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  • 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: 615

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum A.J. Rivera Joins All-Star Cast of Netflix’s “Another Life”

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum A.J. Rivera is following up several high-profile guest roles on television with a starring role in Netflix’s highly-anticipated new sci-fi drama, Another Life. 

    The 10-episode series is getting a lot of buzz since being picked up by Netflix last April, in part because of a veteran television cast. The cast includes Battlestar Galactica star Katee Sackhoff, as well as Alex Ozerov (The Americans), Jessica Camacho (The Flash), Barbara Williams (Mayans MC) and Lisa Renna (The 100). Also starring are film stars Selma Blair (Hellboy, Cruel Intentions) and Justin Chatin (Dragonball Evolution, War of the Worlds.) 

    The show is part of a continued campaign by Netflix COO Ted Sarandos — who spoke earlier this year with NYFA — to produce original content and dominate the longform storytelling market. It tells the story of a team of astronauts and scientists on a mission to search for intelligent life. It was created by Aaron Martin (DeGrassi: The Next Generation).A.J. Rivera

    A.J. Rivera plays Bernie Martinez, a microbiologist on the spaceship who also serves as part-time chef. He is part of the show’s comic relief, where his character uses jokes as a form of currency. Rivera is no stranger to comedy — his previous regular role on a TV series was with the John Stamos vehicle Grandfathered, as Victor.

    Rivera has also appeared on numerous other television shows, including Goliath, Jane the Virgin, Lethal Weapon, Shameless, 2 Broke Girls, Baskets, and This is Us. He attended New York Film Academy’s MFA Acting for Film program in September 2011, at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus. There, he was able to train with talented faculty members currently working in the industry, and collaborate with film school students on the backlot of Universal Studios.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates A.J. Rivera on his latest success, and looks forward to seeing him on Netflix’s Another Life in 2019!

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    September 28, 2018 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2066

  • New York Film Academy MFA Grad Christian Bulich Writes, Produces, and Stars in ’64 Koufax

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    ‘64 Koufax is an indie film with an important message: relationships matter. Following two brothers as they navigate together through a problematic moment in their relationship, the film has the depth and humanity that can only come from a passion project. Recently spotlighted by Occhi Magazine, New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Acting for Film grad Christian Bulich poured himself into ‘64 Koufax not only by writing the script and portraying the protagonist, but also by producing.

    For the NYFA Blog, Bulich discusses the hurdles and rewards of taking on so many roles within a film production, and how his fellow actors can best poise themselves to successfully produce their own work. Check out what he has to say:

    NYFA: First, can you tell us a little bit about your journey and what brought you to the New York Film Academy’s MFA in Acting for Film program?

    CB: Before I came to NYFA I had mostly done stage work and didn’t really have any real experience with film sets, so I was kind of desperately looking for a school that offered an acting program with a distinctive focus on camera work.

    After finding NYFA through some online research, I spent time going through the website, and it didn’t take me long to realize that this was the right choice for me. The combination of the hands-on experience and the variety of classes that the MFA program consists of was exactly what I was looking for.

    Actually, I remember also getting in touch with some students who were enrolled in one of the programs at NYFA at that time and asking about their experience, and all of them had only positive things to say. So at the end of the day it was a pretty easy choice for me.

    NYFA: Why acting? What makes you passionate about this craft?

    CB: There are so many things that make me passionate about it. I could talk about this topic for days. To make it short, I love this craft because it simply makes me really happy.

    Already at an early age I noticed the satisfying feeling when I was doing plays and working on different characters and just being involved in a creative environment. With time this feeling just became stronger and stronger, and to this day I love finding new things about myself, and that I can connect to the characters that I’m working on.

    I know it might sound cheesy right now but it sometimes actually feels sort of therapeutic to me. Acting makes you think about certain things in a different way, which can be a good thing sometimes.

    NYFA: What was your experience like coming to Los Angeles for acting, all the way from Germany?

