Masudi, a Kenyan native who came to Australia as a refugee, plays Zareb Mulumba – an office cleaner turned legal client to Karvan’s character Josephine Newton. The stellar cast also includes Toby Schmitz (“McLeod’s Daughters,” “Home and Away,” “The Pacific”), Georgina Naidu (“Offspring,” “Winners and Losers”) and Miranda Tapsell (“The Sapphires,” “Love Child”).
Of his student experience at the New York Film Academy, Makwaya says, “NYFA trained me on how to work under a huge amount of pressure like calm water. It also gave me so much experience and helped me find out what type of actor I am.” He also believes that “getting to study in a production set-like environment” helped him prepare for the real world of television and entertainment.
Acting opportunities are now in abundance for Masudi as he sets his sights on the American market. Check out Makwaya as Zareb Mulumba on “Newton’s Law” Thursday nights on ABC.
The 48th NAACP Image Awards — which are presented by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to honor people of color in entertainment — were held this past Saturday night, Feb. 11, 2017, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California.
Denzel Washington won an award for best movie actor for his role in “Fences,” the adaptation of August Wilson’s play, which Washington also directed.
“It is a privilege, an honor, a responsibility, a duty and a joy to bring his brilliance to the screen,” Washington said of the late Wilson, whom he called among America’s greatest playwrights. Last month, the New York Film Academy welcomed one of Washington’s co-stars, Russell Hornsby, who also praised the late playwright for being so influential on his career. “Wilson forced actors to bring their authentic self,” Hornsby said to a room full of NYFA students. “You bring yourpain [to the role].”
One of the big winners of the evening was “black-ish,” the TV sitcom came close to sweeping its categories, taking the award for best TV comedy and stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross getting top acting trophies. In non-televised awards given Friday, the show earned honors for co-stars Laurence Fishburne and Marsai Martin and a writing trophy for creator Kenya Barris. “The People Vs O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” also cleaned up the television comedy and drama categories with three wins, though newcomer Queen Sugar was recognized as the best drama series. Interesting note: NYFA Instructor Ken Lerner played attorney Howard Weitzman in “The People Vs O.J. Simpson” —the lawyer who is ultimately replaced by attorney Robert Kardashian, played by David Schwimmer.
American musical recording artist, actress, and model Janelle Monáe, left, American actress and singer Taraji P. Henson, American actor, film director, and producer Kevin Costner, and American actress Octavia Spencer arrive on the red carpet for the global celebration of the film “Hidden Figures” at the SVA Theatre, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016 in New York. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
However, the directing award went to Donald Glover for his hit comedy series “Atlanta,” which also won a Golden Globe earlier this year. “Hidden Figures” and Taraji P. Henson were also winners, as the fact-based drama about the contributions of black female mathematicians to the U.S. space program won the award for best movie, while star Henson was honored as best actress.
Beyoncé dominated the music categories with five wins, including Outstanding Female Artist and Outstanding Album for Lemonade.
Back in the film world, “Moonlight” ran away with four awards including Outstanding Independent Motion Picture and two writing and directing wins for Barry Jenkins.
“Queen Sugar,” created by filmmaker Ava DuVernay, was named best drama series, and “This Is Us” star Sterling K. Brown claimed the award for best TV drama series actor.
Lonnie G. Bunche III received the NAACP President’s Award for his work as founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Last but not least, the popular wrestler turned actor, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, was named entertainer of the year in online voting. Last year, one of our Acting for Film graduates appeared in a video with Johnson, promoting his new Youtube channel.
Madeline Howlett and Georgia Allison, recent graduates of the Acting for Film program at the New York Film Academy Gold Coast campus, scored themselves lead features as mermaidesque muses in the newly released “Young Man’s Dream” music video for Australian rock group Byron Short and the Sunset Junkies.
Of her New York Film Academy student experience, Madeline says, “NYFA being on the backlot of the Village Roadshow Studios has a professional agenda from the very beginning. Our lecturers were also very respected and gave us professional advice on how to present yourself in a professional manner when big things are happening around you.”
Crediting her lecturers for ensuring she learnt in a supportive and inspiring environment, Madeline believes “having teachers who were also brutally honest has made me respect them even more and has helped me learn tremendously as an actress; their support and encouragement has had a huge benefit for me out in the industry.”
