We recently caught up with Ms. Bridger to learn more about her and her new career.
If someone was making a movie about your life, what genre would it be, who would play you and what would be the title?
Comedy/drama; Emma Stone or Hailee Steinfeld; and “Adulthood: Are you sure?”
If you had one sentence / log line that could change the world, what would it be?
Do what you love, not what you’re told to.
You’ll always find a way, no matter what.
What did you enjoy most about studying at NYFA?
Definitely working with new and interesting people and collaborating on different projects.
How has NYFA prepared you for working in the “real world” of Film/TV/Entertainment?
If I didn’t have the knowledge I have now, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’ve only been gone a year and already amounted to something in the industry. It’s amazing what can happen within the space of a year.
What exciting project/s and/or plans do you have now or coming up?
Right now I’m just taking each day as it comes. Weekend camera operating is something different everyday. I could be shooting a football game one minute and going to an accident or house fire the next. I’m interested to see where I’m headed in my career.
Prior to attending the New York Film Academy Australia, Gold Coast, Jonathan Gesthuizen had never written a script. “I really struggled with it to begin with and soon realized that, while it was my weakest skill, it was the area of filmmaking that I was most passionate about,” said NYFA Australia alumnus Jonathan Gesthuizen. “The Director’s Craft Workshops and screenwriting classes were pivotal to being able to co-write and direct Ice Cold.
Now, Gesthuizen’s short film Ice Cold, which he produced while at NYFA Australia, will be screened at international film festivals after being officially selected for the Tokyo On-Line Lift Off festival, Access Code India festival, Eurofest in St Petersburg, Russia and Action on Film Festival in Los Angeles.
The short film is an action, thriller, romantic drama that centers around Jonny, Bella, and Dion as they struggle to grow up and survive in a world overcome with drugs, alcohol and violence. It is a story based around a young indigenous girl and her childhood sweetheart, Jonny, who are separated in their early teens and later reunite and escape from the clutches of Bella’s ruthless drug kingpin boyfriend.
“Ice Cold is about love breaking something open and conquering all, no matter what the obstacles are,” said Gesthuizen. “It’s about new beginnings, change, and how deeply love can be in its most simplest moments.”
Gesthuizen hopes the networking opportunities at the festivals will be a great opportunity to meet with other filmmakers and industry members as he tries to secure full feature funding from his script that is close to completion.
“It’s a huge jump from a short to a feature length film, but I believe in the story and that it will gain traction once exposed to a wider audience,” he says. “It’s also a great chance to be able to see how we stand side by side against our other film associates.”
In addition to Ice Cold, Gesthuizen says he’s currently writing a couple of other short film projects. One of his projects, Twenty to Heaven, is about a true life experience about a caving expedition that went wrong in the early 90’s and how he and others came close to death. The other is a film called Isle of Broken Dreams, which is about a secondhand opshop that has a huge selection of second hand wedding dresses. The film centers around several main characters and their stories as to how their dresses came to be at the shop.
One of the immediate and most obvious benefits of having a film school inside the confines of a movie studio is the unprecedented access to the movie industry and the behind-the-scenes exposure to major motion pictures. Similar to our Los Angeles campus, which offers workshops on the Universal Studios backlot, the New York Film Academy Gold Coast Australia location offers programs on the backlot of Village Roadshow Studios adjacent to Warner Bros Movie World in Queensland, Australia.
Given its resources and state-of-the art studio space, the Queensland studio will be the filming location of three upcoming major motion pictures, including the third installment of Thor, Kong: Skill Island, and Alien: Paradise Lost.
“Queensland offers an amazing and diverse backdrop for Thor: Ragnarok and we are very excited to bring this film to such an incredible locale,” said Louis D’Esposito, Co-President of Marvel Studios.
This has become a serious location option for many studio films, with Queensland’s Village Roadshow Studios already having been the location for the Scooby Doo films, House of Wax, Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Daybreakers, and Fools Gold amongst many others. Just this past year we saw NYFA Australia Gold Coast Chair of Acting, Brad McMurray and One-Year Acting Grad, Nick Allen-Ducat in San Andreas—starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Paul Giamatti—which also filmed in Queensland.
