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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Students & Alumni Featured in VoyageLA Magazine

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    VoyageLA, the flagship publication for Voyage Group of Magazines, is a media and city guide for Los Angeles that aims to authentically represent a wide variety of artists and communities, looking for outside-the-box ways to bring together the many different small businesses, independent artists and entrepreneurs, local institutions of LA.

    It’s no surprise that many of New York Film Academy’s incredibly talented students and alumni have been featured on their pages, usually with personal and informative interviews. Here are the most recent NYFA artists who have been showcased by VoyageLA:

    Joseph Ford

    Current BFA Photography Joseph Ford has been hired to shoot Instagram influencers including Blac Chyna and Brittany Renner, and has recently shot photo coverage of the Amazon float for the 2019 SF Gay Pride parade. The Marines veteran talks about his fashion photography company and the path that led him to NYFA-LA and beyond. 

    Joseph Ford VoyageLA

    Saana Laigren

    In her interview with VoyageLA, 1-Year Acting for Film alum Saana Laigren talks about how she first got into acting during her childhood, and about the internal struggles she’s faced while trying to create a career in the arts. In the end, though, her path ultimately led to her following her dream, and she’s recently won Best Foreign Actress at Chandra Khamini International Film Festival.

    Saana Laigren VoyageLA

    Alice Rehemutula

    VoyageLA calls MFA Producing alum Alice Rehemutula a “trailblazer” in an interview that charts her unconventional path from a Muslim province of China to Shanghai to Hollywood. Rehemutula found great success overseas as a performer, including appearing on China’s Got Talent, but she also has a passion for working behind the camera, earning her Master of Fine Arts in Producing from NYFA’s Los Angeles campus.

    Alice Rehemutula VoyageLA

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  • New York Film Academy Australia Alumni Release Action Short ‘Round Trip’

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    Ren Thackham Round TripRound Trip, a six-minute action film written and directed by New York Film Academy Australia alum Ren Thackham and starring NYFA Australia alum Danny Bolt, recently went online after a spectacular festival run.

    Thackham and Bolt met while studying at NYFA Australia, where Thackham attended the 1-Year Filmmaking program in 2014. Since then, she’s had a great deal of success on the festival circuit with her short films, collaborating often with Bolt, and winning numerous awards and nominations for her work.

    Their latest short, Round Trip, packs a serious punch with an incredible automobile stunt involving a police car flipping over. “We had one police car and one shot at flipping it on camera, and if it didn’t land on it’s wheels, we wouldn’t have had a film,” says Thackham. 

     

    The film was in good hands though; the head of the stunt team was Judd Wild, who worked on Australian action epic Mad Max: Fury Road. Thackham calls Wild “one of the best in the country.”

    Wild wasn’t the only top shelf talent on the production. The film stars 2013 NABBA Mr. Universe Lee Priest in his acting debut, as a criminal trying to escape Bolt’s police officer protagonist. Additionally, the score for Round Trip was composed by Rafael May with didgeridoo by Darren Narul, recorded at Skinny Fish Music in Darwin. 

    Thackham and Bolt next plan to make their first feature film, Ridgy Didge, in 2020 as a directing/producing team.

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA Australia alumni Ren Thackham and Danny Bolt on the online release of Round Trip and encourages everyone to check out the death-defying short!

     

    Ren Thackham Round Trip Danny Bolt

     

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    October 15, 2019 • #WomenOfNYFA, Acting, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 113

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Alum Saana Laigren Wins Best Foreign Actress at Chandra Khamini International Film Festival

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    Saana Laigren, graduate of the 1-Year Acting for Film conservatory at New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA), recently won Best Foreign Actress at Chandra Khamini International Film Festival.Saana Laigren

    Laigren was born in Finland and first attended NYFA in March 2017 for the 8-Week Acting for Film workshop at our Burbank-based campus. After showing a great deal of talent and wishing to continue pursuing her passion in the craft, Laigren enrolled in and was accepted to study in NYFA-LA’s 1-Year Acting for Film conservatory.

