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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Alum Alaia F Featured in Vogue India

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    The India edition of Vogue magazine recently released a profile on New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum Alaia F, featuring Instagram posts and photos of the up and coming talent.

    Alaia graduated from the Fall 2016 1-year Acting for Film conservatory at NYFA’s New York campus, where she learned from a professional, experienced faculty of working actors in a broad array of core classes that trained her for the kind of technical, emotional, and physical work necessary for film acting.Alaia F

    Acting runs in Alaia’s family. Her grandfather is Kabir Bedi, a renowned Indian actor whose career spanned Asia, Europe, and the United States. Her mother is Bollywood actress and popular television talk show host Pooja Bedi.

    Vogue describes Alaia as “Bollywood’s upcoming debutant.” Photos and Instagram posts of Alaia were included in the piece, including her recent attendance at the ICC Cricket World Cup, where she was seen with film star Saif Ali Khan at the India vs Pakistan match.

    Alaia will be making her professional acting debut with Saif Ali Khan in Jawaani Jaaneman, directed by Nitin Kakkar and co-starring Tabu, Chunky Pandey, and Kumud Mishra.

    New York Film Academy looks forward to the release of Jawaani Jaaneman and congratulates Acting for Film alum Alaia F as her career begins to take off!

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    July 5, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 705

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alumni & Faculty Pick Up Multiple MTV Movie & TV Award Wins

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) community get to add some Golden Popcorn statues to the ever-growing list of award wins this year, after winning at this year’s MTV Movie & TV Awards. The ceremony was hosted by Shazam! star Zachary Levi and aired on June 17 after being recorded two days prior in Santa Monica. 

    The trendy MTV Awards aims toward a younger audience and—unlike the more traditional Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and various other Awards season ceremonies—it especially prides itself on its unique and progressive categories, typically not differentiating between gender or media platforms. Instead, it groups broadcast, streaming, and theatrically released content together in genderless groupings.

    The top prize in television, Best Show, went to HBO’s fantasy epic Game of Thrones, which ended its eight-season run this year. NYFA 3D Animation & VFX alum Alex LoRusso worked on some visual effects for the last few episodes of Game of Thrones’ final season, including “The Last of the Starks” and controversial but explosive climactic entry “The Bells.”Lana Condor

    The other big winner of the night was Marvel Cinematic Universe record-smashing blockbuster Avengers: Endgame, which picked up awards for Best Hero (Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man), Best Villain (Josh Brolin as Thanos), and top prize Best Movie.

    Competing with Avengers for Best Movie was Netflix original To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, starring NYFA Acting for Film camp alum Lana Condor and actor Noah Centineo. The pair managed to pick up the Golden Popcorn trophy for perennial favorite popular category, Best Kiss. Additionally, Centineo won Breakthrough Performance for his role in the film. 

    Another winner of the night was Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Supreme Court Justice profiled in feature documentary RBG, who won Best Real-Life Hero. The film, shot by cinematography and NYFA Documentary Filmmaking instructor Claudia Raschke, racked up an impressive amount of MTV Award nominations, including Best Documentary, Best Fight (for Ruth Bader Ginsburg vs. Inequality), and Most Meme-able Moment (for her nickname The Notorious RBG.) 

    New York Film Academy congratulates this year’s MTV Movie & TV Award winners and is elated to see the NYFA Community continue to gain recognition for their hard work! 

    Here is the full list of MTV Movie & TV Award nominees and winners:

    BEST MOVIE
    Avengers: Endgame – WINNER
    BlacKkKlansman
    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
    To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
    Us

    BEST SHOW
    Big Mouth
    Game of Thrones – WINNER
    Riverdale
    Schitt’s Creek
    The Haunting of Hill House

    BEST PERFORMANCE IN A MOVIE
    Amandla Stenberg (Starr Carter) — The Hate U Give
    Lady Gaga (Ally) — A Star is Born – WINNER
    Lupita Nyong’o (Red) — Us
    Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury) — Bohemian Rhapsody
    Sandra Bullock (Malorie) — Bird Box

    BEST PERFORMANCE IN A SHOW
    Elisabeth Moss (June Osborne/Offred) — The Handmaid’s Tale – WINNER
    Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) — Game of Thrones
    Gina Rodriguez (Jane Villanueva) — Jane the Virgin
    Jason Mitchell (Brandon) — The Chi
    Kiernan Shipka (Sabrina Spellman) — Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

    BEST HERO
    Brie Larson (Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel) — Captain Marvel
    John David Washington (Ron Stallworth) — BlacKkKlansman
    Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) — Game of Thrones
    Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man) — Avengers: Endgame – WINNER
    Zachary Levi (Billy Batson/Shazam) — Shazam!

