My name is Marina Stagnaro, from Argentina, and I am now a PAA Alumni. I completed 12-week Dance Administration program in Florence Italy, 2 months ago. When I traveled, I knew I wanted to learn as much as possible about…
Spend six weeks of your summer living in Florence and learning how to act on camera with working industry professionals from the New York Film Academy. You will spend the first and last week participating in PAA excursions and cultural activities, and exploring Florence on your own. The 4-week series of workshops provides 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.
“Florence was a beautiful experience where I learned a lot about the Italian culture and people. Even though I did not take a language course while there, I realized that studying the language was a good technique in order to engage with the people I met and respect the culture.”
Performing Arts Points of Interest
Cinema La Compagnia
Cinema La Compagnia is a cinema in Florence built in 1921 and renovated most recently in 1987. The cinema houses excellent technical equipment that allows accommodation for many different activities: 35m me 4K digital projection (2D and 3D), simultaneous translation and multilingual audio broadcasting. Cinema La Compagnia is a venue for the annual Florence international documentary film festival, Festival dei Popoli.
The Alfieri Space is a creative theatre venue in Florence that houses cultural events such as plays, film, music, and visual arts. The Alfieri Space theatre houses performances ranging from works of local playwrights to Shakespeare. Film opportunities in the Alfieri Space include festivals year-round. Past festivals have been the annual International Documentary Film Festival and the Sea Film Festival of 2017.
Odeon Firenze Cinehall
Cinema Odeon Firenze is an elaborately designed theatre in Florence inaugurated in 1922. Here you can find English film screenings along with Italian films. The cinema hosts events as well as film screenings, including the British 100 Film Festival.
PAA Home Base
Your film training program will be in a newly renovated Renaissance-era building overlooking the Piazza San Lorenzo, in the heart of the historic center of Florence. This facility is across from the Basilica di San Lorenzo, one of the most famous churches in Florence, which houses the Medici Chapels, the burial place of the principal members of the Medici family. It is also steps away from the famous Piazza del Duomo, Santa Maria Novella, Ponte Vecchio, and the Galleria, which houses Michelangelo’s David. NYFA is also just one block away from the celebrated central market.
About the Location
For centuries, Florence has inspired and nurtured actors, artists, writers, and musicians; the city is one of the most important destinations for students, particularly those in the arts, studying abroad. 500 years ago, Florence was the epicenter of the Renaissance. If you were an artist, a person in finance, a liberal, or part of a minority, you would have come to Florence. Important and wealthy families, such as the Medici, were philanthropists and made Florence the outdoor walking museum that it is seen as today.
In 2008, the Government of Tuscany and the Tuscan Film Commission invited the New York Film Academy to offer its world-renowned programs in a newly renovated facility overlooking the Piazza San Lorenzo, in the heart of the historic center of Florence. Currently, our summer workshop operates from a renovated renaissance era building across from the Basilica di San Lorenzo, one of the largest churches in Florence, which houses the Medici Chapels, the burial place of the principal members of the Medici family.
The workshop facilities are steps away from the famous Piazza del Duomo, Santa Maria Novella, Ponte Vecchio, and the Galleria, which houses Michelangelo’s David. You will be just a block away from the celebrated main food shopping market. It is tough to imagine a more prominent and convenient location.
Florence, and indeed all of Tuscany, provides perfect open-air sets for shooting movies and learning the craft of acting for the camera. Florence’s architecture is breathtaking: monuments, churches, bridges and ancient statues decorate the city in an incredibly unique way. Magnificent art galleries and the Uffizi Museum contain some of the most famous works of the most important artists in the world.
During the training, you are encouraged to use these amazing venues as backdrops for your movies. You are also encouraged to explore and utilize other picturesque towns, such as Fiesole, Pisa, Lucca, Siena, and Chianti and to utilize these small towns and the natural environment of Tuscany as your sets—all a short bus or train ride away.
You will live in a centrally-located apartment near the training 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.
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.
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 Italians to organize your productions, and will work with many peers who have English as a second language.
You will book a flight to arrive at Florence’s Peretola Airport (FLR) before noon on your arrival day. You will gather at a pre-determined meeting point where our site director Alessandro 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 Florence’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 Florence including detailed health and safety information, cultural norms, and how to navigate public transportation. For the rest of your first week in Florence, you will have ample free time to explore the city and the surrounding areas, and will be invited to join several free activities and excursions such as a Florence market and museum visit and tour, a day trip to nearby city such as Bologna, Chianti, Pisa, Maremma, or Lucca, an Italian cooking class, a Fiesole hike and dinner, a pizza making class, and a Traiditional Florentine Aperitivo Evening.
