Spend anywhere from 2 to 5 weeks of your summer living in France and learning how to act on camera with working industry professionals from New York, Paris, and beyond. You will spend the first week participating in PAA excursions and cultural activities, and exploring Paris on your own. The workshops provide you with a foundation for acting skills with a specific focus on acting for film. Classes emphasize the basic elements of the craft of acting using the techniques of Stanislavski, scene study, and monologue work as starting points. In conjunction with these classes, you participate in courses aimed at training you for the technical requirements of acting on a film set. You will also audition for the filmmaking student film projects.
“The program was a great experience! It opened a lot of doors for me, culturally as well as professionally.”
Performing Arts Points of Interest
Cinéma Étoile Pagode
The Cinéma Étolie Pagode opened to the public in 1931 after an entrepreneur gifted it to his wife in 1896. Watch French films after a tea tasting in the Japanese-style garden in this luxurious cinema.
Café des Deux Moulins
The café from Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s film Amélie is in the Montmarte district and found around the corner from the Moulin Rouge. The charming cafe is a nice break from sightseeing throughout the day.
Pont de Bir-Hakeim
You may recognize this bridge from one of the final scene of Inception starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The scenic bridge crosses the Seine and is a short walk to the Eiffel Tower and the Paris Aquarium.
PAA Home Base
Our film program is based in La Fémis, located in the historic Pathé Studios in the 18th arrondissement (district). Enjoy spacious classrooms, meeting spaces, shooting studios, post production facilities and state of the art screening rooms. La Fémis is in Montmartre, an area of Paris drawing artists and actors for centuries. Within walking distance is the spectacular cathedral, Sacre Coeur, with fantastic views of the entire city of Paris.
About the Location
What better place to study film than in the country where it all began? France! In the early 1890s, the city of Lyon was the site for the invention of the cinematograph, the first motion picture film camera. In no time, the industry had made its way to the capital city of Paris, where PAA’s film program is based.
Paris is renowned for its myriad historic monuments, and having numerous unique neighborhoods known as arrondissements. Venturing outside of Paris, you will find that the countryside can take on many different forms: laid-back Atlantic coastline, rolling hills and valleys known for producing some of the best wine in the world, the arid south with its warm Mediterranean climate, and the mountainous Alps region. There are many opportunities for artistic expression, whether in the form of lively street performances, or in the historic theaters that crowd the cities.
Our program’s training takes place at the National Film School of France (La Fémis), one of the world’s most prestigious film institutes.
La Fémis is nestled in the historic Pathé Studios right in the heart of the 18th arrondissement (or district). Our training sessions are held in spacious classrooms, meeting spaces, shooting studios, post production facilities and state of the art screening rooms. La Fémis is in Montmartre, a region of Paris that has attracted actors and artists for many centuries. Within walking distance is the iconic cathedral, Sacre Coeur, with spectacular views of the entire city of Paris. Fruit markets, bakeries, brasseries, restaurants, and cafes are all just around the corner.
You will live in a centrally-located apartment near the workshop classes and will share a room and flat with other students. You will have a common area, at least one bathroom depending on the size of your apartment, a washing machine, and a fully-equipped kitchen for cooking meals. You will attend a housing orientation upon arrival where you will receive your keys and information about security and who to call if you have an issue with the apartment.
Your peers during the training course will be incredibly diverse. This past summer’s enrollment compromised students from 22 countries, including India, Thailand, Iran, Macedonia, Jordan, Canada, and Nigeria. The multiplicity of global students means that you will not be studying in a monocultural “bubble” as in many programs, including semester and faculty-led offerings by schools and universities. You will interact with local French citizens to organize your productions, and will work with many peers who have English as a second language.
A Day in the Life
The Participant Experience
During this acting for film workshop, you will be taught by working industry professionals whose experience includes Hollywood, HBO, MGM, Walt Disney Co., Sony, NBC, Universal Pictures, ABC, and much more. The diverse international faculty is comprised of experienced instructors and professional actors, many of whom have earned their terminal graduate degrees from the most prestigious film programs in the United States. The instructors on this program are faculty from NYFA’s U.S. campuses in New York, Los Angeles and Miami, and are among the institution’s longest standing and most respected teachers. We often welcome guest lecturers from the Italian and European Filmmaking communities as well.