    Since then she’s performed in multiple films, including lead roles in Ghost in the MachineMother’s DayTurning Tables, and The Boxer, with her talent most recently being recognized at the Chandra Khamini International Film Festival. Laigren has been steadily gaining buzz in the Los Angeles artist community, appearing as a guest on the Actors 2020 Podcast, as well as being featured in VoyageLA magazine.

    In her interview with VoyageLA, Laigren talks about how she first got into acting during her childhood, and about the internal struggles she’s faced while trying to create a career in the arts. In the end, though, her path ultimately led to her following her dream.

    “For me, success has meant being able to do what I love, which is acting,” Laigren tells VoyageLA. “I guess as long as I am acting I feel like I am doing something right.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates Acting for Film Alum Saana Laigren on her Best Foreign Actress award and looks forward to seeing her in future roles! 

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    October 14, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 209

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Alum Dr. Ariel Orama López Films Award-Winning ‘One’

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    One—an experimental film about Hurricane Maria and the devastation it wreaked on Puerto Rico in 2017—filmed by New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum Dr. Ariel Orama López, has been steadily accruing awards since its completion.

    The film already has over 36 international laurels and ten international prizes, including from Belarus, Australia, Spain, Italy, the Philippines, Morocco, Peru, Chile, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, as well from festivals in New York and Los Angeles. It has screened on every inhabited continent in the world.

    Dr. Ariel Orama López
    One
    is the second of three short films, along with Esteban and Boxers, that compose the collective project titled “Hydrographic Triptych: Cinematography of Water” and was presented in August on Por Amor al Arte Fest at Centro de Convenciones de Puerto Rico.

    The film also includes the voices of international actresses Gilda Haddock, Amneris Morales, and Belange Rodríguez. The distinguished late tenor, Master Antonio Barasorda, the mezzo-soprano Vianca Alejandra, AG Orloz, and singer Danny Rviera are parts of One’s unique musical elements.

    Lopez directed One, as well as serving as its protagonist. He attended NYFA’s 1-Week Acting for Film workshop in 2011, an experience and education that has stayed with him ever since.

    “The opportunity to have been trained in Acting for Film by NYFA-Los Angeles allowed me to meet great masters of the different facets inherent in filming, an experience I will never forget,” says Dr. Lopez.Dr. Ariel Orama LópezHe continues, “All the learning acquired at NYFA is reflected in my surrealist and experimental style as a director/actor, added to the commercial vision that I intend to promote in this new project. NYFA is not only the best school of fine and pure art in the film world, but also the most unforgettable experience I’ve had in my entire life related to the Seventh Art. My best wishes to all those who are part of my unforgettable alma mater and to those that establish new paradigms with their creativity, innovation and substantial art.”

    Lopez, who is also a professor at the University of Puerto Rico and the University of the Sacred Hearth, has received more than 50 laurels and multiple prizes for his roles as an actor, director, and producer. Recently, he was awarded as one of the Top Ten Young Persons of Puerto Rico. He is currently working on the film Ysla, with distinguished actors from the island.

    Ysla is a collective of thirteen stories that revolve around Christmas Eve, days before the transition to the year 2020. “The film Ysla seeks to provoke reflections on what we will be as islanders, after 2020, with a cast of 65 actors and actresses that are participating actively in filming, theatre, and publicity,” states Dr. Lopez. 

    He adds, “I believe that the film industry has evolved with the new achievements of Latinos. The strong presence of young directors who were awarded in the Short Film category at the 2019 Oscars is also evidence that there is a substantial group of creatives who recognize the immense value of telling stories through the cinematographic universe, from aesthetics, innovation, verisimilitude and diversity, in all its spectra. And we are celebrating this effort.”

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    October 2, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 519

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Welcomes Golden Globe Winner & ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Star Rachel Bloom

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) welcomed Rachel Bloom, the Golden Globe-winning and Emmy-nominated writer, producer, and co-creator of the CW’s hit series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, on Wednesday, August 21. Bloom spoke with students in an event at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus, moderated by Tova Laiter, Director of the NYFA Q&A Series.

