Queensland, Australia, home of the New York Film Academy Australia Gold Coast, continues to cultivate film production and acting jobs, with last year being its best year attracting production expenditure of more than $200 million. “Aquaman” is currently being filmed in south-east Queensland and the location also hosted the international and domestic productions of “Pirates of the Caribbean 5,” “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Pacific Rim 2.” The most recent announcement of Netflix’s newest Australian series, “Tidelands,” adds to the list of yet another major production in the region.
“Tidelands will be the very first Netflix Original Series to be commissioned and made completely in Australia, with all filming to take place in south-east Queensland,” said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
“Tidelands,” which is expected to create eighty jobs for Queensland acting talent and crew, was written and developed through Brisbane-based production house Hoodlum.” Set in the fictional Australian sea-side town of Orphelin Bay where the residents harbor deep secrets and nothing is as it seems, the series plays out with a supernatural undercurrent. Production will begin in early 2018.
“Screen Queensland is committed to investing in innovative projects with international appeal and ‘Tidelands’ will deliver great opportunities for Queensland. The series will film ten 50-minute episodes in Queensland for its first season,” said Screen Queensland CEO Tracey Vieira.
NYFA Australia Gold Coast students filming on set
“High-profile filmmakers now consider the Gold Coast as a world-class destination with excellent filming options and multi-skilled crew,” said NYFA Australia Gold Coast Director Tasha Cooper. “I don’t even bat an eyelid these days with the amount of blockbusters filming in our very own backyard. It’s become very much like living in Hollywood. It’s great for the local industry. ”
NYFA Australia maintains exclusive premises, located at Village Roadshow Studios. NYFA Australia alumnus Damian Lang has worked on both “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Aquaman,” both of which were filmed in the Gold Coast. Between his on-set experience and filmmaking background, Lang is currently working on an idea for his first feature film.
“It makes us proud and acknowledges what we’ve always known — our unique learning style offers students incredible training that set them up for life — whether on small scale productions or massive blockbusters,” said Cooper.
Ever After Parties provide multi-talented performers for not only children’s birthday parties, but also corporate events, weddings, schools and shopping mall displays, and were nominated for Best Party Entertainment in the What’s On 4 Kids Awards 2017.
Playing Sleeping Beauty, “Snow White and Ana (“Frozen”), to name a few, Jennings has been spreading joy and wonder throughout the South East Queensland area.
During her time at NYFA Australia, Jennings enjoyed “the amazing bonds made with the lecturers and endless opportunities that followed with those bonds.” She continues, “I also loved being in such a tight knit community with fellow actors and filmmakers.”
Jennings’ advice to aspiring performers is to “use the gifts you have been given to be a voice for those who don’t have one.” She believes that “hard work is silent, let your work be the words.”
Now signed with Williams Talent, Jennings has already auditioned for the Queensland Theatre Company and has been auditioning for various roles in film and theatre productions.
With credits including Australian features “Australia Day,” “Flammable Children” and “Boar,” Tiernan believes NYFA has him well prepared for working in the real world of film and television. “Understanding on-set lingo is essential. I’m happy that was well covered at NYFA,” says Joe.
Tiernan’s brush with legendary Australian actor Geoffrey Rush during the filming of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” at Village Roadshow Studios is one of his fondest memories of student life at NYFA Gold Coast.
Discussing the making of a movie about his life, Tiernan explains, “Well, I’m a sucker for a good rom-com and I think Domnhall Gleeson is a champ.” The title? “Redheads,” says Joe.
The opportunities keep on coming for Joe: “I’ve got two more Art Department gigs lined up on some local features this year though the grand plan is to get on a ‘Star Wars’ set, then I can die a happy man.”
Former New York Film Academy Australia, Gold Coast student, Damian Lang, has shot three award-winning short films thus far, and has worked as a Location Assistant on major Hollywood films like “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Aquaman,” both of which were filmed in the Gold Coast. Between his on-set experience and filmmaking background, Lang says he is currently working on an idea for his first feature film.
Below is Lang’s description of his three award-winning shorts:
“This film is about trying to re-connect with people, woman particularly. I returned from Afghanistan with the Australian Infantry a few years back and developed some mental issues, which unfortunately ended in me losing my wife and job. This sent me on a bit of a downward spiral, but I always forced myself to get out and push through. The events in the film actually happened multiple times — just not usually with a fairy-tail ending.”
Caymen, Int Film Festival
Stage One, Int Film Festival (Won ACS Best Cinematography)
Long Beach Indie, Int Film Festival
Screen IT, Gold Coast Film Festival
Austin Revolution, Film Festival
“Diamond In The Rough”
“This film is about understanding your own beauty and worth. I went through a faze where I was trying to build myself into another person to attract certain types of women into my life. I found out it’s not very sustainable or fair on the other person.”
