Saturday, March 8, 2014

NYU Grad Focuses on Juilliard Genius Moni Yakim

Following Israeli military service, Jerusalem native Moni Yakim spent some time in Paris. There, he studied with Etienne Decroux, creator of modern mime, became a principal in Decroux's theater company and also worked with the legendary Marcel Marceau.

How these experiences helped shape Yakim, a transatlantic protege of Stella Adler and co-founder of The Juilliard School's drama program, will no doubt be part of Rauzar Alexander's upcoming feature documentary about Yakim.

Alexander, an NYU Film School grad, recently explained to Brooklyn/digital New York Daily News reporter Doyle Murphy the somewhat accidental genesis of the documentary:

The project began as a mundane job offer to shoot an orientation video for a Juilliard School faculty member, but Alexander knew he needed to make something richer when he learned his subject would be Yakim. His orientation video turned out to be more like a short film, and Alexander pitched the larger documentary. "I had a plan in the beginning for a full-length feature," he said. "I wrote this crazy, 18-page proposal."

Yakim, who has been with Juilliard since 1967, currently heads the Movement Department and teaches physical acting at Circle in the Square Theatre School. Alexander received a $15,000 grant from the Tribeca Film Institute's Tribeca All Access program (filling the void of a failed Indiegogo campaign) and has been working closely with Yakim and relatives on the project.

Part of the appeal of this documentary, and advantage, is that it will feature interview snippets with some of Yakim's many famous students over the years. Alexander told Murphy he hopes to have the film - tentatively titled The Moni Yakim Legacy Project - completed this summer.

[Photo of Yakim with Decroux, via]

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