Registration for your workshop will take place between 10:30 and noon on the Monday of your second week in Florence, 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
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-kilowatt lights bore into the eyes, focus tape is pulled to the actor’s cheek, and the actor is still expected to give a believable and moving performance.
The Four-Week Acting for Film Workshop allows you to participate in a short training workshop that demands full immersion into learning the craft of acting. The Four-Week Acting Workshop provides you with a thorough foundation of acting skills with a specific focus on acting for film. The workshop is a full-time program, and you must be prepared to make a serious commitment to its completion.
Classes emphasize the basic elements of the craft of acting using Stanislavski’s System, scene study, and monologue work as starting points. In conjunction with these classes, students participate in courses aimed specifically at training the actor for the technical requirements of acting on a film set.
The four-week workshop qualifies for three 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 Florence, Italy to offer some of the highest level film training in the world. These workshops in Florence 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.
Florence Program Director, FUA
Cristiana coordinates all programming in collaboration with the Florence University of the Arts, including our semester and summer study programs and internships in Florence. She finalizes course schedules, coordinates university orientation events, provides academic advising, facilitates internship placements, and acts as a liaison between PAA and FUA’s academic departments of music and dance.
Cristiana graduated from the Università degli Studi di Firenze in 2008 with a Masters degree in Foreign Languages: English and Japanese. Her passion for international education and study abroad started at a young age with several summer study abroad experiences in the UK. At the end of her first year of university she decided to spend the three-month break in Boston, MA where she was able to enhance her understanding of the US culture and further improve her English. The following year she spent a semester in Paris, France, taking courses at the “Denis Diderot-Paris VII” through the ERASMUS project. Cristiana began working at Florence University of the Arts in 2007. Having gained experience in various departments of the university, since 2010 Cristiana is the Dean of Student Affairs. At the same time she also coordinates the various internship and experiential learning project opportunities at the school. A local Florentine, Cristiana has a wealth of knowledge to share with students about her hometown. She loves nothing more than spending her free time in the traditional artisan quarters of the city and encourages students to explore the lesser known areas of Florence.
Florence Site Director, Film Programs
Alessandro supports all participants on our Florence programs, acting as the main point of contact throughout their stay in Italy. He coordinates airport pickup, arranges housing, leads cultural excursions, and manages the 24-hour onsite emergency phone.
Born in Maryland, USA, raised in Rome with Italian and Guatemalan parents and having traveled extensively through Europe, Central America, North America and China, Alessandro considers himself a citizen of the world. During his travels, he acquired a passion for the environment, its preservation, cultures and languages. This passion led him to obtain a BA in Geography with a minor in Chinese Studies from Humboldt State University in California. In 2010 he spent a semester studying abroad at the University of Shanghai in China and this outstanding experience turned him into an even stronger proponent of study abroad programs, no matter where. After graduation, his passion for the outdoors and the environment led him to successfully complete the National Park Service Ranger Academy as well as the National Outdoor Leadership School Wilderness First Responder certification. Wanting to get back into the international education world, he moved to Florence at the beginning of 2013 and has coordinated several study abroad programs in Florence and throughout Italy. Some of his hobbies are learning new languages (he speaks English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French along with some German and Mandarin), cooking, traveling, sharing what he knows of this wonderful part of the world, and learning from other cultures.
My internship with St. Mark’s Opera in Florence, Italy was incredibly educational and beneficial to my development as a performer and aspiring professional in the opera world. Living in Florence was perfect for developing an understanding of the history and importance of art, the Renaissance, and both the benefits and downsides of placing so much importance on this development. Living in an Italian city was also very beneficial for learning the language and getting to know a different culture.
“I really enjoyed the pre-departure guide PAA sent. It was very accurate and helped me with my preparations and it was also useful while I was in Italy. I also loved the people I worked with at the orchestra. I always had fun when I worked, and I learned a lot about the musicians and the maestro.”
“Performing Arts Abroad was an extremely helpful and affordable program. Through my internship with Florence Dance Center, I was able to take classes regularly at no charge. The classes were taught entirely in Italian, which was a very cool experience for me and made me truly value the universality of dance as an art form.”
From the blog
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