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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Alum Manuel Garcia-Rulfo Stars in Michael Bay’s ‘6 Underground’ on Netflix

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum Manuel Garcia-Rulfo is co-starring as one of the titular 6 Underground in a highly-anticipated new Netflix original film by Michael Bay. 

    Manuel Garcia-Rulfo - 6 Underground

    Photo Credit: Chris Violette

    6 Underground is the latest blockbuster movie to feature NYFA Acting for Film alum Garcia-Rulfo, who attended NYFA’s 4-Week Filmmaking workshop as well as the 1-Year Acting for Film conservatory at our Burbank-based campus. Since graduating in 2004, the Mexican-born actor has starred in hit films including, Cake, Murder on the Orient Express, Sicario: Day of the Soldado, and Widows, as well as the television series From Dusk til Dawn and Goliath.

    Garcia-Rulfo also appeared alongside an A-list cast in The Magnificent Seven remake directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Peter Sarsgaard. In 2017, Garcia-Rulfo spoke with students in a Q&A at our Los Angeles campus following a screening of the film. Next year, he will be co-starring with Tom Hanks in Greyhound, an upcoming World War II submarine thriller written by Hanks.

    Manuel Garcia-Rulfo - 6 Underground

    His latest project, 6 Underground, is the first film by action auteur Michael Bay since the third sequel to his Transformers franchise, The Last Knight. Ryan Reynolds leads the cast of the the R-rated comedic action-thriller about six vigilantes who’ve faked their deaths and go by numbers instead of names (One through Six, naturally.) Garcia-Rulfo co-stars as Three, while Reynolds plays One. They are joined by Mélanie Laurent, Adria Arjona, Corey Hawkins, and Ben Hardy as Two, Four, Five, and Six, respectively. The movie also co-stars Dave Franco and Peter Stormare.

    6 Underground is the second-most expensive original film ever produced by Netflix, and is set to premiere Friday, December 13. In a video promoting the film, star Ryan Reynolds promises nonstop action and special effects, telling viewers, “Don’t miss the most Michael Bay movie that Michael Bay has ever Michael Bayed.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates Acting for Film alum Manuel Garcia-Rulfo on his latest high-profile role, and is excited to see his star continue to rise in Hollywood!

    Manuel Garcia-Rulfo - 6 Underground

    The Cast of ‘6 Underground’

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    December 5, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1637

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Alum Carlos Bolio Recording New Music

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum Carlos Bolio has traveled the world making music, and will soon be recording a new project in Los Angeles.

    It’s not Bolio’s first time in Hollywood—in the summer of 2013, he attended the 4-Week Acting for Film workshop at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus. There, he strengthened his skills in the craft and worked hands-on with state-of-the-art equipment, learning better techniques for interviews and producing video clips to help boost his career.

    Carlos Bolio

    Bolio originally hails from Mexico and has performed in his home country as well Spain, singing in front of thousands of people. He plays piano and guitar as well as producing and composing original music, and has worked for Warner Music Group.

    Additionally, Bolio is aspiring to act in both Hollywood and on Broadway. New York Film Academy congratulates Acting for Film alum Carlos Bolio on his success so far and looks forward to seeing where his talents take him next!

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    November 22, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1496

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Instructors Act on Hit Sitcoms

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    Students from New York Film Academy (NYFA) looking to see their instructors’ latest roles won’t have to look far—two instructors from the Acting for Film department at our Los Angeles campus are appearing in recurring roles on two high-profile sitcoms.

    sitcoms

    Bayo Akinfemi’s latest role is Goodwin on the CBS sitcom Bob Hearts Abishola, the latest project from sitcom megaproducer Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory.) The show stars Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly, Young Sheldon) and Folake Olowofoyeku (Transparent) and is about an American who falls in love with his Nigerian nurse.

    Akinfemi began his career as a director for stage and screen in Nigeria, has previously appeared on Agents of SHIELD, and action films Bulletproof Monk and The Tuxedo. He is a member of the Director’s Guild of Canada and has won multiple awards for his work behind the camera.

    Acting for Film instructor Ken Lerner continues his recurring role on ABC’s The Goldbergs, a period family sitcom taking place in the 1980s and starring Wendi McLendon-Covey, Jeff Garlin, and George Segal.

    Lerner’s previous credits are numerous; he has been acting professionally since the 1970s. He had recurring roles on hit series like Happy Days, Chicago Hope, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as feature film credits including Robocop 2, The Running Man, and The Fabulous Baker Boys.

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    November 22, 2019 • Acting, Faculty Highlights • Views: 701

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Acting for Film Alum Vicente Almuna’s ‘Sepia’ Generating Lots of Buzz

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    Sepia, a film written, directed, and starring New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Acting for Film alum Vicente Almuna, has been generating a ton of buzz since entering the festival circuit.

