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  • Tony Winner Jeff Marx Visits New York Film Academy

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    Jeff Marx

    Avenue Q’s Jeff Marx

    Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist Jeff Marx visited the New York Film Academy at our New York City Theatre in late February, much to the delight of our Musical Theatre students.

    Marx is best known for Avenue Q, the innovative musical starring both human and puppet characters that instantly earned critical acclaim and won over audiences across the country. It went on to win three Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It is currently running Off-Broadway and has toured the country and been produced in both the West End and Las Vegas.

    Before writing Avenue Q, Marx passed the New York State Bar exam, planning to be a lawyer. He met partner Robert Lopez shortly after at the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop, writing a spec Muppet film as a pre-cursor to their collaboration on Avenue Q. Since winning his Tony, Marx has gone on to write for the musical episode of NBC’s Scrubs, as well as songs for Bear in the Big Blue House and The Book of Pooh. He also co-wrote the theme song for Logo TV’s Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World.

    Speaking with the students of NYFA’s Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre, Marx highlighted his indirect path to Broadway stardom, mentioning that he didn’t even start writing until he was 28 years old. “The greatest thing that I can wish for you,” Marx told the audience of aspiring Broadway stars, “is hunger.” He also shared anecdotes about the making of Avenue Q.

    Jeff Marx visits NYFA

    Highlights from the @newyorkfilmacademy Instagram story featuring Jeff Marx’s visit to NYFA #PCMT

    In addition to inspiring students with his story, he also brought a special and well-received guest — puppet and star of Avenue Q, Nicky. Avenue Q’s cast of puppet characters included both rod puppets and live-hands, the latter of which are often operated simultaneously by two puppeteers. Nicky is a live-hands puppet, and students were delighted to see him in action on stage with Marx.

    Nicky wasn’t all Marx brought with him on his visit to NYFA. In addition to Nicky, he brought along his Tony Award, Broadway’s highest honor. Musical Theatre students were thrilled when Marx allowed them to hold it and pass it around — an inspiring moment for those learning at NYFA and hoping to win one of their own in the not-too-distant future.

    By the time the students had to say goodbye to Marx and Nicky, they had learned and laughed, and were extremely grateful for the generous time, energy, and inspiring words Marx brought with him to the New York Film Academy.

    Interested in joining the magical and puppet-filled world of musical theatre? Check out the programs of New York Film Academy’s Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre.

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    March 2, 2018 • Guest Speakers, Musical Theatre • Views: 1408

  • Hollywood Talent Manager Brian Medavoy Holds Q&A at Los Angeles Campus

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    The New York Film Academy was excited to welcome Talent Manager, Producer, and Emmy Award winner Brian Medavoy to the Los Angeles campus whose TV productions include Darma and Greg, American High, and Just Shoot Me. He’s also helped craft the early careers of Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Jason Bateman, Jenna Elfman, Craig Sheffer, David Schwimmer, and Toby Maguire. The evening’s conversation was hosted by Director of Guest Lecture Series, Tova Laiter.

    Hollywood born and raised, Brian grew up with a unique understanding of the movie business. His father, Mike Medavoy was a manager to big talents like Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola before Co-Founding Orion Pictures. But while that connection helped Brian to get into the mailroom at a talent agency, he had to build his own career through strategic, hard work. After working for legendary agent Ed Limato at ICM, Medavoy moved on to work as Erwin More’s assistant. Shortly after, at his young age of 23, he and More formed More/Medavoy Mgmt and went on to produce nine pilots.

    At the time, Talent Management was mostly for rock stars. In 1998, there were very few managers. “I spent most of my time explaining to people what a manager does,” Medavoy said. His first client was Craig Sheffer. Hoping to help him land his first big role, Medavoy had to use his connections and some unconventional tactics.

    Robert Redford was casting A River Runs Through It, and River Phoenix was supposed to play Brad Pitt’s brother in the film. “I called Redford during casting,” Medavoy began. Redford told him the protocol is to call the casting director but not wanting to wait, Medavoy drove a tape of his actor’s recent performance and brought it to Redford. After watching the tape, Redford decided to hire Sheffer for the role.

