the show, which is an adaptation of the classic children’s book by Johanna Spyri.

    More recently, Achaga starred in Palau, a feature length film that tells the story of radio evangelist Luis Palau. Filmed in Argentina, the film had a two-day release across the U.S. and Latin America in early April, and continues to screen in churches and cinemas across the two continents. Achaga plays the titular religious leader as a young man on his way to becoming a missionary.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Santiago Achaga on his continued success and looks forward to his future projects!

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    May 23, 2019 • Acting • Views: 1100

  • ‘Broad City’ and ‘Russian Doll’ Both Feature Work from New York Film Academy (NYFA) Cinematography Alum Rebecca Rajadnya

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    What do Comedy Central’s smash hit Broad City and Netflix’s bloody comedy-drama Russian Doll have in common? Both feature camerawork from Rebecca Rajadnya, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Cinematography alum. Since completing the NYFA program in 2009, Rajadnya has worked on a staggering number of productions, with more than 50 credits to date.

    After working on a number of shorts and feature films, Rajadnya joined the crew of Broad City in 2017 as first assistant camera for 11 episodes. The show, which was executive produced by Amy Poehler, was nominated for five Critics’ Choice Television Awards and one MTV Movie & TV Award. The show was praised for its focus on two female leads, with Vulture saying it was “heartening to watch an entire series devoted to female friendship.”

    Following her work on the comedy, Rajadnya worked as first assistant camera on Netflix’s comedy-drama series Russian Doll for the full run. The show has received top marks from critics, with Time calling it “2019’s best new show to date” and Vox raving that both the show and the lead actress are “terrific.”  

    Piero Basso, NYFA Chair of Cinematography, spoke about Rajadnya’s talent, saying “Rebecca is a wonderful camera assistant. A perfect example for equality in the field. She is within the best focus puller I have met in my career. She is attentive, effective, professional above all, while keeping a pleasant and lovely attitude on set. With her on the side of the camera, you know your back is covered and you can concentrate on being creative.”

    Next up on her roster is Hustlers, an upcoming drama with a full roster of A-list stars including Constance Wu, Julia Stiles, and Lili Reinhart. The film was inspired by a New York Magazine article about a group of former strip club employees who join forces to turn on their former clients. Stiles went on record to ET about her enthusiasm for the project, saying, “I was dying to be a part of this movie. I told Lorene Scafaria, the director, when we met, ‘I will do anything. I will do craft service, I will make coffee for the crew, I don’t care. I just want to be a part of it, because it’s such an interesting story.'”

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Rebecca Rajadnya on her continued success, and looks forward to seeing her future projects!

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    May 7, 2019 • Cinematography, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 625

  • Leading Netflix Role goes to Former New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Student Sebastian Osorio

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    Sebastian Osorio, former student of the year-long acting program at New York Film Academy (NYFA), has landed a lead role on upcoming Netflix true-crime show Crime Diaries: Night Out (Spanish title: Historia de un Crimen: Colmenares). The show, which filmed in Colombia, is currently streaming.

    Historia de un Crimen: Colmenares is the second series of the scripted crime show, which is inspired by true events. This series will depict the controversial case of Luis Andrés Colmenares, a Colombian student at Los Andres University in Bogotá D.C. who was found dead under mysterious circumstances after a Halloween party in 2010. Initially ruled a suicide, the case was reopened almost a year later with evidence that Colmenares was murdered, and continued into 2012. 

    The eight-episode show is part of a massive Latin American push for the online entertainment giant–since October of 2018, Netflix has been rolling out a slate of more than 70 original productions being filmed across the region. Current estimates place the projected number of on-demand video streaming service subscribers in Latin America to reach 51 million by 2024, with Netflix leading the six platforms currently on offer.

    “Netflix is humbled and proud to give a voice to local talent and creators, helping them to not only reach Colombian viewers , but also to connect people all around the world to their unique stories,” said Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix. “By expanding our content across genres, we’re diversifying our offering and giving more choices to members via an ever-evolving platform that transcends borders. We’re excited to continue investing and exploring in the country.”

    Osorio completed the NYFA one-year Acting for Film program in 2016, and is an advocate of the Meisner technique. His film credits include Butterfly in the Fire (2018) and Ear of the Beholder (2016). He also appeared on TV show Pambelẻ as series regular Sombra.

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    May 6, 2019 • Acting • Views: 3663

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Co-Produces Upcoming “Star Trek” Documentary “What We Left Behind”

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) has co-produced What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, an upcoming documentary scheduled for release later this year. In addition, several students of NYFA’s Industry Lab worked on the film’s crew.