You will book a flight to arrive at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) before noon on your arrival day. You will gather at a pre-determined meeting point where our site director Drasko will greet you and wait with you as other participants arrive. Once the last person has come through customs and joined the group, you will all travel together to your housing in shared apartments in Paris’s city center. You will attend a short housing orientation and a neighborhood tour so you can know immediately where to find the nearest grocery store, ATM, and other amenities. The rest of the afternoon and evening will be free time to unpack, settle in, and explore your neighborhood.
The following day, our site director will lead a full orientation to Paris including detailed health and safety information, cultural norms, and how to navigate public transportation.
For the rest of your first week in Paris, you will have ample free time to explore the city and the surrounding areas. You will also join several free activities and excursions, such as a trip to the Louvre museum (the largest museum in the world), a trip up the famous Eiffel tower, a picnic on the grounds of a majestic castle, and a boat cruise on the Canal Saint Martin.
Registration for your workshop will take place between 10:30 and noon on the Monday of your second week in Paris, followed by an orientation to the course and your instructors. From the very first day of class, the focus of the workshop is to learn through making films. Each participant writes, produces, directs, and edits his or her own films, and rotates among crew positions when your classmates shoot.
A Typical Day
This Three-Week Workshop provides you with a thorough introduction to the foundations of acting for the camera. The workshop is a full-time program, and you must be prepared to make a serious commitment to its completion.
Classes and hands-on workshops are held throughout the week and some weekends are reserved for additional classes or shooting.
No matter how beautiful the cinematography or impressive the special effects in a film, audiences are drawn in by the struggles of the characters on screen. On set, dozens of crewmembers whirl about, twelve killowatt lights bore into the eyes, focus tape is pulled to the actor’s cheek, and you are still expected to give a believable and moving performance. This workshop gives you a wide set of tools for approaching this scenario, and you will leave the course with a reel of scene work, along with the opportunity to act in student-produced films.
The three-week workshop qualifies for two academic credits via an academic transcript issued by Endicott College.
Performing Arts Abroad has a special partnership with the New York Film Academy College of Visual and Performing Arts (NYFA) in Paris, France to offer some of the highest level film training in the world. These workshops in Paris are open to participants across all disciplines. Whether you are already a budding actor, whether you want to learn how films are made, or what it takes to create a performance, you will benefit from this intensive training course. We welcome anyone who wants to integrate filmmaking and other visual arts disciplines into an international cultural experience.
Founder and Executive Director
Reynolds graduated summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis in 2008 with a degree in Theater and African and African American Studies. For an honors thesis Reynolds filmed, edited, and produced a full-length documentary in Kenya with Haba na Haba, a group using performance for education and social change in the slums of Nairobi. This project earned him the Forum on Education Abroad Undergraduate Research Award. A year later, Reynolds organized a trip to bring Haba na Haba to the United States for a tour of St. Louis and Washington University. Immediately after graduation, Reynolds worked in Rwanda as a filmmaker for Millennium Congregations, an interfaith organization connecting communities of faith in the United States with development projects in Rwanda’s Bugesera District. Reynolds then served two years with Teach for America, teaching in the South Bronx and receiving a Masters Degree in Education from Hunter College. He completed a second graduate degree in African Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington, and his Masters thesis focused on the impact of donors on the creative process of Theatre for Development (TfD) groups in Kenya.
Reynolds has traveled extensively in Africa, spending time in Ghana, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He also studied acting, voice, and movement at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. Reynolds is a two-time Rhodes Scholarship finalist, the inaugural recipient of the Dred and Harriet Scott Award for the Advancement of Human Rights, and the winner of two research fellowships. He was also a Dialogue Fellow for the Xenia Institute, has twice served as the co-director for the Roosevelt Institution’s International Diplomacy Center (Washington University branch), and was president of the Graduate Students of African Studies (GSAS) at Indiana University.