    Upon learning that Medavoy had at one time wanted to be an actor, Laiter asked, “If you were an actor today what advice would you give to yourself to make it in the business? How would you distinguish yourself from the crowd?”

    “If you’re not singing on the way to the audition,” Medavoy began, “you should turn around.” In other words, he encouraged actors not to think about trying to get the part but to focus on bringing a character to life. “Enjoy every aspect of the audition.”

    This idea of focusing on what is happening in the moment radiated throughout Medavoy’s discussion. Helping others is a key component to success. Jealousy, he warned, can lead to destruction. “In life,” Medavoy suggested, “if you know what you’re great at and you use it to help people, that’s when you reap the benefits spiritually and financially.”

    He offered additional advice about supporting your peers, “When you watch the award shows, and you see a peer of yours winning an award, the minute you’re looking at the TV and think ‘that should be me’ is the minute it won’t be you. You’ll know you’re succeeding when you want to hug that person.” Medavoy admitted the advice sounds strange but “You get when you give.”

    Medavoy believes that a big part of a person’s success comes from having a passion for what you’re doing. This belief was nurtured from a young age: as a child, his mother sent him to musical theatre productions, and during performances, he would look out at the audience and see the joy on their faces. This experience instilled the desire to be an actor and evoke that same joy in audiences. However, after performing on stage he realized he was better suited to working with actors as their manager. “I was able to find unique talented individuals,” he said. “You can see it their eyes. I always say I build stars from stars.”

    One student, who is currently working his way through comedy festivals, asked who he should choose if he gets offers for management. “The key is to understand the landscape of the business.” With an abundance of information readily available, he suggested that actors do their research before making a selection. Before meeting with potential clients or business partners, Medavoy often uses social media to create a picture of that person. “It’s much harder for people to hide who they are now,” Medavoy said.

    One insider tip Medavoy gave students was to look for different strengths in their manager and agent. “You usually want one (of the two) first. Discover their strengths. Then find one with strengths in a different area.”

    To demonstrate this, Brian asked another student a series a of questions to help reveal the student’s strengths a uniqueness. Brian then told him to “own it” to which NYFA students applauded appreciatively.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Brian Medavoy for taking the time to speak with our students. His (motivational) blog is www.brianmedavoy.com.

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    March 2, 2018 • Acting, Film School, Guest Speakers • Views: 3427

  • Art LaFleur is Guest Speaker at New York Film Academy Los Angeles

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) was thrilled to have actor Art LaFleur at the Los Angeles campus on Jan. 18, 2018, as a part of the Guest Speaker Series. LaFleur took part in a Q & A following a screening of “The Sandlot.” Cinematography Chair Tony Richmond, who was the cinematographer on the movie, was also in attendance. NYFA Senior Instructor Eric Conner hosted the evening.

    LaFleur is known as a prolific character actor whose career has spanned over 40 years. He’s shared the screen with Hollywood heavyweights like Sylvester Stallone and Kevin Costner, and played American heroes like Babe Ruth as well less heroic characters like Chick Gandil (first baseman for the infamous 1919 Chicago Whitesox).

    When asked about his career and his first major role, LaFleur credited his face — literally — with helping him get a start in the industry. At the time of his first role as Ivan in the made for TV movie “Rescue from Gilligan’s Island,” LaFleur had been taking acting classes for a couple of years but says there was no trick or tip that helped him land the role. He simply had the right look: “There were people in my acting class who were really good. They were wonderful, but they wouldn’t get arrested, whereas I have this mug. I don’t know. I just have this face.”

    One of LaFleur’s most memorable roles is his portrayal of Babe Ruth in the modern classic, “The Sandlot.” To prepare for his audition he studied The Babe’s life and mannerisms by reading autobiographies and watching interviews. Most importantly, he studied old tapes of Babe Ruth playing baseball and practicing Ruth’s mannerisms. He took note of how the legend stood with a bat in his hands and how he would walk to first base. The research paid off when his portrayal won over the film’s casting director.

    It was during the filming of “The Sandlot” that LaFleur met NYFA Cinematography Chair Tony Richmond, who spoke fondly of their brief time on set together.