    Vicente Almuna

    NYFA alum Vicente Almuna

    Almuna originally hails from Chile and enrolled in the MFA in Acting for Film program at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus in 2016. While studying at NYFA-Los Angeles, Almuna learned skills not just in acting but behind the camera as well.

    He put those skills to work with Sepia, which he scripted and directed as well as starred in. The film tells the story of a man rejected from reentering his country of residence after visiting his country of origin. Due to being a former immigrant, he is prohibited from coming back to the place where he has built his life and relationships. Separated from his wife, he decides to undertake a journey by foot across the desert in order to be reunited with his love.

    Trailer Sepia from Vicente Almuna Morales on Vimeo

    “I believe we are going through very fervent times where a lot of meaningful events are occurring all over the world,” Almuna tells NYFA. “The violence and hate that humankind is experiencing nowadays, with fanatic nationalism rising in different parts of the globe; the terror of a next world war; the disputes between races and the immigration banning; or the desire of some countries to lock themselves hermetically from the rest of the world and people.

    “There is too much to be concerned about and I am not going to be just a simple witness of all that is going on around me,” he continues. “This is why I want to discuss about this, to talk about all this. To make a choice from an individual that has been living through this and has a perspective and something to say. I want to talk about my world and I want to create worlds about my world and contribute to make awareness and step by step, build a better place.”

    The film, co-directed by Luis Sánchez and produced by Sommer Saqr, has struck a nerve with festival audiences. Sepia has picked up awards for Best First-Time Director (Independent Short Awards), Best Actor (Independent Short Awards), and Best Cinematography (El Paso Film Festival), and has been nominated for Best First-Time Director (Queen Palm International Film Festival), Best Actor (Queen Palm International Film Festival), Best Dramatic Short (StoryMode Short Film Awards), Best Original Story (StoryMode Short Film Awards), Best Actor (StoryMode Short Film Awards), Audience Award (StoryMode Short Film Awards), and Best International Short (South Texas International Film Festival). Additionally, Sepia has screened at numerous other festivals.

    “NYFA taught me the primordial concepts and training to proceed on my own creative writing adventure,” Almuna describes when asked about his experiences studying at the Academy. “I understood the concept of try, fail, redo, try again. I understood the ideas of drafts, having my last script version after sixteen drafts. And I could keep on changing and modifying it eternally. I think every real and true artistic process never meets an end, it never reaches perfection. We could infinitely try to make it better.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Acting for Film alum Vicente Almuna on the success of Sepia and looks forward to following his career as it grows!

    Vicente Almuna

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  • New York Film Academy-Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Acting Department Presents Fall Series of Student Directed Plays

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    The New York Film Academy-Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Acting for Film department kicked off their Fall Student Directed Play Series with two successful productions of The Play, an original play written by and starring Amr Nabeel and Grant Morningstar, (BFA Acting for Film), and directed by Matthew Harper-Johnston (BFA Acting for Film) and Commencing by Jane Shepard, directed by NYFA alum Juelz Velasquez. The plays were mentored by Associate Chair David Robinette and full-time faculty Cathy Giannone.

    THE PLAY

    Two strangers meet while waiting for a theatre performance to begin. Through an extended conversation they both realize that they are connected beyond the confines of their seats.

    The Play begins with a Slob slumped in his seat. A Snob clacks in, drying himself from the tempest outside. He sits next to the Slob and after a beat they begin speaking to one another. An awkward and fragmented introduction flourishes into shared laughter, boastful arguments, mutual irritations, and clashing opinions on art. On this journey, they discover that the impact they have on one another is not constrained to the row they sit in. Beneath the sharp-tongued combat and competition for four-syllable words lies a story that explores forgiveness and acceptance. They both have played a role in each other’s lives, for better or worse.

    “I’ve never had to opportunity to put on a play which was written by a fellow student and that really interested me,” says Harper-Johnston about his experience with The Play. “As a director, part of my vision in every project is to incorporate other people’s vision so the whole project becomes very collaborative and familial. Having the opportunity to work on something where such a strong vision was already established was such an exciting challenge. Grant and Amr wrote a really interesting play that have thematic similarities to the previous plays I had worked on. It explores the awkward silences of real life and is also a battle of wits and the plays I love to work on usually have one or both of those aspects.”

    Writer and co-star Amp Nabeel declared, “It’s been such an honor to work with such fantastically creative and ingenious individuals. I’m extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to create this piece of theatre, which undoubtedly, could not have been done without the contributions of all those involved.”

    COMMENCING

    Kelli can’t wait for the blind date her friends have set her up on, until it turns out to be a very disappointed lesbian named Arlin. Mutually appalled, yet appallingly intrigued, they proceed to pull the screws loose on both straight and gay women’s culture, to find common ground in the search for love and self.

