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  • NYFA Australia Welcomes U.S. Embassy Officials on the Village Roadshow Studio Campus

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    Last week, New York Film Academy Australia (“NYFA Australia”) had the pleasure of welcoming U.S. Embassy officials Chargé d’Affaires Michael Goldman and Consul General Sharon Hudson-Dean to the NYFA Australia Production Studios Campus as part of their tour of the world-renowned Village Roadshow Studios backlot and various film industry divisions of Queensland.

    With Queensland being one of the film industry’s largest hubs for film production in Australia, this visit (which also included a stop by Pananvision and Myriad Film Studios who are also located on the backlot) was an opportunity for the U.S. officials to experience first hand the facilities, resources and talent the Gold Coast has to offer to international productions. The Screen Queensland initiative to encourage international film production to the state of QLD, has had the support of the federal and local governments for some time. Mid-2020, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morisson announced a Federal Government $400 million incentive to attract film and television productions to Australia, in addition to the existing incentives for both domestic and international productions offered by Screen Queensland and the City of Gold Coast. “Screen Queensland and the City of Gold Coast also have an incentive, which is the only council (Gold Coast) in the whole of Australia that actually has one for the film industry,” explains Lynne Benzie, President of Village Roadshow Studio.

    During their time on campus, Mr. Goldman and Ms. Hudson-Dean had a chance to see NYFA Australia students, the future talent of the film industry, on-set and in action. They also spent some time learning about NYFA Australia alum Leroy Button’s experience as a student and his successful transition into the film industry.

    Leroy graduated with a Diploma of Screen and Media in Filmmaking in 2017 and immediately landed a job at Panavision. He now works as a camera operator, 1st AC, and editor at XM2 Pursuit which has led him to working behind the scenes and as a drone camera operator on films such as Aquaman, Dora: The Lost City of Gold and more recently Fast & Furious 9, season 3 of Westworld, as well as Mission: Impossible 7.

    The industry readiness has been proven by the City of Gold Coast and Village Roadshow Studios, both being headquarters to global blockbuster productions including Aquaman, Thor: Ragnarok, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Kong: Skull Island, and Baz Luhrman’s upcoming Elvis biopic. Additionally, all of these blockbuster film productions employed various NYFA Australia students, alumni and faculty.

    “It was an honor to have Chargé d’Affaires Michael Goldman and Consul General Sharon Hudson-Dean visit NYFA Australia and our production studio campus at Village Roadshow Studios,” says NYFA Australia CEO, Elle Bailey. “The Australian Film Industry has a vibrant future with many domestic and international productions slated for the next several years. We’re thrilled to be able to offer our students the hands-on training and industry exposure needed, to support their desired transition into the industry following graduation. Leroy Button’s professional journey is a prime example of what can be achieved when you pair skills learned, with talent and perseverance.”

    NYFA Australia students learn by doing in a real-world training environment, learning from working industry professionals and accessing state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. If you are interested in becoming a NYFA Australia student, please visit: NYFA.edu.au and complete an inquiry form here.

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    March 31, 2021 • Film School, NYFA Australia • Views: 615

  • An Unscripted Romance Between NYFA Alumni Camille Lindelien and Niels Lindelien

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    Camille Lindelien and her husband Niels Lindelien met during the Summer of 2005 at NYFA’s Los Angeles Summer Camp Program. Niels was studying Filmmaking and directing while Camille was in the Acting for Film program. 

    I spotted Niels on a balcony staring at Cahuenga Peak and felt like there was something that set him apart from the other students who were all trying hard to fit in with the L.A. ‘scene,’ shared Camille. “He was calm, casual, and in love with the mountains as much as I was.”  

    NYFA alumni Camille Lindelien and Niels Lindelien

    After multiple encounters and helping each other study for their classes at NYFA together, the two became inseparable after that, spending our time helping each other study for our NYFA classes. “We had our first kiss on Dockweiler beach, at the NYFA end of program bonfire.  When it came time to leave camp, we thought we would never see each other again because he lived in Costa Rica, and I lived in New Jersey. Our only hope was that we might be reunited in LA again because of the passion for our crafts.”