    “Occasionally, you get to meet incredible people like Art,” said Richmond. “Even though he was on set for only a brief time, his role gave the film credence.”

    LaFleur jumped in explaining, “I get recognized for this film more than any other. It’s the best one-day job I’ve ever had.”

    In speaking of “The Sandlot,” Richmond and LaFleur brought up an old film adage: “Never work with water, children, or animals.” Richmond explained that producers try to avoid these three elements because they can’t be controlled. “The Sandlot” featured all three. There were multiple children in the cast. Two large dogs were brought in to play the junkyard dog. There was the famous swimming pool scene, where Squints pretends to drown so he can get a kiss from Wendy Peppercorn.

    Richmond, a father himself, suggests filmmakers should simply talk to child actors as if they are adults. “Then,” says Richmond, “They’ll behave like adults.”

    One student asked, “What’s the most difficult part of working with children?” According to our guest, the most challenging aspect by far is the tighter shooting schedule. Due to child labor laws the children on “The Sandlot” could only work eight hours a day, and three of those hours had to be dedicated to their education. These regulations make scheduling challenging. It is particularly challenging when every scene has a child in it.

    Another student asked the veteran actor and cinematographer for any advice on how, as an international actor with an accent, he might be able to get ahead in the American film industry? Richmond and LaFleur agreed that success comes from collaboration and networking, which is why film schools like NYFA are the perfect place to meet future business partners and collaborators.

    Richmond said, “I love teaching at NYFA. When I was getting started, four cinematographers really helped me out. You can’t do it without help.”

    LaFleur ended the evening with some advice to the actors in the audience. “If you are lucky enough to be cast in a film or on a television series the most important thing is to be sharp. Be on your game with the dialogue and everything else. And if they don’t talk to you, you’re doing fine.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Tony Richmond and Art LaFleur for taking the time to speak with our students.

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    January 30, 2018 • Academic Programs, Acting, Film School, Guest Speakers • Views: 953

  • New York Film Academy Master Class With Lyle Kessler Wraps With Impressive Performances

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    NYFA Master Class with Lyle Kessler

    NYFA Master Class with Lyle Kessler

    This December, students from the New York Film Academy’s Acting for Film 2-Year Conservatory performed scenes written and directed by renowned actor/playwright Lyle Kessler. The performances were the culmination of an 8-Week Master Class taught by Kessler, who has been an icon in the world of theatre for several decades.

    Kessler studied acting under industry legend Lee Strasberg and has been a longtime member of the famed Actor’s Studio. Kessler had the opportunity to play Strasberg in the 2001 biopic “James Dean.”

    Kessler is best known as a playwright though, with numerous works that have helped shape the modern era of American theatre. For Peter Allen Stone, New York Film Academy’s Chair of Acting for Film, Kessler was a vital part of his education. “I used to dig through his plays in my college library looking for monologues and scenes many years ago,” remarked Stone, “so it was something special for me to get to know him and come full circle.”

    Scene from "The Display Man"

    Scene from “The Display Man”

    The best known work written by Kessler is “Orphans,” which first debuted in 1983 at Chicago’s world-renowned Steppenwolf Theatre and was originally directed by Gary Sinise. It was later adapted into a feature film starring Matthew Modine and Albert Finney, and has been performed on Broadway as recently as 2013 with Alec Baldwin and Ben Foster.

    After running the playwriting division of the Actor’s Studio in Los Angeles for many years, Kessler is still active and working with the Actor’s Studio in New York City. The NYFA students attending Kessler’s Master Class were able to visit the Actor’s Studio as part of their course. Student Elizabeth Hopland reflected that “going to the Actor’s Studio was a highlight of my acting career so far, thanks to Lyle.”

    The NYFA students who were privileged to work with Kessler started in Fall 2016, and began their 2nd Year training in the summer of 2017. Each session of the 8-week Master Class focused on a specific aspect of the craft, like the inner anger of a particular character. The acting students worked on scenes from new works written by Kessler, who directed and worked closely with them throughout the course.

