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  • Oscar-Nominated New York Film Academy Filmmaking Alum Giacun Caduff Working on New Projects

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking alum Giacun Caduff, along with NYFA Acting for Film alum Stefanie Lacher, have been working nonstop across the globe as they work on films and other projects following the massive success of La femme et le TGV, the Oscar-nominated short produced by Caduff.

    Caduff attended the 8-Week Filmmaking workshop at NYFA’s New York campus in the summer of 1999. Lacher attended NYFA’s 8-Week Acting for Film workshop at our Los Angeles campus in September 2011. The pair met several years later at a party in Switzerland, Caduff’s native country.

    Giacun Caduff and Stefanie Lacher

    NYFA Alumni Giacun Caduff and Stefanie Lacher

    In 2009, Caduff founded the Gässli Film Festival in his hometown of Basel, Switzerland, a platform for young aspiring filmmakers to present their shorts and network with industry professionals. He also runs a film camp and drive-in movie theater.

    These projects haven’t stopped Caduff from working on his true passion though—making movies. He has produced such films as Etienne! (2009), 2B or Not 2B (2005), Salad Days (2011), and directorial effort 20 Regeln für Sylvie (2014).

    His biggest success to date was the 2016 short La femme et le TGV, written and directed by NYFA Filmmaking alum Timo von Gunten, which tells a touching story of a lonely woman and a TGV train driver. Among many other awards, nominations, and festival selections, La femme et le TGV was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film. The film was executive produced by NYFA alum Jean de Meuron.

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    What a night!

    A post shared by Giacun Caduff (@jacquesabale) on

    “In a funny way, the nomination has helped more with other projects than with movies,” Caduff tells NYFA. “I learned that in the end it’s an interesting process where suddenly people introduce you as an Oscar nominee, which is nice, but at the same time, people will automatically expect that same level from you—which in the film world is another Oscar-nominated movie. With projects outside the film business it’s a bit easier, because the expectations are high too but there is no 1:1 comparison. So, I was happy to work with excited people to create the basis for the Gässli Film Festival that—maybe one day—will be Oscar-qualifying.”

    Those high expectations haven’t stopped Caduff though, who is working on multiple new films, and will possibly collaborate in the future with NYFA alum Stefanie Lacher, whom Caduff calls “a wonderful inspiration.” 

    la femme et le tgv giacun caduffGiacun Caduff

    He adds, “There are two scripts of my own that I’m finalizing and one that the director of La femme et le TGV is writing. This journey took me to the US and later to Russia, where I spent time in a lake house without internet to focus on the writing. With enough luck, I hope to shoot this year. Probably next year, but this year should be key in getting funding and cast attachment. Fingers crossed!”

    Making films and collaborating with fellow NYFA classmates stems from a passion Caduff found when he attended the Filmmaking workshop in New York. “Using 16mm film for the first time,” describes Caduff, “I re-discovered my love and passion for film. I knew right there that I was making movies for the wrong reasons so far and started to understand the importance of story, light, lenses—and I mean, being in New York City during that time of my life… amazing.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates NYFA alumni Giacun Caduff and Stefanie Lacher on their respective successes since graduating the Academy and looks forward to seeing what projects they work on next!

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    January 6, 2020 • Acting, Film Festivals, Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1550

  • NYFA Welcomes World War Z Director Marc Forster

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    marc forster

    Marc Forster with Tova Laiter

    Wednesday night, the New York Film Academy hosted a full house at Warner Bros for the screening of World War Z with Director Marc Forster brought to us by Producer Tova Laiter. His work includes smart character-driven films (Monster’s Ball, Stranger Than Fiction) as well as stylish studio blockbusters (Quantum of Solace, World War Z) and he has been nominated for an Oscar several times. His film Finding Neverland is beloved by many and received 7 Oscar nods. He also made The Kite Runner, Machine Gun Preacher and several other films. His actors also do well under his guidance. For example, his third film, Monster’s Ball, earned Halle Berry an Oscar.

    Marc grew up in Davos, a winter resort in Eastern Switzerland. He decided at the age of 14 or 15 that he wanted to become a filmmaker, though his doctor father and family thought he would “come to his senses” and go into academics eventually. Good thing for Marc, he never did come to his senses.

    forsternyfaNYFA student, Krishna, asked Marc what was the most important part of the filmmaking process. He said it all mattered, but that pre-production is very vital. He added that, “there are different challenges for different projects, it depends on who the key people are involved. I make films in a very Swiss manner, very prepared…and pre-production is the most important.”

    Marc never puts the meticulous work involved in directing a film to rest. He admits that he has a vision, which caters to every detail including color, wardrobe, haircuts and lighting. “You are only as good as your last film,” says Forster. Though, he added, “I’m not a guy who just goes out and shoots.”