Colorado, Int Film Festival (Won Best Student Short)
Fort Worth, Indie Film Festival
International Video and Music Awards
Roma, Cinemadoc Film Festival
“The First Step”
This film is about re-connecting even if it isn’t the easiest route, and also about betrayal at the most unexpected times. The idea stems from when I was in Afghanistan and there were multiple ego driven orders that put us in unnecessary danger. Duty first is what we always did, but now we have to live with the outcomes and the question ‘why’.”
Screenings: (This film is still on the festival scene until December 2017)
Around Films, Int Film Festival (Won Best Short film)
Hollywood Screenings, Film Festival (Semi-finalist)
Lang also directed a music video for the Gold Coast based DJ duo “Bombs Away,” which was featured on MTV.
New York Film Academy Australia celebrated the Grand Opening of its newest Gold Coast location at Southport on February 28, 2017. Southport is home to one of the Gold Coast’s largest shopping complexes, Australia Fair, as well as trendy cafes and restaurants, Southport Yacht Club, exclusive Marina Mirage boutiques and a buzzing nightlife. Southport is also centrally located to the Gold Coast’s world famous surf beach, Surfers Paradise, and exciting attractions and theme parks.
NYFA-AU will retain a space at Village Roadshow Studios for production work and training. The location originally opened in Queensland, Australia in 2011 and for the past few years has operated at Village Road Show Studios – the studio location for many Hollywood films including “San Andreas,” “Unbroken,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” “The Shallows,” “Kong: Skull Island,” and “Thor: Ragnarok,” among many others.
The new NYFA-AU Gold Coast location now includes a 22,000 sqft (approx. 2,000sqm) state-of-the-art facility at Southport Central, encompassing a 90 seat theatre, automated dialogue replacement (ADR) room, editing rooms, post production rooms, production workshop studio, acting rooms with sprung floors for voice and movement classes and a sizeable equipment room.
The Grand Opening allowed hundreds of staff, students, special guests and dignitaries to tour the impressive, state-of-the-art facility before the official ribbon cutting ceremony.
Warner Bros Movie World’s Austin Powers and Marilyn Monroe mingled with guests including Dawn Crichlow, Gold Coast Council and NYFA-AU Board of Directors, Jean Sherlock, Elle Bailey and Larry Z. Lazar, Esq. who made the trip from our United States campuses for the special event.
Guests were invited to view a live Production Workshop, grab some popcorn, and have their photo’s taken in the NYFA photo booth with Hollywood props.
Tasha Cooper, Campus Director, welcomed guests into the new theatre and introduced NYFA-AU Board Members and Dignitaries. She thanked the tremendous efforts of Elle Bailey, the Gold Coast team and the contractors who all contributed to the official opening. Ms. Cooper also highlighted NYFA-AU’s outstanding relationship with Village Roadshow Studios and how fortunate students were to continue to have exclusive access to train on the Village backlot.
(Left to Right) Facilities Manager, Ian Maclachlan; Director of NYFA-AU, Adrian Bennett; Director, Tasha Cooper
Jean Sherlock, NYFA CEO, spoke about the vision his father, Jerry Sherlock, Founder, had when opening NYFA and how special it was for him to have seen it expand across the globe over the past 25 years, noting that Australia is one of his favorite destinations to visit. Arthur Helterbran Jnr., Academic Dean, talked about ‘storytelling’ being the core of the creative process and how excited NYFA-AU was to be a continued part of the Gold Coast’s story.
(Left to Right) Academic Dean, Art Helterbran Jnr.; Chair of Acting for Film, Stuart Lumsden; Chair of Filmmaking, Steve Pratt; Professor Alan Bowen-James
A special mention to Michael Young, NYFA President and a NYFA-AU Board Director who was unable to attend, but was fittingly present leading the opening of the ceremony featured in our “We are the New York Film Academy” video. Also a special mention to Michael Caputo, NYFA Director of Operations, who made a trip to Australia with Elle Bailey in November 2016 to consult on the many technical elements that go into the creation of a visual and performing arts school like NYFA.
NYFA-AU Gold Coast Alumnus, Damian Lang, recently employed by Marvel for “Thor: Raganork,” gave an impassioned speech on how NYFA changed his life and empowered veteran students by giving them a chance to find their voice as storytellers.
Current NYFA Australia Acting for Film student, Jackson Price said NYFA was an incredible place to learn and bond with faculty and classmates.
Five lucky guests received WB Movie World VIP prize passes in a raffle. NYFA Australia is expected to announce partnership news with WB in the near future. Stay tuned!