    Rachel Bloom is most widely known as the star of the CW musical dramedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which she co-created and executive produced with Aline Brosh McKenna. For her lead role in the series, Bloom won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Series – Musical or Comedy, as well as winning at the Critics’ Choice Awards, and TCA Awards. She is also a four-time Emmy nominee for both Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and the Adult Swim sketch series Robot Chicken, which she wrote for.

    Rachel Bloom

    Bloom also wrote and performed in Yes: It’s Really Us Singing: The Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Concert Special!, which aired after the series finale on the CW, and recently voiced the role of Batgirl in Batman VS. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Bloom will be featured next in The Angry Birds Movie 2 opposite Jason Sudeikis as well as Trolls 2: Trolls World Tour with Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake.

    Tova Laiter began the Q&A by asking Bloom how the idea for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend came about. “I had been doing comedic music videos on my YouTube channel for quite some time,” replied Bloom. “Apparently, Aline saw them and I got an email from her saying she wants to meet with me to discuss a potential musical television show with CBS. It came out of the blue.” Suddenly, the musical comedy ideas that Rachel had pitched and been turned down had become alive and viable.

    As for developing the skills necessary to be discovered, Bloom told the enthusiastic crowd, “I have to believe that hard work and honing your craft work out and pan out, but you can’t necessarily do it for that end goal because that’s just luck and there’s a lot of factors.” She added, “You have to love the craft and you have to love the work.” 

    Bloom continued on by advising students to “hone the process first and make connections in organic ways, but get good at your work first and then see what happens.”

    Rachel Bloom

    The Q&A then opened up to NYFA students. Bloom was asked how she and her team defined the line between homage and satire of musical theatre on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Bloom answered, “It’s a very inexact science and a lot of it was gut and emotion. A lot of it came from my own un-ironic love of musical theatre and learning comedy and realizing that a lot of musical theatre is goofy and embarrassing, but still loving it. It’s just mostly instinctive.” 

    The Q&A ended with Bloom being asked how she approaches writing and portraying characters with mental health issues without turning them into caricatures. Bloom articulated the importance of “coming at it from a first-person perspective and coming at it with empathy.”  

    New York Film Academy would like to thank writer, performer, and Golden Globe winner Rachel Bloom for sharing her expertise with our students!

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    September 4, 2019 • Acting, Guest Speakers, Musical Theatre, Screenwriting • Views: 364

  • ‘Absurd Person Singular’ Concludes Summer Series of Student Directed Plays at New York Film Academy (NYFA)

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    The Acting for Film department at New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) finished off their very successful Summer Series of Student Directed Plays with the amazing production Absurd Person Singular, written by Alan Ayckbourn and directed by BFA Acting for Film student Iunia Dinu, mentored by instructor Riley Steiner.

    Absurd Person Singular is a 1972 play divided into three acts, documenting the changing fortunes of three married couples. Each act takes place at a Christmas celebration at one of the couples’ homes on successive Christmas Eves.

    “Taking a play from paper to stage takes a lot of hard work, teamwork, and structured creativity,” says student director, Iunia Dinu. “In a world that is fueled by constant distractions, I wanted to help tell three important stories through an entertaining medium. Alan Ayckbourn’s phenomenal comedic writing made it almost easy for us to get into the groove of the play. I wanted to tackle the issues of gender equality within marriages, specifically focusing on ignorance, power struggles, and ambition.”

    Absurd Person Singular
    Dinu adds, “Overall, it was a fantastic experience where I learned about the importance of having a clear direct vision, how to communicate ideas over to my actors, and how to work collaboratively with other people in a structured creative environment.”

    Gloria Kare, a BFA Acting for Film student, had a blast, saying, “What a pleasure and an unforgettable experience to have worked in such a demanding and fun play!”

    Michael Murdasanu, another BFA Acting for Film student, agreed, calling the production “something that was really fun and challenging. I’ll never forget the experience.”

    Absurd Person Singular Absurd Person Singular

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    August 15, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 577

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Sam LaFrance Featured in Road Theatre Company’s Summer Playwrights Festival

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    Lost Boy, a play written by New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum Sam LaFrance, was recently featured in Road Theatre Company’s Summer Playwrights Festival.

    LaFrance attended the 1-Year Acting for Film conservatory at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus in 2008. He currently works as the building manager for NYFA-LA’s Barham building.