    Scene from "Prisoner"

    Scene from “Prisoner”

    The scenes were two-person dialogues, with the acting students performing multiple roles and plays. One of Kessler’s new works included “Prisoner,” about a privileged woman tied up during a burglary, who poked and prodded her captor while trying to learn more about him. Other new works included “The Display Man” and “The Great Divide,” the latter concerning two brothers dealing with a woman claiming to be pregnant with the older brother’s child.

    The final session of the Master Class included performances of the scenes for a small audience, including New York Film Academy president Michael Young. The final scenes of the evening were from another of Kessler’s new works—“Temptation”—about inappropriate sexual behavior between a psychiatrist and his patient, a story and theme that is especially relevant in today’s current Hollywood climate.

    Kessler Directing "Prisoner"

    Kessler Directing “Prisoner”

    One of the performers, student Agnes Hedwall Schmidt, remarked “What I liked most about working with Lyle was the way he made the work a collaboration. We give him our view of the text and the character, he gives his, and together we create a scene that is so much fun to act in, and allows me to keep growing and learning as an actor.” Schmidt added, “I had so much fun working with Lyle!”

    The appreciation was mutual—the performances ended with Kessler thanking the students for their strong, courageous work, and the students overwhelmingly thanking Kessler for his invaluable training and direction. Of the students, Kessler said he was “very impressed by the work and talent of the group of actors at NYFA who acted in my plays. They kept growing in their roles. A real commitment.”

    The Acting for Film students couldn’t ask for a better compliment from an artist of Kessler’s stature. The New York Film Academy thanks Lyle Kessler for giving our students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study and learn from one of the theatre world’s greats.

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    December 22, 2017 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 2161

  • Next Generation of Indywood’s Storytellers Train at New York Film Academy

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    The New York Film Academy has attracted many aspiring artists with its intensive, hands-on approach to teaching the skills of filmmaking and the performing arts. It’s also caught of the eye of many established artists and celebrities, who then encourage their own friends and family to attend NYFA’s programs and workshops. 

It’s no surprise then that many of NYFA’s alumni have close relationships to famous personalities from Hollywood and Indywood alike. This next generation of performers and storytellers are quickly making a name for themselves in their own right, working hard and using the skills they acquired at the New York Film Academy. Here are just a few of our up-and-coming alumni from India:

    Imran Khan (nephew of Aamir Khan and Mansoor Khan; grandson of Nasir Hussain):

    Imran Khan


    Imran Khan took the 1-Year Acting Conservatory at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus in 2004 before winning a Filmfare Award for his debut in “Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na.” He has also starred in commercial hits “I Hate Luv Storys,” “Delhi Belly,” and “Mere Brother Ki Dulhan.” Imran’s uncle is Aamir Khan, one of India’s most popular award-winning artists, a wildly successful and talented actor, producer, director, singer, television talk show host, activist, and philanthropist. Imran is also the nephew of producer and director Mansoor Khan and grandson of director, producer, and legendary screenwriter Nasir Hussain.

     

    Krish J. Sathaar (son of Jayabharathi and Sathaar)

    Krish Sathaar


    Krish J. Sathaar studied in the 1-Year Acting Conservatory art NYFA’s New York campus before starting his career as an award-winning actor. After his 2011 graduation, Krish debuted in “Ladies and Gentlemen,” starring Mohanlal. He followed that up with “Malini 22 Palayamkottai” and “To Noora with Love,” and has also acted in the video game adaptation short “Halo: Helljumper.” Krish’s acting career with no surprise to his family–both his parents are stars in India. His father, Sathaar, has acted in nearly 300 films, including “Adiyozhukkukal,” “Sarapanjaram,” “Lava,” and “Samrajyam” Krish’s mother, Jayabharathi, has won two State Film Awards and a National Film Award, and has starred in many films, including “Rathinirvedam,” “Prathikaaram,” and “Madhavikutty.”

    



    Athiya Shetty (daughter of Sunil Shetty)

    Athiya Shetty

     

    Athiya enrolled in the 1-Year Acting Conservatory at NYFA’s New York campus in 2011. In addition to being featured in Indian editions of Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, and Verve, Athiya starred in the Bollywood romantic action film “Hero.” For her role she was nominated for a Filmfare Award and won the Dadasaheb Phalke Excellence Award. She also became the brand ambassador for Maybelline New York’s India franchise. Her father, Sunil Shetty, is a Bollywood action star who has acted in over 110 films, including “Balwaan,” “Dhadkan,” “Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat,” “Sapoot,” “Main Hoon Na,” and “Red Alert: The War Within.”