“As our economy diversifies, Queensland is demonstrating its strength as a lead destination for filmmakers both internationally and locally, and my government is doing what it can to ensure that Queensland remains a global hub for the screen sector,” said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
As is the goal with all of NYFA’s programs, the Gold Coast location offers a real world filmmaking experience in a truly hands-on curriculum. There are several course offerings available, including our hands-on intensive Two-Year Filmmaking, One-Year Filmmaking, Two-Year Acting for Film and One-Year Acting for Film programs as well as short-term and evening workshops.
For more information about NYFA’s Gold Coast campus, please visit: https://www.nyfa.edu.au/locations/gold-coast.php.
Popular Australian musical duo Bombs Away’s most recent music video, “Everybody Stand Up,” featuring Luciana, was directed by New York Film Academy Australia Gold Coast alumni and a current student. The video has been gaining buzz with over 100,000 views on Youtube in just about a month.
Produced by Joel Thomas from Voyageur Productions, “Everybody Stand Up” was directed by Gold Coast alumnus Damian Lang, who says he and his crew thought the Bombs Away guys were a pleasure to work with. In addition to Lang, the crew consisted of current student, Harrison Scholes, as well as alumni Matt Robinson, Melissa King and Shawn Chapman.
“My experience from NYFA was critical to my performance,” says Lang. “It has also helped me present myself professionally as a director and a business.”
Lang is currently working on two music videos and just finished wrapping his short film, The First Step. His hope is to eventually direct his first feature film.
For now, enjoy this music video from Lang and his NYFA crew.
On Monday the 8th of June, four students from the New York Film Academy’s Gold Coast location, three students from NYFA Sydney, and acting instructor Hunter McMahon departed Australia and headed to the New York Film Academy campus in Los Angeles, California. The acting students participated in an intensive three week program which encompassed classes such as; Meisner technique, Voice and Movement, Combat, Comedy, Psychology of Performance, Audition technique and Production Workshops, which were shot on the backlot of Universal Studios.
The students’ first week of training began on Tuesday the 9th of June with three classes a day, plus plenty of work to keep them busy outside of school hours. The first shoot on the Universal backlot took place on the “Western Set,” with scenes authored by the students. “It was a unique experience, and one that I will cherish for the rest of my life,” said NYFA Sydney Acting Instructor, Hunter McMahon.
On Saturday afternoon, the acting students attended the Los Angeles Film Festival for a screening of Be Here Now: The Andy Whitfield Story. “It was one of the most powerful documentaries I have ever seen. When the lights came up we were all visibly moved and glad that we had shared the experience together,” said McMahon.
On Sunday the group took some time out with a large portion of the day spent lounging at the pool of the Oakwood Apartments and enjoying the famous Los Angeles sun—after all, it is currently wintertime back in Australia.
During the second week, the intensity of the program increased as the teachers began to demand more of the students, and as we’re accustomed to at NYFA, the students picked up the challenge.
Friday night saw the students shuttled from NYFA to attend The Groundlings Theatre Show. “The show was hilarious, the students had a ball, and some were even lucky enough to meet the performers afterwards and have their picture taken with them,” recalled McMahon.
Over the course of the rest of the weekend, the students spent time shopping, and exploring Disneyland. Any spare time leftover, students worked on the course material for the final week.
The last week was spent filming the scenes, monologues and learning as much as possible about the industry in Los Angeles. During the week, students were shuttled to The Matrix theatre to watch The Australian Theatre Company’s rehearsed play reading of Ruben Guthrie. “The show was fantastic and a great networking opportunity… the play has been recently been adapted into a feature film, which opened the Sydney Film Festival this year,” said McMahon.
On the Friday night of their final week, the students’ work was showcased in the screening room of NYFA LA’s Riverside Building. “It was a fitting end to the three-week course and we were overawed by the experience,” said McMahon.
Monday the 29th of June marked the conclusion of the three-week excursion.