    Lost Boy tells the story of a man being released from prison after kidnapping several children 22 years earlier. The play was previously part of NYFA’s 2019 Winter Series of Student Directed plays. LaFrance directed the production, mentored by full time instructor David Robinette.

    “I saw a few Student Directed Plays and figured this would be a good opportunity to workshop one of my own projects,” LaFrance told NYFA. “It’s a great opportunity for anyone who loves theatre. You are completely immersed in it and that’s an amazing feeling.”

    The tenth annual edition of the Road Theatre’s Summer Playwrights Festival staged nearly 40 staged readings of new plays in just eight drama-packed days. The festival concluded on August 4, after staging readings at both the Historic Lankershim Arts Center Theater and Gallery and the Road Theatre’s 77-seat venue in the NoHo Senior Arts Colony. The fest is considered one of the largest playwright festivals in the nation.

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA Acting for Film alum Sam LaFrance on the success of his play Lost Boy and looks forward to future productions!

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    August 13, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 631

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Joshua Morel To Appear In ‘Wonderland’

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum Joshua Morel will appear in Wonderland, an upcoming film by director Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Deepwater Horizon, Patriots Day).

    Wonderland is based on the novel of the same name from the detective series, Spenser,  created by Robert B. Parker. The film is being distributed by Netflix and will be released in 2020.

    Mark Wahlberg stars as the title detective, and the film boasts an impressive cast, including Winston Duke, Alan Arkin, Bokeem Woodbine, Colleen Camp, Iliza Shlesinger, Marc Maron, and Post Malone.

    Morel completed the 1-Year Acting for Film Conservatory at NYFA’s New York campus in 2013. Wonderland is his first supporting role, and is a speaking role; he will be featured in four scenes, completing some very impressive stunts. On top of that, Morel is now eligible to join SAG-AFTRA.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Acting for Film alum Joshua Morel on his role in Netflix’s Wonderland and encourages everyone to check it out when it is released next year.

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    August 7, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 511

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Alum Noor Naem Shouts Out NYFA on YouTube



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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum Noor Naem just finished studying the 4-Week Acting for Film Workshop at our Burbank campus and let the world know on her wildly popular YouTube channel, Noor Stars. Noor Naem

    The video was published in the middle of Naem’s studies, on July 15, and has already racked up millions of views. In the video, Naem talks about her time so far at the Burbank-based campus and shows off some of her NYFA swag.

    Her YouTube channel has 12 million followers and features Naem’s highly energetic, bright personality reviewing everything from Apple products to makeup and expounding on all the facets of daily life. 

    New York Film Academy congratulates YouTube star Noor Naem on graduating the 4-Week Acting for Film workshop and looks forward to seeing what she has in store for her followers next!

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    July 30, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1002

  • Themo Melikidze, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Alum, Interviewed By Georgian Journal

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum Themo Melikidze was recently interviewed by the Georgian Journal, one of Georgia’s leading online publications.

    The up-and-coming actor was born in Georgia’s capital city, Tbilisi, before moving to New York City, where he attended the 1-Year Acting for Film Conservatory at NYFA in 2012.

    Since then, he played Khasan Dudayev on Fox hit 24: Legacy and co-starred as the Boston Marathon bomber in 2016’s Patriots Day, starring Mark Wahlberg and directed by Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Lone Survivor.) The film also starred Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, and NYFA Acting for Film alum Lana Condor.

    Themo Melikidze

    In the Georgia Journal Q&A, Melikidize talks about his journey from Eastern Europe to New York Film Academy to Hollywood. He also discussed The Murder of Venus Xtravaganza, his off-Broadway show that is most personal to him and that he is most proud of.

    Melikidize also spoke of the connection he still keeps to his home country, including an upcoming project based on the medieval Georgian hero, David the Builder. “Being a Georgian is something I’m very proud of,” Melikidize tells the Georgian Journal. “It gives me unbelievable motivation—there’s not too many of us so whatever I do, I do it in the name of my country.”

    New York Film Academy encourages everyone to check out the full interview with Themo Melikidze here.

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    July 26, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 803