    BEST VILLAIN
    Jodie Comer (Villanelle) — Killing Eve
    Joseph Fiennes (Commander Fred Waterford) — The Handmaid’s Tale
    Josh Brolin (Thanos) — Avengers: Endgame – WINNER
    Lupita Nyong’o (Red) — Us
    Penn Badgley (Joe Goldberg) — You

    BEST KISS
    Camila Mendes & Charles Melton (Veronica Lodge & Reggie Mantle) — Riverdale
    Jason Momoa & Amber Heard (Aquaman & Mera) — Aquaman
    Ncuti Gatwa & Connor Swindells (Eric Effiong & Adam Groff) — Sex Education
    Noah Centineo & Lana Condor (Peter Kavinsky & Lara Jean) — To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – WINNER
    Tom Hardy & Michelle Williams (Eddie Brock/Venom & Anne Weying) — Venom

    REALITY ROYALTY
    Jersey Shore: Family Vacation
    Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta – WINNER
    The Bachelor
    The Challenge
    Vanderpump Rules

    BEST COMEDIC PERFORMANCE
    Awkwafina (Peik Lin Goh) — Crazy Rich Asians
    Dan Levy (David Rose) — Schitt’s Creek – WINNER
    John Mulaney (Andrew Glouberman) — Big Mouth
    Marsai Martin (Little Jordan Sanders) — Little
    Zachary Levi (Billy Batson/Shazam) — Shazam!

    BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE
    Awkwafina (Peik Lin Goh) — Crazy Rich Asians
    Haley Lu Richardson (Stella) — Five Feet Apart
    Mj Rodriguez (Blanca Rodriguez) — Pose
    Ncuti Gatwa (Eric Effiong) — Sex Education
    Noah Centineo (Peter Kavinsky) — To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – WINNER

    BEST FIGHT
    Avengers: Endgame — Captain America vs. Thanos
    Captain Marvel — Captain Marvel vs. Minn-Erva – WINNER
    Game of Thrones — Arya Stark vs. the White Walkers
    RBG — Ruth Bader Ginsburg vs. Inequality
    WWE Wrestlemania — Becky Lynch vs. Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte FlairRBG

    BEST REALLIFE HERO
    Alex Honnold — Free Solo
    Hannah Gadsby — Nanette
    Roman Reigns — WWE SmackDown
    Ruth Bader Ginsburg — RBG – WINNER
    Serena Williams — Being Serena

    MOST FRIGHTENED PERFORMANCE
    Alex Wolff (Peter) — Hereditary
    Linda Cardellini (Anna Tate-Garcia) — The Curse of La Llorona
    Rhian Rees (Dana Haines) — Halloween
    Sandra Bullock (Malorie) — Bird Box – WINNER
    Victoria Pedretti (Nell Crain) — The Haunting of Hill House

    BEST DOCUMENTARY
    At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal
    McQueen
    Minding the Gap
    RBG
    Surviving R. Kelly – WINNER

    BEST HOST
    Gayle King — CBS This Morning
    Nick Cannon — Wild ‘n Out – WINNER
    Nick Cannon — The Masked Singer
    RuPaul — RuPaul’s Drag Race
    Trevor Noah — The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

    MOST MEME-ABLE MOMENT
    Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club — The Lilo Dance
    Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood — Ray J’s Hat
    RBG — The Notorious RBG
    RuPaul’s Drag Race — Asia O’Hara’s butterfly finale fail
    The Bachelor — Colton Underwood jumps the fence – WINNER

    BEST MUSICAL MOMENT
    “Shallow” – A Star is Born WINNER
    Live Aid Concert – Bohemian Rhapsody
    “Just a Girl” – Captain Marvel
    “Masquerade” – Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
    “Look at that Butt” – On My Block
    “Seventeen” – Riverdale
    “Sunflower” – Into the Spider-Verse
    “I Think We’re Alone Now” – The Umbrella Academy

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  • ‘Debris’ by New York Film Academy (NYFA) Instructor Julio O. Ramos In Competition at Palm Springs International Shortfest

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    Debris, the award-winning short film by New York Film Academy (NYFA) instructor Julio O. Ramos, is screening in competition at this year’s Palm Springs International Shortfest. Ramos is an acting instructor at NYFA-Los Angeles’s Burbank-based campus.Julio O. Ramos

    The film was written by Lucas Micelles from a story by Ramos, who directed the short as well. Debris is a thriller set against the bleak backdrop of human labor trafficking and focuses on Armando (Tenoch Huerta), a hard-working construction foreman who needs to resort to unconventional methods to deal with an accident on his site. After the contractor (Karren Karaguilian) discovers what Armando is up to, Armando is forced to face the consequences of his actions.