    CB: Well, coming to Los Angeles was not my first experience living in the states. I’ve lived in New York before and had some of the most significant experiences in my life out there. But coming to Los Angeles was a bit different compared to New York, since my moving to the west coast was completely acting-related, and nothing else.

    So overall I can say that it’s a completely different world compared to Germany in regard to the acting business. It’s so much faster and more demanding out here, and Hollywood just has so much more to offer than the German market. I guess the variety and the amount of projects that are being produced out here is one of the most attractive aspect of living in LA for me personally.

    But the number one reason why I actually never want to leave this place is that almost everybody I meet shares the same passion for film and the craft in general. To be able to share thoughts and have great conversations with people who love the same thing you love — that’s pretty special.

    NYFA: Do you have any favorite NYFA moments from your time studying with us?

    CB: The showcase performances and the student-directed plays are definitely my favorite moments.

    There is something special about meeting new people and working with them on a play or a scene for weeks, and then performing it, and afterwards celebrating the success together. You grow really close during those moments, and these people become sort of a second family for you. And that’s exactly who I still keep in touch with even after graduating: students and teachers who were involved in these projects.

    NYFA: What inspired you to create and produce your short film ’64 Koufax?

    CB: All my favorite movies have one thing in common; relationships.

    In my opinion, there is nothing more interesting than the connection between people. A story that deals with relationships between friends, family, couples, or other individuals will always be something that the audience can easily relate to, and maybe find themselves in one of the characters — which as a result might even help with certain personal matters. That was my exact intention with ’64 Koufax.

    Growing up I always had a distinctive view on family and friends and their importance in my life. Nonetheless, I had many fights with some of them about things that might seem stupid now, but back then were very important to me. And because of these disagreements I have lost some very important friends and caused some cracks in relationships with some of my relatives. With time you start realizing that there is nothing more important than these people, and that no matter what you should always hold together through good and bad times.

    The story of ’64 Koufax deals with this message. It shows two brothers going through a very difficult time in their lives, in which both make desperate decisions that affect each other in negative ways. But they realize that without each other there is nothing left, and that they have to do their best and find a way back to each other.

    NYFA: What was the experience like for you in ‘64 Koufax, flowing through so many different roles in production — producer, writer, star? What surprised you most?

    CB: That was not easy! Honestly, I wasn’t expecting it to become such a difficult affair. The process of writing the story and working on the character of Terry was very inspiring and I had lots of fun doing that, but then I decided to produce that thing and, well … yeah … not as easy as I thought it will be. I guess since I have never produced any films before I overestimated myself a little bit. The production process prior to the shoot was actually not too bad, and everything went mostly as planned. But as soon as we got to set and started shooting, my head was all over the place. I had a difficult time focusing on just the acting part and leaving alone the production part. So every small problem on set became a problem that affected me as a producer.

    Of course, I had great people on set who did an amazing job coordinating everything, but even though I wasn’t actively helping out with set issues my mind was jumping back and forth from being Terry to being Christian the producer. So overall it was a bit of a frustrating experience, because I could’ve done better performance-wise, in my opinion. But I also have to say that I learned a lot throughout that process and definitely grew as a person and actor.

    NYFA: Did producing your own short film change the way you approach acting?

    CB: That’s a good question actually. I haven’t really thought about that. I kind of separated the production process and the acting process completely from each other, or at least I was trying to do that. I think the experience of ’64 Koufax definitely showed me how important it is to have a clear mind on set as an actor.

    NYFA: What is your advice to acting for film students who want to produce their own films?

    CB: Don’t do it! No, I’m just kidding. I think everyone should make this experience and grow from it. So if you decide to produce your own film, I’d suggest you create a clear schedule and always be on time with what you set up to achieve. That way you will have less problems on the day of the shoot and you’ll be able to completely focus on just the acting part.

    Also, choose your crew wisely. Find quality people you trust! That’s the only way you can survive on set with a double duty of acting and producing.

    NYFA: What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

    CB: I’m currently working on two projects that I’m very excited about. The first one is a short film that we’re aiming to shoot in May. It’s a piece about a father-son relationship and their differences in religious beliefs. This film will be directed by Kobus Louw, who also directed ’64 Koufax. We will also have the whole crew of our previous project working with us again, which I’m incredibly excited about.