The New York Film Academy followed the 89th Academy Awards ever so closely last night on social media, even through the confusion. Heading into the evening, NYFA was firmly rooting for two of its alumni, Jean de Meuron and Raphaela Neihausen, both having been involved with nominated short films. Neihausen’s short documentary film, “Joe’s Violin,” which she produced, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. Alumnus Jean de Meuron was executive producer on “La femme et le TGV,” which was up for Best Live Action Short. While the former students didn’t end up winning for their respective categories, their monumental achievement speaks for itself.
Of course the most talked about moment from last night’s awards event, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, was the “Steve Harvey-like” gaffe during the Best Picture announcement. After accidentally awarding Best Picture to the movie musical, “La La Land,” the actual winner was revealed to be “Moonlight,” which iconic actor and director, Warren Beatty, clearly rectified by pointing out the winning card that was supposed to have been read.
So while that was not exactly a shining moment for the gracious team behind “La La Land,” the film still notched a record-tying 14 nominations. “Moonlight” and “Arrival” followed with a very respectable eight wins each. It should also be worth nothing that two of our teacher’s assistants from New York Film Academy South Beach, Robert Colom and Danniel Rodriguez, had the privilege of working on set of “Moonlight” as Production Assistants.
One of the more controversial topics of last year’s awards was the fact that there were no people of color nominated for an Oscar. However, this year offered the most diverse list of nominees, with a total of seven actors of color nominated — six black and one Indian. Some of the winners included Best Supporting Actor Mahershala Ali from “Moonlight,” and Best Supporting Actress Viola Davis from “Fences.”
NYFA also recognized a few of its former guest speakers like Kenneth Lonergan, who won Best Original Screenplay for his work on “Manchester by the Sea,” and Linus Sandgren, who won Best Cinematography for his capturing of “La La Land.”
Additionally, in the world of animation, “Zootopia” won Best Animated Feature Film. Last year, before the film’s release, 3D Animation students at NYFA had an inside look from “Zootopia” animator, Darrin Butters, who broke down scenes and the development process that went into the Disney film.
Finally, on a humorous note, NYFA guest speaker Seth Rogen brought us back to the future after emerging from a DeLorean with Michael J. Fox. Mr. Rogen was at NYFA Los Angeles last year to screen his R-rated animated comedy, “Sausage Party,” which was an absolute blast for those students and alumni fortunate enough to attend.
While the snafu at the end of the evening will be talked about for days to follow, the winners will always remember when they received Hollywood’s most coveted prize.
Below is a complete list of the 89th Academy Award nominees — winners are in bold:
“Hell or High Water”
“La La Land”
“Manchester by the Sea”
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Casey Affleck in “Manchester by the Sea” (WINNER)
Andrew Garfield in “Hacksaw Ridge”
Ryan Gosling in “La La Land”
Viggo Mortensen in “Captain Fantastic”
Denzel Washington in “Fences”
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Jeff Bridges in “Hell or High Water”
Mahershala Ali in “Moonlight” (WINNER)
Lucas Hedges in “Manchester by the Sea”
Dev Patel in “Lion”
Michael Shannon in “Nocturnal Animals”
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Isabelle Huppert in “Elle”
Ruth Negga in “Loving”
Natalie Portman in “Jackie”
Emma Stone in “La La Land” (WINNER)
Meryl Streep in “Florence Foster Jenkins”
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Nicole Kidman in “Lion”
Viola Davis in “Fences”
Naomie Harris in “Moonlight”
Octavia Spencer in “Hidden Figures”
Michelle Williams in “Manchester by the Sea”
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
“Kubo and the Two Strings”
“My Life as a Zucchini”
“The Red Turtle”
“La La Land” (WINNER)
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (WINNER)
“Florence Foster Jenkins”
“La La Land”
“Arrival” – Denis Villeneuve
“Hacksaw Ridge” – Mel Gibson
“La La Land” – Damien Chazelle (WINNER)
“Manchester by the Sea” – Kenneth Lonergan
“Moonlight” – Barry Jenkins
“Fire at Sea”
“I Am Not Your Negro”
“O.J.: Made in America” (WINNER)
DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)
“Watani: My Homeland”
“The White Helmets” (WINNER)
“Hacksaw Ridge” (WINNER)
“Hell or High Water”
“La La Land”
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“Land of Mine”
“A Man Called Ove”
“The Salesman” (WINNER)
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
“A Man Called Ove”
“Star Trek Beyond”
“Suicide Squad” (WINNER)
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
“La La Land” (WINNER)
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from “La La Land”
“Can’t Stop The Feeling” from “Trolls”
“City Of Stars” from “La La Land” (WINNER)
“The Empty Chair” from “Jim: The James Foley Story”
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!”