    “My intention with Debris is to shed light over this grim world of labor trafficking, focus on the vulnerable lives of illegal construction workers, and break the stereotypical notion that labor trafficking only happens somewhere else,” says Ramos. “We must ask ourselves: Who are the people building the homes of America? Where did they come from? Who hired them? America’s obsession with cheap labor has led to a complicated immigration policy intertwining the everyday American life with the global transgressions of labor trafficking.” 

    Ramos adds, “It happens right here in America and, arguably, we are all responsible.”

    Debris premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and since then has competed in nearly 100 film festivals, picking up awards including Best Narrative Short at the 2018 Sidewalk Film Festival, Special Mention of the Jury at the 2019 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, and two Jury Awards for Best Narrative Short Film and Best Foreign Language Film at the 2019 Oxford Film Festival in Mississippi.

    Julio O. Ramos

    The film’s latest achievement is screening at the 2019 Palm Springs International Shortfest. The festival, now in its 25th year, takes place across seven days every June, hosting more than 350 short films annually as well as a series of panels, seminars, roundtable discussions, and master classes.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Acting instructor Julio O. Ramos on the success of Debris and wishes him the best of luck at Palm Springs International Shortfest.

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    June 21, 2019 • Acting, Faculty Highlights, Film Festivals, Filmmaking • Views: 548

  • Q&A with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Alum Dishani Chakraborty

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum Dishani Chakraborty is ready to make her mark on the Bollywood scene. The young actress grew up in India, first in Coimbatore and then Mumbai, before moving to Los Angeles to study acting. Dishani first took the NYFA 4-week Acting for Film workshop before moving on to the 1-year Acting for Film conservatory at our Burbank-based campus.dishani chakraborty

    Since then, Dishani has steadily been increasing her skills as an actress as well as her presence online. When she returns home, she plans to hit the ground running with a career in acting that will follow in the footsteps of her brothers and her father, noted and award-winning Bollywood star Mithun Chakraborty (Disco Dancer, Agneepath, Suraksha). Indeed, buzz around her is already growing—she recently appeared in a photo story for Times of India.

    New York Film Academy recently spoke with Dishani Chakraborty about her favorite classes at NYFA, her artistic family, and what influences and inspires her as an actress:

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): First, can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you’re from, and what brought you to New York Film Academy?

    Dishani Chakraborty (DC): I grew up in a small city in the south of India called Coimbatore. I lived there with my three older brothers and parents for about nine years until we moved to Mumbai. 

    Growing up in a household full of artists, I knew when I was really little that I wanted to be an actor. A normal day in my house consisted of my family talking about movies, both Hollywood and Bollywood. My siblings and I would watch at least one movie a day after school. I was so influenced by Western culture because of the number of movies and TV shows I watched and the music I listened to. 

    I knew that I wanted to go abroad to learn the craft of filmmaking and acting once I finished high school. And what better place to learn than Hollywood itself. That’s how New York Film Academy came in the picture. I did a short, 4-week Acting workshop back in 2016 at the Los Angeles campus and I absolutely fell in love with it. It was the best intensive course I had ever taken. I was blessed to have incredible teachers. So I decided to come back and do a 1-year Acting conservatory to gain more knowledge and experience before I started my journey in Bollywood.

    dishani chakrabortyNYFA: What attracted you to learning the craft of acting?

    DC: I think I was lucky because I had the access to learn the craft of acting from a very early age thanks to my father being an actor. I remember going on his film sets and being astonished by every little aspect. But for me, the thing that excites me the most about an actor’s job is that their learning process never ends. As an actor, you really never stop growing or learning. There’s so much you can prepare for, discover and explore. As actors, we’re lucky that we can choose to be versatile by doing one job.

    NYFA: What inspires you as an actor?