    Both Camille and Niels ended up talking on the phone every night for five hours and dating long-distance for 2.5 years. “He even helped me complete my Acting Senior thesis by coaching me across the miles in how to use Final Cut Pro, utilizing the skills we learned at NYFA!  By the time he joined me at Chapman University, we had only seen each other in person for 23 days.  We worked on film sets together in college, just like during our last week at NYFA, and then graduated and went on to work together on professional sets in LA.”

    “Even though it seems like everything went to plan for us on paper, if there was any advice that we would give to current students it’s that life doesn’t go as planned, and fighting against the flow only causes pain. Niels needed to combine both his technical and creative brain, which led him to Steadicam and Cinematography and his current career success and fulfillment.,” shared Camille. “I pursued acting and reached so many of my goals, but after I was hit by an SUV while cycling, I spent my years of recovery re-learning to walk and creating a new business in content creation for brands. I’m happier now working for myself and taking on acting and modeling projects for clients that I choose and projects that support my greater aspirations of environmental stewardship, equality, and human kindness.”

    NYFA alum Niels Lindelien

    Niels is a Cinematographer and Camera Operator specializing in Steadicam, Trinity, underwater, and drone operating. He works on shows for Netflix, Hulu, HBO, as well as feature films, commercials and music videos, such as the 2020 VMA nominated The Weeknd video “Blinding Lights.”  He was recently nominated as Best Cinematographer at the 2020 Youtube Streamy Awards for his work on Lindsey Stirling’s music videos. 

    NYFA alum Camille Lindelien

    Camille is an actress and member of SAGAFTRA, whose career spans television, feature films commercials, and music videos. In 2016 Camille married Niels on the beach where he grew up in Costa Rica, and they went on a honeymoon around the world which helped launch their travel-centric production company Couple a Wanderers Creative. Camille is the Founder and Creative Director at Couple a Wanderers Creative, which focuses on creating content for travel and adventure brands as well as tourism boards. Their production company gives Camille and Niels the opportunity to travel and work together. Camille has created content and run campaigns for Jet Blue, United Airlines, Visit Big Bear, and Cambria Tourism Board, to name a few.  

    You can follow their adventures on Instagram and check out their recently launched brand page @CoupleaWanderersCreative or view their portfolio of brand photography and videography on their website.

    NYFA thanks alumni Camille Lindelien and Niels Lindelien for sharing their unique story about NYFA bringing them together and looks forward to see what these two creatives will get up to next in their careers.

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    February 11, 2021 • Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1021

  • NYFA Alum Lana Condor Stars in “To All The Boys: Forever and Always” on Netflix

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Lana Condor returns as Lara Jean Covey in Netflix’s original film To All The Boys: Always and Forever. The film is the third and final installment in the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series adapted from the novel series of the same name from Jenny Han.

    Lana Condor and Madeleine Arthur and in “To All the Boys: Always and Forever” (Netflix)

    After attending Acting for Film at NYFA’s camps, Condor graduated high school and had her film debut as the popular mutant Jubilee in the summer blockbuster X-Men: Apocalypse. Immediately following, Condor appeared in the Mark Wahlberg thriller Patriots Day, co-starring alongside fellow NYFA alum Themo Melikidze. Condor has also appeared in Alita: Battle Angel, the TV series Deadly Class, and the coming-of-age film Summer Night.

    To All The Boys: Always and Forever will have fans seeing beloved character Lara Jean (Condor) faced with the difficult decision of what to do after she graduates high school and whether her future includes long-term boyfriend Peter, played by Netflix favorite Noah Centineo (The Perfect Date, Sierra Burgess is a Loser). From the film series beginning with 16-year old Lara Jean having her secret love letters go public to all of her crushes, to the unexpected twists along the way leading up to the third film, fans will have to say goodbye to Condor’s character as she closes her high school chapter.

    Noah Centineo and Lana Condor in “To All the Boys: Always and Forever” (Netflix)

    What is the NYFA alum up to now that the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy has concluded? Condor is still booked and busy and will appear in the upcoming films Moonshot and the edgy comedy Girls Night. In her spare time, the actress has been known to share style and beauty tips on her social media channels and was most recently profiled by Vogue.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Lana Condor for bringing the character Lara Jean Covey to life over the past few years and looks forward to her future roles in Hollywood and beyond. To All The Boys: Always and Forever will be available to stream on February 10, 2021, on Netflix.