     

    Pannaga Bharana (son of T.S. Nagabharna)

    Pannaga Bharana

    Pannaga attended the 1-Year Filmmaking Conservatory at NYFA’s New York campus in 2008 and has directed two feature length films: 2017’s anthology drama “Happy New Year” and “Maduve Impossible,” an upcoming movie set for a 2018 release. Pannaga’s father is T.S. Nagabharana, a renounced director in the Kannada film industry and a pioneer in the Parallel Cinema movement. With both success in film and TV, he has received numerous accolades, including nine National and 14 State awards.

    Naga Chaitanya (son of Akkieni Nagarjuna)

    Naga Chaitanya

    Naga took an Acting For Film workshop at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus in 2007 and has since gone on to both commercial and critical success. His credits include “100% Love,” “Dhada,” “Bejawada,” Autonagar Surya,” and two of the most successful Bollywood films of 2016, “Premam” and “Sahasam Swasaga Sagipo.” His highest grossing film to date is the 2017 film “Rarandoi Veduka Chudham.” Naga’s father, Akkieni Nagarjuna, has starred in over 90 films including “Geetanjali” and “Shiva,” and has won nine state Nandi Awards, three Filmfare Awards South, and a National Film Award-Special Mention.

     

     

     

    Karan Raj Kanwar (son of Raj Kanwar)

    Karan Raj Kanwar

    Karan Raj Kanwar enrolled in both 1-Year Filmmaking and 1-Year Producing at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus and is now recognized as one of India’s youngest leading producers. He currently heads the production company Inderjit Films Combine. His father, Raj Kanwar, was a Bollywood filmmaker based in Mumbai who directed the hit film “Deewana,” as well as “Laadla,” “Jaan,” “Daag: The Fire,” and “Badal.”

     

     

    These are just six notable alumni from the New York Film Academy, part of a group that expands with every new program and workshop. Other alumni from India with illustrious family backgrounds whose careers are now coming into their own include:

    Tisha Mehra (niece of Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra)
    Aadar Jain (cousin of Ranbir Kapoor)
    Bilal Amrohi (grandson of Kamal Amrohi)
    Armaan Jain (grandson of Raj Kapoor)
    Umeshy Chakraborty (son of Mithun Chakraborty)
    Dishani Chakraborty (daughter of Mithun Chakraborty)
    Nara Rohit (cousin of Nara Lokesh)
    Suhana Khan (daughter of Shah Rukh Khan)
    Ananya Panday (daughter of Suyah “Chunky” Pandey)
    Aalia Furniturewalla (daughter of Pooja Bedi)
    Devansh Shukla (son of Umesh Shukla)

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    December 12, 2017 • Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2009

  • NYFA Gold Coast Advanced Diploma April ’17 Students Hold Graduation Showcase

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    The April ’17 Graduates with Acting Coordinator Louise Lee Mei

    On November 9th, the New York Film Academy Gold Coast campus held its Advanced April ’17 Actors End of Year Showcase and Graduation. Graduating students were joined by family and friends at Event Cinemas at Pacific Fair to celebrate their achievements and the body of work they accomplished throughout the year.

    New York Film Academy Australia delivers the nationally recognized Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media, with chosen coursework focused on the craft and business of acting for film. Students who enroll with the program commit a tremendous amount of time and effort, which paid off handsomely with a much-anticipated screening at the April ’17 graduation.

    Acting Coordinator, Louise Lee Mei, opened the event by welcoming guests and congratulating the four graduating students: Christopher Gillham, Esther Crane, Marc Johnson and Sherry Kawecki.

    “The Advanced April Actors are a group of very hard workers who we are extremely proud of,” said Mei. “We are excited to present these great actors to the industry.”

    The screening included Acting for Film scenes and the group’s pilot episode “Eternity”, concerning a jilted lover turning her hand to black magic and threatening the delicate balance between good and evil.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates our NYFA Gold Coast Advanced April ’17 Actors!