    DC: Growing up, I saw a lot of Natalie Portman’s work—I felt very much like her. Because I’m a petite person with a baby face and even though I’m over 18, I’ve looked 15 for quite a long time. Natalie Portman has been a big influence on me as an actor. Watching her versatility from doing something like Léon: The Professional to Star Wars to one of my favorite movies of her, Closer. I hope to get roles with that kind of range, whether I work in Bollywood or Hollywood.

    NYFA: Your family has a great deal of experience in the entertainment industry. How do you differentiate yourself from the work they’ve done?

    DC: I’m a firm believer in there’s no “recipe for success.” Everybody’s journey is completely different. I do feel blessed because I’ve learned a lot of things about “showbiz” from my family and it certainly gives me a boost, but my father has raised my brothers and me to be hard workers, and most of all to work our way to get things.dishani chakraborty

    And I think living in LA and working here has given me a great dose of experience and independence, and I think that will help me a lot when I start working in Bollywood. I want to achieve things through my talent and hard work.

    NYFA: What did you learn at NYFA that you find yourself using often?

    DC: My favorite class in NYFA was Technique & Scene Study. I can say hands down that my teacher, Mr. Dig Wayne was by far the most excellent teacher I’ve ever had. I was lucky enough to also have him when I did the 4-week program in 2016. When I started NYFA, I was very shy and self-conscious. He taught us the craft of method acting and I think his class helped me overcome so many of my inhibitions. 

    I still remember my first class with him and he made us do an exercise where we closed our eyes and he told us to hear our mothers calling our name. It was the biggest triggering point for me. And he told me to open my eyes and start my scene right then and there with those emotions. I felt so authentic and organic. His method was discovering as much information as possible for your character. Their backstory, their body language, even how you think they’d sound like. I think that’s been such an important take away for character build up.

    NYFA: What advice would you give to students just starting out at NYFA?

    DC: Like I mentioned before, as actors, we never really stop learning and growing. Take your time and learn. Take notes! I still to this date go back to my notebook for an audition or a shoot to read notes that I’d made while I was in school. 

    Don’t be afraid to be first in class to go up on stage. Being a shy kid, I always felt like my heart would sink into my stomach every time I thought of going first. But believe me when I say, it’s SUCH a confidence boost when you do. 

    dishani chakrabortyAnd for students starting out, I would recommend creating your own content as well. Write! I know it’s easier said than done and the first draft possibly will be trash and will suck. However, don’t be discouraged—the process of recognizing that will only make you better at it. 

    Lastly, try to be in front of the camera as much as possible. As actors, we’re born to critique ourselves. But the positive side on that is you’ll discover so much about yourself when you watch yourself. And HAVE FUN!! Because these are going to be the best days of your lives.


    New York Film Academy thanks Acting for Film alum Dishani Chakraborty for taking the time to thoughtfully answer our questions and share her experiences with the NYFA Community! 

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    June 19, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1088

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Acting for Film Alum Rita Casman’s ‘Shadow Wall’ Racking Up Awards & Festivals

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    Shadow Wall, the short film written, produced by, and starring New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Acting for Film alum Rita Casman, is currently riding a huge wave of momentum as it picks up multiple awards and festival screenings.

    Casman hails from Guatemala and earned her MFA in Acting for Film, after years of nursing ambitions to be an entertainer while working in marketing and public relations.Shadow Wall

    “I’ll be very honest, I thought that coming to LA was the hardest part, and the truth is that it was the easiest,” says Casman. “I left the struggle that I had in Guatemala and I went through a lot of rejection, and that was only the beginning. It did help me persevere, but in my mind, I thought that I would adapt to the American culture fast, which I did in a way, but it has impacted me so now I have learned not to expect anything good or bad. Being far away of my family is really challenging.”

    Casman, who is smart, outgoing, and a positive example for her friends and professional colleagues, worked through her struggles and now has a successful film under her belt. She loves comedies, horror films, and psychological thrillers, and these passions come through in her short, Shadow Wall.

    Shadow Wall is based on a true story and was directed by Ariana Ledesma. It co-stars Misha Suvorov and NYFA alum Sabrina Percario, who co-produced the film with writer and star Rita Casman.

    So far, Shadow Wall has been a semifinalist in Motion for Pictures and Los Angeles CineFest, and has won multiple awards, including Best Actress at Dreamachine International Film Festival, Best Narrative Short at the Pinnacle Film Awards, Best Music at the Independent Horror Movie Awards, and Best Shorts (English Language) at the Metro Film & TV Awards.