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    February 10, 2021 • Acting, Diversity, Entertainment News, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 760

  • NYFA South Beach Instructor, Patrice DeGraff Arenas, Lands Role on Peabody Award-Winning Drama “David Makes Man”

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    Originally reported in Deadline, NYFA’s own Patrice DeGraff Arenas has landed a recurring role on David Makes Man. The Peabody Award-winning drama series is distributed by the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) and is currently ramping up for its second season. 

    Arenas teaches Voice and Speech Acting, Scene Study, Characterization, and Advanced Acting Technique at NYFA’s South Beach campus. In the upcoming season of David Makes Man, Arenas will play Denise, an office assistant at the Edwards Firm (where the main character David works). As originally reported by Deadline, Arenas’ character Denise is someone who “keeps things moving at the office while also learning the moods and tempo of her boss.” 

    Photo courtesy of Patrice DeGraff Arenas

    David Makes Man is from Oscar-winning screenwriter Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight) and Warner Bros. and is loosely based on McCraney’s experiences, with the titular David (Akili McDowell), a 14-year-old prodigy from the South Florida projects. Arenas revealed that she began production on the project in October 2020.

    Arenas, who grew up the daughter of an arts educator, had an upbringing full of theatre, with her mom being a director in school productions. “From those early experiences, I went to college and relished watching my peers present. I gained insight about intention and action, my peers as well professors commented on my clear, direct, practical critiques,” shared Arenas.

    While Arenas has recently been involved in NYFA alum Bruklyn Miller’s award-winning film Celestial and is focused on her upcoming role in David Makes Man, Arenas revealed she is also in the development of a series with four of her former high school arts friends. In the future, Arenas hopes to be cast in a comedy and to play the role of Rose in Fences or Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing

    Photo Credit: OWN

    As for advice for students and alumni, Arenas says “life isn’t a rehearsal, so show up ready! It’s okay to be afraid but do it anyway!” The NYFA instructor also urges actors and creatives alike to “be patient with yourself” as some goals rarely look like what you want them to “but that doesn’t mean the journey isn’t worthwhile!”

    New York Film Academy congratulates the NYFA South Beach instructor Patrice DeGraff Arenas on her upcoming role, and encourages everyone to check out the second season of David Makes Man when it is available on OWN, and to catch up on season one, with all episodes now available on HBO Max.

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    December 21, 2020 • Acting, Faculty Highlights, South Beach • Views: 1721

  • Film “Make America Safe” by NYFA Acting Instructor Blanche Baker Enjoys Festival Run

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    Our NYFA Acting faculty aren’t only professionals in front of the camera but are working professionals in the industry constantly experimenting and making their own work while simultaneously teaching NYFA students the fundamentals of their craft.

    Blanche Baker teaches in both the Acting and Musical Theatre departments at NYFA’s New York campus. With an extensive background on the stage and on screen, Baker made her television debut in the miniseries Holocaust, for which she won an Emmy Award. Her feature films include Sixteen Candles, The Handmaid’s Tale with Robert Duvall, Raw Deal with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the Kevin Bacon HBO film Taking Chance. She was part of the Yale Repertory Theatre and Anna Sokolow’s dance troupe and her theatre roles include Steel Magnolias and Edward Albee’s Lolita with Donald Sutherland. 

    Film poster for “Make America Safe”

    In addition to writing and directing the award-winning short film Streetwrite, Baker wrote and directed her latest film Make America Safe, with award-winning cinematography Piero Basso, serving as the director of photography. The film has been garnering accolades and making its rounds on the festival circuit, recently appearing in the Global Impact Festival in Washington, D.C.

    Make America Safe is a musical short film about the 2nd Amendment and asks the question, “what if in the next few years citizens were required to carry weapons in order to ensure the safety of the public?” Using the premise of a news commentary show, the film takes a sardonic look at this possible future and examines the kind of scenarios that could arise in this world. With music composed by Andy Peterson, it sheds light on the rationales that could lead to such a future. 