Currently working on a collaborative project with another NYFA graduate, Madeline’s major goal for 2017 is to gain agency representation, stating, “I have never been more excited for my future. This year is my year to grow immensely.”
Kevin Gordon is no stranger to the spotlight. Known in the football world as “Flash” Gordon, Kevin Gordon decided to make the switch from sports to school in 2016, after six years as a professional Australian National Rugby League (NRL) player for the Gold Coast Titans.
A self-confessed Will Smith fan, Kevin’s online videos such as “Magic Carpet” along with his impersonations of characters such as William Wallace (“Braveheart”) and Khal Drogo (“Game of Thrones”) generated a social media buzz that further fueled his desire to pursue acting.
Auditioning for the Acting for Film at New York Film Academy Australia, Gold Coast, Kevin’s humble charm and strong on-camera look won over the interview panel, and he secured himself a place on the course to study at the Los Angeles campus.
“NYFA was good for me ’cause I didn’t know anything about acting… and NYFA was really welcoming for students,” Kevin says.
Since graduating, Kevin has been fortunate to secure an OPT Visa, which will allow him to work in the US throughout 2017.
“I started my OPT in October last year, and had a busy two months before the Christmas break,” he says. “I did a lot of auditions, and got into a few student films and other shows that are going to be online later in the year.”
Gordon credits NYFA for giving him “the confidence to go and audition for any role, whether it’s in LA or anywhere in the world.”
Kevin’s big news for 2017 is his role in an upcoming Chinese feature film – “it was my first time being on a professional set and it felt good. It’s going to be another big year for me. I’m going to continue improving myself and make some big movies!”
New York Film Academy Australia, Gold Coast Acting for Film alumnus Tyson Brown had the fortune of being a guest of this year’s Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards held at The Star in Sydney. Tyson had the pleasure of meeting and mingling with Australia’s industry elite including Isla Fisher and Mel Gibson.
“What you learn in one year, it’s just incredible how ready you are for the industry,” said Brown of his preparedness to enter the working world of entertainment after graduation.
Tyson, a fan of comedy and character, most enjoyed his Text Analysis subject, explaining, “I love analyzing the script, knowing the whole story and building a character up from it.” His advice to aspiring actors: “Do what you want to do before it’s too late and don’t let anyone stop you!”
Brown is currently appearing in the “Kevil Hill Zombie Evilution” attraction at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast and has auditioned for roles at Universal Studios in Singapore, the Disney Channel, and for several pilots being pitched to Netflix in the USA.
A self-proclaimed horror film buff, New York Film Academy Australia, Gold Coast alumnus Zach-McCoy Davies’ latest short film “Mannequin” recently won an award at the Reel Horror Film Festival held at Movie World on the Gold Coast. The Reel Horror Film Festival is a part of Warner Bros. Movie World Theme Park’s Fright Nights, which is held during the Halloween season.
“Mannequin” has also screened at the Princeton Student Film Festival, as well as Willoughby Shorts and Screen It Film Fest in Australia.
His short horror film focuses on a lonely costume designer working within a dark theatre who begins hearing bumps in the night upon the arrival of a bubble-wrapped mannequin.
“NYFA prepared me for the reality of the business. It is hard work, you will be pushed aside more often than not but it’s how you bounce back that shows whether you can make it in the industry,”said Davies on his experience as a student at NYFA Australia.
Overall, Davies says he enjoyed the atmosphere of being on the backlot and seeing other films being produced. “The lecturers also made the classes engaging, and being able to direct/write/edit your own short film with cinema grade equipment was a massive plus,” added Davies.
His advice to aspiring filmmakers is that “no matter what the circumstance, the struggle will always pay off in the end…if you keep pushing forward.”
Davies has recently started his own video production company servicing small businesses and clients on the Gold Coast, from weddings to corporate videos. Keep an eye out for his next short horror film, which is currently in the works.
Once again the New York Film Academy was live on social media talking Golden Globes and, this year, rooting for former student Issa Rae on her nomination for Best Actress in a TV Comedy or Musical for her performance on HBO’s “Insecure,” a show she writes, produces, and acts in. While the award went to Tracee Ellis Ross for “Blackish,” we commend Issa on her tremendous success with her hit series, which began a few years back as a web-series.