    Additionally, the film has been an Official Selection at numerous festivals: Indie Best Films Festival, Fiction & Narrative Short Films, The American Horrors Film Festival, Genre Celebration Festival, Diabolical Horror Film Festival, Independent Horror Movie Awards, Dunedin International Film Festival, Webisode Film Festival, and the Dreamachine International Film Festival. 

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA Acting for Film alum Rita Casman on the success of her film Shadow Wall and looks forward to seeing where her talents and winsome energy bring her next!

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    June 14, 2019 • Acting, Producing, Screenwriting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 608

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Welcomes Emmy-Winning Actor Matthew Rhys

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    On Thursday, May 30, New York Film Academy (NYFA) welcomed Emmy-winning actor Matthew Rhys to its New York City campus for a jovial, passionate, and insightful Q&A session with NYFA students. The event was moderated by Amy Van Horne, actress and Creative Director of Acting for Film at NYFA-New York.

    Rhys won the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his incredible work on FX series The Americans, a dramatic thriller about undercover Soviet spies living in the 1980s Virginia suburbs. He was previously nominated twice for the role, as well as a third time for his work on HBO’s Girls. Additionally, he received two Golden Globe nominations as well as a plethora of other awards and nominations for both his work on The Americans and other projects. 

    Matthew RhysThe Q&A discussion followed the screening of a reel produced by NYFA featuring Rhys’ well-known and applauded work in the stage play Look Back in Anger (with co-star and previous NYFA guest speaker Adam Driver); films The Edge of Love, Burnt, and Steven Spielberg’s The Post; and television shows Brothers and Sisters and the aforementioned The Americans.

    The actor was more than happy to take multiple questions from students, both in the theater audience and from our South Beach campus, where the event was livestreamed.

    Among other topics, Rhys discussed the grueling process of acting with an American accent (Rhys is native to Wales), and said that there are always two things that happen before he recites a line: first, he has to decide if the sound will come out right, and then he has to act the part as he speaks.

    The actor was also asked which was his favorite character to play, and he replied that The Americans’ Philip Jennings is definitely his favorite, given the complexity of the show and the intricacies of the character. When asked about how he prepares emotionally to get into character—since undercover spy Philip Jennings has so many false identities—Rhys said that he always tries to identify parts of the characters that he shares a truth with to lend a sense of authenticity to each part.

    Matthew Rhys

    When asked about his favorite director to work with, he said of course that it was the director of The Americans, but also elaborated on his experience working with Steven Spielberg on The Post. “It was like working with God,” Rhys told the audience, “and everyone in the room knew it.”

    Rhys has also directed several television episodes as well as a documentary short. When asked about his role as a director, he responded that a film set is a forest, and that everyone involved on set is a tree that thinks they’re the only one in that forest. He added that directing made him better at time management.

    One student asked for advice on auditioning. Rhys advised students not to try and show off in an effort to differentiate themselves. Now that he’s on the other side of the casting table as a producer on the new Perry Masonwhich he will also star in—he’s noted that in auditions that “those who serve the script more than they serve themselves” always stand out.

    “Turn up on time, know your lines, be bold, and great gods will come to your aid,” Rhys told the captivated audience.

    New York Film Academy thanks Golden Globe-nominated and Emmy-winning actor Matthew Rhys for taking the time to share his advice and experiences with our New York and South Beach students. 

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    June 4, 2019 • Acting, Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 438

  • South African New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alumni Meet Up at Inaugural Events

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    This May, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted inaugural South African NYFA alumni events in Johannesburg and Cape Town. This was a fantastic opportunity for NYFA’s South African alumni to connect and expand their network. South Africa Alumni Event

    Blake Babbitt, NYFA Associate Director of Outreach, has been traveling to South Africa for that past 7 years on behalf of the school, and was very delighted to see a true community of New York Film Academy artists coming together in their home country. 

    “There is a growing entertainment industry here in South Africa,” says Babbitt. “Ultimately we want our graduates to use the techniques and knowledge gained at NYFA to influence the industry not only in America, but in their home countries as well.”

    Babbitt continues, “The power of community is essential to the entertainment industry and to artistic success. I am very pleased to see a community of New York Film Academy artists forming here in South Africa, and I’m excited to see how this budding community will expand and impact the way South African stories are told. The sky is the limit for this group!” 