    The film features a talented cast of Musical Theatre students working alongside NYFA’s professional faculty of artists as part of their Musical Theatre curriculum, which requires students to perform in original movie musicals, combining both musical theatre for the stage and for film.

    Official Selection: 
    Global Nonviolent Film Festival
    South Film and Arts Festival
    Film for Peace
    New York Short Film Festival
    Sanctuary International Film Festival

    Accolades:
    A Show For Change – Creativity Award
    Awareness Festival – Merit Award for Awareness
    X World Short Film Festival – Best International Short and Best Original Music
    Cinefest – Best Musical
    Blow Up Arthouse – Finalist

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    November 17, 2020 • Faculty Highlights, Film Festivals, Musical Theatre • Views: 698

  • NYFA Alumni Majid Al Ansari and Razanne Jammal Involved in Netflix Original Series “Paranormal”

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    Not one, but two alumni are involved in Netflix’s first series to accommodate deaf and blind viewers for Arabic Netflix. NYFA Filmmaking alum Majid Al Ansari directs three episodes of the new series, with actress and NYFA alum Razanne Jammal starring as lead character Maggie Mckillop.

    Film poster for ‘Paranormal’

    Ma Waraa al-Tabea (in Arabic) or “Paranormal” in English, premiered on November 5, 2020, and marks Egypt’s first original series in addition to being the first Arabic Netflix series to accommodate deaf and blind viewers.

    The series is based on Ahmed Khaled Tawfik’s thrilling book series about doctor Refaat Ismail, a cynical doctor whose lifelong scientific convictions are suddenly called into question. The Egyptian author’s critically acclaimed novels in Arabic have sold more than 15 million copies worldwide.

    NYFA alum Razanne Jammal in ‘Paranormal’

    Razanne Jammal attended NYFA’s 4-Week Acting for Film program in 2009 and has since built up a successful acting career, starring alongside Liam Neeson in A Walk Among the Tombstones and starring in Robert Guédiguian’s Don’t Tell Me The Boy Was Mad, which premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. She now plays Maggie Mckilop in Paranormal, Refaat’s university colleague who enters the paranormal world to protect those around her from danger.

    Majid Al Ansari at a panel for Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX

    Director Majid Al Ansari attended NYFA’s 2-Year Filmmaking Conservatory program and went on to have his debut feature film Zinzana (“Rattle The Cage”) have its world premiere at Fantastic Fest and its European premiere at the BFI London Film Festival. Zinzana was subsequently picked up and eventually sold to Netflix as the first Arab film acquisition after the streaming giant branched out to the Middle East. He has director credits for three episodes of the Netflix thriller Paranormal.

    Still from ‘Paranormal’

    New York Film Academy would like to congratulate NYFA Alumni Razanne Jammal and Majid Al Ansari for their involvement on Paranormal and encourages everyone to check out the new series if it is available in their country and looks forward to what’s next from the NYFA graduates.

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  • TV & Film Actress Samantha Soule Expands Her Craft With New York Film Academy’s Online Workshops

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    At New York Film Academy (NYFA), we are excited to continue to offer our creative and performing arts workshops online so that everyone, from artists and industry professionals like Samantha Soule, can continue to hone their craft under the guidance of renowned instructors from anywhere in the world. Samantha Soule, who recently took an Online Film Directing Workshop and Online Cinematography with NYFA, already boasts an active acting career, with credits including Outer Banks, Godless, City on a Hill, and Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, amongst many others.

    A full time actress for many years, Soule holds numerous credits for TV and film across Netflix, Showtime, CBS, and many more. She has a number of projects in the works for the upcoming year which, unfortunately, are on hold due to the global pandemic.

    “When COVID-19 shut down the projects I had in the works, it felt like a really good time to learn and evolve,” shares Soule. “So much of my life as a performer is being the clay for another’s vision, which is a job I love, but as I move forward in life I am interested in the ways I can expand: use other parts of my brain, create stories, create opportunities to collaborate in different ways, and create opportunities for others, and not just benefit from them myself.”