    “This was my first experience directing after being involved in many Student Directed Plays,” says Velasquez. “I can’t believe how much I’ve learned and grown from directing this play.”

     

    The next work in the Student Directed Plays series will be A Long Time Ago an original play written and directed by NYFA Alum Thomas Steward.

    Student Directed Plays Fall 2019 Long Time Ago

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    October 25, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 814

  • Another Successful Year for Nordic International Film Festival Founders & New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alumni

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    Last week saw another successful edition of the Nordic International Film Festival (NIFF), founded by New York Film Academy (NYFA) alumni Johan Matton and Linnea Larsdotter. This October marked the fifth year for NIFF.

    This year’s fest was held at the renowned Roxy Cinema in Tribeca, and ran from October 16 – 20. The week saw a world premiere, six international premieres, two North American premieres, one US premiere, and 11 New York premieres among its multiple programs, with 79% of the official selections including at least one woman in a prominent role behind the camera. Jury members, hosts, and alumni of the festival included industry notables like Kristin Chenoweth, Bruce Greenwood, Jerome Flynn, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Veena Sud, Julian Glover, Lyndsy Fonseca, and Eric Roberts. Two special awards were given at this year’s program: the Nordic Film Grand Prize, which offers a one-week trip to the Faroe Islands, and the International Film Grand Prize, which offers a one-week trip to Finland.

    Nordic International Film Festival 2019

    Two additional awards were sponsored by New York Film Academy, and presented by NYFA President Michael J. Young. Night Cleaners by Hanna Nordenswan won Best Documentary Short, while Tia Kuovo, writer and director of We Retired People, won the Aurora Borealis Award for Best Up and Coming Filmmaker. Both award winners received scholarships for a 4-Week workshop of their choice at NYFA to advance their filmmaking studies.

    “New York Film Academy is proud to support the Nordic International Film Festival,” Young expressed to the audience in a short speech, continuing, “and especially proud of our alumni Johan and Linnea, who created such an extraordinary and enduring festival.”

    NIFF was founded in October 2015 by Swedish-born actors and producers Johan Matton and Linnea Larsdotter, both alumni of New York Film Academy. Matton attended the 2-Year Acting for Film conservatory in 2009 at our New York campus, as well as our 2-Day Line Producing workshop in 2018. Larsdotter attended the 2-Year Musical Theatre program at the Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre at New York Film Academy (PCMT at NYFA) in 2010.

    Matton and Larsdotter have worked hard to put NIFF together while building on each year’s success with bigger and grander goals. While speaking to the audience on closing night, Larsdotter highlighted the festival’s commitment to gender equality in filmmaking: “Here at NIFF it’s been our focus since the very beginning, me being a female producer in this industry, I know that there are obstacles we have to face, and I’m so proud to say … in this Official Selection we were 50/50 male and female directors,” stated Larsdotter to thunderous applause.

    Nordic International Film Festival 2019

    The Nordic International Film Festival is the biggest fest of its kind outside Europe, and features quality work of Scandinavian and international filmmakers in an exclusive, beautifully organized New York setting. NIFF has a mission that goes beyond the average film festival, one that seeks to build bridges between the Nordic region, encouraging and connecting filmmakers from all over the globe.

    NIFF has presented diverse independent films with strong characters and storylines from artists around the world, including Oscar-nominated filmmakers, Nobel Prize winners, and star-studded casts, and aims to achieve a 50-50 male/female ratio each year, as well as creating zero non-recyclable waste during the festival while providing only environmental friendly, vegan food and snacks.

    All in all, this year’s fest was a great success. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to have completed our 5th annual Nordic International Film Festival,” says Matton. “With our strongest lineup of world premieres yet and the support from our incredible partners and organizations … this film festival will keep growing–and now with the support from NYFA, so will these incredible filmmakers.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA alumni Johan Matton and Linnea Larsdotter on another successful edition of their Nordic International Film Festival, and looks forward to another stunning event next year!

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    October 23, 2019 • Acting, Film Festivals, Musical Theatre, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 774

  • 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:

    Dayana Espinoza

    Recent 1-Year Acting for Film grad Dayana Espinoza has a knack for landing roles in quality films–she’s appeared in award winners Outlandish (Winner – CKF International Film Festival) and The Rosy Summer Day (Best Fantasy Film – Los Angeles Film Awards; Best Short – Top Short Film Festival; Best Women Short – Indie Short Fest; Best Director – Independent Shorts Awards; Best Director – Festigious International Film Festival) as well as Invisible Murderer, which was nominated in the Indie Short Fest for both Best Original Story and Best Film Noir Short. Espinoza, who was born and raised in Peru and has been recently interviewed by both VoyageLA and Film Daily, is currently represented by two agencies and recently worked on her first SAG-AFTRA project.

    Dayana EspinozaJoseph 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: 969

  • 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: 1008

  • 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 Rivera 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 López He 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: 1158