Reynolds lives in Northampton, MA with his wife Julia who is a professional costume designer and his daughter Lily who is a cute baby. In his free time Reynolds likes to play his guitar, go hiking, act in local productions, hit the karaoke bars, sing with his dog Captain (the best doggy singer in the universe), and play various yard games such as KanJam, cornhole, “cups”, and Kubb.
France Site Director
Drasko supports all participants on our France programs, acting as the main point of contact throughout their stay in the country. He coordinates airport pickup, arranges housing, leads cultural excursions, and manages the 24-hour onsite emergency phone.
Drasko was born in Belgrade, Serbia, and graduated from the University of Belgrade – Faculty of Law, where he also obtained a master’s degree in constitutional law. He worked as an associate in a law firm in Belgrade and was hired by the Official Journal to analyze the jurisprudence of the Serbian highest courts. However, he decided to continue his studies abroad and came to France in 2013, where he obtained a second master’s degree in comparative law at Sorbonne University. Drasko was a participant of numerous seminars, conferences and summer schools in Serbia, France and worldwide. He is a national rowing umpire in Serbia and in France and he raced several half marathons. He accomplished skydiving course and has an international diver certificate. Drasko is a self-proclaimed expert in finding the best low-cost train and airplane tickets.
Paris Program Director, Film Programs
Mitko leads the training component of our Paris film programs. He helps select instructors, coordinates the training schedule, works with the local government to approve film sites, and more.
Mitko Panov studied directing at the famed “Lodz Film School” in Poland under the mentorship of Jerzy Kawalerowycz, Wojciech Has and Andrzej Wajda. He received international awards including the Golden Palm for best short film at the Cannes FF and is recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Rockefeller Fellowship for US Film and Media artists and the Sundance Film Institute Documentary Film Grant.
His films were aired on major television networks including: PBS, France 3, Canal +, Channel 4, Film 4, Arts & Entertainment, ARTE, ZDF, ARD/BR. They are featured in collections including MOMA, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Chicago Arts Institute (Video Data Bank). His latest film, “The Witness,” featuring Bruno Ganz, Marthe Keller and Padraic Delaney, is scheduled for release in spring, 2017. He is the recipient of two screenwriting awards: Hungarian Pitch Point and Krzysztof Kieslowski Award at Scripteast, Cannes.Mitko has taught and collaborated with number of award winning students including Steve Mc Queen (12 Years a Slave), John Hamburg (Meet The Parents), Joshua Marston, Malcolm Lee, David Riker, Jay Duplass, and Florian Gallenberger.
Mitko was an Assistant Professor of Film Directing at NYU, Graduate Film Program (1992-1995); a founding member of NYFA and creator of its core 8/6/4 Week curriculum (1992-1993); a Visiting Professor – Film Directing – at the German National Film-School, HFF, Munich (1995-2000); an Associate Professor at University of Texas at Austin, RTF Dpt. Graduate Thesis Projects’ Supervisor (1998 – 2008); and FIOFA Ohrid (Outlet of FAMU International – The Prague Film School Visiting Professor, 2017-2018. He also set up NYFA Paris and was its first Program Director 1998/1999.
“Performing Arts Abroad (PAA) is a wonderful organization that allows you to gain valuable work experience, contribute to a new community, develop lasting relationships, travel and (in my case) learn a new language. PAA creates a comfortable experience abroad with their assistance and support.”
Just one unforgettable experience. I made friends for life and I discovered what kind of path I want to make in my career. I also discovered things about myself I didn’t know before. I wish it never ended.
“It was amazing to meet people from all around the world that share with me passions and dreams. This goes over any cultural difference. The city was great and the classes very interesting and useful, I hope to have the chance to do another program like this again!”
How it Works
The information on this page provides details for a sample group program. Note that every group is different, and we will work with you to cater the experience to your group. To connect with us and begin organizing a program for your group, please follow the “Get Started’ button below and submit an initial questionnaire. We will then contact you to set up a discovery call where we can go into more detail about your group’s needs and what we can offer.