    Samantha Soule as Charlotte Temple in Netflix’s ‘Godless’

    During her online courses at NYFA, Soule shares that learning more outside of acting has been an eye-opening experience, allowing her to explore different avenues of the business like film directing and cinematography. “I learn best by doing, and this course has been an incredible kick in the butt to just get out there and start trying, learn from mistakes, fail, get up and try again.”

    As Soule pursues more avenues for creating more opportunities in the future, she shows no signs of stopping in her acting career, having already gained recognition for many of her roles including the put-together high society woman, Charlotte Temple, on Netflix’s Godless, where Soule stars alongside Michelle Dockery, Jeff Daniels, Merritt Weaver, and Jack O’Connell in the streaming giant’s western mini-series.

    Samantha Soule as Anna Carrera on Netflix breakout series ‘Outer Banks’

    Soule also recently appeared in Netflix breakout series Outer Banks (also referred to as OBX), which was recently renewed for a second season that has yet to begin filming due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Soule plays Anna Carrera, the caring and concerned mother of main character Kiara (played by Madison Bailey). Soule praises the show for its themes of the trust, loyalty and love that you build with the family you are born into and the family you choose. As for whether we will see more of Soule’s character next season, Soule says: “I think there is some of that ferocity in Anna. She has her own history and has made some bold choices herself along the way, but I haven’t a clue where the story is going! We shall see!”

    Samantha Soule (Right) in Showtime’s ‘City on a Hill’

    Soule’s long standing career as an actor has brought her many roles both big and small, but she approaches them all with a student mindset with what she’s absorbed from her experiences along the way. “I have been both really lucky and active in my fight to work on a really diverse array of characters. I love leaping from one world to the next and I learn from each. Each character is a new vantage to view the world, so the wider the range of humans I get to understand the deeper the education. I think most of what I love is the extreme juxtaposition, it’s like using different muscles.”

    New York Film Academy would like to thank actress and NYFA alum Samantha Soule for taking the time to speak to us on her experience as a constant student to her craft and also encourages everyone to check out Soule in AMC’s supernatural thriller Nos4a2, which premiered this summer, and her upcoming project with Godless creator Scott Frank called Queen’s Gambit.

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    August 5, 2020 • Acting, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1102

  • Award-Winning Actor Alec Baldwin Holds Live Q&A on Acting Technique for NYFA Students

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    On Tuesday, July 21, 2020, New York Film Academy (NYFA) had the honor of hosting a live video Q&A with award-winning and celebrated actor Alec Baldwin to discuss the acting craft with NYFA students and alumni. Tova Laiter, Director of the NYFA Q&A Series, moderated the event.

    Alec Baldwin has received a Tony nomination for his performance in A Streetcar Named Desire, a supporting actor nomination at the Oscars for The Cooler (2004), and he has won three Emmy awards, three Golden Globes and seven consecutive Screen Actors Guild Awards for ‘Best Actor in a Comedy Series’ for his role as Jack Donaghy on NBC-TV’s 30 Rock.

    Tina Fey (Left) and Alec Baldwin (Right) pose with their SAG Awards for ‘30 Rock’

    Baldwin’s filmography also includes the critically acclaimed film The Hunt for Red October, for which NYFA’s Founder, Jerry Sherlock, was Executive Producer, as well as Glengarry Glen Ross, It’s Complicated, The Departed, Pearl Harbor, Blue Jasmine, Still Alice, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, and many more.

    More recently, Baldwin has gained critical acclaim and popularity surrounding his portrayal of President Donald Trump for Saturday Night Live, joining the cast regularly for ongoing appearances as the 45th President.

    Tova Laiter (Left) and Alec Baldwin (Right) for The NYFA Q&A Series

    Laiter began the Q&A by asking Baldwin about his successful career and finding his place in Hollywood. “In the beginning, you have a boyish gratitude [on set], similar to being a guest in someone’s house,” he began, “everyone on the set knows more than you, but that changes later on when you are on a film and someone says something to you and you go ‘no, I think it’s this,’ as you begin to understand what will make a scene work.”

    The conversation then switched to Baldwin’s successful career as not only a dramatic actor, but a comedic performer, where Laiter brought up Baldwin’s hilarious and well-timed character Jack Donaghy on NBC’s critically acclaimed TV series 30 Rock. “The show, to me, is one of the ultimate examples of me being the beneficiary of very good writing,” he shares. “The writing was the best I had ever seen in terms of comedy and it was natural to me.”