    The second project we’re currently working on is a feature film that we are planning to shoot in early 2019. It’s a very interesting concept. All I can say about it right now is that it’s a very uncommon love story with it’s own unique genre.

    NYFA: Would you say your time at NYFA was at all useful for the work you are doing now?

    CB: Oh, yes! It actually turned out even better than I expected it to be. And I’m not saying that because this is a NYFA Blog interview and I have to say nice things about this school. I honestly feel like I have gained so much useful experience and knowledge during my time at NYFA, which really helps me on daily basis in this industry.

    In addition to that, I have met some of the best teachers at this school that I have ever worked with and some of the most amazing students that I keep creating great content with.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Christian Bulich for sharing his story, and say congratulations on wrapping production on ‘64 Koufax!

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  • MFA Acting Alumna Wins Best Leading Actress at United International Film Festival

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    JuliaMFA Acting for Film alumna Sabrina Percario wrote and starred in the short film, “Julia,” which has performed quite well at several film festivals. Thus far the film has screened at United International Film Festival, where Percario won Best Leading Actress; Los Angeles Cine Fest, where the film was nominated for Best Short Film and Best Original Song (also composed by Percario); Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards, where the film won Jury Mention for Best Short Film; and the Glendale International Film Festival, where the film is in the running for Best Student Film.

    “Julia” is about a grieving woman, Sarah, who cannot dare to leave home and study abroad until her mom visits and encourages her to follow her life’s passion. From there, Sarah has to choose between her grief and her dreams.

    “I wanted to do a tribute to my mom, Olga ‘Julia’ Gomes Percario,” said Percario. “She always believed in me and doing this movie was my way to say how grateful I am for everything she taught me in life.”

    julia

    Sabrina Percario wins Best Actress at United International Film Festival

    Percario’s mother passed two years ago and her film provides her point of view of how she dealt with the tragedy.

    “Once I accepted that she was dead, I understood more about life and how she wanted me to pursue and live my dreams,” says Percario. “For me it was really hard to leave my family and move to another country and be in Los Angeles…alone. What I wanted to say with this movie was: it is important to grieve and to accept death, but once you do that you are free to live your life and to follow your dreams.”

    The film also provided Percario with a platform to improve her writing skills while also creating a character that best suits her acting abilities.

    “NYFA taught me different acting techniques and assisted me during the development of my thesis,” said Percario. “During my MFA at NYFA, I learned how to be present in the moment — to connect with the other actor and react in a genuine way, instead of anticipating the reaction.”

    Percario is currently working on her first feature film, which is inspired by “Julia.” The temporary title is: “Julia – My American-Brazilian Jewish Mother.” Percario and her team plan to start filming in the beginning of 2017.

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    September 15, 2016 • #WomenOfNYFA, Acting, International Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 3455

  • NYFA Alumnus Jesse Kove Screens ‘As Night Comes’

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    As Night Comes

    NYFA Alumnus (Actor/Producer) Jesse Kove, along with (Director/Writer/Producer) Richard Zelniker, and other cast members Luke Baines, & Myko Olivier, all from the Upcoming Feature Film “AS NIGHT COMES”.

    On Tuesday, November 4th, New York Film Academy Alumnus (Actor/Producer) Jesse Kove, along with (Director/Writer/Producer) Richard Zelniker, and other cast members Luke Baines and Myko Olivier, all from the Upcoming Feature Film, As Night Comes, visited the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles branch to screen their film and participate in a Q&A with BFA Acting, MFA Acting, BFA Filmmaking, and other degree and short term program students. The film follows a troubled 17-year-old Sean Holloway as he falls in with a group of teenage outcasts called ‘The Misfits,’ whose charismatic leader, Ricky, takes him under his wing. As Sean becomes more and more entangled in the gang’s anarchist ways, things begin to spiral out of control, and Sean realizes Ricky is a ticking time bomb on a rampage of revenge.