With the Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon hosting the evening, there were many familiar faces on hand not only from our favorite shows and films of the year, but from former guest speakers of NYFA, including Jonah Hill who was nominated for his part in “War Dogs.”
The big winner of the evening was the musical “La La Land,” which won all seven of its nominated categories: best picture comedy/musical, lead actor honors for Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, and awards for director, screenplay, song and score. The film received a wonderful review from our newest faculty member, film critic Peter Rainer, and is considered the heavy favorite for the Academy Awards as well.
It was also a delight to watch comic actors Steve Carrell and Kristin Wiig present the award for Best Animated Feature to “Zootopia.” Last year, NYFA hosted an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the award-winning animated film with Disney animator, Darrin Butters, who has been an animator for all of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ top hits including “Big Hero 6,” “Frozen” and “Tangled.”
Perhaps one of the most talked about moments from last night was Meryl Steep’s moving speech after receiving the Cecil B. Demille award. She spoke of the talented actors and actresses she’s worked with who come from all over the world. “Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners,” Streep said after describing the diverse backgrounds of some of her acting contemporaries.
We’re very familiar with artists from all over the world, as more than 50% of NYFA’s enrollment is international. Tens of thousands of visual and performing artists from nearly 120 countries have studied at NYFA since its founding 25 years ago, including dozens of Fulbright Foreign Students. We hope to see more of our students and alumni at upcoming award ceremonies!
Below is a list of winners and nominees from the 2017 Golden Globes.
Chris says his time at New York Film Academy Australia has been “a wild four months so far.” He adds, “I can see massive jumps in the quality of my films — from story, composition, sound, actor selection, performances and more — and I guess that is why my digital dialogue got into a film festival so quickly.” The intensive, hands-on format of study at NYFA Australia has allowed Chris to evolve as a filmmaker.
“Having to make six short films plus two production films, write the material, produce it and then have if shown in a cinema, is a big ask, but it has forced me to develop my craft and really push myself,” says Chris.
“For me, getting in and producing films that have made it onto the film festival circuit, that people want to watch, tells me the training NYFA Australia has given me has prepared me for a very long film career. I think that is probably the key thing that I recognize,” he adds.
With plans to continue on to the Advanced Diploma program, Chris is now focused on his end of year short film “Drawing Hope,” which he will shoot in February 2017, utilizing the RED camera. After graduation, Chris hopes to secure ongoing work in the industry and to win an award at some of the larger, prestigious film festivals.
Nominated for an AFI Award (now known as the AACTA’s) in 2001 for Best Actor in a Guest Role in a Television Drama on popular Australian program “Stingers,” Travis discussed how his training has helped him with his processes as an actor. These processes include that of reading the script as many times as possible when researching a new role, to gain a sense of character and story.
Now that Travis is established in the industry, he looks for good stories to be attached to and characters to be invested in. “When deciding on projects, I look for good writing because it clearly indicates whether the project will be worth it,” Travis told his keen student audience.
His advice to budding actors is to listen to themselves, listen and honor what they are wanting out of their careers, and to never compromise their vision for that of another.
Damian Lang is a graduate of the New York Film Academy Australia, Gold Coast. His digital dialogue, “Diamond In The Rough,” has just come off its festival run, screening at four festivals and winning Best Student Short at the Colorado International Film Festival. Damian’s music video production for Gold Coast based DJ duo “Bombs Away” is also currently featured on MTV.
Damian says that NYFA helped prepare him for the real world of the industry through its hands-on approach. “As a filmmaking student, we were constantly creating and learning while performing multiple roles in a film-like environment,” he explains.
Currently working as a Locations Production Assistant on the latest Marvel feature shooting at Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast, Australia, Damian is also in post production for his latest music video produced for New Zealand rock-band “Mi-Sex,” as well as for his latest short-film entitled “The First Step.”
His advice to aspiring filmmakers is that “no one gets a free ride, the choices you make will define you.”
Check out Damian’s work on the latest music video for “Bombs Away” on MTV Australia’s website, by clicking here.