    Baldwin on set for Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Departed’

    One student asked Baldwin about how he chooses the right script as an actor. Baldwin responded: “I try to decide ‘is this movie a movie I want to make or I want to see?’ Then, I look at my character. I’ve played parts where my character wasn’t the biggest role or well-served in terms of page count, but there was an opportunity to me where I could see that character having an impact on that film.” When it comes to looking at a script, Baldwin explains that it’s about the quality of storytelling and the impact of your character that matters.

    Another student asked Baldwin about what it can be like for an actor when giving a performance in a film versus acting in television series.

    Baldwin as President Donald Trump for ‘Saturday Night Live’

    “Moviemaking is intense because you have to narrow everything down to what is worthwhile and what works,” he shares. “Television allows for more time to spread your character arc or story along. There is more complexity involved because there is more time. If not in this episode then in the next…”

    To the question of whether one should try everything or stick to the one that already works, Baldwin recommended that when you are just starting out and you are young, to try everything to become the actor you can be and want to be, Baldwin reminded students that it isn’t just about finding an agent, “making it,” or getting everything “right” after studying acting: “Join a rep company. Do as many shows as you can. Do as many roles as you can off the beaten path so you can make your mistakes under the radar before you get typecast.”

    Steve Martin (Left) and Alec Baldwin (Right) host the 82nd Academy Awards

    Baldwin also provided profound advice to students when auditioning for a role. “Remember they asked you there.” He explains that it can be easy to go into an audition with a “people pleasing attitude,” but “they want what you have; they invited you to come to audition and they need you. You are a professional and they are looking for someone to play a part, and you give everything you’ve got in the audition. Once you walk into the room and realize no one is doing anybody any favors, it’s business, and you’re a part of that business, then everything is going to change for you.”

    Baldwin closed the conversation by thanking Laiter for the conversation and the students for their time, and expressed that he hoped his words were helpful to those looking at a career in acting.

    New York Film Academy would like to thank the talented Alec Baldwin for sharing his time and acting experience with NYFA students and alumni.

    To listen to the full conversation, click the video below or check it out on our YouTube channel here.

    podcast

     

     

     

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    July 27, 2020 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 1083

  • New York Film Academy Welcomes Acclaimed ‘American Beauty’ Actress Mena Suvari for The NYFA Q&A Series

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    On Tuesday, July 14, 2020, New York Film Academy (NYFA) had the pleasure to hold a live video Q&A with critically acclaimed actress MENA SUVARI to discuss her acting career with NYFA students and alumni. Tova Laiter, Director of the NYFA Q&A Series, moderated the event.

    Mena Suvari is an award winning actress known for her roles in hits such as American Pie (1999) and the five-time Oscar-awarded American Beauty (1999). Directed by Sam Mendes, her genuine and moving performance as the character Angeles Hayes in American Beauty earned her a ‘Best Supporting Actress’ nod by BAFTA and a SAG Award for ‘Best Ensemble Cast.’ Suvari also won a Movieline Award for ‘Breakthrough Performance’ for her role.

    Following the success of American Pie, she reunited with Jason Biggs in Amy Heckerling’s romantic comedy Loser (2000) and continued to show her acting range in projects like Jonas Åkerlund’s cult-classic Spun (2002), Rob Reiner’s Rumor Has It (2005), Tony Scott’s Domino (2005), and Factory Girl (2006), amongst others.

    Tova Laiter (Left) and Mena Suvari (Right) during live Q&A

    Laiter opened the conversation by discussing Suvari’s career in the entertainment industry, which began with Suvari booking modeling and commercial jobs, which then turned into guest star roles on television. After booking her first film, Nowhere (1997), other indie film gigs soon opened up for the actress, eventually leading her to her biggest break yet, a lead role in the cult-classic, blockbuster film American Pie.

    Suvari recalls the audition for high school chorus student Heather being very relaxed and not as intense as her audition for American Beauty. After shooting American Pie, Suvari remembers going into film Sam Mendes’ heavily awarded film American Beauty, playing a more dramatic role as Angela Hayes, known for her iconic, risqué rose petal scenes throughout the film.