    During the event, NYFA alumni exchanged contact information, formed WhatsApp groups, and tagged each other in social media posts and stories. There was even discussion to form an official alumni chapter in South Africa. 

    Additionally, many alumni expressed their gratitude for the training they received at New York Film Academy, and for NYFA’s concern for them after they graduated. “Once you join us at New York Film Academy, you become a part of our family for life,” Babbitt told the alumni. “We don’t forget about you the second you graduate. Seeing you succeed is incredibly important to us.”

    “Blake and Maria were the most gracious hosts,” says BFA Filmmaking alum Zack Schofield-Nel. “The people that I was blessed to have networked with were incredible; I have built connections that will last for a long time to come. This could have only have happened because I was fortunate enough to attend the New York Film Academy.”

    He adds, “It is the most supercalifragilisticexpialidocious that I could have ever imagined!”

    Attendees included the following NYFA alumni:

    • Lunathi Mampofu (2-year Acting for Film): Trailblazing South African actress. Working on multiple TV shows in South Africa.

    • Eden Classens (2-year Musical Theatre): Runner-up, Dancing with the Stars South Africa; Lead on Afrikaans series Suidooster; recently cast in Netflix’s Kissing Booth 2.

    • Rethabile Ramaphakela (8-week Screenwriting): South African production company co-owner and voiceover artist best known as the voice of the Vuzu shows V-Entertainment and 10 Over 10. Co-owner of the production company Burnt Onion Productions with her brothers Tshepo and Katleho, who created and produced the SABC1 sitcom My Perfect Family and the Vuzu mockumentary Check-Coast. Produced and created a show that is currently available on Amazon Prime. Directing her first feature film in June.

    • Zandi Zim (MFA Acting for Film): Formed her own production company. South African actress that has performed at The Grahamstown National Arts Festival and Cape Town Fringe Festival. Stage actor since the age of eight and has studied Meisner and Alexander Technique. Zandi also sings, plays jazz piano and marimbas, and speaks English and conversational Sesotho.

    • Jacqueline Rainers Setai (8-week Screenwriting, continuing into 1-year Screenwriting): Head of Mojalove Channel on DSTV; well-known and established South African writer, producer, documentarian, broadcaster.

    • Petrone van der Merwe (8-week Acting for Film): Currently in two stage productions for the ADK (Academy of Dramatic Arts)’s 80th birthday celebrations that will premiere at the UJ Artscape Theater in Johannesburg and will also be performed in Stellenbosch at the Drostdy Theater. Signed with the talent agency, Gaenor Artiste Management.

    • Audrey Mokono (1-year Acting for Film, continuing into BFA Acting for Film): Recent graduate of NYFA’s 1-year Acting for Film program and will continue her studies in NYFA’s BFA Acting for Film program.

    • Anlezia Venter (BFA Acting for Film): Opened her own fitness studio in Cape Town.

    • Zackary Nel (BFA Filmmaking): Currently finishing his BFA thesis film in Cape Town, and has hired his own local crew.

    • Paul Fulton (8-week Screenwriting): Copywriter for ad agency. Has two feature-length scripts he is working on getting sold.

    • Keyuri Naidoo (6-week Acting for Film): From Johannesburg; known for her role as Karishma in Droomdag (2017) directed by Willie Esterhuizen. During her time at NYFA-Los Angeles, Keyuri directed and acted in numerous student short films.

    • Thuto Marrengula (1-year Acting for Film): Thuto Marrengula is an actor, known for Non American Dreamers (2018) and Ask Questions Later (2016); currently developing an hour-long stand up routine.

    • Nyeleti Khoza (AFA Acting for Film):  South African actor known for The Coroner: I Speak for the Dead (2016), Black Tea (2017), and Remember Me (2017). Recently cast in Giyani – Land of Blood, a new highly-viewed telenovela on SABC2

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Welcomes Academy Award-winning Actor Sir Ben Kingsley

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted a Q&A with Academy Award-winning actor Sir Ben Kingsley last Thursday, May 23, following a screening of the first episode of the new Epix series, Perpetual Grace, LTD. The event was moderated by NYFA admissions specialist Chris Devane.

