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  • NYFA Australia Gold Coast Grad Stars in ABC’s “Newton’s Law”

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    Makwaya Masudi, a graduate of the Acting for Film program at the New York Film Academy, Gold Coast, has landed the opportunity of a lifetime as a series regular on the new ABC program “Newton’s Law” starring iconic Australian actor Claudia Karvan (“The Heartbreak Kid,” “Paperback Hero,” “Daybreakers”).

    Masudi, a Kenyan native who came to Australia as a refugee, plays Zareb Mulumba – an office cleaner turned legal client to Karvan’s character Josephine Newton. The stellar cast also includes Toby Schmitz (“McLeod’s Daughters,” “Home and Away,” “The Pacific”), Georgina Naidu (“Offspring,” “Winners and Losers”) and Miranda Tapsell (“The Sapphires,” “Love Child”).

    Of his student experience at the New York Film Academy, Makwaya says, “NYFA trained me on how to work under a huge amount of pressure like calm water. It also gave me so much experience and helped me find out what type of actor I am.” He also believes that “getting to study in a production set-like environment” helped him prepare for the real world of television and entertainment.

    Acting opportunities are now in abundance for Masudi as he sets his sights on the American market. Check out Makwaya as Zareb Mulumba on “Newton’s Law” Thursday nights on ABC.

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  • Highlights from NYFA Australia Sydney’s Acting Department

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    It’s been a busy few months for the Acting department at the New York Film Academy Australia – Sydney. We started with a bang at NYFA Australia Sydney’s ‘Big Night Out’ – our end of semester showcase for the January intake of actors. Loosely themed around food and drink, we turned one of our larger spaces in the campus at Fox Studios Australia, into a bar/restaurant and served up a collection of delicious tasting scenes.

    We had couples both making up and breaking up over dinner, scenes from Mystic Pizza and Pulp Fiction (This IS a tasty burger!) and not to forget our very own version of the last supper.

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    Peppered throughout the evening was also a collection of motley characters, with everything from surly waiters, pompous maître ds and a psychotic chef to an overzealous busboy. Running over three nights—to an audience of family, friends, students and faculty—a theatrical feast was had by all.

    Following that was our Advanced Diploma acting students with their graduation plays. In a NYFA Australia first, they performed over two weeks in the beautiful 236-seat Monkey Baa Theatre at Sydney’s premiere entertainment location, Darling Harbour. First up, was an Australian classic Don’s Party by David Williamson with guest director Travis McMahon. This was followed by an American classic Dark of the Moon by Howard Richardson and William Berney. Directed by our resident American Speech teacher, Paige Walker, who, as one of the most sought after Voice Over artists and dialect teachers in the country, we are proud to claim as our own.

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    Amidst all of the above activity, students have been busy shooting their show reel scenes both on campus and on location. We have also seen the launch of our graduating students’ first ever self-devised web series Actor’s Vs, which is rapidly gaining a cult following online. With a comedy/improvisation night and scenes from Chekov just around the corner, not to mention our next big showcase at the historic Australian Theatre For Young People in September, NYFA Australia Sydney is full steam ahead.

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    – Jacki Mison

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    July 25, 2016 • Acting, Entertainment Australia • Views: 2743

  • NYFA Australia Sydney’s Ben Osmo Wins Oscar for Best Sound Mixing

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    Coming in with a “technical” knockout in last night’s 88th Academy Awards was Mad Max: Fury Road, winning six behind-the-scenes Oscars. The groundbreaking visuals and sound from the production paved the way for its momentous evening, which included New York Film Academy Australia, Sydney Instructor Ben Osmo, who won an Oscar for Best Sound Mixing.

    ben osmo

    The acclaimed film, shot in both Namibia and parts of Australia, is about a woman who rebels against a tyrannical ruler in post-apocalyptic Australia in search for her home-land with the help of a group of female prisoners, a psychotic worshipper, and a drifter named Max. Director George Miller put together quite an impressive cast and crew in this critically and financially successful sci-fi adventure.

    Passing on that successful production experience to our students will be none other than Instructor Osmo, who teaches hands-on production and sound workshops, which take our students out of the classroom and directly onto a real set environment.

    ben osmo

    We’re so proud of Mr. Osmo and would like to congratulate him on his Oscar win!

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    February 29, 2016 • Community Highlights, Entertainment Australia, Filmmaking • Views: 8685

  • NYFA Australia Graduate to Screen 3 Films at Sydney Indie Film Festival

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    It’s with great enthusiasm that we discover New York Film Academy Sydney graduate Ren Thackham has not one, not two, but three films screening in this year’s Sydney Indie Film Festival!

    Coming from a background in production design and having produced corporate videos for several years, Thackham returned to her hometown of Sydney to attend NYFA’s One Year Diploma of Screen and Media, in order to take her filmmaking skills to the next level.

    ren thackham

    “No matter how much experience you have flying solo, you’re miles behind anyone with a year of NYFA under their belt,” said Thackham. “The teachers are all industry, they’re speaking from experience not textbooks and they give real answers to real world questions. It provides the confidence to take on more ambitious projects. The training was definitely valuable and I miss it, but the post graduate support and the pride NYFA has in their graduates is worth the course fee alone.”

    The three films that Thackham will be screening at the Sydney Indie Film Festival, which runs from October 17-25, are:

    Lady Luck
    A film that follows one man through a game of poker where Lady Luck herself materializes and takes him to a fantasy world where he meets the characters at the table as they really are. This was Thackham’s NYFA graduation film.