    “I honestly remember thinking, at the time, ‘I’m so happy to have a job’ not necessarily the big names around me and they [American Pie and American Beauty] saved me at the time during a very personally challenging moment in my life.”

    Kevin Spacey (Left) and Mena Suvari (Right) in ‘American Beauty’

    Suvari, who has experienced shooting some intimate scenes across her filmography, also touched on what it can be like for actors on set when filming a very sensual or more explicit scene.

    “It can definitely be awkward sometimes,” she laughs, “I have worked in all types of scenarios, but when you are shooting intimate scenes you want to keep the crew as small as possible and make everything feel very considerate.” For American Beauty, Suvari recalls everything being handled very professionally and carefully and remembers that Mendes was “very supportive” throughout the process.

    Mena Suvari in ‘American Pie’ (1999)

    A student then asked Suvari how she personally gets into approaching a role when reading a script. “It depends on the project,” she shared. “I am currently working on a project now, for example, where there is a tight family dynamic and I am trying to understand where the characters are coming from and their motivations.”

    Ultimately, Suvari explains, approaching a script is really about collaboration, as well. “I want to approach the writer, the director, and whoever I can to understand the genesis of the story and what it means to them, and ask as many questions as I can.”

    Mena Suvari (Left) and Alicia Silverstone (Right) in ‘American Woman’

    Suvari closed the conversation, by sharing some advice with NYFA students that has always stuck with her throughout her career while she was shooting Orpheus in 2007. “It was something that you think would be so simple, but the director [Bruce Beresford] just said ‘listen, listen listen,’ which can be tricky if you think about it, because you already know the script and what will happen because you are familiar with everything, but you need to be as present as possible in the moment.”

    Laiter then thanked Suvari for joining the conversation and giving students some excellent insight for their future productions in front of the camera or for those directing actors, while Suvari exclaimed she was so happy to be part of the conversation and to speak with the students.

    New York Film Academy would like to thank actress Mena Suvari for sharing her time and her experiences working on set from being a young actress to a seasoned performer. NYFA encourages everyone to check out Suvari’s upcoming film Grace and Grit, set to release later in 2020.

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    July 15, 2020 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 1610

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) AFA Acting for Film Alum Masali Baduza Stars in BBC’s Noughts + Crosses

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) AFA Acting for FIlm alum Masali Baduza has landed one of the lead roles in BBC’s buzzworthy new adaptation of Noughts + Crosses.

    Masali Baduza

    NYFA AFA Acting for Film alum Masali Baduza

    Baduza originally hails from South Africa and is bilingual in both English and Xhosa, and earned her Associate Degree of Fine Arts in Acting for FIlm after enrolling at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus in Los Angeles in 2015. Since earning her AFA in Acting for Film, Baduza has appeared in the productions Bhai’s Cafe, The Fighter, and Trackers, before landing her biggest role yet in BBC’s Noughts + Crosses.

    The television show is adapted from a series of young adult stories that began with the novel Noughts & Crosses, first published in 2001. The speculative fiction saga, written by Malorie Blackman, takes place in an alternate history where black Africans colonized and enslaved white Europeans, rather than the other way around. The story is told from the perspectives of two lead characters–Callum and Sephy. 

    Masali Baduza

    ‘Noughts + Crosses Stars’ Jack Rowan and NYFA AFA Acting for Film alum Masali Baduza

    Baduza stars as Sephy, opposite Jack Rowan (Peaky Blinders, Born to Kill), who plays Callum. The cast also includes Paterson Joseph (The Leftovers, Timeless), Josh Dylan (Mamma Mia 2, The End of the F***ing World), Kiké Brimah (Doctors), Luke Bailey (Ordinary Lies), Jonathan Ajayi (Wonder Woman 1984), Helen Baxendale (Dirk Gently), and British rapper Stormzy.

    New York Film Academy congratulates AFA Acting for Film alum Masali Baduza on landing the lead role in BBC’s exciting new show and encourages everyone to check out her work on Noughts + Crosses!

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    March 24, 2020 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2299