     

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    November 14, 2017 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1326

  • NYFA Florence Launches Semester Study Abroad Program

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    NYFA Study Abroad at Florence, Italy

    NYFA Study Abroad at Florence, Italy

    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) announced that NYFA’s Florence, Italy campus will, in September 2018, offer a semester ‘Study Abroad’ program in filmmaking and acting for film. This is a new opportunity for students—from anywhere in the world—to study in Florence for a 12-week semester. Traditionally, the NYFA Florence location has offered shorter term ‘workshops’ of 1-week, 4-week, 6-week, and 8-week with various starts from April to September. These workshops will continue to run.

    The semester program offers 13 U.S. college credits, which are issued by NYFA in partnership with Endicott College; students can also receive transcripts of credits that are regionally recognized. All program lengths offer accredited transcripts upon completion of the coursework.

    NYFA’s Florence programs have been running since 2003, and for most of that time they have been under the guidance of Diana Santi, Director of NYFA Italy, a highly regarded professional in the film industry.

    NYFA Study Abroad at Florence, Italy

    NYFA Study Abroad at Florence, Italy

    “We are very excited to launch the first ever semester program in Florence,” stated Ms. Santi. “While the program dates of September to December fit the study abroad model for American students who are enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities, we expect to have many international students join the program as is the case with our workshops”. She continued, “No one can dispute that Florence, and Tuscany, is the perfect place to make movies and enjoy a unique cultural experience.”

    NYFA Florence is in the heart of the historic center of Florence and directly across from Cappelle Medicee and steps away from the Duomo. Instead of occupying class time in a typical classroom, students will utilize Florence as their classroom, filming and acting within the city itself. As one of NYFA’s core values is Learning by Doing, all of NYFA’s programs are hands-on and intensive. From the first day of the program, students will have their hands on the equipment or be acting in front of the camera.

    “Going to NYFA was one of the best decisions of my life,” expressed a recent filmmaking student from Bulgaria. “The education is very practical and hands on, the tutors are very qualified and helpful, I made friends for life here and I would totally recommend the experience to everyone. I definitely feel more confident in trying to put my ideas on the screen then before, and it’s all thanks to these amazing people.”

    For more information about studying abroad in Florence, Italy, please contact:
    Hannah Gilliland
    studyabroad@nyfa.edu
    212-674-4300

    NYFA Study Abroad at Florence, Italy

    NYFA Study Abroad at Florence, Italy

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    October 20, 2017 • Study Abroad • Views: 1265

  • NYFA Gold Coast Acting Showcase Enchants the Crowd

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    New York Film Academy Gold Coast held their July 2017 Acting for Filmmaking Mid Year Performance Showcase on September 6, a successful night of performance and laughs.

    "All in the Timing" performance by NYFA Gold Coast July 2017 Acting for Film

    “All in the Timing” performance by NYFA Gold Coast July 2017 Acting for Film

    Directed by Acting Lecturer Veronica Neave, students presented excerpts from the play “All In The Timing” by David Ives. Of the performance, Neave stated, “the world according to David Ives is a very odd place. It is enchanting, perplexing, incessantly intelligent and side-splitting funny.”

    "All in the Timing" performance by NYFA Gold Coast July 2017 Acting for Film

    New York Film Academy Australia strives to provide our acting students with engaging material that inspires them to take chances and stretches their talents to better strengthen them.

    "All in the Timing" performance by NYFA Gold Coast July 2017 Acting for Film

    Neave continued, “The July Actors have risen valiantly to this challenge and have give an outstanding performance.” New York Film Academy congratulates the July 2017 AFF students and looks forward to their next showcase!

    "All in the Timing" performance by NYFA Gold Coast July 2017 Acting for Film

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    October 17, 2017 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1047

  • NYFA Gold Coast May ’17 Actors Shine in Mid-Year Performance

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    This August, New York Film Academy Gold Coast Campus held the May 2017 Acting for Film mid-year performance showcase.