    Glow
    This short film throws a twist on the smartphone addiction debate by referring to it as an actual drug called Glow. Glow has been her most successful film thus far, as its been selected for nearly every online festival she has entered.
    brainless killers
    Brainless Killers
    This is by far her most ambitious project. It’s set in a world where zombies and humans coexist. Zombridge is the town where all the zombies reside and survive off donations of cerebral fluid. The story follows a couple of journalists into Zombridge where they uncover an illegal hunting and farming operation and have to blow the lid off the story before they become victims themselves. It’s a twist on the animal rights issue, but instead of showing how animals are treated, Thackham gives a new perspective of how humans would like it if they were treated similarly by someone else further up the food chain. “Starring Australian Comedian ‘Steve Hughes’ with ‘Odd Studio’ doing the make up (The artists behind Mad Max Fury Road), and the best production design I could muster, it’s going to be my best film yet.”
    on set ren

    Like most filmmakers, Thackham has a couple of feature scripts she’s currently writing. Her hopes are that her shorts will bring help her the attention and contacts needed to make her features a reality.

    “When you have a project, even at script stage, your perspective of the world becomes richer,” says Thackham. “Every place you visit is a potential location, every item a prop, every stranger you meet could inspire a character, every situation you’re in could be a scene. That’s what makes you want to do it forever; it’s way more fun than living in the real world!”

    If you’re in the Sydney area and would like to see Ren Thackham’s films, visit sydneyindiefilmfestival.com for more information.

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    October 7, 2015 • Entertainment Australia, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 4547

  • MFA Grad’s ‘Breakfast in Beirut’ to Screen at Festivals Worldwide

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    Coming off the success of her award-winning short film, 7 Hours, which screened at over 30 film festivals across the world, New York Film Academy MFA Filmmaking graduate Farah Fuad ALHashem has a new film currently making the rounds at festivals around the world.

    The documentary film, Breakfast in Beirut, recently screened at the Lebanese Film Festival in Sydney, Australia and is currently circulating around the Arab world with screenings coming up at the Alexandria International Film Festival for Mediterranean Countries 2015 (September 2nd-8th, 2015 in Egypt). In November, it will screen at the Cairo International Film Festival as well as screenings in Paris, Venice, Beirut and Dubai.

    The documentary film’s experimental direction examines Beirut as a chaotic city and its inhabitants’ relationship with it. But underneath this chaos, the heart of Beirut is waiting to be discovered.

    After writing 17 different versions of the script, with script supervisor Rachel Vine in Universal Studios, Hollywood, writer and filmmaker Farah ALHashem kept changing the storyline until her arrival in Beirut, where she ended up shooting a completely different version of the script.

    For more information about the film, you can visit the Facebook Page. Also, have a look at the trailer below!

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    August 24, 2015 • Documentary Filmmaking, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 4893

  • NYFA Los Angeles Hosts 3-Week Workshop for NYFA Australian Acting Students

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    NYFA Australia acting students attending the Groundlings Comedy Improv show

    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.

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    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.

    matrix theatre

    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)

    matrix hollywood

    NYFA Australian actors attend the Australian Theatre Company’s Evening of “Stage to Screen” at the Matrix Theatre in Hollywood

    “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)

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  • NYFA Sydney Holds First Inaugural Filmmaking Showcase at Event Cinemas

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    NYFA Sydney Event

    The New York Film Academy Australia campus in Sydney held its first Inaugural Filmmaking Showcase at Event Cinemas, George Street in VMAX 2. The multiplex theater, which screens today’s top films, just so happens to be filmmaker Baz Luhrmann’s favorite cinema in Australia!

    To kick off the event, filmmakers strutted the red carpet outside of the theater. After all, what would an award-ceremony be without a red carpet? Guests included our filmmakers and their families and friends, screen industry professionals, 2015 committed students, potential new students and NYFA Sydney alumni. NYFA Australia Director Simon Hunter and NYFA Australia Academic Manager Craig Proudley were also on hand for the night. NYFA is the first and only film school to have showcased thesis films in a VMAX cinema at Event Cinemas, George Street, Sydney. We love being pioneers.

    The awards ceremony gave out 4 awards, including Outstanding Student, Best Cinematographer, Best Director and Best Film, which was chosen by a panel of screen industry professionals.

    nyfa sydney actors

    “It is an exciting partnership that Event Cinemas has with NYFA,” said Event Cinemas General Manager, Anthony Kierann. “Last night was a night of talented filmmakers and actors expressing their creative journey and discovering their voice within the magical process of storytelling in the art of filmmaking. There is a huge appetite within the film-going community to experience extraordinary stories with universal themes and social significance. Last night there was a range of styles, performances, screenwriting and visual bravery with astute detail and a willingness to explore all the nuanced options creatively available to tell a story — the films screened last night at the thesis screenings certainly were a testament to the talent pool at NYFA in Sydney. As an exhibitor, it is encouraging to see such a depth of talent. Events looks forward to furthering its support and partnership; to be in some small way a nurturing component that may allow these young filmmakers and actors wings to grow. Congratulations to everyone involved and a special congratulations to Ren Thackham for her audacious visionary film Lady Luck, which won the Best Film Award”

    Anthony and Event Cinemas were so pleased with the night that they have committed to playing one of our filmmakers thesis films, Wolf by Ethan Thomas before a feature film. Overall, it was not only an entertaining night, it was a whopping success. We look forward to our next Filmmaking Showcase at Event Cinemas!

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    December 11, 2014 • Acting, Community Highlights, Filmmaking, Study Abroad • Views: 6504