    Sir Ben Kingsley
    Kingsley began his career by studying theatre in Manchester, England and eventually acted professionally in the West End in London and then on Broadway in New York. After establishing himself on the stage, Kingsley began working as an actor in television and film in Hollywood, quickly drawing acclaim for his work. In 1983, he won the Academy Award for Lead Actor for his work in Gandhi.

    Other notable film roles include Schindler’s List, House of Sand and Fog, Hugo, Iron Man 3, Ender’s Game, Night at the Museum, and The Jungle Book. In 2002, Kingsley was named a Knight Bachelor by Queen Elizabeth II for his contributions to the British film industry.

    Sir Ben Kingsley

    Moderator Chris Devane began the Q&A by asking what inspired Kingsley to become a professional actor. “My absolute desire was to be seen and heard,” answered Kingsley, adding, “impersonation gave a great comfort in that I could—for a fleeting moment—acquire an identity and a voice … and entertain and connect with people.”

    “Eventually,” he continued, “it was clear to me that I could, in fact, turn what one could call … an urge … into a craft … Without the urge to connect, one isn’t really an artist.”

    One student in the audience asked what Kingsley has learned from his many years as an actor. “When one was younger, one did an awful lot of acting and, as one matures in the craft, paradoxically, you do less and less and less and less acting … and, hopefully, you embark on a process of being.”

    Sir Ben Kingsley

    Kingsley was asked by another student how he is able to switch from one role to the next so quickly. Kingsley replied that when he was acting with the Royal Shakespeare Company, he was playing multiple roles each week. He elaborated, “As a matter of survival, you [learn], you [have] to get off that horse and get on another one and you know the horses are very different; it simply is practice, but, unless you have that muscle that’s practiced in you that can switch from one role to another, it’s going to be very difficult.”

    Kingsley added, “I have learned, onstage, through my work in the great rehearsal room … after each take … I let go … I’m constantly letting go … I do not stay in character between takes and I do not stay in character when I go home.”

    Sir Ben Kingsley

    New York Film Academy thanks Sir Ben Kingsley for sharing his insights about the art and craft of acting as well as anecdotes from his renowned and prolific career in film, theatre, and television.

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    May 29, 2019 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 692

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Showcases ‘New Faces of Hollywood’

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    On April 18, the New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Acting for Film department proudly presented their annual Alumni Industry Showcase – New Faces of Hollywood.

    The event was held at the Burbank-based NYFA Theater. This year’s showcase, directed by Anne Moore, Associate Chair of Acting, was it’s most successful to date. The performances showcased NYFA acting school alumni in live scenes and short films written by them and directed by full time faculty, Michael McCartney.

    “We had an incredibly talented group of alumni this year,” says Lynda Goodfriend, NYFA-LA Chair of Acting for Film.

    Alumni Showcase New Faces of Hollywood 2019

    “I couldn’t be more proud, and can’t wait to see where their careers take them,” adds New Faces of Hollywood director Anne Moore. “We already had alumni meet with top casting directors and had four alumni sign with representation.” 

    Some of the industry in attendance this year were casting directors from ABC, CBS, WB, Rapaport/Baldasare, Dea Vise, and Lisa London; talent agencies from Don Buchwald, Mavrick, Aperture, Black Apple Talent, and Daniel Hoff; and managers from Prestige, Evergreen, Marv Dauer, and The Beddingfield Company.

    Here’s what some of the alumni had to say about their experiences in New Faces of Hollywood:

    “The showcase was an absolute blessing and such an amazing experience! From the rehearsal process to the making of the film, I felt like I was put in the best position to grow as an actor and succeed on the night of the show. Having a room full of agents and managers is a priceless opportunity. To showcase my talents in front of industry personnel and establish those networking relationships was absolutely incredible. I encourage all alumni to participate in the future.”
    —Josh Brooks, BFA

    “The alumni showcase is such a rare and extraordinary opportunity. I highly recommend all alumni students audition for this group, because it truly does open doors and get your face out there. To be able to perform in front of all those industry individuals is such a blessing.”
    —Ky Snider, BFA

    “This was an eye-opening experience for me. The amount of time and work that go into creating a single moment that can be seen by all is incredible. It can take months or years to build up to a performance like this one, but people only end up seeing the final product.”
    —Maeve Thompson Osgood, BFA

    “An unforgettable experience that further pushed to break down my internal walls as an actor, while simultaneously granting amazing opportunities for my work to be seen.”
    —Ryan Harrington, BFA