“From this experience, my Australian acting students have grown remarkably, and will certainly cherish these memories dearly. The teachers we’ve had have been fantastic, experienced and very knowledgeable. We have made industry connections that will benefit both parties in the years to come. I’m grateful that I have been able to share this experience with the students, and the NYFA staff in LA. I have learned so much in my time here, and I can’t wait to share it all upon my return to Sydney. This journey has been invaluable, and I would like to share my gratitude and warm thanks to the New York Film Academy, its teachers and the students who journeyed with me to Los Angeles,” concluded McMahon.
As for the students who took part in this incredible three-week Los Angeles trip, this is what they had to say:
“I have been deeply touched by the passion, dedication and immense desire every teacher has had to share their experience and, install in our hearts, deep respect for our craft and the industry. I am now more committed to the ingenuity, creativity, skill and professionalism that has gone before me.”
Sharde Anne (Gold Coast Graduate)
“This has been an incredible experience. I’m so grateful I was given this opportunity to explore the LA industry that I one day intend to be a part of. We were taken to The Groundlings, which was phenomenal and hilarious. We were also taken to see the Australian Theatre Company’s reading of ‘Ruben Guthrie’ at the Matrix theatre. We filmed on the Universal backlot twice. I have learned and grown so much in the past three weeks. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of it!”
Tiahni Wilton (Gold Coast Graduate)
“The wisdom and experience of the industry that was shared with us from the lecturers at NYFA was invaluable; and now I’m going home to Australia more confident with my craft. Thank you to all the lecturers from NYFA across Australia and LA. You all inspire me daily.”
Krystal Shuttleworth (Gold Coast Graduate)
“I look forward to the future in acting. I feel my passion gets stronger as I keep learning. It’s been an amazing experience!”
Tareesha Argus (Gold Coast Graduate)
“Coming to Los Angeles has been a fantastic and an uplifting experience for me. I’m eternally grateful for all that I have learned at my time at NYFA.”
Abel Kollie (Sydney Graduate)
“We have had incredible classes and teachers, who are all so passionate about the craft. I’ve learned so much about acting and the exciting business over here. The classes have been intense, and definitely worthwhile. Experiencing the American audition process and running it with a real agent was an invaluable experience. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone.”
Kiara Williams (Sydney Graduate)
“The experience and knowledge I’ve gained from doing this program is without a doubt the best decision and opportunity that was given to me by NYFA. I’ve learned so much more than I could have imagined about the LA market, auditioning and character work in the past 3 weeks. Though the days were long, I wouldn’t change any of it. The teachers were fantastic; they were so knowledgeable and passionate about the industry. I am eternally grateful to NYFA Sydney for this experience and can’t wait to start my career.”
Ismael Nunez Moreno (Sydney Graduate)
It’s no coincidence that the New York Film Academy Australia’s Gold Coast campus is situated on the backlot of Village Roadshow Studios adjacent to Warner Bros Movie World in Queensland, Australia.
Similar to our Los Angeles campus, NYFA Gold Coast students have access to the movie studios, giving them a truly hands-on, real-world experience.
Given the unparalleled access to the filmmaking community in Queensland, it came as no surprise to find two of our very own in front of the camera for the upcoming blockbuster film San Andreas, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Paul Giamatti. NYFA Australia, Gold Coast Chair of Acting, Brad McMurray and One-Year Acting Grad, Nick Allen-Ducat had roles in the film, and walked the red carpet at the Queensland premiere, which took place at the Roxy Theatre.
“Being on the backlot leaves it wide open to massive possibilities as many of our current and former students had on set experience as extras on San Andreas and Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken,” said McMurray. “Having international blockbusters shooting on NYFA’s doorstep creates an industry pulse that is felt by all of the students at NYFA. This creates a hunger that will drive them into this vibrant exciting industry. In securing a role on something as big as San Andreas, it enables me to get in the room face to face with the students and share this valuable experience with them. The class experience then becomes a session of artistic osmosis where the students beliefs and expectations are ramped up ready for the industry.”
In addition to Brad and Nick’s roles in the film, NYFA Australia filmmaking students were able to intern on the production of the film.
Having filmed on the Coast, The Rock, who was in attendance at the premiere, had this to say about his experience: “I had the best time — amazing time — shooting the film on the Gold Coast.”
Look for Brad, Nick, and The Rock in San Andreas, which opens in theaters today!