    Directed by Ira Steven Behr and David Zappone, the documentary is a deep look at the fourth installment in the Star Trek franchise. Deep Space Nine, which aired from 1993-1999, stands out from previous Star Trek films and shows due to its darker tone and pioneering serialized structure, with now-commonplace season- and series-long story arcs that were rare for most television dramas before the turn of the century. Additionally, its ensemble cast was much more diverse than typical shows at the time, led by African American actor Avery Brooks as Captain Benjamin Sisko.

    Deep Space Nine, Star Trek

    NYFA provided production resources for the film on numerous occasions, including film equipment for interviews, location shoots, and a road trip to a Las Vegas Star Trek convention. Several students from the NYFA Industry Lab also worked on the film over the course of several shoot days. The crew included BFA Filmmaking students Star Li, Ferid Hasbun, and Rupert Sanchez as camera operators; MA Film & Media student Patrick Anenu as 1st AC; and Anvar Madraimov, and David Bu as Grip & Electric.

    The significant resources provided to the production led to NYFA being named in the credits for What We Left Behind—NYFA Principal and Owner Jean Sherlock and Dean of Students, Los Angeles and CSO Dan Mackler are listed as Co-Executive Producers (NYFA). This isn’t NYFA’s only connection to the Star Trek universe; Adam Nimoy, director of multiple Star Trek episodes and For the Love of Spock—a documentary about his father, Leonard Nimoy—has taught at the Academy.

    The film features interviews with nearly all of the show’s cast members, as well as several people who worked behind the scenes. Director Behr was both a writer and producer for the series, as well as its showrunner for several seasons.

    The New York Film Academy looks forward to the release of What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and encourages everyone to check out the film when it becomes available! 

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Instructor Ayelet Zurer Stars in Netflix Hit ‘Shtisel’

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailAward-winning actress and New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Instructor Ayelet Zurer is currently starring in Netflix’s newest binge-worthy hit. Shtisel is a innovative Israeli drama that focuses on a family of ultra-Orthodox Jews in a Haredi neighborhood in Jerusalem. The actress stars as Elisheva, a widowed mother who captures the heart of Akiva, a shy young man struggling with his father’s matchmaking efforts.

    Zurer is a familiar face in films and television in both America and Israel. She has starred opposite Tom Hanks in Angels & Demons, Russell Crowe in Man of Steel, Ewan McGregor in Last Days in the Desert, and Jeff Goldblum and Willem Dafoe in Adam Resurrected. Zurer also starred on multiple seasons of Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix and In Therapy (adapted as HBO’s In Treatment). She received the Israeli Academy of Film (OFIR) Best Actress Award for Nina’s Tragedies, and is a two-time winner of the Israeli Academy of Television’s Best Actress Award.

    The Hebrew-language Shtisel is making headlines for its honest and touching portrayal of a traditionally insular community. The New Yorker calls the show “generous, lighthearted, and nostalgic,” and says the show’s success is “the result of several powerfully understated performances, most notably by Ayelet Zurer in the role of Elisheva.” The New York Times was similarly complimentary, calling the show “groundbreaking.”

    Though the show was originally screened in 2013-14, the show’s success on Netflix has been so impressive that its original creators are currently considering creating a third season. In addition, an American version of the show has already been sold Amazon by Marta Kauffman, one of the creators of classic 1990s sitcom Friends. The show, to be set in Brooklyn, will be titled Emmis.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Ayelet Zurer on her continued success and looks forward to seeing her future projects!

     

     

     

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    April 25, 2019 • Acting, Faculty Highlights • Views: 626

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Alum Alberto Frezza Lands Lead Role on ‘Station 19’

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    ABC has cast Alberto Frezza, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum, in a lead role in Station 19, a spinoff of Grey’s Anatomy. Frezza plays Seattle police officer Ryan Tanner, who has a close relationship with the show’s lead, played by Jaina Lee Ortiz.

    Before landing the role, Frezza previously made several appearances in short films and television, including Criminal Minds on CBS. Firefighting-action dramaStation 19 is the latest show from Shonda Rhimes, creator of popular medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. It takes place in the same city and cinematic universe.

    Frezza recently spoke with NYFA about the casting process for the series. “It took almost a month with four audition/callbacks, one test audition, and a chemistry read with Jaina Lee Ortiz. By far the longest audition process I have gone through for a role.”