    “The alumni showcase was a great chance to work with some of NYFA’s best. I was so lucky to work with Ky Snider as my scene partner. I always admired her work in the student-directed plays at NYFA, but never had a chance to work with her until the alumni showcase. This year we also had loads of fun writing and starring in our own little films, which are not only original but also great footage for our reels! The showcase generated some leads with agents, managers, and industry for me, making it a good springboard for my post-college career.”
    —Miskar Chomse, MFA

    “An unforgettable opportunity filled with growth, wisdom, and laughter that ignites a path towards success.”
    —Elisa Nanty, BFA

    This showcase represented the very best from the New York Film Academy AFA, BFA, and MFA programs who graduated from January 2018 through January 2019. You can check out their headshots, resumes and demo reels, please click here.

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    May 18, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 749

  • ‘Birdy’ Screening and Q&A with Actor and New York Film Academy (NYFA) Board Member Matthew Modine

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    On Monday, May 6, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted a screening of Birdy (1984), starring Nicolas Cage and Matthew Modine, followed by a Q&A with actor, director, and NYFA board member, Matthew Modine, moderated by NYFA Screenwriting instructor, Eric Conner.

    Matthew Modine Birdy

    Modine studied with Stella Adler at her Conservatory of Acting in New York City. While still a student of hers, he was cast in lead roles in film and later theatre and television. Modine has acted in a number of films including Vision Quest (1985), Full Metal Jacket (1987) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and he has worked with a number of critically-acclaimed directors including Robert Altman, Stanley Kubrick, Spike Lee, Christopher Nolan, and Oliver Stone. He has been nominated for Golden Globes, Emmy Awards, and Independent Spirit Awards. Modine is currently running for president of SAG-AFTRA.

    The NYFA Theater was packed with NYFA students, including veteran-students enrolled in various programs at NYFA. Many military servicemembers have a special fondness for the famed actor because of his numerous portrayals of the life of a soldier–including his standout roles in Birdy, Full Metal Jacket, and Memphis Belle.

    Birdy is a 1984 Vietnam War drama that follows the story of two teenage friends, Birdy (Modine) and Al (Nicolas Cage) who served in the Vietnam War and are forced to cope with the post-traumatic stress disorder from their experiences in combat. Birdy appears to completely lose touch with all reality, and Al struggles to help his friend regain his connection with the existent world. Modine gives a tremendous performance as the young, traumatized Vietnam veteran.

    Matthew Modine Birdy
    Mike Kunselman, a veteran and member of the NYFA DVS staff, expressed,  “As a veteran, and an actor myself, I was very interested in Mr. Modine’s emphasis on the importance of being proactive with one’s own career.” Kunselman continued, “I also was intrigued by his portrayal of a Vietnam War US combat serviceman, and his ability to own the sympathetic character of Birdy.”

    Conner opened the Q&A by asking Modine what he’s learned from his prolific career as an actor in Hollywood. Modine replied, “The only moment that an actor can completely control is between ‘action’ and ‘cut’… that’s your moment… Everything else is out of your control. The editing. The distribution. It’s all out of your control. I worked just as hard on the successful films I’ve made as I did on the films that weren’t successful—what’s the lesson? Simple, always do your very best … work really hard and be present and, if you’re lucky, it all comes together.”

    Modine shared a piece of advice for the producers and directors in the audience, “When you’re putting your crew together, that’s just like casting the movie with your actors; you want to cast your crew and your actors that you know and trust.”

    Matthew Modine Birdy

    One of the students in the audience asked Modine for advice for actors just starting out in the business. Modine said that actors should trust themselves and their instincts: “If you’re waiting to be directed, you’ve lost, you have to be self-prepared and have made choices about your character. Your choices are your talent!” he emphasized. 

    “Mr. Modine was very informative with the information that he shared,” said Jonathan Garza, a Navy Veteran and BFA Producing alum. His stories from being on set were very entertaining. Even as an alumnus of the Producing program, I can take the information that he shared and apply it to my craft.”

    Modine also shared that he believes the auditioning process to be very important as an actor and that, when actors are feeling discouraged, they should remember that, “Every no is a step closer to a yes.”

    New York Film Academy and the NYFA Division of Veteran Services would like to thank Matthew Modine for sharing his advice for actors and directors as well as anecdotes from his experiences in the entertainment industry.

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    May 10, 2019 • Acting, Faculty Highlights, Guest Speakers • Views: 1062