    During the Q&A, NYFA alumnus and co-star/producer Jesse Kove talked about the types of obstacles the crew and cast encountered during production and how they overcame them to produce such a solid product. As anyone who has ever attempted to make a film knows, it’s not an easy task–add a large ensemble cast, plenty of action, multiple locations, and top notch costume and production design and the odds are stacked almost completely against you. However, it was clear that all parties involved in the making of AS NIGHT COMES embody the “no matter what” mentality required to do this type of impossible. Not only that, but what they did was darn good too.

    As Night Comes opens Friday, November 14 to a limited theatrical release in Los Angeles at the Laemmle’s Music Hall in Beverly Hills. For tickets, please visit: http://www.laemmle.com/films/38604. The film will also be available on several VOD platforms December 5th via Gravitas Ventures Distribution. 

    We wish Jesse Kove, Richard Zelniker and the whole cast and crew of AS NIGHT COMES the very best in their future filmmaking endeavors.

     

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    November 10, 2014 • Acting, Producing • Views: 4174

  • MFA Actress Cast in Off-Broadway Play ‘I’m Sorry’

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    Charlotte MakalaThis past June, the Afrikan Women’s Repertory Company put on The Spring into Summer Festival, which consisted of seven plays over the span of one weekend at the Producers Club in New York City. Of the seven plays from playwright and director Vivian Bonnie Wright, the premiere play was I’m Sorry, a too familiar tale of gun violence. The play is a heartbreaking urban tale where four talented and smart teens head off to prom and only three come back.

    Playing the role of Christine, a talkative teen with a tender spirit, was New York Film Academy MFA Acting alumnus, Charlotte Makala. Charlotte first became involved with the production simply by applying on Backstage and auditioning for a spot in the cast. Most of the cast had already been selected apart from two roles. At the audition, Charlotte felt an immediate rapport with Miss Bonnie Wright and it was no surprise when later that day she was informed that she would play the role of Christine. The play would be her first outside of NYFA.

    “New York Film Academy’s MFA program was and still is integral to my profession because the training helped me understand the technical aspects of what it is I was doing,” says Makala. “It’s one thing to do what you are told but another to know what you are doing. Whenever stage directions were called, I knew what I was doing. Prior to NYFA, I had limited knowledge as to what and why things were – in terms of acting. NYFA’s program helped me get in touch with my creativity for the craft, which I thought I had lost (because it had been two years since I last acted professionally before I joined the program).”

    Charlotte stresses the importance of patience in a field that requires countless hours of waiting and auditions. “There is a lot of waiting; waiting for your next audition, waiting for a call back, waiting on set and waiting back stage. So, what’s the key to maintaining your cool in an arduous field with many ups and downs? Have fun! “I’m sure some actors are rolling their eyes right now, but this little “note-to-self” is key in my auditioning process.”

    Charlotte’s goal as a professional is and has always been to entertain and to tell stories — stories that matter and stories that capture the essence of what is to be human. As for now, Charlotte says she’s simply living one audition at a time. With her experience, persistence and patience, we’re sure Charlotte has a bright future ahead of her!

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    July 18, 2014 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5137

  • NYFA Alum Signs with Major Talent Agency

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    New York Film Academy Acting School student Joy Rovaris has just signed with an LA based talent agency. Rovaris is a MFA acting student who completed her first year in New York this past May and is now working towards completing her degree at NYFA Los Angeles. Rovaris comments,” NYFA prepared me for auditioning because they gave me the training, pretty intense mock auditions, and then confidence needed to first send out my information and then to be at a ‘300% performance level’…(Paul Warner) once inside the door.  NYFA has helped me get to where I am because they exposed me to the science behind my natural talent.  The program was much more intense than I’d imagine.  I learned how to bring my emotions to JUST below the surface and let them fester and manifest through my body in a performance. No way I could have been ready for this prior to a year at NYFA. I feel the teachers I had at NYFA NYC have prepared me most for where I am now. We’ll see what else LA brings!” Congrats Joy!

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    November 17, 2010 • Acting • Views: 3127