    Born in Milan, Italy, Frezza was raised in Ethiopia. As a child, he hoped to become a soccer player, but after seeing River Phoenix’s 1986 film Stand By Me, he decided to become an actor.

    Eventually, Frezza moved to the United States and enrolled in the Acting for Film program at New York Film Academy, where Frezza trained intensively in screen acting and modern on-camera acting techniques through a hands-on, practical curriculum.

    In addition to acting, Frezza also enjoys diving and photography. He applies both hobbies to another passion: environmentalism. Frezza cites his upbringing in Ethiopia’s Lake Langano area for his interest in the conservation of animals.

    His Instagram account documents the exotic animals he comes across in his travels, and who he strives to protect through environmental endeavors. As his star power grows, Frezza’s passion for the environment reaches more and more followers. The New York Film Academy congratulates Acting for Film alum Alberto Frezza on his new role in the Shondaland television drama Station 19, which airs on the ABC network.

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    April 12, 2019 • Academic Programs, Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 526

  • Film and TV Star Michael Chiklis Speaks at New York Film Academy (NYFA)

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    Emmy-winning actor Michael Chiklis joined the students of New York Film Academy (NYFA) for a discussion about techniques, reinvention, and the impact of image in the film industry. The event kicked off with a screening of the pilot of hit show The Shield, followed by a Q&A with the students.

    Tova Laiter, NYFA Director of the Q&A Series, opened the talk with a comparison of two of Chiklis’ best-known projects: gritty crime drama The Shield, and Best Picture winner The French Connection. Both of the projects feature depictions of antihero cops, handheld cinematography, and a raw energy.

     

    Such roles typify his career–Chiklis is perhaps best known for playing police officers, including LAPD detective Vic Mackey on The Shield, Commissioner Tony Scali on ABC police drama The Commish, and former police captain Nathaniel Barnes in Gotham. But it almost didn’t happen. In order to get his breakthrough role, he had to completely reinvent his image.

     

    Chiklis had been typecast as a nice guy, a far cry from the hard-hitting cop roles he wanted to land. His wife told him, “You might be a wonderful actor but what you’re showing the community right now is a roly-poly affable guy.” He shaved his head, and began hitting the gym six days a week. By the time he auditioned for the role, he looked very different, and got the part immediately. His takeaway? “It’s not up to the studios or others to reinvent you. It’s up to you to do so.”

    His time spent in roles like Detective Mackey has also given him a unique perspective on what makes a character appealing to viewers. “I knew that in order to hold onto an audience… he has to be compelling to watch but that there was going to have to be a lot about this guy that you actually like.”

     

    Chiklis has portrayed The Thing in the Fantastic Four film series, and Jim Powell on the ABC science fiction comedy-drama No Ordinary Family. Additionally, he co-starred as Vincent Savino on the CBS crime drama, Vegas. In 2014, Chiklis joined the cast of American Horror Story for its fourth season, American Horror Story: Freak Show.

     

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank TV & Film star Michael Chiklis for sharing his insights into acting and the entertainment industry with our students!

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    March 8, 2019 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 300

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking Alum Justin Kawika Young Premieres First Doc at Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF)

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailNew York Film Academy (NYFA) 6-Week Documentary alum Justin Kawika Young premiered his first documentary, My Hero’s Shadow, at the Hawaii International Film Festival. The work tells the story of Shane Stant, the man who famously attacked ice skater Nancy Kerrigan in 1994, through the eyes of his sister Maile, who had never known her brother to be anything other than kind. The documentary also screened at HIFF Hana Hou/ Waimea Film Festival in early 2019, with a mainland debut scheduled to be announced soon.


    “I think that it has the potential to bring some light into a dark story,” Young told Blasting News. “It’s easy to forget that these people are more than just this one event. I think it’s an interesting journey where Maile only knows Shane as a hero and is now learning about his past as a hitman, while the audience is traveling the other way. They only know him as this bad guy, and they’re seeing him as much more than that. So eventually Maile and the audience meet somewhere in the middle.”

    A native Hawaiian, Young is a successful musician and three-time Hawaiian Music Award winner, and is engaged to popular singer Colbie Caillat. His music has also appeared on a number of film and television soundtracks, including Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Parenthood, and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Young attended NYFA’s 6-Week Documentary program in New York City in 2015, where his instructors noted both his technical skill and his ability to handle complex and challenging material.

    “Justin Young is an incredibly talented filmmaker,” said Kristen Nutile, Academy Award-nominated editor and documentary instructor at NYFA. “ His feature-length debut, My Hero’s Shadow, is a brave, unflinching and yet compassionate film that explores violence, family, identity and the ability to heal. I cannot wait to see more of his work.”