    As a part of the New York Film Academy Australia’s commitment to hands-on learning, the mid-year performance showcase allows students to put what they have learned throughout the semester into practice and gain real-world experience performing curated material for an invited audience.

    Directed by Acting Lecturer Veronica Neave, acting for film students performed scenes from “Oedipus Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” by award-winning playwright Daniel Evans, in the Creative Space at the purpose-built Southport campus of the New York Film Academy Gold Coast. The play re-imagines Sophocles’ infamous tragedy in modern Australia, in a darkly comic tale of modern community.

    “I chose this particular script for this group because they are all really adventurous,” said acting instructor Veronica Neave.

    Senior Acting Lecturer Adam Couper stated, “It’s always exciting to see young actors take that step from the classroom to the stage, when all the practice becomes real and for a magical night we get a glimpse of the actors they’ll become.”

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  • NYFA Acting for Film Alumna Samantha Hamadeh Hosts Comedy Central Arabia’s “Ridiculousness Arabia”

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    In 2010 Samantha Hamadeh graduated from the One Year Acting Program at New York Film Academy. Her 3.9 GPA should have tipped everyone off that she was headed toward great things. In just a few years Hamadeh was on Comedy Central co-hosting one of their most popular shows. Hamadeh sat down with NYFA Correspondent Joelle Smith, to talk about where it all began and how NYFA helped her to get where she is now.

    NYFA: When did you fall in love with acting?

    Hamadeh: I was in 1st or 2nd grade. My friend and I used to hand out little notes to people in the class to come watch our plays on the playground. There was a tree ring made of cement. That was our stage.

    NYFA: What were some challenges you faced in your craft before coming to NYFA?

    Hamadeh: Although I’m a firm believer that people are born with a talent, I still thought that there was so much that I needed to learn about myself in order to be able to understand and portray different characters. Also, I took 3 years off from the theater because I was getting a degree at university. I was nervous about getting back into the world of acting.

    NYFA: How did NYFA help you move through these challenges?

    Hamadeh: I had some of the best teachers and mentors. From Kelly Hughes to Caitlin Muelder, Scott Ferrara, Valorie Hubbard, and Anthony Montes – they were all so supportive and truly believed in me. In class, I was able to work on my technique while also developing new skills.

    NYFA: What is your best memory from NYFA?

    Hamadeh: My dream of going to film school came true! The entire experience was life changing. I also got to meet some of the most amazing and talented students who I look up to, especially Eliza Delacourt and Maria Carvalho, who are now family to me. Some of the best years of my life were in Los Angeles, both on and off campus.

    NYFA: Tell us about your show, “Ridiculousness Arabia.”

    Hamadeh: Ridiculousness is an American comedy clip show, which presents viral videos. Comedy Central Arabia got the rights and I got to co-host the Arabic version – “Ridiculousness Arabia.”

    Samantha Hamadeh | NYFA Alumni Spotlight

    NYFA: How did you become involved with the project?

    Hamadeh: I work in marketing and was at a meeting with Comedy Central because they were looking to film their stand up comedy show at my brother’s venue, Stereo Arcade in Dubai. The CC team mentioned they were also working on Ridiculousness and I got excited because I love the US version. The producer asked if I was interested in co-hosting. Obviously, I said yes.

    NYFA: What was your goal with the project?

    Hamadeh: It was pure improv so we didn’t have much time to rehearse and we filmed two to three episodes a day over five to six days. My goal was to stay focused and enjoy filming every episode. There’s no character work. What you see on tv is who I am in person.

    NYFA: What’s been the most rewarding part of being involved with “Ridiculousness Arabia?”

    Hamadeh: Being part of a production like this was a dream come true! And I enjoyed every single minute of it because I got to work with really talented guys; Mohanad, the host and Khaled, the co-host.

    NYFA: What advice do you have for an aspiring host?

    Hamadeh: You’re going to hear a lot of no’s before you get a yes. It’s hard to be patient, I know, but when the right opportunity comes along you’re going to be happy that you were.

    NYFA: Where and when can people watch your show? 

    Hamadeh: Every Sunday night on Comedy Central Arabia.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Samantha Hamadeh for taking the time to speak with us.

     

     

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    August 18, 2017 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1461