    He also told the audience to try and have thick skin as, “not everyone is going to love your work, you just have to get used to it.”

    Another student, Pablo, asked Marc about the degree of collaboration he gets into with actors. Marc said, “I love actors and it’s all about collaboration. You have to start at the beginning and really discuss the character.” Actors work differently. He has been lucky and has great relationships with many successful actors. He added that sometimes you simply have to, “do takes until you are both happy.”

    Asked by a filmmaking student what’s the best way to get started in today´s filmmaking world, Marc suggested one of the following:

    • 1. Make a commercial reel
    • 2. Make documentaries
    • 3. Try to make a small feature and get it into Sundance or Cannes

    And for all of them: Know what is personal and important for you. Do something original and interesting.

    Marc noted the importance of maintaining his cool on set. “Once on set, there is nothing you can do except stay focused.” He told a story of getting a bad toothache while shooting on an aircraft carrier, only to be driven to a barn after wrap for a procedure, then to get up at 4 am and resume shooting. Stay focused.

    On staying true to yourself and your vision, Marc said, “I don’t like branding myself…I do what I am passionate about. I try to continually challenge myself and I like making films that are dealing with the human condition.”

    Truly, an inspiring filmmaker.

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    November 8, 2013 • Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 6991

  • MFA Filmmaking Student to Screen at Switzerland Film Festival

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    1 minute film

    MFA Filmmaking student, Gabriela Zogall’s short film is one of 3 that was nominated in the category fiction/documentary at the One Minute Film & Video Festival in Aarau. Her short, Switching Channels, was created for a mise-en-scene project and was her first film she shot at New York Film Academy. The fifty-nine second, black and white 16mm film is simply about a couple in bed watching TV and fighting over the remote. We’ve all been there.

    The winner will be announced at the award show on August the 25th. Best of luck to Gabi!

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    July 29, 2013 • #WomenOfNYFA, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5225

  • Evelyne Binsack: Defeating Mt. Everest and Reaching New Heights

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    Evelyne Binsack Rock ClimbingDocumentary student Evelyne Binsack was already a celebrity before attending New York Film Academy. In 2001, she became the first Swiss woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world. She also spent four months crossing Antarctica to reach the South Pole. She is the author of Expedition Antarctica and Steps on the Edge, and has been featured in a number of documentaries about her adventures. She speaks 3 languages and is also a helicopter pilot. Until our interview, she didn’t know that she had been named as Switzerland’s fourth most famous person – not bad, considering the poll included musicians, politicians, and movie stars!

    Evelyne said she discovered her love of the outdoors in her native Switzerland. “A friend of mine took me to the mountains near home. I fell in love and thought that’s what I want to do: [be] outdoors having adventures.” At the time, Evelyne was a runner competing in the 800 and 1500-meter dash. “That was something very different — fighting against each other. In mountaineering, you’re fighting together. You can’t fight against each other. That’s something that impressed me, the contrast.”

    Evelyne found New York Film Academy’s 1-Year Documentary Filmmaking program years later. “I was Googling in Europe,” she said. “Everything was three years for film programs, or… [very short] crash courses. What can you learn in one week? I decided to come here. I really enjoy the program… but as a country girl, it’s [hard] being in the city. Here, people live for the weekends, and Monday they feel like [crap]. Friends in my country don’t have this attitude. Most of my friends do what they love. They risked things to do what they love and they’re more happy. To see that people are just working for money, it hurts somehow. Take more risks and be passionate for what you do!”

    Despite the urban setting, Evelyne says she has already learned a lot in her first few months of school. “[Documentary instructors] Wendy Apple and Reuben Aaronson are great. They’re all fabulous. They have [a lot of] experience and it’s great to listen to them!” she said. She has already been putting her new knowledge to work as well. She explains, “I’ve been giving [lectures] for 10 years, and that’s how I make my income, but I didn’t know why some stories [wouldn’t] work. For my speeches it’s very helpful to know about structure and character arc. It helps me to understand why one story is good and why another story doesn’t work.”

    Evelyne admits to missing her adventures, saying, “I don’t like the word addiction, but somehow I’m addicted to the mountains and to climbing. I’m part of nature. If I’m not part of nature, I feel empty. It hurts.”

    After finishing the Documentary Filmmaking program at the end of the year, Evelyne will return to Switzerland, where she will plan for her next big adventure. “I want to traverse from Alps, cross the Caucuses, and find out stories about the sacred mountains of the Himalayas.”

    Check out a recent feature on Evelyne Binsack that aired on Swiss television, and get a behind-the-scenes look at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus!

    Evelyne Binsack Alps

    Evelyne Binsack Summit

    Evelyne Binsack Swiss Alps

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