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Justin Kawika Young on his continued success, and looks forward to seeing his future projects!

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    February 24, 2019 • Documentary Filmmaking • Views: 446

  • Emmy-Nominated Actor Timothy Olyphant Shares Techniques with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Students

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    Emmy-nominated film and television star Timothy Olyphant joined students from New York Film Academy (NYFA) at its Los Angeles campus to speak about his career and the industry. Known for his roles in blockbusters like Live Free or Die Hard and in television shows like The Mindy Project and The Office, Olyphant currently stars on Netflix show The Santa Clarita Diet. The Q&A session was moderated by Anne Moore, Associate Chair for NYFA’s Acting for Film department.

    Olyphant began the talk by discussing the benefits of different acting techniques. He spent his early career studying the Meisner acting technique in New York, which aims to push actors to be present in the moment rather than “in their heads.” His strategy for “playing the scene” in Meisner’s style is to memorizes the lines so thoroughly that he’s not worrying about remembering them when it’s time to shoot the scene. He also studies the actor opposite him, paying attention to their technique and learning from them to build his knowledge for future roles.

    The actor then shared his view on the differences between acting for comedic roles, such as his time on Santa Clarita Diet, and dramatic roles, like Deadwood and Justified. “I don’t think of it as comedy versus drama; I see really very little difference between the two,” he said.

    Unlike some other actors, Olyphant also stated that he does not try to infer backstory for a character, but rather builds the character’s motivations exclusively from the actions in the scene as it is written. These actions, he stated, give a lot of insight into how the character thinks and operates. “I’m not even interested [in] what he was like when he was seven years old or 15 years old or 18 years old,” said Olyphant. “You’re just playing the scene; you’re just literally playing what’s in front of you.”

    In addition, Olyphant discussed the experience of working with different directing styles, such as with Quentin Tarantino on his most recent film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He shared that it was a very unique experience because despite working in an industry with a reputation for breeding self-importance, Tarantino did not allow anyone to have mobile phones on set. Instead, he wanted the cast and crew to be mentally present and focus strictly on the art of filmmaking, which deeply impressed Olyphant.

    “He’s doing it in a way that you just didn’t know was possible,” he told the audience. “He’s conducting his business and his work and his set like no other set you’ve ever been on… he’s worked really hard to be able to do it his way and it’s just beautiful.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank film and television star Timothy Olyphant for sharing his acting techniques and industry advice with our students!

     

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    February 15, 2019 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 438

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Musical Theatre Alum Pierre Marais Tours Nation with ‘Aladdin’

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailSouth African actor and New York Film Academy (NYFA) Musical Theatre alum Pierre Marais has been cast in the national tour of the hit Disney Broadway musical Aladdin. Marais is the understudy for the titular role, the loveable street rat that first hit the screens in the House of Mouse’s 1992 animated classic.

    The Cape Town-born actor graduated from NYFA’s Two-Year Musical Theatre Conservatory in 2012, and has been working steadily in theatre ever since. He has starred in Rock of Ages, directed by Tony nominee Kristin Hanggi, as well as West Side Story and Saturday Night Fever in Connecticut. Critics also praised his 2018 performance in the national tour of A Chorus Line, saying “Pierre Marais plays Paul with a bittersweet wistfulness; his acting commands one of the most powerful scenes in a show famous for its music and dance.

    Marais credits his parents, both trapeze artists who met in the circus, with instilling him with a love of performing. “They were both huge inspirations for me growing up,” he said in an interview with HuffPost. “I spent a lot of time watching them train and training beside them. Learning trampoline, sword fighting, tumbling and how to hit the same mark every time were all reasons why I was able to start with stunts at a young age.”

    He began doing stunt work at age 16 with Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House, and racked up a number of film credits in South Africa like The Wake of Death 2 alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme and The Scorpion King: Rise of a Warrior. Yet despite his success, he knew that if he wanted to have a long-term career, he needed to come to America. “I knew that to sustain that kind of career, I would eventually have to move to the USA, where there is just simply more work.”

    He credits his time at NYFA with helping him meet the right people to succeed in New York’s vibrant theatre world, saying “This honestly came as a result of living and studying in New York City….Most of the connections I made at college were in the theatre world.”

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Pierre Marais on his continued success and looks forward to seeing his future roles!Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    January 30, 2019 • Acting, Musical Theatre • Views: 485